'Alice' not in Wonderland.

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Alice by Sam Skyborne

‘Alice’ not in Wonderland.

Alice is visiting South Africa with her husband Dr. Magnus McCroy as the full-time carer of his mother. After a crisis with Magnus, she decides to leave him and embark on a trip of self-discovery. In the meantime, Dr. McCroy sends private investigator Toni Mendez to South Africa to find Alice and take her back to England. But nothing is as it seems and Alice will have to learn who to trust…


This is a novel hard to categorise and even harder to review without giving anything away. Let’s just say that the story follows the premise that, as the blurb says, ‘all reality is subjective’. Even though there are scenes of lesbian love, this isn’t a romance but there is a good amount of intrigue and psychological thriller. This is the second book featuring P.I. Toni Mendez which follows her story after Ms. Skyborne’s ‘Risk’. It’s not necessary to read them in order and ‘Alice’ can be read as a stand-alone.

In my opinion, the best part of this book is the beautiful description of the landscape. The author is from South Africa and her love for her country shows. The backdrop of Camps Bay beach, Table Mountain and other beautiful places in Cape Town is ideal for this novel. The magnificence of the geography is contrasted with the social inequalities described by Ms. Skyborne such as racism, poverty and human trafficking, which provides the reader with a realistic view of the country.

My main concern with this book is that the plot is a bit confusing and the twist of the story comes with a lengthy explanation in the last few chapters that felt a bit forced and doesn’t merge smoothly with the rest. There was too much new information and explaining for me to process at such a late time in the book. Maybe if the author would have dropped hints at an earlier stage the story would have felt more believable as a whole.

Overall, an ok read with a beautiful setting in which nothing is at it seems. 3 stars.

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.


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