Book Review: Unravelling by Helen Forbes

I am very happy to be welcoming Helen Forbes to Novel Kicks with the blog tour for her novel, Unravelling. 

A forest of secrets 

Two bodies are found buried in a Highland forest, a place that haunts the dreams of Kate Sharp. Her mother, Ellen, died when Kate was a child. Does the forest hold the secret to her death? 

A secret journal 

Kate discovers her mother’s journal, and the tale of a tragic unravelling begins to unfold. Ellen’s story is one of fear and hope, love and loss, set against the imposing background of Craig Dunain, a psychiatric hospital where she should have been safe.  

Unravelling the truth 

Someone else from Ellen’s past is searching for answers, and he will stop at nothing to find them. Unaware of the danger stalking her, Kate continues her search. Will she find the answers? And can she save her own life?  


Two bodies are found in a forest near to where Kate Sharp’s mother, Ellen, died years earlier, when Kate was a child.

Following the death of her Grandmother, Kate is searching for answers about her mother.

As Ellen’s story unfolds, Kate discovers it’s one of love, loss, fear, despair and hope.

Someone from Ellen’s past is also trying to find out what happened. Can they figure out the truth? Can Kate save her own life before it’s too late?

This is the first book I’ve read by Helen Forbes. I found the blurb very intriguing. I was excited to be invited onto the blog tour for Unravelling.

Told from the point of view of Kate, Ellen, Daniel and Jamie, this book, from page one, immediately drew me into the novel and into the lives of these characters.

Nothing is what it seems on the surface and, aside from Kate, I wasn’t sure who to trust.

The atmosphere Helen Forbes creates is immersive and I felt as though I was in this world, with these people. I would like to see it adapted for TV.

That, along with the compelling and well developed plot meant that there was a great bubbling sense of suspense and tension which kept me reading long after bedtime.

All these people are dealing with complicated circumstances and feelings. The author has approached some difficult themes well, including that of trauma and mental health; showing that even the villain of this book is not simply evil and that, even though I don’t condone this character’s actions, I can at least begin to try and understand their state of mind.

There isn’t much else I can say without giving away a large amount of spoilers. Unravelling is a book I hope people will discover and find as captivating as I did.

It’s a great mix of psychological thriller and crime, along with interesting, relatable characters. The plot builds well and has an ending I didn’t see coming.


(Thank you to Helen, the Publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.) 


About Helen Forbes: 

Crime fiction was not what lawyer, Helen Forbes, expected to write. 

As a single parent and mature law student, she used her limited spare time to write contemporary and historical fiction. 

It was a chance remark at a writing club that led her to develop a short story into her debut crime novel, In the Shadow of the Hill, featuring DS Joe Galbraith. The novel is set in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, and it was described in one newspaper review as having ‘more twists and turns than the road to the isles, making it impossible to put down.’  The novel and characters proved popular with readers, leading to the publication of a second book in the DS Joe Galbraith series. Madness Lies is set in Inverness and North Uist.  

Helen has now taken to crime with a passion, and has published two psychological thrillers.

Unravelling is set in Inverness, against the background of a former psychiatric hospital. Deception is set in Edinburgh, and tackles the themes of domestic violence, prostitution and trafficking. Helen has also completed a further thriller set in Edinburgh, which she hopes to publish in 2022. Queen of Grime’s main character is a crime and trauma scene cleaner with a big secret. It is gritty and dark, but also funny and uplifting. Helen hopes to expand Queen of Grime into a series.

Say hello to Helen on Facebook, Twitter or via her website

Unravelling was released by Scolpaig Press. Click to buy this novel on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Waterstones.


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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