Review: Give It Back by Danielle Esplin




Not long ago, Lorraine lost her husband to another woman. She thought that was the worst thing that could happen to her, but soon she realizes it’s just the beginning of an everlasting nightmare.


Lexy, an au pair from London, moves to Seattle to help Lorraine with her infant son. But she didn’t come for the child…she came for something else.


When Ella receives a call from her sister, Lorraine, who begs her to leave San Diego to spend time with her, she decides to take a few days off from work to visit her. Frightened to see how much Lorraine has weakened since her diagnosis eight months ago, she packs a bag and heads to Seattle with a foreboding feeling that this might be the last time she sees Lorraine.

But on her way to the airport, she learns that something shocking has happened since she last spoke with Lorraine and now. To make matters worse, once Ella arrives in Seattle, Lorraine’s story keeps changing, making Ella question how reliable her sister really is.

Soon Ella is entangled in a mysterious investigation, and more so, in the lives of everyone involved. She realizes not only that she won’t go home anytime soon but also that she’ll never look at others the same way she did before.


I read this novel as my BookBum Club book for May! Check out this page to find out more about my very own Book Club!

Unfortunately, like many books I’ve read this year, this novel simply turned into another average throwaway thriller. It started off exciting, with a host of mysterious characters but the further we went through the novel, there became too many branches off the main plot that became convoluted and ultimately let the end of the story down.

What I did like about this novel were the clearly defined characters. Each was well developed and the use of alternating chapters from the POV’s of Lorraine, Lexy, and Ella really gave us an insight into their thoughts and feelings. However, I didn’t particularly like any of them as characters, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With Lorraine, obviously there was sympathy there as she was plagued with various brain tumours, but sympathy does not equal respect or likability. I found her petty and irritating. Lexy was more likeable as a character, but her self-awareness of her beauty got on my nerves. Lastly, Ella was probably my favourite and the reasons for not liking her were down to the author trying to make the different tones of voices obvious (which worked but was irritating!)

The writing isn’t amazing, but it kept me reading and the short chapters make for quick reading. The story moved swiftly, and this was one of those “just one more chapter” books. While I liked the writing, at times there were moments that felt were added just for the shock factor, like a couple of sex scene sprinkled here and there; “my lipstick smudged by the post-cock throat thrust”.

As for the story, like I said above, it started off really well and I was excited to see where Esplin was taking it. The fact that there were several characters connected to the plot made it difficult to guess what secrets they were all hiding. Unfortunately, I felt that the middle of the story dragged a little bit and we began being taken down avenues that weren’t necessary for moving the story along. While Esplin does a decent job at tying up loose ends for all these stories, it would have been an easier read without them and they were definitely only added with the aim of making the end harder to guess.

I did have my suspicions as to who the bad guy was, and I was right, but I wasn’t so sure of the why. I was pretty pumped to read the reveal and get the characters motives, but it was a bit of a let-down. The vast amount of storylines that needed to be cleared up at the end became too much and the story got silly.

Honestly, for a debut in the author’s second language, this was pretty good. I’d pick up another novel by her, just hopefully one with fewer storylines throughout! This is a good summer beach read.

*Buy it here: Amazon UK

8 Replies to “Review: Give It Back by Danielle Esplin”

  1. Great review! 😀 I find it’s getting increasingly difficult to find books in this genre that stand out! I’ve kind of swayed away from psychological thrillers lately because they seem too samey and a bit far fetched. I’m waiting on a review from you that basically says “read this one, it’s brilliant!” Hopefully your next read is more enjoyable for you. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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