Book review: The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft

Thursday, October 15, 2015 Permalink

This is pegged as a ‘gripping psychological thriller for fans of Gone Girl and Girl on the Train‘. Long-term readers of my blog know how much I groan when GG is mentioned as a point of reference. Sigh.

However… the ‘gripping psychological thriller’ part is most certainly valid and despite my superior powers of deduction (?!) The Girl with No Past offered quite a few surprises for this jaded reader-of-psychological-thrillers.

The Blurb

Leah Mills lives a life of a fugitive – kept on the run by one terrible day from her past. It is a lonely life, without a social life or friends until – longing for a connection – she meets Julian. For the first time she dares to believe she can live a normal life.

Then, on the fourteenth anniversary of that day, she receives a card. Someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed the life Leah has created.

But is Leah all she seems? Or does she deserve everything she gets?

Everyone has secrets. But some are deadly.

the girl with no past

My thoughts

The Girl With No Past unfolds in multiple timeframes, and Kathryn Croft cleverly ekes out the events of 14 years earlier. It’s not an uncommon approach but interesting given readers are kept in the dark for much of the novel about exactly what happened (back then).

Leah is a prickly character and (as the blurb says) it’d be easy to think she’s getting what she deserves… however we remain unsure of that. Until the end.

Croft does a great job with Leah and she’s a complex and slightly-bewildering character. She’s flawed and has possibly done something terrible, but her self-flagellation means it’s hard to really hate her.

Her interaction with potential online beau Julian, confidante Ben and work friend (or frenemy?) Maria all offered some insight into her dichotomous world. On one hand she’s isolated herself from everything and everyone; on the other she’s yearning for some affection or kindness.

I wasn’t entirely convinced by the ending (and yes, I know I’m hard to please!); I was surprised by the ‘who’, but the ‘why’ didn’t entirely make sense.

However for me, this book offered something a little different: a lead character we’re unsure whether we’re allowed to like, or not. If you’re similar to me, you’re tempted to dislike her but can’t quite bring yourself to do so!

The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft is published by Bookouture and available from 15 October 2015.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher for review purposes. 

  • Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
    October 16, 2015

    This sounds interesting though like you I’m a little leery of any book that gets compared to Gone Girl. It seems like every book that’s a little twisted gets that label. This does sound interesting though and I like all the twists and turns and being unsure whether it’s okay to like the MC definitely sounds unique. Even though the why didn’t make the most sense this still sounds like a fun read.

    • Debbish
      October 16, 2015

      Ah yes Katherine – that was something I enjoyed… it was as if even the MC (Leah) was telling us to hate her, but still… it was hard to do so.

  • laurelrainsnow
    October 18, 2015

    Thanks for sharing…I am now even more eager to read this one sooner, rather than later.

  • Teddyree
    October 19, 2015

    Very keen to read this one, I love a ‘good’ psychological thriller and if jaded you is declaring this one gripping then I’m all in. Great review Deb … I’ll just pretend I didn’t see a mention of GG 😉

  • Zhu
    November 29, 2015

    I’ve just finished it and I have the same feelings as you about the ending. It took me a little while to get into the book (honestly, probably because I was annoyed with the “Gone Girl” thing as well…) but I found Leah’s character very compelling. My feelings for her changed as well as more and more was revealed.

    • Debbish
      November 29, 2015

      Glad you enjoyed it as well. Sometimes hanging in there with a book is a good thing! I know sometimes I’ve thought about putting a book down but something’s made me wait and I’m later relieved.

  • mary
    January 4, 2016

    Just finished this book, I enjoyed from the moment I picked it up, of course the ending was a little hard for me, but I reread it again till it got my attention ..I must say well done. was definitely a page turner…had a hard time putting it down thank you

    • Debbish
      January 4, 2016

      You’re very welcome Mary and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Farah
    January 4, 2016

    What age is it for?

    • Debbish
      January 4, 2016

      Hi Farah, it’s adult fiction.


  • jbartnz
    February 27, 2016

    I’m reading it now, and its doing my head in! I can’t decide if I’m annoyed at her weakness and self-pity or buy into it and feel sorry for her, and I’m just wishing the book would get on with it!!! Ending better be good!

    • Debbish
      February 27, 2016

      Oh, good luck. I wasn’t sure ‘who’ dunnit but also wasn’t entirely convinced by the ending…

  • Lorren
    March 1, 2016

    Hi Deb, I just finished this book, and was hoping you could clarify for me – Does Leah ever get back with Julian???

    • Debbish
      March 3, 2016

      Hmmm… we’re kept guessing, but I suspect no. A clean slate / starting afresh etc perhaps?

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