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Audiobook Review

The Birthday Party

Wendy Dranfield
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average rating is 5 out of 5
average rating is 5 out of 5

Excellent, Unforgettable, Best of the nest

Very good, thoroughly enjoyed, 

Good, Solid, Enjoyed many aspects


Moriarty, Jewell and now Dranfield


💛 This is one juicy slab of mystery fiction. There’s wealth and dysfunction, intrigue and family turmoil, all of it enticing in itself. Add to that the disappearance of a five year old girl and you can count on me missing my bedtime to keep listening.

💚 But that is not all. Not even close. Because this story is replete with a dizzying number of twists and turns. Just when I thought I had guessed the gotcha, another was added.

🧡 This has that mix of family secrets, social politics and mystery I’ve always found so enthralling in the works of Liane Moriarty and Lisa Jewell.

Big thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture Audio for providing me with an ALC in return for an honest review.


🎧 This translates brilliantly as an audiobook. Sarah Borges narrates in a very natural style and is perfectly cast for the main characters. I’d have liked there to have been two narrators, but Borges makes it work.

🎧 This is quite easy to follow. It’s totally accessible for day-to-day listening while you do other stuff, but as there is only one voice there is no natural cue to indicate who is talking, which might trip you up if you pick it up and put it down.


No spoiler for this one. Maybe next time!
Click For Spoilers

The Birthday Party


Charlotte waves at her mother across the crowded lawn. Little red boots on, cowboy hat crooked over her blonde pigtails, she’s been looking forward to this party for weeks. Moments later, she disappears without a trace....

Kathy Hamilton drives away from her sister-in-law’s pristine-white suburban house in Maple Falls certain she’s left her daughter in safe hands. On the hottest day of the year, a birthday is the perfect excuse to gather friends, family, and neighbors around the pool for a barbecue. But when she returns hours later to find her little girl has vanished, her world shatters.

Nobody laughing and drinking in the garden that day saw anything unusual.

Kathy’s eldest daughter is anxious and hardly eating. Is she sick with worry for her sister, or hiding a terrible secret?

The phone rings and rings, but why can’t Kathy get hold of the babysitter?

And is she imagining it, or when her husband rushed from work to join the search, was he wearing a different shirt from the one she saw him leave the house in that morning?

As the temperature rises, and long-buried secrets begin to surface, it’s clear that even the most perfect families keep devastating secrets. But in a town as small as this, is there anyone you can trust?
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