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Two Little Girls

One Heart-Wrenching Choice

Choose which one dies—a horrific nightmare for any mother of more than one child.

In Two Little Girls, the compelling debut adult novel by Laura Jarratt, Lizzie Fulton is living that nightmare.

Recovering from her injuries following a tragic car crash, Lizzie remains crippled with guilt. One daughter is dead, the other’s physical and emotional conditions questionable, and her husband’s begging for answers.

What happened on that remote country road? The police relentlessly pressure Lizzie, charging her with falling asleep while driving and causing the crash and her daughter’s death. Lizzie’s adamant that she can’t remember anything about the accident until her vehicle was airborne and hit the frigid water. However, Lizzie insists, she knows, that she didn’t fall asleep.

The secrets and the strains of her marriage are exposed and examined like cops' lunchroom fodder. When suspicions of foul play become more likely, a new round of questions arises. Who wanted to kill her family—and are they satisfied with one child’s death?

Lizzie must find a way to not only cope with being forced to have made the dreadful choice of which daughter she would save from certain drowning but her reasons she chose one daughter over the other. Her husband, a high-rent criminal defense attorney, is convinced one of his more disreputable clients must be the culprit. The heady weight of guilt begins to crumble his usual steadfast resolve.

Lizzie’s marriage is dying, her daughter suffering survivor guilt, and her husband can no longer cope. The police, proven wrong about Lizzie's culpability, don’t seem interested in helping her. To save her family and her sanity, she knows she must summon the strength to find the answers herself.

Author Laura Jarratt handily keeps the suspense level high, surprising readers early twice, with which child the mother chooses to save and why—timing each reveal masterfully. When Lizzie discovers a stalker and realizes their tormentor isn't through with her family, she formulates a plan to catch a killer. It’s in this plan and its cumulation that the author delivers readers the biggest surprise of all.

Two Little Girls takes readers on a mother’s harrowing journey of guilt, fear, acceptance, and forgiveness leaving readers secretly grateful it happened to Lizzie and not them. Two Little Girls is well-crafted and well-written, pulling the reader into Lizzie's torment.

Laura Jarratt has written four young adult novels. Among them Skin Deep, was a Waterstones Children’s Book Prize nominee, and By Any Other Name was nominated for the Carnegie Medal.

To learn more about the author, follow her on Twitter @LauraJarratt and on Facebook @AuthorLauraJarratt.

Review photo: Carolyn Tillery

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