The Night Olivia Fellby Christina McDonald Published 05 Feb 2019
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In the vein of Big Little Lies and Reconstructing Amelia comes an emotionally charged domestic suspense novel about a mother unraveling the truth behind how her daughter became brain dead. And pregnant.
A search for the truth. A lifetime of lies.
In the small hours of the morning, Abi Knight is startled awake by the phone call no mother ever wants to get: her teenage daughter Olivia has fallen off a bridge. Not only is Olivia brain dead, she’s pregnant and must remain on life support to keep her baby alive. And then Abi sees the angry bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.
When the police unexpectedly rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened that night. Heartbroken and grieving, she unravels the threads of her daughter’s life. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?
Christina McDonald weaves a suspenseful and heartwrenching tale of hidden relationships, devastating lies, and the power of a mother’s love. With flashbacks of Olivia’s own resolve to uncover family secrets, this taut and emotional novel asks: how well do you know your children? And how well do they know you?
"The Night Olivia Fell" Reviews
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" The Night Olivia Fell " had an intense beginning that pulled me right in. I had to keep reading. I HAD to find out what happened...
Abi Knight is a devoted single mother to teenage daughter, Olivia. Abi and her daughter have a great relationship. One word Abi would give to describe Olivia is…sensible. Olivia does well in school, she doesn’t drink or party, and she does what she’s asked. But Abi admits that lately, Olivia has been different, very moody and distracted.
Then one night the phone rings and Abi is suddenly living her worst nightmare.
“This is Portage Point hospital. It’s about your daughter, Olivia. I’m afraid there’s been an accident”.
Abi drives to the hospital …hoping and praying that Olivia will be alright. “ Please, please be okay.” But then she sees the pity in the doctor’s eyes. He explains that Olivia has permanent and irreversible brain damage. Life support is keeping her body alive. Abi tells the doctor that Olivia spoke about donating her organs. But the doctor tells Abi that they can’t turn off life support due to Olivia’s condition. Abi is confused…what condition?
We then hear from Olivia. We learn about her life and the time leading up to the night she fell. Olivia had been feeling like her mother was controlling her life. She also felt like her mother was keeping things from her.
On a school visit to the University of Washington, Olivia sees someone who stops her in her tracks….
And she knows instantly that her life will never be the same
Abi had only wanted the best for her daughter. It appears Olivia had a life her mother knew nothing about. But what was Olivia doing up on that bridge in the middle of the night? Was it an accident or was it something else entirely?
“Whether you help me or not, I’m going to find out what happened to my daughter.”
Abi wants to prove to the police that it wasn’t an accident. But how will she do that? And could she be putting herself in danger by trying to find out exactly what happened?
This story is told from both Olivia and Abi’s point of view which I really liked. The relationship between mother and daughter was moving and believable. As a single mother with a daughter close in age to Olivia, I could relate to some of the things they were dealing with. I thought all of the characters were very well-developed. The book was engaging and easy to follow, and I read it in just a couple of sittings.
“The Night Olivia Fell” was a well written and addictive domestic suspense novel. I’m excited to read more from Christina McDonald.
I'd like to thank Gallery Books for a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.
Huh?! Did I read the same book as everyone else?
I am not going to go into great detail critiquing what didn’t work for me, but I will say I couldn’t look past the following: predictable plot, stilted dialogue, cliched characters, juvenile writing, and plot holes abound. I grew sick of constantly being told what happened vs. being able to see what happened.
I bumped up my rating for the ending--the emotion shined through and felt more natural than the rest of the book.
I think I am the only person who didn’t love this book, so feel to ignore my review and enjoy for yourself.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review.
5 BIG Beautiful Stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
wOWZA! This book took me on quite the emotional journey! As a mother I couldn’t help but completely empathize with Abi(The mother in this story)... I cried with her... I raged with her... I hoped with her... my mama bear was out throughout this book, I needed answers and I needed them now! Imagining my own daughter in the hospital bed brain-dead and pregnant, quite honestly made me a little sick and stressed... this is a credit to the beautiful and engrossing writing in this book, I was completely immersed and committed.... The fact that this is Christina McDonald’s debut is simply.... impressive!
Abi gets that phone call in the middle of the night that all parents fear... her daughter is in the hospital, she has fallen off a bridge...Abi’s mothers intuition tells her this was not an accident and this is reinforced by the bruises around her daughter’s wrist.... The police don’t appear to be doing much of anything to find out who pushed Olivia off that bridge.... but Abi is determined and will stop at nothing to find out who hurt her little girl...
Told from both Abi and Olivia‘s perspectives... we get the events leading up to this tragedy from Olivia‘s eyes... as well as watching Abi’s heart wrenching journey... not only to accept that she has lost her daughter, but also to figure out how this could have happened.... this was such an impactful way to tell the story because the more I got to know Olivia the more my heart broke right along with Abi’s.... also Christina McDonnell did a fabulous job with getting into the mind of both a 17-year-old and her mother.... I saw a lot of myself in both of these characters...
This was an emotional domestic suspense... as the book progressed I was suspicious of almost everyone at some point... I also found myself questioning both Olivia and Abbi’s actions... I kept thinking if only.... then... but isn’t that what life is all about? every choice we make has an impact on our lives.... had Abby told Olivia who her father was, then maybe? Had Olivia told her mother who she had fallen in love with, then perhaps? So many questions and no good answers and as we all know hindsight is always 20/20...
This is a book that left me with tears in my eyes and hope in my heart! I absolutely recommend for anyone who enjoys A beautiful story about the love between mothers and daughters with a huge dose of suspense thrown in....
*** many thanks to Christina McDonald and Gallery for my copy of this book the book releases in February 2019 ***
I rolled over and peered at my alarm clock. The red lights blinked 4:48 a.m. Nobody called at this time of night with good news.
”Hello, is this Abagail Knight?” The voice —a man’s—was low and tight, coiled like a viper about to strike.
”This is Portage Point Hospital. It’s about your daughter, Olivia. I’m afraid there’s been an accident.”
And so the mystery and intrigue begins ... A mother’s worst nightmare becomes her reality and she sets out for the hard fought truth.
Questions, lies and secrets are paramount in this storyline. Questions, lies and secrets are responsible for the strained relationship between Abagail, a single mom, and her seventeen year old daughter, Olivia.
...I’d worried for so long that all the lies I kept hidden on the dark side of my heart would one day be washed into the open. These lies, my past, kept me always on guard.
I read this book in nearly one sitting. It was just so compelling, so unique, so irresistible. The dual POV narration between mother and daughter were icing on the cake.
What a phenomenal debut novel. I will definitely be on the lookout for Christina McDonald’s next release.
*Thank you Net Galley for a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.*
4 Gripping and Suspenseful Stars for The Night Olivia Fell
Abi Knight got the middle of the night phone call no parent wants to receive - "This is Portage Point Hospital. It's about your daughter, Olivia. I'm afraid there's been an accident."
Abi rushes to the hospital to be faced with terrible news. Olivia was found at the bottom of an embankment near ZigZag bridge. She sustained severe head trauma and permanent and irreversible brain damage. Her little girl was gone. Could there be anything worse?
Abi is shocked to learn that there is more. Olivia had secrets that she can not fathom. Her teenage daughter in all essence lay dead in a hospital bed, surrounded by bags and pumps breathing for her. Not because there was any chance of waking her up, it was solely to give the baby she was carrying a chance at survival. Faced with insurmountable grief, shock and emotion Abi reaches for her daughter's hand and notices something wrong. The silver charm bracelet Olivia always wore was gone. In it's place were finger mark like bruises.
Abi tries to make sense of the situation when things simply don't add up. In her heart she knows someone hurt Olivia. Yet the local police seem more than willing to brush it off and rule it an accident. Needing to know what really happened the night Olivia fell, she begins to unravel the secrets of her daughter's life trying to piece together what happened that night herself.
The story unfolds via two alternating point of views - that of Abi in the present and flashbacks of Olivia's past. I couldn't help but get pulled in by Abi's pain and grief and her desire to protect her child, even in death. The more Abi searches the more secrets she is faced with, including those from her own past which she has tried desperately to hide.
The mother-daughter relationship was very well developed. We get to see it from both Abi and Olivia's point of view and it definitely tugged at my heartstrings. I felt for Olivia whose life was cut short when there was so much ahead of her. Although I figured out what happened to Olivia it didn't take anything away from how I felt about the story. For me, it was a plausible and well developed scenario - not something that came out of left field. The ending left me feeling both sad and content and definitely looking forward to more from Christina McDonald.
Thank you Christina McDonald, Gallery Books and NetGalley for an arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I'm between 3-3.5 STARS on this one.
The Night Olivia Fell was another highly anticipated mystery on my list of 2019 releases. Come on, look at that chilling cover! I've found myself becoming more drawn to these lighter dramas that feature mother-daughter relationships; while my children are generally younger than the girls portrayed in these types of stories, I still find myself daydreaming about what life will be like when I, in fact, have teenage daughters myself. This book features one of those worst case scenarios where, you'd think as a mother of girls I would want to pass up, but surprisingly reading it helps me work through my anxieties by facing them head on.
Abi is a single parent, sacrificing everything and working to the bloody nubs to provide for her daughter. When she gets the dreaded call that Olivia's body has been found after falling off of the town bridge, she's justifiably devastated. When it's made clear that Olivia will never recover from her comatose state and Abi decides its time to pull the plug, the doctors drop a bombshell-Olivia is pregnant. They would like to keep her on life support until the baby is viable to survive without its mother, which gives Abi plenty of time to look into her own investigation of what really happened to her daughter.
While the mystery surrounding who murdered Olivia felt obvious from early on, I noticed there were a few portions involving related plot twists that captured my interest, and the writing and emotions inserted into the story were so well done. As a mother of two daughters, I can only imagine what Abi went through in this story. If you're looking for a lighter mystery that is more character driven, and one that will make you feel every emotion on the spectrum of feels, definitely pick this one up.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy.