Thanks for stopping by! I’m delighted to be sharing my review for We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker today. Before we get to my review though let’s take a look at the description for the book…
Duchess Day Radley is a thirteen-year-old self-proclaimed outlaw. Rules are for other people. At school the other kids make fun of her—her clothes are torn, her hair a mess. But let them throw their sticks, because she’ll throw stones. Duchess might be a badass, but she’s really just trying to survive. She is the fierce protector of her five-year-old brother, Robin. She is the parent to her mother, Star, a single mom incapable of taking care of herself, let alone her two kids.
Walk has never left the coastal California town where he and Star grew up. He’s the chief of police, trying to keep Cape Haven, with its beautiful bluffs overlooking the sea, not only safe, but safe from becoming a cookie-cutter tourist destination for the rich. But he’s still trying to heal the old wound of having given the testimony that sent his best friend, Vincent King, to prison decades before. And he’s in overdrive protecting Duchess and her brother as their mother slides deeper into self-destruction.
Now, thirty years later, Vincent is being released. As soon as he steps one foot back into his childhood town, trouble arrives. It shows up on Walk’s and Duchess’s doorsteps, and they will be unable to do anything but usher it in, arms wide closed.
Duchess and Walk—and everyone they love and whose hearts they break, who deserve so much more than life serves them—will sear your heart in this extraordinary novel.
First of all I really don’t think my review will do any justice in trying to explain how much I loved We Begin at the End. It is a story that captured my attention and wouldn’t let go. In We Begin at the End we meet thirteen year old Duchess and her family. Along with family friend and chief of police, Walk. When Walk’s best friend, Vincent returns to Cape Haven after thirty years in prison things change forever.
This book was mesmerising and I fell completely under its spell. The story and characters came alive before my very eyes. Duchess in particularly was a character that really got under my skin. I experienced tears, smiles and pretty much everything in between. Duchess completely commanded attention. With bags of attitude and bravery beyond her years along with a layer of vulnerability that made me care for her. Duchess had to grow up way before she needed to and even though local police chief, Walk looks out for her. Putting trust in someone isn’t something Duchess necessarily believes in. However her relationship with her brother was beautiful to see play out. Seeing her protect and care for him to the best of her ability really brought an extra layer of emotion to the story. Talking of emotion I really did go through a range of them during the events of this book.
The plot is well crafted, drawing me into a mystery that explored family, dark secrets and troubled characters. Showing how events in the past clearly still affect the characters years later. As old mistakes and terrible decisions merge with new ones to disastrous and at times heartbreaking effects. Chris Whitaker has created some mesmerising characters, flaws and all. I’m pretty sure I will still be thinking about Duchess and the rest of the inhabitants of Cape Haven for quite some time. We Begin at the End doesn’t necessarily fit neatly into just one genre. I think this helped to make an even deeper impression on me. At its heart is a crime story but there is also so much more with drama and mystery all playing their part. This all combined brilliantly to create something so powerful. We Begin at the End is a book I highly recommend and has easily worked its way into my top book picks of 2020. I’m so very glad I picked this book up. It was everything and more!