Wednesday, March 27, 2024

BLOG TOUR - The Playgroup



Breath catches in my throat and terror grips me as my daughter’s favourite jumper slides into focus. Time slows. Helpless, I watch my precious little girl run into the road. Screeching tyres slice through the quiet afternoon. Days from now, my friends will say the worst day of my life was all my fault…

A bright and welcoming haven, the playgroup sits at the heart of the town, tucked away inside a red-brick building. The Nest should have been the safest place for my rosy-cheeked, pink-obsessed daughter, 
Florence. Run by mothers like me, I trusted my newfound friends – AliceBeth and Georgie – to take care of my child. But now my choice has left Florence fighting for her life.

My heart pounds thinking about what I will tell my husband, 
James. He stayed with me through the darkest times, and I thought some space would bring us closer. But as I watch our little girl sleeping in a hospital bed, I know our relationship may never recover from this.

How can I tell James what really happened if I don’t know myself? I can’t shake the feeling the other mothers are lying to me; they know I’d never let Florence leave the nursery by herself. We’ve all got dangerous secrets we want to protect, but if they expose mine, will anyone, including my husband, believe me when I say I didn’t harm my daughter?

A completely gripping psychological suspense about the dark price of protecting your family, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty, Adele Parks and Sally Hepworth.

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Title:   The Playgroup
Author:  Leah Mercer
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:  283
Date of Publication:  March 21, 2024
My Rating:  4 Stars

Alice is a lawyer who has also begun a nursery, which is called The Nest Nursery. Among the people that work for her are Georgie, Lenore, and Beth. 

Lenore had an interesting story, one that I have seen with two of my daughters, and that is her recovery from post-partem depression. Lenore is working at the nursery and her young daughter Florence attends as well. One day the toddler is hit by a car and responsibility for the terrible accident could be on any of the four women, Alice, Georgie, Beth and even Lenore.

It soon becomes clear that everyone has something to hide. Pasts that they do not want to come to the light of day. Because of these secrets, any of the women could be responsible for the accident that gravely injured little Florence. 

Something that really caught my attention while reading this book, is that not only did it deal with a woman who has recently experienced post-partum depression, it used the term gaslighting. I found that to be of great significance since everyone had something to hide, and gaslighting was clearly used when it came to laying blame.

As intriguing as this book was with all of the drama that was going on with each of the women, the title The Playgroup confused me.  I did a search on my Kindle, and it was what I expected, the reference is "The Nursery" was used over 70 times, and The Nest, over 150 times,  so I do wonder why either of those terms were not the name of the book as the phrase "The Playgroup" never once appeared in the novel.

This book came to a satisfying conclusion as some of the women's outcomes were surprising and the ending was handled well. But before the stunning ending there was an amazing twist. Leah Mercer is one of my favorite authors and I love how she kept the characters' secrets from each other as long as possible. I will definitely be reading her next novel.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Leah Mercer was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada. Her first ambition was to be a journalist, but after completing a master’s in journalism, she soon realised she preferred anything other than reporting the news. After trying her hand at public relations, teaching and recruitment in various countries around the world, she finally settled in London and returned to writing… fiction, this time. Her first two novels, Who We Were Before and The Man I Thought You Were, were shortlisted at the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards. Leah loves books, running and visiting historic houses with her husband and their son.

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