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Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read the amazing book, Amber by Heather Burnside.

At the beginning of the book, Heather Burnside explains that this has been the most difficult of her novels to write, because of the sensitive subject matter of sexual abuse. She feels it is a story that needs to be told. Sexual abuse takes place every day, often swept under the carpet.

The Present: We meet Amber. She is a prostitute and a drug addict. She is at work. As she puts on the costume requested by her client, a school uniform, and her hair in two pigtails, memories surface. Distressing memories from her childhood.

The Past: Amber used to be Amy. Amy lived with her parents Loretta and Greg, and younger brother Nathan. They lived in a big house in an affluent suburb, they had lots of friends. Her dad died suddenly, changing everything. Loretta, a stay-at-home mum, discovers that she has no employable skills to be able to get a job.

It didn’t take long for the debts to accumulate, forcing her to move the family to a rented house on a housing estate. Soon her friends from the old neighbourhood stopped contact and with Loretta’s posh clothes and accent, the school mums in the new neighbourhood ignored her. To cope with the loneliness, one glass of wine a night soon became two glasses, one bottle of wine a night soon became two bottles.

As the debts accumulate again, she remembers words from a previous friend “You’ll meet a nice man one day and marry and get out of this place”. Loretta makes it her mission to begin dating again.

Amy realises that when her mother has a boyfriend, who she is to call Uncle, there is always food in the house, there are gifts and her mother is happy. Over time there are a lot of Uncles. One day Loretta is made an offer that she feels is too good to refuse, as it would solve all her financial problems.

The Present: We journey with Amber as she works in her profession and gets to know her co-workers. The highs and lows of their lives, with a surprising twist towards the end of the book.

Although Heather says it was a difficult book to write, it is not a difficult book to read. Amber is a character you engage with and feel her pain and suffering. The story is told in a sensitive way, swapping between her past to her present.

This book is well worth the read. It is not just Amber’s story, but Loretta and Nathans too, as they face their individual challenges.

It is a thought-provoking book, reminding us that should someone disclose that they have been abused, that they are believed and supported to get the help they need. A wake-up call for us all.

A brilliant read.  5 stars.

Amber  is the 4th book in the series “Working Girl” books. I will certainly be reading these other three!

ISBN: 9781838939618

A selection of Beauty and Lace club members are reading Amber by Heather Burnside. You can read their reviews below, or add your own!

16 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Amber

  1. Hmmm I am still not sure about this book. Whilst I appreciate that this would have been a challenging book to write, I didnt feel like it was book that was meant to be enjoyed but one where lessons were meant to be emparted.

    This in itself is not a bad thing, it is more that the expecation of what this book was going to be about was different to what I expected. It was certainly a different writing style to what I am used to.

    Morally I struggled with what a mother would do to her daughter and how this could ever be justified (although I have no doubt that this sadly does happen).

    Ultimately, this was not really a book for me.

  2. Thank you for the opportunity to review Amber by Heather Burnside.
    I really enjoyed the book.
    I found it quite sad reading about Amy as a child and everything she lost. As a mother I found myself quite angry with her mum Loretta for putting Amy and Nathan in harms way, more so for Amy.
    As the book jumps between present and past I found it quite interesting because it gave an insight into Amber (formerly known as Amber) and why she ended up living her life the way she does.
    It really was a very raw book that really made me think about how lucky I am.

  3. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus for the oppurtunity to read and review Amber by Heather Burnside.

    This was my first book by Heather Burnside, I really enjoyed it! Will be going back and reading the first three in this series!

  4. This is the first of Heather Burnside’s books that I’ve read and I’m sure at some point I will read others once I have time to process this one.
    Amber is a working girl who’s real name is Amy. Unfortunately Amy grew up with sexual abuse thanks to her mother who put her into those situations.
    We often wonder how women get into this profession and this book really highlights the struggles one may go through to put themselves in these situations time and time again.
    I enjoyed it for the eye opening experience that it was but it also left me angry at the horrible parents that exist in this world.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read this book.

  5. Amber is my first book by Heather Burnside and I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it. Amber is gritty and explores a seamier side of life, following the lives and circumstances of Amber and her family. A confronting read that the author initially warns you about, but well worth it

  6. I initially found this book difficult to engage with with the time hopping and different characters. I knew that eventually they would have to all cross paths and when they did, it made it a better read. Apparently it’s the fourth book in the series, so maybe reading the other books first would’ve helped with the characters.
    The book starts with Burnside prefacing the difficultly or writing with the sexual abuse content and it is a confronting read at times.

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace, and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read ‘Amber’ by Heather Burnside.

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