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Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

Cross Her Heart

Repeat author

Sarah Pinborough is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include Behind Her Eyes.

by Sarah Pinborough

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Quick take

Three women, one big secret, and the betrayal that threatens to destroy their lives.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Scary


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator


Lisa lives for her daughter Ava, her job, and her best friend Marilyn. But when a handsome client shows an interest in her, Lisa starts daydreaming about sharing her life with him, too. Maybe she’s ready now. Maybe she can trust again. Maybe it's time to let her terrifying secret past go. But when her daughter rescues a boy from drowning and their pictures are all over the news for everyone to see, Lisa's world explodes. As she finds everything she has built threatened, and not knowing who she can trust, it's up to Lisa to face her past in order to save what she holds dear. But someone has been pulling all their strings. And that someone is determined that both Lisa and Ava must suffer. Because long ago Lisa broke a promise. And some promises aren't meant to be broken.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Sarah Pinborough's Cross Her Heart.
Cross Her Heart

I. After



He grips the edge of the paper so tightly the neat lines of carefully written words twist into odd zigzags that crunch some sentences but highlight others, taunting him.

I can’t cope.

You’re too angry.

You frighten me when you hurt me.

I don’t love you anymore.

The world is shaking and his breath comes heavily as he scans to the end.

Don’t come after me. Don’t try and find me. Don’t try and find us.

He reads the letter three times before it sinks in. She’s gone. They’re gone. He knows it’s true—he can feel the fresh emptiness in the house—but still he rushes through the rooms, pulling open hollow cupboards and drawers. There is no trace of her, however; no passport or driving license, none of these important things that frame her life.

Don’t try and find us.

He returns to the kitchen table and crumples the letter, suffocating her words in his clenched fist. She’s right. He is angry. More than angry. He’s raging. It’s a white heat inside him. He stares out through the window, the battered ball of paper damp in his sweating palm. Vodka. He needs vodka.

As he drinks, a seed of a plan takes hold in the dark soil of his mind and starts to grow.

She has no right to do this to him. Not after everything they’ve been through.

He will destroy her for it.

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Why I love it

I always suggest the same book when friends, coworkers, or Tinder dates ask me for a recommendation for a thriller novel—and no, it’s not The Girl on the Train or even Sharp Objects. It’s Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough, a book that destroyed every stereotype I’d constructed in my head about what the thriller genre should look like. But now I have another book I can recommend with equal confidence: Pinborough’s newest novel, Cross Her Heart.

The thriller begins as many do—with an ordinary woman. Lisa is a shy, slightly neurotic single mother who lives for work, her daughter, and her best friend. But Lisa is far from normal. In fact, she’s hiding a horrifying secret, and when her past misdeeds are revealed to her daughter—and the world—the novel takes a whiplash-inducing swerve. Because Lisa isn’t the only one with a secret. Her daughter, Ava, has been messaging an older man on Facebook, and he’s not who he claims to be.

I have always believed that the best thrillers should do two things: Keep readers enticed until the very last page, and push readers into asking difficult questions about the nature of good, evil, right, and wrong. Cross Her Heart does both. When you set this book down, you will know exactly what happened to Lisa and Ava. But, as is the case with all the most wonderful kinds of books, you will have more questions than answers.

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Member ratings (9,503)

  • Cassie J.

    Louisville , KY

    LOVED! I liked ‘Behind Her Eyes’ but I wasn’t a fan of the sorta supernatural ending, so I’m very glad this book had none of that! Super suspenseful with lots of twists & turns! GREAT WRITING STYLE!!

  • Tiffany C.

    Louisville, OH

    This book was hard to put down. I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. A lot of twists I didn’t see coming, kept me on the edge of my seat. I’m ready to read more from this author.

  • Melinda G.

    Harveys Lake, PA

    I loved Behind Her Eyes, so I was hoping this book would please me equally. I was not disappointed. The ending was not as crazy as her previous book, but the suspensful climax kept me reading impulsively

  • Kellen H.

    Mingo Junction , OH

    This book was the best book I ever read! It was so unpredictable and full of twist! I couldn’t stop reading it! The ending was so shocking and didn’t expect it! She is a great author! Please read it!

  • Adriana A.

    Semmes, AL

    Lo primera palabra que me vino a la mente mientras leía este libro fue “sick” parece que estás leyendo a personajes totalmente distintos en la segunda parte , la 3ra explica todo y te da un descanso

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