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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Night Olivia Fell

ISBN: 9781501184000

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 2/5/2019

Format: Paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars ++ (ARC)

TOP BOOKS OF 2019 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 heart-wrenching 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?

My Review

Emotionally charged and sharply written with suspenseful twists and turns, Christina McDonald’s debut THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL is a winner out-of-the-gate! A complex, heart-wrenching tale, resonates Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, Karen White, Heather Gudenkauf, and Sally Hepworth caliber, with a story-line that could be ripped from today's headlines. Dark family secrets are unraveled!

This intense domestic suspense will grab you by the heart from the first page to the last. Prime for book-to-movie adaptation (we can only hope) while we anxiously await the next book from this newfound talented author.

"How far will a mother go to find the truth and justice for her daughter?" They said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…

Set in the fictional town of Portage Point, Washington, we meet Abi Knight— a single mom who works hard and guards her daughter like a mother hen. Possessive at times, she wants to keep her teenage daughter, Olivia safe and offer her the best.

She and her daughter are incredibly close. However, what lies stand between mother and daughter recently? Each seems to be hiding their own family secrets.

When Abi receives the phone call (every parent dreads), that her teenage daughter Olivia has been injured, she is scared and upset. There has been an accident. A suspicious fall from a bridge.

Furthermore, Olivia is now brain dead and must remain on life support, because her daughter is pregnant. She has suffered permanent and irreversible brain damage.

Pregnant? How could this be? How could a mother with a close relationship with her daughter not know she was pregnant. She would be a grandmother. Who is the father?

With all the shock of Olivia’s fall from a bridge, she also discovers this may not have been an accident. There will be a police investigation. Due to the bruises on her wrists, it appears there was a struggle. Could someone intentionally pushed her to her death?

What was the motive? Is there something more sinister at play? She was found at the bottom of an embankment near the ZigZag Bridge. Who would want to do her daughter harm?

The author slowly unravels the past of Abi and why she is so protective. We also hear from Olivia and the events leading up to the fall.

Abi: “The thought came fast, an ugly surprise. I set my teeth against it. 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.”

Olivia had always been a natural child sunny and sweet, an easy teenager. She was not a partyer. She was a straight-A student. However, lately the events leading up to the accident, thinking back, she had seemed distracted, temperamental, and irritable.

Olivia: “A dark horror slid into my heart. I’d always trusted my mom. Trusted everything she said, obeyed everything she told me to do. I’d never thought twice about questioning her. But now I felt that trust disappearing like evaporating mist. If she could lie to me about something fundamental as this, what else had she kept from me?"

Abi knew Olivia had questions about her real father. However, it was too risky to come clean with this information. Little does Abi know, Olivia has discovered things on her own about her father. Things which could prove very dangerous.

Abi searches desperately for clues.

Could it be the father of the baby or someone from Abi’s past who has harmed her daughter? Did Olivia know too much? Who wants to guard their secret? The silver charm bracelet Olivia always wore was gone. In its place was a string of black and purple bruises.

Written with compassion and lyrical prose, an acutely observed family drama of the devastating lies, secrets, and truths of a mother and daughter relationship—combined with bone-chilling mystery and suspense. A heart-rendering and compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and resilience. I loved this book!

I enjoyed the balance between mystery and heart. Emotional and moving. In today’s world, with all the violence and unrest, it is nice to add a bit of heart and soul which keeps readers coming back for more. The best-laid plans and the extreme risks people take to save those they genuinely care about may not always prove to be the best.

For fans of Lisa Jewell, Heather Gudenkauf, Sally Hepworth, Karen White, Jodi Picoult, and Diane Chamberlain (some of my favorites)! Highly recommend. My Top Books of 2019 list and Feb Top Books List.

A special thank you to #GalleryBooks and #NetGalley for an advanced reading copy of #TheNightOliviaFell


My Initial thoughts after reading

5 Stars +++ What makes this novel DYNAMITE is the powerful human and emotional, psychological mother/daughter side which will bring tears to your eyes. Stunning and beautifully written which does not read as a debut.

The setting is very atmospheric! On a personal note, I LOVE the Puget Sound area setting and have many fond memories I will cherish for years to come. I have visited many times and one of my favorite cities. From the charming bed and breakfast inns in Seattle, Pike Place markets to the romantic and quaint cottages by the sea in Puget Sound plus the historic area of Snohomish, WA with its great antique shops. (attended a beautiful farm wedding there recently).

I have no words and am stunned. Christina: You are one talented lady, and when this hits the shelves it will be a New York Times bestseller, I have no doubt.

It hits all cylinders and everything I love in a good book. So excited to tell everyone about this newfound author!

The Night Olivia Fell

The Night Olivia Fell

UK Version

They said it was an accident. Her mother knows they’re lying. But the truth comes with a price…

In the small hours of the morning, Abi is startled awake by a phone call and learns that 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 bruises circling Olivia’s wrists.

When the police rule Olivia’s fall an accident, Abi decides to find out what really happened. Was Olivia’s fall an accident? Or something far more sinister?

A domestic suspense novel set around Puget Sound’s coast in Washington State, The Night Olivia Fell asks how well we ever really know our children, weaving together a story of family secrets and devastating lies.

The Night Olivia Fell


“A worthy debut from an up-and-coming domestic-suspense author.” —Booklist, Starred review

"One of Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2019 by Women." —PopSugar

“[A] complex, emotionally intense first novel…Fans of twisty domestic suspense novels will be rewarded.” —Publishers Weekly

“If you’re already putting together your 2019 TBR list of must-read thrillers, you’re probably going to want to add The Night Olivia Fell to it ASAP.”

—Bustle Magazine

"Christina McDonald has crafted an emotionally-charged mystery that will leave readers equally gut-wretched and gripped. THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL welcomes a talented new addition to the world of domestic suspense."

—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl and When The Lights Go Out

“THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL by Christina McDonald is a stunning thriller that instantly grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go until the final poignant sentence. McDonald artfully brings to the page the emotionally fraught, complex relationship between mother and daughter in this atmospheric, absorbing page-turner. THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL cracked my heart into a million pieces and then slowly pieced it back together again.” —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound

"Christina McDonald's THE NIGHT OLIVIA FELL takes a mother's worst nightmare to a whole new level. This is an intense, twisting, heartbreaking thriller that explores in painful detail the consequences of family secrets. The reader will be riveted until the final page...and may even feel a bit of hope when all is said and done. Don't miss this one!"

—David Bell, bestselling author of Somebody's Daughter

“In Christina McDonald’s The Night Olivia Fell, Abi gets the call every mother fears: her daughter has fallen from a bridge and is brain dead...but was it an accident or a crime? McDonald reveals the answer in steady, page-turning increments, a gradual unfolding of truths and long-held secrets that culminates in a heart-wrenching resolution. A suspenseful debut that packs an emotional punch.”

—Kimberly Belle, internationally bestselling author of Three Days Missing and The Marriage Lie

“I was absolutely hooked, it was such an emotional read that I was broken by the end. Heartbreaking and thrilling at the same time.”

—Jenny Blackhurst, bestselling author of How I Lost You

"Beautifully written and moving with characters I felt I knew, The Night Olivia Fell is a stunning debut that kept me guessing right until the final, heartbreaking twist."

—Claire Douglas, Sunday Times bestselling author The Sisters, Local Girl Missing and Last Seen.

About the Author

Christina McDonald

Christina McDonald is an author of twisty, emotional thrillers. She is also an avid bookworm and a devoted mother and wife. She was born in Seattle, Washington and now lives in London, England with her husband and two sons, where she enjoys reading, writing, hiking and lifting weights at the gym. She is currently writing her second novel.

Christina always wanted to be a writer. She told her earliest stories to her two younger sisters, who were her first audience, cheerleaders and sounding board. She has a BA in Communications from the University of Washington, Seattle and an MA in Journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway. Going to college in Ireland wasn’t part of the master plan, but happened randomly when Christina went traveling and arrived at Heathrow Airport in London completely jet lagged, caught sight of the Aer Lingus desk, and spontaneously bought a ticket to Ireland. She loved it so much she went back the following year to study.

Christina worked as a freelance journalist for a number of newspapers in Ireland and Seattle, including The Sunday Times, Dublin, The Connacht Tribune, Galway, The Galway Independent, The Seattle Post Intelligencer, and Colures Magazine. She then moved to London and started a digital copywriting company where she worked as a consultant and writer for much-loved digital brands, such as Expedia,, British Telecom (BT), Travelex, Wood Mackenzie, Pearson Publishing and TUI Travel.

Get in touch. Read More






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