Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan 

Release date: January 26, 2017

Publisher: Michael Joseph Books

Genre: Psychological Thriller



Margot Lewis is the agony aunt for The Cambridge Enquirer. Her advice column, Dear Amy, gets all kinds of letters – but none like the one she’s just received:

Dear Amy, 

I don’t know where I am. I’ve been kidnapped and am being held prisoner by a strange man. I’m afraid he’ll kill me. 

Please help me soon, 

Bethan Avery

Bethan Avery has been missing for years. This is surely some cruel hoax. But, as more letters arrive, they contain information that was never made public. How is this happening? Answering this question will cost Margot everything . . .


I loved the idea behind Dear Amy, a girl that’s been missing for almost twenty years suddenly resurfaces? I’m all over that premise, and while there were aspects that I liked, overall I wasn’t as impressed as I would’ve hoped to be by this one. 

Margot Lewis writes an advice column for the newspaper, Dear Amy. Most of the letters are run of the mill, then she begins receiving correspondence from Bethan Avery who was last seen seventeen years ago. Is Bethan really alive? And if so, how is managing to get letters mailed if she’s in danger? Simultaneously, Katie who is a student at the school where Margot teaches has also vanished. Plenty going on here, but unfortunately it mostly feel flat for me.

I liked the general idea and this was a quick read for me, I finished the whole thing in just two settings. Clearly it’s a page turner and it had some elements I need in a good psychological thriller. The tension was always climbing higher and mounting and Callaghan’s writing style was fluid. That’s about where the good stuff ends for me.

The biggest letdown for me was that I could see the big twist coming a mile away. That’s always a disappointment, yet there was something that made me keep reading so I have to give some credit where it’s due. The pacing was on the slow side for me, though the tension gradually amped up, it took awhile to get there and the chapters were pretty long. I prefer shorter, snappier chapters in thrillers, just a personal preference. I’m all for things being far fetched, but for some reason it went too far for me here. I can’t really elaborate more in order to remain spoiler free. 

Overall this was a mediocre read for me, I can’t say I really liked or disliked it. Maybe with the sheer amount of psychological thrillers I read it’s just getting harder and harder to shock me. I would read something by the author in the future as I did enjoy her style and feel that she’s a talented writer, I just wanted a sharper and tighter plot.

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy. 

19 thoughts on “Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan 

  1. Donna says:

    Fab review. I remember reading, I think it was Joanne at @mychestnuttree, that the old paper letters was a bit weird in a century in which we all go for emails now. That was a point I took into consideration before putting the book at the end of my wishlist 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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