Book Review; Insomnia- Sarah Pinborough

Not your standard thriller novel!

Page Count 336

Publication date March 2022

Publisher Harper Collins

GoodReads link



-Emma Averell loves her life—her high-powered legal career, her two beautiful children, and her wonderful stay-at-home husband—but it wasn’t always so perfect. When she was just five years old, Emma and her older sister went into foster care because of a horrific incident with their mother. Her sister can remember a time when their mother was loving and “normal,” but Emma can only remember her as one thing—a monster. And that monster emerged right around their mother’s fortieth birthday, the same age Emma is approaching now.

Emma desperately wants to keep her successful life separate from her past, so she has always hidden her childhood trauma. But then she’s unable to sleep, and now losing time during the day, also one of the first symptoms her mother showed. Is the madness in her blood, just as her mother predicted? Could she end up hurting her family in her foggy, frenetic state? Or is she truly beginning to lose her mind?


I’d not read Sarah Pinborough before now, after hearing a lot of great things and thoroughly enjoying the television adaptation of Behind Her Eyes, I decided to request Insomnia from Netgalley and give it a whirl.

Man this book is creepy! Pinborough really knows how to crank up that tension in the dark silence of night. The writing flows easily as the plot gains speed almost immediately and doesn’t slow to the final page.

Told from the perspective of unreliable narrator and main character Emma, Insomnia is a present time story of her inability to trust her own mind. A scary subject already without the addition of the increasingly catastrophic events that befall her family. Is Emma herself responsible? Is someone out to get her? Could both scenarios be true?

I liked Emma as a main character, although perhaps a little cliche; exhausted working mother fights for law partnership whilst stay at home husband bemoans his role. Emma suffers the stereotypical response, others find her cold and unfriendly but the husband does little to alleviate this image. I did not like Robert at all, quick to believe the worst of his wife and with little to no support offered, I found myself wanting him to get a little comeuppance.
There are several characters to suspect of foul play and Pinborough deftly switches focus throughout the book with each equally capable of being a perpetrator, including Emma.

If you’ve read (or watched!) a Pinborough story before then you’ll know she adds an unusual angle not often seen in your standard thriller novel. I loved this aspect in both Insomnia and Behind Her Eyes. It gives the consumer that little extra surprise, an unpredictable element to make Pinborough plots truly unique to the genre.
Some may not like these tables turned but for me this boosted a great book into five star territory. You’ll have to read Insomnia to find out what I’m being so cryptic about!

Features & Functions:

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

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