Beneath the Surface
Fiona Neill

Book cover image

Narrated By: Emilia Fox

Duration: 12 hours and 51 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

Everyone is talking about Grace Vermuyden's family.
Once it was for all the right reasons - now it's for all the wrong ones.
Grace wants the world for her two daughters - especially after her own dysfunctional upbringing.
Mia is wonderfully one-of-a-kind, even if her imagination does run a bit wild. Lilly is everyone's golden girl, with a glittering future ahead of her.
Then Lilly collapses suddenly at school, and Grace's carefully-ordered world is turned upside down.
Lilly was the one she didn't have to worry about. But as dark rumours swirl around the school gates and things start to spiral out of control, everyone in their tight-knit community has their own theory about what happened.
Grace is shocked to discover her eldest daughter had a hidden life, and begins obsessively looking for clues.
Which is when she takes her eyes off Mia.
Grace thought she had a happy family.
But what if she never really knew her daughters at all?


Psychological thriller, Family life fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction, Crime & mystery fiction, Thriller / suspense fiction, Crime & mystery: police procedural

Listen to a sample

Sometimes touching, sometimes shocking

Daily Mail

A rich, dark and satisfying read about the complexities of modern family life. I adored it

Jane Fallon, bestselling author of Faking Friends

Neill writes with verve, honesty and breathtaking insight. Utterly unputdownable

Helen Walsh

Vivid and insightful, and Neill has a trained eye for the pressures and poignancies of modern family life


Raises all kinds of contemporary issues with wit and sensitivity


It's a tense, intricate and whip-smart drama that peels back the lid of a seemingly 'perfect' family and reveals the dark truth underneath. The characters are brilliantly drawn, the bubbling undercurrent of foreboding is palpable and there's a slam-dunk of a twist too. The perfect read to lose yourself in on holiday this summer

Isabelle Broom, Woman & Home Reading Room

This deft study of family dynamic sees Grace wanting to give her two daughters a better life than she had

Prima, Best Holiday Reads

Neill's characters are so cleverly depicted, you feel as if you've met at least one of them before


A sophisticated parable of modern family life . . . Well-paced and intriguing

Daily Mail

Neill describes human dysfunction with such compelling empathy . . . richly tense and deeply satisfying. I didn't want to finish!

Hilary Boyd, bestselling author of The Anniversary

Praise for Fiona Neill


Neill's plotting is beyond compare . . . an utterly absorbing account of deception and desire

Nicola Moriarty

Exquisitely drawn and perfectly realised, no one writes about modern family with more truth and authenticity than Fiona Neill

Lisa Jewell

The Hot List

Inside Soap

A novel made for heated book club debates


Contemporary issues are tackled here with both humour and realism, making for an engrossing read

My Weekly

I thoroughly enjoyed this brilliantly observed novel about a family in meltdown

Kathryn Hughes

A rollicking read that should not be picked up at bedtime, or you'll be done for in terms of a good night's sleep


Thought-provoking and stands out from the crowd


An acutely observed story of the complex dynamics of family life and the challenges of navigating young friendships and relationships. Neill has created utterly believable, flawed yet likeable characters and a gripping drama

WI Life



A topical, tense and addictive read

Good Housekeeping

A vivid and insightful portrayal of a family in crisis; Neill's writing is incisive, smart and at times darkly funny. A writer at the top of her game

Gillian McAllister

One of the most intelligent, engaging and perceptive writers about family life . . . beautifully told with great suspense. It is impossible not to become engrossed in the trials and tribulations of the Vermuyden family as secret histories unravel

Rachel Hore, author of the Memory Garden

With her trademark dark humour and incisive observations of family life, Neill takes the reader on a fascinating, moving and intelligent journey to the truth