Book Report: Melissa Skaye ‘In Innocence’
In innocence is a thriller by Dutch Melissa Skaye, who is known for her VT thriller series with detectives Sanne Philips and Luca Borra in the lead roles. Innocently tells the story of Yara, who wakes up in her garden, badly beaten. Discovered through hypnosis that she has been kidnapped. To find out exactly what happened to her, she must return to a past she would rather have forgotten. The time when she was happy and innocent until the night of the fire changed her life from one day to the next.
- Main characters
- Symbols and motifs
- Structure and perspective / way of telling
- Time and place
- Original title: In innocence
- Author: Melissa Skaye
- First print: 2017
- Number of pages: 277
- ISBN: 978 94 918753 73
Yara remembers taking a taxi home and going into her house. But how she ended up in her backyard with scraped wrists and a body full of bruises, she cannot explain. She doesn’t actually remember anything from the last four days. On the advice of her neighbor Lotte, who has found her, Yara goes to Kyle, a colleague of Lotte’s who is a hypnotist, in the hope of regaining her memory.
What she doesn’t know in advance is that the hypnotist is Kyle, one of her ex-boyfriends. Which makes her reluctant at first, but eventually she decides to try it anyway. She’d met Kyle a while ago and had a close relationship with him until they lost touch. Through the hypnosis, she discovers that she was tied up and blindfolded. A man who claims to know her well, especially her love life, makes it clear to her that he wants to teach her a lesson and she must return to the past.
Kyle wants her to report her kidnapping, but Yara doesn’t want to hear about it. Yara wants to go straight to the hypnosis, but Kyle doesn’t want to hear about it. He is convinced that they should take their time to solve her problems, while Yara just wants to find the man who held her captive.
Eva, Yara’s best friend, tells Yara that Stan, Eva’s ex-husband, saw her at a party before she disappeared for several days. After a while, Yara remembers what happened at the party. Stan had made it clear to her that he was interested in her, so she avoided him for the rest of the evening. Rocco, who had invited her, wanted to accompany her home, but she refused. Was it one of them who kidnapped her or was it someone else at the party?
One thing is for sure, the man wanted revenge for something that had happened in the past. This returns Yara to events that took place with her childhood friends. During the summer of 2002, Yara was seventeen years old and crazy about Justin. Together with his sister Rose, Summer and Yvonne and a few other friends, they formed a group of friends who were constantly together during the holidays.
In 2003, Justin and Yara were still a couple. Together with their friends, they decided to spend the summer at a cottage on the lake in a holiday park. Everyone was drunk enjoying the evening until Yara slipped away with Justin. When she returned to the cottage, she discovered that Rose had been raped. Rose walked away while Yara wanted to find out who did it. The boys claimed to know nothing, but Yara was not convinced.
The boys and girls each went looking for Justin, who had not yet returned, and Rose, but when they found no one, they decided to return to the cottage. There they found Rose naked and haggard. Yara and the girls tried to help her, while the boys went in to see if Justin was there. Just then the house caught fire and was a danger to everyone. Everyone was able to flee, except for Justin, who hadn’t gotten out of the house.
Not long after, Rose was admitted to a mental institution. Justin had been found, but he had been badly burned, leaving him in an artificial coma. Yara had not found the courage to visit him, but felt guilty to learn that he had died.
She didn’t want to be in touch with the rest of the friends either. Until Melvin contacted her again a few months ago. At first she didn’t want to know about it, but in the meantime they have been sending a few messages to each other for some time.
Yara doubts that Melvin is not her captor and confronts him with her thought. Melvin gets angry and finds her heartless, and he cannot bear not wanting a relationship with him. In fact, he thinks she deserves to be kidnapped. And if she is convinced that he is behind the kidnapping, Yara must find out for herself whether she is right or not.
When Yara learns that Melvin has been murdered, she knows he was innocent and becomes very insecure and does not dare to leave her home. Until she receives a letter from her kidnapper, who writes that they will meet again. Yara decides to investigate herself and discovers that she and Rose are the only ones left living from the old group of friends. All the others had all been killed. The only one who could still be involved is Rose.
Yara feels that something is wrong in the story. Had Justin seen the rape and was that why he ended up in the burning house? Had he seen his friends? She realizes she has to tell Kyle everything so he can help her. But when she wants to speak to him, she is informed that he has kidnapped her. With the help of plastic surgery and good covering of clothes, he had managed to deceive her for a long time. Because he now goes through life as Kyle, but he used to be Justin, Yara’s great love.
Yara knows it can’t be done since Justin is dead. But the man in front of her explains to her that he staged his death with the help of some people. That summer night he had seen his sister completely confused by the rape. He never thought his friends had done it. Until one of them confessed before they knocked him down and left him in the house. Justin wanted revenge when he found that no one had known or cared about Rose’s fate. And meanwhile he has taken his revenge.
But now Yara remains, who he expects to finally reveal her secret. He knows she was pregnant with his child, Yara had told her neighbor Lotte in a drunken mood, who had passed it on to her colleague, Kyle, who is Justin. Yara talks about Kirsten, their thirteen-year-old daughter, who lives in Spain with her parents. Kirsten has always been told that her parents have died, but Yara is kept informed through photos and messages. Nobody knows about Kirsten’s existence and that makes Justin furious. His parents had never known they had a grandchild, which could have given them hope in addition to all the grief they suffered from their children. And he cannot understand the idea that Yara is not responsible for the education of their child.
But then he gets an idea and wants everything as before. They can couple again and have a happy family with Kirsten, as if nothing had happened. She knows she has to play the game and seduce him, because he can react unpredictably and things could go wrong. But as soon as she sees an opportunity to notify the police, she does so. Which makes him arrested and makes her feel safe again.
The thirty-one Yara is a natural beauty with red curls. She works as an occupational health expert and also has a wild and thoughtless life.
She is Yara’s best friend. Eva is separated from Stan and together they have a son, Youri.
Kyle is a handsome, kind and patient man with a sense of humor.
He was the only one that Yara had really loved.
Symbols and motifs
Kyle struggles with the sessions because it always takes a lot of effort for him to get Yara out of her hypnosis. But he cares about her too much and wants to help her find out what happened to her, which leads them to continue the hypnosis sessions.
Since the night she woke up in her garden, Yara has been afraid to leave the house alone.
After all these years, Yara is still struggling with the loss of her great love Justin.
After that summer, Yara made sure that no one can touch her anymore. She doesn’t tell anyone about her past and avoids falling in love. This makes her life one big and carefree party, until the moment she is kidnapped.
Yara does not tell Justin that she is out of touch with Kirsten, their daughter, because she looks too much like Justin and Rose, which would make Yara constantly confront the past by looking at her daughter.
Structure and perspective / way of telling
The book is dedicated to Roger, Kylan, Savenna and the author’s mother. It consists of 277 pages, which are divided into 48 chapters and an epilogue. The story presents the views of the culprit Justin and Kyle Hendriks, which are written in the third person and Yara, which are written in the I person. The offender’s pieces are in italics.
Sometimes revenge comes slowly.
Time and place
The story takes place in 2016 and in the past via flashbacks in Hoorn.
The present and past alternate through the hypnosis sessions, this ensures that the story is properly built up and you as a reader slowly unravel Yara’s past. In addition, you also get different storylines, which bring the puzzle pieces together and thus get closer to the plot. Melissa Skaye has a writing style that reads smoothly and uses visual language that helps the reader to imagine the situation. The characters are not very detailed, but you can visualize the main characters, while the friends of Yara and Justin remain in the background. The story is sometimes predictable, but that does not mean that it is not worth reading anyway.