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When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson

When I Was Invisible

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April 2017 Book of the Month.

An absolute page-turner of a novel, at times uncomfortable, yet powerful and oh so compelling. Roni and Nika meet when they are 8 years old, as the years pass their relationship changes, yet in their thoughts they remain as entwined as ever and a particular torment lives on. Dorothy Koomson sends us backwards and forwards in time, this isn't an easy ride, and it isn't meant to be. The jagged, almost serrated feel to the change in time lines meant I was alert and at times apprehensive as I watched events unfold. The story is so commanding it keeps you firmly in the moment, so aware of the pain and fear, waiting with bated breath yet still shocked as more revelations occur. Resolute, heart-rending, thought-provoking, and so beautifully compassionate, ‘When I Was Invisible’ left me with a tear in my eye and touched my heart. ~ Liz Robinson

One of our Books of the Year 2016.

If you like Dorothy Koomson you might also like to read books by Donna Hay, Rowan Coleman and Jennifer Weiner.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Margaret Madden - 'A tale of fractured friendship and two lives which headed in different directions.'
  • Vikki Patis - 'There are pieces of us hidden between the lines of Koomson's stories; that's what makes them so beautiful, and so tragic. We turn to fiction to escape, but in Koomson's work, we find ourselves.'
  • Ann Peet - 'Immersive and compelling, emotionally harrowing and gripping...a really powerful novel that you will find hard to put down.'
  • Tanya Thurling - 'Dorothy Koomson takes a massive, sensitive subject...and takes you on its journey, from the very prepared for an emotional rollercoaster.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'Just be ready to shed some tears, and burn the tea as you keep reading.'
  • Joy Bosworth - 'This starts as a quite interesting book, and quickly develops into an addictive tale that I hated to put down.'
  • Nicola Kingswell - 'A heart-breaking emotionally charged story of two friends stolen childhoods...a wonderful book. Difficult to read in some places, shocking and emotive. It stays with you long after the final page is read.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Koomson gets us there in the end but found it a draining experience.  Clever but still draining.'
  • Katie Wright - 'Dorothy Koomson has written another captivating novel, with a gripping story dealing sensitively with a range of issues including abuse and homelessness. '
  • Sarah Musk - 'An intense book - often hard hitting - about friendship and betrayal on several levels.  Sometimes difficult to read but well worth it in the end.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'This is an emotional read, when I finished the last page it felt like a big hole had been left inside me and it's rare a book will do that to me. '
  • Laura Ayling - 'When I Was Invisible was powerful and captivating, telling a story of two girls trying to find their way in life after being hurt and betrayed.'
  • Humaira Kauser - 'I liked the diversity, something that isn't carried out nearly enough in a lot of books. I also loved the way it was written; it was great and engaging!'
  • Vicky-Leigh Sayer - 'When I was Invisible is a gritty, emotional and beautifully written novel about love, loss, friendship, heartache and the ultimate betrayal of trust.'
  • Nicola Underwood - 'This book was very hard to put down and overall an enjoyable, if sad, read.'
  • Joan Sidwell - 'A page turner, very moving and beautifully written, handling difficult subjects in a sensitive manner. '
  • Cheryl Kinney - 'This is such a well written novel that really draws the reader in and keeps them hooked. Would recommend this book 100%'
  • Yvonne Richardson - 'Beautifully written and such a heartfelt tale of friendship and betrayals that life throws at you...Dorothy Koomson is a very talented writer that leaves you looking for her next book.'
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'Rather intriguing from the outset this story of “name twins” from their first meeting in school in 1988 to the present day promised something different and interesting.'


When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson

'Do you ever wonder if you've lived the life you were meant to?' I ask her. She sighs, and dips her head. 'Even if I do, what difference will it make?' In 1988, two eight-year-old girls with almost identical names and the same love of ballet meet for the first time. They seem destined to be best friends forever and to become professional dancers. Years later, however, they have both been dealt so many cruel blows that they walk away from each other into very different futures - one enters a convent, the other becomes a minor celebrity. Will these new, 'invisible' lives be the ones they were meant to live, or will they only find that kind of salvation when they are reunited twenty years later?


'A real page-turner.' Good Housekeeping

'A powerful story about friendship and forgiveness, and fans of Dorothy Koomson will enjoy the clever twists and unexpected turns, which keep the reader enthralled and eager to discover just what happened to two little girls destined for greatness.' Candis

Gritty and emotional, with lots of satisfying twists and turns. A compulsively readable book about empowering women. I couldn't put it down; I think this is one of her best.' -- Julie Cohen

'A thought-provoking and suspense-filled tale of friendship.' OK!

'A great read.' Bella

About the Author

Dorothy Koomson

Dorothy Koomson is the author of twelve novels including That Girl From Nowhere, The Chocolate Run, The Woman He Loved Before, The Ice Cream Girls and My Best Friend’s Girl. While writing The Friend she took up, in the name of research, knitting and cocktail mixing – two things that are oddly compatible. Give it a try!

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Book Info

Publication date

23rd March 2017


Dorothy Koomson

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Arrow Books Ltd an imprint of Cornerstone


464 pages


Relationship Stories
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Reading Groups
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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