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Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Secrets of Married Women by Carol Mason

A book full of twists and turns in three very ordinary marriages and the cliche is very right. No one actually knows what goes on in a marriage.

Three friends Wendy, Jill and Leigh. Friends for a long while. All married with families except Jill who has no children. Each one with a career (of sorts) and life seems to be fine. Cracks appear with one - infidelity but Leigh is determined to keep it to a fling and nothing else. Six weeks, and then it becomes the length of summer and then she is out and back to Lawrence and Molly. The heart does not work quite like that and Leigh becomes besotted. She cannot cut the tie and in not doing so involves her friends as well.

Wendy seems staid and set in her ways. Husband and two young boys. Jill and Rob - the sad fact of not having children has created such a rift in their marriage. The elephant in the room which cannot be spoken about or discussed at least by Rob. Ignoring the issue and being careless of his feelings have left Jill very vulnerable. This leads to a crisis in her marriage.

More would be spoilers!

Friendship taxed beyond endurance, revenge, maliciousness, despair, unrequited love all strands of the story or rather stories here. Very commonplace tales, meticulously told and things that happen to all.

A very good book which was a relief from me from my diet of continuous murders and very gory happenings.

Sent to me by Netgalley, courtesy of 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Three different genres being reviewed here. Think there is something for everyone!

Old fashioned slower detective work by two women. One a country soul and one a high flying adventuress as described in the story. Two missing women and a lot of innuendo, gossip and the fact that women wearing trousers are rather immoral.

A look at how life was for women in a time not so very long ago. Descriptive, slow paced but interesting detective work.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Kensington Books.

I was a bit skeptical about this one because though I love the Georgette Heyer type of story, this was a bit too far fetched.

We have a governess who is sort of abducted by a Lord, who of course has to marry her now that her reputation is in tatters (nothing ever happened as he is a gentleman of course). But she is an heiress hiding away from a wicked uncle who had her incarcerated in an asylum to get his hands on her fortune.

The story with the feisty lady, the distant lord was good but the story was a little far fetched for my liking!

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Escape Publishing.

This was a dark evil tale. Three sisters actually two sisters, one step sister. Two sisters trying to oust their father from a billion dollar worth company by having him institutionalised in a remote mental health facility.

Of course Dunbar being Dunbar (he never became a billionaire by taking the easy path) plans his escape with the help of an alcoholic comedian and succeeds. He is being sought by his youngest daughter for his protection because she does know that her two sisters are ruthless and would not hesitate to even murder both her father and herself (and this is what they eventually do) to get their hands on this vast conglomerate.

A fairly modern interpretation of King Lear, this was a tragic, sad tale of families split apart by greed and ambition.

Fast paced, descriptive, strong characterization.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Random House UK Vintage Publishing.

The Copenhagen Affair by Amulya Malladi

Set in very modern Copenhagen, the travails of depression, marriage and image having to be maintained all combine in a very modern, funny tongue in the cheek very British sense of humour type of story.

Sanya was a very supportive wife. She not only had a very demanding job but she also took on the role of carer to her daughter and was a very supportive wife to Harry. When a sudden breakdown happens in office to the surprise of all the onus is now on Harry. His plan is to move across the world to Copenhagen where he feels a fresh start with new people is just the pep that Sanya needs. In this he is clueless as to what makes Sanya tick and though he thinks he knows how to handle women, he does not and this makes it a comedy as well as farcical at the same time.

Alongside Harry's ineptitude is Sanya breaking out almost falling in love with two very different people and being perfectly happy about it. She who never thought of being unfaithful or even different to others, is now open to ideas, options and new ways of life!

How these very disparate ways of looking at life are brought together finally in a spirit of understanding and  respect and how each character reverses their usual form to accommodate the other is very well told.

Another nice aspect of the story is that throughout the author gives you glimpses into life in Copenhagen from its restaurants and bars to the general way of life there in that city.  It added a lot of vibe and color to the story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

After She's Gone by Maggie James

The story is not an uncommon one. A young girl found strangled. No apparent clues as to who she was meeting. Sixteen years old with no boyfriend and just girl friends the family is nonplussed as to what her secrets and her life was.

Lorie her elder sister devastated, thinking she should have seen the signs. Dana her mother not even beginning to comprehend what has happened and an absent father who doted on the dead daughter to the detriment of the living one. There is a partner and his son who adds complications and twists to an already rather complicated plot.

Unravel ling the mystery is slow as is expected because there are secrets that are not being told. Each one keeps them close to their chest, hoping that that secret is not relevant to Jessie's murder. A tragedy of most families in that they think that keeping it swept under the carpet, means that it will stay under the carpet. Not so in this case. Very relevant and would have aided a lot of people if it all came out sooner rather than later.

An interesting thriller/murder/psychological profile with a horrible twist at the end. Did not see it coming myself.

Sent to me by Netgalley, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee

This is a good read for all those wanting an insight into modern India. Comprising three stories all vastly different but all dealing very much with what happens on a daily basis in modern times.

We have a domestic cook and a cleaner in a middle class flat in Mumbai. The son returned from London on vacation and one who finds the class divisions difficult to accept, but you do not make waves when you are only at home one month every year! He is keen to know what goes on in their lives, what makes them tick to the consternation of his mother and disdain of his father. The two classes do not mix and sadly this remains so even in my part of the world. I must say there are reasons for this some good, some not so but that is the way of the world.

We then have a man with a dancing bear and this was something I found very very hard to read about. We have dancing monkeys in my part of the world and I hate that the government is not doing enough to stop this practice. It has almost died out but we still have them. Right now everyone here is on a rant about elephants and I do hope it succeeds. This bit about the bear was very difficult for me to get through.

The third story was a very good one - of a girl who escapes biting poverty to join a rebel movement to try to obtain justice and an alleviation of poverty for her family in someway because normal ways do not work. This was a hard hitting story and one that is relevant very much today in many many countries. The story was a sad one, one that was not going to end well but it was a realistic one.

Different social situations, different people, mainly dealing with the poor who are all trying to make a better life for themselves. Not a very comfortable read but a book that would make you think and be also happy that you are where you are, living the way you do live. It certainly made me think of being fortunate to live in Sri Lanka.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House UK Vintage House Publishing. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Girl Who Came Back by Kerry Wilkinson

It seems a common story nowadays. A child vanishes. But with the abduction the story ends. There is no ransom note, no child or body of a child found and the family has to try to get back together and most of the times it fails.  The pressure of a missing child who could have done what to prevent it happening, is very much part of every story of a missing child.

In this case Olivia Adams goes missing from a small English village. Everyone knows everyone else's business and Olivia and her family are known to all. Thirteen years pass and Olivia has returned. Her story is sketchy and she does not volunteer much information but she is welcomed back by her mother who has since divorced her Dad and is married again with a small toddler. Adapting to the new circumstances is not easy, especially since her step father and most importantly his brother dislike her intensely and her presence in their home. The brothers are a strange pair, they do everything together and one blindly follows the other. Olivia cannot imagine her steady, sensible mother getting involved with a moron like him but those are the circumstances to which she returns.

It is from here that the story really starts and this is the unlikely part that you would never guess unless you are really clever. I wasn't and I didn't!

The story itself is a common one, the twist in the tail wasn't. Read this one for a really good mystery read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Bookouture. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

The Austen Escape

This was a definite twist and variation on a variation of the Austen reads.

Isabel persuades or rather manipulates her friend Mary to join her in an Austen reinvention stay in England, all expenses paid.  Isabel's dissertation is on Austen and to complete this she feels that this stay is necessary. Mary is an engineer, very clear cut in her views and ideas and thinks logically. This is really not her scene but she needs to get away from a unpleasant work scenario and her father too thinks this would be the ideal break. Two weeks is not the end of the world.

Everything goes on smoothly with the Regency clothes, the enactments, the food, the service at the inn. Until Isabel loses her memory, goes into a fugue state and forgets her entire past and actually begins to think that she is living at the time of Austen with the same mores and rules that apply then. Mary is on her own to deal with the situation and deal with it she along with the other participants do.

The complication and distrust set in when Mary half way through discovers betrayal by a friend who has been close to her and her family from the time they were tots and the work scenario becomes very much personal and in Mary's face.

The story was beguiling and interesting and different and totally different to what I've read before on JA variations!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Thomas Nelson FICTION.