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Monday, December 31, 2018

The Winter Sister by Megan Collins







A death sixteen years ago traumatized both Sylvie and her mother Annie. Annie becomes an alcoholic and Sylvie is never the same. Cared for by an aunt, Sylvie is resentful of the lack of caring and indifference on the part of her mother. Persephone was a loved sister and her death especially since the murder was never solved left a huge hole in their existence.

Returning to the dismal family home Sylvie is determined to try to open this cold case, despite one of the original detectives long retired and the suspects being related to the most prominent man in this tiny town with a reputation for being determined to get his own way.

The story unravels fairly slowly, at times a bit too slow. You realize where this is going but that does not detract from the telling of the story. It is the characterization of Annie the mother that gripped me. That a woman could be so blind to anything else than her passionate love for a scoundrel amazed me. Everything else fell by the wayside. That she realized that her idol had feet of clay at the end, was neither here or there. That her surviving daughter could move on showed the character of Sylvie.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Touchstone Atria Books.


PS This review done on my iPad so please excuse any shortcomings in typing!




Sunday, December 30, 2018

Friends Like These by Sarah Alderson






Becca seemingingly has it all - good looks, a rich professional boyfriend, popularity in the office. It can spark envy especially if like Lizzie you are just ordinary, but you yearn to be so much more.

A chance accident and Becca as she was is no more. Lizzie is also transformed into a confident bright young woman. An encounter with the ex boyfriend of Becca's sets off a story which is so implausible, it has to be true.

We have all sent a text to a wrong number but in this case a Facebook post which is derogatory to Becca sets off a catastrophic tirade of revenge against Lizzie with disastrous consequences. When Lizzie realizes her mistake and tries to rectify it in the form of a face to face apology, she opens a can of worms in the form of a concocted life full of fabricated stories, showing a life much removed from reality.

The twist in the tale however does not end there. It catches you unaware and was bizarre. The author certainly knows to keep the best for last.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Only Woman In the Room by Marie Benedict



This was a fabulous read to end 2018. It had much to admire and learn. Set first in Vienna in a well established Jewish family, we have a young Heidi an accomplished debutante in the field of drama with a doting father and an antagonistic mother.

Very soon she catches the eye of a business magnate Fritz Mandl, whose arms dealings and factories have made him a millionaire. He moves with the uppermost sections of society and when his eye falls on Heidi, there is no way out for her. Her marriage takes place and Fritz begins to control every aspect of her life. Who she sees to where she goes, not given any room for anything to do with the many houses he owns, she is merely an ornament to adorn his world. Heidi is a clever woman and Fritz begins to see what an asset she is to his business with her acute business sense and awareness of people.

However when things turn ugly in the Mandl household, and when she is a virtual prisoner in her own home, Heidi plans her escape. Successfully entering the Hollywood scene her new life emerges. Not just a second marriage and the adoption of a baby boy, but  her real scientific talent blossoms with the manufacture of a system which will prevent ships being torpedoed. Turned down by the American Navy for the flimsiest and most chauvinistic of reasons, which made me so angry, the prototype of what Hedy Lamarr put together with her partner is followed by the navy today. Even our cell phones use a system which was manufactured or rather put together by her.

No one knows of this part of the glam girls history. That she was responsible for raising 2.5 million pounds in one dance hall performance is one of the highlights of her life. What she actually did is not known - her scientific mind and bent, her obviously above average intelligence was ignored by the powers that be. So sad.

Despite this woman being born in modern times, she did not get a fair chance to shine. This part made me feel very unhappy at the way she was treated. People could not visualize other than what her physical appearance projected, which was glamour and beauty.

Gorgeous story sent to me by Netgalley, for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sourcebooks Landmark.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Girl From The Mill by Chrissi Walsh



This is a rags to riches story with a lot of history running through the entire story along with a very nice romance.

Lacey is a diamond in the rough Yorkshire girl. Employed in a textile mill, Lacey realises that women are marginalized. They do not get a good deal in their homes, nor in their work place. They are the backbone of yorkshire's textile industry and they get paid substantially less than the men, under appalling work conditions. Lacey decides after a mill accident to organize the women in a collective group, a basic Union to ask for better working conditions and for better pay. At the same time an unlikely romance develops between the boss's son and Lacey.  Not favored by anyone the relationship develops slowly, culminating in a joyous marriage but her very new husband enlists and leaves Lacey to face an uncertain, war torn future alone.

The details of Lacey's life including an ongoing battle with a woman who is mad with jealousy over Lacey's marriage, her budding entrepreneurship and facing a future with her baby son when her husband is declared MIA forms the story of a very unusual and courageous woman. The history and turbulent times faced by ordinary village folk are detailed well.

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


Monday, December 24, 2018

The Belting Inheritance by Julian Symons



I am a sucker for these idyllistic covers. When you start the book you also know that you are in a stylised setting. Its almost medieval - the autocratic lady of the manor, no domestics (due to the great War) but ruling all with a fist of iron, two sons dead in the War, two left behind and one distant nephew adopted into the family. A motley collection but you sense a great story round the corner.

All the characters are eccentric, all live far removed from everyday life in England especially our Christopher the speaker in the story as it were. Orphaned at a young age, he was brought to the Belting house then sent to school, then on to university and has "expectations" as like everyone else though definitely not a greedy boy! the two sons specially were in their own ways wanting to get the fortune that waited them on their mother's demise.

When after years the news came through that David the eldest was alive, it threw the cat amongst the pigeons.  Stephen particularly felt that it was unjust! and Miles followed blindly. Our narrator was devil's advocate but  when David finally appeared he tended to be with the brothers, that David was an imposter. However David answered questions put forward by two people who knew from way back, but the brothers and Christopher were unconvinced.

How Christopher finally unravelled the sad story of the impersonation follows. Christopher broke from the mould, had his adventure and found love as well.

Loved this book!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Accident by Donna M. Zadunajsky



There are several stories here and although initially I thought it was going to be too much, it somehow blended in well.

We have Adanya an officer of the law. Her story is separate. We have Kaitlyn whose story is quite separate. Kaitlyn is married and on the surface everything seems fine. Her husband is a twisted abusive who has no qualms about hitting her at every turn, even in the past to force a miscarriage.
Adanya has a heavy secret. When she was a teenager she had a baby, she gave the baby away for adoption, a decision tinged with deep regret and sadness.

Kaitlyn had a great love in Adam who went to Afghanistan and then she got involved with her husband to her deep regret. Now that she has conceived again, she is determined to run away, create a new identity and bring up this baby alone. All that changes when a grievous accident affects the lives of all of the above.

In twists and turns, some plausible, some slightly not we are taken into the next step of both Adanya and Kaitlyn's lives - thank goodness for the better and happier.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review.


Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Fallen Women by Lindsey Hutchinson



The story of a rags to riches, from poverty to happiness and finding love is one that warms everyone's heart. At this time of the year it was also apt. That there are a couple of errors in the setting is neither here nor there.

Ann was left orphaned and left to fend for herself in a very harsh part of England. That she survived, and did not drift into prostitution is extremely commendable. Her friends and those who looked out for her were those same women and those who frequented a public house. Ann knew however that she needed to get out and improve her lot. Her talent was with design and in a simple way she started a business which was good.

She did not reckon with the jealousy and madness of one particular woman who would continue to make her life hell, thwart her at every point and even threaten her very life. The story set amongst a public house and the prostitutes who patronised the place and the working class life of the time was very descriptive.

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

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Death Comes to Bath by Catherine Lloyd


Sir Robert and Lady Lucy Kurland are taking the waters at Bath for the sole purpose of Sir Robert recovery from a war wound which he got whilst at Waterloo. Lucy wants to help him out and the house taken for three months seems to be a good option.

Bath however is not good for everyone and their immediate neighbours, whom they know are struck by the first disaster the death of Sir William.  There is a Lady William and her two sons, there are three sons from his first marriage and the ensuing battle, and cross talk amongst them all makes it very obvious that more than one person wanted to get rid of Sir William - father or not.

Lucy and Robert face the predicament of knowing there is a murderer in their midst and signs point to all of the five sons. To narrow it down needs a certain amount of judicious probing and this they do admirably. The final villain is unexpected and obvious!

Very nicely told in a very genteel time in England this was a very welcome read.

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

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Forgotten Books by Becki Willis



Going back into the past, unraveling mysteries of family and the secrets hidden for decades can sometimes spring pleasant, sometimes unpleasant surprises.

Charity wants to get to know the aunt who gave her an unexpected bequest. Coming up and finding a dilapidated cottage she does find surprising stuff. A blood stained suit with bullet holes and four boxes of stuff dating back to 1984 with differing addresses on them. Delving further, she finds out that all were supposed to be delivered on the day her Uncle supposedly committed suicide. Thinking of going a step further, she starts on a quest to deliver the boxes thirty years hence not realising that she is opening a can of worms.

This book had lain in my old Kindle collection for months and for this I apologise.

An interesting story throwing up romance, suspense and sadness.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased reviews courtesy of Clear Creek Publishing.




Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Secret by Jennifer Wells


 


Set in two separate time frames 1920 and 1942, we have WWII fully upon the whole world and everyone buckling under its weight.

1920 and Lily finds herself a guest of Dr. Cuthbertson in an isolated manor. How the events of 1920 will again come up in 1942 is a bit uncanny. Lily gets pregnant and has a child.  Fast forward Ivy is a nurse working in the local clinic. She has to go up to Dr. Cuthbertson's house once in a while to attend to an invalid son, who is supposedly injured whilst fighting. Ivy's mother never a person in good spirits goes berserk when she hears that Ivy is going up to the manor and has met the Mrs. Cuthbertson though the Doctor is always absent and not to be disturbed.

 Ivy does realise at the very onset that things are not quite right at the big house but she becomes fond of the young man and does not want to jeopardize her position in the clinic either. She is also intimidated by Mrs Cuthbertson who is rude and condescending.

The story unravels slowly and typifies the standards of the age, where a lot of stuff going on in homes was all veiled up and a curtain pulled across the whole thing to maintain an aura of respectability as that was what of prime importance.

A very interesting part of the story was the form of family planning advice offered by the clinic - privately to the poorer section of the community who had no one else to turn to. It did show women supporting women, despite the morals of the day. No mean feat this.

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

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Secrets of the Tea Garden by Janet Macleod Trotter



I am very partial to a tea estate story. We have a small  tea property and have heard stories of those far off days when the British ruled our estates and the lifestyle and how they did things is engrained in Sri Lankan history. The British gave us tea estates, coffee estates, railways, an administrative system, roads all over the country, the Protestant faith and most importantly English!

The fact that I do have a McLeod amongst my relations who was a tea planter as it is called here added to my interest in this story.

I loved the story, the ramifications of its setting - the coming of Independence in India was huge, and marred by strife, death and partition of the country. Sri Lanka was nothing like this. The setting alone of Libby and Ghulam set against both religious and racial divides was huge in that era. Mixed marriages were few and far between. The story of Logan and the way he treated the local women is a commonplace issue and the heartbreak of the woman was a very sad one. Added to that the saga of the entire Robson, Logan clans amidst the other characters of the story was beautifully told.

The descriptiveness of the Assam region where the tea estates were, seemed idyllic and the lifestyle took a certain kind of woman or man to adapt to the loneliness, the insularity of the communities and knowing the rigid barriers that were in place. That some adapted and some did not, and returning to their home country did not solve their woes is also taken into account. Decades spent on an estate and then moving to Newcastle did not go down well with some. It did bode well for others.

Reading the book was nostalgic for me personally and I loved the read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Amazon Publishing UK.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

We All Fall Down by Cynthia Clark



Bea and her brother Sebastian, Helen, Sandra and John live with a foster mother as all of them come from families which have broken up for one reason or another. The misery that Miriam imposes on them is unimaginable and painful, degrading and horrible.  The children however for one reason only did not complain to the authorities though they had ample opportunities to do so. Just because they did not want to be separated and they thought that the situation could be worse.

A freak accident which causes the death of Sebastian, paralyses Miriam sets them all free of her clutches in different ways. Some live in very nice homes after this, some dont.  The driver of the truck Ronnie Moss shaken and drunk after the accident runs away to the Caribbean and is forgotton by the children, but not by the authorities.

Decades later, all grown up getting on with their lives, the bombshell that the truck driver has been found, is being sent back to England to trial and that Miriam may regain her memory of the incident is a ticking bomb for all of them. During the last few months of their stay with their foster carer, they came up with the brilliant idea of slowly poisoning Miriam with rat poison in order to weaken her and make her unable to physically abuse them the way she did. Will this secret hidden for so many years now come out and ruin all their lives.

Once again anxious, worried and on edge the four of them come together to face this new calamity in their lives and how to handle the situation carefully, not bringing any of them into suspicion with the authorities who have started interrogating each of them individually about their stay with Miriam.

The story highlights how easy it is for abuse to be in a system and for it not to be noticed by either teachers or fellow students or friends. All of them were severely underweight, all of them carried bruises and no one was any the wiser as to what was happening.

It was a sad story but with redemption at the end.

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

Monday, December 10, 2018

Stuck in Manistique by Dennis Cuesta



The town's name alone is entrancing. Mark has been left a house by his aunt  in her will. She is someone whom he hardly knew, but now he wished he had taken the time to know her better. She did not seem to want to keep in touch and was always serving in remote areas of the world as a doctor.
Coming to her house and slowly unravelling the secrets of her life is more than what he bargained for.

Mark did not even know that she ran a bed and breakfast and having to face upto unexpected guests as well as the rituals involved in the Indian culture following a death was a little hard for him to follow. Getting more and more involved in the personal lives and calamities of the guests was something he never envisaged and he does not know how to get out of it and go back to the peaceful life he led before.

Finding out that even total strangers can be connected to one another seems very strange, and when it seems that some of it connects back to him it is even more difficult to logically explain. Going with the flow Mark discovers a part of him that was hitherto unknown!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, by Celestial Eye Press this was a very unusual read.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Duke's Agent by Rebecca Jenkins



I needed a change of pace from the thrillers and murder mysteries that I had heaped on my Kindle. Then I ended with this.

Set in 1811 in the town of Woolbridge Jarrett is looking for some peace and quiet and to act as the Agent for the Duke of Penrith. He has returned from a turbulent period of service and expects the countryside to be peaceful and kind to him. Anything but. Uncovering a network of crimes and being made to be the scapegoat for a murder on a property nearby, kept in jail by the local Magistrate is not what was expected in this very countryside area.

One death follows another and this time around the people want blood. It is upto him to clear his name and also sort out the mess that is apparent alive and kicking in this sleepy town.

A Regency era mystery this was not lacking in gore and violence! A very nice change from modern mystery murders though.

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

Thursday, December 6, 2018

In the Company of Like-Minded Women by Elaine Russell



1901 Colorado. It was a very tough time for women. Unlike previously, women were more aware of the advantages of having the vote, of being independent, of owning your own property. Everyone did not want to be subservient to the whims and fancies of their husbands. Three sisters finding their way in different paths.

One recently widowed, a fully qualified medical doctor not being recognised as a caring doctor and getting short shrift from male colleagues. Trying to make ends meet and look after her two children at the same time. Mildred who was a kind soul, now grumpy and almost following their mother's rigid, hateful attitudes and then the youngest who has fallen in love and whose union is being frowned on and even denied just because her mother wants someone to sit with her whilst she gets old.

A chance visit to a sister's home with an idea of being a change and to recuperate after an illness gives the sisters the opening and the chance to breathe again and take a decision about their lives.
That Mildred changes is the biggest happiness in this book even more than the younger one's success in finding love!

Set amongst the fight for universal suffrage, a women's movement that was courageous and strong and a bid for independence for women made this a very interesting read.

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford




Two parallel stories that intermingle at the end beautifully.

James is young, street smart, working on a market stall with his father. He is far thinking and with the entire support of his clan who sees the potential in him from the very beginning, he is groomed for much bigger things. Proving himself to both his Uncle and his family his world begins to involve the aristocracy and the world they live in.

On the other side we have Alexis, a very different young woman to the women of her age. She has a strong business acumen, is her father's heir and has sworn off marriage. Meeting Sebastian, the father of her friend and being bowled over by him despite the age difference, Alexis is blissfully happy until the untimely and savage unexpected death of Sebastian blows her world away.

How the two stories come together is the story of this book. At times too simplistic, it is however something that we all like to read and enjoy - a happy ending despite villains, treachery, back stabbing, thievery, ungrateful relations. Great read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Spitfire Girl by Fenella J. Miller




Set just before the outbreak of WWII, with a rural background a spirited Ellie is definitely not a run of the mill girl of the times. With hardly any education, an indifferent cold mother, a father cowed down by too many quarrels at home, Ellie is able to carve herself a niche in the world she loves.

Flying a plane, tutoring others how to fly is not an occupation commonly found even today but Ellie tries to balance it all with a mother who is always sniping at her, trying her best to make a lady out of Ellie. When the disgruntled woman leaves her home without a word to any of her children, Ellie is able to be free and be happy. So is her father.  However,  with the outbreak of the war they know that their flying school has only got a limited time before its activities are stopped.

At the same time, a chance encounter with Jack brings another dimension to all their lives and another is added when a break in reveals that they have been hiding a letter which is detrimental to many in the top echelons in their country, including Ellie's grandfather.  Revealing that he is a fascist is not going to be good for any of them and Ellie worries for her brother's futures if the matter comes to light.

Taking us through the outbreak of WWII and Ellie joining the WAAF first as a radar officer and then going on to aviation, the field she loves is this story along with a simple love story which is very typical of Ellie herself.

Very pleasant reading. \

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

Friday, November 30, 2018

An Irish Country Cottage by Patrick Taylor



Ballybucklebo - even the name is slightly fantastical and brings to mind a quirky, eccentric vibe.

The year is coming to an end and the characters in this Irish village are facing tumult on several sides.
A fire in a cottage has put a family out of their home and the inhabitants of this village from the manor to the humble thatcher come forward to give their support in getting the family on its feet.
Then we have the strong division between the Protestant and Catholic faith. Not just division, but feelings of no common ground, very much understood by me as we face these divisions on a daily basis here.

Intermingled with the stories of just everyday life of doctors in a rural practice are the above underlying tensions. Add to this the subject of infertility,  discussed in depth here and how it eats into a couple's otherwise blissful life and how it can erode a relationship so badly that only strength of will and character are enough to face this heart breaking issue head on.

So many subjects were discussed in such great detail, especially the religious divide and the brutality and viciousness of its hatred in Ireland that it was an eye opener for me in any case. On top of that the fertility issue, coupled with great discussions on the forbidden subject of contraception in a Catholic region for me was the best part of the book, over riding the actual story that was the book.

Beautifully written, very simplistic in its style, very evocative this was a great read.

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Who I am by Sarah Simpson




The story divided into two parts - the past Andi and Camilla, carefree till a tragedy sets them apart and Andi now with a husband and two children who is drifting away from her family with no grounding at all, alcoholic addiction she has absolutely no way to control and deception which is going to erode her entire life.

This is no comfortable read and reiterates the fact that some things should be kept private! Confidences shared can come back to bite you very hard decades later and this is how it is turning out to be.

There were very tense and edge of the seat moments in this book. Twisty and you really do not like human beings at times when they act like this! There seems to be no forgive and forget and no happily ever after for those seeking revenge.

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

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Cottage on a Cornish Cliff by Kate Ryder




Cottage on a Cornish Cliff: Don't miss this heartwarming and emotional page-turning story by [Ryder, Kate]

The setting of the Cornish coastal side was absolutely stunning. The myriad range of characters we had made the story very good.

Cara is recently widowed, three very young children. After her husband's very early demise, she found love with Oliver who was forced by family circumstances to return to his wife and four children. Cara is happy with her life as it is, especially since her paintings of Cornwall have been successfully accepted in the art world. The only obstacle to this smooth sailing is Greg, her agent who has bigger plans for Cara both professionally and personally.

The story evolves in two planes - Cara's life and Oliver's life and you do hope that somehow, though it looks albeit impossible, for a happy ending.

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

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston



The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston


The title in itself was intriguing, the reviews certainly were and I learnt a new word psychometry.

Xanthe and Flora both want to leave their old life behind. Flora after a disastrous divorce where her husband is taking every penny he can get from the marriage, and Xanthe a love affair gone so bad that her lover was willing for her to go to prison rather than to own up to the drugs found in their apartment in a raid.

Finding fresh life in an antique shop in very village like Marlborough, we are then acquainted with Xante's unusual gift of actually being able to hear or feel messages through inanimate objects especially antiques. You know you've got a story going on here when a chatelaine -a piece of domestic jewellery actually sings to her and then the manifestation of a disfigured female appears in the form of a woman who is insistent that Xanthe goes back in time to find her daughter Alice and save her from death by hanging where she is unjustly accused of theft.

Time travel in the best possible way, an intriguing story of 17th century England, romance for Xanthe who knows that it just cannot be but this too in the most beautifully described way possible. Emotional, sad, joyful all at the same time Xanthe has to learn to balance life between 2017 and the 17th century as she flits in between two lifestyles trying to piece evidence and clear Alice's name.

I loved the story, loved the style of writing and hopefully will have more to look forward from this author.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

The Slow Death of Maxwell Carrick by Jan Harvey



Martha is facing something that quite a lot of retirees feel. Her mind is agile, she has been used to a very active job which used her capabilities and now she is adrift. Her husband, a very good man is staid, he himself a maths teacher who does not understand Martha at all.

A chance advertisement asking for help to set out a book regarding the history of this particular village seems just up Martha's street and she falls into the project with enthusiasm and a lot of vigor. Enthusiasm which is not shared by all of the committee surrounding this project. It also opens up a past story on the history of a manor in the village, whose history has been lost to the present inhabitants. Abandoned and falling into a derelict state, it must have been a grand home for some family and uncovering it step at a time, takes the reader back to the WW1 era and the tragic saga of the Amherst family.

The story of Martha (who also discovers love in the best way possible) at the age of sixty and is in a quandary as to what she should do, and the story of Henry, George, Alice and Madame Roussel takes across from England to France to espionage, betrayal, love, distrust and lost opportunities. Very poignant, very tragic but very well told this was a beautiful story to read.

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

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison



Image result for the bloomsbury affair anita davison

1905 London was a tough place for women. There was disdain for any woman getting into the professions and the suffrage movement had started. Most men wanted women kept strictly for home and hearth.

Flora and Bunny were a different kind of couple. Fortunately. Flora was a modern young woman who had come out of a complicated family drama where she found a long lost family of both her father and mother and lost the much loved father she ever knew.  Flora and Bunny have previously solved two murder both baffling to the police but the Inspector in charge is wary of them and what he calls their amateur sleuthing.

Now the family is facing the scandal of their cousin the young, arrogant Viscount Trent being embroiled in a murder where he is the only possible suspect. Getting him out of this mess is Flora's work ably assisted by her husband Bunny. A seemingly innocuous young man found murdered in a railway carriage whilst the Viscount lay sleeping by him seems very difficult to believe. Unraveling the mystery was the story.

Set in a London which was picturesque and very interesting to read about, the writer takes us on a journey through both the rich and famous and how they live, to the political tensions simmering underneath at the unfairness of it all.

This was a very absorbing read.

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

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Imperfect Memories by Jody Wenner



This was another book which tested me. Nina has lost her husband and young daughter in a tragic accident and now she wonders whether there is something happening to her. A kind of dementia which she saw in her mother and which she can now frighteningly find in the same person who caused her family's death.

The premise alone is enough to keep you on edge.  Another attitude to the unknown yet looking for answers illness in dementia and in Nina's case hyperthymesia. The ability to have instant recall of incidents of every day of her life.

This was not a comfortable book, but then we read not always for comfort. This was emotional because Nina was trying to cope, trying to survive on a day to day basis and life did not help her at all.

Emotionally challenging this was a difficult read. I cannot say I enjoyed the read but it was a good book.

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

Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Proposal by S E Lynes

The Proposal

This was a thriller in every sense of the word. At times I could not quite get my head around why Pippa acted the way she did.

Pippa was definitely an out of the box person. Her actions did not follow the routine and her good friend knew that she was governed by feelings and something so reckless that she did not even think of her own safety most of the time.

It was the recklessness which drove her to take over Ryan's story - a travelling salesman who turned up at her door. She invited him in and her proposal of payment for his life story began and ended the story.

The book drew me in and repelled me at the same time. I felt too much on edge to really enjoy the read and I am not one for discarding a book halfway. But it was not a plodding read. I read it with nervous interest is what I would say as I know it could not get better.

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

What Happened to Us? by Faith Hogan




Carrie and Kevin have a good relationship professionally. Running a very successful restaurant they complement each other. Kevin taking care of the kitchen and Carrie taking care of everything else. In their personal lives, they have got into a rut. Carrie still takes care of all the financial details of their lives and the housekeeping whilst Kevin leads a very relaxed life. 

When a bolt from the blue comes in the form of a Colombian waitress that Carrie herself has taken on, Carrie knows she has to get to grips with her life and decide what she wants to do. She has invested herself in the restaurant and does not intend to calmly hand it over (hurrah!). She is also very fond of her small home and offers a fair deal for Kevin who in the throes of love and lust is willing to do anything to make his new love happy. His new love's happiness lies in spending his money as fast as he can make it and she takes him to the cleaners!

The story of how Carrie survives, Kevin barely comes out of the whole thing unscathed but with severe lessons learnt and how Carrie finds a new life and love interest is very happily told. I was very happy for Kevin as there are many Kevins in this world and he got his just desserts!

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

The Girl from Berlin by Ronald H. Balson


The Girl from Berlin (Liam Taggart & Catherine Lockhart #5)


This book like all those set during the great World Wars is so emotional, so factual, so matter of fact at most times that it brings all the cruelty, the in humaneness of dictators, of racism, of actual bitter hatred back, that it is frightening. It also spins a story of generations of people who strive to survive, of selflessness and always thinking of others.

Set in Germany our family is upper middle class Jewish. Educated in the arts at the height of his career Baumgarten does not think that his life is going to be fraught with danger. Even when all the signs show that Jews are no longer to be tolerated, he is protected by his profession and goes on for much much longer than others. It is at others persuasion that he knows that the future for his daughter who is herself a prodigy is bleak that moves are made to send them out of Germany to Bologna.

From here the story of Ada and her mother evolves always with the hateful Nazi powerforce behind them. Italy is not safe either but where else are they to go. Opportunities are there in Vienna but Austria is swallowed by Nazi Germany. They have left going to America too late and with the death of Ada's grandfather that sponsorship avenue is closed to them.

Told in two time lines. WW1 and 2017 the story starts from trying to prevent an old lady Gabriella from being evicted from her vineyard where she has lived for 70 odd years. Even though judgement has been given, her nephew approaches a hot shot lawyer in Chicago pleading with her to take the case. Facing obstacle after obstacle Caroline and Liam knows that the whole thing is off when registrar books are missing, lawyers are evasive and seem to have been bought over, one clerk turns up murdered and a company that no one knows anything about.

In history you go back decades to turn up a hatred between a German officer and a young girl and someone who seeks revenge at every turn.  Unraveling pages of a family history that is convoluted at best, you also read about slices of history that most people would like to forget.

The characterization was excellent, the story telling even more so.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Light of Her Own by Carrie Callaghan

A Light of Her Own

In 1633 any woman with ambition was fighting a losing battle. Never mind ambition women did not seem to hold any position other than being daughters or wives and if neither worked it was a terrible life for any of them.

For Judith abandoned by her father and mother through circumstances of debt, her brother who was her only family now getting involved in shady activities, Judith with her ambition of being an artist and becoming a member of the Guild had ambitions far beyond the usual woman of the time. With hardly any money to set herself up, she was nevertheless determined to do so.

The story of Judith's endeavours despite immense hardship, obstacles and sheer pig headedness of men around her was a tough read. It is factually true according to the author in several instances and an artist of this name did live and have her own workshop in Holland at the time. The story was intense and Judith was blessed with common sense and a sense of diplomacy to know when it was enough.

Judith upto now lived with a master guildsman and his daughter both artists in their own right but Maria had problems of her own. She would have been treated accordingly today but no one knew of her mental suffering and torment she underwent. Judith had to balance her life between being a friend to Maria and her ambition about her art on the other. It did not always balance evenly.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an independent review, courtesy of Amberjack Publishing.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Vendetta by Heather Burnside



I have been reading books which have been so idyllic that they are too good to be true, or really horrendous thrillers.

This was certainly different. Adele has been thrust into the running of the nightclub owned by her brother who is currently in prison. Everyone in the story has served time, including Adele and it is dealt with very matter of factly and casually in the book. Whether that added to the general effect of lawlessness or the undercurrent feeling that everything was slightly dodgy is another thing.

Adele wants to run the club free of drug dealers but she is up against the implacable Glynn who wants a share of the action and is intent eventually on getting rid of her brother. Though Adele has her suspicions of Glynn she has no concrete proof to present to Peter who is skeptical of his sister's views on the subject. Since she was once involved with Glynn Peter thinks she is a bit sour that he has now found someone else.

The story goes on and you know that it is not going to end well for Peter despite he getting out of prison. Glynn pretends for a little while that he is a friend, but is constantly undercutting Peter and cheating him of his share - whether legally or illegally acquired is a moot point in the story.

The book was different because here we were dealing with characters who all had served time, who did not think twice of cheating, who were involved in the drug trade and who had no qualms how they earned their daily bread.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Happily Ever After at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples



This is one of those stories that are ideal for a lazy afternoon or a weekend snooze read. Satisfying, romantic, idyllic setting, very nice people and all is right with the world.

We have a young couple not married with a baby who want now to get married. They are financially very stable - have a beautiful home, a manor in fact, and owners of a successful pub the said Dog & Duck. They are surrounded by the village with nice friends and the only worry is that something will happen to put off the much planned for wedding.

A broken ankle of the bride's father, the entire barn burning down are two of the mishaps on the way on top of the bride's mother leaving her husband and turning up on their doorstep. The bridegroom's sister is a stroppy one who cannot get on with the mother so there is tension in the house but the house is sufficiently big enough for all to have their own space, thank God.

A lovely read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Village Affair by Julie Houston


A Village Affair by Julie Houston







I'm having trouble with my computer and posting from my Ipad so excuse mistakes as they appear!
I leave for Melbourne middle of this month and really want to get up reviews all posted before I go.

This book was a good change for me. I have been reading so much of mystery murders and psychological thrillers, and good though they undoubtedly are, I did need a change of pace. This was reminiscent of a Joanna Trollope for me.

Three dear friends, two married and one very happy single. The ones who are married are set in their lifestyles and comfortable with it. They live in an idyllic village with very nice children as well. It all gives a very cozy feel. When one marriage falls apart in the most public of ways to the astonishment of Carrie  who had no clue that her darling husband was cheating on her with her best friend for well on two years, she is devastated. She thought she was in a rock solid marriage and to have this most publicly announced was tough on several counts. That she was starting a new job as Assistant Head of a School the very next day added to the complications.

Like in real life, turbulence comes in waves! we have an uprising in the village with the local lords of the manor (literally saying) coming up with a plan to be build 3000 houses on land in the village, upgrading the local school and generally turning this green belt into a jungle township! the villagers are divided on this issue and add to the general mayhem at this point in this story. On top of that cupid strikes again in the most unexpected way and Cassie finds herself in a quandary how to handle conflicting issues along with a romance which has disaster written all over it.

Despite several strands in the story, all good, it did not detract from the very story itself.

This was a lovely read with three very strong women as the main characters who handled everything that life threw at them with aplomb!

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

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Our Little Lies by Sue Watson








Our Little Lies

From the onset you knew this was going to be a bit twisted. I knew Marianne despite being a good mother had mental health issues. Not that Simon helped in any way by his innuendos and constantly putting her down in insidious ways. His idea that because he was a heart surgeon, and handsome to boot,  played on the vulnerable ways of his wife who imagined (real or imaginary) mainly real, his flirtations with anyone around.

He put everything squarely on his wife from maintaining an immaculate house, to controlling two rambunctious boys, from being a very kind step mother to Sophie to also imagining way beyond what was actually happening when it did happen. Simon was the worst kind of husband for Marianne, ignoring her history of mental health issues stemming from the time she was a little girl when she discovered her mother's suicide and he preyed on her insecurities so much that she began to think he was all powerful, all right and that she must reign in her instinctive dislike of so many women. She could not stand up to him or for what she believed in and that spiralled into the mess they found themselves in.

Marianne would have been hard to live with no doubt. Her constant need to be reassured that she was the only one would be galling to someone like Simon who wanted a model wife and mother. He could not bear to be seen with failures and in his wife he saw many.

The end however was unexpected and came in the story after the actual end of the marriage. Totaqlly out of the blue.

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


Thursday, November 1, 2018

In The Vines by Shannon Kirk

In the Vines


Mop as she is known wants closure on the sad tragic death of her mother and returns to the mansion of her now eccentric, cloistered aunt. The aunt who was very close to her and looked on her as the daughter she never had.\

The story is convoluted because the deeper Mop goes to solve the mystery of her mother's death, the more she unravels none of which are acceptable or palatable to her. Is digging deeper really what she wants to do.

The story starts off in one way and ends in another. Gothic, creepy and how power and position can hide secrets more effectively than anything else can.

Not an easy comfortable read, but a very intriguing one.

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Two mystery murders. Very different styles and settings.

Only to Sleep: A Philip Marlowe Novel

The story is a good one if not a story that has been heard before. A older, richer man dies unexpectedly by drowning off the seas in Mexico. He was a good swimmer, there were no sudden changes in the tides and his body was identified by his young widow and the remains cremated immediately. She also received a very big insurance payout.

Phillip Marlowe is a retired Investigator. He was the best in the business and when he was approached by the Insurance Agents to poke around this death, he feels that this will be his last chance of working and accepts the challenge.

The dynamics of the story take off from there and include pursuit of several clues over a wide area of Mexico, picking up pieces from here and there and forming a cohesive whole of what actually happened.

I found the pace rather slow mid way and it took me away from the story because by then you knew where it was going. I felt it would have been better to accelerate it at that point rather than be long drawn but I am not the author here!

The book was sent to me for an unbiased review from Netgalley, courtesy of Random House UK. Vintage Publishing.




Murder in the morning



This is one of those cozy mystery crime books, where you wish you could live in one of those villages where everyone knows everyone, sometimes not a good thing but mainly fine and all seems nice and bright.

Melissa is just settling into a new job when her colleague is found dead in her own home. Melissa goes digging as to how and why mainly because she has got romantically involved with the chief suspect.

The story flows easily, the characters are spot on if a little too sweet sometimes to be true but it is a cozy to the last.

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

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Long Goodbye by Anthony Le Moigan


The Swing of Things



Simon is extremely wealthy, a successful accountant and struck down with very early onset Alzheimers. Emma is married in a sort of a stuck in a groove marriage and is the manager of a Care institute. This is her life and she loves her work.

Simons admission to the Institute triggers off emotions that Emma thought were lost to her forever. The fact that despite his recurrent bouts of illness, that Simon reciprocated those feelings in full measure was a miracle for Emma.

The very quick progression of the disease, the brave face that Emma had to put on and go forward, their story was this story.

Emotional but not cloying, everything fell into place a little too neatly, but a very enjoyable read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Anthony Le Moignan.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Katie Marsh The Rest of Me




Alex is a woman no one should ever aspire to. She wants to be the perfect wife, be the perfect mother and feels it bitterly if there are any shortcomings. Permanently playing catch up, with a demanding job, an ailing husband (whom she has just donated a kidney to) and not recovering well herself, she pushes herself more and more trying to keep up with the very growing list of chores and things to be done.

What Alex does not do is listen to her children, both young - one a precocious teenager and one a very young girl. Both desperate for a mother to just listen to them and give them the opening they need to confide in her. Subjects which they cannot bring up as it is not cool enough or they are not comfortable with. Sam on the other hand, the husband who is now well recovered after surgery is blithe, having left it to Alex's capable hands for the last two decades he is quite willing to continue in the same vein.

The fact that Izzy is being bullied mercilessly and does not know how to cope and that Jenna is trying to cope with her budding sexuality are the two topics that are so well handled that it should be compulsory reading for all mothers and fathers. Whilst their children try to cope as best as they could, Alex and Sam both involved and focussed on their careers as they feel that this is what they do best, damage their family so much that it is a wonder that they did not all disappear into a black hole.

Honest to goodness day to day life for a typical first world family very well depicted.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Swing of Things by Linda Keir


The Swing of Things




Even from the title I didn't know where this book was going and I hadn't read about it on the blogs, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Eric and Jayne married with a little girl. Jayne is the bread winner, hubby stay at home dad and a good home maker. The marriage is beginning to be in a bit of a rut and Jayne wants something to shake it up to get back to their earlier spark. Eric seems more set in his ways and happy with his very comfortable life.

When Theo and Mia invite them over for a small dinner party, Eric and Jayne are more than happy to go - to be in the inner circle as it were. When the party ends in skinny dipping and light hearted flirtations all around, both of them are aware that this is a taste of what is to follow. Jayne is more looking forward than Eric is but as a couple they agree to be part of a small group of swingers. Theo gives Jayne valuable advice on a major case she is presenting, which will give her fast track to partner status, and though both have reservations how much further this can go, both are now more than excited to participate.

As would be expected there is a fall from this elevated plateau, and the machinations which have gone on behind the scenes is a bad scenario. More will be spoilers.

Characterization, plot and descriptiveness was spot on. Sexual scenes not overly explicit but sufficiently so!!!!

I read this till three am so it was an interesting read !

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

We The Jury by Robert Rotstein







We, the Jury by Robert Rotstein



A not so straight forward killing - in this case the accused was a husband who axed his wife to death on the grounds that he was emotionally and physically abused, his children were abused by his wife and this was the result.

Told from the point of view of each juror and the Judge presiding, also from other court officials, each one gave a different scenario of the day to day happenings. Each one was different and quirky! even the Judge. It also showed how easy extraneous circumstances can affect us all and that no decision made by a jury is ever going to be based only the facts presented!

A very interesting piece of American justice system in play and one I enjoyed reading very much. Since all the jurors were naturally all very different individuals the story became more and more interesting as the trial unravel led.

Characterization and plot were spot on.

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


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Finding Family by Judith Keim


Finding Family (Salty Key Inn Series Book 4)


Sheena and her two sisters Darcy and Regan have got a wonderful legacy. The chance to upgrade and improve their uncle's hotel. He has left them the legacy with provisos. They have to satisfy the auditors within a limited time frame that they are capable, far thinking and above all not selfish to grab all the money for themselves.

Each one is also facing personal hurdles of different kinds and they all seem to be coming to a head at the same time. Balancing their personal goals and their professional goals is going to take all their skills. They have been handed over a gold mine and it is upto them to nurture and take care of it.

This story of three sisters coming together, working together with a common goal with the beautiful setting of Florida and the Salty Key Inn as the background was a very interesting summerish type of read. I used the word summerish descriptively as being a lighter read because I really have no idea of what summer is like. We are in perpetual summer over here!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased  review, courtesy of Wild Quail Publishing.


Monday, October 22, 2018

Perfect Remains by Helen Field











This was a psychological murder thriller. I could add a few more to the descriptions and it alternately kept me on edge, full of revulsion, appalled at the sheer brutality of one man and amazed at the facade he maintained.

The story of unrequited not love, but esteem coupled with a yearning to be recognized and rebuffed by all, makes King a monster. Systematically choosing women by a method which was inhuman purely to gratify his own yearnings, he murdered two each providing DNA evidence that he doctored so that he could keep the women from whom he felt he should get recognition and respect.

The book was a tough one to read. I don't know whether it is a good thing that all I wanted to do was finish the book fast. It made me uncomfortable but I will not detract from the fact that it was meticulously plotted and planned. Still not a comfortable read.
 me on edge, full of revulsion, appalled at the sheer brutality of one man and amazed at the facade he maintained.

The story of unrequited not love, but esteem coupled with a yearning to be recognized and rebuffed by all, makes King a monster. Systematically choosing women by a method which was inhuman purely to gratify his own yearnings, he murdered two each providing DNA evidence that he doctored so that he could keep the women from whom he felt he should get recognition and respect.

The book was a tough one to read. I don't know whether it is a good thing that all I wanted to do was finish the book fast. It made me uncomfortable but I will not detract from the fact that it was meticulously plotted and planned. Still not a comfortable read.

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




Saturday, October 20, 2018

Who she is. By Diane Byington



This was an emotional, but good read. For most of the story I was fighting for Faye, hoping that she would get out of the relentless hold of her parents Sue and Bud but I also knew she was under sixteen, had led a very restricted lifestyle and to rebel and break away was going to be hard if not impossible.

Moving every few months, no roots, a father who seemed over powering and a mother who was a coward Faye never had it easy. Her passion for running should not have got such a lot of opposition from her parents. She did not ask for money for the sport, it had the support of the school, she was so good at it that she could possibly get into college so why were the parents so anti running. Was it just because they thought it was not their social level to go to college, or is it that they just wanted another wage earner in the family. Or was it something a bit more.

Unravelling the story was a good one. Only revealed half way through that things are not exactly as they seemed for this family it goes one step at a time with fortunately a happy ending for Faye.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Lover Too Many by Roy Lewis

A Lover Too Many (Inspector John Crow #1)



I am back to posting with a faulty pc so please excuse any obvious errors!

This was one of those slow paced crime classics. Not quite Agatha Christie and not quite English countryside this was set mainly in lawyers chambers and involved the partners in the office.

Inspector Crow (a most unfortunate name I thought) but quite suited to the part. Not very impressive in his physical appearance but very upto it otherwise, he is not happy with the verdict in a recent murder of the lady Jeannette, wife of one of the partners. The husband was exonerated completely but a whiff of scandal remains and he knows it is best if he resigns, moves away and starts a new life.
Before he does this however, another murder takes place and he is back squarely as a suspect.

It is now upto him and the Inspector to clear his name and this is going to be rather difficult to do. Peter's timings are just not right and it is only by a chance that he is able to finally set himself free and at the same time find out who actually murdered his wife.

This is a slow paced read so its not one of those high suspense, edge of the seat thrillers but it has its fair share of charm for some readers.

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

the secrets we keep by Kate Hewitt



Two mothers who would normally never meet socially become neighbours in the not so fashionable lake side resort to which they normally would not go. It is for the entire summer so they are thrown together as it were.

Rebecca is sent away by her husband as it were, for disgracing him by being drunk at a cocktail party. He feels her absence for three months would make people forget her behaviour. The three children are a mixed bunch with the youngest Zoe being uncannily sharp, rude and arrogant. Tessa on the other hand is also at a bad point in her life. She is running away from her life and hopes that this summer will also reconnect her to her two children. Katharine who is reserved and withdrawn and Max a child with bullying issues.

Both are lonely feel discarded by their husbands and have no feeling of self worth. Both of them are trying to hold it together for the sake of their family and both are failing. Both have deep seated issues of insecurity and and in Rebecca's case a fear and hurt arising from child abuse. All this combined makes for a volatile situation which both are trying to control.

The story of friendship and family and the need to protect those we love is paramount in this story.
It was a good read, albeit an emotional one.

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Finding Lucy by Diana Finley











Allison and her mother lived a quiet life. Isolated, no friends, her mother did not encourage her with young modern people so when she lost her mother she was quite alone.

But Allison longs for a child and so carefully prepares a diabolic plan to snatch a child. She does this so successfully that people who do remember vaguely a woman with a child, describe the infant very specifically as a boy. Allison delves into history at the cemetery and finds a name of a child who has died fitting into the same age and sex category and Lucy Brown emerges.

Lucy's life is calm and quiet till one day during a playful hypnosis pieces of a puzzle begin to unravel. Allison explains it as being an adopted child, the same way she was. It does not ring true however and as Lucy grows up leaves for university, finds a partner and then has a child of her own, the entire process blows up in the most horrific way forcing Allison to confront her past.

This was a real insight into how far a person could go to take what one wants, without thinking of ethical or moral issues.

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

Friday, October 12, 2018

Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee












This was another one of those twisty kind of books which go deep into the mysteries of the human mind, which we cannot fathom anyway!

Hayley Reynolds is a disturbed teenager but to the world she appears just slightly not right. Not a mass murderer or vicious in anyway, Hayley is not welcome amongst her peers and her mother is uncomfortable with her in her own home. You know right from the start that Hayley is cooking something serious, something morbid.

Kirsten Green is a friend of Hayley. Hayley considers her, her best friend. Then she goes missing.
Hayleys mother has found happiness with a new lover who seems kind and considerate to her. Hayley does not like this. Something has to be done. A second girl goes missing and the detectives feel that they are closing in on their suspect.

The two stories of the new man in her mother's life becomes entwined in the story of Hayley and how she maneuvers everyone, including the detectives on the case to believe a scenario which is manipulated and of her choosing and planning,  and so clever that no one including a jury has any hesitation in putting away an innocent man for life.

It blows Detective Samuels world (she is still recovering from a previous case wrongly handled) and I doubt she will ever believe in her skills ever again.

Very good edge of the seat writing.t

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


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Wife's Secret by Kerry Wilkinson




Charley and Seth just got married. He was a vet, she was a shop albeit a small one owner. It looked like a normal wedding. The usual jokes, the usual friends who got a bit too drunk, and the couple seemed very normal.

It wasnt though. Charley was a Willis. A member of the infamous family whose members got murdered one at a time. It started with Charley's parents. Famous and murdered. Then Martha the elder girl who protected and looked after Charley. Burnt to death, suicide verdict. Charley and Martha's husband knew otherwise. And then. Charley disappears on the day of her wedding. She disappears in her wedding dress, nothing taken. Is it an abduction, is she dead.

When Charley turns up one week later in the house where she and Seth live with a blackened eye and a convoluted tale, Seth really does not know what to make of her story. The police are close lipped about it and the media are wild for stories.

What unravels is the usual myths of what lies within a family, the secrets that are hidden and lie festering within children and the explosion that will inevitably happen. The infamous line no one knows what really happens within a marriage, or a family other than those members couldn't be truer.

A very fascinating read, characterization spot on. Very well told.

I am catching up with all my reviews from Melbourne where I have time and the space to indulge in reading as much as I'd like. It is freezing though.

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


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly



Jane and Leon are married with two small children. He is a fairly successful author, she is an aspiring one. The marriage is happy, and other than for small ups and downs the average family.

When Leon is faced with a confrontation with his neighbour Lawrence and is subsequently found injured, and badly bleeding while Jane was inside the house fetching a beer the whole scenario changes. Leon was attacked with an implement which had only Jane and Leon's fingerprints on it the whole attitude of the police changes with Jane being a major suspect.

While Leon is seriously injured and his whole life has changed, Jane is faced with upheaval after upheaval. After having left all financial decisions and planning to her husband and taking a backseat where money is concerned, she now finds herself locked out of their accounts, no money in the bank, having to take decisions and charter a course for survival for not just her and her two children but also for Leon who is now like the third child in the marriage.

Leon's recovery is going to be slow but he is unlikely to become the man he was before. The Leon that Jane knew and loved is gone and she has to come to terms with this new man, whom she does not quite like or trust anymore.

A story of how fickle life can be, how it change in an instant, betrayal by friends and at the same time how many of us cannot live in isolation however independent we may be. Extended family and friends are needed in times of crisis.

A good story. Well told.

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