20BooksOfSummer2022 THE SECRET TO NOT DROWNING by COLETTE SNOWDEN #BookReview

ABOUT THE BOOK

How did a girl who dreamed of being a Charlie’s Angel become such a cowed and submissive woman? On the surface Marion’s life seems fine, but she is controlled and bullied by her husband; her only ‘freedom’ is a weekly visit to the swimming baths. When a chance meeting with an old school-mate develops into a secret friendship, Marion is reminded of the person she used to be. And might still be, if she leaves her domineering husband. But is it too late?

published by Bluemoose

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MY REVIEW

This is Book 19 of my 20 Books of Summer 2022

Some books just stop you in your track with their subject and intensity – and that is exactly what this one did to me! I couldn’t focus on anything else while reading it and felt so many emotions (mostly outrage and deep anger!) at the plight of Marion.

From the stark opening of the agony of losing a baby, to the terrors she felt on a daily basis under the control of her husband, there is an immediate connection as a reader to Marion. She keeps it together on the outside, but her inner thoughts give way to that fear of doing the wrong thing, upsetting the status quo, or even him just waking up on the wrong side of the bed to attack and belittle her – while he puts on the show of being the perfect husband … well, he does buy her flowers every week so that makes him a keeper eh…… he is an absolute a***hole and one of those narcissistic characters that make everything about him… no matter what.

She finds peace and sanctity at the local swimming pool, it gives her freedom and a chance to think back over how she used to be. And then a meeting with an old schoolfriend is another way she can start to find herself again, remembering the girl/woman she used to be before being controlled. She finds it very easy to give advice to others but never so easy to follow her own advice.

This was a shocking read at times, the level of psychological abuse from him was just next level nastiness, and I found myself just willing her to take back that control and find a way out.

It had that gripping feeling of claustrophobia as she was terrified of upsetting him, and wondering when will he next explode, and as a reader you find yourself holding your breath as you read waiting to see just how cruel he will be next…. and will that be the time she finds herself. A brilliant read – highly recommended.

★★★★★

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20BooksOfSummer2022 THE TYRANNY OF LOST THINGS by LUCY RHIANNON COSSLETT #BookReview

ABOUT THE BOOK

Two hot summers converge, twenty years apart, as Harmony returns to the North London house where she lived as a child with her bohemian parents. Like theirs, her days are hazed by drugs and sex and cheap wine. Nothing else is the same in Longhope Crescent, but it’s only here she can make sense of the anxiety and loss that plague her.

PUBLISHED BY SANDSTONE PRESS

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MY REVIEW

This is Book 18 of my 20 Books of Summer 2022.

This was one of those stories that surprised me! I thought it was going to feel a little flat considering the subject matter, but the author brought the characters and timeline to life with the way she wrote. It centres a lot around how the past hangs over us, even if we don’t really know it at the time, and how that journey of self discovery is a necessary but worthwhile evil!

Harmony finds herself pulled back to her childhood home but doesn’t really know why. She feels like she’s blocked so much out about her youth and she’s hoping that the memories will come flooding back. And they do, but slowly, and thanks to the mysterious and cranky downstairs neighbour, who knew her parents and offers a different perspective to all that she thought she knew.

The story does a brilliant job of capturing the essence of the time, with the uncertainty in the world, and also flashes back to her parents younger years and their alternative way of living. There’s all the pitfalls of the world as you grow up, the mistakes, the reckless living and how your life impacts on so many others. There’s also a lot of darkness in the past and maybe that unresolved past is what has made Harmony feel so unsettled and detached all these years.

Once I was pulled in to this story I didn’t want to put it down and highly recommend it.

★★★★