My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 7th December 2019

Greetings all!  Treated yourself in the Black Friday sales?!  I had to combine my love of bunnies, books and mugs with this purchase from Ham !  I couldn’t resist!! And I stayed away from books too – still haven’t put my list together for Santa so if you’ve got any recommendations of books that I NEED to read, let me know in the comments!

On to reading – and, as always, my speed has slowed down in the past week with other things going on! I managed to listen to 1 audiobook, and finished 2 books so it’s not all bad! There has been a few new arrivals for my shelves – real and virtually! – and even managed to get 2 book out of the library this week!

BOOKS FINISHED

Fahrenheit, 451 by Ray Bradbury (audiobook read by Tim Robbins) –  5 stars

All the love for this book, narrated so brilliantly by Tim Robbins!

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton – 3 stars

A gripping story of a school shooting

The Lost Ones by Anita Frank – 4 stars

Creepy and chilling!

BOOKHAUL

Let’s start at Netgalley

THE DILEMMA by B.A.PARIS

out January 2020

The million-copy bestselling author returns with another breath-taking book …

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

THE SURPLUS GIRLS by POLLY HERON

Review copy from Corvus books. Publication Date – 2nd January 2020

After the loss of war, can there be hope for the future?
Manchester, 1922.

Belinda Layton is a surplus girl. One of the many women whose dreams of marriage perished in the Great War, with the death of her beloved fiancé, Ben. After four years of mourning, she’s ready to face the future, even though Ben’s family is not happy to see her move on, and her own only cares about getting hold of her meagre factory wages.

Then, Belinda joins a secretarial class and a whole new world opens up to her as she quickly finds herself drawn to beguiling bookshop owner Richard Carson. But after all the loss and devastation she has experienced, can she really trust him with her heart?

 WE THAT ARE LEFT by JULIET GREENWOOD

won a signed copy in the Children In Read auction

A privileged young wife on a large Cornwall estate gains responsibility and confidence when her husband leaves to fight overseas. This English home front saga then becomes something more when she leaves for France herself to rescue a friend from danger.

THE DREAM by EMILE ZOLA / THE REPERCUSSIONS by CATHERINE HALL

2 books from Alma Classics as part of my yearly subscription

THE DREAM by EMILE ZOLA

A new edition of one of Zola’s lesser-known novels from the Rougon-Macquart Cycle

Finding the young Angélique on their doorstep one Christmas Eve, the pious Hubert couple decide to bring her up as their own. As the girl grows up in the vicinity of the town’s towering cathedral and learns her parents’ trade of embroidery, she becomes increasingly fascinated by the lives of the saints, a passion fueled by her reading of the Golden Legend and other mystical Christian writings. One day love, in the shape of Félicien Hautecoeur, enters the dream world she has constructed around herself, bringing about upheaval and distress. Although it provides a detailed portrait of provincial 19th-century life and it adheres to a naturalist approach, The Dream eschews many of the characteristics of Zola’s other novels of the Rougon-Macquart cycle—such as a pronounced polemical agenda or a gritty subject matter—offering instead a timeless, lyrical tale of love and innocence. 

THE REPERCUSSIONS by CATHERINE HALL

When war photographer Jo returns from her latest assignment in Afghanistan and moves into the Brighton flat she’s just inherited, she hopes to restore equilibrium to her chaotic life. But images and events of her recent past and the reading of her great-grandmother Elizabeth’s diary haunt her night and day, forcing Jo to come to terms with demons she thought she could leave behind.

Written as a long confession to Jo’s former lover Susie, alternating with Elizabeth’s account of nursing Indian soldiers at the Brighton Pavilion in 1915, The Repercussions–Catherine Hall’s most ambitious novel to date–is a sweeping narrative dealing with the psychological and emotional reality of war, as well as race, guilt, love, and loss.

THE CUCKOO WOOD by M.SEAN COLEMAN

free e-book from Red Dog Press

A THRILLING, MELODICALLY CREEPY MYSTERY.

Samantha Jaynes took her life in the cold lake. Now Rosie Trimble has done the same. Both claimed they had seen an angel. And they’re not the only ones.

A spate of teenage suicides rattles the rural community of Kirkdale, in England’s Lake District. Before they died, each of the girls talked about seeing an angel. Is this collective hallucination, or is something more sinister leading these young girls to their deaths?

That’s a question for Dr Alex Ripley, the so-called Miracle Detective. Brought in to help the police, she finds a community rooted in fear and suspicion, bound by their strange faith, unwilling to help, unable to forgive.

Because the people of Kirkdale have buried their dark past once, and they’re not about to let Ripley dig it up again.

VIOLET by S.J.I HOLLIDAY

library book

When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense friendship develops, one that can only have one ending … a nerve-shattering psychological thriller from bestselling author SJI Holliday

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is also desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

A tense and twisted psychological thriller about obsession, manipulation and toxic friendships, Violet also reminds us that there’s a reason why mother told us not to talk to strangers…

HE by JOHN CONNOLLY

Library book

An extraordinary reimagining of the life of one of the greatest screen comedians the world has ever known: a man who knew both adoration and humiliation; who loved, and was loved in turn; who betrayed, and was betrayed; who never sought to cause pain to others, yet left a trail of affairs and broken marriages in his wake . . .

And whose life was ultimately defined by one relationship of such tenderness and devotion that only death could sever it: his partnership with the man he knew as Babe.

he is Stan Laurel.
But he did not really exist. Stan Laurel was a fiction.

With he, John Connolly recreates the golden age of Hollywood for an intensely compassionate study of the tension between commercial demands and artistic integrity, the human frailties behind even the greatest of artists, and one of the most enduring and beloved partnerships in cinema history: Laurel &Hardy.

CURRENTLY READING

The Ice Palace by Tarjei Vesaas

❆❅❄

I hope your bookish week has been a good one!! 

HAPPY READING!

#BlogTour THE NASEBY HORSES by DOMINIC BROWNLOW #BookReview @DominicBrownlow @LouiseWalters12 @damppebbles

Delighted to be the latest stop on the wonderful Blog Tour for THE NASEBY HORSES. My thanks to the author, publisher and Emma of Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for letting me be part of it all and to share my thoughts on this stunning book!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Seventeen-year-old Simon’s sister Charlotte is missing. The lonely Fenland village the family recently moved to from London is odd, silent, and mysterious. Simon is epileptic and his seizures are increasing in severity, but when he is told of the local curse of the Naseby Horses, he is convinced it has something to do with Charlotte’s disappearance. Despite resistance from the villagers, the police, and his own family, Simon is determined to uncover the truth, and save his sister.

Under the oppressive Fenland skies and in the heat of a relentless June, Simon’s bond with Charlotte is fierce, all-consuming, and unbreakable; but can he find her? And does she even want to be found?

Drawing on philosophy, science, and the natural world, The Naseby Horses is a moving exploration of the bond between a brother and his sister; of love; and of the meaning of life itself.

Published by Louise Walters Books

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Naseby-Horses-Dominic-Brownlow/dp/1999630564/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1574678393&sr=8-1 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Naseby-Horses-Dominic-Brownlow/dp/1999630564/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1574679865&sr=8-1

 Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-naseby-horses/dominic-brownlow/9781999630539 

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Naseby-Horses-Dominic-Brownlow/9781999630560

 Blackwells: https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/The-Naseby-Horses-by-Dominic-Brownlow-author/9781999630560 

Foyles: https://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/fiction-poetry/the-naseby-horses,dominic-brownlow-9781999630539

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dominic Brownlow lives near Peterborough with his two children. He lived in London and worked in the music industry as a manager before setting up his own independent label. He now enjoys life in the Fens and has an office that looks out over water. The Naseby Horses is his first novel. It was long listed for the Bath Novel Award 2016.

Social Media: 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DominicBrownlow 

Louise Walters Books: https://www.louisewaltersbooks.co.uk/dominic-brownlow

MY REVIEW

Haunting, Absorbing, Unsettling. Just 3 words I think perfectly captures my thoughts on this book which has totally entranced me from start to finish!  And I think it takes a very special kind of writer who can elevate such a simple storyline of someone being missing into something so beautiful and captivating.  It’s fair to say I loved this book!

It’s told from the point of view of 17 year old Simon. It is his twin sister, Charlotte, that has gone missing and without her he’s trying to make sense of the world he lives in as they shared such a close bond.  He’s having to deal with his own feelings along that of his parents who are obviously both distraught at their daughter going missing.

He’s also an epileptic which means that he experiences everything around him so vividly, especially after a seizure and some of the descriptions that the author uses during these times were so staggering.  

They’ve recently moved into a new house from London to the Fenlands and Simon has felt unsettled about certain things from the moment they walked in the door.  As the story unfolds, you are aware he’s not the most reliable of narrators but you are transfixed by his way of thinking and the way his mind processes things.

His voice is a wonderful breath of fresh air – I do love a quirky character and he is definitely one of those!  His determination to find out what has happened to his sister never lets up, and leads him down the path of looking into local history and folklore.  It often feels like many of the adults around him aren’t being totally honest with him and you get a real sense of his frustration at being shut out of the search and investigation.

This was one of those books that really surprised me with how invested I became in the characters and setting.  He seeks comfort though his hobby of birdwatching and it was always interesting to watch him seemingly go into shut down mode as he tried to cope with his sister not being there for him by returning to watching out for birds and devoting his outlook towards them when things got tough for him in the ‘real world.

A stunner of a book!!

★★★★★

#BookReview THE LOST ONES by ANITA FRANK

ABOUT THE BOOK

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917
 
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption.


Praise for The Lost Ones

‘Haunting, emotional and exquisitely written’  Amanda Jennings

‘For fans of Henry James and Susan Hill, this chilling supernatural mystery is written in the classic mould.  Intriguing, moving and assured’  Essie Fox

‘I loved it SO MUCH – so creepy and compelling, full of atmosphere and gave me goosebumps…’   Lisa Hall

‘My coffee is stone cold. My palms are sweaty. I’ve raced to the shocking final twist of this lush, beautifully written historical novel. A gripping ghost story with an achingly poignant family mystery at its heart’ Samantha King 

published by HQ

PURCHASE LINKS

Goldsboro Books – signed first edition

Amazon

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

If you are a fan of creepy houses and ghost stories then look no further! I have found this book to be a real rollercoaster of a read, chilling and compelling, and it’s left me listening out for noises when I’m in the house alone….. and thankfully I’ve not found any toy soldiers placed strategically in my room! Yet!!

This is the story of two sisters, and Greyswick, a large country house where Stella goes to stay with her sister Madeleine , and her husband Hector, as they are both dealing with different emotional moments in their lives. Stella has just lost her fiancee in the war and the grief for her is unbearable. She sees no point in living, and if it wasn’t for her maid Annie, then she wouldn’t still be here. Her family seem to be of the ‘snap out of it’ opinion and think it’s best for her to visit her sister who is currently pregnant and seemingly having a few issues of her own!

Their time at Greyswick is immediately plagued by ghostly goings on! Baby cries, toy soldiers appearing in rooms, and while many in the house seem to willingly ignore what is going on, Stella and her sister are never allowed to settle and start to poke around in the history of the family and house, and enter those rooms supposedly out of bounds! What follows is a pulsating story that quickly unravels into something much darker and deeper.

What captured me was the attitude of the menfolk putting it all down to hormones! Those hysterical women imagining things because they had emotional issues!! Quite shocking to us now! I do love a good ghost story and this one fits brilliantly into the genre! Using the emotions of the sisters, the history of the family and their secrets and the setting of the house to perfection!

★★★★

My December TBR #bookblogger

Time to get myself organised again, and this month I have a dilemma!!!  I am ahead in my reading for blog tours so am currently going ‘free range’ and have the pick of any book I want on my bookshelves…. and I’m struggling LOL!! Do I read ahead and start on 2020 books? Do I go back in time and try(!) and catch up on all those amazing books I’ve picked up over the year?  I’m stumped!!!  Maybe I prefer it when I have a schedule to stick to as it seems to take the pressure off me! I’m not good at being decisive!!

So this list is just a short, rough (very rough!) guide to what I’m hoping to pick up – there’s a book club read which is a definite and I’m still tempted to try and get some more netgalley books off the shelves, so we’ll see where this month ends up taking me!

THE ICE PALACE by Tarjei Vesaas

December pick for the GoodReads group Readalongs With Karen

The schoolchildren call it the Ice Palace: a frozen waterfall in the Norwegian fjords transformed into a fantastic structure of translucent walls, sparkling towers and secret chambers. It fascinates two young girls, lonely Unn and lively Siss, who strike up an intense friendship. When Unn decides to explore the Ice Palace alone and doesn’t return, Siss must try to cope with the loss of her friend without succumbing to a frozen world of her own making.

AGATHA by Anne Cathrine Bomann

A psychiatrist is counting down towards his upcoming retirement. He lives alone in his childhood home and has neither friends nor family.

Often, he resorts to drawing bird caricatures of his patients instead of taking notes. His social life consists of brief conversations with his meticulous secretary Madame Surrugue, who has reigned over the clinic for more than thirty years. The two of them have no relationship outside the office, where everything runs smoothly and uneventfully.

Until one day, that is, when a young German woman called Agatha arrives and demands to see the doctor and he soon realizes that underneath her fragile exterior is a strong and fascinating woman. The doctor and Agatha embark upon a course of therapy together, a process that forces the doctor to confront his fear of true intimacy outside the clinic. But is it too late to reconsider your existence as a 71-year-old?

FAHRENHEIT, 451 by RAY BRADBURY

audio version from library

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

THREE HOURS by ROSAMUND LUPTON

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. Told from the point of view of the people at the heart of it, from the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

THE LOST ONES by ANITA FRANK

Some houses are never at peace.

England, 1917
 
Reeling from the death of her fiancé, Stella Marcham welcomes the opportunity to stay with her pregnant sister, Madeleine, at her imposing country mansion, Greyswick – but she arrives to discover a house of unease and her sister gripped by fear and suspicion.

Before long, strange incidents begin to trouble Stella – sobbing in the night, little footsteps on the stairs – and as events escalate, she finds herself drawn to the tragic history of the house.

Aided by a wounded war veteran, Stella sets about uncovering Greyswick’s dark and terrible secrets – secrets the dead whisper from the other side…

In the classic tradition of The Woman in Black, Anita Frank weaves a spell-binding debut of family tragedy, loss and redemption

📚📚📚📚📚

What do you plan to read this month?

#BlogTour Christmas in Little Penhaven by Angela Britnell #BookReview @rararesources

Delighted to be one of the fabulous bloggers taking part in the Blog Tour for CHRISTMAS IN LITTLE PENHAVEN by ANGELA BRITNELL.  My thanks to the author and Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all to share my review!  And hopefully get you all in the festive mood nice and early!

Christmas in Little Penhaven

Have yourself a little Cornish Christmas …

Wannabe author Jane Solomon is expecting an uneventful Christmas in her Cornish village of Little Penhaven.

But then super fit American gym owner Hal Muir comes to town, and suddenly the holiday season looks set to be far more interesting. Hal is keen on embracing every British tradition on offer, from mince pies to Christmas pub quizzes – and perhaps some festive romance too …

Purchase Links

Kindle UK: https://amzn.to/2VmckwI

Kindle US: https://amzn.to/2MjQ7eA

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2oZQqU1

Nook: https://bit.ly/35ioUSn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville,Tennessee to visit family and friends, drink tea and eat far too many Cornish pasties!

A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. Thanks to over three decades of marriage to her wonderful American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

If you’d like to find out more of what Angela gets up to (Advance warning: this may include references to wine, chocolate, Poldark and the hunky Aidan Turner) check out www.angelabritnellromance.com or follow her on www.facebook.com/angelabritnell , www.twitter.com/angelabritnell and on Instagram as Angela Golley Britnell.

MY REVIEW

Little Penhaven became one of my new favourite locations in the first in the series – One Summer in Little Penhaven – so it’s been an absolute delight to be able to visit there again and catch up with some of the characters.  You don’t need to have read the first book though to fall in love with the  storyline and characters in this book and I may have another book boyfriend crush thanks to being introduced to Hal in this story!!

This story follows Jane, who is a wannabee author, and she’s expecting another quiet Christmas with very little going on!  She’s got a lovely group of friends who are always there for her, but she’s kind of got into a bit of ‘safe’ rut and it’s been ages since she’s connected with anybody romantically and even her writing seems to have suffered as she’s still not finished her novel.

Hal is new to town as he’s Sam’s cousin and needed to get away from life in America.  You know he’s hiding something about the reason he needed an escape so it’s intriguing to see that storyline develop and shows a really different side to him as he always appears so confident.  He’s up for a proper english Christmas so is happy to join in with the activities and finds himself spending more time with Jane as they both share darker pasts that they’re struggling to break free from.

What I love about these stories is just how relatable they are, and how you feel part of the community just reading about the goings on and the problems facing the villagers.  There’s a lovely side story featuring Jane and her brother and shows how the importance of a male role model can make such a difference if energies are directed in a positive manner!

As they both begin to open up, it’s clear to see that they’re so good for one another and you just hope that their pasts aren’t going to stop them from being happy and achieving their dreams.  A wonderfully uplifting and heartwarming story!

★★★★★

My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up – 30th November 2019

Sunshine has returned!!  It’s been such a miserable grey week that I was very happy, as was this hare!, to see blue skies again! 

And with the grey skies, my reading has slowed right down! I’ve been a little side tracked with some xstitch projects so that’s eaten into my reading time, although has allowed me to listen to audiobooks again!  So just 3 books finished this week, no visits to Netgalley and just a couple of books in the post!

BOOKS FINISHED

Colt Harper – Disparaged Vampire Cat by Tyrolin Puxty – 5 stars

A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther – 5 stars (audio version)

All My Friends Are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman – 5 stars

BOOKPOST

Woman On The Edge by Samantha M.Bailey

copy won via Twitter giveaway

A moment on the platform changes two lives forever. But nothing is as it seems…

‘Take my baby.’

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes forever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or was something much darker going on?

Pulse-pounding, heartrending, shocking, thrilling. This is one book you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

FRAMED by S L MCINNIS

proof copy from Headline

publication date – April 2020

‘Fast, twisty and totally unexpected. A riveting read’ Shari Lapena, author of The Couple Next Door

Nothing is as it seems in this gripping and unputdownable thriller. Fans of The Wife Between Us and Need to Know will devour Framed by S. L. McInnis. But you won’t see the twists coming…

It was all fine until she turned up…

Music teacher Beth and film producer Jay seem to have the perfect life together in LA.

When Cassie – Beth’s old best friend and college wild child – turns up unexpectedly, everything changes.

But what neither of them know is what Cassie is running from. And that it’s going to have consequences for them all.

Something is about to go very wrong. And someone is going to lie about it.

CURRENTLY READING

FAHRENHEIT, 451 by RAY BRADBURY

listening to the audio book of this , narrated by Tim Robbins and his voice is wonderful!!

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known

HAPPY READING!!

#BookReview A PERFECT EXPLANATION by ELEANOR ANSTRUTHER #LibraryLoveChallenge

The Observer: Fiction to look out for in 2019

Exploring themes of ownership and abandonment, Eleanor Anstruther’s debut is a fictionalised account of the true story of Enid Campbell (1892–1964), granddaughter of the 8th Duke of Argyll.

Interweaving one significant day in 1964 with a decade during the interwar period, A Perfect Explanation gets to the heart of what it is to be bound by gender, heritage and tradition, to fight, to lose, to fight again. In a world of privilege, truth remains the same; there are no heroes and villains, only people misunderstood. Here, in the pages of this extraordinary book where the unspoken is conveyed with vivid simplicity, lies a story that will leave you reeling.

published by Salt Publishing

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

Publisher Website

hive.co.uk

whsmith

MY REVIEW

This is a book based on the author’s own grandmother, and wow what a story! I listened to the audio version, alongside reading the paperback, and found it to be utterly compelling – it’s heartbreaking, tragic and left me feeling torn as to who to side with as each story was revealed over different timelines. It just goes to show how messy families can be, especially when there’s money and standing to be thought of.

The art of compassion and understanding seemed to be long forgotten by many of the characters as they faced really troubling times, and the least of their worries seemed to be the concern for the children involved. They became a by product of the battle of wills between some very powerful individuals who were dealing with their own emotional turmoil, but had very little support to get through it.

The story is told from a couple of perspectives over the timelines and I found this such a brilliant way of seeing the story evolve – from Enid being in a home feeling so bitter towards life awaiting a visit from her daughter, to Enid looking back to her past as she dealt with her own less than compassionate family and how that affected her in how she dealt with wedded life and motherhood. They say what we see shapes, and this is clearly demonstrated in this book.

And at the heart of the story are the children, especially poor Fagus who had medical issues but nobody knew how to deal with him and he had such a tragic life with little care. The anger and resentment from his brother and sister too who were also pushed aside by those they trusted was clearly felt too and brilliantly portrayed throughout. Their indifference to their mother in her later life was understandable but you could just see history repeating itself over and over.

I had so many mixed emotions towards Enid – she had such a sad life surrounded by people who clearly didn’t understand her post natal depression, and was expected to live a life she just didn’t want for the sake of the family. It was a brilliant portrayal of family dynamics, the mother/daughter relationships and a real battle of wills with nobody seemingly prepared to be more understanding towards one another and do the best for the children.

The audio version was a wonderful listen – beautifully narrated and brought the characters to life perfectly. 

★★★★★