#BookReview Things In Jars by Jess Kidd

About the book

London, 1863. Bridie Devine, the finest female detective of her age, is taking on her toughest case yet. Reeling from her last job and with her reputation in tatters, a remarkable puzzle has come her way. Christabel Berwick has been kidnapped. But Christabel is no ordinary child. She is not supposed to exist.

As Bridie fights to recover the stolen child she enters a world of fanatical anatomists, crooked surgeons and mercenary showmen. Anomalies are in fashion, curiosities are the thing, and fortunes are won and lost in the name of entertainment. The public love a spectacle and Christabel may well prove the most remarkable spectacle London has ever seen.

Things in Jars is an enchanting Victorian detective novel that explores what it is to be human in inhumane times.

Published by Canongate Books

Publication Date – 4th April 2019

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Goldsboro Books  – signed first edition £14.99

hive.co.uk  £10.99

waterstones  £14.99

MY REVIEW

Move over Sherlock, Bridie Devine is the new super sleuth in town and I adore her! Jess Kidd has created another dark and wonderful tale set in Victorian times that explores the disturbing disappearance of a young girl, who has been kept hidden away because she’s ‘different’ – she feeds on snails, has an unusual appearance and is also said to possess powers.  The family she is stolen from are never too forthcoming with details about her, so it’s left to Bridie to uncover the dark story behind young Christabel, and that leads Bridie to look back on her own childhood too.

She isn’t alone on her quest as she is joined by the rather wonderful   Ruby, a ghost-boxer who appears in Bridie’s life at a seemingly random time! Is there more to his story than meets the eye?! He adds many lighter moments throughout with his comments and observations but also shows sensitivities which are very touching.

As she confronts many repulsive characters on the search for Christabel, the look back on her own earlier life is also a fascinating glimpse into why she feels so connected to this poor girl and why she is determined to try and save her.  

And while there is much love for Bridie and her quest, the evilness of many characters throughout is another success of this book! The levels of depravity that some of them sink to is eye-wateringly shocking and I just found myself wishing for karma to deal with them as soon as possible – in a very unpleasant way!!

I was utterly riveted by this story! And switching the story from the now timeline to Bridie’s past added more as she also had a very unconventional upbringing which explained her outlook on life – and death – now!  The more she uncovers about various characters, the more you left to be staggered by the goings on and I found that I had my heart in my mouth with the dramatic ending.

  I would love to say more about this book but am sure I would include a spoiler or three, so I’m just going to have to say if you love your stories dark, dramatic, mysterious, macabre, weird, wonderful, tense and thrilling then look no further!!

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The Hoarder by Jess Kidd #bookreview

THE BLURB

Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her.

With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?

Publishing Date;  February 1st 2018

Publisher;  Canongate Books

Author Twitter Link;  @JessKiddHerself

Pre-order Links;

Amazon UK   £14.99 H/B

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore  £10.25 H/B

Book Depository   £13.41  H/B

Waterstones  £14.99  H/B

MY REVIEW

Where do I even begin??!! I loved Himself and it made it on to my Top Books of 2017, so I’ve been so eager to read this and was lucky to have been sent an early copy from the publisher.  

  I just couldn’t put this down!! I read it in one sitting!!  That pretty much tells you my thoughts on this book!  I frigging loved it!!  It made me laugh, it made me cry, it even made me forget to breathe at times as the tension started to build and the mysteries began to be revealed!  A pretty comprehensive and perfect reading experience all wrapped up in one book!!

It starts off quite quietly as we get acquainted with Maud Drennan who has the unenviable job of ‘helping’ the prickly Mr Flood who has a serious hoarding problem.  Of course he doesn’t see it as a problem so does all he can to prove as unhelpful as humanly possible, but there is something slightly different about Maud who doesn’t flinch at the abuse he throws her way, and Cathal Flood slowly responds to her in the way where others have given up and  been forced out.  During their time together he starts to share stories and opens up to her.  Maud has her own secrets too and she becomes fascinated by the stories she hears, and the house itself begins to give up its’ secrets as she clears things out and she finds herself involved in mysteries going back many years.

Maud also shares the stories she hears with her landlady, the wonderful Renata who is agoraphobic, and the ghostly Saints that follow Maud wherever she goes, and a world of intrigue soon opens up that maybe they should have left well alone. Even the Saints warn her off from exploring more – if only she listened to them!!

All the characters in this book were so different and complex but lovable in their own special ways.  Maud had her own difficult and secretive past and that was quite obvious at times, but that helped her put on a front especially when she first entered the world of Cathal.  Renata is a delight to read about – the way she took on trying to solve the mysteries was hilarious and there were many touching scenes involving her where it was obvious how much Maud and her were devoted to each other.  And as for Cathal, despite his abuse and prickly demeanour, you get to see different sides to him through his concern for a fox, his hatred for his son and the sadness over losses he has suffered over the years.

This book had it all for me – it was so cleverly paced so there were never any dips in where the story was heading, and it just had me captivated from start to finish!  I became so attached to all the characters that I’ve not really stopped thinking about them since I put the book down so can’t wait to pick this up again and enjoy all the dark humour, mystery, supernatural twists and human drama all over again!! More please Jess!!

Thank you to the publishers and author for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Himself by Jess Kidd #bookreview

THE BLURB

When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only a photograph of his long-lost mother and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies.

His arrival causes cheeks to flush and arms to fold in disapproval. No one in the village – living or dead – will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby, despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them has answers.

Buy your copy;

Amazon UK

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore

Book Depository

Author Website

Follow the author on Twitter

MY REVIEW

I have just given myself a stern telling off for taking so long to pick this book up off my shelves!! From the dark opening, to the captivating characters, to the magical setting and supernatural goings on and the mystery at the heart of the story, this has gone straight onto my list as one of my favourite reads of 2017!!

It is going to be difficult to sum this story up in a review as it has a little bit of everything in it! Elements of mystery, violence, supernatural, magical, historical and dark wit are throughout this story and I loved every minute of it! One of those books where you are conflicted as you want to race through it and find out what happens, but you are then loathe to get to the end as you just want to stay within the world created!

The simple way of describing this story is that Mahony returns to the village to find out what happened to his mother. Did she leave the town as the villagers thought or was she murdered? His mother wasn’t well liked and you feel like many villagers aren’t being honest with their take on what happened. But Mahony gets help from Mrs Cauley – I loved her!! – who has lived in the village for many years and understands his special gift along with wanting to stick her nose in and get to the bottom of the murkier side of the village. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly and isn’t afraid to say what she thinks. Would love to read a book just about her too!!

There is a great feeling of dark humour throughout which does lend itself perfectly to lightening the mood of what is often quite a serious storyline. The story flits between the timelines of 1976 when Mahony turns up, and back to the late 1940’s and the story of his mother and how life was for her and what she got up to that enraged some of the locals so much.

Full of such fascinating characters and a truly magical storyline, I highly recommend this to everyone looking for a story that is so different and covers all genres!!

Do you get the impression that I loved reading this?! Have you read it?!  Hope you thought the same as me if you did!!

HAPPY READING!!