Persephone Readathon update – Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon #bookreview

hello!! sorry for not sharing more of my Persephone readathon thoughts recently! I am beginning to find my blogging time is eating into my reading time! And that is never a good thing so I need to find a way round it and get the balance back in check!

But I’m back today with an update as I’ve just finished reading the first book in this months’ readathon, wonderfully hosted by the lovely Jessie at Dwell in Possibility, and what a book it has been! Taken it to bed every evening and it has kept me gripped from start to finish!


Alex Selky, going on seven, kissed his mother goodbye and set off for school, a mere two blocks away. He never made it. Desperate to find him, his mother begins a vigil that lasts for days, then weeks, then months. She is treated first as a tragic figure, then as a grief-crazed hysteric, then as a reminder of the bad fortune that can befall us all. Against all hope, despite false leads and the desertions of her friends and allies she believes with all her heart that somehow, somewhere, Alex will be found alive.

Beth Gutcheon builds a heartrending suspense that culminates in a climax you will never forget.


This is a very modern offering from the Persephone publishers, having first been published in 1981, and that was what intrigued me into picking up this book! It reads very much as a modern thriller/mystery and feels much more relatable than some of their other titles and I think that is what made it such a tense and thrilling read.

It is the story of 6 year old Alex who disappears on his way to school one morning, and the anguish and torment that his family go through in the coming days and months of his disappearance. How could a little boy just vanish into thin air? His mother, Susan, torments herself daily as to his whereabouts and how she could have done things differently, and this book reveals how the not knowing tears apart his family, and the friendships around them.

As the days go by and the media frenzy begins to die down, Susan keeps pushing to keep the memory of Alex in the public eye but she is confronted with the absurdity of tv appearances, people making comments on how she’s keeping herself together and the judgements that people make about those involved in a high profile missing child case – very much like cases we’ve seen over recent years play out for real! Susan is a very determined character and doesn’t like to be told how to behave or accept how others see things which can come across as being quite obtuse and difficult at times.

I loved the way the book is written – the way it delves into the human reaction to such ordeals, looks at the families involved in cases like these who are just expected to carry on as normal after a while when the police find no leads etc. The book does take a very weird twist quite a way in to the story which I wasn’t expecting which does add to the drama and talking points of this book and made for an enthralling read.

This book has been made into a film – Without A Trace – so I will be interested to see that and watch this story bought to life and I highly recommend picking up this book if you are looking for a Persephone with a very modern feeling.


So, now on to my next read of the Persephone Readathon and that is the gardening book Gardeners’ Choice by Evelyn Dunbar, so am looking forward to a slice of non-fiction and dreaming of the garden plants I’d like to add to my ‘want’ list!!


My bookish weekly wrap up!!

Hello all! Apologies for the radio silence on the Blog front this week – what do you mean you hadn’t noticed?!!!  I just found myself spending more and more time online, and less time reading and doing other stuff, so just took a little break to try and find that balance (don’t we all!) so hopefully I can get back to sharing more reviews and boring you all with my ramblings again! Aren’t you lucky!!?!  2018 definitely needs to see me get more organised on the blogging/reading/reviewing front…… wonder when I’ll be breaking that resolution then?!  My bet is by the 3rd January!!

So on to the books of the past 7 days!  And there have been a few!! Made a start on some festive reads on my Kindle which have been a delight to read, and got back to some chick lit in paperback form as my brain needed a rest from over complicated plots!!  And I’ve been restrained on the book buying front once more – I need to give Santa my list of books wanted soon so want to give him plenty to choose from!! – so only had a couple of book subscription books arrive!  The posties are relieved!

Click on the titles for links to my full GoodReads review if you so wish to read more!!


House of Christmas Secrets by Lynda Stacey – 5 stars

This year we’re just going to have a nice, normal Christmas…
Last year’s Christmas at Wrea Head Hall didn’t quite go to plan which is why Jess Croft is determined this festive season will be the one to remember, for the right reasons. And she has plenty of reasons to be hopeful, she’s going to marry the man of her dreams, Jack Stone, seven days after New Year’s Eve.

However, as family secrets are revealed in hidden letters and two unexpected guests turn up on the doorstep, Jess is left wondering whether her life will ever be the same again.

Can Jess and Jack still experience a peaceful festive season that they had imagined or are there some problems that even Christmas can’t fix? 

This was a fabulous darker read from start to finish and a great follow on from House of Secrets.  This isn’t a fluffy festive book so be warned, but it had me gripped and enthralled!

What Happens at Christmas by Evonne Wareham  –  5 stars

Best-selling author Andrew Vitruvius knows that any publicity is good publicity. His agent tells him that often, so it must be true. In the run-up to Christmas, she excels herself – talking him into the craziest scheme yet: getting himself kidnapped, live on TV.
But when the plan goes ahead and Drew is unceremoniously thrown in the back of a van before being dragged to a hut in middle of the Brecon Beacons, it all starts to feel a little bit too real.
Meanwhile, not far away, Lori France and her four-year-old niece Misty are settling in to spend the holidays away after unexpected events leave them without a place to stay. Little do they know they’re about to make a shocking discovery and experience a Christmas they’re not likely to forget …

Another fabulous read set in an idyllic setting and warmed my heart with the romance!!

A Little Christmas Faith by Kathryn Freeman  –  5 stars

Is it time to love Christmas again?
Faith Watkins loves Christmas, which is why she’s thrilled that her new hotel in the Lake District will be open in time for the festive season. And Faith has gone all out; huge Christmas tree, fairy lights, an entire family of decorative reindeer. Now all she needs are the guests …
But what she didn’t bank on was her first paying customer being someone like Adam Hunter. Rugged, powerfully built and with a deep sadness in his eyes, Adam is a man that Faith is immediately drawn to – but unfortunately he also has an intense hatred of all things Christmassy.
As the countdown to the big day begins, Faith can’t seem to keep away from her mysterious guest, but still finds herself with more questions than answers: just what happened to Adam Hunter? And why does he hate Christmas?

And another 5 star read from Choc Lit!!  This had all the festive feels and I raced through it and swooned over Adam!! I need to find my own Adam!!

Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses by Carole Matthews  –  4 stars

A heart-warming and poignant novel of romance, family and second chances, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses is Sunday Times bestselling Carole Matthews at her outstanding best. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson.

Christie Chapman is a single working mother who spends her days commuting to her secretarial job in London and looking after her teenage son, Finn. It can be tough just getting through the day but Christie has always found comfort in her love of crafting and any spare time she has is spent in her parents’ summerhouse working on her beautiful creations. From intricately designed birthday cards to personalised gifts, Christie’s flair for the handmade knows no bounds and it’s not long before opportunity comes knocking. All of a sudden Christie sees a different future for her and Finn – one full of hope and possibility, and if the handsome Max Alexander is to be believed, one full of love too. It’s all there for the taking.

And then, all of sudden, Christie’s world is turned upside down.

Christie knows that something has to give, but what will she choose? Will she give up her dreams and the chance of real love? What price will she pay for doing the right thing? Can Christie find her happy ending in . . . Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses

I love chick lit when it’s written as well as this was! Pure escapism and inspired me to get back to my crafting as well! Loved it!


The Happy Tree by Rosalind Murray

‘A 1926 novel which begins with the death of a young man during the war, flashes back to his happy childhood shared with the young woman who is the narrator, and then describes how the war – inevitably – took them unawares, destroyed their happiness and has left her, the young woman, emotionally maimed. ‘

Another book for my Persephone collection!  I love the grey covers and love how they bring forgotten authors back to life!

Crippen by John Boyne

July 1910: a gruesome discovery has been made at 39 Hilldrop Crescent, Camden.

Buried in the cellar are the remains of Cora Crippen, formeer music-hall singer and wife of Dr Hawley Crippen.

But Dr Crippen and his mistress Ethel Le Neve have disappeared, and a full-scale hunt for them has begun.

Across the Channel in Antwerp, Captain Kendall gives the order for the SS Montrose to begin its two-week voyage to Canada. On board are 1300 passengers, including the overbearing Antonia Drake, the unassuming Martha Hayes and the enigmatic Matthieu Zela. And, slipping in almost unnoticed, a Mr John Robinson with his seventeen-year-old son Edmund…

CRIPPEN is a beatifully drawn novel recreating the true story of the amazing escape attempt of one of history’s most notorious killers.

This is the latest book I have received from The Random Book Club – the monthly book club subscription I signed up for after reading The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell and I just love this way of discovering different books!!


Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia – all the things Agnieszka isn’t – and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

From the author of the Temeraire series comes this hugely imaginative, engrossing and vivid fantasy novel, inspired by folk and fairy tales. It is perfect reading for fans of Robin Hobb and Trudi Canavan

Have had this on my shelves for quite some time and have high hopes that I’ll love this!!


From the walnut tree at his Suffolk home, Roger Deakin embarks upon a quest that takes him through Britain, across Europe, to Central Asia and Australia, in search of what lies behind man’s profound and enduring connection with wood and with trees. Meeting woodlanders of all kinds, he lives in shacks and cabins, builds hazel benders, and hunts bush-plums with aboriginal women.At once autobiography, history, a traveller’s tale and a work of natural history, Wildwood is a lyrical and fiercely intimate evocation of the spirit of trees: in nature, in our souls, in our culture, and in our lives

My non-fiction November reading is going very well and this is the latest book I’ve decided to read this month which I won from the wonderful Paul at HalfMan, HalfBook

So that is my bookish week all wrapped up! I’ve made it up to 193 books now read this year  – yay!! – so am hoping to make it past the 200 mark by the end of the year, knowing that I’ll probably never achieve that amount again!!  It’s just going to make picking my favourite reads of the year an awful lot tougher this year! Can i have a top 50?!!


My Bookish Weekly Wrap Up!

Greetings!!  Strike another week off the calendar!! And another week closer to Christmas! Noticed shops are already full of Christmas decorations and even heard Christmas songs being played in a garden centre I visited the other day – TOO EARLY!!!!    There is no escape!!

Hope a good bookish week has been had by you all! Been another productive one here with another 5 books finished! And only 3new books added to the TBR pile!  So I’m feeling very smug with myself!! But so many more added to the wish list after reading other peoples’ reviews – it’s all your fault people!! I hope you feel suitably told off!!!

So on with the bookish news sharing!!  Click on the title for links to GoodReads reviews and blurbs if you so wish to find out more .. i know you do!!!


Into The Trees by Robert Williams  –  3 stars

Resort to Murder by TP Fielden  – 3 stars

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey  –  5 stars

Mischling by Affinity Konar  –  3 stars

DeadLands by Lloyd Otis  –  4 stars


A restrained week on the book accumulating front which is always a good thing! Made it to a Bookshop last saturday for #BookshopDay and did hope to pick up a Tote Bag while in store, but they had NONE!!! GGRRRR!! But thankfully a lovely friend who owns a bookshop on the Isle of Bute managed to put one by for me so very happy to have my mitts on one! Guess I’ll have to go shopping again soon and fill it up with lovely books!!

While I was in a bookshop last week, I did pick up one book which is being sold to help raise funds for Oxfam with 100 % of the profits going to worthwhile projects that they run! Please click on the link below if you’d like to order your copy from Waterstones!!

The Invisible Child by Tove Jansson – Waterstones

Whiteout by Ragnar Jonasson

Ahead of the Blog Tour I’m due to take part in, the copy of Whiteout arrived so really looking forward to racing through this!

The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens

And another lovely Persephone book arrives to add to my collection!


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

This is my current ‘bedtime’ read and I’m loving it so far! Anything related to Alice in Wonderland is fine by me, and this is a great twist to the story!!

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Still listening to the audiobook version of this and it is enjoyable BUT I do keep finding my mind wandering!! Is it me or is it the story?!  Hopefully I can make it to the end with some memory of what has been going on!

Wide Awake Asleep by Louise Wise

Just about to start this ahead of another Blog Tour soon to come your way!

And that’s it! Another week wrapped up! Any of these caught your eye?!  Any new books to recommend my way?!