#BookReview THE IMAGE OF HER by SONIA VELTON #20BooksOfSummer2021



This is Book 4 of my 20 Books of Summer 2021


THE IMAGE OF HER by SONIA VELTON

From the author of Blackberry & Wild Rose comes an extraordinary story of two women who never meet and yet share the closest possible bond.

STELLA and CONNIE are strangers, brought together by two traumatic events – cruel twists of fate that happen thousands of miles apart.

Stella lives with her mother, a smothering narcissist. When she succumbs to dementia, the pressures on Stella’s world intensify, culminating in tragedy. As Stella recovers from a near fatal accident, she feels compelled to share her trauma but she finds talking difficult. In her head she confides in Connie because there’s no human being in the world that she feels closer to.

Connie is an expat living in Dubai with her partner, Mark, and their two children. On the face of it she wants for nothing and yet … something about life in this glittering city does not sit well with her. Used to working full time in a career she loves back in England, she struggles to find meaning in the expat life of play-dates and pedicures.

Two women set on a collision course. When they finally link up, it will not be in a way that you, or I, or anyone would ever have expected


PUBLISHED BY QUERCUS



MY REVIEW


If you’re after a book with a twisty plot that leaves you breathless, then look no further!! As I was reading this story I was wondering just where it was going… boy was I wrong!! It completely got me, and I loved how you were taken on these absorbing journeys with these 2 women, both so different in character and with such different backgrounds.

Connie and Stella are the women in question, and you get to hear their stories through their eyes in each chapter. Connie is married to Mark, has children and lives in Dubai where her husbands job has taken the family and she’s feeling that she is wanting more from her life. She doesn’t feel she’s fitting in with the lifestyle she’s supposed to be leading over there and cracks are beginning to appear in her marriage.

Stella has had to give up her life to care for her mother who has dementia. That is taking a toll and the stress is building up. She’s always born the brunt of her mothers temper and anger after her father left them, but she’s left with no option to put up with the cruel taunts and little appreciation from her mother.

The story takes the form of Stella ‘stalking’ Connie via social media, wanting to know anything and everything about this woman and her life. And we can all learn so much from a profile and the amount of photos shared online – it makes us feel we know a person, without even meeting them. As the story unfolds we hear some shocking twists and turns that really add depth to the story and had me frantically turning the pages to find out more!!

This was a thrilling piece of work, that really worked so cleverly as you built up these clear images of these women and their lives and got to see beneath the surface of their lives and it made for a really compelling plot!!


★★★★

#BookReview THE REVOLT by CLARA DUPONT-MONOD @QuercusBooks #historical #TheRevolt

ABOUT THE BOOK


It is with a soft voice, full of menace, that our mother commands us to overthrow our father . . .

Richard Lionheart tells the story of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In 1173, she and three of her sons instigate a rebellion to overthrow the English king, her husband Henry Plantagenet. What prompts this revolt? How does a great queen persuade her children to rise up against their father? And how does a son cope with this crushing conflict of loyalties?

Replete with poetry and cruelty, this story takes us to the heart of the relationship between a mother and her favourite son – two individuals sustained by literature, unspoken love, honour and terrible violence


PUBLISHED BY QUERCUS


PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon


hive.co.uk

Blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

Royals sure know how to do family feuds well don’t they!? And what a story Richard Lionheart has to share in this book as he tells the story of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitane. I’m ashamed to say I knew very little of her story, only the very basics, but this book has made me want to research this remarkable and resilient woman even more as what an amazing character she was.

I wasn’t sure how it would work with her son telling her story, but I found it to be an intriguing viewpoint as he watches his family torn apart by power and greed, and having to pick sides when your mother and father are so headstrong wasn’t the easiest for them all. What did make it easy was the way their father seemed to despise them all which is why so many took their mothers side and helped her fight the battles ahead.

And Eleanor herself was such a powerful woman, even before she married Henry, as she was Queen of France for 15 years. No wife had ever left a King before so when she left King Louis she made people sit up and take notice – she was pretty ruthless and suffered no fools gladly! 2 months after she left Louis, she married Henry who was set to be King of England!! She was a woman who knew what she wanted, and got it!!

Even at her lowest points she seemed to have the belief that all would work out in her favour in the end and I loved that about her and the journey that she went on. She went through some emotional times as a mother, but refused to wallow and always seemed ready to bounce back.

I really enjoyed how this book made history more accessible. It’s not just a list of names and dates but brilliantly tells the pulsating story of a family divided – the ultimate dysfunctional family!! With so many strong characters, it’s inevitable there was going to be trouble and I found it to be a really enjoyable read! Highly recommended for all historical fans!!

My thanks to Elise at Quercus for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

★★★★

#BlogTour BROKEN FLOWERS by KATE MCQUAILE #BookReview @QuercusBooks #BrokenFlowers @KateMcQuaile

A huge delight to be part of the Blog Tour this weekend for BROKEN FLOWERS by KATE MCQUAILE. My thanks to Katya for the copy of the book and putting everything together.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Your mother. The one person you trust. What if you’re wrong?

Widowed Nan is on her way to her beloved son’s wedding. She should be excited, but she is dreading her return to Paradise Place – a small area of Notting Hill that she hasn’t dared set foot on for decades. Nan had arrived there as a young girl in the late seventies, desperate for freedom and a career as an artist. But, drawn into a dark obsession that spun out of control, Nan was forced to flee.

And while the only thing seemingly connecting her son’s wedding and her old secret life is Paradise Place, Nan quickly gets the impression that someone is watching her every move . . . someone she thought was dead.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Paperback £8.99

hive.co.uk  £8.15

Blackwell’s  £7.99

MY REVIEW

Dark.  Twisted.  Enthralling!!  The perfect read for making time disappear fast!!  The more you find yourself getting involved with these characters, the more you find yourself turning the pages to find out what happens next!! I loved it!

The character of Nan, is the centre of this book, and boy what a story she has to tell!! When she finds herself heading to London to see her estranged son ahead of his wedding,  the more you find yourself wondering what has kept her away from London for so long, and why her relationship with her son is so strained…. nothing is going to prepare you for the truth!!

The story then flashes back to the 1970’s and Nan arrives in London as  a young artist.  On her own for the first time she finds herself drawn into a world of dark obsessive love – a far cry from her ‘normal’ life back home in Yorkshire.  When things spiral out of control she is left suffering mentally and her life is never the same again despite her best efforts to live life the normal way.

Returning to London she finds herself back at places she tried very hard to put out of her mind, and those flashes from the past begin to take over her every moment again.  Is her mind playing tricks on her, or is the past she thought she’d left behind finally catching up with her?

I loved the pace of this story! It felt really unsettling at  times when things were happening to Nan and the shocking events of the past were brilliantly played out to keep the tension up!  The fact that she hid so much of her past from those around her really seemed to mess her up and cloud her judgement and thought process in knowing how to move on.  Sticking her head in the sand wasn’t going to work for the situation she found herself in!  And now it’s come back to bite her big time!!

I really enjoyed the twists and turns and can’t wait to read more from this author in the future!  

★★★★

#BookReview The Burning House by Neil Spring #BurningHouse #PaperbackRelease @QuercusBooks @MillsReid11 @NeilSpring

Excited to be able to share my review again for this chilling book, as it is now available in Paperback!  You NEED this book in your lives!!!

About the book

It was a victimless crime…

Estate Agent Clara is struggling to make a sale. With her abusive ex-husband on the brink of finding where she’s hiding, she needs to make a commission soon or lose her chance to escape.

Boleskine House on the shores of Loch Ness has remained unsold for years, and Clara is sure that an ‘innocent’ fire will force the price down. But the perfect crime soon turns into the perfect nightmare: there was a witness, a stranger in the village, and he’s not going to let Clara get away with it that easily…

From the bestselling author of The Ghost Hunters, The Watchers and The Lost Village comes a tense and claustrophobic psychological thriller

Published by Quercus Books

Publication Date –  21st March 2019 – paperback

Purchase Links – paperback version

Amazon UK – £7.42

hive.co.uk  £6.49

MY REVIEW

Wow! What a tense and chilling read that was!! From the start you are thrown into quite a chain of shocking events  and the consequences of these are felt throughout the book, and leads to some very dark places for some of the characters!

Clara Jones seems to be doing her best to put an abusive relationship behind her by hiding away and creating a new life for herself.  And life as an estate agent brings her to Boleskine House, a substantial home in an idyllic spot on the banks of Loch Ness, but it’s a house with a very dark past and legends last a long time in this part of the world.  She decides to take matters into her own hands to try and get a quicker sale and this leads to devastating consequences!

Oswald is a man on a mission – and his mission is that he must own Boleskine.  For what purpose it is unclear to begin with , but Clara soon finds herself drawn into an extremely unsettling and disturbing world – one she’d thought she’d left behind when she left London.

There are a number of characters in this book who are deeply unpleasant, and that just adds to the bleak and terrifying situations that poor Clara finds herself put in.  It’s one of those books that just gets your blood pumping with all the action and alarmingly dark twists and turns!  The action never seems to let up and I found myself gasping in shock  on many occasions throughout! It’s one of those books that definitely leaves a lasting and chilling impression!  

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

#BookReview The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths

About the book

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

A gripping contemporary Gothic thriller from the bestselling author of the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries: Wilkie Collins and MR James meet Gone Girl and Disclaimer.

Clare Cassidy is no stranger to murder. As a literature teacher specialising in the Gothic writer RM Holland, she teaches a short course on it every year. Then Clare’s life and work collide tragically when one of her colleagues is found dead, a line from an RM Holland story by her body. The investigating police detective is convinced the writer’s works somehow hold the key to the case.

Not knowing who to trust, and afraid that the killer is someone she knows, Clare confides her darkest suspicions and fears about the case to her journal. Then one day she notices some other writing in the diary. Writing that isn’t hers… 

Published by Quercus

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk

book depository

waterstones

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a very clever, dark and compelling mystery and, being my first read from this author, I’m now eager to go back and read more from Elly Griffiths as I found her way of storytelling really enjoyable!

As a diary writer myself, the fact that Clare finds extra messages written in her diary after the murder of her close friend, Ella, made for creepy reading and set the tone as the hunt for this killer picked up the pace and could be one of many! I liked the way the different points of view – Clare, the detective Harbinder Kaur, and Clares’ daughter Georgia – really helped the story develop with the different personalities and backgrounds.

With Clare teaching English and featuring the ghost stories of R.M Holland, whom she is also researching, that also added an extra creepy element to the story. Tales of the building being haunted had been told for many years, and you really felt the edginess when Clare or others were alone in the building and wondering what they might hear or see next.

When the body count increases that is when the tension and pace picks up quite considerably and once the pieces start falling into place it isn’t too long before the killer is identified – if only I’d picked up on the clues earlier!

The perfect autumn/winter read to keep you thrilled and chilled!

My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the e-copy in return for a fair and honest review.

⚘⚘⚘⚘⚘

#BlogBlast The Burning House by Neil Spring #BookReview @QuercusBooks #BurningHouse

About the book

It was a victimless crime…

Estate Agent Clara is struggling to make a sale. With her abusive ex-husband on the brink of finding where she’s hiding, she needs to make a commission soon or lose her chance to escape.

Boleskine House on the shores of Loch Ness has remained unsold for years, and Clara is sure that an ‘innocent’ fire will force the price down. But the perfect crime soon turns into the perfect nightmare: there was a witness, a stranger in the village, and he’s not going to let Clara get away with it that easily…

From the bestselling author of The Ghost Hunters, The Watchers and The Lost Village comes a tense and claustrophobic psychological thriller

Published by Quercus Books

Publication Date – 29th November 2018 – ebook

                             21st March 2019 – paperback

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Wow! What a tense and chilling read that was!! From the start you are thrown into quite a chain of shocking events  and the consequences of these are felt throughout the book, and leads to some very dark places for some of the characters!

Clara Jones seems to be doing her best to put an abusive relationship behind her by hiding away and creating a new life for herself.  And life as an estate agent brings her to Boleskine House, a substantial home in an idyllic spot on the banks of Loch Ness, but it’s a house with a very dark past and legends last a long time in this part of the world.  She decides to take matters into her own hands to try and get a quicker sale and this leads to devastating consequences!

Oswald is a man on a mission – and his mission is that he must own Boleskine.  For what purpose it is unclear to begin with , but Clara soon finds herself drawn into an extremely unsettling and disturbing world – one she’d thought she’d left behind when she left London.

There are a number of characters in this book who are deeply unpleasant, and that just adds to the bleak and terrifying situations that poor Clara finds herself put in.  It’s one of those books that just gets your blood pumping with all the action and alarming dark twists and turns!  The action never seems to let up and I found myself gasping in shock  on many occasions throughout! It’s one of those books that definitely leaves a lasting and chilling impression!

🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan #BookReview #PublicationDay

THE BLURB

Perfect for fans of Tana French, Jane Casey and Gillian Flynn

TOO SOON TO SEE

Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.

TOO LATE TO HIDE

DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.

TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE

As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

Olivia Kiernan’s debut is a bold, brilliant thriller that will keep you guessing and leave you breathless.

Publisher – Riverrun

Publication Date – 5th April 2018

BUYING LINKS

Amazon UK

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

Book Depository

About the Author

Olivia Kiernan is the author of TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE, a crime thriller where DCS Frankie Sheehan investigates the murder of Dr Eleanor Costello. At first glance the murder appears uncomplicated but soon spills out onto a dark canvas of fear, lies and murder.

Olivia Kiernan grew up in the Irish countryside, a background which left her with a great appreciation of storytelling. Being almost sensible she shelved aspirations of becoming a writer and embarked on a career in science, spending six years in university studying anatomy and physiology before receiving a BSc in Chiropractic in 2003. She worked in this vein for over a decade, always writing in the evenings after work and completing an MA in Creative Writing through part-time study in 2012.
In 2015, she began writing TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE as part of National Novel Writing Month, polishing off half the first draft by the end of the month-long writing marathon. After hiding the manuscript on her hard drive for close to a year, revisiting it from time to time to add a scene or remove one, she sent it out to agents. Within a month she had signed with a literary agent and in 2017 a dream was realised when TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE sold.

TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE will be released on 5th April 2018 in the UK, and the 3rd of April in the US.

Follow on Twitter: @LivKiernan

MY REVIEW

Does the crime thriller genre need another author amongst its’ ranks?! Yes it does, if they’re all written as well as this one! A very welcome addition to a highly competitive genre!

This story is full of mystery from start to finish. When Eleanor is found dead it has all the hallmarks of a suicide, but there’s something about this death that is a little off – there’s no note and her husband is missing.

Det Frankie Sheehan is then called in to help assist with the case. She is recovering from a very violent knife attack that has left her with PTSD, so is a little on edge and those around her are concerned she isn’t up to life investigating troubling cases.

The more they investigate Eleanor and her past, and dealings with the dark web, the more the plot thickens and a myriad of characters are introduced when another body is soon found nearby and a link is established. Frankie is driven to try and solve this case after failing to save the victim in her last case and this adds an extra edge to her quest in putting all the clues together to get to the bottom of these mysterious deaths, and extremely dark videos being posted online, and unsettling silent phone calls.

There are a number of suspects that constantly changed with each new piece of evidence, and I loved how the story took you in one direction, only to swerve off on another tangent!

I found this to be a really lively thriller, full of intrigue and fragile characters. Really looking forward to seeing what this author releases in the future!

The Love Factory by Elaine Proctor #BlogTour #BookReview

Delighted to be taking part in the Blog Tour for THE LOVE FACTORY! I hope you enjoy discovering a little more about this new book and the author behind it!

THE BLURB

A smart, sexy, witty novel about love and desire, and how losing everything can sometimes be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Anna is a writer whose small but perfectly formed novels sell zip. When she falls on hard times and tries her hand at erotic fiction, she faces an uncomfortable truth. Though she’s a wife and mother of two, her stories fail to fly because she’s never experienced true sexual desire. Even her Sicilian grandmother – wearer of diamante sunglasses and knock-off Louis Vuitton – knows more than she does about true passion.

A romance-writing workshop doesn’t help, so Anna turns to her friends for inspiration. As secrets and desires are revealed, Anna discovers more about the people close to her than she ever knew. When Cordelia, a romance-writing classmate, suggests she borrows an alter ego to banish her inhibitions, a new world opens up to Anna and The Love Factory – a group of writers penning ever more successful sexy stories – is born.

And yet Anna knows that she can’t rely on borrowed passion and an alter ego forever. For her tales to truly sizzle, she needs to find a proper love of her own.

Published by QUERCUS BOOKS

Publication Date 22nd March 2018

BUYING LINKS

Amazon UK

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

Book Depository

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elaine was born in South Africa, the youngest of four children. She grew up in Johannesburg and in the African bush which she loves.

Along with a small number of politicized white teenagers, Elaine became active in the anti apartheid movement. She began to document Black resistance to Apartheid in overtly political documentary films like Forward to a People’s Republic and The Sun Will Rise.  The latter was a series of interviews with mothers whose sons were on death row for political offenses.

Punctuated by bouts of film training in London, Elaine continued to make documentaries in South Africa until 1986, when the political situation made it impossible for her to continue to do so. Her final documentary, Sharpeville Spirit, followed the lives of a group of young activists organizing resistance in that infamous township.

Concurrent with her arrival at this political cul-de-sac, Elaine entered the masters program in writing and directing feature films at the NATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL in England. Her feature-length graduation film called On The Wire, won the British Film Institute’s Sutherland Trophy (most original and imaginative first film) for 1990.  On The Wire, is the story of tragic marriage between a South African Defense Force reconnaissance battalion commander and his rural Afrikaner wife.  We learn through their relationship, and particularly his sexuality, what terrible damage the war exacted on both perpetrators and victims.

Elaine’s first film after graduation, Friends, continued to explore the personal stories inside the political epic that is Apartheid/post-Apartheid South Africa. It was selected by the Cannes Film Festival to be part of its coveted Official Competition and won Mention Speciale – Prix de Camera D’Or in that year.

She wrote a feature script called Manna about a cross racial friendship in South Africa.  She wrote Cottonmouth, a film set on the Texas/Mexico border.

The writing of her next film, KIN, told the story of the encounter between a Namibian elephant conservationist (Miranda Otto) and a visiting American lawyer (Isaiah Washington). KIN was distributed worldwide to critical acclaim.

Elaine then wrote LOADED, a series for the BBC looking at the creation of ‘new philanthropy’ and its consequences for world peace and development over the past two decades.

Paradise and the Dog of Plenty followed. It tells the story of five American women who go on a plastic surgery safari in South Africa with most unexpected results.

In 2009 Elaine wrote the novel RHUMBA.

She is currently writing her new novel which is set in South Africa.

Elaine sits on the chapter for screenwriting at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and is a member of the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain.

 

MY REVIEW

I found this to be an intelligent, fun and sexy read that was a pleasant surprise as I really didn’t know what to expect from this book!

Anna is a writer of novels that don’t sell well! She’s also a wife and mother and her daily life in suburbia is beginning to take its’ toll, even more so when her husband loses his job and they have to move her nonna in with them to save on the nursing home costs. She needs to change direction as a writer so she finds herself at a writing workshop where she meets Cordelia. She’s much younger and has a different outlook on life but they click as friends and help each other out in their quest to improve their writing.

Anna wants to write erotic fiction but her own life is lacking a little passion so she’s struggling. Cordelia comes up with the idea that she should create an alter ego to unlock a different side to her, and it works! She then gets friends and neighbours involved in a writing project to create sexy short stories and this was a really interesting way to peek into the lives of those around her and discover a whole new side to them and their own struggles and outlook on life.

I loved how this book created some memorable characters and situations and how a situation forces them to change habits and allows them to become someone who they’d never thought they’d be. The way that Anna had to become someone else in her writing then made her become herself in real life! Really enjoyed seeing how her family reacted to her change in writing style and topic – it doesn’t go down well with everyone!

I loved the stories within this story and it often got quite emotional for me as the reader with what some characters were going through. It was easy to read and really pulled you into the story and showed how the world of self publishing and blogs could help out which made it more relevant in the world we live in today. Thoroughly enjoyable!!

                                                                         💗💗💗💗💗

THE BLURB

Left to perish on a bank of snow as a baby, Amy has never known love, never known family.

Reluctantly given shelter at nearby Hatville Court, she is despised by the masters and servants alike.

The beautiful Hatville heiress, Aurelia Vennaway, is Amy’s only advocate – she becomes the light of Amy’s life, and the centre of her existence.

So when Aurelia dies young, Amy’s world collapses. But Aurelia leaves Amy with one last gift.

A bundle of letters with a coded key. A treasure hunt that only Amy can unlock.

A life-changing secret awaits… if only she can reach it



  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (9 April 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784291455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784291457

BUYING LINKS

Amazon UK

book Depository

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

 

MY REVIEW

 

Having discovered the author Tracy Rees when I read The Hourglass  (loved it!), I seem to be working my way backwards through her releases!  At the end of last year I read Florence Grace (loved that too!)  so when I managed to get my mitts on Amy Snow I knew I was in for a treat!

 Another engaging, emotional story from this author who is fast becoming one of my favourites with her quality of writing and storylines!

The story of Amy and her quest to find her place in the world was a fascinating one. From the moment she was born and found in the snow by Aurelia, she never really fitted in with others, but Aurelia was always there for her and vice versa. After the sad passing of Aurelia, it was obvious her family weren’t going to endure her being around, and I loved how Aurelia had set up a ‘treasure hunt’ so to speak, to share her story and legacy after she was gone, and to pass on to Amy all that she knew and all that she had kept hidden from Amy despite their strong bond.

There was plenty of mystery and intrigue throughout, which mixed well with Amy and her experiences of travelling around the country on her own as a woman, and finding people who knew Aurelia and didn’t judge Amy because of her past and accepted her for who she was.

Despite it being a big ‘chunkster’ of a book, the story flew by and I suffered from the ‘ooh just one more chapter’ disease that strikes when a story has me under its’ spell!

Highly recommended!!

Eagerly awaiting the next release from Tracy Rees now, which is due to be out later this year!!!

💖💖💖💖💖

The Crow Garden by Alison Littlewood #bookreview

THE BLURB

‘There’s an amazing sense of place and time in this novel, as Littlewood perfectly captures the literary style, attitudes, and class consciousness of Victorian England’ – Publishers Weekly Susan Hill meets Alfred Hitchcock in Alison Littlewood’s latest chiller:

 mad-doctor Nathaniel is obsessed with the beautiful Mrs Harleston – but is she truly delusional? Or is she hiding secrets that should never be uncovered …? Haunted by his father’s suicide, Nathaniel Kerner walks away from the highly prestigious life of a consultant to become a mad-doctor. He takes up a position at Crakethorne Asylum, but the proprietor is more interested in phrenology and his growing collection of skulls than the patients’ minds. Nathaniel’s only interesting case is Mrs Victoria Harleston: her husband accuses her of hysteria and delusions – but she accuses him of hiding secrets far more terrible. Nathaniel is increasingly obsessed with Victoria, but when he has her mesmerised, there are unexpected results: Victoria starts hearing voices, the way she used to – her grandmother always claimed they came from beyond the grave – but it also unleashes her own powers of mesmerism …and a desperate need to escape. Increasingly besotted, Nathaniel finds himself caught up in a world of seances and stage mesmerism in his bid to find Victoria and save her. But constantly hanging over him is this warning: that doctors are apt to catch the diseases with which they are surrounded – whether of the body or the mind

Amazon UK  £12.99 hardback

Hive.co.uk – buy online and support your local bookstore  £12.59 hardback

Book Depository  £12.99 hardback

Waterstones  £16.99 hardback

Author Website

Publisher Website

 

 

MY REVIEW

I received a copy of this from the publishers in return for a fair and honest review.

The creepy cover sets the tone for this story set in Victorian England and focusing on the asylum/madhouses of the time. The way the patients were treated and how those treating them saw them – some of the methods used were quite horrifying and is fascinating to see how times have changed in how we treat those with mental illness.

It follows the story of Nathaniel Kerner, who has his own memories of madness in the family, and with the ghost of his fathers’ suicide hanging over him, he sets out to right the wrongs he feels he was involved in, despite only being a child at the time of this fathers’ death, and he becomes a ‘mad-doctor’ to carry on where his father left off. He wants to help those and learn more of how the brain works, and he finds himself at Crakethorne Asylum in deepest, darkest Yorkshire where he encounters Mrs Victoria Harleston. She is a patient there due to her husband complaining of her ‘hysteria’ and wants her ‘mended’ – the Victoria that Nathaniel meets though seems anything but crazy, and he soon becomes obsessed with her.

I really enjoyed the way this book is set – we get his point of view, his case notes and his own journal notes to see how he approaches those he meets, as well as looking back to his own past and dealing with his mother who, herself seems traumatized by the past.

His approach to treatment leads him to the world of the mesmerists, or hypnotists as we now know them, and this unlocks a much darker side to the story which is more chilling than horrifying, as you are left guessing as to the validity of those mesmerists, and of the patients and their experiences.

I found this to be such a hypnotic book to read – sorry for the pun! – with the wonderfully moody settings, the damaged characters and the insight to medical practices of the time. And there doesn’t need to be actual monsters to create a horror story when there are people around who can be a lot scarier!!