Sophie can’t remember much about the details of her life, but the things she can recall aren’t good. A child in her charge is found dead and the evideSophie can’t remember much about the details of her life, but the things she can recall aren’t good. A child in her charge is found dead and the evidence points to her having killed him though she can remember nothing about it. She goes on the run, planning for a new life, but not everyone she meets is what they seem.
I received a copy of this book to review through the Real Readers programme. It’s nearly impossible to say much about the novel without spoilers and you would really want to read this book knowing absolutely nothing about it other than the starting point. I found it a very quick read, due to the format of the book and the plot pulling you forwards in order to find out what happened and how everything fits together. It’s the very definition of “grip lit” (a term I only recently heard which covers books like The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl etc.) and would be a great beach read. It’s twisty, lurid, and everything is turned up to 11.
Having said all that, I can’t say that I actually enjoyed it all that much. I found some of the violence in the book a bit too much and some of the psychological elements were difficult to deal with, not least the portrayal of mental illness in some of the characters.
I didn’t find the book’s characters particularly realistic – they were two-dimensional and acted in particular ways because the plot needed them to, rather than because of their personalities. Nothing could be said to be “out of character” for them as they don’t have consistent characters in the first place. Although it’s set in France the book didn’t feel particularly French to me (even though it’s translated) which I thought was a shame as it would have given the book an extra element of “strangeness” to foreign readers. I assume the author wanted it to be more universal to appeal to a wider audience.
Blood Wedding reminded me above all of the Italian Giallo films of the 1960s and 1970s (such as those of Dario Argento) with everything in lurid bright colours, stereotypical characters, lots of twists and turns, and a final reveal right at the end which changes how you view the rest of the work. It left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth after I’d finished it and it’s not something I’d read again, but for those seeking a bit of sensationalistic reading for the beach it might be just the thing. ...more
I read this for my book club and otherwise might not have got round to reading any of Victoria Hislop's books. I enjoyed it to a degree but felt thatI read this for my book club and otherwise might not have got round to reading any of Victoria Hislop's books. I enjoyed it to a degree but felt that the balance of history lesson v the lives of the main characters was too heavy on the side of history. I found the characterisation a little thin and in places characters acted in ways that wasn't consistent with how they were described. I also found the accumulation of war, natural disasters, religious persecution etc too much to deal with so wanted it all to be over much quicker than it was. The framing story seemed very different from the rest, and a little twee. A not entirely successful experiment in reading this author and I won't be in a hurry to read any more of her work....more
This is a strange little book that I found very depressing. The vet's daughter of the title leads such a passive trapped life that I found myself feelThis is a strange little book that I found very depressing. The vet's daughter of the title leads such a passive trapped life that I found myself feeling as lost and down as she did. Interesting in its way, but not for anyone already feeling emotionally fragile!...more
I read this for my book club and it gave us lots to talk about! I had read One Day but hadn't enormously enjoyed it and felt it was over-hyped. This bI read this for my book club and it gave us lots to talk about! I had read One Day but hadn't enormously enjoyed it and felt it was over-hyped. This book seems less sensational than the former, though I did wonder at one point if the author was using the notoreity of his previous book to trick the reader into thinking that the plot of Us was going to go in a particular direction. I wasn't particularly interested in the father-son and mother-son relationships drawn here, but found the husband and wife relationship realistic and moving. Found the novel very funny in parts too. Would recommend....more
I got this as a freebie from Amazon for my Kindle. Past experience has shown me that this can be the way to some terrible books, but this one was a woI got this as a freebie from Amazon for my Kindle. Past experience has shown me that this can be the way to some terrible books, but this one was a wonderful surprise that I really enjoyed. I greatly appreciated that the heroine was middle-aged like myself and though she gets herself into the usual chick-lit scrapes, none of it was too over-the-top and the situations will be familiar to many women of a certain age. Would recommend....more
I think this is a book to dip into rather than to read all at once, so I read a chapter at a time over a few weeks. It's very well-observed, looking aI think this is a book to dip into rather than to read all at once, so I read a chapter at a time over a few weeks. It's very well-observed, looking at a major British historical event per decade of the 20th century. Very witty, human and interesting study of Britain and Britons. Will definitely read more of Stuart Maconie's books....more
A cross between Doctor Who, Primeval, the Thursday Next novels of Jasper Fforde, and Time Team. Sometimes funny and always fast paced. This boxset conA cross between Doctor Who, Primeval, the Thursday Next novels of Jasper Fforde, and Time Team. Sometimes funny and always fast paced. This boxset contains the first three novels in the series and I should have probably taken a longer break between each individual novel as I began to find it all a bit samey. The books are more plot than characterisation but that's fine - just occasionally I wished for something a bit deeper emotionally. Quite enjoyed them, but haven't yet decided whether I'll read any more of the series....more
Middle-class couple George and Catherine Clare snap up a remote farmhouse and settle in a new community. There’s much to deal with, including the demaMiddle-class couple George and Catherine Clare snap up a remote farmhouse and settle in a new community. There’s much to deal with, including the demands of having a young child, a new job, and the suspicion of the local population, including some members of the previous family to live in the dwelling. Life becomes harder and harder, culminating in a shocking event that will affect everyone and call into question the nature of life and death.
This book really defies categorisation as it has elements of many different genres and moves seamlessly from one to the other. It opens as a crime novel of the police procedural type, but soon moves onto something much more supernatural, psychological, and sociological to name but a few styles. The writing is often lyrical, particularly in the descriptions of the relationships some characters have with the land and the farm they inhabited. Despite the beauty of some passages, the overall impression is of bleakness and despair. Life at the tail end of the 1970s in the rural USA isn’t easy, feminism is only just beginning to improve women’s lot, and the impact of the Vietnam War is still being felt.
I really enjoyed meeting the cavalcade of characters who inhabit the book, a whole town’s worth in fact, and felt that they were all very well drawn and realistic – even those who don’t play a big part in the plot. As in life, it takes time to get to know the characters, and sometimes first impressions can be deceptive with individuals we think we like turning out to be not what they appear. Each character has their own style of speech – I felt that they all rang true and that they were each different enough to allow me to distinguish between the cast of the book.
The structure of the novel is complex, with many narrators and jumps forward and back in time. It demands close attention while reading, but I felt that my concentration was more than rewarded by the rich texture of the book and the feeling that I was being shown around a real place and meeting real people with a long history and a future of one kind or another.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot of the book for fear of spoiling others’ experience of it, but felt the crime element was well handled and the truth gradually dawning on the reader rather than being revealed suddenly. It’s definitely more of a ‘whydunnit” than a “whodunit” and in that respect reminded me of some of Barbara Vine’s psychological crime books. This element of the novel is chilling and stayed with me long after I’d finished reading. I also enjoyed the more supernatural elements of the book and the impression of a complete other world around us that we can’t often see.
The overall impression left by the book is one of bleak beauty and the idea that for better or worse (generally for worse) we’re all the product of our parents’ influence, but that no-one can ever really know anyone – even within a marriage. Only the land and nature endures. I really enjoyed it and would recommend to anyone looking for something a little different and which isn’t easy to pin down. ...more
I found this quite hard going, though I loved the premise of finding something after a death which makes you wonder if you really knew the person at aI found this quite hard going, though I loved the premise of finding something after a death which makes you wonder if you really knew the person at all. I didn't warm to any of the characters and found Glyn, widower and finder of the photograph of the title, irritating, so couldn't sympathise with him as much as I wanted to....more
I liked the idea of this book more than I liked the actual book. Most chick-lit heroines think they're fat when they're no longer a size 6 so it madeI liked the idea of this book more than I liked the actual book. Most chick-lit heroines think they're fat when they're no longer a size 6 so it made a refreshing change to have a book centred around much bigger women. I liked the main protagonist Katie at first, but later in the book I felt she was acting in ways that weren't consistent with her character so lost patience with her. While I felt most of the discussion about weight and eating were realistic and positive, at times it still did go down the "thinner is better road" which was disappointing. Overall though I enjoyed it and thought it was sufficiently different to stand out from the vast majority of novels of its type....more
I bought this book as I was planning a trip to Chatsworth and thought I'd find out a bit more about the house and its inhabitants before I went. It'sI bought this book as I was planning a trip to Chatsworth and thought I'd find out a bit more about the house and its inhabitants before I went. It's a very "bitty" book which is really just a string of anecdotes and name-drops about the great and the good. I didn't think that the writer's personality shone through particularly well and soon grew tired of her tales of privilege....more
Obviously I'm not the target audience for this, but it's a lovely book with beautiful illustrations. Love puffins in general and Neil in particular, aObviously I'm not the target audience for this, but it's a lovely book with beautiful illustrations. Love puffins in general and Neil in particular, and the relationship between Polly and Neil is very sweet. Enjoyed the little nods to the parent reading the story regarding Polly's behaviour at times, and loved the very last illustration of the sleeping house with the lighthouse in the background.
As well as the story, the books contains songs, craft activities and recipes so definitely worth the money....more