One of the first things that attracted me to this story was the setting. The wild and sometimes quite desolate Lincolnshire Fens. I live in LincolnshiOne of the first things that attracted me to this story was the setting. The wild and sometimes quite desolate Lincolnshire Fens. I live in Lincolnshire and I like nothing better to be able to really see a setting when I read a book. Barbara Copperthwaite has based the village of Fenmere on Friskney, and her great knowledge of the place adds so much to the telling of the story. That damp, silent, mysterious fenland takes centre stage in this book, beautifully and authentically described.
The Darkest Lies is a story of family and community. When teenager Beth Oak is found terribly injured on the marshes, shockwaves reverberate throughout Fenmore. This is a tiny village, inhabited by people who have spent most of their lives there. Their families are there, their friends and their workmates. Nothing ever happens in Fenmore, until now.
Beth's mother Melanie is determined that she will find out who did this to her beloved daughter. As Beth lies unconscious in a Leeds hospital, Melanie's world breaks into tiny pieces. She gives up her job, she tries to numb the pain with alcohol. She suspects anyone and everyone and she confronts anyone who she thinks may know something.
As Melanie's quest continues, her relationship with her husband Jacob starts to crumble. She sees a side to him that confuses her and disappoints her and begins to spend more time with an old friend from childhood who has recently returned to the village.
Told in three voices, The Darkest Lies is certainly a page turner. Young Beth's narrative was particularly engaging, as she has some very dark secrets she keeps from everyone who is close to her. Nestled between Beth's voice and that of Melanie are snippets from an unknown voice, but one that is quite terrifying. I did sometimes struggle with Melanie's narrative. She speaks to Beth as she relates her part of the story, and it felt a little forced and disjointed, sometimes she'd refer to her husband as Jacob, and other times he became 'your Dad'. I found this a little bit disorientating and each time it happened, it took me away from the story. Annoying as a reader, and maybe something for the author and her editor to consider?
Despite this, I did enjoy The Darkest Lies. Barbara Copperthwaite can certainly create a gripping story, and she deals with some very relevant and up to date issues; touching on the difficulties that Eastern European immigrants can encounter in Lincolnshire, and also delving into some darker and quite serious subjects.
I certainly didn't guess how this was going to end! The finale was very well written, with shocks and gasps a plenty. The Darkest Lies is a riveting read, the characters are very well crafted, although I have to say that I really didn't like many of them. However, the setting and sense of place is brilliantly portrayed, and adds real depth to the story.
Most of us will remember where we were on September 11th, 2001, when the Twin Towers in New York were attacked by terrorists. It was a life-changing,Most of us will remember where we were on September 11th, 2001, when the Twin Towers in New York were attacked by terrorists. It was a life-changing, world-altering day. The images are burned into our memories, it is a date that is etched into our brains.
Lucy and Gabe were students in 2001, living in New York. For them, September 11th evokes other memories alongside the horror of the crumbling skyscrapers and the sight of human bodies hurtling through the air, to their death. It was also the day that they met, that they kissed for the first time, and for the rest of their lives, that day will also mark new beginnings, as well as tragedy and pain.
The Light We Lost is a story of long, enduring love. It packs an emotional punch that will leave the reader reeling, gulping back the tears and turning the pages as quickly as possible.
Jill Santopolo has told her story in Lucy's voice. The narrative is a letter, written by Lucy, many years after their first meeting. It details their relationship from that first meeting as New York City trembled, and continues for thirteen years as they age, further their careers, move across the world, but never, ever quite let go.
In real life, love rarely runs smoothly, and this author has captured both the beauty of a love affair, along with the devastation that can also be wrought by love. Lucy and Gabe are perfectly created, both have their flaws and their failings, but despite these, no reader can fail to fall for them, completely and utterly, echoing their own feelings for each other.
I have no doubt that The Light We Lost is going to be among my top reads of this year. It is a story that lingers in the mind, long after the final page is turned. It truly is quite beautiful.
There are certain authors who never fail to disappoint me, and Veronica Henry is one of those. She's part of my 'go to' group of writers who I know wiThere are certain authors who never fail to disappoint me, and Veronica Henry is one of those. She's part of my 'go to' group of writers who I know will always deliver a story that will delight me, lift my mood and really warm the heart. The Forever House is an absolute joy to read, I fell head over heels in love with the characters, the setting and of course, with Hunter's Moon; the 'forever house' of the title.
Hunter's Moon is a family home, it is a beautiful house that is filled with love and memories and when local estate agent Belinda Baxter gets the call to ask her to visit and give a valuation, she is very excited. Belinda is far from the stereotypical estate agent; she really cares about her customers; going that extra length to ensure that the process of selling their home is as pain free as possible. Belinda loves property, but will only sell a house that she likes.
It soon becomes clear that there is much sadness behind the reason that the Willoughbys have to sell Hunter's Moon, and Veronica Henry very cleverly incorporates the story of their family's history into this compelling and delightful novel. The reader is transported back to the late 1960s, to a chaotic and unusual household that is crying out for order. When Sally arrives at Hunter's Moon she makes changes that reach much further than the dusty corners of rooms.
I have a real soft spot for stories told in dual time, and the 1960s is my favourite era to read about. I loved the glimpses into the glamour, and the seedy. The smoky Soho clubs; the literary parties; the fashions and the language. All perfectly done and a wonderful contrast to the modern-day story, which is equally as compelling and touches on some modern, up-to-the-minute subjects. Veronica Henry's characters are so skilfully created, they become like friends and the reader is swept up in all of their issues.
The Forever House is an absolute treat. It is engaging and heartfelt, a story of love, of loss, and of starting over, and new beginnings, and is, in my view, Veronica Henry's best novel to date.
When I turned the final page of The Night Visitor, my head was spinning. Not because I was confused or perplexed, but because I realised that I'd beenWhen I turned the final page of The Night Visitor, my head was spinning. Not because I was confused or perplexed, but because I realised that I'd been holding my breath throughout the final pages. Yes, it is one of those books. You know the type, the one where you say 'just one more chapter' before you go to bed, and then you look up and it's the early hours, and still you want to carry on reading.
The Night Visitor is completely character led, and oh what compelling, compulsive, often repulsive characters they are. Olivia and Vivian; two women who appear to have nothing in common, who live completely opposite lives, but who become so finely interwoven. Each one with their own determinations and obsessions that will ultimately lead to their own destruction.
Olivia is, on the surface, a highly successful academic who has also become something of a minor celebrity. Married to an author, with three children, attractive and intelligent. The reader meets her as she is launching her latest book. A fictionalised account of Lady Annabel Burley, one of the first female doctors in the UK. Despite the glamour of the event, and the crowds of people there to congratulate her, Olivia is clearly unnerved about something. There is a tension between her and her husband, and she's nervous and jittery.
Vivian is a strange, blunt, deeply personal woman who keeps things very close to her chest. It it wasn't for the fact that Vivian has access to information that Olivia needs for her book, these two women would never associate. Vivian really is a wondrous creation, she is menacing, cold, obsessed and brilliantly deluded. I hated her, yet I loved her as a character, she is perfectly crafted.
Lucy Atkins has produced a brilliantly clever story. The plot is intriguing and compulsive, moving from London, to Sussex, to France. She is an incredibly talented author who has clearly researched every aspect so well, from the life of the dung beetle, to the history of women in medicine.
I love the way the title can relate to so many aspects of this story; it could be the gruesome figure that haunts Vivian's dreams, it could be the very real person who visited the priest's tower and wrecked havoc on the family.
Frightening, uncomfortable, shocking; The Night Visitor is one of the best books that I've read this year, and 2017 so far has been a very very good book year! Beautifully written, carefully constructed characters that send a chill down the spine, and wonderfully structured through different points of view. Twisted, yet genius. I'm going to be thinking about this one for a long time!
Once again, as with her two previous novels, this very talented author has created a cast of extraordinary characters, headed by Loveday Cardew; possiOnce again, as with her two previous novels, this very talented author has created a cast of extraordinary characters, headed by Loveday Cardew; possibly one of the most infuriating, yet lovable fictional females that I've met in many years.
On first meeting, the reader would be forgiven for feeling envy towards Loveday. She cycles the narrow cobbled York streets to her job in a second-hand bookshop. Her boss, Archie is wonderful, both caring and a bit eccentric, but also so easy going that she really is her own boss. Who couldn't want to be Loveday? Surrounded by boxes of books, day in, day out. Living in one of our most beautiful cities, life really should be a dream.
The cracks in Loveday's armour soon become apparent though, and her vulnerabilities begin to show. Her difficulty with trust, her natural defensiveness and how closed she can be. She often appears cold and uncaring, yet desperate to be understood. As each new character is introduced to the story, they are the vehicles that drive it. Each one of them are perfectly formed and fit beautifully into Loveday's story.
The story is told in three timescales; Loveday's childhood, spent in Whitby with her parents is entitled History, whilst the present day is called Poetry and her more recent past is Crime. Each section of this story slots together seamlessly and as the reader learns parts from History, so Poetry and Crime begin to make sense.
I could gush for hours about Lost For Words; the setting, the characters, the quite dark and disturbing themes, but that's not my job. I'd just like everyone to go out and buy a copy and savour it and love it as much as I did. I expect most people will shed a tear or two, and I know that there will be laughs and gasps along the way too. This really is a poignant and beautiful story, told by an author who can captivate an audience so easily. Wonderful. Highly recommended from me.
It's a warm welcome back to Henk van der Pol from me, I really enjoyed my first outing with him in Harbour Master and have been looking forward to getIt's a warm welcome back to Henk van der Pol from me, I really enjoyed my first outing with him in Harbour Master and have been looking forward to getting to know more about him.
Whilst Night Market could easily be read as a stand alone story, readers will gain so much more if they start at the beginning with the previously published Harbour Master. A little bit of prior knowledge really enhances the reading of Night Market, in my view.
Although Henk is nearing the end of his career as a Detective, and has dealt with most types of crime over the past years, he has always avoided cases that involve the exploitation and abuse of children. However, that will soon change as he is asked to investigate a team of investigators. An unusual request and one that soon leads him into danger.
As well as the difficulties of this new case, he's also experiencing personal issues within his family relationships. His long-term marriage to Petra, and his daughter's romantic entanglements are proving difficult to deal with.
Once again, this talented author excels in bringing to life the locations of the novel. Holland, Norway, London; all are vibrantly imagined, with their contrasts and their similarities adding such depth to what is a complex and cleverly drawn story.
Daniel Pembrey incorporates the political agenda, along with the organised crime. His characters are fluent and rounded, his plot lines are tense and quite thrilling. There are reminders of the past, and new horrors combined, and there is always Henk; solid, sometimes impulsive, but always the hero.
A superb crime thriller from an impressive author. I'm looking forward to meeting Henk again very soon.
Like many people, I have been reading and enjoying Anita Shreve's books for many years, and was delighted to be offered the opportunity to read and reLike many people, I have been reading and enjoying Anita Shreve's books for many years, and was delighted to be offered the opportunity to read and review The Stars Are Fire for the Blog Tour.
In The Stars Are Fire, Anita Shreve returns to the historical settings of her classic novels such as Fortune's Rocks and The Pilot's Wife. This story is set just after the second world war, in Maine, USA, and features the terrible wildfire that devastated the county in 1947.
This author does not write huge books but she creates huge stories with her perfectly crafted, sharp and taut prose. The Stars Are Fire grips from the very first page and does not let go.
Grace Holland and her husband Gene live with their two small children in Maine. On the surface, their life appears happy and content as Grace keeps the house, whilst Gene earns the money. Rub a little gloss from the surface though, and the real truth of their marriage is easily exposed. Grace leads a narrow, oppressed life, coping with Gene's unpredictable outbursts and juggling motherhood and housework. When she discovers that she is pregnant with their third child, it seems like the end of the world.
Desperately unhappy; the only person who casts an ounce of joy into her life is Rosie, her next door neighbour and great friend. She's outspoken and bubbly and is a rock to Grace. As the summer heat intensifies, and the women and their children struggle to catch a breath, a deadly and ferocious fire begins and soon everything that they own is gone.
The fire marks the beginning of a new life for Grace in many ways. Gene is gone, presumed dead and she is penniless and homeless. Gathering up the last of her strength after tragedy strikes, she begins to forge a new life for herself.
What follows is a remarkable story, full of wonderfully created characters in a setting that is beautifully described. Anita Shreve's description of the horror of the fire, and the devastation it causes to both land and to human is startling and raw. Grace suffers loss after loss, followed by joys, followed by crushing blows, but his is not a sentimental novel at all. It is intricate, and rich and perfectly paced.
The Stars Are Fire is an absolute triumph of a story, the perfect read. I loved it and would recommend it highly.