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The Cleanskin

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  63 ratings  ·  15 reviews
I needed someone I could trust. Someone others would trust. Someone with no criminal record. With no previous involvement. A cleanskin. Someone to come over, do the job, and go home …

Some days, even Halley can’t find the person she once was. She’s changed her name and no one – least of all her husband and son – knows of her past. No one except Aidan, who turns up one day i
Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 2016 by The Author People
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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Veronica ⭐️
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Halley has moved to the quiet country town of Mullumbimby to forget her past and start a new life. She now has a loving husband and a teenage son, who know nothing of her previous life. But in the back of her mind is always the worry that her past will catch up with her because she knows “they will never let you go”.

Cleanskin contains a complex mix of characters that will have your emotions whirling. I loved them, disliked them, worried about them, couldn’t quite understand them and the
Halley, Matt and their son Benny lived a quiet life in Mullumbimby, a small country town near Byron Bay in New South Wales – Halley and Matt ran the local café, where the locals often congregated. But Halley wasn’t happy – frustration and memories plus the inability to speak about days gone by was strong. Until the day a person from her long ago past turned up in the café and turned Halley’s world upside down.

Aiden visited his brother Liam in the English prison on a regular basis – he felt loyal
Carol -  Reading Writing and Riesling
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
My View:
A wonderfully reflective and poignant narrative with a cast of well developed, flawed and passionate characters set in the locations of Ireland, Australia and India. Politics, domestic and international hold centre stage, manipulation is crowned king of this drama.

But there is much more to this story than politics and manipulation, there are so many layers to discover; relationships, love, marriage, forgiveness, growth, innocence and trust betrayed pepper this narrative with interesting
Lisa Brockwell
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I’m lucky enough to have already read The Cleanskin and it’s my book of the year. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s one of the most accomplished and moving novels about Australia that I have read. It speaks the truth about what trauma can do to people, down through the generations. It’s a book about how the past affects us and lives through us, and what consequences really mean and look like in someone’s life and someone’s family. It tackles the impact of sectarianism in Ireland and the U ...more
Jenn J McLeod
Aug 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a pretty intense read and thoroughly intriguing. I had no idea where the story was going, yet I was compelled to keep reading, with the pace ramping up and carrying me through to a most unexpected ending.
The characters are complicated, sad, unsettled and searching. Some I admired, some troubled me, others I couldn’t warm to at all. (So, hats off to the author for engineering such a range of reader emotions through clever and considered characterisation.)
There is a lot of time travel invo
Ziggy Jones
Sep 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a big, ambitious book. It's a thriller that's also an intense human drama. It tells a big story: the interaction in the Irish diaspora between the margins and the centre, the phenomenon of terrorism, the hot phase of the Troubles in Northern Ireland and its eventual ending in the peace accords. It also tells a small story: how events conspire to draw Megan, a young woman from Catholic aristocracy in Sydney's affluent north shore into identification with her Irish Catholic origins, and th ...more
Anne Peachey
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
The Cleanskin by Laura Bloom is a well written that ties a haunting past and the uneducated choices a naïve young girl makes, while believing she is making a difference to 'The Troubles' that Ireland is involved in.
These choices come back to haunt her many years later after relocating and changing her name and dropping everything she knows a holds dear. Halley formally Megan has spent many years recreating herself and finds a sort of happiness with her husband and son in a laid back country to
Kerryn Pholi
Oct 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In ‘The Cleanskin’ Laura Bloom skilfully weaves the big concepts - politics, relationships, religion, history, family and sex - into the story of Halley (or Megan, in her former life) a mid-30’s woman eking out a living with her partner, Matt, as a café owner in idyllic northern NSW.

Halley’s secrets have made her an outsider in the relationship between Matt and their son Benny; she feels she is not quite liked and not quite trusted. Bloom’s observations on the nature of secrets and relationship
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
You know sometimes you are browsing in the library and you see a book and you have no idea what its about but you pick it up and put it in your library bag regardless? Well this book? It was one of those moments. In truth though when I did read the full blurb on Goodreads I knew I had to read it because there is no book about the Troubles in Belfast that I can not read, so when I learned there was a lose connection to that it went straight to the top of my TBR.

Halley has moved to Mullimbimby in
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Haley is living in Mullumbimby where she runs a cafe with her partner and his young son but she was once Megan and living with her prosperous Irish Catholic family in Sydney and friends with a charming family with young boys she grew up with. She is now estranged from all of them and when Aidan, the youngest of these young men seeks her out she feels threatened and unsafe.

The book constantly moves from her life as Megan and working through her family's disgrace and growing interest in boys and
Jan 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Second book by an Australian writer. I dislike the title though I understand the reason behind it (person reinvents herself after making bad decisions in her youth). I’m not sure the reasons behind some of the actions were successfully communicated (not to me anyway) but overall I enjoyed the book.
Lisa Kenway
Apr 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Cleanskin was a really enjoyable read, with interesting, well-drawn characters, and a plot that twists and slowly reveals the heart of the tale.

The story opens in Mullumbimby, in northern NSW, a setting very familiar to the author, drawn in gorgeous, flowing prose. The central character, Halley, is complex and flawed, and obviously harbouring a huge secret in her past, which is about to catch up with her and threaten her comfortable existence.

Aidan, an Irishman from her murky past, threaten
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
The cover should have warned me what lay ahead, but the premise of a Northern Ireland Troubles thriller with links to current day Byron Bay sounded intriguing. Halley meets Aidan, who is on a mission for his brother Liam. Halley, it seems, has not always been Halley the Mullumbimby cafe owner and had some involvement with Liam on a paramilitary mission in London some years back...

The novel starts out like a pretty standard romance - Kimberley Brown's Trusting a Stranger comes to mind - as Halley
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
With “The Cleanskin”, Laura Bloom goes back to war; to war and to her fascination with the life-giving power of truth. As in her previous book “In the Mood”, she writes about the domesticity of war and delves into the carnage we bring home, carry within ourselves and pass onto our children, for generations.

In “The Cleanskin”, Bloom writes of the blood and gore of civil wars, of their blurred lines and ugly motivations; of the terrifying cruelty of mobs and of the trauma their acts cause. She wr
Lisa Walker
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing and a tense and complex plot.
Marika Harvey
rated it it was ok
Nov 12, 2016
Tiffany Drew
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Feb 08, 2018
Marilyn Domenech
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Oct 15, 2017
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Sep 02, 2016
Jan Quirk
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May 13, 2019
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Dec 21, 2016
John Davis
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Jun 28, 2017
Eileen W
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May 14, 2018
Andy Johnston
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Dec 14, 2016
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Dec 30, 2016
Glenda Andreassen
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Jun 04, 2018
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Jun 16, 2020
Eamonn McCabe
rated it it was ok
Nov 18, 2016
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Aussie Readers: Win a copy of The Cleanskin by Laura Bloom - ends 23rd Sept 8 15 Sep 25, 2016 07:02AM  

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It’s the people traditionally left out of the frame who interest Laura the most, as well as what happens after what would be the climax in many stories. A couple reuniting after the war, in IN THE MOOD; a woman who has changed her name and started a new life, only to find her old life catching up with her, in THE CLEANSKIN; what happens when you break up with the perfect person, in CHOOSING ZOE.


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