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Archive for the ‘betrayal’ Category

The Disappearance

Author: Annabel Kantaria
Published: 21 April 2016
Reviewed: 4 August 2016
4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Harlequin (UK) Limited, MIRA UK in return for an honest review


Description:

Audrey Templeton wants to spend her 70th birthday with her children on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise. Neither John or Lexi are overjoyed by a week with their widowed, increasingly forgetful mother, but reluctantly agree.


Celebrating at the ship’s famous White Night party, Audrey reveals that although their domineering father left them nothing, when she dies John and Lexi will inherit a life-changing sum. With both children facing financial difficulties, the news is a huge relief.


Then Audrey disappears. The search moves from the ship to the Mediterranean Sea beyond, but there is no trace – she has simply vanished.


As John and Lexi investigate, clues to their mother’s past emerge – a past in India, of scandal and tragedy – hidden until now. Soon they start to wonder if they ever really knew Audrey, and whether they can trust one another… 

My Thoughts & Review: 

The very opening pages of this book immediately grab the reader’s attention, the captain of a cruise ship is calling off the search for a missing passenger who is suspected to have gone overboard.  The passenger in question is Audrey Templeton, celebrating her 70th birthday with her grown up children on a cruise of the Greek Islands.

The author then takes us back to the 1970s where we encounter a much younger Audrey aboard a boat destined for India where her friend Janet lives.  The death of both of her parents in quick succession sees her needing a change in her life, and this seems the obvious one to make.  Her new life in India begins when she meets a dark and mysterious stranger in a coffee bar, there is an attraction there and the pair are married within 6 months, she also becomes mother to her new husband’s twins John and Lexi.  Unfortunately for Audrey, it’s not the Disney fairytale she would have hoped for, a horrific incident brings about their return to London.

Annabel Kantaria continues to weave back and forth between the 1970s and 2013 to tell the tale of Audrey’s life, right up to the point that John wants to put his 69 year old mother into a form of sheltered accommodation.  Without saying anything more through worry of giving too much away,  I will add that Audrey disappears just after telling the twins that they will inherit a fortune……

The plot was easy to follow, the way the story moved back and forth through Audrey‘s life was well written and gave the reader a greater insight into this character and her relationships.  Kantaria has a very enjoyable style of writing, it makes for an easy and enjoyable read, she builds suspense well and ensures that the reader is gripped and interested throughout.  Vivid descriptions of the settings really brought the story to life, as did the wonderful cast of characters.  Audrey in particular is a wonderful character, one that you begin to feel a connection to in her younger years, living in India with a controlling husband and his children that she struggles to connect with.    

Family secrets are always interesting to read about and this is definitely a book that has this in spades!  A compelling and thrilling read.

You can buy a copy of The Disappearance here.   

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Return To Bluebell Hill

Author: Rebecca Pugh
Published: 18 June 2015
Reviewed: 29 June 2015

4 out of 5 Stars

Description:

Home is where the heart is…

Jessica McAdams has never belonged anywhere; never truly felt at home. Of course, what did she expect from parents who never made her feel welcome in her own house? Leaving her life in London to return home to the charming country village of Bluebell Hill is harder than she thought. Especially as she never considered she’d be returning under such heart wrenching circumstances…

Clearing out the stunning and imposing Bluebell House after her parents’ death is difficult for Jessica—they never had the best relationship and now it’s too late. Yet spending time in the house that was never a home, having afternoon tea with dear old friend Esme—and sharing hot, sizzling kisses with delectable gardener Rueben!—opens Jessica’s eyes to the potential of Bluebell House… Could this big old, beautiful manor really be her forever home? Is Bluebell Hill where her heart is, has always been?

Jessica soon dares to dream of her very own home with delicious Rueben by her side. But when a deep, dark secret of Bluebell House is unearthed, Jessica’s world is turned upside down…

Will Jessica ever find where her heart truly lies? 

My Thoughts & Review: 


Return to Bluebell Hill is Rebecca Pugh’s debut novel and having read her second novel I was keen to read this one.  This book has a lovely cosy warmth to it, the sort of book you can curl up on the sofa with or sit in the sun and lose track of time.  
Jessica McAdams returns to her childhood home of Bluebell Hill to attend the funeral of her estranged parents, and is reunited with her old nanny Esme, but whilst the reunion is overshadowed by the tragic death of her parents, Jessica is nonetheless pleased to be back in the embrace of Esme and soon meets Reuben the handsome gardener.  
As Jessica narrates her tale, we discover that her relationship with her parents was a troubled one, feeling they had no time for her or interest in her, Jessica spent most of her young life with nanny Esme, so it was no surprise that once she turned 18 Jessica left Bluebell Hill for London to start a new life.

Despite little blips and breaks in continuity, this was an enjoyable read, a nice break away from the madness of recent days.  Something about this book grabbed my attention when I started reading and held it through to the end.  Covering aspects such as love, betrayal, regret, friendship and forgiveness this book really ticks many boxes for fans of female literary fiction.  Rebecca Pugh writes with striking detail, her vivid descriptions of Bluebell Hill are a thing of beauty.  The setting of the house was so picturesque I could happily sit back and daydream about it and the wonderful gardens.  Even the descriptions of characters were treated to this flowing grandness, you really do feel like you are there in the book seeing the people and the settings.   

Jessica was a likeable character, well fleshed out and interesting.  Some of her motives did seem a little naive at times, but Pugh takes great care to weave in the troubles of Jessica’s past to illustrate that this may be why the character does not form relationships easily etc.  Reuben, well he’s a book all on his own.  Swoon worthy and utterly delectable, he’s the right mix of strong masculine and caring, considerate that we have come to expect from the genre.  He compliments Jessica’s character well, there is a good dynamic between them and it made for enjoyable and interesting reading.  Another character I did especially like what Esme, a sprightly 63 year old who seemed to have endless energy first thing in the morning and was a delightful contract to Jessica.  Her pearls of wisdom more than once gave Jessica pause for thought, but she never interfered.  
I would have liked to have seen the story of Jessica’s parents explored more, their untimely deaths seemed to hang in mid air for me.  I had wondered that if more would be revealed in the story, as was the case with Jessica’s estrangement from her parents and her leaving Bluebell Hill, but I cannot honestly say that I saw any further mention of this.  The strained relationship she also had with her parents would have been something else I would have loved to have seen expanded upon, but again that’s just my personal preference.   
This was an enjoyable read, heart warming with the right mix of sadness and happiness.  A love story with ups, downs and laughter, beautiful descriptiveness, practically idyllic at times.  A quick read, but for me this was an added bonus, I needed something quick to get my mind off the madness of late and this hit the spot perfectly.  
This was Rebecca Pugh’s début novel, and having read A Home In Sunset Bay, I can honestly say that I am a big fan of her books.  I can’t wait for Down On Daffodil Lane to arrive on my Kindle in August.  These books are all standalone books, you do not need to read them in any order, but I would say that after reading Bluebell Hill, Pugh’s writing has evolved and she seems to have found her flair in writing (that’s not to say she didn’t show great talent in the first place, I just believe that she has now found what works well in her novels).  

This is the sort of book you could load on to your Kindle for your summer reading or equally pick up on a rainy afternoon and be lost in the beautiful sunshine and wonderful countryside.  

You can purchase a copy Return to Bluebell Hill here.   

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Watching Edie

Author: Camilla Way
Published: 28 July 2016
Reviewed: 24 June 2016
Copy supplied by Killer Reads at HarperCollins in return for an honest review

4.5 out of 5 stars

Description:

BEFORE
Edie is the friend that Heather has always craved. But one night, it goes terrifyingly wrong. And what started as an innocent friendship ends in two lives being destroyed.

AFTER
Sixteen years later, Edie is still rebuilding her life. But Heather isn’t ready to let her forget so easily. It’s no coincidence that she shows up when Edie needs her most.

NOW
Edie or Heather?
Heather or Edie?

Someone has to pay for what happened, but who will it be?

My Thoughts & Review:

When you read a book in one sitting and cannot bear to put it down you know it’s a good one.  This was a surprise book for me, I had no idea it would come tumbling through the letterbox but I definitely cannot thank the guys at Killer Reads enough for sending a copy through to me.
“The most unsettling psychological thriller you’ll read this year” is quite a high  standard to set but I feel that they are just in doing so.  Not only does this book have a gripping plot, the characters are twisted and flawed, nothing pans out as you’d think it might and there are parts of the book you are literally staring at what you’ve just read in utter disbelief/shock/confusion.  For a book to inspire so many feelings in a reader is brilliance on the part of the author, Camilla Way really has written a blinder of a book here!
   
The alternating narration by 30 something Edie and a teenage Heather adds depth to this story like nothing else.  Seeing the past events that lead to the parting of the ways of the teenage girls through Heather’s eyes adds a youthful naivety to it all, and this I believe is so vital to understanding her much later on.
Edie’s continual allusion to a tragic event gives a little more detail with each mention.  This “something” that occurred changed her life forever, she left her home, her family and tried to make a new life for herself in London and put the past behind her.  When Heather finds her in London, Edie is shocked, she’s anxious but never envisions they will reform a friendship and just how much she will come to rely on Heather.  

Without giving anything away about the past, or the future, I will say that Camilla Way has written a very clever and twisted story.  She evokes emotion from the reader by catapulting them into a maelstrom.  Even the sub plot is fraught with intensity, but I have to add that I really enjoyed reading Edie’s interactions with Monica and her family, it added a little light relief at times.  Monica’s character gave a lovely reminder that not all characters in this book were obsessed, liars or out to betray one another.  

Complex and multi layered, this is a gripping, and all consuming read.  Almost like falling down the rabbit hole with Alice into the dark depths.     
I cannot wait to see what Camilla Way writes next, I really loved her style of writing in this book.  The way she revealed more about the two protagonists had me reeling at times, I found my judgements were rocked by what I learned each time and at one point I was speechless.   

I cannot recommend this book enough, it was brilliant.  Everything a psychological thriller should be and then some!   

You can pre order a copy of Watching Edie here.   

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The Sister

Author: Louise Jensen
Published: 7 July 2016
Reviewed: 17 May 2016
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24


Copy supplied by Bookouture in return for an honest review

  5 out of 5 Stars

 



Description:  


“I did something terrible Grace. I hope you can forgive me …”

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?

You can buy a copy of The Sister here.

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The Artificial Anatomy of Parks

Author : Kat Gordon
Published: 01 July 2015
Reviewed: 13 October 2015
What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

Read more at: http://www.london24.com/entertainment/book_review_what_milo_saw_by_virginia_macgregor_1_3750981
Copyright © LONDON24

Copy kindly supplied by Legend Press in return for an honest review via NetGalley.

 

5 out of 5 stars

At twenty-one, Tallulah Park lives alone in a grimy bedsit. There’s a sink in her bedroom and a strange damp smell that means she wakes up wheezing. Then she gets the call that her father has had a heart attack. Years before, she was being tossed around her difficult family; a world of sniping aunts, precocious cousins, emigrant pianists and lots of gin, all presided over by an unconventional grandmother. But no one was answering Tallie’s questions: why did Aunt Vivienne loathe Tallie’s mother? Why is everyone making excuses for her absent father? Who was Uncle Jack and why would no one talk about him? As Tallie grows up, she learns the hard way about damage and betrayal, that in the end, the worst betrayals are those we inflict on ourselves.
 
This is her story about the journey from love to loss and back again. 
 
Tallie Park gets a call that fills her with dread, her father has had a heart attack and is in hospital, her cousin urges her to go to the hospital to see him, but Tallie’s not sure she can manage that, not after what happened five years ago before she disappeared from her family.  Can she face them all again?  Can she face their questions?  What will happen if her father comes round?  Can she face him?  
Every family has secrets, and when Tallie finds out hers so many things suddenly fall into place, things make sense to her in a way they never had.  She can understand why no one talked about Uncle Jack, and why her father was so detached and absent.  It also explains a lot about certain characters, some of whom are incredibly eccentric because of past events.
The writing style of this novel is fantastic, the insightful switching between past and present provides snippets of information as to why Tallie is so damaged as a young woman, the heartbreak and heartache she has suffered to get her to where she is in life and it more than explains why she had to walk away from everyone and everything she knew five years ago.  Whilst she’s a very vulnerable character, the author has created a strength in her that you cannot fail to be moved by. 
Tallie’s narrative monologues add a depth to this novel that take it to another level, her stubborn streak shines through and despite making some incredibly bad decisions, her reasoning for making them is clear in her thoughts, something the author has done really well in my opinion.  The tension written into family scenes is intense, you really get a sense of how difficult the Park family are together as they snipe at each other, or they rile each other and don’t always agree on things.  
The story interspersed with medical information was incredibly enjoyable to read, it made this novel stand out more for me, I like a book that can teach me something and this one certainly did. 

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys Contemporary Fiction, it also makes a great holiday read.
 

I would like to thank Legend Press for the copy of this book in return for an honest review and if you would like to buy a copy, this book was published on 1st July 2015.  A copy can be purchased here The Artificial Anatomy of Parks (UK Kindle Version)
 

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