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Posts Tagged ‘Hodder & Stoughton’

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Author: Jodi Picoult

Published: 22 November 2016
Reviewed: 23 November 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Hodder and Stoughton in return for an honest review

 

Description:

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.

What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.

It is about opening your eyes.

My Thoughts & Review:

Initially when I first heard about this book it had no note of the author or the title, it was titled “Can you #ReadWithoutPrejudice?” and the description was as equally ambiguous….

There are two points in life when we are all equal: at the moment of birth and at the moment of death. It is how we live in between that defines us.
Delicately balanced.
Perfectly crafted.
Beautifully written.
We want you to immerse yourself in this dazzling novel, free from any preconceptions that a cover, title or author can bring.
We ask you simply to #readwithoutprejudice.

A clever way to market the book to early readers, instantly the reader is intrigued and wondering what the significance of the vague title and description are, why the cover is black and white and most importantly, why there is the need to #readwithoutprejudice.

It turns out that Small Great Things is the title of this book and the story follows Ruth who is a well respected and much liked midwife.  But one day, a couple in the hospital forbid Ruth to touch their child, they are white supremacists and Ruth is black.  Unfortunately the baby is in severe distress and Ruth cannot ignore her training or her instincts, doing the right thing would risk everything, but to ignore the child would be doing the wrong thing.  The baby dies and Ruth is held accountable.  The family blame her, the hospital fearing repercussions cut all ties with Ruth, offering no support and leaving her jobless.
Aid comes in the form of a public defender, Kennedy takes on Ruth’s case.

Certain aspects of this story were dumbfounding to read, the depths of the racism and the white supremacy in this were very hard to read, and even more shocking was the willingness of the hospital to accept this.  This definitely falls into the category of heart wrenching reads that audiences have come to know and love from Picoult.  Very powerful stuff, it gives the reader pause to consider how far society has come, but also to make the reader realise that there is still a long way to go when it comes to racial prejudice.

The writing itself is good, Picoult has done some impressive research that flows through the narrative.  This is a book that will stay with you days, if not weeks after you’ve read it.

You can pre order a copy of Small Great Things here.

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Author: Katie Marsh

Published: 14 July 2016
Reviewed: 9 September 2016

4 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Hodder and Stoughton in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Can you ever outrun the past?

It’s Zoe’s wedding day. She’s about to marry Jamie, the love of her life. Then a phone call comes out of the blue, with the news that her mum Gina has been arrested. Zoe must make an impossible decision: should she leave her own wedding to help?

Zoe hasn’t seen Gina for years, blaming her for the secret that she’s been running from ever since she was sixteen. Now, Gina is back in her life, but she’s very different to the mum Zoe remembers. Slowly but surely, Gina is losing her memory.

As she struggles to cope with Gina’s illness, can Zoe face up to the terrible events of years ago and find her way back to the people she loves?

A Life Without You is a stirring and poignant novel about the power of the past – and the possibilities of the future.

My Thoughts & Review:

A Life Without You is the second novel written by Marsh and is just as wonderful as her début My Everything.
It is a book with two stories in one in a way, we have the story of Zoe preparing to marry the love of her life and what happens next but also the story of Zoe’s life retold through letters written by her mother Gina over the years.

The unexpected phone call on the morning of her wedding forces Zoe to make a life changing decision, she either marries her soul mate or rushes to the police station to help her mother who has been arrested for shoplifting.
The odd thing is that Zoe and her mother have been estranged for the past 10 years, in fact her mother didn’t even get an invite for the wedding but nevertheless Zoe makes the decision to go to her mother.  Once there, she softens slightly when she realises something is not right with Gina, but she cannot forget the past either.
When Gina is diagnosed with early onset dementia, she moves in with Zoe, thus ensuring when she begins to decline that she is safe and that Zoe can support her.

It’s quite hard to review this without spoilers, there are so many moments I would love to share but no, this is a book you really need to read.  At it’s very core it’s about love, hope, forgiveness and family.

Written with great sensitivity, Marsh recounts the struggles families face when a loved one is diagnosed with an illness such as dementia, but all the while does not shy away from the harsh realities of it which makes this a very moving story to read.  I definitely felt some of heartache that Zoe encountered, and reading some passages I had a lump in my throat and found I was blinking to hold back tears but similarly, there are wonderful parts that make you laugh heartily.

An evocative story of hope and sadness, it gives the reader pause to consider what really matters.  It’s hard not to be affected by emotion when reading this, and quite honestly it made want to give my mum a phone just to remind her that I love her and appreciate her.

You can buy a copy of A Life Without You here.

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Author: Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Published: 22 October 2015
Reviewed: 7 September 2016

3.5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Hodder and Stoughton in return for an honest review

 

Description:

The light spilling in from the corridor would have to do. Though weak, it was sufficient to show Aldís a boy sitting in the gloom at the furthest table. He had his back to her, so she couldn’t see who it was, but could tell that he was one of the youngest. A chill ran down her spine when he spoke again, without turning, as if he had eyes in the back of his head. ‘Go away. Leave me alone.’

‘Come on. You shouldn’t be here.’ Aldís spoke gently, fairly sure now that the boy must be delirious. Confused, rather than dangerous.

He turned, slowly and deliberately, and she glimpsed black eyes in a pale face. ‘I wasn’t talking to you.’

Aldis is working in a juvenile detention centre in rural Iceland. She witnesses something deeply disturbing in the middle of the night; soon afterwards, two of the boys at the centre are dead.

Decades later, single father Odinn is looking into alleged abuse at the centre following the unexplained death of the colleague who was previously running the investigation. The more he finds out, though, the more it seems the odd events of the 1970s are linked to the accident that killed his ex-wife. Was her death something more sinister?

My Thoughts & Review:

The Undesired is the first book by this author that I have read, I went in to it not knowing what to expect.

The story in this book begins with an ending of sorts, a man and his young daughter are trapped in a car slowly asphyxiating.  By doing this, the author has ensured that the audience are captive, instantly hooked by wondering who these people are, why there are there, what has lead to this monumental moment.  There are two strands of story in this book, the first following Odinn and the second following Aldis.

Following the death of his ex-wife, Odinn, now a single parent grapples with raising his daughter alone.  She is traumatised by the death of her mother and he struggles to support her.    Was her death accidental?  Why is she haunting Odinn and his daughter?
This is not all that Odinn has to contend with, he has taken over  investigations at work into alleged abuse at a care home for male young offenders, a home that shut down in the 1970s but certain questions remain unanswered.

Back in 1974 Aldi was a cleaner at the care home for the delinquent boys, she provides an eyewitness account of the happenings at the home.   Her relationship with one of the older boys and the the owner’s of the home having deep secrets really add an extra layer to the back story.
Weaving together Odinn’s investigation and the lead up to the closure of the home following the death of two boys, the author provides answers for the questions the reader has from the beginning of the book.

Characterisation is great, the details about the home feel authentic .  The plot is intriguing,  but I wonder if it might work better if billed as a psychological thriller as opposed to horror which the blurb implies.  Overall a good read, but I just felt that the “spooky” aspects took something away from the story.

You can buy a copy of The Undesired here.

 

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