Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

You’ve known her your whole life…
Andrea Oliver knows everything about her mother Laura. She knows she’s always lived in the small town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. But she’s hiding something…
Then one day, a trip to the mall explodes into a shocking act of violence and Andy suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. And it could destroy you both…
Hours later, Laura is in hospital, her face splashed over the newspapers. But the danger has only just begun. Now, Andy must go on a desperate race to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past. Unless she can, there may be no future for either of them…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Pieces of Her is only the second book that I have read by Karin Slaughter. Like this, that was a standalone novel. I am aware that she has a huge fan base and after reading this book, which left me at times with my heart racing and had me chewing on my knuckles I know why. And I know I have a huge back catalogue to enjoy.
It took me a while to get used to both of the main characters. Andy has some major issues, I couldn’t tell if it was lack of confidence or depression and at times she really annoyed me. But there was one moment in this book that my opinion changed completely and I was rooting for her. I don’t think I was meant to laugh but I did. I didn’t know what the situation was with Laura, I felt that she was pushing Andy away for her own safety but didn’t know why. The reason I came up with was totally wrong, and the real reason isn’t revealed until much later.
The narrative switches back and forth throughout the entire novel. The chapters are fairly long and the second half of the novel was when I was chewing on my knuckles, anxious to get back to find out more.
I’ve thought for a long time that a female author is better at creating a character that feels really evil. There are two characters in this novel that made me cringe every time they appeared. Karin Slaughter has proved me right in my thinking and has also showed that she is one of the best.

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Bad by Chloé Esposito – Blog Tour Review.

 

 

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About the Book

She stole the life she wanted. Now someone wants to steal it back . . .

Alvie Knightly may be waking up in the Ritz, but her life is no bed of roses.

Firstly, she has the mother of all hangovers.

Secondly, her beautiful, spoiled twin sister Beth has just been found dead in Sicily – and the police want Alvie for questioning.

And thirdly, Alvie’s hot new boyfriend has vanished with every penny of the millions they stole from Beth.

But he picked the wrong girl to mess with.

Alvie will pursue her ex to Rome in a game of cat and mouse that only one of them can survive.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned . . .

But can Alvie get revenge before her crimes catch up with her?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I’m not entirely sure what I have just read. I don’t know whether it is all just a dream that Alvie was having or if it was a warped reality. Whatever it is, it’s the most bonkers book I have read for a long time.
I hadn’t read Mad, book one in the series, but anything I missed was covered in the first few pages. It would probably have helped if I had, then at least I would have been aware of what Alvie was like. Her thought and actions at time were bizarre.
There were times I couldn’t read for laughing, there are images in my head that involve two prominent UK politicians that I really need to ‘unsee’. And some of the scenes that involved Mavis also made me smile.
Alongside our accidental murderess and the chaos that is Alvie’s life is a travelogue. Chloé Espisito shows the beauty of Italy,even if it only its more affluent areas.

The Girl In The Letter by Emily Gunnis – Blog Tour Review.

 

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About the Book

A heartbreaking letter. A girl locked away. A mystery to be solved.

1956. When Ivy Jenkins falls pregnant she is sent in disgrace to St Margaret’s, a dark, brooding house for unmarried mothers. Her baby is adopted against her will. Ivy will never leave.

Present day. Samantha Harper is a journalist desperate for a break. When she stumbles on a letter from the past, the contents shock and move her. The letter is from a young mother, begging to be rescued from St Margaret’s. Before it is too late.
Sam is pulled into the tragic story and discovers a spate of unexplained deaths surrounding the woman and her child. With St Margaret’s set for demolition, Sam has only hours to piece together a sixty-year-old mystery before the truth, which lies disturbingly close to home, is lost for ever…

Read her letter. Remember her story…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Like many people I was aware of places like the Magdalene Laundries and the stories attached to them. I have a vague memory of a similar establishment in the town I grew up in. Hopefully it was nothing like St Margaret’s.
The Girl in the Letter is a heartbreaking fictionalised account of two girls who spent time there in the 1950s. One is Ivy, whose child was taken away from her and the other is Elvira, a child who was returned when an adoption went wrong. Ivy tries her best to look after Elvira. After finding letters from Ivy years later, Sam who is a journalist wants to know more.
The novel goes back and forth in time between 1956 and 2017. Part of Ivy’s tale is told by letters, it is hers that Sam has read. But there are also flashbacks to those connected to the events that happened. The priest, nuns (it’s easy to see why so many people fear them), the doctors, social workers and the girls themselves. What the girls, some as young as fifteen were put through was horrific, the cruelty shown by those who could have done better was devastating.
At times it was difficult to read, seeing the heartbreak of the young mothers had their children taken away for a ‘better life’. Sadly not many did.
Some of the accounts from those connected did show remorse but not enough. Some only thought about how they would look if they were found out. I did work out the connection between the 1950s and 2017, I don’t think it was a secret but I found it fascinating how close-knit it was. I ached for some happiness, and the relationship between Nana, Sam and Emma provided some. It showed how a family could be without interference from others. It also showed how many lives were ruined due to those who feel the need to judge.
Even though this is fiction the reader is aware that these events and worse did happen. It made me wonder if those who were responsible did show remorse and how many lives were ruined because of their actions.
A novel that is full of bitterness, fear and regret but also one that gave hope for better understanding and a willingness to talk and show love.

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Do No Harm by Lucy V Hay – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…
Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…
Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Do No Harm is the follow-up novel to the excellent The Other Twin and is one of the more malevolent novels I have read. From the opening chapters you could see the venomous thoughts and the wish that the marriage between Lily and Sebastian would fail.
The narrative comes from Lily, Sebastian, and an unknown narrator. You read about how happy Lily is to get away from her controlling ex husband Maxwell, how Sebastian wants to do the best he can for Lily and her son Denny, and how all the unknown narrator wants is for the marriage to fail. I changed my mind constantly about who this person could be. The only two I didn’t suspect were Lily, because it was so evident that it couldn’t be her, and Denny because he was only six years old. These two were also the most likeable in the novel.
At times I found it very unsettling, more so at the beginning when the unexplained events were less life threatening and more mind games. The acts that involved Denny left me feeling tense. Anybody who could manipulate a situation that could cause anxiety to a six year old child must have no remorse or compassion.
I did eventually realise who was responsible quite late on in the novel, I have to admit I was convinced it was somebody else. Obviously I can’t say who.
A brilliant, even though disturbing novel that I recommend highly.

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The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Canada, present day

When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.

Norfolk, 1940

Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

But the tragedy of war brings heartbreaking choices. And a promise made between the two women will echo down the years, and could change everything for Martha…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Lost Letters is a dual time line novel that mainly takes place in 1940s London and Norfolk in the 1940s and modern-day.
Martha has arrived in Norfolk to try to find out more about her recently deceased father. She is a lonely figure, missing her father, divorced with a daughter who is at university in Cambridge and who has no time to talk to her and a sister who she has a slightly strange relationship with.
Sylvie in the 1940s has a different lifestyle in some ways. She has wonderful friends in Connie and Elsie but her marriage is a lonely one at times and a relationship from when she was younger causes problems for her. I loved seeing her friendship with both Connie and Elsie grow into something special.
It is a slightly slow novel to begin with, not a bad thing, these characters take a while to get to know. Usually in a dual time line novel I prefer one to the other but here I liked both equally. The 1940s felt like the author had personal knowledge, from family stories passed down, or had done a lot of research into local history. I felt that one part in particular, from early on in the war was a true event.
I became more intrigued in the modern-day story as the novel progressed and the knowledge about what happened increased. The final quarter of the novel was at times emotional to read. I can’t imagine what families went through, having to say goodbye and not knowing what the future may bring. I knew about children being evacuated but had no idea that they went so far away from home.
A lovely emotional novel from an author I would happily read again.

The Lost Letters - Blog Tour