Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin -Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

It’s 1952 and Soviet troops control British streets after winning the Second World War. 

After the disastrous failure of D-Day, Britain is occupied by Nazi Germany, and only rescued by Russian soldiers arriving from the east and Americans from the west. The two superpowers divide the nation between them, a wall running through London like a scar. 

On the Soviet side of the wall, Jane Cawson calls into her husband’s medical practice, hoping to surprise him. But instead she detects the perfume worn by his former wife, Lorelei, star of propaganda films for the new Marxist regime. 

Jane rushes to confront them, but soon finds herself caught up in the glamorous actress’s death.

Her husband Nick is arrested for murder. Desperate to clear his name, Jane must risk the attention of the brutal secret police as she follows a trail of corruption right to the highest levels of the state. 

And she might find she never really knew her husband at all

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have read alternate historical fiction before but never one as convincing or a fascinating as this. It takes place in London in 1952. It isn’t the London that I normally read about, there is a wall through the middle that separates the Soviet side from the rest of England. I spent some time looking at the map, comparing it to the London that I am aware of. The Royal family and Churchill are in the North. Jane lives on the Soviet side with her doctor husband Nick. 

When Nick’s first wife, Lorelei, is found dead and Nick is arrested Jane is determined to help. But fear of the security services, his unfriendly secretary and a feeling of being spied on by neighbours makes it very difficult. Whilst she doesn’t give up, she also finds out more than she thought she would. Things that suggest she has never really known him.

The murder investigation is an interesting one and even though  I really wanted to know if Nick was guilty or innocent, the more captivating part of the novel for me was how people had to live their lives. How propaganda was used, how people were judged by which radios stations they listened to and the fact that they could be reported for listening to the wrong one. The rations, the teddy boys, a feeling of not being able to trust anybody, National Security, and most of all the fear of anyone with power. 

The Garden of Lost And Found by Harriet Evans – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Nightingale House, 1919. Liddy Horner discovers her husband, the world-famous artist Sir Edward Horner, burning his best-known painting The Garden of Lost and Found days before his sudden death. 

Nightingale House was the Horner family’s beloved home – a gem of design created to inspire happiness – and it was here Ned painted TheGarden of Lost and Found, capturing his children on a perfect day, playing in the rambling Eden he and Liddy made for them.

One magical moment. Before it all came tumbling down…

When Ned and Liddy’s great-granddaughter Juliet is sent the key to Nightingale House, she opens the door onto a forgotten world. The house holds its mysteries close but she is in search of answers. For who would choose to destroy what they love most? Whether Ned’s masterpiece – or, in Juliet’s case, her own children’s happiness.

Something shattered this corner of paradise. But what?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I had only read one book by Harriet Evans before, that book was published over a few months. I am so pleased that I didn’t read this the same way. For no other reason than each time the book switched from modern day to Liddy’s life around the beginning of the 20th century, or vice versa, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. 

The characters are mesmerising, the way that the children in each part differed so much. The children who answered their mother back in modern day wouldn’t have dared do the same to their tyrant of a nurse in the 1890s. The friendships and love affairs, the secrets, the hopes and disappointments. And the way that attitudes change, how the unacceptable became understood. 

For much of the novel I preferred Juliet’s story. Her determination to leave her obnoxious husband and move to the house she visited as a child. Her frustration at not being able to keep her children happy and her wonderful relationship with Frederic and George. 

But as the story progressed I wanted to know more about Liddy. How she lived her life, in fear of the past and her devotion to Ned and her children. Pertwee, her brother, badly damaged, but still wanting to help in the end, and Mary, her sister who only ever wanted to protect her. Mary was my favourite character in the novel. Brave, devoted, and a suffragist

When this type of fiction is done well it is a favourite for me. This book doesn’t disappoint, it is remarkable and it was one I struggled to put down.

My Sister’s Lies by S. D. Robertson – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

For a decade, Hannah’s life has been pretty close to perfect – she has a great job, she’s married to Mark, and her child-free existence means she’s free as a bird. The only sadness in her life is a fall-out with her sister Diane, who hasn’t spoken to her in over ten years. But now Diane is on her doorstep – and this time, she’s got her teenage daughter Mia in tow.

When Diane asks if Mia can stay with Hannah and Mark for a few days, Hannah is glad of the chance to get to know her niece. But as the days turn into weeks and Diane doesn’t return, Hannah begins to worry. Why hasn’t her sister been in touch?

Diane is carrying a devastating secret that will destroy Hannah’s carefully constructed life. But how much is she willing to reveal – and when will she pick her moment?

An emotional story that delves into the true meaning of family, sisterhood and secrets. Perfect for fans of Kerry Fisher and Adele Parks.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Hannah and Mark have a happy but childless marriage when Diane, Hannah’s estranged sister turns up on the doorstep asking them to look after Mia, their niece, for a short time. She doesn’t explain why, only that she has something to take care of. But Diane isn’t being entirely honest and you know that her actions are going to have a devastating affect on the family.

The author does a convincing job of creating three voices, I could appreciate Hannah’s attempts to make Mia more comfortable and not let her annoyance with Diane dominate, Mark’s guilt over the past, and Mia’s confusion over her mother leaving her with relatives she couldn’t remember.

The story takes place in Manchester, I always enjoy reading a novel about somewhere I know so could appreciate the references to the Central Library, the museums and the parks. I enjoyed seeing Hannah start on her second novel, whilst enjoying the build up to the publication of her first.

But most of all I enjoyed reading about how the relationship between Hannah and Diane turned sour and how Hannah, despite everything,  managed to make life more bearable for Mia. 



The Island by Ragnar Jónasson Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Four friends visit the island. 

But only three return . . . 

Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdóttir is sent to the isolated island of Elliðaey to investigate and soon finds haunting similarities with a previous case – a young woman found murdered ten years ago in the equally desolate Westfjords. 

Is there a patient killer stalking these barren outposts? 

As Hulda navigates a sinister game constructed of smoke and mirrors she is convinced that no one is telling the truth, including those closest to her. 

But who will crack first? And what secrets is the island hiding? 

Haunting, suspenseful and as chilling as an Icelandic winter, The Island follows one woman’s journey to find the truth hidden in the darkest shadows, and shine a light on her own dark past.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Island is the first book I have read in this series. I had wanted to read book one first but never had the time. 

It is a three book series and unusually they go back in time rather than forward. In book one Hulda is close to retirement, and her involvement in this book is 15 years earlier, just before she turns 50.  This book is set firstly in 1987, Hulda becomes involved in 1997 and there are suspicious deaths in each.

The book starts with a slightly creepy opening chapter. It was one where I couldn’t really work out why it unsettled me or who it concerned. I spent much of the novel trying to work out who the child was, and her connection to the main storyline. It was revealed towards the end and was more upsetting than I thought it would be. 

The group of friends are all connected to both deaths and I didn’t have a clue who was responsible. Hulda is convinced that what happened in 1987 wasn’t as straightforward as it seems. It is evident that she wasn’t a person to accept everything she is told, and had  always had her suspicions about one of the people concerned. And she wasn’t prepared to stay quiet.

It isn’t just the investigation that makes this novel so good to read. There is Hulda, the tragic events that destroyed her family and her attempts to trace her father. There is the Icelandic countryside that sounds fascinating and is somewhere I would love to visit. And there are the events from history that are mentioned briefly, execution for witchcraft. 



Twisted by Steve Cavanagh – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

BEFORE YOU READ THIS BOOK
I WANT YOU TO KNOW THREE THINGS:

1. The police are looking to charge me with murder.
2. No one knows who I am. Or how I did it.
3. If you think you’ve found me. I’m coming for you next.

After you’ve read this book, you’ll know: the truth is far more twisted…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I had read some of the Eddie Flynn series by this author and was looking forward to reading this stand-alone novel. I was amused to see Eddie mentioned, if only briefly.

There has been a lot of chat recently about publishers who constantly use the phrase ‘you won’t see the twist coming’ and more often than not the reader does. Or spends that much time anticipating it they stop enjoying the novel. Steve Cavanagh has used this and more to write a cracking novel that has so many twists I lost count. I’m not going to say if I spotted them or if they worked, it didn’t matter. This book is great entertainment.

It is difficult to review without discussing the characters or the plot because of the twists. But I can say that the female characters in particular are very strong, especially Deputy Bloch who was probably my favourite. She was an officer who could see things that many others would miss and knew immediately that what they had been told by Maria wasn’t strictly accurate. 

It is very different to the series, this is more black comedy, at times it was similar to Fargo. There is violence but most of what you read about concerns what each of the characters are planning. Some want revenge and the money. The police just want answers.