The Hidden Palace by Dinah Jefferies – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

An island of secrets. A runaway. And a promise…

A rebellious daughter
1925. Among the ancient honey-coloured walls of the tiny island of Malta, strangers slip into the shadows and anyone can buy a new name. Rosalie Delacroix flees Paris for a dancer’s job in the bohemian clubs deep in its winding streets.

A sister with a secret
1944. Running from the brutality of war in France, Florence Baudin faces a new life. But her estranged mother makes a desperate request: to find her vanished sister, who went missing years before.

A rift over generations
Betrayals and secrets, lies and silence hang between the sisters. A faded last letter from Rosalie is Florence’s only clue, the war an immovable barrier – and time is running out…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I hadn’t realised when I started this book that it was the second part of a trilogy but I had no problem reading it as a standalone novel. There are references to earlier events but very few of them were relevant to the storyline.

Two separate timelines in three different countries. France in the 1920s, Britain in the 1940s and Malta covering both periods. It was the Maltese storyline that captivated me, I have visited both Valletta and Mdina and could identify many of the places mentioned. But it wasn’t just being familiar with the location it was Rosalie’s story. Her excitement at doing what she loved, the people she met and her guilt and regret at the way she left her family and homeland.

Florence was similar in many ways. Living in Devon, separated from her sisters and a difficult relationship with her mother, Rosalie’s sister. It did take me slightly longer to get to know her, maybe because of the novel I hadn’t read. But as she settled into her new life in Devon and decided to try and find Rosalie I enjoyed her storyline more.

This was a novel that showed the hardship experienced by many towards the latter end of WW2. The fear of bombing was one I had read before, the fear of running out of food wasn’t. The excitement when the war was over but being able to see how difficult it still was after with regards to travel and rebuilding lives. The entertainment offered, some of it innocent, some a little more dubious. It all felt real. 

This was the first book I had read by this author, I will definitely read more.

The Killing Kind by Jane Casey – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Ingrid will never forget what John did.
The people he hurt. The way he lied about it so easily. The way she defended him.

Now he’s back.
He says a murderer is after her. He says only he can protect her.

Would you trust him?
The clock is ticking for Ingrid to decide. Because the killer is ready to strike…

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I always enjoy a novel which is full of danger and guilt and where the lead character doesn’t know who she can turn to. Ingrid was a character who had to face all of these things and none of them seemed to diminish as the novel progressed. Instead they increased and I had no idea who was behind the threat to her life.

Ingrid came across as a loner. Dedicated to her job but that dedication had an impact on her personal life. She lost her partner, and her freedom due to a stalker who she successfully defended in a trial a few years earlier. That stalker, John Webster, was a character who featured heavily in this book. He was one of the most intimidating I have come across and he made me feel increasingly unsettled with every appearance.

But his wasn’t the only old case that caused Ingrid problems and what the author does brilliantly is show how barristers and the law have to defend the accused despite their doubts. That everyone is entitled to a defence despite the trauma it could cause to witnesses, victims and also the accused. And despite their personal feelings that the accused should be convicted for their misdeeds and their guilt at putting potential witnesses under pressure. 

Whilst Ingrid was forced to rely on Webster for advice and support she was also conducting her own investigation. I had a lot of admiration for her bravery, her loyalty and her stubbornness in refusing to back down. It is difficult to say more for fear of spoilers but I really enjoyed this novel and I’m determined to catch up with her previous books.

Dead To Her by Sarah Pinborough – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Something old…

When Marcie met Jason Maddox, she couldn’t believe her luck. Becoming Jason’s second wife catapulted her into the elite world of high society. But underneath the polite, old money manners, she knows she’ll always be an outsider, and her hard-won life hangs by a thread.
 

Something new…

Then Jason’s widowed boss brings back a new wife from his trip to London. Young, beautiful, reckless – nobody can take their eyes off Keisha. Including Jason.
 

Something you can never, ever undo…

Marcie refuses to be replaced so easily. People would kill for her life of luxury. What will Marcie do to keep it?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I had read books by Sarah Pinborough before so knew I’d be reading something clever and slightly different. But this book is more than that, I have rarely cringed at so many repulsive characters. There are many phrases used throughout the novel but if I just select a few you will get the general idea. Entitled, judgemental, devious and atrocious. And these were people who were thought by many to be the great and good.

This book is about wealth, power, greed and obsession. There was only character in the novel, amongst the ‘great and the good’ who seemed to be genuine. I won’t say who, will leave it to your own judgement, it did take me a while to find them. 

I did have some sympathy for Keisha, she was upfront from the start about what she wanted but she was completely out of her depth with the people she was up against. I really appreciated how she was manipulated by her fear of voodoo and her past. I found the voodoo part of the story to be quite creepy and intimidating. 

There are not many characters in the novel and I had a very clear vision of what they were like. Greedy, spiteful and dangerous with their power. It showed a completely different life to what most have. My jaw dropped at one point, when a large sum of money was described as not very much. 

Many years ago I enjoyed watching American TV shows such as Dallas and Dynasty. If you watched them you would appreciate how the characters in this book made me remember those shows and laugh. 

The Silent Wife by Karin Slaughter – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

He watches.

A woman runs alone in the woods. She convinces herself she has no reason to be afraid, but she’s wrong. A predator is stalking the women of Grant County. He lingers in the shadows, until the time is just right to snatch his victim.

He waits.

A decade later, the case has been closed. The killer is behind bars. But then another young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead, and the MO is identical.

He takes.

Although the original trail has gone cold – memories have faded, witnesses have disappeared – agent Will Trent and forensic pathologist Sara Linton must re-open the cold case. But the clock is ticking, and the killer is determined to find his perfect silent wife….

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Silent Wife is only the second book that I have read that features the amazing set of characters that came from two series of books. Even though I had no problems following the storyline I did prefer the the one that featured Sara with Will rather than the one that features her with Jeffery. Although I accept that this could be with not knowing anything about their relationship. 

The cold cases they are investigating after the information they have been given by the man who is serving time for them are brutal. Much of the detail comes from the forensic examinations but when you read about what the survivors are going through years later you can clearly see the trauma they have experienced. And the different ways in which they cope.

Some of the characters who feature in this book were Jeffrey’s colleagues at the time the crimes they were committed. One of these in particular I detested with a passion, even after reading their back story via google I still had little sympathy. There are not many, out of all the books I have read, who I disliked as much. Happily, there was another who I adored and I could read an entire series featuring her alone. That character was Faith I found her to be honest, cynical, funny and loyal. And I had a feeling she felt exactly the same about the character I disliked.

I really need to catch up on Karin Slaughter’s books, whilst I haven’t read that many I do enjoy them. 

The Guest List by Lucy Foley – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

On an island off the windswept Irish coast, guests gather for the wedding of the year – the marriage of Jules Keegan and Will Slater.
 
Old friends.
Past grudges.
 
Happy families.
Hidden jealousies.
 
Thirteen guests.
One body.
 
The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped.

All have a secret. All have a motive.
One guest won’t leave this wedding alive . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Guest List was a book that once I started I struggled to put down. Because the chapters are very short and each one features a different character I was always encouraged to read a little longer. 

The multiple narrators include the bride, bridesmaid, plus- one, wedding planner, best man and groom. A couple of these I had sympathy for immediately,  a few others I had to get to know more and a few I didn’t like at all. I can’t name any, for much of this novel you don’t know who the victim or the killer is. All I can say is it was a bit of a surprise for both. 

There are also the characters who you don’t get to know that well but learn enough just from their brief appearances. There were a few times when I felt outrage at the behaviour of the ushers and other guests. 

There is almost a Christie feel to this novel. The way that all that events from the past are revealed, and how those connected feel about it. The bleak setting, with the ancient burial site, peat bogs and the threat from the sea. The feeling that Aiofe, the wedding planner, has that she would always be an outsider and never fully accepted by the locals.

I read most of this novel in one day, hooked on the storyline and wondering who would die. When it was revealed I had to cover the page so I wouldn’t accidentally see who it was. And the way the killer was revealed was wonderful, various accounts of lights failing had me sitting on the edge of my seat. 

This is a novel that will hook many, a brilliant read that is perfect for a day when bad weather stops you from leaving the house.