The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen – Extract – Blog Tour.

Today I am sharing an extract with you. The Lost Letters of William Woolf is a book that I have been trying to read for a few months. I hope to read it soon.

About The Book

My Great Love…’

William Woolf is a letter detective at the Dead Letters Depot, where he spends his days reuniting lost mail with its intended recipient.

But when he discovers a series of letters addressed simply to ‘My Great Love’ everything changes.

Written by a woman to a soulmate she hasn’t yet met, her heartfelt words stir William in ways he has long forgotten.

Could they be destined for him? And what would that mean for his own troubled marriage?

William must follow the clues in the letters to solve his most important mystery yet: his own heart. 

Extract

Lost letters have only one hope for survival. If they are caught between two worlds, with an unclear destination and no address of sender, the lucky ones are redirected to the Dead Letters Depot in East London for a final chance of redemption. Inside the damp-rising walls of a converted tea factory, letter detectives spend their days solving mysteries. Missing postcodes, illegible handwriting, rain-smudged ink, lost address labels, torn packages, forgotten street names: they are all culprits in the occurrence of missed birthdays, unknown test results, bruised hearts, unaccepted invitations, silenced confessions, unpaid bills and unanswered prayers. instead of longed for missives, disappointment floods postboxes from Land’s End to Dunnet Head. Hope fades a little more every day, when door bells don’t chime and doormats don’t thud.

William Woolf had worked as a letter detective for eleven years. He was one of an army of thirty, having inherited his position from his beloved uncle, Archie. Almost every Friday throughout William’s childhood, Archie, clad in a lime-green leather jacket, rode his yellow Honda Dream 305 over for tea, eager to share fish and chips doused in salt and vinegar served with a garlic dip, and tales of the treasures rescued that day.

Listening to Archie opened William’s mind to the myriad extraordinary stories that were unfolding every day in the lives of ordinary people. In a blue -lined copy book, he wrote his favourites and unwittingly began what would become a lifelong obsession with storytelling, domestic mysteries and the secrets strangers nurse. What surprised William most when he started working there himself was how little Archie had exaggerated. People send the strangest paraphernalia through the post: incomprehensible and indefensible, sentimental and valuable, erotic and bizarre, alive and expired. In fact, it was the dead animals that so frequently found their way to this inner sanctum of the postal system that had inspired the Dead Letters Depot’s name. A photo taken in 1937, the year it had opened, showed the original postmaster, Mr Frank Oliphant, holding a pheasant and hare aloft, with three rabbits stretched out on the table before him. By the time William joined in 1979, it was a much more irregular occurrence, of course, but the name still endured. He still felt Archie’s presence amid the exposed red brick walls of the depot, and some of the older detectives sometimes called William by his uncle’s name. Their physical similarities were striking: muddy brown curls, chestnut beards flecked with rust, the almond shaped hazel eyes that flickered between shades of emerald green and cocoa, the bump in the nose of all Woolf men.




The Evidence Against You by Gillian McAllister – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

It’s the day Izzy’s father will be released from jail. 

She has every reason to feel conflicted – he’s the man who gave her a childhood filled with happy memories. 

But he has also just served seventeen years for the murder of her mother.

Now, Izzy’s father sends her a letter. He wants to talk, to defend himself against each piece of evidence from his trial. 

But should she give him the benefit of the doubt? 

Or is her father guilty as charged, and luring her into a trap?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. This crime novel is slightly different to the other books I have read before because the murder investigation concerned is an old one. Time has been served for the murder of Izzy’s mother. The person who served the sentence was her father and he has just been released from prison, determined to have contact with Izzy.

Izzy has moved on with her life despite missing having any loving family connection. Somehow the connection with her husband’s ‘Instagram family’ doesn’t compensate for what she has missed out on. She loves her husband, hates her job and doesn’t know if she can trust her father.

Most of the novel is set in modern day but there are occasional flashbacks to Izzy’s teenage years, mainly concerning the few days before her mother was murdered. But you also get to see her dreams of going to ballet school and her relationship with her first boyfriend. You also see the way that her interpretation of her parents relationship and how it differs from her father’s. These accounts were increasingly fascinating, especially when Izzy finds documents that suggest she may not have been fully aware of what was happening.

I did work out who killed Alex before Izzy did but the way it was revealed left me hanging on to see if I was correct. The explanation was different to what I imagined but it did work. And how it was handled left me a little emotional. Izzy trying to find out who was responsible wasn’t what I liked most about this novel, it was the character and relationship changes that I was more interested in. It was this part I will be thinking about for the next few days.


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 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. 



A Gift For Dying by M. J. Arlidge – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

With just one look, she knows how and when you will die . . . 

Nothing surprises Adam Brandt anymore. As a forensic psychologist, he’s seen and heard everything. 

That is, until he meets Kassie. 

Because she claims to have a terrible gift – with one look into your eyes, she can see when and how you will die.

Adam doesn’t believe her, obviously. 

But then a serial killer starts wreaking havoc across the city, and only Kassie seems to know where he’ll strike next.

Against all his intuition, Adam starts to believe her. 

He just doesn’t realise how dangerous this trust might be . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I had never read anything by this author before but was aware of the successful Helen Grace series so I jumped at the chance to read this new standalone novel.

Kassie is a loner. She has a difficult relationship with her mother, few friends, is rarely at school and she dabbles in drugs. She only has one person who understands her and she can’t help her due to her age and health. She is a person who if it was real life I would go out of may way to avoid. But she has a gift that nobody else would wish for and because of this gift I had a lot of sympathy for her. Both Adam and Gabrielle tried to help and gain insight from her but understandably struggled. Especially Adam who suffered terribly due to getting involved. Strangely, both of these two I didn’t have much liking for.

The murders committed are extremely violent, I can’t think of any that are as violent as the ones that take place in this novel. The details about the remains were similar to others but the actual act of murder made me happy that I read during the day. I did have my suspicions about the who the killer was and why they chose their victims but I was wrong in every way.

My favourite character was one who featured briefly, Kassie’s grandmother. When Kassie described something that occurred during her grandmother’s childhood that affected her for the rest of her life, it was the most chilling part of the novel. She also showed that nobody could understand Kassie better than her.