The Secrets Of The Lake by Liz Trenow – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The war may be over, but for Molly life is still in turmoil. Uprooted from London after the death of her mother, Molly, her father and younger brother Jimmy are starting again in a quiet village in the countryside of Colchester. As summer sets in, the heat is almost as oppressive as the village gossip. Molly dreams of becoming a journalist, finding a voice in the world, but most of the time must act as Jimmy’s carer. At just ten years old he is Molly’s shadow, following her around the village as she falls under the spell of local boy Kit. Kit is clever, funny and a natural-born rebel. Rowing on the waters of the lake with him becomes Molly’s escape from domestic duty. But there is something Kit is not telling Molly.

As the village gossip starts building up with whispers against Molly’s father over missing church funds, everything Molly thought she knew is turned upside down. And on one stormy night, when she sneaks out of the house to try to put things right, Jimmy vanishes. Never to be seen again.

Decades later, Molly is an elderly woman in sheltered housing, still haunted by the disappearance of her brother. When two police officers arrive to say that the remains of a body have been found at the bottom of the lake, it seems like Molly will at long last have her answer . . .

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have never read a book by Liz Trenow before so was unprepared for how captivating her writing was. I do enjoy historical fiction and found when reading this that I was experiencing real life in 1940s rural England. It felt very authentic. A very small part of it took place in modern day and whilst interesting it was younger Molly’s story I enjoyed the most.

Molly has moved with her father and younger brother to the country, her father is the new vicar, her mother dead and she has to spend much of her time looking after her younger brother who had disabilities. As you would expect she often resented being his carer but was devoted to him and wanted him to settle in and be happy in his new life. I loved everything about Molly, her devotion to her family, her friendship towards Eli, her crush on Kit, her first book, which the reader could read within the novel, and her refusal to feel intimidated by Blackmore. It was a shame that there wasn’t more who were willing to stand up to the man, I found him despicable.

Alongside the main storyline, which is difficult to say much about because of spoilers there was also one which showed Molly’s increasing passion for wildlife and nature. Something which she never had the opportunity to experience when living in London. Sadly, many areas like this have been lost to property development, just like in the novel.

I loved this novel, it portrayed a wonderful example of a family struggling with grief caused by family loss and also what life must have been like for many after their experiences during the war.

The Street Orphans by Mary Wood – Blog Tour Review.



About the Book

Born with a club foot in a remote village in the Pennines, Ruth is feared and ridiculed by her superstitious neighbours who see her affliction as a sign of witchcraft. When her father is killed in an accident and her family evicted from their cottage, she hopes to leave her old life behind, to start afresh in the Blackburn cotton mills. But tragedy strikes once again, setting in motion a chain of events that will unravel her family’s lives.

Their fate is in the hands of the Earl of Harrogate, and his betrothed, Lady Katrina. But more sinister is the scheming Marcia, Lady Katrina’s jealous sister. Impossible dreams beset Ruth from the moment she meets the Earl. Dreams that lead her to hope that he will save her from the terrible fate that awaits those accused of witchcraft. Dreams that one day her destiny and the Earl’s will be entwined.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.The Street Orphans is the first book that I have read by Mary Wood. It is not my usual genre, but one I dip into when I need something different to read to crime fiction. I chose to read this because it takes place near to where I live and the storylines concerning the cotton mills and particularly witchcraft is what I grew up with.
It takes place in the 1850s, roughly 230 years after the Pendle Witch trials but superstition and fear will always be present in some parts of the world. I sometimes think that in the area surrounding Pendle there will still be areas now that have the same fears that the people who tormented Ruth had.
It was the storyline that concerned Ruth and her family that I liked the most. The fear of poverty and the workhouse, the stigma of having a club foot and family loss was never far away. There was similar in the storyline concerning Katrina and Frederick but it was much harder to have any sympathy for them. I did quite like both of them but their families and friends were very unpleasant.
Some in the novel were starting to help the poor and this was done convincingly. Blackburn and the surrounding areas would have been a hard place to live and work in the 1850s and it was nice to see some that were willing to help rather than let the poor suffer in the workhouse unnoticed.


The Killer by Susan Wilkins – Review.


About the Book

A glossy and gripping crime thriller about survival and vengeance, it puts the pedal to the metal as it hurtles through contemporary London, from the glass towers of the super-rich to the down and dirty backstreets of organized crime and blackmail.
She was a woman, so they thought she’d be easy to kill . . .
Kaz Phelps is on the run – from the past, from the legacy of her criminal family, from the haunting memories of her murdered lover. The police want her back in jail and her enemies want her dead. While standing by the grave of her gangster brother, Kaz realizes she only has one option. To fight back.
Nicci Armstrong was one of the Met’s best detectives until personal tragedy forced her to quit. Now she’s responsible for the security of the super-rich who use her city as a playground. She is one of the few people Kaz might trust. But Nicci’s biggest mistake yet is falling in love with a man she knows is only using her.
Meanwhile, as envious rivals back home plot against him, a Russian billionaire searches for a special gift to keep the Kremlin onside, a disgraced politician dreams of revenge and a Turkish drug baron plots to purge his dishonour with blood.

My Review

This is a series that needs to be read in order, it would be difficult to follow the storyline otherwise.
The Killer is the third and final part of the trilogy that features Kaz, Nicci and all the other members of the police, gangland communities and politicians that have appeared in at least one of the other books.
With it only being a couple of weeks since I read the second book, The Mourner I managed to get into this book straightaway. There are a lot of people who feature, many are from different countries and from all walks of life. It is easy to follow though.
The period of time covered by the trilogy is very short, the time between books two and three appears to be a matter of days. The opening chapter left me a little sad, the character we had to say goodbye to was one that I liked. The pace never lets up, there is danger, betrayal and suspicion all the way through for Kaz and Nicci. Even though most threads in the novels now seem to have been resolved I do hope that there will be future appearances for at least one of them in the future.
I don’t tend to read gangster crime, this is probably the only series that I have read. I have enjoyed it though. I liked both Kaz and Nicci, Kaz especially was a great character who had a nightmare childhood that she was determined to escape.
I will be looking forward to seeing what Susan Wilkins writes next, with many thanks to the publisher for all the books received.

You can purchase the book here

The Mourner by Susan Wilkins – Review.


About the Book

She can’t get justice; will she settle for vengeance?
Kaz Phelps has escaped her brother and her criminal past to become an anonymous art student in Glasgow. But can life under the witness protection scheme ever give her the freedom she craves?
Banged up and brooding, Joey Phelps faces thirty years behind bars. Still, with cash and connections on the outside, can an overstretched prison system really contain him?
Helen Warner, once Kaz’s lawyer and lover, is a rising star in Parliament. But has she made the kind of enemies who have no regard for the democratic process, or even the law?
Ousted from the police and paralysed by tragic personal loss, Nicci Armstrong is in danger of going under. Can a job she doesn’t want with a private security firm help her to put her life back on track?

My Review

The Mourner is the second book in the trilogy that started with The Informant. It’s a different type of crime series for me, with much of the focus being on Kaz. She isn’t a police officer, but a member of a notorious crime family. She has spent time in prison but since the events in the first book is living in witness protection in Glasgow. After the death of her former lover she leaves her safe but lonely existence behind and goes to London to get some answers.
I like Kaz a lot. She has had a hard life along with her brother Joey but she has managed to some degree to walk away from her criminal family. She is very much the black sheep and finds it difficult to trust most people but the ones she does she is very loyal to. Nikki is a former police officer who also featured in The Informant. Her life fell apart with the death of her daughter and the affect it had on her career.
It is a novel that doesn’t hold back. There is plenty of violence, much of which involves drugs and prostitution. There are gangs of different nationalities and untrustworthy politicians. But there is also bravery, loyalty and a determination to get justice. Some of the people who feature don’t always show true colours. A few who I expected to be ruthless were not as bad as I thought they would be. And of course, the ones who I expected to be genuine were not as they appeared.
A shocking ending that still had plenty of unanswered questions. I’m looking forward to catching up with the characters in The Killer that is published in a few weeks’ time. This is a series that needs to be read in order. It is probably the most closely linked one that I have read.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.

The Informant by Susan Wilkins – my review


The Informant is described as being similar to Lynda La Plante whose books I’ve never read but have seen adapted for the small screen many times.
This is the first gangster style novel I have read that is primarily told by a woman. Kaz is newly released from prison and on license for a crime that she didn’t commit. She wants to rebuild her life and make a career as an artist as well as distancing herself from her crime driven family.
I was a little unsure at first, until the first act of violence was committed. A crime that only a psychopath could commit.
Kaz was believable and very likeable. Not wanting to betray her family but not wanting to be any part of criminal activity either. The story is told from a few different people, Kaz, Helen, her lawyer,the police officers and various members of Kay’s family.
A cliff hanger ending which because of the delay I don’t have to wait too long to read.
Thanks to the publisher for sending me this copy to read and review.