The Shadow Child by Rachel Hancox – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Eighteen-year-old Emma has loving parents and a promising future ahead of her.

So why, one morning, does she leave home without a trace?

Her parents, Cath and Jim, are devastated. They have no idea why Emma left, where she is – or even whether she is still alive.

A year later, Cath and Jim are still tormented by the unanswered questions Emma left behind, and clinging desperately to the hope of finding her.

Meanwhile, tantalisingly close to home, Emma is also struggling with her new existence – and with the trauma that shattered her life.

For all of them, reconciliation seems an impossible dream. Does the way forward lie in facing up to the secrets of the past – secrets that have been hidden for years?

Secrets that have the power to heal them, or to destroy their family forever …

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I chose to read this novel because it sounded completely different to everything else I read. I’m so glad I did and it served as a reminder that I need to widen my reading preferences.

There are multiple narrators who are all connected as family or friends. But there are issues between them, mainly because all of them find it difficult to talk about openly about how they feel. All of them were suffering because of this, either by keeping secrets or not talking about their past. There was really only one of them who was fully honest about his childhood, his frustration at what he saw as interference and his love for Lara. That character was Nick, at times my least favourite, but I had to show respect for his honesty.

Cath was another character who I had conflicting views on. At first, when she was trying too hard to get close to Lara and Nick it troubled me. I could fully understand why Nick struggled with it. But she could see that it wasn’t the right thing to do and the more I read the more I liked her.

Emma was another who I liked more as I read. The guilt over the deaths that had touched her. Her role in the home she was living in and the friendships made. She was the one who revealed a lot more than any of the others. And the one whose pain affected me more than the others.

But it was one of the minor characters I liked reading about most. Young, naive and innocent Jeannie. I adored everything about her and I liked to think that she was stronger than any of the others and would be the one to ease the years of pain.

This was a wonderful novel about a family. Probably a similar family to many with happy memories and devastating ones. And like many, one that needed to talk about feelings to each other.

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins – Review – Ambassador Book Buzz.

About The Book

‘They say I must be put to death for what happened to Madame, and they want me to confess. But how can I confess what I don’t believe I’ve done?’

1826, and all of London is in a frenzy. Crowds gather at the gates of the Old Bailey to watch as Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, goes on trial for their murder. The testimonies against her are damning – slave, whore, seductress. And they may be the truth. But they are not the whole truth.

For the first time Frannie must tell her story. It begins with a girl learning to read on a plantation in Jamaica, and it ends in a grand house in London, where a beautiful woman waits to be freed.

But through her fevered confessions, one burning question haunts Frannie Langton: could she have murdered the only person she ever loved?

A beautiful and haunting tale about one woman’s fight to tell her story, The Confessions of Frannie Langton leads you through laudanum-laced dressing rooms and dark-as-night back alleys, into the enthralling heart of Georgian London.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via LoveReading. The Confessions of Frannie Langton was a book that made me feel equally outraged and devastated. The first part of it takes place in Jamaica, on the plantation where Frannie was born. I was horrified to read about the way the slaves were treated but a lot of what happens isn’t revealed until much later in the novel. The mistake Frannie makes that results in the death of another is chilling. After a fire the story switches to life in London.

Frannie isn’t an easy person to like. She is hot headed, sometimes rude and makes life a lot harder for herself. But she is also loyal to Madame, Sal and Pru. Pru was one of my favourite characters in the novel. She was one of the few who could see beyond the colour of Frannie’s skin. The attitude of many in the novel, the racial hatred and superstition made me cringe. But this was nothing compared to the way she and many others were treated by Langton and Benham. 

Whilst I liked all of this novel my favourite parts were the ones in Jamaica and the trial. I have read novels before that have court scenes but never one from the 19th century. It was during the trial scenes that I liked Frannie a lot more.  I started to see her depth of character, the regret she felt over her mistake in Jamaica, the frustration that so many were wealthy due to slavery and the horror that she was forced to participate in before she was brought to England. 

It’s a wonderful novel and Sara Collins is an author I would read again. 

The Lost Girl by Carol Drinkwater – Blog Tour Review.

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About the Book

Since her daughter went missing four years earlier, celebrated photographer Kurtiz Ross has been a woman alone. Her only companion her camera. Since Lizzie disappeared, she has blamed and isolated herself, given up hope. Until, out of the blue, an unexpected sighting of Lizzie is made in Paris.
Could this lead to the reconciliation she has dreamed of?
Within hours of Kurtiz arriving in Paris, the City of Light is plunged into a night of hell when a series of terrorist attacks bring the city to a standstill. Amid the fear and chaos, a hand reaches out. A sympathetic stranger in a café offers to help Kurtiz find her daughter.
A stranger’s guiding light
Neither knows what this harrowing night will deliver, but the other woman’s kindness – and her stories of her own love and loss in post-war Provence – shine light into the shadows, restoring hope, bringing the unexpected. Out of darkness and despair, new life rises. New beginnings unfold.
Dare she believe in a miracle?
Set during a time of bloodshed and chaos in one of the most beautiful cities on earth and along the warm fragrant shores of the Mediterranean, Kurtiz discovers that miracles really can happen.

My Review

Kurtiz is in Paris on the night of the Bataclan attacks in November 2015. She is getting increasingly desperate, not knowing if her husband had found their daughter at the concert and whether they were both safe. The subject matter is a little upsetting at times, it’s a recent event and there have been numerous terrorist attacks since that dreadful night. But the flashbacks to Marguerite and Charlie’s life were welcome respite.
It was Marguerite’s story I preferred. I enjoyed reading about her desire to be an actress and the development of her relationship with Charlie. She was a character I wasn’t keen on at first. She seemed a little self- obsessed but by the end of the novel she was my favourite character. I would love to read more about her life in future novels.
The desperation felt by Kurtiz was convincing, not being able to get answers regarding her family’s safety. The things that she witnessed combined with the images I remember from the news at the time were all realistic. As convincing was how hard the emergency services found the situation in which they had been placed. Needing to treat the injured, yet keep worried family members away from the scene.
Some of the novel I felt a little unconvinced by, but this was a novel I enjoyed reading.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.