The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them. 

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself.  When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last.

But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules.  By the end of that summer everything has changed.

A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The Glittering Hour is a stunning novel that I struggled to put down. With Selina in 1925 and Alice in 1936 I couldn’t decide which narrative I preferred. Selina is a Bright Young Thing, an embarrassment to her family but loved by the media. There were parties, alcohol and drugs but she wasn’t as wealthy as the others and struggled at times to keep up. And go with her heart. One of the reasons she behaved like she did was because of her older brother’s death in WW1, there were just the right amount of references to those who came back and were reduced to selling matches on street corners. It made me consider what a strange time it must have been to live in. So much heartache but also the desire for a carefree life.

Alice is her daughter, nine years old in 1936 and left with her grandparents whilst her parents were away. Missing her mother, she is encouraged to do treasure hunts so she can discover more about her mother. Whilst I liked the hunt and reading the letters from her mother I enjoyed the friendships she built more, especially with Polly. 

Whilst most of the novel concerns Selina and Alice there are also short chapters that tell the reader what the minor characters are feeling. Some likeable, some not, but they are all important in both of their lives.

It’s an astonishing novel, one that I will definitely like to read again. And next time I will have the tissues ready.


Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.

But Joel has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant. Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn’t his. As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation, and discover who the father of the baby really is.

Transporting the reader to the culture, landscape and mores of northern Finland Little Siberia is both a crime novel and a hilarious, blacker-than-black comedy about faith and disbelief, love and death, and what to do when bolts from the blue – both literal and figurative – turn your life upside down.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Whenever I read a novel by Antti Tuomainen I can see it as a Coen Brothers movie. This latest book is a perfect example. The weather, which I just can’t imagine having to cope with and consider it normal. The relationships, where you can see the love and adoration but also the issues and the brilliantly and bizarrely accidents that result in the bad guys being killed. 

Joel, the lead character is just wonderful, struggling to cope with his wife’s pregnancy when he knows he can’t be the father he volunteers to look after the meteorite. Little realising that nearly everyone he knows is prepared to do anything to get their hands on it. The way he tried to work out who wanted it most and who had got his wife pregnant was gripping reading,

The setting was a convincing one, remote, sometimes unfriendly where everybody thinks they know about their neighbours but they don’t. How disappointment and disillusionment affected judgement in nearly every character. And like Joel I completely misunderstood at least one character. 

Brilliant.  


The Shape Of Night by Tess Gerritsen – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

We’ve all done things we’re ashamed of . . .

When Ava arrives at Brodie’s Watch, she thinks she has found the perfect place to hide from her past. Something terrible happened, something she is deeply ashamed of, and all she wants is to forget.

But the old house on the hill both welcomes and repels her and Ava quickly begins to suspect she is not alone. Either that or she is losing her mind.

The house is full of secrets, but is the creeping sense of danger coming from within its walls, or from somewhere else entirely?

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. I have always enjoyed reading the Rizzoli and Isles series so was interested in reading this standalone novel. It is completely different, instead of a police based novel it is a ghost story combined with a disappearance of a young woman and takes place in a small-town in Maine.

When Ava arrives with her fantastic cat Hannibal at Brodie’s Watch she hopes that she can put the past behind her and finish her book. Almost immediately she senses a strange atmosphere and as she settles in she realises that she isn’t alone. And that her companion is a threat. What happens to her becomes increasingly unsettling, from the paranormal, the past and the present.

I always like a spooky novel and this doesn’t disappoint. There was just the right amount of tension and combined with not knowing whether the presence was a threat or protection, I was eagerly turning the pages to see what would happen next.

I did guess correctly at what was happening in the present day and what Ava was running away from but it didn’t stop me enjoying this novel. I liked her relationship with most of the characters, especially Hannibal and the recipes were an added bonus.

Eight Hours From England by Anthony Quayle – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Autumn 1943. Realising that his feelings for his sweetheart are not reciprocated, Major John Overton accepts a posting behind enemy lines in Nazi-Occupied Albania. Arriving to find the situation in disarray, he attempts to overcome geographical challenges and political intrigues to set up a new camp in the mountains overlooking the Adriatic. 

As he struggles to complete his mission amidst a chaotic backdrop, Overton is left to ruminate on loyalty, comradeship and his own future. 

Based on Anthony Quayle s own wartime experience with the Special Operations Executive (SOE), this new edition of a 1945 classic includes a contextual introduction from IWM which sheds new light on the fascinating true events that inspired its author. 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Eight Hours From England was originally published in 1945 and has been republished by The Imperial War Museum to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the onset of WW2. It differs to other books that I have read that are set during the war, the characters who feature don’t see any fighting with regards to the war but they do see the unsettlement and grievances between the Albanians. Something that still has repercussions now.

Anthony Quayle was not an actor I was aware of. I have seen reviews that mention the reader being unaware of his role during the war. I searched for him on the internet and was unsurprised to find that he was reticent about his experience. Whilst he wasn’t on the front line it was obvious that his character Overton was deeply affected by what he witnessed.

I did find some of the political unrest confusing, no fault of the author, just with my complete lack of knowledge about how the war affected this part of Europe. What did hit home in a discussion between Overton and a village leader was that both the Allied and German armies were demanding help from the local people, putting their own lives at risk, but would forget all about their troubles after the war.

Humbling, an overwhelming sense of loneliness and brutally honest.

In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael Malone – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

A young man discovers a family secret that turns his world upside down in this dark, emotive, shocking psychological thriller by number-one bestselling author Michael J. Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again.

With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.
For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.

Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Michael Malone is one of those authors who always manages to tug on your heartstrings whilst delivering something that is shocking and real. This novel is my favourite so far.

John is a teacher, successful at his job but less successful in his private life. He adores his partner but struggles to make that final commitment. He is also aware that he drinks too much. But his life is turned upside down with his discovery in his family home which he is preparing to sell to pay for his mother’s care. This discovery results in events long forgotten to be revealed and threaten all who he loves.

There are some fantastic characters in this novel. I liked John instantly and as events from the past were explained I understood and liked most of the others more. So much felt real. The emotions, guilt, betrayal, fear and even jealousy. All of them had to come to terms with the past and as they did they learned to trust and be honest with each other. The strength of each of them became evident in the final pages. A perfect closure.