The Searcher by Tana French – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Cal Hooper thought a fixer-upper in a remote Irish village would be the perfect escape. After twenty-five years in the Chicago police force, and a bruising divorce, he just wants to build a new life in a pretty spot with a good pub where nothing much happens.

But then a local kid comes looking for his help. His brother has gone missing, and no one, least of all the police, seems to care. Cal wants nothing to do with any kind of investigation, but somehow he can’t make himself walk away.

Soon Cal will discover that even in the most idyllic small town, secrets lie hidden, people aren’t always what they seem, and trouble can come calling at his door.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Whilst The Searcher is described as a crime novel or ‘a novel with a murder’ it is slightly different to all of the ones I usually read. There are a few reasons, the lead character is a retired police officer who is a long way from where he was based so has no contacts, little knowledge of the local area or customs, has no jurisdiction and the investigation isn’t the main thread in the novel. Instead the focus is on Cal’s attempting to rebuild his life in the small town on the West Coast of Ireland. It was this side of the story that was the strongest for me.

The description of the local area, the nature, the weather, the wildlife ( in particular the rooks) and the people were spot on. Much of it made me smile, particularly the scenes that featured Noreen the local shopkeeper and the initial scenes involving Trey, otherwise known as The Kid.

Cal is initially reluctant to get involved but he does so despite knowing that it could jeopardise his standing in the area. He wants to be accepted, not regarded as a ‘blow-in’ or trouble. His involvement isn’t without difficulties, some of it caused my naïveté, some by ill feeling from the locals to him sticking his nose in but he does get there.

As I said at the beginning of my review I liked the story of village life more. I would like to know more about Cal as he settles down in his new life. 

Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

Three hours is 180 minutes or 10,800 seconds.

It is a morning’s lessons, a dress rehearsal of Macbeth, a snowy trek through the woods.

It is an eternity waiting for news. Or a countdown to something terrible.

It is 180 minutes to discover who you will die for and what men will kill for.

In rural Somerset in the middle of a blizzard, the unthinkable happens: a school is under siege. From the wounded headmaster in the library, unable to help his trapped pupils and staff, to teenage Hannah in love for the first time, to the parents gathering desperate for news, to the 16 year old Syrian refugee trying to rescue his little brother, to the police psychologist who must identify the gunmen, to the students taking refuge in the school theatre, all experience the most intense hours of their lives, where evil and terror are met by courage, love and redemption.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Three Hours was a book that affected me deeply. It deals with an armed siege at a school and is told by various points of view. The pupils, their teachers, parents and the police. Everybody apart from the armed men whose identity and reasoning is revealed as you read.

Whilst the siege itself is disturbing it was the reaction of the characters that had me gripped and emotional. The bond between two brothers who had already suffered when fleeing Syria. The teachers trying to protect the younger pupils from danger and keeping them occupied so they didn’t see the danger they were in. This isn’t a book where the children are aware they are in lockdown, they had little idea of their situation. The police in the story didn’t have as much impact on me until near the end when I realised exactly what had happened and I was fearful of what danger some were still in.

It is confusing at times, but I think this was the intent. I can’t imagine any situation like this in real life being straight forward. For either the hostages or the people who are trying to bring the situation to an end. I found some of the terminology upsetting, especially in the last half of the book. More so because it so realistic and there are people among us who feel this way. 

Three Hours was the first book I have read by this author. I will definitely be looking at her earlier books.

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.