The Secretary by Renée Knight

The Secretary by Renée Knight

 

40611138Publisher: Doubleday

Publishing Date: 21st February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 304

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery, Suspense

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

Synopsis:

Look around you. Who holds the most power in the room? Is it the one who speaks loudest, who looks the part, who has the most money, who commands the most respect?

Or perhaps it’s someone like Christine Butcher: a meek, overlooked figure, who silently bears witness as information is shared and secrets are whispered. Someone who quietly, perhaps even unwittingly, gathers together knowledge of the people she’s there to serve – the ones who don’t notice her, the ones who consider themselves to be important.

There’s a fine line between loyalty and obsession. And when someone like Christine Butcher is pushed to her limit, she might just become the most dangerous person in the room . . .

The eagerly anticipated new thriller from the No.1 bestselling author of Disclaimer.

Rating: four-stars

 

Christine Butcher is married, has one daughter. She’s just been offered a job as a PA to Mina Appleton who, together with her father, is running a family business. Christine’s job becomes her life as Mina starts to be more and more demanding on her time and dedication, which takes its toll on her private life. After 18 years of work, Christine’s loyalty is going for a full dress rehearsal, as Mina is accused of partaking in some unethical transactions and taken to court, together with her secretary and driver. Now it’s time for Christine to ask herself how far she’s willing to go and whom shall she protect: Mina or herself?

The way the book was written was really risky. I mean, there was a secret, a hint that something has happened, mentioned in every chapter, and every single one of them ended with a cliff hanger. It is OK to know that there is some kind of mystery but there are limits of course, and it can always go wrong – the reader can simply lose interest, as sometimes too much is too much. And yes, to be absolutely honest, I was scared and I started to feel impatient and desperate at one moment, but then the mystery was solved – and I’d say, at the perfect moment, so the book was saved. And as much as I liked the first part of the story, I think the second part, the court room drama that it turned out to be, was even better.

This book is told from Christine’s point of view only, and while sometimes you can miss on other people’s narrations, it was not the case here, it was more than enough. It’s a kind of diary/not diary but describes Christine’s job, her relationships – also this with Mina – her life in a very detailed way and we see the way her attachment to Mina progresses and how this relationship shifts and changes – it was full of dramas, secrets and lies. I was completely invested in Christine’s story, and in her character as well. She was not your normal, usual heroine. She was elusive, incredibly loyal but she seemed not to know where her priorities should be. And I loved how thought – provoking it was because let’s be honest – was Christine only a victim to her boss’s manipulations? To be honest, I am not absolutely sure if she was so innocent but here I arrive at the fact that the book lacked a little in depth and character development that I’m going to tell more about in a moment. I don’t think that Christine was a pleaser and doormat, she was only desperate to make herself indispensable to her boss, to be part of her life perhaps, and she agreed with catering to her every whim and need. Sometimes it looked like she was one step ahead of Mina, anticipating her needs before they were even articulated. Mina was a very driven and ambitious character, thinking that the whole world should resolve around her and that she’s untouchable. She was manipulative, cold and egoistic and knew how to get what she wanted. It wasn’t easy to connect with those two women, to be honest, as I couldn’t relate with their behaviour, the way they were, and while I perhaps could get Mina’s greed and desire to be more profitable without caring how it’s going to happen, I simply couldn’t understand Christine and her unwillingness to set boundaries. Mina’s acceptance and prise was what kept Christine going. But they both were the strength that has pushed the story forward because you may not agree with them but they were fascinating character, and their relationship even more.
However, I missed more on the “why” – why was Christine the way she was? Why wasn’t she able to say no? What was it that attracted her so much to Mina? So much that she was able to sacrifice everything for a – theoretically – totally strange woman? What was her motivation? But other than that, this book was an excellent page turner, a great case study, a brilliant look into person’s personality. It was part a psychological thriller, and part a court room drama, and the tension there, and the feeling of uncertainty, were really well captured. It was a slow burner, but so well written, so full of insight into the characters’ heads, and with a truly brilliant ending that was an absolute surprise.

Altogether, “The Secretary” was a gripping story about misplaced loyalty and power games, about manipulation. Also, my favourite kind of read, full of questions and understatements and it’ll make you ask yourself questions. Thought – provoking and gripping, another brilliant story from the author of “Disclaimer” – truly recommended.

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The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood by Susan Elliot Wright

 

410pdykqsvl._sx324_bo1204203200_Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 21st February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 19.09.2019)

 

Synopsis:

What has happened to Cornelia Blackwood?
She has a loving marriage. But she has no friends.
Everyone knows her name. But no one will speak to her now.
Cornelia Blackwood has unravelled once before. Can she stop it from happening again?

From a supremely talented storyteller, The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is a powerful novel of motherhood, loss and loneliness and how we can make damaging choices when pushed to our emotional edge. A paperback bestseller with her debut novel, The Things We Never Said, and nominated for an RNA Award in 2014, Susan Elliot Wright has written a truly important novel that explores the dark depths of psychosis with honesty and sensitivity.

Rating: four-stars

Cornelia (Leah) Blackwood loses her husband Adrian in a car accident. After his funeral, she finds something on his computer – something that makes her start to doubt in Adrian’s loyalty and fidelity and something that is going to change her life. But before it happens, she goes on a quest and investigates to find more. She befriends Cass, a young woman that Leah somehow becomes obsessed with, and her little son Lucas. Is this friendship a casual one or is Leah hiding something from Cass?

The story goes back and forth, from past to present and while it feels a little slow, especially at the beginning, it then steps up the momentum. I also never felt confused and always knew where we are. The story is told mostly through Leah and we slowly get to know her and her background history – how she’s met Adrian, how they got married, through the ups and downs of their life together. The past intertwines with the present, hinting that something has happened previously, something bad and wrong, something that caused Leah to lose her credibility and friends. There came a point when I guessed what must have happened and what’s going to happen but it didn’t spoil the reading for me, it rather kept me hooked and made me feel as if I was getting a chill up my spine, predicting the worse to happen.
I fell for Leah, to be honest. Her story was like one tragedy happening upon another one and seeing her surviving all of them was incredibly uplifting, and it took almost till the end to reveal why she’s getting the treatment that she’s getting. The story of Leah was somehow heart – breaking, and the author has done such a great job in capturing and describing her feelings of loss, despair and desperation. She has by any means found words to bring it to us so that the pain was palpable and you couldn’t help but fell for Leah and feel sympathy for her. While you’ll probably have problems with accepting Leah’s choices, you will also understand why she made them. Her wanting something that she couldn’t have has filled her every waking moment yet it didn’t feel too overwhelming for me as a reader, too repeating, and the author has always revealed the right amount of information in the particular moment, leaving me wondering and wanting more.

This is a book that tackles some serious and heavy issues with tons of gentleness and sensitivity. It’s heartbreakingly and brutally honest in explaining how it feels to be grieving and to be mentally ill. The author has really has done her research and she deserves a standing ovation for writing with so much feeling and understanding, without judging. This novel was sad, it was tragic, it was full of tension and the feeling that something’s going to happen. Yes, I guessed the outcome, but still I was glued to the pages and drawn into this story.

Altogether, “The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood” was deeply emotionally charged and it’ll leave you thinking and wondering. It was a well – kept mystery, filled with enough red herrings, twists and turns. It was a captivating, heart – breaking story of grief, love and desperation. The author deals with postpartum psychosis in a very gentle, sensitive way and gives her character a chance after a chance. It was a hugely emotional read but I wouldn’t call it depressing – it was simply sad but without it being too overwhelming a feeling. Susan Elliot Wright has written it in a no – nonsense way, brutally honest and well, it’s a read that’s going to take your breath away, to make you stop and think – just my favourite kind of read, even if I wouldn’t classify it as the easiest read. Highly recommended!

 

The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney

The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney

 

Sr-QHuzS.jpg largePublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 7th February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

One love. Two people. Twenty Years.

From the moment they met, Erin and Dom loved each other too much, too quickly. Everyone said it wouldn’t last. But they knew differently.

A wedding present, a notebook, brings them together through the good times and the bad. On the blank pages of their love story, they write down everything they can’t always say – the secrets, the heartbreak, the highs and lows. It’s where they see the best and worst of each other.

Falling in love is easy but staying in love is where the story begins…

Rating: five-stars

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Erin Fitzgerald and Dominic Carter got married in 1996 – they loved each other unconditionally and they’re expecting a baby. Erin’s father gives them a leather bond book – The Book of Love – to write down what they can’t tell each other face to face. Each letter should end with a message of love. They’re sceptical at first but then the book turns out to be pivotal source for their communication, to be a significant part of their lives.

You can’t help but immediately fell for the characters, for their fates, for their feelings, emotions and unconditional love, and so, very quickly, you find yourself on incredible roller coaster ride through their lives, through the years they have to learn by themselves what life really is about. I experienced everything with them, I could feel their pain, hurt, uncertainty, love, hope and grief. The book offers us everything, through ups and downs, screw ups, struggles, heartbreaks and changes in relationships. All the characters are so well fleshed out, they’re not perfect, they’re full of flaws and secrets and they make mistakes but this only make them much more realistic and relatable. They’re simply human – and after reading tons of books in my life I’ve learnt that it doesn’t always work out for authors to create their characters this way, which only made me appreciate them even more. Each character in this book, no matter if the main or the background one, was authentic and genuine, in every detail and every gesture. The relationships between them – and there were plenty of them, not only this of marriage, but also of being a parent, sibling, friend – were real.

The story begins in 2017 and takes us back and forth through years, starting in 1996, and all those years are testimony of love. It moves smoothly between the timelines, and with ease, and there was maybe a moment or two when I shortly felt a little confused but quickly I was finding myself again on track. And I love the way it was written, as it really was full of surprises. When I was thinking that I know where I’m standing, where the story is going, then bang, and it was pushed in totally different direction.

The end made me really tearful. Such love, as this of Erin and Dom, it doesn’t happen often, I think. You can love but there was such a special bond between them, a bond that was palpable through the pages and that I envied them so much. However, this bond doesn’t mean that they didn’t have problems communicating, because they did, there were things they couldn’t tell each other face to face, and here comes The Book of Love, the gift Erin’s father gave them at their wedding. Sometimes it’s hard to speak up, to tell what’s bothering you for fear what the other half may think of you and so Erin and Dom settled to write their deepest, most intimate thoughts in the book for each other. And it turned out to be a cathartic, emotional experience for both of them, and for us, readers, as well. What makes this book so exceptional is the honesty it’s written with. Love is not only bed of roses, love can hurt, love means loss and grief and sadness, and the book mixes those moments perfectly with joy and humour and believe me, no matter how you’re going to feel at the end, how much of a snotty mess you’re going to be, it’ll be an uplifting read that will restore your faith in love and friendship.

Lately we are literally flooded with descriptions of the books that shout “that final twist!” and that usually leave you lukewarm. Probably those that don’t need such kind of advertising, that speak for themselves, are the best kind of twists – here, in this gorgeous story, I haven’t seen the final twist. It just came and hit me hard on my unexpecting head and left me a) speechless and b) in tears – and this is what I call TWIST.

Fionnuala Kearney can write in such a gorgeous way – her writing style is flawless and effortless, of high quality and so chatty that when you start reading you simply can’t put the book away. She captures all the insecurities and fears and the book is going to make you nod with understanding and agreement, to roll your eyes, laugh and cry. She, as not many out there, can describe human nature and the complexity of it with tons of sensitivity and understanding. “The Book of Love” was incredibly beautiful and brutally honest story of love, marriage and family. It has broken my heart, to mend it and to break it again. It was about forgiveness, showing how true love can knit people together in the face of disaster, tragedy but also happiness. Be prepared that you’re going to be emotionally invested from the very beginning till the end. It was powerful and moving, uplifting and heart – breaking, mesmerising and enduring and I raced through the pages, though it is this kind of book that you also don’t want to end. It was a complex and epic tale full of real people, real stories, real feelings. Deep and intelligent and so cleverly written, for sure my certain contender for the best read in 2019. And after reading it. this is what I call book – hangover. I loved it – mightily.

 

The Escape by Clare Harvey / Blog Tour

The Escape by Clare Harvey

 

 

41519370Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 24th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

A compelling wartime drama for fans of Lucinda Riley, Rachel Hore and Katherine Webb

Clara works as a translator for a Nazi-run labour camp for French workers. One winter morning in early 1945, Clara passes a group of exhausted British prisoners of war who are being force-marched westwards. The following day she receives an urgent message to contact the local priest. He is harbouring a group of escaped British prisoners of war in the manse: can she help?

London, 1989.  Monica is a 19-year old photography student in London, in thrall to her older boyfriend, a journalist called Quill. In November the fall of the Berlin Wall is all over the news. Quill asks Monica to come with him to Germany: before they leave, Monica’s grandmother gives her an old postcard of the village she was born in. Monica hopes that working together in Berlin will help cement the cracks in her relationship with Quill, but one night his behaviour spills over into violence, and Monica ends up fleeing through the rubble of the Berlin wall and into the East. As she travels further, she begins to suspect she’s being followed by the Stasi. If she goes on, she worries that she’ll be taken into custody and be accused of spying; if she turns back, it means returning to Quill.

At last her grandmother’s photograph offers the solution. She tells people that she is going to find her family in the East. The Catholic church, and the manse, opposite where her grandmother once lived, are still standing. And the secrets of the past begin to be revealed.

my-review

“The Escape” by Clare Harvey follows two different timelines and two women, sharing a history. Detta lives in a small village in Germany. The war is coming to an end and the Russian Army is on their way – to free people, but also it is rumoured they’re cruel and nothing and nobody is safe from them. One day, Detta passes a group of force – marched British prisoners. The following day, her help is needed – a day that is going to change her life for ever.
Miranda is a photography student and finds herself in Berlin in 1989 at the Wall fall. A granddaughter of Detta, she finds an old postcard of the village where her grandmother was born. Detta sends her on a mission there but Miranda is in danger – as she flees from an abusive relationship into the east, she starts to suspect she’s being followed by the Stasi. Why? Is she going to be able to help her grandmother?

This novel was brilliantly written and researched. The author can so incredibly well capture all the feelings and emotions, especially in those parts that take place during the war – fear, uncertainty, not knowing what’s going to happen and what the future brings, they’re all so very well written. While the times of the Berlin Wall fall are not so much in my area of interest, I’m always happy to read books set during the World War II, and even more gladly when there is Poland as setting involved. “The Escape” is mostly set in Germany, in and around Berlin, a little town in Poland also plays crucial role in it. It focuses on very dark and sad period of time in our history, and truly, the descriptions were heart – wrenching and tugging at the heart – strings, but this book is also full of hope and not at all depressing. It is moving, yes, but the author has managed, despite the topic being a serious and difficult one, to make it light and also uplifting.

This book was a slow burner. A very slow burner, and I’ve already found myself really irritated a few times, waiting for it to eventually kick off, for the story to finally start rolling. I’ll be honest with you – if I weren’t reading this novel for a blog tour, I’d most certainly put it away. It was only around the middle, after Miranda started searching and Detta’s story began to unravel, that I found myself glued to the pages, racing through them, desperate to see what has happened. I’d much more liked Detta’s plot to this of Miranda – I understand, after reading the author’s guest post on research, why Miranda was needed, she was like a significant tool to Detta, but I somehow couldn’t warm to her and to her story. I just felt there is no connection between us and also, she could be more fleshed out for my liking. Detta, however, was another story. There was a depth to her and she had really something to tell, and her tale was heart – breaking, full of loss but also hope. Sure, Miranda’s story was also interesting – the war is over but is there peace at all? As the two narratives interweave, the plot slowly starts to unravel, and there is a real sense of uncertainty, tension, of not knowing what’s going to happen and what has happened in Detta’s past.

Altogether, “The Escape” was a thought – provoking tale, full of questions what if and what would you do, how would you behave. It’s full of moral lessons without being patronising and the authors handles all the topics with care and gentleness. It was sensitive and compelling, and beautifully written and, as it was my first book by Clare Harvey, I’m already looking forward to read her previous novels, because “The Escape” was a great enough piece of historical fiction. Recommended.

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From Mum with Love by Louise Emma Clarke

From Mum with Love by Louise Emma Clarke

 

42291279Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 5th February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 338

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Mum of one, Jess has had enough of endless diaper-filled days and her husband Chris has just the solution to vent her frustrations – a blog.

Jess loves her daughter more than anything, but sometimes she just wants a little bit of freedom – some time for herself. Cue a laptop, a glass of wine and the beginning of a life-changing journey.

Overnight Jess’s inbox is full of notifications and before long she is officially a ‘mummy blogger’ but this new life comes with its own set of rules and regulations. With Queen of the Bloggers, Tiggy, blanking her in public, people recognizing her on the street and her life decisions suddenly judged by strangers Jess’s idea of ‘me time’ is slowly becoming a full-time job.

Will Jess be able to find the right life/work balance? Or will she wish she’d never turned to a world online?

From the award-winning blogger behind ‘Mum of Boys & Mabel’.

Rating: three-stars

Jess is a stay at home mum to a 14 – months – old daughter. She enjoys her maternity leave but also she realises that she needs something more than that, she needs inspiration and fulfilment. The fact that her husband is working full – time and almost never there doesn’t help. So when he encourages her to type the letters she has written to their daughter since she was born and create a blog, she gives it a thought and then a try. Quickly, she’s overwhelmed by the response and starts to gain the internet fame and followers – but also enemies.

Since I’m a mum myself, I found myself enjoying books with “Mummy” in the title, and about parenthood generally speaking, and this is why “From Mum with Love” caught my eye on NetGalley. Although, of course, you don’t have to be a mum to read this book, oh no! This book is a great, relatable and genuine read – however, I had huge problems with Jessica. She was mostly behaving like a spoiled child and I couldn’t help but wonder how come her husband bears with her. You know, blogging is not everything – or maybe it is, if you are relying on paid co – operations etc and the number of followers is what matters to you – and I’ve learnt long, long time ago that as much as I love blogging and writing about books, I do have a real life, you know, and it is much more worth to me than an odd negative comment. On one hand, Jessica was trying to stay down – to – earth, not let blogging to overwhelm her but on the other she was like a child that was refused a new toy and was presenting us with the biggest tantrum in the world, if something went wrong or differently to what she’s planned. Also, the number of followers sky – rocketing after one post, everybody ecstatic with the blog, awards, advertising happening immediately… I mean, hello? Being always unfair to her husband, taking it out on him, being angry that not everyone else in the blogging community is welcoming her with open arms, that not everybody adores her… Well, that’s life for you, right? I think that the subplot with her sister was much more interesting and I’d love for it to be more developed. But on the other hand, Jess was also a normal woman, just like you and me and had to face the same problems as other people. Her three friends, who we get to know in the story as well, were a breath of fresh air and I really loved them and their interactions.
I totally enjoyed Jess’s letters to her little daughter – they were poignant and moving, and so very honest, capturing all the highs and lows of being a new mum. Also the problems Jess had – apart those brought forth by the blog, of course, as they were simply too shallow for me – sound true to life and realistic.

My problems aside, it was a lovely, and also brutally honest story about being a new parent, and I could easily relate to Jessica and her observations. You know, such books are important, I think, because they show that you’re not the only one thinking/feeling like this – especially when you don’t have any support or just feel uneasy. There are not perfect mothers, no matter what, all of us have better and worse days and hats off to Louise Emma Clarke for telling how it really is. It is about learning what’s really important in life, about ups and downs of parenthood, about how important it is to be honest and to share but also about how to keep your identity, how to stay yourself after such a big change as becoming a baby.

 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michealides

 

41601079Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 7th February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

 

Synopsis:

Only she knows what happened.
Only I can make her speak.

**************

I love him so totally, completely, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me.
Sometimes I think-
No. I won’t write about that.

ALICIA
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

THEO
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

Rating: three-stars

 

In “The Silent Patient”, “Sold in 35 territories, film rights snapped up by an Oscar winning production company, and rave blurbs from David Baldacci, Lee Child, A.J. Finn, Joanne Harris and Black Crouch, THE SILENT PATIENT promises to be the debut thriller of 2019” . (publisher) the main character Alicia Berenson is accused of murdering her husband and confined. She spends her sentence in The Grove, a mental care facility for highly dangerous people. After the murder Alicia, a promising painter, stops speaking – not a single word leaves her mouth. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist, somehow obsessed with Alicia and her case. He’s desperate to work with her, to bring her to speak again, to solve the mystery behind her husband’s murder, and so he transfers to The Grove and starts Alicia’s therapy. Will he bring her to speaking? Will the murder’s mystery be solved?

The book introduces us to a bunch of characters but I haven’t felt connection to them, to be honest. I also had a feeling that they’re not well enough developed to get to know them. It is mostly told from Theo’s point of view, occasionally alternating with Alicia’s diary entries. Alicia has been a very promising and already successful artist and her husband Gabriel a photographer. Throughout the book we get some snippets into their life together but I wouldn’t say there is enough information for us to understand why Alicia would/should have murdered him. However, she was convicted – in something that really didn’t feel like a serious trial – because she was found at the scene, with a gun in her hand, covered in blood because she had slit her wrists. Theo behaves like a detective and a miracle – worker in one, looking into her past, interfering with her family and friends, trying to piece together her life, to understand what has happened.

I also think we aren’t given a chance to have an opinion about Alicia – she doesn’t speak, the short diary entries don’t really tell us much about her and mostly all that we know about her comes from Theo and from those he discusses Alicia’s life with, so it’s basically only assumptions.

And so here we are again, with the book I’ve heard about for the first time probably a long time ago. The advertising campaign was absolutely brilliant, it’s impossible to be a book blogger and not being able to know about “The Silent Patient”, but also done in a way that made me feel there are better book bloggers and worse book bloggers, but it’s probably an issue for a separate post. As might be expected, I was desperate – simply desperate – to read this novel, especially after hearing such brilliant things about it from the fellow bloggers. Well, so many people can’t be wrong, right. I think it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that “The Silent Patient” was one of my few most anticipated books for 2019. This all, put together, simply put the book under a great deal of pressure to be honest, and me as well, because I felt as if I must love it. Well, I liked it, but it left me feeling lukewarm. It didn’t wow me. This whole book was actually depending on the final twist that happens at the very end of the story – the twist that you know is going to happen, everybody hints at it, every blurb and review, and so you’re waiting and waiting, and then, well… It happens. Yes, the whole book was really well written, the author tried to pool wool over our eyes adding some new information that made me ask myself and casting negative suspicions at other characters, there was tension and suspense, so theoretically there was everything, preparing you for this huge grande finale. Probably, if I weren’t reading so many brilliant psychological thrillers/mysteries, I’d appreciate “The Silent Patient” much more but I must be already spoiled, and I’ve simply had a feeling that well, I’ve been there, I’ve seen this, it was already done numerous times. Book, to blow me away, must have more than one twist at the end and it has to have a strong, incontestable plot.

But please, please, please do not feel put out by my thoughts! The author is really talented, he has a great way with words and his writing style is absolutely easy to follow, it’s also gripping and it kept me glued to the pages, I simply wanted to read this book. He for sure knows how to tackle the heavier issues, such as mental heath and the care of it, people’s personalities – all kinds of them – relationships, and he easily gets into his characters’ heads. I’m already looking towards his next novel.

 

Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson

Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson

 

42111683Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 1st February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 226

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 07.02.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A long lost friendship reconnected in letters, laughs and unforgettable life lessons…

Jojo Moyes meets The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in this powerfully moving novel!

The best friendships are worth fighting for…

It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard from the village rumour mill that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.

As Rosie faces a desert full of danger and Aggie falls further from the path to love she’ so wants, the two friends write each other letters.

The comfort in their shared words is an anchor to the life they knew before…and the only constant in a world as increasingly unpredictable as the wind.

Rating: four-stars

 

Rosie and Aggie used to be best friends but then fell out of touch after something happened before they went to university. Fast forward 15 years and Rosie signs up to go to the Persian Gulf as a meteorologist and Aggie is a ghost author, suffering from a writer’s block. The two women start to write to each other and in a series of letters and emails we can see the strength of their friendship, as they explore their dreams, hopes and regrets.

I absolutely adored the way the book was written. The letters were sometimes able to tell us more than a conversation, the characters opened much more on the pages than face to face and it made the reading so captivating and interesting. The two main characters were totally different but it was easy to see why they used to be best friends, and also why they lost touch. Rosie’s relationship with her parents was beautiful and I loved their letters to each other, and how they tried to protect the other one. We see Rosie, after all the drama in her life, adapting to her new life in the desert, watching the results of war and the horrors of it. Aggie is the larger than life in this friendship, has brilliant sense of humour and doesn’t treat herself too seriously and is not afraid to laugh at herself. Her dating adventures were hilarious. But there was also a hidden depth to her, the other side – the vulnerable one. She was colourful and there was nothing stopping her, while Rosie wanted just to blend in – but it doesn’t mean that she wasn’t a great character, because she was. Learning about her life, of her losses, of everything that happened to her was heart – breaking. There were of course other lovely characters – Gethyn, Rosie’s parents, Aggies’s new friends at the cafe – even though they were not completely introduced to us, I still had a feeling that I know them, that they are simply good people. They all added tons of depth and humour to the story.

The letters between the characters were mostly short but they contained all the information that we needed, and the informal way of them made the book so easy to read and – actually – really chatty. You don’t always need all the details, I liked that there was room for imagination left to us. The author writes in such a way that you can identify with all the feelings and emotions the characters experience. You feel pain, fear, hope and joy – it is so perfectly captured.

So now. My problem. I loved this book, it was beautiful. Until almost the end. But at the end the author has made a decision that I’ve simply couldn’t agree with – it was a “no” from me. If I were a “normal” reader, and not a reviewer, who also appreciates thousands of other details that made me fell in love with this book, I probably wouldn’t give the book the 4 stars – it would be much, much less, simply because I can’t agree with the decision. I know it wasn’t my decision but still, it crushed me. It left me in pieces. For me, it wasn’t necessary. I appreciate it but don’t understand it. Now I’m going to shut up. But let me repeat that it was a beautiful, poignant, moving story about love, friendship and family, about new beginnings and second chances. About the value of friendship, about making the most of every day. It was charming and emotional, full of different kinds of feelings and emotions and I adored it. Highly recommended!