Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon

 

35150981Publisher: The Borough Press

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 464

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.

84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.

Rating: five-stars

In this story – that is going to break your heart, btw – our main character Elsie is a 84 years old who lives at Cherry Tree (beautiful name, even though there are no cherry tries there), a sheltered accommodation. She spends her days with her friends Elsie, whom she knows for many, many years, and Jack. Florence is lovely and you just can’t help but fell in love with her a little. There is still spirit to her and she’s not an easiest resident of the home, she requires answers to her questions and is not easily satisfied. She just wants to live – I loved her no – nonsense approach. When a new resident arrives, Gabriel Price, she starts to believe she knows him but under a different name – is she right, and is in danger now? Or did she forget? Together with Florence, Elsie and Jack we set out on an incredible journey of looking for the truth, journey full of secrets, lies, abuse and mysteries, but also full of antics the three get up to.

“Three Things About Elsie” is a very special story about some very special characters that will stay in your heart for long. I actually immediately fell in love with Florence and Elsie, it was so easy to imagine them both sitting at the window and gossiping about all the other residents. They were jumping out of the pages of this book and they felt so true to life. Also, the background characters, such as Miss Ambrose or Handy Simon were incredibly well developed and had their own voices and stories that were so very touching, and really, they made the story feel more whole – I really hope you know what I mean here. So we don’t only get Florence’s point of view but also we get to know her life through other characters’ eyes. Elsie’s character is also incredibly likeable. She’s Florence’s best friend and it is Elsie who knows how Florence ticks best and how to make her feel better. Her words are the most memorable to Florence and she always asks what Elsie would do or say. It is Elsie who helps her, who finds all the positive things and who helps her to navigate through the minefield of losing memory. Their friendship was so beautiful and pure.

This story offered some curves that I really didn’t expect. I was reading a lovely, touching story about Florence, Elsie and Jack and then the author has thrown some so unexpected twists and the story went in totally different direction to the one I was expecting – which is just brilliant, I love to be surprised – and in the end it turned out to be a little of mystery, a little of memories, with very realistic characters. I also never could say what is real, is Florence right or is it really her dementia speaking, and the final reveals just took my breath away.

Joanna Cannon is a very, very talented author. I haven’t read her debut novel yet, it is still on my kindle, but her turns of phrases, the way she constructs the dialogues, the vividness of descriptions, the bringing the characters to life and the complex storyline speak for themselves. This book, “Three Things About Elsie”, is this kind of a story that is getting better with every page turned and it leaves you thinking and reflecting on what you’ve just read. It is a funny and sad, sentimental and it just tugs at the heart – strings. The author writes in such a gentle way, her words are full of sympathy, heart and understanding. They make us laugh and cry and think and reflect. And I can’t not mention it but the cover of the book is absolutely gorgeous, and it is also the perfect reflection of the story – you’ll see for yourself when you read the book.

Joanna Cannon explores friendship in her book, people that we hold dear, and indicates how important they are to us, and how important it is to not to lose our trust. Altogether, it was a beautiful, sensitive book, full of many poignant moments. And I didn’t guess the third thing about Elsie. It took me totally by surprise and made me cry like a crocodile. Highly, highly recommended!

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The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green / #BlogTour

The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green

 

36270899Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 1st January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 580

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A task a day to cure a broken heart.

Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her ‘things to do by the time you’re 30’ list. She didn’t reckon on finding another woman’s earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl’s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.

Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!

Despite thinking it’s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn’t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.

Rating: three-stars

 

 

“The Single Girl’s Calendar” is my first book by Erin Green and after reading synopsis I just knew that I want to read this novel. It turned out to be a light – hearted, funny and sometimes poignant book, and I really liked the concept of the Single Girl’s Calendar – I was really intrigued what challenges it’s going to bring, what tasks are there, awaiting Esme and her new single status.

The book introduced us to many characters. There is Esme, her ex – boyfriend, brother and parents, two work friends, four male housemates, an elderly neighbour from next door… It took me some time to eventually start to differentiate the boys, to be honest, and I could have lived without the neighbour subplot, to be honest. The boys, well, they were a solid part of the book but I’ve never felt connected to them, even though they became such a great part of Esme’s life. Her brother Kane, I’m not sure what it was that he did and why did he spent so much time at the flat? He was mostly unpleasant and rude and well, lazy. Jonah was awfully narcissistic, focused on himself and that was all. Russ… well, I can’t say much about Russ, I’m sorry, as well as about Dam who was mostly absent, at his parents. The most interesting and developed character was probably Asa, he was full of secrets and surprises, and he always said things as they were, and I think you need to get used to him because he can also come across as a very, very rude and not direct.

 I had a problem with Esme. A huge one. I liked her, don’t get me wrong, but there were things that annoyed me so much in her. She acted as she was the centre of the world, as if everything revolved around her. She wanted to know everything and decide about everything. She jumped to conclusions and generally didn’t apologize for this. Almost in every single chapter she was happy to talk about herself with other characters and it was gladly reported that it usually took a lot of time – she was obsessed with herself, guys. However, there were also great sides to her. I absolutely loved how she ended her relationship and how consequent she was. I also liked her new friendship with the older neighbour and how well she looked after her. But mostly, unfortunately, I agreed with Asa’s assessment for her character – she did what other people thought was best for her, she seemed not to be capable of deciding for herself half of the time.

Each of the characters living with Esme seems to have a secret that Esme shouldn’t hear. Why? Oh boy, why? It was really annoying, I guessed all of them but it took Esme a lot of time to discover, because of course she was desperate to know everything. Typical Esme. Nothing about the other without her, even though it was not her business. The book started to feel repetitive, when Esme started to recount to the other characters about everything that happened to her. It started to drag on and I found myself losing my interest a little. The ending seemed much too rushed for my liking and it left me a little confused for a long time, to be honest. I felt a little disappointed with Esme’s decisions, and I didn’t understand it, it left me feeling the calendar, the tasks taught her nothing.

This book had me torn; flip – flopping guys, even though I can’t exactly tell you what it was that bothered me so much. There was just something missing. It was as if the author wanted to put so much into her story and ultimately we got a little of everything but on the whole there were missing elements, missing x- factor. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining and it had some really good moments but it just didn’t wow me as much as I thought at the beginning it’s going to. Because it started really good and then it slowed down and went a little downhill. But altogether, “The Single Girl’s Calendar” was a charming, nice read, a great book to unwind with. It was about showing that if things don’t end up going to plan then well, just start living differently and perhaps make a new plan or let life surprise you? It was nice, easy and relaxing. There were some unexpected turns and some deeper moments in the story as well. and I am looking towards reading more from Erin Green.

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On a Beautiful Day by Lucy Diamond / #BlogTour

Hi guys, hope you all have a great Saturday! I am absolutely thrilled today to welcome you to my stop on Lucy Diamond’s blog tour for her newest release “On a Beautiful Day”. It’s not a secret that I’m Lucy’s huge fan and I adore her reletable, believable stories – they’re so easy to get into and to get lost into them, and it’s the same with this book – I’m sure you are also going to love it!

On a Beautiful Day by Lucy Diamond

 

36517591Publisher: Macmillan

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 496

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

It’s a beautiful day in Manchester and four friends are meeting for a birthday lunch. But then they witness a shocking accident just metres away which acts as a catalyst for each of them.

For Laura, it’s a wake-up call to heed the ticking of her biological clock. Sensible Jo finds herself throwing caution to the wind in a new relationship. Eve, who has been trying to ignore the worrying lump in her breast, feels helpless and out of control. And happy-go-lucky India is drawn to one of the victims of the accident, causing long-buried secrets to rise to the surface.

This is a novel about the startling and unexpected turns life can take. It’s about luck – good and bad – and about finding bravery and resilience when your world is in turmoil. Above all, it’s about friendship, togetherness and hope.

Rating: five-stars

 

Yes, guys. I love stories about friends and I love Lucy Diamond’s novels, so what could be better than a brand new Lucy Diamond book about four friends? Exactly! Lucy’s novels are always so comforting, they are easy reads that make you laugh and cry and they are always a winner, you can be sure that Ms Diamond is going to deliver a book that’ll fulfil all of your expectations. And it’s the same with “On a Beautiful Day”, just grab the book, your favourite blanket and a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream and put a “Do Not Disturb” on your door.

 So the story follows four friends, Eve, India, Jo and Laura and let me tell this right now how much I enjoyed this friendship – it was pure and genuine, there weren’t any indiscretions  between the women, they didn’t conspired against each other like it often happens in books with such subject matter, no, it was a great, real friendship, with some secrets, of course, but when you read you’ll quickly learn why some of the girls choose to keep the things secret, what was their keynote, and you’ll going to understand them and fell for them immediately. On a beautiful day, when they meet to celebrate birthday of one of them, they witness a very horrific accident, where a car barely misses them and crashes in a shop nearby, leaving several people injured and dead. This accident makes them think and yes, it’s going to change their lives significantly.

I can’t say that I had my favourite character because they were all just awesome, normal, real women, with everyday problems, so unique and their friendship was great. They had their own lives and troubles, their own stories, however the moments in the book when they were together worked so very well.

Eve has been ignoring a lump in her breast. She’s scared to go to the doctor in case they’re going to confirm her fears. Help comes in the most unexpected way. I wasn’t so sure why Eve didn’t want to open to her husband, to be honest, I understand she wanted to be strong and independent, she never wanted help from anybody but there are moments in our lives when we just should share our problems with the closest ones.

Laura desperately wants a baby, however how is it going to happen when, after years of trying and disappointment, her husband has just left her? I think Laura’s story, of course as important and touching as the other three, was not as well developed and I felt the weakest connection with her. But of course I kept everything crossed for her, I fell for her as well and the end of her story surprised me very much, but also made me happy for her.

Her sister Jo, who’s just started a new relationship, has a very different problem, as the new boyfriends brings his teenage daughter with and she can’t quite bond with the girl. I so wasn’t sure about the new relationship, the quick move, I was really scared and afraid that she’s going to be hurt again, but following the motto “no risk, no fun” Jo dived pretty deep. She just wants to feel happy again. There were moments that I wouldn’t stand Rick’s daughter, but she was patient and determined to make the things run smoothly between them and I really admired her for this.

And India, who’s running mother and baby music classes, even though she had great ambitions before, she wanted to go to music college and was short of doing this, well, is she going to reveal the secret from her past that’s so haunting her? Is it this secret that makes her question everything, not being sure if she’s happy with her life, her children, her husband? Is the chance encounter going to answer all her questions and doubts or rather bring even more problems?

All the stories are beautifully written, and, typical for Lucy Diamond, with tons of gentleness, understanding and subtlety. They are all down to earth and very authentic, telling us about the effects they have on each of the characters and their closest ones.

 Lucy Diamond creates her characters in a way that make you feel as if you’ve known them for ages. You can’t help but fell in love with them, cheer them on and keep everything crossed for them. I was immediately hooked and warmed to all of the women from the word go. What is also so significant is that we can really easily identify with them all because Lucy Diamond makes them realistic and down to earth, and their problems as well.

There are many lighter and humorous situations in the story, as well as many emotional ones, and the book really tugs at the heart – strings. With four main characters there is a lot happening, so it’s fast paced and while I wouldn’t say that it’s full of twists or turns, there are for sure some surprises on the way and I wouldn’t call the story predictable – oh no! Forget about the wishy – washy stories and repeating plots, “On a Beautiful Day” is close to life, realistic and relatable book with complex and well developed characters.

Lucy Diamond’s writing is, as always, full of sensitivity, she writes beautifully and descriptive, but with a great dose of humour and there is a lot of understanding in her writing. The characters must face plenty of problems, their lives are not beds of roses and life can be challenging for them but the story is not sad but it will make you think about your own life and to re – consider some things, that’s for sure.

 It was a gorgeous story about appreciating your life, about facing the challenges on your way, about having the courage. This is a book about second chances and about trust, touching upon so many different and important issues like fertility, health concerns, (patchwork) families, relationships and friendship. I absolutely adored the fact that it was so compelling, clever and so challenging, with a complex plot and I enjoyed every single minute of it. Lucy Diamond’s book are guaranteed to provide you with all you need: laughter, tears, all kinds of emotions, suspense, and it’s not different with “On a Beautiful Day”, but the book is on no account too heavy or too overwhelming. It makes you think, so this is really my favourite kind of read, as it obliges to look under the surface. Highly recommended!

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The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor / #BlogTour

Guys. I have another blog tour stop for you today. Have you heard about “The Chalk Man” yet? I’m sure you have. This is one of the most amazing and unpredictable books I have ever read and I am incredibly excited to be sharing my thoughts on this novel with you today. BTW, it was published yesterday, so whatever you do, drop it and make sure you’ve ordered it!

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

 

36355177Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for each other as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing will ever be the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he’s put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out his other friends got the same messages, they think it could be a prank… until one of them turns up dead. That’s when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

Rating: five-stars

So guys,  “The Chalk Man”. One of the most talked about books right now, I am sure you’ve heard about it, it’s impossible to miss all the buzz. But you know what? There are books that are being incredibly advertised and after reading them you’re left thinking “and that was it?”. With “The Chalk Man” it’s not going to happen. No way. Nada. Because this book is going to blow your mind and you won’t be able to put it down. Have my word.

 The first thing that not only took me immediately by surprise but also shocked me a little was the opening – a gruesome discovery in the woods, and right then the scene at the fair. To say it started with a kick would be an understatement, guys. And so the story continued, full of scenes out of this world, and me, sitting there intrigued and my jaw dropping, thinking nothing more intriguing won’t come and being totally wrong. What a bloody brilliant story!

I still can’t believe that it’s C.J. Tudor’s debut novel because the writing style was amazingly good. It was easy to follow and there was not a single moment that I felt confused, even with this complex storyline, it was very descriptive – yes, guys, all the gory details are there, the almost chopped – off  leg, the severed heads and a lot of blood – and while there were moments that I wanted to close my eyes to stop seeing those things, it also somehow worked for me, and I loved this chatty, easy writing style.

There was really much going on, alternating between 1986 and 2016, but in the end everything comes neatly together. The author has a way with describing her characters – she gets into their heads and as a result they don’t have any secrets from us, they were really vivid and alive. Ed was laid – back, scruffy 40 – something, living in a house he grew up in, a teacher, with neither girlfriend, nor wife, nor children. He smoked like a dragon and drank much too much and yes, I know, he may sound not too promising, but Ed was really okay. He seemed so uncomplicated, so straightforward and, in a way, honest and naive, and he was the same 30 years ago – because the story is splitting between past and present. Ed, and all the other characters, his little group of friends, his family, Mr Halloran were exceptionally interesting and with very well developed personalities and well, I personally was hooked when reading about them. They were not straightforward, there was some kind of secrecy around them all and I always had a feeling I’m one step behind them, that I know everything about them but also nothing because in the next moment they were going to say or do something that would totally change my mind or open my eyes.

 The setting was very suitable, the town of Anderbury full of some nasty characters, full of secrets, lies and hypocrisy, violence and bullying. The atmosphere was so dark and this darkness and uncertainty was palpable through the pages. There was just this feeling of authenticity in this book.

I really didn’t know where the story is going to take me or what to expect from it, but that’s okay and it was really great for once to just let the book to take me on a real journey. It was full of questions and what ifs, full of coincidence and hazards. It dealt with many heavy issues, such as dementia or bullying for example. It was totally unpredictable and it kept you guessing all the time because it was so twisty and turny. While we can expect that the story is going to focus on the one thing, on the chalk man, there is much, much more to it and the reveals go on all the way through this novel – amazing! It was complex, it was clever, it was full not only of drama but also of a dark humour and it was really worth all of the buzz, guys. It was unique, a read with a difference, really something that I haven’t read before, and I read really many books. “The Chalk Man” was a multi – layered thriller, full of suspense and elements of mystery that took its time to unravel all the secrets and I can’t recommend it highly enough – no matter if it’s the genre you like or not, give this sharp – observed novel a try, I’m sure you’re going to be totally hooked!

PS. And have you noticed the cover? It’s gawesome!

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The Pets at Primrose Cottage Part 3 by Sheila Norton

Pets at Primrose Cottage: Trust Your Heart by Sheila Norton

 

34846988Publisher: Ebury Digital

Publishing Date: 18th January 2018

Series: The Pets at Primrose Cottage #3  (read my review of part 1 here and part 2 here )

Source:  Received from publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 80

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

Synopsis:

PART THREE of a serialised novel – a charming and romantic story about living the simple life and the joy of animals.

Emma Nightingale finds she’s accidentally becoming something of a local celebrity in the small town of Crickleford, and it seems that everyone wants her to look after their pets.

While looking after a hamster, she accidentally uncovers a mystery that threatens to draw even more attention to her. With nowhere to turn, soon Emma will have to make a decision that could cost her everything…

Rating: four-stars

 

And so The Pets at Primrose Cottage series continues with part 3, “Trust Your Heart”. In this part, as opposed to two other ones, there is a lot happening, however it still doesn’t explain much about Emma’s previous situation and I’m afraid that the last part will feel too rushed as the author will have to wrap all the threads of the subplots neatly together. But let’s wait and see.

I think this is also the funniest part yet, especially with the hamster adventures, and with the fish troubles. It of course brings back the characters that we’ve got to know but I only hope that the unappetizing Rob won’t enter the scenes anymore, he’s incredibly annoying and I am really not sure what’s the point of his advances. Emma is promising to tell this all his wife but it’s the same as with her lies – she promises to stop and it never happens. However, in this part she’s plucks up the courage to open a little to Matt and I must admit that his reaction disappointed me – and let’s be honest, were the stories that Emma told before so life – changing and significant? And well, hello, there was no talk about relationship before, so why to react so strongly? Probably because he has something to hide as well (oh boy. I fear that the fourth part is going to be longer as the three parts together, everything just accumulates). I also am not sure if I understand Emma’s allegation’s towards her family because when her sister visited her at Primrose Cottage, they were both so well around each other, they enjoyed each other’s company and there was not a feeling that there is something wrong between them.

The story was flowing so very nicely and it made me smile and I enjoyed it. However, all the time I have a feeling that it would work much better as w full – length novel, not all books can be split into series and in my opinion this is such a book, and it just losing too much. But I, of course, will be reading the final instalment, I have to know all the answers. “Trust Your Heart” had some romance in it, some buried secrets and altogether it was enjoyable, quick read.

On the Bright Side by Hendrik Groen / #BlogTour

Hi guys! Not so long ago, because it was July 2017, I read and incredibly enjoyed “The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old” – you can read my review here. When I heard that there is going to be a second diary, I really couldn’t wait to reconnect with the lovely, full of chutzpah and life characters and there really was no question if I’d like to be a part of the blog tour – of course! For Hendrik – anytime!

On the Bright Side: The New Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen

 

35997475Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Biographical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

Synopsis:

The new diary from one of literature’s most beloved octogenarians.

On The Bright Side picks up where The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen left off, at the care home of the anarchic Old-But-Not-Dead Club where Hendrik and his friends are determined to enjoy their autumn years full of optimism. Written with his characteristic charm and humour Hendrik proves, yet again, that age is simply a number.

Rating: four-stars

 

Oh, it was a real joy to read book 2 in the Hendrik Groen’s Secret Diary series – I had no idea that I missed him, his octogenarian club and their antics so much! I love Hendrik’s spirit, his plans for the future and his dark humour. If you don’t know Hendrik yet, he’s 85 years old and lives in a care home in Amsterdam. He and some of his cronies founded the Old But Not Dead club, arranging day trips and also visiting differently themed restaurants for food sampling. And they are not as innocent as they might seem, they are causing a lot of troubles in their care home – they really have a spirit!

This is a real diary, as Hendrik writes about his days and the things that happened in the care home. He’s the first to cause a mayhem but there is also this gentle, vulnerable side to him – he has experienced so many things in his life, also some of the most sad ones, and he really knows what he’s talking about. He may be old but he has a spirit and reading about him is like reading more about a school boy. His friend Evert complete him in a perfect way, as he’s the more naughty one, and they both together are unstoppable duo – whenever they appear, there is a mischief and laughter. But there is also a great depth to all the characters, they have experience, they have souls, they have great personalities.

I think this time the books speaks even more loudly to you because you like the characters so much, you keep your fingers crossed for them, and there is now the more serious case of declining health, the looming presence of death. It may sound darker, and it is darker, and more sorrowful read, but there is still a lot of charm to it and it tugs at the heart – strings.

This book is full of dark and intelligent humour but there is also the more serious and poignant side to it, perfectly hidden under all this humour but not to overlooked. It deals with things that we often choose to ignore with humour, wit and gentleness, and the author really does a great job with describing the older age in such a forthcoming and entertaining way (kudos to the translator here as well, as the translation is absolutely brilliant!). I think I enjoyed this second part in Hendrik’s memories better, even though it was a little more on the darker, more serious side but still it was a great entertainment.

It is a story about enjoying life, full of emotions and feelings, filled to brims with outrageous escapades and poignant moments. It’s about not giving up, about dignity of old age, about friendship. Touching and very up – to – date, mentioning events and issues that are our present, it was a great pleasure to read. Recommended!

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

 

35849917Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publishing Date: 11th January 2018

Source:  Received from publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Suspense

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

You want to believe your husband. She wants to destroy him.
Gripping psychological drama for fans of Apple Tree Yard, The Good Wife and Notes on a Scandal.

Anatomy of a Scandal centres on a high-profile marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband, James, is innocent and desperately hopes to protect her precious family from the lies which might ruin them. Kate is the barrister who will prosecute the case – she is equally certain that James is guilty and determined he will pay for his crimes.

A high-profile marriage thrust into the spotlight. A wife, determined to keep her family safe, must face a prosecutor who believes justice has been a long time coming. A scandal that will rock Westminster. And the women caught at the heart of it.

Rating: five-stars

“Anatomy of a Scandal” by Sarah Vaughan is probably one of the most anticipated books this year and guys, there is a reason why. I personally have never read such a book before – such authentic, genuine and realistic, and so unique. It was incredibly addictive and – probably because of the fact that it’s about things that is really hard to read about – written with subtlety and without judging. There is a great depth to it, it’s written with an insight and it seems so meticulously researched, and as a result we get a hooking and gripping novel about who’s telling the truth.

It is a story with a slow pace, yet I found myself galloping through the pages and holding my breath. I absolutely, totally loved how the author, so skilfully and perfectly well knowing when she should do this, added new twist, turn and information that only messed with our minds or allowed us this brilliant moments when you feel like a fog would be disappearing and you’d think ow, yes! It was amazing, guys, how Sarah Vaughan messed with me and my mind.

The characters are full of flaws. They lie and keep secrets. James Whitehouse is wealthy and everything works for him in his life. He has a picture perfect family and a political career. He studied at Oxford and was a part of the rowing team. He was a member of a group called the Libertines – people, especially men, behaving without morals, without principles, without responsibility, getting what they want, no matter what it is, especially in sexual matters. Without consequences. And so he wanders through his life, now shared with Sophie and two children. And well, with some other woman that he can get in bed as well. Sophie, a wonderful wife for such a man like James. I wasn’t sure if she really doesn’t see thing or she doesn’t want to see them. Kate Woodcroft, the barrister, and as the story weaves back and forth in time we get to know her background and learn about her past and the baggage that she’s carrying. Thanks to their faults, and all those emotions and details they are all brought to life and feel like real people.
I couldn’t believe how clichéd James’ character was: tall, good – looking, charismatic, having everyone eating from his hands, a Junior Minister in the House of commons to add to this, and how clichéd his actions were! Sounds somehow familiar, right? Unbelievable, I was all the time hoping that he’s going to turn out a decent man – but I’m not going to tell you if it happened or not, oh no!
She has also brilliantly brought to life Kate Woodcroft, the barrister who is assigned to the case of James Whitehouse, involving violence of a sexual nature. The descriptions of Kate’s feelings and how hard it was for her were like unsheathing her soul, so true and realistic they were.
There were moments that I was thinking that bringing a perspective of Olivia Lytton, the parliamentary researcher who worked in James’ office and who accused him, would help, that having Olivia’s personal point of view would bring the clarity to the case, but guys, no. It isn’t necessary, and really, there came a moment that I started to understand everything very, very clearly.

But the story not only weaves through time, it also brings perspectives of different characters, which leads to so many new revelations! Everything becomes more clear when we see how those different narrators involved play by different rules and to different gates – just like in real life, when you can save yourself there are no morals. Sarah Vaughan gets into all her characters’ heads, exploring their feelings and emotions, guilt and arrogance.

What deserves a standing ovation is the fact how well Sarah Vaughan played her cards and wrote a story without a judgement. I personally was out for blood – and believe me, dear readers, I am a very peaceful person – and yet the author, and don’t take me wrong here because it’s brilliant that she’s done it this way, has totally with cold blood written a story about one of the worst crimes that could happen to any woman without one word of judgement, leaving this in our own hands.

This is brilliantly complex story letting us to decide who is presenting a true face, who is honest and who’s not and what has really happened. The dialogues during the trial were like watching a particularly thrilling tennis match, with our heads turning left and right, when we couldn’t wait for the other side to add something, to mention the unmentionable – this is the best part of the book, I think. It was incredibly clever courtroom drama, full of intrigue and past secrets, full of surprising reveals and suspenseful. And also, so incredibly timely… Highly, highly recommend!