The Girl He Used to Know by Tracy Garvis Graves / Blog Tour

The Girl He Used to Know by Tracy Garvis Graves

 

Publisher: Trapeze 42170561._sy475_

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.

Rating: four-stars

 

In the early 1990s, Annika and Jonathan were together at the University. They got to know each other at the chess club – a place where Annika felt relatively safe. She used to get anxious in social situations and chess club felt always the same and she didn’t have to engage into conversations. One day she’s supposed to play against Jonathan, and he starts to see her in a different light than others. They eventually start dating and everything runs smoothly, until one day when something happens that tears them apart.Fast forward ten years and Annika lives in Chicago, working her dream job at the library. Shopping at a grocery store, she runs into Jonathan and slowly they start to get to know each other again. But will they be able to sort the past out? To move on? 

I adored Annika and I loved to see her growing, finding herself and accepting herself. She is altruistic, kind and honest, and maybe she doesn’t understand the world around her completely, but she knows what falling in love is. The wonderfully blunt observations of hers are so true to life and genuine, she was simply strong, brave and loyal. Her best friend Janice is another winner in this story, the kind of bad ass best friend that we all need in our lives, and I loved her patience with Annika, the way she explained her the world and it was so great to finally see a girl supporting another girl, and not bringing her down.

The story is narrated by Annika and Jonathan and it worked really well in this book, as we get two points of view, often on the same situation, and it gives us a really great insight into how their minds worked and what made them tick. Each chapter has a date but I must admit that I only cottoned on why it is so important at the end of the story, when THIS happened. Gah. I really didn’t see it coming and while I also didn’t find it necessary, I was OK with it. We watch their love unfolding, and I must say this feeling was so pure and raw and genuine, and I liked it so much because they were not playing games, they simply followed their instincts and feelings – it was so different to all the will they/won’t they stories, felt like a breath of fresh air. Although I must admit that I wasn’t so sure of Jonathan’s feelings, let me explain why – we were all the time left with a feeling that it was Annika’s fault that they broke up with each other, and for me Jonathan was fully accepting this, however, when it was eventually revealed what has happened it became clear that it was as much his as Annika’s fault, and he let her blame herself all the time, and I simply didn’t find it brilliant. For me he was like yes, ok, let’s try again because it suits me and I forgive you for what has happened. And it really seemed Annika has invested much more in the relationship, that she loved him more. But please, don’t get me wrong here, he WAS a loving, caring person and Annika tried new things with him, she was founding her courage with him – but it was really Annika that made the story for me.

The writing style is flowing and it feels so lyric and Annika’s voice is so special and distinctive, with all her feelings of anxiety, uncertainty and emotions brilliantly captured by the author. It was as if the author has got into her characters’ heads and I found myself engrossed in their lives. I would only like the end not to feel so rushed and abrupt after everything that has happened in the book.

“The Girl He Used to Know” is a story about taking your life in your own hand, compelling and sensitive. It was so much more than a second chance romance, there was much more depth to it and it touched upon many serious issues but in an accessible, gentle way. A captivating tale of love and acceptance – truly recommended.

 

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The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson

The Other Mrs. Miller by Allison Dickson

 

45047287._sy475_Publisher: Sphere

Publishing Date: 16th July 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 19.03.2020)

 

Synopsis:

In this unputdownable domestic suspense debut, a lonely suburban housewife finds her life entangled with the family that moves in across the street at the same time that she becomes convinced someone is watching her–perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door and The Last Mrs. Parrish.

Once a darling of Chicago’s social scene, Phoebe Miller fears she’s become irrelevant and cliché: just another miserably unfulfilled housewife who drowns her sorrows in Chardonnay and ice cream and barely leaves her house. Maybe it’s her dark thoughts and fertile imagination that lead her to believe the worst about everything she spies going on in the exclusive suburban cul de sac she calls home. But surely that rusty blue sedan that keeps idling by her driveway is a sign that she’s being watched. And that new family that just moved in across the street–Dr. Ron Napier, his vivacious wife, Vicki, and their handsome college-bound son, Jake–can’t be as perfect as they appear. Especially not with the bruises on Vicki’s arms and the fear in Jake’s eyes.

When a chance introduction to the exuberant Vicki–and a forbidden encounter with Jake–draws her out of her shell and deeper into the Napiers’ orbit, Phoebe’s life finally gets the infusion of excitement she’s been missing. But when anonymous threatening notes begin landing on her doorstep, she’ll have to ask herself just how well anyone can truly know their neighbors…and how close to home unforeseen danger sometimes lies.

Rating: three-stars

 

Phoebe Miller is a bored housewife, spending days at home, cleaning and baking. Her marriage to Wyatt is on the brink of collapsing. After a scandal revolving around her father, Phoebe finds herself even more isolated from reality, drinking more and more to pass the time. It’s then that she notices a car, parked in the neighbourhood, and she has a feeling that whoever it is, they’re watching her, so she starts to note down when she’s seen the car. Then a new family moves across the street, and Phoebe is interested in them, especially in the Napiers son, Jack. But things start to seem to go out of hand for Phoebe. Do the Napiers have something to hide? Who is the person in the blue sedan?

The book is divided into two parts and I must say that the first part was better than the second one. Firstly it focused on Phoebe and her life and even though she was not a character that I warmed to, I was fascinated with her life, past and present, and the new neighbours seemed truly intriguing. Whereas the second part felt much slower, much too forced and bit unbelievable, and it felt like reading two different stories. It was hard to believe in the characters’ actions and honestly, I was not so invested in the plot any more.

The whole stalker idea also didn’t seem completely thought over, and as I don’t want to spoil your reading I can’t say anything more! But it was illogical for me, wanting something from Phoebe but instead of approaching her they wanted to blackmail her, threaten her and maybe even kill her instead of telling who they were.

Phoebe is a complex and complicated character, and not easy too like, she has actually awakened ambivalent feelings in me. I’ve never warmed to her but I felt sorry for her, although I also think that she put herself in the situation she was living. Yes, I did understand her but I couldn’t understand why she simply didn’t do anything to have the life she wanted to have – she simply wallowed in her own misery, pitied herself, drinking and eating away at her problems. But altogether I don’t think she was a bad person, probably she simply didn’t know how to deal with all her problems, the traumatic childhood when most of the time her father didn’t acknowledge her existence or labelled her as worthless, and as a result she was living like in a limbo, without hobbies, friends, career, wallowing in her past, convinced that everyone knows who she is and who her father was though the truth may be totally different – people are not aware of who she is, at all.

It was an interesting domestic thriller where events start to roll slowly like a snowball and then take on epidemic proportions of an avalanche. Unexpected and unpredictable and you simply want to know what’s going to happen next, though not one to have blown my mind. The end left me, I don’t know, confused would be probably an understatement – yes, it surprised me but not in a positive way. Don’t get me wrong, please, I did enjoy the book but there were too many things that simply didn’t sit well with me, but that’s me and maybe you’re going to enjoy the book more than I did. And I’m curious what the author will come up with next.

Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby / Blog Tour

Three Days in Florence by Chrissie Manby

 

515nmsferxl._sx328_bo1204203200_Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 338

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

When a mini-break becomes make or break…

Kathy Courage has never visited the famous Italian city of Florence before, so she’s thrilled when she and her boyfriend Neil are invited there for a wedding. Unfortunately, with Neil’s constant complaining and his teenage children in tow, it’s not exactly the romantic break Kathy was hoping for.

But when a mix-up with her flights leaves Kathy stranded in the city, she decides to embrace the unexpected and stay on alone.

What follows is a life-changing few days in the Tuscan sun, as Kathy begins to question the choices that have led her here. With the help of the colourful Innocenti family, who offer Kathy a place to stay, she gradually begins to realise that there’s a much bigger world out there, if only she can be brave enough to explore it.

Could Italy hold the answers to her future happiness? Or is Kathy destined to return to her old life?

Rating:  five-stars

 

Kathy Courage has always wanted to visit Florence – her parents spent their honeymoon there, fell in love with the city and promised to take her there but it never happened, and now her father is dead so it’s too late. But is it really? Kathy and her boyfriend Neil are invited to a wedding – in Florence! Kathy is thrilled but, sadly, her plans to spent a lovely time with Neil didn’t turn out like she hoped and the whole trip is one huge disappointment. However, the mix – up with the flight home means that Kathy stays three whole days in Florence, alone! Will she find the courage to enjoy the city alone? Will an accident, that leaves her depending on the kindness of some strange Florentine family, make her look at her life differently? 

Chrissie Manby’s books brilliantly balance dry humour with poignant moments but this time I had a feeling that this novel, as much as still with those wonderful funny moments, was overall more serious in tone. It doesn’t mean that it was wrong, because the author really knows how to make her stories seamlessly flow, keeping me glued to the pages.

This story, albeit with a wonderful storyline, was – in my eyes – very character oriented, and they were brilliantly written, so easy to adore or to love to hate. I think they were written intentionally this way and you simply couldn’t help yourself but despise Neil and his family, and the more I got to know them, the more I disliked them all – a very self – centred, egoistic family and I couldn’t wait for Kathy to do something about it – because she has already noticed their true colours, it was only a matter of time – at least I hoped so! Really, they were hardly bearable and utterly unpleasant, and the Innocenti family, that almost adopted Kathy, looks in comparison even more friendly and wonderful and warm – because they were like this. 
Kathy was an immediately likeable character, even though she let others to treat her like a doormat, and usually I would roll my eyes at her and tell her, get a grip woman, but she was different. I fell under her spell and I had a feeling there is much more in her than meets the eye. She was so brilliantly fleshed out, felt like a living, breathing person, with all her fears, excitement, hope. Yes, I was asking myself all the time, why is she with Neil but I also could understand her, although the more I got to know him, and his actions that he’s done “for Kathy”, the more I wanted her to bang his head on the wall. But other than that, I found Kathy a great, interesting, gentle and real character.
The Innocenti family was absolutely fabulous, especially Manu when trying to learn Kathy speak Italian, and even the smelly little dog – they all had a place in this story and made it much more colourful with their huge personalities. What I also liked in this book was the fact that it didn’t feel like another Florence tourist guide. Sure, there were descriptions of this gorgeous city, vividly bringing it to life, but they were more of the behind – the – scenes sort of places that I truly enjoyed, showing the real life thanks to the Innocenti family.

This story is full of fun and drama, another captivating winner from Chrissie Manby. A real page – turner with a sweet, blossoming romance, with some ups and downs and it brilliantly shows Kathy’s ways to rediscover herself, to be brave to find the courage for being herself.

This book is written in such easy, comforting way,  I just couldn’t stand the thought that I must put it down for a moment, I was so caught up in the characters’ lives, their antics and their banter – it was all perfect! I have enjoyed every single page of this book and, you know this feeling, when finishing a novel makes you both happy and sad? Happy because you’ve read a great story, and sad, because it came to an end? It was this kind of book, a wonderful, moving novel with fabulous characters, the right balance of everything I was looking for in it, and gorgeous setting. Highly recommended!

 

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Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas / Blog Tour

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

 

44293430._sy475_Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publishing Date: 8th August 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Mystery, Suspense

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 08.08.2019)

 

Synopsis:

THE ONLY THING MORE SHOCKING THAN THE FIRST CHAPTER . . . IS THE LAST. . .
___________

Everything changed the night Flora Powell disappeared.

Heather and Jess were best friends – until the night Heather’s sister vanished.

Jess has never forgiven herself for the lie she told that night. Nor has Heather.

But now Heather is accused of an awful crime.

And Jess is forced to return to the sleepy seaside town where they grew up, to ask the question she’s avoided for so long:

What really happened the night Flora disappeared?

Rating: four-stars

 

Heather and Jess used to be best friends, growing up in a small seaside town, until their friendship fell apart after Heather’s older sister, Flora, went missing and was never found. Fast forward 18 years and Jess works in her childhood town as a reporter and it’s then when she learns that Heather is currently in hospital in a coma after trying to commit a suicide, also having been accused of murdering two people in their own home before she tried to take her own life. Jess is torn – it’s a story that can help her career but she also wants to stay loyal to her friend. Also, she can’t believe that Heather, married mother of a young boy, could have commit such crime. What has really happened? Is there more to the story than meets the eye? 

The characters in this story feel so real that I had a feeling they’re going to jump off the pages at any moment. They’re full of flaws but the fact that they’re not perfect simply makes them even more relatable and realistic. Some of them are more likeable then the others, that are really untrustworthy but all of them are vivid and real. The story is written in chapters alternating between Jess and Margot in the present, and Heather in the past and we slowly but steadily get a picture of what has happened, what has shaped the girls and, perhaps, what has happened to Flora. In the present, Jess tries to find the truth hidden behind the death of the two murdered people, but also tries to stay loyal to Margot and Heather. 

I liked the way the book was written, and how well it connected the subplots, slowly but methodically untangling the web of lies and dark secrets. I found myself changing my mind and opinions many times and couldn’t be sure where the story might go – and I really liked this unpredictability. It was a slow burner, but it couldn’t be different with this kind of book, though no worries, there was not a single moment that it felt flat. Also, it was full of tension but not tension that makes you feel chilly – instead of thinking that something’s really bad is going to happen I was rather sure that the worst has happened already and the final reveal is this what’s going to blow me away. While it didn’t happen – it didn’t blow me away – it was still a brilliant story full of secrets, twists and surprises and kept me guessing until the end.

“Then she Vanishes” was a multi – layered and complex novel but easy to read, thanks to the forthcoming but also beautiful writing style, with words flowing with ease. Atmospheric and compelling story about friendship, family bonds, forgiveness, touching upon such topics like drugs, abusing, full of emotions and intrigue that kept me glued to the pages. Recommended!

 

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The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan

The Spanish Promise by Karen Swan

 

43793447._sy475_Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Charlotte, a wealth counsellor who knows from personal experience the complications that a sudden inheritance can bring, helps her clients navigate the emotional side effects of sudden wealth syndrome. When she is asked by Mateo Mendoza, heir to a huge Spanish estate, to fly to Madrid to help resolve an issue in his father’s will, she’s confident it will be straightforward. The timing isn’t great as Charlotte’s due to get married the following week, but once her client signs on the dotted line, Charlotte can return to her life in London and her wedding, and live happily ever after. Marrying Stephen might not fill her with excitement, but she doesn’t want to live in the fast lane anymore – safe and predictable is good.

But Carlos Mendoza’s final bequest opens up a generation of secrets, and Charlotte finds herself compelled to unravel the mystery. As Charlotte digs deeper, she uncovers the story of a family divided by Spain’s Civil War, and of a love affair across the battle lines that ended in tragedy.

And while she is consumed in the drama of the Mendozas, Charlotte’s own tragic past catches up with her, threatening to overturn everything in her life she’s worked so hard to build.

Rating:  five-stars

 

Charlotte Fairfax, a wealth specialist, is sent to Spain on her next job. It couldn’t come at a worse time for her, as her wedding is only the following week. However, she’s sure that she’ll do what she has to do and will be back in London in time. But life usually has other plans for us, and soon Charlotte is drawn into the past of the Mendoza’s family – it turns out there is much more than meets the eye, there is darkness and ugly secrets. Moreover, the person she’s supposed to be working with has no idea about any inheritance, so it’s up to Charlotte to delve into the family’s history and what she discovers is shocking for all involved. Will she return in time for her own wedding? And can past hurts be repaid?

I am always eagerly awaiting Karen Swan’s new releases, as I know her books are going to take us to the most exotic/unusual/beautiful locations and they are reads with difference, often incorporating an intriguing mystery and always full of interesting, brilliantly fleshed out characters – and it was exactly like this with “The Spanish Promise”.

It was a shocking, poignant, heart – breaking story set in two time frames, the first one at the time of the Spanish civil war, showing its ongoing affects on many families even long after the event itself, following the life of the Mendoza family, and the second one taking us back to the present day, with Charlotte searching for answers. Both of the timelines had kept me captured as they were both rich in details and full of events. They, of course, intertwine, adding more questions, making us wonder what has happened to the rebellious daughter of the Mendozas, Nene. The author has made it perfect for me, to be honest, alternating between a fascinating and sad historical times that I, must admit, don’t have a great knowledge of, and present, keeping a healthy balance between them.

The characters in this book weren’t flawless but they were realistic and perceptive. I loved Charlotte, how determined she was, and I loved the fact that the author has – again – carefully considered a great and different kind of job for her – I mean, how many wealth counsellors do you usually come across? I think that Ms Swan has described the logistics of this job very well, balancing it with Charlotte’s interesting personal life and the question of her past and this all has made Charlotte an interesting, deep character, and I think I’ve found her story even better than this of Nene, who was also such a strong and colourful character to follow. But Charlotte, I don’t know, she just grew on me and I really enjoyed how digging in the past made her realise what is important to her.

The plot is complex and intertwines many threads but I have never felt confused, thanks to Karen Swan’s clear, eloquent and seamless writing. She beautifully paints a colourful, vivid picture of Spain, effortlessly transporting us into the characters’ world. The plot is wonderfully well – thought and it intertwines and unravels the secrets at the right moments, giving us a vivid, satisfying story touching upon many lighter, heavier and important issues.

Altogether, “The Spanish Promise” was an evocative, captivating and enchanting read, with romance that is alluring, mesmerising and heart – breaking, taking us on a roller – coaster journey through the lives of Mendoza and Fairfax families. It is full not only of money and power but also showing that behind those gorgeous mansions and designer clothes there is much more to meet the eye, that there are lies, secrets and betrayals that can change fate of many other people. As usual, Karen Swan’s addictive novel had me captivated, taking me into another, fantastic world. Highly recommended!

Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe / Blog Tour

Forget My Name by J.S. Monroe

 

46257056._sy475_Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 19th July 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 496

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

How do you know who to trust…
…when you don’t even know who you are?

You are outside your front door.
There are strangers in your house.
Then you realise. You can’t remember your name.

She arrived at the train station after a difficult week at work. Her bag had been stolen, and with it, her identity. Her whole life was in there – passport, wallet, house key. When she tried to report the theft, she couldn’t remember her own name. All she knew was her own address.

Now she’s outside Tony and Laura’s front door. She says she lives in their home. They say they have never met her before.

One of them is lying.

my-review

 

The first line in “Forget My Name” is “I can’t remember my own name” – a chilling opening to a story. The woman who arrives at Laura and Tony’s house can’t remember her own name but is convinced that this is where she lives. Her bag was stolen at the airport, she has no wallet, no passport, nothing, except for a train ticket to the village. Laura and Tony invite her – she can identify the layout of the house! As she needs a name, Tony decides on Jemma. Jemma with a “J”.
Soon the rumours start that she’s Jemma Huish that was sentenced for killing her best friend. Is she? Or is she a total innocent woman? Who is lying and why?

Jemma, not knowing her identity, nothing about herself, looks desperate to piece her life together. In this process she must rely on the kindness of other people, who either choose to help her or immediately decide that she’s the wrong one – it was really thought – provoking, forcing me to think what would I do in this situation? Let her in? Let her sleep in my house? Isn’t it too dangerous? I liked to see the different reactions of people reacting to Jemma’s story, and how helping/not helping her affected them. And what if you would be in Jemma’s situation? No memory, no identification, relying on the help of strangers?

The chapters switch perspectives between several characters, quite many of them. But each of the characters add a deeper layer to the whole puzzle, and in the end I was left really not knowing who tells the truth. There were many theories and many options, some of them rather ridiculous but well, actually maybe possible, and I liked this fact. It was, however, hard to engage with the characters, to warm to them, and the only one whose reactions were believable was Laura. Altogether, it was hard to believe any of them, so they for sure didn’t pull the rug out from under me.

The pace in this story was only right. There came a moment later on when it suddenly started to feel a bit flat and slow but in the next second everything was right again, as if the author has spotted it as well and brought back the pace. There were also some situation that were too far – fetched for my liking, things happening at the right moment, very convenient for the characters, and the fact that the similar – looking women were popping up like mushrooms was rather disturbing, stretching the credibility to a breaking point, I would say. But, in this book, it didn’t turn me off, they were easy to overlook and so I really enjoyed the story.

There were some twists and turns on the way, that’s for sure. Perhaps I didn’t feel tension as I’d like to feel, and the big revelation came really at the very end, but I still enjoyed this read – it was light and easy actually and even though it didn’t keep me on my tenterhooks, and probably lacked a bit in the execution, I was engrossed and involved in the story and it kept me curious and intrigued throughout the journey. However, one thing I could determine very quickly, was the character that I simply despised, not knowing their motives but sensing falsehood and bed intentions.

I love when there are short, really dynamic chapters in the books, and it was the case here – it made the reading much quicker and it was hard to put it down. The writing is so engaging, it simply draws you in, so clear and concise. And I didn’t guess the end – again. I suspected the “who” but didn’t know how and why, so that’s for sure a huge bonus point for the book.

 

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I Looked Away by Jane Corry / Blog Tour

I Looked Away by Jane Corry

 

42184225._sy475_Publisher: Penguin Books

Publishing Date: 27th June 2019

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

Number of pages: 512

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

YOU MADE A MISTAKE. BUT THEY’RE SAYING IT’S MURDER.

‘A fearsomely good thriller’ Nicci French

‘Sensitive and thought-provoking’ Adele Parks

‘Thrilling, emotional and pacy with a clever twist I didn’t expect’ Claire Douglas

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of My Husband’s Wife, comes a beautifully written psycholgocial thriller for fans of Lisa Jewell and Clare Mackintosh.
_____________________________________

Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anyone else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband’s affair. But he swears it’s over now, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she’s got.

Then one day, while she’s looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And just for a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. What happens next will change her life forever.

Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.

And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder…

 

Rating: five-stars

 

“I Looked Away” by Jane Corry introduces us to Ellie, from being a young girl until she becomes grandmother. When she was 5 years old, she has witnessed her mother’s death and had to grow up with her father who then remarried a neighbour, bringing a stepmother who detested Ellie and a step – brother Michael to the family. She’s now married to an ex – University lecturer Roger, has two children and an adored grandson Josh. When she’s looking after him one Monday afternoon, something tragic happens, something that will put Ellie in prison and is going to change her whole life.
Jo has her own prison experiences but now she’s homeless, travelling from Bristol to Devon and Cornwall. She’s a Big Issue seller. They meet each other when Ellie runs away after what has happened to Josh. The stories of the two women meander around each other, back and forward in time, but do they have something in common?

The story is told from Ellie and Jo’s points of view and those two personal accounts are more than absorbing. They are mixed with little mentions of some other relationship that is like a dangerous shadow. We have two different characters that at the first sight have nothing in common but whose stories, for some reason, intertwine, meandering around each other, the dual timeline gradually converges, until we eventually get the final reveal, the whole picture emerges and the truth comes out. The author slowly paints a picture of Ellie, of her past and present, and we are able to see all the events, like the death of her mother, then getting a step – mother and brother, that shaped her to be the person she is today. The circumstances took all her happiness, carefreeness away from her, she finds herself in situations that she never should experience. She starts to feel lost and isolated and really, she never learns or comes to terms of how to deal with grief. Manipulated by her step – mother, then by her husband, Ellie’s life seems to be one huge battle.
Slowly and subtly, we get to know Jo’s background and her hidden past. Jane Corry has done such a great job writing about Jo’s time on the streets, she captured all the reality and brutality of this situation – she brings the lives of the homeless with raw honesty to the pages, and this part of the book must have been so passionately researched, enlightening us more about this subject, giving some answers, explaining.

I really like Jane Corry’s writing style – it seems so uncommitted, with distance but it works so well in this psychological thriller and you can feel author’s heart in every single word and the research that went into the story is meticulous and made it eye – opening and showing that not everything is always either black or white, that there are also other shades of grey. It’s simply extremely well written and crafted and the pace is just right, seamlessly flowing, with characters and time

“I Looked Away” was a very emotional story that touches on mental health, despair, love and loss, bullying, homelessness, about giving when you yourself don’t have much. It really captured my heart and my attention. It was incredibly well plotted, with twists and turns and mystery to solve that you know can happen at any time, teasing you all the time and making you want to read more and more, and then it comes, expected yet unexpectedly and leaves you feeling dizzy.. This was emotionally charged, captivating and taking your breath away psychological thriller, dealing in a brilliant way with some very realistic issues that people must deal with every day. Highly recommended!

 

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