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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How To Make Time for Me by Fiona Perrin / Blog Tour

How to Make Time for Me by Fiona Perrin

 

46828125._sy475_Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

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

Number of pages:

Genre: Women’s Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

Synopsis:

No-one said being a single mum would be easy…

Everyone knows that being a single mother means having no time to yourself. But for Callie Brown, its more exhausting than most. She’s juggling the needs of three teenage children, two live-in parents, a raffish ex-husband, and a dog who never stops eating.

The last thing Callie needs is anything more on her plate. So when she bumps (quite literally) into a handsome, age-appropriate cyclist, she’s quick to dismiss him from her life. After all, if she doesn’t have time to brush her hair in the morning, she certainly doesn’t have time to fall in love…

Funny, heartwarming and oh-so-true, this is a novel about motherhood, families, and life after divorce, perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Allison Pearson.

Rating: four-stars

 

Callie Brown is a single mum to 16 – year – old twin daughters and a 14 – year – old Wilf from her previous relationship, who she has been a mother for eight years, with her ex rather absent, and her ageing parents, for whom she cooks and cleans on a regular basis, and, of course, working full time in HR of a car dealership. One day she’s run over by a takeaway delivery bike because, as the cyclist says, he “just didn’t see her”. Callie realizes that actually this is how she is feeling – somehow invisible. To everyone in her life. Surely, something must change in her life now, right?

I liked the romance aspect that was not so predictable. The chaos and drama in the family’s life were brought in a light, chatty way and were not too over the top, simply bringing on how it really is, how complicated things can get. I adored how Callie reacted to all the pressure and struggles and how supportive her friends were (well, she not so invisible, right!). 

It was a light – hearted story with a depth, especially when it comes to Lily and Wilf’s stories. It’s another in the really popular and relevant “not yummy – mummy”, modern family category but it is refreshing and different and I enjoyed it wholeheartedly. I loved the message in this story, that no matter what – blood ties, relationship, shape, whatever – your home is where your family is, and those are not the above mentioned things that determine who you call your family. It was full of funny but also more serious and worrying moments but the writing style was really pleasant, so conversational and easy to follow. The characters and some of the situations are truly likeable and relatable and the plot is a clever one, much more complex that you could think at first, and I really liked this fact. And what’s more, it was full of emotions and explored single parenting in a nice, light but also honest, way. Recommended!

 

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The Reunion by Guillaume Musso / Blog Tour

The Reunion by Guillaume Musso

 

43565588._sx318_Publisher: W & N

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

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

Number of pages: 289

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Thriller & Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback

 

Synopsis:

THE #1 SENSATION WITH OVER HALF A MILLION COPIES SOLD IN FRANCE

French Riviera, winter 1992.
On a freezing night, as her high school campus is engulfed by a snowstorm, 19-year-old Vinca Rockwell runs away with Alexis, her philosophy teacher.
No one will ever see them again.

French Riviera, spring 2017.
Formerly inseparable, Thomas, Maxime and Fanny – Vinca’s best friends – have not spoken in twenty-five years. But when they receive a notice from their old school detailing the plans for a new gymnasium and inviting them to a class reunion, they know they must go back one more time.
Because there is a body buried in the gymnasium’s walls…
…and they’re the ones who put it there.

Rating: five-stars

 

In 2017 there is a reunion at school that Thomas, Maxim, Fanny and Vinca attended 25 years ago. However, it’s a meeting that the three remained friends never wanted to attend, as some hidden secrets can be revealed, then those 25 years ago one of the group disappeared and had never been found. Now, the gym which was built at that time is going to be bulldozed, and do those two facts have something in common? What kind of secrets are going to be buried in the walls of the school and what are the three adults, that used to be best friends but have never spoken again over the years, planning now to keep some of the secrets hidden?

The characters are not too likeable, but in this kind of book I really don’t expect them to be. They’re all brilliantly fleshed out. Thomas, now a popular novelist living in the States, was a truly interesting protagonist, a character with a difference. The story is narrated by him in the first person so we really get a good opportunity to see how the events in 1992 affected him, what makes him tick and what has shaped him and his life. We see, through his eyes, the alluring Vinca, woman that even after all the years still has a hold over him. Because of what happened in 1992, he cut himself off from his previous life, all his friends and family, so returning to the town is like opening a Pandora Box for him. His best friend from school, Maxim, is a politician and, to be honest, has better contact with Thomas’s parents as Thomas himself. Now they have both a lot to lose, their whole lives are at stake and they are to face up to their past and future – a great person description here, captivating and capturing all the feelings and emotions.

The story takes us back and forth in time, slowly revealing all the secrets, unpeeling all the layers, fitting all the elements of the puzzle until all of them are revealed. It flits from the winter of 1992, when some of the characters disappeared, to the spring of 2017 when the reunion happens. In the meantime, we are given many different versions and option of what has happened, which makes the reading really exciting and I liked how they were all cleared at the end – even if they felt a bit too rushed for my liking.

The darkness of the tone brilliantly contrasts with the gorgeous setting of the French Riviera, the Côte d’Azur oozes with atmosphere and is a perfect backdrop. The descriptions are evocative and vivid, and you not only hear the waves but also feel the light wind on your skin.

It was dark, full of twists and turns, compelling and thrilling read, full of juicy secrets, about secrets, lies, jealousy, obsession and friendship. There is a lot of names dropping, which usually makes me really sceptical, but this time it still worked in this book. And well, I’m not sure if after reading it you’ll be finding the courage to go to your own school reunion. And yes, I could have been trying to guess no matter how long – my detective skills are non – existent. All the time, when I was thinking oh yes, now I know for sure, I turned the page and bam, there was another twist to come and hit me on the head. But on the other hand, it is great to simply let the author take you by the hand and guide you through the story, let him surprise you with the twisty, suspenseful thriller. Be prepared, though, that the book, that starts in such an innocent way, mentioning finding a body in the school, will offer you so much more than a straight – forward mystery. It is multi – layered and complex, full of ugly secrets threatening to rear out of the past and come back

Altogether, “The Reunion” is a read with difference, with one of the most unpredictable plots, with secrets coming at you thick and fast but in a way that you don’t feel overwhelmed with them. The writing style is so eloquent and almost lyrical, the plot is thickly packed with suspense and fast – paced, the characters are very well fleshed out, the setting is beautiful – simply a brilliant read that I highly recommend!

 

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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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Meet Me on the Riviera by Fliss Chester / Blog Tour

Meet Me on the Riviera by Fliss Chester

 

cover167425-mediumPublisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

Series: The French Escapes Book #3

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Jet down to the Côte d’Azur for a Riviera romance…

It’s all about millionaires, Monaco and mega-yachts as Jenna Jenkins starts her new job as a party planner in glamorous Monte Carlo. Not always a fan of the fabulously wealthy – Jenna surprises herself and finds she has a real knack of helping the super-rich go overboard at glittering events held on the decks of the amazing yachts.

Little does Jenna know, however, that behind her back there’s a tussle going on for her affections and her loyalty to her darling boyfriend, gorgeous Angus Linklater, is about to be tested by the mysterious – and oh so hot – billionaire who’s used to getting exactly what and who he wants.

With Max and Bertie’s wedding to plan, old friends Hugo and Sally bursting with news of their own and a lot of champagne to drink, it’s going to be a very interesting summer. So, drop anchor, glam up and meet me on the Riviera…

Rating: four-stars

 

Jenna has lost the job that she loved at the art gallery and now is setting up pop up galleries, though this doesn’t bring as much money as she’d like. She doesn’t want to rely on her boyfriend anymore when it comes to a financial aspect, so when she’s offered a job as a PA to the “bold and beautiful and rich” on a boat in the Riviera over the summer, and it also coincides with Angus working in Hong Kong, she jumps at the opportunity. There, moving in a totally different world of “the other half”, she comes to the attention of TG Wilkinson, a young billionaire who’s already used to getting what he wants. Is he going to get Jenna as well?

When requesting the book, and then after starting reading it, I was not aware that it is already third story in the series, yep, that’s me, pure chaos, so it took me a little by surprise and made me confused when the characters just appeared on the pages, not so deeply introduced to us, recalling some things and events and then simply going on, so I’ve researched a little and yes, bam, I’ve missed two previous books. However, you can still read this book as a stand – alone, there was enough background info to quickly come back on track and happily follow Jenna on her adventures.

The characters were rather hilarious and sometimes over – stereotyped but I’m guessing it was done on purpose. Despite some of them so showing off their wealth I enjoyed them and they made me laugh, but also there were moments that I wanted to bang their hands on the wall – but that’s really a good sign, I simply lived them and felt so drawn into their lives. Even Bertie made me roll my eyes, but in a friendly way, I think you simply need to take her with a grain of salt, and when you do it then she actually is going to make you laugh, with her demanding ways. TG was a self – centred and manipulative though, to be honest, he didn’t evoke any emotions in me, I was not angry with him, he didn’t make me smile, he was too much of a smooth operator to me and his actions somehow didn’t ring true for me. Jenna, however, was lovely, even is she was mostly drunk on champagne, but I love it when the characters are so accident – prone as Jenna was. And she mostly put others before herself, even with her life being in tatters she’s determined to help Bertie with her wedding. Though, it must be mentioned, she really had more luck then sense with getting such a brilliant job over the summer, don’t you think? Nevertheless, she was down – to – earth, funny, sharp and relatable.

The book started really well, it was entertaining and funny however later on it went a little downhill for me and it simply started to feel repetitive and not so engaging. I’m still not sure why TG so desperately wanted Jenna, I somehow missed the explanation in the story. And yes, I also had a feeling that some of the moments were a bit too far – fetched, this whole Hong – Kong gang thing with killing people just didn’t work for me, sorry. And some of the richness and situations seemed over the top but in this case, I think, that was the point.

“Meet Me on the Riviera” was a light – hearted, easy novel full of things that make it a perfect summer read. There is romance, break – up, billionaires, over the top yachts, friendship and also some danger, and this all set against the most wonderful setting of the French Riviera and Monaco that I absolutely adored – the descriptions of the exotic locations, of the popular clubs and how the other half lives were colourful, funny and vivid. Fliss Chester has a lovely and vivid writing style and she stops at nothing to capture your imagination, to entertain you. Now I’m looking forward to reading the other two books in this series!

 

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A Postcard from Italy by Alex Brown / Blog Tour + Q&A with the Author

Hi guys, I’m so thrilled to be a part of Alex Brown’s blog tour! I loved her books that are always full of unforgettable characters, and her writing style that is so gentle and full of feelings. This time, next to my review, the lovely Alex agreed to answer some of my questions – thank you, Alex, and welcome to the blog! –  so put your feet high and enjoy!

 

A Postcard from Italy by Alex Brown

 

41716123Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 11th July 2019

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

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Grace Quinn loves her job at Cohen’s Convenient Storage Company, finding occasional treasure in the forgotten units that customers have abandoned. Her inquisitive nature is piqued when a valuable art collection and a bundle of letters and diaries are found that date back to the 1930’s.

Delving deeper, Grace uncovers the story of a young English woman, Connie Levine, who follows her heart to Italy at the end of the Second World war. The contents also offer up the hope of a new beginning for Grace, battling a broken heart and caring for her controlling mother.

Embarking on her own voyage of discovery, Grace’s search takes her to a powder pink villa on the cliff tops overlooking the Italian Riviera, but will she unravel the family secrets and betrayals that Connie tried so hard to overcome, and find love for herself?

Rating: five-stars

 

Grace Quinn can’t say that she has a private life – either she cares for her bed bound mother or goes to work at convenient storage company. Grace loves her job and luckily her employers, Mr and Mrs Cohen, love Grace and treat her like family, understanding pressure she lives under. One day Grace opens one unit and discovers that it’s full of valuable art collections but also personal items, such like letters and diaries. Grace is determined to find out to whom they belong and soon discovers a whole life of Connie Levine inside. Encouraged by her work colleagues and friend, Grace decides to step right out of her comfort zones and embark on the journey to Italy, having no idea how many surprises and changes it’s going to bring.

Alex Brown for sure goes from strength to strength with her books, and “A Postcard from Italy” is certainly one of the best books she has written – although I’ve loved all of her previous books, so that’s saying something. I liked the brief mentions of Tindledale – I think this village has a very special place in our hearts, right? Also, Alex Brown creates the most gorgeous and stunning settings for her books, and the way she describes them draws you straight into the story and the place.

I really like to go back and forth between past and present in books, but sadly, not all of the authors can write this way. Alex Brown can. This dual time aspect gives you a real sense of this story and she has brilliantly captured the modern times and the past and it has never felt like reading two separate storylines.

The characters, as usual in Alex’s books, are so well fleshed out, full of emotions and feelings, it simply looks as if she gets into her characters’ heads, and they’re written in such a way that we can easily relate to them, understand them and their motives. Grace is an adorable person, although too loyal in my eyes, but I could so well understand her feelings. She didn’t want to hurt her mother so she’d rather do anything she wanted from her then standing up for herself. Yes, I know, one can say she was a doormat for letting Cora treating her like this, but I don’t think this way, I think she was simply such a good person that first thought of all the others and then about herself. But, seeing her taking the first steps to freedom was absolutely fantastic and I all the time wanted to give her more courage. Connie was another interesting character, full of life and personality, and I really enjoyed how their stories unfolded and how they were connected. Her story was touching and poignant and I’m sure it’s going to melt your heart.
To say that I was annoyed with Grace’s mother Cora would be an understatement. I can’t remember such annoying, manipulative, self – centred character like Cora.

I loved the element of the mystery in this book. Alex Brown has really masterfully plotted it and I sat comfortably, enjoying how she decided to unfold it, to peel the layers off. It was full of sad and poignant moments and the author truly knows how to write them so that they tug at our heart – strings. Connie’s diary entries were a huge part of this mystery and they were so interesting, giving a great insight into this woman, into her life that was full of pain, tears and disappointments but also happiness.

It was a very well crafted story that yes, had its weaker points as well, I somehow didn’t buy the whole bed bound Cora, I’m not sure why, it simply didn’t sit with me, and for me it was too easily solved, but that’s me, so pay no attention, but other than that, it was an excellent read. The pace was only right, there was not a single moment flat and I adored following Grace and all the other characters on their emotional journeys, overpowering problems, and this all set against such stunning settings. And there is so much more to this book that meet the eye. It is full of depth and wisdom, unforgettable characters and clever plot. I can assure you that you’re quickly going to be drawn into the tale, falling for Grace and Connie’s stories. It was captivating, felt honest and was an uplifting, heart – warming read about family dynamics, love and loss. Highly recommended!

 

Q&A WITH THE AUTHOR

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(photo courtesy of Philippa Gedge)

  1. Alex, if you were to describe “A Postcard from Italy” in three sentences…

An epic love story spanning ninety years. Family secrets to be unravelled that have been hidden since the 1930’s.Intrigue and romance in the breathtakingly beautiful Italian Riviera.

  1. What would you like your readers to take away from “A Postcard from Italy”?

Awarm, happy, poignant, but ultimately uplifting story with characters that stay with them long after the last page.

  1. The book combines fiction and history – was it difficult to write it like this?

It was very easy as I love being able to immortalise real events in history, and people too – I often give family members cameo parts too, for example the scene on VE Day mentions Edie, a nippy in Lyons Tea House on The Strand in London, and she is based on my grandmother who was called Edie and worked there too.

    4. What inspired you to partly set your story in Italy? 

I’ve always wanted to write a book set in Italy after visiting the Italian Riviera with my husband several years ago. I loved everything about that part of the world, the breathtaking scenery, the people, the delicious food and romantic atmosphere and so it was a joy to revisit the area in A Postcard From Italy.

     5. When you write, do you always follow a plan or do you let your characters to take you on a journey?

A bit of both. I have a synopsis that I use as a guide but the story always develops as necessary.

    6. What’s more important:  characters or plot?

Characters. I have to know the character before I write the story for them.

    7. On a little lighter note, what are three facts that we don’t know about you Alex?

I’m incredibly superstitious.

I once sang soprano in full chorister outfit on Songs of Praise (I was about 12years old).

I’m learning Spanish.

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?

Relax, you’ll get there in the end.

  1. And what is next for Alex Brown?

I’m about to start a new book for summer 2020 which I’m very excited about and looking forward to sharing the details of as soon as I can.

 

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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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