An Unsuitable Marriage by Colette Dartford

An Unsuitable Marriage by Colette Dartford

 

Publisher: Zaffre34035837

Publishing Date: 9th March 2017

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

Number of pages: 384

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

When the worst happens, could your marriage survive? A sharp and emotional novel of a family under pressure, perfect for fans of Joanna Trollope and Hilary Boyd.

Olivia always thought she had the perfect family life. A loving husband in Geoffrey, a thoughtful and intelligent son in Edward and a beautiful home in the Somerset countryside.

But all that changed when Geoffrey’s business went under. Now penniless and homeless, Geoffrey is living with his recently widowed mother, whilst Olivia has been forced to take a job as housemistress at her son’s elite boarding school.

Soon the cracks in the relationship start to show. And, increasingly desperate, Geoffrey makes a mistake. One that could have consequences for the whole family . . .

Rating: 3/5

I’ve read Colette Dartford’s debut novel “Learning to Speak American” some time ago and it was a steady, nice read so I really wanted to see how she managed with the dreaded second book. The synopsis to “An Unsuitable Marriage” is great, it sounds so chilling and I was sure it’s going to be a great read. However, this time, and I am sorry to say this, the story itself don’t do the synopsis justice. It’s not a bad read, not at all, and it has its moments, but it promises something that we, in fact, don’t get.

Olivia had everything – a doting husband, intelligent and talented son, Manor Farm house, money and no problems. But then her husband George goes bankrupt and everything in Olivia’s life changes – they find themselves homeless and with money troubles. So Olivia jumps at the chance of taking a place as a house parent at her son’s boarding school. Well, she doesn’t have a lot of choice, to be honest – either the job or living with George at his mother’s, and the two women never took to each other, and George has never stood up for his wife. As it usually happen, one trouble results in the next and there are really many problems on the horizon for Olivia and her family.

The characters were not the easiest to warm to – at least for me. However, while George seems to be stuck in the rut of living at home and finding new “hobbies”, at least Olivia is doing better, or she’s at least trying, she’s doing something. They are full of flaws, but that’s the thing that made them feel very realistic, however I had a feeling that there are too many flaws, especially in George. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if those two were anytime good for each other. I’m not sure if they loved each other, and they got married because of Olivia getting pregnant and George’s parents being so conventional and traditional. So there was really not much keeping them together when the things turned out the difficult way, or was there? They also felt too wooden and I’d love to get more into their emotions. Yes, they were convincing in the way they were and acted but they lacked the depth that makes the characters more realistic and more possible for me to relate to and to understand them better.

I think that what mostly disappointed me is what the author has done to one of the most significant characters. It was so sudden and unexpected and for me it looked as if Ms Dartford perhaps didn’t know what to do with her or how to finish this subplot. I mean, I didn’t like her, this character, I despised her to be honest but doing this what the author’s done just clipped my wings. I was hoping for more complexion, and it just seemed that the author has made her life easier, too the easy way out instead of trying to complicate the story and finish it in a different way. It was just as if she wanted to got rid of the problem, to remove her out of the way.

This book lacked in something for me, and I can’t put my fingers on what it was exactly, there just wasn’t any spark that makes the reading exceptional. It was not a bad book, oh my word, of course not, but it was also not the one that wow – ed me. It shows the real world, how real marriages work but it just didn’t capture my attention. I also all the time had a feeling that the book is set in the United States, even though it was set in England, but I just had the feeling that the setting, the descriptions of the places, the boarding school is too American. It also seemed to me that the author wanted to touch upon too many issues in her story. They were very important issues, such as betrayals, marriages falling apart, bullying and sexual abuse and while some of them were relatively well developed, most of them was rather brushed over. What was brilliantly written and captured in the best possible way was the boarding school and the dynamics between parents and students. The bullying doesn’t start at school, it starts at home and the author has really smartly smuggled those information on to her pages. It is rather sad that it works that way but it is the way that it really is, and, ultimately, children suffer while parents play their own games.

So “An Unsuitable Marriage” is a story about new beginnings and finding courage. While it was not my favourite read, please do try it for yourself because what doesn’t work for me may work for you! I am also already waiting for Ms Dartford’s next book, as I am really intrigued what she has in store for us next.

The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even by Anna Bell

The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even by Anna Bell

 

33784968Publisher: Zaffre

Publishing Date: 26th January 2016

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

Number of pages: 432

Genre: Romance,  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella’. Another hilarious and heart-warming romantic comedy from bestselling author Anna Bell

When Lexi’s sport-mad boyfriend Will skips her friend’s wedding to watch football – after pretending to have food poisoning – it might just be the final whistle for their relationship.

But fed up of just getting mad, Lexi decides to even the score. And, when a couple of lost tickets and an ‘accidentally’ broken television lead to them spending extra time together, she’s delighted to realise that revenge might be the best thing that’s happened to their relationship.

And if her clever acts of sabotage prove to be a popular subject for her blog, what harm can that do? It’s not as if he’ll ever find out . . .

Rating: 5/5

“The Good Girlfriend’s Guide to Getting Even” is one of the best titles ever, and when you read out loud it sounds even better – just try it! I love this alliteration – at least I think it is the name of the thing when every word starts with the same letter? Whatever, alliteration or not, if the book was written by someone else and had the same title, I’d buy it quick as a flash. That the author is Anna Bell is just a very, very nice bonus – with every new release her books are getting better and better and soon I will have to stretch out my rating to 10 stars because five are really not enough!

This book is a pure entertainment and every page has made me smile. I immediately warmed to our main character, Lexi. I loved her ideas of revenge, they were refreshing, unusual and totally entertaining, and if I weren’t so annoyed with Will I’d feel sorry for him, as he was so unsuspecting, and really, seeing how he’s wandering into the little web that Lexi has planned, just like an innocent lamb into a lions den, well… It made me really anxious to see what’s going to happen and what the outcome would be. Although I personally am not sure if I could live with such a boyfriend as Will was. There is being a sport fan and being a sport fan. I mean, I love many things in my life but I don’t just conveniently forget about everything or fake sickness to entertain myself. Although when reading reviews for this book I came across a few of them where their authors say that they know/live with such sport – obsessed Wills themselves, so as much as it was almost unbelievable for me, maybe it really happens in real life.

But I enjoyed every single second of this novel. Really. Following Lexi and Will around London and then Barbados was brilliant. I admired Lexi’s patience at fitting her life around Will’s game of darts (darts! I mean DARTS! I can understand football, and even cricket, especially when it is played on Barbados, but darts??? It is for me equally with cycling and bobsleigh on the boring – scale), and I really admired the fact that it took her so long to try and plot a revenge for her sport – obsessed boyfriend.

This book is written with such a natural way, with tons of natural humour, and it was flowing so effortlessly. There was such a great, positive vibe to this book and the feel – good factor, and I finished it grinning and feeling so warm inside. I love Anna Bell’s writing style so much, it’s warm, descriptive, vivid, bubbly and the way she tells the story is absolutely hooking. She has made out of this story an exceptionally good one. For me it was also not so predictable. I could never tell which way it’s going to go, what’s going to happen, what Lexi is going to plan, how far she’s going to go and if Will will eventually either spot something or go even further with his obsession. It was full of confusions and unexpected embarrassing situations and I loved it! This book, light, heart – warming rom – com, has really had it all: humour, romance, a little drama at the end, brilliantly developed characters and a storyline in which the main character starts to realise that no matter how much she loves her boyfriend, they must change something. Highly recommended!
And lovely Anna, thank you so much for the special “thank yous” in your Acknowledgements! Means TONS!

Corpus by Rory Clements / Blog Tour

Hi guys, happy Thursday! We’ve almost done it to the weekend, yay! In the meantime I have a very exciting blog tour for you today – “Corpus” by Rory Clements. The book sounds incredibly intriguing and it already has raving reviews – I personally can’t wait to start reading it! It is already on my bookshelf, but what with time – lack and life generally getting in the way I haven’t started it yet – but am so looking to it! I am sure that after reading the extract that I have a pleasure to post today you’ll be wanting to read it as much as I do!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

1936.26859967

Europe is in turmoil.

The Nazis have marched into the Rhineland.

In Russia, Stalin has unleashed his Great Terror.

Spain has erupted in civil war.

In Berlin, a young Englishwoman evades the Gestapo to deliver vital papers to a Jewish scientist. Within weeks, she is found dead in her Cambridge bedroom, a silver syringe clutched in her fingers.

In a London club, three senior members of the British establishment light the touch paper on a conspiracy that will threaten the very heart of government. Even the ancient colleges of Cambridge are not immune to political division. Dons and students must choose a side: right or left, where do you stand?

When a renowned member of the county set and his wife are found horribly murdered, a maverick history professor finds himself dragged into a world of espionage which, until now, he has only read about in books. But the deeper Thomas Wilde delves, the more he wonders whether the murders are linked to the death of the girl with the silver syringe – and, just as worryingly, to the scandal surrounding King Edward VIII and his mistress Wallis Simpson…

Set against the drumbeat of war and moving from Berlin to Cambridge, from Whitehall to the Kent countryside, and from the Fens to the Aragon Front in Spain, this big canvas international thriller marks the beginning of a major new series from bestselling author Rory Clements.

Berlin, August, 1936

CHAPTER 1

The man was grey-haired, about fifty, and carried a black briefcase. He

wore black trousers, a brown linen jacket, white shirt and striped tie but

no hat. He might have been an office worker, except for the white socks

and brown, open-toed sandals. White socks and sandals. In the middle of

a working day, in the traffic-mad tumult of Potsdamer Platz, in the centre

of Berlin. He was standing beside her at the edge of the pavement, waiting

to cross.

Nancy Hereward turned her head and caught his eye. She stared at him

hard and he looked away. She felt like laughing, but her mouth was dry

and she had a terrible thirst. Surely, if he was following her, he wouldn’t

have made eye contact? Nor would he have dressed so distinctively. If

you were tailing someone, you had to meld into the crowd, not stick out.

A gap opened up between the trams, the buses, the cars and the horsedrawn

carts, and he made a dash for the other side of the road by way of

the clock tower island. Nancy waited.

Ahead of her, a policeman with white gloves was directing the onrush

of vehicles. To her left , two young women in sunglasses were examining

postcards at a newspaper kiosk. They wore flat slip-on shoes and shortsleeved,

calf-length summer dresses, one polka-dot, the other floral,

revealing healthy, tanned forearms. Through the fog of her brain, Nancy’s

first thought was that they must be tourists like her, but they seemed too

confident for that, and their shoes were not designed for tramping across

miles of an alien city. She caught the soft burr of their spoken German.

Their easy sophistication marked them down as bourgeois Berliners, not

provincials.

Nancy realised that she was doing the same to everyone she saw;

assessing them, deciding who they were, what they might be concealing.

Suddenly everyone looked like plainclothes officers. She had an urge to

confront everyone in the crowd and demand of each of them, ‘Are you

secret police? Are you secret police?’ She pulled her sun hat down over

her hair. Her hands were sweaty and her dress clung to her body. She

clutched her slim shoulder-bag closer to her side and walked on.

It was late afternoon but the heat of the day had not yet relented. She

and Lydia had taken the U-Bahn from the Reichssportfeld station at

the Olympic Stadium in the west of the city and had spent two hours

shopping and sightseeing in the broad avenues and boulevards around

Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden. Now she had slipped away and

was alone, the map of the streets she must walk down memorised.

The city was full of thousands of tourists, here for the Olympics and

all the fun surrounding the games. No one is following you. She said the

words under her breath. She gripped her hands into fists, then released,

then gripped again. She took deep breaths to calm herself and increased

her pace, trying to make herself look businesslike, less foreign. Less

interesting…

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

rory2bclements2bcolourRORY CLEMENTS won the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award in 2010 for his second novel, Revenger. He is the author of the John Shakespeare series of novels which are currently in development for TV by the team behind Poldark and Endeavour. Since 2007, Rory has been writing full-time in a quiet corner of Norfolk, England, where he lives with his family.

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

corpus_blog2btour2bbanner

Q&A with Herta Feely

Hi guys! I am extremely thrilled today to post a Q&A with Herta Feely, author of “Saving Phoebe Murrow”. I immediately knew that I want to read this book – since I’ve become a mum myself I am incredibly into novels about mothers and daughter, conflicts between them. This book is also special as it touches upon cyber – bullying, a thing that I am incredibly scared of. Sometimes I think that I’d love my daughter to stay 5 years old for ever, to be honest, as I know that I can’t protect her from the world that Phoebe Murrow has already entered – if you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it to you (keep your eyes peeled for my review coming here in the next few days). And thank you, Herta, for the lovey Q&A!

  1. Hi Herta, can you please introduce yourself to the readers?

I must admit I always find this question challenging, because it makes me wonder: What do 31328538 readers really want to know? To be quite honest, at the moment, perhaps what I want readers to know about most is my great concern and fervent wish for planet Earth. I hope and pray for a more peaceful and united world, on every front. It is a hope shared by millions, I’m sure, and the question always is, how can I do my part to make it a better place? That is how I begin this month.

 On a lighter note, I am an avid traveler of the world who loves orchids, cats, and butterflies. I also love sitting by a glittering ocean and reading a novel. Favorite times include homemade meals (prepared by my sons and husband!), laughter and food, wine, and chocolate with close friends. I’m a lover of classical music and rock & roll, as well as modern dance and string quartets! I loved reading romance novels as a teen, and science fiction, and some of the classics, of course. Now, I read all the time, including, on occasion, in a steamy tub full of bubble bath. And I do have lots of fantasies, but I can’t tell you about those. Now, I must get back to spinning prose out of straw in my third floor prison, because I’m slightly behind on the deadline for my next novel! (and for those who’d like to know more, there are “fun facts” about my life on my website http://www.hertafeely.com)

 

  1. What inspired you to write a book about the timeless struggle between mothers and daughters?

I didn’t set out to write about that topic, but it grew organically out of the story I was trying to tell, that Phoebe gets cyber-bullied, in part because of something her mother, Isabel, did. From the very beginning, as I began to write the story, I felt the tension between Isabel and her daughter. I suppose that storyline came naturally because of my own difficult relationship with my mother. Just as Phoebe feels her mother is too restrictive and fails to understand her, so did I with my own mother. However, the similarity between my own story and that of my fictional characters ends there. So, I suppose the tagline “timeless struggle between mothers and daughters” is as true today as it was in my day, and probably will continue to be so. I can’t say that I fully understand this struggle, perhaps in part because I only have sons, but it certainly seems to be the case with many of my friends who have girls.

 

  1. If you were to describe “Saving Phoebe Murrow” in three sentences…

Saving Phoebe Murrow is a story of mothers, daughters and the devastating potential of social media.  It delves into female friendships and the complicated web of adolescent relationships. And finally, it’s a novel about love and betrayal, but then aren’t most books?

 

  1. How do you recall your own teenage times? Mine were not SO long ago but I find them much easier… I think it’s somehow much more difficult for the present teenagers to live their teenage years through.

My teenage times happened in the 1970s when a cultural revolution was underway, not to mention political strife in the US and around the globe. It was an exciting, vibrant, but also frightening time and I wanted to participate. I tried everything, much to my parents’ chagrin, including protesting the Vietnam War and spending a few nights in jail. I believe that particular time, which shook up the world and the status quo, was probably as difficult to navigate as the world teens are growing up in now, just with a different set of issues to deal with.

 

  1. What was the most difficult aspect of the book to write?

Most difficult for me were certain aspects of the teens’ world that I simply couldn’t be sure of. I’d love feedback on that, though I haven’t heard anything negative from the teens and twenty-somethings who’ve read it. To write those scenes, I relied on snippets of what I’d heard from my own children, their friends and the experiences of my friends who had sons and daughters. What young people, who’ve read the book, seem most to relate to is the bullying aspect. Some have written to me, saying that Saving Phoebe Murrow took them back to their own teen years, reminding them of the difficulty of mean girls and bullying, which made me happy in the sense that the story resonated for them.

 

  1. What would you like your readers to take from “Saving Phoebe Murrow”?

I’d like them to think about the fragility and precious nature of all relationships. That it’s so important to treat others with love and respect and kindness. I’d love for mothers and/or parents to talk about social media and its implication for their children and how to deal with it. And of course I’d like my readers to thoroughly enjoy the story.

 

  1. Any tips for mothers of teenage daughters?

Stay in close touch. Ask questions. Listen. Be firm but kind. Love them with all your heart. (I know, easier said than done, but it’s important to remember these basic things and to try putting them into action everyday.)

 

  1. Are you working on a new novel already?

Yes, I am. In fact, I’m closing in on the finale of the story, but it’s just a first draft and still needs work. I’m quite excited about it, because it deals with some very different issues than my debut novel, although All Fall Down, the working title, also features a very strong female character, in fact, two of them. The story is mainly told through the eyes of Charlotte Cooper, a human rights activist about to receive her dream job at Amnesty International in London. Just before assuming her new position, her husband, an archaeologist, goes missing somewhere along the Turkish border with Syria. And her past comes back to haunt her, placing her job in jeopardy. The story then delves into the three men she loved—a Nigerian sculptor she met at Oxford, a Sandinista commander in Nicaragua, and Russ, the American archaeologist. So it’s a bit political and also, more importantly, a love story.

 

  1. And as it’s almost Christmas, Herta – what would you like to find in your stockings this year?

A trip to Cuba, high quality chocolate, and a movie deal for Saving Phoebe Murrow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

 7755671  Herta Feely (also published as Herta B. Feely) is a writer and full-time editor. Her short stories and memoir have been published in anthologies and literary journals, including The Sun, Lullwater Review, The Griffin, Provincetown Arts, and Big Muddy. In the wake of the James Frey scandal, Feely edited and published the anthology, Confessions: Fact or Fiction? She was awarded the James Jones First Novel Fellowship and an Artist in Literature Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for The Trials of Serra Blue. She has also received an award from American Independent Writers for best published personal essay for a piece on immigration. A graduate of UC Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University, Feely is the co-founder of Safe Kids Worldwide, an organization dedicated to saving children from unintentional injuries, the leading killer of children in the United States. Her newest book, Saving Phoebe Murrow, will be released in September of 2016. She lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and cats.

Christmas at the Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Christmas at the Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

 

31328526Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

Publishing Date: 20th October 2016

Series: White Cliff Bay #1

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

Number of pages: 368

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Snow is falling on the charming seaside town of White Cliff bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air . . .

Penny Meadows loves her cosy cottage with its stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay and her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore . . .

While the preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas Eve ball are in full swing, will Penny be able to melt the ice and allow love into her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

Rating: 5/5

I love Holly Martin and her stories, it’s probably not a secret, and I always wait impatiently for her new releases. They are always full of sparks, humour, gentle moments, with characters to die for – and “Christmas at Lilac Cottage” was not exception! You may not be sure of many things, but you can be sure of one: that Holly always delivers. What always brings tears to my eyes are Holly’s dedications – she never forgets about us, bloggers, and she always says her thank you in such beautiful words, and it always makes me feel sentimental. Really, really appreciated Holly!

I think everything about Holly’s writing and stories was already told, also by yours, truly 🙂 Holly can write incredibly romantic, but modern stories that go straight to my heart, stories that leave me satisfied and content. I don’t know how she does it, really, that I fell in love with all of her books, without exceptions. You know, when I read a new novel by one of my favourite authors I am usually scared if this time the author is going to deliver, if they are going to fulfil my expectations, but to be honest, when starting Holly’s new book, I’m not scared about this, because I am sure it is going to be her next cracker.

However, this time I have one “but”. Here I had a feeling that I “have been there, have seen this”. The setting of this little town, the sweet, cosy cottage, the job Penny had – carving in ice – even the characters – the main ones, and the supporting ones, the villagers – this all was like a repetition of “Beneath the Moon and the Stars” – can you remember? I have nothing against it, because it was a nice story, but I’d expect something more, something fresh from Holly. She has proved to be a brilliant author whose imagination knows no limits, so I truly expected more from this novel. I adored it, there is no discussion to it, please do not take me wrong, I just felt that I’ve already read this story before.
The story telling was, as usual, brilliant, warm and hooking, and the plot, even though not the most surprising, was fast paced, nevertheless I missed this unexpected twists and turns that are Holly’s brand already, and this incredible humour – it was a funny story, and it was full of this characteristic, belly – aching – laughing moments, but on the whole I wanted more of them – Holly got me used to have them on almost every single page, and in “Christmas at Lilac Cottage” those moments were seldom – apart of few of them, when I was literally snorting and laughing out loud, usually they involved Penny and Daisy and sex, it was a normal story kept on the same level.
But that’s just me. Don’t pay any attention 🙂 And other than that, I absolutely loved this story and I still think it deserves those 5 stars! I totally adored how the chapters were divided between Penny and Henry, and they were telling us their both point of views and thoughts on the same situation – it was mostly hilarious, and Holly brilliantly captured the differences in male and female’s thinking – you know, men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Loved it!

The storytelling was exceptional, and so Holly – characteristic. Holly has this talent to over – exaggerate a little, to add a little drama here and there, and yet the story doesn’t feel too pushed, or too forced, it’s not over the top. She also always brings the places to life, with her incredibly rich descriptions – they are really so vivid that I have no problems to picture it all in my mind. I have felt truly festive, reading about the snow falling over the place, decorating the Christmas tree, and could feel the warmth of the fire burning. Also, there is always this lovely, brilliant sense of community between Holly’s characters, and it was the same in White Cliff Bay, with all the characters jumping to help when necessary (well, of course not always to help. Sometimes to meddle and complicate things, too).

What’s more, Holly’s characters are exceptional. To tell that they feel like real people would be an understatement, really – they ARE real people, with all their flaws and imperfections, problems and moods and jumping to conclusions. I had a feeling that any time they’re going to pop out of the pages and give me the biggest hug in the world. Penny was like a whirlwind of warm emotions and love, and it was impossible not to feel her excitement or sadness through the pages. She was so bouncy, bubbly and full of life and I hated to see her hurt. At the beginning Henry seemed to be a grumpy person but deep, deep inside he was sooo lovely, and no wonder Penny was attracted to him – I was as well! Holly is also the Queen of sparks flying between the characters, she can write the tension and chemistry in such a good way and make it feel so realistic, and it was the same here, and this “will they/won’t they” made it even more genuine.

So yes, Holly can make it happen – make you forget about the whole world and your duties and responsibilities. This story was full of action and events, there was not a single second flat, because Holly manages to squeeze a lot between the covers of this book: single parenthood, starting in a new place, coming to terms with a horrible past, learning to trust other people, and this all was told with so much empathy and with understanding, without judging. And I felt so comfortable with Penny and Henry. The story just flowed so well and was full to the brim with this wonderful, Holly – like, feel – good factor. “Christmas at Lilac Cottage” is really sweet, charming, sparkling with snow festive read, but I am sure reading it in summer would be as enjoyable as in winter. I highly recommend this heart – warming, lovely story!

What We Didn’t Say by Rory Dunlop

What We Didn’t Say by Rory Dunlop

 

31328464Publisher: Bonnier Publishing/Twenty7

Publishing Date: 6th October 2016

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

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

A darkly funny story of a marriage in crisis, perfect for readers who loved Us by David Nicholls and The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

‘A touching, even-handed and thoroughly engaging tale of love, jealousy and fatherhood’
Jim Crace, multi-award-winning author of Harvest

Jack and Laura have separated. Jack thinks it’s all Laura’s fault.

Laura disagrees.

Jack writes to Laura, desperate to put across his side of the story.

Laura interrupts.

Wryly sarcastic and intensely well-observed, What We Didn’t Say is about that gap between words and feelings where relationships live – and die.

Rating: 3/5

Let me tell you right at the beginning that I found the concept of the book really fascinating – it is about Laura and Jack, separated for two years, and we are in fact reading Jack’s diary that he’s been writing, explaining what has happened and what led to this separation. Moreover, she lets Laura read this diary, and her comments, often so sarcastic and clear – headed, added so much to this whole story and let us also see two points of view as – let’s be honest – there are always two sides to every story. I think it is a brilliant idea, I actually felt like the proverbial fly on the wall, having access to all the most intimate and hidden feelings and thoughts. And I was incredibly curious what happened!

This is mostly a comedy (or sometimes also a tragedy) of errors. It shows how much two people can lose if they are not able to communicate, when – because of being stubborn, or just because, to spite – they stop talking, their life if full of misunderstanding and understatements. I just couldn’t stop thinking, why the hell won’t they talk to each other?

I’d personally go crazy with such a partner like Jack was and I wanted to applaud Laura of her never ending patience to him. He was so unsecure, so unsure of this relationship in my opinion, and he was so, so controlling, he wanted to know everything about Laura, her whereabouts, people she spent time with, and I really was like hellooo? Really? I really, truly wasn’t sure what Laura saw in Jack, but oh well, love is blind, right? And I don’t mean the age difference, I just think they were not made for each other. But it doesn’t mean that I didn’t like Jack – because I liked him and I was thinking that in other circumstances, in different background he could be a great character. He was pessimistic, his glass was always half empty and he drove me crazy but somehow, believe it or not, I DID care for him.

The story dragged a bit too much for my liking and there were moments that felt like we were staying in the same place or running in circles, especially the second part of it, it lost the impact, felt much slower and was not as funny as the first part. It was also really frustrating to see that there were so many chances and that Laura and Jack could spare themselves all this pain and troubles only speaking and listening each other! I couldn’t help it but I was angry with both of them – although, to be totally honest, I was much more angry with Jack.

Thanks to Laura’s remark we also get a chance to get to know her point of view on the whole situation, and it DID shed new light at the whole situation. The way it is written made me feel really involved and immersed in their lives and I had a feeling I know the ins and outs of them both. The author has brilliantly captured their personalities, their sense of humour, their feelings and emotions. It’s a very character – driven book, as next to Laura and Jack there is a whole bunch of background characters, very significant to the whole story. He also provided a very realistic and accurate picture of how jealousy and insecurity can destroy a relationship, in a very detailed and very realistic way. It was really deep and insightful story about love, family dynamics, relationships, a story that we can relate to, I think. The way it was narrated made it easy to read, simple, straight to the point and very clear. It was bitter – sweet and under the humour lies sadness and resentment and maybe it was a little too overwhelming for me.

Altogether I found “What We Didn’t Say” an interesting, sharp and thought – provoking story with a very suitable title – it was really about things that the characters didn’t say to each other. It was a deep read, and it gave a great insight into the soul of a marriage that want to survive but is also not sure if it’s the best idea. Real, sharp and honest, showing how it really is and that relationships aren’t so easy and showing the importance of communication.