Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

 

43884245Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 30th May 2019

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

Number of pages: 480

Genre: Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover (out on 05.09.2019)| Paperback (out on 20.02.2020)

 

Synopsis:

The gripping new novel by Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

Rating: four-stars

 

“Those Who Are Loved” follows the life of Themis, from childhood up to an old age. It was life full of events, love, loss and grief. Raised by her matriarch grandmother, Themis grows in a family that is full of disharmony, especially when it comes to politics. First living under Nazi occupation in Athens and then, when the war was over and everybody thought the worst is already behind them, the communist start to rule Greece, there are civil wars and there are many, many challenges to be faced by Themis and her family. You are going to learn that for sure she was not an ordinary woman.

I must admit, for a long time I had a feeling that it is simply a random read, that the author simply wanted to bring us closer to historical period that I, personally, didn’t know about. I didn’t feel engaged too much in the story, and I think that this time reading with Pigeonhole didn’t help – you need to get into the heart of the story in your own tempo, you need to have the possibility to read as much as you want to understand where the story is taking us. It took me a long time to finally start to appreciate the novel and to “get” it, and when I’ve eventually hit this point, there was nothing holding me back and there was probably nothing that could mend my broken heart. And in the end I can say that it was a powerful, incredibly important book.

The story was so immaculately researched and there was so much love to Greece and its history. The author has painted here a real, raw, genuine and fascinating picture, an motional journey full of pain and tears but also small acts of joy. There were many historical facts intertwined into the plot but it never felt like reading a history book – because the author has an incredible talent to mix them with so many personal touches and making the characters feel human and real.

Themis’s voice is distinctive and gentle, and even though she has experienced so much loss, pain and suffering she still finds it in her heart to be as objective as possible. The author was able to get into her character’s head so intensively that I had a feeling I was living and breathing with Themis. You don’t have to agree with her but you are still going to keep everything crossed for her. It was great to accompany her on her journey to adulthood, seeing how she grows up, how feisty and determined and full of passion she becomes in her life that was so full of turmoil and disharmony.
Actually, the author brings all the characters to life, and you could either agree with them or not, you could warm to them or not but they were very well drawn and significant and all them played a role in this story.

It was not only a historical fiction but an engrossing and rich family saga, a great picture of family dynamics, going deep into the feelings and emotions of all the characters, making you suffer and experience everything with them. I personally can’t imagine my family torn so heavily because of politics but the author has made it very believable in the story, showing how much and how badly it has affected the characters. It was also done so realistically, the real struggle of Themis to find her own way and her own beliefs. It was fascinating read with a difference about standing for yourself, fighting for your beliefs, not giving up but also knowing when it’s time to surrender, to realise your priorities, about bravery and determination, story about life versus death. A compelling novel about heartbreak, loss, regret and hope, full of significant moments that stay with you till the end. Victoria Hislop brings back the trauma of not only the repercussions of WWII in Greece, but she digs deeper and further, shedding light on the community divided by politics, on the cruelty and difficulties that Greek had to face after the war. Recommended!

 

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Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan / Blog Tour

Her Husband’s Mistake by Sheila O’Flanagan

 

43204746Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 30th May 2019

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 05.03. 2020)

 

Synopsis:

Dave’s made a BIG mistake. What’s Roxy going to do about it? The riveting new novel from No. 1 bestselling author Sheila O’Flanagan. Perfect for readers of Marian Keyes and Amanda Prowse.

Roxy’s marriage has always been rock solid.

After twenty years, and with two carefree kids, she and Dave are still the perfect couple.

Until the day she comes home unexpectedly, and finds Dave in bed with their attractive, single neighbour.

Suddenly Roxy isn’t sure about anything – her past, the business she’s taken over from her dad, or what her family’s future might be. She’s spent so long caring about everyone else that she’s forgotten what she actually wants. But something has changed. And Roxy has a decision to make.

Whether it’s with Dave, or without him, it’s time for Roxy to start living for herself…

‘One of my favourite authors’ Marian Keyes

Rating: four-stars

 

Roxy has recently lost her father and has been spending more time at her mother’s house. The day after the funeral she comes home to surprise her husband, however what she sees when she walks in to their bedroom is going to change their lives. Roxy immediately moves out with the children and stays with her mother to work out what to do next. She has started to run her father’s chauffer business when he was taken ill, and now she feels it is only right to continue it, especially as he left her his Mercedes to do with it what she wants. She starts to feel confident again, loves meeting the clients and enjoys the driving, but also she needs to decide what to do with her marriage – forgive and forget? Come back to Dave? Trust him again?

Now, Roxy. Yes, there were moments that I felt desperate with her, or more likely I felt desperate with her husband, because I really rooted for her and kept everything crossed for her. I think the author has so brilliantly captured her indecisions, uncertainty, being torn between the feeling that she has to stay loyal and putting all others before herself – this is the way we work, we dream of things but we still don’t find the courage to reach for them, and in my opinion Sheila O’Flanagan has done a great job with picturing Roxy like this, making her a living and breathing character. I might have not always agreed with her decisions but I respected them because it’s so easy to say something but much more difficult to do it when you’re not sure what’s good – and Roxy felt so true that all she did or didn’t do simply felt realistic, and her problems and struggles will for sure resonate with many women.
Dave is another story. I wanted to bang his head on the wall every time he tried to get his own way and carry on making Roxy feel as though she’s the one in the wrong, as though everything was her fault, and as he was doing it instantly, this wall would get a nice hollow in it really quickly. It’s one thing when married people are not always able to settle their differences but Dave took it to another level and I hated how he made Roxy feel.

I had a feeling that the pace is rather on the slow side, and I could have lived without some of the passages, and I’ve missed some more action but altogether I enjoyed this novel and I find that it was incredibly easy to read – you know this kind of books when you start to read, five minutes later look at the clock and see that actually it is more than few hours but you simply didn’t notice it, so engrossed you are in the story. “Her Husband’s Mistake” was such a book, I really liked the writing style, it was so natural and easy to follow.

Altogether, it was a down – to – earth, realistic novel about family relationships and dynamics, about second chances and taking things in your hands. I really liked seeing the main character growing in confidence, becoming self – confident, knowing her value and strength. Story that is relatable on many levels, that I really enjoyed and highly recommend.

 

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Just My Type by Hannah Doyle / Blog Tour

Just My Type by Hannah Doyle

 

44413874Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

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

Number of pages:

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

JUST MY TYPE is the second novel from Hannah Doyle, author of the laugh-out-loud hit rom-com THE YEAR OF SAYING YES, perfect for fans of Love Island, What Fresh Hell by Lucy Vine and Anna Bell.

Meet Jasmine.
– The quirky/cool photographer to a superstar blogger
– She’s going on a date with a SUPER hot guy on the London Eye tonight
– Best friend Mila is her wifey for life
– This millennial is #LivingHerBestLife

But fast-forward a few hours, and the reality isn’t quite so picture perfect. Jasmine hates her stuck-up blogger boss. She can barely afford rent in her stupid London flat. Her best friend seems to have all her sh*t together. Oh, and that date she was so excited about? She got dumped. On the London Eye. In the middle of a thunderstorm. With a bunch of tourists watching…

Best friend Mila decides that Jasmine needs a new ‘type on paper’, because Jasmine’s current criteria is so off that her dating history is one long line-up of fools. So Mila challenges Jasmine to look once, if not twice, at the guys who wouldn’t normally fit her ‘type’. With nothing to lose, Jasmine accepts. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll surprise herself.

Rating: four-stars

 

Jasmine is in a relationship and right now she’s expecting that her boyfriend is going to propose on the next date. However, this date goes belly – up and unfortunately for our heroine, she finds herself single again. Jasmine’s best friend Mila claims it’s because she dates only “her type” guys, and maybe she should simply go for one that, on paper at least, is not her type at all? So she sets Jasmine on a 7 date challenge – dating out of her comfort zones and maybe, probably finding The One?

Jasmine’s job was really interesting – she was a photographer to a superstar blogger so on one hand it was such a brilliant, glamorous job, visiting different countries and providing so many possibilities. On the other hand, she had a real boss from hell, guys, who was belittling her and expecting wonders or burdened Jasmine with tasks almost impossible to accomplish. I think the author has really well captured the feelings of Jasmine here, when she didn’t know what to do, when she didn’t pluck up the courage to take matters in her hands, and as much as I wanted her to tell her boss to go to hell, I also understood that she was scared, that she was afraid what the future is going to bring. It was nice to see Jasmine’s journey here, the change in her, her growing in confidence, of course with some help here and there – but who helped her and why and how? *you must read for yourself* *wink*

This book, just like Hannah Doyle’s debut novel, started very, very promising, then went a bit downhill and then came back to being hilarious and warm. By downhill I don’t mean that it was flat or not hooking, because it was, I just had a feeling that the story lost its impact in the middle, that’s all. I also had problems with the main character at the beginning, and I swear guys, I’ve already started to panic because, Hannah Doyle’s book, right, and what is happening? I don’t know, Jasmine was somehow too shallow, too obsessed with finding the right boyfriend, too focused on her “type” – probably this is why I had this feeling of her being too shallow. But then it changed, she changed, and I’ve finished this book feeling like Jasmine’s best friend, so there.

There are so many different books with characters going on dates, and so it is a real trial for the author to write a unique, hilarious blind date that hasn’t been written yet! “Just My Type” provides us with series of such (unfortunate) dates and ridiculous situations but they were much more original and better I could have expected, so hats off to Hannah Doyle for this! The guys were so different, and the dates were so different, and it wasn’t too cheesy, too meh, too schmaltzy, no, the dates were so enjoyable, the guys hilarious and I enjoyed every single moment of them. But oh my, how glad am I that I don’t have to go on dates anymore…

I had a feeling that the book is aimed rather at younger audience than yours truly writing this review but nevertheless I simply loved this story. It was my kind of humour and I liked how light – hearted and easy it was. Perhaps there weren’t many life changing turns and twists but still, little things happened here and there that were surprising and often made me go “oh no!” There was actually much more to this story than meet the eye. I really, really like Hannah Doyle’s writing style. It is light – hearted, chatty, flows effortlessly, and it’s full of humour and great one – liners. The way she describes her characters and events allows you to immediately feel drawn in, to feel comfortable with the book and the storyline. Altogether, “Just My Type” was a funny, sharp and very up – to – date story about learning things about yourself, pushing your boundaries, about facing challenges and finding love where we don’t expect to find it. Recommended!

 

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Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell

Maybe This Time by Jill Mansell

 

38203743Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 24th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

(out on 13.06.2019)

 

Synopsis:

The deliciously uplifting new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of MEET ME AT BEACHCOMBER BAY. Not to be missed by readers of Lucy Diamond and Katie Fforde.

When Mimi first visits her dad’s new home in the Cotswolds, she quickly falls in love with Goosebrook and its inhabitants. (Well, maybe not rude Henrietta, who lets Mimi walk miles in the rain rather than give her a lift.) There’s Paddy, with his flashing eyes and seductive charm. Friendly and funny Lois makes her laugh. And seriously gorgeous Cal is welcoming and charismatic. Mimi would be more than happy to return to Goosebrook if it means bumping into him again…

Time passes and Mimi comes and goes, and concentrates on her career. Yet as their lives continue to intersect over the years and emotions (or relationships) become tangled, it’s Cal who makes her feel most welcome whenever she does return to Goosebrook. But if he’s The One, will it ever be the right time for them both?

Rating: four-stars

 

In “Maybe This Time” we are introduced to Mimi, who’s just leaving London for a few days to visit her Dad in Goosebrook in the Cotswolds. Already the first visit there is very adventurous and includes rescuing a sheep and being totally drenched. But people in Goosebrook – with one exception – are really, really friendly and so Mimi soon finds herself on the way again. However, she doesn’t know that totally different circumstances are awaiting her this time… Fast forward some time and Mimi, after being betrayed by her best friend and her boyfriend, moves in her Dad and Marcus’s house, hoping to start a new chapter in her life. Perhaps with an extremely handsome neighbour at her side?

I loved the characters in this book. Jill Mansell has talent to create relatable, warm and full of life characters that she so easily brings to life and the dynamics between them is captured in such a realistic, true to life way. There are plenty of characters in this novel but they’re all so distinctive and different, and I never had a problem to know who is who and why, and I enjoyed all of them and their own stories. Mimi is so full of life, even though this life likes to challenge her, but she never gives up and I wanted to give her a standing ovation more than once. Even her crush on Cal was so charming – I know some may say, woman, get a grip, you’re old enough, but it involved so many embarrassing moments and jumping to conclusions and I simply loved it. The short period of time when she was working in Puerto Pollensa in Mallorca was hilariously entertaining and I truly enjoyed this bossy side of her. Heck, she was a real renaissance woman, our Mimi, she could do anything she was asked for, and she always did it with a passion. There are of course many other brilliant characters, the already mentioned Cal and his daughter Cora, Mimi’s Dad and Marcus and her new friends Lois, Paddy and Felix, and oh, of course, we can’t forget Henrietta – you can’t help but fell for them all, and you quickly become invested in their lives.

This book has it all what I know I can expect from Jill Mansell: it was light – hearted but with a depth, it was funny but also poignant, it was fast – paced and with brilliantly developed and fleshed out characters. I know that it’s also a bit predictable, but firstly I haven’t read it for its unpredictability, and secondly it was this kind of novel when predictable is good and comfortable. Although guys the author didn’t make it so obvious for the character and the majority of the book I spent wondering, rolling my eyes at “not again!”, wanting to bang my head on the wall – all of this I mean in a positive way! Because it was so obvious that those two should be together but the timing was never right, either there was another relationship, or they weren’t in the same place, mostly in different country. It was simply brilliant!

This is a fast – paced story, sometimes too fast I would say, especially at the beginning when so many things happens, but I was immediately at the heart of this book, drawn in. It took me on a brilliant, entertaining and also thought – provoking ride, with all the ups and down and highs and lows, through some gorgeous settings. Goosebrooks has all what a perfect place needs – it’s idyllic, there is of course this brilliant local pub and people who make this place so exceptional. As usual, the book dealt with a great range of topics and issues but there was not a single moment that it was too much or that I felt confused. It won’t be a surprise to you then when I tell you that Jill Mansell is my auto – buy author, will it. Her books are really worth dropping anything you do and spending some relaxing me – time. I always finished reading her books with a grin on my face, and it was the same with “Maybe This Time”. It was entertaining, funny and sometimes sad and I found myself engrossed in the story. Highly recommended!

 

The List that Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

The List that Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

 

40901450Publisher: Headline Review

Publishing Date: 22nd November 2018

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes all you need is a little push…

When Georgia’s sister is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she promises to do everything her older sibling can no longer do, resulting in a journey that will change her life forever…

Georgia loves wine, reality TV and sitting on the sofa after work. She does not love heights, looking at her bank account, going on dates, or activities that involve a sports bra. And she will never, ever take a risk.

That is, until her braver, bolder, big sister finds out that she won’t be able to tick off the things she wanted to do before turning thirty, and turns to Georgia to help her finish her list.

With the birthday just months away, Georgia suddenly has a deadline to learn to grab life with both hands. Could she be brave enough to take the leap, for her sister?

And how might her own life change if she did?

A hilarious and heart-warming journey of a lifetime, showing us what it means to really be alive.

Rating: four-stars

“The List that Changed My Life”, the debut novel by Olivia Beirne, follows Georgia Miller, a twenty – six year old woman from London, working as an assistant to a designer. Even though Georgie is a great designer herself, she now acts as a runner/organizer/general dogsbody for her boss’s wedding and wouldn’t dare to show her her designs. Georgie’s sister Amy is a fit and cheerful PE teacher, and they both share a very strong bond. It’s no wonder then that when Amy is diagnosed with MS, Georgie’s world collapses as well. Amy challenges Georgie with a bucket list, full of things that she won’t be able to do herself – they’re mostly very out of Gerogie’s comfort zone, so will she be able to do it for her sister? And how much is her life going to change if she did?

I love books about lists, probably because they (the lists) never work for me in my life. And here it was a list that was a little bit different, because it was written for somebody, not by our main character herself. It was for her, from her sister. And well, there were things that really weren’t the easiest ones to do, to complete. No wonder that Georgia was a little sceptical, and it was a real joy to read how she worked her way through all the items on the list. I liked the way the idea of the list was executed, it was this little bit different to all the other lists that I’ve read about and it didn’t feel too meh or too utilised.

Georgia herself was such a lovely and compelling character. Yes, sure, sometimes I’ve got the vibe that she’s letting other people take her life over, that Jack’s involvement into her list was a bit too much, but other than that she was a lovely, friendly young woman that loved her sister so much. She’s been constantly pushed out of her comfort zones and we know ourselves how uncomfortable it can be, but she learnt how to value her life and how to stand for herself during the time. And, let’s be honest, mostly we’re really glad that we’ve done this step, no? I really liked the relationship between Georgie and her sister Amy, though there were moments that I had a feeling that Amy was a little bit too possessive, as if she wanted her sister only to herself, as if Georgie wasn’t allowed to have her own life. It was especially apparent after Amy’s accident on the steps, and as much as I could understand Georgie, that she wanted to be as quickly as possible with her sister, I couldn’t help but felt a little disappointed at the way Amy reacted – as if it was Georgie’s duty to be around her all the time. Georgie was always there for her sister, for better or worse, and I think she deserved a little life of her own as well. But those two had a great bond, that’s for sure.

“The List that Changed My Life” was light, funny and poignant, heart – warming debut novel about love, sisterhood and about how much you are able to sacrifice for those you love, how far you’d go for them. It was emotional, and it was incredibly humorous, there was a lightness to it even though it touched upon such a serious issue as being diagnosed with MS, but it didn’t make my cry. It was about stepping out of your comfort zones and taking advantages and opportunities. It was life – affirming and also thought – provoking, showing that it’s not so difficult to test your limits and to simply enjoy and appreciate what the world has on offer. I’m already looking forward to next Olivia Beirne’s novel, she’s certainly one to watch.

 

The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper

The Songs of Us by Emma Cooper

 

 

36389285Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 20th September 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre:  Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

If Melody hadn’t run out of de-icer that day, she would never have slipped and banged her head. She wouldn’t be left with a condition that makes her sing when she’s nervous. And she definitely wouldn’t have belted out the Arctic Monkeys’ ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’ in assembly at her son’s school.

If Dev hadn’t taken the kids to the zoo that day, then the accident wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have left Flynn and Rose without a dad. Or shattered the love of his life’s heart.

But if they hadn’t seen the missing person report that day, they might never have taken the trip to Cornwall. And, in the last place they expected, discovered what it really means to be ‘Us’.

Rating: five-stars

Life hasn’t been kind for the King family. Melody is trying her best after her husband Dev mysteriously disappeared years ago. Flynn, having suffered facial injuries and being blind in one eye in end result has his own battles to fight at school, as well as his sister Rose. Melody, following an unfortunate accident, has a very unusual and embarrassing habit of launching into song when she’s stressed or in anxiety. Rose is desperate to find her father and when she comes across a notification about a missing person, a whole new chapter in the King’s family life begins…

Ah, feck it, guys, what a gorgeous, poignant and at the same time funny book it was! I’ve never supposed it’s going to end in this way, and even though I felt disappointed how it turned out – I didn’t want it to end like this – No. Way. Please. No. Just. No – but I accepted the way the author decided to wrap this story up. It didn’t spoil the book for me – it’s really hard to explain, to be honest, because you may say, what, you didn’t like the ending and yet you loved the book, hello? Yes, it’s exactly like this, because I totally, absolutely fell for Melody and it was just so unfair, but on the other hand it signed the story off in a beautiful, poignant way.

It is this kind of book that you’re going to devour in one sitting, wanting to read one chapter more and more. Yes, there were moments that I thought it drags too much, it focused too much on Melody’s condition and it felt as if it was repeating itself, and also the moments when Melody was singing, especially the quoting of the songs almost line after line were too much for my liking, but you know, those were only a few minor problems and altogether it was simply beautiful – an emotional roller – coaster journey, full of tears and laughs. It was funny and heart – wrenching, and it’s going to break your heart, mend it and break it again – be prepared and have your tissues at the ready.

This story is told in the first person’s narration, from the four main characters points of view. Those four characters are Melody, her children Flynn and Rose and her missing husband Dev. They all had beautiful, distinctive voices full of personality and the way they were telling their stories was heart – breaking. I immediately fell for them all and to see what they’re all going through, their stress, it was so sad. Emma Cooper has written all those feelings and emotions in such a beautiful, realistic way and you really have a feeling that you’re sitting in the characters’ heads. Melody was absolutely brilliant, full of life and so vibrant and I loved how she was around her children and how she fought for them. Flynn, such a typical teenager but with a huge heart in the right place. And Rose, the troubled Rose who tried to solve her problems in her own way – such a perfectly imperfect family that is going to stay with you for a very long time. The bond between the family is beautiful, so poignant and the way the children went to protect their mother was simply heart – wrenching.
I’m not sure how the author did this, but she has written a book where you just feel a part of the characters’ world, you feel as if you know them from inside out, all their problems and luck become yours. It doesn’t happen often that I feel that way when reading the book. I also loved that it has a darker side, challenging characters in some really difficult situations. It wasn’t too light, but is also wasn’t heavy, just the perfect mix of everything you look for in your books.

“The Songs of Us” was a truly surprising novel, full of twists and turns, sad but also incredibly uplifting. The characters were portrayed in very realistic way and they were very true to life, full of flaws and facing thousand little battles and showing what a real family looks like. It had a refreshing, unique storyline written in a sensitive, gentle way. Bitter – sweet and close to life, it’s going to make you laugh out loud and cry crocodile tears. A story of love, hope, broken hearts, forgiveness and second chances, about awful coincidences and fate playing with your life, an astonishing tale about unconditional love and loss, grief, relationships and family dynamics. Powerful and honest and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Friend of the Family by Tasmina Perry / Blog Tour

Friend of the Family by Tasmina Perry

 

 

41027488Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 20th September 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 384

Genre: Suspense, Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of THE POOL HOUSE, this dark and twisty pageturner is perfect for fans of BBC’s THE REPLACEMENT, THE GIRLFRIEND by Michelle Frances and THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE.

You trust your friend, so you’d trust her daughter. Wouldn’t you…?

When an old university friend gets in touch with a request for work experience for her daughter, magazine editor Amy agrees. Twenty-year-old Josie walks into Amy’s office, moves into the basement of her Notting Hill house and is soon helping out with her children after Amy’s nanny is hit by a car. It seems the natural thing therefore for Amy to invite Josie on the family’s annual to Provence. When a series of things start to go wrong in their luxurious villa, Amy begins to suspect that Josie isn’t quite the friendly presence she appears. But when no one, not even her husband believes her, she realises she will have to play Josie at her own game in order to expose her true intentions…

Don’t miss this gripping, addictive read. You’ll never see a houseguest in the same way again…

My Review

Amy Shepherd has done well for herself – she has a lovely family and a great job as editor of a popular women’s magazine “Verve”. When a friend from her childhood, Karen, gets in touch with her, Amy is surprised but also happy. Karen hasn’t done as well as Amy, and so Amy finds herself agreeing to give Karen’s daughter Josie some work experience at her magazine. Not only this – she also puts her up at her home for the time.
However, with Josie’s arrival things seem to go belly up for Amy and her family on all counts – things begin to unravel and Amy starts to wonder, who has she let into her home? Is Josie sabotaging her life? And if so, why?

It’s a real coincidence that simultaneously I’ve been reading two books with the same leading focus of attention – inviting an old friend/daughter of a friend to your house, opening your door and heart and opportunities. What I find really good is the fact that they both were on the same level of suspense and interest.

The mystery, the “I Invited her in, I want her out” went somehow astray on the pages between Amy’s job and the banter. I wanted more tension, more puzzles to solve, really more things that could have really indicated that Josie was the real intruder. There was a moment that I felt desperate with Amy, I though she has Josie – obsession that looks very unhealthy. I can remember a book with a similar subject matter and also that it kept me on my tenterhooks, I felt all kind of emotions and I wanted this “bad girl” out so badly – here, however, it was mostly a story about Amy’s career life and it really, and sadly, lacked in the tension, suspicion, mystery. Yes, I haven’t see the final twist coming – it was a great surprise but the execution was too weak for my liking, and the things happened so quickly and too conveniently to make me feel satisfied.

What I really adored in this book was the way the characters were written – they were brilliantly developed and their personality trails were so well captured! They were not immediately – or not at all – likeable but the times when I though that you have to adore the characters to enjoy the book are long gone, I actually appreciate it more when the characters are not easy to like but they’re drawn in such a way that you feel a part of their world and you’re immediately wrapped up into their lives and relationships, and it was like this in this novel. They were mostly very smug and very self – satisfied, they all made mistakes, they all had tons of money and they always found their ways out, coming up smiling. They were not the ones to appreciate what they have, taking things mostly for granted.

“Friend of the Family” was a sharp observed and honest story about bold and beautiful, about rich and glamorous eventually felling off their high horses. The author is a great story teller and has a way with words, her dialogues flows effortlessly and her writing style is rich and sparkly. It was a stylish and elegant book about revenge, obsession and unjust accusations and how little it takes to destroy someone’s life.

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