The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

 

 

51edslbgozl-_sx323_bo1204203200_Publisher: Mantle

Publishing Date: 20th September 2018

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 600

Genre: Historical Fiction, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A rich, spellbinding new novel from the author of The Lake House—the story of a love affair and a mysterious murder that cast their shadow across generations, set in England from the 1860s until the present day.

My real name, no one remembers.
The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor in rural Oxfordshire. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery, and thievery, of art, love, and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river, is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

Rating: three-stars

In “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” it is 1862 and a group of bohemian artists spend their time at Birchwood Manor. Its owner is the gifted artist, Edward Radcliffe. The relaxed visit is interrupted by a burglary and murder of Edward’s fiancée and a disappearance of his muse, Birdie Bell. Edward’s life is shattered to pieces.
It’s 2017 and young London archivist, Elodie Winslow, comes across a satchel hiding a photograph of a Victorian woman and a sketchbook with the drawing of a home by the river that feels very familiar to Elodie. She starts to dig and soon she is to discover a story that it’s also connected to her family, full of secrets and tragedy.

There are many different settings and the story jumps between times, however it is always underlined in which period we’re finding ourselves in, so I didn’t have any problems here and I didn’t feel confusion. Where I was a little confused though was that under all those description and many colourful and eclectic characters lay a mystery that was a brilliant idea and was incredibly captivating, yet it was somehow forgotten because of all the many other things and events. The author’s writing style is beautiful and elegant though, almost lyrical, and it wonderfully conveys the atmosphere of all the times she’s writing about.

There are many characters introduced to us – probably too many, to be honest, and instead on action this book mostly focuses on telling us their stories over a century – and this is probably where the mystery has gone a little lost. All of the characters had their own, diverse and hooking stories and maybe this was too much for this story, as it sometimes felt too overfilled. One little example, I found Elodie’s subplot starting very strong and interesting but then it lost its impact and focus, which is a shame as it was an interesting one. This tale is told through multiple narrators and with them we slowly and painstakingly learn the story and background of Birchwood Manor, its history and its residents – this especially through the eyes of the ghost, Birdie. She tells us a tale full of mysteries, murder, lies and secrets, theft, tragedy and drama that the house witnessed through generations. All the characters in this book are somehow connected to this house.

The end is beautifully and neatly wrapped up, it brings almost all the threads together, though I also had a feeling that there are still some questions open, especially about the characters from the present times. But it could be that I’ve missed something, I admit, because guys, and it pains me to tell this, to get through all the descriptions was incredibly hard and so I skipped some passages. What I didn’t miss, though, was the name of the Clockmaker’s Daughter – I was desperate to learn it.

“The Clockmaker’s Daughter” was a very complex book and I can only imagine how much research went into it! It was a very captive story, very rich in descriptions that were so eloquent and vivid, effortlessly helping to bring the setting and characters to life. It was, however, not as wonderful as I was expecting. Kate Morton has many fans out there and one of my fellow bloggers that I value very, very much always rave about her book, and so I though I must finally read a Kate Morton novel! Sadly, I couldn’t find this wow – factor and felt a little disappointed after reading it, but probably I should have started with another book of hers – I will for sure getting back to her whole previous catalogue.There were also incredible twists in this book and it brings everything you’re looking for in good historical fiction – incredibly well research, mystery, murder, romances and a hidden treasure. Please, don’t get me wrong – this book had its brilliant moments but I think it would be a real winner if it was shorter and the number of characters was reduced. I just have a feeling that the potentials of this gorgeous plot has not been made use of.
It was full of imagination and creative, a book different to any other books, filled with many interesting characters, beautiful descriptions, luminous writing, complex plot and beautifully written, and even though it was not this what I was expecting, it was still a wonderful read and a great escape into the fictional world.

The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh

The Man Who Didn’t Call by Rosie Walsh

 

34329423Publisher: Mantle

Publishing Date: 14th June 2018

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

Number of pages: 304

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adults), Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything.

So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him.
But he doesn’t call.

Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence.

What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason — and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other?

Rating: five-stars

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Guys. you might be thinking that the 5 stars reviews are the easiest to write. Well, here is where you’re wrong, because they are mostly the most difficult ones to write. I could simply tell you that “The Man Who didn’t Call” was “bloody brilliant, go and treat yourself, drop whatever you do and just read it”, right? But well, please do excuse me when I’ll try to tell you below how much I loved this book without repeating the word “love” all over again. It’s been a few days already since I’ve finished reading this book and well, I can’t stop thinking about it.

The only thing you have to know about the story is that Sarah and Eddie get to know each other, spend an incredible week together – a kind of soul mates – and they are sure they want to spend their future together. Eddie goes on his prearranged holidays and then he disappears. He doesn’t call. He doesn’t reply to any of the phone calls. No messages, no Facebook, no WhatsApp. Why? Sarah is left, wondering.

Guys, you will be dying to know why he didn’t call…
And I’m sure you will be having your own suspicions and theories – just like I had, but it is a book written by Rosie Walsh, who has previously written as Lucy Robinson, so you’re in really good hands here, and who has already proven that she’s the best when it comes to the most unexpected twists – and believe me, she doesn’t disappoint, as any of my guesses turned out to be true. So there. it doesn’t happen often. And it’s such a joy to read a book that is so unpredictable, full of surprises but not in a too overwhelming way.

This it this kind of a book that the more you read, the more you want to know. The characters’ lives and stories completely capture and put a spell on you. Nevertheless, I think that the last part was the weakest part of this novel – it doesn’t mean I didn’t love it, because I loved it with my whole heart, it just didn’t fit to the rest of the book and seemed very rushed. However, it was still gorgeous, so imagine how good the other parts must have been – that good, yes! It was raw and honest and so genuine in all the feelings and emotions.

The characters were so well fleshed – out, and not only the main ones but also the background characters. I actually admired them very, very much because – let’s be honest – they really did put Sarah and her problems above their own, they were always there for her, she’s never heard a bad word, they were always supporting her even with their own huge problems and troubles. However, what I also adored is that the plot focused not only on Sarah and Eddie but the author touched upon different issues, such as depression, mental health, grief as well. The choice of Sarah’s profession was exceptional, the charity she run with her ex – husband about clown – doctors working with ill children was a brilliant and refreshing and clever idea.

The way Rosie Walsh dealt with grief here just blew me away. The feelings were so true to life and realistic, raw and real, and all the struggles and the aftermaths of a death in a family were so true to life and they rang a bell or two. The way she writes about love and forgiveness, about feelings and emotions is just amazing. It’s going to stay with you for ever, guys, it’s going to creep into your heart and head and leave you stunned – and I loved it! There is so much sensitivity and gentleness and understanding, and you just want to hug the characters. I also loved the fact that the author didn’t wait with the big reveal till the last page, making the story drag – thanks to this the story really flows effortlessly and seamlessly and is impossible to put down.

“The Man Who Didn’t Call” was perfect in every aspect. It was well – paced and the twists were mind blowing. It was multi – layered. It was compulsive, with many “oh no” and “awww” moments and it is going to be huge, mark my words. This book has it all – a beautiful romance, broken hearts, tragedy, intrigue, mystery and unconditional love and I can’t recommend it highly enough – well, it is my first “Hall of Fame” book in a long time.

 

 

Little Big Man by Katy Regan / #BlogTour

Little Big Man by Katy Regan

 

413lcxmywal-_sx317_bo1204203200_Publisher: Mantle

Publishing Date: 19th April 2018

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

Number of pages: 465

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 Meet 10-year-old Zac – a boy on a mission – in Katy Regan’s new novel Little Big Man . . .

You can’t see the truth from the outside, that’s what I’ve worked out.

Ten-year-old Zac has never met his dad, who allegedly did a runner before he was born. But when his mum lets slip that he’s the only man she’s ever loved, Zac turns detective and, roping in his best friend, hatches a plan to find his father and give his mum the happy-ever-after she deserves. What he doesn’t realize, though, is that sometimes people have good reasons for disappearing . . .

Little Big Man is a story about family secrets and fierce, familial love. It’s about growing up and being accepted; grief and lies, and the damage they can do. Most of all though, it’s about a little boy determined to hunt down the truth; a boy who wants to give the Dad he’s never met a second chance to be a father – and his mum a second chance at love.

Rating:  five-stars

Zac has never known his father but with his eleventh birthday approaching, he’s decided to look for him – even though his father left his mum even before Zac was born and basically has had no interest in him. Moreover, it is actually forbidden in Zac’s family to as much as mention his father’s name (it is Liam in case you wondered) because of something that happened eleven years ago and included his father and his uncle. Whatever, Zas and his friend Teagan are determined to find Liam. It’s not Zac’s only problem though – to keep his mission a secret, – as he’s also being bullied at school because of his weight, and not only school, but also other authorities, start to write letters to his mum about it.

This was a beautiful and poignant story, brilliantly told from a ten – year – old’s point of view. There were also chapters told by Zac’s mum Juliet and his grandfather Mick, and slowly we start to get a whole picture of what has happened in the past. At the beginning I was wondering, why is Juliet’s father’s point of view so important to this story, and let’s be honest here – the development of his narration and the way his part turned out was beautifully poignant and poignantly beautiful – the way Mick was around Zac and the love he had to his grandson was brilliantly described and so uplifting, it really could make your soul and heart sing. I grew very fond of Mick, guys, and probably this is why this part at the end made me a little disappointed, and personally I didn’t find his involvement, or his addition to this what happened SO dramatic – yes, he lied but first I think through those years, through his love he made amends to all those lies and secrets, and secondly he didn’t know what’s going to happen, he didn’t have any impact on the events to come, and in my eyes he couldn’t have been hold responsible after all those years for this what has happened.
The characters were truly well developed, with their ups and downs and with all their flaws, because they were not perfect, they made a lot of mistakes but it only made them even more multi – dimensional and true to life. The way the author described how they both, Zac and Juliet, find comfort in food was very poignant, dramatic and true to life. Yes, it rang a bell as well. Juliet was doing her best, going through all kind of emotions and feelings as a single parent and I was totally in awe how well Katy Regan has captured Zac’s voice – the way he was behaving, communicating, seeing the world was so age – relevant and very realistic. There were no exaggerations or making Zac too childish or too adult for his age, and hats off, really, because not many authors can capture their child characters so well. He was resilient and determined and protective of his family and best friend, and he was absolutely authentic in everything he did.

Basically, “Little Big Man” was mostly a rather sad story – what with Zac being bullied, his mother being a single parent and fighting to keep her head above water, not being able to afford food and let’s not mention an extra activities for Zac, with the whole family still grieving – but there was also this feeling of unconditional love shining through the pages, that they all could count on each other no matter what. It was a story that’s going to break your heart, mend it and break it again – a story about secrets, shame, guilt, lies and unconditional love, and because of this love we just want to keep those secrets away from those we love most in the world. It touches upon many issues that often we don’t want to think or talk about and the author does it with incredible gentleness, subtlety and understanding. It was emotional and life – affirming and Zac really deserves to be discovered. Highly recommended!

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katyregan


 

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin / #BlogTour

Hi guys. Today I have a review of a very special book for you. “Only Child” is Rhiannon Navin’s debut novel and it is a very powerful and close to life book – I’m sure you wake up today to the news of shooting at school in Florida. “Only Child” os going to break your heart, be warned, but you’re going to miss too much if you won’t read this book. It’s too important.

Only Child by Rhiannon Navin

36445985Publisher: Mantle

Publishing Date: 8th February 2018

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

We went to school that Tuesday like normal.

Not all of us came home . . .

Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, six-year-old Zach can hear shots ringing through the corridors of his school. A gunman has entered the building and, in a matter of minutes, will have taken nineteen lives.

In the aftermath of the shooting, the close knit community and its families are devastated. Everyone deals with the tragedy differently. Zach’s father absents himself; his mother pursues a quest for justice — while Zach retreats into his super-secret hideout and loses himself in a world of books and drawing.

Ultimately though, it is Zach who will show the adults in his life the way forward — as, sometimes, only a child can.

Rating: five-stars

“Only Child” is Rhiannon Navin’s debut novel and it a powerhouse of a book. It’s very easy to fell immediately in love with the main character Zach, with his innocence and the way he sees the world. And it is for sure not another school shooting story – there is much more to it and I hope it’s going to open people’s eyes.

This powerful novel deals with the aftermath of a school shooting. Told from the point of view of a six – year – old Zach Taylor who survived it, hidden in the class cupboard with other classmates by their teacher Miss Russell. The shooter killed 19 people and when Zach is reunited with his parents, Melissa and Jim, they find that his older brother Andy is nowhere to be found. Later it turns out that he is one of the victims of the shooter, the son of the school security guard, Charles Ranalez.

“Only Child” is a second book in a very short time that I’ve read told from a child’s point of view. The other one was a 4 – year – old girl and here we have a six – year – old Zach, and while his view of the world is innocent and realistic, just like this of a schoolboy, there was one thing that bothered me, as sometimes the narration was much too adult for him. If I wrote a book from a child’s perspective than I think I should keep the narration adequate to his age. However, Zach’s character is of course believable, his actions and reactions appropriate for his age. He really shows the adults what’s important, he teaches them the lesson that they desperately need. He was honest and innocent and telling things how they were.

The story of Zach was heart – breaking. His emotions and feelings were so brilliantly described and there was nothing more I wanted than to slap his mother, hard, really hard. I mean, I can’t put myself in her shoes, and I don’t want to, I understand she has lost one son but there was still Zach to think about. I just couldn’t watch how alone and lonely he felt. And you know what… Andy was a great kid, that’s for sure, he was excellent at sports but he was also suffering from ODD which means that he had very bad tempers and tantrums, and was not his fault, of course, and compared to the quiet, good as gold Zach, that you also quickly gets an impression was afraid of his big brother, well, you just fell for Zach, and the way his mother blanked him after Andy’s death felt so unfair, and I think you can’t help the feeling of … I don’t know what, not relief, but the feeling that perhaps it’s better for Zach that his brother is gone. Awful, I know, and not true of course, but I somehow felt like this – it just wasn’t easy to like Andy and I felt guilty with those feelings.

While Jim retreats into work he still finds time for Zach, and their interactions were beautiful. Melissa, on the other hand, wants a revenge and she does everything that the parents of the shooter will get punished for the act that their son has done. Little Zach is caught in between. They forget that he also has feelings, that he also has to mourn his brother, that he sees what’s happening at home. They are so preoccupied with their own feelings and emotions that they don’t see that Zach sees everything, their anger, unfairness and hypocrisy.

“Only Child” is a moving, powerful story about building bridges and finding way after the tragic loss . It is wonderfully and emotionally written, with really well drawn characters and you can’t help but fell for them, and you understand all the emotions of confusion and anger. Realistic and very sensitive, it is one of the saddest books but it is also uplifting. A very important read that I highly recommend!

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Miss You by Kate Eberlen

Miss You by Kate Eberlen

 

29485475Publisher: Mantle

Publishing Date: 11th August 2016

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

Number of pages: 464

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover

 

 

Synopsis:

Get to know Tess and Gus in Kate Eberlen’s first novel, Miss You.

Tess and Gus are meant to be. They just haven’t met properly yet. And perhaps they never will . . .

Today is the first day of the rest of your life is the motto on a plate in the kitchen at home, and Tess can’t get it out of her head, even though she’s in Florence for a final, idyllic holiday before university. Her life is about to change forever – but not in the way she expects.

Gus and his parents are also on holiday in Florence. Their lives have already changed suddenly and dramatically. Gus tries to be a dutiful son, but longs to escape and discover what sort of person he is going to be.

For one day, the paths of an eighteen-year-old girl and boy criss-cross before they each return to England.

Over the course of the next sixteen years, life and love will offer them very different challenges. Separated by distance and fate, there’s no way the two of them are ever going to meet each other properly . . . or is there?

 

Rating: 4/5

“Miss You” is Kate Eberlen’s debut novel and I can tell you right now, at the beginning of my review, that it is a very impressing debut. It shows that life can get messy and that it is full of surprises and that nothing is straightforward in life and love. It shows that even when you are so young and full of life and hope, one thing can change everything.

The story is told from the main characters’, Tess and Gus, points of view, and I loved the smallest, subtlest mentions of their chance encounters and missed opportunities – I was actually looking for them so much, even though they mostly made me feel desperate, as I couldn’t believe that they were often so close, yet so far away. It spreads over the period of 16 years but the story doesn’t drag on, on the contrary, it is fast and full of emotions and feelings. It shows Tess and Gus growing, maturing, developing and trying to find what it really is that they want in their lives, it shows the mistakes they make. We actually know that they are destined for each other as we follow them on their journey through life and there were moments that I really couldn’t believe what must happen that they finally, eventually find each other again. I think it is really significant this time that we know that they are destined for each other, but the characters are barely aware of each other – it makes it even more interesting.

This story is full of poignant and important moments and greatly drawn characters full of depth and flaws, which makes them down – to – earth and more realistic. But as much as I appreciate the characters developing and being so thoroughly written, I did have some problems to like them. There were moments that I wanted to shake Tess as I had a feeling that she pities herself and takes the first and easiest route, making excuses about needing to take care of her younger sister. On the other hand, I fell for her incredibly and I appreciated the fact that she really sacrificed everything to look after Hope, and I was really angry with the girls’ father for so easily dumping this responsibility on Tess’s shoulders. In comparison to Tess we could say that Gus had it all, opportunities and chances and still he came across as very unhappy with life and with what he was getting. Sure, there was a big guilt issue, but nevertheless, some of the choices he’s made were controversial and not my favourite ones.

Because the novel spans over decades of the characters’ lives we are invited on a really exciting roller – coaster of changes, opportunities missed and not missed, and it was just like in a normal life. The characters share with us all the things that happened in their lives, their most hidden secrets and thoughts that they never told other people. It is a deep and complex story about people who’s paths nearly cross.

At the beginning I wasn’t sure about this book, not at all. It seemed so weird somehow. But then, the more I’ve read, the deeper I got into the story, the more those coincidental meetings – not meeting happened, the more I felt drawn into the story and the more I enjoyed it. This is a great, engaging and twisty stale about fate that often has different plans and about dealing with many challenges. There is really a lot happening in it – dealing with grief after loosing beloved mother to a cancer or a brother in an accident, feeling guilty, dealing with Asperger’s Syndrome , but also dealing with problems when the rug is being pulled out from under our feet, such as broken hearts, affairs, disappointments, lost hopes but also friendship, love and getting this lost hope back. Lovely, romantic and gripping novel, that I’d love to recommend to you!