The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood / Blog Tour

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood


Publisher: Penguin 45992911

Publishing Date: 20th February 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Psychological Thriller, Suspense

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback





No matter how far you run . . .
He’s never far behind

Lisa needs to disappear. And her friend’s rambling old home in the wilds of Yorkshire seems like the perfect place. It’s miles away from the closest town, and no one there knows her or her little boy, Joe.

But when a woman from the local village comes to visit them, Lisa realizes that she and Joe aren’t as safe as she thought.

What secret has Rowan Isle House – and her friend – kept hidden all these years?

And what will Lisa have to do to survive, when her past finally catches up with her?



Lisa has just left her husband, taking their 3 years old son with her. She doesn’t have a plan, she only knows that she has to go to Rowan Isle House, somewhere in Yorkshire, because her friend promised her it is to be the safest place in the world. Only after her arrival, Lisa realises that it’s a dilapidated, lonely old house at the lake, with no running water, no heating, not really fit to live in. But she doesn’t have another choice – she needs a safe place, no matter how it looks like.
Going back in time, the plot introduces us to a young girl, living in the same house with her father. She knows him as “Sarge” – he’s a soldier, a veteran of the Gulf War and, as it quickly becomes obvious to the reader, suffering from PTSD. He’s training his daughter to be a soldier, teaching her to hunt, kill and survive off the land, but also controlling every single aspect of her life. They both keep themselves to themselves, living an isolated life.

The characters are really well written, all so damaged and troubled, full of flaws and problems but, as we already know it, it only adds to their personalities, making them more human and realistic. Though I personally couldn’t relate to any of them, at any level, which of course made the reading this little bit more difficult, but overall I truly appreciate how well the author has created them, giving them distinctive voices. The story of the young girl, who we at first know as “Soldier”, is truly heart – breaking. Her father’s training methods are quite shocking, and it annoyed me immensely how much he controlled her, how he abused her, pressing his advantage at every opportunity, making her insecure and dependent of his moods. But Lisa’s background was, actually, not different to this of Grace – she was living a life, being controlled by her husband who has also undermined her at every single moment. I think I simply hated to see how abusive the men were towards women in this book, that it was again a case of the overwhelming feeling of being in control and undermining women from the young age. Sure, they were fighting back but well, did it turn out well for them?
Lisa was a complicated character and I wasn’t really sure how to figure her out. She wanted to be free from her husband, and yes, she run away, which is in fact already a huge step, but then nothing happens, she didn’t have a plan, she simply run in circles, acting without consideration. What bothered me also was the fact she wanted to stay unnoticed but behaved in such an odd way anytime she was around people, so really, it was a bit unbelievable. And the character of Isobel added more confusion than explanation, if you ask me. It was as if she was added to the story because she simply fitted the plot.

The story switches between the two narrations with ease and without confusion. I was all the time wondering how the two stories will eventually connect, and of course my head was full of possible scenarios, however I didn’t guess everything, no, scrap this, I guessed almost nothing. It’s a rather slow burner, it’s for sure not an action driven book, it mostly focuses on characters’, but the setting the scene and getting to know the characters’ was well done. The Rowan Isle House is a character on its own, full of darkness and hiding so many secrets, and the setting in the remote Yorkshire Dales couldn’t be better chosen, adding so much atmosphere and a sense of isolation to the story.

The book started really well, and the creepy atmosphere of uncertainty and danger was brilliantly captured. However, the closer to the end we found ourselves, the more impact it was losing. For a huge part it was a gripping and full of tension read, with the tension slowly dissolving towards the end. And you know the feeling, when you ends reading a book, so fully satisfied, as if you’ve done something special? Well, I didn’t have this feeling here, sadly.

It was twisty and dark story full of secrets, menacing, and for sure not everything there is as it may seem. It’s about abuse, control and manipulation. It’s not a comfortable read, and not an easy one but I haven’t expected it to be different – the author has already proven that she’s not afraid to dig deeper into our darker sides and touch upon hard issues. But having read Nuala Ellwood’s previous books, maybe I was expecting too much, as somehow I couldn’t quite engage with this story, couldn’t get into it. I think there were simply too many moments that required benefit of the doubt, there were too far – fetched. The characters’ actions also left much to be desired in matters of credibility and well, it was not my favourite read by this author, however, as it seems, it appeals to many other readers, which is a great thing.




Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood / Blog Tour

Day of the Accident by Nuala Ellwood


38470184Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 21st February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback



They say you killed…But What If They’re Wrong?

Sixty seconds after she wakes from a coma, Maggie’s world is torn apart

The police tell her that her daughter Elspeth is dead. That she drowned when the car Maggie had been driving plunged into the river. Maggie remembers nothing.

When Maggie begs to see her husband Sean, the police tell her that he has disappeared. He was last seen on the day of her daughter’s funeral.

What really happened that day at the river?
Where is Maggie’s husband?
And why can’t she shake the suspicion that somewhere, somehow, her daughter is still alive?

Rating: five-stars


When Maggie wakes up in a hospital after being in coma for ten weeks, her world is immediately shattered when she’s told that her beloved daughter Elspeth was killed in the tragic car accident they were both involved in. Moreover, her husband has left and nobody knows where to find him. Maggie has no memory of the accident and is left with thousands of unanswered questions, with no home and no family, to find the truth about what has happened on that fateful day – and here come the rollercoaster journey, full of twists, turns and dark secrets.

The character of Maggie was well developed and not too straight – forward. I must admit, there were moments that I felt her love to her daughter is too overwhelming, that she doesn’t leave little Elspeth place for breath. Then, her character has made me think so, so much, and I wasn’t too happy with my thoughts, to be honest, because too often I’ve seen myself in Maggie, submerged in her world of books, dreaming of being let alone – and then it happened and what wouldn’t she do to have her daughter back – so be careful what you wish for. Those pangs of conscience must have been unendurable, I am not sure I could live with them, and yes, I love my daughter with my whole heart but I appreciate her even more now, and you can be sure I’ll put any book away to play with her – I don’t want to regret anything, like Maggie did. The bond between Maggie and Elspeth was special and brilliantly captured though, as I have already mentioned, there were moments that it felt too overwhelming, too possessive, too disordered. You can’t help but feel sorry for Maggie but also be uncertain about her. She was complex and complicated character, suffering from severe anxiety and still not being able to come to terms with an event that happened many years ago and resulted in Maggie being sent away for three years. In the story, she takes us back into her past, telling about her relationship with Sean and her joy of being a mother, and slowly unravelling the events that she’d love to forget but that burdened her so much. But there were moments that I felt uncertain about Maggie, about her intentions, if they were really so crystal clear, and I think it’s only natural that I was asking myself if she really was so innocent?

Interspersed through the book, between some of the chapters, were letters from a daughter to her mother. They were heartbreaking in the way the little girl was telling her mother how much she loves her and how she misses her, how lonely and frightened she is. And it was incredibly shocking, and also intriguing, to see how suddenly the letters changed in tone, how the child’s attitude changed when the reality hit and the girl realised that – perhaps – her mum is not going to come and save her.

So, this book. Because the final twists really surprised me – I, of course, have been trying, guessing, suspecting when the things started to become more and more complicated and simply the elements didn’t fit to the puzzle – and it doesn’t happen often, that the story was successful in surprising me, for this it deserves the 5 stars that I am gladly giving. But there is also much, much more that made me like this book so much. It simply had me hooked. Glued to the pages. Involved. From the very first page to the very end, I raced through it. There were moments that I simply didn’t know whom I can trust, if Maggie is really as innocent as I’m thinking, if I’m going crazy perhaps, as suddenly nothing seems as it seemed a second ago, and I loved how the author played with my mind – when I though I am close to truth, that I worked it all out, the story usually too me in a totally different direction.
“Day of the Accident” was realistically and vividly written drama mixed with mystery, full of tension and plotted in a complex, well – thought way and it kept me on my toes. You know, there are books that you simply keep reading, waiting for the final and for the secrets to be revealed but it was not such a book – it makes you think overtime, wondering, trying to work out what has happened, why and what is still to happen. It was emotionally charged and fast – paced story, full of lies, secrets and turns. It’s really well written, it’s full of emotions and poignant moments. It deals with some heavy and difficult issues, yet it doesn’t feel depressing – it’s sad, that’s for sure, as there are many tragic events but it’s also chilling and captivating. Highly recommended!




My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood / Blog Tour

Hi guys, and happy Thursday! Today I am absolutely thrilled to be a part of Nuala Ellwood’s blog tour and to present you my thoughts on her incredible, compelling debut “My Sister’s Bones”. It is a book that makes you think and it’s an unforgettable story, which for me is always a sign of a really good book! Make sure you read it when it’s out!


My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood


512nlbeoxwl-_sx323_bo1204203200_Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 9th February 2017 (Hardcover) / 1st November 2016 (ebook)

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Mystery, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback



Kate Rafter is a high-flying war reporter. She’s the strong one. The one who escaped their father. Her younger sister Sally didn’t. Instead, she drinks.

But when their mother dies, Kate is forced to return home. And on her first night she is woken by a terrifying scream.

At first Kate tells herself it’s just a nightmare. But then she hears it again. And this time she knows she’s not imagining it.

What secret is lurking in the old family home?
And is she strong enough to uncover it…and make it out alive?


Rating: 5/5

“My Sister’s Bones” is Nuala Ellwood’s debut novel – although I really can’t believe that it’s a debut, as it is one of the most complex, compelling and thought – provoking books that I have ever read. It was a story touching about some very present issues and the fact that the author herself comes from a family of war reporters only made the read so much more realistic. You could so easily spot that she knows what she’s writing about. But Nuala Elwood didn’t stop at showing a real picture of  Aleppo, she also added an element of a very incredibly and very well plotted mystery, which made the book even more hooking, even more complex.

It is a story about dysfunctional families – Kate’s father was an alcoholic who abused her and her mother. Her younger brother drowned when he was a baby and Kate’s father blamed Kate and her mother for this. Kate’s younger sister, then their father’s pet, now is following in his footsteps, drinking hard, and she has already driven away her own daughter that she had when she was a teenager. The sisters were never close to each other, and now, after their mother’s death, there is really nothing more that could make them feel closer and like a family.

The group of characters was incredible. I can’t say that I fell for them, that I loved them because there was something in them that made them not so easy to like. I, however, felt sympathy to them, although those feelings were jumping from person to person – I found myself trusting one of them, only to start to develop feelings of mistrust some time later and to wonder if it is really as they say. In this story full of twists and turns, secrets and lies of the worst category, incredible curveballs we got to know Kate and her background slowly, bit by bit, when she’s being questioned by a therapist at the police station, and there were surprises at almost every turn. The author has in a very realistic way brought all Kate’s anxieties and fears to life, in a great way she has shown how a mind of a PTSD person works – and it was terrifying to see it, to be honest. Kate was a very strong person but the author’s ability to pull the wool over our eyes and to play with our minds made me feel uncertain about Kate’s sanity, to be honest – I really didn’t know what I should believe in. But she felt so incredibly strong and real in her fight to keep sane.

Also Sally, Kate’s sister, was brilliantly developed and her character was not at all straight – forward. I think Nuala Ellwood didn’t create her characters to be liked by the reader, but they for sure don’t leave us indifferent – I wanted to shake Sally, there were moments that I despised her even, but I also wholly and totally fell for her later on.

It was a clever, complex and addictive read. I found myself totally engrossed in this story and I couldn’t see all the twists and turns coming, even though I was desperately trying to piece all the things together – I actually knew WHO, I guessed it relatively quickly (for my detective skills, of course) but I didn’t know why and to whom – it totally, absolutely took me by surprise, I just haven’t seen it coming, even with all those hints – because I think we can say that the author was from time to time hinting at this person. However, I just didn’t see it.

It was a disturbing, depressing story but reading it didn’t make me feel like this. Sure, I was not laughing out loud or something, oh my word, of course not, but you know how sometimes, when a book is so depressing it makes you feel exactly the same. This time though I felt anger, desperation, compassion, I truly felt like a part of the characters’ world, as if I was witnessing it with my own eyes – the author has incredible way with the words and she can perfectly get into her characters’ heads, taking us with her. You mostly really don’t know who to believe, what is real and what is a lie, and I absolutely loved this tangled web of uncertainties. The end though, in comparison to the whole book, was much faster, things happened there almost with the speed of light, and in comparison to it the whole book feels much slower.

The author has written a truly though – provoking and controversial story and if you have a chance to read it, do not hesitate – it is clever and compelling, a thriller with a difference. Yes, it is not the easiest read, there are some really dark and depressing issues touched upon in it, such as the war in Syria and the situation of the refugees, or, closer home, mental terror, blackmail, alcoholism, domestic abuse, and I probably read it in the right moment in my life, because I think you really need to be in a right mood to appreciate it. However, I think you won’t want to miss it, as it’s a great page – turner, an emotional rollercoaster of a journey, full of shocking revelations. “My Sister’s Bones” is  about love and hate, loss, forgiveness and families, with a very – VERY – good plot full of things that I haven’t seen coming, not in a million years. Hats off to the author for not only writing about Syria but also for the great research on how PTSD can impact an individual person who experienced an indescribable trauma. It kept me on my toes all the time and I really didn’t know where it was going. The writing was very realistic and easy to follow and the brilliantly developed characters just got under my skin. Highly, highly recommended!