When Jessie moves into a flatshare at Maver Place, she’s finally found a decent place to live.
And when she’s befriended by fellow tenants Lauren and Sofie, she’s got great flatmates to share it with.
You think she’s safe. You think she can trust these people.
When you flatshare, how well do you really know the people that you’re living with?
You escape a bad relationship, put yourself back together and start a new life in a new town, in a new flat. Jessie finally felt her life was back on track but was it?
Slavin has written a pretty good psychological thriller and I definitely raced through the pages.
The mystery of the previous occupants of Jessie’s room, mysterious emails and phone messages definitely maintained my interest. Jessie’s flat mates were interesting especially Lauren who seemed just too good to be true, with her instant attachment to Jessie. As events became a little creepier you wondered if Lauren was the culprit, but then again it could have been her ex boyfriend or even one of the other flat mates. The list was endless which made the novel all the more intriguing, creepy and eventful.
Slavin see sawed back and forth, as she made the reader work hard. The differing voices of the characters gave you the story from all angles but also sent you down trails that led to nowhere, that made you rethink before you decided on alternative answers. I loved that she played with us and her characters before she finally unveiled the truth.
It was novel that certainly distracted during lockdown and I look forward to more form Jennifer Slavin.
I would like to thank Ebury for a copy of the Wrong Move to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour
About the author
Jennifer Savin (Author) Jennifer Savin is an award-winning journalist and currently Features Writer at Cosmopolitan. Jennifer has a particular passion for investigative journalism – something which has found her in all manner of situations, from going undercover to share a tiny bedroom with a stranger for 10 days while tackling the housing crisis, to going undercover to expose the ‘landloards’ offering vulnerable women free rent in exchange for sex. The Wrong Move is her debut novel.
You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniSavin and Instagram @savcity
Excalibur is missing, a killer is on the loose, and his career is on the line…
James has a nose for trouble. But that’s nothing new.
This time, things are different…
...his life is on the line.
James is the chief editor of a small newspaper. It’s hardly captivating work. He’s bored. But all of that is about to change.
Late one evening, he returns home to discover his long-time girlfriend and journalist, Valentine has left. Early the next morning, James fails to reallocate her assigned story. To avoid blank space in the culture section, and loosing his job, he decides to write the story on the local museums latest acquisition, Excalibur.
But, there’s one thing he didn’t count on…
.…Excalibur is missing, and a dead body is at the crime scene.
As his investigations commence, James unravels a tangled web of betrayal, kidnapping, and murder. But, his fact-finding hasn’t gone unrecognised. The wrong people have started to notice. And there will be consequences…dire consequences.
You’ll love this gripping cloak and dagger mystery because of the twists, turns, and ending you’ll never guess.
Something was missing but not the usual person as so often the case in crime novels. In this case the missing was a sword with connections to King Arthur. Worth millions, you just knew it’s disappearance would cause more than just a few issues.
Hay put newspaper editor James on the case, as he reeled from a painful breakup with girlfriend Valentine. It was nice to have a character who wasn’t afraid to show his emotions, instead of the usual brash hard nosed ones that so often litter everyday crime novels.
He may not have been the tough guy but he definitely had lots of tenacious determination to get to the bottom of the swords disappearance, and indeed the subsequent murder
Obsessive archeologist Elizabeth seemed the obvious suspect, but oh no Hay wasn’t satisfied with anything quite so simple as she added in a few delicious twist and turns, that threw, us the reader and James off course and in a multitude of directions. There was a just a whiff of the Indiana Jones as Hay opened up the world of ancient artefacts, their value in monetary and kudos terms. The ferocious and dangerous murky world was not for the faint hearted and James always seemed to be just one step away from danger.
Day tightened the net that threatened to engulf him before she launched him into a last dramatic push that would bring the investigation to a close.
It wasn’t quite the expected ending which was good, a sign an author has taken the time to think outside the crime novel box. I liked she left James and his story open ended and I look forward to the next instalment.
I would like to thank A D Hay for a copy of The Missing to read and review and to Sarah Hardy of Bokks On The Bright Side for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
A. D. Hay is a passionate bibliophile and can usually be found reading a book, and that book will most likely be a thriller. Amelia’s love of reading stems back to when her mother used to bribe her as a small child, with a little golden book for good behaviour during grocery shopping.
At the age of eight, she wrote her first play. She was super secretive about the script and wrote it out by hand in an HB pencil and gave each actor lines to memorise as opposed to a whole script. So, what happened, you ask? Let’s just say she was a little bossy, okay, maybe, very bossy, and had difficulties managing the talent.
Thus, an obsession began. Yes, stop the presses another writer has been obsessed with reading and writing since childhood.
Fast-Forward thirty years, Amelia is the author of the crime thriller novella, Missing which is the first book in the James Lalonde Thriller Series. The next two books, Silence and Immunity will be published in 2020.
When not absorbed in a gripping page-turner or writing her James Lalonde series, Amelia loves to travel around Europe, drink tea, rosé, and eat pizza. She is obsessed with journalism, art history, and is a closet religious thriller fan. Amelia was born in Brisbane, Australia and spent the last nine years living in London, where she lives with her husband, Roland.
When iconic musical Dust is revived twenty years after the leading actress was murdered in her dressing room, a series of eerie events haunts the new cast… The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer… Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room? Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games? Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything. And Chloe has been watching
If you follow Louise Beech on Instagram or Twitter you would know her background was very much rooted in theatre. Her novels have never taken us there until, I Am Dust, when the dusty rundown Dean Wilson Theatre became the location. Her in-depth knowledge of a theatre’s inner workings, shone through, although I’m not sure her real life theatre was quite as run down as this one.
You could imagine the peeling paint, the scuffed floors, the slight rips in the seats. It was backstage that I found most intriguing, the jumble of props, scenery, the discarded costumes before the dressing room, the one in which actress Morgan Miller died. As Beech took you inside you felt the change in atmosphere, the chill of a past that came back to haunt her main character, Chloe.
Chloe may have been thirty, yet there was a vulnerability about her, her mental health poised on a knife edge, one that could tip at any time. Why you wondered, what was it about Chloe that had stagnated her life, that saw her lonely and fragile.
The answer lay in her past, as Beech alternated the chapters, took us back to the 16 year old Chloe, to a youth theatre and her involvement in that Scottish Play, the one that must never be uttered, Macbeth. It seemed the perfect match to the strange and eerie happenings of a teenagers experimentation in the age old oujia board. Ryan the instigator, Jess, Chloe’s best friend, and willing participant in her bid to win Ryan’s attention, Chloe their third wheel, but ultimately the conduit through which the spirits, the messages travelled.
Beech, ramped up the tension, the dark, deserted church hall, the flickering candles, the slightest noise exaggerated, the upturned glass shifting, the scribbling of Chloe’s pencil as she furiously wrote the messages.
What was once an innocent game soon took on a dark, tangled mess of intrigue that seeped into the future, the all pervading question of who killed Morgan Miller hung around, threatening and menacing .
Beech made Chloe confront her fears and anxieties, you could sense the struggle, the reappearance of faces from the past that pushed her further and further to the precipice.
Just like Chloe you wanted answers, yet Beech wasn’t forthcoming, she dangled snippets of information, introduced characters that all could have done the deed. Beech, ramped up the strange noises, the voices, until in a locked dressing room, the big reveal, the shock, the revelations, the ending not quite what you expected.
It was a surreal, unusual ending that could have looked out of place, or awkward but somehow Beech’s skill made it the perfect outcome, sad in some ways, happy in others.
I Am Dust highlighted Beech’s range and versatility as an author, whatever she chooses to write somehow works, her talent seemingly boundless, a bounty for all her fans. The only question that remains is just where will she take us next?
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of I Am Dust to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tour for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.
With the staggering intensity of James Lee Burke and the absorbing narrative of Jane Harper’s The Dry, We Begin at the End is a powerful novel about absolute love and the lengths we will go to keep our family safe. This is a story about good and evil and how life is lived somewhere in between.
‘You can’t save someone that doesn’t want to be saved . . .’
For some people, trouble just finds them.
Thirty years ago, Vincent King became a killer.
Now, he’s been released from prison and is back in his hometown of Cape Haven, California. Not everyone is pleased to see him. Like Star Radley, his ex-girlfriend, and sister of the girl he killed.
Duchess Radley, Star’s thirteen-year-old daughter, is part-carer, part-protector to her younger brother, Robin – and to her deeply troubled mother. But in trying to protect Star, Duchess inadvertently sets off a chain of events that will have tragic consequences not only for her family, but also the whole town.
Murder, revenge, retribution.
How far can we run from the past when the past seems doomed to repeat itself?
I cried multiple times whilst reading We Begin At The End, I think it was a mixture of frustration, a sense of injustice and the sheer emotion Whitaker managed to get into his narrative.
It wasn’t a simple story, but a mix of crime, it’s dreadful consequences, and the many facets that make up the human psyche.
The characters will stay with me for a long time, none more so than Duchess, a young thirteen year old who had to grow up long before her time. The care and protectiveness she gave her brother was heartwarming, but also sad, her mother wrapped in her own misery of a dead sister, alcohol, drugs and the wrong choice of men.
Duchess unwillingness to give into emotion, to break down and cry brought you to tears, and her relationship with her Grandpa Hal was just on another level.
She didn’t give an inch, didn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing she cared but most of all respected and admired him. Hal, so patient, never grudging in his need to give her and her brother some sort of stability and a life.
Duchess wasn’t the only stand out character, Walk, local police chief, was haunted by long ago events and an illness that threatened his whole life. He was our overseer, our guide through the background to the story, to the many characters, all connected in some way to past and present events. It was his loyalty to his best friend Vincent King and a responsibility he felt towards Duchess and Robin that drove him on, pushed him out of his comfort zone, as he sought justice.
Whitaker took us into the heart of Little Haven, the small town they inhabited, the personalities and its events magnified, everyone sure that they knew their neighbours, better than they thought. I loved how the past could never be forgotten, pushed to the forefront of the present day, the ramifications an explosion just waiting to happen.
When it did erupt, you heart went to your mouth, your stomach churned, your only hope that Duchess and Robin would survive unscathed, that Walk would find some kind of inner peace.
Whitaker’s narrative never let us down, as he delved deeper and deeper into his characters hearts and minds, the seemingly endless threads compelling and intriguing. When you reached then end you felt like you had been in an emotional whirlwind, wrung out, shattered and wondering how you would forget Duchess, Robin and Walk, how you would be able to pick up another novel and feel and experience the same level of intensity.
We Begin At The End was superb, and am not sure i will ever quite recover.
I would like to thank Zaffre Books for a copy of We Begin At The End to read and review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Chris Whitaker was born in London and spent ten years working as a financial trader in the city. When not writing he enjoys football, boxing, and anything else that distracts him from his wife and two young sons. Tall Oaks is his first novel.
Tony, Hugh and Karen thought they’d seen the last of each other thirty years ago. Half a lifetime has passed and memories have been buried. But when they are asked to reunite – to lay ghosts to rest for the good of the future – they all have their own reasons to agree. As they take the ferry from Northern Ireland to Scotland the past is brought in to terrible focus – some things are impossible to leave behind.
In The Last Crossing memory is unreliable, truth shifts and slips and the lingering legacy of the Troubles threatens the present once again.
Northern Ireland and The Troubles can never be forgotten it seemed in McGilloway’s The Last Crossing, but how long are you made to pay for those wrongs?
McGilloway’s three characters, Tony, Hugh and Kate thought the past was the past until summoned back to a wood in Scotland. The ferry crossing gave McGilloway the opportunity to unravel their story, one mired in politics, in history.
Tony, widower, retired teacher, Karen, mother of two, and Hugh, recently released from prison.
Thirty years ago they were young, touched by violence that had a devastating effect on their families and ripe for Hugh as he drew them into the fight against the British. He instinctively knew which buttons to press, how to slowly coerce, persuade until, in too deep they had no choice but to do as he said despite the consequences.
I admired McGilloway’s ability to probe their mindset, to exaggerate their vulnerabilities, to highlight the utter terror they lived under as the military took over their streets, as violence lurked behind every corner.
He made you question wether their involvement was right, would it make things better or did it merely stoke the flames, increase the reprisals, creatre more victims and more distraught families?
Fast forward thirty years on the ferry crossings, as they wandered back to that time, things never as they seemed, as each hid a secret, secrets that had a profound affect on the outcomes. It increased the tension you felt as you read, as McGilloway pulled you into a whirling mess of emotions, lies and recriminations.
As they approached their destination, you knew something was about to happen, and when it did , it was explosive. Truths were outed and the real Tony, Karen and Hugh emerged, the author making you question their motives, the rights and wrongs of their actions. He also made you realise just how far we have come from those harsh, violent times, yet it still lingered, the young pulled into its clutches, driven by, in my opinion, misappropriated glamour, and visions of a past long gone.
The Last Crossing was a thoughtful novel, that provoked opinion, yet still told a story that was both
I would like to thank The Dome Press for a copy of The Last Crossing to read and review and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour
About the author
Brian McGilloway is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Inspector Benedict Devlin and DS Lucy Black series.
He was born in Derry, Northern Ireland in 1974. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position in St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English until 2013. He currently teaches in Holy Cross College, Strabane.
Brian’s work has been nominated for, and won, many awards, including Borderlands (shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger), Gallows Lane (shortlisted for both the 2009 Irish Book Awards / Ireland AM Crime Novel of the Year and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2010), and Little Girl Lost (winner of the University of Ulster’s McCrea Literary Award 2011).
In 2014, Brian won BBC NI’s Tony Doyle Award for his screenplay, Little Emperors, an award which saw him become Writer In Residence with BBC NI.
Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife, daughter and three sons.
The Oslo Detectives are back in another slice of gripping, dark Nordic Noir, and their new colleague has more at stake than she’s prepared to reveal…
Oslo detective Frølich searches for the mysterious sister of a young female asylum seeker, but when people start to die, everything points to an old case and a series of events that someone will do anything to hide…
Suspended from duty, Detective Frølich is working as a private investigator, when his girlfriend’s colleague asks for his help with a female asylum seeker, who the authorities are about to deport. She claims to have a sister in Norway, and fears that returning to her home country will mean instant death. Frølich quickly discovers the whereabouts of the young woman’s sister, but things become increasingly complex when she denies having a sibling, and Frølich is threatened off the case by the police. As the body count rises, it becomes clear that the answers lie in an old investigation, and the mysterious sister, who is now on the run…
A dark, chilling and up-to-the-minute Nordic Noir thriller, Sister is also a tense and well-plotted murder mystery with a moving tragedy at its heart, cementing Kjell Ola Dahl as one of the greatest crime writers of our generation.
It started off with a simple quest, for Private Investigator Frolich to find a young asylum seekers sister. An almost impossible task but one that you knew Frolich would use all his guile, skill and determination to get that successful outcome. Dahl, as ever, had other ideas, he wanted the reader to get more than they bargained for, to take them on a journey that had more than its fair share of dead bodies and underhand dealings.
The myriad of themes Dahl dealt with were quite wide and varied, from the problems of immigration and asylum seekers to a shipping accident and it’s subsequent investigative cover ups.
He highlighted the awful plight many asylum seekers find themselves in, the brutality they faced from authority including the police. Perhaps this was Dahl’s opportunity to make a statement on his countries policies, in a subtle but effective way, that definitely made you stop and think.
Dahl didn’t stop there when he led Frolic down another dangerous path, as his investigation led him to a stricken ship, many of its passengers burnt to death. Who was hiding important details, why were the authorities so eager to cover it all up.
The two strands were somehow interlinked but how? My brain was very definitely taxed as I tried to work out the connections, to see a way forward and a resolution. I liked that Dahl kept us just as much in the dark as Frolich, that we discovered things together, a brilliant tool thattotally immerse the reader.
He didn’t allow us to relax, as Frolich found himself compromised from all angles, danger at every corner, the threat never clear. My thought process flitted from one character to another as I tried to decide if they were the perpetrator responsible for so much misery. Dahl made me wait, made me impatient until boom, all was revealed, the threads brought seamlessly together.
The one thing that did worry me slightly was Frolich’s personal life. Was he happy, would Matilde, the woman he had fallen for be his future partner in crime?
One thing I was very sure of was his love for his country, and Dahl did a perfect job, showcasing the city of Oslo, the good and the bad, the beauty of its countryside.
As to Frolich’s personal life, I guess and I hope that will become clearer in Dahl’s next novel.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Sister to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published seventeen novels, the most prominent of which form a series of police procedurals-cum-psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix, and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015 (published in English by Orenda books in 2019). His work has been published in fourteen countries. He lives in Oslo. Follow him on Twitter @ko_dahl.
MEET DAISY. A PICTURE OF GRACE AND DIGNITY. MEET HEROD. A… DISAPPOINTMENT
Written in his own words, and guided by a man who collects glasses in a local pub, this is the story of Herod ‘Rod’ Pinkney’s search for Daisy Lamprich, a young woman he first sees on a decade-old episode of the Judge Judy Show, and who he now intends to marry.
When Daisy is located in the coastal city of Huntington Beach, California, he travels there with his good friend and next-door neighbour, Donald, a man who once fought in the tunnels of Cu Chi during the Vietnam War and who now spends most of his time in Herod’s basement.
Herod is confident that the outcome will be favourable, but there’s a problem… Will the course of true love ever run smoothly for this unlikely hero?
I couldn’t decide if Herod was naive or eccentric but quickly came to the conclusion he was a mixture of both!
Herod was one of those people where you couldn’t quite guess his age, something we weren’t privy to until the end of the novel.
His driving around in a mobility scooter was not necessarily due to disability but just a quicker and cheaper way to get around. Indeed his whole attitude toward preparing for older age was at times quite funny, particularly when the impetus to do so arose from the adverts he watched on day time television!
Henderson gave us his somewhat loveless upbringing, the second child born to parents who mourned the death of their first son and forever saw Herod as the ultimate disappointment. He didn’t allow Herod to wallow in self pity but gave him a determination and steely personality with an all encompassing feeling of positivity and optimism. It gave the novel that feeling of lightness, with huge amounts of humour that at times had me laughing out loud.
It wasn’t just Herod’s actions that had me smiling but the characters he met, none more so that his next door neighbour Donald, a man banned from eating grapefruits and a fascination with the Vietnam War and tunnels.
Herod’s other friends were an eclectic mix of oddballs, misfits in society, something that banded them together, in friendship.
Their joint gatherings were filled with a wonderful warmth, something that pervaded throughout the story. Nobody told him he was nuts for wanting to track down the woman of his dreams, seen in an episode of Judge Judy, but facilitated and supported his endeavours. You wanted to tell him he was foolish but somehow it was touching, his intentions honourable, his quest to right the wrongs of her injustice a worthwhile endeavour.
It took him on a wonderful journey, that highlighted the good of human nature, that restored your faith that there was still good in this world.
You very much wanted him to succeed but somehow knew they would be bumps along the way, the outcome not necessarily what you expected. The latter parts were certainly surprising but heartwarming, full of respect and love.
What I loved above all else about Daisy, was its optimism, the authors ability to find the best in human nature, the bad pushed to one side. It was full of joy and laughter, a breath of fresh air that made a hugely pleasant change from the doom, gloom and seriousness in the majority of the novels we see today.
I would like to thank No Exit Press for a copy of Daisy to read and review and to Anne Carter for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
J Paul Henderson was born and grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, gained a Master’s degree in American Studies and travelled to Afghanistan. He worked in a foundry, as a bus conductor, trained as an accountant and then, when the opportunity to return to academia arose, left for Mississippi, returning four years later with a doctorate in 20thC US History and more knowledge of Darlington Hoopes than was arguably necessary. (Hoopes was a Pennsylvanian socialist and the last presidential candidate of the American Socialist Party). American History departments were either closing or contracting, so he opted for a career in publishing, most of which was spent selling textbooks, in one position or other, for John Wiley & Sons. He lives in a house in England, drives a car and owns a television set. And that’s about it.
A tale of two very different sisters whose 1890s voyage from London into remote outback Australia becomes a journey of self-discovery, set against a landscape of wild beauty and savage dispossession.
London in 1891: Harriet Cameron is a talented young artist whose mother died when she was barely five. She and her beloved sister Sarah were brought up by their father, radical thinker James Cameron. After adventurer Henry Vincent arrives on the scene, the sisters’ lives are changed forever.
Sarah, the beauty of the family, marries Henry and embarks on a voyage to Australia. Harriet, intensely missing Sarah, must decide whether to help her father with his life’s work or to devote herself to painting. When James Cameron dies unexpectedly, Harriet is overwhelmed by grief. Seeking distraction, she follows Sarah to Australia, and afterwards into the outback, where she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life.
Her rejuvenation begins with her friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her growing love for the landscape. But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand who is seeking revenge.
The late 19th century was a period of change, new worlds were opening up, society moving forward in so many ways, not least that of women.
Many were not content with their societal role, of marriage, children and a voice that was never heard. Harriet, single eldest daughter of philosopher James Cameron was such a woman, determined to live her life independently and as she wished. Not for her the traditional route of marriage and children, an attitude that often put her at odds with those around her, and at time’s her younger sister, Sarah.
Sarah did what was expected, found a wealthy husband and disappeared to the outbacks of Australia.
Harriet, left behind was plunged into a sense of despair, a questioning of her own view and indeed her future, as Booth dug. deep into her inner turmoil. At the death of her father, you urged Harriet to make the right decisions, to not accept second best and I was relieved when she finally set of for Australia.
I loved Booths’s wonderful imagery as she described the city of Sydney, the hustle and bustle, the people and its surroundings. It wasn’t until Harriet finally joined her sister in the outback that Booth came into her own.
You couldn’t help but imagine yourself there, the arid heat, the ramshackle homestead with its basic facilities and the simple life they led.
It may have appeared simple but did little to hide simmering tensions between whites and aborigines. Booth gave us a realistic picture of the difficulties faced by the aborigines, their land taken from them, forced into camps, their life and culture treated with scorn and derision.
It forced Harriet and to some extent Sarah, to question their own beliefs. Would they stay quiet or maintain the statues quo, yet it went against everything Harriet stood for, that she would fight for equality and justice.
Her relationship with aboriginal stockman, Mick, was her brave and some some would say foolhardy stand against those injustices which you could not help but admire. It was a relationship Booth filled with mutual respect and tenderness, race and its differences pushed to one side. Rumour and derision from those around only highlighted further the ignorance that pervaded the community.
You never knew how it would end, the latter parts tense and drama filled. I was glad Booth tied up all the loose ends, and didn’t leave the reader guessing. Booth showed the strength of women in adversity the idea of their perceived delicate and fragile nature left behind, and in its place bravery and determination.
It was Booth’s skill at showing both sides of the argument, her portrayal of the women’s movement that made this novel so interesting and her ability to balance alongside wonderful storytelling that made The Philosophers Daughter hugely enjoyable.
I would like to thank Red Door Books for a copy of The Philosophers Daughters to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Thongs Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Alison Booth was born in Melbourne, brought up in Sydney and has worked in the UK and in Australia as a professor as well as a novelist. Her most recent novel, A Perfect Marriage, is in the genre of contemporary fiction, while her first three novels (Stillwater Creek, The Indigo Sky, and A Distant Land) are historical fiction spanning the decades 1950s through to the early 1970s. Alison’s work has been translated into French and has also been published by Reader’s Digest Select Editions in both Asia and Europe. Alison, who holds a PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics, is an active public speaker and has participated in many writers’ festivals and literary events.
1960. The world is dancing on the edge of revolution, and nowhere more so than on the Greek island of Hydra, where a circle of poets, painters and musicians live tangled lives, ruled by the writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, troubled king and queen of bohemia. Forming within this circle is a triangle: its points the magnetic, destructive writer Axel Jensen, his dazzling wife Marianne Ihlen, and a young Canadian poet named Leonard Cohen.
Into their midst arrives teenage Erica, with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. Settling on the periphery of this circle, she watches, entranced and disquieted, as a paradise unravels.
Burning with the heat and light of Greece, A Theatre for Dreamers is a spellbinding novel about utopian dreams and innocence lost – and the wars waged between men and women on the battlegrounds of genius.
There is no way my review will give this beautiful novel justice, it quite literally, and I can think of no other words, swept me away. It wasn’t just the beautiful Greek Island of Hydra that captivated but also the characters, the naive, young Erica, and the bohemian collection of writers and artists that flocked to the island.
Erica, was our eyes and ears, an interloper, an objective outsider who observed, and navigated her way through the hierarchy and intrigues of the eclectic mix of individuals. But it wasn’t just about what she saw or did, it was also about her own journey through the grief of losing her mother, the tribulations of understanding herself as a person but also as a woman in a changing world. Would she be just like her own mother, and countless women in the world who ‘served’ the men in their life, be the homemaker or would she forge her own, independent path?
Famous writer Charmain Clift was the matriarch of the island, her house, her family through which life revolved. And what a house and family it was, as Samson painted a marriage that was forever marred by volatility. Clift and her husband, fellow author George Johnston, were two creative giants who clashed against each other and those around them, yet you felt they couldn’t exist without each other or the island without them.
Charmaine, became Erica’s substitute mother, as she searched for clues of her mother’s hidden life, little clues that Sansom littered throughout, as she painted a picture of a woman with a life removed from that of her family, well hidden from all.
Along with Erica you desperately wanted to discover her mother’s secrets but Sansom kept us waiting and instead opened up the myriad intrigues of the island. We watched along with Erica as famous Norwegian written Axel Jensen, conducted his love affairs, the despair of his long suffering wife Marianne, and the arrival of poet Leonard Cohen, destined to be famous, yet pulled into the swirling vortex of Hydra’s scandalous affairs.
When the secret finally revealed itself, you weren’t shocked, but somehow knew and I think Erica already knew but just needed to hear it from the one source she trusted. it was her the effect on her subsequent actions, that were interesting, that would you hope change the course of an unhappy life she found herself in.
And what of Hydra, the island that somehow contained them all before spewing them out when they had outstayed their welcome. Again we followed Erica as she absorbed its beauty, the beaches, the sea, the dry and arid landscape, and the simmering heat of the summer. Samson’s imagery was wonderful, you could imagine yourself there, could feel the heat, the coolness of the sea and taste the local food they ate.
It was a heady mix of superb characterisation, magical scene setting and fantastic storytelling. What I loved above everything else was that the characters were real, the story based on fact, and Samson’s ability to bring them, and the island of Hydra so vividly to life.
I really didn’t want to leave, the island or Erica, sad to leave them as I turned the final page.
Thank you so much Polly Sansom for creating such a wonderful and beautiful novel.
I would like to thank Bloomsbury for a copy of A Theatre For Dreamers to read and review and to Anne Cater for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Polly Samson is the author of two short story collections and two previous novels. Her work has been shortlisted for numerous prizes, translated into several languages and has been dramatised on BBC Radio 4. Her novel The Kindness was named Book of the Year by The Times and Observer. She has written lyrics for four Number One albums, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. pollysamson.com @PollySamson
Some novels hold you in their spell and never let you go… This is the heart-wrenching new novel from the author of the international bestseller The Girl in the Letter, Emily Gunnis. Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Kathryn Hughes The Lost Child is a twisting, nailbiting novel of a decades-old murder and a shocking secret. A tragic death. A missing baby. A long-kept secret…
Thirteen-year-old Rebecca and her mother live in fear of Rebecca’s father’s violent temper. As a storm batters Seaview Cottage one night, Rebecca hears a visitor at the door and an argument ensues. By the time the police arrive, the visitor has fled and both Rebecca’s parents are dead. No one believes Rebecca’s story that she heard a stranger downstairs…
Iris, a journalist, is sent to cover the story of a new mother on the run with her desperately ill baby, as the police race against time to find them. When the trail leads back to Seaview Cottage, the childhood home of Iris’s own mother, Rebecca, Iris must unravel the events of the night Rebecca is desperate to forget for Seaview Cottage to give up its secrets. To find the truth she must follow in her mother’s footsteps.
The Lost Child was in every sense multi generational, from post Second World War II to present day. The common thread were the women of the story, all beautifully portrayed by Gunnis, from Harriet, Rebecca, to Jess and Iris.
Harriet, strong, and in some ways brave, her actions the catalyst for the future, her intentions rooted in love.
Rebecca, blighted by tragedy, by guilt, unable to forget one fateful night, yet successful in her chosen profession.
Jess, pregnant, extremely vulnerable on a trajectory that would set off a chain of events that saw the women look back, reassess, seek forgiveness and closure.
Iris, journalist, life not as she wanted but she was our eyes and ears, our guide as we navigated the story of these women.
It was a story whose themes were common to all, yet the attitudes, response of both society and the medical profession different as we progressed through the years.
Domestic abuse, the ravages of post war trauma and the debilitating and shocking consequences of post natal psychosis were brilliantly examined by Gunnis.
You reeled as Harriet battled a husband who routinely took his rage, his battle trauma out on her. Your heart went out to their daughter Rebecca who tiptoed around, as voices and fists were raised. You got angry as police turned a blind eye, blamed Harriet and then oh my, the images Gunnis conjured of a young Rebecca, all alone, so so vulnerable, yet offered no comfort, treated like a criminal, as she reeled from the consequences of a vicious and deadly argument.
It was the post natal psychosis that fascinated, a time when the bond between mother and baby was strong, the joy of a new life to be celebrated yet everyone and every thing seen as the enemy, a potential danger to your baby. I was amazed to learn that it was genetic, could affect generation after generation of women, the only thing to change, the methods and understanding by which it was dealt with. It was an sight that was upsetting and scary and made me extremely grateful that my experiences were as they should be.
Gunnis’s skill lay in her ability to weave the educational and historical into her story. It perfectly complemented the differing stories of the women, one suffused with emotion.
Gunnis used their individual voices to tell their stories, it brought the reader closer to them, allowed them to have a better understanding of their actions and the devastating consequences that followed.
She gave a sense of unease, of a link that was missing, that we weren’t quite sure what it could be. As Gunnis pulled the strands together the narrative became more urgent, but you also sensed hope and forgiveness as it began to creep into her characters.
What lay ahead for these women, would the past stay in the past, would they move onto a future filled with light and happiness? To discover the answers I highly recommend you grab yourself a copy of The Lost Child. I guarantee Emily Gunnis will not disappoint.
I would like to thank Headline for a copy of The Lost Child to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi. This is her second novel.