Friday, May 6, 2016

The Secret by the Lake by Louise Douglas

Julia returns to the tiny village where she lived as a child with her sister Caroline and her parents. Her memories of her childhood are overshadowed by her sister Caroline's behaviour and the said and unsaid perceptions of people in the area towards her family. The Aldridge family hate her guts and do not want her back and others are more restrained, but not overwhelmingly welcoming or friendly.

Julia who turns to Amy in desperation for help  as she seems incapacitated by the death of her beloved husband Alain and particularly wants protection for her daughter Vivianne who is acting stranger and stranger by the day.

Amy who is not willing to be a bystander to what is happening at the cottage literally unlocks a can of worms and we have the spirit world, a conspiracy by three influential people  in the village, present and past child sex abuse and a whole mystery and murder hidden for over thirty years. Unraveling  the story and giving Caroline justice after all these years is Amy's goal and that she finds love whilst doing it is the icing on the cake.

Very good characterization, nice story telling and a story which keeps one on the edge.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House UK Transworld Publishers.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Death Comes to Pemberley by P D James

Death Comes to Pemberley

I love P D James's books and am always looking out for those I've missed. Coming across this one in Melbourne's library was a good one for me. I was totally taken aback though when I realised it is a JA variation of our much loved Elizabeth and Darcy with the setting of Pemberley.

Elizabeth and Darcy have settled into their married life very well. After initial hesitations on the part of many Elizabeth has now been accepted as being an extremely suitable wife and mistress of this great estate. Darcy has mellowed and with two sons in the nursery their joy in life seems complete. Their peaceful world is however about to be destroyed by the advent of Lydia and Wickham who embroil the whole family in murder, mystery and mayhem.

Taking us through the murder and the mystery in usual P D James's inimitable style, one marvels how the characters of Elizabeth and Darcy are used in the deduction and solving of a crime which would be comparable to any present day crime.

Marvellously told, beautiful characterization and descriptive in the most effective detail this was a wonderful read.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Serpents in Eden Countryside Crimes - Edited by Martin Edwards. A collection of short stories.

Thirteen short stories all set in the English countryside. Quiet, peaceful, idyllic countryside and the most twisted of crimes.

All very good authors of crime stories and all with a twist in the tale! Very interestingly put together and told.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Name Is Lucy Barton2222222222

This book was a bit unsettling for me. The voice of Lucy is there throughout but sometimes so hesitant, so nervous to take a step forward or to assert herself that I got a bit irritated at her!

Told in the aftermath of surgery which should have been straightforward and wasn't, Lucy is in hospital and her mother visits for a few days at the request of Lucy's husband. The conversations are stilted and about everyone that Lucy knew as a youngster. Lucy's mother seems to be in a time warp of her own and the two do not seem to be able to meet on a single plateau despite Lucy longing for a warmer, closer relationship with her mother.

I was still unsettled at the end of the book but some human relationships are like that, everything cannot always be cosy!

This book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House Publishing Group.

PS On a non blog note I am presently in Melbourne enjoying the cool weather here. Colombo was horribly hot, humid and non ending hot weather. My grand children are a delight and it is lovely to spend some time with them.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

With our Blessing by Jo Spain

With Our Blessing

Books set in convents are really my scene! Love them. I studied in a convent school with nuns from the age of five till seventeen and I think I look back nostalgically on those times.

This was a convent of a different genre. Known as the Magdalene Laundries their reputation was obviously horrendous though having said that, the Church provided a haven for some girls, a horror house for others. The Church in Ireland held sway so much over the people that very few would dare to go against it, unlike now and when we read this book we think how much our spirits are freer, not encumbered by fear or ostracisation by society now.

A nun is found brutally murdered and Tom and his team are in charge of finding the murderer. Another murder after a while despite the entire team living in the convent really keeps the entire lot on their toes to solve the crimes as quickly as possible. Red herrings, varying suspects all keep the reader enthralled because the final suspect is totally unimaginable.

Told in a methodical manner, slowly unraveling the mystery was an interesting way to present this story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Quercus.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

At the Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole

I seem to be reading so many books on WW both of them, but they make for fascinating reading as each individual story is so different and though the Wars are the background and the reason for the story, it is eventually stories of human lives changed, utterly transformed by the war. It is also strange that mostly it was because of the Wars that these stories actually came about.

Clare is from Scotland and utterly bereft from the death of her father. Her grandfather is away in Ceylon, not contactable, her mother abandoned the family years before and has not been heard of since and so Clare is despatched to France to her mother's best friend who welcomes her with warmth and open arms. Here she meets Luc a young son of the house in University in Paris but who visits the house frequently and a very close relationship develops between the two.

Just as Clare arrived at the Crepets household, she goes away again with her grandfather on his travels from Morocca to Algiers to the Far East. The outbreak of WWI sees Clare back in France as an artist helping to make facial prostheses for wounded men trying to remake their world amongst people who may not accept or see them for who they are. Luc is one of those who make their way to Clare and how she is to tame this embittered man to the boy who was warm and kind hearted and whom Clare loved is this story.

Emotional, warm and descriptively told this is a beautiful story of survival and love, of family and of course the ugliness that is war.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Ballantine Books.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Kind of Grief by A D Scott

The setting was very good and the characters were priceless. Joanne and MacAllister were quite normal people - but it was Calum, Mrs Mackenzie and the others who formed part of the newspaper that were priceless. From the language, diction, attitude and style these were all unique. I loved the tidbit that a reference " to 45" did not mean any time in the recent past but to 1745!!! Long memories the Scots!!!

A seemingly apparent suicide finally unravels to what it is not. All indications point to murder and the way it is hushed up by the police, the appearance of big wigs on what is a small time northern newspaper and the intimidation that follows does not warrant this death.  Alice was a controversial figure it is true but who would want to murder her. The clues lie in her house, in the paintings and etchings that she surrounded herself with and also her isolation and description of being a witch were what caused her death.

Joanne is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and though her husband supports her, he knows she is heading into very dangerous territory. How to protect her and how to also obtain the story which lies beyond this death forms this story.

Part of a series (my first foray into reading this author) this was a read that was an absolute thriller.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Atria Books, for an unbiased review.