Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this truly original whodunit. Thank you to Tracy at Campulsive Reader Tours for the invitation to take part and Ultimo Press for the eBook ARC.
‘And then there is a scream. Ragged and terrified. A beat of silence even after it stops, until we all seem to realise that the Reading Room Rules no longer apply.’
Hannah Tigone, bestselling Australian crime author, is crafting a new novel that begins in the Boston Public Library: four strangers; Winifred, Cain, Marigold and Whit are sitting at the same table when a bloodcurdling scream breaks the silence. A woman has been murdered. They are all suspects, and, as it turns out, each character has their own secrets and motivations – and one of them is a murderer.
While crafting this new thriller, Hannah shares each chapter with her biggest fan and aspirational novelist, Leo. But Leo seems to know a lot about violence, motive, and how exactly to kill someone. Perhaps he is not all that he seems…
The Woman in the Library is an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship – and shows that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.
“And then there is a scream. Ragged and terrified. A beat of silence even after it stops, until we all seem to realise that the Reading Room rules no longer apply.”
Bestselling Australian crime writer Hannah Tigone is creating a new story set in the Boston Public Library. It opens with four strangers sitting at a table when a bloodcurdling scream pierces the silence. A woman has been murdered. Finding themselves under suspicion, the four new friends embark on a quest to find out who killed the woman in the library. But could one of them be the killer?
As she writes, Hannah shares each new chapter with fan and aspiring author Leo Johnson. But there are clues that Leo may not be all he seems…
Entertaining, addictive and suspenseful, The Woman in the Library was a heart-pounding rollercoaster ride. Action-packed, shrewdly choreographed and twist-filled, I flew through it in under a day. Author Sunil Gentill tells the story in a truly unique way. This is a story within a story and the chapters alternate between the murder mystery novel and letters critiquing her work. It is a great concept and she executed it perfectly, the dual narratives working well in tandem and keeping the reader on tenterhooks as she builds things to a shocking crescendo.
Though she is elusive and never features in her own voice, Hannah lingers over every page of the book and I found myself quickly drawn into her fictional storyland with its fascinating characters, exhilarating tensionand the compelling mystery that Freddie and her friends were trying to solve. In the letters I got a creepy vibe from Leo early on and was intrigued by his character more than any other. He’s quite the enigma as we know almost nothing about him as all he seems to discuss with Hannah is her work. I loved how Gentill used this to heighten the tension in the novel and created a second mystery for the reader to unravel.
Writing is a theme that is intrinsically woven into the heart of this book. The cast of characters has many authors, aspiring authors and journalists and in addition to Hannah’s novel, we have Leo discussing his ‘opus’ and Freddie writing her novel and using her new friends for inspiration. It was an interesting glimpse into not only the writing process but the kinds of challenges and dilemmas faced before a book makes it into our hands.
A clever multiple whodunit that had my nerves on edge, The Woman in the Library is a riveting read that has the vibe of an old-fashioned murder mystery. Highly recommended.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Sulari Gentill is an Australian author, also known under the pen name of S.D. Gentill. She initially studied astrophysics before becoming a corporate lawyer, but has since become a writer. She is the author of the award-winning Rowland Sinclair Mysteries, a series of historical crime fiction novels set in the 1930s about Rowland Sinclair, the gentleman artist-cum-amateur-detective.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the latest in the Rizzoli and Isles series. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Bantam Press for the eBook ARC.
Rizzoli & Isles return, in the nail-biting new thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen.
The murder of Sofia Suarez is both gruesome and seemingly senseless. Why would anyone target a respected nurse who was well-liked by her friends and her neighbours? As Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles investigate the baffling case, they discover that Sofia was guarding a dangerous secret — a secret that may have led the killer straight to her door.
Meanwhile, Jane’s watchful mother Angela Rizzoli is conducting an investigation of her own. She may be a grandmother, not a police detective, but she’s savvy enough to know there’s something very strange, perhaps even dangerous, about the new neighbours across the street. The problem is, no one believes her, not even her own daughter.
Immersed in the hunt for Sofia’s killer, Jane and Maura are too busy to pay attention to Angela’s fears. With no one listening to her, and danger mounting in her neighbourhood, Angela just may be forced to take action on her own…
“Maura could dissect a body, examine its tissues all the way down to the cellular level, but what the dead knew and saw and felt as the lights blinked out would remain a mystery.”
Rizzoli and Isles has been one of my favourite crime series’, and Tess Gerritsen one of my favourite authors, since I borrowed The Surgeon from the library almost twenty years ago. So when I heard that Rizzoli and Isles were back after a five year break I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to not only be back with the familiar characters, but also immerse myself in Gerritsen’s darkly atmospheric words. It did not disappoint, reminding me of why she is known as the Queen of Crime.
In the thirteenth instalment in the series Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are investigating the gruesome murder of Sofia Suarez. There are no immediate motives for the crime, but when Rizzoli discovers that Suarez was guarding a dangerous secret, everything changes.
Meanwhile Rizzoli’s mother Angela is busy keeping a watchful eye on her neighbours when she notices something strange about the new couple across the street. Her daughter and the police department dismiss her as a busybody, but Angela is sure there is something sinister going on and begins her own ameteur investigation, little realising the danger she is walking into…
“That was the burden of working in homicide; you are always too late to change the victim’s fate.”
Gerritsen has knocked it out of the park yet again. Sharply written, cleverly crafted and perfectly paced, this is suspense at its best. You can feel yourself in the hands of a masterful storyteller as Gerritsen expertly takes the everyday and merges it with the macabre. I was on tenterhooks as she intricately wove the threads together until the full, shocking picture emerged.
Despite an absence of a number of years I found it easy to step back into Rizzoli and Isles’ world, the characters feeling like old friends. I’ve always loved how she fills this series with such strong, nuanced and familiar female characters that are richly drawn and easy to like. I particularly enjoyed Angela Rizzoli’s character in this story and liked how Gerritsen used her to highlight how older women are often invisible and easily dismissed. I felt for Angela as her concerns were pushed aside yet she felt so sure there was something wrong. It was great to see her shine after spending so long as more of a background character.
If you’re a fan of dark, tense, twisty and gripping thrillers then this should be on your TBR. While having read the other books in the series is recommended because they are so good, it isn’t necessary and you could also enjoy it as a standalone.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.
While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, “Adrift”, which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.
Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place), The Silent Girl (2011), Last To Die (2012), Die Again (2014), Playing With Fire (2015), and I Know A Secret (2017). Her books have been published in forty countries, and more than 30 million copies have been sold around the world.
Her books have been top-3 bestsellers in the United States and number one bestsellers abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as “Pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “Scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “Polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”.
Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series “Rizzoli & Isles” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.
Published: June 23rd, 2022 Publisher: Orion Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Crime Fiction, Medical Thriller Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this tense and twisty thriller. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Orion for the gifted copy of the book.
KEEP YOUR FAMILY SAFE. WHATEVER THE COST…
Jamie and Victoria are expecting their first baby.
With a few weeks to go, they head off for a final weekend break in a remote part of the North Pennines. The small and peaceful guesthouse is the ideal location to unwind together before becoming parents. Upon arrival, they are greeted by Barry and Fiona, the older couple who run the guesthouse. They cook them dinner and show them to their room before retreating to bed themselves.
The next morning, Jamie and Victoria wake to find the house deserted. Barry and Fiona are nowhere to be seen. All the doors are locked. Both their mobile phones and car keys have disappeared. Even though it’s a few weeks early, Victoria knows the contractions are starting.
The baby is coming, and there’s no way out.
“Every time, after each scan of the nursery, I find myself on the verge of surrender… My hand hovers over the nine. Just press it three times, Jamie. Take the risk. Tell them what happened in the guest house.”
The Guest House is a thriller that packs a punch from the start. It opens with Jamie and Victoria enjoying a last weekend away in a remote guest house a few weeks before their longed for first baby arrives. But on their first night Victoria wakes up with labour pains and they find the guest house is deserted, the doors locked and their mobile phones and car keys missing. Leaving us on tenterhooks, the story then jumps forward. Jamie and Victoria are now home but we have no idea what happened that day at the guest house. Is their baby ok? Why is someone sending them anonymous veiled threats? And what is the secret that they are so scared will be revealed?
Robin Morgan-Bentley has done it again. Deceptively layered and complex, this perfectly executed psychological thriller takes you on a twist-filled rollercoaster ride that exceeded my already high expectations. It is deceptively layered and complex, a perfectly executed psychological thriller takes you on a twist-filled rollercoaster ride that I absolutely loved. The story moves between timelines as Jamie and Victoria tell their story piece by piece, slowly revealing the true horror of what happened that fateful day. Drenched in atmosphere, sizzling with suspense and charged with adrenaline, the fear, heartache, guilt, regret and internal conflict leaps from the page and the scenes from the guest house are a ticking time bomb of sheer dread. It is one of those books that you clear your schedule for and I devoured it in under a day.
The characters are well written and intriguing, and I liked that both Jamie and Victoria narrated the story and that neither of them were what you’d typically expect. Victoria isn’t the sweet, demure new mother that we typically see and I actually found her quite cold, hard to like and difficult to connect with. On the other hand, Jamie is a very likeable, endearing character that I felt a strong connection with. Another thing I liked about Jamie is the representation of disability. As a disabled person it is great to see disability portrayed in such a realistic way, where it is simply part of his character and not a weakness or flaw. It doesn’t stop him doing normal or even heroic things, in fact it makes him even more determined to protect his family. I also liked that he was given the opportunity to address how other people’s perceptions and judgement make him feel, something I related to on a personal level. We need more characters like Jamie in fiction so that those without experience of living with disability see us as we are, not simply a token character to be pitied or seen as a burden.
Riveting, addictive and unbearably tense, this dark and twisted tale will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end. A must read for any thriller lover.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Robin Morgan-Bentley was born and grew up in London. After studying Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University, he went on to work for Google before moving to Audible, where he has been working since 2014.
His debut thriller, The Wreckage, was nominated for the CWA Dagger John Creasey New Blood Award, the CrimeFest Specsavers Debut Crime Award and Capital Crime’s Debut Book of the Year Award. His next thriller, The Guest House, will be released in the UK in June 2022 and in the US in September 2022.
Robin lives in Buckinghamshire with his husband and son.
Published: June 9th, 2022 Publisher: Orion Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedural, Crime Fiction, Crime Series Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Cat & Mouse, the latest gripping thriller from M. J. Arlidge. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Orion for the gifted proof.
When you think you’re safe, When you think you’re all alone, That’s when he’ll come for you…
A silent killer stalks the city, targeting those home alone at night, playing a deadly game of cat and mouse with the victims.
As panic spreads, Detective Inspector Helen Grace leads the investigation, but is herself a hunted woman, her every step shadowed by a ruthless psychopath bent on revenge.
As she tracks the murderer, Grace begins to suspect there is a truly shocking home truth that connects these brutal crimes. But what she will find is something more twisted than she could ever suspect…
Check the windows, lock the doors – this is a twisted page-turner that will prey on your darkest fears, in the way only M.J. Arlidge can.
“He had led them a merry dance so far, spreading terror and bloodshed in his wake….”
A brutal killer stalks Southampton, creeping into houses and slaughtering victims at their most vulnerable. There is no apparent motive, few clues and DI Helen Grace and her team are under pressure to stop the mysterious killer quickly.
We’re back for the latest instalment in one of my favourite crime series. It’s always exciting for me to be back with these characters and M.J. Arlidge can always be counted upon to write a tense, twisty and tantilising thriller that has me hooked. But this time around the stakes seemed higher than ever for the team, particularly Helen, who finds herself in a battle for her job, reputation, liberty and life. It seemed like there was no end to this rollercoaster as the pressure mounted, the suspense sizzled and I questioned if this could be the end for these characters. I read on tenterhooks, desperate not only for answers to the crimes, but to the dilemmas facing these much loved characters.
This is a series that isn’t afraid to explore the darkest sides of humanity or feature gruesome, bloody crime scenes that make your skin crawl. The mysterious killer in this book was truly the work of nightmares: someone methodical, measured and organised who stalks your home and breaks in while you sleep before brutally bludgeoning you in a senseless crime with no apparent motive The chapters told from his perspective were especially chilling as we get a glimpse inside the depraved mind of the person who Southampton’s residents fear and my nerves were shredded as I read.
Sinister, dark and compelling, M. J. Arlidge has delivered another outstanding thriller that shows why his books are auto-buys for me. An absolute must read for any fans of crime fiction.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
M. J. Arlidge has worked in television for the last twenty years, specializing in high-end drama production, including prime-time crime serials Silent Witness, Torn, The Little House and, most recently, the hit ITV show Innocent. In 2015 his audiobook exclusive Six Degrees of Assassination was a number-one bestseller. His debut thriller, Eeny Meeny, was the UK’s bestselling crime debut of 2014. It was followed by the bestselling Pop Goes the Weasel, The Doll’s House, Liar Liar, Little Boy Blue, Hide and Seek and Love Me Not. Down to the Woods is the eighth DI Helen Grace thriller. In 2019 he published a standalone thriller, A Gift for Dying.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this mesmerising and magical tale. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Manilla Press for the gifted ARC.
‘Haunting, thrilling, wonderful. I loved it’ Stacey Halls
The luminous debut adult novel from the Waterstones Prize Winner, perfect for fans of The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, The Essex Serpent and The Doll Factory
In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are . . .
October 1840. A young woman staggers alone through a forest in Shropshire as a huge pair of impossible wings rip themselves from her shoulders.
Meanwhile, when rumours of a ‘fallen angel’ cause a frenzy across London, a surgeon desperate for fame and fortune finds himself in the grip of a dangerous obsession, one that will place the women he seeks in the most terrible danger . . .
THE GIFTS is the astonishing debut adult novel from the lauded author of BEARMOUTH. A gripping and ambitious book told through five different perspectives and set against the luminous backdrop of nineteenth century London, it explores science, nature and religion, enlightenment, the role of women in society and the dark danger of ambition.
In an age defined by men, it will take something extraordinary to show four women who they truly are…
October, 1840. A scared young woman is fleeing from an unknown assailant, running for her life in a dark forest when the impossible happens: a huge pair of wings rip from her shoulders and she transforms into something extraordinary and impossible; she becomes an angel. A man finds the corpse of a woman in the Thames. But she is no ordinary woman, wings sprouting from her shoulders like an angel. The man seizes the opportunity and sells her to an ambitious surgeon who swears him to secrecy. But rumours are soon rife about ‘the Angel of the Thames’, spreading through the city like wildfire, though most dismiss it as folly. As tales of more impossible beings spread through the city, the surgeon seeks out these extraordinary women to add to his collection, seeing an opportunity to make his fortune and live in infamy. But he isn’t the only one on their trail, a would-be journalist is also seeking out these women, determined to find out the truth behind these rumours and further her writing career.
“It is an extraordinary story, he thinks, utterly fantastical and yet… could it really be that there is something to it?”
The Gifts is an enthralling gothic fairy tale. A story about girl power, self-belief and finding out who you really are set against a backdrop of the Victorian era with a little bit of magical realism woven into the narrative. Liz Hyder has crafted a novel that combines great storytelling, vivid imagery, compelling characters and authenticsocial history that lured me in from the first page and kept me guessing right until the last. The short, punchy chapters give the story fluidity and the five narrators: Etta, Annie, Mary, Natalya and Edward, add their own unique voices to the story as it explores themes of patriarchy, religion, science, power and social class.
“It is her first day with wings. It is also her first day as a prisoner.”
Told from multiple points of view, the varied cast of characters are richly drawn and entertaining. The four female narrators are each in a dark place and feeling marginalised when we meet them and we follow as they try to find out who they are and what their place is in a patriarchal society that doesn’t want their voices to be heard. It is a journey that will see these four strangers come together in the most unexpected of ways and I loved reading every one of them. Even in their darkest hours they are quietly determined, fierce and strong, showing a resilience that carries them through. Etta and Mary were women who pushed the envelope, going beyond what society tells them is acceptable for a woman to live the life they want, although they do this in very different ways. Natalya has a heartbreaking story but her strength still shines through as she refuses to give up time and time again. Annie is a woman who has given up her dreams for herself to be a wife and then found herself infertile, longing for a child she seems unable to have. My heart broke for her as I know that pain; though I did laugh at the idea that reading causes blood to drain from the uterus and therefore stops a woman getting pregnant. Though there were times I’d wish the author would allow them to push social boundaries and not rely on men even more, I did enjoy how each of these women were written. I particularly enjoyed watching Etta harnessing her rage into a power and using her intelligence to outwit the men who would try to hold her back or keep her captive.
“He smiles to himself as his lips run over the words. It will be outstanding, he thinks, and is greatly pleased – even overwhelmed – by his own magnificence.”
Though this is ultimately a story about women, it is Edward who is at the centre of the story. He is a truly fantastic villain, so brilliantly written that he made me incandescent with rage. I despised him. Edward is a man possessed by ambition, religious fanaticism and delusion; a dangerous combination that sets him on a path that merges with the four women with catastrophic consequences. After watching him mercilessly kill an animal early in the book I wasn’t surprised when he later showed no compassion towards ‘his angels’. He sees these women as merely tools to aid his ascension to greatness, possessions given to him to use in any way he desires and gives no thought for them as human beings with autonomy or feelings. He also sees his wife as an extension of himself, only there to further him socially, treating her with increasing disdain. It was disturbing to watch as his mania grew and he became more paranoid, unable to be reasoned with and only caring about his notoriety and God’s so-called plan. I was itching for him to meet his downfall.
“And perhaps the world is not ready for women such as us. Not yet.”
The Gifts is a mesmerising piece of historical and gothic fiction that will delight, enthral and enrage you. The author weaves an illuminating tale that builds to a dramatic climax as the women finally discover their power. I would recommend this book and can’t wait to read more by Ms. Hyder.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Liz Hyder is a writer, creative workshop leader and arts PR Consultant. Bearmouth, her debut for Young Adults, won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Older Readers, the Branford Boase Award and was named Children’s Book of the Year in The Times. The Gifts, her debut book for grown-ups, is out in February 2022.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this unsettling gothic tale. Thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Zaffre for the ARC.
A house built on secrets An old woman haunted by her past A young woman fighting for her life
For Sara Keane, it was supposed to be a second chance. A new country. A new house. A new beginning.
Then came the knock on the door.
Elderly Mary Jackson can’t understand why Sara and her husband are living in her home. She remembers the fire. She remembers the house burning down. But she also remembers the children. The children who need her. The children she must protect.
‘The children will find you,’ she tells Sara, because Mary knows she needs help too. As Sara becomes obsessed with what happened in that house nearly sixty years ago, and the family wiped out in one bloody night, she begins to see things. Things that can’t be real.
In a story that spans six decades, the truth will not stay buried, and the ghosts of the past can never remain in the shadows . . .
“The children. They’ll find you… They’re hiding. Waiting for me. Waiting for you.”
A fire tears through The Ashes in the dead of night, forcing Mary to flee the only home she’s ever known and reducing it to a shell. Sara and Damien Keene move in as it is being rebuilt, but strange occurrences leave Sara feeling uneasy. Then one morning, an old woman turns up, her feet bloodied, demanding to know why Sara is in her house and where the children are. Who is this woman? And what children is she talking about? Unsatisfied with her husband’s explanation, Sara is determined to discover what secrets he and the house is hiding. The old woman is the key. But can she get Mary to finally speak the secrets she’s been holding in for decades?
The House of Ashes is a dark, twisted and unsettling gothic novel that you don’t want to read in the dark. From the first pages I had chills, reading on tenterhooks with an almost unbearable feeling of dread in my stomach. It isn’t a book for the faint hearted; the author explores dark themes such as abuse that are written with both brutal honesty and heartwarming compassion. It is in these themes that we see Mary and Sara’s lives mirror each other; both kept prisoner in The Ashes by men who terrify them. And just as the house kept them captive, the book did the same to me, refusing to let me go until I’d read the final page and its story had been told.
“People about the town would say she’s mad in the head. Some of the children would call her Scary Mary. And fair enough, she might be a wee bit touched, but who wouldn’t be after what she went through.”
Told by multiple narrators, the story unfolds in the past and the present. Sara and Mary are the main narrators and while Sara’s story mostly focuses on the present, Mary tells the story of her past. She finally speaks the secrets she’s been silent about for sixty years, slowly revealing to the reader the dark secrets that the house holds within its walls and the true horror of that bloody night. I had a real soft spot for all of the women but felt for Mary most. She was a young girl who knew nothing but a life within the walls of The Ashes. A life of neglect, abuse and fear that made the house both her misery and her solace. Seeing the story through her eyes was heartrending and I loved how the author managed to convey such childish innocence alongside her resignation to things no one should ever know.
“Maybe you shouldn’t know too much about that place. Not if you’re going to live in it.”
The Ashes is more than just a house. It is like another character that lives and breathes. A sense of malevolence and foreboding radiating from this chilling place. But the strange and unnerving occurrences aren’t merely there to torment it’s inhabitants, it is the past returning to try and warn those in the present. Warnings they must heed in order to survive.
Darkly atmospheric, harrowing and haunting, The House of Ashes is a chilling gothic tale. Just make sure you read with the lights on!
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Stuart Neville’s debut novel, THE TWELVE (published in the USA as THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST), won the Mystery/Thriller category of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was picked as one of the top crime novels of 2009 by both the New York Times and the LA Times. He has been shortlisted for various awards, including the Barry, Macavity, Dilys awards, as well as the Irish Book Awards Crime Novel of the Year. He has since published three critically acclaimed sequels, COLLUSION, STOLEN SOULS and THE FINAL SILENCE.
His first four novels have each been longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and RATLINES was shortlisted for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.
Stuart’s novels have been translated into various languages, including German, Japanese, Polish, Swedish, Greek and more. The French edition of The Ghosts of Belfast, Les Fantômes de Belfast, won Le Prix Mystère de la Critique du Meilleur Roman Étranger and Grand Prix du Roman Noir Étranger.
His fourth novel, RATLINES, about Nazis harboured by the Irish state following WWII is currently in development for television.
Published: February 3rd 2022 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audiobook
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this exquisite and beautiful novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and Simon & Schuster UK for the gorgeous gifted ARC.
Eliza Acton, despite having never before boiled an egg, became one of the world’s most successful cookery writers, revolutionizing cooking and cookbooks around the world. Her story is fascinating, uplifting and truly inspiring.
Told in alternate voices by the award-winning author of The Joyce Girl, and with recipes that leap to life from the page, The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs is the most thought-provoking and page-turning historical novel you’ll read this year, exploring the enduring struggle for female freedom, the power of female friendship, the creativity and quiet joy of cooking and the poetry of food, all while bringing Eliza Action out of the archives and back into the public eye.
“Neat and elegant, Miss Acton. Bring me a cookery book as neat and elegant as your poems.”
The Language of Food tells the story of Eliza Acton, the woman who wrote what became known as the greatest British cookbook of all time. It follows her as she and her assistant, Ann Kirby, spend ten years creating the now-famous recipes. But it is so much more than a book about food and poetry. It is a story of strength, endurance, friendship and self-discovery that you won’t be able to put down.
“I have started to see poetry in the strangest of things: from the roughest nub of nutmeg to the pale parsnip seamed with soil. And this has made me wonder if I can write a cookery book that includes the truth and beauty of poetry.”
I’m not going to lie, a big part of the reason I wanted to read this book was the cover. I mean, look at it! It is simply beautiful. And I was delighted to find that inside the book was something every bit as breathtaking as it’s cover.
This delicious story is a readers and food lover’s paradise. Annabel Abbs is an exquisite wordsmith and storyteller, writing like a dream with lyrical and poetic prose that is woven together like the delicate folding of ingredients in a cake recipe. I was completely immersed and lost myself in the story, torn between wanting to savour each word like I would a luxury box of chocolates and needing to read it quickly so it sated my hunger. I loved how she combined fact with fiction so seamlessly that it was impossible to tell where one ends and another begins. Her vivid imagery transported me back in time to Victorian England, the tantalising whispers of scandal kept me guessing and the descriptions of food made my mouth water and stomach rumble; I wanted to eat everything! Well, almost everything (I’m not sure about eel or badger ham).
“There was something else about her too. A poignancy I can’t explain. A feeling that we are united in some odd and intricate way.”
Told in alternating chapters, this is a narrative driven by the thoughts, desires, actions and choices of two strong, captivating, complex and memorable female characters. They make unlikely friends, coming from such different backgrounds that they wouldn’t even recognise the life the other lived: Eliza raised as a lady in a wealthy family with a father that indulged her dreams while Ann lives in poverty trying to juggle survival with caring for a disabled, alcoholic father and a mother with severe mental health issues. But despite their apparent differences, they are also very alike. Both women possess an underlying strength that carries them through the darkest of times, go against societal expectations, and discover a shared talent and passion for cooking. I loved watching their bond blossom as they figured out their new roles in life side by side and seeing the kindness with which Eliza treats Ann even though she is one of her servants, allowing the girl to feel like she has value for the first time in her life. I knew nothing about this cookbook or these characters before starting this book but after reading I feel like they could be my closest friends, the author writing them so evocatively that they sprang to life from the pages. Eliza was a woman ahead of her time and I can see why she remains an inspiration for modern cooks to this day.
Decadent, sensuous, enthralling and heartwarming, The Language of Food is, quite simply, a work of art. A luscious feast for the imagination that will stir all of your senses, I can’t recommend this highly enough. Now I’m off to buy the author’s back catalogue!
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Annabel Abbs is the award-winning author of The Joyce Girl, a fictionalised story of Lucia Joyce, daughter of James, and her relationship with Samuel Beckett. It won the Impress Prize for New Writers and the Spotlight Novel Award, and was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award, the Caledonia Novel Award and the Waverton Good Read Award. The Joyce Girl was a Reader Pick in The Guardian 2016 and was one of ten books selected for presentation at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, where it was given Five Stars by the Hollywood Reporter. It is currently being adapted for stage and screen.
Her second novel, Frieda, is a fictionalised story of Frieda Weekely, the German aristocrat who eloped with DH Lawrence and who was the inspiration for Lady Chatterley. It was a 2018 Times Book of the Year. Her 2019 non-fiction book, The Age-Well Project, explores the latest science of longevity and has been serialised in the Guardian and The Daily Mail.
Her journalism has appeared in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Irish Times, Tatler, The Author, Sydney Morning Herald, The Weekend Australian Review, Psychologies and Elle Magazine.
She earned a BA in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, where she now sponsors a post-graduate scholarship in creative writing, and an MA from Kingston. She was born in Bristol, and now lives in London and East Sussex.
Today is my stop on the blog tour for this heart-pounding thriller. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Trapeze Books for the eBook ARC.
A MISSING CHILD
Ten years ago, the disappearance of firearms police officer Jonah Colley’s young son almost destroyed him.
A GRUESOME DISCOVERY
A plea for help from an old friend leads Jonah to Slaughter Quay, and the discovery of four bodies. Brutally attacked and left for dead, he is the only survivor. A SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH
Under suspicion himself, he uncovers a network of secrets and lies about the people he thought he knew – forcing him to question what really happened all those years ago…
Do I need yet another crime series to read? No. Have I found one? Hell yes!
When I signed up for the blog tour for this highly anticipated thriller I had no idea it was the first in a new series. But after inhaling this taut, tense and unflinching book I was ecstatic to learn that it is only the beginning, and Jonah Colley will be back for more adventures.
The story packs a punch from the start, opening with the discovery of four bodies and Jonah fighting for his life against an unknown assailant at the aptly named Slaughter Quay. The only survivor, he is immediately under suspicion. The suspicion increases after the police find a possible connection at the scene to the disappearance of Jonah’s son, Theo, ten years earlier. Desperate to prove his innocence, Jonah begins his own investigation, hoping to both clear his name and discover what really happened to Theo all those years ago.
The word unputdownable can be thrown around a little too easily, but this one really was. I had to force myself to put it down at 2am when my eyes could no longer stay open and then read straight through until I’d reached the conclusion when I picked it up the next day. I was addicted. I needed answers. And when I got them they made my jaw drop.
Jonah is a great protagonist. Flawed but likeable, he is easy to root for with a tragic yet compelling backstory that piqued my interest from the start. The events surrounding the disappearance of his son are told in flashbacks that are utterly heartbreaking. It is every parent’s worst nightmare, his guilt, pain and anguish tearing my own heart in two. And the hits kept coming for Jonah, a conveyor belt of bad luck and betrayal that doesn’t seem like it will end as his investigation uncovers a twisted web of secrets and lies by those he thought he knew.
The other characters are all equally compelling, the author bringing to life Gavin and Theo from beyond the grave through a combination of flashbacks and Jonah’s memories. Each of the characters are flawed, fractured and fallible. And no one is blameless in this story. I loved this as flawed characters are much more fun to read, especially when written with such skill.
This was my first Simon Beckett book but it will not be my last. Multilayered, flawlessly plotted and sizzling with suspense that builds to a heart-pounding crescendo. I read on tenterhooks, the many twists and turns almost making me dizzy, and was totally blindsided by the big reveal.
Gritty, dark, sinister and addictive, this is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a well-written, twisty thriller. Just make sure you have lots of time free because you aren’t going to want to put this one down.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Simon Beckett is the No.1 International Bestselling author of the David Hunter series. His books have been translated into 29 languages, appeared in the Sunday Times Top 10 bestseller lists and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. A former freelance journalist who has written for The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent on Sunday and The Observer, the inspiration for the first David Hunter novel came after a visit to the world-renowned Body Farm in Tennessee introduced him to the work of forensic anthropologists.
As well as co-winning the Ripper Award in 2018/19, the largest European crime prize, Simon has won the Raymond Chandler Society’s ‘Marlowe’ Award and been short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, CWA Dagger in the Library and Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year.
In addition to the six David Hunter titles, the most recent of which is The Scent of Death, he has written five standalone novels, one of which, Where There’s Smoke, was adapted into a major ITV two-part drama.
Welcome to my stop on the tour for this haunting gothic mystery. Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers Tours for the invitation to take part and Trapeze for the gifted copy of the book.
When well-to-do Hester learns of her sister Mercy’s death at a Nottinghamshire workhouse, she travels to Southwell to find out how her sister ended up at such a place.
Haunted by her sister’s ghost, Hester sets out to uncover the truth, when the official story reported by the workhouse master proves to be untrue. Mercy was pregnant – both her and the baby are said to be dead of cholera, but the workhouse hasn’t had an outbreak for years.
Hester discovers a strange trend in the workhouse of children going missing. One woman tells her about the Pale Lady, a ghostly figure that steals babies in the night. Is this lady a myth or is something more sinister afoot at the Southwell poorhouse?
As Hester investigates, she uncovers a conspiracy, one that someone is determined to keep a secret, no matter the cost…
“The shadowing had returned.”
The Shadowing is an atmospheric and absorbing historical gothic mystery overflowing with menace. A story laced with secrets, spirits and sinister happenings, I was drawn in from the first pages right and couldn’t put it down. My mind was full of questions that I needed answers to as desperately as the characters did. And I genuinely had no idea what they were going to be.
Hester Goodwin lives in Bristol with her wealthy family in a strict Quaker home. Three years ago, her sister Mercy disappeared and none of them have heard from her since, until the day they receive a letter informing them that Mercy has died in Southwell Workhouse in Nottinghamshire. But how did her sister end up in such a place? And how did she die? Searching for answers, Hester travels to Southwell to try and answer their questions, little knowing that she is stepping into a much deeper and darker mystery than she ever imagined. One that involves spectres, missing children and cover ups.
I’ve been wanting to read Rhiannon Ward’s books since her debut last year so I jumped at the chance when the opportunity to take part in this blog tour arose. My expectations were high and I’m happy to say that she exceeded them with this magnificent novel. Eloquently and evocatively written, it wrenches you out of your own reality and into the one the author created, making you feel like you can feel a ghostly spirit behind you or that you are walking the dank corridors of the workhouse. As the secrets are slowly revealed and Hester brings the women’s plights to light I got goosebumps from the emotion and tension. Their fear was so palpable that I could feel it’s cold claws raking their way down my spine. I was very glad to be reading in the daytime at that point! But, for me, one of the best things about this book is that it genuinely surprised me. I read a lot of mysteries and thrillers, so it isn’t often I’m stumped by an author. But Ward had me at a loss, suspicious of everyone and no real idea who was behind it all, and my jaw hit the floor when it was time for the big reveal.
“Don’t let the angelmaker take my baby. She wants it for her own end. If I see her, it’s already too late. Do you understand?”
The characters are all richly drawn and compelling, vividly brought to life by the author in such a way that you feel like they are in the room with you. I found Hester to be especially likeable and easy to root for, her naivete giving her an innocent charm that gave her an extra sweetness alongside her courage and determination. The journey to Southwell is a big deal for a woman of her age and standing, and she is both excited and full of trepidation at her task. Her fears only deepen when she arrives at Southwell Workhouse, a gloomy, bleak and eerie place where frightened women tell her stories of ‘the pale lady’ or ‘the angelmaker’, a ghostly figure who takes women’s babies. Instead of answers about Mercy, she’s left with even more questions about what happened to her beloved sister and vows to keep digging until she uncovers the truth, unaware of just how much danger she’s putting herself in.
But the pale lady isn’t the only ghostly part of the story. There are also the shadowings, visions of spirits who appear to Hester that she has experienced since childhood. Her father tried to beat them out of her but they return shortly before she learns of her sister Mercy’s death. She is too terrified of further punishments to mention them, and keenly aware that others, not just her father, will see them as the work of the Devil or Witchcraft. So she keeps them to herself, afraid of the consequences of discovery.
Captivating, dark and haunting, The Shadowing is a sensational gothic mystery with an eerie charm that lingers over every page. Perfect for the cold nights heading our way, this is ideal for reading with a cosy blanket and warm drink by the fire.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Rhiannon Ward. As Sarah Ward, I’m the author of the DC Childs crime series set in the Derbyshire Peak District. I’m also the writer of Doctor Who audio dramas for Big Finish.
My gothic thriller, The Quickening, was published by Trapeze as Rhiannon Ward and The Shadowing is coming in September 2021.
Throughout COVID-19, I’ve been talking about all things bookish either online or, more recently, in person.
Another month has flown by and it’s time for another wrap up.
July was a great reading month. I read 16 books, took part in one book club readalong and 18 blog tours. Below is a quick summary of what I read this month:
False Witness by Karin Slaughter
Karin Slaughter is one of my favourite crime writers and book she releases is on my must-read list. I was particularly excited about reading False Witness as it was a standalone, and it’s been a while since I read one of those from her. It did not disappoint. Once again she delivered a first-class thriller that was dark, twisted and sinister. Thrillers don’t get better than this. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮
Carol is another of my go-to crime authors. Her newest series is her darkest yet, and I’m loving it. A Cut For A Cut sees Kate Young once again embroiled in an investigation when she and her son find the body of a young man while diving. It had my totally hooked from the start and didn’t let go. If you are looking for an exhilarating and propulsive thriller, then this is for you. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮
The Rule is a readable thriller about family, love, and the lengths a parent will go to to protect their child. I really liked Daniel, the young man at the centre of the story, and the themes of duality the author used throughout. Rating: ✮✮✮✰✰
One of my most anticipated books of the year, I luxuriated in every word of this absolute masterpiece. The second book in her Romanov series follows Tsarevna Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great. She is a fascinating historical figure and I loved expanding my knowledge of an era that has long fascinated me. Dazzling, captivating and truly magnificent, this is a joy for history and literature lovers alike. I’m now counting down to book three! Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮
Just as the tagline says, this is not another novel about a dead girl. In her startling debut, Jacqueline Bublitz has taken the familiar narratives we see in psychological thrillers and given them an original twist. Instead of asking whodunnit, she asks who was the victim? What was her story? And what can we learn from her? She also asks who was the person who discovered the victims broken body? And how did that discovery after them?
Breathtakingly beautiful, hypnotic, mesmerising and unflinching, this book went right to my soul. I’m still thinking about it almost a month after reading. It stands out not only amongst the mystery and thriller books I’ve read this year, but all the ones I’ve ever read. This is a must-read for thriller lovers and the author is a talent to watch. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮
Songbirds is a beautiful story that gives a voice to the voiceless. In this harrowing and heartbreaking tale, the author explores the world of transient and migrant workers, shining a light on their experiences and the institutionalised racism they face. She also highlights how this racism runs so deep that the authorities won’t search for them if they go missing, claiming they must have just moved on instead. A richly drawn novel full of memorable characters, beautiful imagery and exquisite storytelling, this is a story that needs to be read. Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5
The Painting is a simple yet enlightening story. A portrait of totalitarianism, immigration, family and self-discovery, it tells the story of Anika, a Hungarian immigrant living in Australia after being forced to flee her oppressively homeland. One of the few possessions she brought with her was a valuable painting. After it is stolen in what appears to be a targeted robbery, Anika is forced to confront uncomfortable questions about her family’s past. This book surprised me as it took a different, but fascinating, turn to what I was expecting. A captivating and moving story that I would recommend. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰
An ordinary man on an ordinary street is hiding grim secrets in this dark and sinister thriller. I listened to this book as part of the audiobook blog tour and it chilled me to the bone. I had struggled to get into it at first, but am so glad I stuck with it as this was a gripping and unnerving psychological thriller that I couldn’t stop listening to. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰
The Art of Loving You is an exploration of love, grief and the afterlife. It looks at how we find meaning in life when it seems to have become meaningless and what we do with the love we have for someone when they die. Heartbreaking yet hopeful, it follows Libby, who is left devastated after the sudden death of her soulmate Jack. Full of wonderful characters and some truly tender and beautiful moments, I couldn’t put this down. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮
Mrs England with the Tasting Notes Book Club for July. I am a huge fan of Stacey Halls so I was excited for this book and the online book club meeting. Wonderfully written, atmospheric and compelling, this is one of those books that is even better after you’ve thought about it for a few days and realised that things weren’t what they first appeared. For me, one of the best things about reading a book with others is the way you can read the same book yet see things so differently. This was the best Tasting Notes Book Club yet and I enjoyed the book even more after hearing about it from the author and exploring it with others in greater detail. This is an ideal read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Rating: ✮✮✮✮.5
This warm, witty, slow-burning romance was the perfect summer read to get lost in. Poppy and Alex were fun to read and had a great dynamic. But my favourite thing about the book is the escapism it offered. I loved being able to live vicariously through the characters and travel to different countries from my back garden during a pandemic. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰
Girls Who Lie (Forbidden Iceland Book 2) by Eva Björg Aegisdottir
Girls Who Lie is the second book in the Forbidden Iceland series, but was the first one I’ve read. The author quickly catches you up and it was easy to keep up with the characters making it easy to read even without the first book. A harrowing, complex and multilayered thriller, this was another amazing read from Orenda Books. I will definitely be reading the first book in the series and any further installments. Perfect for crime fiction fans. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✰
The Woman in the Water is a story about a fractured family, tragic death and search for answers. Though it was predictable in places, the author leaves you with enough doubt and unanswered questions that you keep turning the pages, needing to know more. A dark, tense and twisty read that fans of the genre will enjoy. Rating: ✮✮✮.5
Books, murder and mystery. What more could I want? Utterly mesmerising and addictive, I devoured this book. Perfectly plotted, intricately woven and full of tension, this is a masterclass in storytelling. The Secret Life of Writers is a stylish, sharp and suspenseful thriller that is so twisty it will make your head spin. After reading it I understand why Guillaume Musso is known as the French suspense king. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮
This is one of those books that’s a bit like an iceberg: what you see at first is only a part of what is actually going on. The author slowly unveils the truth, weaving together the layers to create a complex and intricate thriller. Themes of domestic violence and coercive control are explored in various ways through out the book and it is clear it is well researched. Unnerving and affecting, I would recommend this to fans of the genre. Rating: ✮✮✮.5
Wow! Just, wow! I have been a fan of Gillian McAllister since the first time I read one of her books, but this is her best one yet. Taut, tense and twisty, this riveting thriller had me hooked. A multilayered and complex story, there is so much more to it than meets the eye. Jaw-dropping and unexpected revelations pulled the rug from under me repeatedly and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. That Night is a must read for anyone who enjoys an intelligent, sharp and sensational thriller. Rating: ✮✮✮✮✮
I swear that it’s getting harder and harder to choose a favourite each month, as there are just so many high-quality books being written. It was really difficult to choose this month and after getting it down to two, I just couldn’t pick between them. Therefore, my books of the month for July are The Tsarina’s Daughter and Before You Knew My Name.
What did you read this month? Did we read any of the same books?
Thanks for reading this month’s wrap up. Seeyou next month Emma xxx
Thank you to the publishers for my gifted proof copies and eBook ARCS.