Published: February 18th, 2021 Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Format: Paperback, Kindle, Audio Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller, Romance Novel
Today I’m featuring an exciting debut, The Other Daughter. Unfortunately I was too ill to read this in time for my tour stop, but I can’t wait to dive in soon as it sounds fantastic. Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Tours for the invitation to take part and Simon and Schuster UK for my gifted copy.
You only get one life – but what if it isn’t the one you were meant to live?
‘When it finally arrived I was shocked to see it; to read the words Mum wrote about these women fighting for rights I know I take for granted. Mum was here. And while she was, something happened that changed the entire course of my life. Perhaps, if I can summon the courage, the next eight weeks will help me finally figure out what that was . . .’
When Jessica discovers a shocking secret about her birth, she leaves her London home and travels to Switzerland in search of answers. She knows her journalist mother spent time in the country forty years earlier, reporting on the Swiss women’s liberation movement, but what she doesn’t know is what happened to her while she was there. Can Jess summon the courage to face the truth about her family, or will her search only hurt herself and those around her even more?
Set across a stunning Swiss backdrop, The Other Daughter follows one woman in her search for the truth about her birth, and another desperately trying to succeed in a man’s world. Perfect for fans of Tracy Rees, Elizabeth Noble and Kathryn Hughes.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Caroline Bishop is a British freelance journalist, editor and author currently living in Switzerland.
In the past 15 years she has written about travel, food and theatre for newspapers, magazines and websites including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, BBC Travel, Adventure Travel, France magazine and many others. She was also the editor of anglophone Swiss news site TheLocal.ch for two years
Here is my review for the second installment in the Rockwell and Decker series. This tour stop is a little late due to illness. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.
The girl’s body is curled up like a shell and almost completely buried in sand. Only her fingertips can be seen, reaching helplessly up towards an escape she will never find…
Seventeen-year-old Shelby Mayfield sits alone on a bus to Fog Harbor, California. Aside from a few items of clothing, all she has with her is twenty-two dollars, the ragdoll she’s kept since kindergarten, and the devastating secret she’s been hiding.
How long will it be before her family realizes she’s gone?
Can anyone see the fresh bruise on her cheek beneath the makeup?
Perhaps she was a fool to believe the person she is meeting in this remote little town could help her…
When a girl’s body is found hidden in a barrel in a woodland cabin, the local police are at a loss. The film from an old camera found looped around her neck is their only lead, but Criminal Psychologist Olivia Rockwell’s blood turns to ice when she recognizes the ragdoll in one of the girl’s last photographs. She used to own one just like it, and it can only mean one thing: if she doesn’t dig deep into the mind of a deadly killer from her past—her own father—more innocent lives will be in danger…
A totally gripping and utterly addictive crime thriller for readers who love Lisa Regan, Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh. But be warned: you’ll be sleeping with the lights on after you’ve raced through the pages in one sitting!
When the mummified corpse of a pregnant teenage girl is found in a barrel it sets in motion a series of events that will uncover secrets hidden for almost four decades in the second installment of the Rockwell and Decker series. Meanwhile, there are shocking revelations about Olivia’s father and his past that are unveiled after he is found dead following his failed parole hearing.
I enjoyed the first book in this series last year and was looking forward to discovering if the follow up lived up to its promise. I was not disappointed. Once again the author has crafted a gripping, fast-paced thriller full of surprising twists and kept me guessing right until the dramatic finale.
One of the key points of any series is the protagonists and the author has got it spot on with Will Decker and Olivia Rockwell. They are likeable, compelling characters, and the murky side of both their families make for riveting backstories, subplots and supporting cast. One of the highlights of both books has been their sharp banter, chemistry and reluctance to admit how they feel about one another. The author has built on this in book two and I loved their progression both as individual characters and as a duo. I’m really rooting for them to get it together soon.
So if you’re looking for an exciting and absorbing mystery that will keep you on your toes, then this book is for you.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Forensic psychologist by day, author by night, Ellery Kane has been writing professionally and creatively for as long as she can remember. Real life really is stranger than fiction, so Ellery’s writing is often inspired by her day job. Before writing the Rockwell and Decker series with Bookouture, Ellery published the Legacy series for young adult readers and the Doctors of Darkness series of psychological thrillers. She was previously selected as one of ten semi-finalists in the MasterClass James Patterson Co-Author Competition. A Texan at heart, Ellery currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Published: February 4th, 2021 Publisher: Head of Zeus Genre: Mystery, Thriller Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Audio
Today is my stop on the tour for Passenger 23. I am featuring the book rather than sharing a review as I’ve not been able to read it yet due to illness. Thank you to Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part and for my gifted copy of the book.
On average 23 people a year disappear from the world’s cruise ships. They are written off as accidents or suicides. But what if they’re not? Five years ago Martin Schwarz, a police psychologist, lost his wife and son. They were holidaying on a cruise ship when they simply vanished. A lacklustre investigation was unable to shed any light on what happened – murder-suicide being the coroner’s verdict. It is a verdict that has haunted Martin ever since, blighting his life. But then he is contacted by an elderly woman, a writer, who claims to have information regarding their fate and wants him to come on board The Sultan of the Seas immediately.
She explains that his wife and son are not the only mother and child pair to have disappeared. Only a few months ago another mother and daughter also vanished. She believes there may be a serial killer on board.
But when the missing daughter reappears – carrying the teddy bear of Martin’s missing son – it becomes apparent that the truth could be much, much worse…
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Sebastian Fitzek is one of Europe’s most successful authors of psychological thrillers. His books have sold 13 million copies, been translated into more than twenty-four languages and are the basis for international cinema and theatre adaptations. Sebastian Fitzek was the first German author to be awarded the European Prize for Criminal Literature. He lives with his family in Berlin.
Today is my stop on the tour for this remarkable debut. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Doubleday for the eBook ARC.
An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories. Their last one begins here.
‘This is something special: moving, joyful and life-affirming’ GOOD HOUSEKEEPING Book of the Month
‘Heartwarming, remarkable stories’ BBC BOOKS FOR 2021 _______________________________________ Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.
Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.
To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.
As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.
Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny and brimming with tenderness, THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT unwraps the extraordinary gift of life even when it is about to be taken away, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we need them most.
“Living and dying are both complete mysteries, and you can’t know either until you’ve done both.”
Every once in a while you will come across a book that reaches into your heart and soul and changes you forever. The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is such a book. A story of life, death, all the magical moments in between, it is hard to believe that this is a debut. Utterly mesmerising, this is a book that lingers long after reading.
I loved Lenni. She is smart, sassy, fierce and funny. I loved how she thrived on challenging those around her; everyone from Father Arthur to the exasperated nurses, how she travelled via her imagination each day and the fact that she refused to be held back by the confines of impending death and the hospital ward. She is so alive that it is hard to believe she is dying, leaping from the page straight into my heart. Margot’s impact is a little more subtle, much like the lady herself. She has a dignified and graceful air about her, but from the moment we first meet her you also get a sense of rebellion. As we learn more, it becomes clear she has lived an extraordinary life and I could have read a whole other book about her without getting bored. I love a good multi-generational tale and their friendship is truly special and remarkable and will remain one of my favourites.
Marianne Cronin is a phenomenal new talent and this novel is storytelling at its finest. She immerses you in Lenni’s world, making you feel the helplessness, frustration, loneliness and claustrophobia of being confined to the hospital’s walls and her fear of death as she laments she has so much more she wants to experience. She has also crafted rich, compelling and memorable characters who occupy Lenni’s small world, each one vital to propelling the story forward, just like those in the stories they share through their paintings.
What makes this book so special is how it makes you feel, which is obviously something you need to experience for yourself. I doubt I have managed to do it justice, but I’ve done my best. Beautiful, poignant, heart-rending and hypnotic, this is a book everyone needs to read. It will make you laugh, smile, cry, break your heart, and when you close that final page you will not be the same.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Marianne Cronin was born in 1990. She studied English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. She now spends most of her time writing, with her newly-adopted rescue cat sleeping under her desk. When she’s not writing, Marianne can be found performing improv in the West Midlands, where she lives. Her debut novel The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is to be published around the world and is being adapted into a feature film by a major Hollywood studio.
Published: February 18th, 2021 Publisher: Head of Zeus Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller, Romance, Erotic Literature, Saga Format: Hardcover, Kindle
Welcome to my stop on the tour for this wonderfully outrageous novel. Thank you to Head of Zeus for the invitation to take part and the eBook ARC.
Ambition can be deadly
Broadcast to millions from its picturesque location off the coast of Jersey, Falcon Bay was once the world’s most popular soap opera. But with ratings at an all-time low, a new network owner, the malevolent Madeline Kane, arrives on the private island determined to do whatever it takes to get the show back to the number 1 slot.
Director Farrah, leading lady Catherine and producer Amanda are the driven, ambitious women who’ve been trying to hold the production together. But thanks to their handsome but corrupt boss, Jake Monroe, Farrah is losing episodes to male colleagues, seventy-year-old Catherine is terrified of losing the public’s adoration, and Amanda is battling her desire for a forbidden affair with a handsome new employee.
As Madeline’s pressure to revive the show intensifies, she unleashes a true battle of the sexes where the women will do anything to stay in the jobs they love and on the island they call home. Can they team up to bring down their rivals? Or will jealousy, betrayal and revenge rip their friendships apart? As the story reaches its shocking climax, one thing is for certain: only the most ruthless woman will survive…
Sexy, sassy, sharp and spectacular, Ruthless Women is like reading an episode of Dynasty. Gloriously over the top, this reads like a throwback to the days of Jackie Collins. And I’m here for it.
Falcon Bay was once the biggest soap opera in the world, but its popularity has nosedived and the show is struggling. Thanks to a buy out of the production company it has been offered a lifeline, and the new owners have big plans for the upcoming 40th anniversary on Christmas Day. But the directions they want to take are at odds with what those at the heart of the show know to be best. Both sides are sure they’re right and will stop at nothing to save the show their love. But at what cost?
In this wonderfully written novel the author offers us a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous, of showbiz and all its trappings, pressures and perils. She draws you into the world of Falcon Bay, where the idyllic beauty of St. Augustine, and the glitz and glamour of show business are at odds with the murky, underhanded schemesthat go on behind the scenes. Ambition, power, money and sex matter more than friendship, love or loyalty in this warped world. Deceit, jealousy and betrayal are rife, and the only thing you can rely upon is that everyone is out for themselves. Pulsing with drama and adrenaline, I couldn’t tear myself away and would have devoured this in one sitting if not for the pesky need to sleep.
One of the things that stands out most about this book is it’s messages of female empowerment. The author has filled her world with a powerhouse of fierce, strong and ruthless women. They are the ones who shine and propel the plot, and the fictional show, forward. They are complex, nuanced characters who are utterly compelling, even if they aren’t always likeable. These women have had enough of being written out of their own narratives and are determined to take back what is rightfully theirs.
Now let’s talk about sex. This is the epitome of a bonkbuster. Heat sizzles from the pages as the women enthusiastically enjoy sex and there are plenty of raunchy scenes that made me glad I wasn’t reding this in public. I loved the representation of woman in their forties and above enjoying sex and having active sex lives. Even at seventy. I don’t think I’ve ever read such a racy book that focuses on a group of mature women and it was refreshing to see.
While some will no doubt write this off as simply a bonkbuster, there is so much more to this novel. Beneath the surface this is a layered story full of depth and social commentary. Not only is there the theme of female empowerment, but the author also addresses the ‘old boys club’ mentality, sexism, misogyny and ageism that is still rife in the entertainment industry. She also examines how society looks at women. How it controls how women are perceived and what is deemed acceptable from us in terms of our appearances and the way we live our lives. It is a powerful reminder of how far we still have to go to reach true equality.
Steamy, salacious, funny and outrageous, this is a highly entertaining read that you can get lost in. I would love to see this made into a movie or series and recommend it to everyone – so long as you don’t blush easily. With her sophomore novel, Melanie Blake has shown that the magic of The Thunder Girls was not merely a fluke and secured her place on my auto-buy list. I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Best-selling author Melanie Blake’s own real life Rags to Bitches story reads like the plot of an outrageous drama…
At fifteen years old Melanie Blake was told by her high school career advisors that her decision to do work experience at a local record shop was an ’embarrassment to the school and a clear example that she wouldn’t go far in life or her career’. They were wrong. By twenty-one she was working at the BBC’s iconic Top of the Pops show and by twenty-seven she had built a reputation as one of the UK’s leading music and entertainment managers, with her own agency and roster of award-winning artists who had sold more than 100 million records. During this time she also built up an acting agency from scratch which quickly became the most successful independent boutique agency in the UK where she manages clients from some of the biggest internationally syndicated shows in the world.
Her roster have won Baftas, Emmys and pretty much every best actress award going and Melanie is one of the most successful female agents in the world. In the UK alone – over 25 million people a week currently tune in to watch the very stars Melanie represents in their globally syndicated shows. In 2018 after two decades at the top of her game, Melanie decided to manage a smaller client list and concentrate on her other passion, writing – first as a columnist for a national newspaper, then as a playwright and now as a best-selling novelist.
Her first book The Thunder Girls became a Number 1 Best Seller in the summer of 2019 and the play she adapted from the novel broke box office records for a new work at the prestigious Lowry Theatre.
She still represents a high profile stable of some of the best known faces on British television but is also now enjoying success in her own right as a producer, author and playwright.
“The black water nipping at her thrashing heels was freezing. Not the bite of winter chill, or even the burn of solid ice, but something colder. Deeper. The cold of the gaps between stars, the cold of a world before light. The cold of hell – true hell, she realized as she buckled against the strong hands trying to shove her into the Cauldren. True hell, because that was Elain lying on the stone floor with the red-haired, one-eyed Fae male hovering over her. Because those were pointed ears poking through her sister’s sodden golden-brown hair, and an immortal glow radiating from Elain’s fair skin. True hell – worse than the inky depths mere inches from her toes. Put her under, the hard-faced Fae king ordered. And the sound of that voice, the voice of the male who had done this to Elain… She knew she was going into the Cauldron. Knew she would lose this fight.”
Today’s first lines come from a book that is one of the most anticipated books in fiction this year. A Court of Silver Flames is the fifth installment in Sarah J. Mass’ epic A Court of Thornes and Roses series.
Sarah J. Maas’s sexy, richly imagined Court of Thorns and Roses series continues with the journey of Feyre’s fiery sister, Nesta
Nesta Archeron has always been prickly – proud, swift to anger and slow to forgive. And since the war – since being made High Fae against her will – she’s struggled to forget the horrors she endured and find a place for herself within the strange and deadly Night Court. The person who ignites her temper more than any other is Cassian, the battle-scarred, winged warrior who is there at Nesta’s every turn. But her temper isn’t the only thing Cassian ignites. And when they are forced to train in battle together, sparks become flame. As the threat of war casts its shadow over them once again, Nesta and Cassian must fight monsters from within and without if they are to stand a chance of halting the enemies of their court. But the ultimate risk will be searching for acceptance – and healing – in each other’s arms.
I was late to the party with these books and only discovered them last summer thanks to readalongs with the Tandem Collective. And it is thanks to them, and the wonderful people at Bloomsbury Publishing, that I will be reading ACOSF as part of a readalong with other bloggers starting on February 23rd.
I am thrilled to be one of the bloggers opening the blog tour for this sensational debut. Thank you to Viper Books for the invitation to take part and the gifted ARC.
THIS MOTHER’S DAY YOU WILL CALL HER MUMMY
Glamorous, beautiful Mummy has everything a woman could want. Except for a daughter of her very own. So when she sees Kim – heavily pregnant, glued to her phone and ignoring her eldest child in a busy shop – she does what anyone would do. She takes her. But foul-mouthed little Tonya is not the daughter that Mummy was hoping for.
As Tonya fiercely resists Mummy’s attempts to make her into the perfect child, Kim is demonised by the media as a ‘scummy mummy’, who deserves to have her other children taken too. Haunted by memories of her own childhood and refusing to play by the media’s rules, Kim begins to spiral, turning on those who love her.
Though they are worlds apart, Mummy and Kim have more in common than they could possibly imagine. But it is five-year-old Tonya who is caught in the middle…
CALL ME MUMMY. IT’LL BE BETTER IF YOU DO.
“From the moment I clasped my sister’s doll to my chest, I yearned for a child of my own. I knew it would take a miracle. And here she is!”
A number of days after finishing this book I am still at a loss as to how to write this review and do it justice. I was expecting this book to be fantastic; I had no doubt that Ms. Baker’s vivacious charisma and hilarity would carry over into her writing. I was not disappointed. In fact, Ms. Baker exceeded my already high expectations to craft a striking, original and accomplished debut that left me excited to read more from the author.
All Mummy has ever wanted is a child. But by a cruel twist of fate, she has been unable to have a child. So when she sees a beleaguered Kim snapping at her children in the shop it is like a knife to her heart. How can someone like her be blessed with the gift of a child that she doesn’t appreciate when it is all she wants? In an instant, Mummy decides to rescue the poor child. But she is unprepared for Tonya’s resistance and the realities of motherhood and is enraged that her picture-perfect image is not coming to fruition. Meanwhile, Kim is finding herself demonised by the press and public after she refuses to conform to their rules and expectations. She begins to fall apart and lash out at those around her, unable to see anything but her own pain. And then there is little Tonya, a scared, confused child who just wants to go home.
This story is every parents’ worst nightmare come true. It captures the evil that lurks in the shadows and the nefarious face behind the guise of a beautiful mask. Sharply observed, darkly funny and as subtle as a sledgehammer, this made me feel ALL the feelings. I loved the short chapters, choppy writing style and how there was a tempo of malevolence and despair that runs through the narrative. The characters and story were so unpredictable that it was impossible to guess what would happen next and my heart was in my throat over and again as I read in breathless anticipation of the next shocking twist.
“They want the chavs, the scum, lost souls like her, to rip each other apart in the name of entertainment, so observers like her can sit on their high fucking horses, looking down on their godforsaken misfortunes.”
The story is told from multiple points of view. Our main narrators are Mummy and Kim, with regular short chapters from young Tonya. Each had their own very distinct voice and character that felt vivid and real. At first glance, Mummy and Kim couldn’t be more different; but they are characters rich with nuance and complexities that unveil surprising similarities that would horrify both women. Mummy is menacing, capricious and chilling. Appearances are very important to her and she is very particular about the face and character that she shows people. But underneath the mask she is a woman haunted by the mental and physical scars of past trauma. A powder keg just waiting for that final spark before it blows. Kim is the opposite; she is course, foul-mouthed and has no time for airs or graces or putting on a show. She is unapologetically who she is. And underneath she is also haunted by past traumas, teetering on the edge of a breakdown.
Like Mummy and Kim, Tonya is wonderfully written. She isn’t your stereotypical pretty, likeable child who is easy to please. Full of personality, but not the kind that Mummy had hoped for, she is a foul-mouthed, sour-faced, fierce and contentious little girl who fights Mummy every step of the way. I loved everything about her and she certainly found a place in my heart.
Longing, obsession, pain and trauma seep from every pore of this book and its characters, the author holding my heart in her hands as she examines topics such as mental health issues, trauma, infertility, addiction, eating disorders, neglect, and domestic and sexual abuse. She looks at the effects of trauma on the psyche and how it filters down into our very being, affecting how we treat ourselves and others, sometimes with catastrophic effects. The author shows these subjects without any gloss, exposing their dark side and the wounds that can fester from such pain. She also addresses society’s expectations and judgements of mothers, particularly in situations such as a child abduction when many people seem to think they are fair game and use it as an opportunity to break them down even further instead of offering kindness and support.
Compelling, bold, tense, thought-provoking and unsettling, this twisty page-turner had me on the edge of my seat. This is an astonishing debut that you do not want to miss. READ IT NOW!
Tina was brought up in a caravan after her mother, a fairground traveller, fell pregnant by a window cleaner. After leaving the bright lights of Coalville, she came to London and worked as a journalist and broadcaster for thirty years. She’s probably best known as a television critic for the BBC and GMTV. Call Me Mummy is Tina’s first novel, partly inspired by her own unsuccessful attempts to have a child. Despite the grief and disappointment of that, she hasn’t stolen one. So far.
I am delighted to share my review for this uplifting debut. Thank you to Orion for the invitation to take part in the tour and for my gifted ARC.
Could one split second change her life forever?
Hannah and Si are in love and on the same track – that is, until their train divides on the way to a wedding. The next morning, Hannah wakes up in Paris and realises that her boyfriend (and her ticket) are 300 miles away in Amsterdam!
But then Hannah meets Léo on the station platform, and he’s everything Si isn’t. Spending the day with him in Paris forces Hannah to question how well she really knows herself – and whether, sometimes, you need to go in the wrong direction to find everything you’ve been looking for…
After a romantic break in Venice, Hannah and Si are on their way to his sister’s wedding in Amsterdam. Then, following a calamitous series of events, Hannah finds herself stranded alone in Paris with no passport, luggage, purse or phone. At the station she meets Leo, a suave, handsome French man who while vexing her at first, slowly reveals himself to be everything that Si isn’t. Could a series of mistakes have led Hannah to what she didn’t know she was missing all along afterall?
Charming, absorbing and uplifting, this was the perfect Valentines read. Wonderfully cliched and featuring my favourite romance trope – enemies to lovers – this was pure heartwarming escapism. I travelled through the pages to Paris as the author’s vivid imagery brought the city to life. It felt like I was there alongside Hannah exploring the city and enjoying Leo’s guided tour of the city of love. I have been to Paris once, on a day trip during a French Exchange trip when I was a teenager many years ago, and I found myself reminiscing and wanting to get out my grainy photos of that rainy day. It has also made me want to go back with my partner and see the city through fresh eyes, a little like Hannah did in the story.
The story and characters are richly drawn and compelling, the author crafting a novel that is part contemporary love story and part self-discovery. Hannah and Leo are entertaining and compelling characters and the story is richly drawn and transportive. It was like I could hear Leo’s French accent and picture his darkly handsome features. I could feel the anxiety and frustration radiating from Hannah, and later her inner turmoil as she began to question so many things about her life.
Funny, engaging and utterly delightful, this debut is a welcome escape and the perfect pick-me-up for those lockdown or winter blues. I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to read more from the author in the future.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Lorraine Brown previously trained as an actress and has recently completed the final year of a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling. She lives in London with her partner and their 8-year-old son and can usually be found writing in coffee shops, feeling guilty about not going to the gym and watching too much Netflix. Uncoupling is her debut novel and is being published in the UK by Orion and in the USA by Penguin Random House (as The Paris Connection), as well as in Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, The Czech Republic, Croatia and Turkey.
Welcome to my stop on the tour for this powerful novel. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and the gifted eBook ARC.
I watched in awe as Miz Rosa stopped those men on the bus with her clear, calm “no” and I thought about that word. What if I said no? What if I refused to follow the path these White folks wanted for us? What if I kept this precious baby?
Montgomery, Alabama, 1955 On a cold December evening, Mattie Banks packs a suitcase and leaves her family home. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she has already made the mistake that will ruin her life and disgrace her widowed mother. Boarding the 2857 bus, she sits with her case on her lap, hoping that the driver will take her away from disaster. Instead, Mattie witnesses an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks that changes everything. But as Mattie strives to turn her life around, the dangers that first led her to run are never far away. Forging a new life in a harsh world at constant risk of exposure, Mattie will need to fight to keep her baby safe.
Atlanta, Georgia, present day Ashlee Turner is going home. Her relationship in ruins, her career held back by prejudice, she is returning to the family who have always been her rock. But Ashlee’s home is not the safe haven she remembers. Her beloved grandmother is dying and is determined to share her story before she leaves…
When Ashlee finds a stack of yellowing letters hidden in her nana’s closet, she can’t help the curiosity that compels her to read, and she uncovers an old secret that could wreak havoc on her already grieving family. As she tries to make sense of what she has learned, Ashlee faces a devastating choice: to protect her loved ones from the revelations, or honor her grandmother’s wishes and follow the path to the truth, no matter where it may lead.
For readers of The Help, Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours comes a beautiful and heartbreaking novel about redemption, family secrets and the spirit of survival found at the hardest time.
“My right mind knew my life and so much more depended on my silence, but clearly I wasn’t finished being that girl from the back of the bus.”
A story of an ordinary family that is told through the eyes of the matriarch, Mattie, in 1950s Alabama, and her granddaughter Ashlee, in modern-day Georgia, exploring themes of motherhood, dignity, prejudice, injustice and the fight for equality.
Opening with Mattie taking the same bus ride as Ms. Rosa Parks on that infamous day she refused to give up her seat, the author blends historical moments with the fictional story of Mattie’s family that give it a strong sense of authenticity and impactfulness. Moving seamlessly between the dual timelines, we see how the two women face similar obstacles and dilemmas sixty years apart despite the changes in society.
“It was a belittling ballet played to the melody of racism”
The author has filled the novel with a multitude of strong, fierce and fascinating women that I loved reading. We only see Mattie’s mother Dorothy and Ashlee’s mother Savannah through the eyes of their daughters, but they both could have carried chapters of their own. It is clear they are a tribe of dynamic, indomitable women. And of course we have the woman who’s quiet but deafening protest kickstarts it all; Rosa Parks. Witnessing the illustrious Ms. Parks refusing to give up her seat that day in December 1955 is what gives Mattie the courage to stand up against the injustices she faces. The author transports you back to fifties America, allowing you to walk in Mattie’s shoes for a short time and offering a greater understanding of the inequalities she faced that I knew nothing about, such as having to get off the bus after paying to get on again at the back.
Powerful, thought-provoking, captivating and inspiring, this is a remarkable novel with a timeless message. I am looking forward to reading more from this author and highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the genre.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Suzette pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that unleashed her writing. The award-winning author of Taffy is a wife and mother of two teens, and she holds a culinary degree in pastry and baking. Mrs. Harrison is currently cooking up her next novel…in between batches of cupcakes.
The brand new crime thriller from the bestselling author of the Perfect series – Helen Fields is back with her first stand-alone novel!
He collects his victims. But he doesn’t keep them safe.
Elspeth, Meggy and Xavier are locked in a flat. They don’t know where they are, and they don’t know why they’re there. They only know that the shadow man has taken them, and he won’t let them go.
Desperate to escape, the three of them must find a way out of their living hell, even if it means uncovering a very dark truth.
Because the shadow man isn’t a nightmare. He’s all too real.
And he’s watching.
Helen Fields is back with a heart-pounding new book, perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and Stuart MacBride.
“She wished he were just a monster. There were rules for those… But there were no rules that would keep you safe from him.”
All the stars for this spine-tingling thriller!
What a thrill ride this was! Deliciously dark, sinister and addictive, this was like a twisty rollercoaster I didn’t want to end. From the start there’s a chill in the air and a lingering sense of dread, leaving you in no doubt what kind of read you’re in for. And with all the elements of a thriller that make my dark heart sing, I couldn’t get enough. I devoured this book; staying up until ridiculous o’clock, unable to resist the lure of breathless anticipation; reading until the author delivered her spectacular coupe de grace.
“He pressed the handkerchief to her lips. A cotton kiss in the dark.”
Helen Fields is a crime fiction powerhouse. She was already on my must-read list thanks to her spectacular DI Callanach series, but with this standalone she has become a crime writer to shout about and recommend to anyone who enjoys this genre. She gives you everything you could want in a dark and gritty thriller:visceral, chilling prose, shocking twists and turns, plenty of heart-stopping moments, and fantastic characters, including a villain that makes your blood run cold.
I really liked Connie. She’s intelligent, fierce and straight-talking, with a dash of quirkiness that spoke to my inner weirdo. She is so fabulously written, with such a rich backstory that I really felt like I knew her. Her achromatopsia was a fascinating aspect of her character that I loved reading. I liked how it changed her perception of people and the world around her. In fact, I think my only complaint about this entire book is that it isn’t the start of a series and I won’t get to join Connie as she solves another case.
As much as I liked Connie I think my favourite character was young Meggy. She is a little firecracker and I loved her strength, bravery and ferocity. It gave me hope that just maybe she might survive her abduction. I loved the contrast between her and Elspeth and the way it showed it isn’t always the people you expect who take charge and fight when in those kinds of situations.
“Death had arrived. He might be wearing jeans and a denim jacket, but there was no mistaking the lack of humanity in that gaze.”
Fergus, aka the Shadow Man, is suitably vile and chilling, The descriptions of him are so vivid I felt like I could see him in front of me. Ghoulish and predatory, he silently stalks his prey from the shadows; waiting for the right time to strike. He is masterfully written, with the author capturing every shade of his character; from darkest, despicable evil, to charming and feeble, that evoked some sympathy alongside the abhorrence. Calculated, organised, methodical and manipulative, he doesn’t follow the normal rules of a kidnapper which makes him harder to predict and apprehend and Connie must think outside of the box to capture him.
Scalpel-sharp, eerie, captivating, and dripping with suspense and heart-stopping tension, this is a page-turner full of red herrings, shocking reveals and so many twists you’ll get book whiplash. DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK! And, to Helen: PLEASE consider writing a follow up. I need more Connie!
Thank you to Avon Books for my gifted copy of the book.
MEET THE AUTHOR:
A former criminal and family law barrister, Helen Fields has the expertise and experience to make the characters and plots scorch with authenticity.
With a background as both a prosecutor and defence counsel, Helen Fields has a depth of knowledge about crime that lends a fierceness to her writing. From Courts Martials to care proceedings, the Coroner Courts to the Crown Court, Fields draws on her professional years for the extraordinary colour and texture that makes her writing jump off the page. Twice long-listed for the McIllvanney Scottish Crime Book of the Year, and a multi-bestselling author whose books have been translated across the globe, Fields consistently produces high impact, compelling novels that readers love. The ‘Perfect’ series, set in Edinburgh, introduced the world to DI Luc Callanach. This year saw the release of Degrees of Guilt, her first psychological thriller in the name HS Chandler, a book as shockingly realistic as it is darkly entertaining.