The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase

audrey wildeEve Chase has a thing for old houses and families, so it isn’t a surprise that this story has Applecote Manor smack bang in the middle of the plot. Everything is woven around the families who inhabit or used to inhabit this house.

Chase creates a very nostalgic atmosphere, which is part of the charm of this book. The story wanders from past to present, and the chapters in the past are especially good. They evoke a sense of familiarity, warmth and belonging. The reader basks in the sun next to the river and feels the cool water as the girls swim in the river.

Throughout the book there is a sense of a presence watching over every event and word. Audrey Wilde is as much a part of the story, as her disappearance is.

Although this is in every sense of the word a mystery it is also a book about identity and coming of age. It is also a story about non-typical families. The patchwork family of the present is also haunted by their very own personal ghost. In fact the ghosts need to be laid to rest for both families to finally get some peace.

One day Audrey Wilde suddenly vanishes into thin air, and the mystery of her disappearance is something that her cousin Margot never really gets over. At a time when everyone else has accepted the possibility they may never find out the truth, Margot is almost obsessed with discovering what happened to her.

I loved the feel of this story, especially everything about Margot and her sisters. I thought that element of the story was strong enough for the plot without adding Jessie and her family to the mix. I also thought it was intriguing how the crime element never overshadowed the rest of the story, despite it being the thread that held everything together.

The truth isn’t pretty at all, and perhaps that cold breath of brutality should have changed the whole feeling of the story, but it didn’t. It remains a charming tale until the end.

Buy The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde at AmazonUK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Follow @evepchase @MichaelJBooks

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

lyinggameIsa, Kate, Thea and Fatima share an unusual bond. A friendship forged through the common denominator of being shoved off to boarding school. During their time at school the four of them keep themselves amused with what they call the Lying Game. Nothing is too outrageous or cruel, which is probably why decades later their fellow school chums still believe a lot of lies or are still hurt by them.

When one of them calls for help the others come running straight away, like anyone in a really close friendship would…right? Hello, this is the real world. Dropping anything at the drop of a hat only happens in the movies or when there is a completely different reason. They share the kind of secret that destroys lives. That is the real reason.

The story wanders from past to present, giving the reader a glimpse of the girls as teens and in the present as women. They have families, careers and responsibilities. There is not much left of the foolish and carefree youngsters, who bathed in the warmth of the sun and skinny-dipped in the cool water near Kate’s house.

The truth is buried beneath the subconscious desires, the careless youth and lack of boundaries they all shared.

Ware always manages to capture the intimate emotional depths of each character without making them appear what they are, which is a figment of her imagination. It is what draws the reader in and keeps them wanting more. This is especially evident with Isa and Freya. The moments between the two of them are spot on, as are the descriptions of Isa and her bond with Freya, and her constant doubts.

Running simultaneously alongside the mystery is a breakdown and analysis of Isa’s romantic relationship and the way it has changed since Freya appeared on the scene. Although the sub-plot was only a catalyst or platform for certain other scenes in connection with the main plot I felt the last chapter, indeed the last sentences, spoke the loudest and most poignant words about relationships in general.

Buy The Lying Game at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Visit ruthware.com Follow @RuthWareWriter

Read The Woman in Cabin 10

The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent

Aside from being a Sunday Times top ten bestseller The Loving Husband by Christobel Kent has also been picked as a Richard and Judy Book Club Autumn Pick. So let’s give a little bit of well-deserved bookworm love to both Kent and the book.

About the author

Christobel Kent was born in London in 1962 and now lives in Cambridge with her husband and four children; in between she lived in Florence. She worked in publishing for several years, most recently as Publicity Director at Andre Deutsch. Her debut novel A Party in San Niccolo, was published in 2003.

About the book

Fran Hall and her husband Nathan have moved with their two children to a farmhouse on the edge of the Fens – a chance to get away from London and have a fresh start.

But when Fran wakes one night to find Nathan gone, she makes a devastating discovery. As questions about her husband and her relationships start to mount, Fran’s life begins to spiral out of control.

What is she hiding from the police about her marriage, and does she really know the man she shared her bed with?

Review

It is certainly planned out meticulously. Right to the very end, I certainly cannot fault Kent for that, and aside from a few blips it is a good read. Saying that, the beginning is a wee bit confusing and the random mention of the secret society was superfluous.

Fran lives a seemingly happy rural life with her two children and her somewhat distant husband. Everything appears to be perfectly normal until one evening she awakes to find her husband dead. The police find some bizarre inconsistencies in her statement, which places her firmly on their radar.

Kent has managed to weave quite a few hot topics in here, in particular one that has been in the media for the last few years. Without giving away part of the plot, all I will say is that the police and other investigative services charged with solving crime and protecting the public, often overstep the boundaries of what is deemed necessary. Leaving innocent victims and unknown emotional casualties in their wake.

Another element of the story is the blatant misogyny, sexism and sexual harassment in the police force. Regardless of whether it happens to fellow police officers or to suspects and/or victims. Ali is the Family Liaison Officer and finds herself harassed, insulted and black-balled by the men she works with. It isn’t anything personal, because they do it to every skirt on the force. If you say anything you find yourself marked as an informant, and if you keep quiet the abuse gets worse.

This misogyny is also in play in the investigation into Nathan’s death. It’s as if the police refuse to see any other person as a suspect other than Fran. Left with no other option she decides she wants to know the whole truth. No matter how dirty or terrifying.

It is a slow-burner with quite a few twists and turns, and Kent manages to keep it interesting until the end.

Buy The Loving Husband at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

You can win a signed copy of The Loving Husband by retweeting this tweet or commenting below. The winner will be contacted after the 8th of December. Good Luck!

Murder on the Serpentine by Anne Perry

serpentine_hb_frt_v5rgbI felt as if Perry has finally got some of her mojo back. There were a few books in between that were sub-par from a Perry standard. I am happy to say that this one reminded me a lot of the first Pitt books.

I have to say I do find it a little bit of a contradiction where Pitt ends up. Part of the pull was always his being an underdog and his constant conflict with the elitist attitudes of the upper echelon.

On top of that Pitt has become more ruthless and often crosses the line. Again quite unusual for the man who prides himself on being the conscience of the entire British nation. Sorry, but Pitt can sit a bit high on his moral horse sometimes.

What has remained the same is the way Charlotte hovers between upstairs and downstairs. Telling herself and everyone around her that being part of the upper echelon and the ton isn’t what she secretly enjoys. You can be happy downstairs and still want to be part of upstairs.

I have to say Perry really does have the conversations, interactions and lifestyles of the ton down to a fine art. I would find it incredibly tiresome to watch every single word I say, just in case I offend someone. Having to wear the newest of new and abide by the strict rules of the hypocritical elite. Perry knows exactly what kind of fine nuances tend to cause ripples in society.

This is very much a return to the Pitt and Charlotte I enjoy.The Victorian Murder Mystery Perry is known for and excels at.

Buy Murder on the Serpentine at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Get Ready for Blog-Tour for The Deviants by C.J. Skuse

It’s time for The Deviants by C.J. Skuse to go on tour. You don’t want to miss this story of secrets and revenge. Feel free to follow the links below to see what my fellow bloggers have to say about The Deviants.

Follow @CeejaytheAuthor and @HQYoungAdult and look out for #TheDeviants on Twitter.

22nd Sep ginbooksandblankets.com and manybooksmanylives.com

23rd Sep wordsfromareader.weebly.com and blackplume.wordpress.com

24th Sep thedaisydeer.blogspot.co.uk and teapartyprincess.blogspot.co.uk

25th Sep charlottereads26.wordpress.com and ziliinthesky.com

26th Sep havebookswillread.wordpress.com , here and cherylmmbookblog.blogspot.co.uk

27th Sep bibliomaniacuk.blogspot.co.uk and prettylittlememoirs.blogspot.co.uk

28th Sep albainbookland.com and hannahreviewingbooks.blogspot.co.uk

29th Sep baattyaboutbooks.wordpress.com and thereaderlines.blogspot.co.uk

30th Sep bookreferees.org and fictionfascination.co.uk

1st Oct girlreading.co.uk and flutteringbutterflies.com

Hope to see you here on the 26th of September for my review of The Deviants by C.J.Skuse!

Holding by Graham Norton

holding

I think I was expecting  a little more of Norton’s quirky and witty personality to shine through in the story. It does have its moments where you can almost hear the sarcasm dripping off of the pages, however it isn’t enough to give this cosy mystery the jump start it really needs.

It isn’t really all that mysterious either. It is fairly easy to figure out the whodunnit and the why. I think the real emphasis is on the small town mentality, lifestyle and general essence of a small community. Everyone knows everyone else’s business and more importantly they also often know their secrets.

The whole story evolves around the bumbling chubby garda (police officer) in rural south east Ireland. When construction workers find human remains buried in a plot of land, the rumour mill starts grinding very quickly. The general assumption is that the body must belong to young Tommy Burke. Tommy is supposedly living it up somewhere in England.

The truth is not one person has seen or heard from him in the last few decades. All everyone knows is that he high-tailed it out of there after his paramours find out about each other. Did he skedaddle or is it all just a bunch of granny fuelled hyped up gossip? He probably just got bored of small town life and is living it up on the Costa del Sol with a two bit hooker and a cocktail with an umbrella in it.

The reader follows PJ the garda, as he stumbles through the investigation. Part of him hopes the body will be a career maker and the other part of him doesn’t want anyone he knows to be involved. The poor man just can’t seem to catch a break.

I don’t think Norton has quite found his fictional story voice yet. It’s early days, so I do hope he will be able to develop it in the future and combine that with his own particular brand of tale.

Buy Holding at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne

the fire childTremayne keeps the reader guessing when it comes to which one of the happily married couple is slightly deranged. At certain points of the story it is quite hard to decide whether David or Rachel should win the trophy for the most bizarre and crazy character.

What Tremayne does really well is describe the surroundings.You can almost see yourself walking through the majestic rooms and the countryside. The landscape, the house, the mines and also the history of the miners.

I think the reality of miners lives, both in and out of the mines, is often trivialized. In this story the author gives an accurate sense of the stark brutality and hardship of that way of life, and also the riches reaped from the work of said miners.

One of the things that peeved me was the reaction to the assault. Why the assault wasn’t enough to warrant the exclusion, which is just so typical of our society.

I would have liked to have seen more focus on the myth or reality of being a fire child, I felt as if the rest of the story overpowered that element of the tale.

The Fire Child is a mixture of mystery, a smidgen of paranormal and a large portion of important social justice issues.

Buy The Fire Child at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.