#BlogTour The Club by Ellery Lloyd

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Club by Ellery Lloyd.

‘For fans of The White Lotus, Big Little Lies and The Hunting Party, Ellery Lloyd’s The Club is an exhilarating, addictive read, telling a story of ambition, excess, and what happens when people who have everything – or nothing – to lose are pushed to their limit.’

About the Author/s

Ellery Lloyd is the pseudonym for London-based husband-and-wife writing team Collette Lyons and Paul Vlitos. Collette is a journalist and editor, and former features editor at Stylist, content director of Elle and editorial director at Soho House. She has written for the Guardian, the Telegraph and the Sunday Times as well as two travel books.

Paul is the author of Welcome to the Working Week and Every Day is Like Sunday. He is the subject leader for English Literature, Film and Creative Writing at the University of Surrey. The Club is their second novel. Their first, People Like Her, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick. Follow @ElleryLloyd  

About the book

There’s no place like Home . . . – The Home Group is a collection of ultra-exclusive private members’ clubs and a global phenomenon, and the opening of its most ambitious project yet – Island Home, a forgotten island transformed into the height of luxury – is billed as the celebrity event of the decade.

But as the first guests arrive, the weekend soon proves deadly – because it turns out that even the most beautiful people can keep the ugliest secrets and, in a world where reputation is everything, they’ll do anything to keep it.

Review

The Home, a series of private clubs around the world is exclusive, and with all things that are exclusive it means certain groups of people will automatically be subjugated to those who are more powerful and in control. As with most situations it also means people will abuse the power structure they control. 

The timing of this story and the parallels that can be drawn to certain real life situations should be food for thought, especially when it comes to powerful networks who have procured without remorse. Timely and poignant. 

The story is told from the lead-up and aftermath of a tragic incident and the events leading up to the event. The celebrities who gather to enjoy pleasure without consequences, the people who enable them and of course the minions who suffer the greed and lack of boundaries of others.

It has the dramatic tension and style of a Jackie Collins – Lace, Lucky – and complex layers of a modern psychological thriller. The inner structure of the plot speaks to the depravity, secrecy and complacency that lives within our society. I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually see this as a film or Netflix series. It will appeal to the readers who like a tight plot that keeps them guessing, the ones who like their justice delivered with a calculating swiftness and those who appreciate a jolly good story.

Buy The Club at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Mantle; pub date 31 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Review The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

‘The Christie Affair is a stunning novel which reimagines the unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926 that captivated the world.’

About the Author

Nina de Gramont lives with her husband and daughter in coastal North Carolina, where she teaches Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her interest in writing about Agatha Christie began in 2015 when she first learned about the famous author’s eleven-day disappearance. Christie’s refusal to ever speak about this episode particularly intrigued Nina, who loves the fact that someone who unravelled mysteries for a living managed to keep her own intact. The Christie Affair is her fourth novel.

Follow @NinadeGramont on Twitter, Visit ninadegramont.com

About the book

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance. I’m no Hercule Poirot. I’m her husband’s mistress. – Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy. After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to.

Review

Nan is a character everyone will love to hate, but they should perhaps admire her with equal passion. She envelopes the entirety of this plot in her web and consumes everyone in her path, she is also a wonderful narrator I might add. She has set her sights on Agatha’s husband, the life she lives and perhaps even more.

When Agatha, yes the Agatha Christie, disappears in the aftermath of some emotional turmoil, the entire country is searching for her. Is she missing, dead or has she been kidnapped? Has the treacherous husband got something to do with it or Nan perhaps?

What is Nan up to in the background, does she have access to information we aren’t privy to? It’s an excellently spun web of lies, desires, memories and ultimately one of secrets and hidden truths.

My only complaint about this book is that it is fiction. That it is a story born from the mind of a creative just based on the factual event – the eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in the 1920s. Part of me wishes it actually happened, it’s a great scenario and well executed.

It’s also nice wee homage to the Queen of Mystery Crime, although she may not have been amused by the drama of her life becoming the scene of a mystery and a crime, however I think readers will certainly appreciate the irony.

Buy The Christie Affair at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Mantle pub date 20 Jan. 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy at WaterstonesAt Pan MacMillan.

#BlogTour The Imposter by Anna Wharton

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Imposter by Anna Wharton.

About the Author

Anna Wharton has been a print and broadcast journalist for more than twenty years, writing for newspapers including The Times, Guardian, Sunday Times Magazine, Grazia and Red. She was formally an executive editor at The Daily Mail. Anna has ghostwritten four memoirs including the Sunday Times bestseller Somebody I Used To Know and Orwell Prize longlisted CUT: One Woman’s Fight Against FGM in Britain Today. The Imposter is her first novel.

Follow @whartonswords, Visit annawharton.com

About the book

Chloe lives a quiet life. Working as a newspaper archivist in the day and taking care of her Nan in the evening, she’s happy simply to read about the lives of others as she files away the news clippings from the safety of her desk. But there’s one story that she can’t stop thinking about. The case of Angie Kyle – a girl, Chloe’s age, who went missing as a child. A girl whose parents never gave up hope.

When Chloe’s Nan gets moved into a nursing home, leaving Chloe on the brink of homelessness, she takes a desperate step: answering an ad to be a lodger in the missing girl’s family home. It could be the perfect opportunity to get closer to the story she’s read so much about. But it’s not long until she realizes this couple aren’t all they seem from the outside . . .

But with everyone in the house hiding something, the question is – whose secrets are the most dangerous?

Review

Chloe struggles with her identity, perhaps because it is neither here nor there, and now her Nan is suffering from dementia her identity is slipping away from the only family she knows. When you add that frustration to a boring job, it’s easy to see how she could be swept up by a mysterious disappearance.

A young child who simply vanished one day many decades ago. Parents who still hope for some news, whether good or bad. Chloe becomes absolutely fascinated by the correlation between the blanks in her own childhood and this young child. One could say a little obsessed.

As the obsession with fantasy merges into reality the reader isn’t sure if Chloe is on the brink of a revelation, a breakdown or has she found herself in the web of a murderous spider?

It reminded me of the way Kubica plots – there is always this insidious and nefarious thread woven into the fabric of the story. You think you know where the author is going, but just as you get comfortable there is a sharp left. Victim, villain, damaged individual – which is it or is at all three?

It’s an engrossing dark domestic psychological thriller, definitely a story for readers who like their crime twisty, tense and unpredictable. 

Buy the Imposter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Mantle; pub date 1st April – Hardback – £14.99. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana

It’s a pleasure take part in the BlogTour The Hiding Place by Jenny Quintana.

About the Author

Jenny Quintana grew up in Essex and Berkshire before studying English Literature in London. She has taught in London, Seville and Athens. Her first novel, The Missing Girl was published in 2017 and chosen as a Waterstones thriller of the month. Our Dark Secret, her second novel, was published in 2020. She now lives with her family in Berkshire

Follow jennyquintana95 on Twitter, on Goodreads, Buy The Hiding Place

About the book

Some houses have their secrets. But so do some people…

From Jenny Quintana, the bestselling author of The Missing Girl and Our Dark Secret, comes The Hiding Place: a story about identity, love, long-buried secrets and lies.

Marina is adopted. She’s always known this – but the circumstances of her birth remain a mystery. Baby Blue, the newspapers nicknamed her at the time, after she’d been found wrapped in a blue shawl, in the hallway of a large, shared house in London.

24 Harrington Gardens. That was the house. And it’s still standing now Marina is an adult; still split into flats. And one of them is to let…

Of course, Marina knows that the chances of her uncovering the truth about her birth are remote – but she hopes the house might hold some clues. What if it’s not just the house, though? What if someone connected to it knows what really happened that day? Someone who doesn’t want the truth to come to light?

Review

Like many adopted children, Marina feels she needs to know the truth about her birth to get any closure. The innate sense of connection or rather the wanting to know who her biological parents were or are has nothing to do with what she feels for her adoptive parents. In particular she wants to know why her mother abandoned her in a residential building full of flats.

That means she wanted Marina to be safe and found by someone, right? So many questions and not enough answers, which is why she embarks on a journey or investigation to find out the whole truth. But sometimes you need to to let sleeping dogs lie.

It’s a slow burner, a contemporary read with a domestic mystery vibe. The search for truth uncovers the kind of secrets that can become dangerous even after so many decades. Quintana gives readers a combination of a read driven by emotions – a heartfelt read and yet also one that hints at the darkness hidden behind closed doors.

I kind of liked the way the author keeps the reader wondering about the kind of story it is. The majority of the story absolutely plays on the emotive topic of birth ties and the loving relationships of non-birth carers, whilst the element of danger pops up here and there to give it an entirely different feel. 

Buy The Hiding Place at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. To be published by Mantle in hardback on 18 March 2021 at £14.99 and in Ebook at £12.99.

The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing by Mary Paulson-Ellis

Review

This book should without a doubt be on some prestigious lists. It is a superbly told story and Paulson-Ellis is a spectacular storyteller. The way she weaves the individual threads through the timelines and the story, is done in such a subtle way you almost don’t realise she is doing it.

The story takes place in the present with the heir hunter Solomon Farthing and in the past with his grandfather in the First World War. Whilst the story bounces back and forth it also takes pit-stops in the years in between. Connections are drawn from the small group of soldiers to the same men in the future and their offspring. The result is a well-plotted narrative about guilt, brotherhood, loyalty and a question of conscience.

There is a parallel between the betting games the soldiers play to pass the time and to fight the fear and anxiety, and the veterans who connect with each other after the war, specifically the items they place as bets. Each one of them brings something, leaves an item and then takes another thing with them. A spool of thread, buttons, walnuts, fruit, cap badges and a pawn ticket. Anything can become one man’s treasure in a setting where every single item can become as precious as a cave full of gold.

At times I had tears in my eyes, it’s emotional and nostalgic, especially because the author brings realism and authenticity to the table. As a reader you can’t help but think about the young boys and men who died under appalling circumstances. Often following the orders that meant they knew they were nothing but bullet fodder for the enemy. Nothing but numbers for their own country.

Would you lead your brothers in arms into death – on a suicide mission? Would you risk death to ensure others cheat death? Of course disregarding an order meant death by firing squad. The crimes of cowardice, pacifism and just pure trauma took far too many victims in the war.

It’s historical war fiction, literary fiction and simultaneously a story filled with unanswered questions and mysteries. It is an excellent read. A book that belongs on best books lists.

Buy The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Mantle; pub date 5 Sept. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow @mspaulsonellis on Twitter, Visit marypaulsonellis.co.uk

Blood & Sugar by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

With historical crime fiction it’s paramount to get the historical facts right, even if the author plays fast and loose with a few details or uses their artistic license. Books in this particular genre often become not only an engrossing read, they can also be a learning experience. This is without a doubt both.

When Captain Harry Corsham starts investigating the brutal and torturous death of his friend the abolitionist Tad Archer, he stumbles upon a swamp of deception, lies and violence. Whilst trying to find one killer Harry finds men guilty of mass murder and inhumane atrocities. He puts himself, anyone who is involved and any person who speaks to him in peril as the upper echelon tries to keep

Shepherd-Robinson has researched the history of British slavery or rather Britain’s culpability in regards to slavery in depth. It’s history we are aware of, but for some reason it is never given the same voice as in the United States for instance. One could argue, and I am sure plenty would, that Britain paid restitution when slavery was abolished in 1833 in the UK, except it was paid to the slave and plantation owners to compensate them for the loss of their human property.

The exploitation of human flesh was a profitable one, a tragic element that the author makes clear in this story. The atrocious treatment of those slaves by their sellers and owners is a black mark in history in general. The author ensures that the reader can smell the fear, taste the tears and hear the screams of these unfortunate human beings caught in the vicious web of greed and inhumanity.

One can be aware of certain historical events, but when names are put to faces and details are so specific, it’s hard not to feel outraged, angered and upset by the truth. The author conveys this with the brutality it merits, and still manages to pull-off a fascinating crime story at the same time.

I was really surprised to discover, after the fact, that this is a debut novel. This is the work of a seasoned writer, on par with someone who has been honing their skills for many years and books. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend or to buy further books by this author.

It’s historical crime fiction, which leaves a strong message and vivid imagery in its wake, and is driven by a masterful and complex main character. I hope this isn’t the last time we hear from Harry Corsham. Shepherd-Robinson is a writer to watch. This is hopefully just the beginning.

Buy Blood & Sugar at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Mantle; pub date 24 Jan. 2019, Buy at Waterstones

Follow @LauraSRobinson @MantleBooks @panmacmillan on Twitter, Visit laurashepherdrobinson.com