#Review Exiles by Jane Harper

Yet another fantastic read and great story by Jane Harper!

About the Author

Jane Harper is the author of four internationally bestselling Australian mysteries, including The Dry. Her books are published in 40 territories and have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide.

Jane has won numerous top awards including the CWA Gold Dagger, the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year and the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year. The 2021 movie adaptation of The Dry, starring Eric Bana, is one of the highest grossing Australian films of all time.

Jane worked as a print journalist for 13 years in both Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne with her husband, daughter and son. Follow @janeharperautho on Twitter

About the book

A mother disappears from a busy festival on a warm spring night. Her baby lies alone in a pram, her mother’s possessions surrounding her, waiting for a return which never comes. A year later, Kim Gillespie’s absence still casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather to welcome a new addition to the family.

Joining the celebrations on a rare break from work is federal investigator Aaron Falk, who begins to suspect that all is not as it seems.

As he looks into Kim’s case, long-held secrets and resentments begin to come to the fore, secrets that show that her community is not as close as it appears. Falk will have to tread carefully if he is to expose the dark fractures at its heart, but sometimes it takes an outsider to get to the truth…


A young baby abandoned in a pram in full view of everyone at a festival – mother gone and there are no clues to her whereabouts. Aaron Falk just happens to be one of the few witnesses to the events of that evening, and unfortunately the missing woman is connected to the family of good friends of his. 

When he returns a year later and the family jogs memories in the hope of an explanation he realises that there are a few things niggling him, he just can’t quite figure out what they are.

Very much a Holmesian fallacy at play here – I couldn’t think of a better scenario when the solution is absolutely directly linked to eliminating the impossible. The solution and truth is evident from the very beginning, and I couldn’t decide whether that was intentional. It was the only clear possibility no matter which way everyone turned and searched. Was the story really about creating the frame for Falk to view his life in a different way?

The author creates an epi-centre, but the actual story is the surrounding area. Waves of emotions, complex relationship structures, memories and moments of energy and self that Kim has left in the wake of her mysterious disappearance.

I loved it, but then I do enjoy the way Harper writes and plots – I still think about The Lost Man a lot. It’s the very specific way the author draws in the environment, the characters and the plot in equal measures. Simultaneously the way the story is fiction and reality – the kind of plot that you recognise in the people and world around you.

Buy Exiles at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Macmillan; pub date 2nd Feb. 2023. Buy at Amazon com. Buy via MacMillan.

#Blogtour The Attic Child by Lola Jaye

It is absolutely a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Attic Child by Lola Jaye. It’s a fantastic read.

About the Author

Lola Jaye is an author and registered psychotherapist. She was born and raised in London and has lived in Nigeria and the United States. She has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Psychotherapy and Counselling. She has contributed to the sequel to the bestseller Lean In, penned by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and has also written for the Huffington Post, CNN, Essence, HuffPost and the BBC.

She is a member of the Black Writers’ Guild and the author of five previous novels. The Attic Child is her first epic historical novel. Follow @LolaJaye on Twitter

About the book

Two children separated by almost a century, bound by a secret…

1907: Twelve-year-old Celestine spends most of his time locked in an attic room of a large house by the sea. Taken from his homeland and treated as an unpaid servant, he dreams of his family in Africa even if, as the years pass, he struggles to remember his mother’s face, and sometimes his real name. 

Almost a century later, Lowra, a young orphan girl born into wealth and privilege, will find herself banished to the same attic. Lying under the floorboards of the room is an old porcelain doll, an unusual beaded claw necklace and, most curiously, a sentence etched on the wall behind an old cupboard, written in an unidentifiable language. Artefacts that will offer her a strange kind of comfort, and lead her to believe that she was not the first child to be imprisoned there . . . 


I’m not sure there is any right way to review this in regards to the white privilege I acknowledge and access, and the frame of reference through which I experienced this read. White guilt is unwanted and white saviourism is a concept created only to sooth the conscience of deep seated roots of colonialism, and the waves of destruction it has caused.

I found the story of Dikembe incredibly sad, and the actions of the man who bought him as a show pony exemplar, are just despicable. It’s hard to fathom how people could disassociate themselves with the concept of humanity in other races, believing themselves superior and virtuous, whilst treating others like commodities. 

Equally I was moved by Lowra’s story, but on a different level. The voice of neglect and abuse is one to be heard and remembered. The connection between the two characters is a shared experience of being invisible, forgotten and never good enough. It’s that bond and force of nature, the strength of endurance, that creates a strong legacy from the past, present and into the future.

This is definitely going on my best reads of the year list. I loved it. I can’t wait to read more by Jaye – what an incredible writer. The way history, white privilege and colonialism is woven silently into the plot. There is no placard with a silent scream of anger, disappointment, sorrow or pain. There is only fact, fate, truth and acknowledgement of guilt. 

This is only one voice of many silent ones, faction and hard reality melded with a creative flair to create this compelling story of displacement, abuse, racism and identity. An excellent read.

Buy The Attic Child at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Pan MacMillan 28th April 2022 | Hardback – £14.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Pan MacMillan.

#BlogTour The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

‘From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes an unforgettable story inspired by the true events of a BBC-sponsored wartime cooking competition.’ It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan.

About the Author

Jennifer Ryan is the author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. Originally from Kent and then London, she was previously a non-fiction book editor. Follow @JenniferiRyan on Twitter

About the book

Two years into the Second World War, and German U-boats are frequently disrupting Britain’s supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio programme called The Kitchen Front launches a new cooking contest – and the grand prize is a job as the programme’s first-ever female co-host.

For young widow Audrey, winning the competition could be a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. However, her estranged sister, Gwendoline, is equally set on success even if her own kitchen maid, Nell, is competing against her. And then there is Zelda, a London-trained chef desperate to succeed in a male-dominated profession – and harbouring a secret that will change everything . . .


This story is fiction woven with facts, based loosely on programmes the BBC actually had during wartime and times of rationing. In an attempt to teach people how to create meals from less a cooking competition is started and includes four very different women who are determined to win. One of those women is the young mother and recently widowed Audrey.

Winning would mean being able to take care of her already vulnerable children, and you would think that her family would line up to be her biggest supporter, well everyone except for her sister who also has her mind set on winning. What follows is a healthy, funny and often emotional race to the finishing line.

The book is filled with the connection to food, the love of the one thing that brings all people together. My parents are ration babies and my father in particular has many stories to tell, and he is also capable of whipping up a meal out of anything at all. The most basic of ingredients with a tenfold ways of creating nourishing food.

The story is filled with the spirit of sisterhood and friendship, even though it takes a while to get there for some. The trauma of the times they live in call for extraordinary measures, and I think a lot of those have never really left certain countries. Stories are passed on, as are memories, and more importantly those ways and attempts to unify, comfort and support have been passed on also.

It’s contemporary read, despite the fact it is historical fiction. The important elements of humanity, friendship and even the more nuanced aspects of rivalry and competitions, all of these things resonate now as they did then. 

Ryan writes a jolly good yarn, one readers can connect with, whilst drawing parallels and feasting on memories and nostalgia. A Home Fires vibe, mixing the staunch upper lip and iron will to survive and persevere with the devastation of loss, change and new beginnings. It’s a read I think many will enjoy.

Buy The Kitchen Front at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Pan; 3 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton

 It’s truly a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour State of Terror by Louise Penny and Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

‘When an ingenious #1 bestselling novelist, known for her rich themes, riveting plots, and empathetic characters, and one of the world’s most experienced leaders with inside knowledge on the global power players from top to bottom, team up to write a novel, the result is STATE OF TERROR, by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny.’ 

About the Author/s

Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first woman in US history to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. She served as the 67th Secretary of State after nearly four decades in public service advocating on behalf of children and families as an attorney, First Lady, and US Senator. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, and No 1 Sunday Times bestselling author of seven previous books, all published by Simon & Schuster. Follow @HillaryClinton on Twitter

Louise Penny is an international award winning and bestselling author whose books have hit #1 on the New York Times, USA Today, and Globe and Mail lists.  Her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novels, published by Minotaur Books, an imprint of the St. Martin’s Publishing Group, have been translated into 31 languages.  In 2017, she received the Order of Canada for her contributions to Canadian culture. Louise Penny lives in a village south of Montréal. Visit louisepenny.com

About the book

After a tumultuous period in American politics, a new administration has just been sworn in, and to everyone’s surprise the president chooses a political enemy for the vital position of secretary of state.

There is no love lost between the president of the United States and Ellen Adams, his new secretary of state. But it’s a canny move on the part of the president. With this appointment, he silences one of his harshest critics, since taking the job means Adams must step down as head of her multinational media conglomerate.

As the new president addresses Congress for the first time, with Secretary Adams in attendance, Anahita Dahir, a young foreign service officer (FSO) on the Pakistan desk at the State Department, receives a baffling text from an anonymous source. Too late, she realizes the message was a hastily coded warning.

What begins as a series of apparent terrorist attacks is revealed to be the beginning of an international chess game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.

As the horrifying scale of the threat becomes clear, Secretary Adams and her team realize it has been carefully planned to take advantage of four years of an American government out of touch with international affairs, out of practice with diplomacy, and out of influence in the places where it counts the most.

To defeat such an intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy, it will take the skills of a unique team: a passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state and her best friend and counsellor.

State of Terror takes readers around the globe, through palaces and marble hallways, mountain caves and hotels, deserts and the gritty streets of the world’s cities, in a race-against-the-clock struggle to untangle the threads of a terror campaign and stop those bent on death and destruction. 


In a ruthless and cleverly planned political move Ellen Adams has made the choice to be the secretary of state for her political rival, but power means silence, because above all a loyal front must be presented to the world. The cost is high though, especially when give and take seems a little lopsided.

Before long she is drawn into a dark, manipulative conspiracy and plot, which threatens the country an people she values the most. A plot that draws its web across borders and through many countries.

It’s not an easy thing to do, write a novel with another author or writer. Writing styles can make the read seem disjointed and alternate voices can be distinctly heard. Luckily Penny and Rodham Clinton fit together like a hand in a glove, so much so that the two entities are barely discernible, which means the story flows well.

Saying that, what the story definitely profits from is the very particular type of insight the experienced politician and stateswoman brings to the table. Giving the reader a look into a world the majority of us will never experience, and now and again there’s a wee glimpse at the secrets behind the closed doors. I think it gives this political thriller an edge.

The combination of experienced storyteller and a woman who has earned her place in history, both iconic women in their own right, make this a perfect collaboration. Truth, reality, fact and fiction travel quite closely together on this rollercoaster of a read. Based on the last page, one can only hope this book is the first of many by the two of them. If this is the beginning of a series, I for one will be waiting with bated breath for the next one. It’s a cracking read.

Buy State of Terror at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Pan MacMillan: pub date 12th October 2021 – Hardback £20. Also available in E book and Audiobook read by Joan Allen. Buy at Amazon com. At Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe.

‘The epic Second World War novel from Antonio Iturbe, the international bestselling author of The Librarian of Auschwitz. Translated by Lilit Žekulin Thwaites, this is a novel about love and friendship, war and heroism and the power of the written word.’

About the Author

Antonio Iturbe was born in 1967 and grew up in the dock-side neighbourhood of Barceloneta, in Barcelona. His first novel The Librarian of Auschwitz was the number one selling book in translation in the UK last year. It has been translated into 30 languages and has sold over 600K copies internationally.

Having grown up reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s books, Iturbe was inspired to write about the author’s extraordinary life. He conducted extensive research and, despite suffering from vertigo, even flew in a biplane so he would understand how it felt to fly. Iturbe hopes to translate not only the facts but also the poetry of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s writing in The Prince of the Skies.

About the book

Only the best pilots are given jobs at Latécoère – the company destined to become Aéropostale. The successful candidates include Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A man whose desire to fly will put him at odds with his aristocratic family and the girl who loves him – but who wants to keep him grounded. 

Together with his friends Jean and Henri, they will change the history of aviation and pioneer new mail routes across the world. But Antoine is also destined to touch the lives of millions of readers with his story The Little Prince. But as war begins to threaten Europe, is Antoine’s greatest adventure yet to come . .?


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was torn between family expectations, the rules imposed on him by the woman he loved and his pleasure while experiencing the ultimate freedom and the power of flying above his fellow humans.

Whilst fighting against the restrictions he helps form the future of aviation and the stepping stones to where we are now. It’s fair to say he left his mark on the world and in the clouds.

This is historical fiction or faction, and after reading this I wonder what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry would have thought about the impact of The Little Prince and the legacy he left behind in general. A legacy that becomes more poignant when you connect his life and disappearance to the story he created.

It’s worth noting that Iturbe has chosen to lay more weight on the beauty and freedom de Saint-Exupéry experienced, especially whilst flying. His bravery, which went hand in hand with a recklessness. Perhaps that can be said of any person who commands and controls tonnes of metal in the skies.

I think this is a beautiful homage to a man who left an imprint on the world in the few decades he was alive. It’s beautifully written – a swan song, as the swan prepares for its last flight.

Buy The Prince of the Skies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publishing in Hardback £16.99| Macmillan | 14th October 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves. Award winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, Ann Cleeves, returns with the second in her new Two Rivers series set in North Devon featuring Detective Matthew Venn.

About the Author

Ann Cleeves is the author of over thirty critically acclaimed novels and is translated into as many languages. She is the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez who can be found on television in ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. The TV series and the books they are based on have become international sensations, capturing the minds of millions worldwide. Sunday Times number 1 bestseller, THE LONG CALL, was the first in Ann’s Two Rivers series set in Devon, and is now in production for an ITV drama.

Ann moved to North Devon when she was 11 years old. Before then the family lived in a tiny village, and as the headmaster’s daughter she always felt like the outsider at school. But in Barnstaple, Ann found a real home. She made life-long friends and fell in love with the beautiful North Devon coast, which still has a very special place in her heart. She worked as a probation officer, librarian, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before she embarked on her career as an author.

Ann’s been awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the 2017 CWA Diamond Dagger, and is a member of ‘Murder Squad’, working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. A passionate champion for libraries, she was a national libraries Day Ambassador in 2016. Her new ‘Reading Coaches’ project, providing support for health and wellbeing in communities, launches in the North East this summer. Ann lives in North Tyneside near where the Vera books are set. Find her on twitter @AnnCleeves, Visit anncleeves.com

About the book

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder – Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed.

His daughter Eve is a glassblower, and the murder weapon is a shard of one of her broken vases. Dr Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved though to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found – killed in a similar way. It’s not long since Matthew’s returned to North Devon with Jonathan, after 20 years estranged from his deeply religious family, now he finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home . . .


One of Venn’s team inadvertently becomes drawn into a case, due to being as drunk as a skunk and unable to provide assistance to a man who a short time late turns up dead. What did Dr Yeo want to tell her, what could he possibly have known that was worth being killed for.

A connection is created between Venn and the crimes – the burden of guilt. How it is processed, how it serves to enrage and feed negative emotions, and the scars it can leave behind. Also trying to navigate crime, whilst creating a balancing act between professionalism and friendship.

The Two Rivers series is approached in a slightly different way to the Shetland and Vera series in a sense that Cleeves straps a motor on the back of each character and lets them drive and herd the crime element of the read. The aforementioned other series are crime driven with strong leads. It perhaps lacks the usual writing finesse of previous novels, but I think that’s probably because of the attention given to the more diverse characters in this series.

I can’t wait to see this in TV format, and can only hope the author has a hand in casting. It’s a slow burner of a series, but well worth it. Cleeves always delivers an excellent crime read.

Buy The Heron’s Cry at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher Pan Macmillan: Published 2nd September 2021, priced £20.00 H/B. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Killing Tide by Lin Anderson

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Killing Tide by Lin Anderson.

About the Author

Lin Anderson is a Scottish author and screenwriter known for her bestselling crime series featuring forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod. Four of her novels have been longlisted for the Scottish Crime Book of the Year, with Follow the Dead being a 2018 finalist. 

Her short film River Child won both a Scottish BAFTA for Best Fiction and the Celtic Film Festival’s Best Drama Award and has now been viewed more than one million times on YouTube. Lin is also the co-founder of the international crime writing festival Bloody Scotland. Follow @Lin_Anderson on Twitter, Visit lin-anderson.blogspot.com

About the book

When three bodies are found on a wrecked ship in the Orkney Isles, forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is brought in to investigate. 

After a fierce storm hits Scotland, a mysterious cargo ship is discovered swept ashore in the Orkney Isles. Boarding the vessel uncovers three bodies, recently deceased and in violent circumstances. Forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod’s study of the crime scene suggests that a sinister game was being played on board, but who were the hunters? And who the hunted?

Meanwhile in Glasgow DS Michael McNab is called to a horrific incident where a young woman has been set on fire. Or did she spark the flames herself? As evidence arises that connects the two cases, the team grow increasingly concerned that the truth of what happened on the ship and in Glasgow hints at a wider conspiracy that stretches down to London and beyond to a global stage.

Orcadian Ava Clouston, renowned investigative journalist, believes so and sets out to prove it, putting herself in grave danger. When the Met Police challenge Police Scotland’s jurisdiction, it becomes obvious that there are ruthless individuals who are willing to do whatever it takes to protect government interests. Which could lead to even more deaths on Scottish soil . . . 


Rhona and her sidekick are called to investigate three bodies on an abandoned ship, violence and odd circumstances are right up their alley. Simultaneously McNab has to solve the tragic case of a young woman being killed in a horrific manner – a crime Anderson ensures the reader remembers vividly. It’s one way to put you off meat for life – not graphic, just excellent descriptions.

It has a very specific style, gritty urban Tartan noirish with dialogue and scenes seeming a bit disjointed and brash. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen and those cooks seem to have a lot of assistants. If you don’t know the series I think it can be a little confusing at first. This can be read as a standalone novel, however the aforementioned number of characters with backstory lead me to think it would be better to read other in the series.

Anderson has created a strong set of characters who clearly have longevity, which isn’t always a given. It’s not easy keeping readers captivated, so kudos for book sixteen. The story has a snappy, fresh feel to it and is driven a lot by the surroundings and the worldbuilding.

Buy The Killing Tide at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : MacMillan pub date 5 August 2021 in Hardback – £16.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Fragile by Sarah Hilary

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Fragile by Sarah Hilary.

About the Author

Sarah Hilary’s debut Someone Else’s Skin won the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year, was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick and The Observer’s Book of the Month. In the US, it was a Silver Falchion and Macavity Award finalist. No Other Darkness, the second in the series, was shortlisted for a Barry Award. The sixth in her DI Marnie Rome series Never Be Broken is out now. Her short stories have won the Cheshire Prize for Literature, the Fish Criminally Short Histories Prize, and the SENSE prize.

Fragile is her first standalone novel. Sarah is one of the Killer Women, a crime writing collective supporting diversity, innovation and inclusion in their industry. 

Follow @sarah_hilary on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit sarahhilary.com 

About the book

A modern Gothic thriller from an award-winning and critically acclaimed author – a REBECCA for our times.

Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong. So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes the opportunity with both hands. But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for…


It’s a compelling psychological thriller that revolves around the inadequacies of a care system and forgotten children that fall through the loopholes. The damaged individuals that venture into society and often leave a mark behind, and sometimes not a good one.

Throughout the story the reader wonders whether Nell is damaged and fragile or is she damaged beyond repair and capable of manipulating the fragility of others. Victim? Or a victim who is beyond redemption? Or is she just someone who really wants to be loved and needed – then again she could be all of the aforementioned.

I love it when an established author reinvents their own wheel. If this was my first excursion with Hilary I would be noting her down as one to watch, however having read and experienced her writing previously I have to say she has been curtailing herself. This not only shows a real depth, darkness and ability to create multi-layered characters – it is also taking it up a notch from a writing perspective.

I have to say kudos for the last chapter. It does two things in a way, it reveals the two-faced doll and simultaneously gives credence to the plot and character that goes before it. I hope this isn’t the last time Hilary delves into the dark side, she certainly seems comfortable there.

Buy Fragile at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Pan MacMillan; pub date 10th June 2021 –  £14.99 HB. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Can You See Me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha

 This book should absolutely be on your radar for 2021! It’s an excellent crime read. It’s my turn on the BlogTour Can You See me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha.

About the Author

Trisha Sakhlecha grew up in New Delhi and now lives in London.  For her new novel she draws upon a true story – a famous scandal that erupted at her own high school and which changed India.  She works in fashion and is a graduate of the acclaimed Faber Academy writing course. In the past, Trisha has worked as a designer, trend forecaster, and lecturer. She is the author of Your Truth Or Mine?.

Follow @trishasakhlecha on Twitter, on Instagram, Visit www.trishasakhlecha.comBuy Can You See Me Now

About the book

Three Indian girls. One horrific scandal.  And fifteen years later, secrets that refuse to stay buried…

Fifteen years ago, three sixteen-year-old girls meet at Wescott, an exclusive private school in India.  Two, Sabah and Noor, are the most popular girls in their year. One, Alia, is a new arrival from England, who feels her happiness depends on their acceptance.

Before she knows it, Sabah and Noor’s intoxicating world of privilege and intimacy opens up to Alia and, for the first time, after years of neglect from her parents, she feels she is exactly where, and with whom, she belongs.

But with intimacy comes jealousy, and with privilege, resentment, and Alia finds that it only takes one night for her bright new world to shatter around her.

Now Alia, a cabinet minister in the Indian government, is about to find her secrets have no intention of staying buried . . .


Three young girls become friends or as friendly as teenage girls can be until someone gets upset, and of course when one person is intruding on a tight twosome there is always going to be trouble. Two rich girls and a poor girl full of resentment and ambition, what could possibly go wrong?

The story goes from present to past with Sabah and Alia as one of them decides to revisit a traumatic event in their past, and the other fears the truth could implode her chances of climbing the political ladder. 

This book is a stark reminder of why the female of the human species, especially during their teenage years, are one of the most vicious species on the planet. Willing to humiliate, bully, control, hurt and then revel in the aforementioned – yes, they are quite something to behold and experience. Given the right circumstances and motivation they will destroy within the blink of an eye and in the next moment cry genuine tears of remorse at the damage they have caused.

The author uses that element of teenage hysteria, vengeance and lack of good judgement or choices to create an atmosphere of mistrust, paranoia and a need to belong. All of those factors lead in to the culture of victimisation of women, especially in India, which plays an important role in this story.

The rape culture, the victim blaming, the general attitude towards women and young girls who are sexually assaulted, raped and in the majority of cases murdered. Whether Alia uses this platform in an attempt to cleanse her own conscience or just because it is a popular one – it is one that needs to spoken about. The author does an excellent job of showing the disparity between gender, class, wealth and of the course the patriarchal tomb of silence that allows perpetrators to walk away unpunished, whilst women suffer and die.

I loved this book. It is a well written intriguing crime read and social commentary. I very much hope to read more by this author in the future.

Buy Can You See Me Now at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Pan Macmillan, pub date 4 February 2021, paperback original, £8.99. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

The Inheritance of Solomon Farthing by Mary Paulson-Ellis


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