Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Tarnished – Julia Crouch

Women's Fiction 4*'s
Women’s Fiction

I thought Cuckoo, the debut from Julia Crouch was a really good read, although I wasn’t as impressed with the author’s second book Every Vow You Break, so I had reservations before reading this book which I received through Amazon Vine. I’m really glad I gave it a go; an intriguing story backed up by skilful writing meant that this was an enjoyable read.

Peg has no childhood memories of being brought up by her lovely grandmother, Dolly in the same house as her obese aunt Jean. When Dolly starts suffering from dementia Peg decides to track down her father but maybe she should have left the past where it was? Peg is in a relationship with a much stronger partner, Loz who is pushing her to find out what it was that the family are reluctant to reveal to Peg. Events soon take a very dark turn as the two women dig into the past.

Julia Crouch manages to raise the tension in this book with the aid of Peg’s slowly returning , memories, the descriptions of the house where Dolly has hoarded stuff and Jean’s obesity are so well described it made my skin crawl. The reader may need to suspend a certain level of belief, particularly towards the end but it is no less thrilling for that. A book to become absorbed in and to be repulsed by in equal measures, I can’t wait for the next one.

See my reviews for Julia Crouch’s previous books

Every Vow you Break

Every Vow You BreakEvery Vow You Break by Julia Crouch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this story as much as Julia Crouch’s debut [[ASIN:B004P8ITIS Cuckoo] which I thought was a great read.

The first half of this book seemed to meander introducing us to Lara, her actor husband Marcus and their 3 children, teenage twins Olly and Bella plus 4 year old Jack. They are moving to Trout Island in New York as Marcus has been asked to play the lead part in MacBeth at the local theatre. There are lots of bemusing happenings in the creepy house, Olly finds some local layabouts and Bella falls in love. Meanwhile Lara decides that she is no longer in love with her husband partly due to her recent abortion which she felt he’d forced her into. It’s fair to say the break isn’t going to plan.

After the very long build up, during which I didn’t warm to any of the characters, an awful lot happens in the last few chapters. As the main revelation had been fairly heavily signposted earlier, it wasn’t as exciting as it could have been. There are still a fair number of loose ends by the end of the book which added to my disappointment.

Hopefully Julia Crouch’s next offering will be more to my taste.

View all my reviews


CuckooCuckoo by Julia Crouch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I liked this book and it certainly held my attention, I was eager to find out what happens to Polly and Rose the two best friends from Brighton who’d first met at the age of 7.

The book is set in a rural part of England near Bath and describes the pain and pleasures of renovating a home to bring up the perfect family, then…. Polly’s husband Christos has died and she wants to bring her boys back from Greece and Polly offers to let them stay.

At first I sympathised with Rose but as the book goes on it is slowly revealed how she is no innocent. The relationships between all the characters are well defined, Rose and her husband Gareth have recently gone through a bad patch and he is reluctently persuaded to let Polly stay, then things start to unravel but whose fault is it? I can’t say too much without spoiling the story but no character in this book is a role model.

I have wavered between a 4 and 5 start review mainly because I wasn’t overly convinced by the last section when Rose and Polly visit Brighton but make no mistake this is a great debut book and is not to be missed.

View all my reviews


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

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