Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

Blood Wedding – Pierre Lemaitre

Psychological Thriller 5*s
Psychological Thriller

In what is becoming a theme, I was really unsure about this book for a good while, but another blogger warned me to hang in there, they hadn’t been convinced by the opening both… so I took their advice, and do you know what? By the end you couldn’t prise this book from my hands!

We first meet Sophie Duguet when she is working as a nanny. She has problems with her memory which include lack of concentration and a complete absence of memory at times combined with problems sleeping she has to write things down to remember them. She loses things constantly and spends her free time blankly watching the television. One night when Madame Gervais, the mother of her charge returns home late, Sophie sleeps over and in the morning on going to wake Léo, she, finds him dead. Not a natural death either. Sophie remembers nothing but an item belonging to her is there on the body and she flees.

Yes, I hear you. I’ve read other books that feature memory loss, and it seems like an easy device to create tension when really none exists. This was part of my issue with this part of the book, that and seemingly random violence and a young woman whose actions I didn’t understand at all, however much the author tried to make me sympathise with her, I struggled.

However we know a little about Sophie; although only young, she has been recently widowed, her ever-patient husband dying in a car accident. This combined with her memory problems and her guilt over the increasingly annoying incidents that this provoked has worn her down further. She is clearly a vulnerable young woman, but… she killed a child, whether she remembers it or not!

Sophie’s face is plastered across the papers – she is wanted for murder and she knows that the police will be seeing if she contacts her dear father or her best friend. Sophie is resourceful and decides to move far away, to a place where she has no connection. She assumes new identities, works cash in hand and after many low-paid jobs and moving neighbourhoods decides that she will start again by getting married. She has three months to do the deal, and so she goes on the internet to find a man.

Despite me being extremely wary of the underlying premise and being slightly sickened by some of the violent scenes and not overly fond of imagining life on the run, Pierre Lemaitre’s writing is stunning. I felt Sophie’s panic and could picture her at the train station with her newly dyed hair trying to buy a ticket, while desperate not to do anything that would mean she stood out from the crowd. The author had me there at Sophie’s side, witnessing her as the third person who narrates the novel, so convincing was his portrayal, I believed in Sophie, she was real.

In part two we meet Franz through his diary written before Sophie’s descent into hell. He also documents Sophie’s problems and it as it this point that Pierre Lemaitre’s incontrovertible skill as a creator of one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve ever read becomes clear. It was one of those books where I felt the author really had got one over on me. He constructed his central characters knowing that he was making even this fairly suspicious reader, look in every direction, except the right one, and he keeps it up right until the bitter end.

I am not going to say anymore except if you pick up this book, stay with it and enjoy the ride, I’m off to see what other books by this author are going on my Christmas list!

Blood Wedding was published on 7 July 2016 by Quercus who kindly gave me a copy. This review is my unbiased thanks to them. I can’t leave this review without stating what a fantastic job the translator, Frank Wynne, did. Although the book ‘felt’ French, the translation to English was flawless with none of the stiltedness that can occur during translation.

First Published UK: 7 July 2016
Publisher: Quercus
No of Pages: 320
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (November 30)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lipsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

At the moment I am reading The Silent Hours by Cesca Major, an epic tale set in wartime France. I’m loving this historical novel and having a chance to be completely involved with the wonderful characters.

The Silent Hours

You can read an excerpt and the synopsis in yesterday’s post.

I’ve gone a bit off-piste this week as I’ve just finished My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal, a touching story and compassionate tale about a nine year old boy separated from his mother and baby brother. Set in the UK in the 1980s, this book also provided a healthy dollop of nostalgia.

My Name is Leon


A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one.
Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not. As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum.
Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we manage to find our way home. NetGalley

Never fear though the dark side of life is never far from view, and next up I have Blood Wedding by Pierre Lemaitre

Blood Wedding


A gripping standalone psychological thriller about marriage, manipulation and murder by the internationally bestselling author of Alex

Sophie is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.

One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.

Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.

But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets . . . NetGalley

What are you reading this week? Do share your links and thoughts in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (July 31)

Weekly Wrap Up

Well there was no wrap up post last week because I was in Copenhagen meeting Hans Christian Anderson as part of a trip with my daughter and her two bridesmaids.

Cleo Beth and Hans

We chose a very hot weekend, with the temperature tipping 30 degrees centigrade, not the best weather for a bride-to-be whose mission was to see as many of the sights of Copenhagen as possible including of course The Little Mermaid! The commentator on our boat tour informed us she was disappointingly small and insignificant!! We all had a fantastic trip, this is one city I definitely want to revisit and especially as unsurprisingly they make the most fantastic Danish pastries!!

It’s been a sad week too with us marking the first anniversary of Owen’s passing which we spent together remembering happier times of a darling son and brother.Multi-coloured house




Last Week on the Blog

In amongst the highs and lows I managed to post a bumper crop of five reviews on the blog this week:

Monday I posted my review of the true Victorian crime book featuring the murder of a young maid-of-all work in Greenwich, London in Pretty Jane and the Viper of Kidbrooke Lane by Paul Thomas Murphy.

This was followed by my review of Blind Side which was part of Jennie Ensor’s blog tour. This book takes in the terrorist activities in London in 2005 as well as examining the effects of war on soldiers in a well-written and engaging style.
In my weekly mid-week post I highlighted my current and upcoming reads including Claire Mackintosh’s, I See You which I am sad to be separated from having been called on to socialise with real people (again!)

My review of The Beauty at the End by Debbie Howells was posted on Thursday swiftly followed by my eighth read in the 20 Books of Summer on Thursday, the classic The Shrimp and the Anemone by L.P. Hartley.

Yesterday had me posting my fifth review of a book by Liane Moriarty, her latest offering Truly Madly Guilty.

I’m now completely up to date with my reviews for what seems like the first time in an age!

Stacking the Shelves

I’ve got five NetGalley finds since my last post starting with another Victorian True Crime with a poisoner to boot!

Mary Ann Cotton – Dark Angel by Michael Connolly will be published by Pen and Sword on 1 September 2016. There is a note that states that this book will tie in with a ITV drama Dark Angel which is due for airing in the autumn.

Mary Ann Cotton


A female thief, with four husbands, a lover and, reportedly, over twelve children, is arrested and tried for the murder of her step-son in 1872, turning the small village of West Auckland in County Durham upside down. Other bodies are exhumed and when they are found to contain arsenic, she is suspected of their murder as well.
The perpetrator, Mary Ann Cotton, was tried and found guilty and later hanged on 24 March 1873 in Durham Goal. It is claimed she murdered over twenty people and was the first female serial killer in England.
With location photographs and a blow by blow account of the trial, this book challenges the claim that Mary Ann Cotton was the ‘The West Auckland Borgia’, a title given to her at the time. It sets out her life, trial, death and the aftermath and also questions the legal system used to convict her by looking at contemporary evidence from the time and offering another explanation for the deaths. The book also covers the lives of those left behind, including the daughter born to Mary Ann Cotton in Durham Goal. NetGalley

I’m absolutely delighted to have received a copy of The Trespasser by Tana French, the sixth in the Dublin Murder Squad series, books that are loosely connected with each other but that are also readable as stand-alones. The Trespasser will be published on 22 September 2016.

The Trespasser


Antoinette Conway, the tough, abrasive detective from The Secret Place, is still on the Murder squad, but only just. She’s partnered up with Stephen Moran now, and that’s going well – but the rest of her working life isn’t. Antoinette doesn’t play well with others, and there’s a vicious running campaign in the squad to get rid of her. She and Stephen pull a case that at first looks like a slam-dunk lovers’ tiff, but gradually they realise there’s more going on: someone on their own squad is trying to push them towards the obvious solution, away from nagging questions. They have to work out whether this is just an escalation in the drive to get rid of her – or whether there’s something deeper and darker going on. NetGalley

Lastly I have a copy of Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult which promises a look at prejudice. It’s a while since I binge read everything this author had published and now feel that it is time to pick up another.
Small Great Things


When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.
What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.
Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.
It is about opening your eyes. NetGalley

Small Great Things is to be published on 22 November 2016

I also have a copy of The Unseeing by Anna Mazzola which was published on 14 July 2016.

The unseeing


It is 1837 and the city streets teem with life, atmosphere and the stench of London. Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, has been sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding.
Edmund Fleetwood, an idealistic lawyer, is appointed to investigate Sarah’s petition for mercy and consider whether justice has been done. Struggling with his own demons, he is determined to seek out the truth, yet Sarah refuses to help him. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone with a child would go willingly to their own death?
THE UNSEEING is a vividly written novel of human frailty, fear and manipulation, and of the terrible consequences of jealousy and misunderstanding. NetGalley

Lastly I have a copy of Pierre Lemaitre’s Blood Wedding which was chosen because of all the fabulous reviews floating around the blogosphere. Blood Wedding was published on 7 July 2016.

Blood Wedding


A gripping standalone psychological thriller about marriage, manipulation and murder by the internationally bestselling author of Alex
Sophie is haunted by the things she can’t remember – and visions from the past she will never forget.
One morning, she wakes to find that the little boy in her care is dead. She has no memory of what happened. And whatever the truth, her side of the story is no match for the evidence piled against her.
Her only hiding place is in a new identity. A new life, with a man she has met online.
But Sophie is not the only one keeping secrets . . . NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

PicMonkey Collage TBR

Since my last post I have read just 4 books and gained 5 so the total this week is now standing at 176 books!
89 physical books
67 e-books
20 books on NetGalley