Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Book Review, Books I have read

What Remains Behind – Dorothy Fowler #20booksofsummer

Historical Fiction
4*s

A land sale in the family is the latest archaeological dig for Chloe Davis. As she returns to the site in the Kaipara, north of Auckland in New Zealand she is working to find the foundations of the place of worship for Kaipara Harbour community which had burnt in the 1880s.

Chloe has mixed emotions about the dig, she’s sad that the family land is being sold especially as her side of the family had fond memories of holidays spent in the house her sister Phaedra has inherited.

There are two distinct time lines to this novel both presented in the first person the current day narrative provided by Chloe on the dig with a mis-match of students and her old friend and colleague Bill. This time line follows not only the finds on the dig, but also the suspicion the small town inhabitants have towards the outsiders, some of whom have money tied up in the sale of the land. But rules are rules and the dig has been ordered and Chloe and Bill are determined to finish what they have started.

This present day timeline also takes in the mystery of a missing local farmer from some years before as well as the frankly odd relationship between the level-headed Chloe and her far more mercurial sister Phaedra.
For me far more fascinating were the pages of a diary written by Charity, a young girl, taken to the mission by her mother. There is something I find fascinating about cults; partly the amazement that a single charismatic man can make others believe what he says to the seeming exclusion of logic to the more mundane issues of adults living a communal lifestyle which for me, being fairly unsociable, has so far kept me inured to any charismatic man (or woman) bearing unlikely promises. However if I were a single mother forced to use her fading looks to make a living as a Housekeeper, back in the 1880s then maybe I would be as grateful as The problem faced by the cult, from the locals and more prosaically the lack of money as Brother Jack failed to gather a bigger flock to fund the mission.

This is a slow-paced mystery, quite unlike the crime fiction I normally read. The mysteries are there but the search for answers is nowhere near as frantic or all-consuming as these, the answers coming almost organically from the situation which is not only a novel approach, but also a deeply satisfying one. That’s not to say the book lacks action, it doesn’t there are a few hairy moments in both timelines. The mystery in the past was expected as we know from the beginning that the mission burnt down, what we don’t know is who did it, and why. The action in the present coming out of a fairly complex storyline which ensures that this book didn’t succumb to that perennial problem with dual timelines, the one story capturing my attention far more than the other.

What Remains Behind is the first read of my 20 Books of Summer Challenge 2017. I enjoyed this book featuring an archaeologist a real breath of fresh air away from the detectives that normally stalk the pages of my crime fiction. With the unusual, for me, setting in small town New Zealand easily imagined through the authors descriptions, both in the past and present, this one has got me off to a cracking start.

Posted in #20 Books of Summer 2017, Challenge

20 Books of Summer 2017! #20booksofsummer

Cathy at Cathy 746 has a yearly challenge to read twenty books over the summer months starting on 1 June 2017 and running until 3 September 2017, and once again I’ve decided to join her. My aim this year is to read all twenty books in the allotted time span!!

As I’m competitive I’m signing up for the full twenty. My personal challenge is to read these twenty books from my bookshelf, physical books that I already own and have purchased for myself before today. Funnily enough I have plenty to choose from… a whole 91 in fact!

Because I know that facts in one book tend to lead me to seek out other books in my tangential reading style, I’ve decided to start with a spread of genres and authors for the first ten books – fat books, thin books and books in-between! Book lovers will completely understand the complexity of this choice which has taken many, many hours to hone to just the right mix, especially as I have had to factor in going on holiday and therefore I will have to further reduced  the pile for the trip… I will post the next ten when these are all finished which should be in mid-July, if I’m on schedule!

 

The links below will take you to the Goodreads description

The Doctor’s Wife is Dead by Andrew Tierney

Broken Heart by Tim Weaver

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

The Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson

Midnight in Peking by Paul French

The Island by Victoria Hislop

Saturday Requiem by Nicci French

Winter Garden by Beryl Bainbridge

What Remains Behind by Dorothy Fowler

Bones and Silence by Reginald Hill

I will be joining Cathy by tweeting my way through the challenge using the hashtag #20booksofsummer to demonstrate when one of my reads is part of this challenge! Should be easy eh?

As in the previous two years there will be a master page linking the titles to my reviews as they are posted, and of course eventually listing the entire twenty books.

Top of my holiday reads is Reginald Hill, I always read one of his books on holiday, and of course there is The Island which I bought after visiting Spinalonga, Greece’s former leper colony in Crete last summer, Dorothy Koomson is an obvious choice but is In Cold Blood too grim for sunshine and cocktails?

So what do you think of my choices? Where would you start?

I’ve enjoyed looking at everyone else’s choices so far and after all having read the full list of 20, I will need replacements.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 31)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy 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

My current read is What Remains Behind by Dorothy Fowler which I first saw mentioned on the brilliant blog Confessions of a Mystery Novelist… run by the knowledgeable Margot Kinberg, if you haven’t visited yet, I highly recommend it for the wealth of information.

Blurb

Everything leaves a trace. Chloe, a contract archaeologist, is excavating the site of a religious Kaipara Harbour community, which burnt to the ground in the 1880s. As the site is uncovered, what unpalatable truths will be revealed about the events on the night of the fire?

Chloe’s own family has farmed this land, and she is caught in the conflict as local resistance to the excavation mounts. When Chloe digs up more than shards of pottery, she realises that the site holds secrets that will not stay buried, and their effect on the present is devastating.

Moving between a diary written in the 1880s and the current day, this compelling novel has murder, mystery, love, lust – and archaeology. Goodreads

I have just finished reading Love Like Blood by Mark Billingham which is the fourteenth in the Tom Thorne series.

Blurb


A BLOODY MESSAGE

As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner Susan is brutally murdered, leaving the detective bereft, and vengeful.
A POWERFUL ALLY
Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts.
A CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE
As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world in which families will do anything to protect their honour. Amazon

Next up is a book that I have been anticipating ever since I first heard about it; The Child by Fiona Barton will be published on 29 June 2017.



Blurb

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance. But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her.

For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

The Child’s story will be told. Amazon

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (February 5)

Weekly Wrap Up

There really is no greater thrill for a book blogger than learning that your review has been quoted inside in a book you have loved. This week I hit the jackpot because I’m quoted inside the front cover of Lie In Wait by G.J. Minett alongside some of my favourite bloggers!! As you can see Lie In Wait is now out in paperback and comes highly recommended by yours truly!

lie-in-wait-inside-cover

I also have to ask, is anyone watching Unforgotten on ITV? Do you have a scenario which will work for the final on Thursday? All the ones I can come up with have massive flaws and I lay awake last night re-examining the evidence and still zilch!

This Week on the Blog

So I managed to post three reviews this week starting with After She Fell by Mary-Jane Riley in a tale of an apparent suicide in North Norfolk. This is the second in the Alex Devlin series and my review awarded it a well-deserved five stars.

On Tuesday my excerpt post was from The Chalk Pit by Elly Griffiths whose series featuring the forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is one of my favourites.

This Week in Books detailed my reading plans, which I admit have been somewhat derailed, but I have now finished the magnificent He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly which I will be reviewing soon.

On Thursday I posted my review of Hannah Kent’s second book The Good People which transported me to a village steeped in superstition in early nineteenth century Ireland – the story told is all the more powerful as it is based on a true event.

My last review of this week was for The Cipher Garden by Martin Edwards which is the second in his Lake District Mystery series. This was a good puzzle, set in a beautiful location with historian Daniel Kind and DCI Hannah Scarlett investigating a cold case where a man murdered with his own scythe!

And yesterday Put A Book On The Map had its launch in East Anglia with Mary-Jane Riley talking about the settings for The Bad Things and After She Fell alongside Katherine Sunderland of Bibliomaniac. The piece looked amazing especially as they both generously contributed beautiful photos. Susan from The Book Trail drew up Book Trails for each book too.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Ex by Alafair Burke . This courtroom drama had me hooked with my sympathies for the characters swaying with each revelation. This author is a master of pace, and plotting. I really must keep my promise to myself and read some of her other works.
You can read my full review here or click on the book cover

The Ex

Blurb

DID HE, OR DIDN’T HE?
Olivia Randall is one of New York City’s best criminal defence lawyers. When she gets a phone call informing her that her former fiancé has been arrested for a triple homicide there is no doubt in her mind as to his innocence. The only question is who would go to such great lengths to frame him – and why?
For Olivia, representing Jack is a way to make up for past regrets, and the hurt she caused him, but as the evidence against him mounts, she is forced to confront her doubts. Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

Just one book this week courtesy of the lovely Margot Kinberg of Confessions of a Mystery Novelist who kindly posted What Remains Behind by Dorothy Fowler because I was struggling to find a copy. Margot’s blog really is the place to go to discover all things crime fiction and she featured this book in one of her ‘In The Spotlight’ posts. Do go and check out her blog although be warned, it has many, many tempting books featured.

what-remains-behind

Blurb

Everything leaves a trace. Chloe, a contract archaeologist, is excavating the site of a religious Kaipara Harbour community, which burnt to the ground in the 1880s. As the site is uncovered, what unpalatable truths will be revealed about the events on the night of the fire?

Chloe’s own family has farmed this land, and she is caught in the conflict as local resistance to the excavation mounts. When Chloe digs up more than shards of pottery, she realises that the site holds secrets that will not stay buried, and their effect on the present is devastating.

Moving between a diary written in the 1880s and the current day, this compelling novel has murder, mystery, love, lust – and archaeology. Goodreads

What have you found to read this week?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read just 2 books but I only gained 1 new one, and I found a book lurking on the TBR which I’d read – so the grand total for the first weekend in February is a mere 188
Physical Books – 110
Kindle Books – 67
NetGalley Books – 11