Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2018

The New Mrs Clifton – Elizabeth Buchan

Historical Fiction
4*s

The Second World War is the basis for a whole raft of historical novels and The New Mrs Clifton takes a different approach in viewing the conflict from a different angle.

Gus Clifton returns from the war to the home he shares with his two sisters with his new wife. This turn of events would always cause shockwaves because he was expected to marry their friend, his fiancée Nella. But Gus hasn’t just broken this loyal woman’s heart, the one who waited for his return, he has married a German woman Krista.

Of course along with the rest of Britain Gus’s two sisters have seen the brutal effects of the war on their country, and those they love the most. Julia is a widow while Tilly is determined to live life to the full.

Elizabeth Buchan recreates the time and place with haunting accuracy. There are bombed buildings, rationing and queues and the concrete fury at the Germans for causing the war. How can Krista damaged by her own experiences of the war can ever be happy in a country where she is hated?
Gus was a member of the British Intelligence forces based in Germany during the conflict and the reader along with his sisters and fiancée are forced to wonder what happened there to choose such an unsuitable wife.

Not only has the author meticulously documented the aftermath of the war in England she has also created some complex characters who interact with each other in an entirely believable manner. The legacy of the polite society is still firmly in place with the snubs against Krista of a low level but persistent nature rather than the locals storming the house and throwing bricks through the window. But the reader gets to peek behind the curtains soon realises that there is something other than love that binds this couple together with Krista battling vivid nightmares and clearly having had no choice but to bind herself to a man she does not love and travel to a country where she is viewed with the highest level of suspicion.

This slow burn of a novel examines how the war has fundamentally changed both Gus and Krista but it also looks at the lives and expectations of those who had no choice but to wait out the conflict with hope diminishing with every piece of bad news. The three British women, Julia with the loss of her love, Tilly with her tentative approaches to their new sister-in-law and Nella who is bewildered and shamed by the turn of events have to find a way to carry on, and to heal. This is a story that will have you asking yourself some difficult questions and to put yourself in the shoes of a woman whose quest for survival has led her into a hostile environment.

The New Mrs Clifton is a deeply moving and sympathetic portrait of life which had the power to examine the way that the perception that a whole nation of people were rotten through the actions of its leaders still persists till this day. It is far easier use the broad brush strokes of the atrocity to paint a picture than to acknowledge that war isn’t kind to anyone, least of all the civilians that are innocent bystanders.

I bought my copy of The New Mrs Clifton after reading a whole heap of great reviews from my fellow bloggers – my friends you did me a great service!

First Published UK: 2016
Publisher: Penguin
No of Pages: 405
Genre: Historical Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (September 10)

 

Sadly no cute cat photos to lure you in this week as my time has been taken up by work and sleep with of course some obligatory reading squeezed into any spare time.

This Week on the Blog

My week started with my review of One Day in December by Shari Low, a very enjoyable story about four people and the events that changed everything in just 24 hours.

My excerpt post came from My Last Confession by Helen FitzGerald which is about a Parole Officer and a murderer.

This Week in Books featured the authors Caimh O’Donnell, Susie Steiner and Chris Curran.

On Thursday I reviewed the psychological thriller Lost in the Lake by A.J. Waines on its publication day. This compelling tale features some musicians, an accident, a psychotherapist and a lost memory.

My review on Friday was for The Other Mrs Walker by Mary Paulson-Ellis, one of my holiday reads from back in June – I awarded this original story of the search for a dead woman’s identity, the full five stars.

It was back to a psychological thriller for my final review of the week; Her Deadly Secret by Chris Curran, proved to be a five star read involving a missing child.

This Time Last Year…

I was reading The Trespasser by Tana French, the sixth in the Dublin Series by this oh so talented author. Each book in this series can be read as a standalone as unlike many crime fiction series there isn’t a single story arc, or indeed a chief protagonist. Instead one of the characters from earlier in the series may feature in a later book.
The centre of the plot of The Trespasser is about the murder of Aislinn Murray a young woman, identikit to the numerous other women with straight blonde hair and a pout to match, who has had her head bashed in. There is no forced entry to the house and the table is set for two. All the detectives need to do is find the dinner date!

You can read my full review here or click on the book cover.

Blurb

You can beat one killer. Beating your own squad is a whole other thing.

Being on the Dublin Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed. Her working life is a stream of thankless cases and harassment. Antoinette is tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.
The new case looks like a regular lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty and lying dead next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her – except that Antoinette has seen her somewhere before.

And her death won’t stay neat. Other detectives want her to arrest Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the simple woman she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this the case that will make her career – or break it? Amazon

Stacking the Shelves

I was lucky to receive a copy of The Blackbird Season by Kate Moretti complete with black feathers that scared me half to death when I stuck my hand in the envelope! This book will be published on 26 September 2017.

Blurb

Where did they come from? Why did they fall?

In a ​quie​t​ town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community. Beloved coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the​ ​reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a student, Lucia Hamm. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are ​having an affair, throwing the town into an uproar and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life. And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only have one suspect: Nate.

Nate​’​s coworker, Bridget Harris, is determined to prove his innocence. Bridget knows the key to Nate​’​s exoneration and the truth of Lucia​’​s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of ​t​h​e missing girl’s journal.

The Blackbird Season is a haunting, psychologically nuanced suspense, filled with Kate Moretti​’​s signature chillingly satisfying twists and turns. Amazon

I was contacted by the author of a new crime fiction series and despite repeatedly reminding myself that I don’t need to add any more of these to the burgeoning pile, I couldn’t resist his kind offer as an ARC. The Last Thread by Ray Britain will be published on 1 October 2017.

Blurb

Accused of pushing a boy to his death in a failed suicide intervention, DCI Doug Stirling is suspended from duty. Attacked in the media and haunted by the boy’s smile as he let go of Stirling’s hand, he must look on helplessly as an incompetent colleague intent on destroying him investigates the boy’s death, supported by the vindictive Deputy Chief Constable, McDonald.

Weeks later, an anonymous call leads the police to a remote location and the discovery of a burnt out car containing the body of an unidentified man who has been savagely murdered. Short of experienced senior investigators, ACC Steph Tanner has no choice but to take a professional risk. Throwing Stirling the lifeline he needs to restore his reputation, Tanner appoints him as SIO to lead the investigation.

But with no witnesses, no forensic evidence and more theories than investigators, Stirling’s investigation has far too many ‘loose threads’ as he uncovers a complex, interwoven history of deception, betrayal and sadistic relationships. Was the victim connected to the crime scene? Is the murder as complex as it appears? Or is there a simpler explanation?
Still traumatised by the boy’s death and with time the enemy, does Stirling still have what it takes to bring the killer, or killers, to justice before McDonald intervenes?

Things are already difficult enough when DC Helen Williams joins the investigation, a determined woman who seems intent on rekindling their past relationship. And is Ayesha, the beautiful lawyer Stirling has grown fond of, connected to the murder somehow? Amazon

I was also the proud recipient of The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet with the book named Norway’s Best Crime Novel which has been translated into English for the first time and will be published on 21 September 2017.

Blurb

A FROZEN BODY
A MURDERED BIKER
A RADICAL LAWYER WITH A MURKY PAST

In the depths of the Norwegian winter, the corpse of a woman is discovered in the garden of a notorious left-wing lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death.

A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by Thygesen, dies in suspicious circumstances.

As Thygesen receives anonymous threats, investigating detectives Stribolt and Vaage uncover a web of crime and violence extending far beyond Norway’s borders.

Does the frozen woman hold the key? Amazon

And if that wasn’t enough I had to buy a copy of A Patient Fury by Sarah Ward which was published on 7 September 2017 having fallen in love with this DC Childs series (In Bitter Chill and A Deadly Thaw)



Blurb

When Detective Constable Connie Childs is dragged from her bed to the fire-wrecked property on Cross Farm Lane she knows as she steps from the car that this house contains death.

Three bodies discovered – a family obliterated – their deaths all seem to point to one conclusion: One mother, one murderer.

But D.C. Childs, determined as ever to discover the truth behind the tragedy, realises it is the fourth body – the one they cannot find – that holds the key to the mystery at Cross Farm Lane.

What Connie Childs fails to spot is that her determination to unmask the real murderer might cost her more than her health – this time she could lose the thing she cares about most: her career. Amazon

And I also had to buy a copy of The New Mrs Clifton by Elizabeth Buchan after reading so many great reviews from around the blogosphere of this book

(here’s just one to wet your appetite)

Blurb

‘Wrapped in the roots of the sycamore was a skeleton; the remains of a woman, between twenty-five and thirty. She had carried a child . . .’

At the close of the Second World War, Intelligence Officer Gus Clifton returns to London. On his arm is Krista, the German wife he married secretly in Berlin. For his sisters, this broken woman is nothing more than the enemy. For Nella, Gus’s loyal fiancée, it is a terrible betrayal. These three friends wonder what hold Krista has over decent, honourable Gus. And, they ask themselves, how far will they have to go to permanently get her out of their home, their future, their England? Amazon

 

What have you found to read this week? Any of these take your fancy?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books, discarded 1 and gained 5
Making a Grand Total of 179
Physical Books – 100
Kindle Books – 62
NetGalley Books – 17