Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2017

Go To Sleep – Helen Walsh

 

Contemporary Fiction
3*s

Well… this is quite a difficult review to write because this read made for quite uncomfortable reading even though it is now over a quarter of a century since I had my first child but here goes!

Rachel is looking forward to giving birth to her first child. She’s probably not quite ok with being a single mother but she’s prepared, or so she thinks. She’s bonded with her bump and looking forward to welcoming her child into the world complete with a doting grandfather and his second wife. Ok, being the product of a one night stand isn’t ideal but having weighed up the odds, she’s decided not to inform the father who has a chance of a new life away from Liverpool.

In these early chapters we learn more about the baby’s father who she first met as a teenager. Reuben was black and Rachel believes that this was why her father didn’t like him, you see this is a book that is as much about Rachel’s life before a baby, as after and as the book roll on, this is something I appreciated more and more. This background gives the reader real context to her struggle with life after Joe is born.

Before Joe is born, Rachel works as a support worker for truanting children supporting them helpfully back to school or if not into alternative training so she’s no pushover, but has a life dealing with truculent teenagers prepared her for life with a helpless baby? This beginning showing a woman passionate about her work coupled with a splash of jealousy about the woman who is standing in for her during her maternity leave, gives us a great insight into Rachel’s character and what she feels is important in life. Rarely do we hear about the doubts a woman has stepping away from the workplace in such an honest way and better still the points made are done with subtlety.

Labour begins, in fits and starts and Rachel contacts the hospital, she’s turned away, she’s not far enough gone to be admitted. So we got to this bit and my long-buried memories surfaced…
I take out my mobile, ring the hospital. The voice that greets me tries to be reassuring but never gets beyond dismissive:

How far apart? You’ve had how many?

Suffice to say labour isn’t as Rachel imagined and then baby doesn’t sleep. The language fits perfectly with the frustration she feels with the gap between what she imagined life would be like, and the reality.

Evening. The lights turned down low, the ward calm and ordered, all the babies washed and fed and winded, all of them ready for sleep; all except Joe. Joe fights it, struggles, bleats. Unable, unwilling to settle, champing on my chafed and throbbing chest, he writhes and burns  and gets angrier and angrier. I am so tired now – desperately achingly tired.

This is an incredibly brave book to write, far from the sentimental picture usually portrayed of early motherhood. Life with a child that doesn’t sleep can be like hell on earth. I remember one awful night when I threatened to throw my daughter out of the window, words said in pure frustration and I hasten to add, not acted upon, but it is tough to be in charge of an infant in the dead of night who won’t be consoled. The author accurately portrays this and although I was horrified at some of Rachel’s actions as she was clearly suffering with postnatal depression as well as exhaustion, my judgement was tempered.

I’m glad I read this book long after the event, and perhaps this book should be given out to young women who believe that a baby will fit into their lives like a beautiful accessory but then, nothing can quite prepare you, so perhaps those of us can read with a wry smile, is the best audience after all.

Go to Sleep was my fifteenth read in my Mount TBR Challenge 2017, so I’m still on target to hit 36 books purchased before 1 January 2017, this one having been bought in April 2015 so fits the bill!

mount-tbr-2017

 

 

 

First Published UK: 2011
Publisher: Cannongate Books
No of Pages:  320
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

 

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 17)

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

At the moment I am reading The Escape by C.L. Taylor which is one twisty and thrilling ride!

Blurb

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t.
The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.
What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her.
No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN. Amazon

The last book I finished was Blood Tide by Claire McGowan the fifth in the Paula McGuire who works for the missing persons unit in this great series set in Ireland.

Blurb

Called in to investigate the disappearance of a young couple during a violent storm, Paula Maguire, forensic psychologist, has mixed feelings about going back to Bone Island. Her last family holiday as a child was spent on its beautiful, remote beaches and returning brings back haunting memories of her long-lost mother.

It soon becomes clear that outsiders aren’t welcome on the island, and with no choice but to investigate the local community, Paula soon suspects foul play, realising that the islanders are hiding secrets from her, and each other.
With another storm fast approaching, Paula is faced with a choice. Leave alive or risk being trapped with a killer on an inescapable island, as the blood tide rushes in… Amazon

Next up I intend to read Go To Sleep by Helen Walsh for my Mount TBR Challenge 2017, having bought this book in April 2015.

Blurb

Hours from now, Rachel Massey will become a mother. Terrified and excited, there is nothing she wants more.

But motherhood is not as she had imagined. The sleepless nights turn to weeks, the weeks to months, and while Rachel loves her son as much as any mother, she can’t escape the feeling that something has gone terribly wrong.
Honest, uplifting and often shocking, Go To Sleep is a powerful and heart-wrenching story. Amazon

So what are you reading this week? Have you read any of these choices? Do you want to?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (May 2)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

A huge haul this week from me starting with some fantastic books from NetGalley:

Listening to Killers by James Garbarino, a non-fiction book detailing the conclusions the author has come to having spoken to men incarcerated in the US for murder.

Listening To Killers

Blurb

Listening to Killers offers an inside look at twenty years’ worth of murder files from Dr. James Garbarino, a leading expert psychological witness who listens to killers so that he can testify in court. The author offers detailed accounts of how killers travel a path that leads from childhood innocence to lethal violence in adolescence or adulthood. He places the emotional and moral damage of each individual killer within a larger scientific framework of social, psychological, anthropological, and biological research on human development. By linking individual cases to broad social and cultural issues and illustrating the social toxicity and unresolved trauma that drive some people to kill, Dr. Garbarino highlights the humanity we share with killers and the role of understanding and empathy in breaking the cycle of violence. NetGalley

Listening to Killers was published on 12 March 2015

Marnie Riches, the author of The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die contacted me off the back of reading some reviews and suggested I’d enjoy this one.

The Girl Who Wouldn't Die

Blurb

HE’S WATCHING HER. SHE DOESN’T KNOW IT…YET
When a bomb explodes at the University of Amsterdam, aspiring criminologist Georgina McKenzie is asked by the police to help flush out the killer.
But the bomb is part of a much bigger, more sinister plot that will have the entire city quaking in fear.
And the killer has a very special part for George to play…
A thrilling race against time with a heroine you’ll be rooting for, this book will keep you up all night! NetGalley


The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die
was published on 2 April 2015

I have a copy of The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson because I simply can’t resist these hidden identity books this year.

The Other Me

Blurb

Eliza Bennet has the life she’s always dreamed of. She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man she loves.
But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Myer. And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.
This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia – one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from. NetGalley

The Other Me is due to be published on 13 August 2015 by Little Brown Book Group UK although it is already available on kindle.

Lastly I have a copy of The Daughter’s Secret by Eva Holland

The Daughter's Secret
Blurb

Eleven days in the life of a mother as she tries to navigate herself and her family through the aftershocks of a scandal.
Six years ago, aged fifteen, Rosalind’s daughter Stephanie ran away with teacher Nathan Temperley, triggering a media frenzy and resulting in Temperley’s arrest and imprisonment. Although the family – Rosalind, her husband Dan, Stephanie and son Freddy – don’t talk about what happened, their lives have been shaped by it and everything that came after.
When Rosalind discovers that Temperley is about to be released from prison, she’s forced to re-examine the events of six years ago. NetGalley

The Daughter’s Secret will be published on 13 August 2015 by Orion

Following my review of The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish I had a little chat with the author who said that she thought I would enjoy The Disappearance of Emily Marr, and to ignore the cover, which doesn’t reflect the contents.

The Disappearance of Emily Marr

Blurb

A stunning story of secrets and scandal, identity and infidelity
When Tabby Dewhurst arrives heartbroken and penniless on a picturesque, windswept island off the coast of France, her luck appears to change when she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door. Hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the woman to leave and then lets herself into the house. And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emily Marr—or so her new friend introduces herself. Soon, however, Tabby forms suspicions about her new friend, suspicions that lead her back to England, and to revelations that will have explosive consequences for both of them. Goodreads

So I went on-line and found I could get a used copy for a bargain price and even better if I spent £10 postage was free. Well I went through my wishlist and found three other books to make the total that qualified. So… I also have a copy of Buried Angels by Camilla Läckberg which is the latest in the Patrik Hedstrom series.

Buried Angels

Blurb

Easter, 1974. A family vanishes without a trace from the island of Valö outside of Fjällbacka. The dinner table has been exquisitely set, but everyone except the one year-old daughter Ebba is gone. Are they victims of a crime or have they voluntarily disappeared?
Years later Ebba returns to the island and the old summer camp where her father ruled a boarding school with an iron hand. She and her husband Tobias have recently lost their three year-old son, and in an attempt to overcome their grief they have decided to renovate the house and open a B&B.
Erica Falck’s interest is piqued – she has researched the tragic and mysterious history of the family, and looks forward to meeting Ebba.
But the couple have barely settled in before they are subjected to an attempt of arson. And when they begin to remove the floor boards in the dining room, they find dried blood underneath… Goodreads

and.. after being amazed and delighted by The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson I have a copy of The Girl With a Clock For a Heart

The Girl With a Clock for a Heart

Blurb

George Foss never thought he’d see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack’s Tavern.
When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl’s grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece – the one who had committed suicide – was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved – and of the things she may have done to escape her past.
Now, twenty years later, she’s back, and she’s telling George that he’s the only one who can help her… Goodreads

and lastly I have a copy of Go To Sleep by Helen Walsh that got added to my wishlist way back in June after reading a fabulous review here

Go To Sleep

Blurb

As she drinks in the view in front of her, Rachel Massey stands on the cusp of the biggest journey of her life. For Rachel is about to become a mother. Mere hours from now, her first baby will be here and she can’t wait to meet it. Terrified and excited, there is nothing she wants more, yet she senses things will never be the same again. This is the story of Rachel’s voyage into motherhood. Full of the same hopes and dreams as any parent-to-be, she soon realises that nothing about this new world is as she imagined. As the raw shock of sleep deprivation takes its toll on her and the truth begins to blur with the unreal, Rachel becomes consumed by one sole desire – to sleep. But how far will she go to get her baby to sleep? Devastatingly honest and shockingly painful at times, Go To Sleep is a heart-wrenching story about one woman and her newborn child. It strips motherhood bare in the most unforgettable of ways. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (June 13)

Friday Finds Hosted by Should be Reading

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

So, come on — share with us your FRIDAY FINDS!

No new books have entered my house this last week! I am concentrating on choosing great books to read on my holiday and although I have plenty of both physical and eBooks I like to have a wide selection of great books to read and that invariably means choosing some new ones.

Over the last couple of weeks these are some that I’m debating packing with my swimsuits!

Go To Sleep by Helen Walsh after finding a review by What Hannah Read

Go To Sleep
Blurb

As she drinks in the view in front of her, Rachel Massey stands on the cusp of the biggest journey of her life. For Rachel is about to become a mother. Mere hours from now, her first baby will be here and she can’t wait to meet it. Terrified and excited, there is nothing she wants more, yet she senses things will never be the same again. This is the story of Rachel’s voyage into motherhood. Full of the same hopes and dreams as any parent-to-be, she soon realises that nothing about this new world is as she imagined. As the raw shock of sleep deprivation takes its toll on her and the truth begins to blur with the unreal, Rachel becomes consumed by one sole desire – to sleep. But how far will she go to get her baby to sleep? Goodreads

Too disturbing for a poolside read?

On Musings From A Bookmammal I found not one, but two books

The Blessings by Elise Juska

The Blessings

Blurb

When John Blessing dies and leaves behind two small children, the loss reverberates across his extended family for years to come. His young widow, Lauren, finds solace in her large clan of in-laws, while his brother’s wife Kate pursues motherhood even at the expense of her marriage. John’s teenage nephew Stephen finds himself involved in an act of petty theft that takes a surprising turn, and nephew Alex, a gifted student, travels to Spain and considers the world beyond his family’s Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood. Through departures and arrivals, weddings and reunions, THE BLESSINGS reveals the interior worlds of the members of a close-knit Irish-Catholic family and the rituals that unite them. Goodreads

and The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, a book for book lovers.

The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry
Blurb

A.J. Fikry owns a failing bookshop. His wife has just died, in tragic circumstances. His rare and valuable first edition has been stolen. His life is a wreck.
Amelia is a book rep, with a big heart, and a lonely life
Maya is the baby who ends up on A.J.’s bookshop floor with a note.
What happens in the bookshop that changes the lives of these seemingly normal but extraordinary characters?
This is the story of how unexpected love can rescue you and bring you back to real life, in a world that you won’t want to leave, with characters that you will come to love.
Growing up, Gabrielle Zevin’s parents took her to the library like it was church and she suspects this is why she became a writer. The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry is her eighth novel Amazon

I came across a book whose synopsis is ideal for me, what better than a little historical fiction within a healthy dollop of insanity thrown in for good measure? What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

What She Left Behind

Blurb

Ten years ago, Izzy Stone’s mother fatally shot her father while he slept. Devastated by her mother’s apparent insanity, Izzy, now seventeen, refuses to visit her in prison. But her new foster parents, employees at the local museum, have enlisted Izzy’s help in cataloging items at a long-shuttered state asylum. There, amid piles of abandoned belongings, Izzy discovers a stack of unopened letters, a decades-old journal, and a window into her own past.
Clara Cartwright, eighteen years old in 1929, is caught between her overbearing parents and her love for an Italian immigrant. Furious when she rejects an arranged marriage, Clara’s father sends her to a genteel home for nervous invalids. But when his fortune is lost in the stock market crash, he can no longer afford her care–and Clara is committed to the public asylum.
Even as Izzy deals with the challenges of yet another new beginning, Clara’s story keeps drawing her into the past. If Clara was never really mentally ill, could something else explain her own mother’s violent act? Piecing together Clara’s fate compels Izzy to re-examine her own choices–with shocking and unexpected results.
Illuminating and provocative, What She Left Behind is a masterful novel about the yearning to belong–and the mysteries that can belie even the most ordinary life. Amazon>.

Now in case after the creepy start, you have wondered where the normal murder and mayhem books are this week I confirm that no holiday would be complete without at least one quality crime book so I have added The Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham.
The Bones Beneath
Blurb

The Deal
Tom Thorne is back in charge – but there’s a terrifying price to pay. Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath he has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried twenty-five years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him.
The Danger
Unable to refuse, Thorne gathers a team and travels to a remote Welsh island, at the mercy of the weather and cut off from the mainland. Thorne is determined to get the job done and return home before Nicklin can outwit them.
The Deaths
But Nicklin knows this island well and has had time to plan ahead. Soon, new bodies are added to the old, and Thorne finds himself facing the toughest decision he has ever had to make…Amazon

What have you found this week?