Posted in 20 Books of Summer 2015!, Book Review, Books I have read

Every Secret Thing – Emma Cole

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Historical Fiction 3*s
Historical Fiction
3*s

Having enjoyed a couple of Emma Cole’s novels written under her more popular pen name, Susanna Kearsley, I was keen to try this novel which promised a more ‘thriller’ angle to her normal historical novels and even better this one has a historical angle with a mystery to boot.

This book starts so well quickly moving the narrative onto the crux of the mystery to be solved.

I first met Andrew Deacon on the morning of the day he died.
It bothered me, afterwards how little I remembered him. Someone who changes your life the way Deacon changed mine should, by rights, be remembered, imprinted indelibly onto your brain.
‘I have a story I could tell you,’ he said. ‘A Story of an old murder, but one still deserving of justice. 

Kate is a journalist covering a trial at the Old Bailey for her paper back in Canada when she met Andrew Deacon on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral although at first she was dismissive, as he left he intimated he knew her Grandmother, she had to know more. Kate uses her journalistic training to track back through the years meeting the key players as she goes.

I loved the first third of this book, where Kate talks to her Grandmother Georgie and discovers the age old truth that she hadn’t always been old, in fact when she was young and had a role to play during World War II. There was a lot to enjoy and learn about especially as Georgie was recruited to work for the British Security Coordination in New York and the descriptions of her life as a young woman in an unknown country were fascinating.

Unfortunately for me, much of the remainder of the story was one of espionage with Whitehall heavily implicated in the mystery that Kate is determined to uncover. I had trouble believing that Whitehall would be interested in keeping secrets so many years after the event but those who like conspiracy theories will probably enjoy this section much more.

I’m not entirely sure what year the book is supposed to be set in but I’m guessing at the end of the nineties although the book was published in 2006. The portion of the book set in the past is inserted into each present day chapter as a recollection from the past rather than a dual-time line novel and this worked really well in linking the past events with the present.

There were some interesting characters but it was Andrew Deacon’s story which touched my heart as we followed him through time starting with his sudden death and then skipping back to his life as a young man working for the Intelligence service.

As well as switching time periods the book also criss-crosses countries featuring England, Canada, the US and Portugal with the main story told from Kate’s perspective told in the first person, with regular portions in third person narrative from Andrew Deacon and those who knew him.

An interesting story and although I didn’t entirely buy into the spy portion of this book, there was plenty to enjoy from some really wonderful characters counterbalanced with some despicable ones who’d used the war to further their own lives, seemingly oblivious to the sacrifices being made by so many.  This is a book which has something for everyone, a historical angle, a thriller along with a sprinkling of romance.

This is the second read for my 20 Books of Summer 2015! Challenge, see the books chosen and read so far here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (January 12)

Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer each week…
• Describe one of your reading habits.
• Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
• What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
• Tell us what you’re reading right now — what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; what you are (or, aren’t) enjoying it.
• Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
• Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books — let’s hear it, then!
• What are you currently reading? What do you think you’ll read next? What did you recently finish reading?

We are now more than a third of the way through January so how many of you who made bookish resolutions have kept them? I don’t make resolutions and I certainly wouldn’t publish them as in no way do I want to be held accountable for my failings. However I do want to read more of the books I’ve chosen for myself this year rather than allowing them to disappear further down the TBR pile.

So how have I done so far? Well I’ve read 4 books, 1 Novella and 1 short – out of those 4 books were review copies, the novella was A Hank of Hair and I bought this copy in September 2014. The short, Broadchurch: The End is Where It Begins which doesn’t really count as towards any total being just 17 pages long was purchased and read on the same day!

My other reading has been done on-line where I have been browsing The Proceedings of the OLD BAILEY 1674 to 1913 which is absolutely fascinating!!  The link I have provided is about a fourteen year old girl consorting with soldiers against her mother’s wishes. The mother has her charged with stealing a shawl in what appears to be revenge for her disappearance. I started by browsing randomly, there are multiple search terms you can use, and  have been shocked by the number of charges there are for bigamy, it appears that in the absence of easy access to divorce men and women just remarried hoping that their previous marriage wouldn’t be discovered!

I am currently reading another review copy Alice And The Fly by James Rice

Alice and the Fly
Blurb

This is a book about phobias and obsessions, isolation and dark corners. It’s about families, friendships, and carefully preserved secrets. But above everything else it’s about love. Finding love – in any of its forms – and nurturing it.
Miss Hayes has a new theory. She thinks my condition’s caused by some traumatic incident from my past I keep deep-rooted in my mind. As soon as I come clean I’ll flood out all these tears and it’ll all be ok and I won’t be scared of Them anymore. The truth is I can’t think of any single traumatic childhood incident to tell her. I mean, there are plenty of bad memories – Herb’s death, or the time I bit the hole in my tongue, or Finners Island, out on the boat with Sarah – but none of these are what caused the phobia. I’ve always had it. It’s Them. I’m just scared of Them. It’s that simple. Goodreads

I have recently finished Runaway by Peter May

Runaway

Blurb

In 1965, five teenage friends fled Glasgow for London to pursue their dream of musical stardom. Yet before year’s end three returned, and returned damaged. In 2015, a brutal murder forces those three men, now in their sixties, to journey back to London and finally confront the dark truth they have run from for five decades.
Runaway is a crime novel covering fifty years of friendships solidified and severed, dreams shared and shattered and passions lit and extinguished; set against the backdrop of two unique and contrasting cities at two unique and contrasting periods of recent history. Goodreads


My review will be posted later this week.

Next I am planning to read another recent purchase, probably Taunting The Dead by Mel Sherratt

Taunting The Dead

Blurb

Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, D.S. Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.
Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.
As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim. Amazon


How is 2015 shaping up for you in 2015?

What are you reading this week?

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

Apple Tree Yard – Louise Doughty

Women's Fiction 5*'s
Women’s Fiction
5*’s

This has to be one of the best books I have read this year, I have been recommending it to all my friends who have all appreciated the tip!

What a fantastic story, the prose grabs you as soon as the first page is turned with the description of Yvonne Carmichael writing a letter to her lover. Yvonne is a respected scientist, a geneticist, married to Guy a fellow scientist and has two grown up children. The model woman so why, a few pages in, is she on trial?

The story is told with the events slowly teased out, but not so slowly that it is frustrating, the characters so alive that I could believe that I had met them and walked the very streets of London to Apple Tree Yard. The court room scenes were clearly well researched, I have since found out that Louise Doughty spent some time at the Old Bailey with the prosecution at a murder trial, this layer of authenticity only adds to the story being told. The story involves Mr X, Guy and a cast of others whose lives change because of Yvonne actions. Even better, just as you think you know everything and all that remains is the tying up of loose ends, there is a clever sting in the tale.

The story isn’t just about adultery and lust, it is as much about the way women perceive themselves and how they are judged by others. It is about the stories we tell ourselves, our own narrative, and the way this changes when someone else is let into these stories. I can’t recommend this book highly enough,it is really the best book I have read this year.

If ever there is a book to make someone stop on the brink of having an affair this book is it!