Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Coffin Road – Peter May

 

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

A man is washed up on a cold day, face down on the beach on the Isle of Harris, one of the islands in the Outer Hebrides. As he tastes the sea in his mouth notes the scratchiness of the sand he realises that he doesn’t know who he is! And so starts the latest of Peter May’s novels, this one returning to the Scottish Isles. At first I thought it was going to be more similar to the Lewis Trilogy than was actually the case as it turns out the man in the sea was writing a novel about three missing lighthouse keepers back at the turn of the twentieth century. Three men who disappeared without a trace leaving the light to go out in the lighthouse with no clue to where they went. But the mystery central to this book is in the far more recent past than that tale.

In all we are told the story from the viewpoint of the man who has been renting a cottage on the Isle of Harris, Neal Maclean. From talking to his neighbours he learns that he has been making frequent trips back and forth to the Flannan Isles where the lighthouse stands, but there is no substance to his manuscript, just chapter headings. He takes a boat over to visit following his amnesia setting in to try and jog his memory but instead he finds something that is far more unwelcome.

Meanwhile, or maybe before or after as no timelines are given, a rebellious teenager in Edinburgh is struggling to come to terms with her mother’s new lover following her husband’s suicide two years before. Karen Fleming is losing her way and following an angry exchange of words with her mother decides to find out more about her father so pays her godfather a visit and starts a trail of discovery into the man, his life, his work and his death.
DS George Gunn is stationed on the Isle of Lewis when a shout comes in about a dead body on one of the smaller islands and he sets off with his partner to investigate but there is a problem, he has no idea who the dead man is let alone a motive for his murder.

Peter May a master storyteller, the tension is maintained in a variety of ways, not least the unreliability of two of the narrators, whether intentional or not. The secondary characters are no less dodgy in their reporting to the main characters and I began to feel a little like Neal Maclean at times, unsure whether up was down or vice versus. However the clues are there if you can spot them! This book also gives a bit of a lecture from the mouth of Chris, Karen’s godfather into the ecosystem and the role of the big agrochem companies in maintaining the right balance. Normally a preachy book, on any subject brings me out of the storyline in annoyance but this information was given at the right level and was relevant at the time of the discussion, which meant that it was interesting and melded into the plot seamlessly.

As always Peter May’s love of the Outer Hebrides shines through, the descriptions of the place were exceptionally evocative and I was instantly able to visualise the island including The Coffin Road where the island’s dead used to be carried in years gone by.

A satisfying and interesting read with interesting but because of the very nature of the tale, nebulous characters this is not a book to miss for those who want something a little bit more thoughtful than the run of the mill crime fiction novel.

Coffin Road
will be published on 14 January 2016 by Quercus. I was lucky enough to receive a copy via Midas PR and if you visit next week I have a special post and a copy of this book for one lucky winner!

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

Smoke and Mirrors – Elly Griffiths

Crime Fiction 5*s
Crime Fiction
5*s

November 1951 and DI Edgar Stephens Sergeant Bob Willis and Sergeant Emma Holmes are carrying out an investigation into two children have gone missing, one minute they were going to buy sweets, the next they’d disappeared into thin air. With snow falling the police have a huge task ahead of them while the local community do their best to assist in the search.

Meanwhile with pantomime season approaching, Max Mephisto is busy rehearsing for Aladdin. Playing the part of Abanazar which allows him to perform some of his amazing magic tricks, performing alongside the Great Diablo and close to his old friend Edgar he’s far from despondent at the thought of the upcoming stint on Brighton Pier. But with the headlines screaming about The Babes in the Woods the locals aren’t really into the pantomime spirit; mothers are anxious about their children and vigilantes are staking out the sweet shop, convinced the owner had something to do with the disappearance of Annie and Mark. It doesn’t take long for Edgar to call on Max for assistance, perhaps the former Magic Man can see the sleight of hand that took place to spirit the youngsters away.

This series which began with The Zig-Zag Girl, feels entirely different to any other crime series, of course the historical feel has a lot to do with that, something which is reflected in a much gentler writing style than modern crime fiction. Despite the nature of the crime in this book, there is no overt violence but rather a complex puzzle to solve and there are no shortage of leads to follow, one of which links to a murder of a young actress in a production of Babes in the Wood before WWI, but as the culprit was caught and hanged for his crime, Edgar is at a loss as to what the connection could be. This lead plus the fact that Annie was keen on the theatre and had been in the middle of rehearsing her own play, Hansel and Gretel, with her siblings and younger friends the police turn to the old fairy tales for clues. All of which makes for fascinating reading on an entirely different level than I’ve come to expect in crime fiction.

There are details which relate to the first instalment in this series mainly in the form of many of the characters but where some of those who played a big role in that first episode are relegated to bit parts in this rich sequel although I think that there is enough information included, without endless repetition, for someone to read this as a standalone book. One thing is for sure, this is a book with its varied, yet easily identifiable characters has a feeling of lightness about it at times, as well as being unexpectedly emotional at others; I actually shed a small tear at the end of this book. DI Edgar Stephens and Max Mephisto have stolen my heart!

I’d like to thank Quercus Books for allowing me to read a copy of this book before publication on 5 November 2015 in return for my honest opinion. A perfect book for winter reading, and one where the author hasn’t felt the need to provide her readers with a doorstopper, this book clocks in at a very reasonable 352 pages.

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

Can Anybody Help Me? – Sinéad Crowley

Psychological Thriller  5*s
Psychological Thriller
5*s

For a tale of our times you can’t do much better than this one. Yvonne, lonely and unsure after giving birth. Having recently moved to Ireland from London she is being urged by her husband and midwife to get out and meet more people, not really ready for that she does the next best thing and goes on-line and joins ‘NetMammy’ somewhere she can get advice and support. All too soon the on-line community has become something of a crutch as she logs on to check up on her new friend’s lives. One woman is of particular support so when her on-line presence disappears around the same time as a young single mother is reported missing, Yvonne rings the police to voice her concerns that the on-line moniker is in fact the single woman that is missing.

Some of the story contains the actual forum conversation most of these accurately reflect the types of exchange that are found on these sites but some contain clues – don’t be fooled, as well as a reflecting the modern world, this book is a thriller at heart! I enjoyed the exchanges, interaction between people that don’t really know each other is fascinating as you never quite know who is behaving just as they would anywhere, and who is hiding behind the anonymity of the screen. And Yvonne, how much of her life has she shared inadvertently while discussing her husband’s long working hours, nappies and formula milk? This is the part that made me pause for thought, after all I do have an on-line presence, it isn’t hard, should you be so minded, to find out my name, where I live etc and you would easily be able to find out where I work, who my friends are and what I do for relaxation – hopefully none of you want to hunt me down except in a friendly way!!

Along with Yvonne’s story we also see the story unfold from Sergeant Claire Boyle’s point of view. Claire is trying to carry on as normal but being pregnant and chasing criminals is taking its toll and her work colleagues as well as her friends and family telling her to take it easy is not helping her mood. She is investigating the death of the young woman found dead in a flat in Dublin leaving a young daughter, a woman who seemingly had few friends so the investigation hasn’t exactly got off to a flying start, the police aren’t even entirely sure who she had arranged to meet the night she died.

This is a fast-paced read and as the plot starts to unfold the tension mounted and had me turning the pages faster to find out exactly what had happened, and why. The subject matter is fascinating, after all social media is used by so many of us and it is part of everyday life, I am also fond of reading comments on news sites, predicting how many will come up with the more extreme views in any story is a hobby – and the NetMammy site is no different, some of the women’s comments were so predictable! I really liked Claire, her realistic persona made the book for me, a well-rounded and normal person who does her job with a healthy dose of instinct and to make the story work, a little disregarding of the rules when needed.

A book that firmly fits into the category of thriller but one with a fresh and modern feel to it this is one I will be recommending, but probably not to anyone who is a new mum!

I am enormously grateful to Quercus for my copy of Can Anybody Help Me? which was published on 29 January 2015, in return for my honest opinion.

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

The Ghost Fields – Elly Griffiths

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

In this the seventh in the series featuring Ruth Galloway, a forensic archaeologist, the historical find is the body of a pilot in a WWII plane. The hapless Barry West who came across the plane while clearing the ground for a new development of luxury homes. After recovering from the shock he calls the police and the excavation of the plane begins.

When Ruth is called by DI Harry Nelson she is convinced that the pilot hasn’t been there since the end of the war. That raises plenty of questions not least whose body is it, where has it been and who moved him to the plane and why? So quite a lot to discover and the place to start is the family who used to own the land the plane was found on; the Blackstock family have been in Norfolk for centuries.

There is plenty to get involved in this book from the array of personal and work relationships that have woven their way into the story. Judy is now having her second child with the druid Cathbad and although his role in this book is more muted than previously, it was good to see how life was treating him now that he lives in a house with his family. Ruth also gets to meet up with Frank who she met whilst filming the TV series in The Outcast Dead and of course her boss Phil is trying to muscle latest action. All the catching up with these well-known characters is part of the enjoyment of reading this series, but to get the full story arc, you do need to begin at the start of the series although it could be read as a stand-alone.

The mystery itself is surrounded by a colourful array of characters, whilst avoiding stereotypes, these are recognisable people even if some of them are not the kind that you would want to be friends with. As always Elly Griffiths gives us a good sense of place with the Norfolk landscape vividly described overlaid with a stifling hot summer which transported me right to the centre of the action. The storyline is also helped with some gentle humour so that despite the race to find a killer in the present as well as solving the mystery of the past this doesn’t feel gloomy.

Of course the link to the ghost fields in the title which is the name for the disused American air bases that were situated in the UK was of real interest to me as is the delving into the family history of the long established Blackstock family which results in some interesting revelations. This is an all-round good read, satisfying and comforting as well as informative. I’m already looking forward to the next book.

I’d like to thank the publishers Quercus for allowing me to read a copy of this book ahead of the publication date of 26 March 2015.

Previous books in the Elly Griffiths series

The Crossing Places
The Janus Stone
The House at Sea’s End
A Room Full of Bones
Dying Fall
The Outcast Dead

Standalone Novels

The Zig Zag Girl

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Zig-Zag Girl – Elly Griffiths

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

When two boxes which have an unbecoming odour are left at the station’s Left Luggage in Brighton the police are called. Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is called to investigate as once opened the contents reveal parts of a human body. When the third and final part is located with a message addressed to Edgar as ‘Captain Stephens’ he remembers a magic trick called the Zig-Zag Girl, not the immediate notion that may spring to any regular policeman’s mind, but Edgar had been part of a special unit during World War II that was made up of a contingent of magicians. Calling themselves The Magic Men their aim was to trick the German’s into thinking Scotland was better defended than it was.

In 1950’s Brighton the world moved at a different pace and Edgar is left to investigate with only a few minor admonishments from his superiors to solve the mystery, and fast. Edgar starts to meet up with the other members of The Magic Men a task that began easily enough as the famous Max Mephisto is currently top of the bill at Brighton’s Theatre Royal, and as the two men catch up on the intervening years we are also treated to the life of a travelling showman with his itinerant lifestyle full of landlady’s in B & B’s and showgirls and the pressing worry that variety shows are no longer the draw they were before the war.

I enjoyed this tale, on the one hand it is a classic mystery story, not too much blood and guts with all the nasty action pretty much taking place off page, and partly a portrait of a different lifestyle in an age when it was still so important to many to give the right impression. Edgar’s mother for instance isn’t impressed with his choice of career, she would have much preferred him to become an academic. The war changed the lives of The Magic Men and not all for the worse, with companionship in this relatively cloistered unit giving Edgar a different outlook on life especially at first when it was completed with a blossoming romance, but things didn’t end well for The Magic Men and after one final failed trick they had disbanded.

I have to admit, I loved Edgar, his lack of grandeur and his obvious hero-worship of the more world-weary Max was touching as was his sense of loyalty towards other members of The Magic Men, Tony and the Major, as well as the elderly Diabolo all of whom were intriguing characters and despite not being drawn in any great amount of depth were great secondary characters.

I have enjoyed Elly Griffith’s Ruth Galloway series rooted as they often are in the past and I was hugely impressed with the way the writing in this book effortlessly transported me to 1950’s Brighton conjuring up a different kind of magic to that of the magicians.

I’d like to thank the publishers Quercus Books for allowing me to read a copy of The Zig-Zag Girl in return for my honest opinion. If you like a complex mystery, learning about a different way of life and a well-told tale, you will probably enjoy this book.

Elly Griffith’s previous books

The Crossing Places
The Janus Stone
The House at Sea’s End
A Room Full of Bones
Dying Fall
The Outcast Dead

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Runaway – Peter May

Crime Fiction 4*'s
Crime Fiction
4*’s

Having loved all the previous books I’ve read by Peter May, The Lewis Trilogy and Entry Island I was thrilled to be offered this talented writer’s newest offering Runaway.

Jack MacKay narrates our story, told in part in 1965 when as a young lad he ran away from Glasgow with a group of friends to see if the streets of London were paved with gold. The boys were in a band and they were determined to make a name for themselves, all eager to see the bright lights and to remove themselves from various difficult situations. The gang was made up of a Jewish boy, a Jehovah Witness, A mechanic and Jack who’d just got himself expelled from school. In 2015 three of the same group of friends are on a mission to grant one of their number his dying wish, to return to London to right a wrong from many years before. In both time periods they meet a number of challenges, some of them almost farcical in nature and some that put intolerable strain on their friendship.

It appears that we are in a time where writers are making older people their focus rather than the bit parts that they have traditionally been given, I’m thinking of Elizabeth is Missing and The Girl Next Door which I read last year, and Peter May really gets across how getting older can be a cause of regret, he doesn’t gloss over unachieved ambitions but neither is this book all doom and gloom, giving a good balance by illustrating that there is a sense of the perspective gained by getting older as well as that old truth that in their minds the group may be older but they still feel the same as they’ve always done, just perhaps a little slower. Life’s lessons are delivered to Rick, Jack’s grandson who has been torn away from his twilight lifestyle gaming to act as the driver for the 2015 adventure.

At first I found the narrative style, particularly of the 1965 trip off-putting as it is told by Jack looking back at this time and this inevitably means that some of the views felt way too old for the boy he would have been. There are political statements made about a range of issues including social housing, food banks, unemployment amongst others which made me feel like an elderly Uncle was lecturing me which I found disconcerting. As the story progresses and we find out the part the man who has been brutally murdered in 2015 played in the episodes from 1965, the narrative clicked and story felt more natural. The story is rescued from being entirely from a male perspective with a cousin of one of the group joining them in London. Peter May is a master at drawing a range of believable characters, and that is true in this book too with each member of the group drawn distinctly, I especially loved Jeff and his turn of phrase. As the book draws to a close there were a number of surprises for me as my conclusions proved way off the mark, as usual.

This is a semi-autobiographical novel featuring some of Peter May’s own escapades in London back in the sixties, and it certainly reads like an autobiography, although hopefully the crime committed is fantasy. As such there are references to the music of the time along with details of clothes worn that pertain would add a feeling of nostalgia if only I’d been born then.

I would like to thank the publishers for allowing me to read Runaway and for any of Peter May’s fans that may have been in a band and who lived during this time of change, this is a must read. Runaway is due to be published on 15 January 2015.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Missing One – Lucy Atkins

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction
4*’s

What would you do if you were given a window to a life your mother led that you’d never heard of? Could you ignore the scant information if your mother had just died and your father refuses to discuss the past? This is the situation Kali finds herself in as the eldest daughter to Elena she is sent to find her birth certificate by her younger sister, and in Kali’s eyes, her mother’s favourite daughter Alice. The birth certificate is elusive but in amongst her mother’s things she finds reference to a life spent in Canada and postcards from a woman called Susanna Gillespie.

Kali is suffering, the day before she received the phone call to say her mother was dying, she’d realised that her marriage to Doug was over, in a dark place with unresolved issues with her mother that rippled out to include her father and Alice she isn’t ready to return home to face her husband and on a whim travels from London to Vancouver on a search of her ancestors and Susanna Gillespie, a well-known artist. Kali’s visit to Vancouver throws up more questions than it answers and she moves onto the remote Spring Tide Island where she meets up with Susanna who knew her mother in the days when she was researching Orca’s by tracking them and listening to the way they communicate which lends a neat parallel to this story about families and the ties that bind them.

The description of the setting is amazing with beautiful and terrifying of a place where nature rules with storms and the sea giving a menacing background to the encounter with Susannah. The characters are realistic although not particularly likeable at times but understandably so, as the story gets darker and more terrifying. The book would have been more engaging if some of the repetition had been reduced which although I’m sure was written to underline the reluctance of everyone around Kali to give up their secrets just became a little annoying, especially in a book of 569 pages. The descriptions of the orcas, the excitement of finding and researching the pods was extremely well-researched but again could have been condensed especially as Elena’s character also suffered from repetitive thinking, however when the action kicks in you may well find yourself on the edge of your seat like I did.

If you like your mysteries to have a personal element then this book about family secrets certainly has a different, if quite scary, backdrop, which included some fascinating information about the amazing orcas that are designed to live in the sea and not tanks for entertainment.  Although quite sad in places on reflection this tale told illustrates the power of a mother’s love for her child as Kali goes to extraordinary lengths to protect her child.

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

Good Girls Don’t Die – Isabelle Grey

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

For anyone who thinks that the good old police procedural has had its day, think again. Isabelle Grey has come up with a cracking new novel which is the first in a new series featuring Detective Sergeant Grace Fisher.

Grace Fisher left her last posting in Maidstone after being driven out for grassing up a fellow officer, losing her job, home and husband in the process. Taking a demotion she joins the Major Investigation Team in Essex and starts on the day a student is reported as missing following the end of year exams. Anxious that her past hasn’t followed her Grace is keen to make her mark, but reluctant to tread on anyone’s toes in the process during the investigation into Polly Sinclair’s disappearance she meets up with an old friend who is a journalist on the local paper.
When a body of another student is found and the media turn on the police details only known to a favoured few are soon splashed across the local paper. Grace is under suspicion for leaking the news and Grace is soon fighting to avoid disciplinary action.

This is an intricately plotted story which has a number of threads that held my attention from beginning to the end. As in any good detective novel the red herrings are carefully placed and far from obvious, the motive believable and above all populated by a great range of characters. Grace is an appealing protagonist and one who despite her unfortunate start in Essex is more normal than many who populate this genre. Her partner Lance is equally affable although understandably cautious about Grace and the range of secondary characters from victims to suspects and everyone in between all realistically portrayed. As in real life there are the public faces and the private faces, none more so than the hack from the national paper The Courier, Ivo Sweatman who is easily the best secondary character to grace the genre for years.

I love the way the media activity is seamlessly integrated into the storyline with Ivo chasing his headlines in a ruthless manner which mirrors contemporary news stories rather too well. Ivo is clear that while the Senior Investigating Officer may want the truth he is chasing the story and sad though it may be, the longer the police take to find a suspect to charge the story will keep rolling, and as we know it doesn’t take long for the media to turn on the police. Isabelle Grey hasn’t ignored social media either keeping this story right up to date.
Isabelle Grey’s training in screenwriting shines through, this is well-written and engaging which despite the number of different lines of enquiry being followed as well as some sub-plots both past and present, is easy to follow where a lesser writer could have tripped themselves up on the knots.

This is a series I will be following without a doubt, particularly as the first book of the series can be far too much background and not enough present, this author has provided just the right combination of both. I’d like to say a big thank you to the publishers Quercus for allowing me to have a copy of the book ahead of publication on 9 October 2014 in return for this honest review.

Previous Books by Isabelle Grey:

Out of Sight

In a village in south-west France, a young Englishwoman, Leonie, meets a quiet, withdrawn man called Patrice. He has no wife, no child, and refuses ever to get inside a car.
Leonie is certain she can help this man, that her love will heal his emotional wounds. But Patrice will not tell her anything about his past. So she decides to search herself – unaware of what she’ll discover.
Five years before, Patrice was living in London. He was called Patrick, and he had a wife and child. And one fateful day in July changed his life for ever.

The Bad Mother

Recently divorced, Tessa Parker runs a successful B&B in a seaside town. During a surprise visit from Australia, a long-lost aunt lets slip a family secret that unsettles her fragile world.
In shock, and feeling betrayed by her whole family, Tessa confides in her ex- husband just as he reveals he has a new woman in his life.
Struck unexpectedly by jealousy; balancing her own turmoil against the demands of parenting, Tessa tries to trace her birth father, with devastating results. Yet she fails to see how this is a crucial moment in her children’s lives. If she gets things wrong, the consequences could be fatal.

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

The Dark Meadow – Andrea Maria Schenkel

Crime Fiction 5*'s
Crime Fiction
5*’s

This slim novel packs a mighty punch which is going to linger in this reader’s mind with some powerful issues covered under the guise of a murder mystery.

The story is told eighteen years after the death of Afra and her young son in a small German village when a stranger turns up in a tavern, drunk he has an old cutting from a newspaper about the crime provoking memories of what happened on that day when the storm clouds rolled in on the washing hanging in the cottager’s yard.

Afra had returned to her catholic parent’s home in post-war Germany years after she left as a 14 year old girl, she had no choice, her employer’s had thrown her out for having relations with a Frenchman and so with she returns to a house which slowly fills with anger. When her pregnancy becomes apparent her father, Johann, is resentful of the shame she has bought on him and his wife Theres and suspects both his daughter and his wife of hiding things from him as his dementia takes hold. When the police are called, Johann confesses and the case is closed.

So what is the book about? Where is the mystery? The story is told by recreating the day of the murder from different viewpoints, including Afra’s to build layer upon layer until the whole picture is clear. These multiple narratives range from Police Officers who visited the scene of crime remembering the events of years before, to Afra’s unwanted suitor, to the itinerant salesmen who passed through the village and the shame that Afra’s parents felt about their illegitimate grandson Albert and the ever pressing need for money to cover the cost of two extra mouths to feed. As the day is reconstructed piece by piece despite the evidence being provided as fact with no excitable emotions or race to find the killer that our crime fiction is usually full of, this incredibly powerful novel that made this reader think about the crime committed in terms of the lives it affected and sheer pointlessness far more than those action-packed thrillers ever do.

This is a nuanced and dark tale, based upon a real story in Andrea Maria Schenkel’s native Germany. If the names hadn’t been foreign I would have forgotten that this wasn’t originally written in English so seamless was Andrea Bell’s translation. It is unsurprising given the depth of this novel that Shenkel has won critical acclaim of a literary nature in Germany for this book. I’m pleased to hear that this is her fourth novel and I will be seeking out her earlier work to see if that packs as mighty a punch as this one does.

I’d like to say a big thank you to the publishers Quercus for allowing me to have a copy of this book to read in return for this honest review and to Liz Loves Books whose interview with the author led me to seek this fantastic read out.

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Wildflower Hill – Kimberley Freeman

Historical Fiction 4*'s
Historical Fiction
4*’s

I chose this book as I like dual time-line stories and this one has the twenties for the past and I am fascinated by the period sandwiched between the two wars. The stories shared are those of Emma, a ballerina who travels the world and Beattie, her Grandmother, a young woman, living in Glasgow in straightened circumstances.

Emma has it all, a nice apartment in London, a long-term relationship with Josh and her career as a famous ballerina when she is forced to take stock following an accident. She returns to her mother in Australia and is given the news that she has inherited Wildflower Hill from her Grandmother. As she starts to clear out the house still packed with Beattie’s belongings she finds a photo that leads her to discover more about her Grandmother’s life.

When the story opens in 1929, Beattie is living in Glasgow with her idealistic father and her downtrodden mother when she is introduced to a man who will alter her life forever.

Not only is this story set between different time-periods but their stories criss-cross between Scotland, England and Australia as we follow their trials and tribulations. For me Beattie’s story was the more compelling of the two as she battles many of life’s injustices, heeding her friend Cora’s words:
“There are two types of women in this world, those who do things and those who have things done to them.”
As the story switches from sleazy clubs to sheep-farming in Australia; from domestic servitude to success and we see Beattie ostracised for being a woman who didn’t follow the social dictates of the time.

Beattie’s story is far more interesting as she battles against the odds as the reader is constantly reminded that Emma’s life as a ballerina was a cossetted existence, because of this she was selfish until she goes to Wildflower Hill and learns more about her Grandmother’s life and appreciates those around her and takes the time to reassess her life and her values.

There were a couple of places in the book where the timing of events were muddled which should have been captured prior to going to print but these were minor and didn’t spoil the flow of this tale that touches on a number of issues that a woman such of Beattie would have encountered. There were some lovely touches where the narrative linked the two women’s lives however, I didn’t feel Wildflower Hill compared directly to Kate Morton’s books, as the publicity suggests. because although this is a dual time zone tale it didn’t have the same element of mystery. As book with two linked stories this made for an enjoyable foray into not only a different time period but also cross continents.