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

Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

Psychological Thriller  5*'s
Psychological Thriller

The first thing to say about this book is it didn’t deserve to be endlessly moved down the TBR pile and for once I concede that the hype was well-deserved.

Told in the first part by Nick in the aftermath of his wife Amy’s disappearance on their fifth wedding anniversary and excerpts from her diary kept throughout the entire time of their relationship. I love novels narrated in this way and Gillian Flynn handles the device with extra special depth; if you are anything like me your heart will drop as revelations are made. As the reader I found myself constantly revising what I’d believed from earlier sections in the book as the layers of truth were expertly peeled away, no single bomb-shell for this book rather a series of explosions.

The second part tells a totally different story, again in two parts which speeds up the pace whilst moving the story to a whole new level and a faster pace… But unfortunately I can’t say anymore without ruining this book for anyone who hasn’t read this yet.

I love a book with twists and turns but I think it is Gillian Flynn’s ability to absolutely capture the truth about the way men and women see relationships when Amy lays on her yearly treasure hunt for his anniversary present Nick just knows that he isn’t going to have remembered the key moments which meant so much to her let alone unravel her cryptic clues; after all Nick thought he had married a cool girl, one who likes all the same thing as men and is great in bed too!

For a long time Cool Girl offended me. I used to see men — friends, coworkers, strangers — giddy over these awful pretender women, and I’d want to sit these men down and calmly say: You are not dating a woman, you are dating a woman who has watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them.”

Amy describes what she calls the dancing monkeys who dance to the wife and girlfriends every whim

“Wear this, don’t wear that. Do this chore now and do this chore when you get a chance and by that I mean now. And definitely, definitely give up the things you love for me, so I will have proof that you love me best. It’s the female pissing contest — as we swan around our book clubs and our cocktail hours, there are few things women love more than being able to detail the sacrifices our men make for us.

A call-and-response, the response being: “Ohh, that’s so sweet.”

Whilst Nick forced to reflect on what their relationship really meant concluded

“Worse, I convinced myself our tragedy was entirely her making. I spent years working myself into the very thing I swore she was: a righteous ball of hate.”

I still haven’t made up my mind what I feel about how this book finishes, the end crept up and surprised me which I always find disconcerting. On reflection I think the ending was fitting even though it didn’t end the way I prefer.

So I recommend this book that is not only a great read but one that can make you reflect on the nature of relationships both familial and romantic whilst trying to figure out who did what to whom and what it would like to be face to face with a sociopath!

I didn’t start reading this book at the right time, it didn’t deserve short reads, sandwiched between work, parties and Christmas shopping. As the book progressed I became resentful of all the sociable activities and went to sleep at nights longing to know what was going to happen next while reflecting on the few pages I’d managed to squeeze into a busy day but I managed to steal enough time (when everyone was sleeping) to finish the book off. This to me is a measure of a brilliant book, yes I love reading but I can usually put a book to one side for ‘real’ activities…… and even better this book is currently only 99p which is an absolute bargain.

Gone Girl – Amazon UK

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Moment Keeper – Buffy Andrews

Contemporary Fiction 3*'s
Contemporary Fiction

I’d like to start by saying a big thank you to the publishers Carina for giving me a copy of The Moment Keeper in exchange for an honest review.

A Moment Keeper is someone who has died who takes note of each of the moments in a living person for them to see at the end of their life. The flashback of key events is made up from their faithful recording of events over the years.

In The Moment Keeper Sarah is assigned the job of recording Olivia’s life and so the book starts with the naming of baby Olivia by her parents. Olivia is adopted but clearly adored by her parents, however it becomes clear that Sarah’s life wasn’t quite as full of love and affection. Sarah’s mother died and her father Matt appears to blame her for the loss of his wife.

At first I found the large amounts of dialogue in this book a little off-putting and it took a while for me to get into this style of writing. The story continues as along with Sarah we watch Olivia grow up, through childhood into the teenage years where Olivia peruses her ambition to become a dancer while Sarah’s wonderful Grandmother longs for her to have opportunities at college and to better herself. Needless to say everything does not go to plan.

I found myself rooting for Sarah, longed to know why she died at such a young age, and wondered at the sheer contrast of Olivia’s life. I did find the difference in attitudes of young American teenagers quite different to those portrayed here in the UK but I think that is probably just due to my lack of exposure to the cultural differences.

Be warned this is a tale about choices, bereavement and relationships in this book which may cause a few tears to fall…

This is the first book I have read as part of the COYER challenge.
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Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Five Star Reads

The Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty

Women's Fiction 5*'s
Women’s Fiction

I chose this book based on the blurb which sounded intriguing

At the heart of The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty is a letter that’s not meant to be read . . .

Mother of three and wife of John-Paul, Cecilia discovers an old envelope in the attic.
Written in her husband’s hand, it says: to be opened only in the event of my death.
Curious, she opens it – and time stops.

John-Paul’s letter confesses to a terrible mistake which, if revealed, would wreck their family as well as the lives of others.

‘Oh, Pandora. Where’s your willpower? You were told not to open that box, you snoopy girl, you typical woman with your insatiable curiosity; now look what you’ve gone and done.’

Lianne Moriarty has produced an immensely readable book in the Husband’s Secret because it includes all the ingredients of a good story; a believable plot, characters that are well-developed and writing that pulls the reader in from the first page. The short chapters; there are 59 for this 400 page book, alternate between three women’s lives plus excerpts from an April day in 1984 when Rachel’s daughter Janie made a decision which was to have repercussions years later.

The story concerns the fate of three women in the week before Easter. Cecilia is the super-organised mother of three girls ranging from 6 to 12 whom accidently finds letter written by her husband Jean-Paul, stating it is to be read after his death. Rachel works as a secretary at the local primary school still grieving for a daughter who died as a teenager while Tess has returned to Sydney with a convenient excuse to help her mother who has broken her ankle but in reality to escape a momentous revelation from her husband Will. The three women’s lives are connected but we don’t find out why and how until later in the book when we have got to know them.

Set in Australia this book starts with the myth of Pandora ‘s Box and this theme runs throughout; what do you do when you would rather not know something. The three women all find out that their lives and beliefs aren’t quite what they think they are, they examine their core values and have to live with the consequences of their actions.

I received my copy of this book through Amazon Vine.