Posted in Books I have read

The Child’s Child – Barbara Vine

Psychological Crime 4*'s
Psychological Crime
4*’s

Barbara Vine has written some of my favourite books, those that I have returned to over the years to re-read just for sheer enjoyment despite already knowing what happens.  Now I rarely re-read books and you’d think ones billed as crime would be the last thing to read, after all you already know what happens.  When she writes as Vine (she was first published as Ruth Rendell) her stories often focus on family secrets and misunderstandings or hidden crimes with the story tracking the resulting consequences.  These are books that are character driven, they are not thrillers with fast action but books often spanning years where the characters involved deal with the ripple spreading effect of their actions.

In The Child’s Child we meet siblings, Grace and Andrew who have inherited their grandmother Verity’s large London house.  Deciding they want to keep it they decide to live there together, but, as the blurb reveals, they hadn’t considered what would happen when one of them moves their partner in, particularly if they didn’t get on.  Tensions are soon revealed and the reader is party to the amount of introspection that Grace struggles with when she should be writing her dissertation.

Grace is exploring the lives of unmarried mothers in literature when she picks up what for me is the best part of this story, a book written but not published, which follows the life of Maud, an unmarried mother.  Digging deep into family life starting in 1929 this is a great examination of how disgrace was dealt with at that time.  Vine has a knack of making everything believable, I knew Maud, I may not have liked her but I could see how her character, her views and her circumstances lead her to become the woman she was at the end of her story. Although a little jumpy, you do suddenly realise the story-line has moved on a few years, this part of the book gave me a fascinating look into the mores of the times; this was the part of the book that resonated, Grace and Andrew’s story appearing a little forced for my tastes but providing a mirror of siblings living eighty years apart.

After waiting years for another Vine book, I opened the page and felt soothed by the instantly recognisable style, these books are great for nosey people, those who want to know what goes on behind closed doors and Vine writes in a way that allows the reader to do this.  There is often character introspection, plotting and picking over events so that you really understand their thought processes, their hopes and their fears.

I enjoyed this book but it wouldn’t be the one that I would recommend as a first read so here are my top five Barbara Vine books

A Fatal Inversion – In 1976 a group of friends camp in Wyvis Hall, 10 years later the body of a woman and child are found buried in the pet cemetery, how are the two events connected and whose are the bodies.  Some fantastic hidden clues in this one!

Asta’s Book – In 1905 Asta and her husband move to England with their two sons from Denmark.  Seventy years later the diaries she wrote are translated and published and reveal much more than was expected.

A Dark Adapted Eye – Vera Hillyard and her beautiful sister Eden are locked together trying to hide a secret from the 1950’s.

The Chimney Sweeper’s Boy – Switching between the 1950’s and 1990’s when a noted author dies his total reinvention at the age of 20 is discovered

The Brimstone Wedding – Jenny works in a care home and becomes attached to the elderly Stella who reveals her early life which has parallels to Jenny’s current dilemma.

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (February 5)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths due to be published tomorrow by Quercus!

The Outcast Dead
Blurb

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, a forbidding edifice that was once a prison.
She believes the body may be that of infamous Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged in 1867 for the murder of five children in her care.
DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-dead killers. Immersed in the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King’s Lynn home, he’s convinced that a family member is responsible, though others on his team think differently.
Then a child goes missing. Could the abduction be linked to the long-dead Mother Hook? Ruth is pulled into the case, and back towards Nelson. NetGalley

I’m not very far through this yet but so far I’m enjoying the mix of present mystery of a dead child combined with the fictional horrendous baby-farmer Mrs Hook who inspired a local rhyme;

Don’t cry little darling.
Don’t cry little dear.
Don’t cry little darling.
Or Mother Hook will hear.

I have just finished The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine

The Child's Child

I’ve been visiting my Mum in the UK so I am now even further behind with my reviews but this will be done before the end of the week!

Next I am going to read Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary

Someone Else's Skin

Blurb

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome. Dependable; fierce; brilliant at her job; a rising star in the ranks. Everyone knows how Marnie fought to come back from the murder of her parents, but very few know what is going on below the surface. Because Marnie has secrets she won’t share with anyone.
But then so does everyone. Certainly those in the women’s shelter Marnie and Detective Sergeant Noah Jake visit on that fateful day. The day when they arrive to interview a resident, only to find one of the women’s husbands, who shouldn’t have been there, lying stabbed on the floor.
As Marnie and Noah investigate the crime further, events begin to spiral and the violence escalates. Everyone is keeping secrets, some for survival and some, they suspect, to disguise who they really are under their skin.
Now, if Marnie is going to find the truth she will have to face her own demons head on. Because the time has come for secrets to be revealed… Goodreads

Posted in Weekly Posts

WWW Wednesday (January 29)

WWW Wednesday green

Hosted by Miz B at Should be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Book of You by Claire Kendal, if this book continues the way it has started it may well be my favourite fiction read of 2014 (so far)  I’m enjoying the two stories in one approach which Claire Kendal has employed for this book.

The Book of You


Blurb

His name is Rafe, and he is everywhere Clarissa turns. At the university where she works. Her favorite sewing shop. The train station. Outside her apartment. His messages choke her voice mail; his gifts litter her mailbox. Since that one regrettable night, his obsession with her has grown, becoming more terrifying with each passing day. And as Rafe has made clear, he will never let her go.
Clarissa’s only escape from this harrowing nightmare is inside a courtroom–where she is a juror on a trial involving a victim whose experiences eerily parallel her own. There she finds some peace and even makes new friends, including an attractive widower named Robert, whose caring attentions make her feel desired and safe. But as a disturbingly violent crime unfolds in the courtroom, Clarissa realizes that to survive she must expose Rafe herself. Conceiving a plan, she begins collecting the evidence of Rafe’s madness to use against him–a record of terror that will force her to relive every excruciating moment she desperately wants to forget. Proof that will reveal the twisted, macabre fairy tale that Rafe has spun around them . . . with an ending more horrifying than her darkest fears. Goodreads

I have just finished The Never List by Koethi Zan

theneverlist koethizan

This is one of those books that could scare you stupid if you aren’t careful. Two friends find themselves trapped in a cellar despite having a list of things to keep them safe, The Never List. My review will follow later this week.

My next read is going to be The Child’s Child by Barbara Vine

The Child's Child


Blurb

What sort of betrayal would drive a brother and sister apart?
When Grace and her brother Andrew inherit their grandmother’s house, they surprise few people by deciding to move in together. But they’ve always got on well and the London house is large enough to split down the middle.
There’s just one thing they’ve not taken into account though. What if one of them wants to bring a lover to the house? When Andrew’s partner James moves in, and immediately picks a fight about the treatment of gay men, the balance is altered – with almost fatal consequences. Amazon

I’m approaching this one with a degree of trepidation as I have a feeling it will disappoint, but I can’t not read this one as I have such affection for Barbara Vine, the author who first introduced me to psychological thrillers; Asta’s Book, The Brimstone Wedding and the Dark Adapted Eye, comfort reads that have served me well over the years!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (December 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!

Well the pile grows ever bigger so here is a look at this weeks finds!

Bibliobeth’s review of The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold meant this was instantly added to the TBR pile

The Book of Secrets

At once a captivating mystery, a love letter to classic literature, and a sharp-eyed examination of marriage, The Book of Secrets is a gripping novel of family, friendship, and the undeniable pull of the past.
After more than twenty years of marriage, Chloe Sinclair comes home one night to find that her husband, Nate, is gone. All he has left behind is a cryptic note explaining that he’s returned to their childhood town of Redbridge, California—a place Chloe never wants to see again.
Tending to their small bookstore while trying to reach Nate, Chloe stumbles upon a notebook tucked inside his antique copy of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Written in a code that Nate and his sisters created as kids, the pages contain long-buried secrets from her and Nate’s past, and clues to why he went back to Redbridge after all these years. As Chloe struggles to decipher the notebook’s hidden messages, she revisits the seminal moments of their youth: the day she met the enigmatic Sinclair children, their increasingly dangerous games a magical escape from their troubled childhoods; the first time Nate kissed her, camped out on the beach like Robinson Crusoe; the elaborate plan she and Nate devised, inspired by Romeo and Juliet, to break away from from his oppressive father, and how the thwarted attempt upended their lives forever. As the reason for Nate’s absence comes to light, the truth will shatter everything Chloe knows—about her husband, his family, and herself.

EreaderIQ has also alerted me to some fantastic price drops this week which meant that a book that had been on my wishlist, The Child’s Child by Barabara Vine is now downloaded. This book has received less than favourable reviews but it really wouldn’t be right for me not to try it for myself after all is was the Barbara Vine books that first opened my eyes to psychological thrillers.

The Child's Child

Blurb

What sort of betrayal would drive a brother and sister apart?
When Grace and her brother Andrew inherit their grandmother’s house, they surprise few people by deciding to move in together. But they’ve always got on well and the London house is large enough to split down the middle.
There’s just one thing they’ve not taken into account though. What if one of them wants to bring a lover to the house? When Andrew’s partner James moves in, and immediately picks a fight about the treatment of gay men, the balance is altered – with almost fatal consequences. Amazon

The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson also snuck their way onto my kindle with at a low price that couldn’t be resisted.

The Flavours of Love
Blurb

It’s been 18 months since my husband was murdered and I’ve decided to finish writing The Flavours of Love, the cookbook he started before he died. Everyone thinks I’m coping so well without him – they have no idea what I’ve been hiding or what I do away from prying eyes. But now that my 14-year-old daughter has confessed something so devastating it could destroy our family all over again, and my husband’s killer has started to write to me claiming to be innocent, I know it’s only a matter of time before the truth about me and what I’ve done is revealed to the world.
My name is Saffron Mackleroy and this is my story.

Dorothy writes such readable books that I now need to juggle my reading list to fit this in!

Lastly a recommendation from Amazon caught my eye Creep by Jennifer Hillier has also made it onto my TBR

Creep

Blurb

Psychology professor Dr Sheila Tao is an expert on human behaviour, so when she begins an affair with charming graduate student Ethan Wolfe, she’s well aware she’s playing with fire. Consumed by lust and riddled with guilt, Sheila ends their three month fling when she becomes engaged to a kind and loving man who adores her. But Ethan has different plans…
NO ONE CAN.
When a star student is stabbed to death, it’s clear someone is raising the stakes of violence, sex and blackmail on campus. Before long, Sheila is caught in a terrifying cat-and-mouse game with Ethan: the lover she couldn’t resist is now the monster who will never let her go.