Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Exit – Helen FitzGerald

Psychological Suspense 4*'s
Psychological Suspense
4*’s

Catherine, a lover of social media, unemployed and drifting is finally driven to get a job as a way of avoiding another unpleasant evening meeting with her Mum where she would be presented with her failure following items for discussion, and quite possibly, a list!

The first of Catherine’s lists appeared when she was aged five:

  1. Make three new friends at school and ask them if they’d like to come over to play some time
  2. Write a story for me.
  3. Put your dirty clothes in the washing basket in the utility room (This, Catherine, is something I would like you to do from now on)
  4. Make your own breakfast – cereal and milk. (This is also something I’d like you to do from now on.)
  5. Do at least three kind things for others.

and they continued every Sunday until she left school.

The job Catherine managed to bag was at Dear Green nursing home where the most appealing of the residents is 82-year-old Rose. Rose has dementia and appears to be thrown back to an event that occurred when she was 10 and an evacuee with her sister at a farm. Rose is also a famous author and illustrator with a series of books to her name which features a brave little girl called Tilly, books the young Catherine had loved.

The early scenes of the book are very engaging, while Catherine is young and thoughtless she has some good qualities and the obvious mystery is what Rose is re-enacting when she is gripped by the memory from childhood, but also she is desperate to bring attention to the home, Room 7 is locked and Rose alludes to danger but is unable to articulate in words what she is so frightened of.

As more characters are introduced and then layered with individual characteristics, I was charmed by the captivating dialogue between Catherine and some of the residents, and slowly she appears to alter her opinion on her previously frivolous life and become more measured in her approach to her work, but this soon runs in tandem to something altogether darker and more disturbing.

I loved The Cry , despite the fact that it made me feel very uncomfortable, and had half-expected another scenario where all the characters had varying degrees of unpleasantness, but Helen FitzGerald is clearly not a one-trick pony. I can’t tell you any more about the plot without spoiling the story for others, but I am able to confirm that the characterisation is excellent with my opinion on some, particularly Catherine’s mother, swayed by the revelations that the author timed perfectly. Along with this the author has an expert touch cleverly building the tension while still keeping the overall feel of the story intact and the plot, well that was hole free!

In a way this story inevitably reminded me of Elizabeth is Missing , but in contrast to that book Rose retained control with less emphasis on the limitations of her illness as a whole, instead focussing in the long ago event that had such an impact on her life.  However like Elizabeth she had a mystery in the past and one in the present and only at the point of revelation does it all become clear.

Another winner from this talented author and I want to say a big thank you to the publishers Faber and Faber for allowing me to read this book prior to the publication date of 5 February 2015

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (February 2)

Musing Mondays

Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I am currently reading The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley. I’m in need of something a little uplifting at the moment and this book which promises a sweeping classic romance, and from what I’ve read so far I can’t disagree and I love a story where the narrative dives into the past to tell the tale.

The Book of Lost and Found

Blurb

In many ways, my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.
It’s when life started in earnest
HERTFORDSHIRE, 1928
The paths of Tom and Alice collide against a haze of youthful, carefree exuberance. And so begins a love story that finds its feet by a lake one silvery moonlit evening . . .
It’s when there were no happy endings
PARIS, 1939
Alice is living in the City of Light, but the pain of the last decade has already left its mark. There’s a shadow creeping across Europe when she and Thomas Stafford – now a world famous artist – find each other once more . . .
It’s when the story begins
LONDON, 1986
Bequeathed an old portrait from her grandmother, Kate Darling uncovers a legacy that takes her to Corsica, Paris and beyond. And as the secrets of time fall away, a love story as epic as it is life-changing slowly reveals itself . . . Amazon

I have just finished The Exit by Helen FitzGerald which features a young woman, Catherine, in her early twenties and Rose Price an elderly woman in her eighties who suffers from dementia. An intriguing read from the author of The Cry

My review will follow later this week

The Exit

Next up I am going to read Follow The Leader by Mel Sherratt, the second in the DS Allie Shenton series which started with Taunting The Dead, a gritty crime novel set in Stoke-On-Trent.
Follow The Leader


Blurb

A man’s body is found on a canal towpath. In his pocket, a magnetic letter in the shape of an E.
Days later, a second victim is found, this time with the letter V tucked into her clothing.
As the body count rises, the eerie, childlike clues point to a pattern that sends DS Allie Shenton and her colleagues into full alert.
The race is on. Allie and the team must work quickly to determine where the killer will strike next. The rules are simple but deadly—to catch the killer, they must follow the leader. Amazon

What are you reading this week? Please share in the comments box below.

Posted in Weekly Posts

Musing Mondays (January 26)

Musing Mondays

Hosted by Should Be Reading
Musing Mondays asks you to muse about one of the following each week…

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

This weeks random question Give a list of 4 books you read last year that you’d recommend to others — and why.

I recommend:
1. Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.  Not only is this a great mystery it is told with a wry sense of humour
2. The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith for a look at a sociopath that I had a certain amount sympathy for.
3. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters for a sumptuous and engaging story set in 1920’s Britain.
4. Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly which is a psychological thriller in a domestic setting which chilled me to the bone.

I’m currently reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah which was chosen following a fantastic review on An Interior Journey , if you’ve not visited yet, Laurelrainsnow always has a really good selction of books worth checking out.

The Nightingale
Blurb

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are. 

FRANCE, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France… but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can… completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime. NetGalley

By coincidence I have just finished another book that centres around WWII in France, in the story of Arnaud and Anna who met during wartime and separated after the end never to speak again. A Fifty Year Silence is written by the couple’s grand-daughter Miranda Richmond Mouillot who tries to fathom what provoked the long-enduring silence.
My review will be posted later this week

A Fifty Year Silence

Next up is The Exit by Helen FitzGerald which is back to my favourite kind of read, a psychological thriller in a domestic setting.

The Exit

Blurb

Some people love goodbyes…
23-year-old Catherine is mainly interested in Facebook and flirting, but she reluctantly takes a job at a local care home after her mother puts her foot down – and soon discovers that her new workplace contains many secrets.
One of the residents at the home, 82-year-old Rose, is convinced that something sinister is going on in Room 7 and that her own life is under threat. But Rose has dementia – so what does she actually know, and who would believe her anyway?
As Catherine starts investigating Rose’s allegations, terrible revelations surface about everyone involved. Can Catherine find out what’s really going on before it’s too late? Amazon

What are you reading this week?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 16)

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).

I’m still getting books from NetGalley and this week has bought a few interesting looking books, first up is The Exit by Helen FitzGerald . Helen FitzGerald is the author of The Cry which was possibly one of the most disturbing book I read in 2013, so when I realised there was a new book out….. well!

The Exit

Blurb

23-year-old Catherine is mainly interested in Facebook and flirting, but she reluctantly takes a job at a local care home after her mother puts her foot down – and soon discovers that her new workplace contains many secrets.
One of the residents at the home, 82-year-old Rose, is convinced that something sinister is going on in Room 7 and that her own life is under threat. But Rose has dementia – so what does she actually know, and who would believe her anyway?
As Catherine starts investigating Rose’s allegations, terrible revelations surface about everyone involved. Can Catherine find out what’s really going on before it’s too late? NetGalley

I requested the next book based upon some wonderful reviews in the blogosphere and as St Malo is one of our favourite places to go for a weekend visit, this book had too much going for it to resist a click of that request button. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

All The Light We Cannot See

Blurb

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks (there are thousands of locks in the museum). When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.
In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure.
Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, All the Light We Cannot See is his most ambitious and dazzling work. NetGalley

I have a copy of You Belong To Me by Samantha Hayes whose last two books are Until You’re Mine and Before You Die

You Belong To Me

Blurb

Fleeing the terrors of her former life, Isabel has left England, and at last is beginning to feel safe.
Then a letter shatters her world, and she returns home determined not to let fear rule her life any more.
But she’s unable to shake off the feeling that someone who knows her better than she knows herself may be following her.
Watching. Waiting.
Ready to step back into her life and take control all over again. NetGalley

Lastly from Amazon Vine I have a beautiful book, the picture really doesn’t do it justice and the story sounds just right to read on a cold and windy day: The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley

The Book of Lost and Found

Blurb

In many ways, my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.
It’s when life started in earnest
HERTFORDSHIRE, 1928
The paths of Tom and Alice collide against a haze of youthful, carefree exuberance. And so begins a love story that finds its feet by a lake one silvery moonlit evening . . .
It’s when there were no happy endings
PARIS, 1939
Alice is living in the City of Light, but the pain of the last decade has already left its mark. There’s a shadow creeping across Europe when she and Thomas Stafford – now a world famous artist – find each other once more . . .
It’s when the story begins
LONDON, 1986
Bequeathed an old portrait from her grandmother, Kate Darling uncovers a legacy that takes her to Corsica, Paris and beyond. And as the secrets of time fall away, a love story as epic as it is life-changing slowly reveals itself . . . Amazon

So there are my finds! What have you found to read this week?