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

The Other Me – Saskia Sarginson

Contemporary Fiction 5*s
Contemporary Fiction
5*s

This wasn’t the book I expected but oh my, it was so much better! I expected a tale, similar to other ones I’ve read this year where the protagonist has changed her identity because she is either hiding from someone or something, and to an extent that is exactly what this story is about, but it tells a tale much deeper than that, truly exploring how we identify ourselves and illustrates how events in the past have very real consequences in the present.

Klaudia is the only daughter of Otto and Gwyn Meyer and we first meet her in the 1980s as she starts secondary school where her father is the caretaker. Having been home-schooled by her religious mother surrounded by the religious figures her father carves out of wood, Klaudia struggles to socialise, something not helped by the fact her father is a figure of fun and called a Nazi by her classmates. Saskia Sarginson paints a realistic picture of a teenage angst without it ever feeling melodramatic and so when Klaudia finds some evidence that seems to suggest that the name calling isn’t just childish taunts, but may have roots in reality, her reaction was entirely believable.

Klaudia leaves home in the 1990s, she moves to Leeds and becomes Eliza Bennett, named on the spur of the moment in honour of Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett. She leaves behind the taunts that had followed her through her teenage years and reinvents herself, but she can’t quite forget the suspicions she has about her father’s past and is in no hurry to return to the claustrophobic home in London.

Interspersed with Klaudia’s and Eliza’s stories we have the story of Ernst, Otto’s brother. Ernst’s tale begins in the 1930s in Germany. Ernst and Otto were foundlings, taken in by the Meyer family living a bleak life, one where they aren’t treated as family but more as servants despite being young boys. We follow Ernst as life in Germany is changing with fascism on the rise and proving your ancestral line is a requirement of staying safe.

Earlier this month I made a comment that a book spoke to me, this one did too and I understood why when I got to the afterword. The author tells us she was informed that the father that she’d never met was a Dutch Jew and how that made the Holocaust all that more personal. My paternal family were also Jews who came to England from Amsterdam and like the author, I’ve always been aware that but for the decision of my ancestors to move to the East End, I may not be here at all. I’ve been to Anne Frank’s House in Amsterdam and read through the names of those who died in the concentration camps and seen my family name, which only became anglicised in the late 1930s, listed numerous times as were the other surnames that crop up in my family tree. The author wrote this book after considering how she would feel about this period of history if her father had been a German Nazi rather than a Dutch Jew. Coincidently the same thoughts were running through my head as I read this book, and that is the randomness of reading, you just don’t know when that special book that feels personal will appear.

This book really moved me and although I had some sympathy with Klaudia/Eliza, the character I really grew to love was Ernst. If you want to find out why, well you’ll have to read the book!

This is the first book I’ve read by this author but having rooted around in the cupboard which houses a pile of unread books, I found a copy of her debut novel The Twins which was one of the Richard and Judy choices back in 2013 and this will be now promoted to a place on an actual shelf.

I’d like to say an enormous thank you to Little Brown Book Group who allowed me to read a copy of this book in return for my review. The Other Me is already available to read as an e-book with the physical copy being published on 13 August 2015.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (June 3)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading Dancing for the Hangman by Martin Edwards, the first read in my 20 Books of Summer 2015 Challenge

20 books of summer logo

Dancing for the Hangman

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post

I have just finished The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson, one of those books that I will remember for some time.

The Other Me

Blurb

Eliza Bennet has the life she’s always dreamed of. She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man she loves.
But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Myer. And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.
This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia – one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from. NetGalley


My review will follow shortly

My next read is going to be The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Blurb

Warning: once you let books into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…
Sara is 28 and has never been outside Sweden – except in the (many) books she reads. When her elderly penfriend Amy invites her to come and visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa, Sara decides it’s time. But when she arrives, there’s a twist waiting for her – Amy has died. Finding herself utterly alone in a dead woman’s house in the middle of nowhere was not the holiday Sara had in mind.
But Sara discovers she is not exactly alone. For here in this town so broken it’s almost beyond repair are all the people she’s come to know through Amy’s letters: poor George, fierce Grace, buttoned-up Caroline and Amy’s guarded nephew Tom.
Sara quickly realises that Broken Wheel is in desperate need of some adventure, a dose of self-help and perhaps a little romance, too. In short, this is a town in need of a bookshop. NetGalley

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (May 27)

This Week In Books

Hosted by Lypsyy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

I am currently reading The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum

The Drowned Boy

You can read the blurb and opening paragraph in yesterday’s post

I have recently finished Falling by Emma Kavanagh, a wonderful multi-viewpoint book written following a plane crash.

Falling

Blurb

A moody, intense debut psychological thriller by a former police psychologist, this debut novel explores four lives that fall apart in the tense aftermath of a plane crash, perfect for fans of Tana French, S. J. Watson, and Alice LaPlante. Unravelling what holds these four together is a tense, taut tale about good people who make bad decisions that ultimately threaten to destroy them. Debut author Emma Kavanagh deftly weaves together the stories of those who lost someone or something of themselves in one tragic incident, exploring how swiftly everything we know can come crashing down. NetGalley

my review will follow soon

Next I plan to read The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson

The Other Me

Blurb

Eliza Bennet has the life she’s always dreamed of. She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man she loves.
But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Myer. And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.
This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia – one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from. NetGalley

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What have you found to read this week?

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Stacking The Shelves (May 2)

Stacking the shelves

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

A huge haul this week from me starting with some fantastic books from NetGalley:

Listening to Killers by James Garbarino, a non-fiction book detailing the conclusions the author has come to having spoken to men incarcerated in the US for murder.

Listening To Killers

Blurb

Listening to Killers offers an inside look at twenty years’ worth of murder files from Dr. James Garbarino, a leading expert psychological witness who listens to killers so that he can testify in court. The author offers detailed accounts of how killers travel a path that leads from childhood innocence to lethal violence in adolescence or adulthood. He places the emotional and moral damage of each individual killer within a larger scientific framework of social, psychological, anthropological, and biological research on human development. By linking individual cases to broad social and cultural issues and illustrating the social toxicity and unresolved trauma that drive some people to kill, Dr. Garbarino highlights the humanity we share with killers and the role of understanding and empathy in breaking the cycle of violence. NetGalley

Listening to Killers was published on 12 March 2015

Marnie Riches, the author of The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die contacted me off the back of reading some reviews and suggested I’d enjoy this one.

The Girl Who Wouldn't Die

Blurb

HE’S WATCHING HER. SHE DOESN’T KNOW IT…YET
When a bomb explodes at the University of Amsterdam, aspiring criminologist Georgina McKenzie is asked by the police to help flush out the killer.
But the bomb is part of a much bigger, more sinister plot that will have the entire city quaking in fear.
And the killer has a very special part for George to play…
A thrilling race against time with a heroine you’ll be rooting for, this book will keep you up all night! NetGalley


The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die
was published on 2 April 2015

I have a copy of The Other Me by Saskia Sarginson because I simply can’t resist these hidden identity books this year.

The Other Me

Blurb

Eliza Bennet has the life she’s always dreamed of. She’s who she wants to be, and she’s with the man she loves.
But Eliza is living a lie. Her real name is Klaudia Myer. And Klaudia is on the run. She’s escaping her old life, and a terrible secret buried at the heart of her family.
This is the story of Eliza and Klaudia – one girl, two lives and a lie they cannot hide from. NetGalley

The Other Me is due to be published on 13 August 2015 by Little Brown Book Group UK although it is already available on kindle.

Lastly I have a copy of The Daughter’s Secret by Eva Holland

The Daughter's Secret
Blurb

Eleven days in the life of a mother as she tries to navigate herself and her family through the aftershocks of a scandal.
Six years ago, aged fifteen, Rosalind’s daughter Stephanie ran away with teacher Nathan Temperley, triggering a media frenzy and resulting in Temperley’s arrest and imprisonment. Although the family – Rosalind, her husband Dan, Stephanie and son Freddy – don’t talk about what happened, their lives have been shaped by it and everything that came after.
When Rosalind discovers that Temperley is about to be released from prison, she’s forced to re-examine the events of six years ago. NetGalley

The Daughter’s Secret will be published on 13 August 2015 by Orion

Following my review of The Sudden Departure of the Frasers by Louise Candlish I had a little chat with the author who said that she thought I would enjoy The Disappearance of Emily Marr, and to ignore the cover, which doesn’t reflect the contents.

The Disappearance of Emily Marr

Blurb

A stunning story of secrets and scandal, identity and infidelity
When Tabby Dewhurst arrives heartbroken and penniless on a picturesque, windswept island off the coast of France, her luck appears to change when she overhears a villager repeating aloud the access code to her front door. Hardly believing her own actions, Tabby waits for the woman to leave and then lets herself into the house. And so she enters the strange, hidden world of Emily Marr—or so her new friend introduces herself. Soon, however, Tabby forms suspicions about her new friend, suspicions that lead her back to England, and to revelations that will have explosive consequences for both of them. Goodreads

So I went on-line and found I could get a used copy for a bargain price and even better if I spent £10 postage was free. Well I went through my wishlist and found three other books to make the total that qualified. So… I also have a copy of Buried Angels by Camilla Läckberg which is the latest in the Patrik Hedstrom series.

Buried Angels

Blurb

Easter, 1974. A family vanishes without a trace from the island of Valö outside of Fjällbacka. The dinner table has been exquisitely set, but everyone except the one year-old daughter Ebba is gone. Are they victims of a crime or have they voluntarily disappeared?
Years later Ebba returns to the island and the old summer camp where her father ruled a boarding school with an iron hand. She and her husband Tobias have recently lost their three year-old son, and in an attempt to overcome their grief they have decided to renovate the house and open a B&B.
Erica Falck’s interest is piqued – she has researched the tragic and mysterious history of the family, and looks forward to meeting Ebba.
But the couple have barely settled in before they are subjected to an attempt of arson. And when they begin to remove the floor boards in the dining room, they find dried blood underneath… Goodreads

and.. after being amazed and delighted by The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson I have a copy of The Girl With a Clock For a Heart

The Girl With a Clock for a Heart

Blurb

George Foss never thought he’d see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack’s Tavern.
When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl’s grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece – the one who had committed suicide – was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved – and of the things she may have done to escape her past.
Now, twenty years later, she’s back, and she’s telling George that he’s the only one who can help her… Goodreads

and lastly I have a copy of Go To Sleep by Helen Walsh that got added to my wishlist way back in June after reading a fabulous review here

Go To Sleep

Blurb

As she drinks in the view in front of her, Rachel Massey stands on the cusp of the biggest journey of her life. For Rachel is about to become a mother. Mere hours from now, her first baby will be here and she can’t wait to meet it. Terrified and excited, there is nothing she wants more, yet she senses things will never be the same again. This is the story of Rachel’s voyage into motherhood. Full of the same hopes and dreams as any parent-to-be, she soon realises that nothing about this new world is as she imagined. As the raw shock of sleep deprivation takes its toll on her and the truth begins to blur with the unreal, Rachel becomes consumed by one sole desire – to sleep. But how far will she go to get her baby to sleep? Devastatingly honest and shockingly painful at times, Go To Sleep is a heart-wrenching story about one woman and her newborn child. It strips motherhood bare in the most unforgettable of ways. Goodreads

Any of these take your fancy or perhaps you’ve already read them?
What have you found to read this week? Please do share in the comments below