Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The People at Number 9 – Felicity Everett

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

The People at Number 9 is a razor-sharp, entertaining story looking at adult friendships, in this case with the neighbours. Sara is overjoyed when she spots a couple with children of a similar age to her own moving into the house next door. At first on a practical level, the house has been a bit neglected and could do with sprucing up but later, when she is chatting with Carol from down the road, she gets a closer look at her arty new neighbour, Lou, and sees something in her that she feels is missing from her life.

This is not, as the title and cover might suggest a domestic thriller, rather it takes a close look at how other people change the way we see ourselves, and in turn perhaps how others see us. Sara is impressed and overawed when she finds out Lou is a film producer and her husband, the handsome Gav, is an artist and instead of joining her old friend and neighbour Carol in sneering at the new neighbour’s bohemian lifestyle, she embraces the lack of convention, or would, if she could just lose some of those middle-class values.

The early chapters narrated by Sara show us how Lou weaves her spell on Sara in particular as she invites confidence, listens with interest and reveals nuggets about the life they have left behind in rural Spain. It is only on reflection that Sara realises that she knows very little about the pair and really she’s too dazzled to really look.

For a long while Sara has longed to do more with her talents than work as a copy writer at an advertising agency and as she becomes more friendly with Lou, her neighbour’s praise encourages her to write a book instead. Meanwhile her steady husband Neil who has worked hard to climb the heady heights of the local housing association is pulled along in Sara’s wake and soon all the couple’s social life is spent with the neighbours, previous friends simply not feeling bright and sparkly enough against this pair.

With Gav and Lou’s children attending the same school the children are also forced together for longer than they would naturally choose to be, especially as Lou is often busy doing very important arty things with very important people, whose names she litters her conversations with so that the less well-connected Sara is unsure whether she should have heard of them. The upshot is that Sara is only too pleased to be able to be the safe pair of hands who entertain the children for Lou, especially as she becomes more and more intrigued by Gav. And so the seeds are set, ready to transform the lives of Sara and Neil into something that couldn’t have been predicted before they made friends with the neighbours!

Having read some early reviews I was prepared for a different kind of read and Felicity Everett really did deliver on a tale of a modern middle-class life and I had the feeling all the way through that there were going to be tears before bedtime, but whose and how dramatic I could only sit back and wait to find out.

I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of The People at Number 9 from the publishers HQ and this unbiased review is my thanks to them and the author for a thoroughly entertaining read.

First Published UK: 6 April 2017
Publisher: HQ
No of Pages: 320
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (May 3)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy 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

At the moment the book open on my bedside table is Boy A by Jonathan Trigell the next in my Mount TBR 2017 challenge having been purchased in April 2015.

Blurb

A is for Apple. A bad apple? Jack has spent most of his life in juvenile institutions, to be released with a new name, new job, new life.
At 24, he is utterly innocent of the world, yet guilty of a monstrous childhood crime.

To his new friends, he is a good guy with occasional flashes of unexpected violence. To his new girlfriend, he is strangely inexperienced and unreachable. To his case worker, he’s a victim of the system and of media-driven hysteria. And to himself, Jack is on permanent trial: can he really start from scratch, forget the past, become someone else?
Is a new name enough?
Can Jack ever truly connect with his new friends while hiding a monstrous secret? This searing and heartfelt novel is a devastating indictment of society’s inability to reconcile childhood innocence with reality. Amazon

I have just finished The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett after all who can resist peeking behind the doors of a neighbour?



Blurb

‘Have you met them yet, the new couple?’
When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.
When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.
And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them…
Have you met The People at Number 9? A dark and delicious novel about envy, longing and betrayal in the suburbs… NetGalley

Next up I plan to read Need You Dead by Peter James with Roy Grace’s thirteenth outing – followers of this blog will know what a huge fan I am of this series so I can’t wait to curl up and read his latest adventure.

Blurb

Lorna Belling, desperate to escape the marriage from hell, falls for the charms of another man who promises her the earth. But, as Lorna finds, life seldom follows the plans you’ve made. A chance photograph on a client’s mobile phone changes everything for her.

When the body of a woman is found in a bath in Brighton, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called to the scene. At first it looks an open and shut case with a clear prime suspect. Then other scenarios begin to present themselves, each of them tantalizingly plausible, until, in a sudden turn of events, and to his utter disbelief, the case turns more sinister than Grace could ever have imagined. Amazon

So what are you reading this week? Have you read any of these choices? Do you want to?

Posted in Weekly Posts

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph (March 21)

First Chapter
Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

This week my opener comes from The People At Number 9 by Felicity Everett which will be published on 6 April 2017.



Blurb

‘Have you met them yet, the new couple?’

When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.

When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.

And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them… NetGalley

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

First Chapter ~ First Paragraph ~ Intro

1

Sara’s gaze drifted toward the window. It was dark outside now, and she could see her own reflection superimposed like a hologram on the house across the road. Their curtains were half-closed but the cold blue flicker of the TV could just be seen. She imagined Gavin lounging in the Eames chair with a glass of red, Lou lolling barefoot on the sofa. They might be watching an art-house movie together – or perhaps just slumming it with Saturday night telly. It was all too easy to conjure the flea-bitten hearthrug, the aroma of Pinot Noir mingled with woodsmoke. Even after everything that had happened, the scene still had its allure.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (February 26)

Weekly Wrap Up

Another week and another the lovely Emma from damppebbles spotted my name in the paperback release of Little Bones by Sam Blake. There is something exceptionally thrilling to seeing your words quoted, so thank you Bonnier for picking my review!

little-bones-png

This Week on the Blog

A busy one with four reviews posted starting with my thoughts on My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon, the book that accompanied me on my travels a couple of weeks back.

My excerpt post this week was for  Quieter Than Killing by Sarah Hilary, the fourth in the London Detective Inspector Marnie Rome series.

On Wednesday I outlined my fabulous line-up of books for the week which included Agatha Christie, Denise Mina and Jane Casey – if nothing else it has been a fantastic book week!

A tiger mum was the subject matter of my second review of the week in The Trophy Child by Paula Daly, although whichever subject she choses to spin a story around, this author is always a hit with me.

Then came a five star review for The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, If you haven’t read this book, you really should which is definitely my best choice for the Mount TBR Challenge yet, although once again I am fighting the urge the second book she wrote to the TBR!

Last up review wise was my thoughts on The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie, a collection of linked short stories posed as a problem with Miss Marple. This was another book read as part of the TBR Challenge which is currently on track with 6 books read and reviewed by the end of February!

This Time Last Year…

I was reading a Non-Fiction book about the last woman hanged in New South Wales which sparked my interest in poisoning as a murder weapon. Last Woman Hanged by Caroline Overington wasn’t just about the crime and punishment though the links were made to the woman’s movement which was behind a valiant attempt to have Louisa Collin’s sentence commuted.

If you’d like to you can read my full review here or click on the book cover.

Last Woman Hanged

Blurb

Darlinghurst Gaol and the last woman hanged in New South Wales. Both of Louisa’s husbands had died suddenly and the Crown, convinced that Louisa poisoned them with arsenic, put her on trial an extraordinary four times in order to get a conviction, to the horror of many in the legal community. Louisa protested her innocence until the end.

Much of the evidence against Louisa was circumstantial. Some of the most important testimony was given by her only daughter, May, who was just 10-years-old when asked to take the stand. Louisa Collins was hanged at a time when women were in no sense equal under the law – except when it came to the gallows. They could not vote or stand for parliament – or sit on juries. Against this background, a small group of women rose up to try to save Louisa’s life, arguing that a legal system comprised only of men – male judges, all-male jury, male prosecutor, governor and Premier – could not with any integrity hang a woman. The tenacity of these women would not save Louisa but it would ultimately carry women from their homes all the way to Parliament House. Amazon

Stacking The Shelves

This week I have gained a copy of The Housekeeper by Suellen Dainty which is already available in eBook but will be published in paperback on 9 March 2017.

the-housekeeper

Blurb

“I am the housekeeper, the hired help with a messy past who cleans up other people’s messy lives, the one who protects their messy little secrets.”

When Anne Morgan’s successful boyfriend, (who also happens to be her boss), leaves her for another woman, Anne finds herself in desperate need of a new job and a quiet place to recover. Meanwhile, her celebrity idol, Emma Helmsley, is in need of a housekeeper, an opportunity which seems too good to be true.

Through her books, website, and blog, Emma Helmsley advises her devoted followers on how to live a balanced life. Her husband, Rob, is a high profile academic and her children, Jake and Lily, are well-adjusted teenagers. On the surface, they are the perfect family. But Anne soon finds herself intimately ensconced in the Helmsley’s dirty laundry, both literally and figuratively. Underneath the dust, grime and whimsical clutter, everyone has a secret to hide and Anne’s own disturbing past threatens to unhinge everything.

For fans of Notes on a Scandal and The Woman Upstairs, The Housekeeper is a nuanced and nail-biting psychological thriller about the dark recesses of the human mind and the dangerous consequences of long-buried secrets. Amazon

I was also approved on NetGalley to read The Escape by C.L. Taylor which will be published on 23 March 2017. I have read all of this author’s previous books and I’m really looking forward to this one.

the-escape

Blurb

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”

When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger.
But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN. NetGalley

I also already had, but hadn’t featured a copy of The People at Number 9 by Felicity Everett which is out in April 2017.

the-people-at-number-9

Blurb

‘Have you met them yet, the new couple?’

When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.
When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.

And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them… NetGalley

… and The Special Girls by Isabelle Grey, the third in the DI Grace Fisher series, also out in April 2017. I’m eager to read the follow up to  Good Girls Don’t Die and Shot Through The Heart

the-special-girls

Blurb

A case of historical child sex abuse by a famous doctor is linked to the murder of his young and popular colleague at a summer camp deep in the Essex woods.

A young psychiatric registrar is found beaten to death in the woods close to a summer camp for young patients suffering from eating disorders. It is run by the charismatic, world-renowned Professor Ned Chesham. DI Grace Fisher investigates, but it is not long before she is pulled from the case – to head up a Metropolitan Police review into a cold case involving Chesham himself.

Nearly twenty years ago, one of Chesham’s patients made allegations that he sexually assaulted her. The investigation at the time found no conclusive proof, but Grace soon discovers another victim, and a witness whose account never reached the police. Does this mean the original investigation was bungled? Scotland Yard would certainly like her to conclude otherwise.

As Grace uncovers the lies that led to the young doctor’s murder, she discovers the full extent of the damage done to Chesham’s ‘special girls’ – and the danger they are still in. NetGalley

and finally You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood a book that captured my attention and my new found enjoyment in court room dramas. You Don’t Know Me is being published by Penguin on 4 May 2017.

you-dont-know-me

Blurb

An unnamed defendant stands accused of murder.

Just before the Closing Speeches, the young man sacks his lawyer, and decides to give his own defence speech. He tells us that his barrister told him to leave some things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth. There are eight pieces of evidence against him. As he talks us through them one by one, his life is in our hands.

We, the reader – member of the jury – must keep an open mind till we hear the end of his story. His defence raises many questions… but at the end of the speeches, only one matters: Did he do it? NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?

tbr-watch

Since my last post I’ve read 3 books and gained just 2 – although I found a missing book from the TBR list while another 2 were discarded.. so the grand total is 189
Physical Books – 111
Kindle Books – 65
NetGalley Books – 13