Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

When We Were Friends – Tina Seskis

Contemporary Fiction  4*s
Contemporary Fiction

I first read this book back in 2013 under its original title A Serpentine Affair but it has now been published by penguin and the number of friends reduced from seven to six. Since I enjoyed the story the first time around I was keen to see what difference the changes made, the result, the story felt much sharper while still retaining the original elements that made this such a good story.

After my comments in my review of The Lie where I stated that it was unusual because it tackled the nature of friendship, this book contains the same themes. What happens when what originally bound women together becomes fractured? When is it time to call it a day on a friendship that has lasted for decades?

We meet Camilla, Sissy, Juliette, Siobhan, Natasha and Renee as they prepare to meet up for a picnic in Hyde Park, by the Serpentine Lake. All women arrive for the rendezvous but only five leave and the reader is left in the dark until close to the end of the book as to what happened on that fateful evening. What is obvious is that there is tension between the women, Sissy didn’t really want to go, she had already come to the conclusion that the bonds formed during their first term at university had been stretched to the limit and Siobhan was aware that the rest of the group still viewed her as the ditzy student she had been, her successful life had passed them all by, after all they are now in their forties, no longer teenagers.

One of the best things about this book is the reflection of the roles that the women take, the organiser, the victim, the floozy etc. and the author takes us back to the roots of those roles, and in many cases the reasons behind them. Their stories weave in and out of time periods, sometimes overlapping with one or more of the group to create a truly insightful book with the tensions caused by the secrets they keep, and sometimes the secrets they think they have kept. Rivalry and jealousy abound and it is obvious that over the years they have simmered under the surface until the wine consumed on a summer’s evening, close to Diana’s fountain, these emotions finally break free and things are said that can never be unsaid.

The characters are well-defined, the secrets varying in shock factor but it is the consequences of events in the past that have the most impact. This is a novel of its time, set in the present of 2011, there are references to the hacking scandal that was emerging at that time, but the author keeps the time periods separated to allow the sections between past and present to be clear.

I’d like to thank the publishers Penguin Books UK for allowing me to read this novel which was published yesterday, 23 April 2015. If you haven’t already read it I thoroughly recommend this author’s debut novel One Step Too Far which she successfully self-published.

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week In Books (April 22)

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 Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell

Don't Turn Around

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

I have recently finished When We Were Friends by Tina Seskis

When We Were Friends


It had always been the six of us.
Since we met at university twenty-five years ago, we’d faced everything together. Break-ups and marriages, motherhood and death. We were closer than sisters; the edges of our lives bled into each other.
But that was before the night of the reunion. The night of exposed secrets and jagged accusations. The night when everything changed.
And then we were five. NetGalley

My review will follow soon

Next I am going to read The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable

The Faerie Tree


How can a memory so vivid be wrong?
I tried to remember the first time I’d been here and to see the tree through Izzie’s eyes. The oak stood on a rise just above the path; not too tall or wide but graceful and straight, its trunk covered in what I can only describe as offerings – pieces of ribbon, daisy chains, a shell necklace, a tiny doll or two and even an old cuckoo clock.
“Why do people do this?” Izzie asked.
I winked at her. “To say thank you to the fairies.”

In the summer of 1986 Robin and Izzie hold hands under The Faerie Tree and wish for a future together. Within hours tragedy rips their dreams apart.
In the winter of 2006, each carrying their own burden of grief, they stumble back into each other’s lives and try to create a second chance. But why are their memories of 1986 so different? And which one of them is right? NetGalley

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

See what I’ve been reading in 2015 here

Posted in Weekly Posts

Friday Finds (January 30)

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).

Just one find from NetGalley this week, a book I couldn’t resist as I have waited a long time for another read by this author; When We Were Friends by Tina Seskis following on from One Step Too Far and The Serpentine Affair

When We Were Friends


It had always been the six of us.
Since we met at university twenty-five years ago, we’d faced everything together. Break-ups and marriages, motherhood and death. We were closer than sisters; the edges of our lives bled into each other.
But that was before the night of the reunion. The night of exposed secrets and jagged accusations. The night when everything changed.
And then we were five. NetGalley

My only concern is that this sounds a lot like the plot for A Serpentine Affair…

I also have a copy of Normal by Graeme Cameron courtesy of Harlequin Books, the paperback is due to be published on 9 April 2015.



The truth is I hurt people.
It’s what I do. It’s all I do. It’s all I’ve ever done.
I’m not NORMAL.’
He is the man who lives on your street. The one you see in the supermarket and nod hello to.
He’s also a serial killer. Killing is what he’s good at.
He’s the most compelling antihero since Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley.
And you’ll want him to get away with MURDER. Goodreads

From Orenda books I have a copy of The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul E. Hardisty to read before publication on 8 March 2015

The Abrupt Physics of Dying

Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is as it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead. A stunning debut eco-thriller, The Abrupt Physics of Dying is largely based on true events – the horrific destruction of fresh water and lives by oil giants. Gritty, gripping and shocking, this book will not only open your eyes but keep them glued to the page until the final, stunning denouement is reached. Goodreads

Finally I have a copy of the latest book from Rachel Abbott, having loved her previous three books, the latest being
Sleep Tight. Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott is due for publication on kindle on 24 February 2015, paperback in May 2015.

Stranger Child


One Dark Secret. One Act of Revenge
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically their six year old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all her lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Tom and Emma to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe theyre right?


What have you found to read this week? Do share.