Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Night Music – Jojo Moyes

Contemporary Fiction 4*'s
Contemporary Fiction
3*’s

Isabel Delancey’s husband Laurent is killed in a car crash and for the first time in her life she has to provide both emotionally and financially for their two children, the teenage Kitty and her younger brother Thierry. After a visit from the lawyer Isabel realises that she is going to have to move house.

Meanwhile in Norfolk a house becomes vacant at just the right time and Isabel moves her family from London to the depths of the country and a derelict house. Matt and Laura McCarthy are her neighbours but what the unworldly Isobel doesn’t realise is that they have wanted the house for years. The reader can easily predict that the McCarthy’s are not going to take the loss of the house without a fight and sure enough their twisted sense of ownership leads to some serious unpleasantness, however their teenage son is more interested in getting to know Kitty.

As the renovations start on the dilapidated Spanish House Isabel faces one crisis after another but slowly we witness Isabel’s slow realisation that she has to behave like an adult and actually start looking after her children. Thierry who hasn’t spoken since his father died needs help and Kitty is too young to be expected to look after both her mother and brother. At night Isabel plays her beloved violin whilst accepting that she can’t jet off round the world performing as she used to.

Out of all the Jojo Moyes books I’ve read this falls most firmly into the chick-lit category with the beautiful and talented Isabel ripe for that knight in shining armour, however, the plot had sufficient unexpected twists to keep my interest and that was coupled with the author’s trademark interesting, but on the right side of believable, characters. The author takes so much care over her minor characters so that I felt that I knew so many of the villagers; I could visualise the village shop presided over by the gossipy sweet gay men.

This really is perfect holiday reading with the book moving along at a good pace with different strands of the story coming to a satisfactory conclusion although I don’t think this has the depth of her more recent novels.

Click on the book covers to read my reviews

The Girl You Left Behind

Me Before You

The One Plus One

Posted in Weekly Posts

Tuesday Teaser (February 18)

Teasing Tuesday CB
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser this week is from The One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

The One Plus One
Blurb

Jess Thomas wants . . .
. . . to be more than a single mum getting by day after day
. . . to do her best for her gifted but sensitive daughter Tanzie
. . . to find a way back from the loneliest place on earth
Ed Nicholls is hoping . . .
. . . he won’t go to jail
. . . there’s a way back from the biggest mistake of his life
. . . something or someone will make it all go away
Jess and Ed are . . .
. . . two strangers looking for a little kindness
. . . two lost souls with a lot to learn from each other
. . . about to find out that one plus one makes more – so much more – than two.  Amazon

Teaser

Things they had found while cleaning people’s houses:
False teeth
An escaped guinea pig
A long-lost wedding ring (they were given a box of chocolates for this)
A signed photograph of cliff Richard (no chocolates; owner denied all knowledge)
Money.

‘She thought I worked too much.’
‘They never say that on Jeremy Kyle’

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

A Serpentine Affair – Tina Seskis

Women's Fiction 4*'s
Women’s Fiction
4*’s

Seven women, friends from University days, meet up for a picnic in Hyde Park near the Serpentine. Sissy believes this habit of meeting up once a year should have been shelved a few years ago, some of the friendships are so badly fractured, some are laden with guilt and would appear that most of the women are keeping at least one secret.

Tina Seskis has produced a chatty book, one which reflects the reluctance that many of us feel to break off a friendship, especially one forged at such an important time of life. I have to confess that early on in the book I struggled with the number of characters as I presumed it was going to be very hard to remember who held what characteristic /grudge although the clever way that elements of the story were unveiled meant that each of the women were soon individuals on the page. As each of the women, their families and of course the men in their lives are revealed we also get the back stories, those events that happened years ago shaping both the women and the friendships.

The main event kept me reading to find out the truth as I gasped at the lack of morals that the group displayed. This book shows both the strengths and weaknesses of friendship, the good and bad of human nature and ultimately is a great gossipy book to keep the reader entertained. Another hit for Tina Seskis following her brilliant debut One Step Too Far

I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher.

See my review for One Step Too Far One Step Too FarOne Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Emily Coleman has left home; we meet her first when she is catching the train from Manchester to go to London to start a new life. The whole premise of the book is why has she left husband Ben and Charlie?

Tina Seskis cleverly reveals all in separate narratives by Emily, her twin Caroline, mother Frances and father Andrew, which go back as far as the day Frances delivered the twins. Revealing a tale of a troubled and flawed family. For all that Emily has done well, she met and married Ben and had a child along with a lovely house. So what went so wrong and is it possible that Emily can have a new life as Cat Brown?

The themes in this book are strong touching on sibling relationships, guilt, and jealousy along with drug abuse with more than a touch of madness thrown in. The characterisation of the main and also the minor characters in this drama was well executed. It was good to read a book where all judgements about characters are left to the reader by the downplaying of others actions by the narrators, particularly Emily.

All in all a story with an original feel although the ending was a little too surreal for my liking. The twist in the tale is one of the best I’ve read, I literally gasped as I didn’t see it coming at all. I have added A Serpentine Affair: Are Friendships Ever Forever? to my wishlist ready for it’s release in September 2013

View all my reviews

Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Secrets of the Sea House – Elisabeth Gifford

Womens Fiction 3*'s
Womens Fiction
3*’s

When Ruth and Michael move into the Sea House in the Hebrides they are finally realising their dream of opening a guest house and settling into their new home when the macabre discovery of a skeleton of a baby, legs fused like a mermaid, is found buried under the floor boards and disturbs Ruth’s peace of mind.

Ruth is determined to find out more about the baby and the trail soon leads to Reverend Alexander Ferguson who was a previous inhabitant of the house and also had a keen interest in mermaids. The story is divided into chapters narrated by Moira, the Reverend’s maid, Alexander and Ruth all battling their own demons.

I am still unsure about this book, the writing was good but all the way through my head was saying the belief in mermaid or Selkie’s as they are known in Scotland is not credible in the present day. I found I enjoyed Ruth’s story more than Alexander’s who was pompous and with a thinner back story than Ruth’s.

I would try another book by this author as the book clearly had that something special that kept me reading.