A babbling brook runs alongside a wooded glade, surrounded by autumn light and birdsong. But next to the stream a young woman lies dead, her once bright blonde hair now limp and lifeless…
Melissa Craig has settled into a new job in the charming Cotswolds village of Upper Benbury. She is teaching French to several of the local teenagers, which gives her a fascinating insight into the young people’s lives. Material for a new novel perhaps…
Her quiet life is interrupted when she sees her new neighbour running out of the woods in a blind panic. Melissa rushes to help him, but what she finds leaves her breathless: the body of a young woman is lying on the bank of the river.
When suspicion falls on Melissa’s neighbour, a man with a difficult past trying to make a new start, Melissa feels determined to prove his innocence. With the village in turmoil, and the police sure they’ve got their man, she must act quickly.
As she interviews the local residents, she realises there are several sinister characters lurking inside those charming Cotswold cottages… Could one of them have hurt Cissie? Was it the strange old man with a cottage near the river? Or the ailing ex-choirmaster with quite an eye for the ladies?
When Melissa Craig decides to get her teeth into a case, she doesn’t let go – nothing will stop her from solving this murder. Can she prove the innocence of her new friend? And will she unearth the culprit before another young life is taken?
I received a paperback copy of this book from Head of Zeus Books in return for an honest review.
If like me you believe in fate and love the film ‘Serendipity’, you’ll enjoy this well-written ‘what if’ story. Most people in a long-term relationship wonder, whether they are with their soulmate, or if under different circumstances they would be with someone else. This story explores Liv’s decision taken at the cusp of the 21st-century, stay with Nate or split up and live their lives apart.
A story of two halves, the outcome of being ‘without him’ is explored first and then ‘with him’. There’s friendship, conflict, romance and sadness but the ultimate conclusion is satisfying in both stories. The setting and relationships are believable, and though flawed, the characters endear themselves to the reader, and you want them to find happiness and fulfilment.
The pacing of the story makes it easy to read, and even though the storyline focuses on ordinary, everyday life, it is full of suspense, poignancy, laughter and love and makes this a lovely lighthearted read.
Guest Post – Serendipity – Shari Low
Some may have said it was serendipity. Some
may call it love at first sight. But when a complete stranger walked towards me
one night 25 years ago, I smiled because I knew I was in the right place at the
right time. A week later we got engaged, and we’ve stuck together through a
lifetime of children, books, ups, downs, dodgy fashion choices (but perms were
so in!) and a labradoodle.
However, what would have happened if we hadn’t
met? Would someone else have been the love of my life? Would I never have found
this kind of happiness? Would I have married a rock star and settled for a life
of loud music, wanton behaviour and leather trousers?
Actually, I quite like the sound of that
Or perhaps that chance meeting was meant to
happen, and we were somehow destined to cross paths, if not that night, then at
some other point in the future.
Those thoughts were the starting point for my
new novel With Or Without You.
The main characters, Nate and Liv, have been together since they were teenagers. Now in their mid-twenties, their all-consuming love has faded to friendship and they’ve decided that their marriage has run its course. They agree to separate at midnight on the final day of 1999, but at the last minute, Nate wavers. The storyline then splits into two strands, one following the couple over the next eighteen years if they stay together, the other if they part.
Will they find each other again? Or will
they discover a greater love elsewhere? Does serendipity really exist, or is
everyone’s fate already pre-determined, our lives like tangled paths that will
end at the same destination no matter what choices we make?
As the stories unfold, Nate and Liv, and the people who share their lives discover the answers to those questions.
As for me? Excuse the uncharacteristic
sentimentality, but I’ll never regret being in that place at that time and
meeting that bloke.
Leather trousers go out of fashion. Soul
mates never do.
With Or Without You was published in
paperback by Aria on 7th Feb 2019
Shari Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including With Or Without You, Another Day In Winter, One Day In December, A Life Without You and The Story Of Our Life. And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift.
A twist that will break your heart . . . An ending that will put it back together
Audrey’s family has fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters have never been allowed to meet. A secret that echoes back thirty years has splintered the family in two but is also the one thing keeping them connected.
As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. After years of secrets and silence, how can one broken family find their way back to each other?
I received a copy of this book from Orion Publishing Group via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Audrey’s family appears irrevocably broken, and she doesn’t know why. Her greatest wish is to see her daughters talking again, but is it within her power to achieve this after thirty years?
Family drama is the main theme of this story but the tragic event that catalyses it is not what it seems. Told from three points of view: Audrey(Mother) Lily(Daughter) and Jess(Daughter). The story slips from the present to the past and back again, highlighting the family’s tragic history that blights their current lives, and hints at the secrets, which are tearing it apart.
The early chapters of the book suggest an obvious secret, but as you read on, something just as devastating but different is suggested, and finally revealed. The characters are flawed, tragic but relatable. Most will empathise with their predicament and their reactions to it.
The story flows well and enthrals. The twist is cleverly concealed and makes the sense of loss and waste even greater. The ending is believable, and hopeful and demonstrates that forgiveness makes anything possible.