Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama

Take It Back Kia Abdullah 4*#Review @HQStories @KiaAbdullah #CrimeFiction #LegalDrama #CourtroomDrama #FamilyDrama #Prejudice #Secrets #Lies


The victim: A sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, neglected by an alcoholic mother. Who accuses the boys of something unthinkable.

The defendants: Four handsome teenage boys from hardworking immigrant families. All with corroborating stories. WHOSE SIDE WOULD YOU TAKE?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An intense legal drama that explores ethical and moral issues. When a young disabled girl accuses four young boys of rape. Contemporary issues of race, religion, prejudice and social divisiveness are all in evidence in this authentically plotted crime fiction novel.

The first half of the story begins with the rape accusation and the police procedural that follows on from this. Jodie makes her accusation at a rape crisis centre, which brings her into contact to Zara, an ex-barrister, now reinvented as a rape crisis caseworker. Jodie accuses four boys at her school, she is white and suffers from a disfiguring disability to her face, which has laid her open to bullying throughout her young life. The boys are all Muslim, Zara is also Muslim, and so from the outset, there is inevitable tension, between individuals, families and the community.

There is a strong element of family drama in this first part of the story, as we learn more about the victim, her advocate and the four accused boys. The family reactions and the power of social media are all well documented here. Trial by the press and social media are recurrent themes, and everyone is tainted by them.

The second part of the story is the trial. The courtroom drama is portrayed believably. The drama outside the courtroom is disturbing and powerful. The penultimate twist is harrowing, but don’t breathe out too soon, there is more, and this is what makes this story resonate.

Complex, contemporary characters, realistic social issues, and a good understanding of the communities and the issues that they face, make this story read like ‘true crime’ rather than fiction. It is worth reading, even though, sometimes, it’s painful to do so.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Romance

The Things We Left Unsaid- Emma Kennedy 4*#Review @PenguinUKBooks @EmmaKennedy @arrowpublishing #FamilyDrama #BookReview #comingofage #1960s #relationships #HistoricalFiction #mothers #daughters #Contemporaryfiction #bookbloggers #Secrets

Rachel’s relationship with her mother, Eleanor, has always been far from perfect. Eleanor is a renowned artist born from the swinging sixties, and Rachel has forever lived in the shadow of her success.

When Rachel is left by her fiancé on the morning of their wedding she has no choice but to move back into her family home and spend an unbearably hot summer with a mother she feels distant from – in the presence of many painful memories.

It will take another turn of events before Rachel realises that sometimes the past holds exactly the comfort we need. And that behind the words left unsaid are untold stories that have the power to define us.

Amazon UK


I received a copy of this book from Random House UK – Cornerstone- Century in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An emotional. vibrant coming of age story, highlighting the relationship between a mother Eleanor, and her daughter, Rachel. Still reeling from the loss of Charlie, her father, she is jilted at the altar and has to return home to heal, and decide what to do next, Her complex relationship with Eleanor makes this emotional and difficult, and despite Eleanor’s efforts, they remain estranged.

With secrets untold, Rachel faces her third life-altering event and begins to realise what she has lost. She begins to look back into her mother’s life and discovers, she suffered her own pain and setbacks despite her glamorous persona. Told from dual points of view we revisit Eleanor’s life, coming of age, in the swinging sixties and Rachel solves a family secret that gives her hope for the future, whilst she comes to terms with her present, with the help of family and new friends.

The characters are complex and easily draw you into their lives. The snapshot of life in the sixties highlights the decadence, but also the prejudices that still need to be overcome. There are many poignant episodes in this story, which has an authentic ethos.

The plot is simple, and I have read similar stories, but this doesn’t detract from the excellent storytelling.