Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Travel

A Question of Country Sue Parritt 4* #Review @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #Australia #Emigrating #Migrants #1970s LiteraryFiction #social #feminisim #women #marriage #career #family #relationships #historicalfiction #BlogTour #BookReview

On Christmas Eve 1969, a letter from Australia House, London, brings welcome news for newly-weds Anna and Joseph Fletcher.

Young and idealistic, Anna falls passionately in love with their adopted land. Seven months later, an unexpected event causes their life to take a stressful turn.

Years pass, and Anna retreats to a fictional world she has created. But when a different challenge presents itself, does she have the courage to take the risk… or will she take refuge in fantasy?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

An interesting novel. Set predominately in Australia, in the 1970s, it traces the lives of a young couple who emigrated from England to Australia in 1970. Prejudice and social injustice are explored, on their voyage to their new home. The details of life as a migrant in Australia, build the world Anna and Joe find themselves in. Anna loves her new country but when her circumstances change the rose coloured glasses cloud a little.

Told in the third person, it reads like a memoir. Anna’s emotional struggles are believable, and her escape into literature is relatable. A flawed, pioneering woman, Anna highlights the forgotten in society insightfully.

This historically based novel is intrinsically interesting and thought-provoking.

Sue Parritt

Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:

Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.

Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.

The Sky-Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.

Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017

Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year-old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

A Question of Country explores the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity. Next Chapter (formerly Creativia Publishing), 2020.

Sue’s current project, working title: Twenty-eight Days, first in The Doorkeeper series,isset in Southern Australia in 2100. It deals with overpopulation and extended life expectancy in an increasingly climate-challenged world and the inhumane solutions adopted by a government determined to rid Australia of unproductive citizens.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism.  Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Summer in Provence Lucy Coleman 5* #Review @LucyColemanAuth @BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #France #FamilyDrama #Provence #Relationships @rararesources #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #SummerinProvence

Is a change as good as a rest?

When married couple Fern and Aiden have a windfall, their reactions could not be more different. While Fern is content to pay off their mortgage and build a nest egg before starting a family, her husband is set on traveling the world.

Fern’s not much of a back-packer so, before she knows it, the idea of a ‘marriage gap year’ takes shape. And, as Aiden heads off to the wilds of Australia, Fern chooses the more restful Provence for her year out.

Set amidst the glorious French scenery, Château de Vernon offers a retreat from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and Fern agrees to help out in return for painting lessons from the owner – renowned, but rather troubled, painter Nico.

As their year unfolds in very different ways, will the time apart transform their marriage, or will it drive Fern and Aiden even further apart…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a heart-warming, sun-drenched and magical French adventure.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and Boldwood Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Fern is sure something is going to happen, to disturb her life’s status quo, but she doesn’t know what it is. If her body’s reaction is an indication it’,s not going to be good. I love the intuitive protagonists the author creates. They give the story an added dimension, adding to the characters’ complexity and depth.

Fern finds that money isn’t everything when her stable world implodes. She finds herself in Provence, not sure what to expect, or why she’ s there. The characters she meets are diverse and all have a story. The group dynamics that develop are authentic. They provide a sympathetic setting for Fern’ s emotional journey.

Nico is an enigma, a successful artist he has the moody temperament and a magnetic personality. Drawn to the latent talent he sees in Fern, he mentors her. Fern enjoys his focus, appreciated for something other than her problem-solving skills. There is romance in this story, but it’s a meeting of minds, rather than physical completion. There is one sensual scene, towards the end that is beautifully written and makes Fern challenge, everything she believes about her life and relationship.

The story is easy to read, full of interesting people and activities. Character-driven it takes you on a sensual journey of exploration. With its touches of drama, poignancy and romance you enjoy a lovely escape from reality. The ending is full of twists and completes this journey of minds and spirits in a satisfying way.

Lucy Coleman

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels – including Summer on the Italian Lakes, Snowflakes over Holly Cove, The French Adventure and A Cottage in the Country. She is represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture, working in the garden, or practising Tai Chi.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she is an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the SoA and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

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Giveaway to Win a signed paperback of ‘A Springtime to Remember’ and a Boldwood Tote bag (Open INT)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will behttp://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494365/?passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Giveaway, Historical Romance, Paranormal, Romance

On A Falling Tide Georgia Hill 5* #Review @georgiawrites @BLKDOGBooks @rararesources #timeslip #Victorian #women #romance #Friendship #FamilyDrama #Ancestry #LymeRegis #Dorset #BlogTour #BookReview #jurassiccoast

Two women. Connected by heartbreak, separated in time. Can Charity save the man she loves, or will Lydia’s vengeful spirit prove too strong?

Two haunting love stories and a hundred and fifty-year-old curse …

When the beloved grandfather who brought her up dies, Charity is left struggling to cope. Alone and rootless, she’s drawn to the sleepy fishing village of Beaumouth near Lyme Regis and begins to research her family tree. A chance encounter with attractive boat-builder Matt sparks a chain of mysterious and unsettling events and leads Charity to uncover the story of a young girl who lived in the village over a hundred years before.

In 1863 all Lydia Pavey wants to do is follow in Mary Anning’s footsteps and become a ‘fossilist.’ Instead, she is being forced into marriage to a man she barely knows.

Charity’s obsession with Lydia becomes all-consuming and she risks losing everything. With a longed-for family tantalisingly in reach, will Charity find the happy ever after she’s yearned for and, most importantly, can she save the man she loves?

Amazon UK Amazon Black Dog Publishing

I received a copy of this book from Black Dog Publishing and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

If you are torn between reading contemporary romance and historical fiction this lovely, gothic-inspired story gives you both. Charity bereaved, after losing her final family member, the grandfather who raised her, is struggling with her mental health, and her feelings of self -worth.

Needing to escape her old life to aid her healing, she visits the Jurassic coast. Somewhere her grandfather said they had family connections, although he would never visit the area. Drawn by the cliffs she has a serendipitous meeting with Dolly, the Springer Spaniel and Matt, the attraction is instant, even though he is rescuing her from a muddy situation.

The story follows Charity’s life in Lyme and Beaumont and is filled with authentic, complex characters, who draw her into their community and make her feel part of something. There are conflicts with Saskia, and indecision and fear over her growing feeling for Matt.

Interwoven, with this contemporary tale, is a strange, sad and sinister encounter with a woman on the beach. Charity’s research into her ancestry, reveals information about the mysterious woman. Charity is drawn into another world. Her mental health makes her questions, whether this is a delusion. It threatens her growing attachment with Matt, but she is hypnotised by its power and cannot stop it even with it puts her in danger.

The timeslip into Victorian times is realistic, given the fragility of Charity’s mental health, and her crippling grief. The folklore about a ghost near the cliffs gives credence to her experiences. The stories are woven together so well, one informs the other, and introduces powerful conflict.

Atmospheric, poignant and menacing, it builds to the climax. This story’s haunting, gothic quality, fuses perfectly with an engaging conflict-ridden contemporary romance. The ending is a lovely conclusion to a very enjoyable story.

Georgia Hill

Georgia Hill writes best-selling romcoms and historical fiction with romance at the heart. Although she writes in two genres, they have more in common than you might think; she puts serious issues into her romcoms and lots of humour into her historical novels. She lives by the sea in the south west of England with her two beloved dogs – a spaniel and a delinquent cockapoo puppy, her husband (also beloved and not at all delinquent) and a ghost called Zoe. She loves Jane Austen, elephants, Belgian chocolate (all donations gratefully received) and Strictly Come Dancing. Her stories come from everywhere and anything, so be careful what you tell her as you may end up in a book. She also finds inspiration in the folklore and history of the many places in which she’s lived. To put it politely, she’s had a portfolio career having worked in the theatre, for a charity and as a teacher and educational consultant before giving in and finally acknowledging that making up things was what she really wanted to do. She has a nasty addiction to moving house but is trying to overcome this. After one house move too many, she lost all her notebooks and decided to stop talking about writing and actually do some. She’s been happily creating believably flawed heroines, intriguing men and page-turning stories ever since.

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Giveaway to Win PBs of On a Falling Tide and While I was Waiting. (Open to UK & Ireland)

Click on Giveaway Link To Enter

*Terms and Conditions –UK & Ireland entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Contemporary Fiction, Giveaway, Guest post

Surviving Me Jo Johnson #GuestPost #BookSpotlight #JoJohnson @rararesources #Life #MentalHealth #Men #Society #Giveaway

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.

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Everybody hurts – Guest Post – Jo Johnson

In my debut novel “Surviving Me” my main character Tom Cleary is hurting. He’s experiencing feelings of loss, guilt, anxiety and sadness. Instead of acknowledging his pain, he ignores and buries his painful feelings, he withdraws from others and uses alcohol in an attempt to drown his sorrows.

The R.E.M. song tells us, ‘Everybody hurts sometimes’. I don’t think many would argue with that.

However good life is, there will be times this week when you’ve experienced emotional pain. Whenever we do something meaningful, it gives us pain as well as pleasure.

Writing this blog feels positive, I hope it helps someone but I feel anxious it is boring, guilty that I should be at home and frustrated that the table I’m working on is making my neck hurt.

Unless you live on a desert island you’ll know even the best relationships bring disappointment, frustration, conflict, grief, fear, anxiety, anger, sadness and guilt.

Given the amount of experience we have with emotional pain, we should be great at dealing with it but most of us are not.

Often, when we are hurting, we inflict further hurt on ourselves.

The most recent research makes it clear that self-compassion helps.

Self-compassion involves acknowledging your own emotional pain and responding with compassion and care. This means treating yourself with the same warmth and kindness that you’d show to someone else.

Here is a little test.

When a friend is hurting, would you?

  • -Tell them to stop whining, to man up.
  • -call them boring, pathetic or stupid.
  • -encourage them to isolate themselves, stay in, keep quiet.
  • -make them self-harm by drinking or eating too much, make them starve or dehydrate.

Now ask yourself these questions.

What do you do to yourself when you are hurting?

What do you say to yourself when you are hurting?

How do you say it?

I bet you are a good friend. Are you as good to yourself? If not, here are a few starter steps:-

1. Acknowledge you are hurting, simply say or write, I’m sad, hurting or feeling ashamed.

2. Notice where in your body you feel this pain. Draw it out on the outline of a body. Colour in where it hurts.

3. Write down the thoughts that are taunting you. For example, you might write or say, “I’m noticing painful feelings of rejection” or “I’m noticing thoughts about being a loser” or “I’m noticing sadness and anxiety”.

4. Then ask yourself, what do I need? How might I treat my friend? Perhaps you could have a warm bath, enjoy a walk or spend time with people who care.

Self-compassion doesn’t get rid of our pain but it changes the way we manage it and makes us less likely hurt ourselves further. Our default is to try and stop emotional pain by distraction or another behaviour. The most common are excessive or restrictive eating, substance misuse, over work, blaming others, searching the internet or using social media. Notice what you are doing, ask yourself if the behaviours will help you in the long term. Would you suggest the behaviour to a friend in pain?

‘’Surviving Me” tackles hard issues such as depression, male suicide and degenerative disease. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.

Follow this link to read 120 reviews or to purchase the book on Amazon:

Amazon UK

Jo Johnson is a clinical psychologist specialising in neurological disorders and mind health.

I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’ is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.

I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.

I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”. 

In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.

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Giveaway to Win two signed copies of Surviving Me &  five Surviving Me fridge magnets  (Open INT)

Click on Giveaway Link To Enter

1st Prize – 2 winners each winning a signed copy of Surviving Me

5 Runners Up – each winning a Surviving Me Fridge Magnet

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway Link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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

The Faerie Tree Jane Cable 4*#Review @JaneCable #Romance #Relationships #Memories #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

HOW CAN A MEMORY SO VIVID BE WRONG?
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?

With strong themes of memory, love and grief, The Faerie Tree is a novel as gripping and unputdownable as Jane Cables first book, The Cheesemaker’s House, which won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Shows Peoples Novelist competition. It is a story that will resonate with fans of romance, suspense, and folklore.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Complex, emotional and honest, ‘This story explores family, love and life. Izzie and Robin meet by chance and both feel it’s the start of something. Then fate steps in and they lose touch, meeting again twenty years later. Is this their second chance? Told from Izzy and Robin’s point of view, the story explores what happens after their first meeting and why they are the people they became.

The emotional journey is poignant and painful, and the conflicts that arise in the present seem insurmountable. With a balanced and believable cast of characters, a plot with surprising twists and an extraordinary love story this book absorbs, engages and resonates.

Jane Cable

Jane Cable writes romantic fiction with the over-riding theme that the past is never dead. She published her first two books independently (the multi-award-winning The Cheesemaker’s House and The Faerie Tree) and is now signed by Sapere Books. Two years ago she moved to Cornwall to concentrate on her writing full time but struggles a little in such a beautiful location. Luckily she’s discovered the joys of the plot walk.

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Giveaway to Win PB copies of The Faerie Tree and The Cheesemaker’s House (UK Only)

Click on Giveaway Link to enter

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Humour, Romance

The School of Starting Over Lisa Swift 5* #Review @LisaSwiftAuthor @HeraBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #startingover #School #Teachers #secrets #RuralLife #VillageLife #Family Secrets #Lies #YorkshireMoors #TheSchoolofStartingOver

Nell’s going back to school… but now she’s learning lessons of the heart

Reception class teacher Nell Shackleton has a plan. At least, she had until she arrived at her new home of Humblebee Farm, a dilapidated farmhouse on the Yorkshire moors. But so what if the roof’s full of holes, the back door’s hanging off and there’s a sheep in the front room? Because sometimes a new beginning means starting at the bottom… right?

Xander Scott is one of the youngest headteachers Leyholme Primary School has ever had. But managing over-zealous parents and their semi-feral kids proves a tricky task for shy Xander – as does keeping his mind on the job when his feelings for the new Reception teacher become more than strictly professional…

At 43, Nell’s new friend Stevie Madeleine has given up on love. After losing her wife, Stevie’s decided that her four-year-old daughter Milly and cocker spaniel Red are the only girls she needs in her life. That is, until larger-than-life dog-walker Deb arrives on the scene. But will the secrets of Stevie’s past stop her new romance dead in its tracks?

Meeting Xander and Stevie brings joy back into Nell’s life – but when old secrets start to surface, there may be some hard lessons to learn for them all…

A gorgeously uplifting and hilarious romantic comedy.

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I received a copy of this book from Hera Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Heartwarming, humorous, immersive and poignant. ‘The School of Starting Over’, evokes so many emotions in the reader, as you discover the secrets hiding within the complex and relatable characters.

A new beginning for Nell in a rundown farmhouse, her heart’s battered and she wants a new start. Reading, the first few chapters I was expecting a lighthearted rom-com, with lots of interactive village gossip. Whilst. this is superficially what this story delivers there is so much more as you read on.

Just, when you are relaxing, and enjoying the happy ever afters you expected, the plot twists into an emotional family drama, which resonates. The story’s main protagonists’ happiness is intricately connected. and like a house of cards. it could disappear without a trace.

Vivid characters, heartrending conflict and an authentic Yorkshire village ethos and setting make this addictive reading.

Lisa Swift

Lisa Swift is a romance author from West Yorkshire in the UK. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents. Her first book is due to be published by Hera Books in August 2019.

As Mary Jayne Baker, Lisa also writes romantic comedies for Aria Fiction.

Lisa is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Noir, Psychological Thriller

I Will Make You Pay Teresa Driscoll 5*#Review @TeresaDriscoll @AmazonPub #Revenge #Secrets #Journalist #Investigator #Mystery #CrimeFiction #PsychologicalThriller #Stalker #BookReview

Every Wednesday, like clockwork, the terror returns.

It seems like an ordinary Wednesday, until the phone rings. A mysterious caller with a chilling threat. Journalist Alice Henderson hangs up, ready to dismiss it as a hoax against the newspaper. But the next Wednesday, the stalker makes another move—and it becomes clear that this is all about Alice.

Someone wants her to suffer, but for what? Her articles have made her a popular local champion—could it be her past rather than her work that’s put her life in danger? Alice is determined not to give in to fear, but with the police investigation at a dead end, her boyfriend insists on hiring private investigator Matthew Hill.

With every passing Wednesday, the warnings escalate until it’s not only Alice but also her family in the stalker’s sights. As her tormentor closes in, can Alice uncover what she’s being punished for before the terrifying threats become an unthinkable reality?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Authentic and addictive, this story explores what it’s like to be the focus of a stalker. The suspense builds from the first disturbing, unexpected contact and ends in a heart-pounding conclusion.

Alice, the journalist fulfils the role of an unreliable protagonist. She hates feeling vulnerable, not being able to live her life as she wants to. Her independence is gradually eroded. Her family is small but supportive and she is protective of them. The familial love is a strong theme of this story in both viewpoints portrayed. Alice has secrets, which are not immediately obvious but make her unreliable.

The character notated as ‘Him’, you presume is the antagonist. His story is poignant but increasingly menacing. Again familial love is a predominant theme, but here it takes a dark focus. The plot has many twists and viable suspects. Multiple plot strands, make the investigation complicated, for the police and the reader.

For those who have read the author’s previous book ‘The Promise’, Mathew Hill, the investigator is also a pivotal character in this story. His family life with wife Sally we first met in ‘The Promise’, and his lively daughter, provide light relief, in this often dark story.

This is a page-turning read. Alice is easy to empathise, and you feel her fear and frustration. The plot is relatable and clever, there are no loose ends, with it’s just ending. There is a poignant echo of the sad little boy you meet early in the story.