Say, wouldn’t it be a gas if all of us here are pretending to be something we’re not?’
1957: Iris Bailey is bored to death of working in the typing pool and living with her parents in Hemel Hampstead. A gifted portraitist with a talent for sketching guests at parties, she dreams of becoming an artist. So she can’t believe her luck when wealthy socialite Nell Hardman invites her to Havana to draw at the glittering wedding of her Hollywood director father.
Iris is thrilled to escape to a faraway city by the sea. But she soon realizes that the cocktails, tropical scents and azure skies mask a darker reality. As Cuba teeters on the edge of revolution and Iris’s heart melts for troubled photographer Joe, she discovers that someone in the charismatic Hardman family is hiding a terrible secret. Can she uncover the ugly truth behind the glamour and the dazzle before all their lives are torn apart?
I received a copy of this book from Random House UK, Transworld Publishers – Black Swan in return for an honest review.
This story captures the thirst for glamour and the diminished role of women that epitomises the 1950s. Intelligent but naive Iris inwardly rails against her life but feels ill-equipped to alter its path. A talented portraitist who works in a typing pool marriage is the only way out. Meeting socialite Nell is unexpected. Nell’s surprise invitation means Iris can escape for a while.
Clever use of visual imagery brings pre-revolution Cuba to life. Lies, mystery, politics and secrets are interweaved into this glitzy yet tawdry story. Some characters have more depth than others, but all make up a cast of players that give insight into the final months of Havana before the revolution.
Iris’ character development is significant as she experiences the facets of humanity and the turmoil of a country on the precipes of political change.
Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a much-loved psychological suspense author. She is the author of the Richard and Judy bookclub pick, Dangerous Crossing and the bestselling A Fatal Inheritance. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family.
‘I absolutely adored this book. It gave me all the feels! A charming read full of warmth and heart.’ ***** Kim the Bookworm
Bea Winters is in desperate need of a fresh start. Being bullied at work is not her idea of fun and she longs to follow her dream of becoming a published author. When an advert appears in her local paper to work in a publishing house in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale, it sounds too good to be true.
She strikes up an instant friendship with gorgeous aspiring author, Eddie Richards and her dashing millionaire boss Scott Summers
But all isn’t as it seems in the sleepy village of Bloomsdale.
How does the local clairvoyant know her name? Who does the little black dog that keeps appearing belong to and why does she keep bumping into the mysterious Charlie?
As she starts to unravel the truth, it seems that everyone in Bea’s life is keeping secrets. An uplifting romantic comedy that will warm your heart.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Winters’ Gift offers its readers something different. Bea is a likeable protagonist flawed but easy to empathise. Her life’s not easy, especially at work. With a little supernatural nudge, she embraces an opportunity for a new life and job.
Bea’s adventures in Bloomsdale are numerous, some funny some sad as she learns the secrets of her past and a real-life family drama unfolds at the publishing house.
Vibrant characters and a lovely balance of humorous and poignant moments make this an engaging story, especially with its supernatural twist.
Florence Keeling adopted for her pen-name her Great Grandmother’s name, chosen because of the shared birthday of April Fool’s Day. She is married with two teenage chidren. Born and raised in Coventry, England she now lives just outside in Nuneaton. Reflected Destinies is her first novel.
Florence Keeling also writes for children under the name of Lily Mae Walters.
The Player meets Get Shorty in this thrilling debut from Mark Grenside.
An LA screenwriter is killed shortly after completing his latest script, FALL OUT – a thriller destined to be a blockbuster but written with a secret double purpose. Echoing events from the past the screenplay is sent to a very specific group of people and will change their lives forever. All are connected to a movie that had abruptly stopped shooting in the jungles of the Philippines years before. FALL OUT exposes the truth about a conspiracy and murder that led to a half-a-billion-dollar fortune for a select few.
Follow the story of Producer Marcus Riley, who sets out on an increasingly dangerous quest to get FALL OUT made. From a powerful Agent’ s office in Hollywood, hidden treasures in Belgravia and a remote chalet in the Swiss Alps to murder at the Cannes Film Festival, Marcus teams up with designer Melinda (Mako) de Turris as they and the other recipients of the screenplay are pursued by an assassin from the past.
With clues cleverly concealed in the screenplay, Marcus and Mako unravel a lethal puzzle that for some will bring death, others the truth and ends in a cave with a shocking secret…..
I received a copy of this book from Urbane Publications in return for an honest review.
A chilling complex international thriller. An uncompleted film, a missing man and a historical war criminal mystery are all threads of this cleverly constructed plot.
Told from multi-points. of view the story of betrayal and greed unfolds. Glamorous settings and historical events, both actual and fictional, make this an absorbing read. The authentic and relatable characters each have a part to play in solving the mystery.
The detailed story varies in pace as it seamlessly moves between characterisation, flashbacks and adrenaline-pumping action. Full of visual imagery, the story reveals its secrets as if the reader is an eye witness. The use of screenplay interspersed with the prose, adds interest to the story. It provides important clues to the mystery.
The ending is exciting and gives the reader the completion they seek.
Mark Grenside began his working career straight out of school at Lloyds of London, specializing in Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion Insurance. At 25 it was time for a career change and to dump the suit and tie so he started his media career working for Jim Henson and The Muppets. From that moment on he has been involved in Entertainment and nearly every aspect of it. Mark then went on to create and produce a number of television series and mini-series. At the same time he started a music management company launching million seller artist Neneh Cherry. In 2004 he arranged a $250 million buy-out of the Hallmark Channel International which was then successfully sold to NBC. He returned to producing a number of movies and mini-series.
He has recently somehow morphed into a serial entrepreneur and is now a co-founder of seed to shelf CBD producer Dragonfly Biosciences (www.dragonflybiosciences.com) and a founder in two separate digital companies…. but has also seen a very good return from his love of cooking in an expanding waistline.
A probably unhealthy amount of time and money is lavished on a collection of classic cars that he has raced all over the world. He enjoys risk and has parachuted in New Zealand, scuba dived in the Pacific, hang-glided in the Himalayas and even tobogganed down the Cresta Run. In nearly every case chasing after his wife who is utterly fearless!
He is now writing the follow up to Fall Out, entitled The Bastion. In addition he writes also puts out a humorousblog with subscribers in more than 40 countries.
Mark has two grown sons, two daughters in law, three grandchildren and lives with his wife, a pug and a French bulldog in Malta.
His first thriller Fall Out publishes in May 2020.
Five people at the height of their success die suddenly in different parts of the world. A villa in Portofino and a terrace in Capri, both in Italy. A flight to Singapore. A beach in Santorini, Greece. A luxury resort on the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. All five are filed as “death by natural causes”. No doubts, no links. But an intelligence analyst and his television journalist girlfriend suspect there is a connection. And follow a trail of unusual coincidences. Meanwhile, a brilliant businessman chases a dream: prolonging human life to over 150 years. And in perfect health. An ambitious goal. That entices the billionaires club: the privileged few who own over half of the world’s wealth. The human mind possesses hidden talents. You just need to know how to make the most of them. But longevity can prove fatal.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
An intriguing plot and a complex cast of characters make this an addictive techno-thriller. Five seemingly unrelated deaths attract the attention of a secret organisation. Is there a connection? Is there a ghost killer?
An enticing mix of action, conspiracy and intuitive investigation keep you absorbed in this fast-paced story. It’s a compelling read.
A.D. Pascal is an Italian writer. He lives in Milan. After graduating, he started his career as an economic journalist. Then worked as a marketing manager for multinationals.
He wrote several books on management as a ghostwriter.
In his own words: “Writing has always been my passion and the base of my activities. My purpose was to present facts and figures in a stimulating way.
Later, I realized that I would also be able to create exciting works of fiction.
‘Fatal Longevity’ is the first of a series of books I am working on. They will all combine real events with just a pinch of imagination”.
The Inheritance by Anne Allen is one year old. To celebrate all the seven books in The Guernsey Novel series will only be £1.99 on Kindle for a limited time. Each of the books can be read as a standalone too.
1862 Young widow Eugénie faces an uncertain future in Guernsey. A further tragedy brings her to the attention of Monsieur Victor Hugo, living in exile on the island only yards away from Eugénie’s home. Their meeting changes her life and she becomes his copyist, forming a strong friendship with both Hugo and his mistress, Juliette Drouet.
2012 Dr Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey-born but living in England, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island. As a child, she was entranced by Doris’s tales of their ancestor, Eugénie, whose house this once was, and her close relationship with Hugo. Was he the real father of her child? Returning to the island gives Tess a fresh start and a chance to unlock family secrets.
Will she discover the truth about Eugénie and Hugo? A surprise find may hold the answer as Tess embraces new challenges which test her strength – and her heart.
A delightful mix of contemporary and Victorian life on Guernsey, with colourfully described historical details, and an engaging contemporary story full of romance, friendship and family drama.
Tess unexpectedly inherits an old house on Guernsey where she spent her childhood, Visiting her inheritance, she is drawn to the rundown house and being at a crossroads in her life decides to renovate and make Guernsey her home again.
Characters from previous stories make cameo appearances, but the story is standalone. The story slips between 2012 and Victorian times, told from Tess and Eugenie’s points of view. Both stories are complex and interesting, and there is a historical mystery for Tess to solve.
The story features a real historical figure, although the story is fictional, his presence as a character adds authenticity and depth.
Domestic abuse is a primary theme in this book, and it serves to highlight, its prevalence, and the differences and similarities between contemporary and Victorian women, in abusive relationships.
The storytelling is enthralling, the setting vividly described and the connections between the past and present meaningful. A lovely mix of believable characters and a realistic but hopeful ending make reading ‘The Inheritance’, a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Book Six of The Guernsey Novels is another dual-time story set during the German Occupation and present-day Guernsey and is likely to appeal particularly to fans of the book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Treachery and theft lead to death – and love
1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…
1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…
Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?
Who knew about the stolenRenoir?
And are they prepared to kill – again?
I love this series, it has all the best qualities of a cosy mystery in a breathtaking setting, with just a hint of the supernatural and historical flashbacks that illuminate the present mystery.
Believable, interesting characters are easy to empathise with and draw you into present-day Guernsey and it’s WW2 legacy, most notably the German occupation of the island. The gentle romance and supernatural elements enhance the storyline. The writing is clever as present-day events are determined by their historical roots.
Whilst they are standalone read; characters and situations from previous novels inform this story. If you haven’t read the other books in the series check out my reviews and read them for yourself.
This story is a pleasing, page-turning read, that makes me want to reacquaint myself with the mystical island of Guernsey.
The fifth of The Guernsey Novels, Echoes of Time is a dual-time story set in the German Occupation and present-day Guernsey and is likely to appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Betrayal, injustice and revenge echo down the years…
1940. Olive marries farmer Bill Falla. The Germans occupy Guernsey.
All too soon Olive realises she has made a mistake. Her life changes when she meets Wolfgang, a German officer-however there’s a price to pay. . .
2010. Natalie Ogier returns to Guernsey to escape an abusive relationship – only to be plagued by odd happenings in her beautiful cottage on the site of a derelict and secluded farm. Disturbing dreams, disembodied voices and uncanny visions from the past. She becomes increasingly ill at ease as someone else’s past catches up with her own…
Her only immediate neighbour, Stuart, is the grandson of the original owners, Bill and Olive.
Thrown together in a bid to find out what happened to Olive, can they each survive the repercussions of the past and move on?
All the ‘Guernsey Novels’ are defined by their memorable characters, vivid setting and intriguing plots, ‘Echoes of Time’, has all of these qualities and something extra that makes it a gripping and worthwhile read.
The cross over and parallels between Guernsey’s past and present are explored in greater detail in this story and Natalie, who returns to the island after a traumatic incident, experiences life in war torn Guernsey, in a most disturbing way.
Escaping her past Natalie witnesses a woman’s life with a startling similarity to her own, is her subconscious playing tricks on her or is what she dreams and experiences real?
The mystery enfolds in 2010 with flashbacks and time slip to occupied Guernsey in World War Two. The historical element is well researched and often anecdotal and blends with the present in a believable, easy to read way.
Characters’ flaws make them authentic and human. Natalie finds friendship when she most needs it but will become something more and is she brave enough to let it?
A poignant, well written tale, set on a beautiful island, perfect for holiday reading and anytime you want to escape.
The fourth of The Guernsey Novels, covering both contemporary Guernsey and the time of the Occupation. Likely to appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
One family, divided by death – and money
Andy Batiste, at loggerheads with his degenerate cousin, seeks to discover the truth of his family history. Why was his pregnant grandmother forced to flee to France? What really happened to her husband during the German Occupation, sixty years ago? Who accused Edmund, the elder son and Batiste heir, of being an informer? Was he really a traitor – and who murdered him?
With Edmund’s brother Harold now head of the family, enjoying the wealth which ought to have come to Andy’s father, the family is forever divided. Andy yearns to clear Edmund’s name and restore his father to his rightful inheritance.
Andy is introduced to Charlotte Townsend, newly divorced, lonely and struggling with writer’s block and the consuming threat of impending loss. They meet when she returns for healing at Guernsey’s natural health centre, La Folie, and Charlotte becomes involved in Andy’s family history.
Together they embark on a hunt for the truth…
The catalyst for this story is an incident in World War 2. A death accompanied by malicious rumour divides a family. Charlotte, who we met in ‘Guernsey Retreat’, makes a welcome return.
‘The Family Divided’ maintains the mystery and gentle romance, characteristic of this series. This story casts Charlotte in the role of detective as she unravels the secrets and rumour buried in the Batiste’s family’s past, to help and stay close to her new friend Andy Batiste.
Well paced, this story explores the growing relationship between Charlotte and Andy, and lets us glimpse the lives of previously introduced characters, Jeanne, Louise and Malcolm.
I liked the disparity between Andy’s family and Charlotte’s and how it allows both characters to grow and develop. Charlotte’s investigation is believable and what she discovers builds to a tense and well resolved ending.
If you like your mystery with vivid imagery and sweet romance you will definitely enjoy The Guernsey Novels series.
The third in The Guernsey Novels series, likely to appeal to fans of the best-selling book The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Two violent deaths. Separated by time, but with a fatal connection…
A man loses his father. A young woman loses her mother. Both in tragic circumstances that lead, when they meet, to surprising revelations from the past.
Louisa needs to find the father she has never known, to warn him of possible danger – for them both. Her search takes her from England to Guernsey. Malcolm’s journey is more complicated: conceived in Guernsey, his bereaved mother emigrates with him to Canada. Many years later he arrives in India, and from here he is led back to Guernsey to open a health centre at La Folie. This was his father’s home and where he was killed at the start of the Second World War.
At the heart of the two deaths lie stolen jewels. Valuable enough to kill for. Twice.
Finding her father brings Louisa more than she bargains for, and her life is transformed, while Malcolm learns that life is, after all, for sharing…
This third book in ‘The Guernsey Novels series is as atmospheric, as the previous two stories. There are two deaths; one historical and one present-day, which force a meeting between Louisa and Malcolm, altering both their lives. The characters are interesting and believable, the setting a delight.
The author’s knowledge of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands gives the story another compelling dimension. This is a must read.
The historical events and their significance are weaved seamlessly into the contemporary plot. There is a welcome return of some characters from ‘Dangerous Waters’ and Finding Mother in cameo roles, which enrich the story.
The plot is easy to follow and provides a perfect foil for the characters to develop, grow and interact. There is intrigue and menace and a myriad of emotions as Louisa balances what she has lost and found and Malcolm tries to make amends for a youthful, foolish mistake. A sweet romance lightens the angst.
I liked the friendship between Louisa and Charlotte and look forward to reading Charlotte’s tale next.
Three women. Three generations. Sacrifices for love…
Who is she really? Nicole is about to find out as she searches for her real mother; the woman who gave her away at birth. With her marriage in tatters, she sets out from England: travelling to Spain, Jersey and Guernsey before the extraordinary story of her real family is finally revealed.
Nicole becomes an unwitting catalyst for change in that family. Two women are forced to reveal long-buried secrets. One going back as far as the Second World War. Lives are transformed as choices have to be made and the past laid to rest…
A marriage damaged, possibly beyond repair prompts investigative journalist Nicole to search for her birth mother. Her decision threatens those who love her, leads to long buried secrets and romantic surprises on the beautiful island of Guernsey.
The setting for the second in ‘The Guernsey Novels series’ is vivid and tangible. The insight into island life makes Guernsey, an important secondary character that informs the actions of Nicole and her birth family.
‘Finding Mother’ is a gently paced story, with nostalgic echoes of magazine serials in the sixties. The characters are outwardly ordinary but their normality cloaks resentment, fear, missed chances and unwavering courage. The emotional tension is realistic and poignant and shrouded in long suppressed mystery.
Addictive and so easy to read; ‘Finding Mother’ builds to a tense crescendo before the secrets are revealed. The characters are complex and believable and make a story of everyday life, memorable.
This story will appeal to lovers of romantic sagas and quality women’s fiction.
Dangerous Waters is the first of The Guernsey Novels, linked but standalone stories, which will appeal to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Tragedy seems to follow Jeanne Le Page around . . .
Can she really go through it again and survive?
She is lucky to be alive … at sixteen Jeanne was almost killed in a boating accident which brought heart-breaking family tragedy. Now, fifteen years later, Jeanne returns reluctantly to the island of Guernsey following the death of her beloved grandmother. Struggling for breath as the ferry nears the island; she is overwhelmed by a dark foreboding as hazy memories of that terrible day resurface…
Only returning to sell her inheritance – her grandmother’s old cottage – Jeanne has no intention of picking up her old life. But the cottage holds a secret, dating back to World War II and the German Occupation, and Jeanne becomes drawn into discovering more. Then, soon after her arrival, a chance meeting with an old teenage crush leads her to thoughts of love.
Jeanne is forced to face her demons, reliving the tragedy as her lost memory returns.
When the truth is finally revealed, her life is endangered for the second time…
This delightful story reflects the island life it depicts; atmospheric, gently paced and full of mystery and romance. The characters are crafted realistically and easy to visualise. This is not an action packed read but the laid back writing style draws the reader into island society and culture. The cast of secondary characters give the story its depth and variety and bring the island community to life for me.
Contemporary favourites cookery and gardening widen the scope of this novel and prevent it from becoming too self absorbed and dark. The descriptions of the cosmopolitan restaurants, food and the cottage garden are vibrant and knowledgeable; as is the insight into the publishing industry.
Jeanne the vulnerable but talented heroine of ‘Dangerous Waters’ is a writer who returns to her childhood home many years after a traumatic incident drove her back to the mainland. Her chosen career has a dramatic boost when she discovers her grandmother’s hidden secrets and much treasured ancestral recipes.
Coupled with reconnecting with friends from her school days and deciding what to do with her legacy, Jeanne’s day to day life is an absorbing read. Jeanne’s poignant flashbacks reveal her traumatic past. Mystery and dangerous undercurrents threaten Jeanne’s emotional recovery until she isn’t sure who she can trust.
‘Dangerous Waters’ is definitely worth reading and I look forward to the rest of the Guernsey Novels.
I received copies of these book from the author in return for an honest review.
Anne was born in Rugby to a Welsh father and an English mother. As a result, she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learned to love the sea. Now she is based in Devon to be near her daughter and two small grandchildren. Her restless spirit has meant many moves, the longest stay being in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns. Her younger son is based in London – ideal for city breaks.
By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist who long had a desire to write and Dangerous Waters, her first novel, was published in 2012. It was awarded Silver(Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Since then she has published six more books in The Guernsey Novels series; Finding Mother, Guernsey Retreat, The Family Divided, Echoes of Time- winner of The Diamond Book Award 2017, a finalist in Readersfavorite awards and granted a ChillWithABookAward, The Betrayal, and The Inheritance, published April 2019.
1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn, Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape – one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries…
Present Day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.
Moving between the Tudor era and the present day,The Forgotten Sister draws on one of history’s most compelling mysteries.
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
This story rooted in historical fact weaves a tale of ambition, deceit, love and the paranormal, which engages and informs. The ultimate betrayal in the Tudor times, echoes over the centuries, with a series of tragic consequences.
Based on the mystery surrounding the death of Amy Robsart, the circumstances of her marriage, are explored, amid the intrigue of the Tudor court. In the present day, there is a suspicious death of another Amy, whose marriage was in tatters. Lizzie running away from a media scandal reconnects with Johnny, who is sure she has a historical link to the present tragedy.
Intricately woven contemporary and historical storylines enlivened with complex characters and authentic settings, make this an addictive story.
Everyone remembers the day the girls went missing.
May Day 1912, a day that haunts Missensham. The day two girls disappeared. The day the girls were murdered. Iris Caldwell and Nell Ryland were never meant to be friends. From two very different backgrounds, one the heir to the Caldwell estate, the other a humble vicar’s daughter. Both have their secrets, both have their pasts, but they each find solace with one another and soon their futures become irrevocably intertwined. Now, many years later, old footage has emerged which shows that Iris Caldwell may not have died on that spring morning. The village must work out what happened the day the girls went missing…
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus- Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The Lost Girls is a surprisingly poignant story of two girls, from different social classes, who dared to defy society’s norms. An old home movie, showing a girl who went missing, believed abducted and murdered, is the catalyst for a surprising chain of events.
The characters are complex and flawed, and their story is full of dark secrets, and desperate emotion. An absorbing, engaging story, with a uniqueness that keeps you reading.
Guest Post- Jennifer Wells-The Lost Girls
The little moments which bring the past back to life
There is something quite eerie about old films. I don’t mean cinematic classics or even the first Hollywood movies. I’m talking about the old cine films that survive from the early twentieth century. Such films were shot using cumbersome machines, where filming depended on an operator who could doggedly turn a crank handle for minutes on end. These machines produced images that are little more than light and shadow – grainy outlines and stuttering movements – yet there is something about them that is very alluring.
Among these films are some of the very first home movies. They show horse-drawn trams battling through busy shopping streets, exuberant workers spilling from factory gates, football matches, political marches and family events. The women wear shawls or gloves, their skirts swishing around their ankles as they walk. The men strut boldly, their hands thrust into the pockets of their suits. But whether young, old, rich or poor – everyone wears a hat.
The films I am describing are now over a hundred years old. The Edwardian era is a time that has become unfamiliar to us. When you watch such films, the horse-drawn trams and long skirts seem like things that only ever existed in the pages of history books, and the people appear, not as busy shoppers or factory workers, but ghosts.
It is the ghost-like quality of such films that gave me the inspiration for the opening scene of my latest novel, THE LOST GIRLS. The novel opens in 1937 with a public screening of an old film – a lost home movie that had been shot 25 years earlier on May Day 1912. As the audience watch entranced, the image of a girl in a white dress flashes on to the screen. Her face is one that they all recognise – Iris Caldwell, a girl who was thought to be dead by that May Day morning. A girl presumed murdered.
When I first started writing THE LOST GIRLS, Iris Caldwell was little more than a ghost to me. She was no more than one of those old cine film images, her face in shadow and her movements slow and stuttering. But I wanted to give life to a character who might have appeared in one of these old films, and soon the girl in the white dress became flesh and blood to me. Iris Caldwell became a girl who, like many others, loved to read novels and longed for friendships. She also became a girl with terrible secrets and forbidden desires. We live in a time that is very different from 1912. The horse-drawn trams, long skirts and a multitude of hats belong to a world that seems very strange to us. Yet, among the grainy faces that peer out from the past, we can sometimes spot a smile or a wink – something that reminds us that the people who lived back then were not so different to us after all. It is these little moments which bring the past so much closer again.
Jennifer is the author of THE LIAR, THE MURDERESS, THE SECRET and THE LOST GIRLS published by Aria Fiction. Her novels involve the themes of family, betrayal and love and are set in the home counties in the early 20th century. Jennifer lives in Devon with her young family and cats.
Artist Sally Mellors has planned the perfect revenge, but with two secret agents on her tail, and her best friends running the police investigation, getting away with murder is going to be tricky… Everybody loves Sally. She’s a funny, generous, warm hearted friend, without a nasty bone in her body. Isn’t she? Unknown to her friends, Sally’s discovered another side to herself, cool headed and relentless, as she hunts down the three men who killed her husband. But Sally’s not the only one with an interest in the trio. Unknown to her, two agents have arrived in town, urgently hunting a missing man and his diary, which could blow their organisation apart. Their best leads are the very men that Sally’s hunting, and she’s getting in the way…
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This type of revenge killing murder mystery depends on, the charisma and cleverness of the main protagonist. Sally Mellors is intelligent and after the death of her husband driven to seek revenge on his conspirators involved in his death. Emma has also similarly lost her husband, and Sally seeks her out and suggests they seek revenge together.
The plot is pacy, after the initial world-building and characterisation. There are plenty of adrenaline-fueled action scenes and a plot with the necessary twists. Two mystery men seeking an unknown man, increase the suspense.
This story is bizarre at times, but this quirk adds to the story’s eighties retrospective feel.
A good escapist read.
K.T. Findlay lives on a small farm where he dovetails his writing with fighting the blackberry and convincing the quadbike that killing its rider isn’t a vital part of its job description.
She stumbled on a bloodied body buried in a snowbank. Will a cold case in Kansas lead her to the killer?
Against a canvas of crime and murder, artist and detective Leila Goodfriend investigates two brutal murders that happened a thousand miles—and decades apart.
As she unravels the truth about these two violent killings, she tracks a trail of blood and revenge, littered with smoke screens and stone relics of a perilous past. From Cape Cod to a casino in Kansas, Leila has to trust her instincts. And her developing relationship with Detective John Grace is put to a new, dangerous test.
Despite the detective’s warnings, Leila puts her life at risk, obsessed with proving her friend’s innocence, at least of murder.
She exposes new suspects and clues, and in the end, reveals a dark, deadly secret from her own past.
Death In Smoke, the new psychological thriller from acclaimed author Barbara Elle, takes readers on an inner and physical journey across time, challenging your assumptions about what is truth—what remains a mystery.
In her stunning debut thriller, Death In Vermilion (The Cape Mysteries Book 1), acclaimed author Barbara Elle paints a clever and twisted picture of women and sisters, whose lives are entwined by a brutal murder in a Cape Cod town. Who can you trust?
Now, Death In Smoke (The Cape Mysteries Book 2) asks what’s the connection between a bloodied body buried in a snow bank on a remote island off the Cape and a cold case in Kansas? Can artist and amateur sleuth Leila Goodfriend solve this new mystery?
Barbara Elle fell in love with books and writing at a young age, honing her writing chops as a copywriter at major publishers publishers and as a freelance journalist.
Growing up in Boston, but she became a New Yorker as an adult. Her writing draws on people and places she remembers, setting The Cape Mysteries on Cape Cod, a place of memories.
Barbara Elle continues collecting characters and plots, often travelling the world with her touring musician husband, bass player and musical director for rock and roll icon Cyndi Lauper. In her travels, Barbara has explored Buddhist temples in Beijing, crypts in Vienna and Kabuki Theater in Tokyo.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Beth Chamberlain is a likeable, realistic character. Dedicated to her career, despite the problems in her personal life. As a family liaison officer, she needs great people skills and well-disguised investigative talent. She is uniquely placed to discover family tensions, and gain the trust of the victims’ relatives and find out the true story.
A historical suicide, a deliberate hit and run, which results in a man’s death. Emotions and suspense build, as the investigation proceeds. Further crimes, throw up more questions, than answers. The relentless investigation, finally finds the answers, leading to a devastating conclusion.
The story explores the concept of trial by social media, and the consequences, both personal and establishment, of this contemporary trend. The wife of the murdered man, who has stood by him, shows her strength of character in the face of public antagonism, against her late husband and her family.
The connection between the various crimes is cleverly interwoven. The police investigation is authentically portrayed. The domestic noir and suspense build gradually, giving the plot added depth and adding the ending’s impact.
Dark crime, complex characters and relatable police investigation team, make this addictive reading. Looking forward to the next one.
Author Interview – Jane Issacs – ‘For Better For Worst’ Blog Tour
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog, Jane. I’m thrilled to be here!
Is there a particular event or person who inspired ‘For Better, For Worse’?
Ooh, I can’t say there was a particular event or person that inspired this story, more a combination of things I’ve read and watched in crime news and documentaries over the years. I was particularly struck with someone wrongly accused – or were they? Also, the challenge of being married to someone who holds a dark secret and when that secret is uncovered, the fallout of how they deal with it and ultimately how it affects the family unit.
The idea of a wife standing by her husband and the whole debate of did he/didn’t he seemed such an enticing project to work with.
What comes first in your story creation process, character, plot or setting? Why do think this is?
I think it’s a combination of things that come in stages, like building blocks, and form the foundation of the story. Often one element influences another. For Better, For Worse is the second title in the DC Beth Chamberlain, Family Liaison Officer, series. Beth’s detective character and the setting of Northamptonshire were already established for the series, although I did have to research particular locations and site the new family. As the plot unravelled in my mind, I realised we needed another point of view in Gina Ingram (the councillor’s wife) and built her character into the story.
Do you find dialogue easy to write? How do you create authentic-sounding dialogue in your novels?
I think dialogue can be very tricky to get right. I often imagine speaking it as I write and draft it without speech marks initially to avoid slowing myself down, then tidy it up later.
How do make you protagonists’ responses to a traumatic event believable?
Ooh, good question! Lots of research, talking to people who have been in the situation and reading in and around a similar event in the news or in books. Plus, I like to imagine myself in their shoes, if possible and see how I would react. Even after I’ve drafted a scene, I’ll come back to it and rewrite it several times before I’m completely happy.
Do you enjoy, or have time to read? What are your favourite genres?
Yes, I love to read and do so as much as I can. Crime fiction will always be my first love – I revel in the twists and turns of a good mystery, and love a page-turning psychological thriller. I recently read The Lying Room by Nicci French and couldn’t put it down!
That said, I do like to intersect my thrillers with other books. I’m currently reading The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd which is a beautifully written and uplifting literary novel.
Are there any other genres you would like to write in? If so, what are they, and why do they interest you?
I think the idea of creating your own fantasy world would be really interesting. I loved the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett, though I’ve no plans to move at present!
Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane loves to hear from readers and writers.
Sign up to her book club at http://eepurl.com/1a2uT for book recommendations and details of new releases, events and giveaways.