My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry

My Husband’s Wife [review]

My Husband's Wife by Jane Corry

[Synopsis]

It’s the perfect love story.

Lily meets Ed at a party, and on their second date, he proposes. She’s a lawyer, he’s an up-and-coming artist. They own a small but beautiful flat in London and mix with all the right people.

But Lily has a secret. Something from her past, that is soon to collide with her present. And she thinks her new husband is hiding something too…

The vows they made will soon be tested to the very limits.

‘Till death us do part…’

My Husband's Wife

[My Review]

My Husband’s Wife left me feeling a whole range of emotions, with a tense, complex narrative, wonderfully questionable characters and a good dose of mystery mixed in.

The story starts with a startling incident, and we then go back in time 15 years to work up to this event and see how and why it all happened. I love novels like this because I really enjoy narratives that hop around a bit (they can be confusing at times, but this one isn’t at all – a wonderfully enjoyable and easy read).

Because the story spans a large amount of time, I felt like I really got to know the characters well. Jane Corry has created a really well-developed, complex bunch who all have their faults – some definitely more than others, and some to a surprisingly dark extent – and it feels really pleasurable (though sometimes a little emotional) to read all about their lives as many of them take a downward turn.

Corry effectively works these characters into what feels like real-life people. I loved reading about each and every one of them, and the way many of them became dangerously corrupted and deceitful. Much of her writing is artfully subtle but still hugely impactful.

I don’t want to give much away but there are some really intriguing twists and turns that meant, although it’s  a pretty long book (my paperback copy has over 500 pages), it still really ramps up the pace and tension throughout, managing to avoid it feeling dragged out. 500+ pages is a treat when the story’s this intriguing!

A truly great read, and one I will definitely be recommending to others.

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Penguin Random House for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

My Husband’s Wife is out now in ebook format and out in paperback on 25 August (UK).

 

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The Girl With A Clock For A Heart - Peter Swanson

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart [review]

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart - Peter Swanson

[Synopsis]

George Foss never thought he’d see her again, but on a late-August night in Boston, there she is, in his local bar, Jack’s Tavern.

When George first met her, she was an eighteen-year-old college freshman from Sweetgum, Florida. She and George became inseparable in their first fall semester, so George was devastated when he got the news that she had committed suicide over Christmas break. But, as he stood in the living room of the girl’s grieving parents, he realized the girl in the photo on their mantelpiece – the one who had committed suicide – was not his girlfriend. Later, he discovered the true identity of the girl he had loved – and of the things she may have done to escape her past.

Now, twenty years later, she’s back, and she’s telling George that he’s the only one who can help her…

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart

[My Review]

I read The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson last year and really enjoyed it, so jumped at the chance to review his first novel, The Girl With A Clock For A Heart.

It’s got the same twist and turns of TKWK and, because of this, I really don’t want to give anything away. I’ll just say that the story is really fast paced and I got into it relatively quickly. However the characters didn’t draw me in at first, it took a while but they did grow on me – though I disliked one of the main characters (but won’t say who!)

Some parts do require you to suspend your disbelief in the character’s actions – but that’s true of many novels in this (and other) genres, and I personally don’t mind doing so! I will say that the chapter endings really encourage you to keep reading, so I sped through this quickly. It’s easy to read and, not only that, but it’s fun to read too!

I really enjoyed the novel throughout, but felt the ending let it down a bit – I’m not sure exactly why, I think it just felt a bit of an anti-climax. However I still really enjoyed it and look forward to his new novel, which appears to be named Her Every Fear, coming 2017 – hopefully it will be along a similarly twisty lines!

The story isn’t anything hugely different but it’s certainly entertaining, and I’d really recommend this as a fun, intriguing read for the summer (or any time!)

[Rating: 3/5]

Many thanks to Faber & Faber for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

The Swimming Pool - Louise Candlish

The Swimming Pool [review]

The Swimming Pool - Louise Candlish

[Synopsis]

It’s summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele – wife, mother, teacher – it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socializing with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn’t know she’d been missing. Real life, and the person she used to be, begins to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realizing, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

[My Review]

The Swimming Pool had quite an impact on me – not because it’s hugely emotional or overly dramatic (though there is plenty of drama) but because the characters really sucked me in. They seemed like real people, and people you might be able to imagine meeting in certain areas of society, but most are unthinkable to the ‘average’ person as someone you’d think ‘Ooh, I’d want to be friends with them’. (Well, I certainly wouldn’t anyway… though the parties do look fun!)

I’d read The Sudden Departure of the Frasers and really enjoyted it, so I hoped this would be another well-written novel with a good few twists and turns – and I wasn’t disappointed!

The Swimming Pool draws the reader into a whirlwind of gossip, envy and desperation, inviting you into the world of the wealthy – and though some characters are wealthier than others, everyone seems quite privileged to just be living in the area itself. You can tell Natalie and Ed are certainly not living on the breadline, and live a comfortable – if at times a little dull, in Natalie’s opinion anyway – life. But is this enough?

The narrator, Natalie, is one of those people that make you wonder whether she’s actually a nice person or not. Though she’s not part of Lara’s gang of high class, incredibly rich socialites, she really, really wants to be. She seems to look up to them so much, and this desperation, coupled with the way she treats her family and friends in trying to get closer to Lara, makes people turn against her. We also learn about a chequered past many summers ago, and though Natalie seems the most remorseful of the two, she’s certainly no angel.

Louise Candlish manages to convey Natalie’s sense of desperately trying to better herself – and no on can really blame Natalie for just doing that – whilst still showing how foolish and single-minded she becomes as the novel goes on. I was shouting at her ‘NO!’ a lot of the time inside my head, as I could see her shrugging off her own friends and even her own husband to spend more time with this new group of people whom really, she barely knows.

The narrative jumps back and forwards in time, from after the ‘incident’ at the pool, to the weeks leading up to it and then further back to Natalie’s youth. I found it all easy to follow and the tension Candlish creates as the weeks led up to the event was really effective; you feel yourself understanding the way many characters are feeling as if you’re that person – another testament to the author’s great writing! Lots of pool-related metaphors and adjectives but all done in a subtle and endearing way.

There is a good dose of mystery in The Swimming Pool; from wondering what exactly happened those many summers ago when Natalie was younger, to trying to figure out exactly why Lara seems to interested in Natalie (and many twists and turns along the way), the story keeps you guessing and I really liked that. It managed to do all this without compromising on the quality of writing, meaning I really enjoyed this book. A  great summer read!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Michael Joseph (Penguin UK) for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

The Missing Hours - Emma Kavanagh

The Missing Hours [review]

The Missing Hours - Emma Kavanagh

[Synopsis]

A woman disappears

One moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children and the next, she has vanished without a trace.

A woman returns

Twenty hours later, Selena is found safe and well, but with no memory of where she has been.

What took place in those missing hours, and are they linked to the discovery of a nearby murder?

‘Is it a forgetting or a deception?’

The Missing Hours

[My Review]

The Missing Hours tells the story of missing person Selena Cole from various points of view, as detectives and her family try to work out what happened to her in the ‘missing hours’ when she disappeared.

It soon becomes unclear whether Selena disappeared off her own accord or whether there were darker forces at place, and the Police’s investigations dig deeper into the murky world of hostage negotiations, which I found really interesting to read about! Though the reports on past cases may seem a little repetitive to some after a while, I found the subject fascinating and would have happily read more about, as it’s not something I ever really thought much about or considered being a skilled and necessary job – and yet is so evidently is!

I found the characters interesting to read about (though D.S Finn did nget on my nerves a bit, I’m not sure why exactly!) and they seemed quite well developed and convincing. There are elements of relationships, family drama and plenty of mystery which kept me wanting to read on.

The narrative does switch around a bit and we learn information from both before the event and during as the novel continues, which I always like – though it can be confusing at times until you get to grips with who everyone is and how they’re connected to each other (or even if they are connected – and working out the connections is sometimes half the fun!)

I think this is a really well-crafted novel with a really interesting subject matter. I would recommend it as a gripping thriller for this summer!

[Rating: 4/5]

Many thanks to Cornerstone for providing a copy of this book in return for an honest review

Have you read The Missing Hours? What did you think?

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday [13 July 2016]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments – and I’d love to see your answers too!

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted a WWW post so there’ll be plenty on this one!

The three W’s are:

  1. What have you finished reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

 

What have you finished reading?

The Silent Twin – Caroline Mitchell

Jane Steele – Lyndsay Faye

What are you currently reading?

The Missing Hours - Emma Kavanagh

The Missing Hours – Emma Kavanagh

What will you read next?

 

The Swimming Pool – Louise Candlish

My Name is Leon – Kit de Waal

What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!

Why not add me as a friend on Goodreads!

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Jane Steele [review]

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

[Synopsis]

Reader, I murdered him.

A Gothic retelling of Jane Eyre.

Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?

[My Review]

I actually had mixed feelings about this book, which is surprising looking at the amazing reviews. I actually ended up enjoying it but found it took me ages to get into. I’m really not sure why – maybe it was the style of writing, maybe the narrative didn’t grip me as much as I thought it would, but it took me a good third of the book to get into it. I actually stopped and started it a few times too, something I rarely do with books!

However, once I’d got into the swing of the story and the language, reading more about the characters and learning more about the wonderful Jane, and noticing the various ways it’s based on and around Jane Eyre, a novel I am very fond of,  I found that this is actually a really skilful retelling of the classic story and one I ended up really enjoying!

Jane is a fun, fiesty character that has a real zest for life (sorry for awful cliched phrase) – she takes everything in her stride despite having had some tricky situations occur during her troubled and tough life! I loved the witty way she narrates her own life, as if it’s an autobiography, whilst taking the mickey out of the tropes of the gothic/ romance novel. Very witty! Plus there’s an element of murder thrown in there too which appeals to me…!

I’d recommend this particularly to those who have read (whether they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy) Jane Eyre, as the subtle (and not-so-subtle) nods to the genre are really fun to read!

[Rating: 3.5/5]

Many thanks to Headline books for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday [6 July 2016]

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words.

Visit her blog to take a look, and get involved too if you can, even if you don’t have a blog yourself – as she says, you can leave your answers in the post comments – and I’d love to see your answers too!

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted a WWW post so there’ll be plenty on this one!

The three W’s are:

  1. What have you finished reading?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

 

What have you finished reading?

Plenty since the last post! My reviews are linked below:

The Primrose Path – Rebecca Griffiths

Sisters and Lies – Bernice Barrington

The One in a Million Boy – Monica Wood

The Missing – C.L. Taylor

The Useful Book – Sharon & David Bowers

This Secret We’re Keeping – Rebecca Done

Shtum – Jem Lester

Healthy Speedy Suppers – Katriona MacGregor

The Narrow Bed – Sophie Hannah

What are you currently reading?

The Silent Twin - Caroline Mitchell

The Silent Twin – Caroline Mitchell

What will you read next?

The Missing Hours Emma Kavanagh

The Swimming Pool – Louise Candlish


What have you been reading recently? Any exciting books you’re looking forward to reading next?

If you do your own version of this tag please let me know in the comments below, I’d love to read your answers too!

Why not add me as a friend on Goodreads!

The Narrow Bed by Sophie Hannah

The Narrow Bed [review]

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[Synopsis]

Linzi Birrell and Rhian Douglas: murdered.
Angela McCabe and Josh Norbury: murdered.

A killer the police have dubbed Billy Dead Mates is killing pairs of best friends, one by one. Just before each murder, he sends his victim a small white book…

Three regional police forces are working together to identify and catch Billy. For five months, they’ve been failing. Then a fifth victim, scared by what she’s seen and heard on the news, comes forward to seek help. Unlike Billy’s first four victims, she isn’t dead. Yet.

Stand-up comedian Kim Tribbeck has one of Billy’s peculiar white books. A stranger gave it to her after a gig she did a year ago. Was he Billy? Now Kim’s life depends on working out why she – a woman who has no close friends because she trusts no one – should attract the attention of the Best Friends Killer… And, if Billy has her in his sights, why has he waited so long to strike?

The Narrow Bed (Spilling CID, #10)

[My Review]

I couldn’t wait to read The Narrow Bed, the 10th in the Spilling CID series – and (unlike a lot of other things that have taken place over the last week) I sure as hell wasn’t disappointed!

The characters of this series are halfway to what makes it so amazing; even the Detectives you know are absolute arses (Sellers, for one) are somehow likeable. The main man, of course, is Detective Simon Waterhouse. His character just gets better and better as the series goes on, and in The Narrow Bed we see the full force of his character and how he’s so stuck in his ways – how does Charlie put up with him, a question which no doubt confuses many, with an answer that I’d guess is ultimately: he is brilliant. He’s a brilliant detective and character, and I love following him as he solves another case.

The narrative in this novel is really interesting as for a large portion of it we see into the mind of comedian Kim Trebbeck, quite a tricky woman and not someone I’d choose to be friends with in many ways – though she is very funny (no surprise there though, given her occupation!) and would no doubt be quite a good laugh to go out with. She’s evidently written a book of sorts about the ‘Billy Kill Mates’ case that she becomes embroiled in, and we see snippets of this which offers an alternative perspective to the case. This isn’t necessarily unusual for Sophie Hannah’s books, particularly in this series – we often find out more about some of the victims or associated characters than we would in other crime series, and I love that. This was definitely a slight shift in its storytelling, though… and I loved it!

The story is as complex and twisty as ever, and I managed to get a bit lost towards the end but couldn’t care less that my tired brain couldn’t work it out – when can I ever work it all out? – because getting to the conclusion is so much fun. I could read these novels all day; long live this series… I hope there’s many more to come!

[Rating: 5/5]

Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest and unbiased review. (and to Sophie Hannah of course, for kindly responding to my tweet and arranging for the publishers to send me a review copy, needless to say I was thrilled!)