The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies

Sapphire Widow

Title: The Sapphire Widow

Author: Dinah Jefferies

Publisher: Penguin (Viking)

ISBN-10: 024130377X

ISBN-13: 978-0241303771

Date of Publication: 5th April 2018

Date of Review: 13th May 2018

Synopsis

A sweeping, breath-taking story of love and betrayal from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author of The Tea Planter’s Wife

Ceylon, 1935. Louisa Reeve, the daughter of a successful British gem trader, and her husband Elliot, a charming, thrill-seeking businessman, seem like the couple who have it all. Except what they long for more than anything: a child.

While Louisa struggles with miscarriages, Elliot is increasingly absent, spending much of his time at a nearby cinnamon plantation, overlooking the Indian ocean. After his sudden death, Louisa is left alone to solve the mystery he left behind. Revisiting the plantation at Cinnamon Hills, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn towards the owner Leo, a rugged outdoors man with a chequered past. The plantation casts a spell, but all is not as it seems. And when Elliot’s shocking betrayal is revealed, Louisa has only Leo to turn to…

My Review

A beautifully written, almost poetic, narrative with vivid imagery that transports the reader to another time and place.

Set in Ceylon 1935, the story tells the tale of Louisa, a young widow who following the death of her beloved husband, Elliot, discovers her marriage was not what she thought it was. Written in third person, with limited omniscience from Louisa’s perspective, the narrative has a literary feel whilst still retaining intrigue through the hook of Elliot’s mysterious past.

Although a sad story of the protagonist journey as to how she comes to terms with loss – in more ways than one; this is also an uplifting and inspirational tale of love and human compassion. When Louisa comes to the aid of the last person who deserves her help, Louisa’s broken heart begins to mend; but this is soon under threat. Will she ever find inner peace and true happiness?

This is the first book I’ve read by Dinah Jefferies, but it certainly won’t be the last. Under Literature Love’s rating criteria, this novel has been given 5 out of 5 stars. This means:

I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go and buy this book now!

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As well as having all the elements of a four-star review, this book transcends its genre. The language is original and compelling; characters jumped off the page; and twists in the plot left me gasping. This rare and exceptional book will be put forward for Literature Love’s top 10 books of the year.

Thank you to Dinah Jefferies, Penguin (Viking), and NetGalley for this copy in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Hot Flush by Rosy Fenwicke

Hot Flush

Title:                                           Hot Flush

Author:                                      Rosy Fenwicke

Publisher:                                 Wonderful World

ASIN:                                          B06XJZYRPW

Date of Publication:              8th May 2018

Date of Review:                      10th May 2018

 

Synopsis

Superpowers Should Not Be Wasted on The Young

Euphemia Sage watched helplessly as Jane, covered in blood, clutched her precious jewelry and was bundled into the Mercedes. Just a few days earlier she’d discovered that Alison, her mousy receptionist at Sage Consulting, had been working as a loan shark on the side. And now Alison, her husband and those thick-necked men in the cheap suits wanted the money back.

When a desperate Jane had come to Euphemia, of course she had to help. After all, wasn’t this what she was supposed to do? Euphemia had waited more than twenty years to find out if the story in the mysterious letter she’d received on her thirtieth birthday was true. So when at 53 her first hot flush triggered a genetic switch and gave her unexpected powers, she felt more than ready to save Jane and deal to Alison.

But what had seemed simple suddenly became complicated when Alison produced a gun.

My Review

With twists galore, this debut by Rosy Fenwicke is a fast paced cross-genre narrative (fantasy and psychological thriller) that is both original and well-written.

The protagonist is Euphemia Sage who, upon reaching the menopause, inherits super-powers which has been passed down the maternal bloodline. With two daughters of her own, Euphemia still hasn’t forgiven her own mother for abandoning her as a child. But this is the least of her problems when her frumpy receptionist (Euphemia owns a consulting business) turns out to be frump by day and vamp by night, who, along with her husband, has a little business of her own on the side.

At school, Jane was Euphemia’s arch enemy, but now Jane’s life is in danger, Euphemia is the only one Jane can turn to.

As the lives of Euphemia, Alison, and Jane inter-twine; Euphemia begins to uncover the truth about her mother’s past. But somebody else knows what happened to her mother, and they also know about Euphemia’s powers:  Euphemia’s life is about to be put in grave danger.

This story was different to anything else I’ve read, and I really enjoyed it. It was both funny and thrilling, and a real page turner. Reminded me a bit of The Avengers. I would love to see more stories with Euphemia as the protagonist, and feel there could be a whole series of books for her. I certainly hope so.

Under Literature Love’s rating system, this book has been awarded 4 out of 5 stars.

4 stars

This means:   I really enjoyed this book.   This book is highly recommended.                A well-structured narrative with three dimensional characters (not necessarily likeable). Plot is intriguing with twisty hooks.

 

Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC copy.

 

 

 

The Date by Louise Jensen

The Date

 

Title:                                           The Date

Author:                                      Louise Jensen

Publisher:                                 Bookouture

ASIN:                                          B07BN8L5KB

Date of Publication:              21st June 2018

Date of Review:                      6th May 2018

 

Synopsis

One night can change everything. ‘I know it as soon as I wake up and open my eyes… Something is wrong.’

Her Saturday night started normally. Recently separated from her husband, Ali has been persuaded by her friends to go on a date with a new man. She is ready, she is nervous, she is excited. She is about to take a step into her new future. By Sunday morning, Ali’s life is unrecognisable. She wakes, and she knows that something is wrong. She is home, she is alone, she is hurt and she has no memory of what happened to her. Worse still, when she looks in the mirror, Ali doesn’t recognise the face staring back at her. She can’t recognise her friends and family. And she can’t recognise the person who is trying to destroy her

My Review

The Queen of Domestic Noir smashes it yet again!

OMG WOW just where do I start! I’ve been looking forward to reading this book so much the anticipation has made me feel like a child in the run up to Christmas! With all three previous novels by this author taking pride of place on my ‘All-time Favourites Shelf’, The Date by Louise Jensen had a hard act to follow. Was writing yet another book of such high acclaim even possible?

I’ve a lot to say about this book so won’t go into detail and repeat the synopsis. Suffice to say the level of clinical research the author has gone to for this unique premise really is quite staggering.

As well as being rich in original analogy, what makes this compelling narrative so utterly creepy and intensely real is the way Louise Jensen combines succinct language with dual first-person narration. From the outset the reader is thrust into Ali’s world: ‘Something isn’t right.’ […] ‘There’s a sour smell in the room’ […] ‘Goosebumps spring up on my arms.’ This stripped back narrative allows the reader to make up their own mind and use their imagination, allowing them to become part of the story. Combined with the first-person narration from Ali’s perspective, this brings the reader in so close it makes them feel they actually are Ali. Then just as you start to think the way Ali does, willing her to take a course of action – BANG: the deranged antagonist takes over; throwing everything you thought was going on out of the window.

This is all done whilst keeping secret both the antagonist’s identity, as well as the protagonist’s past demons. We know the protagonist is hiding something from her past, but with backstory being drip-fed throughout the narrative strands, alongside shocking twists and red herrings, you won’t be able to turn those pages fast enough.

But the final twist will absolutely knock you out. If the final word isn’t enough, it’s the absolute final piece of punctuation.  Who knew one little punctuation mark could have such an effect?

Louise Jensen stands out as a canonical icon in twenty-first century literature. With psychological thrillers flooding the market, Louise manages to combine original and complex plotlines, alongside a well-written narrative, and in a way that appeals to readers from all walks of life. Louise Jensen has been compared to Paula Hawkins (Girl on the Train) and S J Watson (Before I go To Sleep); but to be honest this author is in a class all of her own. Domestic noir is so much more than an ordinary psychological thriller and Louise Jensen absolutely smashes this.

Under Literature Love’s rating scheme this book has been awarded 5 out of 5 stars.

(If I could, I would give it 6 out of 5 stars!)5 stars.jpeg I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go and buy this book now!  As well as having all the elements of a four-star review, this book transcends its genre. The language is original and compelling; characters jumped off the page; and twists in the plot left me gasping. This rare and exceptional book will be put forward for Literature Love’s top 10 books of the year.

 

Thank you to Louise Jensen, Bookouture, and Netgalley for this ARC copy in return for an honest and unbiased review.

 

In The Dark by Cara Hunter

In the Dark

 

 

Title:                                           In The Dark

Author:                                       Cara Hunter                                                                              

Publisher:                                   Penguin UK (Viking)                                        

ISBN-10:                            0241283205

ISBN-13:                            978-0241283202

Date of Publication:         12th July 2018

Date of Review:                      8th May 2018

Synopsis

A woman and child are found locked in a basement room, barely alive…

No one knows who they are – the woman can’t speak, and there are no Missing Persons reports that match their profile. And the elderly man who owns the house claims he has never seen them before.

The inhabitants of the quiet Oxford street are in shock – how could this happen right under their noses? But DI Adam Fawley knows that nothing is impossible.

And that no one is as innocent as they seem . . .

My Review

After I’d read the first few pages of this book, I had to google the author. Why hadn’t I heard of her before? The narrative was so compelling, I automatically assumed this author had written many books before. You can imagine my surprise when I learned this was only Cara Hunter’s second novel.  

I don’t want to go into too much detail about the plot:  you will be on the edge of your seat throughout most of this novel so I don’t want to give any spoilers, but let’s just say you better hold on to that seat while you take this ride or you might fall off. Although I did guess who Hanna’s murderer was; there are so many twists and turns I think this was just pot luck really. Ah I know, it was them; oh no it wasn’t; oh yes it was. Wasn’t. Was!

The narrative is a mixed one.  There is a first-person narrative from the protagonist, DCI  Adam Fawley, but there is a third person omniscient narration for the other characters. There is also some epistolary style narration in the form of police tape recordings.

The plot and the relationships between the characters is very cleverly twisted. Readers are in for a real treat with this one. There were times when I thought I was reading a Clare Mackintosh novel, so any fans of Clare’s will love this.

Another great author to add to my increasing list of favourites!

Under Literature Love’s rating system this book has met the criteria for a five star review within its genre.

5 stars.jpegI absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go and buy this book now!  As well as having all the elements of a four-star review, this book transcends its genre. The language is original and compelling; characters jumped off the page; and twists in the plot left me gasping. This rare and exceptional book will be put forward for Literature Love’s top 10 books of the year.

Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin (Viking) for this ARC copy.

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dark-bestselling-Richard-author-Thriller/dp/0241283205/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1525278582&sr=8-3

 

Book Trailer Reveal: The Date by Louise Jensen

You know that feeling you used to get when you were a kid, when every second in the run up to Christmas dragged. Well that’s how I feel right now!

I so can’t wait for the release of my amazing writing mentor’s new psychological thriller! The Date is the fourth book by Louise Jensen: if you haven’t read Louise’s other books I seriously recommend you put that top of your list. I can guarantee you will be hooked!

You’ll have to wait another 7 weeks (21st June) until The Date is published but just to torment you here’s a taster of what’s to come:

Ali thought there was nothing as frightening as being unable to recognise faces… She was wrong. I’m so pleased to reveal the trailer for my forthcoming release, The Date, which you can preorder from your local Amazon, here. Over the next 7 weeks I’ll be sharing why I decided to write a story about face […]

via Book trailer reveal! — fabricating fiction

You can pre-order here:

Available for pre-order now: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Date-unputdownable-psychological-thriller-breathtaking-ebook/dp/B07BN8L5KB/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525275568&sr=8-1&keywords=the+date

 

And here’s the links for Louise’s other books. Available now!!

And here’s my review of The Sister.  This was the first book review I ever wrote. I couldn’t stop thinking about this book long after I’d read it, and was the kick up the bum I needed to make me set up a website and write book reviews.  You can imagine how I felt when a few month’s later Louise agreed to mentor me as a new novelist under the Womentoring Scheme. I feel so lucky I just have to keep pinching myself!

https://literaturelove.uk/2018/02/23/book-of-the-month-december-2017-sister-by-louise-jensen/

 

 

The Flower Farm by Phillipa Ashley

Flower Farm

Title:                                         The Flower Farm

Author:                                     Phillipa Ashley       

Publisher:                                Avon Books           

ISBN-10:                                    0008253390

ISBN-13:                                    978-0008253394

Date of Publication:             19th April 2018

Date of Review:                     2nd May 2018

 

Synopsis

Jess has lived at the idyllic flower farm on the Isles of Scilly her whole life. But when her boyfriend Adam leaves without explanation, Jess discovers that even her little slice of Cornish paradise can be lonely.

For the first time in Will’s life, he’s met someone he can’t stop thinking about. But nothing is simple when the woman of your dreams is working for you.

Gaby is running away from painful memories, and where could be more perfect than a remote island off the Cornish coast? But to put the past behind her, she must keep moving … however much she might want to stay.

My Review

Phillipa Ashley has the gift of being able to conjure up likeable and realistic characters that readers can empathise with: the Flower Farm is no exception.

From the outset the chemistry sparkles between Gaby and Will, not that either of them will admit it. With Will being a grumpy old goat at times, and pint-size Gaby being a strong independent woman, they’re both as stubborn as each other. There are times when you just feel like banging their heads together, but with Will’s future set on the farm, and with Gabby still running away from the heartbreak in her past, a future together seems very unlikely.

There’s lots of speculation and intrigue when Jess and Adam’s perfect relationship comes to a grinding halt after Adam suddenly starts receiving mysterious texts and then leaves the Cornish Isles. Just why did Adam leave? And Will Jess ever see him again? Will she ever forgive him? Or does Jess find true love elsewhere?

There’s lots going on in this well-written chillaxy read. I hope this review has whet your appetite for what’s to come when you read this great book.  I recommend this book for anybody who likes to read books by Carole Matthews or Jill Mansell.

This book has met all the requirements of Literature Love’s 5 star rating within its genre:

5 stars.jpegI absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go and buy this book now!  As well as having all the elements of a four-star review, this book transcends its genre. The language is original and compelling; characters jumped off the page; and twists in the plot left me gasping. This rare and exceptional book will be put forward for Literature Love’s top 10 books of the year.

 

The Child Next Door by Shalini Boland

Child Next Door

Title:                               The Child Next Door

Author:                          Shalini Boland

Publisher:                     Bookouture

ISBN-10:                        1786813823

ISBN-13:                        978-1786813824

Date of Publication:  26th March 2018

Date of Review:           25th April 2018

 

Synopsis

‘Don’t take my baby.’

Kirstie Rawlings is jolted awake by a child crying. Racing upstairs to check on her new-born, she is plunged into every parents’ worst nightmare. She hears an unknown voice in the baby monitor, saying: ‘Let’s take the child – and go.’

Is someone trying to steal her little girl?

In the bedroom, her daughter is safe asleep in her cot. Is the voice coming from a nearby house? But there aren’t any other children living on her quiet country road…

The police don’t believe her. And neither does her husband.

Kirstie knows something isn’t right. She thought she could trust her neighbours, now she isn’t sure. As she unravels the secrets of the people living on her street, Kirstie’s perfect life begins to fall apart.

Because someone is hiding a terrible lie. And they will do anything to stop Kirstie uncovering the truth. But is the danger closer to home than she thinks?

 

My Review

What makes Shalini Boland stand out is her knack of taking an everyday situation, and gradually weaving in shreds of doubt until they form a colossal web of deceit.

From the outset, this spine tingling narrative hooks the reader by taking a cosy domestic setting and dragging the protagonist into every parent’s nightmare. When Kirstie hears a voice on the baby monitor, she believes somebody is in her house and trying to steal her baby. This sense of fear is heightened by the author’s use of a first-person perspective which puts the reader right in her shoes.

When no intruder can be found, the police think the monitor has picked up a signal from another house. But nobody in the cul-de-sac has a baby; and behind them is a field.  Did she really hear anything? Is she paranoid? Everybody around her seems to think so. But Kirstie is adamant she’s right and will go to any lengths to protect her baby: including putting herself in danger. Just as well she has a loving husband who she’s known since school and can trust implicitly to protect her.  And a best friend who lives just over the road.

But can she really trust them? Do they have anything to hide? And then there’s the other neighbours in the cul-de-sac: from the weird widower next door on one side, to the pompous headmaster (who is also her boss) on the other. As well as the ex-school friend making an appearance, who just so happens to be her husband’s ex too. With red herrings galore, nobody is above suspicion and as soon as you think you’ve sussed out what’s going on: WHAM oh no it’s not.  Tricked you.

This is another fantastic book by Shalini Boland, who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

Under Literature Love’s rating system this book has been awarded 5 out of 5 stars.

5 stars.jpegI absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. I recommend you stop what you’re doing and go and buy this book now!  As well as having all the elements of a four-star review, this book transcends its genre. The language is original and compelling; characters jumped off the page; and twists in the plot left me gasping. This rare and exceptional book will be put forward for Literature Love’s top 10 books of the year.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Child-Next-Door-unputdownable-psychological/dp/1786813823/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524667251&sr=8-1&keywords=shalini+boland