“The Thin Place” by C.D. Major – Book Review @AmazonPub @CescaMajor #TheThinPlace #Spooktober #NetGalley #BookReview

“Heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in thin places
that distance is even shorter.”- Celtic proverb

Ava Brent (present day) – is a 38 year old, experienced television journalist based in Glasgow. She has a partner, Fraser, whom she loves, and is expecting their first child. When sent to do a story on the dog suicides at Overtoun, she experiences an eerie feeling. She returns time and again, as if drawn to the house and its macabre history. Her obsession with the house and bridge become detrimental to her family relationships. Even after receiving threats, she cannot ignore the pull that Overtoun has over her.

Marion (1929-) – who at the age of twenty-four married a handsome man named Hamish West. He up-routed her from her home and family and moved her to his ancestral ‘pile’ in Scotland. To his family manor, Overtoun House, near Dumbarton. He then left her in the house with just a maid for company as he went to the city to work. Marion loses baby after baby, and her mind and physical health are declining…

“He has no idea that I do get pregnant. But the babies refuse to stay.
I am not a mother. I am a waste.”

Constance (1949-) – whom we meet as a young girl of only six years old. Constance can never remember a time when she wasn’t sick. Her mother told her she had polio as a baby. She is kept in a locked room in Overtoun House – her mother says that is to protect her from the germs. She sees the doctor often, and when she does her mother prompts her as to what to say to him. Constance longs to go outside like other children. She is intensely lonely and wants to be able to play. Her long days are spent either in her bed, sitting in her wheelchair, or gazing longingly out of her tiny ivy covered window.

I couldn’t have picked a more perfect October read. Filled to the brim with atmosphere and gothic overtones, this novel was creepy without being unbelievable.

Though it is a novel, filled with fictitious people, it is set in a very real setting. Overtoun House and bridge near Dumbarton, Scotland. A place that genuinely has a macabre reputation and spooky history – albeit a different one from what this book has to offer.

Overtoun Bridge

The character of Constance was pitiable. You feel so sorry for her loneliness and ill health. Marion’s character was also one to feel sorry for . Her situation was utterly wretched. Ava’s present day character was a character that I had mixed feelings about. I wanted to yell at her to stop ignoring Fraser and leave the past – and Overtoun House – alone. But silly me, she couldn’t do that as then there would be no story.

In addition to the unsettling location, this novel spoke to the complicated nature of family, and the very real condition of Munchausen by proxy.

As Overtoun gradually revealed its secrets to Ava, the story came together in a way that made sense and tied up all the disparate threads of the plot.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it highly to those who enjoy an atmospheric story jam-packed with family secrets.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Thomas & Mercer (Amazon Publishing UK) via NetGalley.

Publication date: April 15, 2021
ISBN: 9781542023016 -ASIN: B08BZK9M71 –  320 pages

The Thin Place” had a previous cover which I think I liked even better…

C.D.Major is the pen name of Cesca Major – a writer and presenter.

As an ex-history teacher, Cesca has always been fascinated by true stories from the recent past. She has written three novels; her debut The Silent Hours was described as a ‘moving debut’ by Women & Home magazine and The Times called Major ‘a talent to watch’. Her third novel, The Other Girl, is a historical thriller set in an asylum in 1940s New Zealand and is inspired by a terrible true story. Cesca has vlogged about the writing process for http://www.novelicious.com and the Writers & Artists’ website. She has also presented shows for ITV West and Sky. She writes other books under her pseudonym Rosie Blake. She runs writing retreats twice a year in the West Country and teaches creative writing workshops for the Henley School of Art.

Cesca lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin girls.

Follow C.D. Major on Twitter @CescaMajor

Posted in Book Reviews, gothic fiction, NetGalley, Page turners, Suspense | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teaser Tuesday – October 19, 2021 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday @AgoraBooksLDN @CathyHayward7 #TheGirlInTheMaze #NetGalley

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the advanced reader’s copies from my own TBR.

This book is a title I downloaded from NetGalley.

Today, Tuesday October 19, 2021 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This debut novel will be published on October 28, 2021Publisher: Agora Books

ISBN: 9781913099947 – ASIN: ‎ B09BW36KNR –  304 pages


1)  I’m always intrigued by the complicated relationships between parents and children.

2)  I like books that explore several generations of the same family.

3)  The beautiful cover and the fact that it is a debut novel.

4) Family secrets.

Betty – March 1937

“Betty lay in the bath, her white legs flushing a blotchy pink in the scorching water. The passage light leaked through the edges of the bathroom door, merging into the glow from the streetlamp, fractured through the frosted glass window. The mirror perspired in the heat, dripping into the basin.”

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Miserly Monday (#Kindledeals Ebook bargains) October 18, 2021

Today I’m letting you know about SEVEN bargain Kindle purchases.

These books might vary in price from Amazon.ca to Amazon.com to Amazon.co.uk but they are all still BARGAINS!  Probably about what you would pay for a cup of coffee.

I purchased these 7 books for a total expenditure of $4.96 WOW!

NOTE: The price tags reflect the North American prices. 

Click on the price tag to go to the Amazon.com link for the book.

Note: I do NOT receive any remuneration from Amazon.  These are just Kindle deals that I have found and want to share with my fellow book lovers. 

So, here are my Miserly Monday deals…

Have YOU found a great Kindle bargain lately? If so, please share in the comments.

Posted in Kindle deals, Miserly Monday | Tagged | 5 Comments

“A Murder Of Crows” by Ian Skewis – Book Review @unbounders @IanSkewis #AMurderOfCrows #BookReview


DCI Jack Russell – a policeman working the final case of a long career. He is due to retire soon. He is somewhat estranged from his wife as they could never really communicate after they both suffered a profound loss.

DC Colin Clements – an abrasive, power hungry policeman who is chomping at the bit to get DCI Russell’s position when he retires. He feels bitter and under-appreciated. He knows he doesn’t have the skills that Jack Russell has, and he is riddled with jealousy.

The CASE – a young couple, Alistair and Carol, have disappeared during a violent freak thunderstorm. They were going to visit Alistair’s mother who lives in Hobbs Brae.

The SUSPECTS – a taciturn farmer who loves his drink, Jerome Jennings lives with his teenage son Scott. Widowed Jerome is very hard on his son and he vents his loneliness and frustrations out on Scott.
AND
Matthew White aka Jason Black – was a childhood friend of Alistair and is the former boyfriend of Carol Baker.

Meanwhile, Alistair’s mother Alice, a retired village schoolteacher, has dementia and increasingly frequent blackouts. She is vulnerable and fearful. Her husband William disappeared many years ago and was never found. Now her son is missing.

The setting is what first captured my attention for this novel. Northwest Scotland at its most foreboding, during a freak storm in September. The descriptions in this novel were very vivid. The storm, the farm, the woods, the crows…

The policeman, Jack Russell has an interesting backstory and a somewhat jaded view of his world. He was portrayed realistically and I wanted to really like him, but somehow I just couldn’t.

I thoroughly enjoyed the scenes on the Jennings’s farm. The father and son were portrayed clearly and with understanding.

Alistair’s mother Alice was an empathetic character and the prose gave heft to her alarming plight.

The plot was a conundrum. A missing persons case initially, it turned into something more. The reveal of the criminal surprised me, as I’m sure it was meant to do. Yet somehow I felt manipulated and dare I say… used.

I have to say… the next time I see a scarecrow in a field, I’ll look twice.

I’m really of mixed feelings about this one. Yes, I did enjoy the read, Yes, it was memorable. Yet still, I have a few reservations.  It was a powerful novel and worthy of your consideration.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Unbound Digital via NetGalley.

Publication date: March 16, 2017
ISBN: 9781911586029 -ASIN: B07XWHYXW8 –  352 pages

Ian Skewis writes crime thrillers, science fiction, horror and literary fiction. He also works as a freelance editor and proof reader.

He was born in Scotland in 1970. At the age of 19 he wrote articles for a local paper and had his first poems published before going on to train at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He became an actor, appearing on film and television, and providing his voice for radio.

Follow Ian Skewis on Twitter @IanSkewis

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Library Reading App Libby Supports Reading Inclusivity #DyslexiaAwarenessMonth @LibbyApp @UproarPRagency

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and key Libby app features such as its dyslexic font option help make reading more accessible for all. Dyslexic fonts help alleviate some symptoms of dyslexia, like the turning and swapping of letters. Though not intended as a cure for dyslexia, readers may find that dyslexic fonts improve readability.October is recognized nationally as Dyslexia Awareness Month, a time to educate, raise awareness and share tools to improve literacy. Public libraries empower their communities to address issues like dyslexia with valuable programs and innovative services. One of the increasingly popular ways community members benefit from libraries is through digital reading apps like Libby, which has an OpenDyslexic font to aid dyslexic readers. Libby was created by OverDrive, the leader in digital reading for libraries and schools worldwide.

Dyslexia is a language-based learning difference and a common cause of reading, writing, and spelling difficulties. It is estimated that over one in 10 people in the United States have dyslexia and 20% of school-aged children in the U.S. are dyslexic. While dyslexia affects language skills that are essential for reading, appropriate teaching methods and tools can help promote successful learning.

Available in over 21,000 public libraries worldwide including approximately 90 percent of libraries in North America, Libby users can borrow and listen to ebooks, audiobooks, digital magazines, comics and more on any device 24/7. They can also download content for offline listening anywhere or stream content to save storage space.

Designed to inspire all readers to focus on finding and enjoying their next great read, OverDrive’s popular library e-reading app Libby features a dyslexic font option that provides greater contrast in letters, allowing readers to differentiate words and determine letters more easily.

The state-of-the-art reading experience offered through Libby includes additional customizable options that promote ease-of-use for individuals and students of all needs and learning levels. Readers can adjust an ebook’s font size, layout and background lighting, plus add bookmarks, create notes and highlights, and define words for an interactive and educational reading experience.

Balanced with ebooks, Libby’s intuitive audiobook player helps individuals with reading challenges become better readers and learners. Ear reading plays just as critical a role in helping students with dyslexia succeed as exposure to words in context reduces reading barriers, supports comprehension and boosts confidence. Most library collections offered through Libby have both ebook and audiobook versions of titles available to borrow.

Libby integrates with Sonos speakers and audiobooks can be streamed to Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. Libby is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, making it easy to listen when, where, and how users are most comfortable.

Libby is used by millions of library patrons around the world and makes it quick and easy for readers to borrow and enjoy digital content for free from their local library with a valid library card. Instant Digital Cards are currently available in more than 60 U.S. markets and are valid to borrow digital content.

To begin borrowing ebooks and audiobooks from the local public library, download the Libby app from the App Store or Google Play. For more information, visit www.overdrive.com

As many of you know, all of my reading these days is in digital format. As a former public library cataloger, I fully endorse the wonderful digital services my local library has to offer. I have read many books via the Libby app.

Posted in Library services | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

#BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘J’ #GreatReads

This year I plan to go through the entire alphabet, one letter per month. For October 2021, the tenth month, I’m listing all of my favourite novels that begin with the letter ‘J‘. I am choosing these titles from the books I’ve read since I began blogging seriously – five and a half years ago (when I retired). There are 3 books recommended here (for some reason J is not a popular letter when it comes to book titles.)

If the title begins with an initial article such as The, A, An etc., I will be using the second word.  For instance, “A Man called Ove” will be included in my M post. “The Silent Patient” will be listed in my S post.

Hopefully you’ll find something that interests you from these posts. As always, I’ve linked the book cover to Goodreads, and the title link will take you to my review of the book.


Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?” by Paula Daly


Jar Of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier


Just After Midnight” by Catherine Ryan Hyde


If you have already read any of these titles, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

When someone asks me to recommend a book…

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books | Tagged | 4 Comments

“Blood Sisters” by Jane Corry – Book Review

“Does bad blood run from one generation to the next?”

S

Alison – is in her late thirties. She lives alone and works as an art instructor in a college. Always short of funds, she strives to help her mother pay for her sister’s care home fees.  To help out financially, she takes a job as an ‘artist-in-residence’ at an open prison. Alison has never really gotten over the accident that so seriously damaged her younger sister. She is very lonely and lives with secrets and guilt. She self-harms so that she will in some small way share Kitty’s pain, and as a form of penance for her part in the accident.

“… if my sister can’t enjoy life, then why should I?”

Kitty – is seven years younger than Alison and is severely brain-damaged. She is wheelchair-bound and must wear a helmet to protect her head. Her memories are sporadic, but she thinks quite clearly. However, she cannot communicate with others because her words come out all garbled. Intensely frustrated, she lashes out at those around her.

“Love is close to hate when it comes to sisters.”

Years ago, when Alison and Kitty were on their way to school, there was a tragic car accident. Though Alison was only slightly hurt, Kitty was not so lucky – and two other people lost their lives…

“For it’s the cuts we hide inside that really do the damage.”

My overriding memory of this novel will be Kitty’s frustration. How unimaginably tragic to not be able to verbalize your thoughts and wishes! That being said, Kitty was not a very likeable character despite her appalling lot in life.

The sibling ‘love-hate’ relationship was adeptly described in this novel, as were the vivid scenes that took place in the care home and the prison. The writing transported the reader to those places whether you wanted to go or not.

Also very well described was the brutally difficult life of those caring for people with special needs. The emotional and physical toll would slay me.

There were a few plot twists that will be appreciated by lovers of this genre.

Much to my shame, I’ll admit this is my first Jane Corry novel. Her six books to date have all been best-sellers and now I understand why. The author’s time spent working in a prison herself gave gravitas and knowledge to her portrayal of Alison’s time there.

In short, a compelling read with many serious themes running throughout. Highly recommended!


This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Pamela Dorman Books (Penguin Random House) via Edelweiss.

Publication date: January 30, 2018
ISBN: 9780525522188  -ASIN: B0738JN6MX –  352 pages

Jane Corry is an author and journalist, and has spent time as the writer-in-residence of a high-security prison for men–an experience that helped inspire My Husband’s Wife, her bestselling debut thriller, as well as her second thriller, Blood Sisters.

Jane Corry is the author of six best-selling thrillers in all. In addition to the two mentioned above,  The Dead Ex, I Looked Away, I Made A Mistake, and most recently, The Lies We Tell.

Jane was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University; an RLF Fellow at Exeter University; and is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and My Weekly magazine.

She lives in Devon, England.

Follow Jane Corry on Twitter @JaneCorryAuthor

 

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = NIGHT #WednesdaysWord #booklovers #bookbloggers #fiction

Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles. Often these words are associated with a particular genre. Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

My pick for Wednesday’s Word this week is ‘NIGHT‘. In this post I’ve selected 30 novels with the word ‘NIGHT’ in the title as a way of sharing my book love.

These titles cover a broad range of  genres – with literary fiction, mystery, and thrillers to name but a few.

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.

You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

Which cover MOST APPEALS to YOU?
Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

If you’ve added even ONE of these titles to YOUR TBR,
Please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 11 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – October 12, 2021 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday @Level4Press @LiliStGermain1 #TheFieldOfWrongdoing #PublicationDay @edelweiss_squad

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the advanced reader’s copies from my own TBR.

This book is a title I downloaded from Edelweiss.

Today, Tuesday October 12, 2021 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This book will be published TODAY!Publisher: Level 4 Press

ISBN: 9781646304967 – ASIN: ‎ B08ZR66P5M –  303 pages


1)  The burden of trust when you suspect someone you care for of a crime.

2)  Subterfuge and secrets – always appealing in fiction.

3)  Small town settings are often intriguing and I love the brooding cover.

from the prologue

“It’s not every morning you drink dead girl juice. Wait. Let me explain. It was the dog barking that woke me. Rox was our built-in security system, not that we had anything of real value to steal.

Have you ever read anything by this author?

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, Edelweiss, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged , | 7 Comments

“The Woman In The Mirror” by Rebecca James – Book Review

“I know how treacherous thoughts can be.
That if you are left alone with them for too long, they can turn against you.”

how I imagined Winterbourne might look…

1947 Alice Miller – has lost her fiance in WWII and works in a legal office. She applies for a job as a governess and is delighted when her application is approved. Eager to escape the city and her past, she travels to Winterbourne, in Cornwall where she will work caring for the twins of Captain Jonathan de Grey, who is a widower and was injured in the war.

Once ensconced at Winterbourne Alice finds herself enjoying her position. She comes to love the children and their aloof and handsome father.

2017 Rachel Wright– runs an art gallery in New York. Rachel lost her beloved husband Seth in a terrorist attack. Now she is having a relationship with a rich businessman named Aaron Grewal. She is an adoptee who has always wanted to know the history of her birth-parents. When she receives a letter saying she has inherited a house in Cornwall, she thinks that she will finally find out the information she wants.

She finds many diaries written by her Aunt Constance as well as an old antique mirror that simultaneously repulses her and beguiles her… She meets a neighbouring farmer named Jack who has lived in the area for most of his life. Jack knows some of Winterbourne’s history.
Anyone who enjoys gothic fiction with more than a few paranormal elements will surely enjoy this novel by Rebecca James. That being said, there were few surprises within its pages and I found the narrative quite predictable. Not always a bad thing, depending upon your mood.

The ambiance and atmosphere of the creepy old house Winterbourne, high atop a Cornish cliff was aptly and deftly described.

Alice Miller was a more than interesting character. She was sympathetic, but devious, and damaged with a criminal past. She coveted everything that once belonged to the beautiful wife of Captain de Grey – to her detriment.

Rachel’s story, in the modern day, was compelling as well. Her search for her genealogical roots was well portrayed and her character easy to empathize with.

The ending of the novel was creepy – as would be expected. As I said, nothing really surprised me. However, I did enjoy the read and it was perfect book for a chilly autumn night.My rating is 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars for Goodreads and Amazon.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Minotaur Books (Macmillan) via Edelweiss.

Publication date: March 17, 2020
ISBN:  9781250230058   ASIN:  B07XBCXR4D     368 pages

Rebecca James worked in publishing for several years before leaving to write full-time, and is now the author of several novels written under a pseudonym, as well as The Woman in the Mirror under her own name. Her favorite things are autumn walks, Argentinean red wine and curling up in the winter with a good old-fashioned ghost story. Rebecca James was born in Sydney, Australia, but now lives in Bristol, England with her husband and two daughters.

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, gothic fiction | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

“The Second Woman” by Louise Mey – Book Review

“She wants to forget this day. That’s allowed.
She does that sometimes, some days don’t count.”

Sandrine is a legal secretary. She is bright, but very much a loner. She has zero self-esteem, and is severely emotionally damaged from her abusive childhood and her own unloving parents.  Sandrine avoids mirrors, and abhors her own reflection. When she sees a man on television appealing for the whereabouts of his missing wife, her heart goes out to him. ‘A man who cries‘, with a young son…

Sandrine meets the man and becomes embroiled in his life. She moves in and keeps his house and cares for his withdrawn young son, Mathias. She becomes very fond of Mathias, but the little boy is slightly wary of her and says little.

The man is very controlling. He monitors her movements, her food intake, her email, her bank accounts. He makes Sandrine uncomfortable with his myriad rules and pontifications. She endures this contentedly though, until one day the ‘first woman’, the wife of the ‘man who cries’, returns to claim her son.

This is a whole new scenario. The ‘man who cries’ has turned into Monsieur Langlois.

“She tells herself that sometimes the body dances on
when the head has forgotten the steps.”

I took part in the Pushkin Press read-along for this title and it was very interesting to glean other reader’s thoughts on the novel.

This was an intense story that was often uncomfortable to read. Nevertheless, I was engrossed in Sandrine’s untenable situation. At first I found her constant self-denigration to be tedious, but as I came to know her better, I liked her a bit better and sympathized with her plight. By the end of the book, I loved Sandrine.

This is a disturbing portrait of spousal abuse. It is about coercive, manipulative, control over another person. Monsieur Langlois was a cruel egotist, a proprietorial man who was totally devoid of empathy. Sandrine learned to be obedient, silent, and aware of every nuance of HIS moods and mannerisms.

I loved the way Sandrine came to care for the small boy, and how she learned the limits of her own strength.

The ending was fitting, though some might consider it a tad ambiguous. In this instance, I believe the reader must decide for themselves certain aspects of the resolution. Your heart might be healthier that way.

“The Second Woman” was an remarkable read that will remain in my memory for some time.  Highly recommended.This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Pushkin Press via NetGalley in order that I might participate in their read-along for the title on Instagram.

Publication date: September 2, 2021 Publisher: Pushkin Vertigo

ISBN: 9781782277156 –  304 pages

Louise Mey is a Paris-based author of contemporary noir novels dealing with themes of domestic and sexual violence, and harassment, often with a feminist slant. The Second Woman is her fourth novel, but the first to be translated into English.

Follow Louise Mey on Twitter @MeyLouise

The Second Woman” was translated from the French by Louise Rogers Lalaurie.

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, novels in translation, Pushkin Press | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Teaser Tuesday – October 5, 2021 #NewBook #TeaserTuesday @StMartinsPress @see_starling #TheDeathOfJaneLawrence #PublicationDay #NetGalley

My Tuesday post where I’ll ‘tease‘ you with the cover, blurb, and first paragraph of one of the advanced reader’s copies from my own TBR.

This book is a title I downloaded from NetGalley.

Today, Tuesday October 5, 2021 I want to introduce one of the ARCs on my TBR.

This book will be published TODAY!Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

ISBN: 9781250272591 – ASIN: ‎ B08R2JKC2V –  352 pages



1)  The mention of Shirley Jackson and ‘Daphne Du Maurier”s “Rebecca” in the blurb.

2)  The setting: a crumbling, isolated, creepy old English manor house.

3)  Gothic horror. This would be a perfect October read. (It is on my October TBR)

“Dr. Augustine Lawrence’s cuffs were stained with blood and his mackintosh had failed against the persistent drizzle. He looked damp, miserable, and scared.

Of her.”

Have you ever read anything by this author?

Is this a title that you would consider adding to your TBR pile?

Why, or why not?

Let me know in the comments.

Posted in Anticipated titles, Fiction, gothic fiction, Horror, NetGalley, Teaser Tuesday | Tagged | 11 Comments

“Sleepless” by Romy Hausmann – Book Review

“Damaged people damage other people.”


Nelly Schütt – was brought up in her parent’s inn. She works the reception desk and longs for a ‘bigger’ life. She begins to have an affair with one of the hotel’s regular customers, Paul. A man who is married. When he doesn’t leave his wife as promised, Nelly travels to Berlin to confront him and his wife. This confrontation does not go well. A few weeks later Paul texts Nelly to meet at a hotel. Nelly is overjoyed.

Then, the police come to Paul’s home. Nelly Schütt’s body has been found…

Nadja Kulka – was born in Poland where she lived with her younger brother and her prostitute mother. Now she works as a legal assistant at a Berlin law firm. She is an ex-convict who is trying to create a ‘normal’ life for herself. She is desperately lonely and feels like an outcast. Nadja is friendless until one woman who works with her helps her in a time of need. This woman, Laura, later left the law firm and is now married to Nadja’s boss. Several years later, after not seeing Laura for all that time, Nadja gets a call from Laura who has a problem… She has killed her lover.

Gero van Hoven – Nadja’s boss and Laura’s husband is the head of Berlin’s premier law firm. A powerful man who values his marriage and child over all else. Why? Because he has been disappointed in love more than once. His own parents had the very opposite of a happy marriage, and then two of the women he later became involved with left him.

Interspersed with the dual plot-lines of Nelly and Nadja, there are myriad letters. These missives are written anonymously to a child.  They are written at the behest of a therapist who thinks the writer of the letters will benefit by writing them. These letters are never sent. Later when the author divulges who the letter writer is, and who she is writing to, I became sad and sympathetic.

After loving this author’s debut novel “Dear Child“, I was eager to read her second offering. This time, I didn’t feel the love quite so much.

The story was interesting, the characters damaged, and the plot somewhat confusing. This was ultimately Nadja’s story, and what a tragic story it was. Life has always been unkind to Nadja – and the older she became, the more cruel her life panned out.

This is a novel about twisted people playing mortally serious games. About manipulation, adultery, betrayal, actions and consequences, and framing the innocent.

It is a sad truth that some people are deemed expendable, that their lives are somehow less valuable than others.

The title of this novel was very fitting. It ended with a twist that I didn’t see coming. In summation, this was a convoluted psychological thriller perhaps written for certain acquired tastes. I hope that Hausmann’s next book is the same quality as her debut.

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Flatiron Books via NetGalley in order that I could participate in the Flatiron Official Blog Tour.

Publication date: October 19, 2021
ISBN:9781250824790    ASIN:  B08T848BB7     336 pages

Romy Hausmann was born in the former GDR in 1981. At the age of twenty-four she became chief editor at a film production company in Munich. Since the birth of her son she has been working as a freelancer in TV. Dear Child is her thriller debut. Romy Hausmann lives with her family in a remote house in the woods near Stuttgart.


Dear Child” was translated from the original German language by Jamie Bulloch,  a British historian and translator of German literature.


Posted in Book Reviews, Flatiron Books, NetGalley, novels in translation, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

“The Midwife’s Secret” by Emily Gunnis – Book Review

“A gripping, heart-wrenching story of love, loyalty and family secrets.”

This engrossing story is told via three timelines:

“It is God’s will that a woman suffers in childbirth, he says, and it is not my place to interfere with God’s will – though he will happily interfere with his forceps and scalpels so he is home in time for dinner.” – (from Tess James’ notebook where she is speaking of the local physician, Dr. Jenkins)

1946 – Midwife Tessa James is unjustly convicted of murder when she is blamed for a bungled delivery by the local doctor. Both mother and baby perished due to his ineptitude. Midwives back then were often defiled by physicians and even the church who thought they ‘helped‘ women get rid of unwanted pregnancies. Tessa lives at the Vicarage with her young grandson, Alfie while her daughter Bella is off working elsewhere as a domestic servant.

1969 – Bobby James is the great-grandson of midwife Tessa James. He  is fifteen and lives with his father, Alfie, and young sister Nell on a farm adjoining the Hilton’s estate. When Alice Hilton, the six-year-old daughter of the powerful Hilton family goes missing, Bobby is the last to have seen her. He is imprisoned, though Alice’s body was never found. Meanwhile, his young sister Nell is sent off to a sanatorium because she caught tuberculosis from the cattle.

2017 -Willow James – the midwife’s great-great granddaughter, and the daughter of Bobby James, is a young architect working on her first big project. It has personal meaning for her as it involves the development of land that her family has lived on for generations. A tricky project because it means the demolition of two listed homes. Willow realizes that her boss has manipulated her into taking the fall for some unscrupulous practices. In order to salvage the project and save her budding career, Willow delves into the history of her family.

On the day that the Hilton family are to move out of their manor house to make way for its demolition, the young daughter of Leo Hilton goes missing. Almost fifty years ago Leo’s sister Alice went missing at almost the same age…. Could history be repeating itself?

Meanwhile, Leo’s mother Vanessa is muddled. She is confused as to whether it is Alice or her granddaughter Sienna who is missing. She has never really gotten over the trauma of losing her beloved daughter Alice all those many years ago.

What a great read! This is a story of social injustice, corruption, and ancient crimes. This is my first read by this author and I have to say her writing reminded me a bit of that of Kate Morton and/or Eve Chase.

This novel will tug at your heart and gives the reader an almost gothic vibe with the old priest’s hole, a hidden room beneath the stairs. The Sussex setting lends itself well to the historical aspect of the book.

It is the story of two families: the ‘haves‘, the Hiltons, and the ‘have-nots‘, the James. The families live on adjoining properties and the James’s have suffered at the hands of the powerful Hilton family for decades. Social inequality is the overriding theme in my opinion. It shows how the rich and powerful can manipulate those with less – to their detriment.

This is not a crime novel as such, but there are many crimes to be found within its pages. The callous Leo Hilton was a truly despicable character.

The Midwife’s Secret” was a memorable novel that spoke of grave losses and family skeletons/secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Headline Review via Secret Readers.

Publication date: October 28, 2021     Publisher: Headline Review

ISBN: 9781472272041 – ASIN: ‎‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ B091J4Y7L1 – 384 pages

Emily Gunnis previously worked in TV drama and lives in Brighton with her young family. She is one of the four daughters of Sunday Times bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.

Her debut novel, The Girl in the Letter, was published in August 2018 and has sold nearly half a million copies worldwide and been translated into 17 languages. The Lost Child, her second novel was published in April of 2020. The Midwife’s Secret is her third novel.

Emily Gunnis lives in Sussex with her husband Steve and her two beautiful, very energetic girls, Grace and Eleanor.

Follow Emily Gunnis on Twitter @EmilyGunnis

Posted in Book Reviews, Historical fiction, Secret Readers (Orion) | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

Spell the Month in Books – OCTOBER #SpellTheMonthInBooks #BookRecommendations

I first saw this on Nicki’s Secret Library Blog and Carla’s Love to Read, but it originated from Jana at ‘Reviews from the Stacks‘.

Every month I will spell the month in books that I have already read, linking back to my reviews of the title. (Initial articles – The, A, An – will not be taken into account)

Out Of The Blue” by Gretta Mulrooney


The Chalk Man” by C.J. Tudor


Then She Was Gone” by Lisa Jewell


Our House” by Louise Candlish


Block 46” by Johana Gustawsson


Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman


Rainy Day Sisters” by Kate Hewitt


That was fun!

I’m always searching for ways to share my book recommendations.

Thanks for visiting. ♥

Posted in Book Reviews, Spell the Month in Books | Tagged | 7 Comments