In the past month I’ve read thirteen novels.
I honestly cannot pick a ‘Book of the Month‘ for June. Of the 13 titles I read, there were SIX standout, 5 star reads!
Here, I will tell you a little bit about the SIX novels I most enjoyed in June.
“The Searcher” by Tana French
The plot was a page turner which divulged that even the most bucolic places often hide dark and nasty underbellies. The masterful and eloquent writing evoked the menace and unease which contrasted greatly with the tame and idyllic setting. The book spoke to how justice is not always clear-cut, and that sometimes rural justice is a different kettle of fish altogether…
There was one shocking plot revelation that surprised me as much as it did the protagonist, Cal Hooper.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and though I know it is a stand-alone novel, would love to see the characters of Cal Hooper and Trey Reddy return in later books.
“The Good Sister” by Sally Hepworth
What a fantastic read! And how clever! All the while, the reader wonders just which of the Castle sisters is in fact ‘the good sister‘.
We must remember that each of the girls have different recollections of the same events. Whose is correct? Each sister displayed good and bad traits and their characters were complex and multi-layered. Is their sisterly relationship supportive and caring, or, is it manipulative and devious?
This was an expertly written thriller that will doubtless make my list of Top Reads for 2021. A skilled character study masquerading as a thriller. Brilliant!
“Look What You Made Me Do” by Nikki Smith
The novel eloquently explores the idea that two people, living in the same house, sharing the same experiences, can have memories of those people and events that are completely different from each others. Almost as if they had lived different lives altogether.
The title of course refers to victim blaming. This was foremost a story about spousal abuse where the husband blames the wife for ‘making’ him abuse her both emotionally and physically. In addition, it also delves into the subjects of sibling rivalry, parental favoritism, and guilt.
The characters were fully developed and treated in an understanding and empathetic way. The scenes were vividly written evoking a tense revelation of the hidden dysfunction in an outwardly ‘perfect’ family.
This, the author’s second novel, has affirmed that I will follow her writing career avidly, reading each of her novels as fast as she can write them.
Highly, highly, recommended to all fans of domestic thrillers.
“Someone We Know” by Shari Lapena
The author has created a seemingly typical suburban neighborhood and peopled it with seemingly typical families – by and large they are nice people. However… what goes on behind closed doors in this neighborhood is far from typical. Everyone seems to have something to hide.
The characters are very realistic, and the situations believable. Shocking at times, but believable. It aptly demonstrated just how stressful, arduous, and heart-breaking it can sometimes be to parent a teenager. The personalities of the police were not really fleshed out, but they were not the primary focus of the book. It was the various neighbors that were the stars of the show.
A page turner, this domestic thriller kept my enthralled. I highly recommend this novel to all fans of the genre.
“The Skylark’s Secret” by Fiona Valpy
A well researched historical novel written in a dual time line format.
This novel was set in Loch Ewe, Scotland, which was a temporary base of the Home Fleet and was also used as an assembly point for the Arctic Convoys during WWII. The fictional rendering of the part this area played in WWII illustrated just how important Loch Ewe was strategically to the allies during the war.
The characters of both time lines were fully fleshed out and captured my heart. The novel spoke to the importance of a tight-knit community and how it often takes a village to raise a child. It also stressed the importance of traditional music in the history of Scotland. It did what good historical fiction is meant to do. It brought history to life.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and hope to read many more books by this author. Highly recommended.“The Burning Girls” by C.J. Tudor
There are many themes running throughout the novel. Abandonment issues, nature vs. nurture, complicity, and the lengths some people with go to preserve their social standing and reputation.
This novel seems to defy genre. Part suspense thriller, part folk horror, part missing persons mystery, it serves to make a very enjoyable and compelling read. Highly recommended!
I feel very lucky to have access to so many wonderful books. All the books above are reviewed here on the blog if you want to take a look.