#20booksofsummer2022 – It’s a wrap! #readingchallenge

Today I am delighted to share my completed list of the books I read for the #20booksofsummer reading challenge. I had decided on reading 20 books and yes I did change some. I usually just get my final book read by the skin of my teeth in this challenge, but this year not only have I read them all with time to spare… I have also got them all reviewed as well! The challenge runs over three months and is organised by Cathy at 746books

Here are the 20 books I read…

I did also manage to read another 20 books on top of this list, these were a mix of books that were on my NetGalley shelf, for Blog tours and ARCs sent via authors. There were also a few audiobooks as well. I am quite pleased with the reading over the past three months.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Darkest Sin by D.V. Bishop @davidbishop #20booksofsummer #historicalfiction #crime #murder #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Darkest Sin by D.V. Bishop. This is the second book in the Cesare Aldo series and it is absolutely brilliant. My huge thanks must go to the wonderful Eva aka @noveldeelights who first introduced me to this series 🙂

This is book 19/20 in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge, and yes the final book has also been read!

The Darkest Sin is an atmospheric historical thriller by D. V. Bishop, set in Renaissance Florence and is the sequel to City of Vengeance.

Florence. Spring, 1537.

When Cesare Aldo investigates a report of intruders at a convent in the Renaissance city’s northern quarter, he enters a community divided by bitter rivalries and harbouring dark secrets.

His case becomes far more complicated when a naked man’s body is found deep inside the convent, stabbed more than two dozen times. Unthinkable as it seems, all the evidence suggests one of the nuns must be the killer.

Meanwhile, Constable Carlo Strocchi finds human remains pulled from the Arno that belong to an officer of the law missing since winter. The dead man had many enemies, but who would dare kill an official of the city’s most feared criminal court?

As Aldo and Strocchi close in on the truth, identifying the killers will prove more treacherous than either of them could ever have imagined . . . 

MY REVIEW

This is the 2nd book in the Cesare Aldo series and you really should read the first book City of Vengeance as part of this story has links to the previous. Also, the first book gives a brilliant introduction to Aldo as a person, as an investigator and also the people in the city of Florence in this time period.

Set in Florence in 1537, Aldo is asked to see about the reports of intruders but finds the body of a man in the convent of Mary Magdalen. It is inconceivable that a nun would be responsible, but how and why this has happened is something that Aldo may not even be asked to investigate in. Aldo works for the Otto, the administration of the criminal court at the time. The murder is on Church grounds and therefore not under the same jurisdiction.

Another Otto constable is looking into a missing man when he discovers a body. Constable Strocchi is a new recruit who was introduced in the first book, while he is still wet behind the ears, he does pick things up and is learning the art of dealing with the criminal and underworld elements. He is very principled, newly married and under pressure to get results.

This second book is fantastic, and while I loved the first one, this one is even better. I think this is due to the fact that I am already aware of the main characters, their roles, their personalities and traits. The does mention the cases and details of Strocchi and Aldo, but it is so much better to already know them before starting this one.

The two investigations are run separately, so the author does flit back and forth between the two. I love this as it means I am eager to return to each of the cases to see what has progressed. The cases are different in the way they are investigated, but the basics are the same. Trying to discover the leads, getting to the truth, recognise the lies and taking the time to think things over.

It was great to see Aldo and Strocchi working sep[erately as it meant I got more insight into each of the characters and also what they are thinking about. They obviously have different priorities in their lives and this is a great way of really getting under the skin of each character.

The cases are brilliantly worked out, morals and dilemmas I do love them. Putting a character in the firing line, yes I adore that as well. The author chose some interesting routes for his characters and this meant the story had a great pace, constantly evolving and throwing up different challenges.

This is a fabulous book and it definitely cements this series as one that I will definitely be keeping up with. This is one for those who like historical murder mysteries with a complex storyline that is also easy to follow when you are in the zone. I really didn’t want to put this one down and read it in two sittings.

Excellent storyline, and interesting characters, can’t wait for the next book and it is one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

D. V. Bishop writes the Cesare Aldo mysteries set in Renaissance Florence. The first in the series, CITY OF VENGEANCE, won the New Zealand Booklovers Award for best novel and was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. Long listings include the prestigious Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger Award, the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Novel, and the CWA’s Historical Dagger Award. The second Cesare Aldo mystery, THE DARKEST SIN, was published in March 2022.

Bishop was awarded a Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship while writing CITY OF VENGEANCE. The novel won the Pitch Perfect competition at the 2018 Bloody Scotland international crime fiction festival and was a Sunday Times Crime Club Pick of the Week. Global bestselling author David Baldacci called the novel ‘a first-class historical thriller … a tour-de-force.’

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The Dark by Sharon Bolton #20booksofsummer #crime #thriller #NetGalley #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Dark by Sharon Bolton. This is the 5th book in the Lacey Flint series and it works very well as a stand-alone.

This is one I have had on my TBR for a while now and is why it featured on my #20booksofsummer list. This is 18/20 on my challenge.

ONCE, SHE SAVED HIS LIFE…
NOW, HE’LL TAKE HERS.

When a baby is snatched from its pram and cast into the river Thames, off-duty police officer Lacey Flint is there to prevent disaster. But who would want to hurt a child?

DCI Mark Joesbury has been expecting this. Monitoring a complex network of dark websites, Joesbury and his team have spotted a new terrorist threat from the extremist, women-hating, group known as ‘incels’ or ‘involuntary celibates.’ Joesbury’s team are trying to infiltrate the ring of power at its core, but the dark web is built for anonymity, and the incel army is vast.

Pressure builds when the team learn the snatched child was just the first in a series of violent attacks designed to terrorise women. Worse, the leaders of the movement seem to have singled out Lacey as the embodiment of everything they hate, placing her in terrible danger…

MY REVIEW

This is the 5th book in the Lacey Flint series and it works exceptionally well as a stand-alone. The synopsis for this book doesn’t really give much away but it does take a route that has an almost dystopian feel to it, it is an amazing psychological thriller that I absolutely adored.

Lacey Flint, a police officer for the Thames River Police. She lives, works, plays and essentially breathes on the Thames. It isn’t a shock when she happens to be on hand while off-duty with fellow work colleagues when a baby is snatched. The full repercussions of this crime are not known at this point and an elaborate search for the hidden and secretive members of a male-only group. The group is organised on the dark web, it takes experts within the department to try to uncover who they are, what their motives are and how they organise themselves. The limelight is on Lacey though as she is the one responsible for rescuing the baby.

As the investigation proceeds, it becomes more twisted and Lacey, DCI Mark Joesbury and the rest of the team are up to their eyeballs in trying to work out what is going to happen next. The threat is real, they have already proved their intentions. The online group are going viral, their message is heard and it is being acted upon by many. They are men that hate women, they are happy to threaten and scare women, and they are getting bolder. Women should be at home, they should support the men and be subservient, and they should not hold responsible jobs!

the author has taken a brilliant approach with this storyline, actually, it is more than one story and these have been brilliantly twisted and incorporated into each other to provide a thrilling and addictive story.

As I have not read any other books in this series I found this particular book to be a good one to start with as it does take the reader back in time to the main protagonist, Lacey. An event in her past provides something that the author has linked and connected to the present-day setting.

There is a large psychological aspect to this story as the theme of males hating females and then acting upon it and being led by online content becomes very believable. As the group gains momentum it becomes even more believable and the sad thing is that there are occurrences of this type of violence in the news on a regular basis along with many other forms of hate crime.

This is a thriller that is fast-paced, following Lacey’s story, the investigation, the increased threats and how things progress are brilliant. Everything is linked but how that eventually plays out took me by surprise. There are subtle hints along the way, but I didn’t realise this until I had been led to the fabulous conclusion.

Brilliant read, addictive, thought-provoking and with some great plot twists. I really enjoyed this one and I would definitely recommend it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Crushed by Kate Hamer @kate_hamer #20booksofsummer #mystery #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Crushed by Kate Hamer. I won this book in a giveaway run by the author and it has taken me far too long to pick it up to read it. This is why it has featured on my #20booksofsummer reading challenge, it is 17/20.

‘Mesmerising, compulsive, deliciously dark – and so good on the complex and thorny bond between friends. Kate Hamer’s writing is incandescent.’ Lucy Foley, author of The Hunting Party


Phoebe stands on Pulteney Bridge, tights gashed from toe to thigh. The shock of mangled metal and blood-stained walls flashes through her mind as she tries to cover her face so she won’t be recognised. It wouldn’t do to be spotted looking like this. She’s missing a shoe. She feels sick.

Phoebe thought murder and murder happened. Thoughts are just thoughts, they said. Now she knows they were wrong.

At home, Phoebe arranges the scissors and knives so they point toward her mother’s room. She is exhausted, making sure there’s no trace of herself – not a single hair, not even her scent – left anywhere in the house. She must not let her thoughts unravel, because if they do, there’s no telling who might be caught in the crossfire, and Phoebe will have to live with the consequences. 

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I have to say I really enjoyed this one. I also think it is going to be quite a difficult one to review. It is a slow-based book that crosses genres, there is a mystery to it as well as a sense of dread giving it an almost psychological thriller style to it. It is also about families, teens and coming of age along with the feeling they are going through.

So, how to review this one… it is the story of three girls, each unique and each with their own set of problems. Growing up and going to school, it is about Pheobie but the other two, Grace and Orla share the story from their own perspectives.

Being teens the girls are at that crossroads in life between being children and adults. Trying to make sense of the world and people around them. They are still naive about certain things, but they are also trying to work out what life is and what they are going to do.

There are times when this story does show their adolescent side and also a more grown-up and devious side. It shows their fears and anxieties as well as gives a look into each other’s individual lives. Some of the scenes oozed fear as well as despair. I suppose this is quite a dark and gloomy story given what the girls go through, but I think this adds more realism. That being said though, the author definitely has a way with her words and writing style. The mystery about each girl becomes very addictive and makes this a difficult book to put down.

I have gone through various reviews from other readers with this book and it does seem to be one that divides readers. For me, though I really enjoyed it. It is dark, mysterious and at times riddled with fear. It has a good psychological aspect to it as the teens are in the limbo of becoming adults.

A very good and captivating read and I will be looking to read more by this author. It is a book I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Hamer’s third novel CRUSHED is published in May 2019 (Faber & Faber). She is the author of THE DOLL FUNERAL (Faber & Faber 2017) which was a Bookseller book of the month and an editor’s pick for Radio 4’s Open Book. Her first novel THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT has been translated into 18 different languages. It was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book Industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, The John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller. She grew up in the west country and rural Pembrokeshire and now lives with her husband in Cardiff. 

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The Lion by Conn Iggulden #20booksofsummer #historicalfiction #netgalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Lion by Conn Iggulden. I have read quite a few books by this author and I do adore how he brings history to life, making it interesting and exciting in his telling. Brilliantly researched and addictive reading for those who love their hist/fic.

This is 14/20 of the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

Ancient Greece, 5th century BC

The age of myths and legends has given way to the world of men. In the front rank stands Pericles, Lion of Athens.

Behind Pericles lies the greatest city of the ancient world. Before him, on land and at sea, stands the merciless Persian army. Both sides are spoiling for war.

Though still a young man, Pericles knows one thing: to fight a war you must first win the peace.

It’s time for a hero to rise.

For his enemies to tremble.

And for Athens, a city of wisdom and warriors, to shine with glory . . .

MY REVIEW

When I pick up a book by this author I know I am going to be in for a treat. The Lion is fabulous reading and takes the reader back to 5th Century BC, Ancient Greece. This era is one people are most like aware of given the films such as The 300, I mention this as it is in a similar timeline to the story and his son, Pleistarchus features at the beginning of the story. While Sparta played its part in past battles, it stands apart for a few years. Athens, with other city-states, created the Delian League at Delos, a central island in the Aegean Sea,

The main characters in this story are Cimon and Pericles. They are childhood friends and their fathers had fought in the battles at Marathon against the Persians. The Persians have gone quieter of late, but that does not mean there is no danger. The city-states of Greece come together to form the Delian League, they amass a fleet that patrols the Aegean to keep a look out for potential Persian threats.

Pericles is a young man and isn’t allowed a responsibility as he is deemed too young until he is 30 years old. But, his friendship with Cimon grants him access to meetings. The two form a formidable friendship and when needed they will support each other.

Pericles takes over his father’s estate after his death. This means he is bound to the land, but his heart still yearns for the sea. He has different responsibilities from Cimon, but when he is needed Pericles will join back with Cimon.

This story is a brilliant one from start to finish. The author manages to create such a wonderful and action-packed story from history. As I read this I had to remind myself I wasn’t watching a film as the imagery the author creates with his words is exceptional. He really does bring history to life in the pages.

The battles of the past are still fresh in the memories of the current, this helps to fuel the need for a fleet and to have people with experience around those in control. There are politics that come into play, but this is not a main part of the story. Ancient Greece without its politics just wouldn’t be right! The author brings the characters to life with decisions, friendships, battles and pretty much from the point of Pericles who will have a larger role in history.

This is more the story of Pericles, his decisions and his thoughts as he makes the transition from a young man into an adult and all the responsibilities that come with it. His family, his personal life and made it a more character-based story. There are plenty of other characters but focusing on just one gave a brilliant insight into one of history’s figures.

This author will probably already be known to you if you like your ancient history. It is a brilliant read and one that I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean #20booksofsummer #crime #thriller #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Last Thing To Burn by Will Dean. I have read some of this authors books and they have been great, this one is very different and fabulous reading.

This is 13/20 of the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

A dark and brilliant new standalone thriller from a rising star in the crime genre.

He is her husband. She is his captive.

Her husband calls her Jane. That is not her name.

She lives in a small farm cottage, surrounded by vast, open fields. Everywhere she looks, there is space. But she is trapped. No one knows how she got to the UK: no one knows she is there. Visitors rarely come to the farm; if they do, she is never seen.

Her husband records her every movement during the day. If he doesn’t like what he sees, she is punished.

For a long time, escape seemed impossible. But now, something has changed. She has a reason to live and a reason to fight. Now, she is watching him and waiting …

MY REVIEW

I bought this book when it came out last year after reading many great reviews. I have finally now read it and Oh my goodness! What a story this is!

It is set mainly within the isolated farmhouse on The Fens, and as I know the Fens I can see how and why this setting works so well. The Fens are flat, they can be desolate, but they are also ideal for hiding out of the way.

The story focuses on Jane, a woman who lives in the farmhouse. There is a reason she is there and there is a reason she tries her hardest to keep her head down, prepare the meals, clean the house and do all that is required of her.

The synopsis does not give away much, but what it does give is a terrible sense of fear and atmosphere. The author has done such a wonderful job of making Jane a character that the reader can care about, as I was reading this story I wanted her to escape to get away from her life. Knowing the reasons why she remains is heartbreaking though.

When there is a change at the cottage things do appear to get slightly better, if that’s possible, but better for one doesn’t mean better for all. Jane has to change her focus and needs to know how far she will risk things.

This is such a wonderful story but one that is also an incredibly heartbreaking read. It isn’t a story I want to say I enjoyed due to the horrific situation and circumstances, but it is a very addictive one. I needed to know what happened to Jane and get the answers to all the questions I had.

This is a brutal, dark story but one that shows how circumstances can change and how events can shape your life. This is a story that will get under your skin and one that I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Bloody January by Alan Parks #20booksofsummer #policeprocedural #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Bloody January by Alan Parks. This is the first book in the Harry McCoy series, I started this series part way through so it was great to go back to the beginning.

This is the 12th of my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

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When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn’t a random act of violence.

With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow’s wealthiest family, the Dunlops.

McCoy’s boss doesn’t want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas . . .

In a helter-skelter tale – winding from moneyed elite to hipster music groupies to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland – Bloody January brings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow and establishes Alan Parks as a new and exciting voice in Scottish noir.

MY REVIEW

This is the first book in the Harry McCoy series, it is not however the first one I have read! I first came to this series by reading book 3 -Bobby March Will Live Forever, then The April Dead and May God Forgive. I still have February’s Son to read.

Because I am already aware of Harry McCoy and his mate Wattie I think I had an advantage. Because I know what has happened in future books I was able to see things from a slightly different perspective than if I had started at the beginning of the series.

Going back to where it began with Bloody January was a good move for me. Wattie is the newbie and Harry is already established in the Glasgow Police. Harry is known to have an opinion, have dubious friends and seems to have a knack for winding his boss Murray up. Wattie is naive, and it is fun to see how naive he actually is, this doesn’t mean he is daft but doesn’t understand the streets of 1970s Glasgow as Harry does.

When a woman is shot in broad daylight in front of Harry and the shooter then shoots himself questions are obviously a priority. Who are the victims, why was she shot, what is the connection and why on earth would a prisoner give Harry an early heads up as to what was going to happen?

The case is one that has possibilities as to why things happened, for some, it would be a quick and easy case to deal with, but Harry doesn’t work like that. His contacts give him some extra info to work with. However, trying to get to the people and question them is a different matter especially when those people are wealthy, influential and do not want any publicity.

Harry is a tough copper, he isn’t scared of taking a punch and standing his ground. He has Wattie now, he is the voice of reason, well he is a whisper of reason as he finds his feet. These two are a good team in future books and it is great to see how the series started out.

Take my word for it when I say this is a good series, this first book is full of action, it is dark, brooding and dangerous. 1970s Glasgow is not a place for the faint-hearted, it’s a good job Harry is made of tougher stuff.

This is one for those of you who like a gritty, tough, dangerous and shady police procedural. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre #NetGalley #PublicationDay @LittleBrownUK #thriller #crime #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre. This is a tense and fabulously addictive story set on a remote Scottish Island.

My thanks to Little, Brown UK for accepting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

One hen weekend, seven secrets… but only one worth killing for

Jen’s hen party is going to be out of control…

She’s rented a luxury getaway on its own private island. The helicopter won’t be back for seventy-two hours. They are alone. They think.

As well as Jen, there’s the pop diva and the estranged ex-bandmate, the tennis pro and the fashion guru, the embittered ex-sister-in-law and the mouthy future sister-in-law.

It’s a combustible cocktail, one that takes little time to ignite, and in the midst of the drunken chaos, one of them disappears. Then a message tells them that unless someone confesses her terrible secret to the others, their missing friend will be killed.

Problem is, everybody has a secret. And nobody wants to tell.

MY REVIEW

This was a very intriguing book to read. A group of women goes away together to a Scottish Island for a hen party weekend. This is not a close bunch of women and some don’t know everyone.

The author introduces each of the women and the story is told from their individual perspectives. This makes for a faster-paced story as there is a constant interchanging of characters. When the women first meet up there is some tension, but the bride-to-be, Jen, is hoping that things will settle and any past animosities can be put behind them.

For a while, yes the women seem to hold it together, but then the cocktails soon alter the balance. Oh! and a dead body in the kitchen doesn’t help nor does the delivery of an email to each of them.

I really enjoyed the mystery of this story, yes there is a body, but this isn’t the main story. The story is about the women themselves, the email mentions there being one of the group that isn’t exactly who they say they are. This is actually quite clever, as the synopsis mentions, everyone has a secret!

Having secrets and trying to keep them, or letting them out as much as you dare is one thing, but when they impact those around you as they do in this story, then you need to re-evaluate. I liked how everyone becomes a suspect and while most of the group let some snippets out, not all do. There are some who have a grudge from when they were teens, others have a point to prove and some are definitely not what they appear. This adds to the suspense and the tense energy that surrounds the group.

While this is a crime story as such, I felt it was more of a mystery thriller and the author does gradually bring out the mysteries and secrets of each person. There is also the main question of who actually is responsible for the initial crime and who is the focus of the revenge.

This is a story that keeps twisting the more you read. I do admit that I did work out the who, but that was much later in the book. Up until that point I was flittering between characters and changing my mind.

This really was a fab story, it is addictive, and I do like the locked room feel of the island setting. This is one that like a story with multiple characters and perspectives, has a tense atmosphere and is a riveting read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Sanctuary by Andrew Hunter Murray #mystery #20booksofsummer #NetGalley #PenguinUKBooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Sanctuary by Andrew Hunter Murray. I had requested this book from Penguin Books via NetGalley as the title and synopsis interested me.

This is the 9th book I have read in my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

In a disintegrating and increasingly lawless land, a young man is travelling north.

Ben is a young painter from the crowded, turbulent city. For six months his fiancée Cara has been living on the remote island of Sanctuary Rock, the property of millionaire philanthropist Sir John Pemberley. Now she has decided to break off their engagement and stay there for good.

Ben resolves to travel to the island to win Cara back. But the journey there is a harsh and challenging one, and when he does arrive, a terrible shock awaits him.

As Ben begins to find his way around Pemberley’s perfect island, he knows he must also discover – what has made Cara so determined to throw her old life away? And is Sanctuary Rock truly a second Eden, as the mysterious Sir John claims – or a prospect of hell?

MY REVIEW

When Ben’s fiance Cara doesn’t return from her work trip, Ben gets worried. She works on an island with no phone signal and communication is by letter. Cara likes her job a lot and she likes the importance that it offers her.

This story is set around a two-tier society, those that can afford to live in Villages, and those that can. The Villages are a new way of living. The main island is known as Sanctuary Rock, a remote island that has a strict and limited access system.

For Ben, this is a society or system that doesn’t quite sit well with him. He has visited Villages to paint portraits for the wealthier residents. He however is happier in the city in his small flat. There are benefits to these hubs as those who cannot afford to live in them can work in them. Travel and work are via permits.

Ben finally has enough of waiting for Cara so decides to make his way to The Sanctuary. A dangerous journey to undertake with no idea what he will find when he gets there.

Once there he is surprisingly welcomed as it seems that Cara is respected there. While he still waits for her to return from another job he is shown and welcomed to the island. It has a good feel, almost like a utopian society where everyone works together. There is however an underlying ominous feel, is everything as good as it seems or is it too good to be true?

This is quite an addictive story and it does have a dystopian feel to it, but not overly so and this makes it more accessible. THere are ethical questions raised within the story and this is a great way of interacting with the reader and made me think about options, dilemmas and principles.

The story unfolds further and you start to notice the cracks, things are not as they seem but quite what they are I wasn’t able to put my finger on, following Ben in this story finally led me to a truth that I didn’t expect.

This is a mystery novel that has a sci-fi or dystopian twist to it. The plot was a slower one but it gave all the information and explanations to set the reader up for the revelations to follow. I really enjoyed this one and I would be happy to recommend it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Halfways by Nilopar Uddin #20booksofsummer #contemporaryfiction #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Halfways by Nilopar Uddin. This is a stunning book to read about a family that is spread between New York, Bangladesh, Wales and London.

This is the 8th book on my #20booksofsummer reading challenge. My huge thanks to HQ Stories for acce[pting my request to read and review this title.

Nasrin and Sabrina are two sisters, who on the face of things live successful and enviable lives in London and New York. When their father, Shamsur suddenly dies, they rush to be with their mother at the family home and restaurant in Wales, and reluctantly step back into the stifling world of their childhood.

When Shamsur’s will is read, a devastating secret is revealed that challenges all that people thought and loved about him. It also profoundly changes the lives and identities of the sisters, and creates an irreparable family rift…

Moving between London, Wales, New York and Bangladesh, this is an epic family drama that spans over four decades. A story of mothers and daughters, of fathers and daughters, of sisterhood, it is a tale that explores belonging, family and what makes forgiveness and redemption possible.

MY REVIEW

This is a wonderful book to read and a first for me by this author. The story is one about differing opinions between family members. The family emigrated from Bangladesh to the Brecon Beacons in Wales. Their father has recently passed away and the sisters Nasrin and Sabrina have returned back to Wales from London and New York.

While the story focuses a lot on the two girls, the author has included other family members and relations. This was a brilliant way of giving different perspectives and it gave a better idea of the opinions other people had. Their parents wanted their girls to live and experience the ways of the West, but even on this, they disagreed as their mother felt they should be more away from their home, religion, culture and heritage of Bangladesh.

The author has created an extremely poignant story of the differences between cultures religions, traditions and expectations. Trying to live your life between two different cultures does bring arguments and disagreements. While both sisters try to be modern and to be more like those around them, they are still aware that their skin is of a different colour. Both have compromised to be more accepted and this is shown through some very heart-breaking scenes.

Getting to know more about family and also the culture was so interesting and the author made it so addictive. The story is deep and moving and does explore the stigmas and perceptions of people, especially those within this family. Backstories are explored for the parents and for several others and this helps build a fuller picture.

I adored this story, it has some fun moments, but it is also very heartbreaking. A gorgeously told story with additional information in the glossary at the end. It is a family in turmoil, one that is struggling and trying to overcome the death of a father and husband and also trying to keep things together. They are trying so hard to keep things going and not everything goes to plan.

This is one for those who love to explore different cultures, religions and lives, contemporary fiction as well as dipping into the past. Addictive reading and one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx