A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin @HarperFiction #histfic #regency #romance #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin. This is a brilliant read for those who like a good Regency period romance. If you are a fan of “Bridgerton”, a recent NetFlix period drama, then you are going to really enjoy this book.

My huge thanks to Harper Fiction for my e-copy that I requested to read and review via NetGalley.

The season is about to begin—and there’s not a minute to lose.

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

With only twelve weeks until the bailiffs call, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her, and Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost, especially when it comes to his own brother falling for her charms.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one—not even a lord—will stand in her way…

MY REVIEW

Set in 1818 England, Kitty Talbot has one thing on her mind. THat is snagging herself a rich husband. Now, before you think she is a money-grabbing wench, she is doing this out of duty and for the benefit of her sisters. However, can she fit into the Ton and society without looking out of place?

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it has all the glamour and societal expectations but it is one full of learning curves for Kitty. Coming to London she is well out of her league, she knows what she wants but she doesn’t revolve around the high society echelons. You cannot just walk up to a Countess. Lord or Lady, you have to be properly introduced. This is a problem for Kitty as she hasn’t any connections, well she does have the connections of her Aunt, but they could be, well dubious!

This is a fun read and one that I really enjoyed, there are reasons for Kitty’s actions and when she catches the eye of a certain young, some to be rich, the gentleman then she thinks all she has to do is convince him and his family of her respectability. One problem, he has an older brother!

I did like Kitty, she is a feisty young woman who is determined, to say the least. The downside to her is that she doesn’t have the ‘breeding’ for what she is to embark on. But, to be fair she learns to hold her own. there are some wonderful battles she has to deal with and her ‘breeding’ does stand her in good stead for the most part.

The storyline at times reminded me a little of Pride and Prejudice as well as the TV series Bridgerton ( I have only watched the 1st one!). It felt like a mix of history with the excitement of a modern story but in costume. This is a fun read, but it also does highlight society of the time. It does have the feel of a Young Adult story at times.

Enjoyable, fun, and fast-paced story that I really enjoyed and I would happily recommend.


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The Game by Scott Kershaw @HQstories #NetGalley #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Game by Scott Kershaw. The cover and the snappy synopsis definitely caught my eye when I requested it.

My huge thanks to HQ for granting my request to review this book via NetGalley.

The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

[text message]

DEAR PLAYER,

THE PERSON YOU LOVE MOST IS IN DANGER.

TO SAVE THEM, YOU MUST PLAY THE GAME.

THE RULES ARE: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE WINNER.

IF YOU LOSE, YOUR LOVED ONE WILL DIE.

ALL PLAYERS ENTER ALONE.

DO NOT SHARE THIS MESSAGE. DO NOT SEEK HELP.

WELCOME TO THE GAME.

YOU’VE JUST STARTED PLAYING.

[end of message]

MY REVIEW

I have to admit it was the cover that first caught my eye with this book. Snappy title, simple graphic and the line – The rules are simple. To save their life, you have to play.

This is a mystery thriller, that does have a crime element to it, but it is more about the mystery of The Game. What is The Game, who runs it, why is this being done and what would you do to keep those you love safe and alive!

There are 5 players in this game, they are unconnected, they are oblivious to each other and they have travelled from the US, France and Uk to meet up so they can learn more about The Game. The consequences are not as clear cut as I originally thought they might be. There was a curiosity to both stories but I was never fully aware of what was occurring until further into the story. The author does pace this story so well, it is one where some players are on a time limit, and this increases the tension of the story.

There is a lot more to this story than the synopsis gives away. The suspense of wondering if any of the players will do something stupid or brave is an ever[present one.

The players are normal people, with normal lives. Because they have been drawn from different countries it makes any connection unlikely. I liked how the author introduced each player and then kept referring back to things in the past. I soon found that I got to know who was who especially when they do meet up to actually continue The Game.

This is intriguing, I liked the time element and the mystery that was underlying all the way through. It is a thriller and I really enjoyed the story. The characters are not all likeable, but this is down to how the author portrays them. I look forward to reading more by this author and I would happily recommend this book.

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The Island by Adrian McKinty #NetGalley #PublicationDay #thriller #action @orionbooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Island by Adrian McKinty. This is one of those books that crosses many genres so I do think it will appeal to a great many readers.

My huge thanks to Orion Books who accepted my request to read and review this book via NetGalley.

IT WAS JUST SUPPOSED TO BE A FAMILY VACATION.

A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT CHANGED EVERYTHING.

YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE CAPABLE OF UNTIL THEY COME FOR YOUR FAMILY.

After moving from a small country town to Seattle, Heather Baxter marries Tom, a widowed doctor with a young son and teenage daughter. A working vacation overseas seems like the perfect way to bring the new family together, but once they’re deep in the Australian outback, the jet-lagged and exhausted kids are so over their new mom.

When they discover remote Dutch Island, off-limits to outside visitors, the family talks their way onto the ferry, taking a chance on an adventure far from the reach of iPhones and Instagram.

But as soon as they set foot on the island, which is run by a tightly knit clan of locals, everything feels wrong. Then a shocking accident propels the Baxters from an unsettling situation into an absolute nightmare.

When Heather and the kids are separated from Tom, they are forced to escape alone, seconds ahead of their pursuers.

Now it’s up to Heather to save herself and the kids, even though they don’t trust her, the harsh bushland is filled with danger, and the locals want her dead.

Heather has been underestimated her entire life, but she knows that only she can bring her family home again and become the mother the children desperately need, even if it means doing the unthinkable to keep them all alive.

SOON TO BE A HULU ORIGINAL SERIES 

MY REVIEW

It was the cover of this book that caught my eye, I am not going to point out exactly what it was. This is one for those of you who like an intense thriller story and it is one I really enjoyed.

Tom Baxter, his wife Heather and his two children from a previous marriage are hoping to spend some time together. Tom is a Doctor and is in Australia as a keynote speaker. Having the rest of the family join him means they can get some time together as a family.

This family is disjointed, Tom is a busy man and while he does spend time with his children it isn’t enough. Heather isn’t really accepted by the children and there are reasons for that. The children are not a barrel of laughs either, but again there are reasons.

To stop any squabbling Tom and Heather take the children out for a drive in the hope that they will see some of the country’s animals. Taking a trip to an island should be a chance for the children to get photos and also get some good tales, a chance for some family bonding maybe! They didn’t bargain for what they encountered on the island though.

This is a fabulous read and one that I really found myself drawn into. The setting of the Australian Outback is brilliant and having an island makes this an even better scene.

The characters are a mixed bag, they whine, they argue, they try their best and then they have their world turned upside down, and for some of them, this isn’t the first time that they will have to deal with some tough stuff.

I really like the way the author has used the character’s personalities, traits and nuances. This is a great way of keeping the reader on the hoof and I was never quite sure who was really what they appeared. They all have something to hide and some do it better than others, but eventually, things do become clear.

The story is one that I enjoyed, the basic bones of it are about a family that is getting through life but not really doing together. It is a snapshot of an American family that has found themselves in a situation that they never would have imagined themselves in. This is one of those stories that you can imagine a film being made of, and I am not sure that I would actually want to watch it (I don’t do creepy, horror style movies) but I have to say the book was brilliantly done.

From a slower start and getting to know the characters this book gradually built up the pace, it became more intense and it was one of those that had me frantically flipping pages. I thought this was brilliant and it is one I would definitely recommend. 

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The Reckoning @KerryKayaWriter @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #crime #gang #thriller #bookrewiew

I am delighted to share my review today for The Reckoning by Kerry Kaya. This is the 4th book in the Carter Brothers series and is one for those who like crime, gangland, and thrillers.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book via NetGalley,

An eye for an eye…

Once the top dog, Danny Mckay has walked away from his old gangland life. He’s on the straight and narrow now, looking forward to settling down and living a quiet life.

But trouble seems to follow Danny. And when his own family is caught up in a shocking event, Danny is dragged back into the gangland world, hell-bent on revenge.

Danny’s determined to make someone pay, but the rules are different this time around – old friends are enemies, and Danny doesn’t know who he can trust.

And as Danny gets closer to the truth, he realises that the consequences of his own actions could destroy everything – and everyone – that he loves.
Purchase Link – AMAZON

MY REVIEW

This is the 4th book in this series and it does read well as a standalone as this is the first book I’ve read in this series. I have, however, read other books by this author and she writes some cracking g gangland thrillers.

Danny has been out of the crime and gang lifestyle for several years. He is a legit businessman and wants to remain that way. His daughter is celebrating her 18th birthday when there is a shooting. Due to his past, Danny tho is this may be linked to him. But who, why and what for is what takes some working out.

The author has created another fabulous read and one that definitely drops you into the murky and dangerous world of gangs and crime. Even though Danny has a past that he has put behind him, it still runs in his blood. The author gradually brings his older acquaintances to the fore didn’t and things become tense and full. of suspense. Throughout this story there is never a straightforward answer..people are out for themselves and are trying to keep out of trouble.

I like how the author twists and weaves the character and the storyline. Never knowing who is telling the truth or what their motives keep the suspense up right the way through. Even though the topic is gang crime there is a good amount of loyalty and respect. Having different generations, younger and old school is a great way of showing the different ideals. The impatience is shown and lack of experience is evident as are ideals. While they may not always be legal they certainly make for great reading.

If you are a fan of gangland crime thrillers then this is an author you should keep an eye for. This book is a so fearful twisted read, delving into family loyalties. This isn’t too blood and gutsy but there is some violence. I really enjoyed this one and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kerry Kaya is the hugely popular author of Essex-based gritty gangland thrillers
with strong family dynamics. She grew up on one of the largest council estates in the
UK, where she sets her novels. She also works full-time in a busy maternity
department for the NHS. She has signed a nine-book deal with Boldwood for both
new and backlist titles.

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Outcast by Chris Ryan @exSASChrisRyan @rararesources @ZaffreBooks #crime #action #militarythriller #mystery #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the reviewers that are opening the Blog Tour today for Outcast by Chris Ryan. This is a brilliant action/ adventure crime and mystery novel and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from Zaffre Books via NetGalley.

After single-handedly intervening in a deadly terrorist attack in Mali, SAS Warrant Officer Jamie ‘Geordie’ Carter is denounced as a lone wolf by jealous superiors.


Now a Regiment outcast, Carter is given a second chance with a deniable mission: locate SAS hero-gone-rogue, David Vann.


Vann had been sent into Afghanistan to train local rebels to fight the Taliban. But he’s since gone silent and expected attacks on key targets have not happened.


Tracking Vann through Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Carter not only discovers the rogue soldier’s involvement in a conspiracy that stretches far beyond the Middle East – but an imminent attack that will have deadly consequences the world over . . .

Purchase Links AMAZON UK USBrown’s Books

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read a book by this author, and it was a very addictive read. This is a book that is full of action from the first page right through to the last. I have seen there are several books by this author and after reading this latest one I really need to go and read more.

The story focuses on SAS Warrant Officer Jamie Carter, (Geordie) he has not got many friends in the ranks or in power. He is considered a bit of a liability after his last mission. His current mission is cut short at a very timely moment and he asked to go and discover the whereabouts of his old trainer Vann. He is out of contact, no one knows where or why but they do have the last location.

I really liked Geordie, while he is a maverick as such he also seems quite principled. In some respects, his principles are part of his training. His training is what keeps him alive and as Vann was the one that trained him they are very similar and this is something that Geordie can use to his advantage, as they do share a similar mindset and this will prove inevitable in trying to work out what has happened.

This is an action-packed story from start to finish. The author obviously knows his stuff and this is very apparent from the details he includes. I liked the balance of the details, enough to make a point but not over the top.

When Government organisations are involved then there is often some sort of double cross or political power play involved. This mission though is being run via two government agencies and both are adamant that he is covered, that things are good and that he has everything he needs. I do like it when agencies get involved!

Geordie is a great character, he has a dogged determination and also there is a certain amount to him that makes him trustworthy. Little things that he does along his journey make you realise that he is not all muscle and firepower.

The action is fast throughout the story, there are skirmishes, fights, and chases, but underneath all this, the author keeps the story about Geordie and his mission but with a more personal touch and I was able to learn more about this character. This is a relatively quick read at just a little over 300 pages and there are a lot of details.

This is one for those who like to read more of an action-adventure story as well as a crime thriller and mystery. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Ryan was born in Newcastle.
In 1984 he joined 22 SAS. After completing the year-long Alpine Guides Course, he was the troop guide for B Squadron Mountain Troop. He completed three tours with the anti-terrorist team, serving as an assaulter, sniper and finally Sniper Team Commander.


Chris was part of the SAS eight-man team chosen for the famous Bravo Two Zero mission during the 1991 Gulf War. He was the only member of the unit to escape from Iraq, where three of his colleagues were killed and four captured, for which he was awarded the Military Medal. Chris wrote about his experiences in his book The One That Got Away, which became an immediate bestseller. Since then he has written over fifty books and presented a number of very successful TV programmes.


Social Media Links – Twitter

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When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill @bonnierbooks_uk #fantasy #feminism #histfic #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill. This was a fabulous book to read and while it is a fantasy story, the Dragons in this book could be seen as a metaphor for the feminism that lies behind it. As a fantasy read I thoroughly enjoyed it, as a metaphorical read, I can see the points that the author is making. (I hope this makes sense!!!) However you read this or take the message, it is a brilliant story. And… I love the cover 😍

My huge thanks to Bonnier Books UK for granting my request to read this e-book via NetGalley.

Learn about the Mass Dragoning of 1955 in which 300,000 women spontaneously transform into dragons…and change the world.

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours. But this version of 1950’s America is characterized by a significant event: The Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales and talons, left a trail of fiery destruction in their path, and took to the skies. Seemingly for good. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved Aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of, even more so than her crush on Sonja, her schoolmate.

Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of dragons: a mother more protective than ever; a father growing increasingly distant; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and a new “sister” obsessed with dragons far beyond propriety. Through loss, rage, and self-discovery, this story follows Alex’s journey as she deals with the events leading up to and beyond the Mass Dragoning, and her connection with the phenomenon itself. 

MY REVIEW

Ok, so I will admit the title of this book really called to me when I saw it. When Women Were Dragons is a reimagining with a definite fantasy thread, the dragons kind of give it away really!

Set in the 1950s this is a brilliant book that mixes historical with fantasy. Women through the years have transformed into dragons, they are never seen, mentioned or talked about ever again. In 1955 when 1,000s of women worldwide changed were still covered up. No one is allowed to mention the word dragon or anything to do with this event.

The thing is, the women have very little control over this change, some could hold it back and others just went with it.

This is a brilliant story that is about women empowering themselves and making the choice as to how they live their own lives. This is a time when women stay home, cook meals, look after the house, raise the children and have a meal ready on the table for when their husband walks in the door. It is very much a patriarchal society and while this story is set in a small area in the US, it was something that was a worldwide thing.

The focus is on Alex, a young girl who is confused by events that are happening, not just to family and neighbours who have changed, but also the changes in her own body. As a young girl, there are expectations of her and what she is to do with her future. Alex however has other ideas, she wants to go on with her education and go to university. Others think that a piece of paper to say you are clever isn’t much use when you are a mother and wife.

This story is very much about discrimination and there are times I got so angry with the attitudes of some of the characters, this is all credit to the author. I do love a story that makes me go through various emotions and this one definitely did that. Anger, euphoria, happiness, sadness and a sense of justice are just some of them. The way the author portrayed Alex and other women was just so good, the way they carried themselves with eyes down at the ground while all the time wanting to look up and to the future made it quite a powerful read.

This was a brilliant book to read, at times I admit it did get a bit far-fetched, but it still kept up the flow and feel of the story. I think at times I actually forgot some of the characters were dragons!

I adored this book and I did like the mix of fantasy with historical fiction. The concept is such a good one and it really appealed to me. This is a story about empowerment as well as a coming of age story. It does carry a powerful message and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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A Taste of Greek Summer by Mandy Baggot @mandybaggot @EmblaBooks #romance #Greece #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Taste of Greek Summer by Mandy Baggot. It is so nice to travel vicariously and especially when it is to Greece!

My huge thanks to Embla Books for my e-copy of this book and to join the Blog Tour to share my review.

Next summer, on the Greek island of Corfu, sparks will fly as dreams come true…

Lydia Broom is living her second-best life. With her dreams of being a chef left in the dust she instead finds solace writing about the dishes she wished she created. When Lydia’s sent to Corfu on an assignment, she’s excited to see what culinary delights the island has to offer, but nothing seems to tickle her fancy – until she tastes the creations of local cook, Thanos Nicolaidis.

After one sizzling afternoon in the kitchen together, Lydia and Thanos both allow themselves to dream of the futures they desperately want. And as they grow closer, sharing secret ingredients and family recipes, Thanos begins to realise he has to show Lydia the parts of him he’s done so well to hide… 

MY REVIEW

What a wonderful summery romance read A Taste of Greek Summer was. This author knows how to tickle the tastebuds with sumptuous sounding food and with a nice helping of romance as well.

When Lydia is hoodwinked by her best friend and co-worker Caroline she doesn’t expect it to have such an impact on her life as it does. Once a brilliant chef and now a food critic and columnist, Lydia still loves food but has put her knives away. What on earth could have happened for her to turn her back on a wonderful career that made her so happy. Well, you will find out when you read this book!

Lydia is the quieter one out of her and Caroline. While Lydia savours and thinks about things, Caroline rushes in and demolishes. The two are real chalk and cheese characters and it would have been so easy for Lydia to disappear in Caroline’s wake, instead, the author balances the two characters and does so with a wonderful storyline and also with some fun.

Going to Greece to get content for articles for the magazine they work for is a great way6 for Lydia to relax and go with the flow. She has got rather stuck in a rut and the trip to Greece may well revive her writing, but it also revives something else.

Food is never far from the pages of this book, from simple mouthwatering local Greek dishes to extravagant and minuscule portions, there is a gastronomic theme throughout, and of course Caroline and her love of chips!

You may think that the wonderful scenery and gorgeous foods would make for a completely happy and fulfilling holiday. Well, that would be too simple and we know that life is never that way. So the author has written a rather interesting story of Lydia and it gives the explanations needed for her backing away from creating menus to just writing about them. It was a revelation that I didn’t expect, but one that felt right. Caroline also has a past that comes out as well.

So. a holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without a little romance. And what a wonderful romantic theme this was. Again wrapped around the love of food and done so well. Tempting, tantalising and tasty.

This book was a one-sitting read for me, I started it while sitting out in the garden on a sunny afternoon and finished later the same night. I needed to know the ins and outs, the mystery and also to find out how things would wrap up. This is definitely one for those who love to travel vicariously, love food, and like their romance. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Birdcage by Eve Chase #PublicationDay #NeyGalley @PenguinUKBooks #mystery #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Birdcage by Eve Chase. This is a wonderful suspense and mystery read set in Cornwall.

My huge thanks to Penguin Random House & Michael Joseph Books for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

Kat, Flossie and Lauren are half-sisters who share a famous artist father – and a terrible secret.

Each has found their way of burying it. Over the years they’ve grown apart, and into wildly different lives. But an invitation to Rock Point, the Cornish cliff house where they once sat for their father’s most celebrated painting, Girls with Birdcage, reunites them.

Rock Point is a beautiful, windswept place, thick with secrets, electrically charged with the one subject the family daren’t discuss. And there is someone in the shadows watching the house, their every move. Someone who remembers the girls in the painting. What they did.

The sisters must unlock the truth to set themselves free – and find each other again.

MY REVIEW

Covers are a great way of noticing books and this cover is gorgeous. The cover shows a lovely white house in a cage and as I have now read this book, it is very relevant. The Birdcage is a novel that skips back and forth in time. It has mysterious undertones that are not always obvious.

Three sisters, well half-sisters as they share the same father, but have different mothers. The sisters have been summoned back to the house which has caused painful memories. They have been summoned by their father and it is the first time they have been back for 20 years. The last time was in 1999 for the solar eclipse.

Each sister is nervous as they make their way back to Rock House, each one has something that is easting away at them and each one just wants to get through this reunion and go back to their lives. While they may have tried to put events of 20 years ago behind them, things are certainly going to resurface.

This is a wonderful book that really draws on the wilder side of Cornwall, a country steeped in mystery and one that lends itself to stories like this one so well. The author brings the windswept moors and the crashing seas into the story. In some ways, the unpredictability of the weather also matches the feelings of those in the house.

Each of the sisters has memories from 1999, but some are more deeply hidden than others. The author gives the sisters very distinct characters and personalities, but the one thing they have in common is that they have all drifted. They are not the same people they were and so this becomes a very tentative, stepping on the egg-shells reunion.

I really enjoyed how the author gradually brought in the mystery via each of the main characters, there is a sense of something quite serious happening. When this is finally revealed I sort of didn’t see it coming as such, but it also wasn’t a huge shock as I had realised the author had been very subtly leaving breadcrumbs.

This has a haunting atmospheric feel to it, with the secrets and unsaid things that have lurked in the past. It is one that I think is ideal for those who like family mysteries and secrets as well as contemporary time-slip novels. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth @PenguinUKBooks #PublicationDay #NetGalley #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth. This is a wonderful historical fiction story about a Black Actress in London, that has its Publication Day today.

My huge thanks to Penguin Random House for my e-copy of this book via NetGalley.

Crowds gather at Crillick’s Variety Theatre, where curiosity is satisfied with displays of intrigue and fear. They’re here for the star of the show – the Great Amazonia warrior. They needn’t know this warrior is in fact Zillah, a mixed-race actress from the East End fooling them each night with her thrilling performance.

But something is amiss, and when Crillick’s new act goes missing Zillah feels compelled to investigate, knowing the fates that can befall women in Victorian London.

From the bustle of the West India Docks to the coffee houses of Fleet Street to the parlours of Mayfair, Zillah’s journey for answers will find her caught between both sides of her own identity, and between two men: her wealthy white admirer, and an African merchant appalled by her act.

Will Zillah be forced to confront the price of her own performance? And in risking everything can she also save herself?

Featuring a defiant heroine for our times and a theatrical world of fragile dreams and ruthless ambition, THEATRE OF MARVELS shines a light on the experience of being Black and British in Victorian London through one woman’s journey to live her life on her own terms.

MY REVIEW

Zillah is a young woman of mixed race. Her mother has given her the best chance in life she can, as a free person, not a slave. This is set in the Victorian era of London and the author has created a vivid picture of what life may have been like for someone like Zillah.

Working as an actress, she isn’t happy that her role is to play a warrior from the Amazon, especially when she has never left London. Zillah was born in the slums of St Giles and a job is a job. She does however start to realise that maybe her painting herself up, dancing and chanting on stage may not be right.

This story is about how a young girl is discovering more about herself and the world she lives in. In some ways, she does live a sheltered life, she has a job, and a place to live and while she has worries she does have the basics. It is when she starts to see other people and listen to their opinions and what they are fighting for that sZillah herself wants to make her own contribution.

This is a time of exploitation, slavery and manipulation. The world is changing and not everyone wants to keep up or change with it. The author does such a great job with descriptions of sights sounds and smells that this did become a very immersive story. I genuinely cared about what Zillah was faced with and what decisions she had to make.

Trying to do the right thing isn’t easy, but when you are still struggling to understand what is going on it makes it hard. But the thing about Zillah is her determination, it is something that grows with her and it was great to read of her finding the courage to join the campaign for better laws and freedoms.

This is a historical fiction story, I did think it had more of a Young Adult feel to it as the story does focus on Zillah, her realisation that there are things in the world that are not right, it is her journey of self-discovery and empowerment. It is a story that does have some serious themes, but the author doesn’t go into too much detail which was rather nice from a reader’s point of view. It is an interesting and evocative read and one that I would recommend reading.

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

The Caretakers Amanda Bestor-Siegal #NetGalley #LittleBrownUK #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today from The Caretakers by Amanda Bestor-Siegal. I had requested this one from Net Galley. My thanks to Little Brown UK for granting my request.

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Set in a wealthy Parisian suburb, an emotionally riveting debut told from the point of view of six women, and centered around a group of au pairs, one of whom is arrested after a sudden and suspicious tragedy strikes her host family–a dramatic exploration of identity, class, and caregiving from a profoundly talented new writer.

Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family’s American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault–the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.

The truth lies with six women: Geraldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother’s attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family’s household.

Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It’s a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family–and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.

MY REVIEW

Every now and again I come across a book that leaves me a little unsure. The Caretakers is one such book. It is a mystery of sorts, but the mystery is more a way to a means. By this, I mean that the mystery gave the author a chance to create storylines around her characters so that the focus was more on the characters than the mystery.

The story focus on Au pairs who live and work in France, they are The Caretakers. The caretakers of the children, the house and the secrets. The author takes various characters and gives each of them a story, about the family they work for, where they have come from and also their thoughts and opinions. This means there is a lot of back and forth between characters and also timelines. I did find this easy enough to follow and keep up with who was who.

While there are several sub-stories in this book they do eventually intertwine, some more than others. The au-pairs of foreigners to France and so they are alone, it is natural that they navigate towards one another and this is done via a French Speaking school for au-pairs and also when they meet up socially. They form tentative bonds and some friendships are more of a way of feeling not so alone in a foreign country.

The time of the story when the girls are working is around the time of the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo, the author uses this to add a touch of friction, and unease and it gives a chance for opinions to surface from differing perspectives. It was a way of discovering more about living in France and being French, very interesting.

This is very much a character-driven story, at times I did actually forget that there was a mystery that started my journey with this book. This is a book where I kind of want to say not huge amounts happened, but actually, there was. It has a subtle dramatic feel and for me, I got a sense of nervousness, trepidation at living in a new country, trying to start a new chapter in life, or just trying to prove people wrong. There are several different voices in this book and each one brings their own story, thoughts, personality, history, hopes for the future or just to escape something from their past.

This is a slow burner, but it was also very captivating. There was something about this book that didn’t allow me to put it to one side. As I mentioned earlier, it is a subtle book because it isn’t always immediately obvious where the author is going as she flits from character and time.

This was a really interesting read, it is one for those who like character-driven novels, contemporary and literary fiction. I would happily recommend this one as it did keep me hooked.

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