Here are the books I read last month.
Title: The Art of Hiding
Author: Amanda Prowse
Amazon Link: https://geni.us/pbqgA
Genre: Women’s popular fiction / psychological fiction
What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?
Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravs.
Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.
My review: ★★★★
The well-used question – do money and possessions make us happy?
I’ve just realised that women’s fiction isn’t exactly a genre I’d usually go for (for obvious reasons), but adhering to my book a week challenge mantra (read stuff I wouldn’t normally), I’m glad I did.
Nina, the protagonist, has it all. Loving husband, two kids, and money. Lots of money. After her husband is killed in a car crash, her life with him is gradually unwrapped as a lie, and she’s swimming in debt.
I liked it, in fact, women’s fiction is opening all sorts of doors.
Title: The Madness of Grief
Author: Panayotis Cacoyannis
Amazon Link: https://geni.us/0eLL2xB
Genre: Psychological Literary Fiction / Coming of Age Fiction
July 1969. While men are walking on the moon, life in London for sixteen-year-old Jane takes unexpected turns. On the point of falling in love with her best friend Karl, she discovers that there’s more to her father’s spectacular girlfriend than at first meets the eye. In the sweltering heat of a fast-moving evening, other revelations quickly follow, reconciling Jane with her father but also reopening wounds from the past, laying bare raw emotions kept suppressed for too long. And as the evening draws to a close, the night’s drama has only just begun, unfolding in a sequence of violent events that threaten to have lasting repercussions for Jane and the people she loves…
My review: ★★★★
I honestly don’t know what to say about The Madness of Grief, but I’ll try.
The synopsis beefs this title up, and the book didn’t hit those promises but it didn’t matter. It’s reads as an unremarkable tale, based mainly against the backdrop of one evening in Soho.
I fought the instinct to leave it, and move to another book, but persevered. I’m glad I did, as mediocre as it seemed, and despite feeling the end would also disappoint, it drew me in and I felt compelled to read it.
The end was anti-climactic, and only mildly rewarding but I’m pleased I read it.
Title: The Longest Echo
Author: Eoin Dempsey
Amazon Link: https://geni.us/xcBS
Genre: Historical Thrillers / Women’s Action & Adventure Fiction
Occupied Italy, 1944. In the mountain regions south of Bologna, Liliana Nicoletti’s family finds escaped POW James Foley behind German lines. Committed to the anti-Fascist cause, they deliver him to a powerful band of local partisans. But when the SS launches a brutal attack against the Resistance, Liliana’s peaceful community is destroyed. Alone and thrown together by tragedy, James and Liliana fight together as Monte Sole burns. Forging an unbreakable bond, they know their only hope of survival is to make it to the Allied lines.
Twelve years later, fate reunites Liliana, newly widowed, and James, now a journalist for a New York magazine. Liliana reveals to him the obsession that has haunted her since the massacre at Monte Sole: finding and bringing to justice the SS officer who ordered her family killed. James has a revelation too. He might know how to hunt the man down. Joining forces once more, and increasingly drawn to each other, Liliana and James discover new levels of conspiracy on a journey that leads them to Argentina—and to a choice that will change their lives forever.
My review: ★★★★★
Women’s fiction is opening up all sorts of avenues. What I don’t understand is why they are bracketed for women; I find them just as interesting being a bloke.
Full marks for Eoin Dempsey, he’s penned a rewarding book. Based loosely on a true story, it’s an exciting mix of suspense, adventure, history and a smidge of romance.
Historical work hasn’t interested me until now but I find myself drawn to it more. It revolves around brutal events in northern Italy towards the end of World War 2, involving the SS, and the story evolves up to the eighties.
I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Title: Where the Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens
Amazon Link: https://geni.us/C0YmEPi
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Literary Fiction / Contemporary Literature & Fiction
For years, rumours of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.
My review: ★★★★
This was recommended (thanks Lotty).
It’s number 55 in the Amazon charts. When you consider they are 33 million books on Amazon, it’s an indication of how good this one is. It also has 129,242 reviews (4.8 average).
I enjoyed it’s simplicity, lack of complications, ease of reading and just a handful of main characters. Owens nails her analogies, immediately painting a scene (rain on leaves like a cat flicking its ear), and the images my mind rendered of the landscape and characters were vivid.
I expected more of the whodunit part, feeling slightly underwhelmed, but having finished it, can appreciate what she did. It’s also a coming of age take, romance, and she speckles nature in there too.
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