Books, Reading, Uncategorized

September Reads

I was fortunate enough to lose myself in some real gems this month.

The First Time I Said Goodbye by Claire Allan


In 1959, American marine Ray Cooper is based in Derry in Northern Ireland. He falls in love with local girl Stella Hegarty and they soon start to plan their life together in America. Ray is shipped out sooner than expected and Stella stays behind with a plan to follow him. However, tragedy strikes and it changes the course of their lives forever.
It’s 2010 and Annabel is reeling from the death of her father. She’s lost interest in her business and even more so in her relationship with Craig. She agrees to accompany her bereaved mother, Stella, on a trip back to her hometown in Ireland. While her mother stays with her sister Dolores, Annabel is told she will share with her cousin Sam. Annabel is really not sure what to expect from this trip at all
Annabel is really not sure what to expect from this trip at all but it certainly is not what occurs.
The First Time I Said Goodbye is a beautiful read, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Week I Ruined My Life by Caroline Grace Cassidy


Ali Devlin is unhappy. She’s been married to her childhood sweetheart Colin for 12 years and they have two children. The spark is well and truly gone from their marriage and they fight a lot.
Ali finds herself drawn to her work colleague and friend Owen, he seems to be everything Colin isn’t, he gets her.
She’s touched on the subject of her marriage with her best friend Corina, eventually confiding in her about her feelings for Colin.
A careless move after yet another argument prior to a work trip to Amsterdam acts as the catalyst that finally brings things to a head.
I have to be honest, I found this book uncomfortable at times, perhaps that is what the author intended. Colin’s character proved intimidating, the way in which he spoke to Abi, expected her to behave, ridiculing her. For me, it was touching on emotional domestic abuse that wasn’t actually addressed.
If you have read it, I’d love to hear your opinion on it.

The Amber Keeper by Freda Lightfoot


Abbie returns home to the Lake District following her mother’s death by suicide. Her father and especially her brother feel she’s responsible for her mother taking her own life as she left for France with her married lover. Abbie, however, believes there is more to it and turns to her grandmother, Millie.
This book really comes alive as we hear Millie tell her story which is set against the backdrop of the Russian revolution. These sections of the book are packed with lots of historical facts and give a real flavour of what life was like for aristocracy in particular during this time.
It’s an interesting read at times, but not one I was completely enthralled by. I hadn’t read anything from Freda Lightfoot before and being honest, I’m not sure I would again.

The Spinster Wife by Christine McKenna

A NetGalley review –  Publication date 12 October 2017


This book features two women, Rita-Mae & Dorinda. We learn more about Rita-Mae as the book progresses and I did find myself wondering for a while what the point of Dorinda’s character was, of course, there’s almost always a point!

Rita-Mae needs to escape her abusive husband Harry. When she spots an advertisement for a house in Northern Ireland, the opportunity to escape fear arises and she leaves. Abraham, or Bram as he prefers to be called, becomes her landlord though it seems he and his house are harbouring their own secrets. It begs the question, has Rita-Mae really escaped fear at all?
Dorinda wakes up in a B&B, wondering how she came to be there. This lady is terribly troubled, surrounded by ghosts and very much lost in this world.
The author depicts real vulnerability in both ladies, my heart ached for them both many times. It took a while to work out the connection between Rita-Mae and Dorinda, but it’s there and when I had that part worked out I had the rug pulled from under me!
A well-written book, though perhaps a little ambiguous at times. The ending was quite spectacular, I did not suspect for a moment that this was how this book would conclude.
One I would definitely recommend.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all of the books I mention in these monthly posts are bought and paid for by myself. Anyone can join NetGalley and provide reviews in exchange for books.


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  1. It’s been a while since I’ve read a months reads post & I think this post got me hooked again? It was so interesting to see what you’ve been reading the last month! & it’s got me thinking I need to get my arse in gear and pick up a book again to get out of this slump!

    Great post <3

    1. Thanks so much 🙂 I’ve only gotten my reading mojo back myself in the last year. Before then I lost it to baby/toddler years. Still know the Gruffalo by heart, refreshing to read for me again 😉

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