This year is simply flying by! Perhaps it is because family life is so busy at the moment. Even catching five minutes with whatever book I am reading is proving difficult. However, I did have some great reading material over the last couple of months.
They Call Me The Cat Lady by Amy Miller
You’ve seen me on the street. You’ve walked past my house, and pointed, and wondered. The cat lady. All on my own, with only my five cats to keep me company. Did no-one ever tell you that you can’t judge a book by its cover?
Everyone in town knows Nancy Jones, she’s the cat lady, but do they really know her? Whilst she enjoys her job at the local school, Nancy pretty much keeps herself to herself. Other people may wonder about her but they don’t know her secrets. They don’t know the dark secrets, or why she’s given her cats the names she has. They don’t really know Nancy at all.
A new cat sitting job brings a chance encounter that opens the door on a very painful past for Nancy. Will, she let people in and share her secrets?
This is a lovely book, that will tug at your heartstrings. This is the first book I have read from Amy Miller, I would read more of her work.
The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor
A Novel of the Titanic
Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home tells the tale of a number of people from Ballysheen in Ireland who board the Titanic in search of a new life.
For 17-year-old Maggie Murphy, it’s a somewhat reluctant journey as while she travels with her Aunt following the loss of both her parents, her heart lies with Séamus, who is unable to leave his ailing father.
In 1982, Grace Butler is struggling following the death of her Dad. Seeing her so lost, her great Grandmother Maggie shares with her, the painful account of that fateful night aboard Titanic and the realisation that she was one of few survivors. Her revelations lead to unexpected encounters and reignite the light within Grace.
I devoured this book, thoroughly enjoyed it, so much so I followed it up with another from Hazel Gaynor.
The Lighthouse Keepers Daughter by Hazel Gaynor
They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”
Read via NetGalley
In 1838 a dreadful storm occurs on the Northumberland coast. The paddle steamer Forfarshire fell victim to the storm and Grace Darling and her Lighthouse Keeper father battled the elements and rescued the survivors. Grace becomes celebrated throughout all of England and farther afield. Her bravery also brings her closer to George, whose sister is one of the survivor, an artist who captures both her character and her heart.
In 1938 Matilda Emmerson is sent to America to stay with her relative, Lighthouse Keeper, Harriet Flaherty. Matilda discovers a portrait that links to her past and unearths secrets that have a profound effect on her future.
I couldn’t put this book down & look forward to reading much more from Hazel Gaynor. Without question, I am a fan of her work.
He is Mine & I Have No Other by Rebecca O’ Connor
‘I was frightened of him in a way – of his grief, his loneliness – for he looked like the loneliest person on earth just then . . . the type of boy who wondered about things, as I did, who broke his heart wondering about things . . .’
1990’s Ireland. As a 90’s teen, I could somewhat relate to Lani in her time of life. She’s 15 and has fallen in love with Leon. He’s a troubled soul himself, with a dark past.
With a shock pregnancy, a grandma’s revelation and an abundance of teenage angst, this book is very much a coming of age tale.
With haunting accounts from a tragic fire which took the lives of 35 orphaned girls, the plot is very much reminiscent of 90’s life in Ireland.
I do feel the story gets a little lost along the way and whilst shocking stories did start to emerge in real life, they add little to this particular book, in my opinion.
It was good, but perhaps it is for a different audience to me.
The Unlikely Life of Maisie Meadows by Jenni Keer
A NetGalley ARC
This is Jenni Keer’s second novel, her debut, The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker, was a book I very much enjoyed. I reviewed it here on the blog, a while ago.
As the title suggests, in this book we meet Maisie. It’s New Years Day and Maisie has found herself newly single and jobless. She makes a resolution, to work on the relationships that matter. Maisie vows to bring her family, who are scattered near and far, back together.
In the meantime, Maisie gets a new job. She’s working for Johnny & Theo at Gildersleeve’s Auction House. Maisie finds herself drawn to the very lovely Theo. Add to this a mysterious tea set, a very jolly Arthur, shy retiring, Ella, the Mayhews and a rather dysfunctional family; and we have a wonderfully eclectic mix of characters.
Jenni Keer has this wonderful ability to forge what may be perceived as unlikely friendships amongst her characters. These friendships are so lovely and so very genuine. Age really has no barrier when it comes to friendship.
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read.
A Thousand Roads Home by Carmel Harrington
‘Where is home?’ DJ asked.
‘Wherever the people you love are.’ Ruth replied.
‘When you’ve met one person with Autism, you’ve met one person with Autism’ Never has a truer word been written.
Ruth has always felt like an outsider and now more than ever. She has found herself homeless and is fearful for her and her son DJ’s future. Finding themselves in emergency accommodation, Ruth and DJ’S relationship is put to a very difficult test.
Dr O’ Grady, weighed down with the burden of his past, is sleeping on the streets. Ignored by most, not given a second glance, Tom as he is now called, has his dog Bette Davis looking out for him and giving him comfort.
This book carries so many messages, like the Autism reference at the start. It highlights homelessness, drug use, teenage pregnancy, mental health stigma, grief and so much more. I read it over a weekend, finding it hard to put down. Naturally, I loved the Wexford references and delighted in taking Ruth’s steps through her home county with her.
The author’s portrayal of Ruth was compassionate. So much of her and her behaviour resonated with me, as an Autism parent.
There’s so much more I could say about this but I really don’t want to give anything away. It really is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.
For more book reviews, get cosy in a big chair in the reading corner.
Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all of the books I mention in these monthly posts are bought and paid for by myself or borrowed from the Library. Anyone can join NetGalley and provide reviews in exchange for books.