Hello July, it’s good to see you. I have been reading so much in the last few weeks and thoroughly enjoying it. My kindle is being used for NetGalley downloads, my phone for audio library books via BorrowBox, I have numerous physical books around the house too. It is simply wonderful to escape to another world and take a break from reality from time to time.
The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson
Becky is dealing with the sad task of sorting through her Mothers flat following her death. She finds a letter from her Mothers cousin Olivia asking her Mum to come to Cornwall to help her. Becky decides to go, break the sad news to cousin Olivia and take her Mothers place in helping her. Becky’s decision is life-changing.
In Cornwall, she is dealing with a house in need of much repair, not one but two women, decades of buried secrets and a parrot! We are transported back to a time during the war when Olivia was a young woman. The hardships she endured, life through a very different lens. Along with Olivia’s secrets, Becky also has her own to contend with here in the present. She has had a hard time, her own relationship with the elusive Eddie is questionable, to say the least. Cornwall provides a backdrop for reflection, time to ponder her future.
This was a really enjoyable read, with a lovely outcome for both Becky and her cousin Olivia.
The Lake House by Kate Morton
In 1933 the Edevane family who are preparing their country estate, Loennath for their annual midsummer party. Alice Edevane has another reason to be happy. passionate writer, she has written her first novel which has an exciting twist. As fireworks signal midsummer, the Edevane family suffer a loss so great, they leave their beloved Loennath, never to return again.
In 2003, Sadie Sparrow retreats to Cornwall to stay with her grandfather Bertie. She’s been forced to take leave from her police job following a troubling case. When walking Bertie’s dogs Sadie stumbles upon an abandoned house and soon learns of the mysterious disappearance of Baby Theo Edevane.
In London, novelist Alice Edevane leads a very private life, that is until Sadie Sparrow starts looking into her brothers’ disappearance, threatening to unearth a past long buried.
I listened to this on audio and thoroughly enjoyed it. There was a twist that I hadn’t suspected, which I wasn’t sure of initially but it worked well.
The House Across the Street by Lesley Pearse
Katy Speed turns detective in order to help her father and discover what really happened to her friend and neighbour Gloria.
Legal secretary Katy watches the house across the street from her own. Her neighbour Gloria is the most glamorous lady in Bexhill. Katy often buys clothes from Gloria’s shop and admires the woman. She is puzzled by the other woman; the woman who calls to Gloria’s house every week, more often than not with other women. Sometimes these women have children with them too.
When Gloria’s house is burned down, Katy is shocked. When the bodies of Gloria & her daughter are discovered she is so upset. However, nothing prepares her for her father being arrested for their murders!
As Katy had been prepared to move to London to work, this offers her an opportunity to turn detective to try and help her father, with devastating consequences.
I really did like this book, I would warn anyone prior to reading that domestic violence features heavily which can be upsetting.
Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton
A NetGalley Review
It’s 1918 and the war is over. Clara Carter is on a train to Cornwall to meet the family that she was to marry into. She’s harbouring a secret that they must never discover.
Twenty years later, Hannah has always been curious about her mothers past but her mother is adept and subject change and sweeping Hannah’s curiosities aside. As the second world war looms, Hannah and her brothers, Edward & David need to play their part.
Present-day Caroline is uncovering her families history, needing to teach her own daughter that she comes from a long line of strong women.
The Daughters of Cornwall is a family saga, with buried secrets, love, loss, heartache and determination. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
Filter This by Sophie White
Ali Jones wants to emulate the success of her Instagram idol, Shelly Devine. Shelly appears to have it all with her Divine Dan Devine, baby Georgi and hordes of fans following her every move. Just how far will Ali go to gain Instagram success? Add Tinder Sam, a fake pregnancy and we’ll soon learn.
I finished this book but I can’t say I enjoyed it. The fake pregnancy to gain followers story just didn’t sit well with me, Ali’s character came across as quite shallow, though Shelly did eventually learn, albeit the hard way, that there is more to life outside an app.
Whilst this is a work of fiction, it paints a picture of online influencers not dissimilar to those awful pages and forums that appear tearing people apart and questioning their authenticity. I have to admit, I felt uncomfortable at times while reading it. Perhaps the second book will right the wrongs of the first but I won’t be reading it.
The Girl Behind the Gates by Brenda Davies
A NetGalley Review
Based on a true story, The Girl Behind the Gates is the raw, heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting tale of a young woman cut down in her prime, and of the woman who finally brings her back to life, perfect for fans of The Girl in the Letter and Philomena.
Oh gosh, this is such an emotional story. Based on a true story which makes it all the more powerful, I found it utterly heartbreaking. I shed tears many times as I read Nora’s story.
Nora Jennings grew up a happy child. She lived with her parents, she got good grades in school, she was a beautiful singer and sings in the church choir. Nora is extremely close to her cousin Robert. One night, at the age of 17, their relationship takes a step further. That one night has catastrophic consequences for Nora.
When Nora tells her parents that she is pregnant at the age of 17, her father brutally beats her. Feeling lost, alone and very frightened, Nora attempts to take her own life. With advice from the local priest, Nora’s parents agree to her have her sent to a mental institute. Here she is labelled a Moral Defective under the Mental Deficiency Act. She goes on to endure more than 40 years of unspeakable cruelty at the hands of those who are entrusted with her care.
In 1981 psychiatrist Janey Humphreys meets Nora. She is convinced she can help her and sets out to do exactly that. Through her work with Nora, Janet also faces demons from her own past. The relationship between these two women flourishes and despite some extremely difficult times, the warmth and friendship that forms between them emanates from the pages.
This story is beautifully told, though book one is raw & harrowing, extremely emotive and will rouse a myriad of feelings for the reader. The empathy I had for Nora, the anger I felt on her behalf was overwhelming at times. Janet was her saviour and how I cheered for Nora while reading book two.
Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach
Retired actor Buffy is shocked to learn that his old friend Bridie has left him her B&B in her will. He briefly contemplates what he will do before taking the bull by the horns. He up sticks from the hustle, bustle and impossible to find parking streets of London for the peace and tranquillity of rural Wales.
With the B&B in need of much repair, Buffy realises he needs to get paying guests in fast. He has an idea that will not only get guests in but also see a large bulk of the work get done too. Buffy’s courses have a profound and life-changing effect on the many guests that come to stay, including himself.
I listened to this on audio via BorrowBox. It was quite witty at times, an easy listen though I did find myself on more than one occasion struggling to keep track of all the characters.
Once, Twice, Three Times An Aisling by Emer Mc Lysaght & Sarah Breen.
Aisling turns thirty and as her Mammy says, she’s a grown-up girl. Determined not to let anyone down we get a true picture of the loyalty Aisling holds towards those dear to her.
Her business, Ballygobrunch is booming. Majella’s hen needs to be organised, then there’s the wedding. And Lisa the wedding planner isn’t exactly top of her game. An American lady appears in Aisling’s café which leads to her signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement, Paul her brother arrives home unexpectedly from Australia and Mammy is up to her eyes with the Eco Farm. Then there’s James, her current boyfriend and John, her ex.
This book has many a laugh out loud moment. Not to mention the Aislingisms that while reading, we can all relate to, to be fair, we’ve probably all said or done some of them on many occasions. There’s heartbreak, sadness, pure joy and a lot of self-realisation for Aisling in this book. I actually think this has been my favourite of the three books.
There is a wealth of book reviews here on the blog to provide you with lots of inspiration.
Disclaimer: Unless otherwise stated, all of the books I mention in these monthly posts are bought and paid for by myself, downloaded from NetGalley or borrowed from the Library. Anyone can join NetGalley and provide reviews in exchange for reading books.