Sunday, 30 October 2016

The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis


Kesterly-on-Sea is full of secrets. 
Some are darker than others; many are shameful. One is even deadly.

Andee is an ex-detective whose marriage is breaking up. So when a young female student disappears without trace, she throws herself into the search.
Meanwhile, the town’s beloved Rowzee Cayne has just discovered that she is terminally ill, and doesn’t want to burden her family and friends with the news.
Andee and Rowzee don't know it yet, but their journeys are going to help them uncover a secret. One that is going to affect them more than they could ever imagine.

I found this book to be a bit slow. New characters were being introduced and I was having trouble remembering who was who. Andee the female ex dectective comes across as being really strong and assertive but when she finally decides to leave her husband she seems to find it difficult to stand up to him and put him in his place...he is a real pain.
Rowzee is a lovely retired schoolteacher who when given a terminal diagnosis from her GP just wants to fix everyone's life for them. She is quick to forgive and forget and probably a saint in disguise. 
The big question in the story is what happened to Jessica,a student at University College London who sings in clubs and pubs to pay her way through college. Was Jessica leading the life her parents thought she was or did she have a secret? Two years have gone by and no one knows if she is dead or alive. 
Everyone's life will be changed in some way by the end of the book.
Once I got to know everyone I began to enjoy it more and I was anxious for Andee to find out what happened to Jessica.
I have read a few books by Suan Lewis and I would never have guessed that she had written this one if her name hadn't been on the cover. It was more like a story of a small village where everyone knows each other and most are related 
I did think the big discovery regarding Jessica would have been more dramatic than it was but maybe I've been reading too many thrillers lately.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Finding Libby by Deanna Lynn Sletten

Poring over a dusty hatbox of photographs in her grandmother's closet, Emily Prentice is shocked to discover her father was married to his high school sweetheart before meeting her mother.
In the summer of 1968, Jack and Libbie fall in love under the spell of their small town, untouched by the chaos of the late sixties. Though Libbie's well-to-do parents disapprove of Jack's humble family and his aspiration to become a mechanic, she marries Jack a year after they graduate high school. But soon their happiness crumbles as Libbie's mental state unravels and she is drawn to alcohol and drugs. Despite his efforts to help her, Jack loses the woman he loves and is forced to move on with his life.
Now that Emily's mother has passed away, Jack is alone again, and Emily grows obsessed with the beautiful woman who had given her father such joy. Determined to find Libbie, Emily pieces together the couple's fragmented past. But is it too late for happy endings?

While helping her grandmother pack up her house Emily discovers secrets from her father's past. She finds out that he had once been married to Libbie his childhood sweetheart. Emily's mother has not long passed away and Jack and her had a long and happy marriage but Libbie  is curious about what happened to his first love, is she still alive?
What follows is a happy and heartbreaking love story,one you would have thought would never end.

Libbie was the girl from the rich, posh family and Jack was the boy who wanted to be a car mechanic from a poorer family. They fell in love in opposition from Libbie's patents. Jack did his best but Libbie had a fragile mental state and things went from bad to worse,her family intervened and Jack was left alone unable to make things better.

I shouted at this book a few times. I shouted at Libbie to pull herself together and I shouted at her parents and at Jack but to no avail. They went on and did their own thing and made me shed tears...again...and again.
My only hope was that many years later Jack's daughter would make everything better. Did she? You'll have to read the book for yourself to find out but I promise you won't be disappointed.

Forgotten Women by Freda Lightfoot.

It is 1936 and Spain is on the brink of civil war. Across Europe, young men are enlisting in the International Brigade to free their Spanish brethren from the grip of fascism, leaving sisters and lovers at home.
But not all women are content to be left behind. In Britain, Charlotte McBain and Libby Forbes, friends from opposite sides of the class divide, are determined to do what they can; in Spain, Rosita García Díaz, fiercely loyal to her family and country, cannot stand by and watch. Three brave women, inspired by patriotism, idealism, love and even revenge, dare to go into battle against tradition and oppression.
Tying them all together is Jo, Libby’s granddaughter. Five decades later she travels to Spain hoping to make sense of a troubling letter hidden among her grandmother’s possessions. What she learns will change all of their lives forever.
Deceit, heartbreak and a longstanding fear of reprisals must all be overcome if the deeds of the forgotten women are to be properly honoured.

The book begins with a heartbreaking letter from a woman sent from Ventas prison in Spain and dated 1936 and it sounds very much like the writer did not survive.
Forward to 1986 in an art gallery in Scotland where Jo is exhibiting a painting which came from her grandmother's attic as part of an exhibition commemorating the year when Scots joined the International Brigade at the start of the Spanish civil war.
She is interrupted by a very curt Spanish man who tells her that the painting is not genuine. Jo is shocked and so is her grandmother who is standing nearby. The man, Anton invites them both to meet his grandmother in Spain who he says has the original painting.
Jo goes to Spain and we hear the story of three woman who in 1936 joined in the civil war in Spain,one Spanish woman and two Scottish.

I adored this book. I wanted it to go on and on. It brought home to me how the civil war affected families and friends and how horrific it was for ordinary people. I didn't know before I read this just how many young people went from Scotland to help the cause whether it be to fight or nurse or hand out food and supplies. There is a lot more I'd like to share with you about this story, I could tell you about Charlotte from Scotland who went to Spain to escape her domineering step father, or Libby who joined the international brigade to find her young brother Nick or Rosita who was fighting for her family's survival. You will enjoy the book better if you find out all those things for yourself.
The parts of the book which were set during the war had me on the edge of my seat and scared to turn to a new page, I was so afraid of what might befall the women.
I only have one negative thing to say about this book and it's very small. I didn't like the two women speaking in Scottish tongue. I'm Scottish myself but I found those parts a bit off putting and think the story would have flowed better without it, but this is just my opinion I still loved the book and I'm sure you will too.

For kindle or paperback.