Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase





From the present day . . . 
Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it's the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.
to the fifties . . .
When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of '59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter, Audrey, five years before. 
The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey's vanishing - until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?


Sybil has never recovered from her daughter Audrey's disappearance five years ago in 1954 when her sister's four daughters came to stay. They have not visited Applecote Manor for five years but since their wayward mother is leaving for Morocco the girls are staying with their aunt and Uncle once again.
This story is told from Margot's point of view as she was the cousin closest to Audrey. Sybil acts very strangely towards her as she sees the similarity between Margot and her missing daughter.

Fifty years later and Applecot Manor has lay empty for a while and fallen into disrepair. It is bought by Jessie and Will. Jessie is Will's second wife and mother to their toddler Romy. Will has a teenage daughter Bella who can't get on with her step mum or her new sister. Jessie picked a house in the country to give the girls a better upbringing and to get Bella away from the bad company she has fallen in with in London. Jessie has lots of worries, jealous of first wife Mandy, Bella not liking her and she just isn't sure Bella is kind to Romy and doesn't feel she can trust her.
I don't want to give too much of the story away but both timelines grabbed me and both are good.
Sometimes stories with two timelines make me feel a bit sad because while reading the present day part I know that the characters from the old timeline are no longer here but with this being fifty years apart there's a chance that some may still be alive.
A good family mystery.

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach by Kat French






Winnie, Stella and Frankie have been best friends forever.
When their lives unexpectedly unravel, they spontaneously decide to buy a gorgeous B&B on a remote Greek island. Drenched in hot sun, Villa Valentina is the perfect escape from reality. But when Winnie meets Jesse, their brooding neighbour, she finds that Greece is full of its own complications – not least how attractive he is.
Meanwhile, Frankie and Stella are discovering that Villa Valentina has its own secrets – starting with the large supply of gin in the cellar and the arrival of a famous rock band. A band with one very good-looking member who just might distract Frankie from thoughts of her husband…



I read this book about three friends having a few days break together on a Greek Island while I was lying on a sunbed at a pool in another Greek Island. So the scene was set for a good holiday read.
Never in their wildest dreams did Winne, Stella and Frankie guess that after their break they would be returning to the UK proud owners of the bed and breakfast villa they stayed at. All three are at various points in their lives where they wouldn't be leaving much behind and welcome a new start. Well that and copious amounts of gin made them buy it.
When they return to Skelidos and Villa Valentina to start their new life all is not as it seems and after finding out that a resident donkey comes with the villa there are also a few more surprises for them.
A gorgeous but angry, volatile Greek male neighbour, a rock band and gin figures prominently too.
This book is a great holiday read you can almost feel the heat from the sun and the sand in your shoes.
There's plenty happening in the story to hold your attention and keep you turning the pages.

Out now for paperback or 99p for kindle here



Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse






Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . . 
One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.
It's not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales - a large house deep in the New Forest countryside - to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before - freedom. 
The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn't come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.
When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson's disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.




I always anticipate a good read when I pick up a book written by Lesley Pearse.
Twins, Maisy and Duncan are stunned when their mother is carted off to an asylum. Their gruff and seemingly uncaring father will not explain to them what is wrong with their mother, only that they will  live with their grandmother in her home in the New Forest.
They find their grandmother to be equally as uncaring and disconnected as their father but find love and contentment with the motherly housekeeper Janice who is delighted to meet them.
When Duncan goes missing and their grandmother doesn't seem concerned Maisy decides to take things into her own hands and find her brother. Why does she need the help of the woman in the woods, Grace Deville who everyone is scared of?
Another good story from Lesley Pearse. A father and grandmother who fail to show any kind of affection or concern. A woman who because of her lifestyle is shunned and accused by her neighbours and a brother and sister wanting to know they are loved by someone.
I felt this story had a message,a few in fact. Never judge people by appearances and because people who are close to you may be unable to outwardly show their love doesn't mean they don't feel it.
This was a page turner and turned into a horrifying story that I never expected. There were moments when I breathed a sigh of relief that all was well and unexpectedly the author pulled the rug from under me and I was off on a roller coaster ride again.


The Woman in the Woods by Lesley Pearse can be found here  
A bit pricey for kindle but it will be in paperback in all bookstores and supermarkets. 




















Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Island of Secrets by Patricia Wilson






The story started at dawn on the fourteenth of September, 1943 . . .'

All her life, London-born Angelika has been intrigued by her mother's secret past. Now planning her wedding, she feels she must visit the remote Crete village her mother grew up in.
Angie's estranged elderly grandmother, Maria, is dying. She welcomes Angie with open arms - it's time to unburden herself, and tell the story she'll otherwise take to her grave.
It's the story of the Nazi occupation of Crete during the Second World War, of horror, of courage and of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her children. And it's the story of bitter secrets that broke a family apart, and of three enchanting women who come together to heal wounds that have damaged two generations.




This wasn't a book I was asked to review. I bought this and downloaded it to kindle because it was set in Crete and I was going there on holiday. I started it on the plane and finished it a day later.

In present day London Angie is preparing for her wedding to Nick. Angie's mum, Poppy left her home and family in Crete thirty years ago but Angie wants to re-connect with them and invite all her Cretan family to her wedding. Against her mother's wishes Angie travels to Almeria in Crete to find her grandparents.

The next part of the story takes place in Crete where Maria, Angie's grandmother tells her the story of her life and what happened in Almeria during the Second World War.

Oh my goodness, how do I describe this book? It broke my heart and I cried. I had no idea of what had taken place in Crete during the war,it was so cruel and needless and the story was not always an easy read.
Although this was the background of the story the author has cleverly weaved lots of sub plots through the book. I thought I had guessed one but I was completely wrong. There were many twists and turns, secrets and revelations.
All through the book I felt I was there with Maria. I felt her fear and her pain. The descriptions of the surrounding countryside were vivid and well written.

I think reading this in Crete although at the other end of the island from Almeria made the story even more poignant. Perhaps it wasn't the light holiday reading I should have choose but I understood better why the people are so proud of their island, they have fought hard for it. I looked differently at the places we visited and at the many old people I saw dressed in black clothes and I wondered.
cried happy tears at the ending and felt a sense of loss at not having the book to read anymore.

My favourite author is Victoria Hislop and now debut author Patricia Wilson is up there with her.
I want to tell you the whole story. I want to discuss with you what parts made me cry, I want to tell you what I thought was going to happen and didn't, but I also want you to read it the way I did and find out for yourself.

After finishing the book I felt compelled to Google the village in the story where it all happened and I was stunned to discover that all facts about the village during the war are true. The author Iives in Almeria in Crete and found an army rifle while digging in her garden. She spoke about it to the older women in the village and they told her their story. These brave women should all have been given medals for what they had to live through and the British Government should hang their heads in shame for turning a blind eye to what was happening. (Google it after reading and find out) 

I can't believe this book is only 98p for kindle, Patricia Wilson deserves so much more for this debut novel and I eagerly await her next book.


Island of Secrets... 98p for kindle and £2.99 for paperback.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Island-Secrets-Escape-paradise-compelling-ebook/dp/B01LWUEQW9/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499762373&sr=8-1&keywords=Island+of+secrets