If You Only Knew by Cynthia Clark

 

If You Only Knew by Cynthia Clark
If You Only Knew
by Cynthia Clark

Reviewed by


EXCERPT:’…..there was the crisp white envelope with my name written in a handwriting I didn’t recognize and no sender’s address.

Tearing open the envelope, I’d taken out the plain sheet of paper.

I FINALLY FOUND YOU, was written in block capitals. I KNOW WHAT YOU DID AND YOU’RE GOING TO PAY.’

THE BLURB: A wife, a mother, a killer.

One wrong decision, one terrifying night, leaves student Elizabeth with a stark choice – kill or be killed. And the consequences of that choice will shape her whole life.

Now a wife, a mother, and a lawyer, she must find a way to out run her past, protect her family and live with her secret. But is it really possible to live a happy life with such a huge shadow cast by the past? And as it becomes clear that someone else knows her secret and is hunting her down, time is running out for Elizabeth to keep her family safe.

In the bestselling tradition of Clare Mackintosh and Jenny Blackhurst, Cynthia Clark has written a heart-stopping story about the choices we make and how far we’d go to protect our families. Even if it means deceiving the people we love most…

MY THOUGHTS: Living with guilt must be one of the hardest things to do. I can imagine it eating away at you rather like the sea undermining a cliff face. On top, everything looks fine. Underneath, the foundations are crumbling.

And that pretty much sums up Elizabeth’s life. When she made her decision, she had no idea how far the repercussions would reach over the years, nor that she would have to keep adding layer upon layer of lies to keep her secret safe.

Cynthia Clark has written an absorbing and unpredictable story of a woman trapped by the undertow of her past. If You Only Knew is a tale of duplicity, one that packs quite an emotional punch. She has captured the raw emotions of a woman whose carefully constructed facade is being systematically demolished around her, but who cannot give up trying to resurrect and shore up that facade despite knowing that she is ultimately fighting a losing battle; a woman who knows that when she finally loses the battle, she is likely to lose everything and everyone she loves.

As I said, If You Only Knew packs quite an emotional punch. I held my breath in anticipation, I got angry, I was sad, frustrated, and shook my head in denial. I guess you could call it an interactive read! But one thing I never felt was bored.

Thank you to Aria via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of If You Only Knew by Cynthia Clark for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2147531009

 

The Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell

Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell
Secrets of the Tides
by Hannah Richell (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: A half-empty train rattles through fields and farmland towards the grey concrete sprawl of the city. There is a young woman huddled in the farthest corner of the last carriage. Her hair is like a veil, hiding her tears. In her pocket is an antique brooch. Her fingers brush the cold arc of it before flipping it over and over in time to the rhythmic clatter of wheels on track. When she can resist no longer, she releases the clasp and stabs the pin deep into the flesh of her palm.
It’s agony, but she won’t stop. She presses the needle deeper still, until warm blood streams down her wrist and splashes crimson onto the carriage floor.
Finally, the train jerks and slows. Brakes squeal.
As they reach their destination she pushes the bloodied brooch deep into her coat pocket, grabs her bag and then drops down onto the platform.
People dart about her. Two women shriek and embrace. A tall man in a turban races for the ticket barriers. A spotty teenager hops from foot to foot, gazing up at the departures board as he shovels crisps into his mouth. Everything around her seems to buzz and hum while she just stands there on the platform, a single fixed point, breathing deeply.
Signs for the Underground point one way but she ignores them, hefting her bag onto her shoulder and making for the street exit. She strikes out across a busy pedestrian crossing and turns left for the bridge. Big Ben looms in the distance; it is three minutes to twelve.
She walks with purpose; she knows where she is going and what has to be done. But then she sees the river, and the sight of it, a shifting black mass carving its way through the city, makes her shudder. Whenever she’s imagined this moment the water has been grey and flat, not dark and viscous like seeping oil. But it doesn’t matter now. There is no going back.
She stops halfway across the bridge and leans her rucksack up against the wall. Then, with a quick glance about her, she scoots up and over the barrier until she is clinging to the other side of the balustrade.
The toes of her trainers balance precariously on the concrete ledge. She grips the wall, wincing as her bleeding palm scrapes the stone, and then twists so that she is facing the water below. The wind blows her hair, whipping it across her face and stinging her eyes until hot tears form. She blinks them back.
‘Hey!’ She hears a cry behind her. ‘Hey, what are you doing?’
She is out of time.
She locks her gaze on a sea of grey buildings on the far horizon and, with a final breath, lets go of the balustrade. Then she is falling, falling, falling.
Any breath left in her body is punched out by the ice-cold water. She fights the urge to kick and struggle, instead surrendering herself to the inky blackness, letting the weight of her clothes take her stone-like towards the bottom.
By the time Big Ben chimes midday she is gone, lost to the murky depths below.

THE BLURB: Every family has its secrets. Some are small, like telling a white lie or snooping through a private drawer. Others are more serious, like infidelity and betrayal. And some secrets are so terrible they must be hidden away in a deep, dark place, for if they ever came to light, they would surely tear a family apart . . .

The Tides are a family full of secrets. Returning to Clifftops, the rambling family house high up on the Dorset coastline, youngest daughter Dora hopes for a fresh start, for herself and the new life she carries. But can long-held secrets ever really be forgiven? And even if you can forgive, can you ever really learn to love again?

Secrets of the Tides is a family drama with a dark thread of suspense at its heart.

MY THOUGHTS: I love a good family drama. And Secrets of the Tides by Hannah Richell certainly ticked all the boxes. And believe it or not, this was a debut novel!

Secrets and lies. We all have them. We all tell them. It is just the scale, the magnitude that varies. And families? They are probably the worst culprits. For families keep secrets from one another, and for one another. And then there are the families who conspire to keep secrets from the outside world. I am not going to tell you which category this family falls into.

Hannah Richell portrays a very realistic family; the squabbles, the petty jealousies, the familiarity that breeds contempt and discontent, the wanting. ……..always wanting more, wanting something different.

Full marks Ms Richell. I will be reading more from you. And Secrets of the Tides is going on my ‘keeper’ shelf.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

For an explanation of my rating system, please visit my profile page on Goodreads.com or my ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/970113698

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen

The Surrogate by Louise Jensen
The Surrogate
by Louise Jensen (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Is it really a coincidence she is here, or has she purposely tracked me down? And if so, why?

‘Revenge’ whispers the voice inside my head.’

THE BLURB: ‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

MY THOUGHTS: Twisted, twisty and oh so nerve wracking! I almost tore my fingernails out of their beds reading The Surrogate by Louise Jensen, and I do not bite my nails!

Full marks to Louise Jensen. She has demonstrated that she is mistress of her art. I thought I knew where she was going with this. She reinforced my beliefs. But she took me for a ride – up the wrong road. More than that, I am not going to say. I don’t want to give anything away. I don’t want to spoil any surprises. And they come thick and fast.

I am going to liken reading this book to riding a roller coaster in one of those spinning teacups with no seat belts. Thrilling, scary. Yes, you may have to suspend belief occasionally, but believe me, by then, you won’t care.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Surrogate for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2123237779

The Mistake by K.L. Slater

The Mistake by K.L. Slater
The Mistake
by K.L. Slater (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Billy, come out. Please. ..you’re scaring me now.’

It was true. Her heart was banging against her chest wall like a tin drum and her mouth and throat were dry with fear.

For five full, long minutes she walked up and down the long road, stepping into the bushes wherever there was a gap, searching everywhere for her brother.

But Billy was nowhere to be found.’

THE BLURB: You think you know the truth about the people you love.

But one discovery can change everything…

Eight-year-old Billy goes missing one day, out flying his kite with his sister Rose. Two days later, he is found dead.

Sixteen years on, Rose still blames herself for Billy’s death. How could she have failed to protect her little brother?

Rose has never fully recovered from the trauma, and one of the few people she trusts is her neighbour Ronnie, who she has known all her life. But one day Ronnie falls ill, and Rose goes next door to help him… and what she finds in his attic room turns her world upside down.

Rose thought she knew the truth about what happened to Billy. She thought she knew her neighbour. Now the only thing she knows is that she is in danger…

MY THOUGHTS: There were things I liked about this book, and things I didn’t. I will start with the negatives so that I can end on a good note.

Poor Rose was traumatized by everything that had happened. I was going to list all these things, but it would give away too much of the story. But personally, I found it all just a little too much, too overdone. It was bland and clichéd, and I failed to pick up any sense of suspense.

There was a lot of dialogue in this book, much of which didn’t add any value. There were a few loose ends, unresolved that I, personally, would have liked to have seen explained. For one, the deaths of her parents. The fact that they are dead is mentioned several times. So that I began to think that it must be important in some way, to the story. But, nothing. Grace is only 34. Her parents were not old. What are the chances that both parents would be dead of natural causes? And the threatened closure of the library where Rose worked….a lot was made of this issue, but we never learn the outcome. It is probably not important, but damn it, I WANT TO KNOW! Up until the end, it was all pretty predictable.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff – the end was superb. There is no doubt that Slater is a very clever writer. I have read all four of her books. Safe With Me and Liar were 5-star reads. Blink, 3-star. The Mistake 3.5-star, upgraded because of the ending, of which I am not going to speak again for fear of giving something away.

One more little niggle- authors, publishers, whoever is responsible, STOP putting things on the cover like ‘an unputdownable psychological thriller with a brilliant twist’. I don’t want to be looking for the twist. I want it to jump up and slap me in the face and go ‘There! You weren’t expecting that, were you!’ I know I am not the only one who feels like this.

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Mistake by K. L. Slater for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com review page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2142849430?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Friday Favorite

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I had always known Penny Vincenzi for her compelling and sweeping family sagas. So I was surprised and excited to find, in 2014, a collection of short stories by her. I have to admit to also being just a little apprehensive. ……after all, her going from writing tomes of 700+ pages to short stories was quite a change, and no doubt, something of a challenge. How did she do? Read on. …..

Love in the Afternoon and Other Delights by Penny Vincenzi
Love in the Afternoon and Other Delights
by Penny Vincenzi (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPTS: Because this is a book of short stories, I am going to give you two excerpts. The first is from a story titled ‘Knowing Best’.

‘Laura Maddox and Fergus O’Connell were very fond of telling people they had met at an old people’s home. Since they were both young, stylish and successful, it was not a story that was easy to believe; nevertheless, it was perfectly true in essence, if not in detail, and was made much of in speeches at their wedding.
The detail was that the meeting place had been not quite an old people’s home, rather a very expensive nursing home, where Laura’s widowed grandmother was recovering from a hip operation and complaining ceaselessly about having to live with a lot of old people (most of whom were in fact the same age as, if not a little younger than, herself), and Fergus’s twice-divorced great-uncle, in a room just two along the corridor, was recovering from a very nasty bout of pneumonia and was constantly in trouble with the nurses for locking himself in the lavatory with a flask of his best Irish whiskey.’

The second excerpt is from a story titled ‘The Brooch’.
‘It was a very beautiful brooch. It was what used to be called paste, and would now be called Diamante: glittery and brilliant and in the shape of a full moon and two stars trailing off it in two slender threads. It was the sort of thing you could make stories up about, which Anna had when she was little – like the moon wearing the stars as a sort of a sash. Or the stars were trying to get away from it. The brooch belonged to her grandmother, Bella, and was pinned to her large, cushiony bosom, and Anna would sit on her knee and play with it. Later on, she had been allowed to wear it when they went to tea with her and she would keep saying she wanted to go to the lavatory so she could pass the big mirror in the hall and admire it, pinned on to her cardigan, right in the middle of her small flat chest. One day, she thought, she would have wonderful bosoms like her grandmother and the brooch would show up much better. She had always known she would have the brooch; her grandmother had promised her that, adding quickly that Rachel, Anna’s older sister, would have her pearls.

THE BLURB: A fabulous collection of short stories and essays by much loved and multi-million-copy bestselling author Penny Vincenzi.

From her sweeping novels to her searing journalism, Penny Vincenzi has been writing all her life, and this is a collection of her work brought together in a single edition for the first time. As well as ten stunning short stories, Penny also shares some of her thoughts on a huge range of subjects from love and relationships to work and families, and gives us a peek at the tantalising first chapter of her new novel – making LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON AND OTHER DELIGHTS a must-have for any Vincenzi fan.

MY THOUGHTS: I love Penny Vincenzi – and this collection of short stories, like the sweeping family sagas she is known for, I just couldn’t put down. Along with the short stories is a preview of her then next book, A Perfect Heritage, and a series of published articles by Penny giving us a great insight into her character, including ‘Getting Older’, ‘Being a Mother’, and ‘My Career in a Nutshell’. She also gives some great tips on writing, and I think this may have overtaken Stephen King’s “On Writing” as my bible.
The short stories are amusing, entertaining and absorbing. Just the way they should be.

 

And So It Began (Delaney #1) by Owen Mullen

And So It Began by Owen Mullen
And So It Began (Delaney #1)
by Owen Mullen (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘It was good to feel apart from the herd. Different from the masses. What could be worse than being just another walking number on the earth? Thank God that wasn’t the way of it. Society saw it otherwise of course, that was to be expected. Closed minds.

A woman passed with a child dressed in top hat and tails. Fred Astaire? The kid was bawling something impossible to make out, its small face distorted in an anguish that would cease the second the mother relented and let it have its way. When children acted like that they were almost as unattractive as the adults who spawned them. Well, the mother could relax, her whining offspring was safe; repulsively secure.

No matter, there were plenty more.

Lots and lots and lots more.

Where to begin? The biggest question. The answer would dictate how the rest of the day would go. The trick was not to wait too long. That was dangerous. Anxiety about missing out produced poor-quality decisions. Risk was all very well so long as the thrill allowed for escape.

It was all about timing.

A lost looking girl came close. Pretty, but pretty wasn’t enough. There were many here who outscored her on that, boys as well as girls, it didn’t matter.

Cute. Cute. Cute. Nothing but cute.

‘Darlene! Darlene, honey!’

A woman bent to scoop up her daughter.

Mother and child reunion.

Time to make a move. But what was the rush? There was a whole day ahead.

All day. All day, every day if need be.

THE BLURB: PI Vincent Delaney thought he was done with the NOPD until a string of seemingly unrelated child murders brings an unexpected invitation from the FBI, and his old boss.

A serial killer is roaming the South, preying on children appearing in pageants, and the police want him to go undercover using his own family. Accepting would mean lying to people he loves and maybe even putting them in harm’s way.

In Baton Rouge, a violent criminal has escaped and is seeking revenge for the brother Delaney shot dead. But Delaney isn’t going anywhere. He has unfinished business.

Meanwhile, north of the French Quarter, shopkeepers are being extorted and ask for Delaney’s help. Extortion is a matter for the police.

But what do you do when those responsible are the police?

Delaney has his work cut out and he’ll be lucky if he makes it out of this alive…

MY THOUGHTS: Owen Mullen knows how to write.

I rank him right up there with Mr King. Different genres, but there is something in the writing style that just sucks me right in. Cocoons me from the outside world. Has me snarling at anyone that would dare try interrupt my reading.

I fell in love with Charlie Cameron, Mullen’s Glaswegian PI in his first series. Now we have Delaney in New Orleans. And I’m in love all over again.

Delaney has a past. But that doesn’t guarantee he has a future. Delaney is dedicated. When he is on a case, all else is pushed to the side. I would hate to be in a relationship with this man. He is unfailingly loyal. He is stubborn. And tenacious. He reminds me of my very favorite chocolates, strong and hard on the outside, liquid inside. This is a man who will go to any lengths to protect those he loves.

And he is a man with old scores to settle.

And So It Began by Owen Mullen is a breathtaking read. There is nothing ordinary or mediocre about this book. It grips from page one and never lets go.

Crime fiction has a new master.

Thank you to author Owen Mullen for providing an ARC of And So It Began. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2143545068?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Coven by Graham Masterton

The Coven by Graham Masterton
The Coven
by Graham Masterton

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘Some of these girls are veritable savages when we first take them in. They are used to drinking gin and smoking and their everyday language would make Satan shrivel. They have been used by men ever since they can remember, sometimes by their own fathers and brothers, so they think nothing of virtue or virginity. In some cases, their own mothers have sold their maidenheads to the highest bidder to make ends meet…..A fair number learn to be thankful, I’ll grant you. But some regard us as pious busy bodies and cannot wait to return to their life on the streets. They relish the flattery they are given by licentious men, and the money. They enjoy the orgies, and the drink. They have never been used to discipline or decorum, and they cannot understand that they are not only destroying themselves here on earth but abnegating any chance they might have had of going to heaven. ‘

THE BLURB: London, 1758. Beatrice Scarlet has returned to London and found work at St. Mary Magdalene’s Refuse for fallen women. Beatrice enjoys the work and her apothecary skills are much needed. The home cooperates with a network of wealthy factory owners across London, finding their charges steady work and hopes of rehabilitation. But when 12 girls sent to a factory in Clerkenwell disappear, Beatrice is uneasy. Their would-be benefactor claims they were witches, sacrificed by Satan for his demonic misdeeds. But Beatrice is sure something much darker than witchcraft is at play.

MY THOUGHTS: I have to admit that I almost dnf’d this a couple of times in the earlier part of the book. I really only kept reading because I wanted to know if Noah was ever going to be found. I got the answer to my question, but if you want to know you can read the book for yourself.

The Coven is definitely not my favourite Masterton book. It is the second book in a series of, so far, two. I had not read the first, but The Coven can stand on its own. There is enough background information given so that the relevant events of the first in the series are explained.

My first quibble is with the title, The Coven. If you read this book you will see the relevance, which I still feel is rather tenuous anyway. The Coven gives the impression that the book is about witchcraft. It isn’t. Not even remotely. Which is not why I chose to read it anyway, but people with reading interests which lie in that field would be disappointed. This book could definitely have been better titled.

Masterton’s writing does get, somewhat uncharacteristically, laborious in parts. Although just occasionally his quirky sense of humour shines through, and again,occasionally, there are passages of his trademark beautiful prose.

Overall, I am glad I read The Coven. I liked it more than not, but only just. But probably not enough to bother with reading any more of the series, although Beatrice’s future does look rather more interesting. I will leave the jury out on that decision.

WARNING: The Coven contains graphic violence and sexual content.

Thank you to Head of Zeus via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Coven for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2143005304?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
by Julie Andrews Edwards

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘I assure you that the Wangdoodle exists,’ said the man. ‘Look it up in your dictionary when you get home. ‘
‘What does it look like?’ asked Lindy.
‘That’s rather hard to describe. It’s a little like a moose – or a horse, perhaps. But with fantastic horns. And I believe it has rather short legs.’
‘Where does it live?’ enquired Tom.
‘Oh,far, far away……’

THE BLURB: The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles was the second children’s novel ever written by Julie Andrews, the beloved star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. Perfect for young readers who love whimsical stories about magic!

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world. Then he disappeared and created a wonderful land for himself and all the other remarkable animals—the ten-legged Sidewinders, the little furry Flukes, the friendly Whiffle Bird, and the treacherous, “oily” Prock. It was an almost perfect place where the last of the really great Whangdoodles could rule his kingdom with “peace, love and a sense of fun”—apart from and forgotten by people.

But not completely forgotten. Professor Savant believed in the Whangdoodle. And when he told the three Potter children of his search for the spectacular creature, Lindy, Tom, and Ben were eager to reach Whangdoodleland.

With the Professor’s help, they discovered the secret way. But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Only by skill and determination were the four travelers able to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart’s desire.

MY THOUGHTS: All the times I read The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles by Julie Edwards to and with my sons, and I never realized that the author was Julie Andrews!

She must have had an enormous amount of fun writing this book, because it is a fun read, but with a more serious undertone – genetics and cloning.

But the greatest thing about the book is that it is magical, not in a Harry Potter kind of way, but in its innocence. This book would never get written or published today. A group of children going off with a strange man they met at the zoo and doing things in his house that they can’t tell their parents about?!

And it is a pity. Because this is a wonderful book. And I was so glad to find it, prized and loved on my son’s bookshelves to be read to and with his boys.

Truly a book for all ages. If you never got to read it as a child, read it as an adult. We all need a little magic and wonder in our lives.

A big Thank You to Brenda, who worked for me many moons ago when my now adult sons were small, and who bought this book for them. It has been treasured and always will be.

The Accident by Dawn Goodwin

The Accident by Dawn Goodwin
The Accident
by Dawn Goodwin (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by

 

EXCERPT: ‘Seeing her like that was a bit of a shock. Her dark hair was lank and scraped back in a messy ponytail – not the charmingly messy kind; rather, the kind that looks like you slept in it. The circles under her eyes made her look haunted and her skin had the grey tone of someone who has been indoors too long.
Not so perfect now, are we? ‘THE BLURB: A tragic accident, an unbearable loss and a marriage in crisis – but who can she trust or is she all alone? A gripping, debut psychological thriller that will keep you hooked. Perfect for the fans of Paula Hawkins and S.J. Watson.

Veronica Pullman’s comfortable suburban life comes to a shuddering halt when her young daughter, Grace, tragically dies in a car accident.

Months later, unable to come to terms with her daughter’s death, detached from her husband and alienated from her friends and family, a chance encounter on a rainy street pushes her into an unlikely new friendship.

Scarlet is everything Veronica could’ve been: feisty, adventurous, unpredictable. But as she approaches what would have been Grace’s 10th birthday, it becomes clear to Veronica that the friendship she thought was saving her life could be costing her everything.

Consumed by grief and left questioning her own sanity, is there anyone she can really trust or is someone out to torment her as part of their twisted game?

MY THOUGHTS: I have lain awake half the night thinking about The Accident, a debut novel by Dawn Goodwin. It made me think about friends, and the mostly random way we become them. We have different friends for different periods of our lives. There are our school friends, some of these we keep for life, others drop to the wayside as we, or they, move on. Our workmates, usually fleeting relationships that change with our jobs. The friends we make as mothers, our children encouraged to bond. And our neighbours, who sometimes also fit into one or more of the categories above.

If we are really lucky, we have one incredible friend. A friend that, if you don’t see her for months, it doesn’t matter, because you just pick up where you left off and it is like you have never been apart. Veronica Pullman doesn’t have a friend like that. She has a group of acquaintances, other mothers who meet for coffee and who vie to be the thinnest, have the newest kitchen, the fanciest SUV, the brightest most talented children.

When Veronica’s life falls apart following the accident, although her friends make the right noises and numerous casseroles, they are all secretly glad that it didn’t happen to them. Tom, her husband, is coping with his grief in his own way and has his work to sustain him. Only Veronica is isolated in her grief, which leaves her vulnerable.

You will recognize a lot of Goodwin’s characters. You’ve probably had one or two of them in your life. You may even have been, or be, one.

Dawn Goodwin has written an excellent first novel. It is like a slow burning fuse; the explosion at the end, devastating. This is an author whose career I will be following with great interest.

Thank you to Aria via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The Accident by Dawn Goodwin for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2133954329

Lay Me To Rest by E.A. Clark

Lay Me to Rest by E.A. Clark
Lay Me to Rest
by E.A. Clark (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: ‘After pulling the door to, we walked down the slope and across to the farm, the sun a huge blood orange sphere at our backs, sinking behind the distant mountains.
If I had turned then I might have seen. Might have seen that the shadow that I had mistaken for mere imagination was standing, looking down at us, from my bedroom window. And that the glowing dark eyes that bore into the back of our unwitting heads exuded what could only be described as resentment and malevolence. I might have had some premonitory sense of what was in store for me and how I ought to flee before becoming irrevocably changed forever by the terror and intensity of my experience.
But for the time being I would remain in ignorance of the depth of hostility cast in our direction. And that was how it would all begin.’

THE BLURB: Some secrets never stay buried for long…
Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.

She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…

Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby?

A gripping thriller from E. A. Clark, perfect for fans of Kerri Wilkinson, Sarah Wray and Stella Duffy. You won’t be able to put it down!

MY THOUGHTS: Lay Me To Rest is E. A. Clark’s first adult novel after having written short stories and poetry for many years. Although her prose is a little overblown in places, this is a credible effort. It is an easy and quick read, ideal for reading in front of the fire on a cold and stormy night, as I did.

I have to admit to not having picked up on the paranormal reference in the blurb. Had I done, I probably wouldn’t have requested it, and I would have missed out on a read that became more interesting the further I read on. It was a little predictable in places, and it seems obvious from the way the ending was crafted that there is going to be at least one more book featuring Annie Philips and her newly discovered psychic ability to come. But if you are a fan of paranormal romantic suspense, Lay Me To Rest is a book that you will, in all probability, enjoy, and E.A. Clark is an author you will need to watch.

Thank you to HQ Digital via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Lay Me To Rest by E.A. Clark for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or my ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com pages https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2138842672