Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Valentina - S.E.Lynes

When Glasgow journalist Shona McGilvery moves with her partner Mikey and their baby to an idyllic cottage in rural Scotland, they believe that all that lies ahead of them is happiness.

But with Mikey working offshore, the frightening isolation of the Aberdeenshire countryside begins to drive her insane...

That is, until she is rescued by a new friendship with the enchanting Valentina. 

She has the perfect home, the perfect man, and a charismatic new best friend – or does she?

As her fairytale life begins to unravel, the deep dark wood becomes the least of her fears...

What I thought:

A fellow blogger was raving about this book and after showing an interest I was offered a copy to review and I must say, it is an exceptionally good psychological thriller!

After the birth of their baby daughter, Isla, Mikey convinces Shona that he should take a job on an offshore oil rig to earn some good money to enable him to provide a decent life for them together. He finds a cottage for them to buy, but it's very isolated and Shona will have to stay there alone, two weeks out of every four, miles from her family and friends.

Feeling very lonely, Shona is desperate to make friends and she's delighted when she meets Valentina at the nursery school where she takes Isla. Valentina seems as eager to make friends as Shona is and before long they're filling their days with shopping trips and meals together.

It is so difficult to review this book without giving anything away, but sometimes a book just "knocks your socks off," and this did just that! Valentina is a compelling, sophisticated tale so cleverly woven - it's brilliant!

I had never heard of S.E Lynes before reading this book, but it'll be a name I'll be looking out for in the future.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Looking For Lucy - Julie Houston

Clementine needs to find Lucy before it's all too late. She also knows bringing up a child on your own down on Emerald Street where the street walkers ply their trade isn't easy, even when your daughter's as adorable as four-year-old Allegra. So when Peter Broadbent, wealthy, kind and possessed of the most beautiful house Clementine has ever seen, proposes, it seems almost too good to be true. It is...

What I thought:

I read a lovely review about this book a while ago and made a mental note to make sure that I made time to read it. Being a Yorkshire Lass through and through, I was delighted to discover the story is set in my home county. It made a refreshing change to recognise familiar sayings and places and I must admit, this added to my enjoyment of the book. It took me a while to get into the story but once I did, I found it difficult to put down.

Without doubt this book is a  story of of love and romance, but it does incorporate several serious issues which I thought added real depth to this tangled web of love, heartache and deceit. It is not all serious stuff though, there are plenty of laugh out loud moments and food - very posh food that will surely make your mouth water.

The cast of characters, long and colourful, includes Clementine who single-handedly strives to provide the best she can for four year old Allegra, while Lucy feeds her drug and drink addiction by 'working' on the streets. Harriet, Grace and Izzy are Clementine's friends and I loved their chat and non-judgemental support, all so real and honest, a theme that flowed throughout the whole of the book. Sarah touched my heart. Her past is sad and unfortunate and now she tolerates a life of feeling unhappy, belittled and often tormented. These are just a few of the many interesting individuals who all knit together to produce this wonderful tale that I sometimes found sad, but mostly found uplifting and funny. I was smiling to myself and thinking about these characters long after I had turned that last page, a tell tale sign that it was a good book.

Looking for Lucy was a pleasure to read and I look forward to reading more by this author.