Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Ludlow Ladies Society - Ann O'Loughlin

From the bestselling author of The Ballroom Café and The Judge's Wife comes a new story of friendship, resilience and compassion, and how women support each other through the most difficult times.
Connie Carter has lost everyone and everything dear to her. Leaving her home in New York, she moves to a run-down Irish mansion, hoping to heal her shattered heart and in search of answers: how could her husband do the terrible things he did? And why did he plough all their money into the dilapidated Ludlow Hall before he died, without ever telling her?
At first Connie tries to avoid the villagers, until she meets local women Eve and Hetty who introduce her to the Ludlow Ladies’ Society, a crafts group in need of a permanent home. Connie soon discovers Eve is also struggling with pain and the loss of having her beloved Ludlow Hall repossessed by the bank and sold off. Now, seeing the American Connie living there, the hurt of losing everything is renewed. Can these women ever be friends? Can they ever understand or forgive?
As the Ludlow Ladies create memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface. But can Connie, Eve and Hetty stitch their lives back together?

What I thought:

Ann O'Loughlin's last book, The Judge's Wife, was one of my favourite books last year, so I was absolutely delighted to receive a copy of her new release, The Ludlow Ladies Society. I didn't know if I would be disappointed after her last amazing book, but I needn't have worried - The Ludlow Ladies Society is a stunning read. 

First of all, don't be fooled into thinking this book is just about the gossip from a ladies' sewing group - it is SO much more. Enriched with friendship and loyalty, it also tells of raw grief and sadness, a little shocking and uncomfortable at times, but so very compelling.

It was quite difficult for Eve Brannigan to see someone else take ownership of Ludlow Hall. She had often affectionately been called "Mrs Ludlow" and the women in her sewing group called themselves The Ludlow Ladies Society. Before her husband's suicide, their meetings were held at the Hall, but since the bailiffs moved in and she moved out, the group had struggled to find anywhere suitable for the ladies to sew their patchwork quilts.

Connie Carter, a dance teacher, seeks solitude to come to terms with her overwhelming grief. Unknowing to her, her late husband had bought Ludlow Hall, so she decides to leave everything behind in New York and she moves to the Hall in Rosdaniel, Co. Wicklow. She has no idea about the history of Ludlow Hall or of the Ludlow Ladies Society, and her arrival causes quite a stir in the village.

The Ludlow Ladies agree to make a memory quilt for an exhibition in the Town Hall. The winners will go forward to exhibit at a special event to be visited by the First Lady, Michelle Obama. It soon becomes clear that not everyone's memories are happy ones and some shocking secrets are unearthed.

 I adored the endearing characters of the Ludlow Ladies Society. It's a book that is equally heartwarming and heartbreaking and delivers a shockingly, unexpected twist. A truly beautiful book to read.

Monday, 3 July 2017

The Summer of Impossible Things - Rowan Coleman

If you could change the past, would you?
****This summer, get ready to believe in Impossible Things with the brand new book from international bestseller, Rowan Coleman. ****
How far would you go to save the person you love?
Luna is about to do everything she can to save her mother's life.
Even if it means sacrificing her own.

What I thought:

I would never normally choose to read a book about time  travel. It usually brings to mind Doctor Who and the like, and not something I would really be interested in, but this story is nothing whatsoever like that. It's just a delight, the time travel just adds another layer to this fabulous read.

It's 2007 and after many years of crippling depression, Luna and Pia's mum tragically takes her own life. It's only when they watch a video that she left for them, that they discover the shocking secret she was unable to share with her family while she was still alive.

It was 1977 in Brooklyn, when their parents met and fell in love. Henry, their father, was with a film crew filming Saturday Night Fever and when his work there was done and he returned home to England, she left everything behind and came back with him.

The girls return to Brooklyn to finalise the sale of their mother's childhood home, and it's then that the magic begins to happen. Slipping back to 1977, Luna comes face to face with her mother, then a teenager, and she sees a chance to change the past and maybe even save her mother's life.

This is a wonderful story. The word, magical, keeps coming to mind, probably because that's just how it felt. The time travel aspect just sort of fits. At the end of the day, it's a story, a story of love and sorrow and of impossible, magical happenings. A delight to read.