Skip to content

The Third Wife By Lisa Jewell

The Third Wife‘The Third Wife’ is the latest book by Lisa Jewell.

London 2011: In the early hours of a summer morning, a young woman is killed by a bus. A tragic accident? Or suicide? A year later, her devastated husband, Adrian Wolfe, is determined to find out. Adrian and Maya had only recently married, and he’d always believed they were happy together. His children from his two previous marriages loved her. And Maya loved them. She had a job she enjoyed, she had plenty of friends, and she and Adrian were trying for a baby. They seemed to have the perfect life. Why then might she have wanted to kill herself? When Adrian finds a hidden stash of poisonous emails on Maya’s laptop he begins to identify the dark cracks in her life. Because everyone has secrets. And secrets have consequences. Some of which can be devastating.

Lisa is back with another cracker of a book that wrecked my sleep pattern for two nights in a row as I sat up late reading eager to see how the story would end.

The story is written in Lisa’s sharp, concise style and begins right at the moment where the leading character Maya realises that her life is in chaos and is tragically killed in a freak accident. The story then moves in different parts flashing between past and present tenses with various people from Maya’s life as they all deal with her sudden death and possibility of it being either murder or suicide.

The flashbacks from the past are primarily seen through Maya’s perspective and this I found made for particularly interesting and chilling reading as she discovers that someone close to her is watching her every move and threatening her but what is even scarier for Maya, it seems to be someone within the extended family, who all welcomed Maya into the family with open arms. In these scenes, we also see her doubt the life that she was initially secure with, but as the threats grow more menacing Maya retreats into herself. Maya is a sweet woman, a lot younger than her husband Adrian and settles into the role as the third wife. She seems comfortable in the new position but feels pressure to have a baby and suddenly finds herself developing feelings for an unlikely suitor.

The present chapters feature Adrian Maya’s husband, as he gathers information leading up to Maya’s death and finds a few surprises along the way as well as a mysterious woman who knows a lot about Maya. His children also feature in the book, from young children to young adults, we see their reactions and thoughts on the sudden loss of their fathers third wife. Adrian was also an interesting character, he moved easily from relationship to the next, not really thinking about the consequences of his actions and also seemed to be in love with the notion of finding love. His family was an unique one, having divorced two women amicably, both families regularly holiday and hang out together without any animosity towards each other.

Lisa’s books covers have always had a certain style with them, whether it is an illustration or a stylish Instagram type of photograph. But, the cover to ‘The Third Wife’ is an interesting move with simply three sets of wings on a clothesline giving nothing away which definitely makes for intriguing reading.

I’ve been a fan of Lisa for a few years and after reading ‘The Third Wife’ in two days, I have to say this is my favourite book by her. It’s deliciously dark, twisty and really hooks the reader in. Having crossed over from female fiction into literature that is quite a bit darker, Lisa has delivered a cleverly written and a shocking treat of a story with unexpected turns, dark characters and plenty of twists that will keep you guessing right to the very end.

You can buy The Third Wife from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Win A Signed Copy Of Written In The Stars By Ali Harris

Written In The StarsHow would you like to win a signed copy of Ali Harris’ new book ‘Written In The Stars’. When I recently met Ali at her book launch for ‘Written In The Stars’, she generously gave me a signed copy and now I would like to give that book to you.

The story of ‘Written In The Stars’ is –

One decision + two different paths = how many happy endings? Have you ever wondered ‘What if…?’ What if you’d taken that other job, gone on a date with that sweet guy, moved to a different city? Would an alternative life path have led to a happier ending? Now imagine if you could have taken both paths…When Bea Bishop slips while walking down the aisle on her wedding day, she is momentarily knocked unconscious. And in a flash, her world splits and two separate parallel lives take her on two very different journeys. In one, Bea flees back down the aisle and out of the church. In the other, she glides blissfully towards Adam, her intended. Each path will take her on a very different journey. And each will see her life change for better and for worse. But which story will lead to her happy-ever-after?

To be in with an chance of winning this book, simply reply below with your answer to the question by Tuesday 12th August and I shall pick a name at random.

What was the title of Ali’s debut novel?

Here’s a clue, the answer is in Ali’s recent interview on the website.

Also if you would like a reason to enter the give-away read my review of the lovely book and then drop me a line.

Landline By Rainbow

Landline‘Landline’ is the latest book by Rainbow Rowell.

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her – but that almost seems besides the point now. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells him that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her – he is always a little upset with her – but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts… Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

‘Landline’ was a book that completely caught me off guard. I wasn’t sure what I was getting once I tucked into this vibrant and beautifully illustrated book, but magical time travelling wasn’t something I considered.

The story is seen in the third person observing Georgie McCool (such a great time) at Christmas time when it’s a time for family but her and her writing partner and best friend Seth have potentially the life opportunity of a lifetime getting to pitch their scripts for a possible television series. Having to work to such a tight deadline means that Georgie has to miss out on Christmas with her husband Neal and two daughters Alice and Noomi as they visit Neal’s mum in Omaha. Left behind to work, Georgie has to de with the stress of work as well as listen to her family who are now convinced that Neal and Georgie have spilt up. Scared at this thought, Georgie tries to keep in touch with Neal over the Christmas break but they always seem to miss each other. Then Georgie stumbles across an old landline phone and when she uses, she always manages to get hold Neal, but it’s always the old Neal, the one who made her happy from the very start.

I enjoyed this book and thought it was quite a magical and fun story. I found Georgie and Neal’s relationship to be a strange one but then I found Neal to be an unique character. He gave up his life and his independence to support Georgie’s career and was the perfect father to their sweet little girls. But it seemed with Georgie he constantly seemed to be disappointed even though he knew she always put her career before family. He never laughed or showed emotion, he was just there being practical. Georgie was a hardworking character but you could see she had a bit of a selfish side, leaving Neal to everything whilst she and Seth chased the impossible dream. It was also apparent that Seth was the thorn in Neal and Georgie’s relationship, her best friend since university, he was always about putting pressure on Georgie to work never considering her family as he was a busy bachelor.

The magical element to the story was the part that I really clung onto as Georgie would talk to Neal through the landline, we see a younger lighter hearted version of the man before the stress of life, he was more vocal and they would spend hours talking and I loved this, as it showed the relationship developing. There were also chapters about the couple when they first meet and shows the tender moments and the more frustrating times when they strive to make things work.

This is the first book that I have by Rainbow and I thought it was an interesting introduction to her. Her books are easy to read with absorbing characters and a couple of nice sub stories that make for entertaining twists.

A story about the rise and fall of relationships, ‘Landline’ is about second chances and if you could relive your life, what would you do live differently. A recommended read.

You can buy Landline from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Ali Harris

Ali HarrisAli Harris grew up in Norfolk and was a book and magazine-addicted musical theatre geek. When she was eighteen, she moved to London where she studied performing arts whilst working as a waitress. Inspired by authors such as Helen Fielding and Lisa Jewell, Ali found herself writing in her spare time. Six months later, she sent three chapters to ten agents and got nine rejections plus a flicker of interest from the tenth. Giving up the waitressing, she began to her dream career as a journalist at Company, Ali then went onto write at Cosmopolitan and ELLE whilst trying to write her book, but the writing bug persisted and within months of marrying and having her first baby, Ali’s first book ‘Miracle On Regent Street’ came out in October 2011, followed by ‘The First Last Kiss’ in January 2013 and now her third novel ‘Written In The Stars’ is now in the shops

  1. Your new book is called ‘Written In The Stars’, can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired you to write it?
    It’s the story of Bea Bishop, a woman who has been paralysed with fear for years, not making any decisions for herself, instead piggy-backing along her life path with the help of her family, friends and boyfriend of seven years, Adam. We first meet her on her wedding day when she is waiting outside the church and is about to walk down the aisle to marry Adam. She knows she loves him – everyone believes they’re the perfect match – but still, she isn’t entirely sure that she’s doing the right thing. But, she pushes away her concerns and tells herself everyone feels nervous on their big day. When the wedding march begins, she takes a deep breath and walks towards Adam and what she hopes is the happy ending she is desperate for. Suddenly she spots her ex boyfriend, Kieran, in the congregation and the shock of seeing him makes her slip and fall over and she is knocked unconscious. At this point in the story Bea’s entire world (and the story) splits and we see her make two entirely different decisions. In one story, she gets up, brushes herself down and marries Adam, determined to focus only on her new life as Bea Hudson. In the other, Bea Bishop (as she remains) runs out of the church and sets about facing up her past, something she knows she has to do in order to completely move on. We see each story, each path, each version of her life played out in parallel throughout the course of a year. But do the end up in different places? And which one will give Bea the happy ending she longs for?

    I was inspired to write this book by the idea that in this day and age, with social network playing such a big part in our lives, it is pretty impossible to completely let go of our pasts. Through Facebook we are given us daily, sometimes hourly reminders of what our life could be like by connecting us with ex colleagues, old boyfriends and school friends. That’s why I decided to use Facebook status updates as the device by which we know which story we are following. Bea Hudson for the married version, Bea Bishop for the single. I was particularly interested to explore whether the choices we make have a big impact on our futures, or if they are already… ‘Written in the Stars’ (see what I did there!)

  2. To the readers of the website, that may not be familiar with you or your writing, can tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
    Oh that’s hard. Ok, so I once dreamed of being an actress and did a degree in Performing Arts (which means I basically have a 2:1 in Jazz Hands) I’m a magazine journalist who has written for ‘Glamour’, ‘Marie Claire’, ‘Cosmo’, ‘Red’, ‘Compan’y, ‘Stylist’… all the greats, basically. I have singing tourettes when interviewing celebrities, which is painfully embarrassing for all involved. I’m a die-hard romantic and a total technophobe. I love musicals. I have seen Barry Manilow in concert more times than I care to mention. I have a husband, two small children and a ridiculous pet house rabbit called Miss Lulu Lop Ears who thinks she’s a dog. I have over active tear ducts. I love a statement ring and have a weakness for Marc Jacobs handbags.

    As for my writing I think particularly since the success of my last novel ‘The First Last Kiss’, I have come to be known as an author who writes highly emotional, thought-provoking and heart-breaking books that may have helped to keep Kleenex in business for the past few months! That’s what people tell me, anyway!

  3. What authors do you admire?
    So many! J.K Rowling, just because she’s a legend and I cannot imagine carrying that enormous, perfectly layered and plotted and story, that carefully drawn and brilliantly imagined world, the entire history and characters inside her head for so long. I admire Helen Fielding for single-handedly paving the way for so many women writers to write about modern women with humour and heart in a genre that still sells millions of copies. I love Jennifer Weiner as she’s one of the many female authors who inspired me to start writing. She writes humour and pathos and deep emotion so brilliantly – and she also is famously championing that contemporary women’s fiction should be taking more seriously. Also, on a more personal level, I am in awe of my friend Paige Toon because she writes brilliant books and characters that come to life seemingly effortlessly whilst I appear to go through torture and a much slower and more painful process to get to the same place. I am inspired to get to her level of confidence, certainty and turnover!
  4. What’s your favourite book of all time?
    Oh it’s hard – too hard! There are so many for a multitude of different reasons. I adored ‘Labyrinth’ by Kate Mosse when I read it a few years ago and it’s one of the only books that I long to read again. If only I had more time…
  5. What do you find the hardest in the writing process?
    You know in ‘The Great British Bake Off’ when Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry talk about ‘soggy bottoms’. Well, I often fall prey to a flabby middle in my books. It is usually at the half way mark that I start sinking a little, panicking that the story is not going where I want it to, that my characters aren’t coming to life enough, that I’m not making the right decisions for them. At this point I have been known to chuck 40,000 words away and start again. Or at least I have to stop, regroup, change a few things and then try and push on till the end. I am happiest when I’ve finished the first draft and I LOVE the editing process. It’s such a relief knowing that someone else is going to read it and have some input so I’m not carrying it on my own anymore. I also tend to rewrite a lot off my own back at this point (much to my editor’s dismay I think!) I just suddenly get these lightbulb moments once the story is out of my head that make me understand my characters so much more. I love going back and colouring in the characters, creating more light and shade. I just find I have so much more perspective at this point.
  6. What book did you read, that made you decide to become an author?
    I have always written for my own amusement but reading ‘Ralph’s Party’ by Lisa Jewell made me realise this was what I wanted to do for a living. Prior to this brilliant debut, I hadn’t read anything that resonated with me so much. As someone who had always loved to read and write it definitely made me think I want, no – I need to do this as a career. I loved Lisa’s writing style (she is still one of my favourite authors today) and I completely engaged and related to the complicated lives of Jem, Ralph and co who were struggling to find their place in the world. Something I very much related to in my early 20s. I guess this idea continues to inspire me now particularly with Written in the Stars, this idea that all of us have moments when we wonder if we’re making the right decisions, choosing the right careers, the right partners, living our life in the best possible way. That it isn’t always smooth sailing and happy ever afters.
  7. If you were starting your writing journey again, is there anything you would do differently?
    I don’t think so. For a while I wished it hadn’t taken me quite so long (ten years!) to be published. But then, I had a fantastic career in magazines prior to becoming an author and I wouldn’t change that for a second. I also don’t think I was really ready before. As you can tell, I’m not a big believer in regrets!
  8. What’s been your proudest writing moment?
    Definitely publication day for ‘Miracle on Regent Street’. It’s such a cliché but it really was a dream come true. My publishers had organized for a taxi to drive down Regent Street with me in it – and my book cover was emblazoned on the side. I kind of got mobbed in the street when I got out (mainly because my publishers were giving away free books – but still…) It was the moment I felt that finally, after years of false starts and lots of hard work and rejections, my dream had come true.
  9. What tips or advice would you offer an aspiring writer?
    To have utter faith and confidence in yourself. You will need it to cope with the endless rejections. If you are lucky enough to be published quickly then you will also need this same self-assurance to not take bad reviews to heart. Also, it is so important to enjoy what you do and to write a book that you love and you could only do that if you believe in what you are writing. If you do if for more cynical reasons (money – ha! Fame – double ha!) not only will agents/publishers see through it – you will also be sorely disappointed because (apart from a very small percentage of authors) there is not much of either in this business. You have to not just want to do it, but need to do it. I would also say that you have to write often. If you treat it as an occasional hobby, that’s all it’ll ever be. It took me years to get a book deal because I let life get in the way, I threw myself into my career and social life, fell in love, got engaged, then married, renovated a house, wrote a few chapter here and there, when I had time, or thought that the ‘muse’ might strike. It took me getting pregnant and telling myself it was my final deadline to really sit down and take it seriously. A year later I had an agent. And another year later, I got my book deal.

    The last piece of advice – and the one thing I always say to aspiring writers is to remember that all it takes is one ‘yes’. That and the determination to never give up.

  10. When sitting down to write, what is the one thing you always need beside you?
    A latte. And a tidy desk. I’m the freak that finds it impossible to be creative unless everything is tidy! Yes, it is an avoidance technique…. That’s why I have a writing shed – so I can ignore the chaos in my house!
  11. If you were stranded on a desert, what three books would you bring with you to occupy your time?
    Ooh that’s so hard. I’d say really, really thick ones so that I wouldn’t run out of reading material too quickly. Let’s say ‘War and Peace’, because I will never read it otherwise. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy… (published in one enormous tome! Is that cheating?) because I never finished it as a child. My parents brought me it as one book and it was so heavy and that my 10 year old self could barely pick it up let alone lug it around! And last but not least I’d definitely take a book about Surviving on a desert island!
  12. And finally Ali, do you have any new projects coming up on the horizon?
    I’m currently writing my fourth novel which I am super excited about as it is set on Broadway, both in present day and in 1955 during the golden era of musicals. So not only am I getting to geek out and doing lots of incredible research (me to husband: ‘I really MUST go to New York on my own for a week and see lots of shows”) but I am also indulging my love of history in an era that I am completely fascinated by. Heaven!

Follow Ali Harris on Twitter Ali Harris for updates or check out her website at Ali Harris

The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes By Anna McPartlin

The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes‘The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes’ is the latest book by Anna McPartlin.

Here is a truth that can’t be escaped: for Mia ‘Rabbit’ Hayes, life is coming to an end…Rabbit Hayes loves her life, ordinary as it is, and the extraordinary people in it. She loves her spirited daughter, Juliet; her colourful, unruly family; the only man in her big heart, Johnny Faye. But it turns out the world has other plans for Rabbit, and she’s OK with that. Because she has plans for the world too, and only a handful of days left to make them happen. Here is a truth that won’t be forgotten: this is a story about laughing through life’s surprises and finding the joy in every moment.

I met Anna McPartlin at a Penguin Ireland event a few years ago and I really warmed to her, I loved her sharp wit and her cynical view towards life. ‘The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes’ was the first book that I read by her and as I thought when I read the synopsis of the story, I was heartbroken and in bits at the end.

The story starts with Rabbit being left at the hospice with her mother, Molly. After years of battling cancer, the illness has taken over her body and the hospice is there to make her last remaining days as comfortable as possible. The story is seen through the narrative of all the characters, Rabbit, her parents Molly and Jack, her 12 year old daughter Juliet, Rabbit’s brother and sister, Grace and Davy and Rabbit’s childhood best friend Majorie. Together, they all have to deal with the Rabbit’s impending death and the void that the bubbly and outspoken woman will leave behind as well as who will take over the duty of becoming Juliet’s guardian.

Each chapter contains perspectives of the various characters as they struggled with the realisation that they are about to loose someone who means the world to them. Molly and Jack refuse to give up on the Rabbit and Molly believes through her faith, they will find a cure for her and neither Jack or Molly can live with the thought that they outlive their daughter. Davy and Grace, Rabbit’s older siblings and they are amongst the people, who want to take on Juliet, but the 12 year old is unaware of the extent of her mothers illness, she thinks that she can care for Rabbit just like she did with previous times. A lovely inclusion in the story is the character Johnny, who was Davy’s best friend and was Rabbit’s first love. From a young age, she idolised the young musician and with the chapter he is featured in, we see Rabbit develop and mature from a gawky little girl into a strong and dynamic young woman who is admired by many.

This book is a heartbreaking story that will tug at the hardest of hearts, just as the title says, the book is indeed about the last days of Rabbit Hayes and as I got closer to the end, I found myself slowing down so I could enjoy the wit of the Hayes family as well prolong the sheer heartbreak that would be Rabbit’s death. Anna has been described as the female equivalent of Roddy Doyle and I could almost certainly agree with this statement, as with very sad moment there is a sharp witty comment there to soften the blow. One scene in particular that is quite tender, is when Rabbit asks for the family and her friend Majorie to be present so that she can talk about her funeral, this is a heartbreaking scene, as everyone has to face up to the fact that Rabbit will die soon, but in this sad scene, Anna has included funny dialogue and wit, that through the tears of it, I found myself giggling along.

Beautifully written from the very start, this book is an emotional roller-coaster story, filled with touching and poignant moments and the welcome inclusion of humour to lighten the dark scenes. ‘The Last Days Of Rabbit Hayes’ is a touching book about family love, treasuring each moment and I won’t forget it for a long time, I laughed, I cried and I fell in love with this book.

You can buy The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.