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Off-Island By Marlene Hauser

Off-Island ‘Off-Island’ is the latest book by Marlene Hauser.

Krista Bourne has always been surrounded by the strength, love and wealth of her family and their homes in New York City and Martha’s Vineyard. She has never had to think for herself. Living with boyfriend Michael and her elderly grandfather, she can also summon up the comforting ghosts of her beloved father and grandmother. In vivid dreams she flies with her pilot father, and when awake remembers idyllic childhood holidays spent with her bohemian grandmother. When Krista impulsively walks out on her career as a professional dancer, it is the beginning of a new chapter in her life. She feels unsettled and excited by the sense of imminent change around her. This feeling turns to panic, then fear when she realises that she is pregnant and is uncertain whether or not she wants to keep the baby, bringing her and Michael to a crossroads in their relationship. Adamant that she alone must deal with the situation, Krista rejects all offers of support from him, isolating her at a time when she most needs help. Krista’s journey and emotional upheaval take her back to her summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, where she is surprised to find out that she does not know her family history quite as well as she imagined…

Although I found this book to be an interesting tale, I found it sometimes to be an unsettling story as the lead character battled with emotions and morals as she decided to have an abortion. A difficult decisison to make, we follow the young woman called Krista as she disappears to try to clear her head whilst talking to the dead people in her life, including the baby. As Krista returns to her childhood home, we reflects on times that were much easier and didn’t require the responsibility that she’s suddenly faced with.

The story is quite short, at only 166 pages long could be considered more of a novella than a novel and was easy to consume in one sitting. I found Krista to be quite a complex character, she excludes those close to her and still has never really recovered from the sudden death of her father and all the emotions seem to come flooding back to her as she deals with the abortion and the what if of life.

‘Off-Island’ is a beautifully written and descriptive story giving the reader a clear mindset into Krista’s mind. An emotive and claustophobic tale of loss and grief, this book is a reflective story of the consequences of decisions and the actions you make in life.

You can buy ‘Off-Island’ from Amazon

The Girl At The Window By Rowan Coleman

The Girl In The Window‘The Girl At The Window’ is the exciting new book from Rowan Coleman.

Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from. Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead. While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present.

Rowan is back with another romantic and historical story that is perfect for all Brontë fans and is seen primarily through the eyes of Trudy, who has returned to her homestead after the tragic disappearance of her husband. Alone with her little boy called Will, she goes back to Ponden Hall to live with her mother, an outspoken and robust woman who never quite forgave her daughter for leaving and getting pregnant at such a young age.

Ponden Hall was the home of the Brontë Sisters and is now a national treasure, it’s rundown and in need of repairs and Trudy is hoping to raise funds the to repair the family home, she’s also hoping that this will distract her from thinking about her husband called Abe who disappeared whilst working in Brazil. But whilst sorting through the repairs for Ponden Hall, Trudy comes across some new material about the Brontë Sisters and the secrets contained within the house. But as Trudy begins to uncover the mystery of Ponden Hall, it seems that there’s a presence that wants to make itself known.

I loved this book, it’s the perfect story to curl up with. It’s a heartwarming and magical tale that really hooks the reader in. The setting is so atmospheric with the old and brooding house which is the main character in the story. It’s history had such a strong presence, as well as the turbulent relationship between Trudy and her Ma which makes for funny and poignant reading as the pair of them work together to solve the mystery of Ponden Hall.

There’s also the sub story of the mystery that Trudy is trying to solve, of a young woman trying to get back with her love and this makes for fascinating reading.

Wonderfully researched, this book is a fantastic story with a stunning cover, ‘The Girl In The Window’ is a story of grief, new beginnings and a haunted house with a perfect combination of history and romance, another stellar story from Rowan.

Skin Deep By Liz Nugent

Skin Deep‘Skin Deep’ is the latest book by Irish author, Liz Nugent and has recently been awarded the award for The Cancel All Plans Award for the Book You Can’t Put Down at the Dead Good Book Awards and I wholeheartedly agree that it was totally worth the award.

The book is set in rural Ireland and is seen through the narrative of Cordelia. As a child she was idolised by her father, the prettiest girl on the island, she believes that she is special and deserves to have everything her way, but life tragically changes for her when her family are killed in a fire. Now an orphan, she finds herself moved from pillar to post and determined to get things her own way, no matter the way. The story then flows from the past tense to present tense when Cordelia finds a body in her room.

I found Cordelia to be an absolutely fascinating and hateful character that shocked me so much throughout the story. From a young age, she was led to believe that she was the prettiest woman alive and deserved to be treated like a queen, but Cordelia was a horrible, emotionless person that left a trail of heartbreak behind her without a hint of remorse. She was cold towards everyone and didn’t care how she jeopardised other lives.

The story travels around Europe and gives a hint of exotic to the claustrophobic Irish story. There were some folklore stories that made for unsettling reading as well as perspectives from people who had interacted with Cordelia and this gives an insight into her behaviour and the drama that she leaves behind her.

Atmospheric from the first page, this book is cleverly written with an outstanding lead, ‘Skin Deep’ is a brilliantly brutal and dark story, filled with drama and deceit, this book is a must read for all.

You can buy ‘Skin Deep’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Family Upstairs By Lisa Jewell

The Family Upstairs’The Family Upstairs’ is the latest book by Lisa Jewell.

You thought they were just staying for the weekend. They looked harmless enough – with only two suitcases and a cat in a wicker box. But soon things turn very, very dark. It happens slowly, yet so extraordinarily quickly. Now you and your sister must find a way to survive.

Was it any surprise that the minute I started Lisa Jewell’s latest book, I was unable to put it down until I reached the final page, thrilling with unlikable and unreliable characters, this book had gripping written all over it.

The story is seen from multiple perspectives and flows in past and present tense, giving the reader a feel for the drama that is being unfolded.

Libby always knew that she was adopted and when she reaches her 25th birthday, she’s given a house that was in a trust for her. Shocked and bemused, she starts to investigate her family and is unprepared for the secrets that she discovers. As well as the narrative from Libby, there’s also the narrative from another person who’s set in the past tense and tells the reader about the cult that Libby’s family were embroiled with and how their family was consumed and fell apart. There is also one other voice called Lucy, a broke single mother who is trying to make a better life for her three children, but is struggling in another country with no security and hiding from others.

‘The Family Upstairs’ is another gripping story from Lisa, with a clever and intriguing plot and interesting characters, this book is an additive story that was impossible to put down. The different narratives gave a fascinating insight into the story into the mystery of the family and what happened in that infamous house. Masterfully crafted with twists and turns that kept the reader engaged throughout, ‘The Family Upstairs’ is another shining example of how seamlessly transitioned from female fiction writer to thriller.

You can pre-order The Family Upstairs from Amazon and will be available to buy good bookshops from 25th July 2019.

Those People By Louise Candlish

Those People’Those People’ is the latest book by Louise Candlish.

Until Darren Booth moves in at number 1, Lowland Way, the neighbourhood is a suburban paradise. But soon after his arrival, disputes over issues like loud music and parking rights escalate all too quickly to public rows and threats of violence. Then, early one Saturday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house-to-house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: Booth did it. But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree with them.

I spent one Friday morning enthralled with this book and only could I put it down when I finished it.

The story is seen through the narrative of the residents of Lowland Way, when a new neighbour moves in and causes some uproar to the friendly environment. Like Louise’s previous books, the book starts right at the moment something sinister has happened and everyone in the neighbourhood is a suspect.

The characters are an interesting mix of people, all quite snobby and set in their ways and with the arrival of Darren and his outspoken partner Jodie, you find them really rebel against change. The new neighbour challenges the dynamics of the neighbourhood and this makes for unsettling reading as the neighbours try to reason with them, only to be cut down. All the neighbours have their own motives and makes them all suspects throughout the story. There’s the new parents struggling with a new born getting sleep, the elderly woman who’s lonely and only company she has are those who stay in her bed and breakfast and finally the rivalling families who’s determined to make the area child friendly.

A fast paced and intriguing story that hooked my attention from the very first page, ‘Those People’ is just as compulsive as Louise’s highly acclaimed previous book called ‘Our House’. With a thrilling and fast paced plot and wonderfully fascinating characters, ‘Those People’ is definitely another summer hit from Louise.

You can buy ‘Those People’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.