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The Birthday House By Jill Treseder

The Birthday House”The Birthday House’ is the latest book by Jill Treseder.

The year is 1955, the location picturesque Devon. In a house by the River Dart, schoolgirl Josephine Kennedy posts invitations to her twelfth birthday party – a party that never takes place. Horrific violence is committed that night in the family home, leaving all of its occupants dead.Based on a disturbing real-life crime, this compelling story explores Josephine’s fate through the prism of friends and family – the victims and survivors who unwittingly influenced the events that led up to the tragedy. Josephine’s best friend, Susan, is haunted by the secrets of the birthday house. Can she ever find a way of making peace with the past?

At only 150 pages long, ‘The Birthday House’ can easily be consumed in one sitting.

Seen through the multiple narratives leading up to the horrific murders of a family, as a father is consumed and heartbroken by his wife’s infidelity, that he kills them all, including the family dog. The story is also seen through the eyes of the people who are left behind and consequences of the actions.

The story is set in the 1950’s in a small village. Claustrophobic and bleak in its setting, the story is atmospheric from the first page leading up to the sad events. Seen from the perspective of the murdered child, Josephine who’s aware of her father’s moods, her concern is only her birthday. The innocence and the naivety of the little girl is certainly heartbreaking.

Based on true events, ‘The Birthday House’ is a sad and tragic story, that really strikes a chord. With vivid descriptions and narratives, this story is a story of love and loss.

You can buy ‘The Birthday House’ from Amazon and is available to buy from goodbookshops.

I Wanted You To Know By Laura Pearson

I Wanted You To Know‘I Wanted You To Know’ is the latest book by Laura Pearson.

Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone while facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter to grow up without her. Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have.

I spent this morning with my head in this book and towards the end, I could barely see the words for the tears, as this book is such a genuinely heartbreaking story.

It’s seen through the narrative of Jess, at twenty one years of age, is told that she’s dying of cancer. Having to deal with this news as well as cope with being a new mother, she writes letters to her little girl to tell her about her mother that she wouldn’t know, as well as offer advice for the times that she’s not around.

Beautifully written, the story evokes such emotion throughout. As a cancer survivor, Laura writes from experience about her time and gives an insight into the illness and the trauma of it.

The story really tugs at the heartstrings and is such a powerful piece of writing. As Jess reflects on the life that she has led and the life that she will be leaving, it’s hard not to feel emotional whilst reading the letters that she writes to her daughter, Edie.

A heartfelt and honest story, ‘I Wanted You To Know’ is a story, that really stays with the reader long after you’ve reached the final page and has you pulling your loved ones in for an extra hug.

You can buy ‘I Wanted You To Know’ on Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

In The Absence Of Miracles By Michael J Malone

In The Absence Of Miracles‘In The Absence Of Miracles’ is the latest book by Michael J Malone.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood. For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.

For the last couple of days, I’ve been embroiled in this story, genuinely gripping but also heartbreakingly shocking.

The story is seen through the narrative of John, who makes a shocking discovery when hunting through his mother’s house, he uncovers a brother he never knew he had and whilst on a journey uncovers a lot of memories that he had thought he had buried deep.

When I started this book, I had a vague idea of where the story was going but nothing could prepare me for the twist in the book. A story about human trafficking and child abuse, this book is a hard read that is sensitively written about such traumatising topics.

Raw from the first page, we join one man’s journey, as he delves into his family’s past and uncovers secrets and this makes for sad and unsettling reading as he discovers that his memories from the past aren’t what he seemed they were. John is a troubled character, that I felt such empathy for, he’s damaged from his childhood and as he delves deeper, we see him unravel and this makes for emotional reading.

A challenging story about family secrets and lies, ‘In The Absence Of Miracles’ is a harrowing story with a complex storyline that grips the reader’s heart from the first page.

You can buy ‘In The Absence Of Miracles’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Day We Meet Again By Miranda Dickinson

The Day We Meet Again‘The Day We Meet Again’ is the latest book by Miranda Dickinson.

Phoebe and Sam meet by chance at St Pancras station. Heading in opposite directions, both seeking their own adventures, meeting the love of their lives wasn’t in the schedule. So they make a promise: to meet by the statue of Sir John Betjeman in twelve months’ time if they still want to be together. But is life ever as simple as that?

Known for writing heartwarming and poignant stories, Miranda’s latest offering is a stunning story of life discovery and grabs the readers heart strings from the very first page.

In this story, we meet Phoebe and Sam. Two strangers that literally run into one another at a train station, they spend some time together whilst they wait on their trains and both realise that they have a strong connection. But both of them already have lives mapped out for the next year and can’t make any adjustments, and decide that if they are meant to be, they’ll meet at the exact same spot in one year.

The story then follows them for the next year as they both try to find their places on life. Phoebe on her travelling around Europe and Sam as he tries to locate his father who disappeared from his life when he was a child.

This is such a lovely book to settle down with. With heart warming characters, stunning locations and a relatable situations, this book is a journey from start to finish as both Sam and Phoebe were searching for their places in life.

The story is seen through their narrative and this is a lovely concept to the story. Phoebe is undecided about her life and takes this year out to think about what’s wanting to achieve all whilst discovering France and Italy, doing odd jobs and meeting new friends along the way. Meanwhile Sam is returning home to Scotland to try to make amends with his estranged father and finally put to rest his troubled childhood. As the pair of them are both on a journey of self discovery, they are never far from each other’s thought, with calls, messages and postcards throughout the year.

A love story from the first page, this book is about right people but wrong time but instead of forgetting about it, we see them make the best of both worlds, putting themselves first with the hope that in a year later they will still feel the same. Both characters are slightly flawed and that makes them so relatable, Sam has a habit of running from his troubles echoing his father’s actions whilst Phoebe also has issues with settling down.

Sweetly written with vivid and bright locations, ‘The Day We Meet Again’ is an engrossing love story, that’s joins a couple on their journey as they fall in love with each other and themselves.
You can buy ‘The Day We Meet Again’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Stranger Inside By Lisa Unger

The Stranger Inside‘The Stranger Inside’ is the latest book by Lisa Unger.

Rain Winter left journalism behind to focus on her baby daughter. But when a man acquitted for murder is killed, in the same way as his suspected victims, Rain sees a pattern emerging between a series of cold cases. Meticulous and untraceable, this killer strikes in the dead of night, making sure that the guilty are suitably punished for their crimes. As Rain’s investigation deepens, she must face up to dark secrets in her own past and the realisation that the killer may be closer than she thinks…

I spent my Sunday with my head buried in this book. A story of conflicted morals and lucky escapes, this psychological thriller was gripping from the start.

The story is seen through multiple narratives, namely Rain, who as a child avoided kidnapping but in doing so loses her best friend and leaves her other friend severely broken. Taking a break from her job as an investigative journalist, she decides to investigate into a series of murders where the victims have been convicted of a crime and are killed in the same way as their victims. As Rain starts to investigate into this story, it brings back unexpected feelings that she thought she had hidden. The other narrative is from the killer, giving an interesting slant to the story, as they justify their actions.

The story is written at a clever and fast pace, immediately drawing the reader in with the unreliable narratives, which gives the an excellent twist to the story. Rain is a complex character, as much as she tries not to think about her ordeal and the impact it had on her life, it really has shaped her into the woman that she has become. A woman who believes in justice and is determined to find out the real identity of the ‘Night Hawk’ killer.

Atmospheric from the first page, ‘The Stranger Inside’ is superbly crafted and well plotted story, with drama and suspense lifting from the page, this is the first book I’ve read by Lisa Unger and will most certainly not be the last!

You can buy ‘The Stranger Inside’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.