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The Secrets Of Strangers By Charity Norman

The Secrets Of Strangers‘The Secrets Of Strangers’ is the latest book by Charity Norman.

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for a group of strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage. But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Charity Norman is a new author for me and one that I enjoyed thoroughly after reading this book.

The story is seen from the different perspectives of people from all walks of life who decided to go to a particular coffee shop on a particular day when a man was feeling at his lowest.

To celebrate his birthday Neil gathers up all the change he has collected to treat himself to a cup of tea, solicitor Abi is getting ready to help a young mother in court and Mutesi has just come off a night shift to enjoy breakfast with her grandson and daughter. All four are preparing for the day ahead when a young man enters the cafe with a grudge and a gun. On the outside whilst people are fearing for their lives, negotiator Eliza is trying to get inside Sam’s head and figure out how he has got to this point in his life.

There are many things that I really liked about this book, the characters, the dialogue and the clever plot. The characters are an interesting mix of people who all have their secrets and issues, that on this particular things come to head and they find solace in each other during this surreal situation.

The characters are relatable and complex that I felt such an empathy for. Neil is homeless after unsuccessfully battling a gambling addition that has left him without his family and only Buddy a dog for company. Hardfaced Abi pretends that she the last thing she wants is a baby but that’s all she wants but biology isn’t on her side. Mutesi is such a kind and gentle character, creating a calming presence in the cafe, she speaks to Sam as though he is her grandson and not someone holding her hostage. In the background, we see the point leading up to Sam’s breakdown and it makes for hard reading as he struggles with mental health and family.

A beautifully written story about relationships, unexpected circumstances and life. Charity has explored many topics in this story, addiction, fertility and mental health in both a sensitive and informative manner. ‘The Secrets Of Strangers’ is a heartfelt and compelling story about the complexities of life and relationships that made for fascinating reading.

You can buy ‘The Secrets Of Strangers’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Other Passenger By Louise Candlish

'The Other Passenger‘The Other Passenger’ is the latest book by Louise Candlish.

It all happens so quickly. One day you’re living the dream, commuting to work by riverbus with your charismatic neighbour Kit in the seat beside you. The next, Kit hasn’t turned up for the boat and his wife Melia has reported him missing.When you get off at your stop, the police are waiting. Another passenger saw you and Kit arguing on the boat home the night before and the police say that you had a reason to want him dead. You protest. You and Kit are friends – ask Melia, she’ll vouch for you. And who exactly is this other passenger pointing the finger? What do they know about your lives?

Having won best crime and thriller book at the British Book Awards for her previous book called ‘Our House’ you’re always guaranteed a gripping and gasping book journey with Louise Candlish.

Like Louise’s previous books, the book starts right at the key moment that something significant has happened and then travels back to the time leading up to it and after.

After giving up a high powered job in marketing due to the claustrophobic commute, Jamie decides to work in a less pressurised job in a cafe that involves a compute on a river boat. It’s whilst on this river boat that he makes friends with Kit, a young man with a lust for partying and his stunning girlfriend Melia who works with Jamie’s wife Clare.

The four of them become firm friends despite the age difference until one day Kit disappears and the finger of blame is pointed at Jamie.

The story is primarily seen through the perspective of Jamie, which makes for interesting reading. He’s a character that envies Kit and Melia, a young couple who enjoy partying and socialising whilst Jamie’s partner prefers a slower pace of life. As the story progresses we see Jamie go from being a simple man to a man fuelled by lust and power and it’s fascinating to see this transition.

With short and snappy chapters, complex characters with a sharp and plausible plot line that really grabs the readers attention, this book was a great thriller to get absorbed in. An exciting masterpiece of suspense and drama, Louise has delivered another rollercoaster of a story with ‘The Other Passenger’ with an ending that certainly rivals that last line from ‘Our House’.

You can pre-order ‘The Other Passenger’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 25th June 2020.

The Secret Seaside Escape By Heidi Swain

The Secret Seaside Escape ‘The Secret Seaside Escape’ is the latest book by Heidi Swain.

Tess Tyler needs a break. Weighed down by her high-pressure job and her demanding father, she’s left little time to take care of herself. But after a shocking discovery sends her spiralling, she flees to Wynmouth, the seaside town she fell in love with as a child, to escape it all. With its sandy beaches, stunning rock pools and welcoming community, Tess feels like she can finally breathe again. And as she grows ever closer to local barman Sam, she dares to dream that she might never return to her real life. But when a familiar face returns to town, Tess realises that there are secrets in Wynmouth too, and that her own past may be about to catch up with her.

I’ve only read two books by Heidi and both books were exactly what I needed. Heartwarming with lovely characters against the backdrop of the seaside.

Tess decides to return to her childhood holiday retreat when life in her busy marketing role becomes too much. Recovering from her mother’s death, she needs a change of scenery and goes to the sweetly named Crow’s Nest Cottage in Wynmouth. It’s whilst she’s there that she begins to relax and enjoy life whilst making new friends and becoming part of the bustling village.

This book is the perfect book to curl up with. Tess is a lovely, kind relatable character, she’s warm and immediately fits into the village with her enthusiasm and charm wanting to share her knowledge and skills with the locals to make their businesses thrive. It’s whilst she’s away on this retreat is that she makes some discoveries about herself and her family. Tess isn’t the only lovely character in the story, there’s also Sam, Joe and Sophie, who all add their own charm and warmth to the seaside story.

Heidi has written a gorgeous heartwarming and fun love story about family secrets and new beginnings against sandy beaches, with such vivid imagery that you can almost feel the sand between your toes. The perfect escapism story to enjoy right now.

You can buy ‘The Secret Seaside Escape’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Escape To The French Farmhouse By Jo Thomas

Escape To The French Farmhouse‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier…a new life in France – without Ollie. Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?

Last night I curled up with this book with the intention of only reading a few chapters. Fast forward three hours later and I finally put the book down after being unable to put the book until I finished the stories of Del and her new adventures in France.

I genuinely loved this book, everything in it was so vibrant from the setting, the characters as well the dialogue.

Del is a great character, she’s a brave woman who decides that her marriage isn’t working and makes the courageous decision to stay France whilst her husband returns to England. Alone and a stranger, Del decides to embrace the French way and to earn a few euros by making use of the lavender fields beside her house in recipes. With the help of her new friends Carine, Henri and the glorious Fabien, she establishes herself as a successful baker in the small town as well as an valuable asset to the small town.

Everything in this story is so lovely, from the interactions with the characters, the beautiful settings which is described so vividly to the lavender fields that leap off the pages. The story is wonderfully written with relatable characters particularly Dell. The one thing that she dreamt off was to have a family, but feels at a loss that she can’t and begins to doubt her worth, but in this new surrounding she emerges a great strong woman who helps so many people in the town and making such significant changes, from helping the homeless and poor.

A story of heart and community, ‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ is a beautifully written story about new friendships and new beginnings, this book was a captivating story from the first page.
You can buy ‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Just My Luck Publication Day

Adele ParksI’m delighted to have an interview with one of my favourite authors, Adele Parks on the publication day of her new book called ‘Just My Luck’.

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your new book called ‘Just My Luck’
    It is the story about a group of friends who have been extremely close since they met at a baby group fifteen years ago. They do the lottery every week as a syndicate and over dinner parties, fish & chip suppers and summer barbecues, they’ve discussed the important stuff – the kids, marriages, jobs and houses – and they’ve laughed off their disappointment when they failed to win anything more than a tenner.

    But one week a tiff turns into a terrible rift – we don’t know what they are quarrelling about. Two of the three couples leave the syndicate but the very next week the numbers come up and Lexi and Jake have the winning ticket worth 18 million pounds! The others go to extreme lengths to try to get a share of the money. It is a novel that looks at what money can and can’t buy, should and certainly should not buy!

    Like ‘I Invited Her In’ and ‘Lies Lies Lies’ this is a dark novel that looks at loyalty, betrayal, friendship, and fidelity. It’s full of secrets and revelations. I hope readers are going to completely invest in the characters and plot.

  2. You’ve been an author for over 20 years, initially writing female fiction and then moving into suspense, why the change of genre?
    My female heroes were never sweetness and light looking for tall, dark and handsome, I have always written characters who are damaged or flawed and somewhat dark, even if my earlier writing was lighter (sometimes comedic). So, it wasn’t really a case of me turning from one thing to another, more of a development.

    'Just My Luck

    I think I have always just written what I wanted to read, what felt natural and relevant at the time. My personality, life-stage, age, ambition all influenced the tone. In my earlier books, the catalyst for action was often falling in or out of love and trying to understand that. Now, my character arcs often evolve through a more negative or challenging life experience (infertility, alcoholism, a toxic friendship, a death), experiences that generally speaking come later in life.

    I guess now I write less about choice and more about consequence (because that’s my mind shift), I think my work simply became darker because of that.

  3. If you were to start your own book club, what authors would you ask to join?
    Jane Fallon, Tasmina Perry, Nicola Moriarty, Lisa Jewell and Claire Mackintosh – off the top of my head – but there are dozens of writers I admire and enjoy the company of. We would probably have to have lots of lovely food (and possibly the odd glass of champers) at this book club! Oh, it sounds fabulous, I think I’ll start one!

  4. If you had the option of one of your books being adapted for screen, which one would you choose and who would play the characters?
    ‘Just My Luck’ has been optioned for screen so that is incredibly exciting! There are so many incredibly talented actors out there. There is a whole list of people I would be honoured to see play the role. Imagine if Amy Adams was Lexi! She’d be wonderful!

  5. Finally, how are you coping with lockdown? Have you discovered any new skills or authors?
    Lockdown does not really affect my life Monday to Friday, daytime because I have worked from home for 20 years. However, like everyone, I miss going out in the evenings and at weekends, I miss my family. I haven’t seen my parents or sister since January. I miss my friends and colleagues, my gym, restaurants etc etc! And, as you can imagine, a lockdown launch is presenting challenges but it is also presenting opportunities to be creative. I think it’s important to look at the pluses. I’m enjoying the unexpected bonus of having my son home from uni, I love spending time with him. Although, at the same time, I am really sorry for him and all young people. I think lockdown is harder the younger you are. It’s a time of your life when you should be entitled to fly. I think the new skills I am developing is patience and biting my tongue.

    You can buy ‘Just My Luck’ from Amazon and will be availble to buy from good bookshops.

    Follow Adele’s publication day excitement on Twitter, or wish her happy publication day yourself!