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Whatever It Takes” by Adele Parks

Whatever It Takes

“Whatever It Takes” is the latest book from “Sunday Times” bestseller Adele Parks

Eloise Hamilton is a Londoner, born and bred, so it is a big day when she reluctantly gives up her perfect world to move to Dartmouth so her husband, Mark can finally live in his. There are compensations to the new move, Margaret her mother-in-law will love having her family close to hand and she will be able to rely in her best friend Sara, to keep her up to date with all the news and gossip in London.

But it seems that both Margaret and Sara are facing problems of their own. As Margaret begins to lose her health and her mind, she wonders if she will be able to hold onto the secret that she has managed to keep hidden all her life and will Sara’s obsessive desire for a baby cause her to risk all.

Thrown into this unexpected turmoil, Eloise finds herself holding everything together but with the strain of having to look after everyone around one her, someone is bound to be overlooked.

I have been a fan of Adele Parks for years. Her books have never really been of a light hearted read, they all have touched on various serious topics such as affairs and betrayal but with “Whatever It Takes”, I found it to be a much darker read. Revolving the story around Alzheimers, obsession and jealousy, I regularly found myself gasping at the sad situations and catty remarks that Sara, Eloise’s supposedly best friend said. I found Sara in particular to be an extraordinarily hateful character, she seeped angrily of jealousy towards Eloise, that I occasionally wondered how Eloise could be bothered with her.

The subject of Alzheimers, can frequently make for sad reading as Margaret’s return to childlike behaviour can be heartwrenching at times, as she begins to discover the world through a new confused perspective. Eloise as the main character is a wonder to read, strong and independent, she takes on many roles within this story as mother, wife, daughter-in-law, carer, friend and hostess and never does her strength seem to weaken

Written, presented and handled beautifully with the dealing of sensitive issues of Alzheimers and infertility, “Whatever It Takes”, is a strong, insightful and most definitely an emotional rollercoaster of a story that will pull at the strings of the hardest of hearts. Captivating from the start, Adele has written another bestseller to be proud off.

You can buy Whatever It Takes on Amazon and other good bookshops.

The Making Of Us by Lisa Jewell

The Making of Us

Ever since I first read “The Truth About Melody Browne” I became hooked with every book that Lisa Jewell has written. So when I was sent “The Making Of Us”, I couldn’t put the book down and it has literally been stuck to my side for the last couple of days.

In a hospice in Bury St Edwards, a man by the name of Daniel is slowly dying. His best friend Maggie sits with him and listens to him as he regales stories of his youth and tells her about the four children that he fathered but has never met. Two girls and two boys, he calls them a legacy. A legacy he would like to meet. So he asks Maggie to help him fulfil his last dying wish.

Meanwhile Lydia, Dean and Robyn don’t know each other yet but they all wonder where their lives are going. Lydia still bears the scares of her traumatic childhood and although she is wealthy and successful, she still feels there is something missing from her life. Dean is a young man, who doesn’t know what he is doing with his life, suddenly a single father, he now has a little girl that he doesn’t know if he wants and then there is Robyn, who is training to be a doctor, just like her father. The man she never met. But when she falls in love with a man, that reminds her of herself, she realises that’s now time for her to open the letter her mother gave her on her 18th birthday. Suddenly nothing in life is as it seems, as the three people try to figure out who they are and where they are going on their life journey.

“The Making Of Us” is a wonderfully written story about the sensitive subject of sperm donations and its implications as the characters make contact with their father, so they can finally have a real idea of their true identity. With three hugely different but alike characters, I found the story a compelling read. I loved joining Dean, Lydia and Robyn on their adventure, I especially loved Dean, as the underdog of the story, I longed to reach out and hug them and tell him everything would be ok. But with the guidance of Lydia who settled beautifully into the role of the older sister, she took him under her wing and looked out for him.

Written wonderfully through the perspective of the different characters, made the story even more interesting as they all had their own private battles that was holding them back. With a delightfully illustrated cover of a classically beautiful woman looking out the window, I imagined this woman was Lydia with a picture of her family beside her. “The Making Of Us” is an emotional roller-coaster of a read that will have you reading into the small hours , a compelling story that will make you smile and cry, as three people try to figure who they really are and discover the real meaning of family.

You can buy The Making of Us on Amazon and other good bookshops.

Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks – New Summer release

Whatever It Takes

Good news for all the Adele Parks fans out there, as she makes a welcome return to our bookshelves this Summer with her new book “Whatever it Takes”.

With a lovely bright blue cover, it makes the book the perfect poolside read and with an synopsis like this, it will be hard to put the book down!

Whatever it Takes is the story of Eloise, her family and friends. A Londoner born and bred, Eloise finally concedes to uproot her city life to the country surroundings of Dartmouth, her husband’s childhood home. Keen to make friends, whilst also maintaining her friendship with closest friend Sara back in London, Eloise’s ‘perfectly balanced’ life is thrown into disarray as her mother-in-law starts to lose her mind and as Sara’s obsessive desire for a child starts to overshadow their lives.

You can buy Whatever It Takes on Amazon and other good bookshops from 21 June 2012.

Every Vow You Break by Julia Crouch

Every Vow You Break

“Every Vow You Break” is the second novel by Julia Crouch and just like her debut “Cuckoo” it’s another dark and creepy read.

Lara Wayland and her children sixteen year old twins Olly and Bella and four year old Jack give up their lives in Brighton to move to Trout Island, a small rural town in upstate New York to accompany her husband Marcus as he has been given the opportunity of a lifetime giving the main role in “Macbeth”, in the town’s local adaptation.

Lara hopes with the move, it will her help her rekindle her failing relationship with Marcus and help her recover from the abortion that Marcus insists she had.

But on a freak meeting at the plays opening night, they meet Stephen, an old friend of Marcus’. Stephen is everything Marcus isn’t, attractive, considerate, successful and interested in Lara. It’s not long until Lara realises that she too is interested in Stephen and feels drawn to him. As she begins a dangerous game, she is unaware that her every move is being watched.

OK, I’ll be honest. This book creeped me out. But if it’s possible, it creeped me out in a good way, meaning. I couldn’t put it down. For the few days it took me to read it, I found myself looking over my shoulder, as I too felt like I was being watched, as I joined Lara on her risky adventure.

From the very moment the Wayland family land in Trout Island, it is obvious that things are far from normal in the rural town, with the vivid descriptions of the derelict rundown surroundings that wouldn’t look out of place in “Dawn of the Dead” movie to the zombie like people that whisper behind their backs.

I particularly found the relationship between the twins most disconcerting, as Bella befriends one of the local boys Sean, Olly’s obvious jealousy and dislike for the boy is rift throughout the chapters which can sometimes border on uncomfortable reading. Throughout the book there is a constant sense of unease, as Lara is faced with situations of things going missing or feelings or being watched.

“Every Vow You Break” is an intriguing read that draws you into the dark world of Lara Wayland and her troubled family from the start. It’s mystery and suspense seeps from each page, making the readers skin crawl with suspicious characters and uncomfortable situations that makes even the most bravest of people glance fearfully over their shoulders.

With a wonderfully dark cover of an over turned chair at the porch door, which gives the reader a taster of what the book has in store in them and also warns them, that it is not for the easily scared. A dark, gritty and most of all sinister read, “Every Vow You Break” is an addictive page turner.

You can buy Every Vow You Break on Amazon and other good bookshops.

Putting Alice Back Together by Carol Marinelli

Putting Alice Back Together book cover

“Putting Alice Back Together” is the debut novel from Carol Marelli.

To the outside world Alice is the life and soul of the party, she’s the friend you wish you had, always there to make you a laugh and always there to lend a shoulder when things get bad. Infact to the outside world, Alice seems to lead the perfect world but behind closed doors, her world is slowly falling apart.

She’s in a job that she’s not happy with, she’s in love with her best friend but unfortunately he’s gay and a pile of unopened credit bills are hidden underneath her bed.

But that’s not that all that is wrong with her life, that’s just the tip off the iceberg. Alice has a bigger problem, a secret that she has kept hidden for most of her life. A secret so big, that she can’t tell anyone. But as things start to fall apart, Alice begins to realise that she can only keep this for long. But once this secret is out, there’s no turning back and Alice has to figure out how to put herself back together.

“Putting Alice Back Together” is a dark, gritty read that had me hooked. Alice is a wonderful main character as we join her on her turbulent journey, as she tries desperately to keep her secret hidden from those close. It can sometimes make unsettling reading as she flits from happiness to the pits of despair. Even when she is surrounded by friends, you always get a sense of loneliness from Alice. You feel a deep connection with her, as she tries to carry on with her life but you constantly want to tell her to tell someone, that she’s feels like she’s losing grip on reality and that someone will be there to catch her when she falls. The flashbacks to her younger self make for particularly dark reading as you begin to see where things began to unravel for her and discover what she has been hiding for so long.

“Putting Alice Back Together” is an intriguing debut novel from Carol Marelli that has you drawn in from first page, as you will for Alice to get her life together.

You can buy Putting Alice Back Together on Amazon and other good bookshops.