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The Drowning Lesson By Jane Shemilt

The Drowning Lesson‘The Drowning Lesson’ is the latest book by Jane Shemilt’

The Jordan family thought they would return from their gap year abroad enriched, better people, a closer family.
Not minus one child. A year on, Emma remains haunted by the image of that empty cot, thousands of miles away, the chasm between her and the rest of the family growing with each day that Sam remains missing. Is her son still out there? Will the mystery about what happened that night ever be unravelled?

When it comes to books by Jane Shemilt, I have a bit of complicated relationship with them, as I initially find them difficult to get into and then when once I get into them, I find them impossible to put down and when I eventually put them down, the difficulty resumes to get back into them. It’s a frustrating cycle.

In her latest book we meet Emma, a woman who decides to give up her career and life in England to move to Africa to support her husband in his career with their three children. It’s during this time away, that their baby Sam is stolen away and they are left to wonder if their defenceless baby is dead or alive.

The story is seen solely through Emma’s narrative and the chapters alternate between the past and present, to the time leading up to Sam’s disappearance.

I found Emma to be a difficult and manipulative character, as she secretly planned her third pregnancy. She’s quite cold in parts and isn’t the most of a maternal parent towards her daughters, which is quite apparent in their relationship. But, as the story progresses, she begins to thaw as she deals with losing her baby.

The story is quite atmospheric and Jane is very vivid with her descriptions, describing the African towns, the poverty and the witchcraft that the townsfolk whisper about, which does make for eerie reading.

The story is primarily about the disappearance of child and how a woman deals with the idea of losing a child, but there is a smaller sub story about Emma and her father. It’s inclusion wasn’t completely clear to me, but it still made for interesting reading as it shaped Emma into the woman that she has become.

With despair and suspense dripping from every page and where everyone is a suspect, ‘The Drowning Lesson’ is a dark and well written story, that is worth the initial struggle of getting into.

You can buy The Drowning Lesson from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Break By Marian Keyes

The Break‘The Break’ is the delicious new book by Marian Keyes.

Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her. He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet. However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?

Marian Keyes is back with another fabulous book, a book that made me lose track of time as well as let numerous cups of go to waste and go cold.

In her latest book, we meet Amy, a deliciously kind and outspoken woman who works in PR, mother to three daughters, her life is rarely a routine and when her husband Hugh announces that he wants to take a six month break to travel the world to help him through his grieving process after losing his father. Amy’s reaction and mine was WTF?

As Hugh travels the world, Amy is left with the worry that he’ll cheat on her, leave her for a younger model, never return and this will be the end of their marriage.

But whilst Hugh is discovering himself, Amy is also finding a new appetite for life. She’s refusing to accept pity from her neighbours and give up on her marriage, even though her heart is breaking.

Amy is also on her own path of self discovery, embarking on new affairs, tackling with being a single parent and being the mother of a successful video blogger with an attitude.

I absolutely adored this book. The book is filled with Marian’s charm and wit as well her warmth. The characters are similar to the Walsh family, their dysfunctional, outspoken and there is never a dull moment, with their larger than life mother and a father who battles Alzheimers. In her light hearted tale, Marian delivers a story that has serious issues, Alzheimer’s and the effect it can have on a family, the pressure and stress. Teenage pregnancy and the legality of abortion in Ireland plus the surge of video blogging and how anyone can do it, no matter the age.

Amy is a fabulous character and one that I could never tire of reading. As the story progresses, Amy becomes a stronger and more confident woman and this is a joy to witness. Hugh was a different story altogether, I wholeheartedly hated him and the rage he invoked in me was astounding. His selfishness to find himself whilst Amy was left to look after the family and deal with the sympathy and the gossip that he left behind, it enraged me!

The characters are engaging and all have their own quirks that made for such enjoyable reading plus all the chapters are short, so one chapter can rapidly become seven or ten.

Deliciously fun and warmhearted, this book is an enchanting story that was impossible to put down, filled with charm, drama and plenty of Irish wit, ‘The Break’ is most certainly Marian Keyes at her very best. I dare you not to enjoy it!

You can pre-order The Break from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th September.

All The Good Things By Clare Fisher

All The Good Things‘All The Good Things’ is the first book by Clare Fisher.

Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve ever to feel good again. But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head. But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing. What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone – even a 100% bad person – deserve a chance to be good?

‘All The Good Things’ is Clare’s debut novel and it’s a hauntingly great tale and female prison life and mental illness.

The story is seen through the narrative of Beth, a young troubled woman who’s in jail and is told by her counsellor to write about all the good things in her life.

As Beth works on her list, she brings us back to her past from growing up with foster families, finding her feet and dealing with the realisation of becoming a teenage mother.

Beth is a complex character, which is no surprise as she had a troubled upbringing, with a mother who had her own health problems, she spent most of her time absent from Beth’s life and Beth spent her time moving from different families, hoping to eventually one day find her own permanent place in life. She’s outspoken with a quick temper but underneath all this bravado, she’s insecure and unhappy and longs for content.

Having spent most of her life feeling unloved, she bares her soul into her writing, revealing her thoughts and fears of becoming a mother as well as voicing her excitement. As the story progresses, we delve further into Beth’s life and what path she took to end up in prison.

This story is beautifully written and handles the subject of mental illness with care and grace. Not only is Beth, a wonderful lead character with a strong personality and kind heart, the friends surrounding her, inject a dose of humour into this serious and poignant tale.

A heartbreaking and honest story about the difficulties of mental health and redemption, ‘All The Good Things’ is a book that stays with you long after you reached the final page.

You can pre-order All the Good Things from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 1st June 2017.