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Book News – Mhairi McFarlane Reveals New Book Called Last Night

Last NightThe wonderful Mhairi McFarlane is returning to our bookshelves with her latest book called ‘Last Night’.

What the back cover says –

Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have been friends since they were eighteen. Now in their 30s, the four are still as close as ever, Thursday pub quiz night is still sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed.

Maybe Eve should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed sometimes thinks about it too.

Then one night, in an instant, all their lives change forever. And, as Eve learns she didn’t know her friends as well as she thought, she also discovers she isn’t the only person keeping secrets…

With a beautiful cover, ‘Last Night’ will be at the top of my TBR as Mhairi’s books are always guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

You can pre-order ‘Last Night’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 1st April 2021.

Hot Mess By Lucy Vine

Hot Mess‘Hot Mess’ is the debut novel by Lucy Vine.

Have you ever shown up to Sunday brunch still smelling of Saturday night? Chosen bed, Netflix and pizza over human contact? Stayed in your mould-ridden flat because it’s cheap? Meet your spirit animal, Ellie Knight. Her life isn’t turning out exactly as she planned. She hates her job, her friends are coupling up and settling down, and her flatmates are just plain weird.

I came across this book whilst listening to the ‘The Bestseller Experiment’ podcast, Lucy was chatting with her editor about how she wrote her book over a 2 month period, with a deadline of 10,000 words a week.

As an aspiring writer myself, I was curious to see if this plan could also work for me but I also had more of a curiosity to read the book itself.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Ellie, a young fun loving woman who’s enjoying life and meeting new people but is feeling the pressure to settle down, as it is what society has expected her to do.

The story follows her as she goes on a series of disastrous dates, tries not to fall for her hot flatmate as well as try to pave out a proper career for herself.

I loved Ellie, she kinda is my spirit animal that I empathised with on so many levels. It’s so pressurising to be a woman of a certain age that it’s expected that if you’re not settled down, married with child, then there’s something wrong. And, we get a lot of that pressure from people our own age which is extremely frustrating particularly females.

I read this book over the Christmas holidays which was a godsend as I had read it into the early hours. The story is written with humour and warmth, filled with fabulous characters that made for intoxicating reading. Ellie is a brilliant character, that I instantly warmed to with her wit and drama. I adored Ellie’s father, who was a constant positive energy in Ellie’s life and his own desire for writing made for a fantastic inclusion in the story, as he wrote his own take on the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ novel. Ellie’s older sister Jen is a tyrant, who’s quick to speak her mind and not afraid to offend at any opportunity.

A wittily written story of self discovery that made for fabulous reading. A truly recommended read that reassures that we all travel our lives at our own pace.

You can buy ‘Hot Mess’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Sorry It’s A Girl By A.A. Khan

Sorry It's A Girl‘Sorry It’s A Girl’ is the latest book by A.A. Khan.

Lahore, 2018: In a city teeming with gossip and rumours, where the spoken word is as sharp as a whip, five women lead extraordinary lives. Born into wealth and opulence, Maya and Arzoo are best friends, achieving everything that is expected of them, from top grades to entry into the exclusive Ivy League schools. Gliding through Lahore’s glittering soirees, Ariyana is the picture of perfection. Charming Laila is married to a business tycoon, living a life of luxury that others could only dream of. But life is rarely perfect. In this world where image is everything and tradition prevails, these women struggle to negotiate friendships, family and society’s expectations. Beneath the designer clothes lie hidden scars and secrets that cannot be told. And in amongst it all, love blooms.

‘Sorry, It’s A Girl’ is a fascinating insight into the world of being a young woman in Pakistan.

The story is seen through multiple perspectives of women of all ages as they struggle with the harsh reality of being a woman and being seen as the inferior gender.

The book is seen through the many narratives. But the stories that stood out to me, were best friends Maya and Arrzoo who are both being forced into arranged marriages. Maya is having to marry her cousin, even though she’s in love with another man called Ali. The story follows her journey as she battles with her family loyalty and her own freedom and happiness. Whilst Arrzoo is enjoying her time in Stanford, away from her family and enjoying her space. Although both women are fighting against the strict traditions and cultures of their family, it’s heartbreaking to read as the story develops, their spirits fade with very relative that has an opinion on their lifestyle.

Another story was Fehranaz, a little girl who’s parents sold her to become a servant. Her boss is a tyrant of a woman called Mrs S, who’s a fearful woman with a quick temper and very quick to raise her hand. She’s feared within the society of ladies.

‘Sorry, It’s A Girl’ is a harsh and quick witted story that really shines a light on the harsh reality of being a woman, the constant disappointment for not born a boy, the inequality and the arranged marriages. It was occasionally a harsh read with the graphic scenes of abuse that the women were exposed to and it was also harrowing to read such simple things that we take for granted, like the freedom of being out and not having to adhere to such strict rules.

Although the book is quite long at 552 pages, the author keeps the reader engaged with the multiples narratives as well as the vivid descriptions of the luxurious brands and lifestyles, the food as well as the language and most importantly, the culture.

Beautifully written but equally harrowing, ‘Sorry, It’s A Girl’, is a fascinating book and after reading this story, it really made me appreciate the simpler life that I’ve been fortunate to lead with no restrictions and limitations.

You can buy ‘Sorry It’s A Girl’ from Amazon

The Wife Upstairs By Rachel Hawkins

The Wife Upstairs‘The Wife Upstairs’ is the latest book by Rachel Hawkins.

When Jane, a broke dog-walker newly arrived in town, meets Eddie Rochester, she can’t believe her luck. Eddie is handsome, rich and lives alone in a beautiful mansion since the tragic death of his beloved wife a year ago. Eddie can give Jane everything she’s always wanted: stability, acceptance, and a picture-perfect life. But what Jane doesn’t know is that Eddie is keeping a secret – a big secret. And when the truth comes out, the consequences are far more deadly than anyone could ever have imagined.

I started reading this book last night and I read it in one sitting, it was just that addictive. The story is dark, compelling with protagonists that kept the story moving at a fast pace.

The story is written in the past and present tense and is seen through the narrative of Jane and Bea. Jane is new to the Mountain Brook area and is settling with her dog walking business. Walking the dogs, she sees the glamorous lives of the women with their rich husbands and designer brands on tap and Jane occasionally helps herself to this lifestyle, so she’s not always looking in. But one day, she meets handsome Eddie Rochester and he takes her breath away offering her a new lifestyle and no shortage of money. But Eddie is the talk of the town, his wife Bea and her best friend disappeared on a boating trip and Eddie has always been a suspect. But Jane is convinced that charismatic Eddie is innocent but there’s something about him that makes her unsettled. The other perspective of the story is from Bea and the moments leading up to accident.

I loved this book, the characters are great, unreliable and this makes for gripping reading. I loved Jane, she’s deceptive with a tough exterior but underneath she’s soft and wanting to fit in and Eddie is the key to her success. Jane has her secrets and an old life that she’s running from.

The story is fast paced injected with unexpected humour and wit that really keeps the reader on their toes. Like Jane, Eddie is also a fascinating character, he’s handsome and charming and it’s obvious he’s a sought after bachelor with all the women in the town lusting after him, but there’s something underneath that charisma that’s unsettling.

A thrilling and dramatic story about murder and ambition, ‘The Wife Upstairs’ is a modern twist on the crime noir filled with unreliable narratives and an unexpected twist that leaves the reader bursting for more.

You can pre-order ‘The Wife Upstairs’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 29th April 2021.

Victoria Park By Gemma Reeves

Victoria Park‘Victoria Park’ is the latest book by Gemma Reeves.

Mona and Wolfie have lived on Victoria Park for over fifty years. Now, on the eve of their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary, they must decide how to navigate Mona’s declining health. Bookended by the touching exploration of their love, Victoria Park follows the disparate lives of twelve people over the course of a single year.

This book was such a pleasant surprise. When I settled into it, I initially thought it was a story but really it read like a collection of short stories around the residents of Victoria Park over the course of a year. This made for observational and lovely reading, as we joined these people on the different issues and adventures that were impacting their lives.

A lovely thing about each story was the connections from the previous stories with the same characters unaware of the impact that they were making on each other.

The stories focus on many different issues such as dementia, infidelity, fertility and death and each issue is handled with sensitivity and grace. A particular story and character that stood out to me was the first story in the book called ‘Smoking Salmon’ and it features an elderly man called Wolfie and his wife Mona. For me they were the central characters in the book, as they appeared in many other stories and the focus was dementia as Mona battled with the illness and Wolfie was determined not to put her into a home. Wolfie is a gruff character, a pillar of the community with having owned a popular deli but with Mona, he’s kind and never loses patience with her confusion. They regularly regale on their old life, before the illness took hold and it’s lovely to read their life together, their courtship and challenges along the way.

Beautifully and sensitively written that handled many subjects that are so current in our world, ‘Victoria Park’ is an insightful story about community and coming together with a fresh adventure with each story keeping the reader fully engaged.

You can buy ‘Victoria Park’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.