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The Stolen Sisters By Louise Jensen

The Stolen Sisters‘The Stolen Sisters’ is the latest book by Louise Jensen and is currently only 99p on the Kindle Store, which is a must buy for fans of the author and fans of tense thrillers.

Leah’s perfect marriage isn’t what it seems but the biggest lie of all is that she’s learned to live with what happened all those years ago.Marie drinks a bit too much to help her forget. And Carly has never forgiven herself for not keeping them safe. Twenty years ago The Sinclair Sisters were taken. But what came after their return was far worse. Can a family ever recover, especially when not everyone is telling the truth?

The story is about the 3 sisters Carly, Leah and Marie Sinclair who one day are kidnapped from their house and spend the next couple of days keep captive in an old military base and were fed crisps and sweets to keep their energy going, before they finally escaped to freedom. Now, it’s the 20th anniversary of their kidnapping and the women are on edge especially when they begin to receive letters counting down to the actual day. The kidnapping received a lot of interest from the media and the girls became a national treasure.

The story is written in the past and present sequences with the past scenes seen through Carly’s perspective and the present scenes are seen through Leah’s narrative. Carly is a typical teenager, desperate to hear from Dean, the boy that she likes and when she doesn’t hear from him, she takes her disappointment on her 8 year old twin sisters Marie and Leah. Snapping and being nasty to them, she makes them out go outside the house to retrieve their lost ball and this is when the kidnapping occurs. But during the kidnapping, she feels terrible for her behaviour and makes it her duty to get them to safety.

20 years after the kidnapping, it’s terribly sad to see how the events have effected the women’s lives. Carly leaves alone with the guilt that she could have prevented it all from happening, if she hadn’t horrible to the girls and looked after them properly. She punishes herself by not letting herself or anyone else get close to her. Leah is married with a little boy but her extreme OCD is ruining her relationship and she’s convinced that every person she sees is the kidnappers even though they are dead and Marie is battling a drink addiction. All 3 women were fun and happy girls and it’s so sad to read the kidnapping ruin their lives.

The story flows between past and present tense in the alternating chapters and this keeps the reader on their toes with this snappy and fast paced thriller. As the days count down to the anniversary and Leah receives more letters, I was gripped by what was going to be revealed on the day and who was behind them. There are so many fractured relationships and characters in the story, that I found myself regularly wondering was it person or was it this person as the story progresses.

One fascinating thing that I learned from reading this book was that Leah suffered from a rare condition called The Fregoli delusion or Fregoli syndrome. A rare disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that different people are in fact a single person who changes appearance or is in disguise and this was why she was convinced that the kidnappers were following her.

A cleverly crafted and twisted tale with drama and deceit riddled throughout, ‘The Stolen Sisters’ is a sad and traumatic tale that made for gripping reading with hook and reveal that left me chilled.

You can buy ‘The Stolen Sisters’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

I Know What I Saw By S.K. Sharp

I Know What I Saw‘I Know What I Saw’ is the latest book by S.K. Sharp.

Only a handful of people in the world have a truly perfect memory. Nicola is one of them. It’s more of a curse than a blessing – every moment of sadness, embarrassment and unhappiness is burned into her mind forever – so she plays it down, and tries to live a quiet life. But a body has been found, a discovery that threatens to tear her community apart – and reopen old wounds from decades ago. Nicola was a child, but she remembers the night with perfect clarity. Despite that, she never discovered the truth of what happened. Now she must use her unique memory to solve the murder, or watch the man she loved be wrongly convicted of the crime.

‘I Know What I Saw’ is a tense thriller with a lead protagonist that you’re unsure to believe or not.

The story is seen from the narrative of Nicola, who’s been called as a witness when her ex-husband, Declan has been accused of murdering his father over 30 years ago when his body is recovered. Nicola has an almost photographic memory, which she seems as more of a hindrance than a gift and is able to recall almost everything in the night in general that Declan’s father disappeared. But as she delves further into her memories that she begins to realise that a lot of people did not like Arty Robinson and there are many motives for his death.

This book is an interesting read with a lead character that I found myself almost reluctant to like. Right, from the offset Nicola seems like a cold woman and quite detached from the situation. Having said that, she’s quite fascinating in the skill that she’s acquired that allows her to remember minute details that could possibly help prevent her ex-husband and first love Declan from jail.

The story is written in past and present sequences and this makes for quite interesting reading as Nicky as she is known conjures up old memories and feelings as she reflects on happier times with Declan before things went sour in their relationship from being teenage sweethearts to eventually becoming husband and wife. These reminiscent moments make for tender reading as we read about first love. As the story progresses, we see that Arty, the victim of the story was quite a shady character with a lot of dodgy dealings in the background even though he is seen as quite a pillar of the community with providing funding to the local school. With new revelations coming forward with the discovery of his body, it seems that a lot of people didn’t like him, so there are quite a few suspects throughout the story, all this possible motives for his demise. It’s also quite fascinating to join Nicky on her own investigation into the night that Arty disappeared, as she begins to piece things together as well as doubt her own memories, a skill that she always been quite proud off and able to rely on.

A cleverly crafted and well plotted storyline with an intriguing protagonist, ‘I Know What I Saw’ is a thrilling drama that made for gripping reading.

You can pre-order ‘I Know What I Saw’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

The Man Who Didn’t Call By Rosie Walsh

The Man Who Didn't Call‘The Man Who Didn’t Call’ is the first book by Rosie Walsh, who also writes as Lucy Robinson.

Imagine you meet a man, spend seven glorious days together, and fall in love. And it’s mutual: you’ve never been so certain of anything. So when he leaves for a long-booked holiday and promises to call from the airport, you have no cause to doubt him. But he doesn’t call. Your friends tell you to forget him, but you know they’re wrong: something must have happened; there must be a reason for his silence. What do you do when you finally discover you’re right? That there is a reason – and that reason is the one thing you didn’t share with each other?

You can buy ‘The Man Who Didn’t Call’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Life We Almost Had By Amelia Henley

The Life We Almost Had‘The Life We Almost Had’ is the latest book by Amelia Henley.

Anna wasn’t looking for love when Adam swept her off her feet but there was no denying their connection, and she believed they would be together forever. Years later, cracks have appeared in their relationship. Anna is questioning whether their love can really be eternal when a cruel twist of fate delivers a crushing blow, and Anna and Adam are completely lost to one another. Now, Anna needs Adam more than ever, but the way back to him has life-changing consequences. Is a second chance at first love really worth the sacrifice? Anna needs to decide and time is running out…

If you like books that tug at your heartstrings with relatable characters and life situations, then ‘The Life We Almost Had’ is just for you.

The story is seen through the narrative of couple Anna and Adam. At 24 years of age, Anna was dumped by her cheating husband to be, with the honeymoon paid for, Anna takes her best friend Nell to the Spanish island of Alircia to heal her wounds. It’s there that she meets Adam and their love for each other begins, as they struggle with long distance relationships when they return home before getting married. Now married, they want to create a baby and struggle to conceive which causes distance and resentment between the pair of them as they both long for the same thing but it seems to be out of their reach. To try to make things better for them, Adam thoughtfully surprises Anna with a return trip to Alircia hoping to reignite their love for each other. But on this trip which should be a joyful occasion tragedy strikes when Adam is injured in the an accident that leaves him in a coma with only 3% survival. As days passes by with Anna alone in a strange country, she’s approached by Oliver, a neurologist who wants to use Adam for his therapy that is able to tune to people’s consciousness although Anna is opposed to the idea she then decides to go along with it, so she once be with Adam in his dreams.

OK, this book is a heartbreaker, is a story of love and loss that makes for tender and frustrated reading, as the couple finally get their happy ever after only for it to pulled away. The main characters are relatable and for this, I was really able to connect with them. Anna has low self esteem after being dumped and Adam quickly becomes besotted with her and really lifts her mood and confidence. They are perfect for each other but you can really feel the dynamics changing between them as the struggle for a baby becomes harder and Anna pulls away from her best friend Nell who unexpectedly becomes pregnant. Anna hates that she feels jealous and resentment to the person that’s been there for you, so she pulls back from the friendship. I really liked Adam, he was always such a giving character and he gave up his dreams to travel the world to be with Anna and I thought that was such considerate thing to do.

The story is written in alternating chapters between Adam and Anna and it’s interesting to read the different insights on the relationship and the struggles between them, as they both deal with the complexities of the relationship. As Anna vows never to give up on the relationship and hope for the Adam to return to her, we see her regain her love for Adam and the commitment for each other. It’s heartbreaking to join Anna as she goes inside Adam’s consciousness, as he’s carrying on with life unaware of what’s going on outside in the real world.

There are plenty of magical moments in the story, from the interactions between Adam and Anna to the 50p coin that they exchange instead of words. The coin dates back to Anna’s grandfather when he first played ‘Love Me Tender’ on the jukebox to get her to dance with him, so the song has sentimental value. Oliver was also an interesting character who threw himself into his work to help distract him from the death of his wife Clem.

‘The Life We Almost Had’ is the first romantic novel from Amelia Henley who’s really psychological thriller author Louise Jensen and this is a stunning debut from the author which is thoroughly researched and gave an fascinating insight into how the brain works.

Tenderly written and injected with love and hope, ‘The Life We Almost Had’ is an emotional rollercoaster of a story that tugs on your heartstrings from the first page.

You can buy ‘The Life We Almost Had’ is available to buy from Amazon

The Seven Doors By Agnes Ravtn

The Seven Doors‘The Seven Doors’ is the latest book by Agnes Ravtn.

University professor Nina is at a turning point. Her work seems increasingly irrelevant, her doctor husband is never home, relations with her difficult daughter are strained, and their beautiful house is scheduled for demolition. When her daughter decides to move into another house they own, things take a very dark turn. The young woman living there disappears, leaving her son behind, the day after Nina and her daughter pay her a visit. With few clues, the police enquiry soon grinds to a halt, but Nina has an inexplicable sense of guilt. Unable to rest, she begins her own investigation, but as she pulls on the threads of the case, it seems her discoveries may have very grave consequences for her and her family.

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Nordic Noir so I was looking forward to reading ‘The Seven Doors’.

The story is seen through the narrative of Literary professor Nina who believes that English professors should be capable of investigating crimes due to their knowledge of myths and folklores and this sets up the premise of the story. Nina finds herself obsessing over the disappearance of Mari Neilson who was the former tenant in an apartment that she and her husband Mads had. She was unaware of the woman being a tenant in the house until she and her daughter visited it as her daughter Ingeberg was wanting to move in ahead of her second pregnancy.

The story then flows with Nina doing her own investigative work into the disappearance, retracing Mari’s last steps and her relationships with her parents as well as her ex husband Nicolas Bull, who’s returned to the Bergen area after being gone for years. Although we only meet Mari once in a story for a brief introduction, Agnes creates a full image of the woman with stories from her parents and ex husband all giving an insight into the woman.

The story is cleverly crafted with references to Nordic folk lore which is where the title of the book comes from. A captain called Bluebeard’s Castle who had 7 doors in his house and forbid his wife from looking behind them. It’s a tale of revenge, loss and jealousy and it’s essentially what this book is also about.

The story is extremely atmospheric and the author includes vivid descriptions of the town, the food and the festive traditions. The descriptions of the snow covered streets to the unsettling folklores made for fascinating reading. The story is primarily about the complexities of relationships, Nina has a strained relationship with her often outspoken and robust daughter Ingeberg and struggles to connect with her granddaughter who is always pushing her away and Mads is often working and leaving Nina to her own thoughts.

This book was a fascinating to read, but the author does not include speech marks so it takes a while to get used too but after a few pages, you don’t notice it.

Atmospheric and suspenseful with tension simmering throughout, ‘The Seven Doors’ was originally a Nordic book that has been translated by Rosie Hedger and for the English market.

‘The Seven Doors’ is a twisted story with drama and unreliable characters that made for gripping reading.

You can buy ‘The Seven Doors’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.