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The Paper Bracelet By Rachael English

The Paper Bracelet ‘The Paper Bracelet’ is the latest book by Irish author Rachael English.

For almost fifty years, Katie has kept a box of secrets. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home, and contains a notebook with details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets. Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision she has long kept at bay. She posts a message on an internet forum, knowing that the information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers. Soon, the replies are rolling in, and Katie encounters success, failure, heartache and joy as she finds herself in the role of part-detective, part-counsellor – chasing down leads, piecing together stories, and returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. But there is one bracelet in the box that holds the key to a story that may never be told.

‘The Paper Bracelet’ is the first book that I’ve read by Rachael English and I must admit that it was a truly charming story that tugged at the readers’ heartstrings.

The story is about a mother and baby home called Carrigbrack in Ireland during the 1960’s where young women who became pregnant were sent away to. These homes were by the Catholic church and the women were mistreated and babies were taken away, never to be seen again. The story is seen from the perspective of Katie, who was in a nurse in the Carrigbrack and decides she wants to help reunite mothers with their children, as she collected the paper bracelets that each baby was given with their date of birth and weight. The story is seen from her narrative with the help of niece Beth, as well as the perspectives of Gary, Brandon and Alish who have spent their lives looking for their real mothers. Another inclusion in the story is flashbacks to the Carrigbrack from the perspective of a young mother called Patricia who’s expecting a baby.

The sad thing about this story is that it is based on true events. Ireland had homes where women disappeared to have children and were exposed to harsh brutalities of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. They were punished for becoming pregnant, even though some of their pregnancies may have come from sexual abuse within the family. It’s a shocking read in parts, especially with the cruelties of the nuns and how they treated the women, they lacked compassion and sympathy towards the situations. The different narratives give a lovely slant to the story as we join Alish, Brandon and Gary find their mothers and try to piece their lives together and find their place in life properly. I loved Katie, having lost her husband, she’s now committed to helping reunite families and it makes for tender reading as we join her on this journey.

A heartwarming story that is reminiscent of a Maeve Binchy story, ‘The Paper Bracelet’ is a beautifully written and emotional story about the tragic hardships of mother and baby homes. Written with tenderness and filled with warmth and Irish charm, this book is the perfect page turner.

You can buy ‘The Paper Bracelet’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

The Family Holiday By Elizabeth Noble

The Family Holiday‘The Family Holiday’ is the latest book by Elizabeth Noble.

Charlie and Daphne were happily married, and their children Laura, Scott and Nick were inseparable. But then, inevitably, the children grew up and their own messy lives got in the way. Since Daphne died, Charlie can’t help but think about happier times for the Chamberlain family – before his children drifted apart. His wife was the family’s true north, and without her guidance, Charlie fears his kids have all lost their direction. For his eightieth birthday, all Charlie wants is to bring his family together again. And by some miracle, they’ve all said yes. So, for the first time in a long time, the Chamberlains are going on a family holiday.

This is the first book that I’ve read by Elizabeth and it was a warm-hearted story of family and relationships.

The story starts at the moment that Charlie sends letter to his three children asking them to spend a holiday with him to celebrate his 80th birthday. Alone without his wife, he wants to more of an effort with Laura, Nick and Scott but all three have issues that they are all dealing with, such as separation, grief and infidelity. Charlie hopes that the time together will bring the family together and heal the riffs between them.

The story is seen through the perspective of the characters as they prepare for their ten day holiday. Nick is adjusting to life as a single parent to 3 children when his wife died suddenly, Scott is jet setting between America and United Kingdom for his work and Laura is only dealing with a cheating husband, an impending divorce but her teenage son being charged with sexual assault.

I really enjoyed the different perspectives of this story and liked the lead up to the family holiday. The characters are a great mix of personalities all dealing with realistic and relatable issues that made for tender and poignant reading, as the family get together and bond over their shared grief.

The story is an observational exploration into the dynamics of relationships, delivered with charm and wit. ‘The Family Holiday’ is a tender and affectionate story that is perfect distraction from life.

You can buy ‘The Family Holiaday’ from Amazon and is available to buy from other good bookshops.

Monstrous Souls By Rebecca Kelly

Monstrous Souls‘Monstrous Souls is the latest book by Rebecca Kelly.

Over a decade ago, Heidi was the victim of a brutal attack that left her hospitalised, her younger sister missing, and her best friend dead. But Heidi doesn’t remember any of that. She’s lived her life since then with little memory of her friends and family and no recollection of the crime. Now, it’s all starting to come back. As Heidi begins retracing the events that lead to the assault, she is forced to confront the pain and guilt she’s long kept buried. But Heidi isn’t the only one digging up the past, and the closer she gets to remembering the truth, the more danger she’s in. When the truth is worse than fiction, is the past worth reliving?

I started this book last night and was disappointed that I had to put the book down when it was time to put it down.

Written in a snappy and fast paced manner, the story takes place over a 15 year period. 15 years ago, Heidi and best friend Nina were attacked, Nina was killed, Heidi was left for dead and Heidi’s little sister Anna was taken away. Heidi has no memory of what happened that day. But now her memory is beginning to come back and she’s beginning to piece memories together but in doing so, is putting her life in jeopardy.

The story is written in past and present tense leading up to the moment of the incident. The past tenses are seen through Heidi’s perspective and it makes for interesting reading. Her best friend Nina was once outspoken and fun but now she’s surly and snappy and wants Heidi to run away with her. As a teenager, Heidi is naive and sees the best in people. But when Nina reveals the darker side of life, Heidi becomes a different person.

The story is a thrilling read, the past and present scenes are cleverly interweaved setting the drama and suspense up from the first page. With each moment that Heidi remembers something vital to the case, brings them one step closer to solving the case. Tackling issues of drug and sexual abuse, this book is shocking story and highlights corruption in the world where the people we put our trust on prove to be the most evil.

A haunting and dramatic debut that is addictive from the first page, ‘Monstrous Souls’ is a disturbing story that doesn’t hold any punches and leaves the reader bursting for more.

You can buy ‘Monstrous Souls’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

The Silent Wife By Karin Slaughter

The Silent Wife ‘The Silent Wife’ is the latest book in the Will Trent series by Karin Slaughter.

A woman runs alone in the woods. She convinces herself she has no reason to be afraid, but she’s wrong. A predator is stalking the women of Grant County. He lingers in the shadows, until the time is just right to snatch his victim. A decade later, the case has been closed. The killer is behind bars. But then another young woman is brutally attacked and left for dead, and the MO is identical. Although the original trail has gone cold – memories have faded, witnesses have disappeared – agent Will Trent and forensic pathologist Sara Linton must re-open the cold case. But the clock is ticking, and the killer is determined to find his perfect silent wife….

It’s hard to believe but ‘The Silent Wife’ is the first book that I’ve read by Karin Slaughter. Even though, she’s been writing for twenty years and this is her tenth book in the Will Trent, I’m a novice to her books, and this latest book is quite the eye opener.

The story is written in the past and present tense over a ten year period whilst a serial murderer and rapist is preying upon poor women. Will Trent is investigating the cases with his girlfriend and pathologist Dr Sara Linton and in the past tense, Jeffery who is Sara’s ex husband is investigating the cases. During that time, Jeffery has died and Sara and Will are trying to piece the evidence before another woman is targeted.

Even though, I’ve never read a Karin Slaughter book, I’ve seen her speak at Murder One Crime Festival and she was fascinating to listen to. Karin works closely with police and their investigations and the disturbing thing about her stories is that they are based on true crime events and this latest story is horrific. Graphic scenes of sexual abuse, torture and gore made this book unsettling reading but also fascinating in an equal measure.

As the story is part of a series, Karin cleverly includes brief background on the characters, but not enough to give away vital information, should the reader want to delve into earlier books.

The story is thoroughly researched with police procedures and it’s obvious that Karin worked closely with the police to tightly hone the story and the flashbacks between past and present are all weaved seamlessly together to make it a thrilling story.

‘The Silent Wife’ is a gruesome crime thriller that makes for gory reading. Filled with graphic scenes of sexual abuse and murder, this book isn’t for the faint hearted and should maybe come with a warming as the descriptive scenes could possibly trigger a person. With shocking and brutal scenes, ‘The Silent Wife’ is a twisted and dark tale that delivers a story of savagery that will thrill and shock the readers in equal measure.

You can buy ‘The Silent Wife’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Wives By Tarryn Fisher

The Wives‘The Wives’ is the latest book by Tarryn Fisher.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, you see your husband only one day a week. Thursday. But you don’t care, you love him that much. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself. And then, one day it all changes. You thought you were fine with this, with only having a fraction of a husband. But you can’t help yourself, you start to dig. You begin tracking them down, the other days… Who is Monday and why does she have bruises on her arms? Is she being abused? By who? Her husband? Your husband? What else is he keeping from you? And who is he, really?

I spent one evening with my head absorbed with this book. It’s an unsettling, psychological story that throughly gripped my attention.

The story is seen through the narrative of Thursday who’s married to Seth. Seth is a polygamist and along with Tuesday, has two other wives. They have never met each other but Thursday has a curiosity to find out who the women are that he is married to. Thursday then begins on a slippery journey of delving into social media and befriending whilst finding out that Seth isn’t quite the charmer that he makes himself out to be.

This book is one twisted story. Thursday is an interesting narrative, she’s complex and is content to have one night a week with her husband whilst the other wives have his attention. But as the story progresses, we see a different side to her and the perfect relationship, as Thursday begins to question everything that Seth has told her. He’s the perfect man, charming, successful with a dysfunctional childhood that makes up for his misdemeanours. Thursday as also a bit of an unreliable narrator and sometimes it was challenging to see what was fact and what was fiction.

The story is set in Seattle and Thursday is a nurse and for me, the story was written like a darker version of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. It was a sexy and gripping story about love, obsession that really made for compulsive reading. Atmospheric from the first page, ‘The Wives’ is fantastic and thrilling page turner. Fast paced with drama and suspense throughout, the story is an emotional and psychological thriller that will keep the reader hooked throughout.

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