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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.

The Little Book Of Hope By Louise Hall

The Little Book Of Hope‘The Little Book Of Hope’ is the latest book by Louise Hall.

The past few months have made us realise that change is inevitable – sometimes good but sometimes it can be cruel and makes your world go out of control.We might experience anxiety, low moods, night sweats, exhaustion or worse. We lose all hope and feel that there is nothing to look forward to.Little Book of Hope helps you find your way back again – through Reflections to guide you through the difficult times, together with: Family. Friends. Rest. Time – for yourself. Walk. Talk. Cry. Grieve. Meditate. Pray. Accept things. Patience. Dedicated to all those around the world who have lost hard but loved much – that you may re-discover Hope and welcome the beautiful pleasure of joy back into your lives.

At this moment in time, the world is a bit of a bleak place with a pandemic, a potential second lockdown in place and jobs on the decline everyone is feeling at a loss and really beginning to lose hope and faith.

So the ‘The Little Book of Hope’ couldn’t have been released at a better time. This little book is the perfect pick me up and is filled with affirmations that will those who are feeling at a low.

With its vibrant cover and nifty size, this book can easily fit in your handbag and offer you support and guidance as you go through the days tasks.

With inspirational quotes and advice to encourage you never to give up on hope, ‘The Little Book Of Hope’ is the perfect tonic for during the pandemic chaos and help life our mood whenever it gets too much.

You can buy ‘The Little Book Of Hope’ from Amazon.

Food For Thought By Sara Madderson

‘Food For Thought’‘Food For Thought’ is the latest book by Sara Madderson.

Evelyn Macleod has spent a decade helping her husband, charismatic TV chef Seb Macleod, to become a household name. Now they’re riding high and enjoying the spoils of their success. When a tabloid forces Seb to come out as gay, Evelyn and her young son flee to a friend’s luxury resort in rural Kent. Sorrel Farm is the perfect place to hide out, decompress from her disciplined London lifestyle, and comfort-eat. The enforced break also throws into question everything that Evelyn has worked so hard for. Should she continue to chase the glittering heights of wealth and power in London? Or should she choose balance—and the chance to find love—in the beautiful English countryside?

If you’re looking for a book that is uplifting and full of spirit, then ‘Food For Thought’ is perfect for you.

Evelyn McLeod has the perfect life married to a handsome and successful chef called Seb, their restaurant empire is going from strength and they have an adorable little boy called Eddie. But things come crashing down around Evelyn when Seb reveals to her that he’s gay and he has to reveal this to the public before some photographs of him in a compromising position are leaked to the press. The couple put on a united front and reveal their story to the threatening tabloid, but whilst Evelyn has maintained her dignity, in reality she’s heartbroken and fearful of her future. So she takes herself off to Kent to visit her best friend Jess and her partner Zoe where they have a quaint resort filled with organic food, a stunning location and a handsome organic farmer to help occupy her mind. It’s during this time, that Evelyn uses this time to reflect on what and where is next in her life journey.

I loved this book, it’s packed with sass and humour and was a really fun story. The story is reminiscent of ‘This Morning’s presenter Philip Scofield’s recent coming out, a popular celebrity with a very public display, as Seb is a bit of a national treasure.

The story travels at a fun pace and with witty dialogue and great characters that make it so easy to absorb yourself into the story. Evelyn was a fantastic protagonist and was an inspiration to read, using Seb’s sexuality declaration to create a new life for herself and sweet little boy Eddie.

An up lifting and fun story about love and life, ‘Food For Thought’ is an entertaining book that made for delicious reading.

You can ‘Food For Thought’ from Amazon.

My Dark Vanessa By Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa‘My Dark Vanessa’ is the first book by Kate Elizabeth Russell.

Vanessa Wye was fifteen years old when she first had sex with her English teacher. She is now thirty-two and in the storm of allegations against powerful men in 2017, the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Vanessa is horrified by this news, because she is quite certain that the relationship she had with Strane wasn’t abuse. It was love. She’s sure of that. Forced to rethink her past, to revisit everything that happened, Vanessa has to redefine the great love story of her life – her great sexual awakening – as rape. Now she must deal with the possibility that she might be a victim, and just one of many.

The story is seen through the narrative of a young woman called Vanessa and is written in past and present sequences.

The story begins with Vanessa receiving news that her former secondary school teacher has been accused of abusing a pupil and with this news, it makes Vanessa reflect on her own experience with the teacher in question. The story then travels back and forth revealing Vanessa’s relationship with the teacher and the new accusations.

This book is such a dark and twisted story that it literally gets under your skin and at the times. The writing is so vivid and descriptive that I had to put the book down at times for a break. Vanessa is 15 when she attends schools on a scholarship and immediately catches the eye of English teacher Jacob Strane and they embark on a relationship that he starts but always maintains that it’s Vanessa that’s effected him and made him feel this way. Vanessa has written the story from both the teenager and adult perspective and naively writes about the relationship as a romantic love affair and not a paeophillic affair. But as new accusations come to light about Jacob’s behaviour, Vanessa finds herself thinking about her first relationship and whether it really was a loving relationship or if she was in-fact a victim of abuse.

This book touches on paeophillia, grooming, and gaslighting and is genuinely one of the most unsettling books that I’ve read in recent time. This book isn’t easy to read and contains vivid descriptions of underage sex which makes for extremely disturbing reading. The book is very current for its topic during the #MeToo movement and really sparks a conversation.

I genuinely disliked the Jacob, the villain of the story. I hate how he used Vanessa’s vulnerability to his own sick advantage, convincing her that there’s nothing wrong with their relationship and it was true love. It was like he was convincing himself and Vanessa that there was nothing with their relationship and regularly compared her to ‘Lolita’. It was sickening to read of his predatory behaviour and made me feel such sadness for the young women that have been treated in this appalling way.

‘My Dark Vanessa’ is Kate Eliabeth’s debut novel and is a strong contender for one of the most standout books of 2020. A harrowing and emotional story that exposes the dynamics of the relationship between the abuser and the victim as well as sex and power. ‘My Dark Vanessa’ is a thought provoking and devastating story that is hard read, so be prepared.

You can buy ‘My Dark Vanessa’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Hermit By S.R White

Hermit‘Hermit’ is the latest book by S.R White.

After a puzzling death in the wild bushlands of Australia, detective Dana Russo has just hours to interrogate the prime suspect – a silent, inscrutable man found at the scene of the crime, who disappeared without trace 15 years earlier. But where has he been? Why won’t he talk? And exactly how dangerous is he? Without conclusive evidence to prove his guilt, Dana faces a desperate race against time to persuade him to speak. But as each interview spirals with fevered intensity, Dana must reckon with her own traumatic past to reveal the shocking truth.

‘Hermit’ is a quite a somber and perculiar story that was initially a slow burner but once it got flowing, l quickly found myself absorbed in the story.

The story is about police detective Dana, who on the day that she is due to be off from work, gets called in for a murder case.

The main suspect is a quiet man called Nathan Whittler who’s found in the store where the owner has been fatally stabbed. Nathan is a reclusive character who hasn’t spoken to anyone in 15 years and has no fixed abode. Dana has been given 12 hours to solve the crime and break down Nathan’s barrier. But the day in which all this happens, is an anniversary that Dana prefers to spend alone.

The premise to this story is an intriguing one with a quiet and reflective detective who’s skill is to read people and get them to open up. Nathan is a complex character, having disappeared 15 years leaving no trace, he’s become detached from human interaction and his vulnerability is exposed when Dana interrogates him. The scenes with Dana and Nathan make for interesting reading, as much as Dana wants Nathan to tell the truth, she’s also protective of her vulnerability and sees some similarities in Nathan, as they both harbour pasts and secrets.

The story is set in the Australian outback and this makes for the perfect setting for the intense and claustrophobic story.

The book is a suspenseful story that really pulled me in, the story is cleverly crafted with flawed and sympathetic characters that the reader feels a connection with. I found Dana quite fascinating with her troubled past and her interactions with the colleagues who add an element of humour to the otherwise dark story.

One thing that troubled me about the story was that there wasn’t a proper reveal to the significant day that changed Dana’s life. Throughout the story, there were many references to the Day and made it to be quite a big part to the story and for not to properly reveal it. I found it to be quite disappointing. My only thoughts for this, was maybe the author was leaving it open for another book and if that’s the case, I’d readily read the book

A mysterious and thrilling story with an exciting plot line, ‘Hermit’ is a gripping tale that was impossible to put down.

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