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The Night She Disappeared By Lisa Jewell

The Night She Disappeared‘The Night She Disappeared’ is the latest book by ‘Sunday Times’ bestselling author Lisa Jewell.

Midsummer 2017: teenage mum Tallulah heads out on a date, leaving her baby son at home with her mother, Kim. At 11 p.m. she sends her mum a text message. At 4.30 a.m. Kim awakens to discover that Tallulah has not come home. Friends tell her that Tallulah was last seen heading to a pool party at a house in the woods nearby called Dark Place. Tallulah never returns. 2018: walking in the woods behind the boarding school where her boyfriend has just started as a head teacher, Sophie sees a sign nailed to a fence. A sign that says: DIG HERE.

Every year Lisa Jewell delivers a book that is hailed as her best book to date and I always agree. But this year, Lisa has completely knocked it out of the park with ‘The Night She Disappeared’, a story of love, obsession and amateur sleuthing.

I read this book in one sitting, it was compelling, dark and extremely addictive.

The story is seen through the narrative of 3 women. Kim, mother of Tallulah who disappears one night whilst out with her boyfriend called Zach. Tallulah, a teenage mother who’s in an unhappy relationship with Zach and finds herself drawn to Scarlett, an outspoken and well to do girl who attends the same school as Tallulah. And finally Sophie, who has just moved to the area, her boyfriend is the principal of the school that both Scarlett and Tallulah attended. Sophie is the author of a crime series and when she finds a sign in her back garden with the instruction to ‘Dig here’ she finds herself piecing together the last few moments of Tallulah being seen, along with Kim.

Right from the start, this book pulled me in. The multiples narratives made for intriguing reading. Like Lisa’s previous books, the story is delivered in past and present tense. The story begins with Kim’s narrative at the moment that Tallulah doesn’t return from her night out and then a year later, still appealing for help and never giving up hope. She’s now become the full time carer to Tallulah’s little boy Noah and is heartbroken that Tallulah is missing out on pivotal moments in Noah’s life. Tallulah’s narrative are delivered in the past and to be honest, this makes for sad reading. A teenage girl struck in an unhappy relationship with a seemingly lovely boy, but who’s manipulative and when she’s with Scarlett, she radiates warmth and happiness that lifts off the pages. And newcomer to the town Sophie, is using her crime writing skills to uncover the clues, as well as being new to the town, sees the residents in a new light and is able to notice the suspicious characters and motives.

I’ve always thought that Lisa transitioned beautifully from female fiction to domestic noir and felt that she really triumphed in this story. The characters are addictive and dark, with flawed personalities that really pulled my attention. From Tallulah’s naivety, Kim’s faith and Sophie’s determination. Her writing is skilfully crafted and her observational insights into relationships and society made for even more gripping reading

A modern thriller delivered with drama and twists at every turn, ‘The Night She Disappeared’ is a tense and dramatic story that keeps the reader guessing throughout and made this book impossible to put down.

You can pre-order ‘The Night She Disappeared’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 22nd July 2021.

Nominations For The 2014 Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards

RONAThe annual shortlist for the RoNA awards were revealed and I am delighted to see that some of my recent favourite books are amongst the nominees.

The five category winners competing for the Romantic Novel of the Year are drawn from 30 finalists’ books; six each from the five categories – Contemporary Romantic Novel, Epic Romantic Novel, Historical Romantic Novel, Romantic Comedy Novel and Young Adult Romantic Novel.

The Category Shortlists
Listed in alphabetical order

The Contemporary Romantic Novel category is for mainstream romantic novels set post-1960 and includes genres such as chick lit, paranormal and romantic suspense.

Helen Chandler, Two for Joy, Hodder & Stoughton
Susan Elliot Wright, The Things We Never Said, Simon & Schuster
Veronica Henry, A Night On The Orient Express, Orion
Lisa J Hobman, Bridge Over The Atlantic, 5 Prince Publishing
Lisa Jewell, Before I Met You, Arrow
Pippa Wright, The Foster Husband, Pan

The Epic Romantic Novel category contains serious issues or themes, including gritty, multi-generational stories.

Jessica Blair, The Road Beneath Me, Piatkus
Mary Fitzgerald, The Love Of A Lifetime, Arrow
Emma Fraser, When Dawn Breaks, Sphere
Kate Lord Brown, The Perfume Garden, Atlantic (Corvus)
Jennifer McVeigh, The Fever Tree, Penguin
Lucinda Riley, The Midnight Rose, Pan

The Historical Romantic Novel category is for novels set in a period before 1960.

Charlotte Betts, The Painter’s Apprentice, Piatkus
Christina Courtenay, The Gilded Fan, Choc Lit
Liz Harris, A Bargain Struck, Choc Lit
Joanna Hickson, The Agincourt Bride, Harper Collins
Carol McGrath, The Handfasted Wife, Accent Press
Annie Murray, The Women Of Lilac Street, Pan

The Romantic Comedy Novel is for consistently humorous or amusing novels.

Jenny Colgan, Christmas At The Cupcake Café, Little, Brown
Jenny Colgan, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris, Little, Brown
Margaret James, The Wedding Diary, Choc Lit
Milly Johnson, It’s Raining Men, Simon and Schuster
Ali McNamara, Step Back In Time, Little, Brown
Fiona Walker, The Summer Wedding, Sphere

The Young Adult Romantic Novel features protagonists who are teenagers or young adults.

Liz Bankes, Irresistible, Piccadilly Press
Christina Courtney, New England Rocks, Choc Lit
Alex Gutteridge, Last Chance Angel, Templar Publishing.
Imogen Howson, Linked, Quercus
Marie-Louise Jensen, Smuggler’s Kiss, Oxford University Press
Beth Reekles, The Kissing Booth, Corgi

RoNA Rose Award – the finalists do not contest the Romantic Novel of the Year Award – recognises the best in category/series and shorter romance that focus on developing a love affair between the hero and heroine.

Louise Allen, Forbidden Jewel of India, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Caroline Anderson, Snowed in with the Billionaire, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Liz Fielding, Anything But Vanilla, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Joanna Fulford, His Lady of Castlemora, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Kate Hardy, Bound by a Baby, Harlequin Mills & Boon
Kate Hardy, Her Real Family Christmas, Harlequin Mills & Boon

The 2014 RNA Awards will be announced and presented by Darcey Bussell on 17th March in the Reading and Writing Room of the Gladstone Library in London. Good luck and best wishes to all the authors nominated.

Save The Date! by Allie Spencer

Save The Date‘Save The Date!’ is the latest book by Allie Spencer.

Family weddings can be hell and, marooned in Italy for her cousins wedding, Ailsa can be forgiven for thinking that this one is worse than most. With the bride and groom at loggerheads and the guests in uproar, it is a million miles away from the rest and relaxation that she had been hoping for. And, then suddenly in the middle of mayhem, she comes face to face with Nick, the man she walked out on just a few months earlier. How can Ailsa help get the wedding back on track when she and Nick can’t stop arguing? But if they do, she might remember why she fell in love with him in the first place and then there really would be trouble.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Save The Date!’, I thought it was a gloriously upbeat story that was just the perfect accompaniment to a summer evening. Filled with lovely, playful, interesting characters and hilarious scenarios, it was hard not to read this book without a smile on your face. Ailsa, the lead character in the story, is a sweetheart with a kind and caring nature. She comes to Italy for her cousin’s wedding even though a family feud has thrown the family apart, she replies to Jess’s pleas and turns up, hiding the fact that she is dealing with her own secret heartache, so she puts on a brave face to help her cousin, Jess deal with her controlling and demanding wedding planner, Veronica. Jess is a breath of fresh air in the story, with a sweet innocence about life, her and her husband Justin, see life through rose-tinted glasses which gives the story an endearing flow to it. And with the addition of Nick, Ailsa’s handsome and artistic ex and a mischievous and hyper Jack Russell who goes by the name of Arthur, who reeks havoc wherever he goes, there is plenty of fun and drama in throughout this book.

A refreshing, light and warmhearted love story, ‘Saved By The Date!’ is the perfect summer pick me up!

You can buy Save the Date! on Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Rowan Coleman Reveals Her Secret Double Life

Scarlett Bailey

Exciting news last week when author of “Dearest Rose”, Rowan Coleman revealed that she is infact Christmas fiction author, Scarlett Bailey and has been so for the last two years.

In a post revealed on her website, entitled “The Truth About My Secret Double Life” Rowan confessed that she had an alter ego.

Rowan said –

It’s funny to think that for almost two years I have had a top secret identity that almost no-one has known about. Not quite a super hero, although not adverse to spreading a little magic and a lot of fun, not quite an alter ego, but definitely a top secret identity never-the-less. Because for the last two years I have not been allowed to tell you truth – until today.

And the truth is that I am not only Rowan Coleman, no my friends – I am also Christmas Fiction writer Scarlett Bailey.

As well as revealing her lighter more comic side as Scarlett Bailey. Rowan also announced that “Dearest Rose” was to be her last book with Arrow and she has just signed a deal with Ebury Press, who will publish her next two books “The Memory Book” and “One Night”

Two more books? Rowan you are spoiling us! And as for Scarlett, I look forward to what the future has in store for her.

Arrow secures six Sweet Valley e-book Novellas

Sweet Valley Confidential,The Sweet Life

Good news for Sweet Valley fans, as Arrow have secured rights to six e-book novellas that will follow on where Francine Pascal’s adult novel “Sweet Valley Confidential” left off.

Editor Gillian Holmes bought UK Commonwealth, excluding ANZ, rights from Angharad Kowal at Writers House, with Cornerstone Digital to publish all six novellas as e-books on 12th August 2012.

Holmes revealed that the novellas will open three years after where the adult novel left off and said that “In The Sweet Life, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are now 30, and there are some pretty huge surprises in store both for them and the millions of Sweet Valley fans. Each ‘episode’ ends on a cliffhanger so it’s impossible to stop reading them. Direct to digital e-books are the perfect format for Sweet Valley fans, and it’s a new and exciting venture for us.”

I am quietly excited about this revelation and wonder if the novellas will be as eye opening or as dark as “Sweet Valley Confidental”

Only time will tell.

You can pre-order The Sweet Life: The Serial (Sweet Valley Confidential) on Amazon