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Unsettled Ground By Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground‘Unsettled Ground’ is the latest book by Claire Fuller.

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Inside the walls of their old cottage they make music, and in the garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance. But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother’s secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.

‘Unsettled Ground’ is a dark and unsettling story about twin brother and sister Julius and Jeanie Seeder, who’s lives change drastically when their mother dies. The siblings are reclusive characters, who live alone in their old fashioned cottage with no electricity or modern amenities. When their mother dies, it comes to light that she owed a lot of debts which in light of her death, was then passed onto her children.

Both the pair have to think of ways of making money, but are very limited in their skills. Although, he’s hard worker and can turn his hand to most skills, Julius cannot travel far due to travel sickness, whilst Jeanie has a bad heart and has to look after herself. As they struggle and save, it makes for sad and frustrating reading, as they are dealt constant hardship from the bullies of the town. We see rare moments of genuine happiness, when the twins play their instruments and sing together and maybe in another world could have been successful artists.

The story is beautifully written and vividly descriptive at very opportunity, from the run down cottage to the vibrant garden that Jeanie helps bring to life to earn a few pound. The characters are a fascinating blend of personalities, from the quiet reclusive sister to the sociable brother who enjoys engaging with others, whilst Jeanie prefers to shy away. But as the story progresses, we see her grow into a stronger and more independent woman, who begins to befriends others as she thinks of creative ways to make an income as well as provide a life for her and her brother.

One thing that struck a chord with me, was that Jeanie couldn’t read and I found this genuinely upsetting, as she struggled to adapt without her mother and brother reading for her. She made me realise how fortunate I am that I can read as she struggled with basic things such as shop for groceries. As an avid reader and book lover, it was sad to read that she missed out on an opportunity to learn to read which would have opened so many doors for her.

Atmospheric from the first page, ‘Unsettled Ground’ is a taunt and tense novel about loss, deceit and what might have been, that made for clever and gripping reading with unthinkable twist that will stay with you long after you reached the final page.

You can pre-order ‘Unsettled Ground’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 25th March 2021.

The Best Is Yet To Come By Katy Collins

The Best Is Yet To Come‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ is the latest book by Katy Collins.

Izzy has always taken everything in her stride but motherhood is proving more difficult than she thought. She keeps telling herself it’s just a phase but the dark clouds are starting to appear. Neighbour and widower Arthur might be in the winter of his life but he’s not ready to be packed off to a care home. He’s determined to do things his way. When Izzy hears about Arthur’s big move, she offers to help. But Arthur isn’t telling her the whole story. It takes courage to admit you need a friend and when you feel invisible, all you need is a ray of hope. After all, what if the best is yet to come?

If you like stories of new beginnings and friendship, then this book is for you.

The story is seen from the perspective of new mum Izzy and her elderly neighbour called Arthur, who she rescues one night when he falls over. The story centres around their unlikely friendship as they both deal with milestones in their lives, Izzy is adjusting to becoming a first time mother and Arthur is clearing out his home, two years after his wife’s death to move into a retirement village.

The pair are a lovely duo and scenes with together make for really sweet reading. Arthur and Pearl were unable to have children, so Izzy and her baby Evie give him the opportunity to be a grandfather figure which he dotes on immensely. Izzy is a relatable character, she expected motherhood to come naturally but she has struggles that her husband Andrew seems oblivious to which was very frustrating reading. She finds a kinship in Arthur and their shared project which gives them something to concentrate on and bond over.

The story alternates between the perspectives of the pair and it’s uplifting to see them grow in friendship as well as confidence as Izzy gets more comfortable with the mother role.

This story is a beautifully written one that flows at a lovely pace, captivating the reader with moments of poignancy and nostalgia. Emotional and heartfelt, ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ is a life affirming story of hope, forgiveness and will certainly strike a chord with its relatable and engaging characters.

You can buy ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Last Goodbye By Fiona Lucas

The Last Goodbye‘The Last Goodbye’ is the latest book by Fiona Lucas.

Anna’s world was shattered three years ago when her husband Spencer was killed in a tragic accident. Her friends and family think it’s time she moved on, but how can she when she’s lost her soulmate? On New Year’s Eve, Anna calls Spencer’s old phone just to hear his voicemail greeting. But to her surprise someone picks up. Brody answers and is the first person who truly understands what Anna is going through. As they begin to speak regularly, Anna finds herself opening up and slowly she discovers how to smile again, how to laugh, even how to hope. But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?

‘The Last Goodbye’ is the first book that I’ve read by Fiona Lucas aka Fiona Harper and it most certainly will not be the last, a tender and emotional about love and grief this story makes for heart-breaking reading in parts.

Even though, it’s been almost 3 years since her husband and soulmate Spencer was killed when a drunk driver hit him, Anna is not able to move on. Still consumed by grief, she rebuffs offers of nights out with well-meaning friends, who all want to set her up with someone new. The last piece of contact that Anna has with Spencer is the voice mail on his answer machine until one day, it’s gone and replaced with the voice of Brody who’s been assigned the new number. Heartbroken that her connection with Spencer is gone, Anna finds so many similarities in Brody and begins a tender phone friendship with him, as he offers an anchor in her sea of grief.

This story is a beautifully written that I was immediately swept up in. Anna is a lovely character, kind with a sweet nature, she’s lost without Spencer by her side and as everyone moves on around her she finds it hard to let go. Likewise with Brody, he too is dealing with turmoil with no one to turn to but his dog called Lewis. Brody and Anna find a solace and companionship in each other and this makes for tender reading as they confide and progress forward in life. My heart truly went out to Anna at times in this book, as she was under pressure to move on but there’s no time limit with grief and everyone needs to progress at their own pace, which people should be respectful off.

The story travels at a lovely pace as Anna begins to confront her grief and tries to adapt to her new life as well as get to know Brody and their interactions are fun and heart-warming.

An original and heartfelt story that genuinely made for poignant reading, ‘The Last Goodbye’ is an emotional story about loss, hope and courage and is perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern.

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

The Girl With The Silver Bangle By Linda Finlay

The Girl With The Silver Bangle‘The Girl With The Silver Bangle’ is the latest book by Linda Finlay.

London, 1910. A cruel twist of fate means Daisy must give up the job she loves painting for a theatre company and move to Devon. Only the silver bangle she wears on her wrist brings comfort, reminding her of a young man who once promised her his heart. In Devon, life is very different. Lodging with her uncle at his busy tavern, Daisy must scrub and serve for her keep. And when her uncle catches her sketching, he is furious and forbids her to draw. But a chance meeting with two travelling artists offers Daisy a different path, and steeling her courage, Daisy runs away with them to Lamorna, Cornwall, home to a famous group of bohemian artists…

Set in 1911, the story is seen from the aspiring artist Daisy, who’s world turns upside down when her father when standing up for a woman loses his job as well as the family home. Without an income, the family of three move to a slum area, to the top floor where Daisy’s mum is unable to leave due to her bad leg. Daisy becomes the main breadwinner in the family, as she gets a promotion in her job. She’s no longer just a runner but a set artist and this gives her an extra few bob as well as confidence to hone her skill. Moving up in the world, with a boyfriend that’s asked for her hand in marriage, life is going well for Daisy until a tram accident kills her father and seriously injures her mother, leaving Daisy with no other option but to move in with her creepy uncle, a man she doesn’t know.

Her uncles offers her a roof in his ale house but Daisy hates it, from the leering stares from the men, to the bullying behaviour from Polly, her uncle’s help who hates everyone and everything. The only solace is that her mother will get better and she will marry Harry, but he never responds to her letters and Daisy worries that he no longer loves her and finds herself clutching to the silver bangle that he made for her proving his love.

Trapped in an unknown town with a handsy uncle and with no money to her name, she finds help with Claude and Grace who rescue her and give her the confidence to hone her art and not to give up on love or life.

I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction, but I must admit that I was easily absorbed in this story of friendship and love. Set in a time when the Suffragettes were becoming known and women were finding their voices, this book paints a vivid and harsh picture of the hardship that women were exposed to. I loved Daisy, she was a bright and determined young woman who had her life paved out for her, only for it to be cruelly taken away and how she adapts to change with the help from her new friends.

A story of hardship and determination against the backdrop of the rural countryside, ‘The Girl With The Silver Bangle’ is a romantic and atmospheric story that sweeps the reader away with it vivid descriptions and dialogue and a leading lady that never gives up.

You can buy ‘The Girl With The Silver Bangle’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

One By One By Helen Bridgett

One By One‘One By One’ is the latest book by Helen Bridgett.

Professor Maxie Reddick has her reasons for being sceptical of traditional policing methods, but, in between her criminology lecturing job and her Criminal Thoughts podcast, she stays firmly on the side lines of the crime solving world. Then a young woman is brutally attacked, and suddenly it’s essential that Maxie turns her words into actions; this is no longer an academic exercise – this is somebody’s life. But as she delves deeper, the case takes a sickening turn, which leads Maxie to the horrifying realisation that the attack might not have been a one-off. It seems there’s a depraved individual out there seeking revenge, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it … little by little … one by one.

When a young woman is raped at a wedding, her friend contacts Maxie Reddick, the criminal professor with a successful podcast series. Georgina, the victim doesn’t want to go to the police but Maxie is doing in her power to convince Georgina otherwise as well as try to find the rapist. As Georgina finally begins to open up to Maxie, she is murdered and Maxie feels at a loss and that she has let the young woman down.

Determined more than ever to find Georgina’s rapist and murderer by starting her own investigation with the aid of the police but as the Maxie begins to piece things together and make new connections, there’s someone who is ahead of her taking them down one by one.

The story is primarily seen through Maxie’s perspective, a driven woman who’s determined to get justice for Georgina, who she feels that she has let down. Maxie throws herself into her work, much to the annoyance of her husband Philip, who’s recently started a mysterious new job after his redundancy. After many years of marriage, Maxie is unhappy with the relationship and spends most of her time avoiding Philip and his interference and sleeping in separate rooms.

To add a little bit more suspense to this already cleverly written thriller, there are also narratives from the rapist/murderer and this really does makes for interesting reading as the reader tries to piece together clues from their perspectives.

A gripping police procedural thriller, with characters that make for fascinating reading and a protagonist that is determined to bring justice to light, ‘One By One’ is a great book filled with twists, suspense that keeps the reader fully engaged throughout.

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