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Her Last Holiday By CL Taylor

Her Last Holiday Today marks the release of the latest book by CL Taylor called ‘Her Last Holiday’ and it’s a book that’s disturbed my slumber for the last couple of nights.

Two years ago, Fran’s sister Jenna disappeared on a wellness retreat in Gozo that went terribly wrong. Tom Wade, the now infamous man behind Soul Shrink Retreats, has just been released from prison after serving his sentence for the deaths of two people. But he has never let on what happened to the third victim: Jenna. Determined to find out the truth, Fran books herself onto his upcoming retreat – the first since his release – and finds herself face to face with the man who might hold the key to her sister’s disappearance. The only question is, will she escape the retreat alive? Or does someone out there want Jenna’s secrets to stay hidden?

The story is written through the narrative of 3 strong and determined women, sisters Fran and Jenna and another woman called Kate. It flows in a past and present tense, with the present narrative seen through Fran and Kate’s eyes and the past through Jenna’s having disappeared after her holiday, hence the name, ‘Her Last Holiday’.

Fran is determined to find out what happened to her younger sister after disappearing from a spiritual retreat and is convinced that Tom Wade, the leader of SoulShrink, is behind it. Tom has just been released from prison after the 2 of other people who accidentally died on the same retreat but Tom has always maintained his innocence regarding Jenna. Now back in the open, his wife Kate is adamant that normal services resume and goes about creating a new retreat in the same resort. Fran is guilt ridden by elderly mother into joining the retreat and finally finding the truth.

The story flows back and forth between the narratives and different time periods really set the scene for the story. Fran and Jenna never had a close relationship due to their age gap and that really affected Jenna and her confidence which becomes very apparent whilst confiding in Tom, who she unexpectedly falls for. Fran is a brash character who’s quick to speak up and easily falls into character as she pretends to be someone else on the retreat but she finds it hard to hold her tongue, when revelations come to light and her questioning raises suspicions. Kate is a complex character who’s fuelled by money and control and won’t let anything stand in the way of her success, including her husband Tom, she’s ruthless but also occasionally admirable in her ballsiness.

This book is gripping for many reasons, the strong female leads all with complexities making for fascinating reading, their riddled with secrets and lies and within each chapter, a drama is revealed hooking the reader even further in. Their narratives are unreliable, leaving the reader unsure of who to believe and being set in a spiritual retreat where people come to cleanse themselves against the exotic backdrop of Gozo adds an element of mystery and luxury to the story.

Once again, Cally has outdid herself with her latest book, riddled with suspense, dominant characters and twists at every turn, ‘Her Last Holiday’ is a compulsive thriller that pulls the reader in to discover the truth.

You can buy ‘Her Last Holiday’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Strangers By CL Taylor

Strangers‘Strangers’ is the latest book by CL Taylor.

Ursula, Gareth and Alice have never met before. Ursula thinks she killed the love of her life. Gareth’s been receiving strange postcards. And Alice is being stalked. None of them are used to relying on others – but when the three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide, there’s only one thing for it: they have to stick together. Otherwise, one of them will die. Three strangers, two secrets, one terrifying evening.

I spent two evenings curled up with ‘Strangers’ , a gripping story of three people who have never met before but end up having their lives interweaved in a way that they never imagined.

Alice is a single mother and manager of a clothes shop who reluctantly decides to look for love, when a date goes disastrously wrong, she ends up being rescued by the charismatic Simon, a man that could certainly change her life for the better. But just as Alice imagines a relationship with Simon, threatening things start to happen and Simon disappears from her life. After the death of her partner, Ursula’s life fell apart and after being caught stealing, she ends up living in a house with a strange man with locked doors and strange smells and finally, Gareth’s father disappear 20 years ago but now someone is sending postcards to his mother, pretending to be him and then his Dementia ridden mother disappears.

Cally has done it again with this impressive thriller, combining suspense, drama page after page that hooks the reader right in. It’s obvious that the story was meticulously planned and structured with an ending that made me gasp in shock. All the characters are interesting with their issues and complexities, but I found myself particularly warming to Ursula, a damaged soul that never recovered from a bereavement. She’s a large woman in stature and personality and she seems to leap off the pages with the scenes that she’s in, I felt an empathy for Gareth, who’s a security guard who never really got a proper chance at life after his father disappeared and he became his mother’s carer. Cally has a great knack for creating characters that the reader has a connection and empathy for.

The story is seen from the perspective of the characters and each time new person was introduced into their lives, I found myself convinced that they were the villain, but in Cally’s style it was never obvious! As the story progresses, we see that they are strangers they may have passed each other in the streets but we see them being brought together in the most extreme and unexpected way in a cleverly written way.

A gripping story of lies and drama, ‘Strangers’ is another superb book from C.L Taylor, with a great premise, suspicious and relatable characters that grip the reader’s attention from the first page, this shocking and witty story is definitely one of my favourite books of 2020.

You can buy ‘Strangers’ from Amazon

My Top 12 Books Of 2019

My Top 12 Books Of 2019

Every year, I spend some time looking over my reviews of the books from that were published during that year and find myself faced with the same quandary. What have been my favourite books? The books that I recommended, enjoyed and passed onto friends to share the experience.

2019 has been no different, it’s a cracking year for debuts, ‘The Silent Patient’, ‘The Flat Share’ and ‘The Truth and Triumphs of Grace Atherton’ were all fantastic books that have soared through the books charts

After ten years of writing, C.L. Taylor received numerous accolades for her book called ‘Sleep’ and who can forget that sunny day in July when I read both ‘Those People’ and ‘The Family Upstairs’.

This was initially a list of my top 5 books of 2019, then it became my top 10 before finally becoming a top 12 books of 2019.

So, if you’re looking for some ideas for the book lover in your life, then look no further!

1. ‘Lies Lie Lies’ by Adele Parks
2. ‘The Passengers’ by John Marrs
3. ‘The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton’ by Anstey Harris
4. ‘The Family Upstairs’ by Lisa Jewell
5. ‘Blood Orange’ by Harriet Tyce
6. ‘Those People’ by Louise Candlish
7. ‘Half a World Away’ by Mike Gayle
8. ‘Tell Me Your Secret’ by Dorothy Koomson
9. ‘Sleep’ by C.L. Taylor
10. ‘Louis and Louise’ by Julie Cohen
11. ‘The Flat Share’ by Beth O’Leary
12. ‘The Silent Patient’ by Alex Michaelides

The Escape By C.L Taylor

The Escape‘The Escape’ is the latest book by C.L Taylor.

“Look after your daughter’s things. And your daughter…”When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn’t. The stranger knows Jo’s name, she knows her husband Max and she’s got a glove belonging to Jo’s two year old daughter Elise. What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo’s own husband turn against her. No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there’s only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

C.L. Taylor is back with another gripping read about a mothers strong desire to protect a child from harm.

In this story, we meet Jo, an anxiety ridden mother who suffers badly from claustrophobia but is determined to give her daughter Elise, the best life she can and not let the illness get in the way. Until one day, a stranger approaches her claiming that her husband, Max has something that belongs to her. But Max is adamant that he knows nothing or has nothing belonging to the woman. And so begins a race, a race for Jo to fight for her daughter and to prove her sanity, as she becomes target to a horrible tortuous campaign against her.

Like C.L.’s previous books, this book was thrilling and fast paced that made for gripping reading. The story is primarily seen through the eyes of Jo, a tortured soul who’s only instinct is the care of her little girl, but she’s unhappy in her marriage and is trying to overcome her claustrophobia to move on, but at regular points, she’s victim to a new case of harassment, with planted drugs and doubts over her sanity, making people wonder if she’s capable of being a fit mother.

To prevent her daughter from being taken from her, Jo goes on the run to Ireland, creating new identities for the pair of them and I found this part of the story particularly interesting, as it was set in areas of Ireland that I visited when I was a child and was familiar with. Also in this part of the story, there’s an intriguing sub story, featuring the landlady of the B&B that she stays with and her complexities also make for entertaining reading.

In a clever twist, there’s also elements of the story seen from the perspective of Jo’s tormentor and this is wonderfully riveting as we try to guess who the person is who’s terrorising Jo.

‘The Escape’ is another action packed and emotionally charged story from C.L. Taylor, riddled with suspense, drama and mystery, this story of a mothers love is an engaging and exciting story that really pulls the reader in and grips them at every twist and turn.

You can pre-order The Escape from Amazon and will be available to buy from 23rd March 2017.