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The Witness By Terry Lynn Thomas

The Witness‘The Witness’ is the second book in the ‘Olivia Sinclair’ series.

Teenager Ebby Engstrom witnesses a murder – and then passes out. The next morning, he wakes in his bed with no memory of how he got there, and is told his mother was stabbed to death the previous night. Thirty years later, the case has gone cold, with numerous suspects but no new clues – until Ebby starts having uncontrollable flashbacks to that night. As repressed memories surface, he questions his own role in the murder, leading to a dramatic confession and Ebby’s arrest. Family friend and attorney Olivia Sinclair is convinced of Ebby’s innocence, but the only way to clear his name is to find the real killer herself. And it seems almost everyone connected to the Engstrom family had a reason to want Cynthia dead…

This is the first book that I’ve read by Terry and it was a great book, seen from multiple narratives, that really hooked the reader in.

The story is about Ebby who saw his mother being brutally murdered but a the killer was never caught. Now, over 30 years later, Ebby is beginning to relive that fateful night with panic attacks and blackouts and is convinced that he is killer. Against, his family’s wishes, he asks lawyer, Olivia Sinclair for her help and expertise as well as Olivia’s former lover and policeman Brian to help find the killer.

This book is a cleverly crafted suspenseful thriller that really pulled me in, so much so that I read it in one sitting. The narratives seen from the alleged suspect as well as police procedural really made for compelling reading. Ebby is a fascinating character, he’s never recovered from the brutal murder of his mother and even though she treated him unfairly, longs for her killer to be brought to justice and for his conscious to be cleared. Ebby’s mother was quite an unlikable character, so there are many suspects into her death and motives behind them.

The main story is about the murder of Ebby’s mother, but another story is included with Olivia and her complicated relationship with Brian, who’s now moved onto a new lover called Leanne, who Olivia has her suspicions about. This is the second book in the series, but it’s written in a way that gives the reader enough background to the series and the characters.

‘The Witness’ is a taunt and fast paced thriller, with complex characters that hooked the reader from the first page.

You can pre-order ‘The Witness’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 23rd April 2021.

Last Night By Mhairi McFarlane

Last Night’Last Night’ is the latest book by Mhairi McFarlane.

Eve, Justin, Susie and Ed have been friends since they were eighteen. Now in their 30s, the four are still as close as ever, Thursday pub quiz night is still sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe Eve should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed sometimes thinks about it too. Then one night, in an instant, all their lives change forever. And, as Eve learns she didn’t know her friends as well as she thought, she also discovers she isn’t the only person keeping secrets.

When it comes to books by Mhairi, you’re guaranteed to read a book packed with classic one liners, fantastic and relatable protagonists that you instantly connect with and a plot that will make you snort throughout.

But in Mhairi’s latest book, it’s filled with her trademark quirky characters and storyline but she also touched on grief and loss.

Eve has has a group of 4 best friends since secondary school. Susie, Justin and Ed. Eve and Ed have had a bit of complicated relationship after admitting feelings for each other but it never went anywhere. The 4 have maintained a tight friendship through the university years and now they’re in their mid 30’s. One night after a ritual pub quiz, the quartet is tragically changed leaving Eve question the friends that she thought she knew so well.

The story is seen through the narrative of Eve as she deals with the realisation that she didn’t really know her friendship group and finds herself finding solace in Finlay, Susie’s older brother who she was lead to believe is the bad guy.

I adored Eve, she’s fun, outspoken and heartbroken for the life that she used to have. The story is a romantic comedy as Eve and Finlay get to know each other under unexpected circumstances, but there are darker undertones to the story that does make for emotional reading in parts. Other supporting characters such as Finlay made for a delicious inclusion in the story, an estranged model that was always labelled the bad guy in Susie’s family. As Eve and Finlay tentatively get to know each other, their interactions make for tender and fun moments.

I love Mhairi’s writing, she has a skill of creating fantastic stories with such engaging characters that you instantly fall in love with and become friends with. As per her previous books, the story is packed with creative dialogue and one liners that made me giggle throughout.

‘Last Night’ is a beautifully written and observational story about heartache and friendship delivered with Mhairi’s wit and charm that made for genuinely uplifting and emotional reading.

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

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.