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Apples Never Fall By Liane Moriarty

Apples Never Fall‘Apples Never Fall’ is the latest book by Liane Moriarty.

The Delaney family love one another dearly – it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other. Joy Delaney and husband Stan have done well. Four wonderful grown-up children. A family business to envy. The golden years of retirement ahead of them. So when Joy Delaney vanishes – no note, no calls, her bike missing – it’s natural that tongues will wag. How did Stan scratch his face? And who was the stranger who entered and suddenly left their lives? What are they all hiding? But for the Delaney children there is a much more terrifying question: did they ever know their parents at all?

I actually read this book back at Christmas and it was another great thrilling story from one of Australia’s greatest authors and in true, Liane’s style, the story starts right at the pivotal moment of major change in the Delaney family’s lives.

The story is written in and past present tense and is seen through the narrative of Joy Delaney and her children, Brooke, Amy, Troy and Logan and how their lives dramatically changed when a stranger called Savannah appears in their parents lives and fits seamlessly and replaces them. One day, both Joy and Savannah disappear and Savannah’s husband Stan is seen as the main culprit in her disappearance despite his protests.

I loved this story, the multiple narratives and dual tenses made for gripping reading. I found Savannah to be a fascinating character, she appears in Joy’s and Stan’s lives one evening in complete distress and they take her in knowing nothing about her. Joy treats her Savannah like the daughter she never had as her relationship with her own daughters is quite strained at times, as they were brought up in a competitive family and this upsets both Brooke and Amy and are immediately suspicious of Savannah.

The Delaney family are a complex group of people. Both Joy and Stan are tennis instructors and their children were brought up to be tennis champions but sadly that wasn’t the case and that’s left a sour taste in Stan’s mouth and this causes friction in the family. They try to live up to their father’s high standards but are constantly letting him down. Stan is a petulant man with a temper and is prone to leaving when the going gets tough. All the children, now grown ups have their own issues in their lives, separation, mental health as well as fertility and their troubles make for relatable reading.

Joy is at a standstill in her life, she has spent her years coaching and bringing her children up and now Savannah has come into her live and exudes excitement and mystery, but she also shows an interest in Joy, something that she’s been missing for years.

The present tense are seen through the narrative of the police investigating Joy’s disappearance, her friends and children as they all wonder about the mysterious Savannah and what caused Joy to disappear.

‘Apples Never Fall’ is another rollercoaster of a suspenseful domestic noir from Liane, packed with drama and intrigue from the first mysterious text from Joy to her children to the final scene that hooked my attention throughout. Cleverly and wittily written, ‘Apples Never Fall’ is an observational story about family dynamics and mishaps, that was a complete guessing game!

You can buy ‘Apples Never Fall’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Perfect Escape By Leah Konen

The Perfect Escape‘The Perfect Escape’ is the debut novel by Leah Konen.

When her husband Harry walks out after just six months, a girls’ weekend away with two friends seems like just what Sam needs. But they aren’t even halfway to their destination when things start to go wrong: car trouble that just happens to leave them stranded in the town where Harry lives. And that’s only the beginning. Because there are three things Sam doesn’t yet know. One of her friends is lying about what happened. One is lying about who she is. And one of them will never make it home.

If you like your thrillers packed with drama, suspense and missing people, then ‘The Perfect Escape’ is just the book to you.

The story is seen through the perspective of Sam and Margaret, they have gone away on a weekend trip with their other friend Diana but then their car breaks down on the way and Diana disappears making it the worst weekend of their lives. As police try to piece together Diana’s last moments, they reveal some truths and lies along the way, making both Sam and Margaret wonder they can trust and if they really did know their friend at all.

This book is an easy and enjoyable read that flowed at an engaging and fast pace keeping the reader on their toes with its many twist and reveals along the way. Sam is dealing with the breakdown of her relationship, although she’s still in love with Harry and refuses to believe that the relationship is over whilst Margaret is also getting over her marriage breakdown. Both women are escaping their heartbreak and fun loving Diana is determined that this week away will be perfect distraction.

This is Leah’s debut novel and it’s a great introduction to a new author. The characters are relatable but complex and that make them all suspects in the story as their stories don’t always add up and this makes for wonderfully suspenseful reading as you try to figure out the culprit.

Set against the backdrop of a peaceful town, where everyone knows your name and newcomers are to be watched warily, ‘The Perfect Escape’ is a thrilling story of deceit, drama and not everyone is who they say they are.

You can buy ‘The Perfect Escape’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Rachel’s Holiday By Marian Keyes

Rachel’s HolidayIt’s hard to believe that it’s 25th years since the Irish wonder that is Marian Keyes released ‘Rachel’s Holiday’

Meet Rachel Walsh. She’s been living it up in New York City, spending her nights talking her way into glamorous parties before heading home in the early hours to her adoring boyfriend, Luke. But her sensible older sister showing up and sending her off to actual rehab wasn’t quite part of her plan. She’s only agreed to her incarceration because she’s heard that rehab is wall-to-wall jacuzzis, spa treatments and celebrities going cold turkey – plus it’s about time she had a holiday. Saying goodbye to fun and freedom will be hard – and losing the man who might just be the love of her life will be even harder. But will hitting rock bottom help Rachel learn to love herself, at last?

I remember reading this book on a girls holiday whilst lying on a beach in Santa Ponsa and trying to stop my pasty Irish skin from burning. I remember vividly on that holiday grabbing every spare minute that I could find to keep reading as I connected with Rachel on so many levels at that time. In an unhappy relationship, envying the singletons around me and wondering where I was going with my life. It was a complex time.

The story is seen solely through the rose tainted glasses of Rachel, who’s refusing to believe that she has a drug addiction as well as tried to take her own life. After being taken away from the bright lights of New York to the lino lined floor of the Cloisters, she’s hoping to run into celebrities to make her stay more adventurous but instead she’s having to face up to her ghosts and take a long hard look at herself.

Rachel is the woman that all women can identity with, insecure, unhappy, depressed, low self esteem. Her troubles are as long as a Tesco club card receipt, yet we all get her and think of her an inspiration, a shining light of courage and bravery.

This book is a witty and warm hearted tale about substance abuse, addiction and depression and Marian has handled these tough issues with such wit and charm that has made her one of the world’s most favourite authors. Her books have gone on to have inspired countless authors including an aspiring author, like myself. And it’s wonderful to hear that we will be meeting Rachel in 2022 with Marian’s new book called ‘Again Rachel’.

The story is written in the past and present tense, leading up to the fateful night of overdose and right from the start, this book is a hard hitting read, As Rachel adapts to her new life with like-minded people, who she refuses to believe that she has anything in common with. They have to face daily meetings with counsellors, her inmates as well as their significant others as they try to realise the damage that they are doing to themselves and others.

To the outside world, Rachel is the life and soul of the party and it really does make for sobering reading as it finally dawns on Rachel, the consequences of her behaviour and the effect it has on others and this is genuinely heartbreaking reading.

In true Marian style, no book is complete without the drama of the Walsh family, their competitive and bitchy nature but fiercely loyal behaviour made for warm reading. Whilst the inmates at the Cloisters, were a huge variety of personalities that riled and connected with each other, are always there with a shoulder or a bar of chocolate for support.

It’s hard to put together a review of this book, as no amount of wordage can really sing the praise of how brilliant ‘Rachel’s Holidays’ is. It’s coming of age, it’s witty, it’s bleak, it’s inspirational and at the heart of it all, it’s a love story – about a woman falling back in love with herself.

A book that I could easily read over and over again and still snort and cry at, happy anniversary to ‘Rachel’s Holidays’, a triumph of a story that’s written with such humour and charm but tackles substance and addiction abuse with skill.

You can buy ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Idea Of You By Robinne Lee

The Idea Of You‘The Idea Of You’ is the latest book by Robinne Lee.

To the media, Hayes Campbell is the enigmatic front-man of a record-breaking boyband. To his fans, he’s the man of their dreams. To Solène Marchand, he’s just the pretty face that’s plastered over her teenage daughter’s bedroom wall. Until a chance meeting throws them together. The attraction is instant. The chemistry is electric. The affair is Solène’s secret. But how long can it stay that way?

If you like your books saucy, honest and fun then ‘The Idea Of You’ is your next summer read.

I loved this book and immediately sank into it. I received a proof of the book and the cover is a bright yellow with a warning on the front cover saying ‘This Will Keep You Up All Night’ and never was a truer word written down.

The story is seen through the narrative of Solene who falls for Hayes Campbell, star of boyband August Moon and almost half her age. The pair have a passionate and turbulent relationship much to Hayes fans disgust including Selene’s daughter, Isabelle and focuses on the struggle of a high profile relationship and the age difference. I really enjoyed Selene, she’s vibrant and outspoken character, who unfortunately has to make some harsh decisions in her life due to her love interest.

This is Robinne’s debut novel and to be honest, it’s great. Right from the first page, we are treated to a story that is vividly written with witty and engaging dialogue and a love story that’s far from perfect.

A page turner from the first page, this book encapsulates the ultimate fantasy of falling for a rock star and is delivered with humour and warmth. ‘The Idea Of You’ takes you on an emotional journey and tears you apart at the final page.

You can buy ‘The Idea Of You’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Serial Killer’s Wife By Alice Hunter

The Serial Killer's Wife‘The Serial Killer’s Wife’ is the debut book by Alice Hunter.

Beth and Tom Hardcastle are the envy of their neighbourhood – they have the perfect marriage, the perfect house, the perfect family. When the police knock on their door one evening, Beth panics. Tom should be back from work by now – what if he’s crashed his car? She fears the worst. But the worst is beyond imagining. As the interrogation begins, Beth will find herself questioning everything she believed about her husband.

A debut novel with a fascinating narrative is exactly how I’d describe this book.

Seen from the narrative of Beth Hardcastle, she’s shocked when her husband is suspected to be involved with a disappearance of a woman from 8 years ago. And the perfect life that they’ve set up outside London is about to come crashing down, when rumours start circulating about him. Interestingly, the story is also seen through the opinion of Tom as he deals with the allegations being held behind bars and the worry of what Beth thinks.

Beth seems quite an interesting character, she’s settled into her new role of mother and owner of a ceramic cafe quite well, but she’s not used to the Yummy Mummy crowd and the judgement they pass at the school gates. She’s a strong woman and refuses to believe that her loving husband would have this side to him and as more stories are revealed, we see her opinion change which makes for gripping reading.

The story is written in the past and present tense from the lead up of the couple meeting whilst Alice has also included a narrative from Kate, the missing woman which I thought was a great addition to the story. This helped put a face and personality to the character instead of just thinking of her as an unknown.

‘The Serial Killer’s Wife’ is a complex psychological thriller that travels at a fast pace and is cleverly crafted with twists and drama throughout.

You can buy ‘The Serial Killer’s Wife’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.