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An Inconvenient Woman By Stéphanie Buelens

An Inconvenient Woman‘An Inconvenient Woman’ is the latest book by Stéphanie Buelens.

When Claire Fontaine learns that her ex-husband Simon is marrying again, to a woman with a teenage daughter, her blood runs cold. She is sure that years ago Simon molested her own daughter and was responsible for her mysterious death. She can’t let him get away with it a second time. Vandalism, harassment; whatever it takes, Claire will expose him. Simon doesn’t know where Claire got this delusion from; her daughter’s death was ruled a suicide, but she has always blamed herself – is she just lashing out? Wanting to protect his new fiancee, he hires Sloane Wilson, an ex-cop turned ‘sin-eater’, whose job it is to handle delicate cases without getting the police involved, to get Claire off his back.Sloane must navigate the wreckage of Claire and Simon’s marriage to discover the truth. Two people with conflicting stories and a whole lot of reasons to want to hurt each other. Is she crazy or is he manipulative? And can Sloane stay clear-headed enough to figure it out?

Claire Fontaine has never gotten over the death of her teenage daughter and blames her ex husband Simon for her death. Now that Simon has moved on and is getting married again, Claire is determined not to let history repeat itself. As Claire is making Simon’s life miserable, he hires Sloan Wilson, who is a sin eater to stop Claire from ruining his life.

This book is a really interesting concept and I found Sloan Wilson’s job to be quite fascinating. A sin eater, is someone you call to take care of problems and make them go away. A famous sin eater is Mr White from ‘Reservoir Dogs’. But as Sloan delves into Claire’s life and befriends her, she realises that the women have more in common than she would have ever expected with both of them having dominant fathers in their lives.

The characters in this story are fascinating, Claire is a French tutor and through her jobs meets loads of different people of all ages, all wanting to learn French for different reasons. Sloan is also interesting with her career choice, initially a policewoman, she followed in her fathers shoes but she changed her career when the force became corrupt. She’s honest and wants to help Claire, but the more she delves into Claire’s life that she begins to sympathise with her.

The story is quite cultured in parts with the French language as well as Claire love and knowledge with art especially when she starts tutoring an art dealer called Ray. When Claire is with Ray, we see a happier version of a normally stressed and unhappy woman.

This book evoked a lot of emotions in me, there was sadness for a Claire who was grieving for her daughter and is everyday reminded of her loss. But primarily I was angry for the majority of time with the way that women were treated in this book. When Claire fails to reciprocate her feelings for one of her students, he then harasses her, forcing himself upon and turning up at her house, his behaviour towards me riled me, even more so than Simon. Simon is a smarmy character, who has gaslighting down to a tee, one minute charming and immediately using his authority as a lawyer to undermine Claire.

With an unique plot, a gripping hook with flawed characters that kept me engaged throughout. ‘An Inconvenient Woman’ is a cleverly crafted story with strong female characters and suspense that keeps the reader guessing throughout.

You can buy ‘An Inconvenient Woman’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

Cracked By Louise McCreesh

Cracked‘Cracked’ is by Louise McCreesh’s debut novel.

Jenny Nilson hasn’t seen her former psychiatrist Phillip since she left the Hillside Psychiatric Unit eight years ago. She wanted to forget everything about her time there, so she kept her secrets buried deep. Especially from her new husband. But now the police are knocking at her door with evidence of her involvement in Phillip’s death. It seems as though everything she’s kept hidden is about to spill out. Jenny desperately needs to speak to old friends, and old enemies, from those dark years. Because they are the only ones who know what really happened at Hillside, and about the dark secret that Phillip kept for them all – that this is not the first death.

Cracked is Louise McCreesh’s debut novel and pardon the pun, but it is quite the cracking read.

The story is written in the past and present tense and is seen through the narrative of Jenny, who was once a patient at Hillside Psychiatric Unit when she was a teenager. Now she’s married to a policeman, an aspiring journalist and her time in Hillside is a distant memory, until one of her therapists is brutally murdered and she has to face up to the life that she left behind.

It’s during her time at the unit, that something terrible happen and this tragedy creates a bond between Jenny and 6 other people who now in the present tense are all suspects in the brutal murder.

This is a cleverly crafted story with an interesting protagonist. Jenny is in Hillside after trying to take her own life and is trying to get to the root of her unhappiness, she’s friends with Tom, Tony, Heidi, Alicia and Olivia who are all struggling with their own demons and their problems make for upsetting reading as they lash out at each other and put each other down and throughout their narrative, you can feel their anguish and pain.

In the present tense, Jenny has to face up to the life that she hid from others particularly her husband and finds herself the centre of the case when her own case file goes missing from the unit.

The story is a tense and compelling rollercoaster of a book that is set against the backdrop of a psychiatric unit that does make for a desperate and bleak setting. With short and snappy chapters that pull the reader in and unreliable characters that makes everyone a suspect, ‘Cracked’ is a sensitive and poignant story about mental health, how fragile it is and how easily a person can crack.

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

The Safe Place By Anna Downes

The Safe Place‘The Safe Place’ is the latest book by Anna Downes.

Emily Proudman has been offered the chance of a lifetime – leave her messy London life, move to a beautiful estate in France and help her boss’ wife take care of their daughter, Aurelia. It seems like the perfect opportunity to start again. But once there, Emily soon starts to suspect that her charismatic new employers aren’t telling her the whole truth. That there are even dangerous secrets hidden beneath the glamourous facade. Rather than throwing herself headline into this oasis of wine-soaked days by the pool, Emily can’t help but ask questions. Why have the family been moved to this isolated house so far from home? Why does Aurelia refuse to speak or be touched? Why are there whispers in the night?

Today I spent my day curled up with Anna Downes, a suspenseful thriller that I had absolutely no idea where it was going and for me, that’s the sign of a great book.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Emily, an aspiring actress who in the one day loses her job and her accommodation. But her boss Scott Denny comes to the unlikely rescue offering her a a new opportunity with his company, in the form of a housekeeper position for his daughter and wife in France.

Emily finds herself in a secluded house with only Nina and her daughter Aurelia for company as well as the house carekeeper, Yves. The house is in an amazing location but needs a lot of work with only Nina, Emily and Yves able to do it. But as the days pass, Emily begins to wonder if this job is quite the dream that she expected, with remote access and no contact to others, a mute little girl and a house that seems to be shrouded in secrets.

The story is also seen through the perspective of Scott, who’s quite the entrepreneur with a controlling nature and it’s interesting to see why he picked Emily specifically as the house keeper for his house and family. Another narrative is seen from the perspective of Nina, who’s Scott’s wife and it tells the history of the couple and they got into the position that they are currently in.

This is Anna’s debut novel and what a debut it is. Right from the beginning, she reels the reader in with the unsettling and claustrophobic situation that leaves the reader wondering what’s going on and why Emily?

In the initial start of the story, I didn’t like Emily, I think it’s because of how she treats her adoptive parents only getting in contact when she’s looking for something and that seems to be all the time. But as the story progresses, like Emily I begin to fear for her safety and feel sorry for the situation that she is in. Scott and Nina are an interesting couple, they say that they’ve moved to France due to Aurelia’s allergy to the sun, but throughout the story I was convinced there was something far more sinister going on.

The story moves at a nice pace that keeps the reader engaged with the interweaving narratives and dual perspectives. Right from the first page, this story pulled me in, with unreliable characters against the backdrop of a picturesque location, ‘The Safe Place’ is a tense and absorbing thriller that hooks the reader from the first page.

You can buy ‘The Safe Place’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

One Step Behind By Lauren North

One Step Behind‘One Step Behind’ is the latest book by Lauren North.

Jenna is a wife, a mother, a doctor. She’s also the victim of a stalker. Every time she leaves her house, she sees him. Disturbing gifts are left at her door. Cruel emails are sent to her colleagues. She has no idea who this man is but she feels powerless against him. Until the day he is brought into her hospital after a serious accident, and Jenna is given the chance to find out once and for all why this man is tormenting her. Now, the power is all hers.

This week, I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed some great thrillers this week and ‘One Step Behind’ was a genuinely addictive story that I was able to consume in one sitting.

The story starts at the moment that an unwanted gift is left at Jenna’s door. For months, she been tortured with unwanted notes and twisted gifts and a man has been following her every move and is trying to build a case against him. Jenna is a doctor in A&E and in the middle of her shift the man who’s been stalking her is brought in after being hit by a bus. Now, Jenna is left battling her morals wondering if she finally find out why he’s been targeting her and what his issue is. The story is also seen through the narrative of Sophie, she’s in a controlling relationship that she’s no longer happy in and wants to escape from. Her narrative is written in past and present tenses as she grows up her adopted brother called Matthew, who’s a quiet and troubled.

This book was the first book that I’ve read by Lauren North and I thought it was a really enjoyable psychological thriller, with unreliable characters, different narratives as well as a tense plotline filled with unwanted gifts and messages that left the reader on edge.

Right from the beginning, Lauren introduces the reader to the horrific ordeal that Jenna is going through and this moment really sets the tone for the story. The story focuses on stalking, control and obsession and there are moments of unsettling reading, especially with Sophie’s relationship. Her partner is controlling and monitoring her every move, taking advantage of quiet nature. I did find myself racing through the pages as I was dying to find out who the stalker was and the chapters are quite snappy so it was easy to get absorbed in the book.

Riddled with suspense and tension that keeps the reader engaged, ‘One Step Behind’ is a twisty psychological story that is cleverly written

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

The Wives By Tarryn Fisher

The Wives‘The Wives’ is the latest book by Tarryn Fisher.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, you see your husband only one day a week. Thursday. But you don’t care, you love him that much. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself. And then, one day it all changes. You thought you were fine with this, with only having a fraction of a husband. But you can’t help yourself, you start to dig. You begin tracking them down, the other days… Who is Monday and why does she have bruises on her arms? Is she being abused? By who? Her husband? Your husband? What else is he keeping from you? And who is he, really?

I spent one evening with my head absorbed with this book. It’s an unsettling, psychological story that throughly gripped my attention.

The story is seen through the narrative of Thursday who’s married to Seth. Seth is a polygamist and along with Tuesday, has two other wives. They have never met each other but Thursday has a curiosity to find out who the women are that he is married to. Thursday then begins on a slippery journey of delving into social media and befriending whilst finding out that Seth isn’t quite the charmer that he makes himself out to be.

This book is one twisted story. Thursday is an interesting narrative, she’s complex and is content to have one night a week with her husband whilst the other wives have his attention. But as the story progresses, we see a different side to her and the perfect relationship, as Thursday begins to question everything that Seth has told her. He’s the perfect man, charming, successful with a dysfunctional childhood that makes up for his misdemeanours. Thursday as also a bit of an unreliable narrator and sometimes it was challenging to see what was fact and what was fiction.

The story is set in Seattle and Thursday is a nurse and for me, the story was written like a darker version of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. It was a sexy and gripping story about love, obsession that really made for compulsive reading. Atmospheric from the first page, ‘The Wives’ is fantastic and thrilling page turner. Fast paced with drama and suspense throughout, the story is an emotional and psychological thriller that will keep the reader hooked throughout.

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