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What She Left Behind By Emily Freud

What She Left Behind‘What She Left Behind’ is the latest book by Emily Freud.

Lauren can’t wait to leave London for a fresh start in the countryside with her new partner Paul and his two young children. She never thought she’d be so lucky. A dream glass house in the woods, a ready-made family, a second chance. But as dark rumours swirl about their new home, Lauren begins to question their happily-ever-after. When they met, she was at her most vulnerable. She would trust Paul with her life. But should she?

If you enjoy twisty, psychological thrillers, then you must read ‘What She Left Behind’.

The story is seen through the narrative of two women Lauren and Eliza. Lauren has left London with her new boyfriend Paul and his two children Jesse and Margo. They move to a glass house in the middle of no-where with no other people or houses close by. Lauren is recovering from an accident and Paul is her therapist and that’s how they’ve met each other. Lauren is alone with her thoughts, whilst the children are at school and Paul is working. Anytime she ventures into the small town, the locals tell her about the bad things that happened in the glass house. Lauren begins to feel uneasy in the house and begins to notice that Paul isn’t quite the dream man that she is led to believe. Eliza also lived in the glass house and is also going through something similar and both women are beginning to regret giving up their sociable lives to become recluses.

Right from the outset, this story is a bleak one. The setting of the story is intense and dismal and with each page, the air of claustrophobia and loneliness becomes stronger. Lauren is a lovely character, she’s settled into the role of girlfriend and new step parent to Jesse and Margo, she’s not used to children, particularly ones that are still getting over the death of their mother and adjusting to new lives. But she’s constantly striving to do better under Paul’s critical eye. Once a charming man, he’s erratic and sometimes nasty and it does make for uncomfortable and unsettling reading with some of the things that he says and does.

This story will certainly keep you on your toes and with the different narratives, it’s quite the guessing game. It’s cleverly written and packed with unreliable characters and uncertainty throughout. Brimming with suspense, tension, ‘What She Left Behind’ is a dark and troubling story with a shocking ending.

You can buy ‘What She Left Behind’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Tell Me Everything By Laura Kay

Tell Me Everything‘Tell Me Everything’ is the second book by Laura Kay.

Natasha has everything under control, at least that’s what her clients think. As a therapist, she has all the answers but when it comes to her personal life, she seriously needs to start taking her own advice. Still living with her ex-girlfriend, Natasha’s messy love life is made up of dates and one-night stands. After all, why would you commit to one person, when there is an endless stream of people waiting for you to swipe right? Besides, people always leave. But when Margot arrives on the scene, everything changes. Flailing between mending long broken relationships and starting new ones, Natasha’s walking the line between self-actualisation and self-destruction… With denial no longer an option, it is time for Natasha to take control of her own happiness.

Laura Kay is back with another charming and witty exploration into female and family relationships in her second novel.

Natty is a therapist living with her ex girlfriend but when Georgia finds a new girlfriend and Zara moves in, Natty finds herself in limbo and unsure of life. But then Mara a straight talking and quick witted woman walks into her clinic and Natasha, although she’s not looking for anything long term, finds herself attracted to the stranger.

I loved Laura’s debut novel called ‘The Split’ a honest reflection and observation into gay relationships and the feeling of wanting to belong and her follow up book follows in the same vein.

The characters are a complex and fascinating mix of personalities that make for entertaining reading. Set against the vibrancy of Brighton, this story flows at a lovely pace as Natty deals with new emotions as well as family dramas.

This story is poignant, tender, relatable and witty in parts that made for lovely reading. Natty is a a great protagonist and it was enjoyable reading as we joined her on a journey of self discovery and happiness.

Fun and insightful from the first page, ‘Tell Me Everything’ is a tender and warm story about finding your place in life.

You can buy ‘Tell Me Everything’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Last To Disappear By Jo Spain

The Last To Disappear‘The Last To Disappear’ is the latest book by Jo Spain.

When young London professional Alex Evans is informed that his sister’s body has been pulled from an icy lake in Northern Lapland, he assumes his irresponsible sister accidentally drowned. He travels to the wealthy winter resort where Vicky worked as a tour-guide and meets Agatha Koskinen, the detective in charge. Agatha is a no-nonsense single mother of three who already thinks there’s more to Vicky’s case than meets the eye. As the two form an unlikely alliance, Alex also begins to suspect the small town where his sister lived and died is harbouring secrets. It’s not long before he learns that three other women have gone missing from the area in the past and that his sister may have left him a message.

The latest book by Jo Spain is a dark and intense story set against the backdrop of the snowy slopes of Koppe, Lapland and this makes for atmospheric and chilling reading.

The story begins with the tragic death of Vicky Evans, a young woman who was found drowned. Detective Agatha Koskinen has been called in to solve the case. When Alex Evans finds out the sudden death of his sister, he lives England and finds himself becoming Agatha’s sidekick as he’s determined to find his sister’s killer. In doing this, Alex has to delve into his sister’s life and learn a side to her that as a brother, he never wanted to know. Whilst Agatha is trying to find Vicky’s killer, there’s still the unsolved disappearances of the three women who disappeared over the years.

The story is written in the past and present tense, the present tense is the investigation of Vicky’s death whilst the past tense is set in 1998, at the time of the first disappearance.

For fans of Nordic-Noir, this book ticks all the boxes. It’s gritty, claustrophobic and filled with suspicious characters. The story is beautifully descriptive from the chilling and eerie landscape that sets the tone perfectly in this thriller. What’s interesting about the story is the location which is Lapland, the homeland connected to Santa Claus and even though it’s described as a winter wonderland, this book is a far from a wonderland!

Agatha is an interesting detective determined to find the killer all whilst dealing with her own personal problems. Alex feels guilty about having an estranged relationship with Vicky and hopes finding the killer and bringing them to justice will ease his conscience.

Intense from the first page and wonderfully atmospheric, Jo has delivered a chilling thriller that made for gripping reading. Packed with drama, twists and turns ‘The Last To Disappear’ made for exciting reading.

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

The No Show By Beth O’Leary

The No Show‘The No-Show’ is the latest book by Beth O’Leary.

Three women. Three dates. One missing man. 8.52 a.m. Siobhan is looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it – she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast on Valentine’s Day surely means something … so where is he? 2.43 p.m. Miranda’s hoping that a Valentine’s Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It’s a fresh start and a sign that her life is falling into place: she’s been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn’t he shown up? 6.30 p.m. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane’s fake boyfriend at an engagement party. They’ve not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he’s not here. Meet Joseph Carter. That is, if you can find him.

Beth is back with another thought provoking, warm and charming story that gripped my attention this weekend.

The story is seen from the narrative of three women, Jane, Siobhan and Miranda who all have one thing in common, they all know a man called Joseph Carter. All women are completely different in personalities and situations, Jane is a quiet, meek woman who volunteers at a charity shop, she keeps to herself, living a life of routine and living her messy past behind, Siobhan is a fiery Irish woman who’s a life coach and travels to London every month for work whilst Miranda is a tree surgeon, enjoys working amongst a team of men. All three women are all falling for Joseph with his charms and good looks, until one day he doesn’t show up and they all wonder what’s Joseph Carter’s story.

The story flows between the three women during a period of time and it really does make for fascinating reading as the three of them interact unaware of their connection with Joseph. I loved reading how each one of them were affected by Joseph and the huge differences he made to their lives.

The mixture of personalities and scenarios made this story a joy to curl up with. Beth has written another brilliant multi-layered story that is poignant, rich in humour and packed with relatable characters. The various narratives weave beautifully together, bringing the story to a tidy conclusion that really warmed my heart.

‘The No-Show’ is another beautifully written story. From the first page, Beth has delivered a story that will make you cry, swoon and your heart ache about love, friendship and new beginnings.

You can buy ‘The No-Show’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Anything Could Happen By Lucy Diamond

Anything Could Happen‘Anything Could Happen’ is the latest book by Lucy Diamond.

For Lara and her daughter Eliza, it has always been just the two of them. But when Eliza turns eighteen and wants to connect with her father, Lara is forced to admit a secret that she has been keeping from her daughter her whole life.

Eliza needs answers – and so does Lara. Their journey to the truth will take them on a road trip across England and eventually to New York, where it all began. Dreams might have been broken and opportunities missed, but there are still surprises in store…

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book by Lucy, so it was lovely to kick off my first review of 2022 with her new book.

The story is written through the perspectives of mother and daughter, Lara and Eliza and unknown father Ben and his equally surprised wife, Kirsten. Eliza has always wondered about her father and why he wasn’t part of her life and her journey leads her to Ben, who had a one night stand with Lara but if fate had not intervened, the three might have been a family unit instead of strangers. As the trio try to deal with this discovery, Kirsten who has always wanted children has to deal with becoming an outsider and puts her own needs first for a change.

I loved this story, its warm, lively with interesting and relatable characters that I was immediately able to sink into and enjoy.

The story is primarily written in the present moment, but there are scenes of Ben and Lara’s first meeting against the bright lights and vibrancy of New York. It’s evident that there is an attraction to each other with plans to meet up again only for it never to happen. As the story progresses, neither of their lives have turned out how they expected. Instead of being a fashion writer, Lara is a driving instructor and Ben is looking at maps of the world instead of travelling it. Their daughter Eliza is a brilliant character, full of spirit with a quick tongue and longs to have her parents together.

The story is one of adjustment and finding your path in life, whether it’s becoming a parent to a 19 year old, changing careers or simply putting your needs before others and I loved this about the book.

A stunning story filled with hope, new family and new beginnings, ‘Anything Could Happen’ is a beautifully written story that flowed at a lovely pace and was a joy to read.

You can buy ‘Anything Could Happen’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.