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Ghosts By Dolly Alderton

Ghosts‘Ghosts’ is the debut novel by Dolly Alderton.

Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn’t have come at a better time – her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone’s moving to the suburbs. There’s no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who’s caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

‘Ghosts’ is Dolly’s debut novel even though she’s already published a book called ‘Everything I Know About Love’ and has a regular newspaper column.

‘Ghosts’ is seen through the narrative of Nina, who like many other females in the world is adapting to life as a singleton as everyone is pairing up around her. Her career as a food writer is going from strength from strength and just as her relationship with Max starts to develop, he disappears, ghosting her. Her father is battling dementia and disappears into his own world but already remembers Nina as his ‘Bean’.

This book is a powerful story and one that many will wholeheartedly relate to. The surprise and disappointment of online dating, finding the one only for them to let you know and to be judged on your status in life, married, children and if not, why not?

I loved Nina, I loved her independence and passion and how she was always there for others, no matter how they treated or disregarded her. I adored her best friend Lola, who was looking for happy ever after and was determined to find it, no matter how long she stayed on WhatsApp.

I loved the dynamics of the female relationships, how women behaved differently towards single women as if they were preying on their husbands and genuinely found this to be true of real life. I found the scene with Nina’s parents to be hard hitting as her mother dealt with her husband’s dementia by engaging now with friends to escape the pain, whilst Nina struggled with seeing her father become a different person. These scenes are hard hitting and emotional in parts and did make for quite tender reading.

Beautifully written and sadly relatable, ‘Ghosts’ is a poignant and bittersweet story about getting old, looking for love and finding your place in life. Filled with humour, cynicism and nostalgia for what has been, this book brought back all kinds of feelings and was truly a masterpiece of a read.

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

Shame By Elizabeth Forbes

Shame‘Shame’ is the latest book by Elizabeth Forbes.

George and Martha have things they’d rather keep hidden from each other: private thoughts, desires and secrets which, if discovered, could cause untold shame. But to an outsider they appear to have a happy, contented and conventional family life. At their twins’ Fred and Delilah’s twenty-first birthday party events conspire to uncover disturbing emotional connections, and threaten to reveal a past that has long been concealed.Soon after, a holiday designed to repair the damage exposes further rifts that could spread beyond the family and possibly change their futures forever. As a GP, Martha is used to helping her patients mend physically and mentally, but can she do the same for her husband and children, or will the ensuing damage leave wounds that will never heal?

This is the second book that I’ve read by Elizabeth and just like ‘Nearest Thing To Crazy’, ‘Shame was just as addictive.

The story is seen through the narratives of Martha and George and their children although they appear like a happy family, they’ve all got secrets that could ruin them and as the story unfolds, secrets are revealed and everyone is left wondering if they really knew each other.

The story is a chilling suspense story and really pulls the reader in. With flawed characters, extra marital affairs, lies and family secrets, this has the makings of a great thriller that hooks the readers attention.

Elizabeth is a great writer and her stories are cleverly crafted with raw emotion to keep the reader on their toes. Filled with drama and tension that gradually heightens as the story progresses.

A story about the demise of a marriage and the secrets that go on behind closed doors, ‘Shame’ is a taunt and dramatic book that makes for fascinating reading.

You can buy ‘Shame’ from Amazon.

The Man I Didn’t Marry By Anna Bell

The Man I Didn't Marry‘The Man I Didn’t Marry’ is the latest book by Anna Bell.

Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years. Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find her Max again – he has to be in there somewhere, right? As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?

Even though Anna Bell has released nine books, this is the first one that I’ve read by her and it was an uplifting yet poignant story.

The story is seen through the narrative of Ellie, who falls in love and marries her teenage crush Max, who’s the brother of her best friend called Rachel. Pregnant with their second child, they’re looking forward to expanding their family until one day Max just randomly loses his memory and can’t remember the last 5 years. The most significant years of his life, falling in love, getting married and becoming a father. Now, Ellie is left with a man who likes to flirt with strange women in front and she’s terrified that his memory will never recover, so she decides to recreate some of the most important moments in the hope that it will jog his memory.

I loved this story, it’s witty, it’s fun and it’s downright scary how someone’s memory can just disappear. Ellie is a great character, she’s nerdy which she is not apologetic for and is still in awe after marrying her crush but she’s consumed by a fear that she will lose him so she tries to ignite the memories with disastrous dates from drunken beer pong to horrible French restaurants. Her love for Max is evident and it’s hard not to fall for him, as he’s sweet, handsome with his roguish behaviour. It’s sweet and somewhat sad as he veers between the joy of rediscovering his new life and his fear of his memory not returning fully.

The plot line is an interesting one and made this quite the snappy read. Whilst trying to help Max reclaim his memory, Ellie has also joined a maternity group and they are a fun addition to the story, from the snobbish Anneka who’s always got a story to tell to the outspoken and incredibly horny Helen!

Fun from the first page with relatable characters that made for enjoyable reading. This emotional rollercoaster is a romantic comedy at its finest, teamed with witty one liners and the odd tearjerker moment, ‘The Man I Didn’t Marry’ is a captivating comedy about a second chance at love.

You can buy ‘The Man I Didn’t Marry’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops.

A Life Of Their Own By Pauline Tait

A Life Of Their Own‘A Life Of Their Own’ is the latest book by Pauline Tait.

When Kate and her children step onto a bus early one Tuesday morning, she knows this is their only chance: their only chance at freedom and at a life of their own. But can she ensure their safety? Can she ensure they will never be found? This feeling haunts Kate as she and her children begin a new life far from New York, far from their troubled past. Little does she know that their new life will bring her closer to a different past, a life she had long given up, making her already fragile world more complicated than she could have ever imagined.

I really enjoyed this story, it was a short story that was easily consumed in one sitting.

Seen through multiple narratives, this story is a coming of age journey as a mother tries to build a new life for herself and her two children. Kate has left the bustle of New York and her controlling husband and escaped to small quiet place where she hopes to recover and make a better life for them all. It’s there that she meets Matthew, the man she loved for many years and never got over.

I loved this story, Kate’s a lovely character, a kind and warm person. It’s lovely to see her blossom and grow in confidence as the story progresses and she grows to find happiness. Her scenes with Matthew make for tender reading as the pair begin to get to know each other all over again.

The story is written in past and present tense, as we relive the horrors of Kate’s controlling relationship and how her confidence was chipped away.

A story about the struggles of domestic abuse and the recovery afterwards, ‘A Life Of Their Own’ is a story about new beginnings and the importance of a mother’s love, a heartfelt and emotional story.

You can buy ‘A Life Of Their Own’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Seduction By Joanna Briscoe

The Seduction‘The Seduction’ is the latest book by Joanna Briscoe.

Beth lives by Camden Lock with her partner Sol and their daughter Fern. Life is peaceful, but Beth is troubled by increasing unease. It could be to do with her mother’s disappearance years ago. It could be her sense that Fern is keeping secrets from her. So she goes to therapy. Dr Tamara Bywater is there to help her patients, and soon their sessions become the highlight of Beth’s week. But Beth is in over her head before she realises that Tamara might not be all she seems…

This has got to be one of the most head melting books that I’ve had the joy of reading in a while.

Seen from the narrative of Beth, she’s been traumatised ever since her mother left suddenly when she was 13 years old. When she starts receiving mysterious calls, she decides to attend a therapist. Beth then becomes consumed with Tamara Dywater and the pair of them embark on an illicit affair. Beth becomes obsessed with Tamara and begins to neglect her family causing a rift between her and her teenage daughter, Fern.

This book is an outstanding piece of writing, Joanna has written a thrilling and addictive riddled with paranoia and suspense. As well as a strong story, the characters are so flawed and complicated. Beth has never recovered from her mother’s disappearance and she feels responsible for it. Tamara as her therapist, who’s meant to be there to advise and guide Beth is equally as flawed with compulsive tendencies, blowing hot and cold and leading her on.

This book is such a shocking story. The way Beth allows herself to be treated by Tamara, to be cast aside, dismissed only to be given a few minutes of Tamara’s or to be lead on by empty promises makes for thrilling and juicy reading. Whilst Beth feels that her heart is breaking, she’s oblivious to her daughter drifting away and is only interested in Tamara. Even though, I found the book frustrating with how Beth was treated, I felt such an empathy for her and wanted her to find some genuine happiness and rebuild relationships.

‘The Seduction’ is a cleverly weaved story of flawed characters and complicated relationships about obsession and lust.

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