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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.

The Silent Treatment By Abbie Greaves

The Silent Treatment‘The Silent Treatment’ is the latest book by Abbie Greaves.

Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months. For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words. Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet, but it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him. Is this where their story ends? Or is it where it begins?

I’ve seen much talk about this book on social media and I was dying to get reading and once I started, I found it impossible to put the love story of Frank and Maggie down.

The story is primarily seen through the narrative of Frank as he sits by his wife’s bedside and he chats to her regaling tales of their first meeting to falling in love. The story is a nostalgic tale and makes for tender and bittersweet reading as Frank reveals stories of hardship with their only daughter Eleanor as well as reasons why he has not spoke for 6 months.

It’s a beautifully written story and Frank is a lovely narrator, his love and devotion for Maggie leaps from the pages and his frustration for the situation that they are in is evident.

I completely fell in love with ‘The Silent Treatment’ with its intriguing plot line and relatable characters, this poignant debut is about love and relationships and the importance of communication.

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

The Year That Changed Everything By Cathy Kelly

The Year That Changed Everything‘The Year That Changed Everything’ is the latest book by Cathy Kelly.

Ginger isn’t spending her 30th the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life – or a total disaster. Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her 40th birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother? Callie is celebrating her 50th at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party turns her perfect life upside down . . .

Cathy Kelly is back with another tale of female friendships and complicated relationships that made for bittersweet reading.

In her latest book, we meet three very different women who all share one significant date in their lives. On the day before Ginger’s 30th birthday, she discovers that the people who she thought were her best friends, weren’t her friends at all. Hurt by the way she’s been treated, she sets herself a mission to make her life happier and too rid her life of all the toxicity in her life. Callie is a modest woman with small demands, she’s the opposite to her husband, Jason, who loves to flash his cash around, but it seems that flashing all that cash has gotten him into trouble leaving Callie and their teenage daughter Poppy to deal with the consequences. Meanwhile, after years of trying to have a baby, Sam and her husband Ted finally have a little girl to add to their family unit, but with having the least maternal mother in the world as a role model, Sam fears that she’s unable to be a proper mother.

I really enjoyed this story, it reminded me of a Maeve Binchy novel, a story of friendships and relationships and the issues that women face on a regular basis such as post-natal depression, deception as well self confidence and body issues and Cathy has written about them all in her book, in a frank and charming tale with an injection of Irish wit from the vibrant characters scattered throughout.

The book is filled many different roles from all walks of life. All three leading ladies are wonderful and with all them I felt an immediate connection with, particularly Ginger. She’s a kind, big hearted woman that people take for granted especially her friends and it makes for sad reading, when she’s confronted with how they really feel about her. But instead of wallowing in self pity, she takes on their criticism to use it to make a change to her life for the better and use it to achieve her goals and find love. Callie, has become used to being a kept woman but quickly adapts to change when she finds that the life she she has been living was based on a lie and does everything in her power to protect her moody teenage daughter. And for Sam, I felt a strong empathy for, as she struggled with being a new mother and adjusting to her life and constantly judging herself.

The book is written from the different perspectives of the women, but they flow seamlessly together as the women’s lives begin to interact and their bonds begin to grow. Wonderfully written, filled with compassion, charm and delicious characters, ‘The Year That Changed Everything’ is an inspirational story of life and change and truly goes to show what a difference a year makes. A charming tale!

You can buy The Year that Changed Everything from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Carole Matthews

Carole MatthewsCarole Matthews has written 16 books in 22 years, has been a Top 5 Sunday Times bestseller and has sold over 4 million books worldwide. Her novel Welcome To The Real World was shortlisted for the RNA romantic novel of the year award. Her book ‘Wrapped Up In You’ was shortlisted for The Festival of Romance Best Romantic Read award and for the RNA Romantic Comedy of the Year award. She was also inducted into The Festival of Romance Hall of Fame for her outstanding contribution to romantic fiction. She lives in the Costa del MiltonKeynes with her dearly beloved, Lovely Kev. Her latest book ‘A Cottage By The Sea’ is about three best friends who go on holiday to a seaside cottage only for all their lives to change in a week.

  1. Your latest book “A Cottage By The Sea” is about three best friends who jump at the chance of having a holiday together. However, it doesn’t quite turn out as they planned. What inspired you to write this type of story?
    I love to write books about relationships, friendship, group dynamics and the power of love. And A Cottage by the Sea has it all! Sometimes when you confine your characters to one place and a short space of time it brings out the best in some of them and the worst in others. That’s what Grace, Ella and Flick experience when they spend a week together with their partners in Ella’s beautiful cottage by the sea in Wales. The relationships that they thought they had will never be the same again.
  2. To the readers of the website, that may not familiar with you or your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
    My first book – ‘Let’s Meet on Platform 8’ – was published about 17 years ago now and it was at the very start of the whole chicklit wave. I’d won a short story competition and, very sensibly, spent the money on a writing course. On the course, I showed the tutor my novel and she recommended an agent. Within a week he’d sold the book. I just hit the right desk at the right time with the right book. I’m currently writing my twenty-fifth novel and am really grateful that people keep reading and enjoying my books.
  3. How do you feel about the current state of the publishing industry? Do you feel like it is an exciting time for authors?
    It’s a very turbulent time in publishing and no one quite knows what’s going to happen in the future, but I think there’s an excitement in that too. There are a lot more digital opportunities for writers to be published at the moment rather than having to go down the route of finding a traditional publisher and that’s very liberating. There is, however, a lot of competition and it’s hard to get your book to stand out from the crowd. It’s a tough time for bookshops and libraries though.
  4. Who is your favourite literary hero/heroine?
    I have to go back to chicklit bible, ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ for my choices. Both Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy are just perfect in their roles and we’ve all been Bridget at some time in our lives. Just a great book.
  5. I always thought the opening lines to “The Lovely Bones” was quite memorable, are there any opening lines to books that stuck out to you?
    From Michael Ridpath’s book, ‘Free to Trade’: ‘I had lost half a million dollars in slightly less than half an hour and the coffee machine didn’t work. This was turning into a bad day. Half a million dollars is a lot of money. And I needed a cup of coffee badly.’ That’s a cracking way to open a book!
  6. Out of all the books that you have written, which one is your favourite?
    I think both ‘The Chocolate Lovers Club’ and ‘The Chocolate Lovers’ Diet’. I had such great fun researching them and who doesn’t like chocolate. I think they’re the favourites of my readers too and I’m always being asked if I’d write another one in the series.
  7. What authors do you admire?
    I love all of Philippa Gregory’s historical novels. She’s the only writer I rush out and buy in hardback. I particularly like the ones she writes about the Tudor court. For me, she brings it all to life.
    Beyond that I read a very eclectic variety of books and am always looking for something new to try.
  8. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    There are so many! Hype is so often due to fabulous marketing rather than the quality of the book. The most obvious is ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ which I hated everything about. I really can’t see why so many women enjoyed reading about a young girl being terribly abused in the name of lurve. I also struggled with ‘Wolf Hall’ by Hilary Mantel which has won every prize known to man. I found it very dry even though I usually adore anything written about those naughty Tudors. That won’t stop me from reading the sequel, ‘Bringing up the Bodies’, though! One book that I did enjoy despite the mahoosive hype was J K Rowling’s first adult novel, ‘The Casual Vacancy’. I thought it was beautifully written and keenly observed. I would, however, have liked just one nice character, they were all a bit too horrible to make me care about them. A hyped book that I did thoroughly enjoy though was ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls which is now firmly in my top favourite books.
  9. If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
    ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls
    ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger
    ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ by Philippa Gregory
  10. What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
    I think the mistake that a lot of writers make is to try to chase the market and write what’s in fashion at the time. My advice is to write the book that you want to and make it the very best you can. Without wanting to sound too clichéd about it, a book really does need to come from the heart to make it work.
  11. When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
    A big mug of tea!
  12. And finally Carole, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
    I have another Christmas book out this year which I had a lot of fun researching – ‘Calling Mrs Christmas’! The hardback will be out in August, followed by the paperback in October.

Read more about Carole Matthews online or follow her on Twitter Carole Matthews