My Bookish Month – March 2021

Another good month this month, although I didn’t get as much read as last month, I did continue with my clear the Kindle and Netgalley titles policy. I picked an Irish theme this month in a nod to St Patrick’s Day, though I did diverge for my ‘recent’ reads which came courtesy of Pigeonhole. I also managed a fabulous day at the Hull Noir virtual crime event. For anybody who missed this and might be interested you can catch up via YouTube here and I highly recommend that you do. Reading books by authors from that event might well form the basis of my reading next month – I have titles by most of the authors already sitting on my shelves and/or Kindle so a good reason to get some of them read. Needless to say, I might just have bought a couple more!

I’ve just learned that my local library service has switched its eBook and audiobook supplier to Borrowbox. previously both options were offered by separate suppliers and I wasn’t overly impressed with the titles on offer. A quick preview suggests a more up to date selection and would certainly make me think about checking before I automatically click to buy on Amazon. Of course the real issue is not what range of titles are on offer, but how long the waiting lists might be, so if you’ll pardon the pun, I’ll reserve judgement!

Books I Bought this Month

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow: The new heartwarming, uplifting page-turner from Jessica Redland Kindle Edition

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities…

The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.

For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.


Dreaming Under An Island Skye:

Dreaming under an Island Skye by Lisa Hobman

After three wonderful years of marriage, librarian Juliette Fairhurst’s heart is shattered when her husband, Laurie, is taken from her much too soon.

Devasted, Juliette decides to take a sabbatical and reconnect with her mother’s birthplace, the village of Glentorrin on the picturesque Isle of Skye.

Welcomed by most of the villagers, Juliette throws herself into an idyllic community life, taking on the role of temporary summer guardian at The Lifeboat House Museum; a role that offers her the perfect escape from the tragedy of her real life.

During her time on the island, Juliette clashes with brooding single dad and artist, Reid Mackinnon and is befriended by his son Evin and dog Chewie. It’s clear that divorced Reid is struggling and scarred by his own painful experiences.

Can these two lost souls find a lifeline to rescue each other?

Or will their pasts scupper their second chance at real happiness?


After the Fire

After the Fire by Jo Spain

Nobody was supposed to get out alive.

On a Dublin city street, packed with afternoon shoppers, a young woman appears, naked, traumatised and bearing burn marks.

Tom Reynolds, now Chief Superintendent, is no longer head of the murder squad. But when it transpires the woman escaped from a house fire started deliberately and that there are more victims, Tom is sucked in. What begins as a straightforward case of arson, soon becomes something much more sinister.

The people in that house never wanted to be there in the first place. Now more of them are missing. Tom is faced with a ticking clock as he tries to locate the others and as he does, a terrifying spider’s web of domestic and international crime unfolds.

And not everybody will survive the fall-out.


An Italian Affair:

An Italian Affair by Caroline Montague

Love. War. Family. Betrayal.

Italy, 1937. Alessandra Durante is grieving the loss of her husband when she discovers she has inherited her ancestral family seat, Villa Durante, deep in the Tuscan Hills. Longing for a new start, she moves from her home in London to Italy with her daughter Diana and sets about rebuilding her life.

Under the threat of war, Alessandra’s house becomes first a home and then a shelter to all those who need it. Then Davide, a young man who is hiding the truth about who he is, arrives, and Diana starts to find her heart going where her head knows it must not.

Back home in Britain as war breaks out, Alessandra’s son Robert, signs up to be a pilot, determined to play his part in freeing Italy from the grip of Fascism. His bravery marks him out as an asset to the Allies, and soon he is being sent deep undercover and further into danger than ever before.

As war rages, the Durante family will love and lose, but will they survive the war…?


For Better, For Worse:

For Better, For Worse by Jane Isaac

Stuart Ingram was once a respected local councillor…

The first time the police knocked on Gina’s door, they arrested her husband.

The second time, they accused him of child abuse.

But he died a guilty man.

This time, the police are here for Gina – to tell her that her husband is dead. Murdered, just two weeks before his trial.

Gina always stood by her husband. Even when everyone else walked away. She believed the trial would clear his name. But now Stuart is dead.

And his wife is the suspect.

It’s a race against time for DC Beth Chamberlain to uncover the truth – especially when a second man turns up dead.

Previously published as Presumed Guilty.


The Ribbons are for Fearlessness: A Journey

The Ribbons are for Fearlessness by Catrina Davies

“… fearlessness has got nothing to do with being unafraid. It’s about doing things anyway, getting on with it, living, whether you’re afraid or not… Courage is about being who you are with your whole heart.”

Fuzzy-haired, neurotic, cello-playing Catrina is devastated when her lover, Jack, leaves her to go surfing on the other side of the world. Trapped in a dead-end job and torn by his departure, Catrina dreams of running away. But how do you run away when you’re flat broke? Luckily, her friend Andrew comes up with a plan: they’ll get an old van,turn it into a camper and busk their way from Norway to Portugal, via the midnight sun.

When Andrew is killed in a tragic accident Catrina decides to go it alone, with disastrous consequences. Until her experiences on the road gradually teach her the real meaning of love, courage and above all else, the importance of following her dreams. This is an unforgettable story of a journey like no other – a deeply emotional and inspirational debut by a unique storyteller.


Hungry

Hungry by Grace Dent

From Frazzles to Foie Gras: a memoir of wanting more.

From an early age, Grace Dent was hungry. As a little girl growing up in Currock, Carlisle, she yearned to be something bigger, to go somewhere better.

Hungry traces Grace’s story from growing up eating beige food to becoming one of the much-loved voices on the British food scene. It’s also everyone’s story – from treats with your nan, to cheese and pineapple hedgehogs, to the exquisite joy of cheaply-made apple crumble with custard. It’s the high-point of a chip butty covered in vinegar and too much salt in the school canteen, on an otherwise grey day of double-Maths and cross country running. It’s the real story of how we have all lived, laughed, and eaten over the past 40 years.
 
Warm, funny and joyous, Hungry is also about love and loss, the central role that food plays in all our lives, and how a Cadbury’s Fruit ‘n’ Nut in a hospital vending machine can brighten the toughest situation.


The Hiding Game

The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood

The Hiding Game is an intoxicating story of love and betrayal, set in the Bauhaus art school. Heady, gripping and unforgettable, Naomi Wood’s third novel explores the perils of secrecy in a changing and increasingly dangerous world.

In Roaring Twenties Germany, Paul, Charlotte and Walter meet at the Bauhaus art school. The trio form a close-knit group, in which passions and rivalries collide. But when Walter is betrayed, he makes a terrible mistake
– a secret he will keep from Paul and Charlottefor as long as he can.

As political tensions escalate and the Nazis gain power, Walter’s secret – hidden in notebooks, paintings and blueprints – ultimately threatens the very lives of his friends, with devastating consequences.


Home Stretch

Home Stretch by Graham Norton

Shame and longing can flow through generations, but the secrets of the heart will not be buried for ever.

It is 1987 and a small Irish community is preparing for a wedding. The day before the ceremony a group of young friends, including bride and groom, drive out to the beach. There is an accident. Three survive, but three are killed.

The lives of the families are shattered and the rifts between them are felt throughout the small town. Connor is one of the survivors. But staying among the angry and the mourning is almost as hard as living with the shame of having been the driver. He leaves the only place he knows for another life, taking his secrets with him. Travelling first to Liverpool, then London, he makes a home – of sorts – for himself in New York. The city provides shelter and possibility for the displaced, somewhere Connor can forget his past and forge a new life.

But the secrets, the unspoken longings and regrets that have come to haunt those left behind will not be silenced. And before long, Connor will have to confront his past.


Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes: The Story of Women in the 1950s

Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes by Virginia Nicholson

In Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes, Virginia Nicholson tells the story of women in the 1950s: a time before the Pill, when divorce spelled scandal and two-piece swimsuits caused mass alarm.

Turn the page back to the mid-twentieth century, and discover a world peopled by women with radiant smiles, clean pinafores and gleaming coiffures; a promised land of batch-baking, maraschino cherries and brightly hued plastic. A world where the darker side of the decade encompasses rampant prostitution, a notorious murder, and the threat of nuclear disaster.

Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes reconstructs the real 1950s, through the eyes of the women who lived it. Step back in time to where our grandmothers scrubbed their doorsteps, cared for their families, lived, laughed, loved and struggled.

This is their story.


A Year of Good Eating: The Kitchen Diaries III

A Year of Good Eating (Kitchen Diaries III) by Nigel Slater

The third instalment of Nigel Slater’s classic Kitchen Diaries series, A Year of Good Eatingexplores the balance and pleasure in eating well throughout the year. The leisurely recipes and kitchen stories of the Diaries are ingeniously interspersed with seasonal sections of quick, weeknight suppers in the style of Nigel’s most recent bestseller Eat. A salmon pie with herb butter sauce or an asparagus and blue cheese tart for when you have time to cook; roasted summer vegetables with sausages or quick baked eggs and greens for when you need to get dinner on the table fast.

With Nigel’s characteristically simple recipes and inspiring writing, this new book will make good eating a joy, every day of the year.


The Long, Long Afternoon

The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper

Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time . . .

It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.

While the Haney’s neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family’s ‘help’, who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes’ starched curtains than anyone, and it isn’t long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help. But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole ‘perfect’ world to set alight . . .


The Foundling

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything . . .

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst, that Clara has died in care, Bess is astonished to be told she has already claimed her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.

Less than a mile from Bess’s lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds . . 


The Quick Roasting Tin

The Quick Roasting Tin by Rukmini Lyer

Cook quick, delicious and nutritious one-tin meals that take the pressure off dinner.

10 MINUTES PREP. 30 MINUTES IN THE OVEN.

The Quick Roasting Tin contains 75 new all-in-one tin recipes from quick weeknight dinners to at-home lunchboxes and family favourites. All meals take just 10 minutes to prep, and no longer than 30 minutes in the oven.
Just chop a few ingredients, pop them into a roasting tin, and kick back while the oven does the work.
This book is perfect for anyone who wants fresh, delicious, hassle-free food and minimal washing up!


Bloody January (A Harry McCoy Thriller Book 1)

Bloody January by Alan Parks (Harry McCoy 1)

When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn’t a random act of violence.

With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow’s wealthiest family, the Dunlops.

McCoy’s boss doesn’t want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas . . .

In a helter-skelter tale – winding from moneyed elite to hipster music groupies to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland – Bloody January brings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow and introduces a dark and electrifying new voice in Scottish noir.


Sound Of The Sinners (Joe Geraghty Book 4)

Sound of the Sinners by Nick Quantrill (Joe Geraghty 4)

In SOUND OF THE SINNERS we find Joe Geraghty leaving his new home in Amsterdam to attend the funeral of his former business partner and mentor Don Ridley who was found dead shortly after asking for Geraghty’s help.

With a heavy heart and weighed down with guilt, Joe returns to Hull, a city he thought was in his past.

Don’s death points to his days with the police and an off-the-books investigation into the unsolved ‘Car Boot Murder’ decades previously. As Geraghty investigates the circumstances of his friend’s death he uncovers dangerous secrets and a conspiracy of silence – Hull might have had a makeover during Joe’s absence, but clearly some things never change in the northern sea-port.

With his own life on the line, and with a debt of honour to be repaid, Joe is unable to stop in his quest for the truth, but powerful people with vested interests will always seek to ensure some stories never see the light of day.


Adventures on 'The Way': 1100 miles on the Camino de Santiago

Adventures on ‘The Way’ by Graeme Harvey

Unfulfilled, wanting something more, and longing for a new adventure, Graeme Harvey and his wife Kirsty set out along 1100 miles of the fabled El Camino de Santiago fully kitted out for all eventualities…Or so they think! What actually follows is a picturesque, joyous, painful, pain au chocolat fuelled journey that will change their lives forever… “Inspiring!” “Very entertaining”, “Fantastic read”. Nominated for running book of the year in The Running Awards 2019.


The Never-Ending Summer

The Never Ending Summer by Emma Kennedy

Three women. Two unforgettable road trips.
Wherever you are in life, it’s never too late to find yourself.

Best friends Agnes and Bea decide to embark on one last adventure before their adult lives begin.

For Agnes’s mother Florence, a fresh chapter is starting as her youngest flies the nest and her marriage settles into a new routine. But she can’t help feeling that something is missing.

As Agnes travels to London and Florence follows her heart to Europe, both will discover a world of possibilities they never could have dreamed of…


Three Women and a Boat

Three Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson

Meet Eve, who has departed from her thirty-year career to become a Free Spirit; Sally, who has waved goodbye to her indifferent husband and two grown-up children; and Anastasia: defiantly independent narrowboat-dweller, suddenly vulnerable as she awaits a life-saving operation.

Inexperienced and ill-equipped, Sally and Eve embark upon a journey through the canals of England, guided by the remote and unsympathetic Anastasia. As they glide gently – and not so gently – through the countryside, the eccentricities and challenges of canalboat life draw them inexorably together, and a tender and unforgettable story unfolds.


Pippo and Clara

Pippo & Clara by Diana Rosie

A country torn apart by war. Two siblings divided by fate.

Italy, 1938. Mussolini is in power and war is not far away . . .

Clara and Pippo are just children: quiet, thoughtful Clara is the older sister; Pippo, the younger brother, is forever chatting. The family has only recently arrived in the city carrying their few possessions.

When Mamma goes missing early one morning, both Clara and Pippo go in search of her. Clara turns right; Pippo left.

As a result of the choices they make that morning, their lives will be changed forever.

Diana Rosie’s Pippo and Clara tells the story of a family and a country divided. But will Clara and Pippo – and their mother – find each other again?


The Jane Austen Society

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Only a few months after the end of the Second World War, a new battle is beginning in the little village of Chawton. Once the final home of Jane Austen, the Chawton estate is dwindling, and the last piece of Austen’s heritage is at risk of being sold to the highest bidder…

Drawn together by their love of her novels, eight very different people – from a local farmer to a glamorous film star – must unite to attempt something remarkable. As new friendships form, and the griefs of the past begin to fade, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society, and to save the beloved novelist’s home and legacy. But can her words change all their lives in return?


Good Eggs Kindle Edition

Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman

Meet the Gogartys: cantankerous gran Millie (whose eccentricities include a penchant for petty-theft and reckless driving); bitter downtrodden stepson Kevin (erstwhile journalist whose stay-at-home parenting is pushing him to the brink); and habitually moody, disaffected teenage daughter Aideen.

When Gran’s arrested yet again for shoplifting, Aideen’s rebelliousness has reached new heights and Kevin’s still not found work, he realises he needs to take action. With the appointment of a home carer for his mother, his daughter sent away to boarding school to focus on her studies and more time for him to reboot his job-hunt, surely everything will work out just fine. But as the story unfolds – and in the way of all the best families – nothing goes according to plan and as the calm starts to descend into chaos we’re taken on a hilarious multiple-perspective roller-coaster ride that is as relatable as it is far-fetched.


The Puppet Show: Winner of the CWA Gold Dagger Award 2019 (Washington Poe Book 1)

The Puppet Show by MW Craven

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive …


The Secret Stealers: A Novel Kindle Edition

The Secret Stealers by Jane Healey

Anna Cavanaugh is a restless young widow and brilliant French teacher at a private school in Washington, DC. Everything changes when she’s recruited into the Office of Strategic Services by family friend and legendary WWI hero Major General William Donovan.

Donovan has faith in her—and in all his “glorious amateurs” who are becoming Anna’s fast friends: Maggie, Anna’s down-to-earth mentor; Irene, who’s struggling to find support from her husband for her clandestine life; and Julia, a cheerful OSS liaison. But the more Anna learns about the organization’s secret missions, the more she longs to be stationed abroad. Then comes the opportunity: go undercover as a spy in the French Resistance to help steal critical intelligence that could ultimately turn the tide of the war.

Dispatched behind enemy lines and in constant danger, Anna is filled with adrenaline, passion, and fear. She’s driven to make a difference—for her country and for herself. Whatever the risk, she’s willing to take it to help liberate France from the shadows of occupation and to free herself from the shadows of her former life.


Close My Eyes: A totally shocking and unputdownable psychological thriller Kindle Edition

Close My Eyes by Beverley Harvey

It starts with a chance sighting: a face from her past, someone Beth hasn’t thought about for years. Suddenly she feels a terrifying wave of panic – the flash of a memory, of crushing weight and pain, and the flicker of firelight and smoke. Something in Beth’s past has been disturbed… And nothing will ever be the same again.

You’ve started to remember…
Beth never had any reason to doubt her peaceful, happy upbringing. Then she suddenly starts getting awful flashes of an event from her past – a vicious attack from an unknown person. And she thinks it could be more than just a nightmare. But how could she forget something this big?

Someone wants you to forget…
With no husband or boyfriend to turn to, she asks her trusted family and old friends for reassurance, only to hear that it must all be in her head. Meanwhile, the flashes get stronger, more frightening, and more details start to come back to her – details she knows she couldn’t have invented. But these are people who have known her all her life and have her best interests at heart. Who should she believe?

What will you risk to discover the truth?
Beth is determined to understand the meaning of these memories even if it means going it alone. But is she prepared for what she will find? Because the truth will ruin someone’s life – and they will stop at nothing to keep the past forgotten.


THESE LITTLE LIES an addictive crime thriller with a twist you won't see coming (Detective Inspector Siv Drummond Book 1)

These Little Lies by Gretta Mulrooney

DETECTIVE INSPECTOR SIV DRUMMOND IS LOOKING FOR A FRESH START. WHAT SHE GETS IS TWO DEAD BODIES.

It’s Detective Inspector Siv Drummond’s first day back on the job, joining a new team in a new town. This fresh start isn’t going to be easy. Still mourning the death of her husband, she must push aside her grief to focus on her first case.

Lauren Visser and Matis Rimas are found stabbed to death in the idyllic woodland by the River Bere. Their mutilated bodies lie within feet of each other. A photograph of an unknown girl sits on Lauren’s chest.

She was an activist and wild swimmer. He was fishing illegally.

WHAT IS THEIR CONNECTION?

Siv and her team start ruling out suspects, but no one tells the truth when everyone has something to hide.

What will be dredged up by the investigation?

CAN DI SIV DRUMMOND FIGHT THE CURRENT OF LIES OR WILL SHE BE SWEPT AWAY?

Subscription Books

Can You See Me Now?

Can You See Me Now? by Trish Sakhlecha (Capital Crime)

Fifteen years ago, three sixteen-year-old girls meet at Wescott, an exclusive private school in India.
Two, Sabah and Noor, are the most popular girls in their year. One, Alia, is a new arrival from England, who feels her happiness depends on their acceptance.

Before she knows it, Sabah and Noor’s intoxicating world of privilege and intimacy opens up to Alia and, for the first time, after years of neglect from her parents, she feels she is exactly where, and with whom, she belongs.

But with intimacy comes jealousy, and with privilege, resentment, and Alia finds that it only takes one night for her bright new world to shatter around her.

Now Alia, a cabinet minister in the Indian government, is about to find her secrets have no intention of staying buried . . .


I Will Make You Pay

I Will Make You Pay by Teresa Driscoll (Capital Crime)

It seems like an ordinary Wednesday, until the phone rings. A mysterious caller with a chilling threat. Journalist Alice Henderson hangs up, ready to dismiss it as a hoax against the newspaper. But the next Wednesday, the stalker makes another move—and it becomes clear that this is all about Alice.

Someone wants her to suffer, but for what? Her articles have made her a popular local champion—could it be her past rather than her work that’s put her life in danger? Alice is determined not to give in to fear, but with the police investigation at a dead end, her boyfriend insists on hiring private investigator Matthew Hill.

With every passing Wednesday the warnings escalate, until it’s not only Alice but also her family in the stalker’s sights. As her tormentor closes in, can Alice uncover what she’s being punished for before the terrifying threats become an unthinkable reality?


All The Lonely People

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle (NB Magazine)

In phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun and friendship.

But Hubert Bird is lying.

Something has made him turn his back on people, and he hardly sees a soul.

So when his daughter announces she’s coming to visit, Hubert faces a race against time: to make his real life resemble his fake life before he’s found out.

Along the way Hubert renews a cherished friendship, is given a second chance at love and even joins an audacious community scheme. But with the secret of his earlier isolation lurking in the shadows, is he destines to always be one of the lonely people?


Mrs Narwhal's Diary

Mrs Narwhal’s Diary by S J Norbury (Louise Walters Publishing sub) Published 16 May 2021

“It was Woman’s Hour who suggested I keep a diary. They said it was good for mental health, and I must say I did feel much less frazzled after writing everything down yesterday. The frustrations were all still there, but somehow smoothed out – as if by a really good steam iron.”

Mrs Narwhal is overwhelmed. Her husband, Hugh, is unkind and unhappy – working every hour at a job he hates to save the ancestral home he never wanted. Then there’s Hugh’s sister, Rose, who’s spurned her one true love, and ricochets from crisis to crisis; and not to mention two small boys to bring up safely in a house that could crumble around their ears at any moment…

When Hugh’s pride receives a fatal blow, and he walks out, Mrs Narwhal is plunged into a crisis of both heart and home. With help from Rose she sets out to save the house her husband couldn’t. But can she save her marriage? And does she really want Hugh back?

Books I Read

Divided loyalties

Divided Loyalties by Patricia Scanlan

Shauna and Greg’s marriage is under pressure. She wants another baby. He doesn’t. She also has to endure her obnoxious in-laws, ‘The Freeloaders’, Della, Eddie and their spoilt kids. Shauna’s glad to be moving abroad – she’ll be free of them at long last. But three thousand miles won’t stop the determined Della.

Carrie, Shauna’s sister, can’t help feeling put upon. The burden of looking after their elderly father rests on her and she’s fed up. Even though she loves her siblings, resentment builds. Can Carrie put her foot down and stand up for herself?

Bobby, the youngest, has a poisoned relationship with his father who blames him for the premature death of his wife. A bitter confrontation leaves them estranged.

The last Christmas the family got together was a disaster, but circumstances change. Can the family turn things around and finally put the past behind them as they prepare for another family gathering?


In Deep Water

In Deep Water by Sam Blake

Good intentions can be deadly . . .

Cat Connolly is back at work. Struggling to adjust to the physical and mental scars, her workload once again becomes personal when her best friend Sarah Jane, daughter of a Pulitzer-winning American journalist, goes missing.

Her father is uncontactable, but her mother reports that he’d believed Sarah Jane was investigating something dangerous – yet the only records Cathy can find suggest that Sarah Jane was just involved in a seemingly innocent children’s project.

Sarah Jane was last seen leaving her workplace – a popular Dublin restaurant – but seems not to have made it home.

And then a body turns up, and Cathy fears they have failed to save her friend. But when it transpires that the dead woman is not Sarah Jane, she realises that this case is only just getting started . . .

In the world of missing persons, every second counts, but with the clock ticking can Cathy find Sarah Jane before it’s too late?


The Ludlow Ladies' Society

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin

American Connie Carter has lost everybody and everything dear to her. She moves to Ludlow Hall, Wicklow, Ireland to nurse her grieving heart and find answers. There, she meets Eve and Hetty and is introduced to The Ludlow Ladies Society. Can her hurt be healed? Can she ever understand or forgive? As the women stitch patchwork memory quilts to remember those they have lost, the secrets of the past emerge. With the Ludlow Ladies Society behind her, Connie has to face those secrets and the memories sweet and sour, but can she let go of the past? A story of friendship, resilience and compassion, and of how women hold each other up through the most difficult times, this is a tale which will have you crying one minute and laughing the next.


Himself by Jess Kidd

Himself by Jess Kidd (see my review here)

When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only his handsome face, a photograph of his too-young, long-lost mother, and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies. Mahony also somehow wakes the dead from their graves, those folk who once lived here, with their foggy memories and hidden stories, floating greyly amongst the unseeing living. No one though – living or dead – will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby. Despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them knows. Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, an implacable nurse and a caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and blackly comic debut novel creates in crystal-clear, musical language an unforgettable world of strange kindnesses, bloody violence and buried secrets.


Dog Days

Dog Days by Ericka Waller

(With many thanks to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read)

George is very angry. His wife has upped and died on him, and all he wants to do is sit in his underpants and shout at the cricket. The last thing he needs is his cake-baking neighbour Betty trying to rescue him. And then there’s the dog, a dachshund puppy called Poppy. George doesn’t want a dog – he wants a fight.

Dan is a counsellor with OCD who is great at helping other people – if only he were better at helping himself. His most meaningful relationship so far is with his labrador Fitz. But then comes a therapy session that will change his life.

Lizzie is living in a women’s refuge with her son Lenny. Her body is covered in scars and she has shut herself off from everyone around her. But when she is forced to walk the refuge’s fat terrier, Maud, a new life beckons – if she can keep her secret just a while longer…

Dog Days is a novel about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in. It is about three people learning to make connections and find joy in living life off the leash.


Lost Property: The most uplifting debut of 2021

Lost Property by Helen Paris

(With many thanks to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read)

Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother’s care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.

But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives in search of his late wife’s purse, his grief stirs something in Dot. Determined to help, she sets off on a mission – one that could start to heal Dot’s own loss and let her find where she belongs once more…

So how did I do with my reading intentions?

Something Old

Divided Loyalties by Patricia Scanlan (Bought 2014)

Something New

Dog Days by Ericka Waller (courtesy of Pigeonhole)

Lost Property by Helen Paris (courtesy of Pigeonhole)

Something Borrowed (NetGalley/Library)

In Deep Water by Sam Blake (NetGalley 2017)

Himself by Jess Kidd (NetGalley 2016)

Something Blue – pot luck as long as it’s blue!

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin (Bought 2017)


That’s me for this month so all that’s left to say is : Happy Reading!

 

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