Review of ‘The Paris Apartment’ by Lucy Foley

‘The Paris Apartment’ by Lucy Foley is a tense and chilling psychological mystery set in a luxury apartment block in Paris. Jess flees a bad situation back home for the comfort of her half-brother Ben’s flat in the French capital. When she arrives he’s nowhere to be found, and all her enquiries lead to more questions.  His neighbours have secrets of their own -but what do they have to do with Ben? And can she trust any of them?

Told from the point of view of several characters, it means the unreliable  narrator  is part of the story. It keeps the reader guessing. Jess is not exactly a sympathetic character, so one never knows who to trust. There are so many secrets and shifty characters. It’s quite a slow burn story but worth the wait as the ending shocked and surprised me. I did not see it coming. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Miss Graham’s War’ by Celia Rees

‘Miss Graham’s War’ is the story of the aftermath of WW2. As the world starts to recover and rebuild someone has to organise and make sure it happens. They also have to make sure those responsible for the atrocities of the Holocaust pay for what they have done. Edith wants to do her bit after spending the war teaching. She wants to escape from the drudgery and expectations of her life too. But as she soon discovers, reconstruction and retribution are complicated matters. And deciding who to trust won’t be easy.

Most books concentrate on the actual war, so I found this story unusual and refreshing. Although I had an inkling of what went on post-1945, I didn’t know the half of it. This well researched book took me into the heart of Europe as the Western Allies fought for control of their enclaves. The question of friends and enemies was not as clear cut as it once was. As the Cold War took hold it was interesting to see where loyalties lay. There were some disturbing elements obviously as the truth of what went on in the camps became clear, but it was the truth, and the truth must be faced. It packed a punch and shocked me – but there were also beautiful moments of humanity and love. I connected with the characters, especially Edith. There were some surprising twists and turns, making it an excellent read. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Under A Greek Moon’ by Carol Kirkwood

Carol Kirkwood has taken me on a wonderful journey, full of romance, Hollywood glamour and summer loving. ‘Under a Greek Moon’ is the story of Shauna Jackson, a beautiful  film-star with a secret in her past.  When her life changes unexpectedly, she feels a desire to return to the Greek island where she lost her heart many years before. Demetrios Theodosis appears to have it all, but he has regrets and feels it’s too late to change. Trying to control his headstrong daughter is not working out well. Will he push her away? Or find a solution they can both live with? Life on Ithos is about to get very interesting!

I loved this story. There was love and romance, but there was also heartache and regret. It had heart and warmth and characters I grew to love. Ms Kirkwood gave me everything I wanted in the perfect summer holiday read. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Killings at Kingfisher Hill’ by Sophie Hannah

Can an author, other than Agatha Christie, catch the essence of Poirot in their writing? Yes, they most definitely can. Sophie Hannah has Poirot down to a T in ‘The Killings at Kingfisher Hill’. 

When Poirot is called in to investigate a death that the police and authorities have closed the case on, he enters into the lives of a very disfunctional family. With the help of Inspector Catchpool, he has to work out who to believe. And that is not easy. Are any of them to be trusted? Some of the group are the most awful individuals, and anyone with any sense would run a mile in the other direction. Not Poirot. 

Catchpool is the narrator of the story and this works well. He gets given tasks by Poirot, and in these the reader finds out what the important questions are. It works perfectly. It is a proper Poirot with red herrings, twists and turns and a solution I did not see coming. I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope that Ms Hannah continues to keep my favourite Belgian detective alive for many more years. 

I was given this ARC to review. 

Review of ‘While Justice Sleeps’ by Stacey Abrams

While Justice Sleeps is utterly compelling and brilliantly plotted, with legal and political intrigue to keep the reader up all night. You will not want to put this one down! 

Avery works as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Howard Wynn. When he ends up in a coma, she finds herself unexpectedly in charge of his affairs. But why? He has entrusted her with a puzzle, one that she alone is capable of solving. The story is brilliantly conceived, with mysteries and secrets she must uncover before it’s too late. It didn’t let up for a second. I loved Avery. She was smart, resourceful and loyal. But she also knew how to get the most out of people, how to encourage their talents. The world of Washington politics was fascinating and all the more so because it felt as if the author knew exactly what she was writing about. It felt real. This book would make an amazing film. 

I was given this ARC for review.

Review of ‘Threadneedle’ by Cari Thomas

ThreadNeedle is stunning. The writing is intensely beautiful, and carried me off into a world of magic and love, secrets and lies. Anna has been warned of the dangers of magic, but as she approaches her sixteenth birthday, things begin to change. Effie and Attis come into her life, and it becomes more difficult to resist that magic and believe what she has been told. Joining The Binders has been her fate. But is she ready for a life of pain and denial? Her Aunt is determined she will do as she is told, but Anna’s eyes are opened to new possibilities. As the story unfolds we enter a world of wonder, of magical libraries, of underground secrets hidden from the ‘real’ world. I was hungry for more. The story was brilliantly conceived and I couldn’t put it down. I want more and more of the same. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Rose Code’ by Kate Quinn

‘The Rose Code’ is a stunning book. A mixture of historical fiction, suspense, mystery and passion. It’s the story of three young women who find themselves working at Bletchley Park, doing top-secret codebreaking – work they will never be allowed to divulge for decades. Osla, the well-connected deb, Mab, an East End girl determined to make something of her life, and Beth, a downtrodden twenty-something with a sharp and amazing mind. We follow their lives as they become vital cogs in the wheel during WW11, saving the Allies in secret, and trying to find some sort of happiness amongst the chaos of war.

The story jumped back and forward between the war years and post-war Britain. Tying it in with real events and with more than a spattering of real-life figures added to the excitement and intensity. I loved finding out about Bletchley Park when it was the secret hub of those trying to crack the Enigma codes. I’ve visited it and found it utterly fascinating – but this book brought it to life for me, with wonderful characters and a top-notch story. It was tense and full of suspense, with a fantastic mystery at its heart. The best book of the year for me.

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Castaways’ by Lucy Clarke

‘The Castaways’ by Lucy Clarke is the story of two sisters; one lost after her plane to a small Fijian island disappears, the other on a quest to find her. Erin cannot let it go. When everyone else wants to move on, she becomes obsessed and makes it her goal in life to find out what happened. The chapters move between then and now, between each sister, giving us insight into their relationship as well as how they function as individuals. 

You will not be able to put it down. There’s a sense of foreboding, tension and suspense that never lets up. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, and takes the reader inside the minds of the characters and to far off places. The twists in the tale were astounding and did not come out as I expected. I was gripped from start to finish. 

I was given this ARC to review.

Review of ‘The Fire Court’ by Andrew Taylor

‘The Fire Court’ is a beautifully descriptive historical mystery set the year after the Great Fire of London. The writing was immersive and the period so well researched that I felt as if I was there. James Marwood finds himself investigating after his father claims to have found a dead woman at the chambers of the lawyers dealing with the aftermath of the Great Fire. He teams up with Cat Lovett, an interestingly independent woman for her time. I loved reading about the machinations of those in positions of power, as well as the ordinary lives of the people. The little details really brought this story alive for me. As a lover of historical novels, this book hit all the right notes for me. The story was fascinating, with plenty of twists and turns and the author’s ability to make the past seem real was such a joy. I really enjoyed it.

I was given a review copy by LoveReading.

Review of ‘The Mystery of Three Quarters’ New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #3 by Sophie Hannah

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‘The Mystery of Three Quarters’ is an interesting Poirot investigation that had me fooled until the reveal. Sophie Hannah has managed to successfully take on the mantle of Agatha Christie and weave an enjoyable tale that kept me guessing. When four people are sent letters accusing them of murder and supposedly from the great Belgian detective, Poirot feels compelled to investigate. He is joined by Inspector Catchpool and the chapters jump from a first person account from the policeman, to third person where more of the story is revealed. I found this a bit odd at first but in the end it did work. An enjoyable read.

I was given this ARC by Netgalley for review.