Letters To My Daughters

The story focuses on three daughters, who are living very different lives: Jeannie is living over in America with her cosmetic surgeon husband, Ruth is trying to balance a moody teenager with a distant husband and Beatrice has decided she needs more in her life than just her dog.
 
Their mother; Martha, has never played a huge role in their lives, always too focused on her own career as a midwife.
 
Their nanny; May, has always been there for them – for their tears, for their achievements and for the every day activities that form such a big part of your childhood.
 
Knowing this, it’s hardly surprising that the girls are absolutely devastated when Nanny May passes.
 
Martha can’t understand why her girls are so emotionally affected by a woman who was just ‘staff’ in her opinion… May wasn’t part of the family; she was just ‘paid’ help.
 
So when Martha sees letters addressed to her three daughters and an open letter to her husband; Jim, she’s furious. Why on earth is this woman trying to impose her thoughts on them all when she’s passed? Martha then does something very foolish and as each day passes, she contemplates whether the damage of her actions is increasing or not. The only way she can know the answer is by telling the truth to her family. But will she?
 
Martha’s got her secrets, but she’s not the only one, there are plenty of secrets bubbling away in this plot. The girls promised that they’d tell each other everything no matter how big or how small, except they are still hiding things from one another…
 
Emma has created such individual and uplifting characters. Each of them are going on their own unique journeys, making this story an instant page turner, as you’re eager to find out how each story will develop.
 
What I loved most about this book was the realistic conclusions, yes this is fiction and it’s light hearted so you can lose yourself in the magic of it all, but the sugar coating is not too thick, the outcomes are realistic.
 
The depth of Emma’s writing is award winning, it’s not just the emotions of the characters, it’s the descriptive nature of the settings – I could really visualise each house, the locations, the atmosphere in them… truly fantastic.
 
This book is beautifully written and it was Emma’s last gift to us bookworms, I had tears in my eyes as I read the final few pages.
 
Thanks to Becky over at Headline for sending me an advanced copy, I’m truly grateful and this review is my way of saying thank you!
 
Letters to My Daughters is out now in Ireland and will hit the UK stores at the end of this month (June)
 
Until next time, Chloé x
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Short review on The Lido

Rosemary has lived in Brixton all her life, and the local lido has been a part of her memories from childhood all the way through to present days, in her eighties. When the council announces that a property firm intends to buy the lido and convert it into tennis courts and a private gym, Rosemary is devastated, but what can she do?

No need for us readers to panic, because Kate is on the case. Kate words at the Brixton chronicle and has been sent to do a piece on the lido. Kate is used to covering short pieces in the newspaper but when she arrives at the lido and meets Rosemary; she realises she wants to fight hard for the lido and cover the entire story.

I got so much joy from following Kate and Rosemary’s bond growing stronger and stronger; it was so heart warming to see the impactful positive changes on the characters that resulted from each other. Particularly the improvement on Kate’s mental health. Kate suffers from anxiety which leads her to have panic attacks. She’s never told anyone about them, which left her suffering in the dark for a long time. But there’s something about being with Rosemary which makes Kate open up, and after that, everything seems more manageable.

I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed this book. Feel good vibes radiate from the pages! It’s on par with Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Cannon’s two successes, the most recent being Three Things about Elsie. You can’t not finish this book and feel completely energised to go out and do something different in your life.

Community spirit at its best!

Until next time, Chloé x

Mine

Well helloooooo and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for the incredible ‘Mine’ by Susi Fox.

This was an absolute cracker of a book and I am so pleased to be able to share my review with you today.

Sasha has awoken from an emergency c-section to find her baby isn’t with her and neither is her husband – Mark. The nurse informs her everything is ok and that Mark is upstairs in the nursery with their new baby son. A son?! Sash is shocked, she thought she was having a daughter. Early warning signs are ringing in her ears (and mine!).

When Sash is finally allowed up to see her son, she instantly knows something is wrong. It’s not her son. She’s sure of it.

But Mark continues to point out resemblances between him/her/family members and the baby…

Is she going mad? The nurses keep looking at her suspiciously. Sash becomes paranoid. What’s going on?

Fox begins to build up the plot by exploring Mark and Sasha’s past, revealing relationship problems, unhappy families and secrets that have been hidden for many years. It’s up to you, as the reader, to work out the truth. Is Sash right? Is she wrong? Has Mark been lying? And are the nurses and doctors on her side or not?

It had that hauntingly real vibe to it, you could imagine this happening and because of this, I was utterly absorbed from start to finish. This book was like a fantastic three course meal – the starter (start of book) got you hooked and you knew you were in for a treat; the main (the middle) did not disappoint, it was beautifully executed, seasoned to perfection with powerful twists; and finally, the dessert… the finale… Fox could not have ended this any better,  magnificently constructed and a talking point for all.

Loved, loved, LOVED IT!

Mine is out now in eBook and the paperback version will be hitting shelves on 14th June, be sure to add this one to your summer TBR pile!

Be sure to check out the other fantastic posts on this blog tour:

Mine Blog Tour

Until next time, Chloé x

Where The Light Gets In

Lorna has taken the plunge and bought an art gallery in her home town. This is scary for a number of reasons, for a start Lorna hasn’t had much success in this career area after a failed pop up gallery, and she hasn’t been in her home town for a very long time. But will this new adventure be the start of something very special?
 
I loved the irony in this book, the fact that all Lorna wanted was her own space and to be alone, and yet she finds herself sharing her new digs with others and never having much time to herself. But that’s life isn’t it? You think you know what you need, but actually life has a very, different plan for you.
 
It isn’t long into the book before you meet Lorna’s first house guest, her best friend – Tiffany, who is fleeing a disastrous job and needs a place to crash for *supposedly* a few days… she’s got the heart of gold but does seem to spend an extortionately long time in the bathroom!
 
A very special lady is then introduced into the plot – Joyce, a local artist who famously ignores everyone. Except both ladies are strangely drawn to one another.
 
And, I haven’t even mentioned the doggies yet!! There is something about adding dogs to a story that just makes it 100% better; albeit that’s probably a biased opinion since I love dogs. Rudy; a rather anxious dachshund, is introduced early on in the story, his human mother (Betty) had passed away at the hospice Lorna volunteered at and no one seemed keen to take him. Lorna agrees to take him on, when she realises Rudy’s alternative is a dog shelter. Whilst I’m more of a Labrador person, I do love the character that smaller dogs have; and Rudy definitely has personality! He makes it quite clear that he will only go on a walk, if there are no other dogs in the vicinity, and given that Lorna lives in Longhampton centre, it means getting up early…!
 
Then Rudy meets Bernard. Bernard is the bonkers border terrier owned by Joyce, and he seems to bring out the best in Rudy. Out on walks together, Rudy becomes more confident and playful; it really is lovely to watch this nervous dachshund come out of his shell. You see? Who needs a blossoming human friendship, when a doggy one is so much more rewarding!
 
In her past books and this current one, Dillon has always shown such a talent when adding canines to her plots, they never feel like cutely placed background animals, they always seem to have their own sweet side story and I love that!
 
From the very start of the book, death and grief is present and a real anchoring point to this plot. It becomes clear that Lorna has never really gotten over her mother passing, and continues to carry this as a weight on her shoulder. It’s not the death as such, it’s more the doubt that her mother never really understood her or accepted her for who she is. I thought the way Dillon explored Lorna’s feelings over the plot was perfectly executed, and would help many. Being able to ‘be at peace’ with a relationship after the person has passed is always difficult, but by understanding herself and gaining a different perspective from new and old friends, Lorna finally feels a connection to her mother.
 
All in all, another fantastic book from Dillon, with some fantastic characters.
 

 

Until next time, Chloé x

Two Steps Forward

Both Zoe and Martin are coming to grips with fundamental changes to their lives. Zoe has been recently widowed and Martin is licking his wounds after a horrific divorce. Each have their own reason to walk the Camino from Cluny; in France, to Santiago (de Compostela); in Spain. Their first encounter leaves neither of them liking the other, but slowly, they realise what they can learn from one another.
 
I must confess, I had no prior knowledge about the camino, what routes there were, why people walked it, the history etc. And it really didn’t matter, the book taught you all you needed to know – it’s like an unofficial travel book that guides you through the traditions, the ways to walk, the kind of places to stay, the local food, and much, much more.
 
The writing styles of Simsion and Buist were so in sync and beautifully balanced, you wouldn’t be able to tell this was written by two authors. The raw emotions that both authors manage to draw from their words makes this story, incredibly powerful. I felt such a connection to Zoe and Martin, even though they’re both at completely different stages in life to me.
 
This book is all about second chances. What would you do with your life after tragedy? How would you rebuild it? The Camino gives people the time and perspective they require. But what will the outcome be for both Zoe and Martin?
 
An untraditional love story, a time to reflect and some fascinating characters; I was completely caught up in the magic of this book.
 
I read a review over on amazon for this book, and they described it as ‘very readable’ – I couldn’t have summarised it any better myself!
If you’ve read any books by Two Roads, e.g The Cactus, Hogan’s two books (Lost Things and Sally Red Shoes); you’ll begin to pick up that there is a theme to the kind of books they publish. Not only does each book have an inspirational story, it’s also packed full of meaning and warmth. So I’m not only just recommending this book, I’m recommending the entire Two Roads catalogue, the standard is truly exquisite.
 
*Thanks to Two Roads for sending me over a copy, this honest review is my way of saying thank you!*
 
Until next time, Chloé x
 

You Were Made for This

Wow. Wow. Wow.

This book completely took me by surprise. When I first started it, I was enjoying the underlying suspense as I was introduced to Sam, Merry and their cute baby; Connor, and the happy family image they portray to the outside world.

And then bam. It all starts to unravel and the dark side of Sam and Merry begins to come to light.

What excited me most about this book was the ever evolving plot, I just couldn’t guess which direction it was going to take next. Frank; Merry’s friend, was such a catalyst to this plot. Her arrival in Sweden, opened up the doors to the past and revealed some shocking truths.

It’s difficult to relate to any of the key characters in this book; they’re incredibly selfish, cruel and their morals are questionable, but I didn’t see this as a drawback, in fact I think it only added to the gripping nature of this plot. I was utterly absorbed in reading what these ‘not-like-me’ characters would do, how far would they go?

This is the quintessential page turner. Perfect in every way!

*I received an advanced copy through a twitter competition, so grateful and feeling very lucky to have read this beauty before publication date*

Until next time, Chloé x

A quick review on: Still Me by @jojomoyes

Louisa is back again for a third time. She’s now in New York working for a rich wife named Agnes. Agnes is lonely and desires a companion, but although Agnes claims Louisa is a friend, at the end of the day she’s an employee and is required to run around like a headless chicken completing the endless tasks that Agnes demands.

 
Louisa continues to hear Will’s thoughts in her head and tries to take his advice each day. I love the connection Louisa has with Will – it’s not overpowering, she’s no longer grieving, she’s just allowing his wise words to guide her.
 
In a job with little free time, trouble begins to brew in her relationship. Can she and Sam really last a long distance relationship? Will one of them be tempted by someone closer to home? The way Moyes articulates Louisa’s thoughts on her relationship is so similar to myself and friends, I couldn’t help but connect with Louisa even more than I had already.
 
The plot just keeps on giving, there’s a lot to take in. Grumpy dogs, old ladies, clothes galore and a rather sexy American.
 
Moyes has created such an iconic character. Louisa – is the girl next door, your best friend and your inner self; she’ll make you realise you can do whatever you want. She’s not perfect and her life is never plain sailing, but her kindness is infatuating.
 
Let’s all be more kind. Let’s all be more like Louisa.
 
Gahhhh, I miss her already!
 
Until next time, Chloé x