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When I was Ten by Fiona Cummins – a review

TenI absolutely love Fiona Cummins’ previous novels, her debut Rattle is still one of my favourite books of 2016 and I have devoured her follow ups, so when her latest appeared on Netgalley I was rather excited.

When I Was Ten follows the Carter family. Twenty years previously Dr Carter and his wife were killed by their daughter in a case that gripped the nation. Ten year old Sara Carter was nicknamed the Angel of Death, but having served her time she now has a family and a life of her own. However when her older sister does her first ever TV interview, Sara’s life comes crashing down around her. The sisters childhood friend Brinley is now a journalist tasked with covering the breaking story, forcing the three women to confront the reality of that terrible night.

This was another superb novel from Fiona Cummins that was utterly compelling. The story is told from two viewpoints, the sister and the journalist and cleverly entwines the two in a way that keeps you wanting to know just a little bit more. As with all Fiona Cummins books you get a great insight into not only how messed up family dynamics can be but also how far people will go when they want to protect their secrets. 

The writing is as always engaging and completely sucks you in. I thought the story itself was very clever. There were some very upsetting elements as you find out about the family itself and what happened in the lead up to the murder. It is a very emotional story based around family life. I did find the inclusion of the MP storyline a little unnecessary, as I didn’t really feel that his storyline added to the book much, however the reasons behind him being included became clearer as we hit the end. I liked the way the story was structured, it was very much an act in three parts as the story switches between the before and the after for the Carter sisters with little let up inbetween.

One of the things I really like about all of Fiona Cummins’ novels is the unexpected twists and turns that run throughout, whenever you think you have a handle on where it is going something else will happen that completely throws the theory out of the water. This was no exception.

When I Was Ten was yet another fantastic story from one of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to read what comes next from Fiona Cummins.

Order your copy here When I Was Ten

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Children of the revolution – the sequel

Back in March 2017 I wrote the post below about World Book Day. I’ve not idea what the article was that I had read at the time, but sadly I imagine that things haven’t changed much. Last year rather than ask people to create expensive costumes to celebrate World Book Day one school in York asked children to bring in a book from home. Over 50% of the children didn’t have a book to bring in.

However one thing has changed since 2017. I mention in the post that I would like to find all these people without books and give them one. Well giving a book to everyone might have been a bit of a tall order but I’ve certainly made a start. Having set up a charity called Bookcase For All we have given away over 2000 books last year, over 600 of these were to schools, so I like to think we have made a small difference. Hopefully by this time next year we will have given away lots more!

http://www.bookcaseforall.co.uk

Children of the Revolution – March 2017

As you all hopefully know, today is World Book Day. In fact it is the 20th anniversary of the day. I can imagine for parent’s the joy of this day is slightly tempered by the need to suddenly create an entire Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory out of an old washing up liquid bottle, an egg box and some sticky back plastic, but to me it’s a really positive day.

Everywhere you go people are talking about books. On the radio, in the papers, even people in the office are showing off pictures of their nephews and nieces dressed as book characters and discussing what they read as a child. Books are such exciting things.  Therefore I was rather surprised to read in the paper that last year 25% of children between eight and 11 had used their £1 book token to buy their first ever book. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s great that the day allowed all those children to buy books. I just can’t imagine not having bought a book by the age of eight.

Admittedly I don’t actually remember buying books when I was eight, that was what parent’s and adults were for. Yet I remember books being everywhere, and I was a child before Harry Potter had even been thought of. We still had Enid Blyton, lots of books about girls with ponies, and of course what is still one of my favourites today, Winnie the Pooh. Even if we weren’t buying books, there were regular family trips to the local library or at one point there was a mobile library which came to us, books on wheels. Libraries were a great way to encourage us to read. Even the Father would come with us and pretend to read a paper whilst sat in the corner.

More disturbingly for me however, the article went on to say that one in 10 people within the UK did not own a book. One in 10 people did not own a book. That’s so shocking it deserves repeating twice.  I suspect Mr F would rather I owned less books, as it is getting close to a choice between my books and space for him, and that is a tricky choice. However to not own even one book I find very sad. The article doesn’t specify what type of book. I assume it means only fiction and therefore doesn’t include things such as cook books (everyone has to own at least one cook book don’t they, even if it’s just a Delia Smith how to boil an egg?) However still that to me is quite a shocking statistic. It makes me want to go and find all these people and give them a book. To be fair I probably do have enough to help out quite a lot.

That’s why I think something like World Book Day is so exciting and is starting a new revolution of readers. If all those children who are buying their first book continue to love reading, then books will be everywhere. Plus it will mean the next generation of parents have something to do whilst they are waiting for the superglue to dry on their child’s Harry Potter costume in 20 years time.

http://www.worldbookday.com/

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The Ex-Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty – a review

This had been on my pile to read for a while, and after my latest read, which was a police procedural, I fancied something a bit lighter (Obviously still within the crime realm) so this jumped out at me.

exThe Ex-Girlfriend introduces us to Georgia. When she is stood up on a date by Brett, she meets Luke instead. He seems a charming bloke with loads in common with her and they soon fall in love.  It is just what Georgia needs after the hard time she has been through in her past so the relationship moves quickly. There is one slight problem, he has a maniac of an ex-girlfriend called Cadance who refuses to let him go. When he moves in with Georgia to try and put his ex behind him, things get worse as Cadance steps up her campaign of hatred. Yet are things all what they seem?

I really enjoyed this and found it completely compelling. You know that there is something off about Luke, yet I couldn’t put my finger on it and have to say I didn’t see the twists coming.

The story is told from the viewpoints of mainly Georgia but also the Ex Cadance. It is her viewpoint that really shifts things on their head and gets you doubting what you already know. The writing style is quick and flows well with short chapters which were easy to read and made it really zip along.

The clever bit about this story for me was how plausible it seemed. Yes from the outside  you go through thinking ‘how do you not realise that’s odd’. There were parts where I wanted to rip Georgia from the pages of the book and give her a real shake. However then when you think about it from her point of view, you can appreciate how it is easy to hide things in plain sight and how we really do only see what we want to see.

The Ex Girlfriend is quite difficult to review without giving away key plot points but suffice to say it is a good read that I would highly recommend.

Grab your copy here The Ex Girlfriend

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The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel – a review

I am a huge fan of reading as you know, and I do read a lot (if not as much as I would like) Therefore whilst I read some fantastic books, and the last couple I’ve read have been superb, it’s not often that something really sticks out as unusual. This, however, was exactly the case with The Recovery of Rose Gold, by Stephanie Wrobel.

The Recovery of Rose Gold was one that I was given at last years festival and had been on my shelf for a while. It’s a proof copy so the blurb was sparse:

‘Once upon a time, they said, a wicked Mother gave birth to a Daughter’

The Recovery of Rose Gold is the story of a relationship between a Mother and Daughter. It starts with the release of Patty, the Mother. On the first page we find out she has been convicted of poisoning her daughter for years whilst she was a child. Rose Gold is her daughter and it is her testimony that sent Patty to prison. Now Patty is out and she wants to move back in with Rose Gold to help her care for her new grandson and to put the past behind them.

Well it is no exaggeration to say that this was truly a book that I could not put down once I had started. Luckily it was a weekend so other plans went out of the window.  This is a dark, and disturbing tale which completely drew me in. Yet despite the story matter, the writing gives it a light feel that almost has a humerous edge. The story is told from just two viewpoints – Patty and Rose Gold, Patty is the voice of the current day. Rose Gold’s story flits back to fill in the details of her life whilst Patty was in prison.

Throughout the book you have complete sympathy for Rose Gold as she suffered horrendously at the hands of her clearly disturbed mother. The after effects are obviously still being felt as Rose Gold struggles with normal relationships and life. Patty is also interesting as you end up with a degree of sympathy for her too as she also did not have a great upbringing.

This is a story of obsession and love and how the lines between the two are often blurred, in this case with terrible consequences. This is one of the best books I have read for a while and I’m sure will be huge hit next year. If you like unreliable narrators and stories that will keep you gripped from start to finish then I cannot recommend this highly enough. Unfortunately it isn’t available until March 2020 but it is definitely worth the wait!

You can pre-order your copy here

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