Thrillers

Review – The War Widow by Lorna Gray

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While the bells of a Royal Wedding peel out to the fading echoes of war, danger stalks the coastline of Wales…

Wales, 1947

Injured and terrified after an attempted abduction, desperation drives artist Kate Ward to the idyllic scene of her ex-husband’s recent suicide. Labelled a hysterical, grieving divorcée, no one believes she is being pursued by two violent men demanding answers she cannot give. Not the police, not the doctors, and not the guests at the Aberystwyth hotel she has come to in an attempt to find out what happened to her charismatic photographer ex-husband, and why her identity – and her life – are now at risk.

Kate can trust no one, not even the reclusive war-veteran-turned-crime-novelist, Adam Hitchen, a reserved widower and the only source of kindness in a shadowy world of suspicion and fear. And as ghosts old and new rise to haunt her, Kate must rely on all her strength and courage to uncover the shocking truth hidden within a twisted web of lies…

My View

Well, what can I say about this? What a corker!! It really is an incredible read, this is the first book I have read by Lorna Gray and it definitely will not be the last. I will admit that I am a fan of war era romances and I have read a lot of them but there is something very special about this book. This book is right up there with the best I have read right alongside the likes of Pam Jenoff and Kate Mosse.

Set just after the war in 1947, After Kate Ward’s ex-husband committed suicide she found herself being nearly kidnapped, injured and then followed by two unknown thug’s who are wanting answers to questions that she doesn’t know, she doesn’t understand the questions or why these people would be after her. She flees her home in Lancaster to Wales where she stays in the Aberystwyth Hotel, in the very same area where her ex-husband had spent the last of his days. She hopes that she can try to figure out what is going on and why she is being followed, but those answers aren’t coming as she thought as she finds herself under the gaze of the other hotel guest’s who see her as an unhinged, paranoid and grieving woman who by all accounts could be suffering from her own mental break down.

No one believes that she is in as much danger as she states, she is fearful and alone with terrifying events that even start clouded her own judgment. She can’t trust no one and yet she can’t seem to find the answers she needs. She eventually finds an ally in the form of elusive veteran come crime writer Adam Hitchman who is in Aberystwyth doing research.

Along with Adam, Kate takes off a journey to find the truth and discover why her life is in danger and who is behind it, along the way they keep bumping into the mysterious Jim Bristol who keep’s turning up along the way. But is he more than he appears to be? As they become embroiled in a dark and dangerous, life or death game of cat and mouse, Kate and Adam become closer until a romance develops between this unlikely couple.

This is written I first person you see the story unfold though Kate’s eyes, you feel her troubles her fears her few joys and this creates a connection to her that you very rarely get in other books. I know a lot of readers don’t like first person books, but this is a must read it is stunningly beautiful book, it really is too good to be true. Ms Gray has done an astounding job at conveying Kate’s circumstances and her fragile frame of mind, her confusion, unease and fear is palpable from that first page. Kate has a complexity and honest vulnerability about her that is engaging to the reader, even when there is lightness like when she is reading Jane Eyre in the hotel there is raw edginess to her that draws you in.

I am known for my love of historic details in stories and this is spot on, the vividness and description of Aberystwyth is incredible. Gray takes hold of your senses and imagination from that first page and keeps hold of you right to the end. There is a real feeling of the life and time throughout the book the peace from the end of the war, the relief that it is over as well as the unknown. I like how Gray has added those little touches that bring this book to life, such as bringing to attention that the UK were still on ration books until the mid-fifties. I love that!

The War Widow smoothly takes you on a journey that has more twists and turns then being in a maze, it is beautifully written with a plot that will make your mind boggle and you find yourself stumped for words at what is going on. It’s a roller coaster ride through a dangerous and complicated time, where all is not quite what it seems. I absolutely loved it, it is a page turning, compelling and intricately crafted perfect piece of thrilling fiction which has a wonderful and understated romance tucked away between the pages.

It is a timeless and thought-provoking story that gripped you from the onset and doesn’t let you go, with characters are intriguing and strong each one is precise and consistent stories of their own that runs throughout to keep you engaged.

Absolutely incredible!

This was a complimentary copy via the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The War Widow is available now and can be purchased at Amazon.

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Friday’s Fabulous Five ~ From Page To Screen

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Friday’s Fabulous Five theme today is book’s that have made onto the big screen. Sometime’s when a well known and well loved book is made into film it doesn’t always do the book any justice and it can be a let down, so this list is for those film’s that didn’t do too badly, Today I have scored the Adaption’s mark’s out of five, this is just my opinion and you can always let me know what you think.
1. The Duchess ~ Amanda Forman

A tale of decadence and excess, great houses and wild parties, love and sexual intrigue, this biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, casts an astonishing new light on the nobility of eighteenth-century England.

Fashionable, extravagant and universally adored, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, was one of the most influential women of her day. But her flamboyant public persona hid a multitude of personal troubles: drug addiction, vast gambling debts, an unhappy ménage à trois with her husband and best friend, and a doomed affair with the future prime minister. Like her descendant, Diana, Princess of Wales, Georgiana was a vulnerable woman living the life of an icon.

The Film star’s Keira Knightly in the title role, the always brilliant Ralph Fiennes and Dominic Cooper. I give The Duchess Film – 3/5
2. Atonement ~ Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan’s symphonic novel of love and war, childhood and class, guilt and forgiveness provides all the satisfaction of a brilliant narrative and the provocation we have come to expect from this master of English prose.

On a hot summer day in 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis witnesses a moment’s flirtation between her older sister, Cecilia, and Robbie Turner, the son of a servant and Cecilia’s childhood friend. But Briony’s incomplete grasp of adult motives—together with her precocious literary gifts—brings about a crime that will change all their lives. As it follows that crime’s repercussions through the chaos and carnage of World War II and into the close of the twentieth century.

Again it this see’s Kiera Knightly doing basically what she doe’s best, the very talented Saoirse Ronan and James McAvoy. I give Atonement the Film – 3/5
3. Suit Francaise ~ Irene Nemirovsky

Beginning in Paris on the eve of the Nazi occupation in 1940. Suite Française tells the remarkable story of men and women thrown together in circumstances beyond their control. As Parisians flee the city, human folly surfaces in every imaginable way: a wealthy mother searches for sweets in a town without food; a couple is terrified at the thought of losing their jobs, even as their world begins to fall apart. Moving on to a provincial village now occupied by German soldiers, the locals must learn to coexist with the enemy—in their town, their homes, even in their hearts.

Starring Michelle William’s, Matthias Schoenaerts and the always brilliantly understated Kristen Scott Thomas. I give Suite Francaise the film – 4/5
4. PS; I Love You ~ Cecilia Ahern

Holly couldn’t live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other’s sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

Starring the gorgeous Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank – I give PS; I Love You the Film – 3/5
5. DaVinci Code ~ Dan Brown

An ingenious code hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci. A desperate race through the cathedrals and castles of Europe. An astonishing truth concealed for centuries . . . unveiled at last.

While in Paris, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is awakened by a phone call in the dead of the night. The elderly curator of the Louvre has been murdered inside the museum, his body covered in baffling symbols. As Langdon and gifted French cryptologist Sophie Neveu sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to discover a trail of clues hidden in the works of Leonardo da Vinci—clues visible for all to see and yet ingeniously disguised by the painter.

Starring the lovable Tom Hank’s, Audrey Tatou and scene stealing Paul Bettany as Silas. I give The Da Vinci Code Film – 2/5

 

The Emperor’s Tomb ~ Review

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Steve Berry ~ The Emperor’s Tomb (Cotton Malone Series #6)

The emperor's tomb

Back Blurb :

The tomb of China’s First Emperor, guarded by an underground army of terra cotta warriors, has remained sealed for 2200 years. Though it’s regarded as one of the greatest archeological sites in the world, the Chinese government won’t allow anyone to open it.

Why not?

That question is at the heart of a dilemma faced by former-Justice Department operative Cotton Malone, whose life is shattered when he receives an anonymous note carrying an unfamiliar web address. Logging on, he sees Cassiopeia Vitt, a woman who’s saved his life on more than one occasion, being tortured at the hands of a mysterious man who has a single demand – “Bring me the artifact she’s asked you to keep safe.” One problem: Malone doesn’t have a clue what the man is talking about, since Cassiopeia has left nothing with him. So begins Malone’s most harrowing adventure to date-one that offers up astounding historical revelations, pits him against a ruthless ancient brotherhood, and sends him from Denmark to Belgium to Vietnam then on to China, a vast and mysterious land where danger lurks at every turn.

My View :

When I first picked this one up I was looking forward to getting lost into another Cotton Malone adventure, but unfortunately I was very disappointed, the plot and character’s were there as always but it was slow and sluggish and I’m afraid that I did put it down half way through to start another but I did eventually go back and finish it mainly because I don’t like leaving a book unfinished but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the other Cotton Malone novel’s are.

I do like Steve Berry he is an incredible novelist, his imagination and skill is amazing and the Cotton Malone series’ is brilliant, Malone is such a strong well-defined character and I love how you don’t have to read them in order to know what’s going on or who’s who because each one is different. But I do hate to say it but this isn’t a favorite of mine, which is such a shame it doe’s have all the ingredient’s for a perfect Cotton Malone tale. Thrill’s and humor, well researched background and the character’s are as always flawless, but for me this one was a little flat I can’t explain why it just didn’t live up to the hype.

The saving of this was having the brilliant Cassiopeia Vitt in it, she is such a brilliant character’s she always come’s across as a one woman army, she is independent, self-reliant but you do see those more human emotion’s behind that hard exterior. As always she doe’s steal every scene she is in, but even that for me couldn’t bring up to the mark I am just hoping the next one is better as I do love this series. But I don’t want to put anyone off what I wasn’t fond of could be someone else’s favorite.

The Prophecy ~ Review

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Kris Kusneski ~ The Prophecy

The Back Blurb :

When the writings of 16th-century visionary Nostradamus ring alarmingly true, Jonathon Payne and David Jones find themselves in a life-or-death race to stop those who would use the seer’s predictions for their own dark purposes. In an adventure that spans two continents and several centuries, Payne and Jones must locate a sacred text that may change everything we know about the future.

My View :

This was the first Kuzneski book I read and I was hooked from start to finish, true it can get a bit confusing with the long conversation’s that seem to go on across chapter’s but it is a really good romp and thank’s to this one I did start my Payne and Jones section on my bookshelf. It is fast paced and thrilling, the characters are brilliant especially the main two Payne and Jones they seem to bounce of each other which is so nice when reading a book, everything is in brilliant detail from the character’s to the smallest thing is so wonderfully researched that it is very real and very believable. This is definitely one for those who are not the most committed reader’s as it is fast and enjoyable, so I strongly suggest that all those that don’t read a lot to give this a go. A great read.