Thursday, April 23, 2020

Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce


Hardback: 324 pages                                                                                       
Genre: Psychological Fiction
Publisher: Wildfire, Headline 2019
Source: Amazon
First Sentence: First, you light a cigarette, the smoke curling in on itself and up towards the ceiling.
Favourite Quote: The affair for me was solace and escape, a relief because I was wanted and not pushed to side.

Review Quote: Blood Orange is glittering and fierce and resolutely unsentimental, a glorious bonfire of a marriage thriller. The Irish Times.
Main Characters: Alison, her husband Carl and her lover Patrick.
Setting: London
My Opinion: I thoroughly enjoyed this novel but it was not the strong psychological thriller I was expecting from the pre-publication hype it was given.
For me it read as a dark domestic life drama centred around the main protagonist Alison. A successful barrister who has just been given her first murder case. Her personal life is a mess as she tries unsuccessfully to balance home life, marriage, a racy affair and the pressures of her career.
There are some great twists and turns with an ending that momentarily left me quite shaken, though in retrospect should not have done so!
Recommended to anyone that likes a page turner, however you must be prepared for lots of domestic violence and sexual abuse which can be rather disturbing.

 Precis Courtesy of Amazon:

Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise - she's just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems...
Just one more night. Then I'll end it.
Alison drinks too much. She's neglecting her family. And she's having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.
I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.
Alison's client doesn't deny that she stabbed her husband - she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.
I'm watching you. I know what you're doing.
But someone knows Alison's secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she's done, and who won't stop until she's lost everything....

Author Profile:

.Harriet Tyce
    Photo courtesy of Amazon

Harriet Tyce was born and grew up in Edinburgh. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 1994 with a degree in English Literature before gaining legal qualifications. She worked as a criminal barrister for ten years, leaving after the birth of her first child. She completed an MA in Creative Writing - Crime Fiction at UEA where she wrote Blood Orange, which is her first novel.

Photograph and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites:

Amazon Author Page     Goodreads - Author Profile  Harriet Tyce - Author Offical Website

Twitter Account - Harriet Tyce

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

                                  40891998. sy475   

Hardback: 339 pages                                                                                            
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Orion 2019
Source: Bookshop
First Sentence: I don't know why I'm writing this.
Favourite Quote: “Remember, love that doesn't include honesty doesn't deserve to be called love.”
Review Quote: An excellent, slow-burning psychological thriller; sharp, clever and with a whammy that genuinely took me by surprise.
Main Characters: Alicia Berenson and Theo Faber

Setting: London, England

My Opinion: 

Although this is a debut novel from Alex  Michaelides, he has already written successful screenplays. This shows in the quality of his writing, with the storyline flowing perfectly from start to finish.

Alicia Berenson fatally shot her husband six years ago. She has not spoken since that tragic event, but her latest psychotherapist Theo Faber is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery somehow.

Well he does and the results were somewhat surprising, I was nowhere near guessing!  A very quick and easy read as one just keeps turning the pages wanting to know if Theo is going to be successful or not.

Recommended to anyone that wants to read a good story and enjoys a mystery.


Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....

Author Profile:

                                            Alex Michaelides

Alex Michaelides was born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and an English mother. He studied English Literature at Cambridge University and later got an MA in Screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. 

He wrote the film The Devil You Know (2013) starring Rosamund Pike and co-wrote The Con is On (2018), starring Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey and Sofia Vergara. The Silent Patient  is his first novel and is a Sunday Times, New York Times, Australian and Irish bestseller.

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Goodreads - Author Profile     Amazon Author Page    Twitter - Alex Michaelides

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Cartes Postales by Victoria Hislop

                                       30333885. sy475

438 pages                                                                                                 

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Headline 2016
Source: Charity Shop Purchase
First Sentence: They arrived dog-eared, always torn, often almost illegible, as though carried across Europe in a back pocket.
Favourite Quote: “Books are the essence of life. And there is nothing like a good story to pass the time.”
Review Quote: A discerning fly-on-the-wall view of the country, a heady mix of poetic licence and gravitas. . . Greece works its magic in Hislop's latest ode to the country, The Lady on Cartes Postales from Greece
Main Characters: Ellie(the reader of the postcards) Anthony(the writer of them)
Setting: Greece
My Opinion:  Victoria Hislop has with 'Cartes Postales from Greece' portrayed the Greeks love of life and their friendliness towards strangers. 

Unusually for a novel the author worked with a photographer, Alexandros Kakolyris, to illustrate the story.  Actually, it is more like a series of short stories set within Ellie's story which is built around a set of postcards and a diary/notebook.

The historical and modern mix of tales emphasises why the Greeks feel as they do for their beautiful but financially troubled country.

Although I enjoyed this, I do really prefer novels where the characters are more fully developed and Ellie certainly wasn't.

Recommended reading for fans of the author and anyone that loves Greece.

Précis Courtesy of Amazon:

Week after week, the postcards arrive, addressed to someone Ellie does not know, each signed with an initial: A.
These alluring cartes postales of Greece brighten her life and cast a spell on her. She decides she must see this country for herself.
On the morning Ellie leaves for Athens, a notebook arrives. Its pages tell the story of a man's odyssey through Greece. Moving, surprising and sometimes dark, A's tale unfolds with the discovery not only of a culture, but also of a desire to live life to the full once more.

Author Profile:
 Photograph © Bill Waters

Victoria Hislop read English at Oxford, and worked in publishing, PR and as a journalist before becoming a novelist. She is married with two children.

Her first novel, The Island, held the number one slot in the Sunday Times paperback charts for eight consecutive weeks and has sold over two million copies worldwide. Victoria was the Newcomer of the Year at the Galaxy British Book Awards 2007 and won the Richard & Judy Summer Read competition.Victoria acted as script consultant on the 26-part adaptation of The Island in Greece, which achieved record ratings for Greek television.

Her second novel, The Return, set against the tempestuous backdrop of the Spanish Civil war was also a Number One bestseller. She returned to Greece for her third novel, The Thread, taking as her backdrop the troubled history of the city of Thessaloniki in a story that spans almost a century, beginning with the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917. Her short story collection, The Last Dance and other Stories, was widely acclaimed.

In 2014, she published The Sunrise, a turbulent family saga set in Cyprus after the Turkish invasion of 1974 which would leave the glamorous resort town of Famagusta a ruin ringed by barbed wire for decades to come.

Her most recent novel, Those Who Are Loved, was published in May 2019

Her books have been translated into more than 30 languages

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Amazon Author Page     Goodreads Author Page    Victoria Hislop Official Author Website

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger


306 pages                                                                                                
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: The publisher in return for an unbiased review.
First Sentence: I've spent a lifetime trying to forget, yet the smallest thing takes me back to the time the Dragon Lady was shot.
Review Quote: A fascinating fictionalised account of the life of Lady Virginia Courtauld... a spirited account of a flamboyant life. (Antonia Senior The Times)
Main Characters: Lady Virginia Courtauld and Stephen Courtauld 
Setting: UK, Italy and Rhodesia
My OpinionThe author has written with great passion this story of Lady Virginia Courtauld. With a mystery at the centre of the narrative, it opens with the shooting of the protagonist Ginie in Rhodesia where she and her husband moved after being ostracised by British society.

Once I finished reading this delightful novel I looked into the historical background, as I knew very little about the Courtauld family. It is obvious that Louisa Treger did very through research and has produced a very readable novel with her excellent blend of fact and fiction.

Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:

Opening with the shooting of Lady Virginia 'Ginie' Courtauld in her tranquil garden in 1950s Rhodesia, The Dragon Lady tells Ginie's extraordinary story, so called for the exotic tattoo snaking up her leg. From the glamorous Italian Riviera before the Great War to the Art Deco glory of Eltham Palace in the thirties, and from the secluded Scottish Highlands to segregated Rhodesia in the fifties, the narrative spans enormous cultural and social change. Lady Virginia Courtauld was a boundary-breaking, colourful and unconventional person who rejected the submissive role women were expected to play.
Ostracised by society for being a foreign divorcée at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, Ginie and her second husband ,Stephen Courtauld, leave the confines of post-war Britain to forge a new life in Rhodesia, only to find that being progressive liberals during segregation proves mortally dangerous. Many people had reason to dislike Ginie, but who had reason enough to pull the trigger?
Deeply evocative of time and place, The Dragon Lady subtly blends fact and fiction to paint the portrait of an extraordinary woman in an era of great social and cultural change.

Author Profile:

Louisa Treger

Born in London, Louisa Treger began her career as a classical violinist. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music, and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher.

Louisa subsequently turned to literature, gaining a First Class degree and a PhD in English at University College London, where she focused on early twentieth century women’s writing.

Married with three children, she lives in London.

Photographs and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.

Author's Official Website   Goodreads Author Profile  Amazon Author Page