One Last Time by Helga Flatland

One Last Time by Helga Flatland

Translated by Rosie Hedger

Summary:

My Review:

Anne’s life is rushing to an unexpected and untimely end. But her diagnosis of terminal cancer isn’t just a shock for her and for her daughter Sigrid and granddaughter Mia it shines a spotlight onto their fractured and uncomfortable relationships.

On a spur-of-the moment trip to France the three generations of women reveal harboured secrets, long-held frustrations and suppressed desires, and learn humbling and heart-warming lessons about how life should be lived when death is so close.

With all of Helga Flatland’s trademark humour, razor-sharp wit and deep empathy, One Last Time examines the great dramas that can be found in ordinary lives, asks the questions that matter to us all and ultimately celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, in an exquisite, enchantingly beautiful novel that urges us to treasure and rethink … everything.

My Review:

Having really enjoyed A Modern Family I have been so looking forward to One Last Time (Orenda Books) and is Helga Flatland’s sixth novel and her second to be translated into English and beautifully translated by Rosie Hedger. I have become a fan of Helga Flatland’s writing as she does really bring a story alive with her characters.

Families can sometimes be complicated, and secrets can be kept and even cracks that appear are papered over. In One Last Time we follow the story of Anne who has been diagnosed cancer and the news is bleak. Now is a time for those close to Anne to come together and no more so than her daughter Sigrid but also for her granddaughter Mia.

In this family there have been many problems that have really caused cracks in the family to become much deeper which in turn has affected all the relationships in the family. The story focuses mainly on mother and daughter but not ignoring the problems that are occurring between Sigrid and her daughter Mia.

You may think that this is a novel that could be bleak and even dark, but with Helga Flatland you just know that she will bring something into the story even humour will find a way into the devastating storyline. Many novels can leave a lasting impression and is why I have come to love Flatland’s writing as this is a storyline that will leave a legacy on the reader as much as Anne only wants to leave only the positive of memories behind. This is a family trying to reconnect and trying to reconnect with themselves.

At the end of the day all we have is love and love can mend broken hearts and even broken families. The characters that have been created are characters you will come to know, and it is Anne and her strength and even humour when faced with what is to come.

Helga Flatland has again weaved a beautiful and emotive story and one to be cherished like life itself.

276 Pages.

My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of One Last Time by Helga Flatland.

One Last Time by Helga Flatland is published by Orenda Books on 24th June 2021. Available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

Reckless by R.J. McBrien

Reckless by R.J. McBrien

Summary:

You think you’ll stay the same – you won’t. Infidelity will change you forever. There can be no going back.

Kirsten Calloway knows she should be grateful. She has a stable marriage, decent job, and a wonderful teenage daughter. But she also has a raging libido that won’t shut up, and a husband who’d rather go on a bike ride.

She bumps into an old friend at a school reunion who faces a similar problem. Dianne, though, has found the answer: a discreet agency which arranges casual sex for people just like them, people who want to keep their marriages but also scratch that itch.

Enter Zac: younger, handsome and everything Kirsten could hope for in bed. For a while, they seem to have it all. Kirsten even finds herself becoming a better wife and mother. But Zac wants more – a lot more, and he’ll stop at nothing to get it.

Sexually charged, shocking and relatable, Reckless is a profound exploration of marriage, motherhood and desire.

My Review:

Kirsten Galloway is bright and intelligent, and she is successful. She is happily married to Mark. She has a teenage daughter is just wonderful. What more in life could she possibly want? Reckless (Welbeck Publishing) by R.J. McBrien tells the story of Kirsten who is an Occupational Therapist at her local hospital, and this is the brilliant tense fast paced thriller that tells the story of a woman who has it all but knows there is something missing in her life.

Kirsten’s marriage is happy and stable but there is just that one thing missing and that is a spark, that physical part is missing, and Kirsten needs that part, but on the other side of the marriage is Mark and he just seems no longer interested in the physical aspect of the marriage.

It is then that Kirsten meets Dianne her friend from her school days and Dianne tells her of an agency that arranges linkups for one thing only and that is sex. All very discreet like it is wrapped in that plain wrapper and no-one will know what is going one not even the husband at home. Kirsten knows she wants this and then it becomes like a drug, that she cannot get enough of. Mark would much rather watch porn on a secret laptop in the loft, but Kirsten wants the real thing and is now in too deep. What started as a discreet liaison is now a full-blown nightmare.

Throughout the book there are sudden police reports about a body found along the railway line, so you are the reader, and you are reading and at the back of your mind you are putting this complex puzzle together. So, what does Kirsten really know about the body that has been found.

There are so many intriguing characters that you will come across in Reckless, I loved the way the story has been crafted and the characters you will want to scream at one minute yet feel for them the next. We all love a twist in a thriller and Reckless has it. But I am giving no clues here. The tension will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Marriage and desire and the risk of losing everything you have is all here. The perfect summer beach read.

448 Pages.

My thanks to Sophie Ransom (Midas PR) for the review copy of Reckless by R.J. McBrien

Reckless by R.J. McBrien is published by Welbeck 22nd July 2021. It is available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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A Song Unsung by Fiona Cane

A Song Unsung by Fiona Cane

Summary:

Set against the bohemian backdrop of Soho’s jazz basements and coffee shops of the late fifties, and a Sussex village during the long hot summer of 1976, A Song Unsung is a coming-of-age story about an impressionable teenage girl who falls under the spell of a beautiful singer with a mysterious past.

Martha Palmer, an aspiring singer working in a coffee shop, is desperately short of cash. She’s been scouted by a photographer. The money’s good. But there’s a catch …Sussex 1976. Nothing much happens in teenager Natasha James’ life. Her mother has taken to her bed and her father, the local doctor, is preoccupied with his patients. But when the magnetic Martha Palmer moves into her village, Natasha is drawn into a glittery world of extravagant parties, steeped in the embroidered rhythms of jazz. But who is the mysterious Martha Palmer? And why is she the keeper of so many secrets? Desperate to fill in the gaps of Martha’s past, Natasha uncovers a heart-breaking love story, the truth of which threatens to destroy all that she holds dear.

My Review:

Firstly, apologies I am a few weeks late with my review due to an enforced break.

It was a few years ago now that I read The Other Side of the Mountain by Fiona Cane and really loved the story that was set in 2001 in Haiti. Fiona now returns with her latest novel which is now her fifth novel, A Song Unsung (Caracol Books) that if you like me, you love jazz music, then you will love the storyline as Jazz is very much the backdrop.

This is a remarkable novel so beautifully constructed with two leading characters in Martha and Natasha and two decades being the 1950’s and the 1970’s.

First, we meet Martha Palmer in Soho, London and it is 1958. Martha is basically just existing and is struggling to make ends meet since leaving home and she is desperate to just earn enough to pay her rent. There is however one thing that Martha does love and that is to sing. She dreams of being a singer, but these are just dreams of another life as right now Martha is at dead end and is now desperate for cash. Then one day she happens to meet someone who change her life and this encounter leads to her to meeting a photographer. Sometimes when a promise of a new life comes up there is always a catch.

Fast forward to Sussex in 1976 and a young Natasha James is thinking that her own life is bored and that something is really missing in her life to give her that spark. With her mother who has withdrawn from life and a father who is a doctor and seemingly more interested in his practice than home. Then that missing spark arrives when Martha Palmer has moved into the local area and Natasha is captivated by her.

But behind the Martha there are so many secrets that she is desperate to keep locked away, but Natasha is more than just captivated by her, she is wants to know more about Martha Palmer and this is where there is a whole new story of a past, a love story that could really threaten everything.

I have had a love of jazz music for longer than I can recall and having spent many years in London and the sights and sounds of jazz clubs this brought back memories and Fiona’s writing about the music is really a story that comes alive to the soundtrack to jazz music. I enjoyed both the leading characters thought both different people they both have real personalities for different reasons.

There is a story that lurks beneath, and you do not know how this is going to go as you read through A Song Unsung as there are many secrets that are like a jigsaw puzzle just waiting to be pieced together.

If you are looking for a book for that summer weekend away, then I would recommend Fiona Cane’s latest and make sure you have a jazz soundtrack to play in the background.

346 Pages.

@FiBee49

https://fionacane.com/

My thanks to Fiona Cane for the review copy of A Song Unsung.

A Song Unsung is published by Caracol Books and was released on 20th May 2021 and is available to order through Amazon.

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl

Summary:

Alone and isolated in a vast Scandinavian forest, a therapist begins to read her client’s novel manuscript, only to discover the main character is terrifyingly familiar…

You are her therapist.

Kristina is a successful therapist in central Oslo. She spends her days helping clients navigate their lives with a cool professionalism that has got her to the top.

She is your client.

But when her client Leah, a successful novelist, arrives at her office clearly distressed, begging Kristina to come to her remote cabin in the woods, she feels the balance begin to slip.

But out here in the woods.

When Leah fails to turn up to her next two sessions, Kristina reluctantly heads out into the wilderness to find her.

Nothing is as it seems.

Alone and isolated, Kristina finds Leah’s unfinished manuscript, and as she reads she realises the main character is terrifyingly familiar…

My Review:

Deep in a Scandinavian Forest is an isolated cabin that belongs to Leah Iverson who is a well-known and popular writer. Dr Kristina Moss is a successful psychotherapist. When Leah arrives at Kristina’s office, Kristina knows something is not right and when Leah starts to ask her to come to her remote cabin set deep in the woods where the silence can be loud. You just know you are about to read a creepy and claustrophobic and tense novel. Cabin Fever (Head of Zeus) by Alex Dahl. If you enjoy Scandi Noir then do not miss this.

There is something about a thriller set deep in a Scandinavian forest that sends a shiver down my spine and Alex Dahl did just that in her latest thriller Cabin Fever that is released today. When Kristina is asked to join Leah, who is her patient at her cabin deep in the forest, things start to really get tense for the reader.

Leah disappears and Kristina sets out to find her alone in a deep creepy forest, but that is not all, Kristina finds the latest manuscript that Leah has been working on and now the story gets intense. Your pulse is racing, and your palms are sweating. Now Kristina suddenly realises she is in real danger. This is an intense thriller, as dark as a Scandinavian forest at night. Beautifully crafted with key characters in Kristina and Leah that are troubled with pasts that they cannot escape from.

What Alex Dahl has done is to write a novel with so many twists and turns that will make your head spin. The descriptions of the location are superb scene setters for what is to come. Then there is the ending. No spoilers as you care going to have to prepare to spend some time deep in the forest and find out for yourself. You will not be disappointed.

400 Pages.

@alexdahlauthor

#CabinFever

@HoZ_Books

My thanks to Sofia Saghi (Midas PR) and Head of Zeus for the review copy of Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl.

Cabin Fever by Alex Dahl is published by Head of Zeus on 8th July 2021. Available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org

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