Whatever it Takes

Book cover courtesy of Amazon.

Elouise Hamilton has a seemingly perfect life in London.  As a born and bred Londoner she cannot imagine living anywhere else.

But her husband Mark longs to return to his childhood home, Dartmouth, and when his father offers to sell his legal practice to him at a family rate, Mark is very keen to take up the offer and the chance to return.

Eventually, Elouise is persuaded to uproot herself, leaving behind her friends and her special shops and boutiques to move.

She finds it hard initially, but she has a loving and helpful mother in law, Margaret to call on and all seems to be going well.

Enter Sara.  A friend who is bereft at the thought of Elouise moving away.  Apparently, Elouise is her only friend.  Added to that is the fact that several attempts at IVF still haven’t produced the longed-for baby.

And into the life Elouise is making for her family, comes the news that Margaret is suffering early onset of Alzheimer’s  This is another thing for Elouise to deal with as both her Father in law and her husband appear unable to accept this fact.

The turmoil in which Elouise finds herself is further compounded when unexpectedly she meets Sara in London and finds she is undeniably pregnant.  And she learns that Sara has taken matters into her own hands in an attempt to become pregnant,  with no thought of the consequences and the lives she will affect.

This is a story, unlike the usual books I read. I was totally engrossed from the beginning, in Elouise’s life, her attempts to keep the family together and her willingness to take on more and more of the problems of others.  But her life suddenly implodes and we wonder how/if she will cope.

I recommend this book.  It is not particularly light reading, peering as it does delve into Alzheimer’s, overwhelming desire for a child and her own difficulties in moving from the bright lights to a seaside town.

Well worth taking from your local library as I did.

 

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Blood of Others

Blood of Others

A grisly site shocks passers-by.  A model in a wedding dress displayed in the window of a fancy wedding dress boutique.  But it’s no model.

This brings together, once again, Walt Sidowski , legendary homicide cop and Tom Reed, award-winning investigative journalist.

The victim is an introverted insurance clerk who is looking for love and friendship.  But this is not the killer’s only prey; others have been killed before her.

We meet Olivia Grant, a shy shop manager who is looking for friendship and maybe love.  During the course of the investigation she meets Ben Wyatt, a cop wrongly accused of causing the shooting of his partner.

As the killer moves freely around the globe, tempting shy young women to meet him, he is searching for the one perfect woman who will forgive him the unforgivable.  And because none of them is that perfect woman, all must die,

As usual, Rick Mofina draws us along with characters who are so believable.  But you must read this book to the bitter end, to get the whole story.  The story behind the killer’s search, Ben and Olivia’s burgeoning romance,  and the final outcome.

 

This is another book I read when in rehab last year following my misadventure.  I think this book was given to me to read and I choose to write this review.

The Settler

The Settler

This book centres around Sarah, a young Zionist who lives quietly and peaceably with her family in the Gaza Strip.  That is until the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, reneges on his earlier promise and sends in security forces to expel the 8,000 plus Jews from their homes.  The forces then proceed to raze all the buildings leaving devastation behind.

Sarah and her family, all 5 of them, are rehoused temporarily in 2 rooms in a down market hotel.   The overcrowding, lack of privacy and sense of being in the wrong place causes Sarah to leave for Tel Avi.  Here she catches up with her cousin Dael, a musician and longtime supporter of Sarah.  Here we watch and wonder as Sarah transforms from an inexperienced, religious young woman into a nightclub superstar and the lover of Ziv, the mesmerising owner of the nightclub Atlantis.

The characters are all well written and believable.  We feel for Sarah (now called Sachar) as she makes her unsteady progress from being a loved and protected daughter in a Zionist family to the reigning Queen of Atlantis.  We move with her as she rejects all she has learned before and as she learns to dress, walk, smoke and speak in this new world in which she finds herself and then onwards to the place where she can become herself; a powerful woman in her own right.

This is an amazing story and although it is depicted as fiction I am left feeling that so much of it is based on fact.  We know all good fiction includes a certain amount of fact.

If I have any complaints it is the use of so many words unknown to those of us not of the Jewish faith.  Perhaps Orit could have translated a few more of the words for us.

Note -I was given this book to read by the author and in return, I choose to write this review.

Lost Girls

Lost

 

I have read other books by this author but this one disappointed. I could not begin to empathize with the main character. She appears to be completely self-centered and caring for no one else. Perhaps she didn’t have a good childhood in the family mansion but she does nothing to help herself. I quickly lost interest in Maudie and her story. I found the story confusing and none of the characters seemed real. I finished the book knowing no more about the story than I had at the beginning.

This book was and still is offered free on Amazon.  I think if I had paid for it I would have been upset.

Sorry Celina Grace, it’s a one-star read for me.

How the light gets in

Light

I was introduced to Louise Penney by Chris at Bridges Burning.

This is book No 9 in the Inspector Gamache series and though most of the reviews on Amazon suggest starting at Book 1 and working your way through the books, I found I could absolutely understand these people and where they all fitted into life in the small village of Three Pines in Quebec.

Inspector Gamache is aware that the Department, through his adversary Fancour, is trying to get him to retire.  His Homicide squad is decimated, all having been transferred leaving only Detective Lacoste of his original team.  The people who have been transferred in in their place prove to be inept, rude to Gamache , and generally quite useless.

We learn that his son-in-law, along with several of Gamache’s team had been injured in a bomb blast in a warehouse in an operation led by the Inspector.  His son-in-law whom we understand was his right-hand man up until that time,  has also transferred out of Homicide blaming Gamache for his injuries.
While he is aware of the plot to get him out of the Surete, Gamache is investigating those at the top of the Police Department whom he feels are manipulating things for their own gain and is keen to find out their plan that he feels sure will be to the country’s disadvantage.  He is determined to put a stop to their manipulations.

Early in the story, we are introduced to Constance, the last surviving quintuplet.  One of five little girls born to poor farmers during the depression who are taken away from their parents and used by the Government as an inspiration tool for the general populace.  Gamache is called to Three Pines when Constance fails to turn up for Christmas as planned and her subsequent murder is given to Gamache and Lacoste to solve.

And through it all, he tries to reconcile with his son-in-law, Jean-Guy Beauvoir and bring him back to mental as well as physical health.

The story is fast paced,  well written and will keep you turning the pages until the end.

I loved the book and will certainly look for others in the series.  Thank you, Chris, for the recommendation.

 

The Empty Rocker

Rocker

Casey Quinby had been a police officer but an accident made her leave her chosen profession and take up journalism. The story starts with a hit and run accident but Casey isn’t convinced it was an accident. There is a group of friends, a lawyer, a policeman, 2 court officers and Casey, all intrigued with the case. Casey, the chief investigative reporter for the local paper works on the case interviewing friends of the young girl and eventually finds herself in great danger. This is a good story, let down in parts by bad punctuation. This is the first novel by this author. The plot is well thought out, the characters are believable and this is book I would recommend.

 

 

Christmas on Madrona Islan

Christmas

Well, this was a real change from the thriller books I have been reading recently.

This is a novella and the first book that I have read in this series, although it is Book 5.   I quickly worked out who was connected to whom. It is a special Christmas on the Island. A time for remembering and reflecting on things past and things to come in the future. We are invited to join this close-knit community of friends, relatives, and neighbours as they celebrate this Christmas together.

I shall certainly buy other books in the series if this novella is anything to go by.

Dead Lawyer on Aisle 11

dead

Another one from John Ellsworth, but this time with a different lawyer, one Michael Gresham.  Gresham has changed sides from defending to prosecuting.  And he does very well in this different role.

Linda Burrows is a lawyer employed by the US Attorney’s office, a job she is well qualified for.  In fact, her second husband a policeman who was acquainted with Niles Boudreux, the Senior Assistant US Attorney, recommended her for the job.

All goes well.  Linda loves the job and gets on well with her boss, according to her husband, maybe too well. Because of the jealousy and his rage, Linda and her husband, Harry divorce and life goes on for each of them separately.  Linda and Bourdreux begin an affair and he asks her to marry him.  She refuses with a laugh and continues her promiscuous ways and has affairs with several of her co-workers.  When she finds herself pregnant she faces her boss, claiming he is the father.  He reiterates his offer of marriage but again she refuses and demands he pay for an abortion. The alternative is she will sue him for sexual harassment.

Niles decides that he cannot allow that knowing the effect it would have on his career and so plots how to get rid of her and the child.  The result is she is murdered one day when in the local grocery store.

Michael Gresham is tasked with finding the killer and so we move through his attempts with the help of his team, two members of the FBI, 2 members of the Metro PD, an investigator from the US Attorney’s office and Annie his savant adopted daughter.  The team follows all usual procedures interviewing staff members of the grocery store, fellow workers at her office, etc. without much progress.

And then, DNA proves that Gresham is the father of Linda’s unborn child which quickly makes him a suspect.

Michael is charged with murder and determines to solve the case apart from the official enquiry from which he is now barred.  and calls upon his old “standby” right-hand man Marcel to help.  Marcel is a top investigator and unravels a heretofore unknown eyewitness, but what she has to say completely unhinges Michael and his team.

Meantime his brother Arnie, another lawyer, resurfaces but while he cannot legally assist Michael in his defence he does know a good lawyer whom he calls and who agrees to assist.

Twists and turns aplenty in this book, and while I was convinced I knew who the murderer was almost from the start, all is revealed and I was completely after the wrong person.

I was given this book to read by the author and in return, I am posting this review.  I thoroughly recommend the book to my friends.

 

 

 

 

A Young Lawyer’s Story

Young Lawyer

I have been a fan of John Ellsworth for some time and although I had already read this book I was pleased to be given the opportunity by the author, to read and review this, the first book in the Thaddeus Murfee series.

Thaddeus is finishing law school. He is in debt and has only $200 left of his student loan.  He must find a job or face eviction. Then unexpectedly he is approached by a couple of Government agents and offered a job.  The job isn’t advertised and as Thaddeus finds out once he has accepted the job, there is also no job description.

However, he accepts and is immediately offered a starting salary in excess of 6 figures.  He is delighted until he finds that he has been recruited and employed as a spy and the person he is to spy on is his boss, the US District Attorney.   And Thaddeus likes his boss and he particularly likes the boss’s daughter.

We follow Thaddeus through the intrigue, spying with foreign government agents, a boss who is accused of spying, and US government officials who will stop at nothing in their attempts to condemn the US District Attorney as a traitor, a charge that can carry the death penalty.

Thaddeus does not play by their rules and is fired but then comes to the aid of his ex-boss.

A great read and having read it so long ago, I was pleased to reread it.  I strongly recommend this book and those others I have read in this series.

Watch out for their reviews.

When the Moon is Low

moon

This is the second book by Nadia Hashimi that I have read. have you read the review on “House Without Windows”?

It is a fascinating story giving an insight into life lived in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and then the Taliban. After the death of her mother,

After the death of her mother, Fereiba is raised as a step-daughter in a harsh family.  Her arranged marriage to Mahmoud, however, turns into a love affair that produces three children, the baby having been born after Mahmoud’s death. Theirs is a free-thinking marriage where much is discussed including leaving for Europe to escape the harsh world of the Taliban, but the final decision is always Mahmoud’s.   Later she comes to regret the decision not to leave for London while it was still possible.

Fereiba and the children are left alone in the world after Mahmoud’s death and she has to find a way to live in the world without her husband but with three children. She determines that they will go to London. We move with the family to several safe houses before they land in Turkey.  While in Turkey they manage to save enough money, with Saleem, the son, working on a tomato farm and Fereiba cleaning hotel rooms, to arrive in Greece where the Afghanis are not welcome. Working and saving money Fereiba worries that the food her son provides is gained by doubtful means.  And then eventually,  with enough money to go to Italy, Saleem is arrested and returned to Turkey, two days before they are due to leave. With a very sick baby,  Fereiba is forced to leave without her son.

Finally, they do arrive in London where they find a place to settle.  Much later mother and son are reunited and we follow Saleem’s travels during the time they are separated.

This is a heart-warming book, difficult to read in places but one I would highly recommend to everyone.