The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

I love Liane Moriarty’s novels – I’ve read Big Little Lies and Truly Madly Guilty and they are the ultimate chick lit- thrillers, if there is such a thing.

The Husband’s Secret is in the same vein. Cecilia’s life is a little too perfect – she has three wonderful, daughters, a loving husband, John-Paul, who earns loads, the big house and every minute of her life is meticulously planned. Something big is going to happen.

Rachel is still realing from the murder of her daughter, Janey, some twenty years ago. She dotes on her grandson Jacob however is left distraught when her son and daughter in law reveal they are taking him to New York. Rachel is convinced Conner Whitby murdered her daughter but there’s not enough evidence to convict him.

Tess runs to her mother’s when she finds out that her husband and cousin have fallen in love. She takes their son and then embarks on an affair with Connor.

* spoiler alert *

When Cecilia is cleaning out the loft she finds a letter addressed to her which states she must only open it after the death of her husband. Intrigued, she eventually decides to open the letter which reveals that in a silly moment of rage John-Paul actually killed Janey. Janey was dating both Connor Whitby and John-Paul and when she broke things off with John-Paul he strangled her.

However the last chapter of the novel reveals that if events and fate had taken a differnt turn some things could have been avoided.

With holiday season nearly upon us, this is the perfect beach read.

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Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

I would thoroughly recommend Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf and here’s why…

Amelia Winn has it all a wonderfully rewarding job as a nurse, a loving husband and a step daughter who she adores. All that is taken away from her during a freak car accident whilst helping a patient, Amelia is injured and loses her hearing as a result.

Just as she’s trying to get used to her new life on her own – her marriage has broken down and due to her hearing loss she cannot work as a nurse – her world is thrown into chaos once again when she finds a dead body in the river during a walk. But worst of all the body is of a former colleague, Gwen.

Amelia contacts her best friend, Jake, a police officer, who deals with the case however she has own ideas and starts to gather clues from the case. Amelia juggles this whilst trying to hold down a new part time job working for Dr Huntely’s cancer treatment centre. Dr Huntley is a well respected member of the healthcare community – always so kind to his patients, so Amelia feels honoured to be asked to work with filing patient records.

As Amelia tries to gather more clues as to who has murdered Gwen, she finds herself being followed and even suffers a break in.

It comes to a head when Amelia realises the respected Dr Huntley is actually treating people for cancer when they don’t even have it or providing the wrong treatment for them – all to make thousands of pounds. Once he knows that Amelia has worked this out, he visits her in the middle of the night and tries to kill her. He thinks he has the advantage as she cannot hear but she’s out smarts him during their battle in the forest. The police eventually catch him during the fight and Amelia eventually ends up with hunky cop Jake.

It’s most definitely a page turner and must have been a challenge to write the heroine as deaf. It will keep you up for several hours after you should have gone to bed!

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

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Murder on the Orient Express is one of those novels which is just such a classic that everyone knows as soon as you say it. I consider myself a bookworm however had never read it.
I was so keen to watch Kenneth Branagh’s screen version however everyone I knew had already seen it at the cinema. So I only got round to watching a couple of weeks ago.
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Infact  I had the book given to me as a Christmas present but read it after I watched the film. I’m not normally a fan of doing this and prefer to read the book then watch a screen adaptation to see the bits the director has twisted or omitted. However in this case, because it’s such a visual novel I was glad I’d seen it on screen beforehand. And Kenneth Branagh’s version was very similar to the book.
It’s the classic who dunnit novel and everyone pretty much knows the plot – there’s a murder on a train – everyone is a suspect. I do however think the ending is brilliant and it’s not quite how you thought it would all turn out.
I do have to say, as with And Then There Were None, I do prefer the screen version and I think Agatha Christie’s style of writing lends its led spectacularly to the screen.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi Alderman

As 2018 is the year of the woman I have been hunting out the best in women’s fiction and non fiction and have a huge list of books I want to read. The Power by Naomi Alderman was top of my list. I was slightly apprehensive as it is a dystopian novel which I never seem to get on with.

The book follows four different threads – Roxy who witnesses her mum being murdered by a gang of men and she seeks revenge. Tunde, who is the only male main character, is a journalist who goes in search of the women who are discovering they have the power to take over the world. The there’s Allie who becomes the leader of the women’s ascent to be the more dominant sex. And finally Margot who is a polictial figure in the US and has two teenage daughters who are succumbing to the power.

The power all the women possess come from their skien which women sporadically. It causes them to kill men in their quest for power and even causes terrorist attacks.

It’s an incredible and shocking novel. It turns some feminist viewpoints on it head and demonstrates that for any sex to have total control isn’t for the best. Equality is what is needed. I’ve never read a novel like it – it felt empowering yet destructive at the same time. It’s mostly different a thought provoking novel and is completely apt for the world we are living in.

Not Working by Lisa Owens

Not Working by Lisa Owens
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Not Working is absolutely hilarious. I read it over Christmas and New Year when I was feeling slightly down in the dumps and it was just the pick me up I needed.
Claire is in a dead end marketing job where she feel under valued and unable to move forward in her role. She drinks too much, makes plenty of mistakes and eats all the wrong foods. She lives with long term partner Luke who is the model boyfriend and is a doctor.
Claire decides, one day, enough is enough and quits her job to weigh up her options. Luke thinks this will be for a few weeks whilst she’s applying for jobs, left right and centre however Claire doesn’t know what she wants to do and spends months trying to find her calling, (which basically means she’s applies for one job a day and spend the rest watching tv and looking at monkey videos on YouTube). She even goes back to her old job as a temp for a short time.
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Things aren’t so good with her family either – she’s recently lost her grandad and then one innocent conversation takes a dark turn when her mum assumes Claire is confirming she has been moletsed by her granddad.
At times Claire’s whingeing does get slightly annoying but for the majority of the novel she is hilarious. Think a sister to Bridget Jones’s and you will definitely need have Claire all worked out.

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances
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The Girlfriend is an incredible book. It’s one of those novels that I read as slowly as I possibly could because I didn’t want it to end.
I’m completely hooked on crime thrillers at the moment and for a debut novel this is wonderfully written and full of suspense.
Laura and Daniel have a close mother-son relationship. Not stifling and creepy but a lovely and open connection. Laura is a TV executive and her husband Howard works in some high flying job, meanwhile Daniel is training to be a doctor. They live in a mega bucks mansion in Kensington and Daniel has a healthy allowance.
Laura and Daniel’s relationship is threatened when he meets Cherry. Cherry is ambitious – greedy for the life she wished her mother could have provided – money, high lifestyle and showered with attention.
Cherry and Daniel become inseparable very quickly and she joins Laura and Daniel on their annual trip to St Tropez but from the off is jealous of Laura and Daniel’s relationship. Laura can see Cherry for what she is but Daniel refuses to accept it. Laura’s bikinis are mysteriously shoved in the dirt and a painting Cherry bought Daniel is oddly slashed.
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Cherry takes Daniel on an adventure holiday and tradegy strikes when he hits his head on a water rapid and is in a coma for months. He is tragically given hours to live and so Laura can have those hours alone with her son she tells Cherry, Daniel has died. But Daniel miraculously recovers but Laura never informs Cherry.
Cherry gets suspicious and phones the hospital digging for information and she gets what she wants. Then it’s all out war between Cherry and Laura. Cherry and Daniel get back together and she takes everything from Laura – her marriage by forging Laura’s handwriting and writing a cruel letter to Howard’s mistress, her job by sending the lead actress of one of Laura’s TV programmes a dead puppy, which Cherry killed. And finally Daniel as the pair get engaged.
Laura begs Cherry’s Mother to see her daughter for what she is which she does and she then tells Daniel.
The climax of the novel results in Cherry trying to kill Laura at her house but Daniel gets there in the knick of time. I won’t give away the complete ending but it’s very satisfying!

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

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The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead has received such good reviews I had to read it. A novel based on a period in history, is my kind of book.

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation plant in Georgia. She witnesses scenes of terror and hell but takes strength from these traumatic events which helps her on her journey across America.

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She runs away from the plantation on the underground railroad, a way of transporting slaves on the sly and run by free men. The first part of her journey takes her North and she  becomes a model in a museum. Disgustingly she is made to dress as a slave and from her life in Africa.

But she has to quickly move on again via the underground railroad when the plantation owners from Georgia track her down and attempt to capture her. She then moves onto South Carolina and meets a husband and wife, the former of which suggests she stays in their attic. The wife is sceptical of the situation and stays out of Cora’s way. The only way Cora can see the outside world is through a small hole the wall where she sees slaves being murdered on stage and white folk harbouring slaves slaughtered before her eyes.

But even in the attic Cora cannot escape the race and is soon tracked down again. Her last view of South Carolina before she hops on the underground railroad is of the husband and wife being murdered.

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The end of the book hints that Cora will continue on travelling and running.

I found the novel hard to get into, enjoyed the middle and then just wanted it to finish for the last 100 pages. I feel I may be the only person in the world who didn’t particularly enjoy the book. I couldn’t warm to Cora as the main character and sadly the plot didn’t do enough to keep me interested.