Posts Tagged ‘susan lewis’

Charlotte Goodman is living the dream.  Surrounded by family, friends and a stunning vineyard overlooking the ocean, it would be difficult for anyone to believe that she has a troubled past.

However, haunted by the theft of a young girl, Charlotte begins to realise the enormity of something she did many years ago, and soon finds herself having to make the most harrowing decision any woman would ever have to face.

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

The third in a series, the prequels being “No Child of Mine” and “Don’t Let Me Go”,  this is a great story and each one can be read as a stand-alone book.  They deal with child abuse and paedophilia, as well as how Social Services handle these cases and each book focuses on just one aspect in Chloe’s development.

Charlotte Goodman was a social worker in England and removed a three year old girl from an abusive home.  She and her husband Anthony then adopted her and renamed her Chloe.

Five years later the Goodmans have started a new life running a vineyard in New Zealand.  They have two more children and the traumas of Chloe’s early life begin to cause major problems, leading to her being a danger to her younger siblings.  The family are faced with making some heartbreaking serious decisions.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this emotional story and parts of it are told from Chloe’s view. The story deals with a harrowing aspect of child abuse that is horrific to read and heartbreaking for such a young girl. It’s beautifully written and I really liked the Goodman family and became invested in them.

 

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the-moment-she-left

A former detective, Andee now works as a private investigator in Kesterly-on-Sea.  She is asked to help with the stalled search for a missing young woman, Jessica.  Andee is also dealing with her children blaming her for the break-up of her marriage and avoiding her husband, who wants her back.

Blake is Jessica’s father, who had just moved his family to Kesterly-on-Sea for a fresh start after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit.  After Jessica’s disappearance his wife leaves and he finds solace working in Graeme’s antique shop.

Rowzee is a 65 yr old former teacher beloved by the town, who has just discovered that she is terminally ill, and doesn’t want to burden her family and friends with the news.

There are so many different threads to this story; it gets hard to keep them straight sometimes.  All the sub-plots are neatly woven together by the end though, and familiar characters return from previous Susan Lewis books.

I found this book so hard to read as my mum was diagnosed with brain tumours- just after I started reading, and she     then got a terminal diagnosis like Rowzee.  Mum was very similar to her in not wanting a fuss and the similarities make it hard to be objective in a review.  It is a good story though.

Century

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

no plce to hide

Justine is running from the past and needs a fresh start.   She moves to her grandmother’s hometown, Indiana, with her young daughter Lula. They try to settle in the quaint town but it isn’t what Justine expected, with hidden stories and troubled history. The devastating secrets that drove her away are still memories that haunt her life.

This story jumped around – from England to America and between different time periods; the past and the now. The book goes back eighteen years to tell how Justine and her husband Matt met and found a perfect home. They had Abby and Ben and later Lula. Things started going wrong after Ben hit his head on the ground getting out of a tree.

It was too long and drawn out for my liking – you only find out what the tragedy is halfway through the book and the writer takes forever getting to the climatic event. Then, in the last one hundred pages, the author tries to reveal two family secrets and tie together two storylines.

It didn’t work for me but try it yourself.

Century

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

behind closed doors

14 year old Sophie Monroe vanishes one night from her home in a UK holiday park. It seems she’s run away as her laptop and phone are gone and she’s taken a bag of her clothes. As the police start investigating, many hidden secrets from the town come to light and everyone seems to have something to hide.

For the Detective Sergeant assigned to a routine missing person’s case, it brings back a lot of painful memories. Andrea Lawrence was a teenager when her sister Penny went missing more than twenty years ago and tore her family apart. She’s convinced there’s more to Sophie’s disappearance than teenage rebellion though and keeps digging for answers, all while her carefully constructed home life is falling apart.

Wow! I did not see that ending coming, though of course it seems so obvious now. The plot is full of twists and turns and kept moving forward, while the ending pulled all the loose ends together very satisfyingly. The characters were ‘real’ and I really liked both sides of Andee, no nonsense policewomen and strong solo mum dealing with conflicted feelings about her ex.

A really good drama with likeable characters that is a great read. I’m looking forward to the next book by Susan Lewis.

Century

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

never say goodbye

Warning: This book deals with breast cancer and going through treatment for it.

Josie has just found out she has cancer and hides it from her family. Her husband had an affair with her best friend and she fears he only stayed with her for their children. They’re struggling with rising bills and not enough money, while their son is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. The bright spot in their lives is their daughter Lily – smart and beautiful, she’s almost finished at uni and is happily planning a bright future with her posh boyfriend.   Josie is struggling with dealing with her diagnosis and is put in touch with someone who’s been through the same ordeal.

Bel is smart, classy, posh – and a good listener. Put in touch with Josie by a breast cancer support group, she provides support for Josie and they become firm friends. Her identical twin sister died of the disease, leaving behind two children and a devastated husband, who quickly remarries. He and his wife are soon planning on moving overseas with the children, separating Bel from the children, something she’s fighting hard against.

A really good story about friendship and hope, this book was a good read. The characters are well defined and you want the best for them. It is brutally honest about chemo and its side effects and is tough to read. It may be too painful for sufferers or bring back memories for someone who nursed a family member though their battle but is worth reading.

Have a box of tissues close to hand for this one

Century

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan

the truth about you

Lainey takes care of public relations for her internationally famous writer husband while running the household and looking after their children and her stepson.  She also cares for her elderly father who suffers from Alzheimer’s. Lainey and her mother never got on; having fled her homeland of Italy she marries Lainey’s father and refuses to ever speak of the past.

As Lainey plans a family trip to Italy in search of answers about her mother’s past, she receives an anonymous text telling her to ask her husband about Julia.  Assuming the worst, she refuses to talk to her husband and storms off to Italy.  Her daughter has to be dragged into going as she has a secret romance going

The characters annoyed me; I thought Lainey was had a martyr complex and she should have just talked to her husband and found out the truth. Max needed a good slap and told to grow up and Teirney – what an idiot!  An older married man and an underage teen, of course it’s true love <rolls eyes>.  The 50 Shades of Grey obsession was icky, though I don’t like the book so that may be influencing me.  The plot was a bit obvious too, though the descriptions of the Italian countryside are very vivid and you feel as though you are there.

An enjoyable read if you like family dramas and don’t want to think too much.

Century 2013

Supplied by Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Jan