The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton #BookReview

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Three impossible crimes

Two unlikely detectives

One deadly voyage

It’s 1634 and Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported from the Dutch East Indies to Amsterdam, where he is set to face trial for a crime that no one dares speak of.

But no sooner is the ship out to sea than devilry begins to blight the voyage. Strange symbols appear on the sails. A figure stalks the decks. Livestock are slaughtered. Passengers are plagued with ominous threats, promising them three unholy miracles. First: an impossible pursuit. Second: an impossible theft.

Then: an impossible murder.

With Pipps imprisoned in the depths of the ship, can his loyal bodyguard, Arent Hayes solve the mystery before the ship descends into anarchy?

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star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

Well I certainly ventured out of my comfort zone reading this. If you would have told me I would read a story set on a ship called the Saardam sailing under the Dutch East Indian Company and drawing on trading adventures in the 1630s, I would have laughed. But I loved Turton’s debut novel so much (my review here) that I was curious and I wanted to give it a chance, and by giving it a chance in I mean I even bought the hardback (and I never buy hardbacks) because I believed the 552 pages could only be fully appreciated between a hard cover.

Overall I can say that I enjoyed reading The Devil and the Dark Water but I didn’t love it as much as I loved this author’s debut novel. In all fairness I don’t think anybody can deliver such a mindblowing job twice though.

The author did try to make his second book intriguing by introducing quite a big cast in his new novel too. The names and professions of the key players were listed before the first chapter which was a good idea to start with (and I absolutely loved the map of the ship drawn inside the book flap) but while I was reading I noticed there wasn’t much other than their professions to distinguish the different characters (Guard Captain, Governer General, Chamberlain, boatswain, Chief Merchant, Captain) and I struggled a little to figure out what each of them did on that ship exactly and Drecht and Vos for example seemed interchangeable so after a while I tried not to think too deeply about the who’s who.

I did love Arent Hayes and Sara Wessel. The governer general’s wife was undaunted and brave and a perfect partner in crime for Hayes. There was a great balance between both of them while they worked on trying to figure out more about who the leper was who warned them that the ship would never reach its destination, what this mysterious folly was (I did feel frustrated at times that it was shrouded in so much mystery for sooo long) and where it was kept and if ‘Old Tom’ really was on the ship.

I enjoyed the mystery but the revelations came quite late so I liked the last part of the novel where all the answers were finally revealed most of all. The author is skilled at working a complex plot and it gave me little vibes of Agatha Christie in the end so that certainly made me appreciate it.

I survived this quite well I think so even though it’s not a favourite I will keep an eye out for his next novel.

I bought a hardback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Puzzle Girl by Rachael Featherstone #BookReview @WRITERachael @AccentPress

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Love is a riddle waiting to be solved…

Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctor’s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-man behind it. Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin. Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

Puzzle Girl was a pleasant surprise, in the best way possible. I don’t know why I was hesitant to pick this one up but I think the lovely cover made me think it would be too light of a read for me (sorry cover designer) but I was so wrong, I had a really good time in Cassy’s presence.

I love novels where there’s written interaction between characters and they often score high for me (think The Flatshare or Dear Emmie Blue) but this one had an additional bonus of the ‘mystery man’ with whom Cassy makes these written exchanges, and I quite possibly liked this even more.

It was so much fun to see all of the excuses she had to come up with to gain access again and again to the puzzle book at the Threadneedle Walk-in Centre. Just imagining seeing the reaction of Janet, the receptionist of the clinic every time Cassy showed up again made me chuckle every single time. There were a few stories in the sidelines too that were also quite entertaining which involved her bestie Dan (a blend between Joey and Chandler of Friends) who decides to move in with her, Cassy’s attempts to make a good impression with her boss and their potential new client MediaTech and her strife with work colleague Martin. I had to give it to her, whatever is thrown at Cassy she never gives up, it made me love her even a little bit more.

Cassy works as an Account Director at a digital marketing company named Holeywells and even though her job is one of the focal points of the novel where much goes wrong, and as interesting as it sounds being a marketing strategist I was happy that I was never bored by actually having to listen to an entire pitch. The competition between Cassy and Martin and her feelings of animosity whenever he does something that puts her into a bad light were a great part of the story. There were times it reminded me of another novel that I loved this year and I was happy to find some similarities.

Maybe the outcome didn’t surprise me much but it didn’t really bother me, the story had enough drive that I never felt there wasn’t something else to discover. Cassy certainly discovers a lot about herself by the end of the novel and I do love a character having some introspection. And in the end all I wanted was for puzzle-girl to finally meet her dream puzzle-man 🙂.

I underestimated how much I would enjoy Puzzle Girl when I started it. If you’re looking for a fun summer romance in an office setting this is the perfect novel to escape into.

I received a free paperback copy of this novel in a giveaway (I can’t remember who from but I received four paperbacks a few years ago). This is my honest opinion.

Murder Mystery Party Case Files: Underwood Cellars #murdermysterygame

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For all the super sleuths out there, the new Murder Mystery Party Case Files has arrived and there is a murder to be solved!  Perfect for individuals or as a great dinner party game, the Cary Underwood cold case has been reopened and it is down to the team to solve the murder. With over 50 pieces of evidence, and hints and conclusions online, the case will take a true detective’s mind.

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star three and a half

I chose the Underwood Cellars mystery because it had a 4.5 star rating (on 1.042 reviews) and it came at a fair price too of only 14.95 £ (+4.18 £ for international shipping). The box that arrived is a sturdy one and I loved the design, it’s not just any box but it looks like an actual file folder.

Mystery 02  Mystery 03

What’s more, when I opened it I found over 50 pieces of evidence in two different folders:

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There were polaroids of the suspects and several other normal photos, newspaper articles, witness statements, written letters, the detective’s notebook, even the timeline… I loved how much the dossier included and the variety of documents.

Mystery 05

So I started to read everything. The goal was to list the suspects and add 1) motive, 2) means, and 3) opportunity. If I had all three then I would find the killer. And so I read about this Napa Valley wine maker, his brother, his business partner, his secretary, his wife, his foreman and one of his friends. One of them had taken his life and tried to cover it up.

To be honest, I had only read the Missing Person File and I already had my eyes set on one of the suspects. So when I read the Murder Investigation File I tried to keep this in mind and see if there were other things that fit and they did. Overall I didn’t find it so difficult to find the identity of the killer, and of the 6 possibilities 3 people fell off my list quite soon already. When you only hear once from them in a witness statement and the others don’t speak of them either, how are they supposed to be real suspects then?

I did find the motive was kept very simple and I did miss some extra drama and intrigue between the different characters, like mistresses who had affairs with different men and then tension and jealousy between them… I didn’t feel much ’emotion’ coming off any of the characters and it’s all quite straight-lined, there are no complications. I know, I read too many stories, right?

All in all I enjoyed this but I missed some extra game play, you’re done when you’ve read everything (I did take notes too so that I saw the important points in the statements) and you decide on a name. All you have to do then is check the solution on a private site (and there are a few clues too to get there if you need them), where they confirmed my suspicion, my suspect was in fact GUILTY. They also list all the clues (5 or 6) for you to have come to that conclusion.

Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney #BookReview

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Things have been wrong with Mr and Mrs Wright for a long time. When Adam and Amelia win a weekend away to Scotland, it might be just what their marriage needs. Self-confessed workaholic and screenwriter Adam Wright has lived with face blindness his whole life. He can’t recognize friends or family, or even his own wife.

Every anniversary the couple exchange traditional gifts – paper, cotton, pottery, tin – and each year Adam’s wife writes him a letter that she never lets him read. Until now. They both know this weekend will make or break their marriage, but they didn’t randomly win this trip. One of them is lying, and someone doesn’t want them to live happily ever after.

Ten years of marriage. Ten years of secrets. And an anniversary they will never forget.

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars_1457015900_81_246_96_2

Alice Feeney outsmarted me once again. It’s clever, very clever indeed how the author twisted the story in Rock Paper Scissors.

Amelia and Adam are having some marriage problems and the weekend away at Blackwater Chapel – the most remote place you can imagine – is their last hope to salvage their marriage. From the beginning I was wondering if either of them really wanted to though if the thoughts they’re having about each other in the car ride to their destination were anything to go by. Even before they set foot at their retreat I learned that Amelia lied to her husband claiming he forgot to pack his phone so I wondered what else she would lie about with just as much ease?

While following the couple around in this strange, creepy place and witnessing how their marriage is barely holding up, it did make me wonder how they reached this lowpoint. Inspired by Adam’s manuscript Rock Paper Scissors where a man writes letters to his wife, even after her death, Adam’s wife decides to do the same for each year of their marriage. I think I enjoyed these letters most of all in this novel – they are titled with the traditional wedding gift for that year and a not so commonly known ‘Word of the Year’ so I took away quite a few things from this book – because the letters were a means to let me have a peek into their marriage and all the trials and tribulations that they faced. Adam’s focus on writing a screenplay for the famous author Henry Winter made him forget to spend time with his wife and she in return struggled with the fact that they didn’t have children yet… Even though I was suspicious of Amelia’s intentions towards her husband during their stay, the letters indicated she was sincere and someone to root for.

But then another voice enters into the story, someone who’s watching that couple and I had no idea who it was or if this person meant to do them harm (before they harmed each other really). The author gives the story a big spin from there and this mysterious person was tied into the story in unexpected ways. Henry Winter, the author Adam had put on a pedestal plays a bigger part in all of this too but I’ll let you discover the rest of his personal story.

I have enjoyed all of Feeney’s novel and she has written another winner for me with a great twist that even I didn’t see coming. Clever, very clever indeed.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Same book, different cover #18


Happy hump day! I’m here to bring you again 5 new book covers. It’s up to you to pick and choose your favorite cover. This is just for fun so there are no wrong answers! OK then, I’ll go first, then it’s up to you:

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

The Last House on Needless Street 01  The Last House on Needless Street 02

Difficult choice to make. The second cover gives me creepy vibes all right but maybe a bit too much? I think I’ll still go for cover 1, the one I’m accustomed with and I’d recognize even without the title.

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

His & Hers  His&Hers

I’m very sure about my choice, it’s cover 2. I don’t like it when an author’s name is the same size as the title. The second His & Hers has a very attractive cover, I love the contrast and I really like that I could visualise the friendship bracelets they speak of in the novel like this. I always enjoy it when there’s a link between the story and the cover.

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

The Nothing Man 02  The Nothing Man 01

The second cover is very clever, it is the cover of the book within the book and then where the author’s name is (Eve Black is the fictional character who wrote The Nothing Man) the cover is torn and you see that Catherine Ryan Howard actually wrote both books with the same title. I like the idea, very much. And yet, I’m still drawn to cover 1 more.

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated 01  Educated 02

Both covers appeal for different reasons. The second one immediately gives me the message that this is a real story about real people, it’s not a fiction novel. But it doesn’t reflect how much pain is captured within those pages, she looks too happy and I’m not even sure when she was happy. This is a hard book to read. So I like cover 1 more, you see the pencil, the mountain where Tara lived and even the ups and downs of her life if you think on it some more.

The Hawthorne Legacy by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

TheHawthorneLegacy 02  TheHawthorneLegacy  

It’s a draw for me so I’d really love to hear which one you enjoy more. The first one is very obvious a young adult novel for me. I also like that the other two covers in the series really match with green and red covers. But the second one gives an idea of the grandeur of the house and it shows directly that 5 characters will be important in the story. So there’s something to say for both really and I’ll leave it up to you to decide.


So that’s it. Tell me your thoughts! If you can’t get enough, check out Battle Of The Books – #17

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner #BookReview

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Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate―and not everyone will survive.

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It’s been a while since I gave a novel five stars but how can I not give five stars to this stunning debut? I’m so happy this novel crossed my path!

I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about this novel, I loved the writing and the switches between present and past were perfectly aligned. I was one hundred percent invested in Nella en Eliza’s unfurling story but it was also great to take a step back from those scenes and have Caroline in the present day try to locate this apothecary and its intriguing history. It was exciting to see her stepping into the footsteps of Nella. I’ve read a few books about the Victorian era but this was a new subject to read about for me and it was a fascinating topic with a very likeable apothecary. There is a sideplot about Caroline’s marriage troubles and while I thought James was portrayed a little too much as a villain who should never receive forgiveness for his infidelity and who’s solely to blame for all of their decisions (it’s a good thing he cheated on her then or she wouldn’t have had this eye-opener, take a look at it that way Caroline), I liked Caroline’s personal development throughout the story and how she found her true self again, all because she went ‘mudlarking’ (person who scavenges in river mud for objects of value) on a whim.

The story had a good dose of mystery about the fate of the characters. Nella and young Eliza – wise beyond her 12 years – who came to see her in her shop for a poison, Caroline and her library friend Gaynor, there were definitely similarities in the plotlines, especially towards the end where their loyalties to each other are put in the spotlight, and I grew fond of all of them. It was hard to say goodbye, especially to Nella and Eliza who are now long gone but certainly not forgotten.

I didn’t expect The Lost Apothecary to be such a captivating novel, but it really was a great historical read and I can’t wait to read more by this author!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

Six Days by Dani Atkins #BookReview

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Gemma knows that she and Finn are destined to be together. They are soulmates. But then, on their wedding day, he never arrives at the church.

Gemma is convinced Finn wouldn’t abandon her like this, even though he has disappeared once before. But back then he had a reason. She feels sure something terrible has happened, but no one else is convinced. Even the police aren’t concerned, telling Gemma most people who disappear usually turn up in a week… assuming they want to be found, that is.

For the next six days Gemma frantically searches for Finn, even though every shocking revelation is telling her to give up on him. Before long, even she begins to doubt her own memories of their love.

How long can she hold on to her faith in Finn if everyone is telling her to let him go?

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The novel opens on Finn and Gemma’s wedding day with Gemma getting ready and her feeling so happy to be marrying the love of her life. But when she arrives at the wedding venue Finn’s nowhere to be seen. Gemma can’t believe he just stood her up and dashes to his apartment where she comes to the devastating conclusion that his apartment is completely empty! Still she doesn’t want to believe he simply left her without a word, there must be an explanation.

Gemma turns to the police but he wouldn’t be the first groom to get cold feet. They tell her most of the missing persons return of their own volition in 6 days, hence the title of the novel but will Finn return in 6 days or not? Gemma isn’t the type to sit there waiting until the police really spring into action and consider it a disturbing disappearance so she does everything in her power to find him even if this means it’s almost a single woman’s search as the people around her want her to accept the situation and go forward.

I admired Gemma for believing so hard in them and not giving up even though I had moments too that I wasn’t sure about Finn. Through flashbacks I learned how they met, I witnessed the progression of their relationship and I felt Finn’s love for Gemma and yet I had a few moments of doubt too. One of Finn’s flaws in the past didn’t speak in his favour and there were hints here and there that they’d had an argument of sorts, something they’d disagreed on, so maybe that was enough for Finn to change his mind?

I’m not going to say how this will end but day 5 and 6 had my heart pounding! By then I knew where Finn was – even if Gemma still didn’t – but it didn’t take away any of the suspense. Even so, there were still loose ends and I still couldn’t see how exactly it all fit together and how it could all be explained but the author made a very plausible story out of it.

Six Days is a beautifully told emotive novel that you’ll not get through untouched. This novel has mystery, love and anguish and if you’re ready for it, I recommend you let her pull at your heart strings too!

I received a free ecopy of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward – The Housemaid by Sarah A. Denzil #AudioBookReviews


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This is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter, Lauren, and his cat, Olivia, in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street.

All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies.

You think you know what’s inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you’ve come across this story before. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, something lies buried. But it’s not what you think….

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Maybe I wasn’t in the mood for this or maybe it was because of the animal cruelty (of birds) described in the first chapters of the novel but it wasn’t a good start and it ended up being quite a challenging audiobook, even though I quite liked the narration. The Last House on Needless Street was soooo weird for sooo long! I really struggled in the beginning and if it hadn’t been because I had already heard so much about it and seen this novel on favorite lists I’m not sure if I had continued. But perseverance is my middle name (ahem) so I’m happy I finally know the secret of this book. The plot is original although it went very slowly and didn’t make much sense at times what was going on. There are three voices in the novel and Ted Bannerman is this strange guy who lives in a delipated and boarded up house next to a forest. Olivia the indoor cat loves Ted and makes observations now and again. Then there’s Lauren, Ted’s daughter, who isn’t always there but when she is her moods are often eratic. I had guessed the clue of the story early on but not the exact extent of it, how encompassing it would turn out to be. In the end the author made it even more difficult with the stairs, the basement, the colours of the rugs and it almost became a bit too much to digest. I like seeing things in my mind but it was impossible to conjure up how this would look on screen or in real life.

I understand why so many readers praise it and talk about it so much because it really is special and the idea behind it – as the author explains in the afterword – is great but if you ask me if I want to read/listen to it again then the answer is no.


The Housemaid


Housemaid wanted.

Skills required: discretion, and the willingness to go the extra mile.

It seems like the perfect job. Great wages, accommodation provided and all located within the walls of Highwood Hall, a stunning stately home owned by the Howard family. Not many little girls dream of becoming a maid, but this is an opportunity for me to get back on my feet. And for me to revisit my past….

But I soon realise I’ve made a mistake. The strict housekeeper, Mrs Huxley, watches my every move, emerging from the shadows when least expected. Lord Howard’s son, Alex, takes an interest in me, and as a former addict, I find myself drawn to him because I know he’s bad for me. There’s a general atmosphere of unease at Highwood Hall, from the narrow tunnels laced throughout the sprawling house, to the abandoned north wing, rumoured to be haunted. It’s easy to imagine the secrets hidden within these walls, like the secrets I hold close.

On my first day, I receive a mysterious package. I open up the pretty gift box to find a miniature doll version of me trapped inside a dollhouse. In this scene I’m dead, lying in a pool of red paint at the bottom of the perfectly recreated staircase. Someone sent this threatening diorama to me, but who even knows I work at the hall? And what do they want?

I know only one truth: my perfect job is turning into my perfect nightmare.

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I enjoyed The Housemaid in the format of an audiobook. The narrator Sophie Rundle spoke with clear pronounciation and had a pleasant voice and I’d certainly not mind listening to her again in the future.

The story takes place in the present but I sometimes really felt I was transported to the Victorian era and the modern references almost felt out of place. I did get used to this unusual blend and I became fascinated quite soon with the strange diorama that turned up on Ruby’s first day. Who was it from and what was its purpose? Did someone want to see her gone before she had even started? There were definitely strange things going on in that house and it was all very atmospheric.

I really enjoyed the first three parts of the book but I found it harder to enjoy the final part. The characters were interesting and believable, but then at the end it all seemed a little far fetched to me. There were some shocking truths in the end that I hadn’t entirely seen coming so there is that but it unfolded as if someone had pulled a plug and there was not enough explanation to make me believe what I read. I think I would have liked it more if Ruby had found out more gradually so the pacing would have been more consistent with the rest of the novel and motives and thoughts could be more developed so it would sound more believable.

All in all it was not a bad novel per se and I see the potential of this author’s writing so I might give another novel a go in the future if I have the opportunity.

The Pact by Sharon Bolton #BookReview

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A golden summer, and six talented friends are looking forward to the brightest of futures – until a daredevil game goes horribly wrong, and a woman and two children are killed.

18-year-old Megan takes the blame, leaving the others free to get on with their lives. In return, they each agree to a ‘favour’, payable on her release from prison.

Twenty years later Megan is free.
Let the games begin . . .

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Sharon Bolton was always a writer I could depend on and I loved reading her novels. Unfortunately the last novel I read before The Pact – in 2020 – put a little dent in that love (this one if you want to know). When I saw her new title The Pact it was calling out to me though and when a chance to read it presented itself I grabbed it with both hands (I had to wait more than 3 months to receive the novel from the UK btw thanks to Belgian customs so there was a ‘small’ delay in reading it).

Anyway I have good news to tell you, I really enjoyed reading The Pact. The start of the novel was a thrilling ride, quite literally, but also one that didn’t end well and the teenagers fear the consequences of their joyride. Their admission to the university of their choice is in danger of being compromised. I have to admit that I found it a tiny bit unbelievable that anyone would take the blame in lieu of others but then of course Megan probably didn’t expect to be convicted to 20 years in prison. She told her friends they owed her though and they all agreed she could ask them anything. They agreed to a lot of things actually but none of them came true. I guess they didn’t think things through because 20 years later Megan is back and she wants to cash in!

Megan’s demands were outlandish but I loved them and in a small way I agreed with her. Five people  were able to build a life, to find love, have children and a career thanks to her. It’s only normal that she gets a piece of that right? Well surprise surprise, the others certainly don’t think so. Urgh they were all terrible people and I can’t believe Megan sacrificed herself for those people. Her old friends Felix, Daniel, Xav, Amber and Talihta try to turn the tables and go after Megan but will she just let that happen? Strange things happen but I wasn’t sure who was behind it.

I loved the action and reaction in The Pact and I raced through it. The novel also raises many questions about conscience and morals and gave me serious food for thought. In the end I gave it four stars because I found it hard to believe someone would agree to do this, and I also didn’t buy Megan’s memory loss. The other reason is that I would have liked to understand the reasons for the behaviour of one of the characters at the end of the novel better. The writing overall was excellent and I loved the idea of this plot so now I’m putting her next novel on my wishlist already!

I received a free paperback copy from the publisher for review. This is still my honest opinion.

Ellie and the Harpmaker by Hazel Prior #BookReview

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Sometimes it takes a chance encounter to discover what happiness really is . . .

Meet Dan: Dan needs peace and order. He likes perfectly triangular sandwiches, the way coffee smells of sunshine and harvest, and the sound of birdsong that drifts into his harp-making workshop on Exmoor. His life is quiet, predictable, and safe from any danger of surprises.

Meet Ellie: Ellie is a dreamer. But recently Ellie has stopped dreaming and her world has become very small. Her days are spent keeping a perfect home for her husband, Clive, and trying to keep him happy.

When Ellie stumbles across Dan’s workshop, they cannot imagine that their lives are about to change forever…

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Ellie and the Harpmaker was Hazel Prior’s first book, published in 2019. I don’t remember reviews of this debut or it’s possible I missed them because I didn’t pay attention at the time but it’s such a beautiful, heart-warming story so Ellie and Dan’s story definitely deserve to be on the reader’s radar. Maybe you might know this author’s other books published a year later – Away With The Penguins and How The Penguins saved Veronica – better so if that’s the case I can recommend you to add this one from the backlist.

Apart from the cover it was especially Dan’s character that I felt intrigued with. I have a soft spot for the introverts and especially for characters who love peace and quiet and lots of routine. I guess I love to read about characters that I would want to be – confident detectives with super sleuthing skills – as much as characters that I can identity with at some level.

Dan isn’t exactly like me though, it’s never named in this novel or given special attention, the author doesn’t make a thing out of it, but in my mind he has the personality traits of a person with autism, he takes things literally, he can’t very well read people either but his child-like honesty and trust in people makes him a very sweet guy. Ellie is married to Clive but as soon as her husband’s introduced into the story everything about him screams dominant and commandeering. While living with someone as lovely as Clive, Ellie finds her escapism at The Harp Barn. She learns to play the harp there while Dan is at work making new instruments. She’s ticking this dream from her bucket list and along the way she discovers she can really be herself around Dan. Ellie is sensitive to who Dan is and how he functions and it was endearing to see how they develop a friendship even when having a friend isn’t evident for either of them. How long can she hold off keeping this from Clive though and how will he react when he learns she hasn’t been spending time with her supposedly injured friend Christina but with another man instead?

The novel certainly had a fair dose of drama and turbulence but many enjoyable and fun moments too. I like it when characters own a pet and I found it very original that there was a pheasant (Phineas) who came into Dan’s life and how well he was cared for. It was also a nice little extra to find out that I share the same last name with Ellie in this novel.

Ellie and the Harpmaker is such a charming and feel-good story about friendship and love and I can’t wait to read more uplifting books by this author.

I bought a paperback copy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.