Bone China by Laura Purcell #BookReview

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Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr. Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the disease in the caves beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.

Forty years later, Hester arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralyzed and mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try to escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers her new home may be just as dangerous as her last.

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star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

The first and only novel I read by Laura Purcell until now was an ecopy of The Corset in 2018, a novel I absolutely loved. I actually wanted to read The Shape of Darkness and was looking into buying that one but it’s still too expensive in paperback so I settled for Bone China which was released in 2019.

There’s so much that can be said about this novel but I don’t know where to even start or how to review this one. Let’s start at the beginning, with the opening chapters of Bone China introducing the character of Hester Why. That’s not her real name though so ‘why’ indeed! Why is she escaping from London and who from? I wasn’t even very far into this novel and the questions already started to pile up. I would find the answers in the second part of the story after she installs herself at Morvoren House in Cornwall where she’ll take care of an elderly lady Louise Pinecroft who is partially paralysed. The customs and standards at Morvoren House are quite different from the position she was in in posh London, and there’s an overall creepiness added by one of the staff firmly believing in fairies and changelings. Hester doesn’t believe in all that (thank goodness) but it was unsettling that spooky things did happen and that everyone in the household went along believing they had to trick changelings and cast away fairies with bible balls and salt. Who exactly is in danger here?

Ms. Pinecroft is not able to clearly communicate with Hester due to the condition she’s in so she can’t explain why she’s intent on staying in an unheated (read freezing) room where a whole collection of blue and white china is displayed, nor why she she has a tormented look of fear in her eyes when night falls and it’s time for bed. The next part of the novel couldn’t have been a bigger contrast, the shift towards the past shows Louise Pinecroft suddenly as a young and strong woman again, trying to assist her father in finding a cure for consumption (tuberculosis) which they both seem to be immune to. What happened in between the oast and Ms. Pinecroft’s current state and what her obsession is with the china collection when she wasn’t too pleased when her father gave her a tea set at the time explaining that every mistress of a house needed one surely kept me turning those pages.

I was very engaged from the start and the flashbacks to the past – both Hester’s as Louise’s  – were very compelling but the present plotline was a bit hit and miss, it raised too many questions and it all got a bit over the top fantastical with sightings and things appearing and disappearing, for me personally it didn’t have to cross the line and go that far. The superstitions – fairies are bad creatures who come to take you away – do serve a purpose in the novel though with the story building up to a shocking ending. An ending that will leave everyone pondering if there was something good to come from it after all.

Overall a very mysterious, atmospheric novel with an unsettling feeling carried over the different timelines.

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

Not A Happy Family by Shari Lapena #AudioBookReview

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In this family, everyone is keeping secrets. Even the dead.

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets–especially the dead. Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there. And they don’t come much richer than Fred and Sheila Merton. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered the night after an Easter dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did one of them snap after that dreadful evening? Or was it someone else that night who crept in with the worst of intentions? It must be. After all, if one of your siblings was a psychopath, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

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Not A Happy Family was a great choice for an audiobook and I really enjoyed the narration by Ellen Archer. I only read one of the author’s novels before (An Unwanted Guest) but when I came across this one I couldn’t resist this new murder mystery.

Fred and Sheila Merton invited their three children Dan, Catherine and Jenna and their partners, as well as their cleaning lady-more family friend- Irena over for a Sunday Easter dinner where they drop quite a few unexpected bombs at the dinner table. The guests are all more than happy to leave but the next day Fred and Sheila are found murdered in the house and their children are rich. Dan – who didn’t take over the family business – now had money problems, Catherine – the perfect daughter – always dreamed of living in her parent’s house and Jenna – the struggling artist – saw the support of her parents also coming to an end. They all left but who returned later that night?

It took me some time to really get into the story, mostly because with the three siblings there were ‘only’ three suspects so I thought I’d find it quite easy to point out the killer. I was very wrong about that, even at 90% I had absolutely no clue who did it.

I’m usually great at guessing the identity and I sometimes even know quite soon who is hiding something but they ALL have things to hide this time so that didn’t give me any clue. In the beginning I still thought I was clever by thinking of who was present but not given too much attention, but then the author drew in more side characters into the plot, like Fred’s sister and a woman named Rose and you could almost say that they become the prime suspects.

Almost every single character introduced into the story is a likely suspect in the end and there are more people with a motive than expected. I kept guessing and guessing which was so much fun to do. There are so many secrets and lies going around in an effort to simply not seem like they’re the killer, they lie to their spouses, they ask their spouses to lie for them, the siblings even start to point fingers at each other.

It was impossible to guess the identity of the killer so this is one of the rare books able to surprise me. I do wonder if the author knew herself who did it from the beginning or if she left all options open until the end and then made the decision. I’m suspecting the latter as it could have been anyone else and it would have the same effect! The whodunnit wasn’t the only thing that surprised me in the end though, the final chapters in the form of an epilogue gave the story an extra twist and concluded the story on a real high.

I received a free ecopy from the publisher Penguin Random House via Netgalley. This is my honest opinion. 

When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins #BookReview

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Twenty-one years ago, Dr Richard Carter and his wife Pamela were murdered in what has become the most infamous double murder of the modern age.

Ten-year-old Sara Carter – nicknamed the Angel of Death – spent eight years in a children’s secure unit and is living quietly under an assumed name with a family of her own.

Now, on the anniversary of the trial, a documentary team has tracked down her older sister Shannon Carter, compelling her to break two decades of silence.

Her explosive interview sparks national headlines and journalist Brinley Booth, a childhood friend of the Carter sisters, is tasked with covering the news story.

For the first time, the three women are forced to confront what really happened on that blood-soaked night – with devastating consequences for them all.

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Catherine Allen will be dead in exactly 10 minutes. Whaaat? Hands up for that amazing first liner! How can you not take note and sit up after reading that?! As it happens, Catherine Allen turns out to be a normal, happily married woman with a teenage daughter. I soon found out that each member of the family is keeping secrets from one another though so it might just be one of them has potentially deadly consequences. Only, with the book blurb in mind, I didn’t see a direct link to the story of Sara and Shannon Carter so I wondered in what sort of a situation I had stepped into. Trust me, I’d know soon enough 🙂

I’d catalogue When I Was Ten as a crime drama, and it reminded me of The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts which I read in 2019 but I was much more satisfied this time because the novel was remarkably better written and the past flashbacks that lead up to the murder itself were very compelling, giving that much needed background to put everything into perspective.

When I started this novel I wondered why a girl of such a young age – only ten! – could kill her parents in such a vicious way. Did the parents deserve this? Was I going to receive a satisfying answer? The answer is yes! The conundrum of nature versus nurture came to mind but didn’t really come in play. The every day life of 10 year old Sara and her older sister Shannon was a far cry from a dream life. Punishment and derogatory comments from their parents being a commodity, the girls were totally isolated and even taunted by the other girls at the ballet school. The only ray of light in their lives was their unbreakable bond, the mutual friendship with their neighbour Brinley and Shannon’s secret crush for a boy at school. There were many gripping scenes and the girls’ past was definitely heart wrenching.

In the present the story is told by Brinley Booth, who is a journalist now. Nobody knows the Carter sisters were her best friends as she joins the hunt for an interview with The Angel of Death. As a side story there’s also MP/Justice Secretary Geoffrey Heathcote who finds himself caught in the eye of a media storm. He’ll have to face some consequences himself for some of his questionable ideas and actions.

If you think that’s all, think again. Fiona Cummins is such a terrific author that interspersed between chapters there’re also mysterious communications between two anonymous parties. It wasn’t very difficult to figure out who the receiver was and I succeeded in filling in the other party towards the end too but I really enjoyed the mysterious nature of them and especially to find out to what end they were sent.

If you enjoy novels about child killers and the impact of the media and public opinion on their release and their right to a second chance, then this is a novel for you. So many years after the facts Sara is hounded down again with a ruthless disregard of her privacy. I could not help but feel very sorry for Sara, and even more so at the end of the novel when I could look back upon the full story. The novel is not full of twists but she does throw in a few belters in the end. A satisfying conclusion!

I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. 

The Heights by Louise Candlish #BookReview #BlogTour @louise_candlish @TeamBATC

The Heights pack shot


He thinks he’s safe up there. But he’ll never be safe from you.

The Heights is a tall, slender apartment building among the warehouses of Tower Bridge, its roof terrace so discreet you wouldn’t know it existed if you weren’t standing at the window of the flat directly opposite. But you are. And that’s when you see a man up there – a man you’d recognize anywhere. He’s older now and his appearance has subtly changed, but it’s definitely him.

Which makes no sense at all since you know he has been dead for over two years. You know this for a fact.

Because you’re the one who killed him. It’s time to confess what we did up there.

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I read a Quick Reads novel (The Skylight) by Louise Candlish a few months back, which I really enjoyed. It was my first read by this author and enough to know I wanted to read more of her books so I was really delighted with the chance to read The Heights.

Under the tutelage of Felix Penney, an esteemed author and one of the most high-profile creative writing tutors in the UK, Ellen Saint is trying to write her memoir, and as I discovered later on, she sure does have something to write about. In between the chapters of her memoir detailing the story of Lucas and Kieran there are also snippets from the Sunday Time Magazine where the reporter seems to follow and comment on Ellen’s progress during the course.

The Heights is a story of family drama and revenge. Ellen Saint is such a sympathetic character and even with her thoughts spiraling out of control over time she never really lost my sympathy. Her son Lucas was appointed as Kieran’s buddy on his first day at his new school and they became best friends. Kieran was a bad influence though and Lucas soon went out at all hours, doing and taking god knows what. Ellen worries non-stop but all she can do is complain to her ex, the boy’s father Vic Gordon, who promises to keep an eye on them. Unfortunately it goes from bad to worse and an accident happens involving the two of them. After that she is hell bent on making Kieran pay. Imagine her surprise when she sees this good-for-nothing boy two years later in a penthouse enjoying a magnificent view over the Tower Bridge. She is truly shocked and we find out all the reasons why that is so.

Ellen’s rage and fears are tangible and leap from the pages and while her actions are eh wild and crazy, I couldn’t stop from being hooked and wondering how she was going to cope now that it didn’t go as planned. In a later part of the novel the story shifts incrementally with Vic’s point of view. His vision adds a different perspective to the story and I saw Ellen with a fresh pair of eyes. Did she overreact? Is Kieran really a devil or not? Did her grief cloud her emotions and her experience of the past, it’s interesting and a challenge to make up your mind about all this while reading. I was on pins and needles at the end when I had a feeling of what was to come but the author kept more than one surprise for the final chapters. It’s well worth the wait!

The Heights is a gripping story that won’t let you go once you start reading. Twisted and compelling!

I chose to read an ARC for the blog tour and this is my honest opinion.

*** Do check the other stops on the tour here ***

The Heights - blog tour

Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis #BookReview



On a snowy evening in March, thirty-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone.

All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear. The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence.

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I absolutely loved reading Dear Emmie Blue last year so I’m relieved to find the author’s new novel Eight Perfect Hours such a wholesome and delightful read.

When Noelle meets Sam you can feel that it is the perfect set up for a wonderful romance. They spend 8 hours together on a highway where they talk and laugh and share stories, and I could almost hear the lovey-dovey singing birds approaching but.. NOTHING HAPPENS. A few days later Noelle runs into her ex-boyfriend Ed in town. They were together for 12 years and every time she sees Ed it is so easy, so familiar, yet a little voice in her head does remind her that he left her for a job offer in Portland.

I really enjoyed reading about Noelle and how she tries to navigate her way trough life. She’s there for her mother who has anxiety and her best friend who suffers from postnatal depression, she even tries her best to help this grumpy old man who has to move out of his apartment, but maybe she needs someone to be there for her too? Ed slips back into her life and Noelle can’t just forget the 12 years they spent together but mountaineer Sam pops up on unexpected moments too and every time she sees him she feels that he really hears what she is saying, she feels something special and she gets the feeling it is fate that brings them together. Could she be right?

I expected this novel to be high on romance from the beginning but the author start-stopped my heart more times than were good for me, so I’m almost inclined to say that romance is involved but underneath what appears to be romance the story gives a life lesson about embracing life. From the very first pages the tragedy of losing her best friend are manifest but there’s a lot of growth for Noelle while she’s trying to find the right path for her and maybe fate will give an unmistakable signal that it is ok to start living and that she doesn’t have to feel guilty that she’s still alive and her best friend Daisy isn’t.

If you enjoyed The Switch by Beth O’Leary, this is definitely the novel for you. I had a few perfect hours of reading this heartwarming novel.

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

House of Correction by Nicci French #BookReview

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She’s a murderer.

Everyone knows she killed Stuart Rees – why else would his dead body be found in her shed?
So now Tabitha is in prison, awaiting trial.

Coming back to the remote coastal village where she grew up was a mistake. She didn’t fit in then, and she doesn’t fit in now.

That day is such a blur, she can’t remember clearly what happened. There is something she is missing, something important… She only knows one thing. She is not capable of murder.

And the only one she can trust to help her out of this situation is herself.
So she must fight. Against the odds.

For her life.

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5_Star_Rating_System_2_stars_1457015465_81_246_96_2 / 5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars_1457015858_81_246_96_2

I read one of this author couple’s novels years ago but I didn’t find the main character of the series Frieda very likeable so the urge to pick up another novel (I have 3 more on my tbr list) was not so high until I came across House of Correction. The novel piqued my interest and with a little nudge from blog friend Sabina I bumped this one up to the top of my list.

House of Correction is a courtroom thriller that is quite different from the norm. We all know that I don’t do different very well, I can’t help it. I’m still thinking about what I just read – and I still haven’t processed everything – mainly because there’s a serious lack of investigation and even more than that it’s how the proceedings in the courtroom went. It’s actually hilarious if you can see the humour in it.

House of Correction describes everything you basically shouldn’t do if you’re on trial. The main character Tabitha doesn’t know how anything works at court and for that I can’t blame her but there were other instances where she is so daft that I cringed several times at the things she did. Seriously, when you have to ‘question’ witnesses in the stand, HOW MANY TIMES does she need to be told that you have to ask a question? I haven’t counted it but if you ask me it was several times too many.

Tabitha is not the brightest star in the sky, to say the least. She flies off the handle at several occasions, she forgets to call the Judge My Lady and calls her Madam, she calls the lawyer for the prosecution ‘the other guy’ in front of the judge, she intervenes rudely when witnesses are being questioned by the prosecution and it’s not her time to comment at all. Basically, she got on my nerves so hard and I think even I would have a better shot at it than she did. It also didn’t help that she can’t recall the events on the day of the murder at all, we were off on a bad start already because I have a low tolerance for memory loss like this.

As for the investigation, I had to wait 200 pages to know a little more about the murder itself but it was kept very vague. I still don’t know how many times the victim was stabbed, it isn’t even mentioned. A lot of questions were not even asked.

Throughout the novel – via Tabitha’s conversations in prison with her visitors – it does become clear that the victim was not an angel himself so there are several people who could have a motive but they weren’t anywhere near the murder scene, as CCTV shows. It’s a mystery and with Tabitha’s particular manner of conduct I was holding my heart that she would be convicted. She repeats it so many times that she’s innocent that it’s actually this half pity, half you got it coming, that was making me turn the pages and I was dying to know how she could possibly escape prison. I’m not going to say how it ends, but similar to the rest of the novel, I wasn’t expecting it to go like this. The ending was ok but didn’t make up for the rest and I simply couldn’t overcome the grievings I had.

Readers might find it refreshing that a main character arrested for murder is not some tough person who has her act together and has a positive attitude. This novel dons all those clichés. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was ready for this as I take what happens in courtrooms seriously and I didn’t feel she was very serious. I see that there are 60% of 5-star ratings though so I happily admit that this opinion’s entirely on me.

I received a copy of this novel in my Capital Crime thriller book club box. This is my honest opinion.

The Art of Death by David Fennell #BookReview

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Death is an art, and he is the master . . .

Three glass cabinets appear in London’s Trafalgar Square containing a gruesome art installation: the floating corpses of three homeless men. Shock turns to horror when it becomes clear that the bodies are real.

The cabinets are traced to @nonymous – an underground artist shrouded in mystery who makes a chilling promise: MORE WILL FOLLOW.

Eighteen years ago, Detective Inspector Grace Archer escaped a notorious serial killer. Now, she and her caustic DS, Harry Quinn, must hunt down another.

As more bodies appear at London landmarks and murders are livestreamed on social media, their search for @nonymous becomes a desperate race against time. But what Archer doesn’t know is that the killer is watching their every move – and he has his sights firmly set on her . . .

He is creating a masterpiece. And she will be the star of his show.

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star three and a half

I was immediately drawn to the cover of this book, it has a perfect vibe for a dark thriller (who doesn’t love that nice extra touch of some fake blood spatters on a cover eh) and I was really looking forward to reading this novel.

I enjoyed plenty of things about The Art of Death. First off, I found that the macabre vibe of the cover was reflected in the book as well and I LOVED that. It wasn’t there all the time and it didn’t domineer the story but at times there was this extra little dark touch that made my heart pump a little faster. I didn’t realise it at the time but the story really does grow more harrowing with every new chapter. At the start of The Art of Death three bodies (yes why not three at once) are found dead in a glass case for all to see. The killer has a weird sense of seeing dead bodies as art. How he can have a huge following and fans is beyond my comprehension but what do I know. Then, however, the author has a few other tricks up his sleeve that are effectively shocking. Like getting to know the victims quite well first and then witnessing their deaths. Seriously, I don’t want to read about formadehyde for at least three books now, what a way to die! There’s also one particular scene that I read while trying to divert my eyes a little (it didn’t help) and which really stood out for me, as well as one victim that I couldn’t help root so hard for to survive!

The only issue that I had with this book was that even though it had so much going for it and however much I enjoyed the team of Quinn and Archer, it didn’t surprise me enough. I knew what was what and not even the red herrings in the story could fool me. It was just too plain to see…

Another plot and another killer and I might love his next story so definitely one to watch out for. The author and the vibe of the novel reminds me a little bit of J.D. Barker so if the plot gets a bit more clever then he could mean some serious competition in the future.

I received a copy of this book via my Capital Crime Book Subscription box. This is my honest opinion.

Same book, different cover #16


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 one. This is just for fun so there are no wrong answers! OK then, I’ll go first, then it’s up to you:

Sleepless by Romy Hausmann 

Sleepless 02  Sleepless

These are very different and I normally always go for dark covers but – surprise – I’m more attracted to the second one this time. The second cover feels more original, and I also love that it fits perfectly with this author’s first book of Dear Child, which had a white cover as well with a matchstick house in the center.

Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

Spacehopper  Spacehopper 02

So apparently, since the US doesn’t know what a Space Hopper (bouncy ball/skippy ball) is, there’s a different title and a different cover (it actually shows the item whereas the UK version doesn’t, isn’t that funny). Anyway, I’m choosing cover 1. It’s colorful and it makes me expect a fun read.

Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

GoodGirl Bad Blood US  GoodGirlBadBlood

There’s not a whole lot of difference between the covers but I still like cover 2 most of all. Maybe it’s the larger font, maybe it’s the blood red that makes it a more vivid cover, I don’t know but I’d reach out for that one first if they were next to each other.

The Shape of Darkness by Laura Purcell

TheShapeOfDarkness 02  TheShapeOfDarkness 01 The Shape of Darkness 01

Cover 1! The second cover has a seventies spy-vibe for me and I’m not fond of it. The third gives me a historical vibe but it can’t compete with the more inviting first cover.

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal

Circus of Wonders 01  Circus of Wonders 02

I have the paperback with cover 2 and it looks so much prettier than what you see here. It has a golden shine in the letters and is really amazing. I love that it shows the circus and the familiar stripes but that they chose green instead of red (and blue) on the cover, it makes it so much more elegant and beautiful. I didn’t see Nell there at first on the cover but it’s great to discover some little extra detail like this when you look closer.


So that’s it. Tell me your thoughts! If you can’t get enough, check out Battle Of The Books – #15

The House Guest by Mark Edwards #BookReview



A perfect summer. A perfect stranger. A perfect nightmare.

When British twenty-somethings Ruth and Adam are offered the chance to spend the summer housesitting in New York, they can’t say no. Young, in love and on the cusp of professional success, they feel as if luck is finally on their side.

So the moment that Eden turns up on the doorstep, drenched from a summer storm, it seems only right to share a bit of that good fortune. Beautiful and charismatic, Eden claims to be a friend of the homeowners, who told her she could stay whenever she was in New York.

They know you’re not supposed to talk to strangers―let alone invite them into your home―but after all, Eden’s only a stranger until they get to know her.

As suspicions creep in that Eden may not be who she claims to be, they begin to wonder if they’ve made a terrible mistake…

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star three and a half

After I read the brilliant novel Here to Stay (here’s my review) I bought a copy of his next book The House Guest, and then I also received it in my Capital Crime subscription box so with two copies on my shelves I felt the universe was telling me I really needed to read it soon. So 6 months later here we are ;-).

I absolutely loved the first part of the novel where we get to know the unexpected stranger Eden (it did make me smile that she turned up at Adam’s and Eve’s Ruth’s doorstep) and the tension starts to seep in because I could feel something was about to go wrong, and I wondered what Eden could be hiding. The bearded guy watching the place highly contributed to that feeling. Was he after her, was she in danger? The cut came rather too quick with Part Two of the story starting already after 58 pages and unfortunately what followed was an over the top plotline and one I personally don’t really enjoy reading about. I can’t really spell it out (although I wish it was mentioned in the book blurb) but if you know my taste you can probably guess the direction it took. There followed an action-packed part for Adam which held my attention because I love a good chase but the idea of this plotline was just a bit too far fetched even though it all fits together perfectly. It was quite spectacular in the end and not how I had envisioned a house-sitting to develop into at all.

Overall this story was okay. The House Guest was only not entirely my genre so not my favourite one if I have to choose. Oh well, I guess now that we have this subject covered, it won’t appear in the next novel so I can’t wait to read the next one!

I bought a copy (ok copies) of this novel. This is my honest opinion.

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides #BookReview

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St Christopher’s College, Cambridge, is a closed world to most.

For Mariana Andros – a group therapist struggling through her private grief – it’s where she met her late husband. For her niece, Zoe, it’s the tragic scene of her best friend’s murder.

As memory and mystery entangle Mariana, she finds a society full of secrets, which has been shocked to its core by the murder of one of its students.

Because behind its idyllic beauty is a web of jealousy and rage which emanates from an exclusive set of students known only as The Maidens. A group under the sinister influence of the enigmatic professor Edward Fosca.

A man who seems to know more than anyone about the murders – and the victims. And the man who will become the prime suspect in Mariana’s investigation – an obsession which will cost her everything…

The Maidens is a story of love, and of grief – of what makes us who we are, and what makes us kill.

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star three and a half / 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars_1457015877_81_246_96_2

Michaelides’s debut novel The Silent Patient was an amazing read and merits to be called a real bestseller, and the huge #WTF twist made this book so memorable that it went straight to my top 10 of 2019 (here’s my review). You can imagine how excited I was to read his next book The Maidens and how I jumped for joy when I was approved to read an ecopy on Netgalley.

The Maidens is a solid read but maybe my expectations were a little too high as for me personally it didn’t equal the first novel. One of the things I did however particularly enjoy about this novel were the references to Greek mythology, to the legend of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone who was abducted by Hades (to jog your memory: the turning of the seasons is liased to Persophone) and the Greek celebration of this legend (The Rites of Eleusis because Demeter went to look for her daughter at Eleusis). The (not quite so secret) little student club was quite intriguing and I could easily imagine secret rites among this group and there being someone who wants to share a message to the world. Mariana is quite hung up on the killer being the professor Fosca but the more she became obsessed, the more I became convinced that it couldn’t be him… even though I had no clue who was leaving intriguing calling cards.

Unfortunately the author doesn’t pull the line entirely through and The Maidens themselves were ultimately not as interesting as I expected. The characters of this group were not developed so I didn’t really care much whether they could be a next victim and if you ask me to describe them I wouldn’t really know what to say. I’m in two minds at times as well though because I’m not a fan of reading about cults and rites (remember my review of The Furies) so I was on the other hand quite happy I was spared having to read such scenes.

I did love that a few characters from the first novel are named in this novel too, they are intricately woven into this plot. Don’t worry though, you don’t need the first novel, it’s just a reference made at some point but it was cool!

I quite liked the big twist in the end, he tried to pull off another one of his unexpected twists and although it was for me partially successful, it was a bit radical. I thought the book was leading somewhere but it actually takes a whole different direction in the end, which is amazing, only I don’t deal well with such startling turnarounds.

The Maidens is a psychological thriller with a gothic edge. Don’t take your eyes off the first part is the only advice I can give you and maybe you’ll be more triumphant in discovering who did it than I was.

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