Only A Mother by Elisabeth Carpenter | @LibbyCPT @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n | #blogtour #OnlyAMother #NetGalley

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for Only A Mother by Elisabeth Carpenter today! My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the opportunity to join and to the publisher for my review copy!

Author : Elisabeth Carpenter
Title : Only A Mother
Pages : 320
Publisher : Orion
Publication date : December 27, 2018

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

ONLY A MOTHER . . .

Erica Wright hasn’t needed to scrub ‘MURDERER’ off her house in over a year. Life is almost quiet again. Then her son, Craig, is released from prison, and she knows the quiet is going to be broken.

COULD BELIEVE HIM

Erica has always believed Craig was innocent – despite the lies she told for him years ago – but when he arrives home, she notices the changes in him. She doesn’t recognise her son anymore. 

COULD BURY THE TRUTH

So, when another girl goes missing, she starts to question everything. But how can a mother turn her back on her son? And, if she won’t, then how far will she go to protect him?

COULD FORGIVE WHAT HE HAS DONE

| MY THOUGHTS |

Almost twenty years ago, Erica’s son, Craig, was convicted of the murder of a young girl. Erica has always believed in her son’s innocence but she was the only one. Friends and neighbours have stopped talking to her. She has often come home to graffiti on her front door or poop through the letterbox. Her life has basically come to a stand-still. Afraid to leave the house in daylight but determined not to leave her home, she’s pretty much a pariah in the community. Just when life finally seems to quieten down a little, Craig is released from prison.

His homecoming isn’t exactly all roses and sunshine, though. Craig is now 38 years old. A man, no longer a teenager. A man hardened by life in prison, on top of that. Erica barely recognises him, is possibly even slightly afraid of him. And when another young girl goes missing, she starts to question everything. Was she wrong about her son?

The question surrounding Craig’s guilt or innocence continues throughout the story and my loyalties kept shifting. Craig isn’t exactly a likeable character and does little to redeem himself. And even though it was hard not to sympathise with Erica, I couldn’t quite warm to her either. Faced with difficult decisions, how far will a mother go to protect her child? This is very much a “what would you do” scenario. It’s quite easy to judge Erica and her actions but I couldn’t at all decide what I would do if I were faced with a situation like this.

I did figure out what happened but the author did such a great job of keeping the story tense and suspenseful that that didn’t bother me at all. Apart from Erica and Craig, we also meet Luke. He’s a reporter for the local paper who is trying to figure out if Craig was responsible for another murder all those years ago. But with a family to take care of, is he putting them all in danger?

This character-driven psychological thriller is immensely thought-provoking. It’s not about the murders exactly, but more about how prison life affects those who are left behind. The impact a child’s conviction has on a mother isn’t a topic that’s often talked about. If you’re looking for a thrill a minute, this probably isn’t it. But if you enjoy reading about realistic and believable characters in tense and dramatic situations, then this will undoubtedly hook you from start to finish.

Only A Mother is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Elisabeth (Libby) Carpenter won a Northern Writers New Fiction Award (2016) and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 & 2016) and MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015).

Elisabeth lives in Preston, Lancashire with her family. She loves the north of England, setting most of her stories in the area – including the novel she is writing at the moment.

Author links : Twitter

This Week in Books (January 9)

Hosted by Lipsy Lost and Found, my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I’m reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words.

| LAST BOOK I FINISHED READING |

TWO BODIES
One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS
Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS
Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

ONLY A MOTHER . . .

Erica Wright hasn’t needed to scrub ‘MURDERER’ off her house in over a year. Life is almost quiet again. Then her son, Craig, is released from prison, and she knows the quiet is going to be broken.

COULD BELIEVE HIM

Erica has always believed Craig was innocent – despite the lies she told for him years ago – but when he arrives home, she notices the changes in him. She doesn’t recognise her son anymore. 

COULD BURY THE TRUTH

So, when another girl goes missing, she starts to question everything. But how can a mother turn her back on her son? And, if she won’t, then how far will she go to protect him?

COULD FORGIVE WHAT HE HAS DONE

This week is looking awfully good, if you ask me. What are you reading this week? Let me know! Happy reading! xx

11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter @LibbyCPT @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K #blogtour #excerpt #extract

It’s a real pleasure to welcome you all to my stop on the blog tour for 11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter. My thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon for the invitation to join and for providing me with the extract I’ll be sharing with you today. But first, here is what this book is all about.

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Author : Elisabeth Carpenter
Title : 11 Missed Calls
Pages : 384
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : July 26, 2018

aboutthebook

Here are two things I know about my mother:

1. She had dark hair, like mine.

2. She wasn’t very happy at the end.

Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared.

But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff.

Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family.

And then a body is found…

extract

I wait until Sophie has gone to bed before I mention Debbie. I didn’t want to confuse her by talking about another grandmother – who she thinks has passed away. How am I going to explain to her that Debbie is alive after all?

‘Don’t get your hopes up,’ says Jack − words I have heard many times − while he pours himself a glass of white wine.

‘I’m not,’ I say. ‘But the woman behind the counter said photos usually come out well, even after all that time.’

I grab my laptop and take it into the living room. I still don’t know what to say in my reply to Debbie. It is too important to just fire off a few words when I have a whole lifetime to write about. She won’t be expecting a message from me, but I doubt Monica or Dad have replied yet. They would have told me if they had, though I’m not sure of anything these days.

‘Just ask to meet,’ says Jack, reading my mind. ‘You don’t have to write an essay. If she is who she says she is, then you’ll find out soon enough.’

Perhaps it is as simple as that. There is a tiny part of me – self-preservation, again – that tells me not to give too much away in an email. She must earn the right to hear my news. The least she could do is meet me.

I click on the email forwarded by Dad. I already know her words off by heart, but I still read it. ‘The memories of shells and sweet things …’ No one else could know about that.

I type out the reply before I can think about it, and press send.

I look up and flinch. Jack is standing just centimetres away from me.

He laughs.

‘You were off in dreamland then.’ He hands me a piece of paper. ‘These are a few of the private investigators we use at work. The other partners hire them to find people for court summonses. One of them might be able to help if you don’t get a reply. Tell them to charge it to my account.’

‘What makes you think she won’t reply?’ I say. He shrugs. I look at the list. ‘So, are these PIs like Magnum?’

‘Er, no. Unfortunately not. They’re more likely to drive a Volvo estate than a Ferrari.’ He laughs at his own joke.

I settle back into the sofa. Some names to research; it makes me feel useful. I’ve never spoken to a private investigator before; they must lead such exciting lives.

‘They’ll probably jump at the chance of this job,’ says Jack. ‘They’re usually sitting in a car for eight hours at a time, pissing into a coke bottle.’

‘Oh.’

‘I’m just nipping down to the shop for more wine. Tough case at the moment.’

‘But it’s Friday night.’

‘If I can get this done, I can relax for the rest of the weekend.’

‘You can’t drive – you’ve already had a glass.’

He tuts. ‘I’m walking to the offy on the corner.’

It’s what I hoped he’d say.

As soon as I hear the front door shut, I race up the two flights of stairs to Jack’s office in the loft. Tough case, my arse. He’s a conveyancing solicitor, not a human rights lawyer.

There’s no door to open – the whole of the loft is his work space. Three walls are hidden by bookcases filled with leather-bound books I’m certain he’s never read, and sports trophies from his university days. There’s a sofa bed to the left and a large mahogany desk under the roof window. The blue screen of his laptop is reflected in the skylight. If I’m quick enough, the screensaver won’t have kicked in yet. He’s protective over his passwords.

I slide onto his chair. His Facebook account is open. I click on the messages tab, but there are none. Not even the link to our old house for sale that I sent him last week. I check the archive folder. Still nothing. I must have at least fifty messages archived in mine. He must have deleted every one. Who does that? Especially someone who professes to hardly ever use Facebook.

Francesca was the name of the woman who signed her name at the bottom of the letter. I go to his friends list, my hands shaking. Jack might only be minutes from walking through the door.

He only has fifty-nine friends. She’s not hard to find. I could have looked on his friends list from my account. Francesca King. Even her name sounds glamorous. She has long chestnut-coloured hair and her photo looks professionally taken. I click on her profile, and jot down everything I can see in her About section. Partner at Gerald & Co, Winckley Square, Preston. She works across town from Jack. I want to look through her posts and photos, but I don’t have time.

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If you too would like to find out if Jack is having an affair and what the private investigator will unearth, then 11 Missed Calls is now available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Bookdepository | Kobo | Wordery | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Elisabeth (Libby) Carpenter won a Northern Writers New Fiction Award (2016) and was longlisted for Yeovil Literary Prize (2015 & 2016) and MsLexia Women’s Novel award (2015).

Elisabeth lives in Preston, Lancashire with her family. She loves the north of England, setting most of her stories in the area – including the novel she is writing at the moment.

Author links : Twitter

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