The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English | @EnglishRachael @HachetteIre

Author : Rachael English
Title : The Paper Bracelet
Pages : 388
Publisher : Hachette Ireland
Publication date : February 27, 2020

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets. 

Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

| MY THOUGHTS |

I’m sure many of you have heard about the mother and baby homes before. It’s a dark era in Ireland’s past (though not only there) and for some reason a topic that I just can’t stop reading about or watch documentaries about, even though it’s often extremely upsetting.

In Rachael English’s latest novel, we meet Katie. She used to work as a nurse at a mother and baby home. During her time there, she kept a notebook with information about the mothers and babies she met, as well as many of the babies’ paper bracelets. Now, fifty years later, Katie decides it’s time to use her knowledge to reunite birth mothers with their children.

Interspersed throughout the story are chapters dealing with the mother and baby care home where Katie worked. The reader meets Patricia and it’s through her eyes that the harsh circumstances these women found themselves in are laid bare. Effectively abandoned by their families, they found little sympathy in the home. It didn’t matter where they came from, how old they were or how they fell pregnant. They were sinners and that was that.

Under the guidance of Catholic nuns, who quite frankly clearly lost their Christian ways if you ask me, they were stripped of their names and their identities. They were forced to work the fields, or in the blazing heat of a laundrette while months pregnant … can you even imagine? Some were even forced to stay at the home to work off their debt, after their babies had been given up for adoption. It’s not at all surprising to learn that some birth mothers just didn’t want to be faced with their past and somehow tried to erase that part of their lives from their memory. Different times indeed but scary to realise, they really weren’t that long ago.

It feels wrong somehow to say that I enjoyed those chapters the most. That is not to say I didn’t enjoy reading about Katie and her experiences, or the characters she meets along the way. But there was something about Patricia’s chapters that kept pulling me back in and I could quite happily have read an entire book about her life at the home. I couldn’t at all figure out how, or even if, the two strands of the story fitted together. But all the while, I tried to match some of the adopted children to the women at the home while Patricia was there. These now adult children the reader meets, lead very different lives. Some never left Ireland, some were adopted by people in America. Some are having a hard time, others are rich and seemingly happy. One is even a rockstar. Some have always known they were adopted, some only found out recently. But they all want to know where they came from.

I am a huge fan of Rachael English’s writing and with The Paper Bracelet she manages to tell this heartbreaking story beautifully. I often felt quite emotional while reading, even may have had a lump in my throat and that doesn’t happen often. As a journalist, Rachael came into contact with women from a mother and baby home in the early nineties and The Paper Bracelet is inspired by those interviews. These women’s stories should never be forgotten.

Thousands of women were continuing to live with a bitter legacy, and many were doing so in secret. These were the women who had been treated like criminals when some were the victims of crime. Their children had been taken from them and they’d been warned that any attempt to find their son or daughter was illegal. I wanted to try and bring the mothers and the women who ran the homes to life. It’s too easy to portray the nuns as caricatures of evil and the mothers as devoid of wit and personality. I hope I’ve done them justice. – Rachael English

You have, Rachael. You most definitely have.

My thanks to Rachael English for sending me a beautiful review copy! The Paper Bracelet is available to buy!

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This Week in Books (March 11)

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 |

If someone was in your house, you’d know.
Wouldn’t you?

But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare.

The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.

One by one, people Paige knows from the Deaf community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl?

Was it an intruder? Or was the murderer closer to home?

[This had bags of potential but it didn’t really work for me.]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets. 

Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

[Why, yes. This is the exact same book in the exact same place as last week. Why do you ask? It’s not that I’m not enjoying it! It’s that I keep getting distracted by other things. If “all over the place” is a mood, I have it. 😳😂]

When Katie Straw’s body is pulled from the waters of the local suicide spot, the police decide it’s an open-and-shut case. A standard-issue female suicide.

But the residents of Widringham women’s refuge where Katie worked don’t agree. They say it’s murder.

Will you listen to them?

[One for a blog tour. Which I’ve left a tad late. As you do.]

What do you think? Anything here you like the look of? Have you read any of them?

What are you reading this week? Do let me know in the comments! Happy reading! xx

This Week in Books (March 4)

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 |

Jo Palmer’s peaceful and happy life is about to end.

Ash – the man she loves – will be arrested by the police.
Millie – her precious daughter – will be taken from her.

She will lose her friends.
She will doubt her sanity.

Someone is stealing everything Jo loves, and will stop at nothing.

But right now, Jo is laughing in her kitchen, eating dinner with her family, suspecting nothing.

It’s raining outside.

There’s a knock on the door. They are here.

[Another brilliant addition to the DCI Tom Douglas series!]

| THE BOOK I’M CURRENTLY READING |

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets. 

Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

[I love Rachael English’s novels and I can’t wait to get stuck into this one.]

| WHAT I’M (PROBABLY) READING NEXT |

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard. 

[I read this one years ago. It’s one of those novels that has always stayed with me and I may just treat myself to re-reading it.]

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how much reading I’ll get done at all this week because in the battle between the lurgy and myself, I am most definitely losing for the moment. 🤧

Have you read any of these? Anything tempting you? What are you reading this week? Do let me know! Happy reading! xx

Rewind by Catherine Ryan Howard | @cathryanhoward @AtlanticBooks @theotherkirsty | #20BooksOfSummer #recommended

Author : Catherine Ryan Howard
Title : Rewind
Pages : 327
Publisher : Atlantic Books / Corvus
Publication date : August 22, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

PLAY
Andrew, the manager of Shanamore Holiday Cottages, watches his only guest via a hidden camera in her room. One night the unthinkable happens: a shadowy figure emerges onscreen, kills her and destroys the camera. But who is the murderer? How did they know about the camera? And how will Andrew live with himself?

PAUSE
Natalie wishes she’d stayed at home as soon as she arrives in the wintry isolation of Shanamore. There’s something creepy about the manager. She wants to leave, but she can’t – not until she’s found what she’s looking for…

REWIND
This is an explosive story about a murder caught on camera. You’ve already missed the start. To get the full picture you must rewind the tape and play it through to the end, no matter how shocking…

| MY THOUGHTS |

Say “hello” to Catherine Ryan Howard’s best book yet! Yes, I said it!

Instagram influencer Natalie seems to have it all. Fab house, handsome husband, easy and cushy “job”. But behind the pretty filtered pictures, things are not what they seem. Natalie is on a mission, which leads her to the tiny isolated village of Shanamore. Will she find what she is looking for?

A creepy manager with Norman Bates vibes watches a murder caught on camera. Who is the victim? Who is the killer? Why is there a camera in the room to begin with and how did the killer know it was there? Creepy to the nth degree!

The way the plot is set out in this book is just sheer genius. Even though the rewind/foreward/play/pause chapters tied my brain into knots at the beginning, I can honestly say I’ve never been this ecstatic about being confused before and I loved every minute of trying to figure out how the whole thing fit together. It is just such an original take on a past and present storyline and what is basically a whodunnit murder mystery.

Despite the fact I had quite a few things figured out early on, that didn’t matter at all because Rewind remains compelling and totally creepy throughout. I am never staying at a hotel, B&B, whatever again! Brilliantly paced with intriguing characters and a mystery to solve, this is one of those books I found impossible to put down.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Catherine Ryan Howard’s previous books but with this one, she knocked it right out of the park. Gripping and tense, I absolutely devoured Rewind and if you’re a crime fiction fan who’s looking for that little something different, ta-da! Here it is! I so can’t wait to see what’s next from Catherine Ryan Howard.

My thanks to Kirsty Doole at Atlantic for my review copy!

Rewind is available to buy!

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Book 19 from my 20 Books of Summer list.

Beneath The Surface by Jo Spain | @JoSpain @QuercusBooks | #20BooksofSummer

Author : Jo Spain
Title : Beneath The Surface
Series : DI Tom Reynolds #2
Pages : 389
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : September 8, 2016

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Late at night, two powerful men meet in a secret location to discuss a long nurtured plan about to come to fruition. One is desperate to know there is nothing standing in their way – the other assures him everything is taken care of. Hours later, a high-ranking government official called Ryan Finnegan is brutally slain in the most secure building in Ireland – Leinster House, the seat of parliament. Inspector Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to uncover the truth behind the murder.

At first, all the evidence hints at a politically motivated crime, until a surprise discovery takes the investigation in a dramatically different direction. Suddenly the motive for murder has got a lot more personal. . . but who benefits the most from Ryan’s death?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Beneath The Surface is the second instalment in the DI Tom Reynolds series and if I wasn’t a fan of Jo Spain before this one, I sure would be now.

Ryan Finnegan, a high-ranking government official, is found shot to death in Ireland’s most secure building – the seat of Parliament, Leinster House. DI Tom Reynolds and his team are called in to solve Finnegan’s murder but that won’t be easy. With a charity ball across the road and lots of people milling around, the list of potential suspects could quite quickly run into the hundreds. Most of those are involved in politics, obviously, and we all know few of them can be trusted to speak the truth.

Politics, blackmail, backstabbing, lies and deceit. Sounds like an episode of House of Cards. There are a multitude of questions that need answers before DI Reynolds can even begin to make sense of it all. Why was Finnegan in that part of the building? What is the significance of the picture that was found underneath his body? Does his murder have anything to do with a Bill that Parliament needs to vote on soon?

I love the balance Jo Spain achieves in combining the team’s job with their private lives and even manages to throw in some chuckle-worthy moments, often courtesy of Ray. Tom is adjusting to new circumstances at home and the arrival of his grandchild, which causes quite a few problems between his wife and his daughter. Meanwhile, Ray realises he may just see Laura as more than just a colleague. But she has a boyfriend now. Timing is everything.

These personal events allow you to get the characters so much better, while also sometimes bringing some much needed relief from the murder investigation. I couldn’t at all figure out what had happened to Ryan Finnegan and this incredibly clever plot kept me guessing until the end. I must admit some of the political shenanigans confused me somewhat from time to time but that didn’t ruin my reading experience at all. And let’s face it, who isn’t confused by politics these days. I’m thoroughly enjoying this series! So much so, that I have now picked up book 3. I can’t wait to see what DI Reynolds and his team will be investigating next.

Beneath The Surface is available to buy!

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Book 2 from my 20 Books of Summer list

Forget Me Not by Claire Allan | @ClaireAllan @AvonBooksUK @Sabah_K | #blogtour #bookreview #ForgetMeNot

Delighted to join the blog tour for Forget Me Not by Claire Allan today! My thanks to Sabah at Avon for the opportunity to join and for the fab review copy!

Author : Claire Allan
Title : Forget Me Not
Pages : 336
Publisher : Avon UK
Publication date : May 30, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

I disappeared on a Tuesday afternoon. I was there one minute and the next I was gone. They’ve never found my body…

It’s six in the morning during the hottest summer on record when Elizabeth O’Loughlin, out walking her dog, comes across Clare, a victim of a horrific knife attack, clinging onto life at the side of the road.

Clare dies minutes later, but not before whispering her haunting last words to Elizabeth.

When it becomes clear that Clare’s killer has more than one murder on his mind, Elizabeth has to take drastic action or face losing everything.

But what if she can’t stop a killer determined never to be forgotten?

| MY THOUGHTS |

And Claire Allan strikes again! Yowza!

Early one morning, Elizabeth sets out walking her dog when she comes across a young woman called Clare, who’s been the victim of a knife attack. Sadly, Clare dies minutes later while Elizabeth holds her hand, but not before whispering two haunting words. A series of events soon show Clare’s killer is on a mission. Can her killer be stopped from achieving their aim?

This is one of those books you just can’t put down once you’ve started reading. The prologue alone already had me sitting up and paying attention. It’s one of those beginnings where you just can’t help flipping the pages back to it, trying to figure out how the prologue fits into the rest of the story. And just like with Claire Allan’s previous books, that’s when I knew I’d be hooked from start to finish. It’s pretty tense and the tension only ramps up as you get closer to the conclusion.

The chapters alternate between Elizabeth and Rachel, who was one of Clare’s best friends. Elizabeth is one of those characters I immediately felt myself drawn to. Living on her own in isolation with just her dog for company, there is something quite sad about her. It makes you wonder what happened that made her come to be this way. Finding Clare abandoned by the roadside opens up a whole can of worms for her. Meanwhile, Rachel too is struggling to come to terms with Clare’s death. Finding little support in her husband’s arms, she seeks comfort elsewhere.

I felt rather smug, thinking I had the whole thing figured out and in a way I sort of had, but not quite (I know, totally confusing. 😄). Somehow Claire Allan managed to keep me doubting my theory and keep me wondering. I said it last time and I’ll say it again, it’s an absolute credit to the author’s writing that even when you think you know it all, the journey to get to the end remains every bit as thrilling.

Sometimes quite heartbreaking but always gripping, Forget Me Not is another fantastically addictive page-turner by this author. Claire Allan’s writing just gets better and better and once again she delivers with an incredibly clever and suspenseful plot, intriguing characters, twists and turns and an ending that will chill you to the bone. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Forget Me Not is available to buy!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Claire Allan is an International Bestselling Author from Derry in Northern Ireland.

Her debut psychological thriller, Her Name Was Rose, was published in June 2018. It hit the bestseller charts in the UK, Australia, Canada and is a USA Today bestseller. Her next novel, Apple of My Eye, was published in January 2019 and hit the bestseller charts internationally. 

Allan’s third psychological thriller, Forget Me Not, was released 30th May 2019. 

With Our Blessing by Jo Spain | @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks | #bookreview #recommended

Author : Jo Spain
Title : With Our Blessing
Series : DI Tom Reynolds #1
Pages : 531
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : July 27, 2015

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

1975. A baby, minutes old, is forcibly taken from its devastated mother.

2010. The body of an elderly woman is found in a Dublin public park in the depths of winter.

Detective Inspector Tom Reynolds is working the case. He’s convinced the murder is linked to historical events that took place in the notorious Magdalene Laundries.

Reynolds and his team follow the trail to an isolated convent in the Irish countryside. But once inside, it becomes disturbingly clear that the killer is amongst them . . . and is determined to exact further vengeance for the sins of the past. 

| MY THOUGHTS |

You’re probably familiar with Jo Spain’s psychological thrillers but did you know she also writes a crime fiction series, set in Ireland? The DI Tom Reynolds series has been on my shelf for ages and since I heard there is a new book on the horizon, I decided to try and squeeze this series into my reading schedule in an attempt to catch up.

Best decision ever!

With Our Blessing is the first book and hoo boy, what a first instalment it is! Despite its 531 pages, I absolutely flew through this one because once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop. The body of an elderly woman is found in a park in Dublin. It’s quite a gruesome scene and the investigation leads DI Tom Reynolds and his team to a convent in the Irish countryside and a part of history Ireland would probably quite happily forget all about.

The notorious Magdalane Laundries have been in the news often these last few years. The events that happened there remain horrible and With Our Blessing starts with one such horrific scene when in 1975, a newborn baby is forcibly taken from its mother. If that doesn’t break your heart, I don’t know what will.

But how does that prologue connect to the murder of the elderly woman? That’s for DI Tom Reynolds to figure out and it’s a race against the clock because this killer is quite obviously on a mission to get revenge and if they aren’t stopped, more people will die. I quickly ruled out a number of potential suspects which left me with a tiny problem, in that I had nobody left. I was convinced I knew who wasn’t the killer but couldn’t at all figure out who was!

As brilliantly gripping as the murder investigation was, I also really enjoyed the perfect balance Jo Spain achieved by including information about the various team members’ private lives. I got a really good feel for them and loved getting to know them along the way.

With Our Blessing is a fantastic start to this series. With intriguing characters, a compelling investigation, a beautiful setting and even some humour, this had me hooked from start to finish. I’m kicking myself for not reading this series sooner and I can’t wait to read the other books. If Jo Spain wasn’t already on my go-to list, she would most definitely be now! And if you are looking for another crime series to sink your teeth into, you should definitely check this one out!

With Our Blessing is available to buy!

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Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan | @LivKiernan @riverrunbooks @Millsreid11 | #TheKillerInMe

Today I’m sharing my review for The Killer in Me by Olivia Kiernan. Huge thanks to Milly Read at Riverrun Books for the fabulous review copy!

Author : Olivia Kiernan
Title : The Killer in Me
Series : Frankie Sheehan #2
Pages : 336
Publisher : Riverrun
Publication date : April 4, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Death is no stranger to Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan, but she isn’t the only one from her small, coastal suburb to be intimately acquainted with it.

Years ago, teenager Seán Hennessey shocked the tight-knit community when he was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents and attempted slaying of his sister, though he always maintained his innocence. Now, Seán is finally being released from prison—but when his newfound freedom coincides with the discovery of two bodies, the alleged connection between the cases only serves to pull Frankie further from answers even as it draws her closer to her town’s hidden darkness.

With a television documentary revisiting Seán’s sentence pushing the public’s sympathies into conflict on a weekly basis, a rabid media pressuring the police like never before, and a rising body count, Frankie will need all of her resources if she is not only to catch a killer, but put to rest what really happened all those years ago.

| MY THOUGHTS |

Seventeen years ago, the town of Clontarf was rocked to its very core when fifteen year old Seán Hennessy was convicted of the murder of his parents and attempted murder of his then ten year old sister. Seán always maintained his innocence and now he’s finally been released, he’s set on clearing his name once and for all. But his return to Clontarf sets off another spate of murders. Coincidence or not? Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan will need to keep her wits about her to figure out the truth.

One of the first things to pull you into this story is the amazing atmosphere Olivia Kiernan creates. This small seaside town on the coast of Ireland isn’t exactly a glamorous holiday destination. It rains a lot. It’s windy. Often you look up and only see dark and grey skies. But these elements all add to the doom and gloom of a complicated murder investigation and this here investigation is certainly complicated.

The Killer in Me is full of complex and multi-layered characters. Few come across as trustworthy and my keen detective eye (ha!) zeroed in on a suspect relatively soon. But just like Frankie and her team, I wasn’t prepared for all the twists, turns and dead ends and ultimately I had to admit defeat, not seeing who the culprit was or why it seemed to be connected to the past.

I had some misgivings about Frankie when I was first introduced to her in Too Close to Breathe but in this instalment, she completely won me over! It may seem a tad harsh to say but I almost felt as if she had some kind of personality transplant but I loved her. She always keeps an open mind and isn’t afraid to admit to herself when she’s wrong about something. Her profiling background remains incredibly fascinating, the way she “sees” things play out in front of her eyes really drew me in. I had no problems whatsoever getting behind her this time around.

A lot about this story is about perceptions, which in turn makes it rather thought-provoking. The Killer in Me is gripping, immersive and utterly addictive. Oozing atmosphere throughout and with a touch of true crime about it, it had me absolutely hooked from start to finish. If you’re into crime fiction, I’d definitely recommend this one and I’m ridiculously excited to see where Olivia Kiernan takes this series next!

The Killer in Me will be published on April 4th!

Affiliate link : Bookdepository
Other retailers : Amazon US | Amazon UK | Kobo | Waterstones | Wordery

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Olivia Kiernan is an Irish writer living in the UK.

She was born and raised in County Meath, near the famed heritage town of Kells and holds an MA in Creative Writing awarded by the University of Sussex.

Where She Lies by Michael Scanlon | @bookouture

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Where She Lies by Michael Scanlon. My thanks to Bookouture for the opportunity to join and for the review copy!

Author : Michael Scanlon
Title : Where She Lies
Series : Detective Finnegan Beck #1
Pages : 327
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : February 8, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

In a town full of liars, who can you trust?

When Detective Finnegan Beck is demoted from his high-powered job in Dublin and relocated in disgrace to the small Irish town of Cross Beg, he predicts boredom will be his biggest threat.

But then a beautiful, local teenage girl is found strangled in the cold, dark woods a mile from town. The prime suspect is the seemingly-gentle drifter who found Tanya’s body.

Beck seems to be the only person who can’t escape the feeling that Tanya wasn’t killed at random. As he digs deeper into the shadows of Cross Beg, he begins to realise it isn’t the sleepy backwater he’d first believed. Everyone here has something to hide. Tanya had a boyfriend, whose name no one knew. A best friend with a loose relationship with the truth. And a habit she thought she’d kept hidden from everyone.

But, just as Beck believes he is making progress, the body of one of the suspects is found drowned in the river. Is the killer just getting started?

| MY THOUGHTS |

Where She Lies is the first instalment in a brand-new Irish crime series featuring Detective Finnegan Beck. A former inspector, Beck finds himself demoted to Sergeant in the small Irish town of Cross Beg. His main objective is to return to Dublin and not get too involved in whatever goes on in Cross Beg. But when a young girl is found murdered in the woods, Beck can’t help digging deeper.

Cross Beg isn’t exactly what Beck imagined it to be. For a town so small, where everyone seems to know everyone else’s business, there are a lot of secrets and skeletons in the closets and everyone seems to have something to hide. The murdered girl too was up to all sorts. She may have had a boyfriend but nobody knows who it is. Is he responsible for her murder? Police zero in on a suspect but when this person is found dead as well, does this mean the case is closed or is it merely the start of something far more sinister?

The investigation is a frustrating one. There are no clues to speak of so where does one even begin to look for a killer? With a lot of the town residents acting shifty and suspiciously, I had no idea whatsoever as to who was responsible or why. I must admit that I didn’t particularly connect to any of these characters. Yet Michael Scanlon managed to hold my attention because he gives very little away and I felt compelled to keep reading until the truth was revealed.

Finnegan Beck stands out from the crowd with an intriguing backstory as to why he ended up in this town in the first place. Beck is damaged, flawed and has a drinking problem. But he also has that fascinating copper’s nose and is immensely perceptive. I think he might be one of those characters that will get increasingly more interesting when the reader gets to know him better.

All in all a solid start to a new series and it’ll be interesting to see where Michael Scanlon takes Beck next.

Where She Lies is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | GooglePlay | iTunes | Kobo

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Michael Scanlon is a civilian employee of the An Garda Siochana (the Irish police force), but a life threatening undiagnosed illness that struck while travelling in Spain in 2014 has rendered him on long term sick leave. He is married to Eileen and has a daughter, Sarah. He lives in the countryside outside the town of Ballina in County Mayo. The town has arguably the best salmon river in Europe, called the Moy.

You can on connect with Michael via Twitter

The Little Orphan Girl by Sandy Taylor

41056068

Author : Sandy Taylor
Title : The Little Orphan Girl
Pages : 358
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : September 24, 2018

aboutthebook

Ireland, 1901: For as long as six-year-old Cissy Ryan can remember, she has been a workhouse girl. Living amongst the other orphan boys and girls, dreaming of a family that might come and choose her for their own.

But the day her real mammy finally comes to claim her is not how Cissy imagined. An unfamiliar woman takes her to a tumbledown cottage in the rural Irish countryside to meet her gruff granddaddy. Settling into the isolated and poverty-stricken village is tough. But Cissy’s blossoming friendship with Colm Doyle and his horse Blue show Cissy the kindness and laughter is possible, even in the hardest of times.

As Cissy grows up, she finds that the world around her is ever changing. When she goes to work at prestigious Bretton Hall, she begins to realise that not everyone has an honest heart…

mythoughts

We first meet Cissy Ryan when, at the age of six, she leaves a workhouse holding the hand of a woman claiming to be her mammy. The workhouse for orphans is the only home Cissy has ever known and her mammy isn’t quite the kind of mother she expected. In fact Cissy was sure her name was Martha and she didn’t even have a mammy. Nevertheless, Cissy moves in with her mammy and her grandfather, a grumpy old man, in a tiny cottage. Life is suddenly very different but there is a silver lining and his name is Colm Doyle.

From these humble beginnings, we follow Cissy as she grows up and goes out into the world to work at prestigious Breton Hall. Here Cissy learns all about the divide between the poor and the rich and that some people aren’t honest or even nice. Their sense of entitlement is remarkable as they go through life without a care in the world for the people who work for them or their circumstances.

Cissy is an absolutely delightful character and I warmed to her immediately, even though she sometimes came across as a little too good to be true and quite naive. Growing up in early 1900’s Ireland was tough and I feel the author really brought that era to life. From poverty to prejudice to the stigma attached to unwed mothers, these weren’t exactly happy times.

The Little Orphan Girl is a beautifully written, though not entirely surprising, historical fiction story about family, love and friendship. Full of wonderful characters, it will have you rooting for them all the way and wishing for a happy ending. Despite the certain level of predictability and the fact that I quite prefer my historical fiction with a bit more depth to it, I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Cissy and following her on her journey.

The Little Orphan Girl is available to buy!

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