Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson (trs by @givemeawave | @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

Delighted to welcome you all to the final day of the blog tour for Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson. Huge thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the fab review copy and to Anne Cater for the opportunity to join the tour.

Author : Johana Gustawsson (trs by David Warriner)
Title : Blood Song
Series : Roy &. Castells #3
Pages : 272
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : September 19, 2019

| ABOUT THE BOOK |

Spain, 1938

The country is wracked by civil war, and as Valencia falls to Franco’s brutal dictatorship, Republican Teresa witnesses the murders of her family. Captured and sent to the notorious Las Ventas women’s prison, Teresa gives birth to a daughter who is forcibly taken from her.

Falkenberg, Sweden, 2016

A wealthy family is found savagely murdered in their luxurious home. Discovering that her parents have been slaughtered, Aliénor Lindbergh, a new recruit to the UK’s Scotland Yard, rushes back to Sweden and finds her hometown rocked by the massacre.

Profiler Emily Roy joins forces with Aliénor and her colleague, true-crime writer Alexis Castells, and they soon find themselves on the trail of a monstrous and prolific killer, in an investigation that takes them from the Swedish fertility clinics of the present day back to the terror of Franco’s rule, and the horrifying events that took place in Spanish orphanages under its rule…

| MY THOUGHTS |

I am broken. Good grief.

I apologise upfront for this review but words completely fail me and I can only hope that what little I say next will convince you that this book, and the rest of the series, is an absolute must-read for any crime fiction fan who also doesn’t mind being educated somewhat.

Few crime fiction series leave me feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut numerous times, wanting to curl up into a tiny ball under my duvet, but Johana Gustawsson manages it every single time. You’d think I would have learned my lesson from her previous books but apparently I hadn’t because I wasn’t all prepared for the emotional impact Blood Song would have on me.

Blood Song is the third instalment in the Roy and Castells series and it is even stronger than its predecessors, proving this series only goes from strength to strength. In Falkenberg, Sweden, a wealthy family is found murdered in their home. The hunt for the killer leads Roy and Castells right back to the terror of Franco’s regime in Spain.

Cue some of the most harrowing chapters I’ve ever read in my life! I wasn’t at all familiar with this devastating period in Spanish history and it made me feel remarkably uncomfortable to realise that it actually wasn’t all that long ago. I don’t want to give anything away, obviously, but I will say that some events are extremely brutal, disturbing and dark and I have no doubt whatsoever that these chapters will haunt me forever.

As if that wasn’t enough, Johana Gustawsson also tackles the topic of inferitily and the measures some people will go to to obtain what Mother Nature is denying them, while also laying bare the unscrupulous side of infertility clinics.

Basically, Blood Song left me utterly reeling and feeling completely heartbroken. I don’t have the words to do this story justice at all. It is devastating and yet, there is also a tiny glimmer of hope and a sense of empowerment of women who have dealt with the worst of the worst.

Johana Gustawsson is a remarkable talent and I continue to be absolutely impressed by the way she manages to combine modern crime fiction with some of history’s most shocking eras and the atrocious things humans are capable of. I can’t recommend this powerful read and this entire series enough and I absolutely can’t wait for more! And as always, shout-out to David Warriner for the seamless translation!

Blood Song is available to buy!

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

| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |

Born in Marseille, France, and with a degree in Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in nineteen countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production.

Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons. She drew on her own experience of fertility clinics and IVF to write Blood Song and is happy to speak and write pieces about this.

The Island Villa by Lily Graham @lilygrahambooks @bookouture #blogblitz

It’s such a pleasure to host a stop on the blog blitz for The Island Villa by Lily Graham today! My thanks to Kim Nash at Bookouture for the invitation to join and for the review copy, which I received via Netgalley.

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Author : Lily Graham
Title : The Island Villa
Pages : 285
Publisher : Bookouture
Publication date : June 29, 2018

aboutthebook

When Charlotte’s husband James tragically dies, he leaves her an unexpected gift – her grandmother’s beautiful villa, Marisal, on the Spanish island of Formentera.

As she begins to explore her new home, and heal her broken heart in the warm golden sunshine, Charlotte discovers that her grandmother Alba has been keeping secrets about her life on the island. Intrigued by her family’s hidden history, Charlotte uncovers a devastating love affair that put many lives at risk and two sisters torn apart by loss.

Can the heartbreaking truth of the island’s dark history finally be laid to rest? Or will the secrets of the past shake the new life and love that Charlotte is close to finding?

mythoughts

Widowed at the young age of forty-five, Charlotte would like nothing else but to hide under her duvet and sleep the days away. But her husband has left her a surprise in the form of a villa on the Spanish Island of Formentera that used to belong to Charlotte’s grandmother. Arriving on the island, Charlotte soon discovers her grandmother has kept a large part of her life secret.

I do so adore a dual timeline in an historical fiction story and this one is done brilliantly. Parts of the story are set in the present day with Charlotte trying to put the pieces of her shattered life together, while discovering things about her family she never knew. Other parts of the story are set in the late 1700’s. These are centred around two sisters, Cesca and Esperanza. Sometimes I find myself being more engrossed by one of the timelines but in this case, both held my attention throughout.

I don’t want to give too much away about the plot but it deals with a part of history I knew nothing about and the author does a fabulous job of combining fact and fiction, turning it into a moving, evocative and thought-provoking story. Combine that with tales of the hardship that is island life, the struggles the sisters faced back in the day and Charlotte trying to find her feet after such a devastating loss and I soon found myself completely engrossed.

With vivid descriptions, the island of Formentara soon captured my heart, as did the characters. Charlotte is most definitely someone to sympathise with and root for and the characters she meets on the island are equally likeable in their own ways. This is a truly wonderfully immersive and enchanting story about family, love, loss and secrets and its idyllic setting makes this the perfect summer read.

The Island Villa is available to buy!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

abouttheauthor

Lily grew up in dusty Johannesburg, which gave her a longing for the sea that has never quite gone away; so much so that sometimes she’ll find sand grouting the teaspoons, and an ocean in a teacup. She lives now in the English countryside with her husband and her sweet, slobbering bulldog Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.

Author link : Twitter

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