I’m not really writing a review on flu but if I was I’d probably write this – ‘drags on forever with no end in sight’, ‘has turned my legs to jelly’ and ‘not recommended in the slightest!’ Thankfully I won’t be writing these sorts of comments about the two books I’m reviewing. One of them I finished just as the flu was kicking in and the other helped me through last week when all I could do was lie on my bed.
‘In Her Wake’ by Amanda Jennings, published by Orenda Books, has been getting rave reviews. Am I going to add to that? Of course I am. I have deliberately not read any of the other reviews so any duplication is pure coincidence. I read Amanda Jennings first book, ‘Sworn Secret’ last year. The thing that impressed me most about that particular book was her ability to write convincing relationships between grieving people. She touches again on grief as the book starts with the death of Bella’s mother. A much loved mother, an incredibly close relationship between mother and daughter almost to the point of suffocation. Bella’s not sure how to deal with this grief and her distant father and her controlling husband don’t seem able to help. After the funeral, her father attempts to reach out to her but something is stopping him. The following day, Bella finds that her father has committed suicide and has left her the most devastating note – Bella is not Bella and her parents were not her parents. She had been abducted as a small child and raised in cloistered seclusion. Faced with this incredible news, Bella sets out to find her real family and find out who she really is.
‘In Her Wake’ is beautifully written with lush descriptions of Cornwall. The author’s love for the place is clear and I particularly enjoyed the Cornish words she ‘dropped’ into the story. Bella’s husband, David, is both credible and disturbing as he seeks to control her. But the best part for me is Bella and all her complexities. To discover that your whole life is a lie and that you can’t trust the very people who you thought were there to protect you. To be adopted is one thing, to be abducted is something else entirely. I don’t want to give away too much but ultimately this book is about love overcoming destruction and devastation; of a phoenix rising from the ashes. Just even thinking about it stirs emotion in me! ‘In Her Wake’, unsurprisingly, gets 5 stars from me. A stunning read.
Helping me through the fog of flu, once my three day headache had cleared, was ‘No Longer Safe’ by AJ Waines. This is the third book I’ve read by Alison and so I found it easy to slip into the story. I related to the main protagonist, Alice Flemming, very well. I too struggled (and still do on occasions) with low self esteem and being incredibly shy. Thankfully at university I found good friends, unlike Alice who found Karen. Totally beguiled by her, Alice thought that Karen was her saviour and her one true friend. It was never like that for Karen. They lost touch for six years and then, out of the blue, Karen contacts Alice, inviting her on holiday to a remote cottage in Scotland. Her heart captivated once more, Alice readily agrees and is thrilled that she won’t just be seeing Karen but also Karen’s new baby, Melanie. Alice thinks it will be like old times. But when two other ‘friends’ from university turn up, it’s the start of a downward spiral for Alice that doesn’t stop until it descends into hell.
AJ Waines writes such believable characters and we don’t just hear from Alice but from Karen as well. Karen needs Alice to serve a purpose but this time it’s a little more serious than stealing an exam paper. I won’t give any spoilers but this book has the most surprising twist which I hadn’t guessed at all. And that’s all down to AJ Waines’ skill as a writer. It’s another five stars and I’m very much looking forward to Alison’s new series coming soon – ‘Inside The Whispers’.
I’m now reading ‘The Lie’ by CL Taylor so will review that book soon. I’m hopefully off to CSI Portsmouth (flu permitting) this coming weekend so I may have some interesting things to tell you next week!
(For more information on today’s authors go to amandajennings.co.uk and to ajwaines.co.uk)