Book Review | The Herd by Emily Edwards

Thank you to Becky for sending me a proof copy of The Herd in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

You should never judge how someone chooses to raise their child.

Elizabeth and Bryony are polar opposites but their unexpected friendship has always worked. They’re the best of friends, and godmothers to each other’s daughters – because they trust that the safety of their children is both of their top priority.

But what if their choice could harm your own child?

Little do they know that they differ radically over one very important issue. And when Bryony, afraid of being judged, tells what is supposed to be a harmless white lie before a child’s birthday party, the consequences are more catastrophic than either of them could ever have imagined . . .

Review

The Herd is a deep and sometimes challenging read, but one that is also fascinating and equally absorbing.

The novel is told in almost wholly alternate chapter timelines. The first is December 2019 at the Crown Court, post-incident and the second starts at 1 July 2019, pre-incident. This alternating timeline provided context to the situation as you could see both cause and effect play out alongside each other.

The typical chalk and cheese friendship of Elizabeth and Bryony and their heavily intertwined lives is extremely realistic. The details of London commutes and childhood illness are all so exact and what you would typically expect. I think it is partly what makes the situation they find themselves in all the more shocking, especially with their decades-long friendship.

The unravelling of the friendship is interspersed with opinions from attendees at the court. These range from a journalist to a witness and everything in between. This provides interesting additional weight on the topic, making the situation even more believable with ‘real’ people and their ‘real’ opinions.

Emily Edwards sets the scenes well and I could vividly imagine the Mother’s talking and the children playing in the early chapters. As the book progressed I could see the darkness of the characters emotions and the court scenes in equally intricate detail.

The topic of vaccination is extremely relevant in current times and I found this an extremely interesting, yet controversial theme. It’s definitely especially testing between differing opinions and often up for debate, which was reflected well in the novel.

The day-to-day goings on in the lives of the Farley residents is very plausible. It feels like a community that you might live in, or might know of. Being ostracised by the residents and fuelling the small-town gossip is something that could quickly become real to you or regarding someone you knew. The reality of the situation is also how easily friends can turn and being shunned by everyone can become the ‘norm’.

The novel took me quite a long time to read due to it’s profound nature and heavy central topic. I found I could only tolerate it in smaller chunks, but that’s not to say it isn’t worth it. It’s fascinating to see opinions on such a heavy topic and how something could so easily pan out and flip a whole community upside down.

A novel with a very relevant premise and one that I definitely won’t forget. The Herd is out now from Bantam Press. You can purchase a copy using the link below, whilst also helping to support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Book Review | The Maid by Nita Prose

Synopsis

I am your maid.
I know about your secrets. Your dirty laundry.
But what do you know about me?

Molly the maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She’s used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests passing through. She’s just a maid – why should anyone take notice?
 
But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn’t a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And as Molly becomes embroiled in the hunt for the truth, following the clues whispering in the hallways of the Regency Grand, she discovers a power she never knew was there. She’s just a maid – but what can she see that others overlook?

Escapist, charming and introducing a truly original heroine, The Maid is a story about how the truth isn’t always black and white – it’s found in the dirtier, grey areas in between . . .

Review

The Maid is an instantly engaging story with a likeable, quirky main character and a brilliant plot.

The story follows multiple days of the week and is told through the first person perspective of Molly the maid. You really become thoroughly involved in her character from the beginning. She is very to the point, blunt, but likeable, and she definitely tells it like it is! Her unsuspecting nature makes the situations she finds herself in even more enthralling and her naivety makes her all the more likeable

Learning of her past alongside and interspersed with the present worked well. Her Gran was lovely and the whole retelling made me feel more empathy for Molly and her situation.

The Regency Grand Hotel and it’s workers are all extremely realistic. It was definitely authentic and I could envisage a lot of the goings on happening in real life as I was reading them. I also actually really enjoyed all the cleaning references and ‘being involved’ in the day-to-day running of the hotel. If definitely gave me a wider awareness of the way they run and the staff’s involvement.

The novel is full of vivid descriptions and Nita Prose’s writing is really compelling. Her ability to make you completely involved in a character and situation is really something.

I couldn’t finish the review without mentioning Molly’s consistent wise words and words of wisdom which were a brilliant addition to her character and to the novel itself. Her Gran’s words equally so and those phrases were some of my favourite parts of the book.

The Maid is out now from HarperCollins. You can purchase a copy using the link below, and also help to support independent bookstores.

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Until next time,

Book Review | You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich by Emilie Bellet

Thank you to Octopus for sending me a copy of You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

*** REVISED AND UPDATED EDITION ***


‘This book is a wise investment’ – Financial Times

A practical money handbook to help you spend, save and earn better.

Do you need help managing your money? Are you keen to invest but not sure how? Or do you need to understand how to make your money work for you? 

If so, it’s time to take back control of your bank balance. 

In this book you will learn how to:
Understand and improve your credit score
Take back control of debt
Save money each month
Negotiate a better salary
Build a pension
Buy a home
Invest and make your money work harder!

This essential handbook will help debunk the financial jargon and break the money taboo. Packed with actionable tips and no-nonsense practical advice, You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich will teach you how to make your savings work for you, how you could invest your money, why you need to understand your pension and why your financial health is just as important as your mental and physical health.

This updated and market-leading manual will be your comprehensive guide to financial freedom, giving you the confidence and conviction to regain control of your bank balance and live a happier, richer life.

Review

You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich is an informative, financial asset that you will refer back to time and time again.

Each chapter has a heading. These range from Planning for the Future to Navigating Your Bank Balance and everything in between. There’s a list of what you’ll learn in each chapter written directly below it. This is extremely useful, especially when referring back to it in the future. If you need to refresh on a certain element then you can easily and quickly locate it within the book.

Inside the chapters it’s further broken down with a series of headings. If something’s not currently relevant to your situation you can skip it for now but you know it’s there for reference in the future, if needed.

There’s lots of references to places where you can get advice for a variety of things including financial advice, debt advice, mortgage advice etc.

Everything is written in an easily digestible way and there isn’t use of specific jargon without explanation. It’s simple and practical without being overwhelming.

The book is jam-packed with information and provides many facts which revealed some shocking statistics. These statistics really make you evaluate your own relationship with money and I felt they made me feel more empowered.

It’s written very much as if Emilie is talking directly to you. This made me feel more involved in what she was saying and I considered myself and my own habits in her words.

There’s so much information about practically every topic that you would ever consider needing to know about. I learnt a lot from the book and have already started to implement some of the advice given. I will definitely keep it on hand to refer to when needed.

You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich is out now from Octopus. You can purchase a copy using the link below and also help support independent bookshops.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Blog Tour | The Perfect Escape by Leah Konen

Thank you to Kallie and Penguin Michael Joseph for the opportunity to be part of the blog tour for The Perfect Escape and for sending me a proof copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

When her husband Harry walks out after just six months, a girls’ weekend away with two friends seems like just what Sam needs.

But they aren’t even halfway to their destination when things start to go wrong: car trouble that just happens to leave them stranded in the town where Harry lives.

And that’s only the beginning.

Because there are three things Sam doesn’t yet know:

One of her friends is lying about what happened.
One is lying about who she is.
And one of them will never make it home . . .

Review

The Perfect Escape is a captivating and intriguing thriller filled with twists, turns and surprises.

The novel is primarily told through alternate perspectives, a chapter each through two of the three women’s perspectives: Sam and Margaret. I liked this style as we got into each woman’s head and gained their differing thoughts. It provided a more thorough overview of what was going on and how each was reacting to the situation.

The book is split into parts, broken up by the days of the trip. This format starts at Friday but there is also a prologue prior to this and a 2 months later chapter. I liked the way everything panned out quickly over a short space of time, with more slowly being revealed. This added to the rollercoaster of twists and turns, learning something one day to then have it turned on it’s head the next.

The characters make you feel like you should be on their side, that everything is believable and they’re all innocent, mixed up in something that’s bigger than they are by accident. Their recent friendship and lack of knowledge of one another only makes this more compelling.

Right from the very beginning there is an eerie tone to the novel – a feeling that it’s going to be quite a journey. There is so many interwoven happenings which I found fascinating and I am definitely in awe of how Leah Konen pulled off so many shocks and twists in such a short space of time. I was quickly hanging off each word.

The pace of the novel is fast and you get quickly immersed in the drama. This instantly grips you and I was turning the pages quickly, eager to know how the trip would pan out. The constant twists and shocking revelations had me wanting to read continually. If I was able to this definitely would have been a one sitting read – a definite page turner!

There are a couple of sensitive topics tackled regarding pregnancy and NIPT (Non Invasive Pregnancy Testing). I felt these were dealt with in an educational and open manner. I learnt a few things and also had a lot of empathy for the situation. I haven’t really seen it covered before so I thought this was brilliant awareness in an otherwise unexpected genre. Also just a warning incase it’s a difficult subject or triggers you in anyway.

The Perfect Escape is out now from Penguin Michael Joseph. You can purchase a copy using the link below and also help to support independent bookshops.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour, which can be found in the banner below.

Until next time,

Book Review | Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Synopsis

Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime . . .

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

Review

Away with the Penguins is a glorious adventure, filled with fabulous characters, lots of penguins and a whole lot of history.

The story is told through dual perspectives; Veronica and Patrick, her grandson. I liked the split as they were both very different characters with completely different tones of voice. They also provided differing views of situations which allowed for extra information.

I didn’t take to Veronica at first, but she soon grew on me. She’s (initially) grumpy yet loveable. Her attitude and personality are, at first, that of a grumpy old woman and I found it quite funny and refreshing. It felt like an insight into a mind of the elderly, who often have the past, memories and lost years all at the forefront of their minds. As the story develops, we learn more of why she is grumpy and isolated, which makes her even more loveable. She is prickly but headstrong and a fabulous character, one whose story I’m extremely glad doesn’t end with this book!

Patrick provided a nice contrast with his more modern speech, colloquialisms and slang. He had humorous language and felt quite open which was nice. I found he really grows throughout the novel and you can see him being shaped by his experiences. I didn’t like him at all to begin with but by the end I found him a real addition to the novel.

The inclusion of the blog and email correspondence was a nice way to receive additional information on the situation(s) in an alternate format. It felt like another way to get to know Veronica, and also Eileen, through a different perspective. The diary entries were also a nice touch at informing a reader of the past. Veronica’s younger self and her history were fascinating and it definitely goes some way to explaining her present day self and personality/character traits.

I don’t think I have ever had to ‘define’ as many words in a book before as I have with Away with the Penguins! Veronica, being upper class and wealthy, has an extremely varied vocabulary. It consisted of many words that I had no clue of the meaning and coming from someone with an English degree that doesn’t happen often! It was refreshing and I enjoyed the challenge.

I learnt a lot about penguins from the novel, which was compelling. I have always admired Penguins but didn’t know much about them. I’ve definitely become more informed and aware of them as a species since reading the novel. Hazel Prior’s research and knowledge is evident right from the beginning and is a real asset.

Away with the Penguins is a heart-warming read and I really recommend it if you haven’t read it already. I’m looking forward to reading the recently released Call with the Penguins and following Veronica’s next adventure! Away with the Penguins is out now from Black Swan. You can purchase a copy of the book using the link below, whilst also helping to support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,