NB Magazine Book Bloggers Choice Awards

I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to announce that I am one of the six book bloggers who have been shortlisted for the NB Magazine Book Bloggers Choice Awards.

This opportunity arose a few weeks ago and when NB Magazine invited bloggers to champion their favourite book published in 2019. For me there was only one choice of book, most of you will know before I even mention the name of it……

That’s correct! The wonderful Things In Jars by the equally wonderful Jess Kidd.

I spent a huge amount of time WANGING on about this book over on Twitter and Instagram and I reviewed it here. I think this is the book that most people associate with me and I just had to jump at the chance to wax lyrical about it again!

I quite often take this book down from my Forever Shelf and re-read the most perfect prologue I think I’ve ever read. Even the first line gives me shivers.

Pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful’……….

I just LOVE It!

Jess Kidd is the kind of writer who just amazes me.  She crafts such wonderful stories that are dripping in atmosphere with such vibrant characters that stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.

My fellow shortlisted bloggers are:

The Lonesome Reader, Roachies Reviews, Kelly Loves Books, The Caffeinated Reader and Mrs Cookes Books.

They have all chosen some fantastic books too so you might want to check them out! 

BUT

I would absolutely love it if you would consider voting for me and my choice of Things In Jars by Jess Kidd, published by Canongate.  

You all know the love I have for this book and I would really appreciate the support.

If you would like to vote for me please click the link below and I will love you long time!:

Vote for #TeamJars

Thank you as ever for your continued support.

Love you!

Amanda – Bookish Chat xx

 

 

Inlands By Elin Willows – A Review

Publisher: Nordisk

Publication Date: 20th February 2020

I was approached by Duncan Lewis from Nordisk books recently to see if I wanted to read and review Inlands by Alan willows I was also sent a collection of all the titles I was interested in and I read and reviewed Zero by Gene Cornelia Pedersen here.

Nordisk specialise in publishing translated fiction from Nordic countries, Inlands by Elin Willows is set in Sweden.

The story is told in the first person narrative of a young woman who originates from Stockholm and relocates to her boyfriends hometown which is a small village in the far north of Sweden. Even before she arrives she knows that their relationship is over and he does too. There is no huge falling out, there are no recriminations it is just a quiet ending to a relationship.

This then leaves our protagonist (who remains nameless throughout) with a dilemma, Should she stay in her boyfriend’s hometown and try and make a life for herself or should she return home? She decides (and it is a fairly easy decision to be fair) to stay in the village and carve out a life for herself there, despite no longer having her boyfriend by her side.

She manages to rent a couple of rooms in a shared house and gets herself a job in the village grocery store. She tentatively makes friendships with other staff members from the store and divides her time between working shifts at the store, socialising with other members of staff at a local hotel on a Saturday night or just spending time isolated by herself in her room with the TV her constant companion.

Her friends sometimes find it difficult to comprehend why she has chosen to stay when she had a life of her own in a bustling busy city. The residents of the small village are often the ones who are trying to escape village life and head towards a more exciting life in the city and they find it difficult to wrap their heads around the fact that she would choose to stay.

What I enjoyed about our nameless protagonist was the fact that in my opinion she was somewhat of an unreliable narrator. Or maybe that is the wrong phrase to use? What I mean is with her words she portrays a distinct feeling of being justified in her decision to remain however sometimes her behaviour jars against her words and she seems terribly lonely despite having formed some friendships. She is often on her own, she struggles to sleep and she really doesn’t manage to eat well. She often has minor illnesses, colds, nosebleeds, and feeling generally rundown and tired.

As I was reading this book I couldn’t quite decide whether her decision to stay was the best thing for her as I felt she was a little unsure herself despite betraying feelings to the contrary. I also enjoyed the fact that she did not dwell too much on her last relationship as I feel this could have potentially drawn away the focus of the narrative which I feel were the themes of belonging, freedom and loneliness.

Her boyfriend is always referred to as ‘him’ and we never discover his name. She does make mention of him sporadically throughout the book but never in a hugely melancholic way. She seems to deal with the breakup of the relationship in a very mature manner even though deep down we know she is hurting.

This book is particularly insular and as it is told in the first person perspective we often find ourselves trapped inside the main characters head. If you are looking for a book jampacked with plot this is not the book for you, if like me you enjoy a brilliant character study in which you can see somebody change and develop, not always for the better, then you will most likely love this book. If you like living somebody’s life through the minutiae of their every day then you will more than likely enjoy this aspect of this book as we quite often get told what she is eating how much or how little she has slept and what seemingly minor tasks she has had to perform during her working day. I understand that this may not be for everybody but I do particularly enjoy books that delve into tiny aspects of people’s everyday lives.

This book also has a huge sense of place the landscape and the changing seasons are depicted perfectly. The timeline appeared to me to be non-linear as the character quite often refers to the fact that she has been in the village for a year and yet some of the vignettes of narrative seem to swing between the seasons. The bleak and extremely cold and dark winters and the perpetual sunlight of the summer.

I throughly enjoyed this book and Elin Willow’s sparse prose. If you you’re after an introspective look into someone’s life I would heartily recommend it. I don’t read nearly enough translated fiction and I really should.

Thank you as always to the publisher and Duncan for my review copy.

See you soon

Amanda – Bookish Chat xxx



The Illness Lesson By Clare Beams – A Review

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 6th February 2020

 

Wow.

This book is one of those exciting beasts that make my blood fizz with excitement! I devoured it.

I almost dismissed it before even getting my hands on a copy because I’d heard it centered around a group of teenage girls. If you’ve been a regular on the blog for a while you’ll know that I don’t enjoy books with female teenage protagonists and particularly if there is a group of teenage girls in a school setting. What I didn’t realise was The Illness Lesson by Clare Beams is actually set in the late 1800’s and I love me some historical fiction as you know! My aversion to teenage girls is firmly rooted in the contemporary so I decided to give the book a whirl! I am so glad that I did and of course very grateful to the lovely Alison Barrow for sending me a copy. (A BEAUTIFUL copy at that!).

The Illness Lesson tells the story of our protagonist Caroline Hood who lives on a farm in Massachusetts with her philosopher and essayist father Samuel Hood.  The book opens with the arrival of a flock of vibrant red birds which have only previously been seen a few decades before.  Infact very little is known about this strange species of bird, so little infact that it was not given an official name for a while.  However, Caroline’s now deceased mother gave them the whimsical name of ‘Trilling Hearts’ (I love this!).  Samuel believes these strange birds to be portentous and really feels that there recent arrival heralds a signal for change. Caroline however feels uneasy about these birds despite most people around her extolling their beauty.

Samuel feels that now is the time to start his own school as an experiment of sorts. In a time where young females are taught the lessons of life, eg sewing, homemaking etc Samuel (being an eminent thinker) wants to teach the girls real lessons.  Lessons where the girls will actually have to think and engage with the topics.  Have conversations and form opinions. Lessons like these have not been attempted with young girls previously and there are a number of eminent education professionals keeping a keen eye on the experiment.

Caroline is to be a teacher at the school, along with an acolyte of Samuel called David.  Caroline is drawn to David from the off and has to try to control her burgeoning feelings for him.

As a backdrop to this we know that Caroline’s mother died when Caroline was young. Caroline is aware that her mother was an epilepsy sufferer and she unfortunately one day had a fit which ultimately led to her death.  This knowledge has been hanging over Caroline’s head like a dark cloud for years.  She constantly worries that any twinge or strange feeling in her own body is the onset of the condition which tragically killed her mother.

When the small group of girls arrive at the school, they seem to take well to their initial lessons.  One of the girls, Eliza has links to Caroline and Samuel from the recent past and seems to wield this power over them and the other girls.  She has an enigmatic draw to the other students and appears to be the pinnacle of the group.

When Eliza starts to experience ‘falling fits’ out of the blue, strange occurances start to happen to the other girls.  Skin rashes, verbal tics, fainting episodes, shaking hands, all of which seem to be increasing in voracity with no apparent cause.  Samuel, David and Caroline are all equally as baffled by the girls symptoms and cannot fathom between them what could be the root cause of them.  Could it be a group psychosis, mass hysteria or something more sinister afoot?  Why too do the Trilling Hearts keep appearing at the oddest of moments and in the oddest of ways?

Ultimately Samuel and David want the school to be successful and not to fail under scrutiny and feel their reputations depend on it, therefore they choose to not inform the girls parents and bring in an outside doctor Hawkins to assess the girls and make recommendations for their rehabilitation.  From here on in things take an even more disturbing and sinister turn.

But ultimately what does it all mean for Caroline? For her life, her health and her reputation.

There are so many themes in this book to consider, which is why it had my brain fizzing!  I suppose the pinnacle of the story is the way in which young girls and women were treated at the time, despite the best attempts to educate them in more than simple homemaking tasks.  It is this forward thinking that is then undermined by the assessment and subsequent ‘cure’ of the girls.  I should say that the method undertaken for ‘curing’ the girls is horrifying and when the penny dropped I almost didn’t want to believe it.

The characterization in this book is brilliant.  Caroline and Eliza are particularly compelling but all the girls are identifiable by their own distinct character traits so that none of them get lost or feel interchangeable.

Caroline is presented as a fairly strong minded woman.  Someone who has defied the way life is ‘supposed’ to go for a woman of her age and standing at the time.  She has not left the childhood home, she hasn’t married or had children which during that time was the natural way of things.  But is this out of choice or circumstance? She is also living under the dark shadow of not only losing her mother but of fearing the very thing she dreads the most, falling ill with the same condition.  She is hyper aware of every feeling in her body and lives with the sense of unease surrounding the death of her mother.

Eliza is a very enigmatic and mysterious character with a calculating side.  She is able to quite proficiently draw the other young girls under her spell and seems to have some kind of hold over them. This hold extends to Caroline and Samuel and they are almost nervous of her and the effect she is having on the girls.

The Trilling Hearts bring a sinister edge to the whole story, these mysterious birds that seem to have defied catagorisation for a long time, infiltrate the school and behave in the strangest of ways.  I was never quite sure of their meaning but they instilled a dark sense of foreboding in me when I was reading.

All in all this book really drew me in. Clare Beam’s writing is beautiful and drips atmosphere (in fact I re-read certain passages a few times, particularly the opening paragraph). I would absolutely recommend you getting your hands on a copy!

Thank you so much to Alison Barrow and Doubleday for the review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat xxx

 

A Good Man By Ani Katz – A Review

Publisher: William Heinemann

Publication Date: 16th January 2020

When I was first approached about this book I had a quick look at the blurb and thought yeah go on then I’ll give it a bash. When the book arrived, apart from stroking it’s gorgeous cover I put it in my book trolley and parked it.

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a book to read that wasn’t too long and I reached for A Good Man. Man am I glad I did!

I really don’t know what I was expecting from this book and when I picked it up I purposefully didn’t re-read the blurb and basically went into the book more or less blind. Of course I had a vague idea of the premise but I was sketchy on the details and I’m glad I was to be honest.

This book really blew my mind! Not really knowing what to expect I had no preconceived notions but still I feel like this book came out of left field and smacked me right round the head!

A Good Man tells the story of our protagonist Thomas. He is a married man with an 11-year-old daughter. He is the kind of man who considers himself to be a very hardworking, decent, and all-round reliable good guy. In the majority of the book he is.

Thomas has had a nightmarish childhood in which his parents had a less than normal marriage, his older Sister passed away and he was left to look after his mother and two younger twin sisters DeeDee and Kit.

Now in their early twenties the twins are still very much cosseted by their elderly mother and in most ways have not been allowed to grow up. Thomas for his part looks after his family financially and makes sure he visits regularly, however he finds his younger sister’s behaviour quite strange and immature and hopes that they will make something of themselves in the future although he has no faith that this will happen.

He also steadfastly ensures that he protects both his wife Miriam and his daughter Ava, who he refers to throughout the book as ‘my girls’. He wants to seal them in a protective bubble and make sure no harm comes to them from the outside world. He has an innate need to act as a buffer between his family and any potential dangers or upsets etc.

Thomas has a very good job in the world of advertising but slowly and steadily things start to fall apart around him and he begins to lose control of the life he held so dear and the family he is so desperate to protect and keep happy.

What I loved about this book was essentially watching one man fall to pieces in initially the smallest of ways, gradually building until Thomas no longer has the wherewithal to keep his wife happy and his daughter safe.

What we see is a man losing his mind, perpetuated by years of guilty feelings over his sister’s death and his father’s behaviour. He also feels he could’ve done more to ensure that his younger twin sisters saw more of the world, got an education, and lived a normal life outside of their home. As it is they have had a very cloistered life and they are now left looking after their ailing mother with Thomas shouldering the financial burden.

There is a very definite sense of a creeping unease throughout this whole book. You know that there has to be a conclusion as Thomas tries desperately to navigate the obstacles in his life. The pacing throughout the whole book is perfection. We learn about the kind of man Thomas is, we learn about his initial relationship with his wife and how that relationship has progressed over the years. As we watch him grow into a man, Husband and Father, we essentially then observe his undoing.

The ending of this book was such a shocker, the very last sentence gave me chills and I really wanted to just press the book into anyone’s hands and say ‘please read this’!

I really enjoyed Ani Katz writing style and I believe that this is her debut novel. If that’s true then I am very excited to read anything she writes in the future.

As I said at the start of this review, this book took me by surprise and I feel like I need to let everyone know that they need to pick it up and give it a whirl. It is by no means an uplifting book and it deals with some difficult subjects and is quite dark and disturbing, however I feel it is an important read and it is one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Thank you to the publisher and Alice Spencer for my review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat xx

Little Bandaged Days By Kyra Wilder – A Review

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 23rd January 2020

When I read the blurb for Little Bandaged Days by Kyra Wilder I had a very distinct feeling that this book would be very much a book for me. I have mentioned this before in previous reviews and I still have plans to write a whole post about the subject, but I love books which centre around a struggling mother.

I think this may be because I struggled myself when I had my two children and did not take easily to early motherhood. Now that my children are way past the baby and toddler years I find myself drawn to books which deal with Post Natal Depression and Post Natal Psychosis. Mainly because I’m safely out of those dark and stormy parental waters. I like to indulge myself in the ‘see, not everyone is a perfect mother’ frame of mind.

In Little Bandaged Days we are essentially watching one woman’s decent into extreme mental illness at the expense of the welfare and safety of her children.

Erika is a thirtysomething mother of two young children, E who is 4 and B who is a baby. She has recently moved to Geneva with her husband M in order for him to take up a new position of employment. He is often working long hours and frequently has to go away for long periods of time, leaving Erika alone in their rented apartment looking after their son and daughter.

Erika struggles from the outset with the Swiss way of life, she endeavours to keep the children quiet and lead a normal, happy family life. She cannot speak much French and so is isolated and spends most of her time cloistered away in the apartment with the children, closing the storm shutters and blocking out the world.

In the oppressive August heat, Erika builds fantasy worlds for her and her daughter to act out, she feels it must surely be ok to keep the children indoors all day if she can make a game out of it. So she invents imaginary worlds, tropical jungles in which her and E are intrepid explorers or a submarine where they travel underneath a sea full of interesting creatures. E initially laps up all this attention from her mother. What child doesn’t love inhabiting an imaginary world?

When Erika does take the children out it is most likely to run (literally) to the shop to buy essentials or to the park where they set up camp on a blanket near the water pump and play in the sand. Whilst at the park Erika often sees a woman with her own two young children who she dubs ‘Nell’ in her head. This woman seems to have her life together and looks from the outside, relaxed and happy. Erika, for her part tries hard to emulate an external picture of contentment with her little family.

When M deigns to come home after working late yet again, or returning from a business trip, Erika tries desperately to make sure everything is perfect, dinner made, his suits dry cleaned and the children quiet and content. This is not always the case and Erika is often left awaiting M’s return until way past the children’s bedtimes and long after the meal she has lovingly prepared has been spoiled.

As time goes on and Erika becomes more and more sleep deprived as a result of a demanding baby B breastfeeding most of the night, she begins to believe that there is something in the apartment. She hears noises and sees eyes in the dark, utterly convinced that there is something or someone out to harm her and her children.

As a result she secludes them all away with even more fervour. Keeping the shutters constantly pulled down and the windows locked firmly despite the searing summer heat.

What we then witness as a reader is a slow and sure descent into what can only be described as madness.

What I loved about this book was the fact that it is told in the first person perspective, so you really feel like you are trapped inside Erika’s head and spiralling down with her. You are never quite sure what is real and what is imagined which keeps you on the backfoot. I found myself thinking about what the children must be seeing and experiencing and whether at first E at least, thinks it’s all a huge fun game. Towards the end of the book there are distinct signs of how E’s feelings have changed towards her mother which only served to make you wonder what she has endured in her short life.

There is no doubt that Erika strives to be the best mother she can be. She wants the picture perfect family life. The husband who adores her and the two perfect children. Not once does she raise her voice at the children. She is infinitely patient and allows E to make mistakes without accusations or recriminations as she believes any good mother should.

Throughout the whole story the behaviour of M is called into question. There are moments where he questions the state of the apartment on his return from a trip. Or drops hints about Erika not going out with the children often enough. And yet as an outside observer I was willing him to wake up and notice just how much his wife was struggling to the detriment to his children. He really needs to open his eyes and take responsibility for that is happening to his family.

‘I need you, I need you here to help me, I said. I need you here with me in this apartment, I need you here at night. But he couldn’t hear me. He couldn’t hear me because I didn’t want him to hear me and I was saying all that into the empty coffee cup, muttering. M wasn’t speaking quietly, his words swarmed up the walls and over me, charging, and taking charge. Black ink and capital letters. Sorry, what’s that? he said, but his phone rang and he had to go….’

Erika is such a fascinating character. We know very little about her past before she had her children. Occasionally she will reminisce about an event in her early relationship with M but we get very little insight into their marriage and who they are as people. We are essentially making judgements about them through Erika’s illness and she is a hugely unreliable narrator.

The writing is at times sparse but also lyrical without being overly flowered up. I got a real Leila Slimani vibe which is a huge positive for me. Some of the sentences really resonated with me and I found myself having to go back and re-read sections and fold down pages so that I could go back to them again if I wanted to.

‘Sometimes it seemed like being a good mother, the best, meant mostly covering yourself over in a layer of smiling and smiling….’

The pacing was also perfect, from an almost dreamlike quality at the outset where there are certain small indicators that all is not as it seems, with a mounting sense of unease and dread taking us to an inevitable point where everything falls apart.

I’m trying to think whether I connected so strongly with this book because of the motherhood links. But if I’m honest I feel that whilst I don’t think this book would be everyone’s cup of tea, a huge majority of people would be able to identify with some element of it. It is such a compelling character study in its own without the motherhood aspect.

I am hugely surprised and excited to learn that this is Kyra Wilder’s debut novel. It feels so sure and strong that I find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that this is a debut. This makes me massively excited about what she will products in the future. Whatever it is I AM THERE FOR IT!

I cannot recommend this brilliant book enough.

Thank you so much to Alice Dewing and Picador for my review copy. I will certainly be giving it a slot on my forever shelf.

See you all soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat xxx

Zero By Gine Cornelia Pedersen – A Review

I was recently approached by Duncan Lewis from Nordisk Books an independent publisher that specialises in translated literary fiction from the Nordic countries and asked if I wanted a copy of their new publication Inlands by Elin Willows. They also very generously asked if I would like a look at any of their other titles.  I had a peruse and one of the books I was drawn to was Zero by Gine Cornelia Pedersen (and not just for its beautiful cover which is stunning).

When the parcel of books arrived I had a flick through them all and was instantly intrigued by Zero due to the fact that it’s written to look visually almost like poetry.  I read a few random pages and knew that I would have to get stuck in! I treated myself to a bath and this book, which I devoured in one sitting.

We are told the first person perspective story of one (unnamed) woman’s descent into mental illness.  The book opens from when the woman is a 10 year old girl and we gain a little insight into her slightly dark thoughts.  Some of the things she says and does could be explained away as childish musings or simply testing boundaries, however it quickly becomes apparent as we travel through her formative teenage years, that this young girl is not well at all.

She is quite willfully destructive both physically and emotionally.  She sinks into a myriad of toxic habits as her illness takes hold of her. She drinks too much, she abuses drugs, she purposefully puts herself in highly dangerous situations and does not appear to have any fear of the consequences, infact having what she herself considers a death wish.  She has a series of high risk sexual encounters in the main just to be able to feel something.  She falls in and out of love with such ease, bowling along from one ill advised relationship to the next.

She is eventually hospitalised in a secure mental health unit where she is given injections of a drug to ease the symptoms of her paranoid schizophrenia.  She is not always a willing patient and often fights against the medical staff and their need to medicate her. She has a burgeoning desire to become an actress but feels that not only is she trapped by her manic mental illness she is also stultified by the medication which serves in her eyes to only subdue her artistic feelings and dull down her emotions until she almost feels nothing.

This woman is somewhat of an unreliable narrator given her mental illness. We are granted access to her troubled mind when she is having manic episodes, hearing voices, behaving recklessly. But also we are there with her during her slightly more lucid times where we gain brief snatches of the woman she could potentially be.

What broke my heart a little was the fact that we are drip fed fleeting glimpses of how difficult her illness is on her mother and how much her mother loves and worries about her. I cannot begin to imagine how upsetting it must be to see your child in so much pain and not be able to reach out and help them or even just protect them from themselves.

The end few chapters race along in a manic and disorganised way and I wasn’t entirely sure of what was fact and what was fiction. I think this worked perfectly to reflect the frantic disordered thoughts of our protagonist.

This book is by no means an easy read in terms subject matter, however it is cleverly paced and constructed in such a way that you feel you are right there in this poor woman’s troubled mind.

It is a very eye opening read and one that I would thoroughly recommend.

Thank you as always to the publisher Nordisk and Duncan Lewis for sending me my copy to review.

See you all soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat xx

Haven’t They Grown By Sophie Hannah – A Review

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication Date: 23rd January 2020

Quite a few years ago I discovered Sophie Hannah and her wonderful twisty turny crime thrillers based around a police force in the Culver Valley. The protagonist Simon Waterhouse was such a fascinating character and despite not being a huge police procedural fan I absolutely loved these books. Sophie Hannah has an innate skill of making the unbelievable and inconceivable a reality. In each of her previous books I had absolutely no clue as to what had happened until the big reveal where all the tiny, (minuscule even!) clues were unravelled and exposed.

I’ve also read Sophie Hannah’s stand-alone novel The Orphan Choir which being a spooky little tale was a break away from the crime she writes so well but equally enthralling.

In Haven’t They Grown Sophie has returned to what she is the absolute QUEEN of and that is battering my head! In a good way! In a FANTASTIC way in fact!

When I read the blurb for this book I was so excited! I couldn’t wrap my head around the words I was reading and my mind was blown. I even read the blurb out to numerous people and got their imaginative juices flowing as well! I almost didn’t want to pick it up I wanted to spend a little longer trying to figure out what on earth was going to happen without even having read a single word.

When I eventually did pick it up I was very apprehensive as I wanted it to be as brilliant as I thought it was going to be and luckily in this case it was!

Haven’t They Grown tells the story of Beth, our protagonist. Beth has had a friendship with Flora break down some 12 years before the start of this story. We are not party to why this relationship dissolved but we are aware that Beth and Flora have not spoken in some time. One day, when Beth is dropping one of her children off somewhere she happens to ‘accidentally’ drive by the house she was last aware of Flora living with her husband Lewis and two children Emily and Thomas.

Beth stays long enough to see a woman arrive home. The woman turns out to be Flora, and she’s not alone, she has two children with her who appear to be Emily and Thomas. Beth’s suspicions are confirmed when she hears Flora call the children by the same names.

Emily and Thomas have not changed since Beth last laid eyes on them. But how can this be when she last saw them twelve years ago?!

What follows on from here is Beth’s mission to find out exactly what’s been happening in Flora and Lewis’s family in the long period that she hasn’t seen them and just how on earth the children haven’t changed in twelve years! What starts out as an odd tale to recount to her family, swiftly gathers speed and becomes all consuming for Beth, sometimes at the cost of her relationship with her husband Dom.

I really don’t want to say any more plot wise because I really do think the magic of this book needs to be experienced first hand and should not be spoiled in any way for new readers.

What I loved about this book was not only the gripping premise but the well rounded, fully formed characters. I have a particular adoration for Beth’s teenage daughter Zannah. Now I know that I’m not usually a fan of teenage female characters BUT Zannah is a force of nature and the antithesis of a normal grumpy, angst ridden, moody ass teen. She is almost Beth’s sidekick and is hellbent on helping her mother unravel the mystery of Thomas and Emily. She is wholeheartedly on her mother’s side and wants to prove her right. She is a lovely breath of fresh air.

This book drew me in completely and with its short and snappy chapters it really does fly along. As much as it’s a huge clichè, I really did want to read ‘just one more chapter’ each time.

Sophie Hannah just has a magical way of writing complex yet hugely readable thrillers/mysteries with massively relatable characters. In Haven’t They Grown, Sophie has crafted a wonderfully intricate story which is an absolute gem. I genuinely didn’t have a clue what on earth was going on and really enjoyed the process of trying to piece together the various tiny clues, it never became frustrating and I found myself utterly absorbed.

I will always be a Sophie Hannah fan and I will remain hugely expectant for anything else she creates in the future.  Her books are the some of my most recommended and will continue to be.

This book is an absolute joy and a brilliant reading experience that I would thoroughly recommend!

Thank you to Jenny Platt for having me along on the blog tour. Please do check out what all the others bloggers are saying.

See you all soon.

Amanda – Bookish Chat xx