The Nursery By Szilvia Molnar

Publisher: One World Publications

Publication Date: 4th May 2023

I’m like a broken record with this but any book about a struggling new mother is like catnip to me. The Nursery tells the story of an unnamed narrator, a translator living in New York with her husband and the baby daughter she has just given birth to at the start of the novel. The baby is referred to as Button throughout the novel.

The narrator knows that she’s not the first woman to give birth but she can’t quite believe that this is what women do. She knew who she was as a successful translator and wife but now that she is a mother she feels like she is losing herself.

In the claustrophobic confines of her apartment she spends those first raw and brutal days post-birth just simply trying to survive. Losing track of time and the passing of days and nights in the exhausting sleepless landscape of new motherhood. Her body no longer feels like her own and she battles with dark thoughts about hurting her tiny fragile daughter. Her husband for his part seems largely unaffected by the arrival of the child and continues to work and sleep. He does worry that the narrator hasn’t left the apartment and gently tries to float the idea now and again.

The only punctuation in her day is the visit she gets from her elderly ailing upstairs neighbour Peter who initially comes down to complain about the noise the baby is making. Peter has lost his wife and like our narrator is pretty much trapped in the apartment block by his bad health. The narrators husband finds the visits odd but she seems to use them to navigate time and her own thoughts.

What I loved about this book was the unflinching descriptions of post-birth pain and the changes in a woman’s body. The narrator reminisces back to her pre-pregnancy days and her time being pregnant. Times when she had more of a hold on her body, mind and identity. After giving birth there are stitches and pain and milk and unusual smells and blood and exhaustion and everything she is entirely unprepared for.

The almost dream like quality of the narrative as the book progresses mirrors the sleepless struggle of the narrator as she slowly loses her grip on time and place.

I am always very much here for a book that deals with the early days of motherhood so accurately and honestly. I really enjoyed this one.

Thank you to One World Publications for my review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda @bookishchat


Chrysalis By Anna Metcalfe – A Review

Publisher: Granta

Publication Date: 4th May 2023

Once you’ve known her, it’s hard to go back to a time before’

The premise of Chrysalis by Anna Metcalfe really interested me, a story about a woman told from the perspective of three people in her life who each are fascinated observers.

Firstly Elliott, a man in the woman’s gym who sees a bold and forthright woman come in one day and turn his head. He watches her physical transformation from a step removed but with ever increasing fascination. When they eventually do connect she utterly transfixes him.

The narrative then switches to the woman’s mother Bella, she tells us about the woman’s childhood. How she brought her up as a single mother in a quite isolated environment and found it hard to connect with her. Her daughter had issues with physical tremors that no doctor seemed to be able to get to the bottom of and only really abated when the girls much loved school teacher gave her a meditation cassette. We also get to hear about their quite fractured relationship as the girl grows into a woman and the mother tries to find ways to connect with her daughter.

Lastly we hear from the woman’s colleague. A woman who rescued her and took her in when she was having a hard time. The colleague, Susie, finds herself desperately hoping that the woman won’t ever leave.

In fact all three people wish she wouldn’t leave their lives. Unfortunately that is exactly what she does. Following a traumatic relationship the woman relies heavily on transforming herself, not only becoming physically stronger but mentally stronger too by using meditation and opting for an isolated life. She uses these methods to connect with an ever growing social media following, advocating cutting people out of your life, severing familial ties and living a still and quiet existence.

The three people around her have to watch from afar and only be tuned into her life through her social media channels.

This woman was so fascinating to me. I didnt know whether I understood her or even liked her but I enjoyed the challenge of trying to figure her out. Anna Metcalfe’s writing is fresh and contemporary, including aspects of modern life we’re all becoming familiar with. The effects of viewing other peoples lives through social media and becoming influenced by other peoples actions and values.

I loved viewing this fascinating woman through the eyes of those around her. Three people who orbit her and are in awe, wanting to get closer whilst she moves further away. A woman who wants to focus on herself and improving her life at the expense of distancing those invested people around her.

I loved it.

Thank you George Stamp and Granta for my review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda @bookishchat. Xx

Prize Women By Caroline Lea – A Review

Publisher: Michael Joseph

Publication Date: 27th April 2023

If there’s a new Caroline Lea book out you best believe I’m going to get myself a proof by hook or by crook (or by the lovely Caroline arranging for one to be sent! Thanks Caroline!).

Prize Women is set in 1930’s Toronto, Canada and opens with the crazy details of childless millionaire Charles Millar’s last will and testament. Charles is somewhat of a joker and stipulates in his will that he wants to offer a huge sum of money to the woman who has the most babies spanning the ten year period from 1926 to 1936. This is known thereafter as The Great Stork Derby.

Two women who find themselves in the running for the money are Lily and Mae. These women are both very different yet find themselves unlikely friends. Lily is an Italian immigrant who escapes her violent, drunk husband Tony when an earthquake hits Chatsworth. Lily is forced to flee with her young son Matteo in tow, leaving Tony behind for dead. Lily ends up in Toronto and is taken on as Mae’s nanny of sorts. Mae is married to an affluent man and has five children she can barely cope with looking after. She is downtrodden and anxious and despite loving her children can’t bear the thought of always being pregnant.

At the time contraception was not readily available and women basically had to deal with the posibility of getting pregnant and just deal with it. Lily rescues Mae from her life of struggling with the children and they form a very close bond.

We then follow the women through the years, with their various pregnancies and births. Both women not having an easy ride. But when they both come up against tragedy and extremely tough issues at a time that Wall Street has crashed and the Great Depression has hit, both find themselves entering into The Great Stork Derby. But just how much will their strong and seemingly unshakable bond be tested by their desperate circumstances….

What I love about Caroline is that she writes women at certain points in history with such perception and empathy. In all her novels she perfectly depicts how women are treated and the various struggles they face in their lives. I always find I learn so much reading Caroline’s fiction and can become so immersed in her storytelling. Her novels are thoroughly researched and are written so beautifully that you just get swept away.

Prize women talks about a time when women didn’t have agency over their own bodies. A time when contraception just wasn’t considered regardless of women’s wants and needs. It also deals beautifully with a topic that is close to my heart, the struggles of motherhood. There are so many layers and subjects covered in this book, not least poverty, prejudice, violence, baby loss, marriage and friendship. It would make such a great Bookclub read with its potential to spark some interesting conversations.

I am always thrilled to get to the end of a book and find out that it was based on real events which Prize Women is. Charles Millar did indeed offer up his fortune to the woman who bore the most children… you’ll have to get on Wikipedia and find out what actually happened!

Another stunning and triumphant book from Caroline. Loved it! 5 easy stars!

Thank you to Michael Joseph for my proof copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda xx Bookishchat

To Battersea Park By Philip Hensher – A Review

Publisher: 4th Estate

Publication date: 30th March 2023

Split into four parts and set at the point that the uk was in the height of covid lockdown rules To Battersea Park by Philip Hensher opens with one man, a published author, observing the streets and world around him in very different ways than before lockdown occurred.

Living with his partner they both treat the endless days of nothing as a chance to experience the comfort of the day panning out with small punctuations of previously meaningless tasks that now delineate the day, making the morning coffee, baking the morning bread, reading a novel between breakfast and lunch, observing the neighbours and their behaviour, and going for their allotted 1 hour exercise outside of the house. However the author seems to have lost his inspiration and impetus to write.

All the free time means the men can observe their neighbours in close quarters where before they would have been busy with their own lives. They chat with Gio and Stuart nextdoor, observe their illegal family gatherings. They watch a man across the street they dub The Stalinist who pastes pictures of past labour prime ministers in his window and then of course theres the jogger..

The writer muses on how different the streets are, quiet and subdued, punctuated only with other neighbours taking their daily walks or joggers running past, too close for comfort for the writer. He has time to notice the types of trees in their area, previously unnoticed trees and the imported Pomelo trees of a neighbouring woman.

In part two the neighbourhood opens out to the reader and where previously we were inside the writers head we now split off to meet various other characters that are linked to the writer in some way or another. We meet his parents, his mother with dementia and his father her carer. We meet a woman known as The Builders Wife, a woman who is being pushed closer to the edge by working from home, zoom meetings, looking after her adult stepchildren and the fact that her husband The Builder is currently furloughed and hanging around the house all the time.

In part three we’ve moved forward in time to a point where lockdown has developed into something we’ve not seen before. Shops are closed, supermarkets looted, electricity has failed, water is in scant supply, the postal service has ceased to exist, social media and government updates are a thing of the past. Against a backdrop of sinister violence two men take a walk……

The book ends with the writer contracting the virus along with his partner and we meet again the jogger and his family….

It’s not for everyone to read books surrounding the pandemic. I didn’t think it would be for me entirely but it prompted me to remember certain points of that time. I gelled with certain parts more than others but overall I enjoyed Hensher’s writing style. I really liked the end section which is something of a fever dream with a touch of the dystopian. I have read that parts of this book are auto-fiction which gives it more depth overall for me. If pandemic retrospectives are not your bag then steer clear, otherwise give it a whirl!

Thank you to 4th Estate for my review copy

See you all soon.

Amanda – Bookishchat x

Other Women by Emma Flint – A Review

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 23rd February 2023

Emma Flint’s debut novel Little Deaths is one of my favourite books of all time and has pride of place on my Forever Shelf. When I heard that Emma had a new novel out I had very high hopes. Let me tell you that I was not disappointed.

Other Women is set in London in the years after WW1. A time when many men returned from the war disfigured, disabled or mentally scarred. Many did not return at all leaving behind grieving mothers, widows and sisters.

Bea is 37, recently moved to London from the north and is working as a bookkeeper and typist for a stationary company. She lives in a women’s club in Bloomsbury with other single, independent women. But Bea is feeling overlooked. Her parents are dead, her brother too and she only really has her sister Jane who she sees rarely. She is not a widow or a grieving mother, so who is she? She is no longer young enough in society’s eyes to be considered pretty and vibrant like the bright young things she sees around her, so she is struggling to find her place.

When Tom Ryan is hired as a salesman for the company she works at, he eschews the young flirty office girls attentions in favour of the more mature Bea. Bea is entranced by him and he brings colour to her life. The only issue is he’s married.

We then meet Katie, wife of Tom and mother of his child, Judith. Katie met and married Tom very young and they have settled into a stable marriage that is perhaps a little dull. Katie is aware that Tom has his ladies on the side but turns a blind eye as he always comes back to her and their daughter.

When an act of violence in a coastal cottage means the two women’s lives converge, there is trauma and pain that could never have been predicted.

Emma Flint is an incredible writer who for me perfectly depicts female characters who you will never forget. They are flawed and damaged with a vulnerability but also an innate strength and stoicism. She also writes crime in a domestic setting perfectly too and in Other Women writes courtroom scenes that focus not only on the facts but how the central character is feeling. The emotion, the trauma, the horror of it all. It also highlights the shocking iniquities in the way men were portrayed in the press at the time versus women and how courtroom news was reported on.

Emma writes sentences that are so expertly crafted that I found myself feverishly underlining and going back to re-read them. Descriptive and evocative, sublime!

The backdrop of post-war London and society at the time was expertly researched and conveyed and I really felt swept up in the times.

The story was based on a true event and the afterword by the author was fascinating!

This is a book I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

Thank you to Picador for my proof copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda – Bookishchat x

Weyward By Emilia Hart – A Review

Publisher: The Borough Press

Publication Date: 2nd February 2023

Well I do love a multiple timeline narrative in a book don’t I? So I had high hopes for Weyward by Emilia Hart.

Weyward tells the interconnecting stories of three women all living in different centuries. The book opens in 2019 with Kate Ayers fleeing from her physically and mentally abusive relationship with Simon, to Weyward cottage, a ramshackle abode with its wild gardens left to her by her great aunt in her will. Kate is looking for refuge and a place to gather herself but finds that her recently acquired property brings with it some questions she must figure out the answers to.

In the 1600’s Altha Weyward finds herself on trial for the murder of a local farmer. Altha and her mother were local healers often feared and revered for their potential links with witchcraft. After Altha’s mother dies she makes a promise to keep her gifts hidden but can she manage to keep her promise….

In 1947 we meet Violet, a teenage girl living with her father and brother Graham their mother having died supposedly in childbirth with Graham. Violet is a wilful girl who has a curious mind and a very strong connection with nature, insects and animals. But her curiosity is often curtailed by her father particularly when this inquisitiveness extends to asking questions about her dead mother, a woman she only has a necklace to remember her by.

This is an expertly crafted story about how the three women are intrinsically connected through the centuries. Each of them fighting their own battles against the patriarchy in their own way. These women are ‘other’ whether they realise it or not, Altha is fully aware she is different from the rest of the people in the village, young Violet feels different but is quashed by her overbearing father and Kate has powers she hasn’t yet tapped into. But with the help of Weyward cottage and the centuries old secrets buried there she can find a way to tap into her strength for herself and the women who have gone before her under the Weyward name.

This is a multilayered tale which is visceral and compelling. With short punchy chapters you flit between the narratives of the three very memorable women. I say memorable because sometimes in books with multiple timeline narratives you as a reader can feel more invested in one characters timeline than the others. This is very much not the case with Weyward.

It has elements of magical realism that really build towards the end which I found myself getting so caught up in! I loved it.

I am extremely excited to see what Emilia brings us next!

Thank you to The Borough Press for my review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda x Bookishchat

The Family String By Denise Picton – A Review

Publisher: Ultimo Press

Publication Date: 10th November 2022

This is my first book from Ultimo Press who publish Australian fiction. It certainly won’t be my last!

Set in 1960’s Adelaide we focus on one Christaldelphian family through the eyes of 12 year old Dorcas. Dorcas is the second eldest child but the oldest living at home. Her older brother David has been sent away to do the lords work after an incident the family don’t talk about.

Dorcas, together with her two younger siblings Ruthy and Caleb like to chart their mother’s moods daily. Quite often they have a long run of ‘cross’ with the occasional run of ‘head’ to denote their mother taking to bed with one of her headaches. Occasionally she’ll have a ‘Jesus’ day where she gently hums hymns to herself as she goes about her day. Caleb also likes to chart the positions of the family ‘favourites’ in relation to their mother. This is done with coloured beads on a string, hence ‘the family string’. Unfortunately Dorcas’s bead is last on the string, furthest away from her mothers bead. This doesn’t change. Dorcas and everyone else in the family know that she is the least favourite child.

Their religion means the family can’t be ‘worldly’. They must concentrate their efforts on education and religion and nothing much else beyond that. However Caleb is desperate to play football and Ruthy is a budding writer and Dorcas has dreams of becoming a vet.

Dorcas tries her best to be the daughter she thinks her mother wants but it doesn’t quite work out that way. The family experience a tragedy which threatens to tear them apart for good but can Dorcas make her way back into the family unit…

If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know I sometimes struggle with child narrators and quite often say that a child character has to have a bit of something special about them to keep my attention. Well let me tell you that Dorcas is something special. She is tenacious and determined but things don’t always quite work out the way she wants them to. I found myself constantly rooting for her! There are dark events that happen to Dorcas and around Dorcas and she observes these things through such naive eyes that I wanted to just give her a huge hug! She’s funny and sharp and a little bit wilful and ‘naughty’ which I loved. She has heart and spirit and is such a memorable indomitable character. I loved her!

I was also fascinated by the character of Dorcas’ mother. We are viewing her life a step removed through the naive and immature eyes of a child but as adult readers we are all too aware that this woman is clearly suffering from depression and has her own demons to battle. Dorcas and her siblings know that something isn’t right with their mother but they’re far too young to figure out what. I found this heartbreaking and as much as their mother isn’t always likeable I felt I could understand her actions somewhat.

Denise Picton’s writing is relatable and humorous but she also weaves in these threads of emotion that wind themselves around your heart and take root. This is a story of family ties, depression, love, faith and determination.

Dorcas is an unforgettable character who will stay with me for a long time to come.

A brilliant debut!

Thank you Laura Creyke and Ultimo Press for my review copy.

See you all soon.

Amanda x

Where I End By Sophie White – A Review

Publisher: Tramp Press

Publication Date: 13th October 2022

I am a huge fan of Sophie White. I loved her book Corpsing and I listen to her podcast The Creep Dive every week. So when I was asked if I’d like a proof of her new novel Where I End I jumped at the chance!

This book had me utterly gripped at the same time as being utterly uncomfortable and unsettled!

Where I End is told from the perspective of 20 year old Aoileann, a girl living on a remote island in Ireland. She lives in a small cottage with her grandmother and her mother who she calls ‘the bed-thing’. This is due to the fact that her mother has been bed bound for as long as Aoileann can remember. She is an inert, unresponsive being who Aoileann calls ‘it’ as she helps her grandmother to winch and shunt her mother around the cottage, taking care of her basic needs, washing and feeding and changing her nappies.

Aoileann’s father only visits them once a month to sit with ‘the bed-thing’ but leaves Aoileann and her grandmother alone the rest of the time taking care of her needs. Aoileann and her grandmother take great pains to keep her hidden from the rest of the islanders who already treat Aoileann as a cursed being, spitting to protect themselves and avoiding her at all costs.

Aoileann is not sure what turned her mother into this withered and rotting specimen, unsure of what event happened to make her this way and why nobody talks about it. But she has also started to come across letters and symbols carved into the wooden floor in her mothers room. Scratched into the timber by her mothers exposed finger bone on her rotting hand. What can the letters mean and how come they find her immobile mother in places she shouldn’t be able to get to in the dead of night?…..

When an artist, Rachel, arrives on the island with her new born baby, Aoileann takes an obsessive interest in her and finds a focus for the unfulfilled love of a mother….

This is such a dark and hugely unsettling book which you all know I love! It has so many elements that are like catnip to me. There’s body horror, isolated island life, superstitions, cruelty, motherhood and long buried family secrets.

The way that Aoileann and her grandmother treat her mother is cold and brusque with no hint of tenderness or love whatsoever which makes for uncomfortable reading at times. As a reader you are unaware for a long time why this woman has ended up how she has and it almost feels unfathomable that she should be treated this way, however you also bear witness to the terrible life of drudgery and toil that Aoileann has been saddled with in being expected to care for her mother.

Aoileann is treated terribly by the islanders and lives a closeted life trying to shrink away from their judgmental eyes. Her only sanctuary is swimming in the sea. A sea that has claimed many islanders lives if rumours are to be believed. It is during a swim that she meets Rachel and from here a tentative friendship is formed. But what for Rachel appears to be a comforting relationship as she struggles with the exhaustion of new motherhood is something altogether darker and more obsessive for Aoileann.

I don’t really want to say anymore about the plot as I think this is a book you need to discover for yourself. Sophie’s writing is beautiful despite the gut churning content. Her depictions of the island and the cottage really place you firmly there. I was in no doubt as to the landscape and the atmosphere.

It also has one of the best first pages I have read and it just got better and better!

I loved it!

Thank you so much to Helen Richardson and Tramp Press for my proof copy.

See you soon.

Amanda xx @bookishchat

Motherthing by Ainslie Hogarth – A Review

Publisher: Atlantic Books

Publication Date: October 6th 2022

I was initially drawn to this book by the amazing cover and the bonkers tagline. But when I read the blurb I got the book tingles for sure! And my bookish spidey-senses were not wrong with this one!

When it arrived in May I knew it wasn’t due to be published until October but I took a peek at the first page and was immediately hooked. In a few short paragraphs I smiled wryly to myself at the dark and dry humour. That was enough for me to think oh blow it I’ll read it now! And read it I did, in 24 hours.

Abby has grown up with no father and a selfish mother who has more regard for the many many men who are in and out of her life. Abby pays the price of being second best in her mother’s eyes.

As an adult Abby meets Ralph, her knight in shining armour who comes as a package with his mother, Laura. Abby sees Laura as her second chance to have a loving caring mother figure in her life but is disappointed when Laura turns out to be over protective of Ralph and dismissive of Abby, making passive aggressive comments to Abby under Ralph’s radar.

The book opens at the point that Laura, having suffered from depression for years, takes her own life in the basement of her house, a house that Abby and Ralph had recently moved into to help Laura out.

After the passing of his mother, Ralph descends into a deep depression and tells Abby that his mother is back and living in the basement. Abby is desperate to keep a hold of her husband and drag him back into their lives in the here and now. A life of their own without the constraints of caring for Laura and the possibility of having a much wanted child of their own.

As Ralph falls apart so to by degrees does Abby and she ultimately makes terrible decisions in her quest for a happy family life.

I knew going in that this book was going to be bonkers. And it was, don’t get me wrong! However, it was much deeper and layered than I expected. The story is told from the first person perspective of Abby so we as readers are inside her head at all times. She has a dark sense of humour that we witness not only through her internal monologue but her interactions with Ralph and the women she works with. I really loved the little in-jokes she has with Ralph and their lovely genuine relationship.

Throughout the whole book there is of course the theme of motherhood. We have Abby’s own terrible neglected childhood with a mother who didn’t see her as a priority in her life and who put men before her. We then have Laura’s relationship with Ralph and the fact that she will not consider any woman to be good enough for him. We also have Abby’s desperation for a family of her own, so much so that she actually converses with her unborn child ‘Cal’ even though she isn’t even pregnant. We also then gave a separate thread of story relating to Abby’s employment at an old peoples residential care home. There’s a woman in there, Mrs Blundy, who Abby attaches herself to and calls her her ‘baby’ again another last desperate grab for a caring mother in her life. When this relationship is threatened it converges with her issues at home and that is when Abby’s decisions become unhinged.

Motherthing is a modern horror but wasn’t as horrific as I was expecting. There are some difficult parts to stomach (I’ll just say chicken a la king and leave it at that!) And it I bloody loved it!

It’s so funny and dark and odd but utterly gripping and propulsive. I love Ainslie Hogarths writing style and I know this book has been compared in some reviews to Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder and I can very much see why. There are also glints of C J Skuse in there if you’ve ever read the Sweet Pea series of books (but not as murderous!).

It’s a quirky book, it’s deliciously dark and it’s going right on my books of the year list!

Get involved!

Thank you to Kirsty Doole and Atlantic Books for my review copy.

Babysitter by Joyce Carol Oates – A Review

Publisher: 4th Estate

Publication Date: 1st September 2022

Well Joyce Carol Oates is a bit of a legend isn’t she really? I’ve not read many of her books but even I know that.

When I heard that JCO had a new book out called Babysitter, focussing on a child abductor and serial killer I knew it would be brilliant. Little did I know that it would also crawl right under my skin! So much so that I had to stop reading and put it down a few times for a breather!

Set in the late seventies in Detroit the story focuses on two separate threads that begin to weave together. We meet Hannah Jarrett the wife of a very affluent and successful businessman, Wes Jarrett who is well known and respected in the upper class areas of Far Hills in Detroit. The couple have two young children Katya and Conor and a housekeeper and nanny Ismelda. Hannah spends her days doing philanthropic work and is cochair on many charity commitees. It is at one of the charity dinners she has organised that she has a chance meeting with Y.K. A mysterious man who merely briefly touches her wrist but makes a huge impression on Hannah. Despite not many other people in the room remembering him or even knowing exactly who he might be.

Hannah starts an affair with this enigmatic mysterious man and sneaks away whilst Wes is at the office and the children are at school to meet him in a hotel suite.

It is here that she finds herself waking up disheveled and with a patchy memory. Even though she knows something untoward is going on she still revels in the thrill of having a ‘lover’ to spice up her dull suburban life. And maybe this is what happens in affairs?…..

Whilst all this is going on we also have the serial killer thread of the story. A murderer dubbed ‘Babysitter’ has been abducting children of around ten years old and keeping them hidden for a few days. Torturing and sexually assaulting them before strangling them. He then bathes them and leaves them displayed naked with their arms and legs crossed with a pile of their freshly laundered and ironed clothes beside them.

Hannah is terrified that as punishment for her extra marital affair, her children will fall victim to Babysitter but she also takes comfort in the fact that so far the children who have been murdered have all been from neglectful families. Until the murders come a little too close to home.

As Hannah’s life begins to unravel she starts to wonder about how little she actually knows about her lover and she fights to keep her family together.

Hannah is not an immediately likeable character by any means. She spends a lot of time bemoaning her life and has many issues, particularly with her father who she calls Joker Daddy. She also dwells a lot on how as a white, affluent woman she is regarded by other people. Race plays a big part in the novel and is indicative of the time.

The serial killer aspect is not a huge focus if you’re only interested in this novel for that element. It’s a peripheral story that frames the disintegration of Hannah’s life.

This novel is very tense and made me feel uncomfortable at many points along the way! The descriptions of violent sexual assault and it’s aftermath are extremely graphic and make for difficult reading. There are also depictions of child sexual abuse within a paeodophile ring which are extremely uncomfortable, so please do bear this in mind if you’re considering reading.

Joyce Carol Oates writing is very distinctive and can be quite difficult to get into initially in my opinion, but once you’re there you are completely absorbed. Despite the feelings this book gave me I really did enjoy it. It crawled under my skin and took root in my brain. I felt like I needed a good hosing down after reading it!

I’ve also since bought more JCO novels to keep me topped up!

Thank you so much to Matt Clacher and 4th Estate for my review copy.

See you soon.

Amanda xx