Posts Tagged With: book club

The Kindest Thing by Cath Staincliffe

ImageTitle:  The Kindest Thing
Author:  Cath Staincliffe
ISBN: 978-1849012089
Publisher:  Constable & Robinson (C & R Crime)

First Published:  May 2010 (Paperback)
No .of pages:  272

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
When Deborah reluctantly helps her beloved husband Neil end his life and conceals the truth, she is charged with murder. As the trial unfolds and her daughter Sophie testifies against her, Deborah, still reeling with grief, fights to defend her actions. Twelve jurors hold her fate in their hands, if found guilty she will serve a life sentence. Deborah seeks solace in her memories of Neil and their children and the love they shared. An ordinary woman caught up in an extraordinary situation.  A finely written page-turner, compelling, eloquent, heart-breaking. The Kindest Thing tackles a controversial topic with skill and sensitivity. A book that begs the question: what would you do?

Review:
This was quite a riveting read for me.  I thought I had quite a solid opinion on assisted suicide but over the course of the book I have questioned it several times and I’m now much less sure of where I stand.  The story is told from the viewpoint of Deborah who is on trial for the murder of her husband Neil.  Neil was a Motor Neurone Disease sufferer and Deborah assisted him when he decided it was time to end his life.  Whilst the book is solely from Deborah’s view, as the story and the trial unfolds you begin to see the wider consequences of what has happened to this family. 

Although my opinions on the subject have wavered, my support for Deborah through the book remained.  You are never far from the fact that she truly loved her husband and everything she did was for him despite her better judgement.  You really feel for her when she describes the hellish time she had even contemplating what her husband wanted of her and for me, the most poignant moment was the realisation of what she had taken from her children.  Yes, she had helped her husband and done as he asked but her children were denied the opportunity to say goodbye and possibly from seeing their mother again as she is put on trial.

The ups and downs of the trial has kept me riveted throughout and I must admit that I stayed in my bath considerably longer than I really should have but I just had to know poor Deborah’s fate.  I won’t give the ending away but I will encourage you all to go and read this.

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Blink of an Eye by Cath Staincliffe

512MAHEYaZLTitle: Blink of an Eye
Author: Cath Staincliffe
ISBN: 978-1780335681
Publisher:  C & R Crime

First Published:  July 2013(paperback)
No .of pages:  272

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
In a heartbeat, life changes.  A sunny, Sunday afternoon, a family barbecue, and Naomi Baxter and her boyfriend Alex celebrate good news.  Driving home, Naomi’s recklessness causes a fatal accident, leaving nine-year-old Lily Vasey dead, Naomi fighting for her life, Alex bruised and bloody and the lives of three families torn apart.  Traumatised, Naomi has no clear memory of the crash and her mother Carmel is forced to break the shocking truth of the child’s death to her.  Naomi may well be prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving.  If convicted she will face a jail term of up to 14 years, especially if her sister’s claim that Naomi was drink-driving is proven.  In the months before the trial, Carmel strives to help a haunted and remorseful Naomi cope with the consequences of her actions.  Blink of an Eye is a novel about the nightmare that could be just around the next bend for any one of us.

 

Review:
This is my second Cath Staincliffe book.  After reading “Split Second” last year, I immediately went on the hunt for more of her books.  She writes about difficult scenarios that make you question your own opinions and own reactions if you were in a similar position.

“Blink of an Eye” is about a fatal car crash and the consequences it has on those involved and their families.  The story is told from the point of view of Naomi, who was in the crash and her mother Carmel, and it begins before the accident, at a family gathering.  Once the scene has been set, the readers already know what events are around the corner, although it isn’t built up as a big dramatic event.  I expected more to be made of the accident itself, however, once I had read the book to the end, it made sense to me that the accident was not the focal point of the story, it was more the catalyst for the events that followed.

And this is where the book gets really interesting.  I devoured the rest of it in two sittings, and only because I was forced to put it down the first time.  Naomi can remember nothing of the accident and is devastated at the news that she had caused the death of a child.  Her mother is torn between her sympathy for the little girl’s family and her concern for her seriously ill daughter.  As we shift between the two points of view, we begin to understand the devastating effect that the events of that day have had on everyone involved and as we move towards a trial, it all starts to unravel.

My only criticism of this book is a couple of plot points that, to me, would not have happened in real life; however, I understand why they had to happen in this book to continue the flow.  They don’t detract from the book at all and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I just feel it was a slightly less realistic situation than her previous book.

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Something From Tiffany’s by Melissa Hill

Title: Something from Tiffany’sImage
Author: Melissa Hill
ISBN: 978-0340993361
Publisher:  Hodder

First Published:  Oct 2011 (paperback)
No .of pages:  416

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Doesn’t every girl dream of getting . . . something from Tiffany’s?
It’s Christmas Eve. And on 5th Avenue in New York City, two very different men are shopping for gifts for the women they love.
Gary is buying his girlfriend Rachel a charm bracelet. Partly to thank her for paying for their holiday-of-a-lifetime to New York. But mainly because he’s left his Christmas shopping far too late.
Whereas Ethan’s looking for something a little more special – an engagement ring for the first woman to have made him happy since he lost the love of his life.
But when the two men’s shopping bags get confused, and Rachel somehow ends up with Ethan’s ring, the couples’ lives become intertwined. And, as Ethan tries to reunite the ring with the woman it was actually intended for, he finds it trickier than expected.
Does fate have other ideas for the couples? Or is there simply a bit of Tiffany’s magic in the air . . .

Review:
Christmas Eve in New York and two purchases are being made from the world famous Tiffany’s.  Two very lucky ladies will have the joy of finding a little blue box under their tree; however, after a shopping bag mix up, the contents of those boxes are not intended for those that receive them.

We follow the story of Gary and Rachel and Ethan and Vanessa (with the help of little Daisy) as the search is on to retrieve the correct gifts.

Whilst I was a little frustrated at the roundabout ways in which the characters dealt with the circumstances that had arisen, I was able to suspend my criticism of their actions to go along with it  enjoy the story unfolding.  It has everything in there for a good read; A little bit of mystery, a few good twists, a little splash of romance and magic and of course, a little blue box from Tiffany’s.  Definitely recommended for light, enjoyable reading.

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The Midwife’s Confession by Diane Chamberlain

Title: The Midwife’s ConfessionImage
Author: Diane Chamberlain
ISBN: 978-0778304661
Publisher:  MIRA

First Published:  June 2011 (paperback)
No .of pages:  432

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis (from Amazon):
Would you read a letter never meant to be opened? Would you want to know secrets never meant to be told?  Or should a woman’s mistakes stay buried?  An unfinished letter was hidden amongst Tara and Emerson’s best friend’s things after her suicide. Noelle was the woman they entrusted to deliver their precious babies into the world, a beloved friend. Her suicide shocked them both. But her legacy could destroy them. For her letter reveals a terrible secret that challenges everything they thought they knew. Taking them on a journey that will irrevocably change their own lives – and the life of a desperate stranger – forever.

Review:
I picked up this book after reading and hearing multiple recommendations and I wasn’t disappointed.  I can’t agree that she is as good as Jodi Picoult but I can appreciate the comparison and will definitely be reading more of her books in the future.  I was a few chapters in before I got a feeling of deja vu and it took me a couple more chapters before I realised why this book was so familiar;  It is incredibly similar to the start of the Desperate Housewives TV series, just on a more serious level.  Being a big fan of DH, I was more than happy to continue reading.

Despite feeling like I already knew the story (which I didn’t, for those of you that have seed DH) I still enjoyed it.  There are several twists and turns in the story to keep you on your toes.  Some I had already guessed and some genuinely took me by surprise.  Chamberlain is very good at leading the reader on and making you feel like you’ve gotten everything figured out, then pulling the rug from under you.  It makes for a very interesting read.

The book is about 3 friends and we are first introduced to them when Noelle commits suicide, out of the blue and Tara and Emerson are left to try and figure it all out.  When clearing out Noelle’s things, they come across a partially written letter and in an effort to try and understand what drove their friend to kill herself, they set out on a journey to unravel a story, with unimaginable consequences.  The story jumps back and forth from current time to events from the past and has so many twists and turns that I wasn’t sure where it was going to stop.  The story held my interest from the outset and I’m sure any fans of Picoult out there will enjoy Chamberlain’s style.

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Synopsis from Amazon:

It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.

What an extraordinary book. The narrative is all letters. It is through a letter that Juliet, an author struggling to find something to write about after WW2 discovers about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. She receives a letter from Dawsey about a book of hers he has, and from there their correspondence blossoms. Soon there are several members of the Society writing to her and she learns how the group came about and how they have helped each other through the Nazi Occupation of the Island. She is drawn to the place and eventually ends up living there; where she finds her writing mojo, forms lasting bonds and finds peace and love.

I loved this book. Even though it is written in letters it is very easy to read. I liked that it was all written in letters, it gave a more personal feel as people were free to express their feelings to their friends. I found the story to be extraordinary – what a genius idea for keeping sane during a war. I just love the idea that books can bring people together and can form lasting bonds between people.

I loved all the characters. It was a joy to watch Juliet find happiness, she was a lovely person to read about. And the Literary Society were a group of great people. Dawsey is a strong, solid, reliable man, and I fell in love with him. It is interesting that even though we never meet Elizabeth we hear all these wonderful stories bout her and her heroics, how she brought everyone together and helped them out in times of need, and I found myself wanting to get to know her. And when we discovered what happened to her I could have cried.

I was attached to this book and the characters. It wasn’t a quick read, but lovely. Well worth reading. I felt emotions along with the characters and didn’t want the book to end. One of the best books I’ve read recently. This is a must read.

10/10

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