Friday, 31 March 2017

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland


About Lost for Words
  

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never show you.

Into her refuge - the York book emporium where she works - come a poet, a lover, a friend, and three mysterious deliveries, each of which stirs unsettling memories.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past and she can't hide any longer. She must decide who around her she can trust. Can she find the courage to right a heartbreaking wrong? And will she ever find the words to tell her own story?

It's time to turn the pages of her past . . .

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, perfect for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.


My review of Lost for Words

Oh, where do I start? I adored this novel, from beginning to end. It really was a huge comfort read that talked about books, love, friendship and the reason for living. All of these themes were presented within a clever plot and with utterly likeable and believable characters. What's not to love?

So, the main protagonist is that of Loveday, a twenty-five-year- old woman who works in the bookshop, Lost for Words, in York. She is a tattooed, nose ring wearer, and I liked her the moment I met her. Loveday had a troubled childhood, which we slowly learn about in the chapters that are entitled, History. We also learn about her past relationship with Rob, in the chapters that are entitled, Crime. These stories are interspersed with the 'real time' chapters called, Poetry, named because of her new love and interest in poetry and poetry nights, fuelled by her new friend, Nathan. This book could have been very confusing to read, but we are able to pick out the events in Loveday's past that helped to shape her life as it is today. The way in which her story is told in these three separate chapter themes, is very clever, as it clearly defines the time frame in which we are reading, helping us to paint a fully rounded picture of who Loveday actually is. It was also such a treat to read about a character who loves books as much as I do.

This is a book full of wonderful characters, some you love, some you like less so. Loveday for me was the most striking and absorbing character, mostly because it is her story, we read and feel her thoughts, but also because she is so vulnerable, yet a fighter, someone who wants to love life but is not too sure of how to do so. Her story is heartbreaking yet poetic at the same time. I also wanted to learn of what had happened to her, the mystery that is her life, which is slowly revealed to us.

Archie, who owns the book shop is very much an eccentric and loveable character. It is very obvious that he cares deeply for Loveday, in the way that a father does, and his mannerisms and witty comments I particularly liked. My favourite character by far though, apart from Loveday, was that of Nathan, the poet, who has his own secrets. We slowly learn about his past and I grew to love him, in the way in which he supported and cared for Loveday.

This really is a lovely treat of a book, and is much deeper than the cover would suggest. It tackles
some serious life issues and how women are treated within relationships, especially those who are perceived to be weak and vulnerable. Issues of trust and forgiveness are also tackled, within the wonderful environment of the bookshelves.

I thoroughly enjoyed Lost for Words and the evocative environment of the second hand book shop. Loveday is a character who will also stay with me for a very long time.

Lost for Words is published by Bonnier Zaffre on 20 April and can be found on Amazon here.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy. 



About the author

Stephanie Butland lives in Northumberland, close to the place where she grew up. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and loves being close to the sea. She's thriving after cancer.
Twitter: @under_blue_sky
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stephanie-Butland-Author-282828548412029/
www.stephaniebutland.com
#Loveday




Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Don't Look Behind You by Mel Sherratt





About Don't Look Behind You


The small city of Stockleigh is in shock as three women are brutally attacked within days of each other. Are they random acts of violence or is there a link between the victims? For Detective Eden Berrisford, it’s her most chilling case yet.

The investigation leads Eden to cross paths with Carla, a woman trying to rebuild her life after her marriage to a cruel and abusive man ended in unimaginable tragedy. Her husband Ryan was imprisoned for his crimes but, now he’s out and coming for her.

As Eden starts to close in on the attacker, she also puts herself in grave danger. Can she stop him before he strikes again? And can Carla, terrified for her life, save herself - before the past wreaks a terrible revenge?

An absolutely gripping and chilling police procedural which will hook fans of Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott.


My review of Don't Look Behind You



Don't Look Behind You is the second book in the Detective Eden Berrisford series. I had read, and loved, the first book, The Girls Next Door, so was very much looking forward to reading this book. Well, I wasn't disappointed and thought that it was even more gripping than the first, with an even darker element to its core.
 
This book focusses upon the subject of domestic violence, so is not an easy, nor lighthearted read. It tackles the gritty reality of abuse and of how women feel trapped and of how they find it difficult to firstly escape, and to then build a new life for themselves. Ms Sherratt writes with both empathy and knowledge upon this subject, and the women are treated with dignity and respect.
 
So, the book focusses upon the sexual attacks of three women, in the same local area. The attacks become increasingly brutal in nature and Eden is certain that she is looking for the same attacker. The descriptions of the attacks are not graphic in nature, but the author writes in such a way that we understand what has happened. Greater importance is placed upon the time following the attack and how the attack impacts upon the woman. These passages were carefully and sensitively written.
 
As well as the burial attacks on lone women that are taking place, we are also introduced to several women who either live and/or work in the women's refuge. Although the book deals with domestic abuse, and the victimisation of women, the women in this book are not portrayed as victims, but rather survivors, who are tough and determined to carry on with their lives. We meet Carla, who is a counsellor at the refuge, and who has managed to build a new life for herself after her ex husband was imprisoned for violence. But has she managed to truly escape him? Will she be forever looking over her shoulder? This is the real question that we ask while reading her harrowing accounts of her past life.
 
Don't Look Behind You  is a story that is predominantly about the abuse and victimisation of women. But, the author helps to shed life on the taboo of domestic violence and to start a conversation. As I have already mentioned, these women are portrayed as strong and resourceful women, not victims, never victims, as they will not allow their abuser to dictate how they should live their lives, they are stronger than their abuser.
 
This novel is obviously a dark and difficult read. Eden herself has her own lie challenges with regards to her estranged husband, and these aspects of her life are interspersed within the story. However, although it is dark, it is an important book. To represent characters who come to life on the page, and who tell their own unique stories of their abuse, is a huge achievement. I had to know what would happen to them and who the brutal attacker was, and I was kept in the dark unit the very end.
 
Don't Look Behind You is an emotive roller coaster of a read, and one which I highly recommend.
 
Don't Look Behind You is published by Bookouture on Jan 31 and is available to buy from Amazon here.
 
With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.







Monday, 27 March 2017

The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse



About The Idea of You

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter thinks she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
 
But becoming parents proves much harder to achieve than Lucy and Jonah imagined, and when Jonah’s teenage daughter Camille comes to stay with them, she becomes a constant reminder of what Lucy doesn’t have. Jonah’s love and support are unquestioning, but Lucy’s struggles with work and her own failing dreams begin to take their toll. With Camille’s presence straining the bonds of Lucy’s marriage even further, Lucy suddenly feels herself close to losing everything…
 
This heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama from bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: in today’s hectic world, what does it mean to be a mother?

My review of The Idea of You
 
 

This book is described as a "heart-wrenchingly poignant family drama" and this is exactly what this book is about. I loved it, as I knew I would. Amanda Prowse is able to write about normal women, undergoing daily life in an incredibly beautiful, poignant and insightful way. The Idea of You, is yet again another compelling read from this very talented author.
 
The Idea of You focusses upon the character of Lucy Carpenter, a woman who seems to have been given a second chance in life, having met her now husband, Jonah, at a friend's Christening. Lucy had been reeling at the breakup of her relationship, and the discovery that her ex fiancé had married her cousin and that the couple were expecting a baby. So, Lucy has had a lot of challenges in her life, and when she meets Jonah and falls madly in love with him, her future seems incredibly bright. But life is never that easy.
 
Firstly, there is the sadness of Lucy having several miscarriages and the longing that she has to have a baby with Jonah. These passages in the book were written with empathy and a thorough knowledge of what women have to go through when having to endure medical procedures during early miscarriage. These passages were difficult to read, as the book is entirely from Lucy's point of view, and I felt and completely understood what she was going though. Trying to conceive and to then keep the baby is a huge part of this novel. This is what Lucy yearns for, and which she believes will make her whole. Jonah, is a wonderful character and I loved him. He is supportive of Lucy and, although we do not get to read his thoughts, I knew that he too was enduring his own inner battle and grieving for his lost babies.
 
Life is also difficult because of the arrival of Camille, Jonah's teenage daughter from his previous marriage. With her arrival comes the issues of being a step mother, a friend and of trying to fit in to a new family dynamic, for everyone involved. This aspect of the story I found fascinating and I kept asking myself, what must it be like for this young girl to move from her home in France and live with her father, whom she has spent very little with, and his new wife?  Camille must feel scared, overwhelmed and very much like an outsider. She really was an interesting character, and one that I grew to love.
 
This book asks the very important questions, of what is motherhood? What makes a woman a mother? What makes a family? I loved the fact that the issues of creating a family and then adapting to life as a new family unit where at the heart of this story. All of the characters were fully engaging, but my favourite by far was Lucy. I truly bonded with her.

If you enjoy reading women's contemporary fiction, and haven't yet read an Amanda Prowse novel, then I highly recommend The Idea of You. Whether or not you are a mother, or indeed maternal,  doesn't really matter. This is a book about women for women, that talks about the issues of motherhood and what it means to be a mother in a straightforward and empathetic manner. It also discusses what it means to be a woman in the 21st century, with all of the associated demands and pressures placed upon women.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed it.

With thanks to Amanda Prowse, publisher, Lake Union, and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.

The Idea of You is published on March 21 by Lake Union and is available to buy from Amazon here.

About the Author

 
Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author sixteen novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world.

Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments.

Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio, but her first love is and will always be writing.
You can find her online at www.amandaprowse.com, on Twitter at @MrsAmandaProwse and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amandaprowsenogreaterlove

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Little Girl Lost by Carol Wyer



About Little Girl Lost

Her breath rose and fell in fearful gasps but it was too late. She could already see what she dreaded most. The back seat was empty.Her little girl was gone.

Abigail lives the perfect life with her doting husband and adorable baby Izzy. But someone knows a secret about Abigail and they want the truth to be told.

When Izzy is snatched from a carpark, it becomes a case for Detective Robyn Carter. Someone has been sending threatening messages to Abigail from an anonymous number. What is Abigail hiding?

Robyn’s instincts tell her there’s a connection between Izzy’s abduction and two murders she is investigating. But the last time she acted on impulse her fiancĂ© was killed. To break this case and earn her place back on the force, she must learn to trust herself again – and fast. Robyn is on the hunt for a ruthless serial killer. And unless she gets to the twisted individual in time a little girl will die …

Gripping, fast-paced and nail-bitingly tense, this serial killer thriller will chill you to the bone. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.


My Review of Little Girl Lost
     
Little Girl Lost is a detective story/fast paced thriller. We begin by reading about Alice, a little girl, who is only eight-years-old,  who lives in a big house with her mother, step dad Paul, and step siblings, Natasha and Lucas. We learn that her mother is engaged to Paul, a big movie actor and that Alice feels rejected and shunned due to this new relationship, as her mother seems to have no time to spend with her.  Her only true friend would seem to be that of her toy rabbit, Mr Big Ears. The prologue deals with a life changing event for Alice, that sets the tone and pace for the entire story. It deals with a sexual assault, upon Alice, and I did find this upsetting to read, as it was fairly graphic in its depiction. I will admit that I nearly gave up reading, but I wanted to give the book a chance, and I am so very glad that I did. This is by far the most graphic and disturbing part of the book, in my opinion at least.
I do feel that the subject matter of the book may not be to everyone's taste, as the novel is centred around child sexual abuse, and is greatly disturbing. But, I do feel that the author tackles this subject with great empathy, sensitivity and knowledge upon the subject. The events that take place are given context, they are not simply there as a 'shock factor', as they are integral to the plot.

So, Little Girl Lost is the first book in the Detective Inspector Robyn Carter series, and I found this character hugely compelling and likeable. Having suffered her own losses in life, she busies herself in her work and is dedicated and passionate.
We are also introduced to Abigail Thorne, and her husband Jackson, who have a little girl, Izzy. It is later on in the novel that they are then introduced to Robyn, as Izzy goes missing. At this point Robyn is investigating the disappearance of Lucas and is convinced that his case is linked to that of several murders that have taken place.
This novel took me a while to get into because of the varying points of view. We read Robyn's thoughts, as well as those of Abigail's and then of Alice, both past and present. However, once I was around a quarter of the way through, I quickly settled into the pace and way of storytelling and found the plot completely captivating. I was gripped until the very end, not knowing who was telling the truth and how all of these separate events were connected. It really is a very clever story.
Little Girl Lost, is a tough read, there is no denying this, simply because of the subject matter. It did however, keep me guessing and thoroughly entertained. I  look forward to reading the second novel in the Detective Inspector Robyn Carter series.
With thanks to the publisher, Bookouture and NetGalley who provided me with an Advanced Reader Copy.
Little Girl Lost is available to buy from Amazon here.

About the author

Carol E. Wyer is an award-winning author whose humorous books take a light-hearted look at getting older and encourage others to age disgracefully. More recently she has chosen to write for the "dark side" and embarked on a series of thrillers, starting with the gripping best-seller, Little Girl Lost.
Her book Grumpy Old Menopause won The People's Book Prize Award for non-fiction 2015.
Carol has been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing 'Irritable Male Syndrome' and 'Ageing Disgracefully' and on BBC Breakfast television. She has had articles published in national magazines 'Woman's Weekly' featured in 'Take A Break', 'Choice', 'Yours' and 'Woman's Own' magazines and writes regularly for The Huffington Post.
Carol is a signed author with Bookouture and Delancey Press.

To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolewyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. Carol blogs at www.facing50withhumour.com and www.grumpyoldmenopause.com



Thursday, 23 March 2017

Electric Souk by Rose McGinty



About Electric Souk

Rose McGinty has written a powerful debut novel that crackles with energy and shimmers with lyricism, shedding light on a world that is half hidden.’ SOPHIE DUFFY, author of Bright Stars

‘An enthralling novel; beguiling characters that leap off the page and a beautifully conjured world. Exquisite writing infused with a creeping tension held me spellbound.’ JANE ELMOR, author of My Vintage Summer

‘With its unique blend of exuberance and menace, Electric Souk is a journey and an adventure’ ISABEL COSTELLO, The Literary Sofa

Humanity blisters in this haunting, lyrical thriller about trust and treachery. Ireland's gone bust, and with it Aisling Finn's life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia.

Debonair fixer, Brian Rothmann, charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait? Her only hope is Hisham, a local activist. But where do his loyalties lie?

Aisling faces severe peril when the sleazy expat and blood-lusting desert worlds collide, as the Arab Spring erupts. She has to ask, whom can she trust? Can she even trust herself?

My Review of Electric Souk

Oh my word! Where do I start? Other than by saying that I loved this book. It has everything. I'm not even sure what genre this book fits into is as it is part adventure story/part thriller/part romance/part spy novel/part epic journey...I could go on. . It is like no other book I have ever read and I was captivated from the very first page.

Electric Souk tells the tale of Aisling Finn, a thirty something Irish woman, who flees Dublin after a failed relationship to seek a brighter and more happier future in the Gulf desert working for the Health Board. However, life in the desert is far from easy, and although she does get her fair share of adventure, she gets far more than she bargained for.

This novel is told from Aisling's point of view and we see, hear and taste what she does. I could taste the red desert sand, smell the mint tea and hear the buzzing of the crowds at the Souk at nigh time. Rose McGinty has managed to capture the fragrance, intensity and the emotions of the desert and the lifestyle which may of us will never know.

We meet many colourful characters along the way. The first is Angie, the bubbly scouser who is in nurse training and who takes Aisling under her wing in this strange new country. Her Liverpudlian accent flew from the pages and I found myself smiling, remembering the voices of my old home. She is a strong female character, and this book is full of them. We have Laila, who becomes Aisling's Sister as well as her interpreter. She is feisty, intelligent, beautiful and quick witted. In contrast we have Mozah, a manipulative woman who is only out for her own ends. It is Aisling though, who had my attention.  The story is told from her point of view and I felt her vulnerability as well as growing strength. Although this book is about deception and learning who you can rust, it is also about Aisling's journey of self discovery.

This book is full of twists and turns. I was gripped until the very end, wanting to find out the many truths. Aisling is in a foreign country, she does not speak the language, nor does she fully understand the rituals and customs, and it is to others that she must turn to feel safe and be protected. But the big question that is raised is who can she trust? As a reader I had my doubts about those characters who seemed trustworthy. I too, just like Aisling, felt a creeping sense of doubt and building paranoia. We meet Mr Brian Rothmann, who is brought in to work on the project. Can Aishling trust him? Is he all who he seems? From the very first moment I met him, I did not like him and was wary of him throughout the novel. We also meet Hisham, Laila's brother, an activist, a polar opposite to Brian, a gentleman, and from the moment he appeared, I both trussed and liked him.
 
Electric Souk fully immerses you in the Arabic world. We go on trips to the mall for coffee and trinkets. We drink whisky from jam jars and stay up until 3 am in the morning. It really is a different lifestyle and one which is evoked beautifully on the page. It is very obvious that the author has spent time in the desert, and is aware of the lifestyle and customs, as she writes with such ease and knowledge.
 
I highly recommend Electric Souk as a book to escape the ordinary world. You will be gripped, shocked and thoroughly entertained. The language is poetic and the pages crackle with intensity. It really is a stunning debut novel.
 
Electric Souk is published on March 23 by Urbane Publications. You can find the book on Amazon here.

With thanks to the author and publisher who gave me an Advanced Reader Copy for review purposes.
 
About the author

Rose McGinty was born with itchy feet, which she has yet to decide is a blessing or a curse. Certainly, surviving Hurricane Sandy, an earthquake, a spider bite, jumping 192 metres off the Sky Tower in Auckland, and nearly being arrested for inadvertently smuggling a rocket in Vietnam, make her wonder about locking up her passport. But then, it was her adventures in the Middle East that gave her the itchy fingers to write. Rose lives in Kent, where as well as enjoying writing short stories, flash fiction and poetry, she also paints. She works in community health services and has worked overseas in Ireland, Canada, Sweden and the Middle East. She completed the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course, under the guidance of Richard Skinner, in 2015. Electric Souk is her debut novel and Rose says of her story, 'The parts of the story that are true, I probably wish were not; while the parts that are not, I probably wish were true.'


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

 


About He Said/She Said

You don't want to be left in the dark. Twisty, gripping and thought-provoking, HE SAID/SHE SAID is the suspense novel everyone is lining up to read and rave about.

'A tour de force - a gripping, twisting, furiously clever read that asks all the right questions and keeps you guessing until the very end.' Ruth Ware, author of The Woman in Cabin 10
'I'm calling it: THIS is the book I wish I'd written' Clare Mackintosh, author of I See You
In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.
She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, four lives change forever.
Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.
And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, she also knows that you can never see the whole picture: something is always hidden... something she never could have guessed.


My Review of He Said/She Said

 
He Said/She Said is a fast paced, gripping and compulsive read. Once I began to read I could not put it down, I was hooked from the very beginning. If you love complex characterisations, twisted plots and an enjoyable story to boot, then you will love this book. I did!
 
The story we are told begins fifteen years previously, when Kit and Laura attend an 'eclipse festival' in Cornwall, on Lizard Point. Kit had travelled with his twin brother, Mac, along with Mac's girlfriend (and Laura's best friend), Ling. Laura had to attend a job interview and so traveled to meet them a few days later. They had funded the trip by manning a tea tent at the festival, selling the then, much drunk, spiced chai tea.
 
It is from this point onwards that the loves of Kit and Laura changes forever. After viewing the eclipse, Laura stumbles upon a purse that is in the grass, and on her search to find the recipient, stumbles upon a rape. We later learn that the woman's name is Beth and the man accused of rape is Jamie. The four characters lives from that moment on become entwined, when Kit and Laura are asked to provide witness statements and to then stand as witnesses during the rape trial. I won't say any more about what happens, but this is the beginning of their new lives.
 
This book is a dark read, and a thought provoking one, especially around the issue of rape and that of consent. It is very obvious that he author has done lots of research and provides us with an utterly plausible storyline with regards to the violation of rape victims when in a court of law, and the fact that it is very often their word against the accused. Very often it is the victim who is forced to plead her innocence, with sexual habits, past sexual partners, and state of mind all coming into play.
 
Kit and Laura are captivating characters, each telling their own story via alternating chapters in the book. In doing so, we get a fully rounded account of what has happened during the past fifteen years, helping us to fill the gaps and shed light on the present day. However, it is vary difficult to know who is telling the truth, and it is only during the last few pages of the book that we fully understand what has happened between them. To say that I was shocked, would be a huge understatement. At first I thought that the title of the book referred to the version of events as presented by Jamie and Beth, but in fact I now understand that the book is about Kit and Laura, and their relationship, and that there are always two sides to every story.
 
This book very much centres around the eclipse, with Kit and Laura, being eclipse chasers. I thought that this would put me off, but in fact it did the opposite. I found the information about the eclipse fascinating, and just heaped to add a further layer to the story. All of the important events that happen to Kit and Laura seem to revolve around the eclipse, so it is a part of them, part of who they are as a couple.
 
Erin Kelly is a very talented writer. By the end of the book In felt like I  knew Beth, Kit and Laura, that I knew their souls, what made them tick and what had shaped them, and this is very difficult to achieve. It is these complex characters that make the book a gripping and fascinating read. In truth, I did not like any of them, but that didn't matter, I didn't need to like them, merely understand them, and this was achieved by the end of the book.
 
He Said/She Said is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and a book that I highly recommend.

With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy.
 
He Said/She Said is published by Hodder and Stoughton on April 20th.
 
The book is available to pre order from Amazon here.



Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Conversations We Never Had by Jeffrey H Konis



About The Conversations We Never Had

This is the dream of a grandson, who had taken his grandmother for granted, to have a second chance, the opportunity to learn about his family from the only person in the world who knew them, who remembered them. My father remembers nothing about his real parents for they were dead by the time he was nine. Olga, his mother’s younger sister, survived the Holocaust, found my father hiding on a farm in Poland and later brought him to America to raise as her own. He never asked her any questions about his parents. Though I later moved in with Olga for a period of time, I repeated history and never asked her the questions my father never asked. Olga has been gone for more than twenty years, along with everything she could have told me, leaving me with a sense of guilt and profound regret. The Conversations We Never Had is a chronicle of my time spent with Grandma “Ola” and tells the stories she might have shared had I asked the questions

My Review of The Conversations We Never Had

How do I start to review such a beautiful book? It is a wonderful read that echoes all of our deepest regrets. While reading, I had the desperate urge to build that time machine and to go back and ask all of those questions that I should have asked my loved ones when they were still alive. What the author has managed to achieve is the wish to do just that, but through fiction.

The Conversations We Never Had centres around Jeffrey, the author, who describes a brief period in his life of when he lived with his Grandma Olga, while studying law. The book beautifully blurs the line between fiction and reality, as the description of his life living with Olga is true. The conversations that he had with her, are pure fiction, and what he wished he had asked at the time. This is the true beauty of this book. We read Jeffrey's memoir that is interspersed with those questions that he should have asked.

I admit that I got a lump in my throat while reading their exchanges. They were beautifully written in a straightforward and no nonsense manner. I actually felt that I got to know Grandma Olga and what her life was like, living trough the Holocaust. Although this is predominantly a work of fiction, based upon fact, you do get a sense of what life must have been like during this difficult time in Poland, and for anyone wanting to learn more about the Holocaust, then this is a gentle way in which to learn about the human cost and suffering that occurred.

Konis writes from the heart. He writes so beautifully about those regrets that we all have. Although the foundations of this boom were built upon his feelings of guilt and not taking the time to ask his grandmother those all important questions, I think that he can now be rest assured that he should no longer feel that guilt. We all now know what a wonderful grandmother she was, and I am sure that she was very proud of her grandson. This is a powerful, emotive and hugely enjoyable read and Grandma Olga will stay with me for a very long time.

With thanks to the author and publisher who provided a paperback copy for review purposes.

Published on  May 3rd 2016 by Outskirts Press. The Conversations We Never Had is available to buy from Amazon here