REVIEW: The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre

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Published September 29,  2017 by DCA

 

Alessandra Torre has written many novels but this is the first I’ve read. You can be sure my “to be read list” has quite a few more titles on it now that I’ve read this novel.

I loved it!

We are told right from the start that this isn’t a romance novel.

From the blurb: This book is not a romance. It is contemporary fiction, but very suspenseful in nature. It is about a famous romance author and a dark secret she keeps.

I realized early on that this book was going to break my heart. But it did it in the most incredible way. This is another book that is going to stay with me for a very long time.

“A perfect morning. A perfect husband. A perfect daughter. A perfect lie. “

Helena Ross is famous for telling stories. She has millions of fans and has sold over fifteen bestsellers. She’s a difficult woman to like. A woman with many secrets. A woman who rarely smiles. In her house with so little furniture and locked rooms. What happened in that big rambling house four years ago?

Helena receives some bleak news….But truthfully she had been waiting for something like this.

Now she will write just one more book. This news comes as a huge shock to her agent, Kate. Helena has had tight deadlines before, but this will be the tightest. The story would normally take years to write. Will she be able to do it? Is it possible? She’s written fifteen novels but this is the novel that terrifies her.

“I fear that I’ll tell everything, and still no one will understand”

It’s easy to dislike Helena at first. To say Helena can be hard to work with is like saying…..snow is cold. She has strict rules for her agent. Kate has been with Helena for thirteen years. Thirteen years of high maintenance and unpredictability.

“She’ll rip your heart out, but she doesn’t mean it”

Helena just wants the readers to understand how she felt, her emotions and why she made the decisions and mistakes that she made. She knows that many will judge her…but she hopes at least a few will understand. She spent four years trying her best to forget everything. So can she do it? Can she pick up the pen and write down what happened that day?

“Soon… My final story will come out, and everyone will know the truth.”

The story is told in the present tense, mixed with flashbacks and memories. Told from multiple perspectives, we are pulled along, not really knowing what has happened or what is going to happen. But the whole ride is captivating.

“Sometimes, it only takes an instant to understand a person”

An excellent plot with fantastic characterization, this really was an incredible read. A well-written, well-paced novel about secrets, betrayal, guilt, lies, and confession. This is Alessandra Torre’s fourteenth book and she says it was the hardest to write.

Alessandra Torre says:

“I hope you felt the love, sweat, and emotions that went into each of these chapters”

I can say with complete honesty that I did.

I read this book with some of the Traveling Sisters. It was a pleasure reading together and hearing everyone’s thoughts. Thank you, ladies.

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Throwback Thursday: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

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Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is: 

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

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Published February 2, 2010 
St. Martin’s Press

 

 

Goodreads Description:

From the author of the smash-hit bestseller Firefly Lane and True Colors comes a powerful, heartbreaking novel that illuminates the intricate mother-daughter bond and explores the enduring links between the present and the past.

Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. One stayed at home to raise her children and manage the family apple orchard: the other followed a dream and traveled the world to become a famous photojournalist. But when their beloved father falls ill, Meredith and Nina find themselves together again, standing alongside their cold, disapproving mother, Anya, who even now, offers no comfort to her daughters. As children, the only connection between them was the Russian fairy tale Anya sometimes told the girls at night. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise from the women in his life: the fairy tale will be told one last time – and all the way to the end. Thus begins an unexpected journey into the truth of Anya’s life in war-torn Leningrad, more than five decades ago. Alternating between the past and present, Meredith and Nina will finally hear the singular, harrowing story of their mother’s life, and what they learn is a secret so terrible and terrifying that it will shake the very foundation of their family and change who they believe they are.

 

My Thoughts:

Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors and I’ve enjoyed all of her novels. However, this one is definitely a favorite. Wonderfully written and easy to read. This is a beautiful and compelling story of the mystery and secrets that holds the two sisters and their mother apart. The way the story unraveled kept me gripped, and I read the book in just a few sittings. I read this over seven years ago when it was first released, and it’s on my list to read again.

This is truly an outstanding novel that shows just how much secrets can affect all of our relationships.

Another fantastic novel from Kristin Hannah!

I highly recommend this book.

REVIEW: The Widow by Fiona Barton

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Published February 16, 2016 by Berkley

 

I was intrigued when I read the description for this book. I thought it sounded pretty interesting.

“an electrifying thriller that will take you into the dark spaces that exist between a husband and a wife”

I wouldn’t say that I was electrified but I enjoyed this audio. I was very impressed by the multiple narrators, they were all very easy on the ears. I also liked how it was clear who was speaking and what date it was. This was really helpful as the story alternates back and forth from 2006 to 2010. Told from the viewpoints of The Widow (Jean), The Detective, The Reporter, The Husband (Glenn), and The Mother. So although there were many different characters, I found it easy to keep track of whose point of view it was, even with the time shift.

The majority of the story is told from Jean/Jeanie Taylor’s (The Widow) point of view. Jean’s husband Glenn was just killed in a freak bus accident. We find out that prior to the accident Glenn was accused of kidnapping a two-year-old child, named Bella. Jeannie has stood by Glenn. She may have been a bit concerned about his online actions that she calls “his nonsense” but he can’t possibly have committed such a heinous crime because as Jeannie says “Glenn loves children”.

“The simple lies are the hardest, funnily enough. The big ones seem to just fall off the tongue”

Overall, I thought this was an enjoyable psychological suspense novel. I really enjoyed hearing the story from all the different perspectives. While this may not have been an extremely twisty-turny read, it had a good plot and flowed along at a steady pace, holding my interest right up until the very end.

I look forward to reading more from Fiona Barton

Teaser Tuesday: December 5, 2017

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker.

It is very easy to play along:

• Grab your current read and open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
• Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

Here are my “teasers”:

You want complicated? I’ll give you complicated: My parents were married for twenty-four years, during which time my father cheated on my mother with every skank who caught his roving eye, including my best friend, Tara, whom he married five short months after my mother died. And just to make matters truly interesting, at the time, Tara was engaged to my brother, Alec.

 

From the novel:

 

The Bad Daughter by Joy Fielding

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Expected publication: February 27, 2018 by Ballantine Books

 

Goodreads Description:

What first appears to be a random home invasion reveals a family’s dark secrets in this domestic ticking-clock suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of See Jane Run.

A hostile relationship with her sister and a complicated past with her father’s second wife have kept Robin estranged from her family for many years. But when her father’s new family is attacked in their house, with her father, his wife, and young daughter in critical condition in the hospital, she returns home to await their fate and hopefully mend fences. It looks like a random robbery gone awry, but as Robin spends more time with her family members, she learns they all had their secrets — and one of those secrets may have put them all in horrible danger.

 

 

My Thoughts:    

WOW!

Don’t worry it’s not a spoiler! When I do these teasers, I make sure I open to a random page towards the very beginning of the book.

I am thrilled to be reading this novel. Joy Fielding is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read all of her books.

I’m only a few pages in to “The Bad Daughter” but I am really enjoying it so far. I’m excited to see what happens next.