REVIEW – The Au Pair by Emma Rous

The Au Pair

Published: January 8th, 2019 by Berkley Books

This book opens in August 2017.  Seraphine’s father recently passed away so she is sorting through his things. She comes across a picture of her mother, father, and older brother, Edwin. Her mother is holding a baby in the picture. The writing on the back of the picture indicates that the picture was taken the day Seraphine and her twin brother, Danny were born.

Seraphine and Danny were born surrounded by grief. There is a six-month time frame where apparently no pictures were taken of any of the Mayes family.  So Seraphine is surprised that this picture exists. Her mother appears calm and happy in the picture.  It’s hard to believe this picture was taken in the final hours of her mother’s life.  This photo was taken the day EVERYTHING changed for the Mayes family….

“the same day Danny and I were born, our mother jumped from the cliffs behind our house and killed herself.”

Serephine wonders who her mother is holding in the picture. Is it her or Danny? Why is there only one of them in the picture? Her older brother, Edwin is as baffled as she is. But his attention is caught by another picture in Seraphine’s hands. It is a picture of Edwin as a toddler, having fun on the beach with a dark-haired teenager. He remembers her.  Her name is Laura and she was his au pair. She left the day the twins were born.

Seraphine has always wanted to know why her mother committed suicide and what happened in the hours beforehand. She thinks there is only one person who can answer her questions…

LAURA… THE AU PAIR.

Everyone tells Seraphine to let it go but she just can’t. Her family is haunted by tragedy. Their lives filled with secrets and lies. Seraphine just wants answers, but there may be people who want to keep her from finding out the truth.

Will Seraphine find the woman who can tell her what happened on that fateful day? Will searching for answers put Seraphine and others in danger?  

I thought this was a great debut novel!

The characters were fascinating. The chapters alternated, telling the story from both Seraphine and Laura’s point of view, in both the past and present. Although it was a little slow at times, the plot was intriguing and kept me guessing.

The Au Pair” is a well written and entertaining novel full of surprises with an ending I didn’t see coming.

I think that Emma Rous is a writer to watch. I am excited to read what she comes up with next.

I’d like to thank Berkley Publishing for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

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REVIEW – The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth

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Expected publication: April 23rd, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

I am a huge fan of this author. “The Mother’s Promise” was my first Sally Hepworth novel and is one of my favorite books.

The first line in the description of this novel grabbed my attention…

A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…

I couldn’t wait to start reading!

The story begins with a police car pulling up to the home of Lucy and her husband, Ollie. Although the car doesn’t have its lights or siren on, she knows immediately that something isn’t right. “Police don’t arrive on your doorstep at dinnertime unless something is wrong.”

The police ask if they are relatives of Diana Goodwin and right away Lucy knows what they are going to say next…

The story then jumps back ten years to Lucy’s first visit to the Goodwin home. Ollie’s father is friendly and seems happy to meet Lucy as does Ollie’s sister, Nettie. But Ollie’s mother’s greeting is lukewarm. She’s not rude to Lucy, she is very polite…she just seems sort of cold and standoffish.

When Diana meets Lucy, her first thoughts are that Lucy was probably adored by everyone in her life and things probably came very easily to her.

“Take the pregnant refugee girls I deal with every day. They’ve been through unimaginable hardships, and here they are working hard, contributing and grateful”.

Lucy just wants Diana to like her. However, it seems the harder she tries the more strained their relationship becomes.

And now…Diana is dead.

But things aren’t always what they seem. As they learn more about Diana’s death and more things are brought to light, Lucy finds herself questioning everything…some things just aren’t adding up.

Did anyone really know Diana?

I thought this was an excellent story filled with engaging characters and an entertaining plot. We are given insight into the complicated relationships within the family. I liked how it alternated between Diana and Lucy’s point of view in both the past and present. It was interesting seeing how they each read or misread the same situations.

As I mentioned in a previous review of “A Mother’s Promise”, Sally Hepworth does a wonderful job of bringing her characters and their individual stories to life. She creates characters that readers can relate to and empathize with.

This was definitely a thought-provoking read. I’ve read other novels that deal with the relationships between men and women and their in-laws, but I found this to be quite a unique story. I was really surprised by a few things and extremely satisfied with how everything came together in the end.

In my opinion, this was another winning story from Sally Hepworth.

 

I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel.

 

Goodreads Monday – September 4, 2017

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners . To take part,  simply choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.  Be sure to check out Lauren’s blog too!!

Today the book I’m going to show off is :  The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

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The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Published June 16,  2015 by Crown

 

Goodreads Description:

Carolyn’s not so different from the other human beings around her. She’s sure of it. She likes guacamole and cigarettes and steak. She knows how to use a phone. She even remembers what clothes are for.

After all, she was a normal American herself, once.

That was a long time ago, of course—before the time she calls “adoption day,” when she and a dozen other children found themselves being raised by a man they learned to call Father.

Father could do strange things. He could call light from darkness. Sometimes he raised the dead. And when he was disobeyed, the consequences were terrible.

In the years since Father took her in, Carolyn hasn’t gotten out much. Instead, she and her adopted siblings have been raised according to Father’s ancient Pelapi customs. They’ve studied the books in his library and learned some of the secrets behind his equally ancient power.

Sometimes, they’ve wondered if their cruel tutor might secretly be God.

Now, Father is missing. And if God truly is dead, the only thing that matters is who will inherit his library—and with it, power over all of creation.

As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, fierce competitors for this prize align against her.

But Carolyn can win. She’s sure of it. What she doesn’t realize is that her victory may come at an unacceptable price—because in becoming a God, she’s forgotten a great deal about being human.

 

My thoughts:

I’ve had this novel on my list for over two years. I came across someone’s review recently, and it reminded my of how much I wanted to read it. It has quite a unique and intriguing story-line.

The Library at Mount Char is at once horrifying and hilarious, mind-blowingly alien and heartbreakingly human, sweepingly visionary and nail-bitingly thrilling—and signals the arrival of a major new voice in fantasy.

Sounds good to me!

Have you read The Library at Mount Char?  I’d love to hear what you thought of it!