Month: January 2022

My review of Getting Away With Murder, by Joy Wood.

Getting Away With Murder. Joy Wood.
An enjoyable tale of secrets, ambition and obsession.
Claire thinks she has everything. A beautiful house in the exclusive Sandbanks area of Dorset, a ten-year-old son she dotes on and a successful, if too often absent, husband, Max.
Happy to play the role of the stay-at-home mum Claire gets involved with a local community choir and spends her time working on the final touches to their newly refurbished home as she looks after Julia, her mum who is staying with the family after suffering a mini-stroke.
Max is the ambitious owner of a successful leisure company who is conducting a passionate, secret affair with the scheming, Anabelle, the beautiful owner of a rival leisure-based business who is intent on keeping the secret of her dark past, away from Max.
Anabelle feels a desperate need to control the lives of everyone that comes into her orbit, including the love life of her company manager. Jealous to the point of obsession, Anabelle plans her wedding without consulting her, ‘fiancée’ Max, whilst plotting to be rid of. ‘Clingy,’ her nickname for Claire.
Into the mix steps Adam, the strikingly handsome landscaper who has been brought in to clean up Claire’s extensive gardens that had been damaged during the house renovations.
With Adam causing more than a flutter in the chest of both Claire and Julia, and with Anabelle’s interference reaching new heights, can Claire’s marriage survive the increased tensions?
As usual with a Joy Wood novel, the characters are both believable and consistent. The plot is solid and intriguing. I read this enthralling book over two nights, reluctant to put it down, even for much needed sleep.
A well deserved five stars.
More please.
T. A. Belshaw

My Review of Carfax House by Shani Struthers.

My review of Carfax House. A Christmas story by Shani Struthers.
Not your run of the mill ghost story.
Carfax House is not your usual run of the mill ghost story, but then Shani Struthers is not your usual run of the mill author.
Set in the desolate winter landscape of the Leicestershire countryside, Carfax House sits alone in its overgrown, briar tangled acres. Neglected for too long, the big house has fallen into disrepair and is badly in need of more than a little TLC.
Step in, Lizzie and Al, a London journalist married to a criminal lawyer who see an opportunity on a property website. Sure, the old house will need some work and it will cost, but with the money they can get from selling their nicely appointed London apartment and their combined incomes, they should be able to afford to restore the old house to something close to its former glory. Besides, Lizzie thinks to herself, what woman wouldn’t want to saunter down that beautiful open staircase wearing a designer creation to the wide-eyed acclaim of her party guests?
So, the flat is sold and the deal is done. Carfax House, bought unseen, awaits their arrival.
I won’t go into too much detail of the story as I don’t want to spoil it for future readers but what I will say is that Carfax House has great depth and tackles issues that other authors steer well clear of. As I said earlier, this is not a run of the mill ghost story, it is a story of loss, of isolation, of desperate emotions.
Carfax House is all about memories. The repressed memory of childhood, dreadful memories of a shameful family secret that a mother and daughter weave a web of lies to attempt to hide, and the memories of an old house, memories that are baked into the bricks and mortar. Memories that make the floorboards creak, memories hidden behind a small but strong, oak door built into the walls of bedroom six.
You will be able to read this one in bed without scaring yourself silly. It’s not that kind of book, but by the time you reach the end, you will have been so eloquently informed about the brutality of mental illness and how it was endured by two families born a hundred years apart.
This book gets a well-deserved five-star rating from me. I lost myself in this short novel for a few hours, reading it in one session, broken only by my need to fuel my long-standing coffee addiction.
T. A. Belshaw.  Dec 31st.  2021

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