Eight Goodbyes by Christine Brae

REVIEW

Oh WOW!  What an amazing book from start to finish.  I felt a bit like Simon going on the Ferris wheel while reading this book, excited and nervous, emotional with every turn, but so glad I took the chance when it was finished.

Christine Brae is new author for me and I’m so pleased I tried this one (ok, having Stu Reardon as the cover model may have swayed my decision!) The character’s are wonderfully written, Tessa with her carefree ways, and Simon with his ridged determination.  Tessa is a lovely character.  She has had to deal with the loss of her parents and this has caused an emotional drawback for her when it comes to falling in love.  Simon knows, as soon as he lays eyes on Tessa, that she is the one. And so begins the journey that sees the couple meeting and parting in different locations around the world over the course of several months.

This is such a beautiful story and I’ll admit I was on tender-hooks at some stages and sobbing like a baby at others.  Simon is an adorable man and fully deserved to fall in love, it is such a shame that time was lost but maybe it was needed.   Tessa had to deal with everything the only way she knew how and it worked for a while but whether you believe in destiny or not, these two belonged together.

Keep the tissues handy, you will need them by the end of part 1, most of the way through part 2 and again for part 3! Loved it!

RATING 5/5

Synopsis

When Tessa Talman meets Simon Fremont for the first time, not only is she attracted to him, she’s intrigued by how different their lives are. He’s a dedicated scientist, practical, pragmatic, and grounded—while she’s a head-in-the-clouds romance author. As their relationship grows, they agree to meet in places around the world, while continuing to live on opposite sides of the globe.

Though their feelings for each other deepen, their priorities remain the same. Simon is in a hurry to be financially sound and settle down, but Tessa is enjoying her freedom and newfound success. Neither is willing to give in, but as each goodbye gets harder, Tessa begins to wonder whether fame is the path to happiness, or if she has everything she needs in Simon.

Just as Tessa finds the courage to go after her own happily ever after, the unthinkable happens, separating them in ways they never imagined. 

To move forward, she must let go of the past, and determine once and for all if love is truly more powerful than the pain of goodbye.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29493317-eight-goodbyes)

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

REVIEW

This is a new author to me and I really like finding out whether I will enjoy an authors work or not.  It took me a while to get into this book.  There are a lot of characters, and it was a little confusing at first trying to remember who was with whom and how they were connected, but after the first couple of chapters I soon had it sorted.

The story is about nine friends, who spend every New Year’s eve together.   This year they have hired a lodge and cabins in the Highlands of Scotland.  The only other people around are Heather – the manager, Doug – the Gamekeeper, Liam – the handyman, and two unexpected Icelandic travellers. To say that nobody has the New Year that they are expecting is an understatement!

This is a mystery with a twist. Not only do we not know who the murderer is until the very end, we also don’t know who the victim is.  It certainly was an interesting way of writing the story that keeps the reader wondering  and trying to piece information together about who either party could be.  There is a lot of backstory about the characters throughout this book which does have relevance when it is all tied together but I wouldn’t say that there was anything definitive to give the game away, but that is just me.

The story is told from the point of view of three of the female ‘friends’, as well as Heather and Doug. It also switches between the past and the present, which adds some more intrigue to the story as we still don’t know who has died.  Very well written in that regard.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it is well written and has some very interesting characters. I will be reading more by this author in future.

Rating 4/5

ARC Review – Courtesy of Netgalley

Synopsis

The Hunting Party is the author’s first crime novel and is described as combining elements of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (HarperCollins) and The Secret History (Penguin) by Donna Tartt.

The novel follows a a tight-knit group of Oxford university alumni as they celebrate New Year’s Eve in the wilderness of the Loch Corrin Estate in Scotland. A HarperFiction spokesperson said: “In these wild, white climes the group reminisce, go deer stalking, and hide friendship-destroying secrets, secrets that set a razor-sharp sequence of events in motion, culminating with a broken body in the snow.”  

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37642030-the-hunting-party)

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

REVIEW

Perhaps not as well known as Jane Austen’s two previous books, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park is still none the less enticing and intriguing.  The unrequited love that Fanny has for Edmund is evident from an early age and continues into adulthood.  The emotional pain and torment she experiences when Edmund becomes attracted to Mary Crawford and everyone becomes excited over her received proposal  from Henry Crawford,  can be felt through the pages.  As an outsider, Fanny observes things that others do not and she is very intuitive about human nature.  She has both the Crawford siblings pegged from the very start and, although there are signs of jealousy, it is far more about their character that she distrusts than her own feelings towards Edmund.

Fanny’s return home is a very emotional experience for her and not at all what she expected. There is little love shown from either of her parents and it is not surprising that her thoughts soon return to Mansfield Park and the extended family she has there.

My only criticism, if you can even call it that, is that the ending seemed to short.  The whole story is about Fanny’s feelings for Edmund but when she does finally ‘get her man’ it is such a small section at the very end.  I suppose in a way it does actually fit with Fanny’s character as it is very matter-of-fact with no heirs and graces, just like Fanny.

A very endearing and captivating story

 RATING 4/5

Synopsis

Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen’s most profound works.

(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45032.Mansfield_Park)