I’d had Kokomo by Victoria Hannan for quite a while before I picked it up to read. It’d been garnering a lot of praise from from bookstagrammers, bloggers and reviewers so—although the cover looked like something out of Fifty Shades of Grey—I decided to give it a try.
I adored teenager Evie, introduced last year along with forensic psychologist Cyrus in Michael Robotham’s Good Girl Bad Girl. (The girl they named) Evie was found almost seven years earlier, abandoned and in hiding, and has an extraordinary ability to tell when people are lying. Cyrus was cynical about this talent at first but is now convinced.
It’s interesting that both Evie and Cyrus were ‘found / rescued’ when young by police officers. Cyrus has stayed in touch with his rescuer Lenny though and she often drags him into cases.
The past and present collide here as the case Lenny’s investigating has ties to Evie’s past.
I was worried I was offering up spoilers by saying Dear Child by Romy Hausmann very much reminded me of Room by Emma Donohue. And then I read the media release and discovered it’s promoted as ‘Gone Girl meets Room’.
It certainly reminded me of Room – initially at least. Of course I’ve read other similar books as the theme of women / children in long-term captivity (having escaped) was pretty popular for a while. (And sadly it seemed fiction was mirroring what we were reading in the newspapers for a while.)
Interestingly this book (originally written in German—translated by Jamie Bulloch—and set in a town near the Czech border) offers something slightly different, as we fairly quickly learn that many of the assumptions we make aren’t—in fact—correct.
Fortunately for her (and thankfully for me), O’Leary certainly didn’t fall into the dreaded second-book trap (ie. in which it’s a disappointment: either an ‘actual’ disappointment, or just in comparison to the debut) as I was absolutely smitten with her new novel, The Switch.
I read it over two nights – which is unusual for me as I’m normally all about instant gratification. However, I had to put it aside on the first night and returned to it the next and…. those who know me would have seen my tweet (below)… I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t want it to end.
All of Natasha Lester’s novels have featured ground-breaking women. Those ahead of their time – battling society’s norms and often weighed down by the expectations of those they love.
Her books I’ve enjoyed most have probably featured women with more virtuous pursuits (and I don’t mean to imply beauty products/make-up or designing fashion aren’t lofty life goals). Her first book, A Kiss From Mr Fitzgerald featured a woman battling to get into medical school in the early 1920s; her last, The French Photographer a female war photographer.
Her books unfold in multiple timeframes, usually the past and present(ish). Her latest, The Paris Secret is no different and is probably my favourite since her first. Not only did I enjoy the characters and their stories, but Lester’s writing is quite exquisite.
A local friend was raving about Hannah Richell’s writing (and books) and I had to admit I hadn’t read any.
Thankfully I’d requested her latest and I can see why my fellow-avid-reader loves her work. Her writing is stunning. I’m not a very visual person so some of her incredibly descriptive prose is probably wasted on me, but she strings words and phrasing together in an almost lyrical fashion. As if it comes easily.
I starting reading this book amidst a terrible case of murder / suicide in my home state. Domestic violence rather than child abuse reared its ugly head but it involved the murder of a family – as a result – there have been many discussions since about men hurting children they purport to love.
Kelly Rimmer’s latest book Truths I Never Told You unfolds from the points of view of two women. One struggling to engage with her child, and the other struggling against the urge to lash out and harm hers.
JP Pomare’s Call Me Evie, released in 2018, was set in New Zealand (and Australia) and centred around a young woman with quite a complex ‘before’ and ‘after’ story to share. It didn’t flow quite as seamlessly as I would have liked, but I certainly didn’t find it predictable.
Pomare’s followed his popular debut with another kinda creepy and suspenseful tale that’s more polished and the ‘unknown’ more deftly handled than his debut. There is however a similar theme around identity; and its fragility when our spirit or psyche is threatened.