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suzannebowditch

Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)

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book review

Book Review: Dead Man’s Land -Robert Ryan

Deeply entrenched as I am in WW1 (no pun intended!), I happened to come across this book whilst browsing my local QBD book store.

Its a fictional crime thriller, which (for me), makes a refreshing change from the more factual aspects of the Great War.

What was so appealing about this book is the POV of the main character. A strong older man and a doctor, Watson’ s previous claims to fame are as Sherlock Holmes’ sidekick.

With his relationship with Holmes estranged, Watson finds himself tending to the wounded along the Western Front. Surrounded by the carnage, a series of bodies turn up, and Watson has to use his detecting skills once more to solve the murders in a place where thousands of soldiers are dying every day.

This book is so well researched, with heaps of historical facts and settings. Added to that, there are both strong male AND female characters. It is a great read, even more so as the character of Dr Watson has always been shrouded in mystery, always one step behind Holmes.

I think Conan Doyle would approve. 4/5 stars.

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Book Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

The Dry Jane Harper

This book has been on my TBR list ever since I heard how good it was. It was mentioned as a ‘good read’ on The First Tuesday Book Club hosted by Jennifer Byrne a few weeks back. Usually, I don’t  like to read what they’ve recommended as I find the show a tad too arty, but the cover on this book appealed to me.

Boy, I am so glad that I found it (on offer, I must say) at my local K Mart – and BOUGHT it!. Its my best read so far this year (to get the perspective on that statement; I have read over 50 books so far for my Book Challenge 2016 on Goodreads).

It is beautifully written, amazing, I loved the plot, the characters, the setting, the mood of the book. You can almost feel the hot Australian sun burning on your back as you read it – its that GOOD! Each page makes you want more; each character is a potential suspect; you will not guess until the end who is the villain.

I read in one weekend; could not put it down….

The Dry – Jane Harper

Who killed the Hadler family?

Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown of Kiewarra, rural Victoria, for the funeral of an old school friend. Now living and working as a cop in Melbourne, he left Kiewarra under a mask of suspicion some twenty years ago, when his school girlfriend Ellie Deacon was found dead in the bottom of the river, her pockets filled with pebbles.

Now he returns for the funeral of Luke Hadler, a farmer, who has killed his wife and young son and set the shotgun onto himself. The river where Ellie was found is now a dry river bed, a result of the drought that has inflicted the area for the last few years, causing farmers to shoot starving cattle, and despair of the rains returning.

Falk just wants to pay his respects, and leave. He counts down the hours until his has to go, but then finds himself investigating the deaths with the local copper. In the process, he becomes untangled into the past and the ghosts that lay there, waiting to reappear.

So Luke is cast as a despairing, depressive farmer who has lost hope and killed his family as a result, or so the local town cops believe. Its a clear cut and dried case, but is it?

An atmospheric, mesmerizing thriller, that will leave you guessing until the end!

A fabulous read –  5/5.

 

 

Book Review : The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Harold Fry.png

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

Sometimes, a book comes along that makes you feel so content with the world, so hopeful that everything will be ‘just right.’ This is one of these times that a book has made me feel warm and satisfied with my lot. A poignant touching tale that will leave you feeling moved, and hopeful of the world. That doesn’t happen very often….

Harold Fry is lonely. A retired brewery salesman, he lives with his wife in a seaside town of Kingsbridge, England. His life is the same day after day whilst his wife cleans around him. Until one day, a letter drops through his mail box that will change his life. So started his journey to visit a dying friend in hospital, a friend that he hasn’t heard from in 20 years. What starts as a walk to the post box at the end of his street ends up as being a pilgrimage to the other end of the country, to Berwick -upon – Tweed. On the way, he meets a mixture of people from all walks of life; a single father of two, a man in a gorilla suit, a pack of cycling mothers and a stray dog.

It is a lovely tale, told in a calm and uplifting manner that will leave you loving the main character of Harold, and his quest for inner happiness. “A magical, moving and uplifting tale about a man’s journey across Britain and into his own heart.” Deborah Moggach

5/5

 

Book Review

Image-2An Isolated Incident – Emily Maguire

Having just recently enjoyed the psychological thriller Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica, (set in Chicago) I was looking forward to settling down with this new psychological thriller, set in a small rural town in Australia.

The premise of the book grabs the reader immediately;

-Bella Michaels, 25 years old and a care assistant in a nursing home, is brutally murdered and left on a secluded road outside the small town of Strathdee,

-the town is naturally stunned, no more so than the victim’s devastated older sister Chris, a barmaid in the local pub,

-Chris plunges into deep despair and depression, is suspicious of every man who walks into the pub, and starts having visions of her dead sister,

-Added to that, the media descends on the town and the usual circus ensues.

I plunged myself into this read with enthusiasm and anticipation, and I was initially not disappointed. BUT as the book unravels, the focus leans more towards the two main characters -Chris the sister, and May the reporter, rather than the actual murder itself. I wanted to know more about the murder, but instead got viewpoint’s from Chris (real good character development, if a little unlikable) and May the reporter (also flawed).

There are themes of domestic violence, misogyny, the media treatment of murder victim’s especially young women, BUT then it became not so much a thriller as a drama.

The attack became secondary to the development of the characters – not a bad thing in itself, but this, to me, was a psychological drama.

I give it 3 1/2 out of 5. 🙂

 

Book Review

  The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth GilbertBook The signature of all things

The Signature of All Things is one of my favorite books of all time. I bought the book last year at a discount book store, and read it. And loved it. It is a beautifully written book, with fascinating characters living at such an exciting time (the Victorian period) that you will be left bereft to leave the characters, especially the main protagonist, in order to finish it.In fact, it is a story that can be read again and again (I have read it twice, so far).

At just shy of 500 pages, it could be classed as an epic read (certainly in my mind), and tells the story of Alma Whittaker, a  woman who wants for nothing but pursues everything. Her father, Henry Whittaker is one of the richest businessmen in America at that time, and Alama inherits not only his money, but his brilliant mind. Her thirst for knowledge leads her across the globe, researching the mysteries behind evolution, at a time when Charles Darwin was researching the same theory in England. It is the time of the Age of Enlightenment, when all the preconceived notions regarding religion, commerce and society are being questioned and overturned in an ever changing world.

Alma is a botanist, and in her quest to find the evolution of the species spends her life studying moss. She also manages to travel the world and to marry her one true love, Ambrose Pike, who’s paintings of orchids she adores. In her travels, she meets fascinating characters; missionaries, scientists, fellow botanists and adventurers.

A fabulous read, well worth a recommendation. 5/5.

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016

Book Review

Tapestry by Fiona McIntosh

This is a delicious read from one of my favorite authors. As a self published author of historical fiction, this is how I would like to write!

The book is set in the year 1978, and also 1715, during the Jacobite Rebellion.

” – the Jacobite rebellion was a series of risings, rebellions and wars in Great Britain and Ireland occurring between 1688 and 1746.’ – Wikipedia

The book focuses on Jane Maxwell who lives in 1978. She is engaged to her fiance Will, but in her quest to save him after a tragedy leaves him in a coma, she embarks on a quest that catapults her back in time to 1715, and the doomed Jacobite Rebellion.

It is filled with plenty of action (some set in Australia) and manages to combine history, time travel, and romance in its pages. I loved Jane, as all the characters.12498918_1380242735334590_71351748_n. They were well rounded and believable, and the plot flowed quite seamlessly from one era to another.

The book could be compared to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but I prefer  Ms Mackintosh’s style of writing.

A good 4/5

Book review

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Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica

Bought on a Friday;

Read by Monday.

This female psychological thriller had me gripped from start to finish.

Heidi lives with her husband and only daughter Zoe in an apartment at the center of Chicago. She is a humanitarian, specializing in helping people from all walks of life.As she waits for her regular train to take her to work one morning, she spots a young girl and a baby. They are clearly homeless as the girl is sheltering under a door way with just a battered suitcase and a crying infant. The baby looks fretful and ill and the girl tired and dirty. Both look hungry.

Heidi sees her the next day, and the next.

Then one day, she asks if she can pay for dinner.

What follows is a real page turner, as the events unfold and we learn more about Heidi, her husband, and the girl called Willow.

It will leave guessing from the very start.

Highly recommend  – 5/5

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