I Found You by Lisa Jewell

foundThe setting is Ridinghouse Bay in northern England. We have multiple story lines overlapping which eventually merge. One story is about Alice Lake, single mother of three.

By her own admittance she isn’t a good mother. She sees a man sitting in the rain staring out to sea near her home and eventually walks up to him, gives him an old coat, a cup of hot tea and checks on him. The man is in a fugue state and can’t remember anything about his life, not his name or where he’s from. From other reviews I see some people didn’t like Alice and I can see some of their point of view. She’s a kind person and a loving person but she’s a bit too bohemian for motherhood. Giving this stranger a place to sleep in her guest “shed” is kindly yet you wonder is she putting her children at risk? Who is this guy? The loving exchanges with her children, feeding a troupe of her teenage son’s friends and taking in stray dogs….and people…..she is basically a very good person.

The second story line is set in 1993, over twenty years prior to the Alice Lake and the memory-lapse-guy story. The Ross family stays at Rabbit Cottage every year, located on Ridinghouse Bay. The two teenagers, Gray and Kristy, aren’t as enthused about going now that they are older. Typical teens, right? Enter a mysterious handsome 19 year-old who takes a rather creepy interest in 15 year-old Kristy. The parents don’t notice it but older brother Gray certainly does and feels very protective. This story ramps up quickly.

Last but not least we have a Ukraine bride named Lily, living in London with her English husband Carl Montose. They’ve only been married a few weeks and suddenly he is missing.  He flat out disappears and Lily discovers she knew nothing about his life. The police get involved as it’s a missing persons case and some startling facts are revealed about Carl Montose.  Could he be the memory impaired fellow staying in Alice’s shed? For what it’s worth, I did not care for Lily.  Too brusque.

What I especially liked were the mini cliffhangers. The end of the chapters had you wanting more but as you turn the page, you move on to one of the other stories. This is the third book I have read by Lisa Jewell and have become a fan. Of the three novels this was my least favorite but I did like it.   On hold at the library is Jewell’s book The House We Grew Up In and I am looking forward to that one.

There is a bit of food mentioned yet it’s not a foodie book by any means.  Cream teas, cucumber sandwiches, beet and horseradish tea sandwiches, roasted beef with root vegetables, sausages and mash, pizza, steak, bagels and peanut butter and cake.

Alice fed the throng of teen boys sausages and mash.  While that was tempting I went with a roasted chicken meal.  Alice roasted beef and root vegetables and I opted for poultry. Lovely meal to share over a glass of wine and lots of chatter.

chick

Original recipe post may be found HERE at Squirrel Head Manor.

Sharing with Joy for her British Isles Friday event.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

watchingThe beginning
A murder has taken place. There is a clear suspect based on evidence at the scene.  One of the things I loved is the author didn’t use a pronoun so you don’t know if the victim is male or female.  Not until near the very end!  There are alternating perspectives from several characters; these cloud the waters when you are formulating  theories about the interwoven scenarios.

This touches on so many issues from a school girl crush on a handsome teacher, a newly married couple who are at odds about having a baby, bullying, a mentally ill neighbor which you really feel for and a brilliant teenage boy who is expert at watching people and keeping detailed journals on activities. 

As a mystery/ thriller fan and reader I was pleased this wasn’t a slam dunk for me. Was I surprised about the ending? You betcha.

This is the second novel I have read by Lisa Jewell and it’s most certainly not the last. I enjoyed her latest book, The Family Upstairs, and certainly enjoyed this one.  Up next for me is Jewell’s novel I Found You

Sharing with Joy for her British Isles Friday event.

 

 

 

 

My Yorkshire Great and Small by Peter Wright

We begin with an introduction to the Yorkshire Show in Harrogate, a  big agricultural event that’s been ongoing for over 150 years. Mr. Wright mentioned Amanda Owen, The Yorkshire Shepherdess, who attended and was a guest speaker. I’m a fan of her books as well.

What attracted me to the book was the setting and author being a veterinarian in the Dales. Peter Wright was a Vet trainee with Alf Wight and Donald Sinclair (James Herriot and Siegfried Farnon) something I didn’t know until I started reading this book. He also has a television show! The Yorkshire Vet is a program I was unaware of until I read this book and yes, it seems I am living under a rock some days when I discover an old show.

The observations and comparisons to present day and what life was like decades ago was also very interesting to me. Fishing is a pastime our author and his brother enjoyed very much.  The observation that many of the today’s youth don’t have that opportunity as they are living in cities and are so used to iPhone, Xboxes and that electronic distractions.

I found the story about finding centuries old coins fascinating.  A pair of brothers were digging up a piece of their farmland, leveling it off when they discovered a broken ceramic jug and coins.  It’s a great story and fabulous discovery.  After these old treasures were dug up  they ended up in a museum.  This is after a court decision.  If I am ever visiting near York’s Castle Museum I will certainly want to view the display of coins and old papers.

Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. Publication date is January 17, 2020. If you enjoy reading about veterinarians, Yorkshire or loved the James Herriot stories you will like this book.

Sharing with Joy for her British Isles Friday event.

 

The Nearest Exit {book 2 in the Milo Weaver trilogy}

olenThis book is the second in the trilogy about former CIA spy Milo Weaver. I liked the first book better but this was a pretty good read.

The first part of the book had me turning pages but when they introduced the German agent I felt it started to drag a bit.  Nothing that would make me abandon the book and I admit once the character was “flashed out” I enjoyed it more.  You definitely want to start with the first book in the series and I certainly look forward to the last book to wrap it up.  Like the Bourne Identity – you want to make that journey from the beginning of Milo’s story to the end.

Good character development from the first book and this second story picked up smoothly from the first.  If you are a fan of espionage you may like this book.  Hoping it becomes a movie!

I received this complimentary copy from NetGalley and opinions are all mine; I was not compensated for this review.

We Met in December By Rosie Curtis

dece

Christmas and London are a match made in heaven. There’s a man on the street corner selling hot chestnuts by the bag, filling the air with the smell of cinnamon and vanilla. The ornate wooden windows of Liberty are glittering with lights and decorations. I stop to look at a huge tree swathed in ribbons and hung with a million dancing fairy lights and – “Watch out!

Jess is new to London and absolutely thrilled to be living there temporarily. Everything is a wonder to her from the sights, the culture, the lovely people and her home in Nottinghill.

Alex and Jess are roommates. They like each other, they develop a secret crush on one another, then the predictable coupling happens.   Alex helps Jess find her way around London, showing her the sights and taking us along for the walk.

This is a lighthearted, Hallmarkesque kinda book. I wanted to be immersed in Nottinghill, read about snow and London culture in a passive easy read. This is an easy read you can finish up in a day or two.

Much thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. Publication date is November 5, 2019. If you enjoy a light romantic chick lit kinda book, you will like this story.

Sharing with Joy for her British Isles Friday event.

BriFri

Dear Stephanie, Dear Paul

paul I learned about this book from the blog Georgia Girl with an English Heart.  Kay, the writer of this blog married her pen friend from England.  Kay is an Anglophile  and had been writing to an English fellow for nine years before they married.  The book Dear Stephanie, Dear Paul: A transatlantic love story told through correspondence was recommended to Kay as it’s a similar story.

The time period is late 1940’s.  You can get a historical snapshot of the latest music, books, fashion and culture from both writers, American teenager Paul and English teenager Stephanie .

The rationing situation in England was interesting to read about as well as the economy.  Paul’s salary was a good fortune compared to English salaries fro the same job.  Paul saved and saved until he could eventually meet Stephanie and get a tour of England. After hundreds of letters where friendship blossomed into love, they married and lived in Ohio.  They were married 58 years and had three children.

If you’d like to read about that time period from the points of view of Paul and Stephanie you would love this book.

More info:

Stephanie Duke’s obituary
Paul Duke’s obituary

Sharing with Joy for her British Isles Friday event.

BriFrit

Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

inheritance I seem to be on a non-fiction reading streak lately. This book has been talked about on the book blogs I read, in particular on Beth Fish Reads has mentioned Shapio’s books, also Vicki’s I’d Rather Be at the Beach and JoAnn’s Lakeside Musing.  This is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Dani Shapiro took a DNA test through Ancestry fully expecting to know the answers about her heritage.  She was from an Orthodox Jewish family,  spoke perfect Hebrew and could tell you her long lineage without missing a beat.  Despite being a blue-eyed blonde, the girl in the photos who stood out from her dark haired half sibling and cousins – she was confident about her lineage.   The results of the test pulled her world apart as a loose thread in a tapestry.

At the age of 54 she learned her father was not her biological father. They must have made a mistake. It’s an interesting journey reading how Shapiro used her research skills to find more information about her biological background.  With the support of her husband and son she embarked on a journey to discover the part of her ancestry she never knew or suspected.

Being a former devotee of family history research (I burnt out) this ignited the flame a bit.  I will be checking on the particulars of 23 & Me before plopping down any money.  This is a good book and I will certainly keep Ms. Shapiro on my reading radar.