He Said/ She Said by Erin Kelly

 

C469F84F-2B58-49D5-90B0-13AD9F0E8F2C This book has a few twists and turns that fit together nicely in the end. One of those, Ah that all makes sense now and I wouldn’t have suspected X as the one providing the mind games.

An eclipse plays heavily into the psychological drama as this is where Beth, Laura and Kit meet for the first time. An eclipse festival is planned on a farmer’s property in Cornwall & these three cross paths in less than ideal circumstances. Laura finds a purse, she and Kit spilt up to look for the owner and Laura witnesses Beth being sexually  assaulted.

After all three testify in court Laura has such sympathy for Beth that she gives her contact info in case she wants to talk. Beth suddenly shows up and becomes a part of Kit and Laura’s life, much to Kit’s chagrin. Beth exhibits unstable behavior and eventually Laura and Kit decide to “disappear” after several scary incidents.

The book title reminds you the rape charge is a matter of he said/she said. Was it rape or consensual? The title doesn’t apply only to the rape but events occurring between Kit, Laura and Beth. Get set for psychological drama and revelations you might not have expected.

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This is my third novel by Erin Kelly. I very much enjoyed Stone Mothers and Broadchurch previously.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

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The Rumor by Lesley Kara

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Single mum Joanna moves back to the small town of Flinstead England to give her son Alfie a fresh start and be near her mother. Jo has given up a well established career and beautiful apartment to get Alfie out of a bully situation at school. It’s a more sedate way of life.

While awaiting her son’s release from school one day she overhears a group of mothers talking about a child killer who may be living under an assumed identity in this little town.

Sally McGowan was a child when she was accused and convicted of murdering a little boy. She served her time and was released years ago but given an new identity. The mothers are convinced Sally is living among them. Salacious rumors start up and soon single females of the appropriate age are suspect.

Joanna is concerned about her son but she also voices that people who serve their time deserve another chance. This isn’t met with resounding acceptance from the others.

This is Lesley Kara’s first novel and it kept me turning pages. Well done plot, buildup of suspense and a variety of suspects that doesn’t make this easy to figure out. There’s a small twist on the last page that truly surprised me.

This was one of the books selected for a group read at the Kindle English Mystery Bookclub. Join in on Goodreads if you like British mysteries.

Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday and the Kindle English Mystery BookClub on Goodreads

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Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

goneHere we have another good mystery and family drama by English author Lisa Jewell.  Sixteen year old Ellie Mack heads off to the library one day and simply disappears.  This is resolved in the book but I don’t want to give any spoilers.

Ellie’s mother Laurel Mack is consumed with looking for her daughter and, as happens in real life scenarios, the other children and her husband take a back seat and are somewhat neglected.  This isn’t the plot of the entire book but it sets up the character development.  You see/read why the relationships fracture.

Moving ahead roughly ten years Laurel meets a man named Floyd in a chance encounter in a coffee shop.  They start seeing each other (Ellie’s ex-husband is now happily remarried) and eventually she is invited to his home to meet his daughter Poppy.  The little girl is very grown up for a 9 year old,  her physical attributes reminding Laurel of her lost daughter.

As the supporting characters move in and out of the story you feel you know them.  You can feel the tension between Laurel and her oldest daughter, the slim tether of a bond with her son and his girlfriend, the absolute support of her ex husband and the growing relationship with Floyd as Laurel tries at a second chance for a happy life.

All is not as it seems and the mystery about Ellie’s disappearance, good intentions that went awry and revelations come in a big ending in this psychological drama.

There was some food mentioned here and there but the one that stuck out was a Jambalaya Laurel prepared for a dinner with Floyd.

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This was my fourth novel by Lisa Jewell.   Obviously I am besotted by her writing.   Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

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The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

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An old Manse in the Scottish countryside. The mystery of a father missing for 27 years, along with a cache of diamonds from the jeweler he worked for, some “other worldly” dynamics from the house and tales of it’s haunting.  All of that grabbed me from the first chapter.

Ailsa Calder has inherited the old Manse after her mother dies.  It’s her early childhood home before her father disappeared and her mother moved them away.  The catch is Ailsa only inherited half the property.  Her missing father has the other half and she has no way to sell it without his consent.  In all the years he has been gone her mother never made time to have him declared legally dead.  She can live in it and that’s what she does for the short term.

Before each chapter there is a short story about where Ailsa’s father is living and the circumstances.  Each story is different and you realize it’s Ailsa’s theories on where her absent father ended up. She doesn’t know, no one does.

Ailsa invites her half sister Carrie to move into the old house with her while she sorts the legal process of selling it or renting it.  Ailsa is never comfortable in the house and you come to see why near the end. It’s spooky. Or corny, depending on your point of view.

There are many characters and the writing is well done, using dinna and other Outlander-type language so you feel the Scottish accents flowing in conversation.  There are many characters I liked and I honestly didn’t peg the villain character, not even when it was presented.  I would read more by Lexie Elliott.  Loved her first book The French Girl and am looking forward to more in the future.

Carrie made an excellent roasted chicken dinner and I knew I wanted that comfort food as soon as possible.  This was shared by Carrie, Ailsa and Fiona.

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Sharing with Joy for British Isles Friday

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First Chapter hosted by Vicki :-)

Recently I discovered I had Lexie Elliott’s second book so I tucked in immediately.  I enjoyed her first book, The French Girl, so I was excited to find The Missing Years on my Kindle.

There’s a spooky old house in the Scottish Highlands.  A young woman has inherited it after her mother died but it’s not been lived in for over 20 years.  There is a history that goes with the old Manse – over 200 years ago English soldiers burned the Kirk to the ground with women and children inside.  There isn’t any sign of where the kirk/church existed yet the Manse still stands. Is it cursed?

Alisa Calder inherits this property.  She is making her way to her bedroom on the second floor when something doesn’t feel right. “When I get to the top of the stairs, I turn for my bedroom, but instantly I know something is wrong.  I couldn’t say what, but I can feel it before I can see it…..

There’s a man in the hallway.”

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Would you keep reading?  You bet I have as I love a mystery and the setting in Scotland is vividly described.  Linking up with Vicki at I’d Rather Be At The Beach for her First Chapter event. 

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Review coming up soon.

The UP series {Watch life unfold for 14 British citizens}

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Decades back I watched a PBS show called 7 to 21 UP.  Recently I was reminded of that series and see it’s now called The UP series.  Basically the director Michael Apted brought together fourteen  British children, all aged seven, from different social and economic backgrounds.  They were all interviewed and I found it interesting to see the differences in the children, how they spoke, the levels of shyness and what their aspirations were for life.

That last line is a funny one as what seven year old child really knows what they want.  My son at that age wrote an essay (which I still have) stating he wanted to greet people in a store, become a policeman and a King.  Not necessarily in that order.  It was interesting to hear these children talk and speak about their thoughts. The first interviews were conducted in 1964.

This evolved to having the same group meet up again seven years later at age 14 and then again aged 21.  Hence the name of the original broadcast, Seven to 21 Up.  You were able to see the growth, how they matured and what they were doing with their lives.  Obviously the participation was voluntary.

I just discovered that they kept doing the series.  They are now 63 years old!  Same as me.  Here’s a clip of the show or at least the premise.

Here is a link to tell about the participants, in a nutshell.  Some were from affluent families, others working class, some ended up in posh London and others in Yorkshire and Cumbria and Scotland.  It’s a great human drama, a slice of life sort of film.

Sharing with Joy’s British Isles Friday event.

 

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

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This is the fourth novel by Lisa Jewell I have read and obviously I am now a true fan.  I love the way she weaves a story and makes you care about characters.  They come to life and I found myself invested in the outcomes, good or bad.  Didn’t matter if there were a few unlikable characters, I needed to see what would happen.  Let’s face it, you have to have a few villainous  characters or there wouldn’t be tension.

The house in question here is a lovely place in the Cotswolds, home of the Bird family.  Colin and Lorelei Bird have four children.  Megan, Bethann, Rory and Rhys.  We journey through their lives and the drama unfolds over the years.  We meet the children when they are small and by the end of the book they are middle aged.

This book addresses the mental illness of a hoarder and what it does to a family.  It was distressing to watch Lorelei at times; I felt such empathy for Megan and Bethann and developed a dislike of Megan’s partner Bill after a bit.  Rory was a product of his environment and Rhys….I won’t spoil that part because it’s integral to the way everyone’s lives play out.

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