Talking About ‘The Last Thing She Told Me’ with Bibliobeth!

The Last Thing She Told Me

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Even the deepest buried secrets can find their way to the surface…

Moments before she dies, Nicola’s grandmother Betty whispers to her that there are babies at the bottom of the garden.

Nicola’s mother claims she was talking nonsense. However, when Nicola’s daughter finds a bone while playing in Betty’s garden, it’s clear that something sinister has taken place.

But will unearthing painful family secrets end up tearing Nicola’s family apart?

CHRISSI: Did you ever feel like this book was too far-fetched?

BETH: This might not be the same answer for everyone who reads it but unfortunately for me at points, I found it difficult to connect with. Not necessarily unbelievable but there were points when I thought the way certain characters reacted to circumstances weren’t how I imagined they would in a real-life situation. However, I don’t have any personal experience similar enough to what some of the women suffer through in this book so who can say for certain how someone would/should react? I have plenty of experience with grief and it certainly does crazy things to a person, emotionally and psychologically speaking. Also, the part with the fairy bone and Maisie being allowed to keep it for a night according to the police – I really don’t think that would actually happen.

BETH: What did you think of the relationship between the women, primarily Nicola and her mother Irene? Did you find any similarities between Nicola’s relationship to her oldest daughter, Ruby?

CHRISSI: I felt like the relationships between women in this story were quite fractured. Nicola and Irene definitely had a difficult time within this story, mainly down to what had happened to Irene in the past. Nicola may not have realised this. I feel like Nicola tried to be more open and honest with her own daughter although she hid a major secret from her. There were so many secrets in this story that affected all of the female relationships.

CHRISSI: What purpose did William’s letters to Betty serve throughout the book?

BETH: I thought they served as a nice little addition to the narrative. I really enjoy the inclusion of letters in a novel, it gives such a fascinating insight into a character’s life and personality but the danger with them is that if you’re only hearing from one person’s point of view, it gives only one side of the story. With the different threads going on throughout this book, I couldn’t help but be slightly suspicious of William’s character and motives and it was interesting to read how it all panned out in the end.

BETH: Did you predict what would happen at any point in this novel?

CHRISSI: I don’t think so. I had some ideas along the way but nothing that was particularly solid. I think it could have gone in any direction really… it was that sort of book!

CHRISSI: Without spoilers. why do you think Nicola finally acknowledges what happened to her at age 20?

BETH: I think Nicola goes through so much inner turmoil as she relives her own personal experiences through that of her mother and grandmother. It reminds her how different life was for women just a generation or two ago and how little power or control they seemed to have over their own destiny. As a result, it makes her think again about how times have changed. She now has the perfect opportunity to break her silence and speak out whilst arriving at the realisation that telling her family the truth is better than hiding terrible secrets.

BETH: Why do you think Betty mentioned the babies to Nicola before she died?

CHRISSI: In my opinion, Betty wanted her family to be able to move on. If she told Nicola then the secrets would be out in the open. I think it somewhat took a weight off Betty’s mind and she could die knowing that she had done the right thing.

CHRISSI: What significance do the fairy statues have throughout the story?

BETH: I love the addition of the fairy statues (and I’m sure you did too, I know you have a fondness for fairies!). However, they do represent something a lot darker and more saddening than you would normally associate them with. I believe they represent childhood, innocence and how these things can be permanently altered through traumatic experiences.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I would. I haven’t read this author before, but I was pleasantly surprised at how easy her writing was to read.

Would WE recommend it?:

BETH: Yes!

CHRISSI: Yes!

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The Breakdown

The Breakdown

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Behind Closed Doors

Synopsis:

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside—the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

Thoughts:

I loved Behind Closed Doors. It was such an excellent debut, that I’ve put off reading The Breakdown because I was worried that it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. I’m very happy to say that it certainly did live up to my expectations. If I hadn’t been as busy as I was, I would’ve devoured this book in a day.

During a storm, Cass takes a detour through the woods to get out of the storm and be back at home. On the way, she notices a breakdown at the side of the road. Even though she is concerned, she doesn’t stop and just worries about getting home. The next day, she finds out that the woman at the side of the road has been killed. Cass can’t get her out of her head. Since that day, she’s been incredibly paranoid, forgetful and has been receiving silent phone calls. She can’t help that think the murderer might be after her…

I loved that The Breakdown had a very different vibe to it. I liked that I was kept guessing. I really didn’t know whether Cass was a reliable narrator. I did doubt her along the way. I didn’t know if we were being lead to believe that Cass was on the brink of a breakdown or whether something terrible was happening. I did guess one of the twists, but another I was quite oblivious to.

I can see why some people find Cass to be a frustrating protagonist. She’s not got much of a back bone. Yet, there was something about her that I personally found to be quite endearing.

I think this book is well worth reading, if you’re into exciting, unreliable narrators.

Would I recommend it?
Of course! 4.5 stars

I really enjoyed this book! I thought it was an utterly addictive read.

The Silent Patient

The Silent Patient

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Orion Publishing

Synopsis:

Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.

Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.

Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….

Thoughts:

Ahhh this book. I had seen it absolutely everywhere and I held off until February to read it, as I had an ARC. The struggle to wait for it. The struggle. I can confidently say that I’m so pleased I waited. It was an amazing read. I’m absolutely blown away that this is a debut novel. It was incredible. I really should stop gushing now and get into my review.

This has a really exciting premise. It’s about a woman named Alicia Berenson who is accused of murdering her husband. The trouble is, since the crime, Alicia hasn’t spoken. For six years she’s been living in a mental health unit called The Grove. The Grove is for very dangerous people with serious mental health issues. Readers then meet Theo Faber, who has had a tough childhood. He’s now a psychotherapist. He’s intrigued by Alicia and wants to be the one to ‘cure’ her and getting her to speak again. He wants to help solve the mystery as to why she murdered her husband.

This is one of those reviews where I’m going to be terribly vague because I don’t want to ruin the story. I will say that it’s an incredibly well written story. It’s so compulsive. I desperately wanted to find out what was going on. I absolutely loved the inclusion of Alicia’s diary. Argh. I want to say so much but I can’t because of spoilers. It is a bit of a slow burner, which I don’t usually enjoy, but this one had me from the very beginning.

I have to admit that I didn’t see the twist coming. I know many people will do, but for me I was quite shocked which is why I had to give it a 5 star rating. I think this will be an excellent book club read. It truly deserves all of the praise it’s getting.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

A truly excellent 2019 debut. Alex Michaelides is truly one to watch!

I’ll Find You

I'll Find You

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bonnier Zaffre

Synopsis:

Emily Jacobs, a nurse, is in hospital for a minor operation. When she wakes in the night, woozy with anaesthetic, she sees the doctor frantically trying to resuscitate the woman in the bed next to her. In the morning, she is told that she must have had a nightmare. The bed has been empty all along . . .

When Emily returns to work she discovers a bracelet that she believes belonged to the missing woman. Soon, she becomes convinced that her colleagues at the hospital are hiding a terrible secret.
What if she’s wrong? What if her own troubled past has affected her more than she knows?

But what if she’s right?

What else could they be capable of?

Thoughts:

I had heard mixed reviews about this book, so I was somewhat hesitant to start it. However, I try as much as I can not to let reviews sway me. I went into this book with an open mind. I did find it enjoyable and it didn’t take me long to read at all, but I can see why some reviewers have had some trouble with it.

The premise of this book is really exciting.  Emily’s sister, Zoe, went missing from a hospital 12 months ago. Emily has been signed off work as a nurse after suffering with her mental health. Emily is about to return to work after deciding that she needs distraction. However, Emily discovers a lump in her breast and needs to get it removed. After surgery, Emily comes around to a young girl being revived by several members of staff. When someone notices Emily, they inject her, sending her into a deep sleep. In the morning, staff deny any knowledge of anyone ever being in the room with Emily. Emily won’t let it lie though and is determined to prove she was telling the truth, no matter what…

I was really intrigued by the plot line but I’m sad to say that it became a little unbelievable in places. It didn’t seem like real life. I’m not saying that stories should be similar to real life, but in thrillers, I do tend to like some sense of reality within the pages. A good thriller creeps you out because you know it could happen.

There are some really interesting characters in this story and there was certainly enough to hold my attention. It was clear that the writer has good medical knowledge, being a nurse herself. I just wish it had been more believable.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! (just!)

 

Despite my reservations about this book, I think many would enjoy it, so I would recommend it!

Apple Of My Eye

Apple of My Eye

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Avon Books UK

Synopsis:

Just how far is a mother willing to go?

When a mysterious note arrives for six months pregnant Dr Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

Thoughts:

This book is going to be ever so tricky to review, because it’s one where you don’t want to reveal too much about it before someone reads it. It’s definitely one to go into without knowing a lot about the plot. Trust me, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in this story before long. It’s fantastic.

Apple Of My Eye centres around Eliana who is seven months pregnant. Eliana is still suffering from horrendous sickness and she’s terrified that she’s not going to bond with her baby. She’s married to Martin and believes they have a happy marriage, until she starts receiving anonymous letters telling her that Martin is cheating on her. Eliana is close to her mother Angela. Angela is determined to protect her daughter no matter what. We also hear from a character Louise. We don’t really ever find out much about Louise but soon the story starts to come together. Eliana has to take maternity leave when an incident at the hospice she works at occurs. Life is become very intense for Eli…

That’s all I can really say without revealing what happens in this story. I really don’t want to ruin it for any potential reader. What I will say is, if you like your thrillers to be incredibly dark and twisted, then this might be one for you. I couldn’t believe how twisted some of it was. I have to admit, that I did guess a part of the twist, but I didn’t guess it too soon and it in no way affected my enjoyment as a whole. Apple Of My Eye is superbly written and so worth reading.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An incredibly tense read. I couldn’t put it down!

The Flower Girls

The Flower Girls

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing

Synopsis:

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose. 

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.

And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…

Thoughts:

I have heard so much buzz surrounding this book and very rightly so. I was absolutely gripped by this thriller. I can imagine that it’s going to do very well when it releases next week. I believe it would be a good contender for a book club read as there’s so much to say about it. I’m going to keep this review as spoiler free as I can, but that’s definitely going to be tricky, so apologies if my review seems a little vague.

The Flower Girls centres around Laurel and Primrose. Laurel and Primrose were involved in an abduction and murder of a young child. One of them was convicted of the murder and the other was given a new identity. 19 years later, another young child goes missing. The Flower Girls hit the headlines again… but are they involved in the disappearance?

This isn’t a comfortable read by any means. An abduction and murder of any child is absolutely appalling. Yet there’s something about the writing and the plot that kept me compelled and turning the pages. It was really quite hard to put down once you got going. I loved how the action switched between the present and 1997- the time of the crime- it slowly revealed what had happened and I was definitely intrigued to know exactly what was going on.

I don’t want to spoil the plot, so I won’t go into it too much. Just know it’s an intense one with some very complex but interesting/fascinating characters. I am really impressed with Alice’s writing. I found it compelling, easy to read and the characters were so well developed.

The ending of the book is pretty incredible! It definitely made me feel uneasy and it has kept me thinking about the story, hours after I’d finished it. I think it’s going to stay with me for some time.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic read. I was super impressed with this book. Look out for it!

The Foster Child

The Foster Child: 'a sleep-with-the-lights-on thriller'

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

When child psychologist Imogen Reid takes on the case of 11-year-old Ellie Atkinson, she refuses to listen to warnings that the girl is dangerous.

Ellie was the only survivor of a fire that killed her family. Imogen is convinced she’s just a sad and angry child struggling to cope with her loss.

But Ellie’s foster parents and teachers are starting to fear her. When she gets upset, bad things seem to happen. And as Imogen gets closer to Ellie, she may be putting herself in danger.

Thoughts:

I had heard such amazing things about this book from my fellow blogging friends that I knew it was one that I needed to check out as soon as I could. I’m so pleased that I made time for it because it was utterly gripping yet so disturbing at the same time. What a thriller!

The Foster Child centres around Imogen who worked as a psychologist until an event made her change her job. She now works for the local authority and takes on Ellie’s case. Ellie is an orphan living in foster care after a fire killed her parents and her brother. In a strange turn of events (and perhaps making this book not for everyone?) terrible things start to happen when Ellie gets angry with someone. Very soon, the town wonders if there’s something more to Ellie than first meets the eye. Is it coincidence or are there some darker forces involved?

The story includes so much bullying and discrimination. There were some moments of bullying that really affected me. It was awful. I felt sorry for Ellie, but at the same time wondered if she was a character I should be sorry for. I’ll let you make up your own mind if you’ve read this book or aim to read it.

One thing that always makes me tear through a book at record speed is short, snappy chapters. The Foster Child definitely has this. It’s intense and often has twists along the way. I was eagerly trying to work out what the truth really was.

This book is definitely creepy and left me feeling very uncomfortable at many points in the story. I am definitely left wanting to read more from Jenny Blackhurst!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

An eerie read!