Tag Archives: fiction

One Wish In Manhatten by Mandy Baggot Book Review

As Bookouture Christmas comes into an end, I have a great review to leave you with. This is a lovely, romantic story which is just the Christmas tonic I needed. This a great book if you want a piece of escapism set in the magical city of New York.


Here’s the blurb:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… to fall in love

The temperature is dropping, snow is on its way and Hayley Walker is heading for New York with one wish on her mind…to start over.

With her nine year-old daughter Angel, Hayley is ready for an adventure. From hot chocolates and horse-drawn carriage rides in Central Park, to ice-skating at the Rockefeller Centre, and Christmas shopping on 5th Avenue – they soon fall in love with the city that never sleeps.

But there’s more to New York than the bright twinkly lights and breathtaking skyscrapers. Angel has a Christmas wish of her own – to find her real dad.

While Hayley tries to fulfil her daughter’s wish, she crosses paths with Billionaire Oliver Drummond. Restless and bored with fast living, there’s something intriguing about him that has Hayley hooked.

Determined to make her daughter’s dream come true, can Hayley dare to think her own dreams might turn into reality – could A New York Christmas turn into a New York Forever?

Travel to the Big Apple this Christmas and join Hayley and Oliver as they both realise that life isn’t just about filling the minutes…it’s about making every moment count

The Review

Hayley and her daughter Angel go on a Christmas holiday to New York, to stay with Hayley’s brother Dean. They are there for a holiday, but also to fulfil one wish: Angel wants to find her father. Whilst searching for Michel, Hayley meets Oliver Drummond, Billionaire – and her brother’s Boss! Fate means their paths cross and romance is in the air. But Oliver is hiding a secret. Will They get together? Will Angel find her Father?

I was hooked on this book from the moment I started reading! I have been to New York so straight away the idea of going there for Christmas really appealed. I think New York sounds so romantic at Christmas, with the snow and the lights, it is the perfect setting for a Christmas romance! Hayley and Angel are likeable characters, even though at times I did question Hayley’s decisions. Initially, Oliver is a difficult character to like, but you see him develop as the story continues and you start to see a different side to him. The idea of meeting a Billionaire and falling in love is such a fantasy, it was great escapism to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The book has a few twists and turns, and there is also some comedic elements to the story too. Angel is a great character, and I loved her optimism and positivity.

I love the theme of this book about making each moment count. This is definitely something that I have been thinking about recently. Following your dreams and taking chances are just what we need to do in life, there will never be a right time, so why not just go for it now! Hayley definitely lives for the moment, and it made me think that I need to do this a bit too.

This book is exactly what you want a Christmas book to be: Full of romance, wonder, and most of all, a fantastic happy ending!  I thought the story flowed well and it was an easy, relaxing read. It really is a positive, uplifting book and that you can’t help but smile about.

One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot is published by Bookouture and is out NOW Via Amazon.

The Author


Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an award-winning author of romantic women’s fiction and a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. A contributor to writing blogs and short story anthologies, she is also a regular speaker at literary festivals, events and women’s networking groups.

Mandy loves mashed potato, white wine, country music, Corfu and handbags. She has appeared on ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and auditioned for The X-Factor and lives in Wiltshire, UK with her husband, two children and cats Kravitz and Springsteen.


See my Q&A with Mandy Baggot here!

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin Book Review #BookoutureXmas


Holly says this is the perfect book to curl up by the fire with, and I totally agree! Christmas at Lilac Cottage is a snowy whirlwind of romance and full of Christmas charm. I was able to read this book by taking part in Bookouture Christmas who provided me with an ebook via Netgalley.


Here’s the blurb:

Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen. 

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded. 

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore … 

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of? 

Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down. 

Spend the perfect Christmas in White Cliff Bay this year.

The Review

When Penny rents out her annexe, little does she know that romance awaits her. As soon as she meets Henry, there is an instant attraction. However, after having her heart broken 8 years ago, Penny is unsure she wants to take the risk of romance. However Henry, and his daughter Daisy soon become a part of her life. As Christmas gets closer, will they?

I really loved this story, it was charmingly magical and romantic. From the start, I just wanted Henry and Penny to get together. The will they, won’t they scenario grows in tension and you go through ups and downs with the characters, all framed behind a perfect Christmas setting, with snow included. The town of White Bay has a lot of interesting characters, and I can see how Holly was able to write another tale set in the town. There’s a lot of potential here! The book was also surprisingly funny for a romance novel, it was laugh out loud in places which I really loved. I really got to know the characters of Penny and Henry, they were so believable, I felt invested in the story and wanted them to have a happy ending!

It was an easy read, and one I wanted to take my time over with a cuppa. I got totally wrapped up in the story, and that is exactly what you want from a Christmas novel.

I give Christmas at Lilac Cottage 5 out of 5 stars. 

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin is published by Bookouture and is out now! Available on Amazon.

The Author


Holly Martin

Holly emerged onto the Chick Lit scene by winning the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition – and has not looked back since.

Her adult fiction debut, The Guestbook, hit number 5 in the Amazon chart and she has now written three books with Bookouture: Fairytale Beginnings, Christmas at Lilac Cottage and Snowflakes at Silver Cove.


Secrets of The River by Jess McGlynn Book Review

Secrets of The River is the debut novel of blogger Jess McGlynn. Jess very kindly sent me an ebook version of her book in order for me to undertake a review.


Here’s the Blurb:

Some secrets simply can’t remain hidden… 

When Isabelle moves to a sleepy riverside village in France she thinks she is being given a second chance. 
Keen to leave behind the secrets of her past, she throws herself into village life where she meets cute American journalist Ed, rugged vineyard worker Matteo, and the dark and mysterious Hugo. 
Life should be good, but Isabelle’s arrival acts as a catalyst in the village and she soon discovers she isn’t the only one trying to escape her past and that sometimes there are things which simply can’t remain hidden. 
Isabelle must face her mistakes and rediscover herself in this wonderful romance set against an idyllic backdrop.

I really enjoyed this book. Set in France, it has a very relaxed, holiday feel to it and if you have ever been to France before then you will be able to picture the kind of village that Secrets of The River is set in. It’s the sort of place I’d just love to pack up my things and go and live, far away from the city. We meet Isabelle, just arriving in France after leaving the UK in tragic circumstances. Isabelle is hiding a secret surrounding these events and is trying to move on with her life. She goes to stay with her Sister and her family, but soon realises that things are not all as they seem within the village. 

Many people in the village have secrets or have run from their own past. She meets various characters of the village, such as Matteo, who works for Eric her brother in law, Rose, a young student and American Ed who is in France to write a historical article (or is he?) and Hugo, a tall, brooding man who is friends with Eric, her brother in law and whom Isabelle instantly has a connection with. One could say that the characters can at times feel a little stereotypical but I find you can relate to these characters given the situations they are in and also you warm to them pretty quickly. Characters like Hugo made me want to find out more about him and also what he was hiding. The way the characters and their stories interlink and run parallel make this story very readable and also interesting, you are keen to find out more and try and piece the mysteries together. Coupled with this is the romantic themes that run through the novel, a will they/won’t they which you hope will be positive! The story is told from various points of view, mainly from Isabelle but the dialogue can switch to another’s point of view half way through the page. This can get slightly confusing at times but generally I didn’t find this an issue. 

The story moves along at a relaxed pace but things do quicken up towards the end. Secrets are revealed and mysteries are solved. The nice thing about this book is that it had some twists that were not easily identifiable and  keep you guessing right till the end. The ending was lovely, just what I hoped it would be and put a smile on my face – what more could you want! I hope this isn’t the last we have seen of these characters, and I look forward to reading more from Jess in the future. 

I rated Secrets of the River 4 out of 5 stars.

Secrets of the River by Jess McGlynn is published by Jess McGlynn and is out now. 

Evil Games by Angela Marsons Book Review

A thrilling, tense page turner, this second book in the Kim Stone series doesn’t disappoint….

I received an eBook copy of Evil Games via NetGalley

Here’s the Blurb:

The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game…

When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work. 

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment. 

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time – it’s personal. 

The rising star of the British thriller scene returns with a novel that enthrall fans of Rachel Abbott, Val McDermid and Mark Billingham. 

The second book in the Kim Stone series, this book packs a punch from the word go. It’s gritty, realistic and at times uncomfortable reading. The crimes are evil indeed as we are taken on a journey through the mind of a sociopath who is intent on completing their experiment which play upon the emotions of vulnerable people. 

Kim Stone is still fighting her own demons as well as solving cases with her team. We meet her again as she is solving her latest crime,a child abuse case.  As well as tying up these loose ends, Kim starts to unravel the mystery around a spate of vengeful murders, meeting someone who is also going to challenge her very self in the process.

I loved this book, it gripped me from the very start and I just wanted to find out more. I liked the way I really couldn’t see how things were going to pan out initially, and this kept me reading. I have really warmed to Kim’s character and I also love her team. They are real characters as well as instruments within the plot, and it makes everything much more realistic. There are twists and turns within the plot and many times I was wrong and fell for red herrings. 

The previous book, Silent Scream was a heavy case, but this case was darker, and at times I felt like I had to take a breather as I wasn’t sure what was coming next! I really felt for some of the victims in this story, and by victims I do not only mean those who died. This story really stays with you and gets you thinking. 

This was an intense, psychological thriller which keeps the pace going and the ending is such an explosive finale. This case pushes Kim to the brink and for a moment you really do wonder how this will end. I think this story also pushes you as a reader and makes you confront some topics and ethical questions. The ending also added an extra twist which I didn’t see coming and really hits you. I can’t wait to hear more from Kim as this series is really building up to be something fantastic. 

I rated Evil Games by Angela Marsons 5 out of 5 stars. 

Evil Games by Angela Marsons is published by Bookouture and is out today,  29th May. 


Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton Book Review

A tense psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the end, this is great read…

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley


Here’s the Blurb:

What’s the worst thing your best friend could do to you?

Admittedly, it wasn’t murder. A moment’s carelessness, a tragic accident – and two children are dead. Yours.

Living in a small island community, you can’t escape the woman who destroyed your life. Each chance encounter is an agonizing reminder of what you’ve lost – your family, your future, your sanity.

How long before revenge becomes irresistible?

With no reason to go on living, why shouldn’t you turn your darkest thoughts into deeds?

So now, what’s the worst thing you can do to your best friend?

This book was really refreshing and engaging, it took a terrible situation and turned it on it’s head. We initially see the events unfolding from the point of view of Catrin, the mother of the children who have died. Her life has been changed dramatically since her children died and her sole focus when we meet her is revenge. We also see things from 2 other characters views. Whilst struggling to deal with the past, Catrin becomes involved in the Islands latest missing child case. Is something sinister happening on the Island?

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the location of the Falkland Islands, so remote and cut off from most of civilisation and the village gossip culture that the story is built upon. I liked the way this book challenges you as a reader to think how you would think and feel in this circumstance; what would you do if your best friend killed your children? It pushes you as a reader, and I loved the way the book told its story from three different points of view. The pieces of the story slot into place as you read along, and little clues are slipped into the storyline along the way. The different points of view on the same events make you question everything. I was gripped throughout, the book is a real page turner, it keeps up the suspense and also keeps you guessing. The ending is chilling and really did send tingles down my spine – I didn’t see it coming. I felt this book was taking me in one direction then half way through you realise that this book is so much more than that.

The characters are life like and believable; there are some usual steretypical characters in there but they fit in with the village life and we can all relate to those sorts of characters. I liked the main characters and felt invested in their story. Catrin is a complex character and initially we just see things from her point of view. We hear from many of the other characters but Rachel, Catrin’s best friend (and the reason her children died) is absent for a good two thirds of the book. She becomes a bit of an enigma, you start to think a certain way but when we finally meet Rachel you have to reevaluate everything again! This book is so very clever in this way and this is what keeps you reading.

I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to give anything away but if you love a crime thriller then this book is for you! It’s a great, easy read and I just couldn’t put it down.

I give Little Black Lies 4 out of 5 stars.

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton is published by Transworld and is released on July 2nd.

Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock Book Review

An easy, comfortable read about a young man and his sexuality at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper murders. 

I received an electronic version of this book via Netgalley
Here’s the Blurb: 

‘The milkman found her. On Prince Philip Playing Fields. He crossed the dew-soaked grass toward what he took to be a bundle of clothes, but then he came across a discarded shoe, and then t’ mutilated body. her name wor Wilma McCann.’

Leeds, late 1975 and a body has been found on Prince Philip Playing Fields. Ricky, teenage delivery van boy for Corona pop, will be late for The Matterhorn Man. In the years that follow until his capture, the Yorkshire Ripper and Rick’s own life draw ever closer with unforeseen consequences. Set in a time in England’s history of upheaval and change – both personal and social – this is a story told in an unforgettable voice.

I really enjoyed this book. This book was easy to read, comfortable and like getting to know some old friends. I really enjoyed finding out about Rick, and his life as a young gay man in 1970s. His life at this time is interwoven with the big news of the era – the Yorkshire Ripper murders. The murder of these women are interspersed with tales and tribulations of Ricks life. Rick works as a Corona pop delivery boy by day and we start the story as he starts to explore his sexuality and forge friendships within the more or less underground gay community. 

The book is really just this; a book about a young lad finding himself over the course of the late 1970s. To read this though is much more. You become invested in Ricks’ and his families lives and want to know what happens to them. The murders loom over events and life is punctuated with the news of another murder. The book is written in a Yorkshire dialect from Ricks point of view and initially this can be a little difficult with lots of  ‘t’table’  type words but it adds to the feel of the book and I felt it made Rick more of a real character. 

I really felt this book channelled the era and the mood of the times so well. It was like walking through a time machine and finding out about life in the ’70s. The ending of the book ends as much as it begins; the Yorkshire Ripper is caught and life continues. However an era is sort of over and it provides Rick with opportunity to be himself. 

I’d love to know if this book will have a sequel; Rick is such an engaging character I’d love to find out what happens next for him. 

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Blood Relatives by Stevan Alcock is published by 4th Estate and is out now.  


Secrets of the Tower by Debbie Rix Book Review

I love a historical fiction novel, I am a big fan of Kate Mosse so was really looking forward to this book, set in Pisa and spanning the centuries.

I reviewed an ebook copy via Netgalley

Here’s the Blurb:

Two women, centuries apart, bound together by the secrets of one of the most iconic buildings ever created. Pisa, 1999 Sam Campbell sits by her husband’s hospital bed. Far from home and her children, she must care for Michael who is recovering from a stroke. A man she loves deeply. A man who has been unfaithful to her. Alone and in need of distraction, Sam decides to pick up Michael’s research into the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Immersing herself in the ancient city, she begins to piece together the mystery behind the creation of the Tower, and discovers the woman that history forgot… Pisa, 1171 Berta di Bernardo, the wife of a rich merchant, sits in her chamber, dressing for a dinner party. A gathering that will change the course of her life and that of a young master mason, Gerardo, forever. A strong, intelligent woman, Berta’s passion for architecture draws her closer to Gerardo. As she embarks on a love affair, her maid Aurelia also becomes spellbound by the same man. Yet for Berta, her heart’s desire is to see the Tower built, and her determination knows no bounds… A richly drawn and absorbing novel of passion and power, love and redemption that will captivate fans of Victoria Hislop, Tracy Chevalier and Kate Furnivall.

The book starts off well, and the pace is nice and lesiurely. We see Sam start to uncover secrets of the past, relating to the Leaning Tower and when it was built. We also see alongside this the story of Berta, who is the lady who funded the building of the Tower. But it is a mystery who she is and why she wanted the Tower built.

I really enjoyed the first half of this story, reading the background of the Leaning Tower and the developing relationship between Berta and Gerardo. I was less interested in Sam’s side of the story, if I am truthful, however the first half of the book I was waiting for her to find out some secrets and start to delve into the past. Her relationship with her Husband is strained and she finds help in the form of Dario, an italian reporter.

I enjoyed this book but I did feel like the story could have been developed a bit more. I didn’t really feel there was a link between the two stories – I think his would have been interesting for the reader, as when I was reading I was wondering whether there was any relevance or mirroring of the stories between the ages. I was also slightly disappointed that the Dario storyline never really took off, and I felt a little disappointed in Sam’s ending in the book. I found some of the story a little repetitive – espeically regarding the Berta/Gerardo/Aurelia storyline – Gerardo seems to consider how much he cares/love each of them frequently throughout the book. Character wise, I felt the past characters were much better developed than the ‘modern day’ ones, I was hooked into reading what happened next in the past, and I wanted to hurry through the ‘Sam’ parts. I think this book could have been a great book without the modern day element, to be honest.

I did enjoy reading this book, but as I found only really half of the novel particularly interesting, I am giving the book 3.5 stars. I did like the tone and pace of the book, however and I will definetely look out for more books from Debbie in the future.

Secrets of The Tower by Debbie Rix is published by Bookouture and is out now.



Normal by Graeme Cameron Book Review

A Very readable, original book and a great twist in the serial killer genre

I recieved a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Here’s the Blurb:

He lives on your street, in a nice house with a tidy garden.

He shops at your local supermarket. He drives beside you, waving to let you into the lane ahead of him.

He also has an elaborate cage in a secret basement under his garage.

The food he’s carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he’s holding there against her will – one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it’s been for a long time. It’s normal…and it works. Perfectly.

But this time it’s different…

This is such a strange book. The first half of this book is chilling, you are reading a sort of fly on the wall. It is kind of voyeuristic, seeing what the life of this serial killer is. The pace is quick and at times I had to re-read pages as I couldn’t believe what I had read, or I had missed a vital word. Another weird thing – it is quite humourous, in a dark comedy kind of way. The narrator (we never find out his name or what he looks like) makes everything seem so….normal. You get to know and almost like this character, whilst there are flashes in between where you just feel pure horror and wonder at what he may do next.

Events twist and turn and we see this killer’s ‘normal’ start to spin out of control. He kidnaps a girl called Ericka, and what starts off as usual (for him) is anything but. The second half of the book he also starts to have a crisis of conscience, which also causes him many issues. It is hard to explain his book without giving away the whole plot, but the more you read, the less frightening this person becomes and the more intruiged you are. You are almost willing this guy to get away with murder.

You get some insight into his past, and this starts to paint a picture but you never find out enough to really answer many questions. I also felt very confused as to what exactly this guy did as a serial killer, his motive, his way of killing. He didn’t appear to be like the serial killers you read of in the news or in other papers. But hey, I’m no crimminologist! It was just what I thought as I read the book.

The characters in the book are all very strong. It is interesting that as a serial killer of women, there are four main female characters in the book and they are all very strong characters. In fact, he is surrounded by women. I liked the characters and their influence on the main character; Annie and Ericka in particular. I liked the way these characters develop, and are not quite what they seem, initially.

As I have said, the book twists and turns and the pace is quick, there is always something else happening and I felt like I had to keep up. It wasn’t a boring read, although I would say that it is one that I felt I had to put down at times, it really felt a bit warped and some descriptions made me feel a little queasy. However it is a really original read, a great twist on the serial killer genre, and very readable.

I give Normal by Graeme Cameron 4 out of 5 stars.

Normal by Graeme Cameron is published by Harlequin UK and is out to buy now.



The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah Book Review

I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book via NetGalley

Here’s The Blurb:

A striking literary debut of love and mortality perfect for fans of quirky, heart-wrenching fiction like Nathan Filer, David Nicholls and Rachel Joyce.

Ivo fell for her.

He fell for a girl he can’t get back.

Now he’s hoping for something.

While he waits he plays a game:

He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away.

He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her.

But he doesn’t have long.

And he still has one thing left to do …

This is a brilliant book, told through the eyes of Ivor, who is in a hospice. I found the structure of the book a great idea; it’s told through the A-Z of Ivor’s body parts, each telling a part of the story of his life, and his love with Mia. Diagnosed with diabetes, he doesn’t look after his body and makes unwise decisions which ultimately lead to tragedy.

Throughout the book you are waiting to find out how Ivo got to where he is; and many times he seems to blame others for what happens to him, but through the story I felt that there was a lot of questions that Ivo really need to ask himself. There is a lot of emotion in the book, and I was a bit tearful towards the end. 

His relationship with Mia is the defining moment of his life; once he meets her, he falls in love and as he waits in the Hospice, we hear of how they met, and what their lives were like. His friends are different to Mia and Ivo struggles to balance his friendship with his relationship, at times making the wrong decisions. At times I almost wanted to shout at him for making the wrong choices. 

You get to know Ivo as his story unfolds. Things are sometimes told out of order and it draws you into the story, wanting to know how things occurred. It’s interesting as we see things from Ivo’s point of view, and how he saw the situation, as well as some interaction between characters in the modern day. Slowly as the reader you start to understand what has happened and what effect that this has had on Ivo and his life. 

I also felt the story highlighted the health issue related to diabetes well (this is the nurse in me talking here) and showing the consequences of mismanaging diabetes and what that can mean for somebody. Ultimately you could say that at 40, Ivo wouldn’t be in a hospice if he had managed his diabetes better, and lived a healthier life. The book opens up an interesting debate about lifestyle, the effect of relationships and social elements in our decision making related to our lifestyle choices, and the consequences of this. It also makes me think about us owning our decisions and mistakes, it is us who decides to live how we do, drink, eat, smoke etc, and can we or should we blame friends or peer pressure for the consequences? 

This is a really engrossing, interesting read and a book I just couldn’t put down. I really enjoyed this book and would give it 4 out of 5 stars. 

The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah is published by Doubleday and released on March 12

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum Book Review

Hausfrau is a hauntingly beautiful book, set in Switzerland. Anna, an American ex-pat, has lived in Switzerland for 9 years. I was able to read this book to review through being sent an ebook via Netgalley.

Here’s the blurb:

Anna Benz lives in comfort and affluence with her husband and three young children in Dietlikon, a picture-perfect suburb of Zurich. Anna, an American expat, has chosen this life far from home; but, despite its tranquility and order, inside she is falling apart.

Feeling adrift and unable to connect with her husband or his family; with the fellow expatriates who try to befriend her; or even, increasingly, her own thoughts and emotions, Anna attempts to assert her agency in the only way that makes sense to her: by engaging in short-lived but intense sexual affairs.

But adultery, too, has its own morality, and when Anna finds herself crossing a line, she will set off a terrible chain of events that ends in unspeakable tragedy. As her life crashes down around her, Anna must then discover where one must go when there is no going back . . .

I was drawn jnto Anna’s life from the beginning. I was intrigued by her life, and how she was feeling. I could imagine how lonely and how alien it must be to move to a country where you don’t speak the language.

The book describes Switzerland beautifully; and it just adds to the bleakness that Anna feels. Switzerland is seen a neutral, black and white, starch and firm place. The characters around Anna are quite animated and colourful in comparison to her own monochrome life. Bruno, Anna’s husband, is also an aloof character; you don’t really get to know him but he is a brooding shadow on the peripheral. The characters are all pieces in the bigger puzzle of Anna’s life. I was invested in all of them and even writing this review now, I’m wondering how these characters reacted at the end of the book.

The book is melancholic, it’s starts an ascent that it doesn’t really lift out of. Yes, it can be seen as depressing but I felt really connected to Anna and her story, and could identify with that feeling of loneliness of being a stranger in a new place – except for Anna that feeling had not gone away for 9 years.

Anna’s affairs are told graphically, they are explicit and almost grotesquely told, in comparison to the other parts of her life. You can see that she slowly loses control of her self, of her morality and what she feels is right or wrong. This is fuelled by her feelings regarding events that have taken place over the last 18 months, and the secrets which she has had to keep within herself. In her therapy sessions, Anna is told she is passively living her life, and needs to start taking an active part in her life. We see her struggle to identify and connect with the life around her. Despite this, she does make friends and tries to forge something for herself out of the aftermath of the last 18 months. It all seems promising until a tragic event occurs which puts Anna back at square one.

Anna is in a position that she can’t really get out of; a housewife with children, she doesn’t even own a bank account. She has been in Switzerland for 9 years yet is only starting to learn the language. She has almost allowed herself to become totally dependent on others in her life, and on one hand she wants to break free but on the other hand can’t find the motivation or will to do so. The book frustrates the reader with Anna’s passivity; yet also you can see how she is effectively in a prison – possibly of her own making. The choices she has, or is able to make are limited by her situation and through the book you can see Anna struggle with the concept of choice on many levels.

Overall, I loved this book. I am still thinking of this book 3 days after finishing it. The ending hit me in the guts. I am not sure if I expected it or not. The words whirl around in your head for a while afterwards. I thought it was just superbly written, and easily my favourite book of the year so far.

5 out 5 stars.

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum is published by Transworld and released on 26th March 2015