Our House by Louise Candlish

Cover of Our House

When I picked this up in Waterstone’s and starting reading it I was grabbed straight away but in that way that I just know I’m going to be disappointed in the end. The tension’s too high, the odds are too great, I don’t think the author is going to be able to deliver on the suspense. Except I wasn’t disappointed in the end and I think she delivered nicely. The story of a woman in a failing relationship who comes home and finds her family’s home has been sold from under her nose.


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The Chalk Pit (Ruth Galloway, #9) by Elly Griffiths

Cover of The Chalk Pit (Ruth Galloway, #9)

So I said I was giving up on this series as I found something to get annoyed with in every book. But then I wanted something familiar and comforting in the library and ended up checking it out. And then the author (or the characters maybe) didn’t annoy me so much in this book and set things up so that, soap opera style, I want to check out the next episode and see what goes down next… Hmmm.


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Epitaph for a Spy by Eric Ambler

Cover of Epitaph for a Spy

Great story of a mild mannered janitor language teacher, who gets mistaken for a German spy when his camera film gets muddled up at a small hotel outside Nice. Written in 1938, it’s a great period piece.


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Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Cover of Home Fire

In the beginning I loved this and thought it was a really good story with great characters, everything seemed pretty much believable. And as the book went on it got weirder, but it was the kind of story that was always going to have weird undertones, and that’s pretty much what fiction is for after all. And then it kept going and went completely off the rails and I wondered what on earth the author thought they were up to as it was all going totally over my head and I couldn’t make rhyme nor reason for anything.

And then I discovered it was all a riff on Antigone, which I’d missed entirely, and I only have the vaguest passing familiarity with Antigone. So yeah. I was left not being quite sure what to make of it. I missed out on any hints in the text that it was a modern retelling of an old story, and unlike other similar retellings I’ve read it didn’t seem to make standalone sense. Half of a good story really, that left me feeling a bit dumb. I will try the author again sometime though!


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Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

Cover of Old Baggage

This is billed as the ‘what happened next’ story of a suffragette, set in 1928. And though I think that’s selling it a little short I’m struggling to come up with a better way to describe it. Can we only be defined by what we once were? It’s not just Mattie the ex-suffragette’s story; the minor characters make it the story of a time and a place. We see Mattie’s housemate ‘The Flea’ working as a health visitor trying to dispense contraceptive advice among other things. Her teenage charlady’s dealings with family and friends shed light on the way women were expected to behave at that time. And one of Mattie’s former suffragette colleagues has fallen under Mussolini’s spell. I really enjoyed it and I was surprised at the end to find that it’s a prequel of sorts (I think) to another of Evans’ books so I’ll be looking out for that one.


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With Our Blessing (Inspector Tom Reynolds, #1) by Jo Spain

Cover of With Our Blessing (Inspector Tom Reynolds, #1)

Suspect this was a free book of the week on iBooks at some point. It’s been knocking round my phone for ages and I finally finished it off. It deserved better really. It’s an Irish mystery that, as a Brit, I felt was all a bit stereotyped as it’s a murder involving a nuns and priests and the Catholic Church being generally repugnant. I think the plot suffered from my reading it in fits and starts so I forgot who a few of the characters were; the ones who stuck in my head were good though and I’d certainly pick the author up again and try and give her less of a short shrift next time!


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The Hidden Room by Stella Duffy

Cover of The Hidden Room

I read Stella Duffy’s Saz Martin mysteries a few years back and my memory says they were pretty good (later I’ll go and check what I actually said at the time, there are often discontinuities between my memory and reality) but I don’t think I’ve read any of her other books since. This jumped off the library shelf into my hands and engaged me so much I read it in about 24 hours which is something I used to do all the time but rarely get to do any more (mostly I blame me and my life for that rather than the books). The story’s about a woman, now grown up with children in the UK, who was adopted into a cult in America as a baby, and about how the past comes back to haunt her. In places it was a little predictable maybe but in the kind of “oh no, this is all going to go horribly wrong, can I read it with my eyes closed?” probably intentional sort of way. A good read for sure.


More information about this book can be found on goodreads.