Watchman – Ian Rankin

Miles Flint is a watchman. His role is to watch. Nothing more. Miles does not want anything more. MI5 have other ideas.

Britain has a new threat – the IRA. The mainland is being bombed and everyone is nervous. Miles does not want to become involved he has his own problems both personal and professional. However the powers that be have another game they are playing. As well of the IRA all of sudden there are Arabs and Israelis’, newspaper journalists, well known MPs and a trip to Belfast for Miles.

He now becomes a player and not an observer. Tied up in office politics of which he has no control. Rankin provides a book which had elements for me of James Bond and I agree with another reviewer who likens the book to having something of a Le Carre quality to it. Plots like these prove very difficult to review because to do so you may intentionally or inadvertently give something away. Sometimes the only way to explain a book is to give the whole story. That would stand with this book.

For me it was a complex plot that requires attention as it twists and turns, although I was clear what happened at the end, there did not seem to be any loose ends. It is a relatively short novel, any longer and I think it would have lost its impact and I do not believe I would have stayed to the end. This is an early Rankin novel and the first one I have read but I will certainly pick up on of his more popular Rebus books and compare.

I have of course heard of Ian Rankin and Rebus. Although to be honest my knowledge of Rebus is from the very early television series with John Hannah and perhaps the odd one or two with Ken Stott but I have yet to read any Rebus based novels. I was given this book in the goody bag at the newbooks readers day back in April, not realising it was not a ‘Rebus’ novel. It shows you how you can easily assume that an author has only produced one body of work.

I read this book for the Crime Fiction Alphabet for the letter I. However life took over and it was never going to be read and reviewed by the date for that letter. However, I am going to add it to my list for the challenge (found at the tab at the top of this blog) and carry on regardless in true British Fashion. I have a book to be read for letter J and it will help get down the ever growing pile of books that are sent to me from the lovely publishers.


A Perfect Proposal – Katie Fforde

Sophie is cleverer than she looks. She would have to be to put up with the family that she puts up with.

They do not think much of Sophie, she is there and exists for their benefit not her own. Not academic like her father, artistic like her mother, or scholarly like her brother, or married off with 2.4 children like her other siblings. Sophie is unique, and I liked the way that she actually managed to escape and to live her life. 

When the opportunity to make some money, to fund a potential course for a future career, Sophie jumps at the chance of going to New York to be a nanny for a couple of weeks. But when she gets there and finds that the job has fallen through, Sophie sees the bright side and still is determined to enjoy her adventure abroad.

Sophie has always helped people, and when an old lady suddenly falls to the ground at a New York Art exhibition, Sophie is first on hand to offer some tender loving care. Meeting, Matilda changes Sophie’s life and Matilda’s. Matilda can now reminisce of the lovely time  she spent in England, in a house she still dreams about. Whilst Sophie gets to experience life at the high-end of Manhattan society. Nothing ever is easy, and when Matilda’s grandson the protective, wealthy and successful Luke appears on the scene, he thinks that Sophie is only after one thing.

But neither of them banked on Matilda and her wily ways and the proposals she has to make.

Another great story from Katie Fforde, where the characters have enough depth for you to be completely infuriated with in differing degrees. Luke for so being buttoned up and believing the wrong people  and Sophie’s family for being so uncaring and money grabbing. Matilda for being the feisty woman she obviously has been and not the arrogant American she could have been portrayed as. Even down to the owner of the Bed and Breakfast, Moira who I wanted to go and pour out all my troubles and be made bacon sandwiches and drink cups of tea.

There is something about Katie’s novels which are so much more than chick-lit where no doubt it gets pigeonholed quite frequently. Simply good old-fashioned romances with a good old-fashioned story. What more could you want from a book?

For some reason this book reminded me of Fifty Shades of Grey – it reminded me first of all that this is a far better book and story but, Luke had an element of Christian Grey about him. His manner, the way he needs control just reminded me of  the infamous Mr Grey. Luckily Luke lost this quite early on, and it was only his so called friend and colleague Ali who seemed to have her claws out and wanted complete control of Luke that the comparisons flashed into my head again. Here I will note that I have recently read Fifty Shades of Grey and it was also my book club choice so it has been uppermost in my mind (though I wish it wasn’t) which is where the comparisons have come from. 

This was a great novel, Sophie and her eccentric parts of her family, the prospect of a ‘big house’ and so much more brought a thoroughly enjoyable read and I am so glad I have found Katie Fforde. 


July Roundup

You never really left us, you haven't travelled far.
Just stepped into God's garden, and left the door ajar

July is done and dusted and we are certainly now well into the last half of the year. It has been a rather roller coaster of a month reading wise as well as everything else in life as well. July is one of the busiest months of the year and I sadly lost my Nan who has now gone to join my Granddad, so I have sort of wobbled around the latter few days of the month.

However, this post is about my reading and all things considered, it has been a good month and a slightly different choice of books from most ‘average’ months.

Normally crime dominates more than anything, but this month was not the case. I am/was participating in the Crime Fiction Alphabet but I sadly did not keep up with the posts weekly as I wanted to but I read two books this month which will participate to it but cannot be counted ‘officially’. First was Mo Hayder and Hanging Hill, my first foray with this author and I was most impressed although I found it quite gruesome and graphic.  In a completely different crime was Ian Rankin and Watchman*, again this was the first book by this author that I have read. In both cases, I have read stand alone books which do not relate to their most famous characters, DI Caffery and Inspector Rebus respectively. I have yet to discover them.

So that was it for crime, although maybe I should count the short story I read, There Must be Murder by Margaret C. Sullivan if only because of the title. It was actually related to Northanger Abbey, and now I have that book on my must read. My lack of Austen reading is quite dismal, but I am slowly working my through them at my own speed.

The rest of the month’s reading was pure comfort in some ways and was probably what was needed for me at this point. Familiar authors to me came with Veronica Henry and The Long Weekend, her new novel only published in July. If you cannot get away for holiday this year, then read this book, it will certainly go some way to make up for it. Or if you are going on holiday, take this book with you and just enjoy. I checked in and did not want to leave!

Elizabeth Noble was another author I came back. Surprisingly because last time I was not overly enamoured in her last book I read. However her latest book Between a Mother and her Child was a much stronger read than some of her others.

Katie Fforde is a recent author discovery and I have to say, her book A Perfect Proposal* was a great piece of comfort reading when I needed it most. I really do like her novels and now working my way through them with 4 read now this year and 2 more on the shelf looking at me! All I can say is thank you Katie.

Now I am sure everyone knows about the Olympics (if you don’t, then please tell me how!) and I found this little short story Olympic Flames by Emma Lee Potter and thought to get into the spirit of the time I would read this. What a lovely little story and a great diversion if you want a bit of a rest from watching the Olympics.

Finally comfort reading with a new author, Robyn Sisman and Weekend in Paris* sadly it did not really come up to scratch for me and all it did was make me want to pick up a book I would be drawn into. That has come in ending the month reading the new book from Lucinda Riley (The Light Behind the Window) and I am loving it.

* Book review yet to appear on this blog.