Books

The Au Pair – Emma Rous

Laura was the au pair to Edwin Mayes at Summerbourne whilst she takes a break from her A Levels after some personal events which have left her isolated and alone.

Being holed up in a big house with a delightful little boy to mind seems the perfect remedy. Gorgeous scenery and plenty of space to gather oneself as well as entertain a little inquisitive boy on the Norfolk coast.

Trouble is Laura doesn’t know what she is walking into when she joins Edwin and his parents, Dominic and Ruth at Summerbourne.

Slowly Laura learns that Edwin was in fact a twin.

That twins have been at Summerbourne before and there is some in the village that say the house and twins are cursed.

Seraphine Mayes is mourning the loss of her father, she feels adrift in the world now. Her twin Danny spends a lot of time traveling and her older brother Edwin is not around too much.

Her father’s death has hit her bad and living alone at Summerbourne, the family home she starts to go through some possessions.

She finds a photograph of her mother, holding only one baby – but which one – Seraphine always thought there was something different about her?

Is Laura the key to the past? And will the answers unearth too many secrets and even more lies?

This is an interesting read – whilst it has all the hallmarks of a dark thriller it has something light about the setting of a country home in Norfolk, vast stretches of beach, the sea. It could not have worked but it has combined both for an interesting story, told between two points of view, Laura and Seraphine – you get to see the secrets discovered and can see them happening first hand all at the same time.

I was drawn into it, it kept me reading and whilst some may say it has weak points and perhaps some of the plot was a bit too unbelievable, for a debut novel this was a worthy read. Emma Rous is an author we need to be watching out for in the future.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel. 

The Au Pair is out on kindle now and published in paperback on 11 July.

Books · Jottings

May Roundup

Here we go then May done and dusted. How did that happen?

I am trying my best to read my shelves as well as all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) books I am lucky enough to get through netgalley.

I aim to do more of the shelf reading as we go into June. But for May I took off Laura Purcell – The Silent Companions which had been hanging around for a while and I don’t know why because I was fascinated with this novel and whilst I have not reviewed I would certainly recommend it to readers who like the gothic and the ghostly.

Another book which has to have been on the shelf even longer was Judy Finnigan – Eloise. This was her first novel and very readable, it kept me hooked and whilst I was intrigued by the characters, despite some of the weakness they had in being fully formed by the author there was something about the writing which felt very simplistic. I have her second to read so I want to see if anything has improved. That said if you want a simple readable novel you cannot go far with this one.

Then you get readable novels which are wonderfully written and cleverly plotted and tell stories of the past and present and this was very much so with Liz Fenwick – The Path to the Sea. The latest novel is for of secret and mystery and the setting is in almost three dimensions it is so wonderfully described. I really must get round to reading the other Liz Fenwick books I have.

I have read some Tilly Tennant books and loved them and I have read some and thought they were missing something and had become a bit pedestrian. But I dived into Tilly Tennant – Hattie’s Home for Broken Hearts and was suitably surprised. Sometimes you have to stick with authors, they can suddenly surprise you!

No more so when I picked up Ali McNamara – Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay another author whose books I was not keen on from the early part of her oeuvre but who has suddenly developed and become someone whos books I really love to read. Her latest is no different and the added bonus of some mystery and some ghosts made it a book to enjoy and probably read again.

Another bonus is a free book and that was the case with Cathy Bramley – We’ll Meet Again whose free short story via Amazon gives some background to the new serialised novel she has coming out soon. I am going to be patient and wait until the whole thing is out and I was really good and did not read the preview which was also included in the short story.

Of course I go back to authors again and again, which is why I visited Emma Davies – The House at Hope Corner having devoured her books last year and was thrilled to be immersed once again and in a wonderful plot and with delightful characters and the expectation of more novels towards the end of the year.

Catching up with a series is always a blessing and I am slightly jealous of people who have yet to start the Mirabelle Bevan series but I thoroughly enjoyed Sara Sheridan – Indian Summer. If you want strong female characters, history and mystery then this is the series for you.

I am a bit behind with Rachel Dove’s series of novels which have been set in Westfield. So with the opportunity to read her latest, I thought I better get on and catch up with the residents which is why I was with Rachel Dove – The Flower Shop on Foxley Street. 

It might seem I read nothing but authors that I know and love and of course I do, but at one time they had to be authors who were new to me and this is the case with Emma Rous – The Au Pair. A debut novel and one that will keep you on the edge of your seat despite its initial flaws, the writing, the plot and the author is one to be intrigued by.

Quite a good month of reading and I also made the decision to let loose a book that I wasn’t getting on with too. Such a relief to not trawl through something that is bringing you no joy whatsoever.

So on with June, I am up to speed with my yearly Goodreads Challenge and of course look out for Six in Six which will make a return for the select few who join in. I would love for you to spread the word when I put the post up.

Happy Reading in June.