Every Secret Thing – Rachel Crowther *BOOK TOUR*

I have a treat in store today, A question and answers session with Rachel Crowther, author of Every Secret Thing!

Summarize each character

The central characters are a close knit group who all sing together in a choir at university.

Marmion is described by one of the other characters as the group’s ‘moral compass’. She’s a Quaker, a very talented musician, fresh-faced and optimistic about life. She’s perhaps a little naïve and unwordly but she sees the good in everyone and is unstintingly kind.

Judith is the only daughter of two doctors from Bristol, strikingly beautiful and ferociously strong-minded. She describes herself as a ‘Jewish Hindu atheist’ and likes to think she doesn’t care about other people’s opinions or conventional morality.

Cressida comes from a wealthy family, the product of a famous girls’ boarding school who’d grown up with horses and brothers in the Home Counties. She is very clever and highly ambitious and dreams of becoming an academic at Cambridge, but she’s also spiky and full of self-doubt.

Bill comes from Birmingham, where his parents run a small hotel. Ginger-haired, bluff and self-deprecating, he’s the choir’s star tenor, a natural musician who is determined to escape from the confines of his family.

Stephen is perhaps the most complicated of the group: he’s tall and gangling and a little awkward, reluctant to talk about his family – his adoptive parents and disabled brother. He’s also the most ambitious of them, destined for a glittering career in international commerce.

Fay is the group’s shadowy benefactress, an older woman who takes them under her wing and gives them treats: dinners, concerts, and then a weekend in her cottage in the Lake District.

Explain who is your strongest character, in your eyes, and why? Who do you believe to be the most influential of the group? 

Judith is probably the one the others see as most powerful, because she’s very self-assured and outspoken and rather unconventional. They’re all a bit on awe of her. But Marmion has the most inner strength, and the others recognise that too. In fact they all have a lot of respect and admiration for each other, and in different ways they are all strong characters: Bill is a natural leader, Cressida is incredibly well-read and erudite, and Stephen’s sights are set well beyond the others’ horizons.

Why is the friendship so important?

The five characters have had a very close bond during three intense years at university, when singing in the choir together has been the most important thing in all their lives. To quote Marmion: ‘the thrill of singing with this group of people would never leave her. Making

something together, she thought in a moment of startling clarity, in the same way as sex, and with the same effect of rendering you completely alive.’

Later, the drama that overtakes them that summer in the Lake District overshadows all their lives, and although they go their separate ways for twenty years, those events and the destruction of their friendship is something that never quite leaves them, and in different ways holds them all back.

 
In a sentence explain how each character has changed with age. 

I don’t want to give too many spoilers here, so I’ll be cautious…! The short answer is that although they have all been more or less successful in life, they are all essentially unfulfilled at forty-ish. None of them have children, and none of them have very successful relationships. They are all drawn back to the cottage they visited with Fay that summer in 1995 because they are looking for resolution and redemption, and hoping for something better from the future.


What does ‘Every Secret Thing’ mean to you?

The setting – both the Cambridge choir and the Lake District – are drawn from my own life, and both are really important to me, so the novel was very enjoyable (and rather nostalgic) to write. But all the characters, and what happens to them, are entirely fictional, so it was also exciting to find out what became of them all as the novel took shape, and I became very fond of them all.

I guess the question of fresh starts and new possibilities in mid life is also close to my heart: I was about the age of these characters when I started writing and began to move away from medicine, and I do believe strongly that people can take stock, rethink what they want and remake their lives at forty or fifty or even sixty.

Daisy In Chains – Sharon Bolton

Famous killers have fan clubs.

Hamish Wolfe is no different. Locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women, he gets countless adoring letters every day. He’s handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced he’s innocent, and that he’s the man of their dreams.

Who would join such a club?

Maggie Rose is different. Reclusive and enigmatic; a successful lawyer and bestselling true-crime writer, she only takes on cases that she can win.

Hamish wants her as his lawyer, he wants her to change his fate. She thinks she’s immune to the charms of a man like this. But maybe not this time . . .

Would you?

This book, for me, was just something else. It was dark and twisted yet beautiful, emotive and addictive.

Feeling hypnotised from start to finish, Bolton held me under her spell of dark twisted addictive wanton. I just couldn’t wait for the next chapter, the next ‘incident’ or letter. The need for a new instalment.

A story full of complications, guarded emotions and deceit, even though it was written as a thriller it felt almost fanciful and delicate as segment by segment the reader is drip fed further information.

Bolton has a way of writing that captures the darker side of beauty, showing the reader how beautiful our demons can be, talented creative writing right there.

The characters were the story, bringing the words in the book to life, sharing hidden secrets, individual quirky ways which often left the reader wondering  and all those very important minute tiny details. A story capturing a complex pool of characters at their very best, working in harmony with and against each other, and that magnetic draw creating intensive relationships and highly charged emotions tumbling through the chapters.

Beautifully written, delicately put together with an electrifying undercurrent and explosive finale that, I never saw coming at all. 

Highly recommended and I will certainly be reading more of Bolton’s very well crafted work. An author I am glad I have finally found.

 

Emma In The Night – Wendy Walker

From the bestselling author of All Is Not Forgotten comes a thriller about two missing sisters, a twisted family, and what happens when one girl comes back…

One night five years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn’t add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister’s return might just be the beginning of the crime.

Emma In The Night is a tormented read with harrowing realities and emotional draw, yet breathtakingly beautiful and delicately spun yarn by silken yarn

Never doubting that Walker had written another stunning read. I was not to be disappointed as I read her latest novel word to word, sentence to sentence and chapter to chapter. Walker writes with a beautiful presence, her characters fully formed in complexity displaying an exceptional strength of imagery.

This is a story of love, loss and revenge with a side of tension and a competitive streak thrown in the mix. A wholesome novel with a satisfying conclusion.

Not every writer can hold my attention, presenting script that feels flat and bland, without the delicacy of emotive scribblings and musings from within. Walker, for me, writes with everything I need from a novel, with an understanding of each character and a depth so deep they too walk from the page and for those few days become part of the daily life and routine. Maybe I just crave a more articulate verse than most? but I praise the writing style that evokes emotion and feeling grabbing my attention and most importantly holding it firmly in place.

Walkers words lift from the page in silken strands that wrap intricately around the all consumed reader.

Whilst the characters seem to all be fighting for attention within the story, Dr Winter was the character for me, she was the strength and the soul of the story becoming the saviour who helps bring this tragic tale to a close. Her side of the story slides under skin wrapping its way around the reader, tightening the binds until the anticipation is too intense, only to fall away to an amazing conclusion and outstanding finale.

I thoroughly adored her debut novel All Is Not Forgotten. I find myself living within her books, absorbed deep in the centre, too enthralled to put them down. This, is everything I need from a book.

Blue Gold – David Barker

 

The near future. Climate change and geopolitical tension have given rise to a new international threat – a world war for water. This most vital of resources has become a precious commodity and some will stop at nothing to control its flow.

When a satellite disappears over Iceland, Sim Atkins thinks he knows why. He is given the chance to join the hallowed Overseas Division and hunt for the terrorists responsible. But his new partner Freda Brightwell is aggrieved to be stuck with a rookie on such a deadly mission.

Freda’s misgivings are well founded when their first assignment ends in disaster – a bomb destroys a valuable airship and those responsible evade capture. Seeking redemption, the British agents follow the trail to a billionaires’ tax haven in the middle of the Atlantic ocean and uncover a web of deceit that threatens global war. Whom can they trust

As the world edges ever closer to destruction Sim and Freda must put their lives on the line to prevent Armageddon – and protect the future of ‘blue gold’.

This book was one of the scientific kind of those set in the future hunting for a new kind of treasure to the norm.

Between the lines of the main plot, beyond all of the sci-fi and treasure hunting was a story of a lost man looking for a better version of himself, chasing a dream he thought he had and hoping to find his answers amist the action. This is what drew me into the story.

I’m not sure it was my kind of read, certainly not a ‘go to’ genre for me.  I found I struggled a little because of this but that didn’t detract it from being a good story.

I have found myself rethinking about Blue Gold, now that I have finished reading it, not necessarily the plot or the chapters but the characters. They made the story worth reading and kept me captivated.

I rushed through the more ‘historical chapters’ to get to the present day I felt hungry for, I was following Freda and Sim on their epic adventure everything else blended into the background, they were my story and had my full attention.

I believe it to be clever writing when characters are strong enough to haunt you thereafter the last page has been consumed and the story concluded.

Barker’s development of his main characters at the very least was wholesome and rounded. They had history, presence and purpose. His side characters, most certainly Rabten stood proud within the novel. The loyalty shown by him is honourable and helps ties together the loose ends, bringing the conclusion to a close.

I love a story where everything comes together at the end.

Due to the fact I struggled with reading the novel I felt relief when I finished, not because it was poor but because it wasn’t my style of book – yet – I found myself drawn to reading the sample of the next book ‘Rose Gold’ and wanting to know more. That is a sign of a very well written novel.

PsychoAnalysis – V R Stone

A serial killer who wants to quit. A detective struggling to keep his personal life out of a murder hunt. And a celebrity psychiatrist facing an incredible challenge. Three damaged individuals, linked by their traumatic histories. They’ve chosen very different paths. Now those paths are about to cross.

Sarah Silver is a hedge fund manager – from Monday to Friday she makes a killing in the markets. At weekends, though, she hunts men, not profits. Martin White used to be a brilliant detective. But his family, judgement and self-control are deserting him. And Karl Gross has sold millions of books on serial killers. However he’s a controversial figure in the medical community.

Can Martin keep it together and catch a killer who commits almost perfect crimes? Is Karl capable of unravelling Sarah’s psyche and putting an end to the killing? Or will she disappear when she realises that the hunter has become the hunted?

PsychoAnalysis is a psychological crime thriller that explores the grey area between good and evil. Why would a woman kill for fun? Can she be understood? Can she be stopped?

What I loved most about this book was the original plot.

Quite different and very gripping.

The characters were very well-developed Sarah especially with her history and back story being thorough and in-depth

The whole book pulsed along the rhythm with my speeding heart rate as I witnessed the push and pull of the cat and mouse chase

intertwining of the constant near misses, close calls and red herrings. Loved watching the story unfold slowly monitoring the missing jigsaw pieces slotting into place and with the conclusion drawing near wondering what the bloody hell was going to happen.

The fact that the author is male gave the story more definition especially writing from different points of view and alternative angles both male and female.

Sarah is an especially interesting character with an unusual history which feels realistic and works really well.

Even though she was sinister and yes, terrifying she was a great character who kept the story fuelled and alive.

Martin was nothing more than a naive stupid fool throwing everything away as he retreated into his protective self disillusioned bubble yet I liked him. Again a colourful character with hidden depth, multi layered with substance. His gut instinct was of interest but his head was way up his arse with his heart not far behind which made him the fool…or did it?

A collection of great people living double lives, spilt down the middle. Lots going on, which is concluded well leaving no end lose and very riveting stuff.

A thriller with a difference in my opinion. A book that you think about often and plays on your mind.

Very much looking forward to a second book.

He Said / She Said – Erin Kelly

Who do you believe?

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack.

She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever.

Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear.

And while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something – and someone – is always in the dark…

 

This book did not have the ending I needed.

It lulled me into a false sense of security ensnaring my gullible nature into believing this could be the perfect story with the much awaited ending but no, it was far more blunt than that.

The book was cleverly written, surprisingly pulling you along whilst hiding its cunning side with the darker side of each eclipse.

I adored those young kids. Fresh faced and heading into the world. Loved up. High on each other and giddy with excitement. They grew up so fast and life became very serious indeed. Things do not always go to plan and are rarely plain sailing.

You won’t believe what you read. You will question the motive, hunt the answers and dissolve in bitter tears at the truth.

Beautifully executed taking the reader on a fantastic roller coaster journey without the limitations.

I recommend this book with caution you don’t get too attached, people are not what they seem.

 

Eveyln After – Victoria Helen Stone

Evelyn Tester is sleepwalking through her suburban life—until a late-night phone call startles her awake. Her husband, a prestigious psychiatrist, has been in an accident. And he isn’t alone.

Suddenly Evelyn’s world isn’t as tidy as she thought. And in the midst of it all is Juliette, not only her husband’s secret lover but also his patient. If news of the affair were to get out, it would ruin more than just Evelyn’s marriage. Although it’s a bitter pill for Evelyn to swallow, protecting her family means staying silent—even if, as she begins to discover, the night of the accident has consequences far more dangerous than the unmasking of an affair.

But the more Evelyn learns about Juliette’s picture-perfect life—complete with a handsome, unsuspecting husband—the more she yearns for revenge…and satisfaction. Her growing obsession fuels her rage, burning away her complacency. What will be left of her after it flames out?

I REALLY enjoyed this book. I loved the journey Stone took the reader on, full of intrigue, betrayal and passion.

I found myself completely enthralled and drawn into the story.

The prose, the writing and storyline were magnificent, how we heard a before and after point of view really strengthen the story and kept the reader engaged. I was constantly rooting for Evelyn, even when she was in the wrong. I cheer on Evelyn even in her wrong doings which throughout all she had been reborn and found a newer more confident version of herself loving and appreciating her womanly drive once again, albeit from the wrong situation but regardless she is on fire and thriving. It is so easy to become lost and insignificant as the years drift by.

My favourite character was most certainly Evelyn but I must say I adored Noah.

The connection between the two is delicious and the antics they got up to even more so, I wanted a happy ending, I desperately wanted them to be. Noah is the man Gary can never be and would never even try to be. Evelyn deserved Noah and they both deserved happiness.

What I found the most interesting aspect is that the control her husband held was crippling yet Evelyn had no idea how much so until her world was shattered by his betrayal. Her journey begins with the night when she is jolted from sleep to come to the rescue and from there how he lies to cover his tracks. Evelyn has a lot to discover.

I also very much appreciated the artistic aspect of the story, giving it an extra depth and providing a further connection.

Evelyn After for me was a brilliant story, and originally presented with an air of suspense where the reader has no idea how things will end up. It discusses long-standing relationships, marriage, aging insecurities and the relationships with children. It leaves bare that not everyone is as happy as they portray to be to the outside world.