Anne Bonny #BookReview The Secrets You Hide by @KateWritesBooks 4* #LegalThriller #CrimeFiction #Psychological @BonnierZaffre

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The Secrets You Hide by Kate Helm
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Georgia Sage has a gift: she can see evil in people. As a courtroom artist she uses her skills to help condemn those who commit terrible crimes. After all, her own brutal past means she knows innocence is even rarer than justice.

But when she is drawn back into the trial that defined her career, a case of twisted family betrayal, she realises her own reckless pursuit of justice may have helped the guilty go free.

As Georgia gets closer to the truth behind the Slater family, something happens that threatens not only her career – but even her own sanity. At first, she fears her guilt around the events of her terrible childhood is finally coming back to haunt her.

The truth turns out to be even more terrifying . . .

My Review:

The Secrets You Hide is an impressive debut novel, it is packed full of twists and turns; and you never know who you can trust. Which includes our protagonist Georgia Sage.

The novel opens in 1997, with a young girl Suzanne locked in her room, as her father commits an atrocious and traumatic crime.
‘Dad has been acting strange for months’
What’s on the other side of the door?

We then are introduced to Georgia in 2017, She is a freelance court room artist and has sat in on some horrific crimes in her career. As we meet her, she is on the morning of a awkward one night stand. We discover via her internal thoughts she is not as content with her career choice as she’d have others believe.
‘What kind of person paints pictures of the worst humanity has to offer?’

Georgia does take great pride in her work and believes that her courtroom sketches could ultimately impact the jury/public opinion. I wasn’t as sure about this, but I was intrigued by the way in which Georgia sold it to the reader…
‘I build up the layers, to reveal people as they really are, the secrets they hide even from themselves’

We become aware Georgia lives in a large property and has no financial concerns. I think this explains why she is content with a career choice that cannot earn her much money. We also become aware she is a lonely woman, with a troubled past. It is at this point she becomes an unreliable narrator, of her own story.

‘The fear of life was stronger than the relief of death’

The case Georgia is currently in court sessions for is a he/she said rape trial. But Georgia is convinced of the man’s guilt. But that isn’t the case that the novel revolves around. It is a case from Georgia’s past.
A case she has always been uncertain if justice truly was served…..

A complex twisty psychological thriller, with a shocking ending! 4*

KH
Kate Helm
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Anne Bonny #BookReview A House Of Ghosts by @WilliamRyan_ 5* Genius #WW1Fiction #Séance #Ghosts #Mystery #Thriller @bonnierbooks_uk @BonnierZaffre ‘A House Of Ghosts is pure perfection!’

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A House Of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives.

At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons who were lost in the conflict. But as his guests begin to arrive, it gradually becomes clear that each has something they would rather keep hidden. Then, when a storm descends on the island, the guests will find themselves trapped. Soon one of their number will die.

For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . .

My Review:

A House Of Ghosts is pure perfection!
It has several themes that I absolutely adore and some that strike at my heart. It covers a multitude of genre’s it is literary, historical with a slight occult theme also. It really is 100% worth your investment in the beautiful hardback edition. *See images below*

The novel centres around several characters, mostly of the upper class and privileged of society. But as we know from history, this alone did not absolve you from the battle lines of The Great War. The novel is set in the winter of 1917 and you can fully appreciate the psychological impact of ww1 on several of the characters.

This struck very personal to me, as my great-grandfather fought in ww1 and came back having received a severe head injury. Eventually, he took his own life years later. I guess we will never truly know if it was the head injury, the psychological trauma of a mixture of both. But all I do know is he took his life via slitting his own throat and my grandfather was the one to find him at just 10yrs old. His death would leave a substantial impact on one of the greatest men, I’ve even known, my Grandad Alan.

Back to the novel itself, the central characters are Cpt Robert Donovan and Kate Cartwright. When they are summoned to Blackwater Abbey to take part in a séance to summon the dead of ww1. They have no idea, they’ll end up becoming amateur detectives themselves. The characterisation of these two is phenomenal and they work brilliantly together. What we are yet to discover, is that Kate has a gift of her own. . .

‘Any supposed contact with the dead is either the work of charlatans or some kind of group psychological disorder’ – Kate Cartwright

We learn more about each individual character present at Blackwater Abbey. Their ties to the estate and their loss of loved ones in ww1. Kate for example has lost her own brother and despite her reservations, she is desperate for some kind of communication or confirmation of his death.

‘The problem with corruption among the English upper classes wasn’t that it existed but thatg it wasn’t dealth with firmly and publicly’ – C

Blackwater Abbey is located on Blackwater island as island rumoured to be full of ghosts and the perfect location for a weekend of spiritualism and séances. That is until the stormy weather cuts the group off from access and contact with the mainland. . .

‘In a house of ghosts, the living await, their certain fate’

Eventually we are introduced to the two eccentric characters, that have been acquired to carry out the seances. Madame Freda and Count Dmitri Orlov. The séance will require 12 people and equal numbers of men and women, which requires two unwilling servants to join their number.

‘Spirits from the other side, join us’ Count Orlov

For me personally, this novel has it all. A haunted island, superstition, wartime secrets and trauma. Kate and Donovan make the perfect crime solving pair and the novel strongly reminded me of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.
5* Genius

***images of Hardback edition***
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cof cof

WR
William Ryan ~ W.C. Ryan
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Anne Bonny #BookReview A Mother’s Grace by @RosieGoodwin 4* #Victorian #saga #HistoricalFiction @BonnierZaffre

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A Mother’s Grace by Rosie Goodwin
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Tuesday’s child is full of grace . . .

Warwickshire, 1910.

Pious young Grace Kettle escapes the world of her unsavoury and bullying father to train to be a nun. But when she meets the dashing and devout Father Luke her world is turned upside down. Her faith is tested and she is driven to make a scandalous and life-changing choice – one she may well spend the rest of her days seeking forgiveness for . . .

My Review:

A Mother’s Grace opens in 1891, Nuneaton and tells the life story of Grace Kettle. A story of overcoming adversity against the odds. It was perfect weekend reading.
I love a lazy Sunday with a saga on the sofa!

December 1891, Madeline marries Judge Jacob Kettle it is the wedding night of nightmares! So early on, you get a real understanding of the vile atrocious man Jacob is. For Madeline it is a marriage of convenience to secure herself a future away from poverty. For Jacob it is a marriage of dominance and control.

By 1892 Jacob has inherited new property which also comes with new staff Mrs Batley, Mabel and Harry. The staff are the only friends Madeline will ever have. The also really brighten the novel, Mrs Batley pushes back against Jacob’s frugal and verbally abusive manner. But she can’t save Madeline who continues to be regularly verbally abused…..
“Speak when you are spoken to, woman” – Jacob

The novel constantly brings alive the era and even more so when baby Grace Victoria is finally born. With little or no help from physicians and Jacob away from home. Madeline is left weak from the birth and never fully recovers.
She is firmly told, that she must bare no more children.

June 1897, Grace is now a young girl and the apple of her father’s eye. Her mother remains weak from her birth, But Grace enjoys the time she gets to spend with her. Grace also has a nanny Betty Donovan, who enjoys teaching Grace about life outside the property. However, Grace’s father remains possessive and controlling of her time and attention. Which I began to worry would become an unhealthy fixation.

By July 1902 Grace is now 10yrs old and her father appears to resent her maturity and attempts to cajole her as if she were much younger. When Madeline notices this, she organises to send Grace to her Aunt Gertie’s in Wales on ‘holiday’.
It is merely a temporary fix.

But in Wales Grace thrives. Gone is the occasional spoiled little madam act. Grace enjoys the local nature, people and becomes fascinated by the local convent and Catholic faith.
It is ultimately this holiday that matures Grace well beyond her years. For which she will need, as from her 16th birthday, life for Grace changes rapidly. 4*

RG
Rosie Goodwin
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Giveaway 29 Seconds by @TMLoganAuthor 3 Paperback copies (UK only) See pinned Tweet @annebonnybook #NewRelease #CrimeFiction from @BonnierZaffre @bonnier_publish How much could you lose in 29 Seconds. . .

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29 Seconds by T.M. Logan
Synopsis:

What if the answer to your prayers would change your life forever? ‘Give me one name. One person. And I will make them disappear . . .’

When Sarah rescues a young girl in trouble, she expects nothing in return. But her act of bravery puts a powerful and dangerous man in her debt. He lives by his own brutal code, and all debts must be repaid – in the only way he knows how.

He offers Sarah a way to solve a desperate situation with her intolerable boss. A once-in-a-lifetime deal that will make all her problems disappear.

No consequences. No comeback. No chance of being found out.

All it takes is a 29 second phone call.

BECAUSE EVERYONE HAS A NAME TO GIVE. DON’T THEY?

You can see my review HERE

tm
T.M. Logan
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GIVEAWAY:
To be in with a chance of winning 1 of 3 paperback copies of 29 Seconds.
Simply comment on the blog post below or
The post at  Facebook page Anne Bonny Book Reviews or
RT the Pinned Tweet @annebonnybook
Good Luck!
I will announce the winner Friday 16th March. 

#BlogTour #Review A Darker State by @djy_writer 5* @BonnierZaffre @bonnier_publish #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Germany #1970s

Happy publication day David Young!

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A Darker State by David Young
Synopsis:

For the Stasi, it’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

The body of a teenage boy is found weighted down in a lake. Karin Müller, newly appointed Major of the People’s Police, is called to investigate. But her power will only stretch so far, when every move she makes is under the watchful eye of the Stasi.

Then, when the son of Müller’s team member goes missing, it quickly becomes clear that there is a terrifying conspiracy at the heart of this case, one that could fast lead Müller and her young family into real danger.

Can she navigate this complex political web and find the missing boy, before it’s too late?

My review:

For the Stasi. It’s not just the truth that gets buried . . .

Under the secrecy and fear of a communist state, a murderer lurks. The prologue opens with one armed Polish dog walker Kazimierz Wojcik; stumbling across, the rat covered dead body of a young male, in a dark lake. It is within this terrifying political climate, that the man, even fears calling in the dead body to the police….

‘Keep you head down; keep out of trouble. That’s how Kazimierz had survived all these years, and he wasn’t about to change’

It is an eerie prologue that really sets the tone and pace of this historical novel. The author has done an outstanding job, of bringing 1976 East Berlin alive!
The novel is set within six months of 1976. With alternate chapters alternating the various months. The novel has many factual and historically accurate references. But the central theme is the skilfully woven, crime fiction plot.
One dead boy and another missing.
Things are about to get difficult for tough police major Karin Muller…….

Karin Muller is the newly appointed major of the serious crimes department in Keibelstrasse. Working alongside her deputy Werner Tilsner. Each having received double promotions. But is there more to this career fast tracking than meets the eye?

At the crime scene the pathologist quickly determines the body to have suffered fatal asphyxiation. There is a bizarre tattoo on the body and a sock stuffed down the throat of the victim. The police are left with more questions than leads.

The novel then jumps to six months previously. Where we meet Markus a bullied young student. We become aware that he is the son of a police man. He is helpless in his efforts to defend himself. Until one-day Oskar steps in and fends off the bullies. Having found a new and only friend, Markus believes his life is about to become a lot less lonely!

The body from the lake is finally identified as Dominik Nadel. Where the police officers believe his identification may throw up some clues. It only leads to further mysteries. Dominik appears to have led a sheltered life. He works at the local steel works and has hobbies such as football and a motorbike club. It is only when Karin appeals to the coach’s gentler side. Then he reveals crucial secrets surrounded Dom’s lifestyle and the motor bike club he is a member of…….

Karin’s personal life has changed, this is her first case back after her return from her twin’s birth. She is exhausted and blames herself for her long working hours away from her children. It is during this time, that the cracks begin to show in her relationship with Emil. He is distant and cold towards her. With everything Karin has going on, she does not even feel welcomed in her own home.

The case continues at a slow burning pace, but the alternative chapters keep you on your toes. We learn more about Dom’s activities prior to his death. Whilst also watching Markus fall in love for the first time.

The novel deals with some exceptionally moving themes. The manipulation of individuals, to achieve state goals. Also, the vile abuses a country can carry out on its own citizens. I think the author is very brave to address the concept within the historical era. It cannot have been an easy task.
But he has delivered a thought-provoking and complex 5* novel.

Karin Muller is an awesome protagonist and I look forward to the next novels in the Stasi series.

DY
David Young
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