Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Testament by @kimtsherwood #Literary #ww2Fiction #NewRelease @riverrunbooks #Testament

Testament by Kim Sherwood
Review copy


Of everyone in her complicated family, Eva was closest to her grandfather: a charismatic painter – and a keeper of secrets. So when he dies, she’s hit by a greater loss – of the questions he never answered, and the past he never shared.

It’s then she finds the letter from the Jewish Museum in Berlin. They have uncovered the testimony he gave after his forced labour service in Hungary, which took him to the death camps and then to England as a refugee. This is how he survived.

But there is a deeper story that Eva will unravel – of how her grandfather learnt to live afterwards. As she confronts the lies that have haunted her family, their identity shifts and her own takes shape. The testament is in her hands.

Kim Sherwood’s extraordinary first novel is a powerful statement of intent. Beautifully written, moving and hopeful, it crosses the tidemark where the third generation meets the first, finding a new language to express love, legacy and our place within history.

My Review:

‘Everything I knew about Silk’s life began in London 1945’

Testament is a tender novel, it explores the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter. The desire for the granddaughter to know more about her grandfather’s history and the journey of discovery this take her upon.

Eva is present at the death of her grandfather Joseph. She has to inform her father and it is then that we learn the relationship between the two is far from perfect. Eva has grown up close to her grandfather and they have shared a close relationship.
One she has not shared with her own father.

When Eva receives a letter from Dr Felix Gershel from the Judisches museum in Berlin, it sets her on a course of discovery about her grandfather and his complex history.
The Testament is the story of Joseph’s time in the labour camps of ww2. Something Eva believes is everything he wouldn’t want the world to see. It was never his desire to be defined by his experiences in the Holocaust.

This is a moving story that fully covers the true horror of being a survivor of the Holocaust. The refugee aftermath and attempting to locate one’s family members. It really puts you in the place of Joseph and we see life through his eyes.

‘You do not know if you will ever see
your family again.
He cries himself to sleep’

It is also very moving in the exploration of father/daughter and grandfather/granddaughter relationships and family roles. Eva has a turbulent relationship with her father, which is fully explored within the novel. But the grief at the loss of her grandfather forces her to search for understanding, to ease her pain.

‘Vengeance is not Jewish’

Personally, I found the tender and emotional bond between Eva and Joseph very touching. I was very close to my own grandfather, before he passed away in 2001. It reminded me, of some of the conversations we had shared and how entirely different our lives were. Yet we are of the same family.

Testament is slow-paced and very literary in its content.
But it is written with such emotional intelligence. 4*

Kim Sherwood

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***

#BlogTour #Extract I’ll Keep You Safe by @authorpetermay @midaspr @riverrunbooks @QuercusBooks #KeepYouSafe #CrimeFiction

I’ll Keep You Safe by Peter May



Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Niamh learns of Ruairidh’s affair, and then looks on as he and his lover are killed by a car bomb. She returns home to Lewis, bereft.

Niamh begins to look back on her life with Ruairidh, desperate to identify anyone who may have held a grudge against him. The French police, meanwhile, have ruled out terrorism, and ruled in murder – and sent Detective Sylvie Braque to shadow their prime suspect: Niamh.

As one woman works back through her memories, and the other moves forward with her investigation, the two draw ever closer to a deadly enemy with their own, murderous, designs.


Niamh stole a glance at her man, but he was somewhere else. Somewhere, it seemed, that she was no longer welcome. He appeared older, suddenly, than his forty-two years. Short dark curls greying around the temples, shadows beneath blue eyes that had spent much of their time avoiding hers these last weeks. And she ached with a sense of loss. What had happened to them? A lifetime of love, ten years of marriage, evaporating before her eyes like rain on hot tarmac. It didn’t seem possible. Any of it. And it made her all the more determined to guard the secret she had been keeping from him. As he held the door of their club room open for her she saw the slim package in its brown paper wrapping lying on the dressing table where she had left it. She hurried across the room and slipped it into her bag before he could see it and ask what it was. ‘I’m going to take a shower,’ he said, and he threw his jacket on the bed and went straight into the bathroom. She heard the water running, and it only emphasized the silence in the room and her sense of loneliness. So she turned on the TV, just to create the illusion of life. Of normality. And walked to the window to gaze down into the courtyard below. Guests sat around tables beneath large, square parasols, eating and drinking, their chatter animated, laughter reaching her on the gentle night air, as if in rebuke for her unhappiness. She didn’t turn when Ruairidh came out, wrapped in a towelling robe, and she heard him rummaging in his case for a clean top and underwear. Then he was in the bathroom again, and she heard the spray of his deodorant and the slap of palms on cheeks applying aftershave. This time, when he emerged, she smelled him. When finally she turned, he was pulling on a black polo shirt and running his fingers back through still damp hair. ‘Making yourself beautiful for your girlfriend?’ She couldn’t help herself. He stopped, with his hands still raised. The frown again. ‘What are you talking about?’
‘What?’ His incredulity was almost convincing.
‘Oh, come on, Ruairidh. Irina Vetrov. You’ve been having an affair with her ever since you came to Paris last spring to seal that deal to provide Ranish for her next collection.’
He almost laughed. But there was something not wholly convincing about it. ‘Irina Vetrov? You think I’m having an affair with her?’
Niamh knew that people often repeated an accusation to play for time, to compose a response. But she didn’t want to hear it. Instead, she walked briskly across the room to the wardrobe, throwing open the door and crouching to unlock the safe. She really hadn’t meant to confront him, but somehow there was no avoiding it any longer. She took out her iPad and flicked open the cover. A four-digit code brought up the welcome screen, and a couple of swipes opened her mailer. She stabbed a finger at the screen and held it out towards him. He took a step towards her, consternation now in his eyes, and took the iPad, glancing down at the screen. She knew what he was reading. Words engraved in her memory. Read, and reread, and read again. Your husband is having an affair with Irina Vetrov. Ask him about it. She watched closely for his reaction. He looked up. His frown had become a scowl.
‘Jesus Christ, what the hell’s this?’
‘Self-explanatory, I think.’ Her certainty already wavering. He lowered his eyes to the screen again, and read, ‘’ Then raised them to meet hers.
‘Who the fuck is that?’
‘You tell me.’ Which immediately struck her as a stupid thing to say, since he clearly didn’t know. He threw her iPad dismissively on to the bed.
‘It’s crap, Niamh. Just not true. I can’t believe you think it is.’
‘Well, what am I supposed to think? You’ve been so secretive recently. Meetings and rendezvous without me. The little wife left to keep shop.’
‘Oh, for God’s sake!’
‘Do you deny it?’ She could hear herself getting shrill.
‘That I’m having an affair with Irina?’
‘I think I just did.’
‘So why would someone write and tell me you were?’
‘I think you’d have to ask them that, but I haven’t got the first idea.’
He seemed genuinely hurt. A glance at his watch and he said, ‘I have to go.’
‘Where?’ She turned, catching his arm as he walked past her. He pulled it free.
‘I told you.’
‘I don’t believe you.’
He stared at her long and hard. ‘They say that when trust is gone, love is dead. Don’t wait up.’
He slammed the door behind him and she stood, a cauldron of mixed emotions bubbling inside her. Now she felt guilty. As if it were her fault. As if the lack of trust she had just so clearly demonstrated was without cause. But it was justified, wasn’t it? The way things had changed between them recently. His strange, guilty behaviour.

Peter May
Authors Links:
Twitter: @authorpetermay

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New Release review: Sympathy For The Devil by William Shaw

sympathy cover

Sympathy For The Devil by William Shaw

The synopsis:


She made a profit from her youth. She’s not beautiful anymore – but now she will be young forever.

Called away from his pregnant girlfriend, Detective Sergeant Cathal Breen knows the sight of the murdered prostitute will be with him all his life. But this is what he does: he finds killers. Helen Tozer, more than most, understands why.


The girl they called Julie Teenager had a client list full of suspects – all rich, powerful – and protected. Someone warns off the beat coppers; someone disturbs the crime scene. When Breen gets a phone call from MI6, he fears just how protected his suspect is. These are dangerous waters, where Russian spies hide.

Then Helen, with her unstoppable copper’s instinct and fierce moral sense, dives into the investigation. And Breen knows he has more to lose than ever before. He is about to become a father. He can have no sympathy for the devil.

My review:

I actually read this straight after reading The Birdwatch by the same author. As novels go, they are poles apart in plot and themes. Sympathy For The Devil is much more dark, gritty and edgy. That’s not to say The Birdwatcher is not a cracking read too. I think the author has a real gift to write two very different novels so well.

The novel opens in the summer of 1969, with the body of a dead rock star floating in a pool. A rock star surrounded by wealth, privilege and beautiful women. Who has a known addiction problem. The plot moves on to what we come to know as Lena aka ‘Julie the teenager’ a prostitute who capitalises on her young looks with ‘an act’ that lures the perverted men whom desire underage teenage girls. The sleaze, secrets and depravity of sex work are fully explored. But when Julie the teenager is found dead, so begins a complex case of dead ends and mystery. Who killed Julie and why? Was it a punter? A manic? Or her maid?

Detective sergeant Cathal Breen is assigned the case. Breen and Constable Mint attempt to learn more about Julie the teenager. But how do you navigate a world built on secrecy, one where the Johns must remain anonymous, when you are the long arm of the law?

The other tenants in the apartment block provide clues and we learn of Lena’s past, one that leads right to WW2. Lena’s maid Florence is a pivotal part of the investigation but she can’t be found. Does she hold the secret list of clients? Who is on this list? Is there a link between the dead rock star and the dead hooker?

This novel has the trademark twists and turns of the author. Its complex, deep and interwoven. The characters are engaging good/bad you want to know more about them! The era is evocative and I found so many little details added up to really portray the 1960’s in its true light. One of drugs, sexual liberation and the changing roles of women. Will definitely read most by the same author!

Authors links:
Twitter: @william1shaw

*I received an Ebook arc via netgalley.