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Into Dusk
Into Dusk
by Ruth Owen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Audrey and Barry find ways of coping with their difficult family childhood and when pain and loss outweigh the good in their liv, 18 Aug. 2015
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This review is from: Into Dusk (Paperback)
A well-plotted story of how ordinary-seeming lives screen hidden turmoil. Siblings Jean, Audrey and Barry find ways of coping with their difficult family childhood and when pain and loss outweigh the good in their lives. Jean through a series of dramatic roles, Audrey by embarking on 'a journey of enrichment' and Barry, burdened by guilt from his crimes, by dropping out of his sisters' lives. Their mutual friend, Brenda, despite her own problems, works to bring them back together.
An emotional read, leavened by the author's wry humour and the possibility of hope.
Ros Davis
.


Back Road
Back Road
by Chris Gill
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars least of all those with the greatest needs. The characters in this novel are drawn ..., 2 May 2015
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This review is from: Back Road (Paperback)
Pete, working with vulnerable adults, learns to think of the needs of others and grow away from the egotistic self-obsession that has dogged his life. Until he comes up against Deborah, who, Pete realises, puts herself before the welfare of anyone else, least of all those with the greatest needs.
The characters in this novel are drawn with a realistic eye and sympathetic honesty, as are Pete's struggles to come between Deborah and the people she could harm, while battling to hold on to his own recently-won self-belief.
Chris Gill's sensitivity as a writer is to fill Pete's voice with his insecurities and self-doubts while showing how they have heightened his ability to see behind the masks people like Deborah present to the world, as well as the personal cost that has taken from him. Gill's skill is in enabling the reader to see what Pete sees while feeling what he feels, as he maintains the pace and the tension builds.
An excellent first novel.


Brotherhood
Brotherhood
by David Beckler
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It has a great deal to hold the reader, 2 May 2015
This review is from: Brotherhood (Paperback)
An exciting, fast-paced, tautly-plotted thriller, this held me to the end. It has a great deal to hold the reader, from its Manchester setting, the author's use of his clear knowledge of the city's dark side and his firefighting background which help bring the story to life, to interesting, well-drawn characters and a fascinating story.
There is violence and brutality, none gratuitous, and with a human side. There are strong characters - both male and female - unusual in a thriller. I liked the use of family connections and loyalties, or lack thereof, particularly the brothers theme. The novel is unusual in using snapshots of the boy, Mugisa's young life and brutalisation so he is now terrifying, told in a way that aroused much sympathy and sorrow. There is sensitivity in the way David Beckler describes the reactions of Philip's family, particularly the mother's fierce protectiveness and tenacity, and the interaction of the gang of boys.
An excellent, professional, novel with compelling story-telling.


Liberty Bazaar
Liberty Bazaar
by David Chadwick
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars setback to good fortune, where unexpected changes in perspective are encountered, 2 May 2015
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This review is from: Liberty Bazaar (Paperback)
This is a cleverly-plotted, compelling story which moves from hope to sudden reversal, setback to good fortune, where unexpected changes in perspective are encountered, threat is matched by counter-threat, loyalties shift and affection grows unexpectedly.
Escaped slave Trinity Gooding arrives in Liverpool from South Carolina, finds she has good and powerful friends and allies, but as she is caught up in Civil War machinations, powerful enemies also appear, the dividing lines between friend and foe not always clear.
Chadwick knows how to tell a good story; part of his considerable skill lies in drawing on meticulous, wide-ranging research to immerse the reader in time and place previously little known, particularly in his use of language. His characters are fully-rounded, faceted, complex beings, brought to vivid life.
I was stirred by Trinity, intrigued by Josiah then cheering them both on, while my feelings for Jubal changed from distanced, reluctant sympathy to surprised support, while my hatred for Rankin and all he stood for knew no bounds. All this while Liverpool Society takes sides, businesses compete to support or break Civil War blockades and social niceties are observed. I both wanted and didn't want to reach the end.
David Chadwick does not put a foot wrong.


With Blood and Scars
With Blood and Scars
by B E Andre
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars compassionate and in parts funny story is underpinned by the dislocations between cultures faced ..., 16 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: With Blood and Scars (Paperback)
The different threads of this story are deftly interwoven, through the eyes of Ania as a child, as an older woman and as a parent. Andre's skilful story-telling brings out a child's innocence while unflinchingly revealing what an adult would fudge or hide. Andre brings to vivid and compelling life Ania's childhood in the Whalley Range area of Manchester with her multi-ethnic gang of friends and Stevo, the mysterious outsider they befriend; the complexities of trying to live in the 1960s with her family intent on preserving the Polish way of life and traditions. Alongside and threaded through this Ania is learning, as a child and as an adult, what happened to her family during the War - knowledge she gains reluctantly, and later seeks out, sometimes with dread, as family secrets are unearthed.
This touching, sometimes shocking, tender, compassionate and in parts funny story is underpinned by the dislocations between cultures faced by refugees and their descendants, with wonderful, believable characters with whom I laughed, cried and bonded.


Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody)
Deeds of the Disturber (Amelia Peabody)
by Elizabeth Peters
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Deeds of the Disturber, 15 Jan. 2013
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Amelia Peabody is one of my favourite people. These novels clearly come from scholarly study and are written by someone immersed in their subject, which brings the characters and the settings to vibrant life. And they're so funny!


God of the Hive, The (Mary Russell Mystery 10)
God of the Hive, The (Mary Russell Mystery 10)
by Laurie R. King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars God of the Hive, 15 Jan. 2013
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I've loved every one of these books, well written, clearly based not just on thorough research but by a love of the original subject matter. The idea behind these novels is innovative, could so easily have gone wrong but it never does.


High Seas to Home: Daily Despatches from a Frigate at War
High Seas to Home: Daily Despatches from a Frigate at War
by Allan Seabridge
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Seas to Home, 15 Jan. 2013
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I was involved with this man and what he was saying from the beginning and didn't want to leave him and his wife at the end. The writing in the letters is plain and straightforward yet I felt I was living what he describes. The letters have been collated and organised extremely well and the added historical detail is enlightening and just enough.


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