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3.9 out of 5 stars52
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 15 May 2014
What a wonderful book! It kept me on edge of my seat all the way through. I loved the way two mysteries ran side by side; Alicia's memories of an abused childhood return as she takes her daughter back to the house where her own nightmare began.
This is cleverly woven into a gradually emerging sinister presence of the Stranger who plans to take her own daughter and ultimately her. When I thought I knew who The Strangers was, the plot made me change my mind - so often.
It is extremely well written, one of those books that gives total pleasure. I did manage to guess towards the end, but then the plot had me gripped - would they get there in time! It's clever, with a lead character that you can identify with. Can't wait for The Cold Cold Sea which I believe is the next Linda Huber offering; she is a definite author for my collection.
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on 23 May 2016
Early on, there is a horrific and brutally graphic murder of a kitten. In my opinion, the author did not need to go into such a lengthy, awful description of the event. It is sickening. I stopped reading the book as a result, and I shall never read Linda Huber's work again. Very upsetting.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 August 2013
Thank you kindly to Legend Press for allowing me a copy of this book via netgalley.

Alicia returns to her home for the first time in many years, bringing her daughter to stay for the Summer and help out with the care of her Father who has suffered a stroke. Dark memories arise from her time living at home..and she can't quite put her finger on the entire reasons for her discomfort - yes her Father was strict, unbending and abusive but there is something she can't quite remember. Meanwhile someone is watching both her and her daughter...watching and waiting...

I loved the way this story flowed....written in quite a punchy style, from the point of view of Alice and her "stalker" it gives you a real sense of menace as you read...cleverly, the setting makes this even more apparent - the beautiful village with friendly locals and lovely scenery should be a place of safety but no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors. As Alicia faces her past and heads into a dangerous future you are never quite sure where the journey is going to end. Ms Huber has a genuine talent for putting you in her characters heads and this is an intelligent and thoughtful debut.

On another note it is also has an eye to dealing with illness and the very real issues having an elderly parent who needs full time care can pose for a family. Alicia's opposing view to that of her Aunt in what is best for her father is very well imagined - a discussion I am sure goes on in homes all over the country...and that adds to the realism of the situation Alicia finds herself in.

All in all I would definitely recommend this for lovers of mystery stories - it has a hint of the "old school" about it which makes it a great book to sit and indulge yourself with. Watch out never know who might be watching you!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 24 August 2013
This was a really gripping read that I had to clear the decks for and read in one go.

Alicia left home at the age of 16, fleeing a brutal tyrannical father and never returned until now. Following her father's series of strokes and the onset of dementia, she returns to help arrange his care, along with her 8 year old daughter, Jenny. This brings back a whole host of unwanted memories of her unhappy childhood that until now were buried deep inside her.

The story deals well with the dilemmas of caring for an elderly parent - what to do, should they be cared for at home or in a nursing home? However, this is not the main thrust of the story.

Alicia has a stalker who is known only as "The Stranger" with chapters alternating, some told from Alicia's viewpoint and some from The Strangers. These chapters are particularly chilling and full of menace and fascinating reading. We do not know his identity right until the end of the book and until then we are given a number of possible suspects. I found myself constantly changing my mind as to the identity of the stalker as the author cleverly casts suspicion all around.

The story is well paced, full of drama and with a gripping, chilling conclusion. A read that is highly recommended for lovers of suspense fiction.

Thanks to the publishers for an ARC in return for an honest and unbiased review.
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on 1 March 2015
Alicia and her daughter have returned home to the town where Alicia grew up, to take care of her ailing father. But this homecoming fills Alicia with discomfort, as dark childhood memories begin to surface. All the while, a person identified only as ‘The Stranger’ lurks somewhere within her circle of new acquaintances, sights firmly set on both mother and daughter – and not in a good way.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Paradise Trees. It’s a well-crafted and creepy thriller which keeps the reader guessing right up to the last few pages. The writing is fluid and the characters well-drawn. I particularly liked the way the author handled the discomfort – and even disgust – that Alicia feels, having to care for the father she despises – there were some exquisite touches in these scenes. Later in the book (no spoilers here!) the author expertly builds a growing sense of panic and peril into the scenes which move towards the climax.

Altogether a real page-turner.
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on 5 January 2015
This is such a complex and beautiful story. I loved the way the author avoided the simple cliches for rom thrillers and focussed on the contrast between the horrific depths of the psychopath stalking the mother and child, and the life-affirming strength of the bond between Alicia and daughter Jenny. In a larger picture, the plot deals with failures of the parent-child relationships. When Alicia returns to care for the fundamentalist zealot father who monstrously abused her as a child, she starts to hear a child's voice in her mind, warning her and struggling to voice horrors hidden since Alicia's escape as a teen. I found it interesting that the adult Alicia has made a conscious decision to break what could have been a horrific chain of abuse. Alicia is determined to ensure that her daughter's childhood contains the love, joy, and security denied by Alicia's parents. In doing so, she becomes the strong female figure she has never found in her own life. Even as she struggles to cope with the demands of her father's illness, it's men she reaches out to for friendship and help. As Alicia allows herself the delicate beginnings of a new romance, the hope and healing are contrasted with glimpses of the thoughts and intents of the psychopath who has decided on the deaths of both mother and daughter and his methodical preparations for sending them to Paradise.

This is an amazing debut from a talented writer. Undoubtedly we'll all be hearing more from Linda Huber.
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on 14 September 2013
There were lots of things I loved about this book. The use of two voices was a clever device: we have Alicia, the divorced mum who has returned to her unhappy childhood home to care for an ageing father with dementia; and 'the stranger', the quite terrifying figure who is stalking Alicia and her little daughter and planning their murder.
Both voices are entirely convincing, but the 'stranger' voice is particularly compelling in the way it veers between self-pity and justification for the terrible murder plan. There are times in these sections of the narrative where the reader's flesh genuinely crawls in horror and revulsion.
Another very clever piece of plotting is the way the reader must gradually work out who the stalker is. Sophisticated readers may guess that it is not the character they are being primed to believe it is, but the real identity of the 'stranger' is still not obvious until very near the denouement.
Other plus points: a believable setting and the sub-plot about what happened to Alicia as a girl and the mixed emotions over her father's dementia. These all add layers to the book.
A clever, original thriller. I'm really looking forward to seeing more from Linda Huber!
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on 11 April 2014
Alicia and her daughter Jenny go to stay at her father’s house for the summer holiday. He has had a number of strokes and his sister has been looking after him. Alicia had an unhappy childhood although she can’t remember everything about it, she is not looking forward to it and determined to find him a care home as soon as possible. We are introduced to the danger to Alicia and Jenny early on in the book, when a person in the village has plans for them. We are also introduced to a number of characters in the village and it isn’t clear who the person is who is threatening their safety and Linda Huber keeps us guessing right up until the end. This is a very suspenseful debut.
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on 26 June 2015
This is the first of Linda Huber's novels that I've read but I immediately downloaded another afterwards on the basis of this.

The Paradise Trees tells the story of Alicia and her daughter Jenny who go to spend the summer in Alicia's childhood home, looking after her father whose dementia means he needs a lot of support. Unfortunately, "the stranger" clocks their arrival in town and is immediately drawn to mum and daughter ... and not in a good way.

I'm terrible for trying to guess whodunnit in a thriller and I've read stories before where the signposting is so strong that I've guessed immediately. This wasn't the case in The Paradise Trees. Linda presents us with a number of options and I found myself guessing until the very end.

What's really great about this book is that it isn't just about the sinister stranger. There's a back story about Alicia's unhappy childhood and the anguish she feels at having to take care of her cruel father, as well as the stress brought on by Jenny's father who has some very unreasonable demands.

Great stuff. I look forward to my next Linda Huber novel.
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on 1 March 2014
I bought the kindle version of this book so I could read a few chapters before having an early night. Big mistake ! I started reading and was hooked - I couldn't put it down until I had finished the book and found out who the villain was. I thought the story and the sub-ploy were clever and intriguing and really enjoyed the writing style of the author. I will certainly be looking to read more by Linda Huber.
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