Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Perfect Match by Katie Fforde

Hardback: 357 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction 
Publisher: Century 2014
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentences: Bella Castle took a breath and put on a smile she hoped would hide her frustration.
Review Quote: “A lovely sit-back-and-relax number that whisked me from my poky London flat to the rolling Cotswold hills … twenty novels in and Katie Fforde has still got it.”
Daily Express
My Opinion: Perfect relaxation reading.

Regular readers of my reviews may remember that I admit to having been a fan of Katie Fforde's writing since 1995. Picking up her latest novel is always a guarantee of finding a story to provide one with perfect relaxation reading, romantic plots with a feel good factor.  'The Perfect Match' is her twentieth romantic contemporary novel written in her inevitable warm and witty style with the sort of  ending one has come to expect! Cannot say that this was a favourite though as it felt superficial with no depth to the storyline, although I did enjoy the characterisations, particularly of 'wimpy' Bella and 'fiesty' Alice. Bella irritated me no end with her behaviour, yet Alice I admired, maybe as being of a similar age I thought go for it girl!       

I will just give you a brief synopsis of the storyline, to tempt you to pick up 'The Perfect Match' if this is a genre you enjoy. The female protagonists are Bella and Alice, the former is Alice's god-daughter and they share a delightful home together in the Cotswolds. Bella had moved in with her god-mother three years previously when she left her home town after a disastrous affair, if one could call it that. Now successfully working as an estate agent in the area and dating her boss, Bella may well have thought she was settled but the balance is about to be upset. She finds her boyfriend is not all she thought and her ex love turns up in the village! As for Alice, in contrast to Bella a much more likeable character, still single at 60 she suddenly finds herself falling for a younger man after a chance meeting. Alice finds the situation difficult especially when she has to meet her lovers adult children, but she is a strong lady, who proves it does not matter how old you are when you fall in love. 

To say more would spoil the story line, so I just recommend to Katie Fforde fans and fans of the genre if you have not yet discovered her writing. Her novels are perfect for when you are in the mood for a touch of romance, presented in a readable novel with the inevitable happy ending that one can relax with. 

Author Profile

Catherine Rose Gordon-Cumming was born on 27 September 1952 in Wimbledon, London, UK.  She has lived near Stroud, Gloucestershire  for over twenty years, with her husband and three children. It was after the birth of her third child that she started writing using her married name of Katie Fforde.  She is founder of the Katie Fforde Bursary for writers who have yet to secure a publishing contract. She was for many years a committee member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and was elected its twenty-fifteenth chairman (2009–2011) and later its fourth president. In June 2010 she was announced as a patron of the UK's first National Short Story Week.

I am also sharing here what she has to say about herself on her website as she says it so well.

About Katie
I was born and brought up in London but I am basically a country girl. I’ve lived in Stroud with my family for thirty years and while I love London and visit it frequently, I don’t think I could actually live there.

My husband Desmond and I started married life on the water, where we took two 70’ x 6’10 narrowboats around the canals as a hotel. It was very hard work! From there we went to Wales where we had two baby boys and narrowly avoided keeping goats. It was while we lived in Wales that I became addicted to Mills & Boon novels. My husband was away at sea for a lot of the time, leaving me with two small children who didn’t sleep well. I loved the fact that you could pick up a Mills & Boon and be able to follow the plot and enjoy the escapism even if you’d had little sleep. They were my reward for every household task. I’m so glad I was addicted to reading and not chocolate or Valium.

I did have the idea that I wanted to write Mills & Boon novels but didn’t do anything about it until my mother gave me a writing kit for Christmas. By now we lived in Stroud, and I also had a daughter as well as the two sons, Irish Wolfhound and two cats we had in Wales (although not the hens.). I didn’t think I had time to write but my mother thought differently and I took up the challenge. Ten years later I had a book on the shelves. It wasn’t a Mills & Boon, although I had tried to write one for eight years; it was Living Dangerously.

I had met an agent through the Romantic Novelists’Association and, when I was about to give up my ambitions to become a writer, she convinced me I could write something else. I was extremely lucky that the novel was chosen as part of a WHSmith’s Fresh Talent promotion, which gave it a terrific start in life.

There have been over seventeen novels since, as well as some grandchildren and a few stone of extra weight. However, I love being a writer. It gives me the chance to have all the jobs I couldn’t get now even if I did know anything about horses or pottery or indeed almost anything else. I love doing the research, although it has taken me way out of my comfort zone at times. I have been a porter for an auction house, learned how to gut fish, and taken part in a Ray Mears survival course. I loved it!

My hobbies, when I have time for them, are singing in a choir and flamenco dancing. Watching television is research and so I call it work.


  • Living Dangerously (1995)
  • The Rose Revived (1995)
  • Wild Designs (1996)
  • Stately Pursuits (1997)
  • Life Skills (1999)
  • Thyme Out (2000) aka Second Thyme Around
  • Artistic Licence (2001)
  • Highland Fling (2002)
  • Paradise Fields (2003)
  • Restoring Grace (2004)
  • Flora's Lot (2005) aka Bidding for Love
  • Practically Perfect (2006)
  • Going Dutch (2007)
  • Wedding Season (2008)
  • Love Letters (2009)
  • A Perfect Proposal (2010)
  • Summer of Love (2011)
  • Recipe for Love (2012)
  • A French Affair (2013)

The biographical information photo and video used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Twitter Profile   Goodreads Author Profile  Katie Fforde - Official Website   Katie Fforde - Wikipedia

Amazon Profile    Katie Fforde - Facebook           

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman

Paperback: . 273 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Picador - April 2014
Lovereading Reviewer Panel
First Sentences: Today, somehow, I am a smoker. I did not know this about myself. As far as I remember, I have never smoked before.
Review Quote: 
‘On the surface the book is a highly competent, creepy little chiller, but beneath, like a silent, bolted and half-dark room, there’s a much bigger, equally disconcerting story about the nature of feminine experience. It’s an accomplished début from a writer who shows insight and emotional power’. Hilary Mantel, Man Booker Prize winning author of Wolf Hall.
My Opinion: Completely lacking in storyline and tension.

I cannot say this was a boring novel as it was far from that, in fact it is an extremely erudite début from an obviously talented young lady. However it was just not for me, I found no pleasure in reading this novel and probably should not have done so, but I do like to keep my reading material eclectic!  When I was offered the opportunity to read this I had expectations of it being along the lines of Room which I really loved. So I was extremely disappointed to discover that to me, as I know I am in the minority, this was completely lacking in storyline and tension. The character of Marta, just annoyed me, maybe I missed the point and she was meant to and as for Hector, well I thought he was a horrid man! Let me give you a brief synopsis and you can decide for yourself if this thriller is for you.

Marta is married to Hector, twenty years her senior and the man who apparently helped her through a traumatic time during her teens and then eventually took her as his wife. The relationship seems extremely cold and unloving to the reader with Hector controlling her every move. She is not allowed to venture beyond the limits of the village they reside in and has to take medication deemed necessary for her well being by her husband. It is her decision to stop this medication that leads to Marta, starting to recall little by little a past life. Or maybe this is all in her imagination after all? Deliberately vague in the telling the reader is ultimately left to make up their own mind.

As I am very much in the minority with my thoughts on 'How To Be A Good Wife' I am not able to recommend it to you but hope that my review will help you make a considered choice, if this is a genre you normally enjoy.

Author Profile

Emma Chapman was born in 1985 and grew up in Manchester. She studied English Literature at Edinburgh University, followed by a Masters in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. After university, she travelled in Scandinavia, and she currently lives in Perth, Western Australia. How To Be A Good Wife is Emma's first novel.

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Goodreads - Author Profile     Picador - Emma Chapman  Website - How To Be A Good Wife

Twitter - Emma Chapman   

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Summer House by Santa Montefiore

Paperback: 473 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Fiction
Publisher: Simon and Schuster 2012
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentences: The beginning of March had been glorious. The earth had shaken off the early-morning frosts and little buds had emerged through the hardened bark to reveal lime-green shoots and pale-pink blossom.

Favourite Quote: It's very hard to accept that he's gone and will no longer be part of my life. However, I have no choice but to accept it. Fighting it won't bring him back, nor will it make me feel better; it'll just make me miserable and fill me with resentment.
Review Quote: 'A gripping romance... It is as believable as the writing is beautiful' (Daily Telegraph) 
My Opinion: A perfect summer read.

I first took an interest in this author’s writing in 2001 when her first novel Meet Me Under The Umbo Tree was published. I went on to read the next two as they were released The Butterfly Box and The Forget Me Not Sonata.  It was another five years before any more of her books came my way when in 2008 I read two more of her novels  Last Voyage of the Valentina and The Gypsy Madonna. It was to be another three years before I read two more of her novels, The Swallow and The Hummingbird and The French Gardener

 With this latest one it seems I am still only half way through her novels.  I have two more on my TBR bookshelf and do not think it will be long before I read them as they are the perfect type of novels for summer afternoons reading in the shade. Character driven contemporary fiction with story lines that are feasible if not always totally believable, but that is the joy of losing oneself in a good book. As expected I found the characters and the setting much more engaging  than the story which is really just a gentle ramble to a happy ending.  

Fairfield Park, a country estate that has been in the same family for generations is the setting. Think Downton Abbey but in a modern setting and you have the Frampton family, whom the author does an excellent job of describing to the reader with all their quirks and foibles. There are those you will hate instantly and those that you will love, but keep an open mind because all is not as it seems. Lady Frampton's husband has just died in a tragic accident and the day the family gathers together for his funeral, the family get a very unexpected shock!  Put your disbelief aside and let the story unfold whilst you enjoy the beautiful landscapes and well portrayed characters.

Recommended to fans of Rosamunde Pilcher, especially as she is often referred to as the author who took over her place in writing contemporary fiction. By coincidence Rosamunde Pilcher retired from writing in 2000 not long before Santa Montefiore's first novel was published. She has just published her 14th so plenty to read if you have not yet discovered her writing and are a fan of contemporary romantic fiction.

The Woman from Paris' is the American title of 'The Summer House' 

My Previous Reviews:

The Swallow and The Hummingbird    The French Gardener

Author Profile

Santa Montefiore was born Santa Palmer Tomkinson in 1970, either in January or February, the websites I used for research differ on this point! Growing up on farm in Hampshire and educated at Sherborne School for Girls, she went on to study Spanish and Italian at Exeter University. She later spent time in Argentina where her mother grew up, giving her inspiration for her early novels.  She now lives in London with her husband, writer and historian Simon Sebag Montefiore and their two daughters.

She has fourteen published novels to date, the first one published in 2001 and the most recent was published on July 17th 2014.
  • Meet Me Under The Ombu Tree(2001)
  • The Butterfly Box (2002)
  • The Forget-me-not Sonata (2003)
  • The Swallow and the Hummingbird (2004)
  • The Last Voyage of the Valentina (2005)
  • The Gypsy Madonna (2006)
  • Sea of Lost Love (2007)
  • The French Gardener (2008)
  • The Italian Matchmaker (2009)
  • The Affair (2010)
  •  The House By The Sea. (2011)
  •  The Summer House (2012)
  •  Secrets of the Lighthouse (2013)
  •  The Beekeeper's Daughter (2014)

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Goodreads - Santa Montefiore    Santa Montefiore Official Website     Wikipedia - Santa Montefiore

Twitter - Santa Montefiore    Facebook - Santa Sebag-Montefiore   Amazon - Author Profile

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Villa by Rosanna Ley

Ebook: .1115KB, 577 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Romantic Fiction.
Quercus (31 May 2012)
Source: Amazon
First Sentence: Tess didn't open the letter until later, when she was sitting on the beach.
Review Quote: 
'Beautifully written, warm and romantic ... The perfect holiday read' Rachel Hore, author of A Gathering Storm.
My Opinion:
A perfect summer read and set in Italy, what more could I ask for.

I was not aware of this author until very recently, when her writing was recommended to me. Unfortunately I cannot recall who it was that suggested I might enjoy her novels. Well whoever it was you were right! As soon as I looked her up I immediately purchased the three titles available on Amazon. This is the first one I have read, earliest one published in 2012. A perfect summer read and set in Italy, what more could I ask for. A delightful read and I will be reading the next two just as soon as I can. 

Three intertwining stories of three generations of women, Tess Angel the main protagonist, her mother Flavia and her daughter Ginny.  The novel begins as Tess receives a solicitors letter telling her that she has inherited a villa in Sicily.  Despite her mother being Sicilian this comes as a complete shock as her mother Falvia left the island as a young girl and has never returned, so why has Tess been left a villa.  One of the conditions of the inheritance is that she has to go over there, despite her mothers reservations this is of course what she does. She falls in love with the villa and meets some interesting Sicilians that will be able to help her unravel the mystery of why her mother cut all ties with her homeland during World War II. Meanwhile back in the UK we have the parallel stories of Tess's mother and daughter both of whom are stressed out, the former with secrets she has long kept from her daughter and the latter with the difficulties of becoming a young woman with lots of questions that she cannot get the answers to. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this very readable story devouring it on the plane on a recent trip and am already planning to read two more novels by this author, that I have already purchased for my Kindle. Bay of Secrets and Return to Mandalay what more recommendations do you need to try this author for yourself.

Author Profile

I have been able to find out very little biographical information on Rosanna Ley, the information shared here is taken directly from her biography on her website.

Rosanna Ley has worked as a creative writing tutor for over 15 years. Affiliated to several colleges and universities in England, she also runs her own writing courses in the UK and abroad. She has worked with community groups in therapeutic settings and completed an MA in creative writing for personal development in order to support this. Her writing holidays and retreats take place in stunning locations in Italy and Spain and whilst not teaching or writing she mentors and appraises the work of new writers. Rosanna has had numerous articles and short stories published in UK magazines, and 12 novels of contemporary fiction published in the U.K, Germany, Greece and the U.S.A under a pseudonym. Her books are inspired by the culture and landscapes of Italy, Sicily and the Canary Islands and feature strong female voices from the past and present, along with an intense undercurrent of mystery and romance. Rosanna spends some time every year travelling around Europe looking for writing inspiration and more tranquil settings for writing holidays. She loves cliff walking and her favourite writing place is somewhere with a sea view. When she is not travelling, Rosanna lives with her artist husband in a Victorian cottage in West Dorset by the sea. 

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Facebook - Rosanna Ley Novels  Author's Official Website   Rosanna Ley - Twitter  

 Goodreads Profile  Amazon Author Profile

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Commonplace Killing by Sian Busby

Paperback: 271 pages.
Genre:  Murder Mystery Fiction.
 Short Books Ltd (2 Jan 2014)
Source: Tywyn Public Library.
First Sentence: That neglected triangle, where the Camden, Holloway and Caledonian  Roads intersect, long oppressed by sot and the continuous rumble of the railway, its bounds set by the gloomy bulk of the women's prison and the desolation of the empty Livestock Market, had been done for long before the Hitler War blasted every last vestige of respectability to smithereens.
Review Quote: 
 "Brilliantly evoked" --Sunday Times
My Opinion: Well written but not one for me.

A novel I only read because it was a Book club choice, which I think may have been picked because the author had a deep pride in her Welsh farming roots. After all we are a Welsh based book club group. Murder stories are not a genre I read very often and if I do read one I prefer it to be a psychological thriller. No surprise then that I did not really enjoy this, although it is well written but not one for me, I actually found the Introduction and background information I have since read about Sian Busby much more interesting, than the novel itself. Setting my personal opinion aside, 'A Commonplace Killing' portrays the London of the postwar era really well, the character portrayals felt realistic as I was drawn into their world.

The protagonists all seem to lead a dreary life, lacking in love or humour, not surprising I suppose considering the conditions in post war London in 1946. Crime and corruption were rife and the future was not looking a happy one for any of them. The female protagonist is Lillian Frobisher whose story unfolds in parallel stories of the events leading up to her death and the investigation of her murder. Lillian Frobisher a local wife and mother is found on waste land near her home. When it is discovered that she was not the unwilling victim of a sexual assault, the investigation turns closer to home.

It is a sad story even more so when you bear in mind that the woman writing this novel, knew her own days were numbered. Somehow one just feels this is reflected in the writing, especially the whole pessimistic attitude surrounding the case. What do I mean, well you will have to read the novel to find out the details.

If murder stories are a genre you enjoy then this is worth reading for its realistic and dark truths.

Author Profile
Siân Elizabeth Busby (19 November 1960 – 4 September 2012) was a British writer. The daughter of the Canadian actor Tom Busby and Wendy Russell, she was educated at Creighton School in Muswell Hill and read English at Sussex University.
Originally embarking in a career in arts television, she later switched to writing. Her first two books were non-fiction. A Wonderful Little Girl (2003) concerned a Welsh child whose apparent ability to survive without nourishment led doctors to term the condition anorexia while The Cruel Mother (2004) was a semi-autobiographical account of child murder by one of Busby's ancestors. McNaughten (2009) concerned a mentally unstable 19th century woodcutter who was accused of attempting to assassinate Sir Robert Peel. 
Sian Busby was diagnosed as suffering from lung cancer in 2007, despite never having been a smoker. She finished her last book, ' A Commonplace Killing', shortly before she died. The book, describing the investigation into the murder of a woman in post-war London, was published in May 2013 and featured as BBC Radio Four's Book at Bedtime in June of the same year. Married to Robert Peston, the BBC's business editor, with whom she had a son. They had known each other since their teens, but rekindled their relationship after her friend, Peston's sister Juliet, was hospitalised after a road accident. Previously she had married and been divorced from the Dutch film maker Kees Ryninks, with whom she also had a son.

Obituary Daily Telegraph where much more can be learnt about her.

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Goodreads - Author Profile   Daily Telegraph    Sian Busby - Wikipedia

Friday, October 17, 2014

All Change (Volume 5 in the Cazalet Chronicles) by Elizabeth Jane Howard

Hardback:  572 pages.
Genre: Womens Fiction.
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Source: Tywyn Public Library.
First Sentences: 'Not long now.' 'Duchy, darling!' 'I feel quite peaceful.' The Duchy shut her eyes for a moment: talking - as did everything else - tired her.
Review Quote: ‘Elizabeth Jane Howard is one of those novelists who shows, through her work, what the novel is for . . . She helps us to do the necessary thing – open our eyes and our hearts’ Hilary Mantel.
My Opinion: It was like meeting up with old friends.

In the early 1990's Elizabeth Jane Howard published the first four volumes of 'The Cazalet Chronicles' and they were a treat to read. Even after a gap of 14 years since Volume 4 'Casting Off' was published it was like meeting up with old friends to read the final volume.  I had always wondered how the Cazelets would survive in the new order of things after the Second World War. This final volume in the series covers two years in the fifties and reminds us just how much life changed for families like the 'Cazelets' after the war. A great swansong from a much loved author.

'All Change' begins nine years after 'Casting Off' ended and as the Duchy, beloved matriarch of the family dies in the opening pages. Her death means a huge change for the family as she was the last part of the disappearing world of huge family houses with many servants and oodles of tradition. A lifestyle that most can no longer retain in the nineteen fifties. For her children, Hugh, Edward, Rachel and Rupert there is no doubt that life is never going to be the same again. Now in their fifties and sixties they are going to struggle in the modern world. It is the women that maybe face the greatest challenges, as the new generation of Cazalets meet at the family residence 'Home Place' to discuss the future and how it will impact on all of them, male or female, family or servant, young or old.

If you enjoy a family chronicle then this is one for you. No problem if you have not read the first four volumes, as there is a foreword which gives the reader unfamiliar with the series an excellent précis of the storyline.

Author Profile

Courtesy of  Independent Newspaper 

Elizabeth Jane Howard was born in London, England on 26th March 1923 and she died on January 2nd 2014 in Suffolk, England. Before becoming her novelist she had careers as an actress and a model, Between the years 1942 and 1983 she had three marriages. She had a daughter Nicola with her first husband, the Naturalist Sir Peter Scott and a stepson Martin from her third marriage to Sir Kingsley Amis.

She is best known for the series of books telling of the changing fortunes of an upper-middle-class English family, the Cazalets, before and after the Second World War. The first four books in the Cazalet Chronicles - The Light Years (1990), Marking Time (1991), Confusion (1993) and Casting Off (1995) were all written and published close together. The final volume being released just a year before her death earlier this year. Established as modern classics they have been adapted for a BBC television series and in2012 for BBC Radio 4. In 2002 Macmillan published her autobiography,Slipstream, that same year she was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

A full list of her works can be found here

Her obituaries published in the Daily Telegraph and The Independent in January 2014 make interesting reading. 

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Daily Telegraph      Wikipedia - Elizabeth Jane Howard   The Independent   

Amazon - Elizabeth Jane Howard

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson

Hardback: 440 pages
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction.
Publisher: Quercus 2013
Source: Tywyn Public Library.
First Sentence: 
 Prologue: 'Are you going to tell the police?' she asks
Review Quote: 
'Another moving and thought-provoking read, this lives up to expectations' Cosmopolitan.

My Opinion: psychological thriller of a tale with plenty of twists and turns to keep you thinking.

It was in 2010 that I last read any novels by Dorothy Koomson, I did not rate either of them very highly, probably why I still have some of her titles sitting on my bookshelves unread. Having now read ' The Flavours of Love' I need to look at them again. Yes this was better than anticipated I am glad I decided to give this author another try. After all the ones I read previously were written over ten years ago and writers do change their writing style over the years, like us all they are maturing.  My introduction to her writing had been back in 2006 when I read and enjoyed My Best Friend's Girl, maybe it was a mistake to add her back catalogue to my wishlist at that time. Never mind her writing has taken a change of direction and is now classed as 'emotional thrillers' so she is back on my reading list and The Flavours of Love did not disappoint me. 

The Flavours of Love deals with how the protagonist Saffron copes with becoming a widow after the murder of her husband. It is eighteen months since her husband was murdered and she has decided to finish writing a cookbook that he had been working on when he died. Through past and present we gradually learn what was and in fact still is going on in her family's life life, all is not as it seems. Both she and her daughter are keeping secrets that may well ruin their lives, but of course the truth will come out in the end. How though? That is for me to know and you to find out when you read the novel for yourself.

psychological thriller of a tale with plenty of twists and turns to keep you thinking. Recommended to fans of this genre, although rather different from Sophie Hannah I think it may well appeal if you enjoy her novels.

This is a great radio interview about the novel with Dorothy Koomson.

I have read three of Dorothy Koomson's earlier novels and reviewed two of them on this blog. 

The Cupid Effect and The Chocolate Run  The first one I read was from 2006 My Best Friends Girl was reviewed on Bookcrossing.

Author Profile

I have taken the liberty of using the authors own words and photo below from her website. The only thing she does not tell us is when she was born although I did discover it was in 1971.


Posted on April 18, 2012
Hello, my name’s Dorothy Koomson and I’ll try to make this bit that’s all about me as interesting as possible.
I wrote my first novel called There’s A Thin Line Between Love And Hate when I was 13. I used to write a chapter every night then pass it around to my fellow convent school pupils every morning, and they seemed to love it.
I grew up in London and then grew up again in Leeds when I went to university. I eventually returned to London to study for my masters degree and stayed put for the following years. I took up various temping jobs and eventually got my big break writing, editing and subbing for various women’s magazines and national papers.
Fiction and storytelling were still a HUGE passion of mine and I continued to write short stories and novels every spare moment that I got. In 2001 I had the idea for The Cupid Effect and my career as a published novelist began. And it’s been fantastic. In 2006, third novel, My Best Friend’s Girl was published. It was incredibly successful – selling nearly 90,000 copies within its first few weeks on sale. Six weeks later, it was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads Book Club and the book went on to sell over 500,000 copies. Oh, there I go again, this is meant to be about me, not my novels.
Okay, back to me. I recently spent two years living in Sydney Australia, and now I’m back in England, living on the south coast and still writing books.

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Dorothy Koomson - Official Website   Amazon - Author Profile  Goodreads - Author Profile

Facebook Page - Dorothy Koomson    You Tube Interview    Wikipedia Profile   Twitter Profile

Friday, September 19, 2014

The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

Paperback: 422 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Random House 2013
Source: Tywyn Public Library
First Sentences: Well, I must say, I didn't think for a minute you'd be called something earthy like Jim! The Barbour and natty waistcoat in your profile photo make you look more like a Rupert or a Henry, something serious with two syllables, you know!
Review Quote: "Compelling. possibly the author's best yet. An intensely moving study of grief and family relationships, this is also a fantastically gripping story with a couple of powerful shocks." (Hello!)
My Opinion: A pleasant read involving complicated relationships and believable characters

Lisa Jewell is an author whose name I was familiar with, so when this title was selected as a Book Club read I checked to see what other titles I have read by her. Surprisingly just three over a period of two years in the mid noughties before I started writing reviews.

This was a pleasant read involving complicated relationships and believable characters about a family that has kept a dark secret for years. Everything unravels when the family are forced to return altogether to the family home one Easter. The four children, Meg, Beth, Rory and Rhys had all grown up with memories of an idyllic childhood in the cottage in the country with its rambling garden. Something happened during that period of their lives that they all pushed to the back of their minds, although the event still manages to almost unobtrusively come between them. They are about to discover the truth about a family tragedy.

It is one of those novels where if one says too much the story is spoilt and as I do not believe in spoilers, this all I am going to say. Sorry but some reviews in my opinion are in danger of completely ruining the element of surprise, which is surely what reading a good book is all about!

 Fans of contemporary fiction are bound to enjoy this one, especially if they are already fans of this author.
 I will probably pick up her new book The Third Wife to read having enjoyed this one.

Author Profile

Lisa Jewell was born 19th July 1968 in Middlesex, London. She was educated at St. Michael's Catholic Grammar School in Finchley, North London, leaving school after one day in the sixth form to do an art foundation course at Barnet College followed by a diploma in fashion illustration at Epsom School of Art and Design. 
She worked in fashion retail for several years, namely Warehouse and Thomas Pink.
After being made redundant, Lisa accepted a challenge from a friend to write three chapters of a novel in exchange for dinner at her favourite restaurant. Those three chapters were eventually developed into  Ralph's Party, which then became the UK's best selling début novel of 1999. See below for her list of published novels.

Lisa Jewell now  lives in Swiss Cottage, London with her husband Jascha and daughters Amelie Mae (born 2003) and Evie Scarlett (born 2007).


  • Ralph's Party (1999)
  • Thirtynothing (2000)
  • One Hit Wonder(2001)
  •  A Friend of the Family (2004)
  • Vince and Joy (2005)
  • 31 Dream Street (2007)
  • The Truth About Melody Browne (2009)
  • After The Party (2010)
  • The Making Of Us (2011)
  • Before I Met You (2012)
  • The House We Grew Up In (2013)
  • The Third Wife (2014)

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Goodreads - Author Profile    Lisa Jewell - Facebook Page  Lisa Jewell on Twitter   

Author - Amazon Page