Sunday, 24 June 2012

Books I Read on Holiday ......

I've just come back from a week's holiday and here are short reviews of the  two books I read and one audiobook I listened to while being very lazy!

My first book was Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts by Lucy Dillon.

The Bad News for Rachel, 39, is that she's just lost her job, her home in London and her boyfriend!
The Good News is that she's just inherited, from her aunt, a lovely house, together with a Dogs Rescue/Boarding Kennels in the countryside!
Rachel is not a dog lover and doesn't know the first thing about dogs and fully intends to sell the business......but finds she has the knack of matching just the right people with the rescue dogs, and there's a hunky vet and a handsome doctor around.....well, maybe she may still a little longer!
It's obvious that Lucy Dillon loves dogs, the descriptions of the cute dogs will just make you go aaawww all the time.  Interesting and lively characters and a great plot make for an entertaining read.

I also listened to The Summer of Secrets by Martina Reilly read by Caroline Lennon.

Hope has just lost her 16th job in London when she decides to leave her friends and her life and move elsewhere, but a tragic plane crash lands her in hospital and her two best friends, Adam and Julie, decide she should recuperate back home in Ireland and so they rent a small cottage in Hope's home town and spend the summer there, not knowing that that is the last place that Hope wanted to go to.
Their lives will never be the same at the end of the summer as secrets and lies come out.
I really enjoyed this - in some parts it was laugh out loud funny and in others I was in tears!  Of all the books this was definitely my favourite.
Fabulous descriptions of the Irish countryside, the rolling hills, waterfalls, the sea, and the people....I want to move to Dunport!
Caroline Lennon's seductive Irish voice just added another dimension to the whole storyline.

My least favourite read was The Salt Road by Jane Johnson.

Set in the present time and the past, the parallel stories are of two different women.  Isabelle is left an amulet by her father and is fascinated by it and the unreadable parchment inside.  She is drawn to Morocco and has the opportunity to go there rock climbing where she meets someone who could help her solve the mystery of the ancient amulet and how it came to be in her father's possession.

The parallel story is of Marieta who obtains the amulet from her lover, we are never sure of the exact year but know it is in the past.

Although there are wonderful descriptions of the Moroccan land and people, I found it quite slow and boring in the middle.  I also didn't warm to the main character of Taib, who was helping Isabelle.  I thought it would be more of a mystery so I was disappointed at the overall storyline.

What are your Summer Reads?
Have you read any of these books and did you enjoy them?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Genre:  Historical Mystery
Published:  Headline  (Mar 2012)
Pages:  466  (Paperback)
Source:  BookDagger RealReaders

About the Book:

Cumbria, 1783. A broken heritage; a secret history...

The tomb of the first Earl of Greta should have lain undisturbed on its island of bones for three hundred years.When idle curiosity opens the stone lid, however, inside is one body too many. Gabriel Crowther's family bought the Gretas' land long ago, and has suffered its own bloody history. His brother was hanged for murdering their father, the Baron of Keswick, and Crowther has chosen comfortable seclusion and anonymity over estate and title for thirty years. But the call of the mystery brings him home at last.

Travelling with forthright Mrs Harriet Westerman, who is escaping her own tragedy, Crowther finds a little town caught between new horrors and old, where ancient ways challenge modern justice. And against the wild and beautiful backdrop of fells and water, Crowther discovers that his past will not stay buried.

The story starts in 1751 at the Tower of London on the eve of the execution of Gabriel's brother who has been found guilty of the murder of their father.  There seems to be no love lost between the two brothers.

Next the time moves on to 1783 where an old tomb on the Island of Bones is found to contain a body that should not be there - could these two events be connected?

Attempting to solve the mystery are two unlikely friends -- Gabriel Crowther (a straight talking man in his fifties who has become quite renowned at ferreting all sorts of information from a body) and the recently widowed Mrs Harriet Westerman, a strong-minded thirty year old woman who is not a conventional 18th century lady!  What really worked best in this book was their unusual relationship and I do wonder how people of that time looked upon them.  Not that either of them cared much for convention.

I also loved the folklore of the Lake District when people believed in fairies and bogles and an assortment of interesting characters like Casper Grace, a cunning man who most of the people trusted more than the doctors of the time to treat their ailments.  

I found the story quite slow moving at first as we meet all the characters while the plot moved at a snail's pace but I soon immersed myself into the complex story and, by the end, I was quickly turning the pages to discover the  secrets and twists in the tale, mainly due to the multiple narratives which really added to the intriguing plot.

This is the third in the Crowther & Westerman series and there are just enough references to the past stories to give you an idea of what has been happening earlier.

This is a compelling story that intrigues me enough to want to read more of this unlikely partnership.

The website of Imogen Robertson can be found here.

Saturday, 9 June 2012


Thanks to everyone who entered my recent giveaway to win copies of Wendy Wallace's The Painted Bridge which I reviewed here.

Here are the 10 lucky winners!



Diane C

Emails have been sent to them and the books will be posted when all postal details have been received.

Congratulations to everyone who won and commiserations if you weren't one of the lucky ones, but I will be running other book giveaways very soon.


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