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The Child by Fiona Barton – book review

The Child by Fiona Barton

The Child is Fiona Barton’s second book featuring newspaper reporter Kate Waters. I recently read the first book, The Widow and was instantly drawn in by Fiona Barton’s fabulous story telling.

Front cover of The Child by Fiona Barton.
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd 
ISBN: 9780552172455 
Number of pages: 448 
Weight: 314 g 
Dimensions: 198 x 127 x 28 mm
Waterstones paperback £8.99

Before I begin my review I need to tell you that I will be using affiliate links throughout my post. This means that if you click through and make a purchase from them I may earn a little money. This will be at no extra cost to yourself, so thank you in advance for your support.

The Blurb

When a paragraph in an evening newspaper reveals a decades-old tragedy, most readers barely give it a glance.

But for three strangers it’s impossible to ignore.

For one woman, it’s a reminder of the worst thing that ever happened to her. For another, it reveals the dangerous possibility that her darkest secret is about to be discovered.

And for the third, a journalist, it’s the first clue in a hunt to uncover the truth.

My Review on The Child.

I really enjoyed The Widow, I love the way Fiona Barton weaves you into her characters world. Even if you work out the answers, you still want to go on reading to see how it all unravels.

The child was slightly different I was kept guessing for much longer, but when the penny dropped it made me feel very emotional.

I listen to my books on Audible when possible. I love to be able to plug in and block out the world. It also means I can continue with my crochet, or even do the washing up or go to the toilet without having to stop listening. I’m a member of Audible so I can get a book a month for my £7.99 subscription. I already have Fiona Barton’s third book in this season in my basket waiting for my next credit. You can get the book on Audible here.

The audible book has a different voice actor for each of the characters which helps you keep track of what is happening. I did find the jumping of timelines a little more difficult in the previous book with the same actor reading all the parts. Some stories work better when there is more than one voice, it does make it more like listening to a drama than reading a book though.

As for the story, I found it really gripping. I found it hard to stop listening. I connected with the characters for who they were. It’s hard not to like Kate even knowing she’s a journalist and poking around in other’s lives, she is good at coming up with answers that even the police don’t see. She has no shame about the way she worms herself into lives, but she never causes harm.

The main character in this story appears to be Emma, who is the only one who has her part in first in first person. This is her story, what happened to her. The other characters seem to be the main focus, but we know it’s all about Emma really and that it’s only Kate who can bring the truth to light.

I have to admit it brought a lump to my throat a couple of times.

There are some touchy subjects involved including child abuse and baby death, so it won’t be a good read for some. But for those who love a good page turning ‘who dunnit’ type book, then you’ll love this.

If you like reviewing books then please feel free to join in my monthly linky which starts on the first of the month and runs to the end and you can link up as much as you like so long as it’s book related. You can find the linky by clicking here or the image below.

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The Widow – Fiona Barton

My review of The Widow by Fiona Barton. The links are affiliate links and may earn me a little money but cost you nothing more if you click through and purchase.

The Blurb

We’ve all seen him: the man – the monster – staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.

My Review of The Widow

I listened to The Widow on Audible after reading a review by Mum of Three World who has read all three books in the series. I’m currently on the second book, The Child. The latest book is The Suspect and I will be reading (or listening) to that next.

Fiona Barton is a great writer that grips you from the first page and refuses to let you go. So be prepared to read her books very quickly because you won’t be able to put them down. As I listen to the books I generally find books that start with dates and characters get a bit confusing because it’s not so easy to flip back and check on what happened previously.

With The Widow the book switches timelines quite frequently from the present date, to what happened before the death of her husband and even further back to the missing child. It’s kind of obvious what has happened, but despite that the unravelling of the story is riveting.

On Audible The Widow has just one narrator which I enjoyed. I always listen to a snippet of the book before purchasing as you will be listening to that voice for hours.

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Interesting Times – Terry Pratchett

April 28th would have been Sir Terry Pratchett’s birthday, so it was only natural that I would re-read one of his books. In fact I decided to listen to one on Audible, Interesting Times, read by Nigel Planer.

Interesting Times

‘May You Live in Interesting Times’ is purported to be a Chinese Curse, although there is no real evidence of this. So, as you can imagine, Sir Terry Pratchett ran with this and this book is set mainly in Hung Hung in the Counterweight Continent. In this world we would be looking towards China and Hong Kong. Ok, I thought it would be an appropriate read for these Interesting times that originated in China.

The Blurb

MIGHTY BATTLES! REVOLUTION! DEATH! WAR! (AND HIS SONS TERROR AND PANIC, AND DAUGHTER CLANCY)

The oldest and most inscrutable empire on the Discworld is in turmoil, brought about by the revolutionary treatise What I did on My Holidays. Workers are uniting, with nothing to lose but their water buffaloes. Warlords are struggling for power. War (and Clancy) are spreading throughout the ancient cities.

And all that stands in the way of terrible doom for everyone is:

Rincewind the Wizard, who can’t even spell the word ‘wizard’…

Cohen the barbarian hero, five foot tall in his surgical sandals, who has had a lifetime’s experience of not dying…

…and a very special butterfly.

My Thoughts

As a huge fan I was already familiar with most of the characters. This would be an advantage as they are not introduced and just become part of the story without much back history. When you already know all the back history of the characters then the story takes on a different meaning.

You only have to read Terry’s first two books, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic to know what the revolutionary treatise ‘What I Did On My Holidays’ would contain, which is probably a very different view to what actually happened. The Great Wizzard* sent to help the revolution is in fact a blundering idiot who just seems to get lucky sometimes. (when he’s not being very unlucky!)

*Wizzard – how Rincewind spells Wizard on his hat which makes him stand out from all the other Wizards.

The plot moves fast and can be a little confusing at times, but it’s also a great page turner and makes you laugh out loud. I remember when reading the book I got a little fed up of Mad Hamish (Who is deaf) saying ‘whaaaaat’ but being read by Nigel Planer it seemed a lot funnier. However, Nigel Planer also pronounced a few things not how I would have expected them to be pronounced, in particular place names. I have always pronounced Ankh Morpork as in Ank, not Arnk. This irritated me a little more than it should have done.

Conclusion

I would say that all of Terry Pratchett books are read alone, but there is a sequence in which the characters are introduced and they become like old friends when they pop up in new stories. If you are new to Terry then I’d consider starting more chronologically. You can find a complete chronological list of Discworld books here.

You can purchase the paperback version of Interesting Times from Waterstones for £8.99

Thanks for reading, do let me know if you have read any Terry Pratchett books and are familiar with the Discworld.

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links in my post which may earn me a little money at no extra cost to you, so thank you if you use them.

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Book Worms Monthly May

Welcome to Bookworms Monthly May linkup

Hello, Welcome to Bookworms Monthly, May. I cheered myself up by listening to an old favourite of mine by Terry Pratchett. Interesting Times. It’s an old book but I’ll review it soon for those unfamiliar with the great man. We are certainly living in Interesting times at the moment and I know that libraries are closed. Remember, if you can’t get a hold of books you can always try Audible. They are always available 🙂

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read. I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what book worms monthly is about. I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly

Book worms Monthly will be posted every month, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your BookWorms Monthly May book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

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Book Worms Monthly April

Welcome to Bookworms Monthly April linkup

Hello, Welcome to Bookworms Monthly April and what a strange month it is. The Coronavirus COVID-19 has so much of the world in lockdown, unable to leave their homes. This means there is plenty more time for reading, Yay! Sadly, I’ve spent so much time working with my kids on their school work and trying to keep things running. I’ve really not had much time for reading. I started a book, couldn’t get into it and I had trouble picking something else up. I have started reading again now though. Remember, if you can’t get a hold of books you can always try Audible. They are always available 🙂

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read. I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what book worms monthly is about. I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly

Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your BookWorms Monthly March book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

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The Testaments – A Review

I bought The Testaments with my audible credit. Audible is free for 30 days and then £7.99 a month afterwards, for which you get one credit which can be used against any book of your choice, no matter what the cost. This post will contain affiliate links to both Audible and Waterstones which is my bookshop of choice.

The Testaments

Author: Margaret Atwood Publisher: Vintage Publishing
ISBN: 9781784742324
Number of pages: 432
Weight: 667 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 39 mm

The Blurb

Launched to widespread acclaim at our flagship Piccadilly shop, Margaret Atwood’s Booker-winning sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale is undoubtedly the story for our times.

Picking up ten years after its predecessor’s tantalisingly open-ended conclusion, The Testaments provides a new window into Atwood’s dystopian world, as seen through the eyes of three women of Gilead: a girl brought up within its confines, another on the run beyond its walls, and a woman at the very heart of the regime’s dark designs with secrets of her own. Each has a unique perspective on the world of Gilead and each will be crucial in deciding its fate.

Effortlessly combining a piercing critique of gender, oppression and authoritarianism with the whip-smart pace of the purest literary thriller, The Testaments is devastating in its immediacy whilst remaining a timeless piece of faultless storytelling.

The Testaments on Audible

Narrated by: Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mae Whitman, Derek Jacobi, Tantoo Cardinal, Margaret Atwood

Length: 13 hrs and 18 : Fiction, Literary

I enjoyed the recording as each main characters story had a different narrator which I think always makes a listening more enticing. You get to know more of the person in the story rather than reading it all in one voice. Each character is brought to life.

My Verdict on The Testaments

I will confess that the first time I read The prequel to The Testaments, The Handmaid’s Tale was only last year. So I didn’t have so long a wait as many for the sequel. I have not seen the television series although from those who I have spoken too have said it was good.

After listening to The Testaments I was left with a few questions which were kindly answered by friends, but more about that later.

I did actually enjoy The Testaments in it’s own right although it was very different to the Handmaid’s Tale. The story was less of the fear of what may become of the the future and more of an adventure tale. The feel of the whole story was very different.

Margaret Atwood claimed she set out to answer questions she’d been asked about The Handmaid’s Tale but although it does give some insight into how Gilead came about, it doesn’t really answer much. I think it could even be read on it’s own, without having read the Handmaid’s Tale. Although, you’d probably be confused as to what the actual role of a handmaid was.

The Daughter’s Tales

The story revolves around the daughter’s of Offred, the main character in the Handmaid’s Tale and this is where my questions began. In the book we see Offred being carted off in a van by ‘Mayday’ with her future unknown and only the notion that she was pregnant. We already know that she had an older daughter but she had no idea what had happened to her.

Apparently in the television series it takes the story a little further and her baby is born before she escapes.

I became confused as to why they made such a big fuss about Offred’s baby when in the book she had not even been sure of her pregnancy or the parentage of the baby.

In the Testaments this baby is now a teen being brought up by adoptive parents and is sent back into Gilead on a mission to bring the regime down.

Offred’s older child is in Gilead being raised by adoptive parents, and when her mother dies her step mother wants her to be married off. She decides that she wants to become an aunt instead. The aunts are Gilead’s version of nuns.

The two children meet, not knowing they have the same birth mother but end up helping each other.

I think a lot of my confusion in the plot came from The Testaments relying on it’s readers having watched the television series which I felt was disappointing. Friends who had watched the television series where able to answer some questions for me.

Final Thoughts

I did really enjoy listening to The Testaments on Audible. I feel that if I’d had a physical copy I’d have a spent a lot more time trying to tie things in with the two books. I’m still not sure if that would have been wasted time. So, although I enjoyed the story I felt it had a very different feel to the first book and it left a lot more questions than answers.

You can buy a hard copy of the book from Waterstones for £17.99 Paperback version will be released soon.

Or you can listen on Audible for 1 credit or £31.99

Audible is free for the first 30 days and then £7.99 per month afterwards which gives you one credit.

Have you read The Testaments?

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The Telephone Box Library – A review

I bought this book myself but this post contains affiliate links.

  • Author: Rachael Lucas
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2548 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (9 Jan. 2020)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07WRDCG7Y

The Blurb

The Cotswolds: the perfect retreat for a stressed-out teacher. And Lucy has found just the right cottage for a bargain rent. All she has to do is keep an eye on Bunty, her extremely feisty ninety-something neighbour . . . 
With her West Highland terrier Hamish at her side, Lucy plans to relax and read up on the women of nearby Bletchley Park. But the villagers of Little Maudley have other ideas, and she finds herself caught up in the campaign to turn a dilapidated telephone box into a volunteer-run library.

Along the way, she makes friends with treehouse designer Sam, and finds herself falling for the charms of village life. And it seems Bunty has a special connection to Bletchley and the telephone box, one that she’s kept secret for decades . . .

My Review of The Telephone Box Library

The telephone box library

After a tough long read, (like 1Q84) I like to go with something lighthearted and fun, and maybe with a little romance. The Telephone Box Library ticked all these boxes.

I was initially attracted to the book because I am fascinated with telephone box libraries, what a fabulous idea they are. Sadly, putting one in our area would probably just encourage vandalism. But putting one in a country village sounds idyllic.

The second thing that attracted me was the connection to Bletchley Park, one of the most favourite places I have visited. The stories emerging from that place are really interesting.

If I had one little disappointment, it might have been the lack of description of Bletchley Park, but I really can let that slip. The story was warm and endearing and had just the right amount of little twists and turns. I loved Lucy and Sam, the main characters and of course I was rooting for them all the time. But the real star of the show was Bunty and I loved her story.

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Bookworms Monthly March

Welcome to Bookworms Monthly March linkup

Hello, Welcome to BookWorms Monthly March. January seemed to go on forever but February was over in a flash and I managed to read two books and I’m more than half way through a third. How’s your month going?

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read. I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what book worms monthly is about. I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly

Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your BookWorms Monthly March book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

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Click here to enter


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Michael Rosen – The Missing – review

I bought this book by Michael Rosen myself and have not been asked to review it. This post does however contain affiliate links. Thank you for taking the time to read and click if you wish.

We are big fans of Michael Rosen, what childhood would be complete without ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt?’ The kids current favourite is ‘No Breathing in Class’ and whenever I’m being strict with them I’ll tell them ‘no breathing’ just so they know I mean business. Or rather it makes them laugh and they actually listen to me.

The Missing – The True Story of my Family in World War II

book cover, michael rosen - missing

Author: Michael Rosen, available from Waterstones for £8.99 in hardback.

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781406386752
Number of pages: 128
Weight: 189 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 9 mm

The Blurb

When I was growing up, stories often hung in the air about my great -uncles: they were there before the war, my Dad would say, but werent after.

That never used to make any sense to me…How could people just disappear? People with whole lives? People with families? So, over many years, I tried to find out exactly what happened. This book is the result: the true story of the missing Rosens.

Our Verdict

This book was written for children but holds a strong message for anyone. Both me and Star read it in one sitting it was so intriguing. Interspersed with Rosen’s poetry it shows how he searched for his missing relatives and the stories he found.

We don’t really think about the horror of the holocaust. It was something that happened, it was horrid, we wont let it happen again. Hopefully. Well, it’s actually happening now to some extent but as always we never know the real truth, the real horror of it all.

When it is something that happened to your own relatives it brings even more horror and sadness. Michael Rosen fully understands how lucky he is to be born shortly after the war rather than during it.

Here is a note from Michael Rosen on the first page.

This story is about the things that happened to my family a long time ago, back when photos and films where in black and white. But when I think about it, my relatives were refugees – a lot like the people you may have seen on the news recently.

Because of the events of the Second World War, they were forced to run:to flee and hide. When I turn on the TV now, eighty years later, I see thousands of families that have been forced to run from new wars, driven into hiding and sometimes losing their lives.

So I hope this book becomes part of a bigger conversations about the refugee crisis. About how to find fair and decent ways of helping people like my relatives

michael Rosen

A riveting and very sad story. One I would definitely recommend. We can’t keep our eyes closed forever.

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Book Worms Monthly – February

Finally, January is over!

Hello, Welcome to Book Worms Monthly February. Last month seemed to go on forever, it didn’t help that I was stuck with one book that I’d started in December. I did read through a couple of kid’s books for reviews, but reading 1Q84 by Haruki Mirakami had me both equally enthralled and exasperated. Have you ever read a book that made you feel like that? Anyway, on to this months linky.

Reading is my passion and I love to write about what I’ve read. I’m a real book worm and I have been since the day I could read. I decided to start this linky so that other book worms could Share. I’m starting monthly for now, so you have a whole month to link up your posts. You can link up to four posts, so that’s one a week. Or if you like you can link up some of your older posts.

Let’s share what we read and give other’s ideas what to read next. Tell me your reviews, you book reading lists, your author interviews, kids book favourites, Young Adult books, and even posts about your favourite authors. Anything book related is allowed and I can’t wait to read them all. I want to find all the book worms out there.

Here is last months linky to give you some idea of what book worms monthly is about. I’m trying to reach out to all the book worms out there to come and join me with their posts monthly.

Join Us for Book Worms Monthly January!

Book worms Monthly will be posted every four weeks, and you can join in at any time. I will share anyone who links over on my Social Media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Mix (formerly Stumbleupon.) I’ll also come along and read and comment on your post. Please do share this link up with your friends.

Link up your Book Worm Monthly January book posts below.

Here’s a badge to share. No code, just copy and paste it on your blog and link the photo back to mine if you wish. Or please mention my blog 
https://athomealot.com/ with a link instead. That we we can encourage more to join in and share.

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