Carolyn’s Books of the Month – May

Carolyn's books of the month May 2021

 

Best Read: The Good Sister by Sally Hepworth

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week, and she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be… dangerous. When Rose discovers that she cannot fall pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple. Fern’s mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of unexpected love.

 

Crime: Revenge : murder in three parts by S.L. Lim

A family favour their son over their daughter. Shan attends university before making his fortune in Australia while Yannie must find menial employment and care for her ageing parents. After her mother’s death, Yannie travels to Sydney to become enmeshed in her psychopathic brother’s new life, which she seeks to undermine from within. This is a novel that rages against capitalism, hetero-supremacy, mothers, fathers, families, the whole damn thing. It’s about what happens when you want to make art but are born in the wrong time and place.

 

Australian Author: The Cartographer’s Secret by Tea Cooper 

A young woman’s quest to heal a family rift entangles her in one of Australia’s greatest historical puzzles when an intricately illustrated map offers a clue to the fate of a long-lost girl. 1880. The Hunter Valley. Evie Ludgrove loves to map the landscape around her home – hardly surprising since she grew up in the shadow of her father’s obsession with the great Australian explorer Dr Ludwig Leichhardt. So when an advertisement appears in The Bulletin magazine offering a one thousand pound reward for proof of where Leichhardt met his fate, Evie is determined to figure it out – after all, there are clues in her father’s papers and in the archives of The Royal Geographical Society. But when Evie sets out to prove her theory she vanishes without a trace, leaving behind a mystery that taints everyone’s lives for 30 years.

 

General: Miracle Typist by Leon Silver

Conscripted into the Polish army as Hitler’s ground and air forces are bearing down on his country, Jewish soldier Tolek Klings vows to return to his wife, Klara, and son, Juliusz. However, when the Luftwaffe’s bombs start falling and the Polish cause looks hopelessly lost, Tolek finds himself under fire from his supposed brothers in arms. The Polish army is rife with anti-Semitism and he is relentlessly tormented. As the Germans cross the border, he is faced with a terrible dilemma: flee to protect his family – and risk being shot as a deserter – or ride out the war, hoping rumours of women and children being spared in the concentration camps are true.

 

Thriller: House of Correction by Nicci French 

‘So,’ said Mora Piozzi, her lawyer, looking down at her laptop. ‘In brief: you are charged with the murder of Stuart Robert Rees, on December 21st, between the hours of ten-forty in the morning and half-past three o’clock in the afternoon.’ Tabitha is accused of murder. She is in prison awaiting trial. There is a strong case against her, and she can’t remember what happened on December 21st. She is alone, frightened and confused. But somehow, from the confines of her cell, she needs to prove everyone wrong. House of Correction is beautifully written, clever, shocking, twisty, so believable and utterly compelling. This is another stunningly brilliant novel to relish from Nicci French.

 

Thriller: The Suicide House by Charlie Donlea

The team of forensic reconstructionist, Rory Moore, and criminal profiler, Lane Phillips, return. This time they undertake an investigation into the gruesome murders of two students at a prestigious boarding school which leads to the subsequent suicides of four others. Beyond the manicured campus of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory School sits an abandoned boarding house, popular among students as a late-night hangout – and recently the scene of a dangerous game gone wrong. One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why three survivors of that terrible night have returned to the house to kill themselves. 

 

Saga/Romance: In Love and War by Liz Trenow

July, 1919. The First World War is over. The war-torn area of Flanders near Ypres is no longer home to trenches or troops, but groups of tourists. Controversial battlefield tourism now drives bus-loads of people to witness first-hand where loved ones fell and died. At the Hotel de la Paix in the small village of Poperinghe, three women have come to the battlefields to find a trace of men they have loved and lost. Ruby is just 21, a shy Englishwoman looking for the grave of her husband. Alice is only a little older but brimming with confidence; she has travelled all the way from America, convinced her brother is in fact still alive and still in France. Then there’s Martha and her son Otto, who are not all they seem to be.

 

eBooks

The Safe Place by Anna Downes [BorrowBox]

For struggling actress Emily Proudman, life in London is not working out as planned – in fact, it?s falling apart. So when she is offered a job living and working for a wealthy family on their luxurious property in coastal France, she jumps at the opportunity to start over.

The estate is picture-perfect, and its owners exude charisma and sophistication. But as Emily gets to know the family, their masks begin to slip, and what at first appears to be a dream come true turns out to be a prison from which none of them will ever escape – unless Emily can find a way to set them all free.

The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn [BorrowBox]

Two women, a world apart.

A secret waiting to be discovered…VE Day 1945: As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess’ happiness is overshadowed by grief. Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action. Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.

Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do. But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home…

September 11th 2001: Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.

Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever…

Di Morrissey novels (28 titles) [Indy Reads]

Carolyn's books of the month May Di MorrisseyeAudio Books

We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter [BorrowBox]

It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer.

The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.

As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working gruelling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity and inner strength to persevere.

Bruny by Heather Rose [Libby]

A right-wing US president has withdrawn America from the Middle East and the UN. Daesh has a thoroughfare to the sea and China is Australia’s newest ally. When a bomb goes off in remote Tasmania, Astrid Coleman agrees to return home to help her brother before an upcoming election. But this is no simple task. Her brother and sister are on either side of politics, the community is full of conspiracy theories, and her father is quoting Shakespeare. Only on Bruny does the world seem sane. Until Astrid discovers how far the government is willing to go.

Before she knew him by Peter Swanson [indyreads]

‘They had a secret, the two of them, and there was no better way to start a friendship than with a secret.’

When Hen and Lloyd move into their new house in West Dartford, Mass., they’re relieved to meet, at their first block party, the only other seemingly-childless couple in their neighborhood, Matthew and Mira Dolamore. Turns out they live in the Dutch Colonial immediately next door.

When they’re invited over for dinner, however, things take a sinister turn when Hen thinks she sees something suspicious in Matthew’s study. Could this charming, mild-mannered College Professor really be hiding a dark secret, one that only Hen, whose been battling her own problems with depression and medication, could know about? Lloyd certainly doesn’t seem to believe her, and so, forced together, Hen and Matthew start to form an unlikely bond. But who, if anyone, is really in danger?

From its deeply unsettling opening, Peter Swanson, the master of contemporary domestic thrillers, fashions a novel as brilliant, dark, coruscating and surprising as Patricia Highsmith and Ira Levin at their very best.

 

 

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