Post Script: The Hidden Hours – Sara Foster

The Hidden Hours

The Hidden Hours

Sara Foster

Simon & Schuster Australia

ISBN: 9781925184815

 

Description:

Keeping her secret may save her family.

But telling it may save her life.

Arabella Lane, senior executive at a children’s publisher, is found dead in the Thames on a frosty winter’s morning after the office Christmas party. No one is sure whether she jumped or was pushed. The one person who may know the truth is the newest employee at Parker & Lane – the office temp, Eleanor.

Eleanor has travelled to London to escape the repercussions of her traumatic childhood in outback Australia, but now tragedy seems to follow her wherever she goes. To her horror, she has no memory of the crucial hours leading up to Arabella’s death – memory that will either incriminate or absolve her.

As Eleanor desperately tries to remember her missing hours and uncover the events of that fateful night, her own extended family is dragged further into the dark, terrifying terrain of blame, suspicion and guilt.

Caught in a crossfire of accusations, Eleanor fears she can’t even trust herself, let alone the people around her. And soon, she’ll find herself in a race against time to find out just what happened that night – and discover just how deadly some secrets can be.

 

 

My View:

It took me a little time to warm to the protagonist – the death of Arabella Lane in the UK presents a story line that is not particularly   warm or sympathetic; Arabella’s character is manipulative and Eleanor appears stunted by fear, is lonely, low in confidence and has a mysterious past that we want to unravel. The second narrative, of Eleanor’s childhood, reaches out to your heartstrings, you can feel the loneliness, the frisson of fear and anticipation of the revealing of unspeakable events causing static as you turn the pages.  In the telling of the two histories Eleanor becomes whole; empathetic and intriguing.

 

For this is a story of intrigue – so much is not what it seems. Sara Foster cleverly leads us on tour of discovery complete with dead ends, false starts, false leads and so much anticipation. Several times I thought I knew where/how this mystery would resolve…and I was wrong each time. This is very cleverly plotted and paced mystery. Trust no one.

 

Read right to the very end, read the afterword and learn a little about Sara Foster, about loneliness and despair…and books. “My favourite writers could read my mind before I could find my voice. They could answer my questions without me having to utter them. They pulled me through then, and they still do now. I believe there is at least one book out there that will do this for everyone. Probably many. If you ever need them, I urge you to search them out and bring yourself back to the world. Seek out your books, not the ones you are told to read. Find your truth. Do your soul work. And while you do it, keep faith in a brighter day tomorrow.” (Sara Foster, Afterword)

 

A great read. Thank you Sara Foster.

 

 

 

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Post Script: Everything You Told Me – Lucy Dawson

A great introductory hook and a narrative that cleverly plays into every mother’s sense of guilt – is she doing enough/coping/not coping…etc

Everything You Told me

Everything You Told Me

Lucy Dawson

Allen & Unwin Australia

Atlantic

Corvus

ISBN: 9781782396253

 

Description:

Sally wakes up in the middle of nowhere, with a suicide note in her pocket and no memory of the previous twenty four hours. When she discovers what happened to her, she is shocked to the core…

Saturday morning, dawn. Mother of two Sally finds herself on a cliff top, miles away from home. The place is familiar but the journey is a blank. She’s lost the last ten hours of her life.

To all appearances, Sally was there to jump. She had nothing on her apart from a suicide note when the local police took her in. But Sally knows she would never leave her children behind…

Which leaves the question: who has done this to her? And who would believe Sally if she told?

 

My View:

A great introductory hook and a narrative that cleverly plays into every mother’s sense of guilt – is she doing enough/coping/not coping…etc

 

A great read which has all the elements I like in a good  psychological thriller; an great opening hook – in this instance the protagonist wakes up alone and disoriented on a cliff top – not knowing how she got there and with what appears to be a suicide note in her pocket.

 

Then we have my favourite device – the unreliable narrator…Sally’s recollections, thoughts, are a little confused, she is sleep deprived, anxious… so much guilt, perhaps suffering post-natal depression?  What do we believe is happening here? Who is right?

 

Then there are the twists – so many – so good but just one little point that is essential to the outcome, the big piece of evidence that changes the whole direction of your thoughts… just seemed a little too convenient, just niggled at me – after I finished reading. At the time I was engrossed in this reveal, it changed everything. And I went with it, I followed this new clue, and was lead on another twisty path and the ending…would never ever have seen that coming. So all in all a really good read but just after I finished reading there was just that hint of bad taste in my mouth , the feeling that something was not quite right, a detail that was just a little too convenient and all too easily wrapped everything up (no spoilers here). Will it bother you? Who knows…you will have to read it to find out.

 

 

 

 

My View:

 

Post Script: Don’t You Cry – Mary Kubica

Dont You Cry

Don’t You Cry

Mary Kubica

Harlequin (US & Canada)

MIRA

ISBN: 9780778319054

 

Description:

New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession.

 

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew.

 

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

 

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always

catches up with us in the end.

 

 

My View:

A well-drawn, detailed exposé of small town lives. The characters in this book are so well defined and written you could almost walk up to one of them in the street ( you would also recognise their street, their homes, their family, their work place… their idiosyncrasies …) and say hello as if greeting an old friend.

 

Be warned though this is a very slow burn. Yes there is a disappearance early in the piece but life goes on. Esther might have just popped out for a while…a day…a few days…the pressure slowly builds.  And the ending…well… powerful, emotional, and surprising. Did I mention surprising? You won’t see this ending coming.

 

This novel discusses relationships – between mothers and their children, between sisters, between friends…looks at identity, isolation in the community, obligation and more…ordinary yet flawed, potent individuals and a crescendo of an ending!  And did I mention a little bit of hope for some? Loved it!

 

 

 

 

Post Script: What She Never Told Me – Kate McQuaile

What My Mother Never Told Me

What She Never Told Me

Kate McQuaile

Hachette Australia

Quercus

ISBN: 9781784296711

 

Description:

What do you do when you find out that your whole life could be a lie?

 

‘I talked to my mother the night she died, losing myself in memories of when we were happiest together. But I held one memory back, and it surfaces now, unbidden. I see a green post box and a small hand stretching up to its oblong mouth. I am never sure whether that small hand is mine. But if not mine, whose?’

 

Louise Redmond left Ireland for London before she was twenty. Now, more than two decades later, her heart already breaking from a failing marriage, she is summoned home. Her mother is on her deathbed, and it is Louise’s last chance to learn the whereabouts of a father she never knew.

 

Stubborn to the end, Marjorie refuses to fill in the pieces of her daughter’s fragmented past. Then Louise unexpectedly finds a lead. A man called David Prescott . . . but is he really the father she’s been trying to find? And who is the mysterious little girl who appears so often in her dreams? As each new piece of the puzzle leads to another question, Louise begins to suspect that the memories she most treasures could be a delicate web of lies.

 

 

My View:

This was a very intense mystery that speaks to the themes of motherhood, family, memory, loss and grief.

So many secrets and lies… so much sadness. The author slowly reveals clues or bits of information or red herrings that have you plotting and planning and trying to solve the mystery, I doubt that you will or at least not till the very end.

 

The author has excelled in drawing the reader into the world of her characters. The opening pages are full of mystery and the images in these pages repeat themselves throughout the novel building the anticipation and expectation of a resolution of the mystery.

 

As you read you will find yourself sighing with sadness at the many disappointments, revelations and lies that fill these lives and pages. Life has thrown many challenges in the path of the main characters, good choices have not always been made, and lives can be changed in an instant.

 

 

You are transported back into the time and places (Ireland 1960’s) when religion and fear dictated women’s choices regarding their sexuality and fertility. The settings, the social structure of society are clear and visual, the characters and their relationships are realistic but always there is a hint of the unreliable narrator that throws questions and misdirection’s in your path.

 

A heartbreaking but enjoyable family drama and mystery. A great debut novel.

 

Post Script: All That Is Lost Between Us – Sara Foster

Fabulous West Australian author Sara Foster: 

All That Is Lost Between Us

Sara Foster

All That Is Lost Between Us

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781925184785

 

Description:

Seventeen-year-old Georgia has a secret – one that is isolating her from everyone she loves. She is desperate to tell her best friend, but Sophia is ignoring her, and she doesn’t know why. And before she can find out, Sophia is left fighting for her life after a hit and run, with Georgia a traumatised witness.

 

As a school psychologist, Georgia’s mother Anya should be used to dealing with scared adolescents. However, it’s very different when the girl who needs help is your own child. Meanwhile, Georgia’s father is wracked with a guilt he can’t share; and when Zac, Georgia’s younger brother, stumbles on an unlikely truth, the family relationships really begin to unravel.

 

Georgia’s secret is about to go viral. And yet, it will be the stranger heading for the family home who will leave her running through the countryside into terrible danger. Can the Turner family rise above the lies they have told to betray or protect one another, in order to fight for what matters most of all?

 

Set against the stark, rugged beauty of England’s Lake District, All That is Lost Between Us is a timeless thriller with a modern twist. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com.au/

 

 

My View:

Sara Foster draws us into a chillingly tense narrative of secrets and lies with an explosive prologue that has her protagonist Georgia in a very dire situation (no spoilers here). The stage is now set, the scenery and back drops in place, and the principal characters ready – the excitement is building!

 

Sara Foster has produced a domestic narrative that is tension packed and full of surprises. Georgia’s secret is devastating and tantalising, slowly, ever so slowly we are given hints as to the nature of this secret, and it is one that will shatter the innocence of youth and test the multiple relationships discussed in this book.

 

Tension is just one element that Sara Foster excels in, she also captures that difficult relationship between parents (particularly mothers) and their teenage children – the dialogue or lack of it, the mood swings, the umbilical cord of protection almost severed by the child’s growing independence …the child like almost adult exposed for the world to see. A great accounting of these difficult times.

 

“Georgia has a secret…it is about to go viral….”   Get your copy now and find yourself enmeshed in this family’s troubled life. It could easily be yours.

 

 

A sneak peak of chapter one here: :http://issuu.com/simonschusteraustralia/docs/all_that_is_lost_between_us_sampler

 

 

All-that-is-lost-Blog-Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Audio Book Of 2015

In the light of recent wins it is only fitting that I announce what I feel to be the best audio book of 2015. I know I haven’t listened to many this year – but this one stands out – the narrative is excellent and the narration brings the story to life.  I highly recommend this for all parents, grandparents, teenagers to read or listen to. This will change your awareness of the power/influence of social media.

 

The best audio book of 2015 is Risk – Fleur Ferris

Cover - Risk

Post Script: Here We Lie – Sophie McKenzie

Cover - Here We Lie

Here We Lie

Sophie McKenzie

Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 9781471133183

 

Description:

On holiday with family and her adoring fiancé, Jed, Emily couldn’t be happier. But overnight, the idyllic trip turns into a waking nightmare when one of the group is found dead in what appears to be a terrible accident.

 

The devastated party returns to London to cope with their loss while trying to resume their normal lives. But new revelations shed a shocking light on the holiday tragedy and set Emily on a perilous journey to discover the truth about what happened.

 

Soon a terrifying series of threats and lies bring her face to face with the dark truths at the heart of her family – and into life-threatening danger…

 

 

My View:

If you are prepared to hang you suspension of disbelief on the coat rail in the hall way then proceed and enjoy. This is a narrative chock full of drama, paranoia and surprises and a good dose of heartbreak with an underlying useful social commentary on the power of social media and its role in bullying.

 

Of all the characters in this book I found the voice of Dee Dee the most intriguing and deserving of empathy; a child entering the teenage years, her body and hormones at odds with one another, her naivety and her sadness, a pawn in her parents efforts to hurt each other, Dee Dee is a character to make you think. Her story told through the watching of her privately made videos recorded on her phone are revealing and heartbreaking.

 

Sophie McKenzie is a writer who is the master of the surprise and unexpected reveal and she uses this skill masterfully here. I bet that you will not expect the ending – it is totally surprising.