Book Review: Little Deaths by Emma Flint.

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Title: Little Deaths *  Arthur:  Emma Flint * Genre : Historical Fiction/Mystery.

Publisher: Hachette Books * Pages : 311  * Verdict : Buy it

My Review

This is the first book I have read off the  longlist of the  Baileys women’s prize for fiction 2017.  The Prize is the UK’s most prestigious  award for  fiction written by women. If you want to learn more about this prize I highly recommend  their website.

 Little Deaths  takes place in New York (Queen’s) in the sixties. In the beginning of the story we are introduced to Ruth Malone who is in prison.  The story then take us into the past and we learn exactly why Ruth is in prison.

We learn that Ruth is separated from her husband Frank, who is threatening to sue for custody of their two children  Frankie and Cindy. Ruth is not your definition of mother of the year,  she drinks to much,  and brings home different men.

Tragedy strikes Ruth when both of her kids goes missing from their apartment.  Eventually the police end up finding the kids but both of them are dead.  Due to her life style the police automatically assume that its Ruth that had murdered them.

The story is told in two perspectives. One from Ruth, and the other from Peter Wonicke  who is a reporter for the local newspaper.  At first Peter thinks that Ruth has done it,  but then he changes his mind. He then starts to develop a romantic obsession for her as the story progresses.

Before reading this,  I heard a lot of negative things about this book.  I am glad that I decided to go ahead and give this book a chance.  I loved it. It took me about a week to get through this.

I can easily see why this was nominated for the  Baileys women prize.

I am not sure why this book has been labeled a thriller? Yes there are some dark aspects in the story,  but it doesn’t read as a thriller.

I like how the story is told from two perspectives.  At first I was not really thrilled  by Pete’s character.   I’m still not,  but after thinking about I think he was there to shine light on other people’s perspective of Ruth and the situation.

This story was more then just two kids disappearing and the police suspecting that the mother did it. Though this was based on a real life case.

I think this story is all about perceptions and how we see people.  And how people see us.  Either fairly or unfairly.  I think that people have a preconceived notion of how people should act based on their in role in life.   Like if your mother, woman,  grandmother,  father etc. And when people don’t fit in that particular mold then we tend to look negatively at them and judge them.  Just like  the police and some of Ruth’s neighbors in this story did.

The head detective  (Devilin ) even pointed that even if Ruth was innocent it wouldn’t matter because she was not acting like a mother should, which got her kids killed.

There was also an undercurrent of sexism  and misogyny throughout the story.

Ruth is vilified because she likes to drink and go out with men.  But Frank (Ruth husband) is seen in a sympathetic light.  Though he hardly paid his child support,  and barely there in helping Ruth rear the children.  So much of the responsibility of raising the children was left up to Ruth.

I think that the biggest take away I got from this book is looks can be deceiving.

Not everything is how it appears to be. In the book,  Ruth was condemned for not grieving for her children.  As you read you can clearly see that this is not true.  But we are looking at it from Ruth perspective and not from an outsider who doesn’t know her.

One of things I liked about this book is that at the end Ruth comes to realize that though she didn’t kill her children,  she should have done more  protect them. Plus,  I think  she realizes that she doesn’t have to be dependent on a man to protect her. She can do that herself.

I really liked this book,  I highly recommend it.

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Book Review: The Lost girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill

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Title: The Lost Girl of Astor Street * Arthur:  Stephanie Morrill  *  Genre: Mystery

Publisher:  HarperCollins * Pages: 347 *  Verdict:  Buy it

My Review

The Lost Girl of  Astor Street takes place around the 1920’s in Chicago. In the beginning of the story we are introduced to  Piper Sail and her friend Lydia Devine.  Who are in their last year of school.

Piper is the wild child of the two.  She is known for getting in all kinds of scrapes.  Plus her knuckles are bruised due to punishment handed out by her teacher.  Piper has been friends with Lydia since they were young. Lydia mother doesn’t really approve of Piper but seems to respect the relationship she has with her daughter.

As the story progresses we learn that Lydia is sick.  She suffers from seizures.  Her parents wants to keep this under wraps because Lydia father is a doctor and he thinks that if his patients finds out that it will hurt his practice. Lydia, herself,  doesn’t even know about the seizures because  she forgets that she has them after an attack.

  Piper knows because has witnessed a few of the seizures. The Devine’s have sworn her to secrecy,  she can’t tell anyone, including Lydia about the seizures.

The Devine’s finally decided to  seek more professional help in regards to Lydia seizures.  So they decide to send her away to a hospital that is out of town.  Lydia of course is upset and doesn’t want to leave.

She doesn’t want to leave her friends, and she doesn’t want to leave Matthew, the family driver, who she has fallen in love with.  She goes visit Piper, who convinces her to tell Matthew how she feels.  That is the last time Piper sees Lydia again, who goes missing that very day.  The rest of the book is  Piper investigating Lydia whereabouts.

I picked up this book up randomly at the library and ended up really loving . I am hoping that this author writes a sequel  to this.  I am really eager to get back in this world.  This is the first mystery I have read in a longtime. Which is making want to read more mysteries.

I thought the writing was really good and it was easy to read.  I couldn’t  put this book down.

I liked how it was also set in the twenties,  which from a  history perspective is a really fascinating era,  and I thought she did a good job in portraying this era.  When reading I felt like I was back in that time.

I didn’t really get a  Downton Abbey feel when I was reading this.  So I think that the “Downton Abbey in downtown Chicago”  description is kind of inaccurate.  I think that this story stands on its own and doesn’t need  Downton Abbey shadow to prop it.

I loved all the characters in this.  They all added something to the story.  Even Jane, who I thought was the most useless character in the story.

For me Piper was my favorite character.  Despite the hard persona that she put on,  she was a big softy on the inside.  She would go to anything any lengths to protect those that she loves.

I have to say I was enjoying the romance in this story.  Piper has three guys that are interested in her.  Walter,  Jeremiah and Cassano.  I am leaning towards Cassano,  but she seems to have chemistry with all three so its hard to pick who I want her with. Hopefully if this turns into a series it will become much clearer in the future.

If you have not read this,  please go pick it up at your library,  I would even go as far as saying to go buy it.  Its certainly worth the money.

Book Review: Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

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Title:  Only Enchanting *  Author: Mary Balogh * Genre: Romance  *

Publisher:  Penguin Radom House * Pages: 387 * Grade:  A+

Summary 

Only Enchanting is the  fourth book in The Survivors club series.  Six men and one woman make up the survivors club.  Who had all been injured during the Napoleonic wars.  While recover they forged a friendship with each other.  Each year the group has a reunion at Penderris Hall,  where they spend a few weeks in each others company.

This year they decide to have the reunion at Middlebury Park which belongs to Vincent Darleigh and his wife Sophia.  Sophia just had a baby and Vincent didn’t want to leave her or their son. Agnes Keeping is a widow,  she also lives with her sister in a cottage that is close to Middlebury.

Agnes is reunited with  Lord Ponsonby,  who she met months earlier at a ball.  Who she fell in love with,  but being a relist,  thinking that she would never see him again after that night.  Learning that he is a visitor at Middlebury,  she tries to avoid him but is not successful.  He eventually ask her to marry him,  she is shocked and doubtful of his intentions,  considering that he told her  earlier that he had no intention of ever marrying.

She eventually  say yes,  but soon regrets her decision later on when she learns that the only reason that Flavian married her was to get revenge on his former fiancé who left him for his best friend.  Agnes has her bags packed and his ready to leave,  but Flavian stops her and begs her to give him a week to make their marriage work.  Will she do it???

My Review

The beginning of the story of this story went rather slow for me,  the story didn’t really pick until  Flavian asked Agnes to marry him,  which was probably a hundred pages into the book.  I am not usually a fan of this,  but after reading the book I come to appreciate it with Mary Balogh.  I like the slow build up, and then at the end you get this amazing ending.  She had me guessing until the very last second of the story.

I also liked the portrayal of her characters. I thought she wrote them well and portrayed them realistically. I like how she used issues that the characters to were dealing from their past to strengthen the story and the characters relationship. Agnes still had issues with her mother abandoning her, though she didn’t think that was an issues for her. Flavian also had issues that he was dealing with in regards to the death of his brother and lost memories from injury.

Though she did annoy me throughout the book, I thought that Velma was the perfect villainess. The type to smile to your face and then try to manipulate the situation to her own advantage. Though she didn’t end in the end, I wish she got more her just do. That is the only criticism if you call that I had with this book.

I loved the pairing of Flavian/Agnes. I really like it when characters don’t think that they are right for each other (Due to insecurities, or they don’t think that the other person is their type) but end up falling in love with each other.

I highly recommend this book, I really enjoyed reading it and looking to reading more from this author.