33 Women by Isabel Ashdown #bookreview #blogtour @IsabelAshdown @TrapezeBooks

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Isabel Ashdown, 33 Women as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Nicole Thomas from Orion Books for inviting me to take part.

33 Women: A gripping new thriller about the power of women, and the lengths they will go to when pushed... by [Isabel Ashdown]

BLURB

When sisters Celine and Pip get a call telling them their reclusive mother has died, the women are reunited at her riverside home in Arundel to pick up the pieces. But someone is missing – their middle sister, Vanessa, brutally murdered years ago and the victim of an unsolved case. As the sisters confront ghosts from the past, the discovery of another body in similar circumstances throws new light on Vanessa’s death. Could there be more to her case than the police first thought? And what do the mysterious residents of Two Cross Farm, the neighbouring women’s commune, have to do with it? What secrets are lurking behind their locked gates? And what is the significance of the number 33?

MY THOUGHTS

33 Women is an intense read by Isabel Ashdown, and I think it’s my favourite of her books to date. Isabel creates a mysterious atmosphere in her latest novel, with the story focusing on the murder of a woman, Vanessa, in 2005, whose body was left abandoned near Brighton Pier. Now, years later, the woman’s sisters, Celine and Pip are pushing for a reinvestigation, especially for the police to investigate the women’s shelter Vanessa lived in before she was murdered. And when the police begin to look into the refuge, they soon link other crimes that have taken place, which may also have a connection to the shelter.

I raced through this book. I had to know what was really going on at the women’s refuge, known as Two Cross Farm. I was intrigued by the residents, especially their leader, Seed and what they had to hide. In the wake of the renewed media and police interest in the case of the murdered woman, the residents put on a united front. To me, it all seemed very controlled and that they had a lot of things to hide. Were the women frightened of putting a toe out of line? I also felt that the retired police officer, who goes into the refuge, was putting herself close to danger, but I could see that she too was keen to get to the truth about what was going on here.

Isabel Ashdown also takes us back to when the refuge was first formed. She creates an intense and creepy atmosphere as the women and their leader at the time, set out their rules for the future. It did have the feeling of more of a cult than of a women’s refuge. That’s what the press and the police speculate as well. It is unclear throughout the book just what really has been going on here. You can see just how concerned the women are at the intense media coverage.

The characters were really engaging. I could see just how desperate Pip and Celine are to get to the truth and to get justice for their sister. I also liked the retired detective who is sent to Two Cross Farm. I wanted her to get to the bottom of what was going on. The results of the investigation bring some shocking moment, including one revelation which made my mouth fall open.

33 Women is dark and foreboding. It is a hugely enjoyable read which I managed to finish in just a couple of sittings. You’ll be gripped from start to finish!

Publisher: Trazpeze

Publication date: 26th November 2020

Print length: 352 pages

33 Women is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

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33 Women Blog Tour UPDATE (1)

Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown @IsabelAshdown @TrapezeBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to be joining the blog tour for Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown. With thanks to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part.

BLURB

When 17-year-old Eva Olsen awakes after a horrific accident that has left her bedbound, her parents are right by her side. Devoted, they watch over her night and day in the attic room of their family home in the forests of Norway.

But the accident has left Eva without her most recent memories, and not everything is as it seems. As secrets from the night of the accident begin to surface, Eva realises – she has to escape her parents’ house and discover the truth. But what if someone doesn’t want her to find it?

MY THOUGHTS

Lake Child is the second book by Isabel Ashdown, which I have read, and it’s a cracker. Dark, full of mystery and devastating secrets this is a book that will both thrill and chill you.

There was a very mysterious and sinister feeling to the opening pages. Teenager, Eva, is being held by her parents in a locked attic. Convinced her parents are hiding something from her, Eva is determined to find out what they are keeping secret. We also know that Eva was involved in a horrific accident. The police haven’t been able to find the person responsible for what happened. The local community are gripped by what has happened to Eva as it isn’t very often that such a harrowing, but exciting event happens in their local area.

I loved the setting of Isabel’s latest book, Norway, and I loved the image of the isolated house on the lakeside with the forests surrounding it. The time of year which Isabel chose to set her book, which is winter, for me, was perfect. It creates a very sinister atmosphere. During winter, Norway receives very little sunlight, and this creates a more impending sense of danger as Eva’s parents believe that someone is watching them from within the forest.

In England, far away from Norway, distraught grandmother, Maxine is writing a book about the disappearance of her granddaughter, Lorna. She is doing this with the help of a ghost writer who is interviewing her for the book. Lorna’s disappearance became a media sensation, and still, people are trying to work out what happened to her. But Maxine is a mysterious character, and it certainly seems that she is trying desperately hard to keep some facts about her past a secret.

I was very interested to see how the two storylines were going to come together. They are pulled together in a very captivating way. Although I did work out some parts, there were also some shocking and chilling reveals that I hadn’t predicted and they took me by surprise.  There was one reveal where I did actually gasp as it dawned on me what had happened. It’s not very often that a twist has that effect on me.

Throughout the novel, I didn’t warm to Maxine very much. I couldn’t quite work it if she was taking advantage of her family’s tragic situation by speaking to the press. I couldn’t work out if she was distraught by what had happened and if she just was willing to do absolutely anything to find her granddaughter.

Although the opening was gripping, and I wanted to know what was going on in Eva’s world, I did find it to be a bit of a slow start. The suspense soon begins to build however. You may feel the same, so I would definitely stick with it as the plot becomes darker and much more gripping. I felt exasperated for Eva. I wanted her to get to the bottom of what was really going on. I wanted to shake her parents for not being truthful with her.

Lake Child is a thoroughly enjoyable read which will grip and shock you. I couldn’t stop reading as I reached the final chapters; I was desperate to know what was going to happen. Atmospheric, chilling and very satisfying.

Publisher: Trapeze

Publication date: 19th September 2019

Print length: 336 pages

If you would like to purchase Lake Child, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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Lake Child Blog Tour Part 1

Lake Child Blog Tour Part 2