Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward #bookreview #blogtour @Catrionaward @ViperBooks

On my blog today, I’m taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Catriona Ward, Looking Glass Sound.


Writers are monsters. We eat everything we see…

In a windswept cottage overlooking the sea, Wilder Harlow begins the last book he will ever write. It is the story of his childhood companions and the shadowy figure of the Daggerman, who stalked the New England town where they spent their summers. Of a horror that has followed Wilder through the decades. And of Sky, Wilder’s one-time friend, who stole his unfinished memoir and turned it into a lurid bestselling novel, The Sound and the Dagger.

This book will be Wilder’s revenge on Sky, who betrayed his trust and died without ever telling him why. But as he writes, Wilder begins to find notes written in Sky’s signature green ink, and events in his manuscript start to chime eerily with the present. Is Sky haunting him? And who is the dark-haired woman drowning in the cove, whom no one else can see?

No longer able to trust his own eyes, Wilder feels his grip on reality slipping. And he begins to fear that this will not only be his last book, but the last thing he ever does.


Looking Glass Sound is the utterly spellbinding new novel by Catriona Ward. It is a dark coming of age story, which did remind me a little bit of Where the Crawdads Sing. This is a very complex book, but it is really addictive, and I flew through it in just a couple of sittings. It is one of the most original books I’ve read recently.

The novel begins with Wilder going on holiday with his family for the summer to his uncle’s cabin, which has recently passed to his parents following his uncle’s death. While there, Wilder strikes up a friendship with Harper and Nat, but he has no idea how much these friendships will change his life forever. The place where Wilder’s uncle’s home is located, Whistler’s Bay, has a dark history. It is a place where the serial killer known as the Dagger Man has carried out his horrific crimes. There is a darkness to the setting that will come to haunt Wilder for the rest of his life.

I found Catriona Ward’s writing so gripping and I loved how she developed her characters. Wilder’s voice came through so strongly on the page. There is a lot of mystery surrounding Wilder, and Catriona Ward takes us on an even stranger journey as she delves deeper into the story, which is told mostly from his point of view. The plot did make me wonder just how much stranger this novel could get, but I love reading a novel that’s different to everything else out there in the crime fiction market, and Looking Glass Sound definitely ticks that box. As we move onto Wilder’s time at university, the novel gets even more interesting, particularly when he strikes up a friendship with Sky while he is there. We really see Wilder’s character grow over the course of the novel, especially during his university years. There is such a rich depth to his character which Catriona Ward explores, from the fallout of his parents’ divorce, to his subsequent friendship with Sky. I was never quite sure what direction Catriona Ward was going to take us next with her characters.

Looking Glass Sound is definitely a book that will stay with me. I loved it.

Publisher: Viper

Publication date: 20th April 2023

Print length: 352 pages

Looking Glass Sound is available to buy:

Amazon UK Waterstones


The Half Burnt House by Alex North #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Alex North, The Half Burnt House.


Katie Shaw always looked after her younger brother Chris – until she left him alone one carefree afternoon and he was savagely attacked. He hasn’t spoken to her since.

Now a mother, Katie vows not to repeat her mistakes. Carelessness cost her one family, and she won’t let it destroy another.

Then she receives a call from the police.

They’re investigating a particularly brutal murder, in a half-ruined house that once belonged to a notorious local serial killer. The case has thrown up many unsettling questions, but only one prime suspect: Chris.

The detective wants Katie’s help finding him, but she has only one thing on her mind: proving her brother’s innocence, and finally making up for her negligence all those years ago. But soon it becomes clear that the killer isn’t finished yet.

Which means that even as she attempts to save her old family, Katie is placing her new one in deadly peril . . .


A new novel by Alex North is always a real treat. His latest, The Half Burnt House is another creepy psychological thriller, which follows Katie Shaw, as she desperately tries to find her brother Chris, after not having seen, or spoken to him, for six years. This is after the police accuse her brother of the murder of Alan Hobbes, who is also a man with an intriguing and an upsetting past. The police have seen Chris on CCTV outside Alan’s home which makes him their number one suspect. Katie is desperate to prove his innocence.

I was really intrigued by Chris and Katie’s relationship, especially following revelations about what happened to Chris when he was the victim of a horrific attack. This is definitely a multi layered story that does require concentration, but I found that the pages turned themselves as I was reading, and the plot really held my attention. You can see how desperate Katie is to find out what has happened to her brother. I was eager to see how things would pan out between them if they were to meet up again, and what they would say to each other, so I was rooting for Katie to find him. I really felt a connection to Katie as she searched for the truth and it is clear in Alex North’s writing, how much she does care for her brother, and you can see how guilty she is feeling for not having stayed in contact with him. But I could see why she did choose to cut ties with him at the time, especially as she was spending most of her time looking out for him. I could fully understand Katie wanting to live her own life.

There is also a family connection to the detective investigating Alan’s murder, as well as Chris’s possible involvement in the crime. The police officer investigating, Detective Laurence Page., was also one of the detectives who investigated the attack on Chris, so this was another intriguing aspect to the plot to follow as well. As with all of Alex North’s books, there is a hint of the supernatural, especially with the potential link to a serial killer who claimed to be able to see the future. This is what I always like about Alex North’s books. I’m always really intrigued to see where his plots will go and the supernatural element always adds to the suspense.

Throughout the book Alex North throws in more questions that need to be answered about what has happened to Katie’s brother and who was behind Alan’s murder. The Half Burnt House is an addictive read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 16th March 2023

Print length: 365 pages

The Half Burnt House is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Ugly Truth by L.C. North #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by L.C. North, The Ugly Truth.


Melanie Lange has disappeared.

Her father, Sir Peter Lange, says she is a danger to herself and has been admitted to a private mental health clinic.

Her ex-husband, Finn, and best friend, Nell, say she has been kidnapped.

The media will say whichever gets them the most views.

But whose side are you on?


I flew through The Ugly Truth by L.C. North. It’s told mainly through social media posts and excerpts from a Netflix documentary covering the disappearance of social media star, model, and billionaire Sir Peter Lange’s daughter, Melanie Lange after she posts a series of concerning videos on her YouTube account. Melanie hasn’t been seen in public for months and she claims her father his holding her prisoner. But what is the real truth here?

L.C. North really paints a vivid portrayal of what it’s like for celebrities living in the public eye. It’s certainly not a life that I would like to have. No matter how likeable you are, there will always be some people who don’t like you, and they will want to say hurtful things about you, to anyone who’ll listen. We see the abuse people can get on social media all the time, and this is what L.C. North explores as the public reacts to Melanie Lange’s disappearance. It is really shocking reading some of the comments people put about Melanie, and it did make me angry, and think why can’t these people keep their thoughts to themselves? It’s one of the big downsides of social media, although there are lots of positives about social media as well. This is what L.C. North also explores in her book, as word about Melanie’s disappearance gets out, and her fans spread the news to make sure that she’s safe. So in that instance social media can be a good thing.

Over the course of the book, I wasn’t entirely sure whose story to believe as there are excerpts from an interview with Melanie’s father, Peter, taken from a Netflix documentary. Through these excerpts we get to understand more about their family life and the troubles Melanie has faced since finding fame. Peter is also getting a lot of public support. But then there are the accusations from Melanie accusing Peter of keeping her prisoner. Peter tries to portray his daughter as someone who needs a lot of help and support from her family, and there were times when I very nearly did feel sorry for him, because of what Melanie was saying. When he is being interviewed, he comes across as someone who is desperately worried about his family and someone who will do anything to protect his daughter. It’s what made the book even more riveting as I had no idea who I could trust.

I could’ve very easily read The Ugly Truth in one sitting. It is a brilliant book that is definitely going to be one of my favourite reads of the year. I loved it.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 2nd March 2023

Print length: 353 pages

The Ugly Truth is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

Freeze by Kate Simants #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the new novel by Kate Simants, Freeze.



Frozen Out is set to be a TV sensation. On a small ship off the coast of Greenland, eight contestants will push themselves to breaking point for a £100,000 prize.

The show is Tori Matsuka’s baby. After years working her way up the ladder, she’s finally launching her own production company with Frozen Out, and the late nights, the debts, the strain on her relationship will all be worthwhile. Everything is riding on the next twelve days. For camerawoman Dee, it’s a chance to start again after the tragedy that tanked her undercover journalism career. Not even Tori, her oldest friend, knows the full truth of why Dee left her previous job, and she plans to keep it that way.

But as errors and mishaps mount on set, tempers among the cast and crew start to fray. And when one of the contestants is found dead, only Dee realises the death wasn’t natural – and from what she’s seen from behind the camera, it won’t be the last. As the Arctic ice closes in around them and all chance of escape is cut off, it becomes clear that although the world outside wants them dead, it’s the secrets inside the ship that might cost them their lives.


I’ve never been the biggest fan of reality television, but I was definitely intrigued to learn that Kate Simants new novel, Freeze, takes place during the filming of a new reality show set in the Artic, which is definitely taking reality television to the extreme. You know that this isn’t going to be a straight forward game show for the contestants, and before the show even gets underway, already there are tensions brewing among the cast and crew.

The show promises to be a big hit, and so a lot is riding on its pilot episode. I could feel the pressure the creators of the show, Tori and Dee were under. The harsh conditions of the Artic don’t help, especially with an Artic storm approaching, but they are determined to push through and make the show a success. As I mentioned, tensions are already bubbling away before the show even starts, and these tensions only grow as they near their destination. I really enjoyed the parts of the book where Kate Simants delves into her characters histories, and you can see that they all seem to have some sort of history already. This is what makes things all the more dangerous between them and all the more intriguing.  

The show is thrown into turmoil when one of the characters nearly plunges to their death, and when a body of one of the contestants is found, meaning that there is a killer amongst them. I was desperate to know who it was, who had done this, and what their motive was. It seemed surreal that Tori wanted to push forward with the show, with everything that was going on, and this adds further strain to her relationship with Dee. This adds to the tension, as I felt they were giving the killer more of a shot of achieving their goal. It definitely seemed that whoever was behind the events that were happening wasn’t finished yet.

The writing is pacy and addictive. I loved the locked room mystery element of the novel, and Kate Simants builds on the claustrophobic atmosphere as the characters discover that one of their fellow contestants has been found dead.

Freeze is a highly addictive and a really entertaining read.

Publisher: Viper

Publication date: 2nd March 2023

Print length: 400 pages

Freeze is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

The Assistant by Amanda Reynolds #bookreview #blogtour @amandareynoldsj @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Amanda Reynolds, The Assistant. With thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part.


I know many things about Larissa.

I know what she eats, which must-have brands she applies to her face, and the price of each carefully selected ‘piece’ in her multi-million-pound home in Belgravia.

Because Ris, as she is known to her many followers, likes to share.

And now I’m here, in her home, watching her every move.

Entrusted with her secrets and running her diary from the bijou basement flat, I’m on hand to fulfil Ris’ every need. Her right-hand woman. But what she doesn’t know is why I’m really here.

I’ve put a lot on the line to get this job, and now my plan can begin.

I’ve waited long enough.


The Assistant, the latest novel by Amanda Reynolds, follows an intriguing set-up, where we see Gail apply for an assistant role to social media influencer and multi-millionaire, Larissa. The job is based at Larissa’s multi-million pound house in Belgravia, London. But Gail has another reason for being there and her intentions aren’t exactly honourable, she is there to bring Larissa down.

There is a really tense atmosphere throughout this book. It is told mostly through Gail’s memories of her time spent in the mansion, as Larissa’s assistant, but in the present day, she is also giving an interview about something big that happened between them. There isn’t a lot of dialogue in the book. Gail is the main narrator and we are seeing everything that unfolded through her memories. I thought this was an interesting way to tell the story. You know that we are leading up to something that has happened to the characters, and I wanted to know what that was going to be.

I don’t think I liked either Larissa or Gail. I especially grew to dislike them even more, especially as Amanda takes us deeper into their story. It soon becomes clear why Gail is doing what she is doing. I wondered just how far Gail was prepared to go to achieve what she wanted. Amanda Reynolds clearly paints what is driving her, as more revelations about her past come to light. Larissa is a social media influencer, and you can clearly see how influential she thinks she is, particularly around her book launch. You can see that she thinks about no one but herself and about making her life look absolutely perfect. I could see how people could grow to dislike her, especially people who are close to her and who work for her. But what is often the case with many people, who portray this type of existence on social media, is that their life isn’t as perfect as everyone thinks it is. And this is definitely true for Larissa. There is a lot more going on in her life that she doesn’t want the public to know.

The Assistant is a tense read that I really enjoyed. I loved getting inside Gail’s head as she recounts her time spent with Larissa and both their characters are developed so well. If you enjoy a character-driven psychological thriller, I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Publication date: 5th April 2023

Print length: 342 pages

The Assistant is available to buy:

Amazon UK


Murder Under the Tuscan Sun by Rachel Rhys #bookreview #blogtour @MsTamarCohen @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by Rachel Rhys, Murder Under the Tuscan Sun by Rachel Rhys. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.


An isolated castle, a deadly crime. Is this real or a nightmare?

In a remote castle high up in the Tuscan hills secrets are simmering among its glamorous English residents:

The ailing gentleman art-dealer
His dazzling niece
Her handsome Fascist husband
Their neglected young daughter
The housekeeper who knows everything
and Connie, the English widow working for them.

Every night, Connie hears sinister noises and a terrible wailing inside the walls. Is she losing her grip on reality?

Or does someone in the castle want her gone?


In Murder Under the Tuscan Sun by Rachel Rhys, readers will be transported to the Italian landscape of Tuscany in the 1920s, where the book is set in a grand castle, home to William North, a once powerful man, who has, in recent months, deteriorated due to ill health. This is where we meet Connie who takes up a position in the house as a companion to William, after she has recently been made a widow. Connie is also still grieving the loss of her daughter a few years ago, who died from Tuberculosis.

I loved the landscape of Tuscany that Rachel Rhys describes as Connie settles into her new life in William North’s home, and Rachel Rhys captures the grandeur of the time as well. Although there are simmering tensions in the background with the rise of the new fascist government, and this seeps into every day conversations.

I felt as though I really connected with Connie and I was intrigued to follow her journey. It was fascinating to watch her relationship with the inhabitants of the castle grow, particularly with William and his niece, Nora. William’s health is failing and it is unclear how long he might have left. It is also clear to see that, at first, he doesn’t welcome Connie being there at all. Nora was a character, who I also felt for, particularly as her mother, Roberto seemed to be far more concerned about Nora’s looks and how they could be improved. I could really sense Nora’s growing attachment to Connie, and I was glad that Connie was there to look out for Nora, whose character really shines in this book.

As the weeks roll on, I could see that Connie was beginning to feel that something not quite right was going on at the castle, and some of the inhabitants clearly showed that they didn’t like her being there. The tension in the castle really begins to pick up when Connie’s son arrives unexpectedly at the castle for a holiday, and he too notices that something strange is going on. This creates tension between him and his mother.

I flew through Murder Under the Tuscan Sun. The story is really written, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 23rd March 2023

Print length: 344 pages

Murder Under the Tuscan Sun is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones


The Attic at Wilton Place by C E Rose #bookreview #blogtour @CazEngland @HeraBooks

On my blog today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for the new novel by C E Rose, The Attic at Wilton Place.


The perfect life. The perfect home. But at what price?

Introspective Ruth Parker is desperate for love and attention. Overlooked as a child by her cold and critical mother, her pain manifests in loneliness and a crippling lack of self-esteem. When glamorous actress ‘Aunt’ Vanessa, her mother’s childhood friend, shows an interest in her, Ruth basks in the blinding light of her attention.

Once Ruth escapes to university in London, Aunt Vanessa invites her to Wilton Place, her stunning Belgravia residence. As she blossoms under Vanessa’s guidance, Ruth finds herself torn between student life and the hypnotic, luxurious confines of Wilton Place. Belgravia wins out, but when Ruth explores the gloomy attic of her new home and finds a hidden, locked door, she discovers that Vanessa is hiding the darkest of secrets from her childhood, secrets that threaten everything Ruth knew about her own mother.

How far will Ruth go to find the truth – and how much does she really want to know?


I loved The Attic at Wilton Place by C E Rose. If you love a slow burner with well-developed characters, this is definitely a novel for you. We meet Ruth Parker, who has always struggled with fitting in with her family. Her mother, Joy, gives all of her attention to Ruth’s older brother, and Ruth resents her mother for this. But then Ruth meets the beautiful and alluring Vanessa, her mother’s childhood friend, who soon takes Ruth under her wing. But as Ruth’s bond with Vanessa develops, she has no idea how much this will change her life.

There are so many fascinating characters in this book. I really felt for Ruth, especially as it seemed that her own mother paid her little or no attention, and I could see how much Ruth was craving to be loved. She has a close bond with her father, but there is a distance between her and Joy and I wanted to know what the reasons were behind this. Why did her mother appear to favour her brother? How could Joy do this to her daughter?

We then meet Vanessa, who asks Ruth to be a bridesmaid for her wedding in France. As the two get to know each other, I could see how fascinating Ruth was to Vanessa, and I felt as though Ruth had finally gained a mother figure in her life that would look out for her. When Ruth starts university, things really begin to change for her, as Vanessa welcomes her into her luxury address in Belgravia, London. Here Ruth has everything she could ever want and people to cater for her. And there is also Vanessa’s mysterious husband, Sergio.

For me this is where the story got really interesting. I wanted to know why Vanessa had taken such a keen interest in Ruth and in Ruth’s development. I suspected that there was something more going on here behind the scenes. There is a mysterious atmosphere in the scenes when Ruth is at Vanessa’s mansion. And as their relationship grows, Ruth begins to discover dark secrets her mother and Vanessa have kept since their childhood years, and once she knows the truth, things will never be the same.

C E Rose is a writer who knows how to bring her character’s to life on the page. I was desperate to know what was going to happen between Ruth and Vanessa, especially when things get a little messier, than perhaps Ruth first intended. The Attic at Wilton Place is an excellent read.

Publisher: Hera Books

Publication date: 30th March 2023

Print length: 408 pages

The Attic at Wilton Place is available to buy:

Amazon UK


The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the latest novel by Sam Lloyd, The Rising Tide.



The news doesn’t strike cleanly, like a guillotine’s blade. Nothing so merciful. This news is a slovenly traveller, dragging its feet, gradually revealing its horrors. And it announces itself first with violence – the urgent hammering of fists on the front door.

Life can change in a heartbeat.

Lucy has everything she could wish for: a beautiful home high on the clifftops, a devoted husband and two beloved children.

Then one morning, time stops. Their family yacht is recovered, abandoned far out at sea. Lucy’s husband is nowhere to be found and as the seconds tick by, she begins to wonder – what if he was the one who took the boat? And if so, where is he now?

As a once-in-a-generation storm frustrates the rescue operation, Lucy pieces together what happened onboard. And then she makes a fresh discovery. One that plunges her into a living nightmare . . .

Wherever her husband is, he isn’t alone. Because their children are missing, too.


I really enjoyed The Rising Tide by Sam Lloyd. When I read his debut novel, after I finally got round to reading it last year, I knew this was a writer I would be keen to follow, and Sam is becoming one of my favourite writers. Sam Lloyd’s plotting is so well done, and he manages to always keep the tension ticking up a notch.

The story gets going with a tense atmosphere as Lucy Locke discovers that her husband has gone missing along with her children, following the discovery of their boat, the Lazy Susan, found adrift at sea. But why would he take the boat out in the first place when a massive storm is due to hit? Lucy is left in turmoil as she tries to desperately work out what has happened to her family and find out if they are still alive? What reason would her husband, Daniel, have to do this?

I really had no idea where this novel was going to go as I was reading. As the mystery deepens, it becomes clear that something more is going on behind the scenes in this family’s lives, and I was desperate to know what it was, and if it was the reason why Lucy’s family have gone missing. There are some brilliant moments in the book, when Sam Lloyd turns the novel completely on its head; this is what makes the novel so unpredictable. Lucy was a fascinating character to follow. She is a person who draws people in, people instantly like her and want to get close to her. But is she as sweet natured as she seems?

The tension and pace are spot on, and the tension keeps increasing as the police become involved in the search for Lucy’s family. It really does feel as though they have vanished into thin air and this is what makes Lucy even more anxious and upset. There are so many questions about what happened. You can really feel the pain Lucy is going through as she tries to work out what is going on, and even though there were questions about who she was, I still really felt for her as she tried to get to the truth. This is what made me so keen to follow her journey and keen to find out more about who she was.

The tension never lets up right throughout this book making it a captivating read. I loved it.

Publisher: Transworld

Publication date: 24th June 2021

Print length: 437 pages

The Rising Tide is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

What Will Burn by James Oswald #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the eleventh book in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald, What Will Burn.


The charred remains of an elderly woman are discovered in a burned out gamekeepers cottage, hidden away in woodland to the west of Edinburgh.

What is at first assumed to be a tragic accident begins to take on a more sinister aspect as Detective Inspector Tony McLean digs deeper.

There is far more to the victim than her humble surroundings suggest . . .


James Oswald’s Inspector McLean series is one of my favourites. One of my favourite things about the series is the supernatural element that is always there. In this novel, What Will Burn, Inspector Tony McLean is investigating after an elderly woman’s body is discovered in a horrific state. In the opening prologue, we see what happens to her, and the persons, who commit the awful crime, accuse her of practising witchcraft. You can really see how much they believe what they are saying to her, and this is what makes this particular scene so terrifying. Is there someone else who is behind what these people are doing?

I had to know what was really going on with these people who killed the woman at the start of the novel. There is a really creepy atmosphere to this book as McLean investigates. There is another strand to the book, featuring a man who has been denied visiting rights to his daughter, after he and his partner split up. You can see how angry and upset this has made him, despite him being the one at fault, after he was abusive to his former partner. But it is clear that he might be willing to do anything to get the rights he once had back. I wanted to know how this was going to be connected to the main plot of the book.

I love the characters in this series as well. One of my favourites would have to be Madame Rose, who always seems to be there at the right time for Tony when he needs a friend to talk to. There is always Grumpy Bob as well. Both of these characters have been there, along with Tony, right from the beginning, so it always feels like catching up with old friends again whenever they feature in the book. And of course there is always Mrs McCutcheon’s cat, who Tony took in several years earlier, but has never got round to naming.

I love the dialogue between the characters which James Oswald brings to life so well in his writing. I did like the exchanges between the new police officer in charge of the police team, Chief Superintendent Gail Elmwood – who has been drafted in from the Metropolitan Police – and Tony.

The strands of the book are woven together well, and the creepy factor this book is explored further when more women meet the same fate as the elderly woman in the prologue. This is where you do have to suspend the belief system, but it does make this such an entertaining read, especially that closing chapter which sent shivers down my spine as I read it.

What Will Burn is another thoroughly enjoyable book in this series. I really enjoyed it.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 18th February 2021

Print length: 461 pages

What Will Burn is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

End of Story by Louise Swanson @LouiseWriter @HodderFiction #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping novel by Louie Swanson, End of Story.


Too much imagination can be a dangerous thing

It has been five years since writing fiction was banned by the government.

Fern Dostoy is a criminal. Officially, she has retrained in a new job outside of the arts but she still scrawls in a secret notepad in an effort to capture what her life has become: her work on a banned phone line, reading bedtime stories to sleep-starved children; Hunter, the young boy who calls her and has captured her heart; and the dreaded visits from government officials.

But as Fern begins to learn more about Hunter, doubts begin to surface. What are they both hiding?

And who can be trusted?


I’ve read and enjoyed Louise’s work when she writes as Louise Beech, so I was very intrigued to hear about her latest novel, End of Story that she has written under the name Louise Swanson. I’ve enjoyed reading dystopian fiction in the past, and I found her latest book to be an utterly captivating read that I flew through in just a couple of sittings.

Imagine a world where fiction has been banned by the government. No longer can a writer pen novels or stories, for fear of making their own personal voices and views heard through fiction. It has often been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and Louise Swanson paints a vivid portrayal of just how frightening the stroke of a pen can be to some people.

We meet Fern Dostoy, and the year is 2035. Fern was once a famous writer until the fiction ban came in, now she lives in fear of her life, but you can see just how much she aches to pick up a pen again and write; now she has to do in secret. Louise Swanson delves into her character and into her innermost thoughts and this adds to the tension, especially each time government officials descend on her to check that she is still abiding by the law. Soon, Fern discovers a lifeline when she finds a secret group of former writers, who have set a group up so that they can read bedtime stories to children at night, as this once source of comfort for children, has been lost.

The landscape in 2035 Louise Swanson portrays in her book is a very frightening one. Not just is it hellish because of the new laws, but you can also feel the rampage of the climate, the heatwaves that carry on well into November. It’s another part that makes this reality so terrifying.

I had no idea just where Louise Swanson was going to take this novel, especially when Fern becomes acquainted with the group of writers reading bedtime stories to children. You can feel her attachment to one particular boy, Hunter, who calls each night and speaks to Fern, but I wondered here, if she was putting herself more in danger by growing attached to him.

The ending of this book took me completely by surprise and it is a really heart breaking one. I could feel the emotion pouring out on the page and it was so expertly done. I’m certain End of Story is going to be a huge hit. I highly, highly recommend it.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 23rd March 2023

Print length: 320 pages

End of Story is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones