The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the second novel by Harriet Tyce, The Lies You Told.

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Sadie loves her daughter and will do anything to keep her safe.

She can’t tell her why they had to leave home so quickly – or why Robin’s father won’t be coming with them to London.

She can’t tell her why she hates being back in her dead mother’s house, with its ivy-covered walls and its poisonous memories.

And she can’t tell her the truth about the school Robin’s set to start at – a school that doesn’t welcome newcomers.

Sadie just wants to get their lives back on track.

MY THOUGHTS

There are so many characters in The Lies You Told who will get under your skin. When Harriet Tyce first introduces us to her protagonist, Sadie, she is just moving back to her home town, and into the home, she lived in as a child. But the place is full of dark memories for Sadie. It isn’t exactly a happy move, but at the moment she has little choice after breaking up with her husband who lives in the States. Things really begin to change when Sadie enrols her daughter, Robin at her old school and Sadie is introduced to a group of mums. They appear to be in control of everything that goes on with the school and with the wider community. Sadie soon finds herself ostracized from the group, and it is clear that they are willing to do anything to make her and her daughter’s life a living hell.

There are some really dislikeable characters in this book. It was the group of women who Sadie is introduced to who I took a intense disliking to. If I’m honest, when I did start reading this book, it took me a long time to get into it. Harriet Tyce’s writing is very addictive, and it’s what kept me reading, but I struggled to connect to Sadie in the opening chapters. I could feel her frustration and anger though as she found herself and her daughter being bullied.

The part of the novel which I did find more interesting was the court case Sadie was taking part in. Like in her first novel, Harriet Tyce uses her knowledge of this field. Sadie is part of a team representing a young man. He has been accused of rape by a student of his. There are many who believe in his innocence, and he has amassed a small fan club on the outside. I found these scenes tense, and I really wanted to get to the bottom of what was going on.

I became more gripped to the plot by the second half of the novel. Things begin to change for Sadie, but I wondered about the motives behind this sudden move. I felt that there was something dark at play here, and I wanted to know what the final fall out was going to be.

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Blood Orange but Harriet Tyce’s writing will, I’m sure, make me keen to read another book by her.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 23rd July 2020 (kindle) 20th August 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 314 pages

The Lies You Told is available to buy:

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott blog tour #bookreview @RachelAbbott @Wildfirebks

And So It Begins Cover

Source: Review Copy

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Cleo knows she should be happy for her brother Mark. He’s managed to find someone new after the sudden death of his first wife – but something about Evie just doesn’t feel right…

When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.

Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?

MY THOUGHTS

Now, this is a very good psychological thriller and part courtroom drama. I read Rachel Abbott’s And So It Begins in one weekend, but I could have very easily read it in one go. This is my first Rachel Abbott read, and I must say I really don’t know why I haven’t read her work before. I had so many questions about the characters running around inside my head as I was reading, that I really couldn’t possibly say how the book was going to end as I always kept changing my mind. This book is Rachel’s first stand-alone, so if like me, you haven’t read her work before, this is the perfect time to start.

The plot of this book focuses on Mark, Evie and Cleo. Mark and Cleo are brother and sister. Mark is a professional photographer, and his sister takes bookings for him, she has always been very passionate about Mark’s work and is very keen to get him business and recognition. Evie enters the fold when she turns up at his studios and Cleo thinks that she has struck gold and that this could be a break-out moment for Mark when Evie puts forward a commission for him, asking him to take a portrait of her father who has well established connections. But Cleo will soon live to regret her decision for introducing Evie to her brother as the story is gripped by a much darker tone which changes Mark and Cleo’s lives forever.

Rachel grabbed my attention with the opening prologue in this book; two police officers enter a crime scene, but Rachel keeps it under wraps as to what has actually happened and who the people are who are at the centre of it all, and this added a strong sense of mystery which I really liked. We then go back right to the beginning and Rachel begins to unravel the events which lead up to this moment, which really did well in building the tension and helping us to get a better understanding of the characters involved. The pace quickly heats up again when we arrive back at the opening scene, and this leads to a court case which takes apart the lives of Rachel’s protagonists.

As the truths began to rise to the surface, I never could be sure who to believe or trust. Rachel did an excellent job of throwing in pieces of information that just made me think about the characters, and who they really were, a little bit more, and again I still couldn’t make up my mind about them. I was really questioning the main characters motives as the novel progressed. I did think that the ending was very satisfying.

If you enjoy thrillers that really make you think and question the motives of the characters, then I would definitely recommend And So It Begins. Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy of the book to review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 11th October 2016

Print length: 416 pages

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Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce Book Review @harriet_tyce @Wildfirebks

Blood Orange by [Tyce, Harriet]

Source: Review Copy

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Alison has it all. A doting husband, adorable daughter, and a career on the rise – she’s just been given her first murder case to defend. But all is never as it seems…

Just one more night. Then I’ll end it.

Alison drinks too much. She’s neglecting her family. And she’s having an affair with a colleague whose taste for pushing boundaries may be more than she can handle.

I did it. I killed him. I should be locked up.

Alison’s client doesn’t deny that she stabbed her husband – she wants to plead guilty. And yet something about her story is deeply amiss. Saving this woman may be the first step to Alison saving herself.

I’m watching you. I know what you’re doing.

But someone knows Alison’s secrets. Someone who wants to make her pay for what she’s done, and who won’t stop until she’s lost everything….

MY THOUGHTS

Blood Orange is a smart, fast-paced thriller by Harriet Tyce; it is a novel that will really keep you gripped. It is definitely one to watch out for in 2019.

I was lucky to pick up a copy of this book at the Theakston Crime Festival in July, and it was one of the books I was most excited about reading, it didn’t disappoint. When I first heard about it, I thought that the title sounded very intriguing and it made the book stand out, which is one of the reasons it jumped right to the top of my TBR pile. I still haven’t forgotten that ending and I don’t think I’ll be forgetting about it any time soon. It has an incredible plot twist that I didn’t see coming.

The protagonist, Alison has just been handed her first murder case, and she is hoping that it will take her career to the next level, but as she is caught up in trying to prove her new client’s innocence, her own family life begins to crumble. Alison is having an affair with one of her colleagues, which she is trying to stop, but she is finding this increasingly hard to do. And she is also under a lot of pressure from her husband who is accusing her of putting her work first before the needs of her own family.

Alison was such a great character. Harriet plays with the reader’s emotions towards her which is what I found particularly captivating as the plot evolved and it was done in a very clever way. As the novel began I felt I didn’t have a lot of empathy for Alison as she was cheating on her husband, but I grew to like her, and I was rooting for her towards the end of the book. The affair was one of the most gripping plot points of the novel as I continued to wonder if they were going to be discovered and what the repercussions were going to be for Alison. And there is also some very interesting character study, particularly, I thought in Alison’s new client. I won’t go into any further detail here as I don’t want to spoil the plot but I do think that Alison is a character who will divide many readers and prompt many discussions in book groups.

There are some tense moments as the story races towards its denouement but the hard truth at the end is what really hit and shocked me, and again I can’t say anything more, only to say that it was done so very well and it is so, so chilling. I can’t recommend this novel highly enough. If you enjoy a mix of legal and psychological drama, then I would definitely recommend Blood Orange, especially if you were a fan of Apple Tree Yard. I will be keeping an eye out for what Harriet writes next.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 21st February 2019

Print length: 336 pages

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Lying To You by Amanda Reynolds Book Review @amandareynoldsj @wildfirebks

Source: Review Copy

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Following on from her eBook bestseller Close To Me, Amanda Reynolds is back with Lying To You, another gripping psychological drama. Perfect for fans of The Husband’s Secret and I Let You Go.

You think you know the truth about that night, but what if your husband is LYING TO YOU?

When Jess Tidy was Mark Winter’s student, she made a shocking accusation. Mark maintained his innocence, but the damage was done.

Karen Winter stood by her husband through everything, determined to protect her family.

Now, ten years later, Jess is back. And the truth about that night is finally going to come out . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Lying To You is the second novel by Amanda Reynolds, I really enjoyed her debut Close To Me, so I was thrilled to get the opportunity to review her second. It is a dark, character-driven psychological drama that kept me gripped.

What I really liked about this book, is that I felt I couldn’t trust either of her main protagonists, Jess and Mark. Amanda’s plot and the character’s kept me asking questions as I tried to work out what had really happened between the pair. Ten years ago, Mark Winter was tutoring Jess Tidy who was a vulnerable schoolgirl and known for coming from a troublesome family. Jess had little hope for her future, and it became Mark’s mission to help her succeed. Jess accuses Mark of rape and his world, and his family’s lives come crashing down. It is at this point that the plot becomes darker, and the reader becomes entangled in a web of lies and deceit.

What initially drew me into the story was the opening chapter when Jess, in the present day, receives a call from her brother Will, informing her of her mother’s death. I was immediately intrigued by Jess’s coldness towards her mother’s passing and her lack of willingness to help her brother. Already I was asking questions about her which I wanted to know the answer to, what had happened in the past to drive her away from her family?

The story is told through the narratives of Jess and Karen, Mark’s wife. We hear two conflicting stories about the events that have taken place in the past. I really enjoyed both the narratives in this book, they both offered a deep and psychological insight into the issue that Amanda chose to write about, and we can see how it has destroyed the lives of both the families involved. In the chapters told from Karen’s point of view we also hear from Mark’s as she reads chapters from a book he is writing about what happened between him and Jess.

This is a well-developed and a captivating second novel from Amanda Reynolds. She is fast becoming one of my favourite writers.

Thank you to Phoebe Swinburn at Headline for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Publisher: Wildfire

Publication date: 1st April 2018 (Kindle) 26th July 2018 (paperback)

Print length: 368 pages

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