Month: February 2020

‘The Hunting Party’ by Lucy Foley #FridayReads #BookReview #crime #thriller

hunting party

Hive     Waterstones

In a remote hunting lodge, deep in the Scottish wilderness, old friends gather for New Year.The beautiful one
The golden couple
The volatile one
The new parents
The quiet one
The city boy
The outsider

The victim.

Not an accident – a murder among friends.

I love a good thriller where the story is character-driven, and this doesn’t disappoint.

A group of friends gather in a hunting lodge to celebrate New Year, but their apparently close friendships aren’t all they seem. In fact, they don’t seem to like each other very much.

Heather is the manager of the lodge, she’s there to escape something in her past. Doug, the enigmatic gamekeeper, is also hiding something. And the so-called friends seem to be hiding a lot of things from each other.

The story is told in flashbacks from the day a body is found, back and forth with the New Year celebrations, so we know what all the tension is leading up to – but we don’t know who the victim is or who did it. And there are so many skilfully placed clues and red herrings that the final revelation is a real surprise.

The landscape is almost a character in itself, beautifully described and so atmospheric.

There were just a couple of things that didn’t work for me. There was one aspect of the final outcome that didn’t quite ring true but I won’t say what that was for fear of spoilers. Also, I liked Heather so much, but I felt as though I didn’t get to know enough about her or her history.

That said, this is a really gripping and enjoyable read.

4 stars

 

A Bit of Weather! #WestWales #Cenarth #StormDennis

So we’ve had a little bit of rain here in West Wales, to say the least. During Storm Dennis, we woke on the Sunday morning to the sound of the river rushing past the bottom of our garden:

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Our house is in the lovely little village of Cenarth, and our garden backs onto the River Teifi, just at the famous Cenarth Falls that we’re lucky enough to see from our garden. The river can get quite wild, but this was the first time we’d seen it flooding. Thankfully, our house is quite high above the river, with the garden sloping down to the banks, so while the water was literally lapping at the garden fence, the house was completely safe.

This is from the other side of the river – you can see our house through the trees:

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This is the memorial garden dedicated to local poet Eluned Philips – the only woman to have won the Crown at two National Eisteddfods:

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A couple of days later the water subsided enough for the car park to be revealed again, except great big chunks of it were missing! The force of the water had literally torn up parts of the surface and carried them away. Utterly terrifying to imagine how powerful and dangerous it was.

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You can see the tourist information sign just through the bridge – this is how it looked a couple of days before:

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Since we’ve been living here, we have often watched aghast as visitors clamber over the slippery rocks of the falls in flipflops! We’ve even had people jump into the water at the bottom of our garden. And on the Saturday of Storm Dennis, we watched as a couple parked their car on the last sliver of car park, opened the boot, pulled out two folding chairs and settled down to watch the river raging past a foot away from them! If they’d realised the water was tearing up huge pieces of concrete feet away from them, they might have reconsidered their choice of viewing point.

I really don’t think that we appreciate the power and danger of nature in this country – but as the weather becomes more severe more often, we really need to start.

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Charlie is not impressed by the Welsh weather!

 

 

 

‘Sea Change’ by Sylvia Hehir #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview #YA

sea change

Waterstones   Hive 

Sea Change is a cracking YA thriller that sees 16-year-old Alex struggling to look after his grieving mother and pay the bills. So he made some bad decisions in the summer not least of which was getting involved with Chuck, an unpredictable stranger who says he’s on the run.

Chuck was exciting, challenging Alex to take ever-increasing risks. But Chuck wasn’t supposed to turn up dead next to Alex’s fishing boat. Were Chuck’s paranoid stories about men hunting him actually true? And is Alex facing even greater danger? 

Disclaimer – I do know the author, as she was a fellow student on Glasgow’s MLitt. In Creative Writing. However, my review is honest and hasn’t been influenced in any way. She’s just a genuinely excellent writer!

‘Sea Change’ marries a page-turning plot with some absolutely beautiful, evocative writing that brings all the stark, desolate beauty of a small coastal town in Scotland to life.

After the death of his father, Alex is trying to look after his mum, earn some extra money, and cope with school and exams. Chuck provided the opportunity to let off some steam during the summer holidays, but now the new school year has begun, Chuck has vanished, and Alex finds himself drawn into more trouble than he needs.

Alex is a wonderfully complex main character, struggling under far too much pressure, trying desperately to care for his mum. He’s just lovely and I was really rooting for him throughout this novel.

His best friend Daniel has his own issues to deal with, and he is as well-drawn and as fully realised as Alex. There are some fabulous side characters too, including Alex’s wonderful cousin Moth.

This is a YA novel that treats its readers with respect; it doesn’t patronise or preach, and acknowledges the sometimes difficult lives that teenagers have to face. It’s an honest book, with authentic characters and a novel (and author) that I highly recommend.

5 stars