The Lost Son by Prue Leith | Review

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Book Synopsis

Gripping family drama from household name Prue Leith. Perfect for fans of Penny Vincenzi and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

The Angelotti family reels when the lost son, given up for adoption in the war, traces his birth family and returns to the fold, with devastating consequences.

As poverty-stricken newly-weds, Laura and Giovanni Angelotti were forced to put their first child – a boy – up for adoption. They have had other children since, and their first little Italian café has become a restaurant empire, but Laura is still haunted by thoughts of the baby she lost.

Tom is a successful businessman enjoying the fast-paced City lifestyle – until his best friend and business partner is killed in the 9/11 attacks and his world turns upside down. Searching for meaning in his life, he decides to track down his birth family: the Angelottis.

But Laura has been keeping an explosive secret about Tom’s parentage that means his reappearance in her life is bitter-sweet. She may have found her son, but will it be at the cost of everything it has taken her fifty years to build?

Advance Praise

Leith has really hit her stride as a writer and uses her own considerable catering experience . . . skilfully interweaving emotional drama with food fashions – Daily Mail

An enjoyable, well-written love story – Good Housekeeping

Prue Leith knows about colour and flavour and this has lots of both . . . a delicious family saga – Daily Mail on The Food of Love

My Thoughts

This is book three in a series named ‘The Food of Love Trilogy’ and it was such a delightful and emotional read! The other books are ‘The House at Chorlton’ followed by ‘The Prodigal Daughter’. “The Lost Son” is the only book from the food dynasty series that I’ve read and I was happy to have read it as a stand alone.

Although I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a devoted and loyal Prue Leith fan, I’ve read one of her books before – ‘The Gardener.’

This multi-generational family saga has something for everyone. It has love, ambition and achievement in spades and is incredibly uplifting. It also has strong themes centred around family discord, sexuality, loss, addiction and tragedy. It is about recognising vulnerabilities and personal improvement.

Prue Leith’s character development was enviable. All of the characters were very well drawn however, if I were to pick a favourite it would have to be Tom. He has had to deal with so much heartache in his life that it would be virtually impossible not to have a huge amount of empathy for him. Anna, although not without some of her own horrors and personal issues, was very likeable, warm, forthright and was very much her own person. Prue Leith’s portrayal of Jane and the other baddies, notably, Mario and to some extent, Susan, was perfect. Obviously, they were pretty hateful, but they added even more excitement and spark to create an extra dimension to the story.

There were many things that were fantastic in this book. As well as the beautiful character detail, the plot was really absorbing. It was fascinating to read the detail behind the family’s successful business adventures, all of them being food related. Some of the references to food made my mouth water – from cheese soufflé to Thai fish-cakes, roasted veal and orange, almond and polenta cake.

I was also particularly impressed by the way Prue Leith introduced more modern themes, brilliantly building on the family saga trope. The diversification into the street food scene was absorbing to read about and the enthusiasm of Anna and Sebele was really infectious. Again, the food delights were enticing – the Chicago sliders, Napoli pizza, and Peking ducked stuffed pancakes. The pacing was terrific and there was never a moment when I felt as though I was losing interest as is the case with some rambling sagas.

For me, Prue Leith showed such talent in this inspiring and delightful tale. This is one of my favourite kinds of romance – one written with imagination and with real characters who, though flawed, gradually develop a real connection with each other.

I really loved the story and the journey on which I was taken throughout ‘The Lost Son’ and I was rooting for Tom and his long lost family from the offset. Though there was so much loss, grief and angst this was nevertheless, a modern, classic saga that was deeply rewarding and so full of truth that I didn’t want it to end.

This would be a super book choice for fans of Penny Vincenzi and Barbara Taylor Bradford.

Thank you, Prue Leith. This was a great read and so extremely worthwhile. 

[Thanks to NetGalley, Quercus Books and the author, Prue Leith, for my free ARC of The Lost Son in exchange for an honest review.]

#TheLostSon #NetGalley

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

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The Dangerous Kind by Deborah O’Connor | Review

Book Synopsis

What if the people we trust are the ones we should fear? 

Zaffre’s biggest breakout thriller of 2019.

One in 100 of us is what the police call a ‘potentially dangerous person’ – someone likely to commit a violent crime. These people hide in plain sight, they can be teachers, doctors, holding positions of trust, of power.

Jessamine Gooch makes a living tracking the 1 in 100. Each week she broadcasts a radio show that examines brutal offences, asking if more could have been done to identify and prevent their perpetrators.

But when she agrees to investigate a missing person case involving a young mother, she is drawn into a web of danger that will ultimately lead to the upper echelons of power, and threaten the safety of her own family. 

Set over a long, dark winter in London and perfect for fans of HE SAID/SHE SAID and Belinda Bauer, THE DANGEROUS KIND is at once a gripping thriller and a stunning portrayal of the monsters that live among us.

Advance Praise

‘Searingly relevant’ Gillian McAllister

‘An absolute triumph’ Holly Seddon

‘Originality oozing off every page’ Eva Dolan

‘Clever, unpredictable and beautifully done’ Liz Loves Books

‘Absolutely brilliant . . . a sophisticated, smart engaging thriller’ Jo Spain

‘Dark, disturbing, devilishly plotted’ Chris Whitaker

‘Urgent, relevant and completely unputdownable’ Martyn Waites

‘Dark and unpredictable’ Jenny Quintana

‘Brilliantly compelling’  T. M. Logan

‘A powerful, timely and unnerving thriller’ David Jackson 

Pages: Approx. 448

Publishers: Bonnier Zaffre

Date Published: 11th April 2019

Buy your copy now from:

Amazon | Waterstones

My Review

If I had to describe The Dangerous Kind in three words they would be harrowing, disturbing and frightening in more or less equal measures. It’s pretty much what I would expect from a thriller set in today’s modern society. But wow, what stunning, well-thought-out masterpiece!

After having read The Dangerous Kind, I feel that I am completely indebted to Deborah O’Connor! This book has all the components that make a really fantastic story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of love and friendship, not forgetting the feelings of hope, the fear, the utter desperation and failure.

The title of the book is derived from a police classification of a ‘Potentially Dangerous Person’ (PDP) who is someone that has not been convicted of an offence but whose behaviour indicates that they are likely to commit one.

Set during the winter-time and spanning a period of ten-plus years, the book is told from different time periods and aspects, the first one being Jessamine Gooch, as well as Rowena and also Jitesh. Deborah O’Connor has drawn a great character in Jessamine, a former journalist now working at the BBC and hosting a long-running true crime radio series, ‘Potentially Dangerous People’. In addition, she volunteers at a helpline for victims of domestic violence and is the mother of her teenage daughter, all the while trying to cope with the various difficulties she has going on in her life.

Equally noteworthy is Deborah O’Connor’s portrayal of Rowena. Her heart-breaking story is told as sensitively as possible but her vulnerability and the level of her abuse she suffered, though implicit, is nevertheless exceptionally sorrowful to read and plays a central role to the unfolding drama.

Jitesh’s character has also been brilliantly drawn by the author, Deborah. A student who has been given an unconditional offer to join Cambridge University, he has decided to take a year out and work as an IT intern. However, even as a young adult, he has already suffered many of life’s difficulties, although he possesses a moral strength that left me no choice but to feel an enormous amount of empathy with him.

There were instances where this was a very difficult read for me and it was a little like being on a roller-coaster, with someone shouting “Do you want to go faster?” However, it was extremely worthwhile even though many of the subjects touched upon are so abhorrent. 

Deborah O’Connor was very brave to write about such a disturbing and unsettling subject matter like child prostitution. She impressively managed to do so with great sensitivity, thus making the story a little more palatable than it could have been. The story-line was masterfully crafted and showed originality. The separate stories were so superbly interconnected, making the novel fantastically compelling, all culminating in a thrilling and fulfilling ending.  

I cannot recommend this book enough and I feel so inspired enough by Deborah O’Connor’s writing ability to order another of her novels – ‘My Husband’s Son.’ 

Thanks to NetGalley, Bonnier Zaffire Publishing and the author, Deborah O’Connor, for my free ARC of The Dangerous Kind in exchange for an honest review.

My thanks also to Pigeonhole as I participated in their group read which was in stave format and was able to share my thoughts and comments with other readers.

#NetGalley #TheDangerousKind

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!