The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine | Review

About The Book

The internationally best-selling author of The Last Mrs Parrish follows that success with an addictive novel filled with shocking twists about the aftermath of a brutal high-society murder.

Kate English’s mother, Lily Michaels, is dead, the victim of a terrifying attack in her tony suburban Baltimore home. Barely keeping it together for the sake of her family, Kate is surprised and grateful to see Blaire Barrington, her old high school BFF, at the funeral.

Thick as thieves from middle school through college graduation, the girls fell out on the morning of Kate’s wedding to the confident, arrogant Simon English nearly fifteen years before. Almost instantly the years of separation fall away, and Kate and Blaire slip comfortably back into their old roles. Kate, now a prominent heart surgeon, is the accomplished, anxious achiever, while Blaire, a best-selling mystery author, serves as her fierce defender against all enemies.

And now more than ever, Kate needs Blaire’s loving protection. Lily’s killer is still out there . . . and has begun taunting Kate with threatening notes sometimes accompanied by gruesome clues. Without any solid leads, the police investigation has stalled. As the messages become increasingly macabre, Blaire decides to take matters into her own hands, alienating friends and relatives with her relentless, almost accusatory questions.

As Blaire pushes further, the danger for those around her—including the increasingly unstable Kate—grows. But will her relentless quest for the truth push her—and Kate—over the edge?

In this second novel, told with the lightning pace of The Last Mrs Parrish, Liv Constantine raises the stakes, creating an exquisitely tension-filled and absorbing tale of psychological suspense in which innocent lives—and one woman’s sanity—hang in the balance.

My Thoughts

This new novel by international best-seller Liv Constantine was incredibly creepy and intense!  

I went into The Last Time I Saw You with much enthusiasm, having read ‘The Last Mrs Parrish’. I was not disappointed as this novel was also an absolute treat. For me, it was another best read of the year.

The murder of Blaire’s mother reunites estranged friends Kate and Blaire. As the two women, now a successful author and a surgeon respectively, grow closer, Blaire begins to notice that Kate is becoming increasingly unstable. With the murderer still on the loose, Blaire vows to find justice for her mother even as her childhood friend’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic.

The Last Time I Saw You was cleverly told from different perspectives resulting in the reader not knowing who was reliable, nor who could be trusted.

This book was jam-packed with drama and deceit and there were many twists and turns throughout this hugely suspenseful story. Kate was a really unreliable narrator, forcing me to ask myself what was real and imagined. There were so many secrets and the pacing of the many twists and turns was excellent.

I can’t say that I particularly warmed to any of the characters created by Liv Constantine in this thrilling novel, but they still lent a great deal to the story and I believe that was the intention.

The emotional complexity of the story was definitely one of the highlights of this book and I loved Liv Constantine’s particular writing style. It had everything for me, from secrets and friendship to suspicion, tragedy and fear.

I thought that Liv Constantine presented a very comprehensive and fulfilling conclusion to a complex mystery and an extremely delightful story.

All in all, I found this book to be a fantastic and very worthwhile read and I look forward to reading more from Liv Constantine.

Thanks to Edelweiss, HarperCollins and the author, Liv Constantine for my complimentary ARC of The Last Time I Saw You. My honest review is entirely voluntary.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

Advertisements

Finding Grace by K. L. Slater | Review

About the Book

This morning, my daughter sat right here, munching her breakfast, too excited to finish it. Now, she is missing.

The day after her ninth birthday, Lucie and Blake Sullivan agree, for the very first time, to let their daughter, Grace, make the four-minute walk back home alone from a friend’s house just down the street.

They joke with friends about hiding behind bushes to ensure she is safe. But the joke turns sour when Grace does not appear.

Despite the best efforts of the police and local community, Grace seems to have vanished into thin air. With hope fading fast, Lucie knows she can rely on her husband to support her through such dark times. That is until the day she makes a shocking discovery, hidden in Blake’s desk, and suddenly she begins to doubt everything she knew about the man she married.

But Lucie harbours a terrible secret of her own. One that she has never shared with anyone, even Blake …

And as the search for Grace reaches fever pitch, Lucie receives a terrifying message. If she is ever to see Grace again, Lucie has no choice but to face the past she tried hard to bury forever. And she must do it alone.

The most gripping psychological thriller you’ll read this year from the bestselling author K.L. Slater. If you love The Wife Between Us or Gone Girl, you’ll be totally hooked on Finding Grace. 

Advance Praise

What everyone is saying about K.L Slater:

Omg! Slater is amazing! … Up to the very last page you will be shocked! … Such a memorable book! The end will have you gasping in disbelief! Whoa!!!!! 10 Stars!’ Two Girls and a Book Obsession, 5 stars

‘Wow! Just Wow! This was absolutely insane, twisted, and completely mind-blowing – I loved it! … An outstanding psychological thriller that I just couldn’t put down – I was hooked right from the start!’ 5 stars – Goodreads Reviewer

‘Had me sitting up until 1am doing the ‘just one more chapter, then I’ll go to sleep’ routine … I couldn’t bear to put it down … A mesmerising read.’ Sandy’s Book a Day, 5 stars

‘Keeps you guessing until the very end! I loved every twist and turn and couldn’t stop reading because I was dying to know what the big secret was … will keep you up late reading to find out the truth!’ Buried in a Book, 5 stars

‘One of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read … nothing short of stunning.’ Nigel Adams Book Worm 5 stars

‘WOW! Another superb thriller from K L Slater! Couldn’t put it down! … A truly gripping read, just what we have come to expect from the Queen of psychological thrillers.’ 5 stars – What Rachael Read Next

‘It had so many juicy secrets that I couldn’t put it down… jaw dropping… a gripping, addictive, twisty, fast-paced psychological thriller.’ A Haven for Book Lovers, 5 stars

My Thoughts

I was expecting great things from this novel and that is exactly what I got! Although I have not read any of K L Slater’s books, I have several on my reading list, including ‘The Visitor’ and ‘Safe With Me.’

In “Finding Grace”, Lucie is facing every mother’s worst nightmare – her little girl, Grace, has vanished.

Although the premise of this thriller isn’t new by any means, right from the start, I was absorbed by this story. It was chock-full of so many lies and secrets. I really liked K L Slater’s style of writing and the unpredictability of the story-line. The author’s great characterisation is worth mentioning and I also particularly enjoyed the different timelines.

Reading this suspenseful thriller was quite the twisty roller-coaster ride and K L Slater’s clever writing had me mistrusting of so many of the suspects.

I loved the parts of the book that were concerned with Lucie’s past history and was pleased with the way in which the story-lines connected through to the stunning and fulfilling conclusion.

All in all, I found this book to be a worthwhile read and I look forward to reading more from K L Slater, including those books I already own! I would recommend “Finding Grace” to anyone who likes a good psychological thriller.

Thanks to Netgalley, Bookouture and the author, K L Slater for my free ARC of Finding Grace. My honest review is entirely voluntary.

#FindingGrace #NetGalley

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke | Review

About The Book

From Alafair Burke – New York Times bestselling author of the runaway hit, The Wife – comes another twisty tale of domestic noir. When a prominent Manhattan lawyer is murdered, two estranged sisters – one the dead man’s widow, the other his ex – must set aside mistrust and old resentments . . . but can they escape their past?

Though Hannah was the younger of the two Taylor sisters, she always seemed to be in charge. She was the honor roll student with big dreams and an even bigger work ethic. Nicole was always restless . . . and more than a little reckless – the opposite of her ambitious little sister. She floated from job to job and man to man, and stayed close to home in Cleveland.

For a while, it seemed like both sisters had found happiness. Hannah earned a scholarship to an Ivy League school and moved to New York City, where she landed a coveted publishing job. Nicole married promising young attorney Graham McIntosh, and gave birth to a baby boy they named Ian. The Taylor sisters became virtual strangers.

Now, more than fifteen years later, their lives are drastically different – and Hannah is married to Graham. When he’s murdered by a masked intruder at the couple’s East Hampton beach house, Hannah reluctantly allows her teenaged stepson’s biological mother – her estranged sister, Nicole – back into her life. But when the police begin to treat Ian as a suspect in his father’s death, the two sisters are forced to unite . . . and to confront the truth behind family secrets they have tried to bury in the past.

My Thoughts

I have both seen and heard so many great reviews about the author, Alafair Burke, particularly with reference to ‘The Wife’.

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t picked up anything by her before – until recently! I was therefore ecstatic to receive a copy of THE BETTER SISTER. The premise of this was pretty exciting, too, as a keen mystery and thriller reader.

The suspense and intriguing story-line immediately grabbed my attention from the start, planting me firmly into the lives of the two sisters, Chloe and Nicky.

With perfect pacing and many twists and turns, I was totally absorbed all the way through, until the fulfilling and very strong conclusion. The author’s writing style was very appealing, brilliantly encapsulating the core of the scenes that I was visualising whilst reading. The characterisation was also pretty impressive, particularly with regard to the interaction of the different characters.

Although the plot is one that that has been tried and tested before, Alafair Burke’s special way with the narrative made this complex and compelling tale quite distinct.

Overall, THE BETTER SISTER is a very worthwhile read with a side of courtroom drama and lots of family dynamics to unearth. If you’re a fan of the domestic thrillers, you should really read this book!

Thanks to Edelweiss, HarperCollins and the author, Alafair Burke for my free ARC of The Better Sister. My honest review is entirely voluntary.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang | Review

About The Book

Essie Lang’s series début is perfect for fans of Lorna Barrett, Vicki Delany, and book lovers everywhere.

Rookie book-store owner Shelby Cox must hit the books to learn the ropes before she loses a killer in the stacks.

Shelby Cox never intended to become a bookseller, so when the former editor returns to her home-town of Alexandria Bay, nestled in up-state New York’s breathtaking Thousand Islands region, to take over her aunt’s book-store, she has no idea what to expect. To her amazement, she discovers that she now owns a fifty-percent share in Bayside Books, and will also run the store’s second location in the majestic castle on nearby Blye Island.

But just as Shelby is gearing up for the start of the tourist season, the Castle volunteer coordinator is found murdered in the nearby Grotto. Castle caretaker Matthew Kessler is suspect number one, but Shelby thinks the killing may be connected to an earlier era, when violence among Prohibition-era smugglers was rampant in the region. As Shelby launches her own investigation, handsome and unnerving Special Agent Zack Griffin of the Coast Guard Investigative Services tries to quell her smuggling theory and keep her safe. But Shelby is determined to summon all her savvy as a book editor to plot the murder—and find the killer before he strikes again—in Trouble on the Books, Essie Lang’s clever and captivating series début.

My Thoughts

As a lover of cozy mysteries, I knew I would be onto a winner with this début in a new series! “Trouble on the Books” ticked all the right boxes before I had even started reading. The setting – a cosy book-store in a castle, no less – and an eye-catching, colourful front cover – all the makings of a great read for me. And I was even afforded a rare opportunity to begin a series from the offset as I always seem to pick them up half-way through. Here was my chance to, hopefully, discover another new favourite author to add to my ever-growing list.

There aren’t many settings as perfect as a bookshop located within a castle, and Essie Lang made great use of this. Alexandria Bay is a fine lakeside town, with a real sense of community and a general feeling of nostalgia. This, as well as a town full of secrets, made it a brilliant backdrop for a murder investigation.

Essie Lang has drawn some fascinating and very useful characters in this début. Protagonist Shelby has the necessary attributes of any great sleuth – intelligence, curiosity and attention to detail – but lacks some of those needed to make a success of the book-store, ‘Bayside Books’, as she is not great at dealing with people. I could see avenues for Shelby’s progression as the main character in any future books in the series.

I was especially fond of Essie Lang’s portrayal of Shelby’s endearing Aunt Edie. She was depicted as having great strength-of-character and was someone who always wanted to be on-the-go.

Even though the murder investigation itself took some time to get going, this did not detract from the story in any way as this book had many of the components that make a really good story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the existence of family secrets. There was a true sense of increasing danger as the story progressed, which definitely helped to keep my interest.

Another of my favourite aspects of this novel was the fluidity of the writing. The details of the plot were brilliantly executed and every chapter left me with a compelling need to read on.

I also enjoyed the little sparks of romance in this wonderful cozy mystery.

I very much look forward to returning to ‘Bayside Books’ in  Alexandria Bay with Shelby and Aunt Edie on a future occasion!

[Thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books and the author, Essie Lang for my free ARC of Trouble on the Books in exchange for an honest review.]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

Apple Of My Eye by Claire Allan | Review

About The Book

‘Utterly addictive. Compulsive, twisty, tense.’ CLAIRE DOUGLAS, author of Local Girl Missing

Just how far is a mother willing to go?

When a mysterious note arrives for seven months pregnant nurse Eliana Hughes, she begins to doubt every aspect of her life – from her mixed feelings about motherhood to her marriage to Martin, who has become distant in recent months.

As the person behind the note escalates their campaign to out Eli’s husband as a cheat, she finds herself unable to trust even her own instincts, and as pressure builds, she makes a mistake that jeopardises her entire future.

Elsewhere, someone is watching. Someone who desperately wants a baby to call their own and will go to any lengths to become a mother – and stay a mother…

My Thoughts

“Apple Of My Eye” is a compulsive and digressive thriller that has been beautifully put together, with motherhood at its core.

This is my second time of reading a book by this author and I was not disappointed! I have previously read the outstanding ‘Her Name was Rose’ which was a five-star read for me, so there was a lot for Claire Allan to live up to.

“Apple of My Eye” brings to life an incredible family account of mistrust, jealousy and suspicion. It is a book about motherhood and all that it means to all of womankind. In this novel, the reader is categorically and unequivocally made aware of how it affects the lives and relationships of different women. It is also a divulgence of desperation, loneliness and all the different layers of love.

As always, I am having a run of strong, inspiring thrillers and this is on the list, along with my other favourites. The plot for this book is awesome and incredibly thrilling. I’m always looking for something in a book in this genre that makes it more notable than the rest. This could be amazingly drawn characters, a super plot, great originality or something entirely different that I couldn’t even imagine.

This book has many of the components that make a really good story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of family secrets, jealousy and incredibly tense relationships.

For myself, the one thing that made this a memorable read was Claire Allan’s ability to send me off course in nearly every chapter. Narrated from three different perspectives – that of Eli, her mother Angela and the mysterious Louise – I found that it was the chapters told from Louise’s angle that added a real sense of apprehension to the plot. Claire Allan managed to create so much suspicion and mistrust through her story-telling and there was an overpowering sense of menace that emanated from the pages of this addictive read which is chock full of mystery. I found that I had no idea who or what I could trust. The emotional, distressed and pregnant wife or the mother who wanted to protect her daughter from an adulterous husband, or the revealing anonymous notes? 

Another of my favourite aspects of this novel was the fluidity of the writing. The details and twists of the plot were brilliantly executed and every chapter left me with a compelling need to read on.

”Apple Of My Eye” is a supreme accomplishment, mixing women’s fiction with a chilling, sharp slice of thriller, culminating in an emotive and fulfilling ending. I absolutely adored every chapter of this pacey novel and I would certainly recommend it.

Thanks to NetGalley, Avon Books UK and the author, Claire Allan, for my free ARC of Apple of My Eye in exchange for an honest review.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

Dirty Little Secrets by Jo Spain | Review

Book Synopsis

FROM THE NUMBER ONE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE CONFESSION AND CO-WRITER OF RTE ONE’S TAKEN DOWN

Six neighbours, six secrets, six reasons to want Olive Collins dead.

In the exclusive gated community of Withered Vale, people’s lives appear as perfect as their beautifully manicured lawns. Money, success, privilege – the residents have it all. Life is good.

There’s just one problem.

Olive Collins’ dead body has been rotting inside number four for the last three months. Her neighbours say they’re shocked at the discovery but nobody thought to check on her when she vanished from sight.

The police start to ask questions and the seemingly flawless facade begins to crack. Because, when it comes to Olive’s neighbours, it seems each of them has something to hide, something to lose and everything to gain from her death.

The new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of The Confession, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty.

Advance Praise

See what everyone is saying about Jo Spain, the hottest new name in psychological thrillers:

‘Enthralling’ JP Delaney

‘Chilling’ Sunday Times

‘Arresting’ Sunday Express

‘Brilliant’ BA Paris

‘Gripping’ Best

‘Compulsive’ Sunday Mirror

‘Addictive’ Michelle Frances

‘Refreshing’ Express

My Thoughts

I was very keen to read “Dirty Little Secrets” by Jo Spain as I have never read anything by this author before, despite having heard about some of her work and thought I would take this opportunity to do just that. As someone who enjoys a great thriller, I’m always on the lookout for new authors, to me anyway, in this genre!

This fascinating psychological thriller takes the notion of a country manor house style mystery with a closed setting and therefore few potential perpetrators and moves it to a present-day Irish gated community. I felt, from a nostalgic point of view, that it was reminiscent of a Midsomer Murders scenario.

In the novel, there was no lack of possible motive such as perversion, intrigue or, of course, adultery. Jo Spain has written this novel with chapters alternating between each of the characters who are suspected of being involved in Olive’s passing, and of Olive herself who showed her true colours as the story continued. I absolutely delighted in this dark, conversational insight into living within a gated community. 

This is a fast-paced, well-written book with some very intriguing, though not particularly likeable characters that I would expect to find in a good thriller. I don’t think I liked any of the characters at all, apart from the police double act, Frank and Emma and their humorous rapport, but that took nothing away from my enjoyment of reading “Dirty Little Secrets.”

It was easy to read with an absorbing plot that kept my interest throughout, with a fulfilling conclusion that I didn’t predict. It was a thoroughly entertaining novel and well worth reading. I enjoyed “Dirty Little Secrets” so much and I’m hoping to read Jo Spain’s ‘Inspector Tom Reynolds’ series soon. 

For me, this is a highly recommended and well deserved 2019 winner for Jo Spain!

Thanks to NetGalley, Quercus Books and the author, Jo Spain, for my free ARC of Dirty Little Secrets in exchange for an honest review.

[#NetGalley #DirtyLittleSecrets]

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth | Review

Book Synopsis

A twisty, compelling new novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in death…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, she knew she wasn’t the wife Diana had envisioned for her perfect son. Exquisitely polite, friendly, and always generous, Diana nonetheless kept Lucy at arm’s length despite her desperate attempts to win her over. And as a pillar in the community, an advocate for female refugees, and a woman happily married for decades, no one had a bad word to say about Diana…except Lucy.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana is dead, a suicide note found near her body claiming that she longer wanted to live because of the cancer wreaking havoc inside her body.

But the autopsy finds no cancer.

It does find traces of poison, and evidence of suffocation.

Who could possibly want Diana dead? Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her children, and their spouses? And what does it mean that Lucy isn’t exactly sad she’s gone?

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally Hepworth.

Praise for Sally Hepworth: 

“With jaw-dropping discoveries, and realistic consequences, this novel is not to be missed. Perfect for lovers of Big Little Lies.” —Library Journal, starred review

“Hepworth deftly keeps the reader turning pages and looking for clues, all the while building multilayered characters and carefully doling out bits of their motivations.” —Booklist

My Thoughts

If you enjoy a good family saga then you might want to read Sally Hepworth’s latest novel. This is my first time of reading a book by this author and I was not disappointed! “The Mother-in-Law” brings to life an incredible family account of greed and betrayal.

This book, set in Australia, has many of the components that make a really good story: from the mood and undercurrents to the very clever writing and the experience of deep family secrets and fractured relationships, not forgetting the feelings of hope, the fear, the utter desperation and failure.

“The Mother-in-Law” focuses on Lucy’s fractious relationship with her husband’s mother, Diana. Lucy has married Ollie, who is from a wealthy family, dominated by the matriarch.

From the very first chapter, I found myself immediately drawn in, following the grave news of Diana’s death, the circumstances of which were being treated as suspicious by the police. Her death had the appearance of suicide due to the presence of a note, but then became a matter slightly more deceiving. Diana, inclined to be rather aloof, left behind her husband Tom, son Ollie and daughter Nettie, not to mention her impressive estate…

This story is told from dual perspectives – Lucy’s and Diana’s – in the present with flashbacks to the past. Sally Hepworth has drawn a great character in Lucy, the outsider, trying hard to please her mother-in-law, to be accepted into her husband’s family, only to repeatedly fall short of the mark.

Sally Hepworth has also done a brilliant job with her portrayal of Diana and this really complements the story for me. Diana was not simply a typical mother-in-law mischief-maker; she was a person with many attributes – mother, wife, friend, daughter and do-gooder. Some of her drive was quite understandable which made it difficult for me to completely scorn her. As past and present merged it  became clear that nobody in the family really knew or understood each other.

One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the fluidity of Sally Hepworth’s writing. She managed to provide the details and twists of the plot without messing with the tone of the storyline. Each brilliantly executed chapter left me with a compelling need to read on.

For me, “The Mother-in-Law” was a tale of dramatic suspense but also one of deep reflection. At times, it made me dwell on my own family relationships and dynamics, especially those of the past. This novel definitely leaves you in a reflective mood, both during and after the story ended.

The book definitely has a strong mystery element, culminating in a thrilling and fulfilling ending. I really enjoyed it and I would certainly recommend it. This novel has left an impression on me and I will be reading more from Sally Hepworth. She has now become an author to watch out for!

Thanks to NetGalley, St Martin’s Press and the author, Sally Hepworth, for my free ARC of The Mother-in-Law in exchange for an honest review.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

Happy Reading!

The Lost Son by Prue Leith | Review

#TheLostSon @PrueLeith @QuercusBooks @MillsReid11

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!