Mallory’s Oracle – Carol O’Connell – Review

Headline

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“The international bestseller that introduced NYPD detective Kathy Mallory in the case of investigating the murder of her adoptive father, Louis Markowitz.

Mallory Book 1: the first NYPD detective Kathy Mallory novel from New York Times bestseller Carol O’Connell, master of knife-edge suspense and intricate plotting.

Detective Kathy Mallory. New York’s darkest. You only underestimate her once.

When NYPD Sergeant Kathy Mallory was an eleven-year-old street kid, she got caught stealing. The detective who found her was Louis Markowitz. He should have arrested her. Instead he adopted her, and raised her as his own, in the best tradition of New York’s finest.

Now Markowitz is dead, and Mallory the first officer on the scene. She knows any criminal who could outsmart her father is no ordinary human. This is a ruthless serial killer, a freak from the night-side of the mind.

And one question troubles her more than any other: why did he go in there alone?”

3.5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest opinion of the book.

Kathy Mallory is no ordinary police officer. Taken from the streets when she was a child and raised by cop Louis Markowitz and his wife Helen, she still retains many traces of her life on the streets. Her moral compass has been influenced only by Helen, no dead. She has no compunction about straying outside the lines of right and wrong to get what she wants. And what she wants at the moment is to find the person who has killed Markowitz, and with it the last family member she has.

On compassionate leave and aided by family friend Charles, she continues to investigate the serial killer who has been slaughtering elderly ladies.

This is the first in the Kathy Mallory series which have been re-released by Headline, and the first Carol O’Connell book I have read. Mallory’s Oracle is a gritty, New York based crime novel and a good introduction to Kathy Mallory. She is hard to get close to, that is often said about her by other characters and the author has certainly drawn her that way. She has the ability to push people away from her with just a look, but can easily turn on the charm when it suits her needs. She has rare moments of kindness, but people who witness them seem to value them before because of the very fact they are rare in nature. There is a lot to dislike about Mallory, but yet I wasn’t put off enough by her for the story to be tarnished for me. She is a dark creature, with a slightly off moral compass and her own version of right and wrong and whilst a lot of this is due to her nature, some will also be due to her history of abuse and abandonment, hinted at throughout the story. There is a lot more to the back story of Mallory to be seen and I’m sure this will become more apparent as the series continues.

The mystery itself is engaging, though it could be confusing in places as it is very much based on the US legal system, which is of course different to our own. It is always hard to comment about the actual crime/mystery angle of a novel in a review as I don’t want to give too much away. However the multiple strands of murder, stocks and shares and mediums, together with the history of Markowitz and Mallory all collaborate to create an engaging story.

I would probably view this novel as more of an introduction to the characters as a set up to the rest of the series as I certainly want to read more to find out how those characters develop. I would love to see some form of relationship develop between Mallory and Charles, who was my favourite of the side characters, though given Mallory’s personality I doubt this will happen.

I’m looking forward to reading the next Mallory book, The Man Who Lied to Women, soon.

 

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Maximum Exposure – Jenny Harper, guest post and giveaway

Today on the blog Jenny Harper, author of Maximum Exposure tells us a little about writing her new novel and why she loved writing about her character Daisy.

Maximum Exposure WEBWhat they say:

‘She’s a professional photographer – but is she ready to expose her heart?

Adorable but scatterbrained newspaper photographer Daisy Irvine becomes the key to the survival of The Hailesbank Herald when her boss drops dead right in front of her. And while big egos and petty jealousies hinder the struggle to save the paper, Daisy starts another campaign – to win back her ex, Jack Hedderwick.

Ben Gillies, returning after a long absence, sees childhood friend Daisy in a whole new light. He’d like to win her love, but discovers that she’s a whole lot better at taking photographs than making decisions, particularly when she’s blinded by the past.

When tragedy strikes Daisy’s family, loyalty drives her home. But it’s time to grow up and Daisy must choose between independence and love.’

 

 

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Click Here To Buy This Book – UK

Click Here To Buy This Book – US

Guest Post by Jenny Harper

I like to write about characters with busy, demanding lives and who face challenging issues both at work and in their personal relationships. And I find real people complicated, so why shouldn’t my heroes and heroines be complicated too? They can make bad decisions, chase the wrong dreams, fall in love with the wrong people, have regrets …

Daisy is the youngest of my heroines to date. She has the least history and the most growing up to do. But I loved writing about her. She’s adorable, for all her faults. I don’t often get emotional when I’m writing difficult scenes, but I have to confess there were a couple of scenes near the end where I had to reach for the hankies myself.

Which ones? Sorry – you’ll have to decide that for yourselves!

I love doing research for my novels. Usually, I decide on my heroine’s profession and perhaps dig about online a bit, but it’s only when I go and talk to people actually working in the field that my heroines really come to life. And that’s when the magic starts!

Maximum Exposure is the third in my ‘Heartlands’ series of novels. The Heartlands (notionally set near Edinburgh, Scotland) is the ancient name for the imaginary area around the fictional town of Hailesbank, the village of Forgie and the council estate called Summerfield. A fourth title, The People We Love will be published in February, also by Accent Press.

 

Jenny-1Author Bio:

Jenny Harper lives in Edinburgh. She is the author of four books about Scotland and Scottish culture, a history of childbirth, and The Sleeping Train for young

readers. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys walking in the Scottish countryside or anywhere warm, and travelling to Europe, America and India.

 

Find Jenny

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

 

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Enter the tour giveaway to win:

1st Prize: An e-copy of Maximum Exposure by Jenny Harper

2nd Prize: A daisy photo frame

3rd Prize: A Daisy Teddy

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Giveaway is UK only. Jenny Harper and CandleLit Author Services reserve the right to cancel or amend giveaway details at anytime and without prior notification.

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Other Publishing Company – guest post – The new magazine

Today The Other Publishing Company are guests on the blog, telling us about an exciting new magazine they have in the pipeline.

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The times they are a-changin’…

Our busy lives force us to squeeze our relaxation and entertainment into small pockets of personal ‘downtime’– the time it takes to travel to and from work, take a morning coffee break or put our feet up after a hard day.

Remember when we loved reading? How we loved stories ever since we were children and they were read to us at bedtime? But what happened? Where did it go wrong? Somehow we lost the bug…

Now we find ourselves starting a book and not finishing it and for a lot of us reading has become a once-a year thing on the beach or worse, we’ve given it up altogether. So with ‘me time’ being so rare, that four hundred-page novel or celebrity biography just doesn’t cut it anymore. We need something different. We need something to bring back the fun and fire-up our imaginations – just like those bedtime stories used to do.

So we created Cracked Eye – a new kind of digital magazine for a new kind of reader.

In every issue of Cracked Eye you’ll find short fiction, illustrations, cartoons, videos, audio-books, graphic novels and serials – all at your fingertips on all devices across all platforms, every month.

We’ve taken a mix of well-known and emerging talent, more genres and styles than you can shake a smartphone at and illustrated it all beautifully and added heaps of audio and video to the blend. So now you can read an entire story on your commute, an episode of a graphic novel on your coffee break, or listen to an audio-story before you go to sleep.

Yes – the times they are-a changin’ – but fortunately, the story is back.

Coming November 4th. Find out more at http://www.crackedeye.com

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Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_kY2re_2AU

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Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel – Review

Picador

station-eleven-9781447268963

“DAY ONE The Georgia Flu explodes over the surface of the earth like a neutron bomb. News reports put the mortality rate at over 99%.
WEEK TWO Civilization has crumbled.
YEAR TWENTY A band of actors and musicians called the Travelling Symphony move through their territories performing concerts and Shakespeare to the settlements that have grown up there. Twenty years after the pandemic, life feels relatively safe. But now a new danger looms, and he threatens the hopeful world every survivor has tried to rebuild.
STATION ELEVEN Moving backwards and forwards in time, from the glittering years just before the collapse to the strange and altered world that exists twenty years after, Station Eleven charts the unexpected twists of fate that connect six people: famous actor Arthur Leander; Jeevan – warned about the flu just in time; Arthur’s first wife Miranda; Arthur’s oldest friend Clark; Kirsten, a young actress with the Travelling Symphony; and the mysterious and self-proclaimed ‘prophet’. Thrilling, unique and deeply moving, this is a beautiful novel that asks questions about art and fame and about the relationships that sustain us through anything – even the end of the world.”

- See more at: http://www.picador.com/books/station-eleven#sthash.A0JwDKjE.dpuf

4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest opinion of it.

The Georgia Flu has swept the globe. Deadly in its impact once caught, people die within 24 hours. Estimates give the death toll as over 99% of the world’s population. Soon civilisation as we know it has disappeared. The survivors live in a world without electricity, motorised travel, social media or medicine. There is the daily threat of being killed by marauders or succumbing to the ravings of a prophet.

The story focusses on the lives of the Travelling Symphony, 20 years after the pandemic, alternating with scenes from just before the collapse. As the story develops so does the relationship between the two times and the lives of six characters.

Unusually for me I started to write this review immediately after finishing the novel as throughout I was unsure as to my feelings towards it. Indeed, as I started to write I was still unsure as to what to make of it.

One of the reasons is that I haven’t read any dystopian fiction before so I have no point of reference. It is a novel that is both unlike anything I’ve read before but has the style, character development and story-telling that is recognisable in any well written book. The characters are all well-rounded individuals, faults are not shied away from, idiosyncrasies as well as strengths are well portrayed.

The human’s mind for imagination is amazing, the world that Emily St John Mandel has made in Station Eleven is a shining example of this. Mandel has created a world that is unfathomable but yet plausible. Who knows how any of us, as humanity, would react and survive if the end of the world occurred.

The short chapters, dedicated to a point in time either before or after the pandemic are perfectly paced. This is not an overly short book at 384 pages but it is a quick read. I’d pick it up to read a few pages and find that nearly a quarter of the book had flown past my eyes.

This book is many things, a tale of survival after the unthinkable, survival after the deaths of loved ones, hopes for the future and regrets from the past. It is also an indictment on today’s society, how much we rely on social media, technology, medicine, politics and law and order. It is a story of how much we take for granted, how much we feel we need, and what we actually do need to survive the world we live in, and ultimately how little we need to be happy.

I look forward to reading more from the creative mind of Emily St John Mandel in the future.

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Guest post – Katherine Clements on her favourite 17th Century Costume Dramas

Today on the blog I’m pleased to feature Katherine Clements, author of The Crimson Ribbon.

Here Katherine tells us all about her favourite 17th Century Costume Dramas…

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My Favourite 17th Century Costume Drama

I’m a big fan of costume drama whatever the era, but these are a few of my favourites set in the 17th century. It’s not a period that gets much attention on screen, in fact I struggled to find many that I’d recommend, so if readers have their own favourites, I’d love to hear about them.

The Devil’s Whore (2008)

This Channel 4 series first aired in 2008 when I was already working on The Crimson Ribbon. It takes a bold, broad sweep of the years of Civil War and Interregnum, weaving the adventures of a fictional heroine with real events, and historical figures, to create a story of love, betrayal and adventure. The impressive cast is what puts this above the others – Peter Capaldi’s Charles I is my favorite portrayal ever – along with dark, gritty production design that suits the story. It’s rich in depth and detail and, for me, improved on second watching. The writers, Martine Brant and Peter Flannery clearly love the period and manage to create an entertaining romp through the difficult, complicated politics of the period.

Charles II, The Power and the Passion (2003)

This sumptuous production, scripted by Adrian Hodges, is the kind of quality costume drama that the BBC can do so well. Rufus Sewell gives the Merry Monarch some emotional complexity as we follow Charles’ reign from just before the Restoration to his death. With only four episodes, purists might find the history often feels a bit condensed or abbreviated, but I think it does give a good overview. It also looks fantastic and there are some great performances – Helen McCrory as an increasingly manipulative, decadent and unstable Barbara Villiers is particularly great.

Restoration (1995)

I haven’t seen this film for years but I’m including it here, as the novel is one of my all-time favorites. As an adaptation I wasn’t totally convinced – changes to the story left me cold – but it’s hard not to be biased when the original work is a personal favourite. Having said that, it’s worth a watch just for the costumes and production design (it won Oscars for both). Just make sure you read the book too!

Moliere (2007)

I saw this film for the first time recently and really enjoyed it. Billed as ‘the French Shakespeare in Love’, the story is set in the 1640’s, when the playwright was part of a touring theatre troupe. The filmmakers cleverly make use of some biographical uncertainty, giving us an invented version of events to explain Moliere’s disappearance for several months after a stint in debtors’ prison – or so the story goes.

It’s pure fabrication, deftly employing some of Moliere’s own texts. It’s witty, fun and tongue-in-cheek but still manages depth, reminding us that the best comedy has the power to move us, as well as make us laugh.

A Field in England (2013)

Totally unlike all the other things I’m writing about here, Ben Wheatley’s twisted thriller is set during an unspecified battle in the English Civil War. Written by Amy Jump, the story follows the fate of four men who stumble away from the battlefield and fall under the spell of a mysterious necromancer. What follows involves hallucinogens, buried treasure and enough gore that, at times, it’s reminiscent of classic 1960’s horror. On the surface, the story seems to have little to do with the war, but the setting provides a perfect background to explore some relevant themes: society in upheaval, the corrupting effects of power, religion and superstition etc. Original, macabre and weirdly compelling, for me it captures something of the chaos and insanity of the times. Not one for those wanting a cosy costume drama, but certainly something different.

The Musketeers (2014)

In polar opposite to A Field in England, The Musketeers is about as crowd-pleasing as it gets. The first series of this big budget drama made no claims to follow the storyline of the Alexandre Dumas novel, or be historically authentic. But what results is unashamedly fun. Adrian Hodges, the lead writer, has spoken about the challenges of re-creating the classic story in a modern, fresh way. The choice to use characters from the book in original storylines, using accessible modern dialogue and plenty of humour, was a brave one, but it works. With lots of eye candy (cast, costumes and sets), unapologetically far-fetched plots and plenty of sexy, swashbuckling action this is great Sunday night drama. I’m certainly looking forward to series two.

About The Crimson Ribbon

PBJKTHIGHRES

“Based on the real figure of the fascinating Elizabeth Poole, The Crimson Ribbon is the mesmerising story of two women’s obsession, superstition and hope.

May Day 1646: Ruth Flowers finds herself suddenly, brutally, alone. Forced to flee the household of Oliver Cromwell, the only home she has ever known, Ruth takes the road to London, and there is given refuge by Lizzie Poole.

Beautiful and charismatic, Lizzie enthrals the vulnerable Ruth, who binds herself inextricably to her world. But Ruth is still haunted by fears of her past catching up with her. And as Lizzie’s radical ideas escalate, Ruth finds herself carried to the heart of the country’s conflict, to the trial of a king.”

The Crimson Ribbon is published by Headline and out now.

 

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Created, The Destroyer – Warren Murphy – Review

Sphere

9780751557978

One legendary hero. One epic series.

Sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit, ex-cop Remo Williams is rescued from the electric chair at the eleventh hour and recruited by a secret government organisation named CURE. From this moment, he ceases to officially exist.

From now on, he will be an assassin, targeting criminals who are beyond the law. Remo’s trainer is a grouchy old Korean named Chiun, whose mastery of the terrifyingly powerful martial art of Sinanju makes him the deadliest man alive.

Together Remo and Chiun set forth on their epic, impossible mission to vanquish every enemy of democracy – every bad guy who thinks they can escape justice.

This is a new era in man’s fight against the forces of evil.

This is the time of the Destroyer.”

3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest review

Remo Williams finds himself transformed from street cop to death row inmate. He’s been set up for a crime he didn’t commit and doesn’t know why. All he knows is that he’s been sentenced to death and is sat waiting to be led to the electric chair. Things become even more mysterious when he receives a visitor just before his execution, providing him with the means of beating the chair. After avoiding death, Remo finds himself training to be an assassin and is soon on the hunt for his first target.

This is the first in the Remo Williams series, of which there are quite a few. 145 in fact. Originally written by Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir in 1963 Sphere are now releasing the titles in ebook format.

I had never heard of this series before, neither was I aware that there is a film version of the book made in 1985. I therefore approached the story not knowing what to expect.

This is a quick read, about 170 pages, with short chapters. It reads like a film, which is not surprising given Warren Murphy was indeed a scriptwriter. It comes across very much as an action film. It is a highly improbable synopsis but it works for the kind of story it is and the writing fits. You can tell that the authors had fun writing it, it comes across as boys having fun, creating a secret spy world!

Due to it originally being written over 50 years ago it is somewhat dated, politically incorrect in today’s terms and slightly racist, but that in part is showing Remo’s character. Remo appears to be somewhat of a sociopath, used as a sneak killer in Vietnam he seems to handle the transition from enforcer of the law to killer with few qualms.

The storyline is far-fetched, fast-paced and somewhat cheesy but it is still a quick enjoyable read.

 

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Plague Land – S D Sykes – Review

Hodder & Stoughton

Publication date: 25 September 2014

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“A thrillingly suspenseful crime novel set in medieval Kent in the aftermath of the Black Death.

Oswald de Lacy was never meant to be the Lord of Somerhill Manor. Despatched to a monastery at the age of seven, sent back at seventeen when his father and two older brothers are killed by the Plague, Oswald has no experience of running an estate.

He finds the years of pestilence and neglect have changed the old place dramatically, not to mention the attitude of the surviving peasants.

Yet some things never change. Oswald’s mother remains the powerful matriarch of the family, and his sister Clemence simmers in the background, dangerous and unmarried.

Before he can do anything, Oswald is confronted by the shocking death of a young woman, Alison Starvecrow. The ambitious village priest claims that Alison was killed by a band of demonic dog-headed men. Oswald is certain this is nonsense, but proving it – by finding the real murderer – is quite a different matter.

Every step he takes seems to lead Oswald deeper into a dark maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violent strife.

And then the body of another girl is found.

SD Sykes brilliantly evokes the landscape and people of medieval Kent in this thrillingly suspenseful debut.”

4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest review.

Oswald de Lacy finds himself uprooted from the monastery he has lived in for most of his life when he is called back to govern the family estate after the Plague has killed his father and two brothers. At 18 he is inexperienced in the ways of running a manor and lands and struggles with his new responsibilities. Things aren’t helped with his mother and sister interfering. Luckily he takes with him his ally from the monastery, Brother Peter, to support him in his new endeavor.

Mistrust is rife and workers for the estate are fewer now that the Plague has done its worst. The fear of the disease still hangs in the air and strangers are regarded with fear.

Soon after Oswald returns the body of a local girl is found. The local priest soon claims it was the work of dog-headed men, fuelled to do so by some unknown agenda. However in the minds of the locals, the fear and mistrust manifests itself in the believe in witchcraft and demons and many are more inclined to believe the priest, than Oswald’s assertions that a mortal was the real culprit. Oswald sets out to find the real murderer, finding another body and more about himself on the way.

I love a good historical crime novel, being a great fan of Ariana Franklin and CJ Sansom so I was looking forward to reading this when I heard about it.

The characters are well drawn. Oswald starts out naive and inexperienced and this shows through his investigation. Mistakes are made and these have devastating consequences. However we see Oswald mature and develop into a strong character.  His mother is somewhat of a harridan and pain to say the least but she too has surprises under the surface. As for Clemence, Oswald’s sister, she is depicted as a quite horrible person. The relationship between her and Oswald is somewhat strained. However as the story develops so does the back story of these characters.

The mystery is engaging and again, although I got who the murderer was before the reveal, it carried me along for quite some time before the penny dropped.

I also loved the time period of the novel. I found the whole subject of the Plague and the feudal system fascinating. It’s a period of history I wasn’t familiar with but one I’d love to investigate further.

This book fills the gap between the late Ariana Franklin and CJ Sansom and I look forward to reading more of the adventures of Oswald and company.

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Just to let you know….

I am very fortunate in that since I started blogging I have received a number of books to review. More so in fact that I had anticipated and I am grateful for each one that has landed on the mat or been sent to my kindle.

However, the time I have to read is very limited and so I won’t be able to read all the books I have in the time I would have liked. If I have given word to a publisher, author or friend who has sent me a book to review that I will review by a certain date I will, of course, keep to that promise.

I unfortunately can’t guarantee any more review dates and as of today won’t be able to schedule a review for a specific date.

If an author or publisher has kindly sent me a book to review and they require a specific date or an early review please do get in contact. If you require the return of a book then I will of course do so.

For those of you who are kind enough to visit my blog and read my reviews I’ll continue to post them here, as I work my way down the to read pile but you may find that my posts are limited to once or twice a week.

Thanks again to everyone for the support received, books sent and visits to the blog. Each is is greatly appreciated.

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The Best of Me – Nicholas Sparks – Review

Sphere

isbn9780751542974-detail

“They were teenage sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks – with a passion that would change their lives for ever. But life would force them apart.

Years later, the lines they had drawn between past and present are about to slip . . . Called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter when they needed it most, they are faced with each other once again, and forced to confront the paths they chose. Can true love ever rewrite the past?

This is the new epic love story from the multi-million-copy bestselling author of The Notebook, The Lucky One and The Last Song. Nicholas Sparks is one of the world’s most beloved authors.”

2.5/3 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publishers and this is my honest opinion.

Dawson and Amanda were teenage sweethearts, torn apart by the prejudices of Amanda’s parents and fuelled by Dawson’s own family. Their lives have taken them on different paths but they are drawn together again when they return home for the funeral of the man who had taken Dawson in when no one else would.

This was the first Nicholas Sparks novel I have read and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I have of course heard of his other best selling novels but for some reason never picked one up.

I found this an ambivalent read, it was neither bad nor good. In fact I’ve wavered over my rating in that I didn’t to give it a low rating, nor did I want to over rate it. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. I felt Dawson was the only really rounded character in that Nicholas Sparks seemed to spend more time initially introducing him to us. This perhaps was to the detriment of the other characters who felt a bit two dimensional sometimes to be fully engaging. There were some parts of the novel I was engaged in, then others were I was skim reading so it felt a bit disjointed to me at times.

The plot itself was OK, though I had guessed what would happen a long time before it did. I can however see how it would be a popular read. If you like Nicholas Sparks then I’m sure you won’t want to miss this, and you’ll be in a better position that I to judge how it compares to his other works.

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The Secret Paris Cinema Club – Nicolas Barreau – Review

Quercus

Publication date – 4 September 2014

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“Alain Bonnard, the owner of a small art cinema in Paris, is a dyed-in-the-wool nostalgic. In his Cinéma Paradis there are no buckets of popcorn, no XXL colas, no Hollywood blockbusters. Alain holds firm to his principles of quality – to show films that bring dreams to life, make people fall in love. And Alain would do anything for his clientele – particularly the mysterious woman in the red coat who, for some time now, has turned up every Wednesday and always sits in row seventeen. What could her story be?

Finally one evening Alain plucks up courage to invite the unknown beauty to dinner. But just as the most tender of love stories is getting under way, something happens that turns Alain’s life upside down, shoving his little cinema unexpectedly into the public eye. So when the woman in the red coat suddenly vanishes from his life, the cinema owner can’t help but wonder if it is more than a coincidence. Taking matters into his own hands, Alain sets off in search of the stranger he has come to love – roll the opening credits for a timeless cinematic romance worthy of the Parisian silver screen”

4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher and this is my honest opinion.

Alain Bonnard owns a small independent cinema in the magical city of Paris. He grew up there, inspired by his Uncle who owned the cinema, his love of film grew. When his Uncle died he was left the cinema. Quitting his job he has poured his heart and soul into refurbishing the place, keeping it as traditional as possible. Amongst all the changes introduced is the late Wednesday showing of old films. Alain soon comes to recognise his regulars, including the woman in the red coat. After seeing her week after week Alain finally asks the woman in the red coat out for a drink. But soon after their first date she vanishes. Alain sets off on a quest to find his true love, taking a remarkable trip along the way.

From the beginning this book gives you a warm glow. The back of the book says ‘Curl up and enter the nostalgic world of cinema: a Parisian Notting Hill with all the charm of Chocolat’. And it’s true. This is just the type of book you can curl up with. The story line, with it’s meandering Paris scenes, quirky characters and tales involving Hollywood stars and acerbic astrophysicists is has a cinematic quality. I would liken it to the written version of Amelie, quirky, slightly avant garde and charming.

I loved the setting of the novel. I could almost see myself meandering along the streets of Paris or down by the Seine or sitting in one of the street cafes as Alain walked by. It added to the charm of the story and indeed I don’t think the story would have been the same had it been set anywhere else.

The characters were all well round. I particularly liked Robert, Alain’s plain talking,  lady killing friend, who told things as he saw them. Alain at times sometimes seemed a little manic bordering on the obsessive. Luckily Nicolas Barreau, a pseudonym by the way, manages to reign him him and retains enough charm and sense to stop him becoming scarily obsessed.

Yes, some bits are a little far-fetched, but ultimately this is a gentle paced, charming, enjoyable read. I’ll be looking out for more work by Nicolas Barreau, and his alter-ego if I ever find out who they are!

This book was previously published under the title One Night in Paris.

 

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