Tuesday 29 August 2023

What I've been reading in August

 The first book that I've been reading is Unholy Murder by Lynda La Plante.

I saw this book on a display in our local library and decided to borrow it as I've always enjoyed dramatisations of Lynda La Plante's books.  It's hard to read a book where the main character is DI Tennison without thinking of Helen Mirren playing that part in the TV drama 'Prime Suspect'!  This book is set in the late 70s and it makes you realise how life has changed in the intervening years.  A woman's place in the police force was very different then!

Builders working on a development in the grounds of an old convent dig up a coffin which contains the body of a young nun.  When the coffin is opened they find scratch marks on the inside of the lid indicating that she was still alive when put in the coffin and so begins a murder investigation.

DI Tennison's superiors seem reluctant to take on a cold case where the identity of the victim is unknown and the church seem keen to conceal any information which may help her solve the mystery.

I had high hopes for this book but I'm not sure it lived up to my expectations.  It's not that I didn't enjoy it, but it seemed to drag in some places. Just my opinion but don't think I can offer a 5* review.

Our book club's choice this month was The Last Lifeboat by Hazel Gaynor

This story is based on a true story.  Set in Liverpool in 1940, Alice King is boarding the SS Carlisle to chaperone a group of children being evacuated from London to safety in Canada.  Two of these children belong to Lily Nicholls who has reluctantly decided that they will be safer there than staying at home.  She anxiously waits for news of their arrival overseas, only to learn that the ship has been hit by enemy u-boats and has sunk.  The siblings on board the ship are separated in the panic to board lifeboats, and Lily receives news that one child has been rescued but there is no news of the other and after a few days, is missing, presumed dead.  But those in the last lifeboat to leave the ship are alive and surviving against all odds in treacherous seas.  For eight days they are at sea, losing hope of being rescued.

But Alice's sister is adamant that her sister is still alive and through her influence at work, ensures that the search is not called off and search aircraft return just one more time.

Such an emotional read when you realise that this story did actually happen.  How brave and desperate you must have to be to sign your child up to be a 'seavacuee'.  My mother in law was evacuated from the East End of London during the blitz and spent a couple of years on a farm in Devon.  I can remember talking to her mother about it and the anxiety she must have had to put her children on a train, not knowing where they would end up living.  No telephones to keep in contact, she had to wait days for a letter to give her the new address.  She was quite matter of fact, it was something they just had to do to keep them safe.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes I would!

I then read Three Sisters by O J Mullen.

A cold icy night in London.  Three sisters out on the town, one falls into the path of a car and is killed.  The surviving sisters cope with their grief in their own way.  One is dealing with the breakdown of her marriage and one is determined to have her revenge on the man driving the car despite the fact that it was an accident that he could not have avoided.  

Lewis Stone is distraught to have caused such grief, which impacts on his situation at work where the company that he co-owns with his friend Damien is about to embark on an exciting new chapter.  But Lewis cannot concentrate and steps back from the business for three months and returns to the remote Scottish family home, dropping his phone in the lake to ensure he has no distractions while he comes to terms with what has happened.

You may think that you know what is likely to happen and you may think that you understand the background behind that night but trust me, you don't!

So that's quite a wide variety of reading material to share this month - I would most definitely recommend the last two!



Patio Postcards said...

As always appreciate book review & recommendations. When I finally discovered Prime Suspect on Brit Box, I was hooked on DI Jane Tennison. I'll see if our library has any of these three.

Jennifer said...

Ah, the books you read are so intense! They sound so interesting and your reviews make me want to read them. Well, at least to know what happens. But, I know me, I would read two or three chapters and be up all night. Sad but true. However, I am still intrigued..

♥ Liz ♥ said...

I like the sound of Three Sisters. I might have to see if I can get it on Audible.

Ruth said...

Ok, you've sold me on two of these tiles - my TBR list has just got longer!

onceuponatimehappilyeverafter.com said...

Wasn't The Last Lifeboat heart wrenching? What do you think you would have done in the same situation? Would you have sent your children on a ship to Canada? I just don't think I could have done that, as selfish as that might seem, I would want them with me. Going to look into Three Sisters. I have started this month's book and am enjoying it. The group always selects the best books.