Tuesday 26 March 2024

What I've been reading in March

 The first book that I read this month was The Trial by Robert Rinder.

Rob Rinder is well known in the UK as Celebrity Judge Rinder and not necessarily someone you would expect to be a writer of fiction.  However, I fancied something a bit different and as the book was only 99p on kindle, what did I have to lose?

Heroic policeman Grant Cliveden suddenly collapses and dies whilst walking towards the courtroom at the Old Bailey. An autopsy confirms that he has been poisoned and with the whole country in shock, the guilty party needs to be found as soon as possible.  

Circumstantial evidence points to one likely candidate, Jimmy Knight who was seen with him earlier in the day.  Finding a convincing case for his defence will be hard especially as this will be trainee barrister Adam Green's first case and will be the case he is judged on to warrant him gaining tenancy after his training.    The more Adam investigates the case, the more people he finds who may have a wish to see Cliveden dead and the less he feels that Knight was the perpetrator.  

I was pleasantly surprised by this.  Not all tv celebrities are good authors but Robert's legal knowledge and background shines through the story and by the end of the book you definitely know that people are not always what they seem!


Next up was this month's choice for the online book club I belong to. How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Tom Hazard may appear to be just an average man in his 40s but actually he has been alive many hundreds of years more than that.  He has been born with a condition, anagaria, and actually only ages one year every fifteen. He belongs to a group of fellow sufferers known as the Albatross Society, who help one another move on before their secret is discovered.  One thing he must not do is fall in love.  The one rule that Tom has broken.

We meet Tom in a job interview where he is applying to become a history teacher in a school.  For Tom was born in 1581 so can teach his students from first hand experience in so many historical moments in time.  But Tom is far from happy and desperately searching for his daughter who may still be alive if she has inherited this disorder.

The book goes back and forth through time and I have to be honest and say I didn't really enjoy it and I haven't finished it.  In fact when Rachel lent me a book her friend had lent her, I didn't hesitate to put the 'How to Stop Time' aside and start something new straight away. 


This book was a different thing altogether!  I picked it up and read solidly for two hours, I was engrossed from the first couple of pages.

Millie cannot believe her luck when she is offered the position of housemaid for Nina and Andrew Winchester and Nina's daughter Cecilia.  Recently released from prison and on parole she feels that her past will ensure that she never has the opportunity to better herself.  Throughout the story the author does not reveal why Millie has been in prison, all we know is that she really, really doesn't want to return there. It is only when she moves into their mansion that she realises that things are not as she thought they were.  Nina is clearly unstable, making a mess in the house overnight for Millie to clean up, telling lies about her daughter, and generally making Millie's life as difficult as possible.

Nina's mental health continues to decline as Millie and Andrew grow closer.  Right up to the point when Andrew tells Nina that he no longer loves her and she should leave.  Maybe life is about to become a whole lot easier and happier for Millie.  Maybe she is about to get the second chance for happiness that she thought was going to be elusive.  Or maybe there is a reason that Enzo the gardener takes her to one side and tells her she is in terrible danger.

This really is a page turner, a 'just one chapter more' book.  From the prologue you know that the story will end with the police asking questions about a body that has been found in the attic.  

I read this book in two days.  I kept thinking that there must be a twist coming and I thought I had an idea about what that may be.  Reader, I was wrong!  There is a sequel and I had to track it down.

The Housemaid's Secret by Freida McFadden

This book continues following Millie who has been helping women escape from abusive relationships with the help of Enzo.  However, Millie and Enzo have gone their separate ways and in order to fund her education in becoming a social worker she finds herself being offered a job working as part time housemaid for the very wealthy Douglas and Wendy Garrick.  

From the moment she meets Douglas he explains that his wife is very ill and should not be interrupted at all during the day if her bedroom door is closed.  The penthouse apartment is immaculate but Millie is suspicious by the lack of interaction with Wendy and the fact she can sometimes hear her crying in the bedroom.

After discovering blood on a nightgown in the laundry, Millie cannot help but knock on the bedroom door to insist on seeing for herself that Wendy is not being injured by her husband.  She is shocked by what she sees and helps Wendy hatch a plan to escape from the relationship.  All seems to have gone to plan until Millie realises that Douglas is a dangerous man to cross.

There is definitely no way I could guess how this book would end, all I can tell you is that the female characters all have a side to them that you are not expecting!  There is a third book in this series, it’s not available until later this summer otherwise I would been downloading it straight away!


Patio Postcards said...

Always appreciate your book reviews. I'll see if I can get The Housemaid at the library. :)

Ruth said...

I saw the Rob Rinder book when I was passing through Waterstone's last week - he seems such a nice guy. :) I'm pretty sure I read that Matt Haig one a few years ago, or one very similar - I think I enjoyed it. I'm putting the Housemaid books on my TBR list.

Barbara Eads said...

I've read both of the Housemaid books. I loved them too. I need to find out if that author has other books and add them to my list!