A BIRD IN WINTER
In many ways this book is even better than Doughty’s brilliant runaway best-seller Apple Tree Yard
by Louise Doughty (Faber & Faber £16.99, 368pp)
In many ways this book is even better than Doughty’s brilliant runaway best-seller Apple Tree Yard. It’s more psychologically acute, with more complex characters at its centre and a thoroughly original storyline that asks penetrating questions about life itself.
If that sounds a bit hard going, it’s actually the opposite. This extraordinary story is set in the world of British intelligence, where Bird has been a player, as was her father before her.
Suddenly in the middle of a tense meeting in an unidentified office block, 55-year-old Bird knows she must now go on the run.
For a long time we don’t know exactly who is after her or why. And Doughty isn’t generous with her plot revelations along the way.
Instead, she makes us wait as we learn Bird’s backstory. But she keeps us gripped with her wonderful descriptions of landscape and the careful exposition of Bird’s character as she moves fearfully from country to country.
The wait is more than worth it. A fantastic ending and a terrific read.
When 30-year-old Nancy Holland inherits a cottage on the Cornish coast from her Aunt Helen, she is forced to return to the scene of her younger sister’s mysterious disappearance 11 years ago
DON’T LOOK AWAY
by Rachel Abbott (Wildfire £8.99, 464pp)
When 30-year-old Nancy Holland inherits a cottage on the Cornish coast from her Aunt Helen, she is forced to return to the scene of her younger sister’s mysterious disappearance 11 years ago.
While she is preparing the house for sale she discovers things that inspire her to try to solve the mystery.
Enter the formidable DS Stephanie King, who suspects problems with the initial police investigation.
Throw in a skeleton in a cave and signs that someone doesn’t want Nancy poking around, and you have the perfect ingredients for another Abbott goodie.
This one is a wonderful blend of a well-created Cornish backdrop, with highly relatable characters and a terrific twisty plot, as well as a very clever conclusion.
There is a refreshingly wide range of age groups involved in this story of tortured mother-daughter relation-ships
GOOD BAD GIRL
by Alice Feeney (Macmillan £16.99, 320pp)
There is a refreshingly wide range of age groups involved in this story of tortured mother-daughter relation-ships. The book opens on a scene from two decades ago, when the toddler of a mother with post-natal depression disappears from her pushchair in a supermarket.
Fast forward 20 years and we meet 80-year-old Edith, who is plotting her escape from a care home which she believes she has been tricked into moving into.
Edith believes her friend has been murdered, and has befriended the untrustworthy Patience, a young care home worker. Edith is estranged from her own grown-up daughter, Clio. Finally, Frankie is a prison librarian whose daughter has disappeared.
The somewhat convoluted plot cleverly reveals the connections between these very different women.
And solving a murder is at the centre of that connection. It is sensitively written with good insights into mother-daughter trauma.
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