Sunday, 26 June 2016

Letters to my Daughter's Killer

Letters to my Daughter's Killer by Cath Staincliffe

Published by Constable

17th July 2014

Paperback Edition

Grandmother Ruth Sutton writes to the man she hates more than anyone else on the planet: the man who she believes killed her daughter Lizzie in a brutal attack four years earlier. Ruth's burden of grief and hatred, has only grown heavier with the passing of time, her avid desire for vengeance ever stronger. In writing to him Ruth hopes to exorcise the corrosive emotions that are destroying her life, to find the truth and with it release and a way forward. Whether she can ever truly forgive him is another matter - but the letters are her last, best hope.

Letters To My Daughter's Killer exposes the aftermath of violent crime for an ordinary family and explores fundamental questions of crime and punishment. How do we deal with the very human desire for revenge? If we get justice does reconciliation follow? Can we really forgive those who do us the gravest wrong? Could you?

This book is written though a series of letters and flashbacks to 2009 when Ruth Sutton's daughter is found beaten to death in her family home.  The police have no suspect or motive for her horrific death which has left a family in tatters.  We follow Ruth's attempts to deal with her loss through a series of letters written to the convicted killer of Lizzie four years later as she attempts to find some comfort and reasoning behind the death of her daughter.  Ruth knows who the killer is, we as the reader, do not.

As you get drawn into the story, you begin to question who the killer could be.  Is it someone that Lizzie knew, or a total stranger who entered her house that night when she was on her own, with her toddler Florence upstairs.  Did Florence see or hear anything?  Could she identify her mother's killer?  I love Cath Staincliffe's work as the author of the Scott & Bailey novels so I knew that this book will satisfy me as a lover of crime fiction.  I gasped when I found out who the killer was.  Will you when you read this too?

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Time Travelling with a Hamster

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books

31st December 2015

Paperback Edition

“My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve.”

On Al Chaudhury’s twelfth birthday his beloved Grandpa Byron gives him a letter from Al’s late father. In it Al receives a mission: travel back to 1984 in a secret time machine and save his father’s life.

Al soon discovers that time travel requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, setting his school on fire and ignoring philosophical advice from Grandpa Byron. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…

Time Travelling With a Hamster is a funny, heart-warming race-against-time – and across generations – adventure that you will won’t be able to put down.

Okay so this doesn’t sound like your usual run-of-the-mill story – I mean, for starters it clearly involves time travel and secondly, there’s a hamster as a central character! However push all doubts out of your head because this is a great book.

Al Chaudhury receives a letter from his grandfather on his 12th birthday. It gives him instructions on how to travel back in time in order to save the life of his deceased father. Should, could Al bring his father back, and if so, what are the consequences in doing so.

"My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve.

The first time had nothing to do with me. The second time definitely did, but I would never even have been there if it hadn’t been for his ‘time machine’…”

This clearly has to be kept a secret, and we follow Al on his daring mission via stolen mopeds, police chases and little white lies in order for his task to be completed. There is much risk involved for Al, and his hamster Alan as they attempt to go back in time and save his father’s life.  It is also a story of the past, of life in 1984 and of how regardless of time and place, boys will always be boys.

This is a really great read and I flew through it with lots of laughter and some real tear-jerker moments.  Grandpa Byron is a fantastic character and I really enjoyed ‘listening’ to him through the pages of the book.  Questions that need to be answered are: can Al save his father, will all come right in the end, and how will Alan Shearer cope? Don’t worry though, all will be revealed through the pages of Ross Welford’s debut book.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

Thursday, 2 June 2016

A Year of Marvellous Ways

A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman

Published by Tinder Press

31st December 2015

Paperback Edition

Marvellous Ways is eighty-nine years old and has lived alone in a remote Cornish creek for nearly all her life. Lately she's taken to spending her days sitting on a mooring stone by the river with a telescope. She's waiting for something - she's not sure what, but she'll know it when she sees it.

Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the Second World War. When his promise to fulfil a dying man's last wish sees him wash up in Marvellous' creek, broken in body and spirit, the old woman comes to his aid.

A Year of Marvellous Ways is a glorious, life-affirming story about the magic in everyday life and the pull of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, love and death and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.

This is Sarah Winman’s second novel, following on from her much rated best-seller When God was a Rabbit and as you might expect, this one is also full of magic and mystery.  Our central character is called Marvellous, and in many ways she is - as a character in a book, I absolutely adored her and her way of life.  She is a totally unique individual who I’m not sure that many people truly understand, but she is a character that I would really like to meet in real life, should she actually exist! 

Marvellous lives by the sea, in fact, she is half mermaid and she’s had many an adventure over her eighty nine years.  She meets Drake who is on a quest of his own.  Whilst serving in France during the Second World War, he came across a dying comrade who asked him, as a final request, if he would deliver a letter to his father.  Years later, Drake is about to fulfil his promise to that young man.  On his way he meets Marvellous, but it isn’t coincidence that their paths cross, but fate, for Marvellous is a woman whose path crosses yours when you most need her to.

Sarah Winman weaves the fantastic with the ordinary within her writing, and a whole array of other characters appear throughout the book.  My only negative is that I wasn’t overly fulfilled by the ending which didn’t quite live up to the passion and drama of the rest of the book, in my opinion.  In fact, I read the ending twice as I didn’t actually remember finishing the book the first time around!  But don’t let this distract you from what is otherwise a lovely story.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x