4*, blog tours, book review, debut author

#BlogTour #BookReview The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen. @orlaowenwriting #TheLostThumb #RandomThingsTours @annecater

Today on If Only I Could Read Faster it appears to be twin day, because this is my second review today and both books have featured twins. Thank you to Anne Cater for asking me to be part of the blog tour for The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen.

My Review:

The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen is a quirky book, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it but it definitely wasn’t any of the options that I had thought about.

This is the author’s debut novel and it is a really impressive first novel in many ways. The story is set in Australia, although that is totally irrelevant because the setting has no part in the story. I only realised that the book was set in Australia when I was about half way through and I realised then that it is really unusual to read a book that is so insular that the outside of the story doesn’t matter.

The other unusual thing with this book is that I have absolutely no idea what year the book was set in. There were no mentions of mobile phones which could be an indication but other than that I really have no idea. I think it would be from the 1960s on, perhaps in the 80s but who knows.

Lara and Luella are twins who live with their mother who controls everything about their lives, the twins have no say in how they live, where they go, what they wear and what they eat. They have no friends and live a colourless life, both literally and figuratively, and this is why the outside world doesn’t seem to matter, because for Lara and Luella it is totally irrelevant.

At times the book was hard to read, the abuse from the mother is shocking and upsetting, the description of the characters emotions was also quite raw. I also felt as though some of what happened was somewhat predictable and that was disappointing, given how different the story and characters were I had hoped that the author wouldn’t follow some predictable storylines.

But that didn’t stop this book from being a very clever debut, one that I enjoyed reading even though at times it made me feel very sad. Orla Owen is an author to watch.

Blurb:

In a small town in New South Wales, Lara and Luella Jeffreys lead isolated lives until the night they are left alone for the first time, and Luella decides to have some fun. 

That evening goes horribly wrong. 

After Luella wakes up in hospital, she’s kept prisoner at home with her mother acting as her warden. Lara is sent to school to keep up the pretence that she is fine, her sister is fine, and the world is fine. Except they aren’t. The local storekeeper, sensing that something’s wrong, pushes her son to befriend Lara but the results of her meddling are deadly…

About The Author:

Orla Owen is a writer, online editor, and author of the novel The Lost Thumb. She’s been writing since she was a child, and in 2016 was picked to be mentored by Sarah Savitt at Virago.

Her writing focuses on the dark and macabre side of family life, the parts that go on behind closed doors.

Before she became a writer, she was an actress and drama practitioner, studying Theatre at Bretton Hall College of the Arts. She has performed at the Royal Court and Edinburgh fringe, as well as working on The Women’s Theatre Workshop mentoring scheme.

Supporting women in writing is important to her, and she was lucky enough to work on a writers’ mentoring scheme, as an assistant to the author Kerry Hudson, at the WoMentoring Project. 

She is currently working on her second novel, PAH, which will be released in early 2020.

The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, blog tours, book review

Blog Tour & Review: Frailty by Besty Reavley.

frailty

I loved The Optician’s Wife by Betsy Reavley, it was an incredibly well-woven story that at times turned my normally strong stomach. So I was excited when I heard that the author had another book coming out and even happier when I was given an ARC of Frailty to read and given the opportunity to be part of the blog tour. So here is my review.

My 5* review:

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read Frailty, I knew little about it, only that it involved child abduction, a topic that can be hard to read, especially for those of us that are parents ourselves. Was I sure that I really wanted to read it?

Of course I did! I rarely shy away from reading a book about a difficult topic and so with Frailty bumped to the top of my TBR pile I started to read it. I was quickly drawn into the story, it often takes me a while to get into a book but not this one, from the very start I had to know what was going to happen.

When Hope goes missing her parents, Libby and Danny are thrust into a nightmare that they never wanted to be part of. They don’t know who to trust and where to turn as the police seem to keep coming up blank, they have no idea where little Hope could be.

The parents descend further and further into the nightmare, both behaving and thinking things that they had never believed that they would or could think or do. It was heartbreaking to read, and I really felt like I was there with them, powerless to help them.

Periodically we heard from little Hope herself, and those chapters were especially hard to read but were also an essential part of the story.

As her father, Danny struggled with Hope’s disappearance, he felt that as the man of the house is role was to keep his family safe. And at that he had failed, something that felt like a heavy burden to him and eventually forced him into something that clearly showed the reader how he had been destroyed by the disappearance of his eldest daughter. This was the one part of the book that I wasn’t quite sure about, would someone be driven to go so far and to act so out of character?

By the end of the book I felt as though I wasn’t quite breathing normally, I’m sure that I held my breath through a number of chapters while I waited to find out what had really happened to Hope. And although I had a big part of it worked out, that didn’t detract from the story in any way.

The emotions that I felt reading Frailty tell me how well the story was woven and how as a reader I was drawn into the story. After I finished it I thought about the book a lot, another sign that it had got under my skin.

I’m aware that someone reading this review might question why I would want to read a book such as this, and why I think that someone else should too. That is an easy question to answer, I love a book that takes me on a journey and that immerses me into the story, the author does both very well. This really is a special book.

I received a copy of Frailty from the publishers but was under no obligation to review the book. My opinions are my own and have not been affected by this.

Blurb:

How far would you go to protect your family?
Danny and Libby are about to face every parent’s worst nightmare.

When eight-year-old Hope Bird disappears without a trace, from the idyllic village where she lives, life for her family will never be the same again. Her parents know she would never have gone off alone and the police have no idea where she is. Then a child’s shoe is discovered and the case takes an unexpected turn. Soon a suspect is identified but this is only the beginning.

Will they ever find Hope?

Frailty is a haunting, gritty, psychological page-turner about the choices we make. How far would you go to protect your family?
Danny and Libby are about to face every parent’s worst nightmare.

When eight-year-old Hope Bird disappears without a trace, from the idyllic village where she lives, life for her family will never be the same again. Her parents know she would never have gone off alone and the police have no idea where she is. Then a child’s shoe is discovered and the case takes an unexpected turn. Soon a suspect is identified but this is only the beginning.

Will they ever find Hope?

Frailty is a haunting, gritty, psychological page-turner about the choices we make.

 

Frailty is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.