Scatterbooker reviews ‘That Girl’ by Kate Kerrigan

img_20180514_152441-1898533933.jpg
That Girl  by Kate Kerrigan

Goodreads Synopsis

You can escape a place. But you can’t escape yourself.

Hanna flees the scene of a terrible crime in her native Sligo. If she can just vanish, re-invent herself under a new name, perhaps the police won’t catch up with her. London seems the perfect place to disappear.

Lara has always loved Matthew and imagined happy married life in Dublin. Then comes the bombshell – Matthew says he wants to join the priesthood. Humiliated and broken-hearted, Lara heads to the most godless place she can find, King’s Road, Chelsea.

Matthew’s twin sister, Noreen, could not be more different from her brother. She does love fiance John, but she also craves sex, parties and fun. Swinging London has it all, but without John, Noreen is about to get way out of her depth.

All three girls find themselves working for Bobby Chevron – one of London’s most feared gangland bosses – and it’s not long before their new lives start to unravel.

 

My Review

‘That Girl’ is a romance with a twist, set in the fascinating world of London during the swinging sixties.

Three girls leave Ireland to start lives in London where they get caught up in the grimy underworld of the sleazy gangster,  Bobby Chevron where they discover that no matter how far you run your past will always catch up with you in the end.

Hanna is trying to escape from a horrifying crime, Lara is running away from a broken heart, while Noreen is looking for a final fling before she settles down to married life in her small Irish town. These three main characters were completely different, but they complemented each other perfectly. They all had their reasons for heading to London and dealt with the adversity they were faced with in different but equally strong ways. ‘That Girl’ really is a story of strong female characters getting stuff done no matter what.

I am a sucker for good historical fiction and Kate Kerrigan always does a brilliant job of setting the scene. I almost felt as though I was walking down King’s Street in its heyday and my feet were stuck to the floor of Bobby Chevron’s gangster nightclub. Five out of five stars!

Thank you Head of Zeus and Harper Collins Australia for providing me with a review copy.

Links

Kate Kerrigan

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon AU

GoodreadsGoodreads

 

Advertisements

It Was Only Ever You by Kate Kerrigan

youDescription

Set, like Maeve Binchy’s early bestsellers, in late 1950s Ireland and New York, this is the story of three women and the charismatic man with whom their lives are interwoven.

Patrick Murphy has charm to burn and a singing voice to die for. Many people will recognise his talent. Many women will love him. Rose, the sweetheart he leaves behind in Ireland, can never forget him and will move heaven and earth to find him again, long after he has married another woman. Ava, the heiress with no self-confidence except on the dance floor, falls under his spell. And tough Sheila Klein, orphaned by the Holocaust and hungry for success as a music manager, she will be ruthless in her determination to unlock his extraordinary star quality.

But in the end, Patrick Murphy’s heart belongs to only one of them. Which one will it be?

Details 

Title: It Was Only Ever You

Author: Kate Kerrigan

Published: October 6th 2016 by Head of Zeus

AISN: B01AATYCBS

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction (1950s)

Format:  Paperback

Pages: 389

Source: Review copy from publisher

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Amazon 

Goodreads

My Thoughts

It Was Only Ever You is my first introduction to Kate Kerrigan, but before I even picked up the book I knew that I had been missing out! With comparisons to the great Maeve Binchy and high praise from romance stalwarts, Marian Keyes, Cecelia Ahern, and my good friend, Tess Woods, I knew this would be a great book. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

The novel is set in County Mayo and New York in the 1950s and told from multiple points of view. Patrick leaves his sweetheart, Rose, the beautiful doctor’s daughter, behind in Ireland to emigrate to New York and make it big as a rock star. In New York, he meets Ava, a wealthy but shy girl, except for when she is on the dance floor. Holocaust survivor, Sheila, manages to talk her way into becoming Patrick’s manager, despite being on the run from the mob.

I loved the way this story was told. I can definitely see some similarities to Maeve Binchy’s heartfelt romance style Kerrigan captured the mood of old-school Ireland and the 1950s rock and roll scene of New York perfectly. I particularly enjoyed the scene where Sheila watches Bill Haley and his CometsBill Haley and his Comets in one of their earliest performances, especially as Rock Around the Clock was my grandmother’s favourite song!

Review: Precious Things by Kelly Doust

Have you ever gone vintage shopping and wondered about the history of the precious  preciousthings you find? That’s the main idea behind Precious Things by Kelly Doust.

The story is centred in the present day around Maggie who loves her job at an auction house. She gets to spend her days finding precious things. The only problem is she is finding it difficult to keep up with her job and her family life at the same time.

When she finds a gorgeous hand-made beaded piece she winds up playing detective to try and trace the origins of her latest acquisition for a lady, Francesca, who is certain that it holds the key to finding the truth about her birth parents.

Maggie manages to trace the origins of the piece from its origins in Normandy, France, where it was made by Aimee to wear as a collar for her wedding dress. The collar becomes a head-piece when it finds its way to Lexi the trapeze artist in Paris, 1926. Zephyr the dancer takes ownership of it in Shanghai, 1926 only to have it stolen from her and taken to the family of artist, Christian Hunt where it falls into the hands of his ill-treated muse, Isabella. The final destination of the piece is with Ulrika the supermodel who wears it as an adornment on her dress in Istanbul, 1974.

While the majority of the novel focuses on Maggie, her family and work life, and her quest to find out the mystery surrounding Francesca’s heritage, each of the owners of the piece have their own chapters to tell their stories. I really love a good time slip novel and this one had such a wide range of times and places included.

Description

In the tradition of gloriously absorbing, lush and moving women’s fiction by authors such as Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley and Joanne Harris comes PRECIOUS THINGS.

Normandy, France, 1891: a young woman painstakingly sews an intricate beaded collar to her wedding dress, the night before her marriage to someone she barely knows. Yet Aimee longs for so much more …

Shanghai, 1926: dancing sensation and wild child Zephyr spies what looks like a beaded headpiece lying carelessly discarded on a ballroom floor. She takes it with her to Malaya where she sets her sights on a prize so out of reach that, in striving for it, she will jeopardise everything she holds dear …

PRECIOUS THINGS tells the story of a collar – a wonderful, glittering beaded piece – and its journey through the decades. It’s also the story of Maggie, an auctioneer living in modern-day London, who comes across the crumpled, neglected collar in a box of old junk, and sets out on an unexpected mission to discover more about its secret and elusive past.

Maggie has a journey of her own too. Juggling a demanding job, a clingy young child and a rebellious stepdaughter, and with her once-solid marriage foundering under the pressure of a busy life, Maggie has to find out the hard way that you can’t always get what you want… but sometimes, you’re lucky enough to get precisely what you need.

This is a wonderful, absorbing and moving novel about desire, marriage and family, telling the story about how we so often reach out for the sparkly, shiny things (and people) we desire, only to realise – in the nick of time – that the most precious things are the ones we’ve had with us all along.

Details

Title: Precious Things

Author: Kelly Doust

ISBN: 1460750977 (ISBN13: 9781460750971)

Published:  April 1st 2016 by HarperCollins – AU

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction, Time Slip

Pages: 320

Source: Review copy from publisher

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Amazon AU

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Goodreads

Review: Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is famous for being banned for its racy sex scenes. There is a lot ofchatterley  discussion about sex and quite a lot of swear words are sprinkled throughout, but it really isn’t that controversial for this day and age.

The novel was published in 1928, so it definitely was very sexual for those times. What I think is much more interesting about this novel is the discussion surrounding class the way Lawrence viewed the ways that England had changed due to the Industrial Revolution. These views were extrememly controversial for the 1920s and this is what makes Lady Chatterley’s Lover such an important novel. It’s a snapshot of a time of great upheaval.

I also found the contrast between this novel and The Great Gatsby interesting. They were both written about the same time but from very different perspectives. Where The Great Gatsby is about the wealthy New Yorkers, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is about the titled familys of England.

I found Lady Chatterley’s Lover to be a bit of a slow read. I really didn’t feel very interested in any of the main characters and didn’t much care what happened to them in the end. I did find Lawrence’s views on class and the industrialisation of England enlightening and found myself pausing to highlight quite a bit.

Definitely a novel worth reading, but not simply for racy sex scenes. I do wonder if the 2020s will be as tumultuous as the 1920s? That seems about the right time for the digital revolution to be in full effect!

David Bowie Song:

Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie feels like a good choice to describe the pressure felt by the workers during this period

 


Description

LADY CHATTERLEY’S LOVER was banned on its publication in 1928, creating a storm of controversy. Lawrence tells the story of Constance Chatterley’s marriage to Sir Clifford, an aristocratic and an intellectual who is paralyzed from the waist down after the First World War. Desperate for an heir and embarrassed by his inability to satisfy his wife, Clifford suggests that she have an affair. Constance, troubled by her husband’s words, finds herself involved in a passionate relationship with their gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors. Lawrence’s vitriolic denunciations of industrialism and class division come together in his vivid depiction of the profound emotional and physical connection between a couple otherwise divided by station and society

Details

Title: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Author: D.H. Lawrence

Published: 1928

ISBN: 0007925557 (ISBN13: 9780007925551)

Genre: Classics, Literature, Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 402

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Depository (Free Shipping Worldwide)

Goodreads

This book is part of the David Bowie Reading Challenge #DBowieBooks

Books Read: 4/100

1. 1984

2. The Great Gatsby

3. The Gnostic Gospels

4. A Clockwork Orange

5. Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Review: Rebecca’s Tale by Sally Beauman

 Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again… rebecca

Rebecca’s Tale is an unauthorised sequel of Daphne du Maurier’s classic Gothic mystery. The year is 1951 and Colonel Arthur Julyan, long-time friend of the De Winter family, is still haunted by the circumstances of her death. With the help of his daughter, Ellie, and mysterious newcomer, Terance Grey, he determines to uncover the mysteries surrounding Rebecca’s death and her life before Manderlay.

The novel is told from multiple points of view, Colonel Julyan, Ellie, Terrance Grey, and Rebecca. During the course of their investigations Rebecca’s journal is discovered! Her journal details her childhood and why/how she came to marry Maxim De Winter and come to Manderlay. I loved reading from Rebecca’s point of view, even if she is proven to be an unreliable narrator, along with everybody in this story.

A lot of people have posted negative reviews of this novel. I think the biggest issue is that this version of Rebecca doesn’t match the way they see her. The author does use quite a lot of poetic license to create her version of Rebecca and the other characters. I really love this novel, though. It’s not quite as atmospheric or mysterious as the original, but it was still a very enjoyable read.

Description

April 1951. It has been twenty years since the death of Rebecca, the hauntingly beautiful first wife of Maxim de Winter, and twenty years since Manderley, the de Winter family’s estate, was destroyed by fire. But Rebecca’s tale is just beginning.

Colonel Julyan, an old family friend, receives an anonymous package concerning Rebecca. An inquisitive young scholar named Terence Gray appears and stirs up the quiet seaside hamlet with questions about the past and the close ties he soon forges with the Colonel and his eligible daughter, Ellie. Amid bitter gossip and murky intrigue, the trio begins a search for the real Rebecca and the truth behind her mysterious death.

Details

Title Rebecca’s Tale

Author Sally Beauman

ISBN 006117467X (ISBN13: 9780061174674)

Published 2000

Pages 464

Genre Mystery, Suspense, Historical Fiction, Gothic

Source Own Copy

My Rating 5/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Depository (Free Shipping Worldwide)

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator)

Atmospheric mystery. Epic love stories. The Shadow of the Wind has it all! shadow2

In Barcelona, just after the Spanish Civil War, 10 year old Daniel Sempre is grieving for his mother. To cheer him up, his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where he must choose one book to take home and care for. The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax seems to choose Daniel. It was such a brilliant novel that he assumes Carax must be a well-known author, so he visits book dealer, Gustavo Barcello, to try and hunt down more of Carax’s books. When Barcello informs him that he might actually own the very last copy of any of Carax’s novels Daniel begins his quest to discover the mystery of Julián Carax.

I absolutely loved this book! I purchased my copy at a second-hand book store and the second I uploaded a picture of my book haul on Instagram I was inundated with comments from people telling what a fantastic novel it is. I kind of feel like I had a tiny Cemetery of Forgotten Books moment!

The Shadow of the Wind has a very Gothic feel to it. The mystery is convoluted and full of twists around every corner. I also really enjoyed the way the novel easily moved between the present and the past. Each revelation seemed to come at exactly the moment I was pulling my hair out wanting to know what was going on.

This novel has something for just about every book worm out there! Mystery, romance, books, writing, and it was an interesting depiction of Franco’s Spain.

Description

Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.

Details

Title: The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Translator)

Published: October 5th 2005 by Phoenix Press (first published 2001)

ISBN: 0753820250 (ISBN13: 9780753820254)

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Gothic, Spain

Pages: 520

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Book Depository

Goodreads

 

The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy

A tragic love story spanning a lifetime pursuit

The year is 1945 and Sara Smythe reluctantly attends her brother, Eric’s, Thanksgiving Eve party. She is swept away by the enigmatic gate-crasher, Jack Malone. Jack says he is a U.S army journalist and is being deployed to Germany the very next day, despite the war being over. Will Jack make good on his declarations of undying love and devotion or will he breaks Sara’s heart, just as Eric suspects.

The Pursuit of Happiness is set in a time of great unrest in the USA. After the initial optimism of the war ending the country moves quickly to a state of great unease and fear of Communism. The McCarthy witch-hunts of this era a nasty little piece of American history!

The writing of this novel was beautifully done, perhaps a bit too well for me in parts. I found myself becoming a little bit depressed by this novel. There was just one depressing event after another for Sara and her loved ones. Kennedy did such a brilliant job with all of the characters that I just really felt their pain with them throughout the novel.

Description

The critically acclaimed bestseller from the number one bestselling author of The Moment and A Special Relationship. A powerful romantic novel set in the tumultuous world of post-war America.

New York, 1945 – Sara Smythe, a young, beautiful and intelligent woman, ready to make her own way in the big city, attends her brother’s Thanksgiving Eve party. As the party gets into full swing, in walks Jack Malone, a US Army journalist back from a defeated Germany and a man unlike any Sara has ever met before – one who is destined to change Sara’s future forever.

But finding love isn’t the same as finding happiness – as Sara and Jack soon find out. In post-war America chance meetings aren’t always as they seem, and people’s choices can often have profound repercussions. Sara and Jack find they are subject to forces beyond their control and that their destinies are formed by more than just circumstance. In this world of intrigue and emotional conflict, Sara must fight to survive – against Jack, as much as for him.

In this mesmerising tale of longing and betrayal, The Pursuit of Happiness is a great tragic love story; a tale of divided loyalties, decisive moral choices, and the random workings of destiny.

Details

Title: The Pursuit of Happiness

Author: Douglas Kennedy

ISBN: 0099415372 (ISBN13: 9780099415374)

Published: Arrow 2001

Genre: Romance, Historical Fiction

Pages: 646

Source: Own Copy

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Book Depository

Goodreads