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book review

We have long been a fan of Shari Lapena so were thrilled to learn that she had a new book coming out this year. Someone We Know is her latest psychological thriller and as you might expect, it does not disappoint.  

The story is set in the affluent neighbourhood outside of Manhattan.  

In a tranquil, leafy suburb, the story unfolds – the focus is on four main families. The book opens on one family (the Sharpes’) whose eldest son has broken into their neighbours house for no other reason than he can. 

This initially seems like an act of a bored and rather foolish teenager, but it swiftly unravels into a key moment of a story that will enrapture your attention from the get-go.  

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Meanwhile, their neighbour, Amanda Pierce has gone missing. Her husband Robert is an unlikeable piece of work, but seems distressed by her absence and after all, no-one really knows what goes on behind closed doors.  Very quickly the book turns into a murder investigation as Amanda Pierce is found by chance in the boot of her submerged car.

This is a story which reminds us that you never really know what goes on behind closed doors or what our neighbours are really like despite seeing them walking their dog in the morning and returning home from work in the evenings. 

From the outset there are many suspects who could have killed Amanda and the tension builds with each turn of the page. Despite the original friendships the book opens with, they quickly disintegrate as neighbour turns on neighbour to distance themselves from what the police are uncovering. 

This is a fast-moving psychological thriller that filled me full of intrigue and excitement. All in all, it’s a finely crafted read that held my attention nicely throughout and left me satisfied at the end.

Someone We Know is fast and twisty; full of intrigue, secrets, lies and murderous intent which you will race through.  

We highly recommend.

Published by Penguin Random House 2019.
 

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Summer is the perfect time to drag yourself out of a reading slump. I know how easy it is to give up on the book you’re reading and waste hours away watching Netflix. There have been many times when I’m curled up on my bed, with an episode of Queer Eye playing on my laptop, when all of a sudden I spot the abandoned book at the end of my bed.

I am the biggest bookworm, but I have to admit there have been days where I toss my book aside so I can binge watch a new medical drama or re-watch Gossip Girl for the thousandth time. However, my latest read has dragged me out of that lazy reading slump.

I picked up a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society from my local charity shop for a mere €1. I’ve heard wonderful things about the historical novel, and once I discovered that it was an epistolary novel I knew it was going to be such an enjoyable read.

An epistolary novel is written as a series of documents, most commonly letters, which makes the reading experience that little bit easier as it feels more personal.

The story is set during 1946 where we meet Juliet Ashton, an accomplished writer. In the past, the writer has penned a book full of comedic columns that she wrote during the second world war under the pseudonym, Izzy Bickerstaff.

Juliet realises that it’s time to write a story under her own name and her creativity sparks when she receives a random letter from Dawsey Adams, a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which began as a cover for residents who broke curfew during the German occupation of Guernsey.

Juliet realises that this is a story the world needs to know and starts writing to the rest of the society.

After exchanging letters with the society for some time, Juliet decides to head to Guernsey to conduct research for her book, but her life will change drastically when she steps foot on Guernsey.

What you’ll love the most about this book is how the characters feel like old friends. The authors reveal so much about everyone in the novel in a subtle but powerful way.

Plus, the book is packed with information about World War II so history buffs will love it. There are times when details about the occupation of Guernsey can be a tad overwhelming, but they only add to the story.

The characters, the plot and the style of the book are a joy, but what really gets you is the lesson it teaches you.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society teaches us about the importance of standing up for others no matter what.

One character, in particular, Elizabeth McKenna, will show you that loyalty means everything, especially in times of distress. She showed me that you should never let anything or anyone strip you of your character, even in the darkest and most dangerous circumstances.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society published by Dial Press is available here.

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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the one book you have to add to your reading list. This unusual heroine’s story will teach you the most valuable life lesson.

The best-selling novel by Gail Honeyman has captured the hearts of people around the world. Eleanor’s strange sense of humour, her dark past and blossoming friendship with Raymond the computer guy will make this book an addictive read.

Eleanor is a hopeless and lonely soul, who you can’t help but feel sorry for. The quirky protagonist is a welcome change from the stereotypical female characters.

She’s no girl boss or hopeless romantic, and that’s what we love about her. Eleanor lives a mundane and quiet life but you can’t help but want to find out more about this odd character.

The story follows the 30-year-old as she grapples with her troubled past, an obsessive crush and her hope for a brighter and ‘normal’ life

What keeps you reading is the mystery surrounding Eleanor’s past. From the get-go, Eleanor is portrayed as an odd individual, who is clearly dealing with the ghosts of her past. Gail Honeyman trickles hints about Eleanor’s history and her relationship with her mother in the early pages of this book, and as time goes by we learn more and more about her disturbing family life.

Despite the drama, what keeps you turning the pages is the main theme of the book, and that is the importance of being kind to others.

 

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Eleanor is often singled out by her office co-workers, who like to mock her and point out her flaws, but along the way, this glorious character meets people who only want the best for her like Sammy, Raymond and Laura.

The book shows us that no matter how many battles life throws at you, you will get your happy ending one day, even if it does take longer than you hoped.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine published by Harper Collins is available to buy now. 

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