Book Review: The Edge Of Dark by Pamela Hartshorne

A dark and twisted tale exploring the haunted relationship beween past and present, for fans of Kate Mosse and Barbara Erskine

Jane believes in keeping her promises, but a deathbed vow sets her on a twisting path of deceit and joy that takes her from the dark secrets of Holmwood House in York to the sign of the golden lily in London's Mincing Lane. Getting what you want, Jane discovers, comes at a price. For the child that she longed for, the child she promised to love and to keep safe, turns out to be a darker spirit than she could ever have imagined. Over four centuries later, Roz Acclam remembers nothing of the fire that killed her family—or of the brother who set it. Trying on a beautiful Elizabethan necklace found in the newly restored Holmwood House triggers disturbing memories of the past at last—but the past Roz remembers is not her own. (from

Published by Pan Macmillan March 2015 (PB) (UK)

I love stories that switch between time periods, particularly ones that merge past and present. Sadly, I haven't read any of Pamela Hartshorne's previous work, but after reading The Edge Of Dark this is something I intend to correct as soon as possible.

The Edge of Dark follows the story of Roz, who has just moved to York to work on the grand opening of Holmwood House to the public. But on entering the Elizabethan mansion, Roz is instantly unsettled. When she tries on a beautiful necklace from the era she is suddenly transported through vivid visions to the life of Jane, 400 years previously. In unravelling the disturbing secrets of Jane's life, Roz finds her own past entangled between the dark and sinister secrets. It's a past she doesn't even remember, and one she isn't sure she really wants to.

Pamela Hartshorne combines two complex and sinister lives with tangible threads spanning the 400 year period between her two main protagonists. I loved how she made neither Roz or Jane's stories of greater importance, both being utterly compelling in their own right. Often in books which have a timeslip element,you find one era dominating, usually the historical one and thus more interesting to read. In this case I enjoyed both characters equally and wasn't disappointed to leave either when the narrative switched.

And oh, how well that narrative was switched! Not on a chapter by chapter basis, the two eras and characters blended effortlessly mid-page...sometimes even mid sentence, giving a beautiful seamless and fluid feel to the whole book. I'm awestruck at how the author managed this without ever causing confusion.

With richly evocative depictions of Jane's life in the sixteenth century, I loved how the historical period was brought to life. Coupled with the creepy atmosphere of the present Holmwood House and some dark, vengeful characters haunting both Jane and Roz, The Edge Of Dark is a deliciously compulsive read. I became so completely engrossed in this book, the world around me disappeared along with several hours of my day. I loved this book, and would highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction and timeslip novels. It's one of my personal favourites now from the selection I have read.

I read the Hardback edition courtesy of the publishers

Book Review: How I Lost You by Jenny Blackhurst

They told her she killed her son. She served her time. But what if they lied? 

I have no memory of what happened but I was told I killed my son. And you believe what your loved ones, your doctor and the police tell you, don't you?

 My name is Emma Cartwright. Three years ago I was Susan Webster, and I murdered my twelve-week-old son Dylan. I was sent to Oakdale Psychiatric Institute for my crime, and four weeks ago I was released early on parole with a new identity, address and a chance to rebuild my tattered life. This morning, I received an envelope addressed to Susan Webster. Inside it was a photograph of a toddler called Dylan. Now I am questioning everything I believe because if I have no memory of the event, how can I truly believe he's dead?

 If there was the smallest chance your son was alive, what would you do to get him back? (from

Published by Headline (UK) April 2015 

Wow. Talk about being sucked into a book from the very first page! Jenny Blackhurst certainly knows how to grab her reader and hang on to them until the very last page. I was hooked to this book, spurred on by the small chapters, sometimes only a couple of pages long but always leaving me needing to read 'just one more'.

How I Lost You tells the story of Emma/Susan,who after being convicted for the murder of her newborn son has just been released with a new identity. Still unable to remember that fateful day, she sets about starting over her life. But then strange things begin to happen and the doubts she's always had about the incident three years ago resurface.Susan is convinced she didn't kill her son. More so, she's sure he's still alive.

This is an edge of your seat, gripping read which will refuse to let you go. I was fascinated by Susan's story, horrified at the possibilities and suspicious of every character-never quite trusting anyone. Jenny Blackhurst twists her story in a number of unexpected ways, I never knew exactly how it was going to go and was extremely surprised by it's eventual direction. I had to know what had happened and read this book in two sittings.

How I Lost You takes on some dark and disturbing subjects. There's obsession, revenge, control and manipulation...creating a thrilling emotional mix. The book takes an even dark and sinister turn around two thirds through, and wasn't always comfortable to read, but it's a twist I hadn't been expecting and is something I haven't come across before. I did feel the character of Susan was at times a little too naive, considering the things she'd gone through, but that would be my only criticism. For the most part, this book is exactly what a reader of psychological thrillers wants; a twisty plot, fast paced and addictive writing and an explosive ending. Recommended!

I read an advanced proof copy courtesy of the publishers

Blog Tour Book Review: Disclaimer by Renee Knight

Finding a mysterious novel at her bedside plunges documentary filmmaker Catherine Ravenscroft into a living nightmare. Though ostensibly fiction, The Perfect Stranger recreates in vivid, unmistakable detail the terrible day Catherine became hostage to a dark secret, a secret that only one other person knew--and that person is dead.

Now that the past is catching up with her, Catherine’s world is falling apart. Her only hope is to confront what really happened on that awful day even if the shocking truth might destroy her. (from 

Published April 2015 by Doubleday 

When I read the premise for Disclaimer, I knew I just had to read it. Imagine picking up a book and realising it's about you? And that this book had somehow mysteriously appeared in your home, revealing a secret you thought no-one else knew? It's an amazing, intriguing and original concept, which Renee Knight pulls off with finesse and style page after page. 

I was hooked from the very first page. With the story of the book and Catherine's mysterious secret being slowly drip fed to the reader, I was compelled to keep reading. Renee Knight does a fantastic job of throwing the reader off the scent, and tricking the reader into believing one thing before completely turning everything on its head. I was not prepared or expecting the major twist in Disclaimer and when it came I was taken aback. 

What I particularly liked about Disclaimer is how it made me think about how our perceptions of events and people can be so easily influenced. For the first two thirds of the book, it's easy to be unsympathetic to Catherine, by believing someone elses perception. This is a theme throughout the book, as the people close to Catherine are also led down the same path as the reader.  It was interesting how the character's assume the truth put before them so easily. 

This is a tense,page turning thriller without a doubt. What makes it stand out for me are the more subtle themes running throughout this book, which gives the reader plenty to think about. There's grief, bereavement, obsession, revenge and a damaged relationship between mother and son. I did think the ending lacked a little bit of an impact, as I expected a more explosive conclusion to the one we got. However, the ending also throws in shades of grey, and leaves the reader with a degree of sympathy and understanding where they probably least expected it. 

Disclaimer is a compelling read, unsettling in it's ability to convince the reader of a truth that doesn't exist. It also leaves you with a lot to think about afterwards. With an original and gripping premise, Disclaimer is a must read for fans of well written, taut, psychological thrillers and I'd strongly recommend it. 

Don't forget to follow week two of the Disclaimer blog tour. 

Book Review: His Other Life by Beth Thomas

He was hiding a terrible secret...

Grace’s new husband Adam seems like the perfect package. Good looking, great job, completely charming – almost too good to be true...

So when Adam suddenly disappears from Grace’s life, she is left bewildered and heartbroken. And with a lot of unanswered questions.

As she tries desperately to find him, Grace opens a Pandora’s Box of secrets and lies – and starts to learn that Adam wasn't so perfect after all.

What shameful secrets was her husband hiding? Is Grace in danger? And can she survive the truth? However terrible it may be... (From

Published by Avon (UK) March 2015 

I had no idea what to expect from this book before I started it. The cover screams chick lit while the blurb hints at something more sinister. After finishing it, I'd say it definitely edges on the side of chick lit. But good chick lit, with a fresh and original slant, a mystery to solve and laugh out loud humour by the bucketful. 

Grace is endearingly scatty, frustratingly so at times, but I warmed to her. I loved the chatty style Beth Thomas wrote this novel in and it's almost like a running commentary of Grace's thought process. The secondary characters are equally as fun to read and I enjoyed the few hours I spent in their company. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion! 

The 'mystery' angle is interesting, especially given the popularity of psychological thrillers right now. If you're expecting this kind of book though, you may be disappointed. His Other Life refuses to take itself seriously. The search for Grace's missing husband verges on the ridiculous at times, and is definitely more parody than chilling' who dunnit'. That said, I was quite surprised at a more serious tone towards the end. 

His Other Life isn't going to appeal to everyone. Personally, I liked it. It was fun, it made me smile and I enjoyed Beth Thomas's easy writing style. This book is perfect comfort reading, ideal for holidays and lazy weekends. If you love a romantic comedy with a bit of a different spin, then I think His Other Life would be a good bet.  

My copy was an advanced proof from the Amazon Vine Program

Looking Back At March, And Forward To April

WOW! 2015 is storming on isn't it? I can't believe it's April already. SLOW DOWN! 

The good thing though is the nights are now light and the spring flowers are out! The weather may not have cottoned on just yet, but the promise of summer IS there. It always makes me feel so much better. And of course, the Easter Bummy will be making a visit this weekend...CHOCOLATE! 

March was a very, very busy month for me. In mid February I took on an extra job doing one nightshift a week in a residential home for Elderly people. This was great, as at the moment I only work three days during the week at College. However, they had a bit of a staff shortage and I ended up doing more shifts...and almost killing myself. I need to learn how to say no! 

So I didn't get as much reading done as I hoped. But I did read some amazing books... 

Still to review: 

His Other Life by Beth Thomas
A Room Full Of Chocolate by Jane Elson 

March Book Of The Month was difficult, but I'm going with...

The Girl In The Red Coat by Kate Hamer

Coming up in April... 

I've been thinking about how to mark 5 years since I started blogging, and came up with an idea for 5 posts, over 5 weeks, with top 5 lists of bloggy & bookish stuff and memories from the last 5 years. There may be a giveaway or two tolook out for too. Starts Saturday 4th April

New Books this month... 

Finally, here's the new books that have made their way into my home over that last month. I'm really looking forward to getting to these over April!

Waiting On Wednesday: The Silent Hours by Cesca Major

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine and is a weekly event to showcase upcoming, yet to published books we can't wait to read. 

The Silent Hours by Cesca Major 

An epic, sweeping tale of love and loss inspired by heartrending true events in the Unoccupied Zone of wartime France. 

The Silent Hours follows three people whose lives are bound together, before war tears them apart:

Adeline, a mute who takes refuge in a convent, haunted by memories of her past;

Sebastian, a young Jewish banker whose love for the beautiful Isabelle will change the course of his life dramatically;

Tristin, a nine-year-old boy, whose family moves from Paris to settle in a village that is seemingly untouched by war.

Beautifully wrought, utterly compelling and with a shocking true story at its core, The Silent Hours is an unforgettable portrayal of love and loss. 

Praise for The Silent Hours: 

'Absorbing and - ultimately - horrifying. A gripping, fictional account of a real event in war-time France, told with a sensuous clarity. A haunting and illuminating debut novel' Wendy Wallace 

Published by Corvus in June 2015 

After seeing Kirsty Greenwood tweet that this book "was the most amazing novel I've read in a long time" I quickly checked it out and added it straight to my wishlist. With a recomendation like that, how could I not? 

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