Sunday, 27 November 2016

Book Tour and Review : What Alice Knew by T. A. Cotterell

The Very Pink Notebook is thrilled to be part of T.A. Cotterell's, What Alice Knew, blog tour this week.  With much thanks to Becky Hunter for involving me in the tour and for a copy of the book.

Publisher : Black Swan
E : 1 December 2016 / Paperback 20 April 2017
Copy : Blogger Edition Paperback received from B.Hunter at Penguin Random House

The Blurb

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

The Very Pink Notebook Review

The opening line of this book is brilliant.  It wasn't until the end that I realised it's significance to the novel as a whole.  It is a perfect and clever summarisation.

What Alice Knew is a thriller of unusual proportions.  Stepping away from the 'who done it' chase, it instead looks at the grimy aftermath and the damaging and lasting effects on a couple when one has committed a crime.

Thrust into the world of Alice and Ed, one a creative portrait artist with an almost compulsive obsession with searching for the truth in people and pulling out the 'honesty' in them through the art she produces, the latter a highly regarded and decorated obstetrician, who finds himself thoroughly adored by colleagues, friends and family alike we soon find their, almost too perfect life, smashed to pieces by a series of unfortunate events resulting in an untimely death.

We see events through the eyes of Alice.  We are taken on a journey with her through the series of emotions she feels on initial discovery of the incident, her take on events, her feelings about her husband and family, her decisions on what to do with the information she has, the knowledge she has about the type of person her husband is.  But, Alice soon realises, perhaps she doesn't know what she thinks she does and really it becomes a case of what Alice doesn't know rather than what she does.

I have to say, I did not like the character of Ed and suspect he had a touch of the God-complex, a side effect of his job and the constant adoration he received because of it.  His initial remorse too quickly dissipates to almost arrogance - as he is constantly told by Alice -and believes himself, what he adds to life and the community, his impeccable character, his life-saving skills as an obstetrician, his wonderful relationship with their children, are worth more than admitting to something that although he maintains was an accident, would land him in a lot of trouble.  However, as Alice discovers little things that don't add up she finds herself questioning everything she thought she knew about her husband and I wanted to urge her on to keep digging, and of course her natural instinct as a portrait artist (see that first line of the book!) means she does, leaving the couple testing the strength of their marriage and relationship to the max.

Cotterell has used his extensive knowledge of art history and theory a lot throughout this book.  It works in seamlessly well and supports the plot entirely.  The author has written a complex, emotional story from quite a unique perspective and the ending is in complete unison with this.  I thought it was a brilliant and wholly fitting conclusion for Alice, perfect for her character and not as straight-forward as may first seem, just like everything else this novel.

As debut's go, T. A. Cotterell has nailed it with 'What Alice Knew', it is a gripping and meaty book that is a must read for anyone that loves a domestic psychological thriller.

What Alice Knew receives a 'highly recommend' : 

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Saturday, 12 November 2016

Book Tour - Because of You by Helene Fermont

The Very Pink Notebook is thrilled to be part of Helene Fermont's, Because of You, blog tour this week.  With much thanks to Bookollective for involving me in the tour as a B Team member and for a copy of the book.

Image result for because of you helene fermont

Published by : Fridhem Publishing
15 August 2016
Copy : Paperback received from Bookollective

The Blurb

How desperate are you to get the love of your life?

Hannah is the love of Ben's life, yet Vanessa will stop at nothing to claim the man she is convinced is her destiny.

Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to.

The Very Pink Notebook Review

Billed as, Women's Fiction with a psychological twist, I was excited to receive a copy of this hotly anticipated novel by Helene Fermont.  Giving the reader a full and detailed account of the love story of Hannah and Ben, starting in 1970's London and spanning the course of three decades,
Fermont creates a beautiful generational set of characters, from young Hannah, to her glamourous mother and her matriarchal and adored grand-mother (whom I have to say was probably my favourite character, I loved her aged wisdom.)

Along with the very good characters, naturally, must come some very bad.  And bad they are.  I was pleased to discover why they were so callous and heartless, the author gives us plenty of explanation as to why they act the way they do - if you are never shown real love, how can you understand what it is?

Because the timescale was so vast in this novel, it is quite a long book and I sometimes felt some of the scenes were a little superfluous to the plot, had it been cut down a little I feel the pace would have been a little speedier, which would have suited me better, but that is purely a personal preference.  In saying that, the timescale did allow the reader to really live the characters lives in detail.

I enjoyed the second half of the novel more than the first as I felt more happened to keep me gripped and wanting to turn the page rather than it just being a book I was picking up because it was very readable (which it most certainly is). I also loved the very strong Scandinavian feel all throughout the book, it was never once lost.

I very much enjoyed this coming of age novel, seeing Hannah turn from a na├»ve teenager into a determined, strong women through the story of her life.

Because of You receives a Very Pink Notebook rating of :

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The Author

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Follow on Twitter : @helenefermont


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Review also shared on : Amazon UK, Amazon US, Goodreads, Waterstones and Library Thing.