#BookReview By Lou of The Shadow Child By Rachel Hancox #TheShadowChild #RachelHancox @centurybooksuk @PenguinUKBooks @RandomTTours #ContemporaryFiction #LiteraryFiction #readingcommunity #Readers #Bloggers #BookTwitter

The Shadow Child
By Rachel Hancox

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Shadow Graphic 1

The Shadow Child is a compelling, thought-provoking contemporary fiction/literary fictiondebut novel full of secrets and the ‘human condition’. Find out more in the blurb and my review and then a bit about the author. First, thanks to Random T. Tours for the invite onto the blog tour.

Blurb

Shadow Graphic 3Eighteen-year-old Emma has loving parents and a promising future ahead of her. So why, one morning, does she leave home without a trace?

Her parents, Cath and Jim, are devastated. They have no idea why Emma left, where she is –
or even whether she is still alive. A year later, Cath and Jim are still tormented by the
unanswered questions Emma left behind and clinging desperately to the hope of finding
her.

Meanwhile, tantalisingly close to home, Emma is also struggling with her new existence –
and with the trauma that shattered her life.

For all of them, reconciliation seems an impossible dream. Does the way forward lie in
facing up to the secrets of the past – secrets that have been hidden for years? Secrets that
have the power to heal them, or to destroy their family forever …

The Shadow Child is a book of hope and reconciliation, of coming to terms with trauma and
learning to love again. Most of all, it’s about how you can never quite escape from the
shadows of your past – especially when one of those shadows is a child …

Review

The prologue sweeps by fast, with its talk about shadows, that is written in a way that you would expect from a child, but knowing the blurb, it takes on a bit of an eerie slant, thereafter it is a bit of a slow-burn of curiosity that seeks to grasp you and succeeds. The family is fairly normal, Cath is a teacher and Jim is a newspaper photographer and was practically love at first sight. They then had 2 children, but one died and the other is now mysteriously missing, seemingly without a trace. The family, of what’s left, use many coping strategies to get through these dark days and you can feel the emotion and see the strength of character that they keep going, even though they feel guilt and bewilderment that their daughter went missing and despair and helplessness that they have no answers. They also cling hard onto hope so they keep going in life.

It’s interesting and, perhaps more powerful for it, the way that Emma (the missing child) has her own narrative to tell readers why she disappeared. It’s a good way to get into her psyche and infact all of the main characters have their own present story and backstory to tell about their lives.

Jim and Cath also have a cottage that they inherited, so take on tenants – Lara and Nick. Then all the characters become even more intrinisically linked and it becomes apparent that there are so many secrets being harboured in the pages, that keeps the book engaging, as well as the fact that there’s a need to discover how it could possibly all end and whether certain things will work out well or not.

There’s quite a philisophical bent at times, that creates for some rather elegant thought-provoking moments, through its sometimes nuanced approach and natural human thoughts. The book is essentially about relationships, how they interconnect to other people’s lives, the impacts secrets can have, the upbringing that occurs at childhood and how that feeds into adulthood. How to attempt to reshape life and cope with incredibly traumatic situations.
Overall it is quite a compelling, complex book about the twisting paths of life, loss and hope.

About the Author

RACHEL HANCOX read Medicine and Social and Political Science at Cambridge, qualified as a doctor three months after getting married, and has juggled her family, her career and a passion for writing ever since.
She worked in Paediatrics and Public Health for twenty years, writing short stories alongside NHS policy reports, and drafting novels during successive bouts of maternity leave. Rachel has five children, three dogs and a cat. She lives in Oxford with her husband and youngest children.

Shadow Child BT Poster

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#BookReview By Lou of A Wedding In Provence By Katie Fford @KatieFford @centurybooksuk #AWeddingInProvence

A Wedding In Provence
By Katie Fford

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Make time for you

A Wedding In Provence whisks readers off into France for some pure entertainment and escapism. Take a look below at the Blurb and Review and a little about the author, what you’ll find is certainly interesting. Thanks to Century Publishing UK/Penguin Randomhouse for allowing me to review.

A Wedding In Provence cover

Blurb

Late summer, 1963

Fresh from London and a recent cookery course, Alexandra has always loved a challenge.

Which is why she now finds herself standing outside an imposing chateau in Provence.

Waiting for her inside is three silent, rather hostile children who are to be her charges for the next month.

They will soon be more friendly, she tells herself. All they need is some fun, good food and an English education.

Far more of a challenge though is their father – an impossibly good looking French count with whom she is rapidly falling in love . . .

Review

A Wedding in ProvenceA Wedding in Provence oozes romance and spells a time to chill out with a book, in the garden with a glass of wine.

It all begins in autumn, 1963 in Paris, where you meet Alexandra, who is only there for a day before heading to finishing school in Switzerland. There is an air of adventure and possibilities on a day that Alexandra has without her guardians deciding what or where she should go next. When reading about this, you can’t help but feel a little excited for Alexandra, to have this time of freedom. She then comes across Donna, who isn’t feeling her best. Alexandra’s personality then starts to really reveal itself and it is easy to warm to her.

The book is a rather fun and relaxed read as Donna (who is married to Bob), and Alexandra get to know each other. There’s a bit of humour, perhaps also in places it isn’t meant to be, such as some gorgeous guy having a job, just as Alexandra doesn’t want to leave France. As far-fetched as that sounds, it really just adds to the entertainment and pure escapism that continues to shine through and that is just part of the catalyst of what unfolds, making for an enjoyable read and where more of the story unfolds, as she arrives at a chateau and meets the family living there, to start work with them, taking care of the children. It isn’t all plain-sailing, plus they need educating. It’s interesting reading about different schools and the opinions of adults with what to choose for their children.

Amongst her work and the grandeur of the chateau is also food galore that all seem to jump off the page and there’s romance brewing between the count and Alexandra.

A Wedding in Provence

Everything is romantic, right from the setting to the premise. It’s enjoyable escapism!

About The Author

I live in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with my family, and I’m a country girl at heart.

I first started writing when my mother gave me a writing kit for Christmas, and once I started I just couldn’t stop. Living Dangerously was my first novel and since then, I haven’t looked back.

Ideas for books are everywhere, and I’m constantly inspired by the people and places around me. From watching TV (yes, it is research) to overhearing conversations, I love how my writing gives me the chance to taste other people’s lives and try all the jobs I’ve never had.

Each of my books explores a different profession or background and my research has helped me bring these to life. I’ve been a porter in an auction house, tried my hand at pottery, refurbished furniture, delved behind the scenes of a dating website, and I’ve even been on a Ray Mears survival course.

I love being a writer; to me there isn’t a more satisfying and pleasing thing to do. I particularly enjoy writing love stories. I believe falling in love is the best thing in the world, and I want all my characters to experience it, and my readers to share their stories.

I love hearing from all my readers on Twitter @KatieFforde or on Facebook at facebook.com/KatieFforde