Monday, 18 April 2011

Belle by Lesley Pearse

BelleBelle by Lesley Pearse My rating: 4 of 5 stars Theres something very intriguing about the seedier side of Victorian London. Belle is set in a brothel in a rat infested court in Seven dials, London. She is a remarkably innocent young woman considering her upbringing, having been shielded from the activities in the cat house, owned by her mother, where she works below stairs, cared for and protected by Mog, maid of all work. Lifes looking pretty good when Belle meets a new friend, street wise young Johnny, but things are about to take a downwards spiral when she witnesses the brutal murder of one of the prostitutes in the brothel, together with a rude awakeing as to what the trade really involves which has been going on above her head, day and night. All too soon Belle is to experience the degradations of enforced prostitution herself, when she is kidnapped by the murderer and shipped to France to begin a horrific ordeal of captivity and rape. We follow her journey from France to New Orleans and meet the namy characters who shape her life, many cruel and unpleasant, most fascinating and a few kind. This is the first part of a soon to be published trilogy and (as another reader has pinted out, it ends rather abruptly) The author has left the story open enough for us to want to continue reading about Belles life, yet concludes this chaper satisfactorily. A jolly good yarn, with some gritty, quite explicit scenes, I'm delighted to say Ms Pearse is back on form with Belle after having disappointed this reader somewhat with her last offering Stolen View all my reviews

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Runaway wife by Susy McPhee

The Runaway WifeThe Runaway Wife by Susy McPhee My rating: 4 of 5 stars The cover suggests this is light and frothy chick-lit but what you find inside the covers is some really deep and unthinkable subject matter, treated with wry humour. Following a period in Marions life where the worst that can possibly happen has - she has buried her beloved only daughter killed at just 9 years old by a hit and run driver. Marion wants to die too, her life is no longer worth living and we begin the book as she prepares for her suicide attempt. But things go from bad to worse, when on her way to the chemist to collect her prescription for the anti depressants which are her way out of this life and offer a freedom from the pain of loss, a mugger attacks her with a knife offering her an alternative way of dying ... This misfires and we see Marion thwarted in her suicide bid lurch from crisis to crisis, trying to come to terms with her loss, apportioning blame to others and herself until it seems as though there will never be any light at the end of her tunnel and she is on a course to self destruct regardless. This book is about finding the strength to cope and getting through the worst times in your life, and there is a thread of humour which runs through it in some of the things which happen, and things our heroine says and thinks which will have you laughing into the already soggy tissues. I enjoyed this book enormously its very compassionately written and extremely real. I love that its set in Yorkshire - mostly Harrogate, which I am familiar with. I think it will appeal to anyone who enjoyed One Moment, One Morning View all my reviews