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Who lives downstairs?

The Neighbours Book Cover The Neighbours
Nicola Gill
Fiction
HarperCollins UK
February 6, 2020
400

To get up from rock bottom, you’ve got to take the stairs...

Meet Ginny, 34, and Cassie, 55. Neighbours, and (very) unlikely friends.

Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she meets her downstairs neighbour…

Cassie Frost was once a beloved actress, but after a recent mishap she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the prickly woman who lives below her floorboards?

Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds collide, they realise that bad neighbours could become good friends…

This is an interesting book as it defies the commonly promulgated idea that we don't know, or care about, or neighbors in London. My personal experience is that this is not true. 
In hondon, we live in small communities, towns if you will, where, when you walk out the shop owners know you, the station staff recognise you, and you always bump into, and talk with, a neighbor. True, you need to smile and say 'Hello' first and maybe join in a community activity, of which there will be lots to choose from. 
Not so in  Commuter Land. 
I lived there for 19 years and barely knew nextdoor. 
Here in London I know lots of people & even have had drinks with
the people upstairs.
That said, this is a warm story, almost sentimental, with a young person befriending the grouchy neighbor below stairs, and as such helping her turn
her life around.

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Sailing in the Greek isles

The Greek's Surprise Christmas Bride Book Cover The Greek's Surprise Christmas Bride
(Sisters in the Spotlight, Book 1)
Lynne Graham
Fiction, Contemporary Romance
HarperCollins UK, (Mills & Boon Modern)
November 14, 2019
192

All the billionaire wants for Christmas is...a wife! Greek tycoon Leo is a businessman, not a family man. Yet becoming guardian to his orphaned nieces and nephews leads him to make the ultimate sacrifice—finding a wife! And kind-hearted Letty is the perfect bride for the job. Letty can’t let her family fall into financial ruin. A convenient Christmas wedding to Leo is the ideal solution! Until their paper-only arrangement is scorched by the heat of their unanticipated passion! Which awakens innocent Letty to the inescapable truth: she wants more from Leo than she signed up for…

Why are all Greeks Shipping Magnates? However, the description of the children is nice and overall the book was nicely written.

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Oh these Irish families

The Liar’s Daughter Book Cover The Liar’s Daughter
Claire Allan
Fiction, Psychological,
HarperCollins UK, Avon
January 23, 2020
400

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…

A gripping suspense novel about deadly secrets and lies. The perfect read for fans of Clare Mackintosh.

The ‘good’ man is very ill with cancer, and in his illness he is attended by his family – in good Irish fashion. He has cancer and has only months to live so they are gathered – his daughters, one by second marriage and one by the first are there to look after him. The husband and baby of the second daughter are there too as the baby is still being breast fed; and the sister arrives from England. All to say the last things they needed to him before…

But it is not a happy family.

In good traditional Irish family sagas there are dark secrets and they start to ooze out – and then he dies, and the police come calling and more emerge from the dark Irish boglands it seems. The text feels like you are wandering in a dark misty bog, where there is no solidity to your footsteps – the foreboding that there is something really wrong oozes from the book in a delightful fashion.

This is not a book to read if you want to be cheered up. This is a book that re-emphasised for me, the insidiousness of the way the Roman Catholic church offers forgiveness and sanctuary in return for a few prayers, no matter how heartfelt they are, your sins are forgiven if you only tell the priest in confession. Well I don’t believe that. It gives people too easy a way out of their deeds. And yes, our ‘good’ man had many sins to be forgiven and he thought becoming religious in his older age would help…

The style has the right quality for a book with this storyline and draws you in, and the characterisation is well done.

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Daring…

I Dare You b Book Cover I Dare You b
Sam Carrington
Fiction
HarperCollins UK, Avon
29 Nov 2019
416

AN INNOCENT GAME. A SHOCKING CRIME. A COMMUNITY FULL OF SECRETS.   Mapledon, 1989 Two little girls were out playing a game of dares. Only one returned home. The ten-year-old told police what she saw: village loner Bill ‘Creepy’ Cawley dragged her friend into his truck and disappeared. No body was found, but her testimony sent Cawley to prison for murder. An open and shut case, the right man behind bars. The village could sleep safe once again. Now… Anna thought she had left Mapledon and her nightmares behind but a distraught phone call brings her back to face her past. 30 years ago, someone lied. 30 years ago, the man convicted wasn’t the only guilty party. Now he’s out of prison and looking for revenge. The question is, who will he start with?

This was not a story that I got on with. I found it too slow moving even though I attempted it twice. Sorry!

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Cottage of your dreams?

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane Book Cover Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane
Ellen Berry
Fiction
HarperCollins UK, Avon
November 11, 2019
384

Curl up with this uplifting festive read – perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews.

Last winter she had a plan.

Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B&B with her husband.

But a year can change everything . . .

Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B&B, but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future . . .

Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?

Oh what a mother! Seriously needs to be told to get a life – for herself – get a hobby, look after her husband’s health and butt out of her daughter’s life.

That said, despite the well written mother’s character, the whole story never grabbed me. It seemed to meander along gradually coming to an end with no great reveal, no drama and no real emotional empathy.

It needs humour and editing to become a sharper piece of writing. For me, the ‘bleakness’ never really felt true. A cosy story that lacked originality and intensity

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