Saturday, 25 May 2019

Photo diary: week 21, project 365

A midterm break has started with an unpleasant stomach bug for my younger one. Today we're both tired and sleepy after a sleepless night. Fingers crossed, the rest of the week will go without adventures of this kind.

Rhododenrons have changed their colour from bright pink to almost white. It happens every year, and makes me wonder at them every year too.

garden in May

A quick coffee after the school run at The Blue Boar, with the light refracted through the prism beads of the lantern by the window.

where to eat in Oxfordshire

On Tuesday it was Sasha's respite night. He was very eager to go, and was all smiles from the early morning. He enjoys going there. Eddie and I decided to go to Oxford after school.
We went out for dinner to Pizza Express. I haven't been in that place for about 20 years, and I wanted to show Eddie the old building. It dates back to the 12C, and is so beautiful inside. In a way, it's a pity that it's a pizza place, and not some kind of a history museum.

old buildings in Oxford

I visited John Lewis while Eddie and his father played table football, and bought myself a hat. I had a £20 voucher which I won at the Twitter party organised by BritMums about a month ago. The hat was £35, and there were two versions, with the blue and pink under the brim. I liked both, and pink is not my usual colour, but I thought it refreshed the skin tone more.

I wore it on the school run the next morning.



On Thursday Eddie's current and old schools were doing a May Dance on the Church Green. I took lots of photos and videos which I cannot post on social media.
It was a hot afternoon. Children danced traditional dances, and the little ones also performed the Baby Shark dance routine with great enthusiasm, which made everyone smile.

I also took photos of St Mary's church, with the aeroplane passing by.


Eddie wasn't feeling well after the dance, and by Friday morning he was quite poorly. I think he got a stomach bug. I emailed school, and I bet they thought we took him out of school to go on holiday, as they didn't even acknowledge my message.
Eddie was upset not to go to school, as he missed his chess club and also the carer's club party, which took part at the last hour of school. He was counting days to that party, poor thing.

Children had to bring posies to the May dance and after the performance parents were offered to buy the posies. I bought this pretty purple posie, which smells lovely.

late spring flowers

Today is a bit of a zombie day for me. Eddie had hardly slept, as he was sick through the night, and I had to change the bedding several times. Then we woke up Sasha at 5am, and after that it was no much sleeping going on in the house.
Eddie and I stayed at home today, he's slowly getting better. Hope he'll be well enough to get out of the house tomorrow.

The creamy white roses are in full bloom now. The garden smells so sweet.

garden in May


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Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

best children's fiction for 2019

"I lean in closer too, wondering what I'll see, and what's expected of me. The image starts to fade in and out, but then I see it: something darker than the shadows, crouching on the pier. Something big. It begins walking - no, creeping -towards the diner. It seems human, until...
"Is that a tail?" I gasp.
Two lamp-like orbs blink in the darkness.
"Are those eyes?"
"Then you do see it?" Lady Kraken grabs my arm. "Mr Lemon, tell me we're not dreaming!"

It's not often you start reading the book, and get hooked from the very first pages.
Malamander by Thomas Taylor grabs you by the hook (or should that be a boathook?!) and keeps you thrilled till the very end.

Herbie Lemon is the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel. He looks after the lost property, and lives in the hotel cubbyhole.
Herbie was found on the beach, in a crate of lemons, with his memory wiped out. He didn't remember his name, and was named by the hotel staff as Herbert Lemon.

One day he finds a girl scrambling through his window. She asks him to hide her. The ugly and frightening Boathook Man is after her.

Twelve years earlier baby Violet was found abandoned in the hotel, her parents vanished.
Violet hopes Herbie will be able to help her find the truth about her parents. Since he's the Lost-and-Founder, she reckons he's good at reading clues, like a detective.

And thus their adventures begin, amidst the stormy wintery atmosphere.
"When sea mist drifts up the streets like vast ghostly tentacles, and saltwater spray rattles the windows of the Grand Nautilus Hotel. Few people visit Eerie-on-Sea then. Even the locals keep off the beach when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous malamander creep."

best children's mystery books


Herbie and Violet make an awesome team. She's impulsive and foolishly brave, he's more sensible and thoughtful. Both orphaned at an early age, they have great mysteries of their backgrounds in common.
They are the perfect opposites of each other in personality
The daring duo are the most endearing protagonists, who you sort of want to adopt (if you're a grown-up).

While trying to solve the enigma of Violet's parents' disappearance, they go to the Eerie Book Dispensary (a place I'd love to visit). This is not a common book shop. Books are dispensed by a mechanical mermonkey (part-monkey, part-fish).
"A library will lend you the book you want, while a shop sells it for a price. In this place, however, it's the book that chooses you."

The book chosen by mermonkey for Violet is Malamander, a famous local legend and a tragic story of old Captain K and his battle with a sea monster.

Every step Herbie and Violet make, every clue they find, all discoveries lead them to the inevitable conclusion that the mystery of Violet's parents and Malamander's story are closely connected.

The author clearly had great fun, creating his characters. Most of them have sea-related names. There is a pompous hotel manager called Mr Mollusc. Lady Kraken is the recluse hotel owner and the grandaughter of the dreadful Captain Kraken (a nod to the famous Nordic sea monster).
The hotel receptionist is named Amber Griss (=ambergris, or a secretion of the sperm whale).
You can get the best fish and chips at the Seegol's Diner (which sounds like Seagulls).
Mrs Fossil is the eccentric and rather irresponsible beachcomber who wears three hats and who brings a calamity in one of the other character's lives unintentionally, just because she's so engrossed with her hobby.
Sebastian Eels is a local writer. As Herbie describes him, "He's an author, and a bit of a local celebrity. He's a bit full of himself, too, if you ask me".
Even Dr Thalassi has a marine name (his name is translated from Greek as the sea).

Malamander is a fabulous seaside mystery, for anyone who enjoys a mix of folklore, Gothic horror and magic.

We loved the book, and can't wait for the next installment in the series.

YA fiction, mystery and magic books for children

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes

mysteries set in manor houses


They say, Don't judge a book by its cover. As a metaphorical phrase it rings true, but when it's related to the actual books, it's often the cover that draws me like a magnet.
I appreciate the art of book covers, and for me, it's commonly the cover design which makes me pick a book in a bookshop or a library.

The cover for Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes (Illustration - Garry Walton/Design - Hannah Wood) is a stylised design, reminiscent of the 1920s art deco posters. It also makes you think of Poirot and the Jeeves and Wooster book & TV series (with the wonderful music scores).

Bright Young Dead is the 2nd installment in the Mitford Murders series. I haven't read the first one, but the second book reads perfectly well as a standalone.
I'm not obsessed with the Mitford sisters, but have read enough about them to know who is who, and how their lives progressed. The lives of six sisters have been an inspiration for many biographies and fiction books.
Jessica Fellowes' story is loosely based on the Mitford family.

The story is set in 1925, when young Pamela is turning 18. Her elder sister Nancy is throwing a costume party for Pamela - and for her it is just an excuse to invite all her London chums who are known as Bright Young Things.
The young crowd are all pretty shallow: think Bertie Wooster, only rather malicious and pretentious. They organise a treasure hunt which was en vogue at the parties of the period and which makes you ask yourself just how glib, trivial and simplistic their entertainment was. Well, they also do drugs and drink themselves silly.

Louisa Cannon works for the Mitford family in the nursery but also acts as a chaperone for the older girls (not sure how likely this is supposed to be). Louise herself is a former criminal (without reading the first book, I don't know the backstory as how she gained her current position).

While attending one of the London events with the Mitford sisters, Louise meets Dulcie Long, who works as a maid-cum-chaperone to another aristocratic family.
They bond over their unusual past. "Perhaps she had been drawn by the girl's London accent, invoking a sisterly feeling. Or it might have been the vanity of liking someone because they were the mirror image of oneself... As the two young women assisted the cook with the dinner, they exchanged the snippets of gossip and stories of their family's demands and eccentricities".
On her free evening Louisa ventures with Dulcie to the Elephant and Castle in Southwark, the pub frequented by Alice Diamond and her gang, The Forty Thieves.
Dulcie's been involved with the gang in the past but wants to leave. To do that, she needs to pay off.

Louisa seems to have a pretty good life, and is free to do things which she would have had no time or opportunity to do. I've read memoirs of maids and servants in the aristocratic families at about the same period of time, and their lives were definitely more restricted.

Knowing Dulcie's background, Louisa makes the most stupid move, by helping her friend to meet privately one of the guests in the party. Adrian Curtis is the son of Dulcie's employer.
The meeting between the two doesn't go well.

And when Adrian is found dead outside the bell tower next to the Mitford home, Asthall Manor, the police are quick to identify their culprit - Dulcie.

Louisa is shocked, but doesn't believe that Dulcie is the killer. She decides to prove Duclie's innocence.

As a parallel story unravelling in London, Sergeant Guy Sullivan and Constable Mary Moon are eager to prove their mettle and arrest the notorious Alice Diamond and her Forty Thieves.
Mary Moon is one of the first females employed in the police.

This cozy mystery set in the manor house and London fashionable as well as seedy circles captures the era where the glitz and squalor are only a step away from each other. It will appeal to the fans of historical mystery genre and those who enjoy the downstairs-upstairs antics.


cosy mystery set in a manor house

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Photo diary: week 20, project 365

One more week to go until we have a midterm break. We don't have any special plans. A couple of days by the seaside would be wonderful, but it's not going to happen. I've only just paid the remainder for our Cornish trip in summer, and gulp. I so need to win a lottery. Talking of which, I did win £100 during the previous bank holiday weekend, which was a lovely surprise. All spent already on the essentials (a new school uniform, etc) and some treats too, like books and Domino's pizza.

This week's photos are mostly taken in the garden.

I love ferns, they are such beautiful plants.


This silly thyme plant is growing right in the middle of the path, and we all walk around it. Such a rotten place to choose, amidst the flagstones.


You're never too old to hug a giant teddy bear before seeing the dentist.


As I was walking around the garden in the evening, the aeroplane was doing rounds above, not sure what it was actually doing, as it was flying away then coming back.


Just the evening before there was a beautiful big bud on the orchid. I wanted to take a photo, but the light in the kitchen is terrible, so I left it til morning. A mistake on my part, as in the morning it has greeted me all opened up.


Yellow poppies are a magnet for bees in the garden. Soon, when the lavender starts to bloom, it will be like a Michelin restaurant, packed full of bees.


I've been growing tomatoes in the greenhouse for many years. Can't say they are totally easy, as some summers I had to struggle with caterpillars, but overall they are easier to take care of than any other vegetable or fruit (that is apart, from the apple trees, as I don't do anything with them, they just grow and give fruit, bless them).



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Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Apple semolina cake

Russian cake recipes


By Monday the boiled fruit cake I baked last Friday was a distant memory. To cheer up my guys after school, I baked a simple semolina cake. I haven't baked it for over a year, if not longer, so had to buy a box of semolina (Whitworth's).

Semolina or manka (aka mannaya krupa) in all guises and disguises is a staple ingredient of many Russian dishes, from a semolina porridge for children (standard in nurseries and primary schools, and typically rather awful) to dumplings for stews and soups, from coating to cutlets to all kinds to cakes and bakes.

If you like random facts about world cuisine, you might have heard of the Guriev kasha, which is a dessert made from semolina, with layers of creamy milk skins, walnuts, vanilla, candied fruit and apricot sauce. It's named after Count Guriev, who was the Minister of finance in the early 19C.
The story tells that Guriev has first tasted this dish at some Mayor's house, loved it so much that he bought the chef (a serf) and his family. The chef's name - Zakhar Kuz'min - was forgotten, while the dessert became known as Guriev's kasha (see V.Kovalev, N.Mogil'nyi, Russkaya Kukhnya, 1990).

There are hundreds of semolina cake (or mannik) recipes on the Russian sites and food forums, each cook has their own "secret" ingredient. The recipe below is very much what we'd cook in the Soviet times (minus the apple rings).

Russian cake recipes, Russian recipes


Apple semolina cake
Ingredients:
200g semolina
200ml kefir (or milk mixed with a couple of tbsp of soured cream or Greek yogurt)
3 medium eggs
150g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
200g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
150g butter, melted
60g apple rings, chopped (or raisins, or a grated carrot)

First mix the semolina with kefir (or milk) in a mixing bowl and leave it for half an hour.
Beat in the eggs and sugar, and mix well. Add the lemon zest, sift in the flour (leaving 1tsp to dust the apple pieces), baking powder, and melted butter, mix well.
Slightly dust the chopped apple rings with flour and mix into the cake batter. It will be quite fluffy and thick.
Oil the cake tin with the oil spray of your choice. I like to use the avocado oil spray, as it has a neutral taste, but plain butter will do (that would be more authentic actually).
Scoop the cake batter into the cake tin and place the tin in the oven preheated to 180C.
Bake for 40+ minutes. Check readiness with a wooden toothpick, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.
Eat warm or cold, slightly dusted with icing sugar.
You could also do a light lemon icing drizzle over the top.

It's a tasty cake, with a fluffy, slightly grainy texture. Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.

Russian cake recipes

As mentioned above, you could add raisins instead of apples, or grate a carrot. Or leave it plain, without any fruit or veg.

Russian recipes

Russian cake recipes

This cake will keep well for a few days, if stored in a tin.

Russian cake recipes

Sunday, 12 May 2019

A Long Shadow by Caroline Kington #BlogTour + giveaway

psychological thriller


A Long Shadow by Caroline Kington is an emotionally intense, moving story of love, obsession, secrets and lies.

The narrative moves backwards and forward in time, telling stories of different characters.

1943: Susan, an unmarried pregnant girl is escaping the mother and baby hostel, afraid of losing her baby to adoption. She's determined to find her distant relatives in Bristol and keep her baby. While on the run, she meets a farmer who takes her to his remote farm, and her fate is sealed.

2001: Kate Maddicot is grieving the death of her husband and father of their two children. It was a terrible accident, but there is also a doubt in many people's minds. The Watersmeet farm has been struggling before Dan's death, the life insurance clears the debts and even leaves Kate and the family with some capital.What conclusions are there to draw? Was it really an accident, or a suicide?
"In the private opinion of everyone but those who knew him best, the news of the farm debt and of the life insurance settled the question"..
Kate refuses to believe the gossip and is set on finding out what's really happened.

The story goes back in time to 1990, to the beginning of Kate and Dan's relationship. We also have glimpses of Dan's childhood, and his relationship with two cousins - Mary and Max.

Dan is a likable protagonist, a young farmer who dedicates his life to the Watersmeet farm. His struggles to keep his farm afloat are convincing and engrossing.

This gripping novel perfectly captures the sights and smells of the rural life.

His grandmother Rose was a prolific diarist, who kept a journal every year until her death. She left a will, asking her grandson to read specific journals. Only Dan never had a chance to read them.
It would be up to Kate to discover the skeletons in the cupboard.

Susan's story is told in parallel. Her tragic life and secrets will have major repercussions on the present day's events at the farm.

Caroline Kington as a writer is an engaging, compassionate narrator. She has a great empathy for her characters, even the most difficult and unsavoury ones, creating a backstory which explains some of the characters' flaws and maliciousness.

There is also a whole lot of supporting parts, who are portrayed using the full palette - the dark and the light - from the ghastly Leaches to warm and caring Polly (Dan's mother).
Kate's family could easily be a basis for many AIBUs on Mumsnet. Her sister Emily is a spoilt brattish princess, over-indulged by her doting parents. She cannot tolerate not being the centre of attention and would do anything in her power to overshadow her sister.

The book is very sad and distressing at times, but also tender and lyrical.

books set on the farms


This review is part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Caroline Kington and Rachel's Random Resources for my copy of the book.



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Saturday, 11 May 2019

Photo diary: week 19, project 365

May is the month when I feel mildly optimistic, with the promise of the summer holidays in the not so distant future. I enjoy pottering in the garden, looking at the flowers and tending to my tomato plants in the greenhouse.

On Sunday we went grocery shopping, and also visited Costa for a quick cup of coffee and a teacake for me and a panino for Eddie. I was sipping my latte and reading a review of The Mister. It sounds as bad as I suspected. I could never finish the first book of her famous trilogy, the sex scenes were excruciatingly long and boring, and both characters were extremely annoying. I never found out what happened to the shallow couple, and am certainly not buying the latest "masterpiece". The article though was quite amusing.

funny book reviews

Looks like on Monday I only took photos of the Bonne Maman strawberry yogurt, not the most inspired shot, so here are two pics from Tuesday (neither particularly exciting, but sums up our afternoon perfectly).
Sasha stayed overnight at his respite centre, thus Eddie and I didn't have to hurry home after school. We visited the vintage shop, where Eddie loved this two-seater couch.
We didn't buy the couch, but bought a Neolithic hammer head found at Beachy Head, Sussex, for a fiver. There was a whole collection sold in bits and pieces, it looks like someone's collection, given away by the people who inherited it and don't appreciate it.


We had a pizza and film night, watching Aquaman. We usually enjoy films based on DC Comics characters, but this film was too long (2 hours and 18 minutes) and quite boring. There is Nicole Kidman, who I couldn't recognise at first, as her face looks very different. Just why do the actors and celebs do it?

films based on DC Comics

A rainy day, and another shot of the ice cream tulip which I posted last week - just to show how it has changed.


Loved this display of heirloom tomatoes in Waitrose. So much better when you can pick what you like, and not to have more plastic to deal with.


This week's bedtime reading is Malamander by Thomas Taylor. Both Eddie and I love it. It's a terrific seaside mystery, with a mix of folklore, Gothic horror and magic.


Today we're relaxing at home, doing nothing special.



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Friday, 10 May 2019

Boiled fruit and walnut cake

fruit cake recipe


The decluttering gurus like Ms Kondo would have conniptions if they happen to go with me to the charity shops. I tend to donate a bag of clothes, books or toys about once a week, but I also do a weekly charity shops crawl and always end up buying a few little things.
Just this week I bought two paperbacks for myself, a couple of books for Eddie, a little porcelain bird for 50p (made in the USSR, and I had exactly the same one as a child) and a Neolithic hammer found at Beachy Head (as you do).
Well, technically the hammer was on display in the vintage shop, along the other Neolithic finds like scrapers etc. It was clearly someone's much-cherished collection, sold in bits and pieces.
Eddie and I watched 10,000BC on DVD recently, and I bought an old edition of Rosny's Quest for Fire on eBay, so it was all fitting perfectly well, according to my reasoning.

One of my recent finds was a cook book Cakes & Slices (The Australian Women's Weekly). It was priced 20p, like all the books in that charity shop (books for kids go for 10p each). I really don't know how they make money at all.
The cake recipes in this book are all rather old-fashioned and tasty. Nothing particularly fancy, not a single grain of quinoa in or Himalayan salt in sight.

A friend of ours was coming earlier today for tea, and she is usually happy to be a guinea pig for my untested recipes.
One of the cakes I wanted to try is called Wholemeal boiled fruit and walnut cake.



I have adapted the recipe, reducing sugar in half (I find that most American and Australian cake recipes use too much sugar), and changing some of the ingredients, but the main idea is borrowed from the book.

It turned out to be tasty, but definitely not a looker, as the top had split, which often happens when the cake batter is wet.

easy fruit cake


Boiled fruit and walnut cake
Ingredients:
50g dried apricots
40g currants
70g dried apple rings
1 teabag (black tea, like Typhoo)
150g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
235g self-raising flour
65g rye & spelt flour
200g butter, melted
45g walnuts
1tsp vanilla extract
1tsp baking powder

First finely chop the apple rings and apricots. Place the currants and apricots in a pan with boiling water and 1 teabag. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped apples and cook for another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and strain the fruit using a colander or sifter. Discard the teabag. Let the fruit cool.



In a big mixing bowl beat together the sugar and eggs. Sift in the flour, baking powder, add the melted butter and mix well. Add the chopped walnuts and boiled fruit, and mix well.
Line the base of the spring cake tin with a parchment paper, and oil the sides lightly. Pour the cake batter in the tin.



Place the tin in the oven preheated to 180C. Cook for an hour and a half+ Check readiness with a wooden toothpick.
Cool in the cake tin.
Dust with icing sugar (optional).

easy fruit cake

You can use a different combination of dried fruit and nuts. My kids love apples and walnuts, and that's why I've chosen these ingredients for the cake.


It is a moist cake, fruity and not over-sweet. Judging by how much is left by now, my family (and friend) liked it.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Photo diary: week 18, project 365

We said Good bye to April and welcomed May. As the spring progresses, our garden is changing its looks. There is lots of blues and purples at the moment, with a few bright pinks. Soon the white roses will begin blooming.
I didn't do it on purpose, but this week's photos can be grouped by colour blue.

I'm not sure what this flower is called. It's more of a garden weed variety, not exactly a cornflower, as it's pretty big. Does anyone know its name?


Lilac is still looking pretty good. I love its perfume, it makes me think of home.


Eddie was chatting to me and holding onto the wood beam over the fireplace. He made me think of Atlas holding the skies.



The weekend before I've been reading Rachel Roddy's column in the Guardian Feast magazine. She mentioned the book called The fruit, herbs and vegetables of Italy, which was written in the 17C by Castelvetro, who was in exile in England.
I found it on eBay, and bought it. It's a beautiful edition, with art illustrations.


A morning walk to school: this spot always makes me think of Venice.


More blue flowers from the garden. The bluebells and forget-me-nots are spreading like fire.


Today Eddie and I did some boring grocery shopping. We tried a couple of Costas in town, but they were unusually packed full, and we didn't fancy eating outside, as it was too blustery.
No cafe for us today, but Eddie was super excited to get a rare Pokemon card when we bought an Unbroken Bonds booster pack in the book shop today.
This was our late lunch - cheese, grapes, apples, Peter's Yard cripsbreads (my absolute favourites!) and some Higgidy tomato wheels ( we thought the pastries were so-so; a bit disappointing).



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The Suspects by Katharine Johnson #BlogTour

psychological thriller


"We weren't bad people, we just made a bad choice. Or at least that's how it started."

The Suspects by Katherine Johnson is a taut, concise and deeply disquieting psychological thriller.

A group of graduates finds themselves embroiled in the immoral decision which will change their lives forever.
Five young people who'd applied for the journalism training scheme, decide to move in together.
They all have secrets from each other.

Emily, the narrator, has epilepsy, which she keeps under control, and doesn't want for the others to know about.

Stuart has a dark past of his own. During the new year's eve party he makes a drunken confession to Emily, only it's so noisy and she's so tipsy, she can hardly hear anything.

Stuart's grandfather dies and leaves him some money. It's enough for a deposit on a flat. He can't afford to buy a whole house on his own, but if he could find enough people to share, they would pay less in mortgage than they are paying in rent.

In principle it sounds sensible and tempting. In reality, Stuart, Zak, Imogen, Xanthe and Emily are not compatible as long term joint tenants/owners.
And then there's Rick, the most annoying boyfriend of Imogen.
The group dynamics is changing dramatically.

It starts with the petty things, and it doesn't take long for five personalities to clash.
But it was the party on New Year's Eve that changes everything.

"None of the stuff that came after would have happened if each of us hadn't already made some bad choices".

The novel starts with a funeral of a young woman named Xanthe. Only she is not actually Xanthe at all, her real name happens to be Charlotte.
She has been the proverbial pain in the posterior all through her life. An attention seeker, thriving on drama, she has reinvented herself and told the most incredible lies about her life (one of her preposterous claims was that her parents died in a plane crash, and her sister is a nun).
I suppose we've all met someone like that - a person who wants to be the centre of attention at any cost.

The narrative moves backwards and forward in time. Set against the backdrop of the late 1980s, the novel weaves the not so distant past with backstories of all the main protagonists, unraveling secrets and painful memories.

As the alarming tale progresses and the deceit deepens, one layer of lies by another, you're racing through the pages.

The novel is so well-written, you're completely absorbed. This psychological thriller is full to bursting with chilling twists and turns.

"We were strong at different times. One of us would be on edge and the others would have to cover for them but we were always aware that one of us could break down and bring things crashing down around us in a moment...
And yet we were bound together by what we'd done. It would always be there between us, this shared knowledge. No one would ever understand me as well as he did because they couldn't be allowed to know everything about me..."

psychological thriller 2019

About the author:
Katharine Johnson was born in Bristol and now lives in Berkshire. She's worked as a journalist on lots of magazines and has written a history book about Windsor. When not writing, you'll usually find her with a book in one hand and a coffee in the other, restoring a house in Italy, walking her spaniel or playing netball (though not usually at the same time.)

Katharine's social media links:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katharinejohnsonauthor
Twitter: @kjohnsonwrites
Instagram: @katharinejohnsonauthor
Blog: https://www.katyjohnsonblog.wordpress.com


This review is part of the blog tour. Check out the stops at the following route:


Disclosure: Many thanks to Katharine Johnson and Rachel's Rare Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour. I received a free copy of the book for the purposes of reviewing. All opinions are my own.