Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Book Review: Who We Were by B.M Carroll

I have just finished reading Who We Were by B.M Carroll and thought it was excellent!
It really had me turning the pages and I read it in a couple of days as I simply had to know how it was going to end. It's a great book, I highly recommend!

The story centers around a group of men and women in their late 30's who all attended the same secondary school.
Katy, who used to be the shy and kind type, is organising a twenty-year school reunion for the past students, and the group of friends (and enemies) are planning on getting together at a venue in Sydney. 
For Katy, it is an opportunity to show the others that she is now a confident and capable woman.
As the story unfolds, we are introduced to the group chapter by chapter, and gain an in-depth understanding of who they are now, and as the book title suggests, who they were back then in their teenage years.
Annabel was once the most popular girl in school but found that changed after a fall from grace; she is now mother to three children and married to her high school sweetheart, Jarrod.
Grace is mother of four young children and has remained friends with Annabel after all this time.
Zach was once Mr Popular and known to make fun of others, but now claims to be a changed man with a family of his own, and helps others for a living.
Melissa has always been the high achiever, and her determination has made her a success, but her love life isn't all it appears to be.
And Robbie, who was always the victim of classroom jeers.

As the reunion date nears, Katy puts together an updated version of the high school year book, showing off their current-day lives as a bit of fun before they all get together.

But they begin to receive anonymous threats bearing some of their deepest and darkest secrets, and nobody knows who or where the threats are coming from. 
It is difficult to say more without spoiling it for others, but I really enjoyed this fast-paced, thrilling and mysterious novel.
I did find the ending was a little underwhelming but still very entertaining.
I think the author has done an amazing job telling the story from 7 different character's perspectives. 

Who We Were is available from 28th April 2020 through Viper Books, and has an RRP of $29.99

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Book Review: The Viennese Girl by Jenny Lecoat

Firstly, I hope that you are all doing well in these uncertain and challenging times.
It hasn't been easy but I am hoping that it won't be too long before things return to the way they once were. I have been busy helping my three daughters with their distance education, but I have tried to make sure that I make a little bit of time for myself each day to read, even if it is just a few pages here and there.

I have just finished reading The Viennese Girl by Jenny Lecoat, which is released today through Allen & Unwin.
It is based on the true story of a woman named Hedy Bercu.
The story begins with Hedy, who is of Jewish background and originally from Vienna, fleeing to what she believes to be the safety and isolation of Jersey in order to escape the Nazis in 1940.
She only has one friend in Jersey, a young man named Anton.
All of Hedy's family were left behind and she is unsure if they escaped or are still alive.
As the story progresses in time, Anton begins dating a young woman named Dorothea. Anton and Dorothea quickly fall in love and marry, however, Anton is forced to join the army and leave a heartbroken Dorothea behind.
Although Hedy has initial reservations about Dorothea, it isn't long before the two become firm friends.

Meanwhile, as desperate times call for desperate measures, Hedy hides her racial status and takes a job that is run by German authorities. It is there that she meets German lieutenant Kurt Neumann and the two soon fall for each other. But they both know that their relationship is a dangerous one, and the consequences of being caught together are a matter of life and death.
It is a risk that they are both prepared to take, but at what cost?

This was a quick and easy read, with a beautiful message of hope and love intertwined. Both Hedy and Dorothea were admirable, strong, brave and determined female characters, and this was captured beautifully by author Jenny Lecoat, who was born in Jersey herself.

The Viennese Girl is available through Allen & Unwin, RRP $29.99.