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Far from Home by T A Williams #Review #BeneathItalianSkiesBook3

  As ever, I am delighted to feature another romance by T A Williams , set in beautiful Italy. Far from Home was published by Canelo on May 9th. The secrets of the past will unlock her future… Working in the fast-paced foreign exchange market in Canary Wharf, Amy never expected her job to drive her to collapse. With her doctor advising she take a month off work, when Amy receives a solicitor’s letter informing her of a surprise inheritance in Italy, the timing couldn’t be more perfect. But who on earth has left her a house in the sleepy Tuscan hills? As she gets to know the town and its inhabitants, Amy discovers more about the mysterious man who named her in his will. Shocking family secrets come to light, leaving Amy questioning the life she knew. The town of Sant’Antonio holds more than just secrets. Here, Amy meets Adam, a renowned TV journalist whose documentaries take him to dangerous places. But as their attraction grows, so do Amy’s worries. Her life is in England,

Half Moon Bay by Alice LaPlante **Blog Tour Extract**

Today, I have the chance to let you read an extract from Alice LaPlante's latest crime novel, Half Moon Bay. I was going to write that I hope you enjoy it, but having read the extract, I'll amend that to say that I hope that you are intrigued enough to want to read the entire story. 

Here's what the publishers at Titan Books have to say: 

She thought she could run from her past...

A smart, haunting tale of psychological suspense from the New York Times bestselling author of Turn of Mind. In Half Moon Bay LaPlante plays with form and structure to perfectly captures her protagonist’s grief and fragile state of mind to create a deftly written and intricately plotted thriller that you won’t want to miss this autumn.  


Jane O’Malley loses everything when her teenage daughter is killed in a senseless accident. Devastated, she moves from San Francisco to the tiny seaside town of Half Moon Bay. As the months go by she finds some peace, then children begin to disappear, and Jane wonders if she will be able to live through the aching loss, the fear once again surrounding her, until fingers of suspicion all begin to point at her.


They find little Heidi McCready eight days after she disappeared. Her body discovered by the side of Route 1 just south of Montara, in a field of late-blooming tiger stripes (Coreopsis tinctoria).

She had been carefully, even lovingly, wrapped in a woven Indian-style blanket, the kind they sell at the San Gregorio Store and a thousand other places in the Bay Area. Nothing unique about it. Her black hair had been combed and tied back with a pink ribbon. Most disturbingly, her eyes were open, and she had been made up expertly with foundation, rouge, and lipstick, nothing excessive, but enough to make her appear still alive and blooming to the teenagers who’d found her. According to the Moon News, they’d tramped through the field on their way to a grove of Monterey pines that was a popular high school party site and literally stumbled across her, a small figure lying flat, peacefully contemplating the night sky. 


What? Why? Who? There are nothing but questions. The town is horror-struck. But Jane welcomes a sort of equilibrium: for once, the atmosphere in the external world mirrors her internal darkness. The weather cooperates, serving up wind and fog and pelting rain that feels like tiny bullets to the face. For the first time in more than a year, Jane feels human again, connected to others of her species by a common grief. 


The loss goes forward as well as back. The loss of what would have been in addition to mourning what was lost. Today Angela would have been seventeen. She would have started her senior year in high school, would have been applying to college. Jane is looking ahead at grim milestones of this kind for decades. By now, Angela would be graduating from college. By now, advancing in her career. What would she have done? Jane would have bet on a scientist. Angela, underneath her teenage rebellion and emotionalism, possessed a fact-centric personality. Jane would never have dared to make an argument without backing it up with numbers. A data-driven girl. 

  • The average teenage hours per day spent goofing off: 5.81. (See! I’m not weird!) 

  • The most valued or essential relationship for high school students: their mother (47 percent). (Angela hated that one.) 

  • Percentage of high schoolers who have had sex: 41.2 percent. (So there.) 

  • Twenty-nine percent of teens have posted mean info, embarrassing photos, or spread rumors about someone on Facebook. (That doesn’t make me feel any better.)
Not that any of this helped much in the combative teenage years. But it held out hope for the future. A future that didn’t exist anymore. 


The Moon News says the police are not releasing the cause of death, but the buzz at Three Sisters, always on the money, is that there weren’t any apparent wounds or injuries. Nothing that marred Heidi’s appearance, as 
unprepossessing in death as it had been in life.

That poor kid, says Helen to Jane quietly the morning the news broke. That poor poor family. Already, a shrine has appeared, a large one, with a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe and hundreds of bouquets of flowers strewn at her feet alongside Route 1 near the field where little Heidi was found. Half Moon Bay has never experienced a child abduction, much less a child murder, in anyone’s living memory. 

Jane is conflicted. She should be ashamed to feel joy in someone else’s misfortune, yet the inevitable schadenfreude has raised its ugly head. I told you so. The madnesses descend, one by one. Jane takes out her spreadsheet, and with shaking fingers, types 10s in all the cells. She calls her shrink for an unsatisfactory session of hand-holding. But the madnesses have taken over her world. 


Naturally the teenagers who found Heidi documented the scene with their cell phones; that’s what this generation does. They order a meal, they take a photo and post it. They find a dead body, they do the same. The police tried to clamp down on the distribution of the crime scene photos, but it was too late. Jane sees the phones being taken out at the Three Sisters, studied, handed around, but manages to decline with a semblance of sanity when someone offers to show her what’s on one of them. She’s seen it all already. 

Jane held her own child like that, just so. What remained of Angela had also been carefully wrapped in a blanket. We’ll leave you alone, then, said the doctor, and she and the nurses exited the room. Jane’s daughter’s upper torso was intact but cold. She had inherited Jane’s bright red hair from some long-ago Irish ancestor. Her eyes so black you could barely see the irises. Yes, they were open too, Jane could see herself reflected in their dark depths. A modern Pietà. Jane did not look any place but Angela’s face, miraculously unscathed. The doctors had been considerate. What was left of the lower body had been tightly wrapped in hospital linens. Jane remembers swaddling Angela as a colicky infant, wrapping the soft cotton blanket tightly around the small, furious, kicking red body. Jane knows she should be in sympathy with Heidi’s parents, but she isn’t. She has more in common with the murderers. She’s killed, and then held the victim of her deed in her arms. Somehow Jane knew this had been the case with little Heidi as well. She had been loved to death.

                                                                             About the Author

Alice LaPlante is an award-winning journalist whose bestselling books include Half Moon Bay, A Circle of Wives, Method and Madness—The Making of a Story, and the New York Times bestseller Turn of Mind. She taught creative writing at Stanford University where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and was in the MFA program at San Francisco State University. She lives with her family in Mallorca, Spain. 

You can follow Alice here: Website  |  Twitter 

Book link: Amazon UK

Thanks to Alice LaPlante and Philippa Ward of Titan Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

Follow the rest of the tour!


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