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The Fascination by Essie Fox #Review #Giveaway

   Today be prepared for a dark, Victorian gothic novel! The Fascination by Essie Fox is published on June 22nd by Orenda . For the chance to win a print copy of The Fascination see the foot of this post for details. Victorian England. A world of rural fairgrounds and glamorous London theatres. A world of dark secrets and deadly obsessions… Twin sisters Keziah and Tilly Lovell are identical in every way, except that Tilly hasn't grown a single inch since she was five. Coerced into promoting their father's quack elixir as they tour the country fairgrounds, at the age of fifteen the girls are sold to a mysterious Italian known as ‘Captain’. Theo is an orphan, raised by his grandfather, Lord Seabrook, a man who has a dark interest in anatomical freaks and other curiosities … particularly the human kind. Resenting his grandson for his mother’s death in childbirth, when Seabrook remarries and a new heir is produced, Theo is forced to leave home without a penny to his

Violet by SJI Holliday #Review #Giveaway

Today's featured novel is a taut psychological thriller from SJI Holliday, Violet. You can read my review of her previous novel, the chilling, The Lingering, here. I am also delighted to be able to offer you the chance to win a paperback copy of Violet. Details on how to enter the Giveaway are at the foot of this post (International). 
When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense relationship develops, one that can only have one ending…

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone. 

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.
Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

                                                                                     My Thoughts

Violet is one of those novels that keeps you on the edge of your seat. You can't settle down into it because so many elements of it are unsettling and unpredictable. For a start, you never know who can be taken at face value. There are several unreliable characters . The settings are transient and peopled by many who are blatantly on the wrong side of the law and on the edges of society. You realise early on that the faces which are being presented hide some darker truths. People's recollections and understanding are confused and fragmented because of the filter of drugs and drink.

    This is a well- paced novel which twists and turns and keeps the suspense building. You feel that the characters are adrift from their roots and journeying through countries which are totally unlike the stability of  home. The story is kept on a knife edge. I liked the way that social media is woven into the story to show how people can manipulate the image they present. 'Friends' can be anything but. There is a toxicity which runs throughout and the coldness behind certain actions is chilling in its cruelty. Highly recommended.

In short: Deception writ large.  

                                                                              About the Author

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in. 

You can follow Susi here: Website   |  Twitter   |  Facebook 
                                        |  Instagram 

Book links: Amazon UK   |  Orenda Books

Thanks to SJI Holliday, and Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.

                                 Be sure to check out these brilliant bloggers!
 Giveaway (International)


To win a paperback copy of Violet, Follow and Retweet the pinned tweet at @bookslifethings

Closing Date 24th November 2019 and there is one winner. 

*Terms and Conditions –International.  The winner will be selected at random via Tweetdraw from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.



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