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The Wartime Book Club by Kate Thompson #Review

  The Wartime Book Club is a marvellous historical novel set on Jersey in World War Two. Written by Kate Thompson , it was published by Hodder $ Stoughton on February 13th. Jersey, 1943. Once a warm and neighbourly community, now German soldiers patrol the cobbled streets, imposing a harsh rule on the people of the island. Grace La Mottée, the island's only librarian, is ordered to destroy books which threaten the new regime. Instead, she hides the stories away in secret. Along with her headstrong best friend, postwoman Bea Rose, she wants to fight back. So she forms the wartime book club: a lifeline, offering fearful islanders the joy and escapism of reading. But as the occupation drags on, the women's quiet acts of bravery become more perilous - and more important - than ever before. And, when tensions turn to violence, they are forced to face the true, terrible cost of resistance . . . Based on astonishing real events, The Wartime Book Club is a love letter

Girls Who Lie by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir translated by Victoria Cribb #Review #ForbiddenIceland

What a delight to be taking part in the Orenda Books celebrations for the wonderful Icelandic writer, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir. I thoroughly enjoyed her debut, The Creak on the Stairs, and you can read my review here. The second in her Forbidden Iceland series, Girls Who Lie,  was published on May 22nd.

 I also have a great giveaway for you to enter and the chance to win a print copy of Girls Who Lie. Details are at the foot of this post.    

When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, everyone assumes that she’s taken her own life … until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to a shocking tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the number of suspects grows and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…

Breathtakingly chilling and tantalisingly twisty, Girls Who Lie is at once a startling, tense psychological thriller and a sophisticated police procedural, marking Eva Björg Ægisdottir as one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts

This is such skilful writing. You are taken back and forward through time and very slowly realise certain truths about the characters. You are also kept guessing for most of the story and realise eventually that you have made certain assumptions which have turned out to be wrong. In that way, you are right alongside Elma as she tries to unravel the mystery. There are certainly twists and turns in this story and you find that your sympathies alter as you learn more about the characters.

    Secrets from the past and long buried scandals emerge into the daylight. Families seem dysfunctional but you are shown how some behaviours are rooted in the past. Childhoods seem blighted as lack of affection leaves them so vulnerable. However, as Marianna's story evolves, I found that my sympathy towards her grew. The bleak Icelandic setting is always present and adds to the mystery. This is thought provoking crime writing with some difficult social issues and surprising characterisation.

In short: secrets from the past resurface


About the Author

Born in Akranes in 1988, Eva Björg Ægisdóttir studied for an MSc in Globalisation in Norway before returning to Iceland and deciding to write a novel – something she had wanted to do since she won a short-story competition at the age of fifteen. After nine months combining her writing with work as a stewardess and caring for her children, Eva finished The Creak on the Stairs. It was published in
2018, and became a bestseller in Iceland. It also went on to win the Blackbird Award, a prize set up by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Ragnar Jónasson to encourage new Icelandic crime writers. It was published in English by Orenda Books in 2020. Eva lives in Reykjavík with her husband and three children and is currently working on the third book in the Forbidden Iceland series.

You can follow Eva here:  Twitter

Book link: Amazon UK

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

Check out these brilliant bloggers!
Giveaway (UK only)

To win a print copy of Girls Who Lie, just Follow and Retweet the pinned Tweet at @bookslifethings and good luck!

  Closing date is July 21st 2021 and there is one winner.

*Terms and Conditions –UK only.  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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