Tag: Romance

Rosie and Ruby by Patricia Dixon

five_stars

Rosie and Ruby was first published under the title Three Mothers, (Trois Meres) and was Patricia Dixon’s second novel. Her writing and storytelling in this book is flowing and confident, not afraid to tell it how it is.

Patricia Dixon - Rosie and Ruby_cover
Briefly, this is the story of cousins Rosie and Ruby, starting with their childhood and teenage years living in Manchester with their parents. Both have equally awful mothers in different ways, and both girls, and later young women, come to terms with and overcome the mental scars that haunt them for years. Rosie follows her dream of being a hotelier and ends up in France, while Ruby marries her wealthy whirlwind heart throb who turns out to be a violent and vicious monster. I don’t want to give the whole story away so won’t go any further with that.

There were tense and, at times, quite viciously nasty parts in this book and I can see that a more sinister genre was waiting to escape – Over My Shoulder by the same author.

Patricia Dixon writes fluidly and interestingly and never leaves any loose ends. When a new character comes on the scene she gives a concise and engrossing outline of who they are and what sort of personality they have.

Whose books are hers similar to? Well, the Manchester element reminded me of Mandasue Heller but her warmth and friendship within the story is much like Patricia Scanlan or Maeve Binchy – lovely fulfilling stories. I have read all Patricia’s books and the warmth, emotions and characters never fail to give me a fuzzy loved feeling.

 

TrishandOwen

 

 

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They Don’t Know by Patricia Dixon

4 and half 1

 

I’ve read all of Patricia Dixon’s books and I’m struck each time by the warmth of her writing. She oozes love and care for the characters she’s created, and in turn they give friendship and reality to the story.

They Don't Know

There is a short prologue which relates to a time near the end of the book. We then start chapter one with Daisy, who lives in France with her parents, leaving the family home to go to university in Manchester, England. She’s an astute girl but is also shy and very nervous about the whole university process and getting accommodation. During the wait in the long queue she meets Adam, who is also a little nervous, but after a few minutes of small talk they hit it off and it’s obvious they will become good friends.

There is also a little back story of Adam and his brother Ryan which fills in their personalities and why each are like they are – quite different but both troubled. Once all three meet up, they become a solid force to be reckoned with, nothing will ever break them.

Adam is a good looking lad, and when Fliss can’t get him to be her boyfriend, talk about him being gay is spread around. Adam is hurt about the false and personal allegations and confides in Daisy his true feelings and unusual sexual orientation.

This is a very moving book; there is love, emotion and deep friendship as well as a dreadful tragedy which rocks them to the core. The character description is exquisite, you can picture what each of them look like. They feel so real and have definite individual identities. This is a love story with a difference, and I adored the references to songs, especially Kirsty MacColl’s They Don’t Know.

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Anna by Amanda Prowse

4 and half 1

Anna is the first of two books making up a whole love story, Theo being the second. Having only read Anna (for the moment) I would say that this is a complete stand-alone story in itself, there is no ‘cliffhanger’ and you don’t need to read the two together, but reading Theo might make you change your mind about the balance of their relationship.

Anna by Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse has a natural and easy to read style of writing, is a master at crafting relationships and interactions within family life, and I therefore found Anna a delight to devour. This is quite an unusual concept to have two books written about the two protagonists of the one love story. I can only think of one other book I’ve read in which half the book was written in the viewpoint of the female and flip the book over to read the same story from the viewpoint of the male, so depending on which order you read them, you may have differing views of the main story.

Anna’s story is set over three decades so we get snippets of Anna as a child with her mother, during and after tragic circumstances leaving her in a children’s care home, her working life and her time with Theo. Anna is a lovely well balanced and grounded character despite sad circumstances surrounding her upbringing. She is a character you can like and warm to, she feels like your friend. I love the way Amanda Prowse has given her weaknesses as well as strengths, which brings Anna to life in a very real way. She has a great little coping mechanism for when things get too much for her or if feelings of anxiety are becoming overwhelming, The Alphabet Game, in which she goes through the alphabet listing things around her or how she is feeling to give herself thinking and breathing time – not a bad one to use in our everyday life.

There are some interesting characters to meet along the way – Jordan was the best thing that came out of the disaster of living with her aunt and uncle, and angry Shania becomes one of Anna’s best friends.

I was so pleased when Anna and Theo first met, I’d been anticipating the moment from the very beginning, and felt that they gave off good natural vibes for a long term relationship. It’s not a smooth ride though, and I will definitely be reading Theo to understand his life and hang-ups and hopefully see that they do eventually get a happy ending.

Anna & Theo

Amanda Prowse

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The Man I Thought You Were by Leah Mercer

Four Hearts 1

Oh, what an emotional roller-coaster.

The Man I Thought You Were 1

Anna and Mark have the perfect marriage filled with love, thoughtfulness and care for each other. One evening as Anna is busy preparing a meal awaiting the return of Mark from his work at the bank, Mark walks in straight faced saying he needs to talk. Within minutes he’s walked back out of the door having told Anna that he’s leaving her. Struck totally dumb, Anna believes he will be back in an our or two, then be back for the weekend and, when he still doesn’t return, he’ll be back before work on Monday – he’s left the car, his clothes and mobile phone, so he’s bound to be back.

As the days turn into weeks, Anna seeks the help from her sister, Sophie, and Mark’s father in trying to trace him.

The book is written with ‘Anna’ and ‘Mark’ chapters, so we get each character’s perspective and view of what’s happening and how each are coping emotionally.  I don’t want to give too much away about the story and Mark’s reasons for leaving Anna, but what I initially thought started out a bit chic-litty with the wonderful marriage and an affair thrown in, was completely wrong. This is a very grown up story of sadness and grief, and my heart skipped beats at crucial moments and I’m not ashamed to say I shed a tear through the penultimate chapter.

Leah Mercer

 

 

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Tess Bloom (Chemical Attraction Series) by Holly Hudson

3-and-half-star

This is a very delightful story of Tess Bloom, a perfumerer, living in Paris with her daughter, Natasha.

Tess Bloom

Unfortunately, Tess has lost her sense of smell and is finding it increasingly difficult, almost impossible, to stay on top of her job. The bills are piling up and then there is a phone call telling her that her mother has died back home in Ohio. From here, Tess and her daughter go back to Ohio for the funeral and to sort the house ready for selling and each have adventures which were totally unexpected.

Tess Bloom is a likeable character and the story is well plotted and interesting with a splash of humour here and there.  There is an element of predictability but the story telling is so flowing and charming that it really doesn’t matter – the journey to the end is a pleasure.  It could do with a bit of proofreading (I had a private giggle at Tess laying prostate on the floor when I’m sure she would have been prostrate) and if you can ignore the little errors, there is a really great story here.

 

The One by John Marrs

Four-and-a-Half-Hearts

 

This book seems to be a re-naming of A Thousand Small Explosions by the same author, so if you’ve read that one, this is not a new book.

This is a fabulous read, I couldn’t put it down. Just imagine that a gene had been discovered which tells who your perfect life partner is, The One who is for you. You may be perfectly compatible with others but to get The One is a match made in heaven, gives off a thousand small explosions.

The One

We start with fairly short chapters introducing six random subscribers to Match Your DNA, an international company matching your DNA with one other somewhere in the world.  We very quickly learn a little about the lives and ‘getting together’ of Mandy, Christopher, Jade, Amy, Ellie and Nick.  Most have taken the test and are with their perfect partner and others are curious to see who their perfect partner is even if they are with someone at the moment. 

Each of the characters’ lives are interesting and different, Christopher, for example, is a serial killer and we follow him through his murders and also his love life, while Ellie, who set up Match Your DNA, is scared of anyone getting too close because they may only want her for her billion pound fortune.

The premise of the story is quite thought provoking in many ways – if you’re happy and in love with one person would you jeopardise that love for a perfect match? Would you cheat on your perfect match in the likelihood they will take you back because your love is so deep? The chapters of each character are fairly short so there isn’t a moment of getting fed up with one or another character, and each are lovely and easy to fall back into. For a book about love and finding happiness there’s also a lot of sorrow and pathos. Some perfect matches are dying or seriously ill, but John Marrs has a wonderful compassionate way of writing so that even the sad parts are engaging and thought provoking.

This is the first book I’ve read of John Marrs and was so impressed that I have just purchased another of his books. He has a good fluid way of writing and I would have thought that this book has a degree of enjoyment for everyone.

John Marrs

 

 

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