Searching for Summer by Christine Campbell

Summer

Searching for Summer confounded all my preconceived ideas of what a book about a missing teenager would be like. Of course there is despair and self-blame, but Summer’s mother Mirabelle is such a large, intense personality that I was instantly involved with her search around the streets of Edinburgh, longing to find Summer and fully understanding Mirabelle’s obsession with discovering what had happened.

 

“The loneliness of loss was seeping into her with the light drizzle that fell.
“Summer!” she howled to the almost empty, darkened streets fanning out from the roundabout.”

 

Interwoven with the search for Summer are Mirabelle’s memories of the way her Jamaican father had also disappeared when she was a small child, leaving behind his clothes and brand new shoes. Her dysfunctional mother had not provided Mirabelle with a role model so perhaps it is not surprising that she felt so inadequate as a mother to her capable daughter, Summer. But she has friends to help her, including Detective Inspector Sam Burns, with whom she has recently rekindled a relationship, and her supportive younger sister Yvonne.

 

As time goes by, hope of finding Summer fades and yet there are clues which she clings on to, even if they involve petty criminal Dermot, who pushes drugs and acts as a pimp. Mirabelle refuses to look after her own health but she begins to help others who have also lost children in the Edinburgh area. Will there be a happy ending? Will Mirabelle pick up her life again and give Sam a chance? One thing is certain, I shall be reading the continuing story in Traces of Read, the second book in The Reluctant Detective series.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

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What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

Jennifer

Jennifer is the kind of woman you would want as your friend. You could share your troubles and your joys with her and she would keep your secrets. A mother and grandmother, she works part time in a school, giving dance therapy lessons to special needs children and lives with her slightly grumpy, but loving husband, Gerald, who is a well-known sculptor.

But she has a dilemma; while supporting her friends with their relationship problems she discovers a secret which she ought to reveal but she prevaricates, putting off the awful day because she knows there cannot be a good ending.

And it is relationships which this book is all about. We learn of an important partnership in Jennifer’s past and she is trying to deal with a lack of communication with her daughter. Her young friend, Freya is a vulnerable, needy girl who experiences problems with personal relationships, be it boyfriend or sister. Jennifer’s other friend Abi, seems much more in control. A successful head teacher, she juggles work and social commitments quite well, until her lover moves in. And there is the pivotal male protagonist; a shadowy, complicated individual whose motives are difficult to understand but whose problems must stem from his unloved childhood.

What Jennifer Knows appears at first to be a simple story of village life but as Wendy Janes reveals the layers of complex relationships, conflict and regret it becomes a much deeper story and the outcome for the characters we have come to know, matter a great deal.

At times I was losing patience with Jennifer’s reticence. She is obviously a talented, empathetic woman but she is reluctant to rock the boat. However, in the clever twist at the end of the story she finally chooses to face a problem head-on and takes decisive action.

This is an ideal novel for a book club as there are so many moral issues to discuss. I also found the references to the three schools very interesting as they reflected issues I have also experienced. This is definitely a thought provoking novel.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

#Authors to Follow

Since I took a more active part on Twitter in 2013 and more especially after I joined Rosie Amber’s Book Review team in 2014 I have discovered several tremendously rewarding authors, almost all Indie writers.  You have probably already read their books, but just in case you haven’t yet discovered them:-

Jan Ruth  Jan Ruth

Jan Ruth lives in Snowdonia, North Wales, UK.

This ancient, romantic landscape is a perfect setting for Jan’s fiction, or simply day-dreaming in the heather. Jan writes contemporary stories about people, with a good smattering of humour, drama, dogs and horses.

 

Jan’s realistic characters and emotionally charged storylines are difficult to put down so I’m tempted to buy the following collection as a present for someone (probably me!)

Home 4 Xmas

Terry Tyler

TT

Terry lives in the north of England with her husband, and has published eleven books on Amazon. Readers say she has created her own genre, which lies somewhere in the area of contemporary drama and romantic suspense, with the occasional bit of rock fiction and mystery thrown in.

“I usually write contemporary fiction, mostly of interest to women, but many men have read them too; “Dream On” has had more reviews from men than from women. I write about the issues that concern so many today; divorce, infidelity, addiction, obsession with celebrity, stalking, meeting people via social networking sites.”

Dream

Recently Terry has used the Tudor and Plantagenet families for the structure of her stories although they are set in modern times.

Readers are now looking forward to reading the follow up to House of York.

Carol Hedges  

Carol

Carol Hedges writes Victorian crime fiction in her own inimitable style. You are transported into the life of Victorian London, be it middle class parlour or the murky streets by the Thames, peopled with larger than life characters whose exploits you have to follow.

I have devoured all three of these volumes and I’m now eager to read the fourth tale of Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully.  In the meantime, I’m tempted to try her very different YA book, Jigsaw Pieces.

Jigsaw

Jenny Lloyd

Jenny

Jenny Lloyd is the indie author of “Leap the Wild Water,” a novel set in early 19th century Wales.  A tale of treachery, betrayal, family secrets, and moral dilemmas, “Leap the Wild Water” is set amid the brooding, mountainous landscapes of 19th century, rural Wales. It is a story about the conflict between a brother and sister struggling to survive in a community where, if you are a woman, to err is unforgivable and the freedom to carve a life of one’s own seems an impossible dream.

“If you visit Wales, I’m that crazy Welsh woman seen wandering about the Welsh mountains in all weathers with a notebook in hand. The landscape here is little changed from the era in which I like to write and it features in my writing.  The inspirations for my writing come from the real life struggles of rural people, especially women, in the 19th century, and events in my own family’s history. The themes I write about include the pressures which drive people to act against their consciences; what it really means to be free; and how fear and prejudice destroy man’s humanity.”

leap_the_wild_water_cover_for_kindle1       Raven

Both these powerful novels are well worth reading.

I shall write about some of the other authors I have discovered in the last 18 months, soon.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Scotch

My present bedtime read is Scotch on the Rocks by Lizzie Lamb, a contemporary romance set on an island in the Highlands of Scotland.  The story moves from humorous escapades such as:-

Lindy exploded through the back door with her silk gerbera looking slightly the worse for wear, her expression that of an angry wasp.  “Issy, I didn’t realise that I had your Da strapped into the back seat of the Mini until we were half way across the causeway,”  She carried the urn containing James Stuart’s ashes at arm’s length and deposited it on the kitchen table.”

to moments of passion:-

How would it feel, she wondered, to lie naked in his arms, ranged against his long, tanned limbs – tangled in the sheets after making love?

Tomorrow you can read my review of Scotch on the Rocks.