I very much enjoyed a previous book by Chapeltown Books, From Light to Dark and Back Again by Allison Symes is a reviewed here: https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/03/22/from-light-to-dark-and-back-again-by-allison-symes/ . So, I was thrilled to receive another book from this publisher in exchange for an honest review. I always give honest reviews.
Potpourri by Anusha VR is a delicious mixture of short stories, flash fiction and poems. The quality of the works is very high. The stories are clever, the flash fiction interesting and the poetry neatly constructed. There is no doubt Anusha VR is a writer with talent.
Initially, I really enjoyed the entries in this book. The stories are well put together and the twists nicely fore-shadowed. The themes covered are different and the author takes interesting angles and views.
My problem, I think, is that I read the book in two sittings over a couple of days, rather than dipping in and out of the book at leisure. Had I done this, I believe this review would have been unremittingly favourable. However, I didn’t do that, I read it all at once.
As a result of that, I was struck by the negativity throughout the book. Too many of the works cover dark themes, unprepossessing characters and misery. Examples of these include: Mrs Maurier’s Garden, A Perfect Family, Muffled Voices and Escaping the Limbo. There are entries that made me smile, including Rainbow in the Abyss and Proud, but there were too few smiles.
There are too few flowers in Potpourri. The author writes well but this book left me feeling troubled and uncomfortable.
I do not read a great many ghost stories, alhtough I did read and enjoy Kindred Spirits: The Royal Mile by Jennifer C. Wilson at the end of last year and that is reviewed here, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2017/08/30/kindred-spirits-the-royal-mile-by-jennifer-c-wilson/ .
I read The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, because it was book of the month in my book group. Susan Hill is an English author who was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England on 5 February, 1942. Her hometown was later referred to in her novel A Change for the Better in 1969 and some short stories especially Cockles and Mussels. The Woman in Black was first published in 1983.
It is the story of a lawyer, Arthur Kipps, who, recalls an experience he had as a young man, when he was sent out from his office in London to attend to the estate of a deceased client, Mrs Alice Drablow. Kipps goes to Crythin Gifford to attend the client’s funeral and to sort through her papers before returning to London.
Kipps first sees the woman in black at the funeral but does not have a chance to speak to her. After the funeral he travels to the house that belonged to the late Mrs Drabble, Eel Marsh House, and there he sees the mysterious woman again. He also hears strange sounds through the fog on the marsh.
Notwithstanding his spooky experiences, Kipps resolves to spend the night at the house to enable him to fulfil his professional duties. During the night at Eel Marsh House Kipps experiences great horrors.
Later, Kipps discovers the reasons behind the strange goings on at Eel Marsh House. So he seizes the moment and marries his love Stella. Their union is blessed with a son. The book ends with the woman in black exacting a final, terrible revenge.
The story is neatly told starting in the present, with the main part of the tale being told in flash back and the end of the novel returning to the present day. I was surprised how much I enjoyed The Woman in Black. If you enjoy ghost stories, I highly recommend this book.
I have always enjoyed books by Sharon Bolton that I have read including Awakening that is reviewed on this site: https://bookreviewstoday.info/2015/05/11/awakening-by-s-j-bolton/ and so, when I saw Daisy in Chains in my local library, I picked it up. I am glad I did! What a clever story.
Daisy in Chains is about a serial killer, Hamish Wolfe, who has been locked up for the rest of his life for the abduction and murder of three young women. Despite this, he has a fan club of women and he gets countless adoring letters every day. Hamish is handsome, charismatic and very persuasive. His admirers are convinced of his innocence, and that he is the man of their dreams.
Hamish wants Maggie Rose to be his lawyer: he wants her to represent him at his appeal and secure his release. Maggie Rose is eclusive and enigmatic. She is a successful lawyer and also a bestselling true-crime writer and she only takes on cases that she can win..
Maggie Rose is different. She believes she is immune to the charms of Hamish and men like him. The novel Daisy in Chains tells their story.
I do not like spoilers in reviews, so I will not include one. Suffice to say, I read a lot of thrillers and did not spot the twist in this story until near the very end. Daisy in Chains is a highly accomplished novel and I recommend it.