The Woman in the Mirror
Author: Rebecca James
Published: March 17, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.
In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.
In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.
This was my pick for my neighborhood book club. I was pretty pleased with it. But this is one of those books that I enjoyed, but then dislike it the more I think about it. I got very engaged in the story and it had some creepy elements and I got through it quickly and easily. It kept me guessing and I’ll admit that I didn’t see the end coming. But the characters weakened as the story progressed.
Watching Alice throw herself at the Captain is cringey and caused me to like her less. Rachel is just an idiot. Typical girl who can’t decide what she wants and she strings two men along even though the choice is pretty obvious to the rest of us but you’re too dumb to see it and then complain when the guys act like you tell them to. The twins are just nasty children. I also wish more info was given on the original woman and her story had been more thoroughly wrapped up.
Thankfully, the horror factor saved this book for me. That mirror … I want that mirror in my house! There were a couple places where the goosebumps were raised and I had to pause my reading to chill out some. I feel bad because I liked it while I was reading, but while considering it later, it just misses the mark. I am glad I read it and I am liking that it’s sticking in my head like it is … it just has some flaws.
Out Behind the Barn
Published: September 27, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
The boys crept to the window and watched as Miss Maggie carried the long bundle into the barn, the weight of it stooping her aging back. Rafter lights spilled from the barn doors and Davey saw an arm fall from the canvas-wrapped parcel. He smiled.
“She got someone!”
Both children grinned and settled in their beds, eyes fixed to the ceiling.
This was family growth.
Chad Lutzke is easily becoming a favorite indie horror author! This book sounded interesting, so I got it and read it. It falls into the criminal psychology category with a little paranormal stuck in. I really liked it all the way until the end. The end felt too abrupt to me. I wanted more info on Miss Maggie and her background. I also wanted to see Maggie’s reaction . . . which I can’t talk more about because I don’t want to spoil. The boys are innocent and seeing everything through their eyes gives extra emotion to the story. Not knowing what’s going on makes it all the more interesting. Overall, another good one from Chad! I can’t wait to read more of his stuff!
Author: B.A. Paris
Published: June 30, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 31- September 10, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie.
But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her?
Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision.
This one definitely receives 4 Frustrating Stars: But this is in a good way!
Oh my word, this one is a departure from Paris’ other novels, as this one is not a thriller/ mystery but more of a domestic drama. This novel deals with family dynamics/ history, consequences of past actions, communication (or I should say a lack of), love, grief, and good intentions that may not have the desired effect.
It is Livia’s big 40 and she is going to have the biggest party ever, especially since she never got the huge wedding she really wanted. She has planned this since her early 20s. But she is keeping a secret from her husband Adam, and likewise he is keeping a new secret from her. In the long run, yes, Livia’s secret has big consequences, but Adam wins this ‘competition of secrets’ hands down.
This novel is a longer one that takes place just over a 24 hour period and we have both Livia and Adam as the narrators in dueling perspectives. The novel does become a bit weary; it is very repetitive as both narrators are constantly focused on the secret they are keeping from each other. I was more involved with Adam’s secret than Livia’s. Adam’s secret is heart breaking on so many levels. He becomes very frustrating at times because to get a definitive answer to his dilemma, all he has to do is make one phone call. At times I wanted to slap him and yell “Just make that phone call!” But then Adam still has a dilemma as once he knows the answer then there is no turning back. Adam really is in a lose-lose situation with Livia’s party going on.
Like Livia, I also turned 40 this year, so I identified with her on having a big birthday year. This is a situation no couple would want to find themselves in. There are ultimately no winners or losers in their situation. The title of the novel is so apparent as you read through the novel. The only thing that did not seem realistic was a woman who focused on having a huge 40th birthday party for half of her life. I mean, what about your 30th? That one is just as important!
I really did enjoy this frustrating novel, despite the repetitiveness of it. It does make you think “what would you do?” in Livia and Adam’s situations. And all I can say is: I am not sure.[Top]