#BookReview The Borrowed Boy by Deborah Klée @rararesources

The Borrowed BoyWelcome to the final day of the blog tour for The Borrowed Boy by Deborah Klée. Do check out the posts of my tour buddies for today, Els at B For Bookreview and Fee at Ebook Addicts. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital review copy.


TheBorrowedBoy_coverDesign_finalAbout the Book

A borrowed boy, a borrowed name and living on borrowed time.

What do you put on a bucket list when you haven’t done anything with your life? No interesting job, no lovers, no family, no friends. Believing she has only weeks left to live, Angie Winkle vows to make the most of every minute.

Going back to Jaywick Sands, is top of her bucket list. Experiencing life as a grandmother is not, but the universe has other plans and when four-year-old Danny is separated from his mum on the tube, Angie goes to his rescue. She tries to return him to his mum but things do not go exactly as planned and the two of them embark on a life-changing journey.

Set in Jaywick Sands, once an idyllic Essex holiday village in the 70s, but now a shanty town of displaced Londoners, this is a story about hidden communities and our need to belong.

Format: ebook (319 pages)               Publisher:
Publication date: 1st August 2020 Genre: Contemporary fiction

Find The Borrowed Boy on Goodreads

Purchase links*
Amazon UK| Hive (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience not as part of an affiliate programme


My Review

The Borrowed Boy alternates between the stories of two women whose paths cross by chance because of one small Polish boy, four year old Danek.

Angie Winkle dreams of nothing more than making what she fears may be her final visit to the seaside town of Jaywick Sands. It holds happy childhood memories of staying in the chalet of her best friend’s grandparents. Angie recalls a time of simple pleasures: building sandcastles, picnics on the beach, ice cream and toffee apples.

When the chance arises to share the experience with Danek (or Danny, as she calls him) she convinces herself it is a gift of fate. “There was no such thing as coincidence. The universe had heard her heartfelt plea and given her this chance.” She eagerly grasps the opportunity to taste the life she might have had if she’d become a mother or grandmother.  It’s fair to say she’s a natural at it and the relationship that develops between Danny and Angie is heartfelt and touching. It gives Angie a chance to erase dark moments in her life and to distract her from what she fears lies ahead.

Nikoleta’s dream is of a new life in London with boyfriend Kamil and young Danek. But that dream has rapidly turned into a nightmare. She finds Kamil’s refusal to involve the police in the search for Danek and instead use his own network of contacts both frustrating and perplexing. Her trusting nature and naivety makes her ignore the many warning signs that everything is not what it seems.

Initially, Angie is disappointed to find Jaywick Sands rather faded and rundown, not the lovely place she remembers. However, as she and Danny discover, the residents of Jaywick Sands are much more community minded and welcoming than they at first appear. That’s just as well when the story moves in an entirely different and unexpected direction. As certain individuals will find out, “Outsiders didn’t stand a chance when Jaywick came together to protect their own.

The Borrowed Boy is a touching story about facing up to the future and finding friendship where you least expect it. “Sometimes when you think that you are at the end of a road and have no place to go, a new way opens up to you.”

In three words: Touching, emotional, engaging

Try something similar: Train Man by Andrew Mulligan

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The Borrowed Boy - head and shoulder DKAbout the Author

Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.

​Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community. The Borrowed Boy, her debut, was shortlisted for the Deviant Minds Award 2019. Just Bea, her second novel will be published in 2021.

Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.

​Connect with Deborah
Website | Twitter | Instagram

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#BookReview The Whispering House by Elizabeth Brooks @DoubledayUK @izzieghaffari

The-Whispering-House-blog-tour-week-1I’m delighted to welcome you to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Whispering House by Elizabeth Brooks. Not only is it the first day of the tour, it’s also publication day! My thanks to Izzie at Doubleday for inviting me to participate in the tour and for my digital review copy via NetGalley.


The Whispering HouseAbout the Book

Freya Lyell is struggling to move on from her sister Stella’s suicide five years ago. Visiting the bewitching Byrne Hall, only a few miles from the scene of the tragedy, she discovers a portrait of Stella – a portrait she had no idea existed, in a house Stella never set foot in. Or so she thought.

Driven to find out more about her sister’s secrets, Freya is drawn into the world of Byrne Hall and its owners: charismatic artist Cory and his sinister, watchful mother. But as Freya’s relationship with Cory crosses the line into obsession, the darkness behind the locked doors of Byrne Hall threatens to spill out.

Format: Hardcover (352 pages)       Publisher: Doubleday
Publication date: 6th August 2020 Genre: Fiction, Mystery

Find The Whispering House on Goodreads

Purchase links*
Amazon UK | Hive (supporting UK bookshops)
*links provided for convenience not as part of an affiliate programme


My Review

There’s no doubt that in Byrne Hall the author has created another mysterious location for her novel. Viewed for the first time from its gardens, as Freya does, or glimpsed from afar, it seems picture perfect. “There it was; there was Byrne Hall. Impossible to mistake the graceful white house with its pillared porch, and the tiered garden tumbling down through the trees like a wide, green river.” However, delve deeper and its elegant frontage is revealed as merely a facade; the rest of the house is in various stages of disuse and decay, “as godforsaken as Sleeping Beauty’s castle”.  This is something of a metaphor for the characters who inhabit it – Diana Byrne and her son, Cory.

Once doyenne of the art world, Diana is now ailing and physically frail, reliant on Cory, the son she dotes on, to look after her. However, through the occasional insights into her thoughts, the reader senses she possesses an inner steel and a strong will. In a curious and rather unsettling way, the house seems to inhabit her as much as she inhabits it. “She – Diana – had become the whispering voice of the house. No, more than that, she had become it’s mind and soul.”

Even Freya begins to think of Byrne Hall as in some sense having a life of its own. “We didn’t get silences like this back home. It was a silence with character and colour; it was the wakeful mind of Byrne Hall, brimful of history and intent.” This air of unreality, along with her desire to find out more about the circumstances of her sister’s death, goes some way to explaining why Freya finds herself drawn into a relationship with Cory. I confess I struggled to see the attraction Cory held for Freya. Convinced he possesses as yet unrecognised artistic talent, his behaviour is increasingly manipulative and controlling. However, having always felt as if she was in her sister’s shadow, Freya finds Cory’s adoration difficult to resist. In addition, Byrne Hall seems to offer her the prospect of a new and more fulfilling life.

As Freya uncovers more connections between Byrne Hall and her sister’s death, picking up fragments here and there, she observes “It was like holding a couple of jigsaw pieces in my palm, knowing there was a whole picture to be made, if only I could find the rest.” You may think you know exactly where the story is going but, like me, you could be wrong. Never underestimate the lengths to which people will go to preserve the things they treasure.

With its atmospheric setting and gothic elements (yes, there is even an attic), The Whispering House combines suspenseful mystery with an absorbing story of delusion and obsession.

In three words: Atmospheric, creepy, immersive

Try something similar: Call of the Curlew by Elizabeth Brooks

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Elizabeth Brooks. B+WAbout the Author

Elizabeth Brooks grew up in Chester and read Classics at Cambridge. Her debut novel Call of the Curlew was shortlisted for the Waverton Good Reads award. The setting for her new novel, The Whispering House, is a manor house named Byrne Hall and is inspired by the home of Agatha Christie. It is full of dark corners and old portraits that carry untold stories of their subjects. Elizabeth lives on the Isle of Man with her husband and children.

Connect with Elizabeth
Twitter | Goodreads

 

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