I’m an avid reader, loving nothing more than expanding my microcosmic world. I enjoy escaping into all sorts of worlds through reading and also love to challenge my opinions and thoughts.
The story of the complicated relationships of the Bird family is told with therapeutic emails from Lorelei (mother) to Bill in the not so distant past, the now … and with Easter being a key point in their lives, we go back to their childhood as they grow up at this time. I enjoy stories structured in this way. From each part we find out a bit more, the plot building and filling in the missing blanks as the three ‘sections’ weave in and out.
Before the tragedy occurs, we come to understand how one sibling Megan, is not so accommodating to mum Lorelei’s eccentricity or quite comfortable with one of her twin brothers. Whilst others find Lorelei endearing, Megan is quite strident in speaking out. Although it’s a reaction to Lorelei’s own childhood, it does become an illness and overtakes her life. As we move through the story, Megan is a strong character, being a protector for her more vulnerable sister Beth and making her own way through life. Although I loved all the characters, Megan is my favourite.
The tragedy affects the family in different ways. Rory is angry, Lorelei pushes it away and doesn’t really accept it and Beth hides from life, using Megan’s life as a crutch. Dad Colin is very much in the background until he makes a life-changing decision that overturns the whole family.
Despite the sadness and emotional trauma, the family are drawn back together as they clear the Bird house. Are they able to forgive? Love each other again? Accept each other?
The House We Grew Up In is a poignant read. It tackles so many real life issues including those we don’t like to acknowledge. The writing is beautiful, the pace just flows and will carry you along as you become involved in this one family’s life. I recommend you add to your reading list.
I would like thank the publishers for accepting my request via Netgalley.
In the prologue, we’re with Isabel on the East Suffolk coast on 31 January 1953. It’s one of the worst storms on record and as the North Sea floods over the marshland we witness a devastating flood scene.
Straight away I felt as if I was a part of the story. The scene is so clearly portrayed.
Part One begins with Emily in present day Berkley Square in November waiting for her boyfriend. She sees a mysterious woman and then finds that an old book by Hugh Morton is left for her. This is the beginning of the clues left for her.
We’re then with Isabel in London in November 1948. Isabel had fled to her aunt’s home in London, away from her family in Kent.
This is the structure of the story. Alternating chapters of present day with Emily following her own journey of being a part of the publishing world, her relationship with boyfriend Matthew and her involvement in Hugh Morton’s biography and the intrigue surrounding his first wife. In the past with Isabel we become a part of the life in the late 1940’s/early 1950’s and her time in the publishing world and her emotional life.
I have to admit I loved being in the past. Everything feels very authentic. Isabel is an independent woman who finds it difficult to settle into married life and motherhood. Her life would have been much less traumatic had she lived in the present day! It was easy to empathise with her as she tried to find her place.
I had guessed one thing about Isabel although hadn’t realised it was unintentional but had no idea about the other! They are connected though – one leading to the other. Sorry to be so cryptic – no spoilers!
I understood Jacqueline but even so, she is the character I liked the least.
There’s intense emotion in Emily’s life too but this didn’t pull me in as much as Isabel did. The intrigue with the clues leads her on and motivates her to find out the truth. I enjoyed being a part of Matthew’s literary world and I liked the significance of the Valentine’s card!
The Silent Tide is an apt title in more ways than one…
I would like to thank the publishers for providing an uncorrected proof in exchange for an honest review.
We begin with a prologue – the murder scene 20 years ago. My very first thoughts were that the killer, Fay, started something she lost control of … how wrong I was!
In present day Goa, we find out that Helen has worked in a bar on the beach for 2 years. She hides herself away from the world having been rejected by extended family, from peers at school (because of her condition of epilepsy) and therefore protects herself from emotional pain.
It’s monsoon season and a stranger dashes in out of the downpour. It’s her grandma’s solicitor. Not being able to persuade her to go back, his parting shot that Fay is out of prison, changes her mind.
Next, we find out about Jason Moody and the relationship he has with his father. An interesting scene portrays the ‘game playing’ Jason does to manipulate him. Derek (his father) capitulates on extending the lease for the half-way house and so everything is in place for his path to cross with Helen’s as Fay is one of the occupants of the house.
As Helen finds out more about Fay, she’s also finding out more (and becoming involved in) the family auction business. With her building connection with Jason, this all leads to some tense and exciting scenes!
I loved all the characters in The Elephant Girl, I don’t even have a favourite! It was so easy to be there with them as the story unfolds from those who supported to those who put obstacles in the way.
The romance between Helen and Justin has a natural feel. I don’t think I’ve ever come across two characters who fit together the way they do!
Hyland has obviously researched epilepsy, not just the physical effects but the emotional side too. The way Helen’s condition is a part of the story is portrayed with respect and honesty.
With everything interconnecting, there are several characters I suspected for the murder. I couldn’t guess who the perpetrator was but in all honesty, trying to work it out was peripheral for me. I usually like to work it out but I was so caught up in the story as a whole that it didn’t matter!
When the climax comes it really is tense and clichéd but true … nail-biting! I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.
The ending? Perfect
I would like to thank the publishers for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.