The Secret: The #1 Bestselling Author by Kathryn Hughes
Published by Headline Review on September 8th 2016
Genres: Family Saga, Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
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From the #1 bestselling author of The Letter comes The Secret - a heartbreaking novel of tragedy, hope and second chances. Fans of Jojo Moyes and Amanda Prowse will love the moving human drama of Kathryn Hughes. 'A wonderful uplifting story' Lesley Pearse on The Letter
Mary has been nursing a secret. Forty years ago, she made a choice that would change her world for ever, and alter the path of someone she holds dear.
Beth is searching for answers. She has never known the truth about her parentage, but finding out could be the lifeline her sick child so desperately needs. When Beth finds a faded newspaper cutting amongst her mother's things, she realises the key to her son's future lies in her own past. She must go back to where it all began to unlock...The Secret.
I have to say that this isn’t the usual kind of book I would be drawn to, but I was fortunate enough to win a copy from Headline Review on Twitter. I’m so pleased that I did as I absolutely loved this book!
The book follows Beth, who has never known who her father was. After her mother’s death, she starts to unearth secrets which will rock her family to its very core. The story is told along two timelines – modern-day with Beth, her husband Michael and their 5-year old son Jake, who has end stage liver failure; and flashbacks to 1975 when a group of people were involved in a fatal road crash. As Beth finds out more about her past, the two stories come together in a fantastic story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this, and can’t thank Headline Review enough for this proof copy. I wouldn’t have picked up this book normally, but I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Published by Headline Review on September 19th 2005
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction
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Stardust is an utterly charming fairy tale in the tradition of The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story. Neil Gaiman, creator of the darkly elegant Sandman comics and author of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, tells the story of young Tristran Thorn and his adventures in the land of Faerie. One fateful night, Tristran promises his beloved that he will retrieve a fallen star for her from beyond the Wall that stands between their rural English town (called, appropriately, Wall) and the Faerie realm. No one ever ventures beyond the Wall except to attend an enchanted flea market that is held every nine years (and during which, unbeknownst to him, Tristran was conceived). But Tristran bravely sets out to fetch the fallen star and thus win the hand of his love.
I have had this book on Mt. TBR for a number of years, and picked it up this week during a bad bout of insomnia. I thought it might be a nice easy read for the middle of the night! I absolutely love the film Stardust so I was really looking forward to reading the book.
Up until now the only film I have preferred over the book version was Gone with the Wind, where I felt the film was far superior. Unfortunately Stardust also now joins that elusive list.
The film just seems to have so much more depth to it – especially in the relationship between Yvaine and Tristran and how Tristran’s feelings change in the course of their journey. The book also lacks the sense of “pursuit” that the film has in terms of the others who are after Yvaine. Tristran’s mother who, in the film is also quite warm and loving, comes across as cold and selfish in the book as well.
This is the second Gaiman book that I have read, but neither has really set me on fire. So I think it’s time to admit that his novels are not for me and move on.
I’ll still always love the film though!