August – Just what kind of mother are you?

August was an epic month for ‘Turn the page’, I decided, in my wisdom to choose 3 books. This was based on the hope that members of the group would be lazing around on tropical beaches, and be in need of something to read. I was not lazing somewhere wonderful, but, being a teacher, I do have more time to read in August, so I went through the selections of the group and optimistically chose the books. The main book for August was –
Just what kind of mother are you? – Paula Daly

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I chose this book, I really fancied it, the reviews were good and, as I have said before, I DO love a great thriller, sadly this was not a great thriller. It’s not all bad though, I did like the book (mostly), and I thought it was really well written, in that the characters became real to me. I identified with Lisa, but then, as a mother of three, I would, if she was well written, luckily she was, and the harassed, busy busy, never stopping life really reflected my own. I struggled, as did the group (I think we all agreed on this), to understand just HOW the, missing child was Lisa’s fault at all.

I would have liked the book to have explored Sally’s feelings more, her friend is missing and her perspective would have been interesting. I was surprised at Joe’s reaction to Lisa’s fling, the situation did not seem fraught enough, he was a little bit to placid for my liking (perhaps his revenge came after the story finished). Kate’s sister is so well written, I know this kind of self righteous woman, I have met her before, she is judgemental and cruel, and I hated her. The best characters in the book though were the detective Joanne and her aunt, I could happily have read a whole book about them.

The major problem with this book for me, was how quickly I worked out the twist. I will not say why, because I do think this is a pretty good read and worth a go! As a group we gave this book 4.5*, I would give it 4* and I would recommend it.

Elizabeth is missing – Emma Healey

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WOW!!! I am loathe to review this book at all because I might say too much, I want to give nothing away, and I want everyone to read it! Ok, ok, just a short one then..

Elizabeth is missing centres on Maud, she is 82 years old and is struggling with dementia, she does not remember everything, but what she does remember haunts her, and of one thing she is certain, Elizabeth is missing. Maud’s story is two stories, one is the now, the older Maud and her family and friend Elizabeth, the other is young Maud, living at home with her family and her sister Suky. In Maud’s mind the two are mixed up, not unlike a tangle of necklaces in a jewellery box, it is hard work untangling them, but it needs to be done.

There are some beautifully written characters in the book and some very touching moments, a couple of which involve her granddaughter Katy. Katy is young, but wonderful with there grandma, and at one point Maud says of Katy that she ‘makes me feel delicate, rather than clumsy’, I admit, I welled up! I will leave it there, because all of the book club members loved this book, with most choosing it as their favourite of the month and I do not want to spoil it. As a group we gave the book an average 4.5*, there were a few 5* in there, which was a first, and well deserved.

The girl on the train – Paula Hawkins

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Sam chose this one, and I was pleased, I had seen it in the bookstore and really fancied it! It is a little over our 400 page limit, so I added it to August as an extra book. I cannot explain how disappointed I was in this book, I never wanted to get to the end of a book so badly, I just wanted to move on and read something else. I actually don’t understand how is got so many 5* reviews in the first place.

Rachel is not a likeable character, and not because of her flaws, flaws are usually a good thing, they create realism, but Rachel makes so many downright stupid decisions that she becomes a caricature of a person, too extreme to be believable. There is a point in the story where you begin to understand why she is messed up, but even the sympathy that comes with that knowledge, does not save her as a character. The plot twists are obvious, the story is a bit too soap opera and all centred around affairs. I didn’t like the writing either, I thought it was weak, and not in the least bit tense or thrilling, at the points where I should have been thinking “Oh no don’t do that” and worrying about Rachel, I was thinking “ffs wise up!”.

Not everyone in the group read this book, and I certainly didn’t tell them to rush off and do so after the meeting. The average rating for those who did was 3.5* I gave it a 2.5* and that was being generous, there are much better books out there, and if you want my advice, just go and read Elizabeth is missing instead! 😉

Happy reading!!

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