The Woman in the Window

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“My head was once a filing cabinet. Now it’s a flurry of papers, floating on a draft.”
– A.J. Finn, ‘The Woman in the Window’

Title: ‘The Woman in the Window’

Author: A.J. Finn

Publisher: Harper Collins

My Rating: *****

Firstly I should start by saying sorry for the absence…it’s been a while since I have done a review. As I’m sure many of you can relate that when life takes over with work and social commitments the blog slowly starts to get left on the back burner. However, with that said and out of the way I have to share my excitement for A.J. Finn’s debut novel, ‘The Woman in the Window’. An unputdownable pure genius on thriller/suspense fiction that has be already yearning for A.J. Finn to get on it and write some more novels! This book has sparked quite the attention in the last few months with its reining title of New York Times Best Seller list.

Anna Fox lives a quite yet not so simple life, confined to the walls of her beautiful brownstone home in Brooklyn, NY.  Anne’s fear of open spaces, the outside world and esp. cold weather leaves her suffering with Agoraphobia and erases her old life as a practicing physiologist. (ironic I know) Her days leave her with lots of time on her hands, watching old movies, drinking wine (lots) and watching the neighbours. In the beginning you get to know Anna and in an almost comical grasp an understanding how the life she leads. She knows every single neighbour on the block or does she really know they at all…?

As you progress through the book you learn more about Anna and the life she used to live, the people that used to make it important and why. But it always comes back to those damn neighbours and the effect they have on Anna. Then the Russells move in and encompass the perfect family. From behind the window Anna sees the life she used to live. But then one day she sees something that isn’t right…and her already brittle world begins to crumble more. Things become blurred and lines begin to become cross and soon for Anna it is hard to tell what is real and what is make believe. No one is who them seem and it will take you to the very last page to figure out why.

What really gripped me throughout this whole book was the fact that I really had it figured out. I was so sure and then each chapter would completely shock me and change my view. A.J. Finn had a wonderful way of playing little word play mind games with the reader which made me keep wanting to turn the page. Anna’s character is extremely emotional and gripping thus makes the reader share her change of emotions through every chapter.

I highly recommend The Woman in the Window, it is the next Girl on the Train-unputdownable, read in one weekend kind of book you will be dying to take on your next holiday!

Link to purchase The Woman in the Window

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Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’

“What really matters is what you believe.”– Dan Brown

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Title: ‘The Da Vinci Code’

Author: Dan Brown

Publisher: Anchor

Rating: *****

So I am super late in the game but decided a couple months ago to read ‘The Da Vinci Code’ and to my surprise I finished it within two days of picking it up. I also didn’t realize at the time that ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is the second book in the Robert Landon series written by Dan Brown. ‘Angels and Demon’s’ is the first book in the series which I read next after this. (So basically I read them backwards-personally after reading both I don’t think it really matters the order they are read.)  With a passion for Art myself, The Da Vinci code’s vast abundance of true art historical facts is what I found to be the most interesting aspect of the book. It was like taking a journey through time all the while uncovering information on things I thought I had already known all the answers to.

The book follows a religious Art Historian by the name of Robert Langdon. One night while he is in Paris he receives a phone call in the middle of the night. The curator of the Louvre has been murdered and what is left on his body is just the beginning of a race for answers to mind boggling symbols leading to different clues. Langdon and the curator’s daughter, Sophie Neveu, soon find themselves on a mission to decipher through the bizarre riddles that are left before them and become stunned to discover a pattern of clues hidden deep within the works of Leonardo da Vinci.

One thing I found most interesting is some of these clues are images that have existed in Leonardo da Vinci’s painting for centuries and to one person are perceived a certain way. Therefore I ask myself, why all of a sudden do I notice these symbols in a different way just as I have begun to read Dan Brown’s book?  Not only does Dan Brown disguise his cryptic clues in a never ending path throughout the story but he also lets us into the ingeniously disguised clues that lie within da Vinci’s most famous works of art. This is what I believe makes this particular novel of his enriching.

As Langdon and Sophie race through the cathedrals and mansions of Europe they sort through bizarre riddles finding answers to not only the reasoning behind her Grandfather’s death but also secrets about Sophie’s own past. Unless Langdon and Sophie can figure out the labyrinthine puzzles while avoiding the people who are going after the same thing then the ancient truth may seize to exist. 

 

The Lake House

“May your past be a pleasant memory, Your future filled with delight and mystery, Your now a glorious moment, That fills your life with deep contentment.”

– Kate Morton, The Lake House

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Title: The Lake House

Author: Kate Morton

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Rating: *****

Its hard to pinpoint a certain character this book follows as through each turn of the page you are introduced to a new character whom intertwines with the rest. However mainly the story tells the lives of two very strong, bright, inquisitive woman. Morton describes their lives through the past an present by recalling events that all eventually lead to the vanishing of a little boy and the determination to find out what happened the day he disappeared.

Cornwall, 1933:

Alice Edevane an adventurous, investigative sixteen year old spends her days exploring the grounds of her family’s beautiful lakeside estate in Cornwall. She is an aspiring writer, determined to write a page turning mystery. But the mysteries she puts on paper are no trial to the mystery her own family is about to withstand.

Eleanor Edevane, mother of Alice and three other beautiful children, Deborah, Clemmie, and Theo. Being a devoted wife and mother defines her life, but she yearns for the adventurous girl that used to roam the grounds of the Lakeside estate all those years ago. Her husband has not been the same ever since his return from the war. His shell-shock continues to progress and in turn affects his daily life giving him visions of the past he desperately tries to forget. Eleanor begins to worry for her children and his conditions effect on them and the dangers he could put them in. When Eleanor falls pregnant with Theo she thinks he might be just what he needs: a boy. But when things don’t change for the better Eleanor must make a choice that will change her life and the lifes’ around her forever.

Ben Munroe, a gypsy, and wanderer finds his way working as a gardender on the Edevane’s lake side estate in Cornwall. Not only does he capture the lives around him but he reminds people that anything is possible if you know where to look for it. But are his reasons for being there really as innocent as they seem or is he determined to be closer to someone that has impacted his life in so many ways.

Cornwall, 2003: 

Sadie Sparrow, a young Detective in the London Metropolitan Police Department finds herself at her Grandfather’s house in Cornwall after being asked to take a leave of absence due to a wrong doing during a previous case. One morning Sadie goes for a run and stumbles upon an abandoned estate beside a lake. Her detective instinct takes hold and sparks her curiosity setting the stage for a number of secrets for not only the Edevane’s past but also her own. All the while introducing her to people she never knew would have such an impact on her life.

Bertie, widower and Grandfather to Sadie, spends his days trying to adapt in a new environment in Cornwall after loosing his beloved wife. With Sadie now living with him its hard to forget the past when it’s secrets continue to unfold. However maybe the past will be just what he needs in order to fill a void he so long ago was never able to fill.

Kate Morton has a way of introducing different characters and yet still intertwining them with one another in a way to convince the reader they have known them all along. The Lake house was an immensely enjoyable read that constantly kept me on my toes. Just when I thought I had it figured out I was credulously wrong, evoking the urge to read on to see the outcome. Morton takes historical fiction and blends it seamlessly with the present making it a marvellous piece of modern day fiction.

I truly enjoyed how Morton has different characters tell the story through their own words. With that said I would have liked to see more of some of the characters. It would have been interesting to see Ben Munroe have a chapter dedicated to his side of the story. As well possibly hearing what Bertie might have to say in regard to his own past and how it related to the present.

Morton’s way of introducing fiction to the reader is not only adventurous but also a way of taking the reader on a journey whilst painting the words of the story out like oils on a canvas.

The Girl on the Train

“I am no longer just a girl on the train, going back and forth without point or purpose.” – Paula Hawkins, ‘The Girl on the Train’

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Title: ‘The Girl on the Train’

Author: Paula Hawkins

Publisher: Transworld Publishers

Rating: *****

 

 

 

 

 

I must admit that I am not one for reading Thrillers, or anything that makes me peak behind the shower curtain or look under the bed for monsters. However I convinced myself to read The Girl on the Train and see what all the fuss was about.  The verdict? I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. So yeah, I get what all the hype was about. Paula Hawkins has a way of making the reading get to know each character as if you are standing right in front of them talking to them yourself. I found myself taking sides with one character but then completely changing my mind on the next page.

The story follows three women whose lives interlink in various ways: Rachel, Megan and Anna.

Rachel Watson, who takes the same commuter train every morning and evening. On her journey the train always stops at a red signal when passing the same suburban homes allowing her watch the couples that occupy them. She starts to feel like she gets to know them. She feels their life is perfect, a life that she is missing, and the life she lost.

The story then introduces Megan Hipwell, who seems to have the perfect life. She lives in an adorable suburban home with her husband and spends the day lounging on her deck watching the trains go by. But is this enough for her? Is her past catching up with her, making her yearn for more?

One day on her way in on the train, passing the suburban homes Rachel sees something shocking, something she can’t just keep to herself. She ends up going to the police. Rachel finds herself entangled not only in the investigation but the lives of everyone involved. Is she really a reliable source? Has she done more harm than good?

One scene presented throughout the book is the reoccurring theme of Rachel seeing a blue dress curled up in a ball along the side of the train tracks. I love how Hawkins uses little symbols like this to get the reader looking towards the details for clues throughout the book. I also love how this type of imagery makes you then go back to the first time you read it and think: ‘Hold on wait a minute…’ completely changing your perspective from your beginning thoughts.

Hawkins juggles multiple perspectives throughout the book and creates incredible suspense at the same time. A true page-turner piece of fiction that you will pick up and not be able to place down.