Monday, 3 March 2014

Book Reviews, The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell, The Medici Mirror by Melissa Bailey & The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison.

This Gatsby-inspired New York set noirish thriller introduces us to Rose Baker, a buttoned-up twenty-something who works as typist at a police precinct where life is predictable, work is taken seriously, and where Rose, who really can’t take a joke, always plays by the rules. Rose could do with a little fun in her life, that’s for sure, and when the exotically-named Odalie Lazar is employed as a typist at the precinct Rose is about to get just that – and a whole lot more.

But who is Odalie? And just what is her game?

We as readers know from the start that there is something not quite right about Odalie. First off, as evidenced by her fabulous clothes and the fact that she lives in a luxury hotel, Odalie has money to burn. So, why has she taken a job as a lowly typist in a police precinct where she’s surrounded by crooks and criminals day in day out? Rose is immediately suspicious of Odalie, but she’s immediately drawn to her too. She wants answers, but she’s also entranced by Odalie’s glamorous life. The year is 1924, prohibition is in full swing, and Rose soon finds herself dancing in flapper frocks at Speakeasies where Odalie holds court, and just about everyone knows her name.

But the good times can’t last, and things soon take a turn for the strange, when on a beach vacation, Rose discovers some secrets hidden in Odalie’s past.

The Other Typist is a thriller with a slow build up, and a menacing twist that will leave you with a whole lot of questions. This is not a book for readers who like their endings clear-cut, that’s for sure. Weeks after reading, I’m still pondering the outcome of this one. Somebody in this tale is not all that they seem: maybe it’s Odalie, whose very name hints at a lie, or maybe it’s Rose, who surely can’t be as sweetly na├»ve as she likes to suggest.

Want to know more? The Other Typist is well worth a read if you want to tie your brain in knots! This one will also be hitting movie screens, with Keira Knightley set to star and produce.


The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell.  Publisher: Penguin.  Released: January 2014. Ages: Adult.   Rating:  3½ out of 5.   Source: Received for review.   

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Following the break-up of his marriage, architect Johnny Carter sees his new job –the conversion of an old Victorian shoe factory into luxury apartments –as a whole new beginning.  Even better, in his first days at the job, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia Gray, a beautiful photographer, and the two soon become lovers. But while Johnny’s life is on the up and up, all is not as it seems. The old shoe factory holds dark secrets, amongst them, a secret room, a maybe murder, and an ancient mirror with a history that traces back to Catherine de Medici-also known as The Black Queen or The Queen of Death.

With its amazing premise, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into The Medici Mirror. Combining historical fiction with tales of dark mysteries and ancient curses, this one sounded right up my street. And it got off to a good start. The opening chapter, which sees Catherine de Medici spying on her husband, Henry II and his lover, drew me in and I was sure I was in for a good read. However, the present day setting of The Medici Mirror failed to grab my attention. As a protagonist, Johnny is a not a character that ever captured my imagination; while his relationship with Ophelia never really sits comfortably in this slow-paced story, which loses its way a little as it progresses.
                                                                                     
Personally, I prefer a faster-paced story, and maybe that’s the main reason The Medici Mirror didn’t work for me, despite the fact that it has garnered generally positive reviews on Goodreads et al. I always find that a healthy dollop of romance goes a long way too; and The Medici Mirror is a little lackluster in that area. However, if you’re a patient reader, and if the premise of this one piques your interest, then maybe it’s the book for you.
 


 The Medici Mirror by Melissa Bailey.  Publisher: Arrow.  Released: November 2013. Ages: Adult.  Rating:  3 out of 5.   Source: Received for review.    

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Affluent couple Todd and Jodi are on the rocks.  Though they’ve never married, they’ve been together through thick and thin for over twenty years, and everyone see them as such. But there’s one big problem in their relationship, and that’s Todd’s serial-cheating.  Jodi, though, is the kind of woman who’s prepared to turn a blind eye to Todd’s philandering as long as he keeps it away from the front door of her meticulously maintained apartment. The Silent Wife is what happens when Todd breaks Jodi’s golden rule. Not only does he embark on a torrid affair with the half-his-age daughter of one of his best friends; he gets her pregnant too. When he walks out on her, Jodi realizes that maybe she should have accepted one of Todd’s myriad proposals after all. Because suddenly not being married to him matters. Suddenly Todd wants to kick her out of her beloved apartment. But before he does that, Jodi has a wicked plan.

With a spine-chilling premise and promises of being ‘better than Gone Girl,’ I couldn’t wait to get stuck into The Silent Wife, the best-selling debut novel by the late A.S.A. Harrison. The problem with The Silent Wife for me, and the problem with billing it as a psychological thriller is that it’s simply not. There’s nothing thrilling about this book. In effect, it’s a slow and sometimes drawn out explanation of the disintegration of a relationship that has for a long time been held together by daily denial and tight smiles through gritted teeth. As this, it’s an interesting study, but if you’re looking for thrills, this isn’t the book for you – especially since we know from the very first pages what the outcome of Jodi and Todd’s story will be. I was hoping for a twist or two in the tale, but there aren’t any to speak of.

The Silent Wife is a smart read, but just like Jodi, it takes itself a little too seriously at times, and could do with a little lightening up.



 The Silent Wife by A.S.A Harrison. Publisher: Headline.  Released: June 2013. Ages: Adult.  Rating:  3 out of 5.   Source: Purchased.  


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20 comments :

  1. ChristinaBookAddict3 March 2014 at 13:26

    I have been very curious about all three books, especially The Other Typist, but I think I may just wait to borrow it from the library instead. That's crazy that The Silent Wife isn't a psychological thriller…I definitely thought it would be, especially since critics compared it to Gone Girl. Thanks for your honest reviews!

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  2. The Other Typist has been on my wishlist ever since I read the description. Sounds very exciting.

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  3. I hope I like The Book Thief too! So much expectation!

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  4. Yes - it sounds like a really good read! I haven't read Colleen Hoover before, so I'm hoping this is a good one to start with.

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  5. I can't wait to read Better Off Friends! Hope I love it as much as you did!

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  6. Fitz was kind of a brat in the latest episode. I hate it when he sulks! I haven't seen the film of The Book Thief yet. I must read the book first - that's my rule!

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  7. Ha! I thought I was the only one who hadn't read The Book Thief yet! A Midsummer's Nightmare sounds like a ton of fun! Hope you get it soon!

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  8. ^ I haven't read any of her books before. Don't Look Back sounds really good,though! :)

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  9. ^ Thanks, Danny! I wasn't sure if I had to read in order! :)

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  10. I hope I love it just as much as you did. I've heard a lot of good things!

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  11. Thanks, Natalie. I love the sound of those cute contemps!

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  12. The Silent Wife was quite a let down for me. I wish publishers would stop comparing books to Gone Girl!

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  13. Can't wait to hear what you think of it! It'll definitely mess with your head a little bit, although it is quite slow-moving at times.

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  14. Love, love, love the setting for the Other Typist. And it's going to tie my brain up in knots?! I'm on for that :) It's on my tbr.

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  15. I'm excited to realise the next Brooklyn Girls book is coming soon. I really enjoyed the first one; it was so funny and not quite as fluffy as I thought it would be.
    And I'm really looking forward to Colleen's book Maybe Someday too as I'm a big fan.
    I have The Book Thief but haven't read it yet. Soon though, as I want to have it read before the film comes out.

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  16. I can't wait to see what you think of it. I thought I would like it more than I did in the end. It's a bit slow to get going, but it is a good read overall.

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  17. I can't wait to read Colleen Hoover's Maybe Someday. I just need to clear some time to do it! Enjoy your wonderful haul! :)

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  18. The Other Typist sounds really interesting and I love that cover!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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  19. I really enjoyed Better Off Friends and Bright Before Sunrise. I've been meaning to read Midsummer's Nightmare for forever. I hope you love all your new goodies!

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