Love & Fame – Susie Boyt Blog Tour

Susie Boyt’s sixth novel is the story of the first year of a marriage.

Eve a nervous young actress from a powerful theatrical dynasty has found herself married to an international expert on anxiety called Jim. Could it work? Should it work?

Must the show always go on? This is a highly-strung comedy about love, fame, grief, showbusiness and the depths of the gutter press. Its witty and sincere tone – familiar to fans of Susie’s newspaper column – will delight and unnerve in equal measure.

 

I absolutely loved this book.  Susie Boyt is definitely a writer at the top of her game and I could not put this book down once I’d started it over my October break in gorgeous Barcelona. It was the perfect book to take on holiday with me as it certainly gave me a great deal of food for thought as I wandered through the afternoon streets. This really is a book with something for everyone. It’s a comedy with death and grief at its heart; a story of a marriage where nothing is what it seems at first and that tightrope walker on the front cover is a fitting metaphor for the path the reader will take as we balance high above these characters’ lives – peering down at them and the convoluted lives they have ended up in, however well-controlled they think they might be.

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It is only upon reading this, her sixth book, that I realised Susie Boyt’s illustrious past. A descendant of Freud who definitely lives up to her ancestor’s reputation in this novel as these characters’ inner lives are brought vividly to life as we immerse ourselves in their rapidly changing lives. Eve and Rebecca are definitely two dimensional characters and I feel like we get a real sense of their inner landscape as we plunge into their lives at very pertinent moments in this novel.

Grief is a great leveller, they say – but both of these characters in their own unique way refuse to be either defined or confined by their grief but instead their grief becomes a springboard for us finding out what is really important to them and the people they choose to surround themselves by.

 

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This book has some absolutely killer lines – and that’s one of the things that made it such a perfect holiday read. The fact that Rebecca – the struggling thespian – is described as ‘as highly strung as a violin factory’  really tickled me and the way that Beach, the bereavement counsellor is described as a ‘deathspert’  was also a sharp and incisive comment on the modern attitude to death and the cavalcade of comfort on offer nowadays. A rent-a-declutter is known as The Prim Reaper, for example and I think that you should definitely have a sharp sense of humour to enjoy this novel and its unorthodox attitude towards loss and grief.

If you like your novels witty with a side order of black humour then I definitely recommend that you treat yourself to a copy. Maybe not one for the easily offended or recently bereaved, but certainly a novel that caught my attention and held it during a week in the autumn sunshine.

I ended up re reading sections to myself for its observational exactitude and despite the fact that I did not take to either Eve or Rebecca as personalities, I found myself caught up in their vividly described worlds and intrigued to see how far we’d be taken along with them on their journeys into their inner world.

 

Buy yourself a copy here

Here it is, looking gorgeous in my #OnTheShelfie

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So much praise has been heaped upon this novel, by writers that I really respect too. Have a read and don’t just take their words at face value – make sure that you discover these characters for yourself!

I so loved this novel, its originality leaps off the page and it made me laugh out loud. Seldom has an exploration of raw, profound grief been so entertaining (Deborah Moggach)

This is delightful and as tender as an accidental bruise. Boyt’s witty, zingy, ping-pong dialogue dances with Astaire-like flair – underneath it lies the darker depths of grief that threaten to draw all her characters down into the murky waters of loss. I found myself praying that the cork floats of hope were still firmly attached (Tamsin Greig)

Susie Boyt has a unique perspective on modern life and close relationships, she is one of the funniest and most individual writers working today (Linda Grant)

Love & Fame is so rich and insightful, and the writing is beautiful. Reading it will help you survive your own personality. There’s a special sort of merriment in the book and such a feast of particularity (Andrew O’Hagan)

A book that manages to be both clever AND cheerful! Who knows if you’re allowed to fall in love with characters in books any more (or again) but Eve is the most loveable heroine who has walked across the stage of English fiction for a long while. Delivered with wit and brilliance leavened with a sense of tragedy just off stage (Alain De Botton)

[Boyt] is a ruthless skewerer of banalities and platitudes . . . Boyt tackles life’s knottier questions – is it better to fight, or to respect, one’s feelings? Can suffering be improving? – with feeling and verve (Stephanie Cross Daily Mail)

Blissfully immersive fiction . . . extremely funny, with a brilliant ear for zippy dialogue and an eagle eye for delusional egotistical fops (Jane Graham Big Issue)

Boyt’s affection for her characters warms every page . . . she writes with such precision and wisdom about the human heart under duress that the novel is hard to resist (Leaf Arbuthnot Sunday Times)

Insightful . . . a sharp, universal must-read (Emerald Street)

Boyt’s affection for her characters warms every page . . . she writes with such precision and wisdom about the human heart under duress that the novel is hard to resist (Sunday Times)

 

Writer On The Shelf

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Susie Boyt is the author of five other acclaimed novels and the much-loved memoir My Judy Garland Life which was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize, staged at the Nottingham Playhouse and serialised on BBC Radio 4.

She has written about art, life and fashion for the Financial Times for the past fourteen years and has recently edited The Turn of the Screw and Other Ghost Stories by Henry James. She is also a director at the Hampstead Theatre.
She lives in London with her family.

 

Follow Susie on Twitter 

 

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Ronnie Turner Lies Between Us Blog Tour

 

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Will they ever learn the truth?

 

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences . . .

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John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing.

Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past.

Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

They all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long . . .

A gripping psychological thriller for fans of Clare Mackintosh, Shari Lapena and Lisa Jewell.

I am so excited to be posting today’s Blog Tour post as I’m genuinely on tour in gorgeous Catalonia this week and it’s a privilege to be hosting today’s spot live from Catalonia.

I was also delighted to review Ronnie’s book for my print column in 17 Degrees Magazine which is out TODAY, So I’m allowed to share my review twice in one day – which makes me very happy!

I absolutely loved this original and gripping read and I can confidently say that it deserves all the wonderful reviews that it’s been getting. I’m so happy for Ronnie who thoroughly deserves this success. #LiesBetweenUs is a wonderful read and my book group can’t wait to get stuck into it on my recommendation too!

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Here’s my review from my column. If you buy one book this month, make sure that it’s this one…

Lies Between Us is a fantastic debut novel from one of my favourite book reviewers, Ronnie Turner. Ronnie has fantastic taste in books and I always trust her judgement about the ‘must reads’ that she’s highlighted on her blog. I definitely think that her years of reviewing books has paid off as it’s allowed her to refine exactly what she thinks are the very best ingredients of a psychological thriller – and sprinkle them throughout Lies Between Us to fabulous and highly original effect.

Three people, leading very different lives, are about to be brought together – with devastating consequences: John has a perfect life, until the day his daughter goes missing. Maisie cares for her patients, but hides her own traumatic past. and Miller should be an innocent child, but is obsessed with something he can’t have.

This group of three individuals all have something in common, though none of them know it – and the truth won’t stay hidden for long. If you are a fan of books that really prey on your mind, with characters that you connect with and can’t stop thinking about, you will love this book.

All three of Ronnie’s characters spring to life off the page as their lives intersect in ways that you might not anticipate at first. This is a fresh and original take on the ‘Missing Child’ book that will have you up late, desperate to see how it ends. I totally recommend

You’ll love this book if you like to be totally gripped by a narrative and hear from several different narrators as they see events unfold from their very different perspectives. I can’t wait to see what Ronnie does next and I’m recommending this book to everyone this autumn. A proper page turner and no mistake, Well done Ronnie!

 

Writer On The Shelf

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Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age, she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author.

Ronnie now lives in Dorset with her family and three dogs. In her spare time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. She is currently working on her second novel. Ronnie’s debut novel, Lies Between Us, published by HQ Digital was released to thunderous acclaim in October 2018.

Twitter:@Ronnie_ _Turner
Facebook: RonnieTurnerAuthor
Instagram: @ronnieturner8702
Website: http://www.ronnieturner.wordpress.com

Perfect Liars – Blog Tour

 They have it all. And they’ll do anything to keep it that way.

For fans of The Girlfriend and Liane Moriarty as well as TV hits Doctor Foster and The Replacement.

Sixteen years ago, at an elite boarding school secluded in the English countryside, best friends Nancy, Georgia and Lila did something unspeakable.

Their secret forged an unbreakable bond between them, a bond of silence. But now, in their thirties, one of them wants to talk.

One word and everything could be ruined: their lives, their careers, their relationships. It’s up to Georgia to call a crisis dinner. – she knows there’s nothing that can’t be resolved by three courses in her immaculate kitchen.

But the evening does not go as planned.

Three women walk into the dinner, but only two will leave.

Murder isn’t so difficult the second time around…

Gripping and unputdownable, Perfect Liars tells the story of a group of friends bound by their dark pasts and their desperate need to keep their secrets hidden from the world around them. How far would you go to protect the life you’ve built?

Toxic friendship makes for an intoxicating read – and I absolutely loved this immersive and enjoyable journey into its bitter heart.  As soon as I opened the package and saw Perfect Liars It looked so enticing and made me want to throw all my marking down and dive right in. As a teacher in a boarding school myself, I was gripped by the thought of this storyline and let me tell you, Rebecca Reid did not disappoint…

If you read my blog, you’ll know that I love a novel that asks us to think about our own lives and put ourselves in the place of the characters that we are reading about in two differing timelines – both past and present. When this is well done, it’s my favourite kind of book – but it can be notoriously difficult to pull off effectively. Often, I’ve been left disappointed by an uneven narrative where I’d much prefer either the past or the present or I’d feel unconvinced by one of the storylines and be desperate to be back in the other.

Perfect Liars is fortunately not one of those books: the stories of Georgia, Nancy and Lila are totally engrossing and balanced beautifully throughout the novel: whether we are with them in the boarding house or seeing their secrets come home to roost in a present-day dinner party I found myself equally engaged with both narratives and enjoyed the way that they complemented and chimed with one another. The gorgeous cover with its intriguing tagline about them doing ‘anything’ to keep it that way ensured that this novel never lasted long on my TBR pile and I lost myself in it during my first weekend off durt this term from my very own boarding house and playing fields

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Eventually, the truth will out and there are many ways to apply this to the way that these lives start to unravel during the course of the novel. I felt like although none of the three of these characters were that likeable at first, I found myself totally engrossed, trying to work out which of them was lying about what and you’ll be pleased to know that this debut really kept me guessing…

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I think that part of its success is that it never really gives too much away about the past so you find yourself obsessing about what kind of tiny ‘tells’ might be hidden in the text that might give one of them away. The three of them have a kind of ‘unholy alliance’ that makes it difficult to get in between them and try and work out who you think is responsible – but you’ll have great fun doing so as the story rattles along at a cracking pace as you try to second-guess their long-woven tapestry of truth, lies and allegiances. I like the fact that we are constantly made to think about the ways that the decisions and promises we make as we are growing up – even the promises we make to ourselves – can often come back to haunt us in ways that we might not expect once we grow up and start to become the architects of our own lives as adults.

If you adored Big Little Lies and are fascinated by novels that throw you into adult friendships the way that we see the jealousies, divisions and grudges brought to life so beautifully in so many teenage movies then you will definitely find much to engage your inner mean girl here. The three girls from this story are from very different backgrounds and this makes their friendships and secrets all the more intriguing: Nancy comes from a wealthy background and has had to want for nothing whereas Lila and Georgia have rather less in the way of material wealth Lila’s life has been turned upside down by the arrival of her new stepmother and Georgia is only at the school in the first place as she has been the recipient of a scholarship. Their friendship is cemented through a certain event that binds them tightly together for the rest of their lives – regardless of whether this is something that they might desire in later life…

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You don’t have to have gone to boarding school yourself – or even work there – to fall in love with this engrossing psychological thriller. I thoroughly recommend Perfect Liars to anyone looking for a book that will make you reexamine your own life and think about the way that choices you’ve made, missed chances and enduring connections can make your life turn out differently than you might ever have imagined. I loved the way that I just couldn’t puzzle it out and that’s what made me recommend it to our book group as I know that lots of our members love a book like this – that keeps you guessing right up until the end.

I was gutted to be on duty and not be able to finish this gripping read in a oner – but if you get the opportunity – set aside a rainy Sunday, clear your diary and give yourself a real treat.

So many of my favourite bloggers are on this tour -so make sure you check out their reviews too

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Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for my copy of the book.

Perfect Liars is available now. Click here to order yourself a copy here – 

 PERFECT LIARS

Writer On The Shelf

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Rebecca is a freelance journalist. She has a column for the Telegraph Women’s section, works for Metro Online and has written for Marie Claire, the Independent, the iPaperThe GuardianIndy100LOOK and the New Statesman among others.

Rebecca is a regular contributor to Sky News and ITV’s This Morning as well as appearing on Radio 4’s Woman’s HourLBCBBC News 24and the BBC World Service to discuss her work.

She graduated from the University of Bristol with a BA in English & Drama in 2013 and from Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing MA in 2015. She lives in Kentish Town with her husband.

 

Sarah Hillary Come and Find Me

Gripping, tense, twisty and full of emotional insight, COME AND FIND ME is Sarah Hilary’s  5th Marnie Rome book – and I’m OBSESSED!

 

 

‘Hilary belts out a corker of a story, all wrapped up in her vivid, effortless prose. If you’re not reading this series of London-set police procedurals then you need to start right away’ Observer

On the surface, Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have nothing in common, other than their infatuation with Michael Vokey. Each is writing to a sadistic inmate, sharing her secrets, whispering her worst fears, craving his attention.

DI Marnie Rome understands obsession. She’s finding it hard to give up her own addiction to a dangerous man: her foster brother, Stephen Keele. She wasn’t able to save her parents from Stephen. She lives with that guilt every day.

As the hunt for Vokey gathers pace, Marnie fears one of the women may have found him – and is about to pay the ultimate price.

 

I was literally OBSESSED with Someone Else’s Skin

When I was younger, I really wanted to be called Marnie – and after reading Sarah Hilary’s Come And Find Me, It was confirmed:  I want to BE Marnie Rome!

Add that to the fact that I love books that present crime in a wholly original way – where I think about what your own responses might be – rather than feel like I’m just reading about fictional characters, you’ll understand why this was a five star read for me and I was so excited to be opening the blog tour for Come And Find Me today…

This book grabbed me and pulled me right into the story. I was really intrigued by the premise of the book first of all: I mean you read about people who write to prisoners all the time; but have you ever thought about what it might be like to BE one of them? Michael Volkey is the kind of criminal that you can’t imagine being drawn to yourself – but that’s what makes it all the more intriguing, I feel.

Come And Find Me asks us to put yourself in the place of these women and think about Marnie’s response to them at the same time – and this makes for seriously compelling reading….

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Both women – Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull  – have very distinctive stories which really emphasise the way that we interact within the same circumstances in wholly different ways Even though Come And Find Me deals with very challenging issues, they never threaten to dominate the story and the characters feel very much like real people – rather than mechanisms to explore an issue – which I’ve often found in novels which want to look at the way we respond to trauma, horror or tragedy. Sarah Hilary creates characters to explore ideas, rather than having an idea and inventing flimsy characters to explore it. If you haven’t already read the first four then I’m SO jealous of you already – get them ordered as soon as you can

Sarah Hilary is an excellent writer – it’s hard to talk about this novel without spoilers, so I’ll just need to tell you that you must read it for yourself. You will be intrigued by the hunt for Volkey and want to read on and find out exactly what has led to their obsession and what has led to Marnie really understanding the idea of obsession herself. The backstories of these characters – Marnie and DS Noah Jake – will draw you in and make you feel so invested in them. If I had to wish for a detective pairing to see on the screen this Autumn, this pair would be my absolute first choice…

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I really liked the way that Come And Find Me asks us to look at crime from new and different perspectives and re-see them, once we have a greater understanding of everything that prisoners have been through in order for us to reevaluate our understanding of what ‘the truth’ of our justice system actually is. How many times have you read a crime story and been made to think about issues like prison overcrowding or the way that prison officers families are affected by their jobs? My husband is an ex-prison officer and I feel like it is Sarah Hilary’s real commitment to the truth of our criminal justice system that sets her apart and makes her one of my absolute favourite crime writers.

This isn’t just a straightforward thriller or police procedural. Come And Find Me goes a little deeper than that and asks us to think about the way that our personalities evolve through, because of and despite our experiences and who we can trust with our story. This novel makes us rethink again everything that we’ve discovered in the first four books and will leave you turning the pages, desperate to find out exactly how this fantastic read will end.

Anyone interested in relationships, psychology and human frailties will love Sarah Hilary’s newest novel. I loved Come And Find Me and because I was so excited to read it, I’m delighted to say that I was definitely not disappointed. Even though this book touched on dark and difficult subject matters at times, it was dealt with very sensitively and never felt exploitative or sensational in the slightest. It really asks you to delve inside someone else’s skin as a reader and think about the way that our lives can be derailed or enhanced by the cards that we are dealt. You will really find it hard to tear yourself away -and I have to admit that I tore through it the day it fell through my letterbox!

Come And Find Me was a book that I know I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally immersed in its characters, its pace and the way it really made me think about crime from a wholly fresh perspective. I can’t wait to see where Sarah Hilary goes next – and I can guarantee that you’ll be hooked by the time you’ve finished the last chapter of her first novel!  I feel like Come And Find Me make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion about coercive control, the prison system and the impact on crime of those who spend their lives fighting it…

 

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Many thanks to lovely Anne Cater for inviting me to join this blog tour and for my copy of the book for this review.

Writer on the Shelf

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Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut, SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016.

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The Observer’s Book of the Month (“superbly disturbing”) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. NO OTHER DARKNESS, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US.

Her DI Marnie Rome series continues with TASTES LIKE FEAR (2016) QUIETER THAN KILLING (2017) and COME AND FIND ME (2018).

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @Sarah_Hilary

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