The Supernatural Power Of Words. Elanor Reviews Bibliomancer by Frances Evelyn, For Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Elanor.

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Elanor has been reading Bibliomancer by Frances Evelyn

58521133. sy475

Emily discovers that people at her local hospice die peacefully when she reads to them. This novel explores how she comes to understand and develop her power, with the help of several esotericist friends of her employer, who believe in the supernatural power of words and books. When she is arrested for murder, she has to try to clear her name. At the same time, she learns that she can’t be too trusting towards her new ‘friends’. I couldn’t see where it was going to go, and the final act was genuinely tense.

There are some well-observed characters. I particularly enjoyed Emily’s best friend, Lauren, a no-nonsense working mum who cuts through the book’s supernatural elements well.

The plot is interspersed with excerpts from Pride & Prejudice – the first book Emily successfully uses at the hospice – from the perspectives of different characters. This is well done and light-hearted, but did pull me away from the tone of the main narrative. I couldn’t decide if it was meant to be jaunty or gothic.

The main concept asks for an exploration of what it means to die a good death and the ethical implications of Emily’s power. Emily takes her own journey very seriously, but I never quite bought into the magical elements or the seriousness of what she and her group were doing.

Overall for me, this book skirted over the big themes it was undertaking, but was a fun read with a satisfying conclusion.

3 stars

Desc 1

Is this the book you’ve chosen?

Emily Brewster is an angel. Ask anyone she reads to at the hospice. When she’s arrested for murder, it should be easy to clear her name. The only problem is, she thinks she might be guilty.

But what if death isn’t The End?

58521133. sy475

‘A fun cosy crime’. @em_banks reviews Dead Letters by @sheila_lowe for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Elanor.

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Elanor has been reading Dead Letters by Sheila Lowe

58261156. sy475

This is the 8th book in a series about hand-writing analyst Claudia Rose, the various crimes she helps investigate and the escapades she gets caught up in on the way. I haven’t read any other books in the series, but Dead Letters works as a standalone novel. Lowe makes reference to characters and events from previous books, but I never felt that I missed out on important context.

Dead Letters is a romp that takes Claudia across the Middle East and Europe in pursuit of her niece, always one step behind her, unravelling details of the terrorist cell who have apparently taken her. It builds to a dramatic “will they get there in time” finish – no spoilers here! It’s a quick and engaging read with lots of short chapters.

Claudia is like a snarky, modern-day Miss Marple, frequently acting outside the law and stubbornly getting herself into awkward and dangerous situations as she goes after the truth. She gets several opportunities throughout the chase to use her specialist expertise in handwriting and move the investigation forward.

Lowe works in some interesting history about the countries and sites the novel visits, and particularly about Egypt and archaeology in the first part of the story, before the action ramps up. She takes you on a journey through several cultures, and if some of the characters’ accents and idioms are a little exaggerated at times, each location has a sense of place that feels well-observed.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fun cosy crime with just the right amount of grit and danger! 4 stars.

Desc 1

A heart-pounding hunt begins when Claudia Rose’s young niece goes missing with an archaeologist whose shady past spills into the present. The frantic search takes Claudia to Egypt, Gibraltar, and the UK, where her skills as a forensic handwriting expert of international renown are needed to help foil a deadly terrorist plot—if only she can find Monica before she becomes a casualty.

AmazonUk | AmazonUS

58261156. sy475

Living With Amnesia. @em_banks reviews Small Forgotten Moments by @AnnalisaCrawf, for Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Today’s team review is from Elanor.

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Elanor has been reading Small Forgotten Moments by Annalisa Crawford

Small Forgotten Moments by [Annalisa Crawford]

Small Forgotten Moments is the story of Jo Mckye, an emerging artist celebrating her debut exhibition. But her fictional subject, Zenna, has become an obsession. We see Zenna infiltrating every part of Jo’s life and her unconscious as Jo increasingly struggles with telling the real from the fictional. She is driven to return to her childhood home and learn about her past in an effort to understand Zenna’s origins, and try to rid herself from this malevolent influence.

We are told early on that Jo suffers from amnesia, meaning she can’t remember any of her life before 3 years ago. Amnesia is a trope that is fairly well explored in the psychological thriller genre but I felt that the perspective here is interesting and stays on the right side of cliche. I occasionally asked myself “How would that even work?” – only to be given some insight and a whole bunch of new questions in the next chapter.

The novel focuses not on a disorientating early confusion stage of amnesia, but on Jo’s long-term experience, asking what it means to try to live a normal life, to create and plan without reference to a past – “I know I’m not who I’m supposed to be. How can I be, with so much of myself nestled so deeply within?“. In this context, Jo’s art appears as both therapy and a feverish necessity, as she wrestles unconsciously with her past.

The first person narration is so tight and unreliable that I felt some secondary characters were robbed of airtime. I wanted more of the best friend and the housemate, and in particular I felt I didn’t get a handle on Jo’s mum – though this probably reflects Jo’s own uncertainty and mental fog during her time at home.

The Cornish sea is almost a character in its own right. I loved the way Annalisa Crawford illustrates Jo’s confused mental state using the language of water as primal, uncontrollable and dangerous – foreshadowing a dramatic, psychological climax that was definitely not what I expected.

I read this book so quickly! It kept me entertained and guessing to the end. I would absolutely recommend it to fans of the genre.

4 stars.

Desc 1

Is Zenna a muse, a sleep-deprived apparition, or something much more sinister?

Suffering long-term amnesia, artist Jo Mckye is ready to start a fresh, new project after the success of her debut exhibition. But the fictional subject of the collection, Zenna, won’t let go so easily. Infiltrating Jo’s dreams—and increasingly, her waking hours—Zenna is fast becoming a dangerous obsession.

Jo is confident the answers lie at her childhood home, an idyllic Cornish village on the south-east coast; she just doesn’t know why. Only when she walks into the sea and almost drowns does the past start to unravel.

Haunting and melodic, fans of Daphne du Maurier and Daisy Johnson will adore this.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS

Small Forgotten Moments by [Annalisa Crawford]