The Winners!#RBRT Rosie’s Book Review Team presents: The Gold & Silver Rose Awards 2016
*Cough* … On behalf of my team, I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners-up in the #RBRT 2016 book awards!
Books were selected from the several hundred submitted to our team for review over the past year, with the 24 finalists voted for by the reviewing team. These finalists were then offered up to the public for voting. Congratulations to the 8 winners and runners up!
A click of the book’s title will take you to Goodreads, where you can see reviews, and also leads to the Amazon, etc, buy links.
Suraya has been reading Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley
Trust Me I lie
This review is written as part of Rosie’s review team and I received the book for free.
This novel starts predictably when the hero, policeman Ben, and heroine, heiress Milla stumble across each other on a stormy night. She is on the road, wet and bedraggled.
‘He hit the brakes and then he hit her.’ (11)
This is policeman Ben’s first encounter with Milla.
He was fuming over his tense meeting with his ex-wife and distracted. It all sounds familiar right down to his seeing through Milla’s lies and not trusting her. And as always the case in these scenarios the feeling is mutual.
She steals from him and disappears. Meantime, he is called to investigate the murder of Camilla Graham who is laid out in a four poster bed dressed in a gown by Dior. When he is told the victim is Camilla Graham, he knows this is not true, or is it? If this is Camilla Graham who was the woman he met on the road and took in for the night? The story twists and turns as Ben tries to unravel the true identities of Camilla, Kiran and Milla. They are related but how?
The plot twists and turns, drawing on events eighteen years before and weaving them into the present raising questions about Camilla Graham’s family as it does. It has pace and the characters are well drawn.
And of course the right two people get together at the end although at times it seems this could never happen, giving the reader a reason to keep turning the page.
I recommend it as a read to escape life’s mundane realities. After all who can resist a troubled but fully independent heiress who does not do a thing she is told and in doing so takes big risks all in the name of finding out who killed her mother and family.
She is sharp witted, intelligent and a match for senior police officer Ben Taylor.
Terry has been reading Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley
TRUST ME I LIE by Louise Marley
4 out of 5 stars
Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team
Trust Me I Lie ~ a hard one to categorise; it’s lighter than a serious crime solving, too edgy and current for a cosy mystery (a point in its favour, in my book), and even the quite dark stuff is written with a fairly light hand; yes, I’d class it as a ‘light mystery with romantic undertones’, if a seriously dysfunctional family with a hundred and one secrets and a few murders can be described as light!
It starts when Good Cop Ben Taylor is driving home in a storm and comes across a woman walking in the middle of the road ~ instantly he is drawn into the complicated world of Milla Graham. But is she who she says she is? Or is she even the person she says she isn’t? Is she a total nut job? Indeed, this mystery winds back and forth with many a clever plot twist; it’s certainly not predictable and I kept being surprised, which is good.
At times I found it a bit too confusing and thought that it could have done with a bit more thinking through; not the plot itself, in which I didn’t find any holes, but the way in which it was conveyed; at times I thought, eh? Writing a complicated mystery with lots of characters is an incredibly difficult thing to do, as you have to know exactly which bits of information to leak out when, how much emphasis to give certain points so they’re not overlooked by the reader, etc etc. But even when I wasn’t exactly sure what was going on I still quite liked it, as Ms Marley writes nicely, I loved the idyllic setting(s), and I’d just think, oh well, I suppose that bit will make sense later. It usually did.
I wasn’t quite sure if I was supposed to like Milla or not ~ I didn’t, I found her too brattish, but she’s well written, very current, a typical contemporary fiction type heroine, a bit ballsy, a bit screwed up, pretty independent, etc. Ben is lovely, I really warmed to him, and I liked Milla’s cousin Mal, too.
Who would enjoy it? I’d say female readers between the ages of 18-40 who’ve read five thousand contemporary romances and have moved onto something with a bit more meat to it. I’ve probably just described Louise Marley’s current readership!
Liz has been reading Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley
I always enjoy character driven novels, but a book with a compelling plot is appealing. In Trust Me I Lie we have both. Ben Taylor is a policeman with a heart, a Detective Inspector who acts like a Knight in shining armour, but Milla Graham is a more complex person. She admits to being a liar, frequently breaks the law but has great charisma and charm. Her determination to solve a crime, which took place 18 years earlier when she was 6, takes Ben to the brink of losing his career and endangers both their lives.
Written in the third person, Trust Me I Lie tells the story partly from Ben’s point of view and partly from Milla’s, interspersed with a narration of events 18 years before, gradually revealing what happened; but look out for the red herrings. A mansion had burned down killing the children of a family where their mother has been stabbed to death. Now a young woman connected to the family has been found murdered in the abandoned mansion and Ben must solve both cases without incriminating Milla in the latest crime.
The theme of fairy tales, especially Alice in Wonderland, is wound effectively into the book adding an extra dimension. I felt the motivation of DI Lydia Cavill needed a little more explanation but I was particularly fond of Detective Sergeant Harriet March who deserves a story of her own. With a light touch, Louise Marley has involved the reader with the hopes and fears of the main characters and produced a mystery story packed full of twists and turns and a touch of romance.
Olga has been reading Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley
Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley. Mysteries, fairy tales, false identities and an unlikely couple.
I am writing this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to the author for providing me a free copy of the novel in exchange for an unbiased review and to Rosie for the opportunity.
I try to read in a variety of genres (it’s good to keep the brain on its toes, so to speak, and since I joined Rosie’s team I’ve been tempted by the varied offerings of titles I might not have come across otherwise). But whilst for some genres I have to prepare myself and be in the mood, mysteries and thrillers I am able to read in most circumstances.
I liked the title of the novel (I don’t like liars, but an honest liar… well, I prefer that to people who swear blindly they’re telling the truth when it’s obvious they are not) and when I read it was set in the UK and it involved a family whose business was to publish books (and pretty fancy fairy tales editions at that) I knew I had to try it. And it does deliver in spades.
The story is told in the third person from the two main characters’ points of view, Milla Graham (although if she’s really Camilla Graham or her cousin, or somebody else entirely is a big part of the puzzle), a reporter who writes features about musicians and musical events, and Ben Taylor, a detective, divorced, father of a young daughter, and a man always on a mission to rescue somebody (especially damsels in distress, even if they don’t want to be rescued). There are other fragments, in italics, also in the third person, that narrate the event at the heart of the mystery (the night when the Graham’s old house burned down and three children and their mother died), that took place eighteen years before the rest of the novel. The point of view these other fragments are narrated from is not clear as we read them (other than it is somebody who witnessed what happened) but by the end of the novel we have a clear picture of what really happened (although we will have been tripped and wronged in our assumptions many times along the way).
Both main characters are likeable in different ways. Ben is handsome, honest and a good guy, who, as many female characters tell him, seems to suffer from rescue fantasies. He lives in a chocolate box cottage and he meets the other protagonist in a traumatic manner (he runs her over) in the first chapter. His car ends up in a ditch and as he has no other option he invites the stranger, a young woman, to his house. She disappears with some of his money early next morning but she does not disappear from his life. At first sight Ben appears to be a type of character we’re very familiar with (a handsome detective somewhat disillusioned by his job and with his family life in tatters) but his immediate attraction and sympathy for Milla makes him do out of character things that surprise others around him as much as himself. And we get to discover some surprising things about him too.
Milla is, without discussion, quite unique. She lives hand to mouth, has adopted the identity of the dead daughter of a very rich family (it made me think of the stories about Anastasia, the Romanov tsarina who was supposedly still alive), and it’s difficult to know what her real motivations are. Does she really believe she’s Camilla Graham? Is it all part of a hoax to get money? Is she trying to help Patrick Graham, the man who was sent to prison for the murder of his wife (and the real Camilla’s mother)? Is she the cousin of the family now trying to create confusion? Or is she a fantasist who does not know what the truth is any longer? She is determined, resourceful and will stop at nothing to reach her goal. Whatever that might be. And she is open about her lies (and does surprise herself when she doesn’t lie).
The novel features charming English towns, an old mansion that has become a gothic castle in ruins, murders staged to imitate the illustrations of famous fairy tales (with designer clothing and four poster beds also thrown in), a murderer dressed and made-up like the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, mysterious bracelets, and a world of fairy tales that turns very dark.
The main characters are fascinating and likeable and you can’t help but root for them, no matter how outrageous their behaviours. If you stopped to think about it, some of their actions definitely stretch one’s belief, but the pace is so dynamic and the story so intriguing and surprising, that you keep trying to guess what will happen next and enjoy the ride. The writing is descriptive and vivid and one feels a part of the story, or at least a very close witness of the events. Although the crimes described are horrendous, there is no gross attention to the details of the violence, no CSI-style descriptions, and although not a cozy novel, it’s not a hard-edged thriller either. Ah, and there is romance but no explicit sex scenes (or implicit even).
I had a great time reading the novel, enjoyed the satisfying ending and my only disappointment is that being a big fairy tale fan I would have loved to get my hands on the wonderful illustrated volumes of fairy tales described in the novel but unfortunately it won’t be possible. I recommend it to readers of mysteries that prefer an involved story rather than a hard-edged scientific investigation in dark, urban and grittily realistic settings. If you love quirky characters, do not hesitate and give it a try. And I’ll be keeping an eye on Louise Marley’s work for sure.