Book reviews UK: February releases
- Credit: Archant
Escape into a whole other world… Kate Houghton reviews the latest books to while away the hours with
The Woman in the Window, by A. J. Finn
It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, too terrified to step outside.
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers. Simply superb: a tense, well-written thriller that will have you gripped till the final chapter.
Anna Fox has suffered an immense trauma, which has turned her into an agoraphobic ‘shut in’, reliant on drugs and alcohol to get her through the day. Chapter by chapter her story unfolds, woven into her account of what she sees when spying on her neighbours through her windows. This piecemeal enlightenment makes for delightfully tense reading, as you turn page after page seeking the truth but never really sure if you’ll recognise it when you see it.
It’s totally gripping and the denouement, which you won’t guess at until it actually happens, is brilliantly clever and unexpected. All the clues are there, but are you smart enough to spot them? A truly excellent read - but make sure you remain undisturbed as you reach the close, you won’t be able to stop.
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On a Beautiful Day, by Lucy Diamond
It’s a beautiful day in Manchester and four friends are meeting for a birthday lunch. But then they witness a shocking accident, just metres away, which affects each one in significant ways.
It’s lovely to read a novel set in a city you know, and even better when it’s an enjoyable read. I’m not a regular reader of ‘chick lit’, as I am past the age when fairytale romances and unlikely happy endings involving handsome princes appeal, but this one breaks the mould, focussing as it does on female friendships and the strength and support to be found there, rather than any idea that a man is the solution to all that ails us.
Our heroines are all facing challenges that many of us have, or will, face – secrets from the past bubbling up, step-daughters from hell, that overwhelming need for a baby of our own, illness…the whole gamut of joys we’re familiar personally or through our friends. The greatest sanity saver? Great girlfreinds: no judgement, no unwanted rescue attempts, just there when you need them. And we all know how great that feels, don’t we?
A fabulous book for a long soak in the bath, to smile at during the lunch break and clutch on the metro: undemanding and with the kind of happy ending we can relate to.
A Country Escape, by Katie Fforde
Fran has always wanted to be a farmer. And now it looks as if her childhood dream is about to come true. She has just moved in to a beautiful but very run-down farm in the Cotswolds, currently owned by an old aunt who has told Fran that if she manages to turn the place around in a year, the farm will be hers.
She’s going to need a lot of help from her best friend and from her wealthy and very eligible neighbour - who might just have his own reasons for being so supportive.
Is it the farm he is interested in? Or Fran herself?
Out 22 February
The Day She Disappeared, by Christobel Kent
Have you ever had that sense that you’re being watched?
Nat knows something’s wrong. Her best friend, Beth, would never have upped and left without saying goodbye to her. But no one believes that Beth was taken - she is a fly-by-night, a party girl who can’t be trusted. No one’s listening to Nat.
But someone is definitely watching her...
Out 8 February