Title: The Fifth Letter

Author: Nicola Moriarty

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.

The scandalous breakthrough novel from Nicola Moriarty that will leave you asking, how well do I really know my friends?

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

The Review

I love friendship novels, especially when the friendship has gone awry.

That is the case with the four friends in Nicola Moriarty’s The Fifth Letter. Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden have all met up for their annual get together; the one time of year where they can all be together and rekindle their friendship. As everyone knows, sustaining a friendship as you get older can be difficult but these four are trying their hardest.

When it is revealed that they all have dark secrets the girls begin to wonder if you can ever really truly know someone, even when that person is your best friend.

The Fifth Letter is a truly gripping novel of the complexities of friendship and how sometimes things cannot be sustainable. It is creepy in parts and a genuine entertaining mystery. Just when you think you have it all figured out Nicola Moriarty pulls the rug from beneath your feet.

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty is available now.

For more information regarding Nicola Moriarty (@NikkiM3) please visit www.nicolamoriarty.co.au.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Holding

Author: Graham Norton

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

The remote Irish village of Duneen has known little drama; and yet its inhabitants are troubled. Sergeant PJ Collins hasn’t always been this overweight; mother-of-two Brid Riordan hasn’t always been an alcoholic; and elegant Evelyn Ross hasn’t always felt that her life was a total waste.

So when human remains are discovered on an old farm, suspected to be that of Tommy Burke – a former love of both Brid and Evelyn – the village’s dark past begins to unravel. As the frustrated PJ struggles to solve a genuine case for the first time in his life, he unearths a community’s worth of anger and resentments, secrets and regret.

Darkly comic, touching and at times profoundly sad, Holding is a masterful debut. Graham Norton employs his acerbic wit to breathe life into a host of loveable characters, and explore – with searing honesty – the complexities and contradictions that make us human.

The Review

I’ve had Holding sitting on my Kindle for a while now. If I am honest with myself, I wanted to read it out of curiosity for what Graham Norton could produce rather than the story given on the blurb. There have been times when I have bought a book because of who the writer is and have been completely disappointed in the outcome. I wanted to read Holding but I didn’t want to lose my love for Graham Norton.

In this case, I really shouldn’t have worried. Holding is really funny.

It is set in a small podunk village in Ireland where nothing ever happens but when the remains of a body are found the whole town flails with uproar. While the whole town try to figure out ‘whodunnit’ more and more drama and mystery unravel among the residents.

Essentially, Holding is a murder mystery comedy. Norton perfectly encapsulates a gossipy town where everyone lives in the pockets of everyone else. It is a town in which no one can have any secrets. Indeed, Duneen becomes a character in its own right and even though it was the setting for a murder I found myself kind of wanting to go and visit.

Holding by Graham Norton is a very witty novel and I for one should have given him more credit for his writing ability.

Holding by Graham Norton is available now.

For more information regarding Graham Norton (@grahnort) please visit his Twitter page.

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Other Windsor Girl

Author: Georgie Blalock

Pages: 390 Pages

Publisher: William Morrow

The Blurb

In a historical debut evoking the style of The Crown, the daughter of an impoverished noble is swept into the fame and notoriety of the royal family and Princess Margaret’s fast-living friends when she is appointed as Margaret’s second Lady-in-Waiting.

Diana, Catherine, Meghan…glamorous Princess Margaret outdid them all. Springing into post-World War II society, and quite naughty and haughty, she lived in a whirlwind of fame and notoriety. Georgie Blalock captures the fascinating, fast-living princess and her “set” as seen through the eyes of one of her ladies-in-waiting.

In dreary, post-war Britain, Princess Margaret captivates everyone with her cutting edge fashion sense and biting quips. The royal socialite, cigarette holder in one hand, cocktail in the other, sparkles in the company of her glittering entourage of wealthy young aristocrats known as the Margaret Set, but her outrageous lifestyle conflicts with her place as Queen Elizabeth’s younger sister. Can she be a dutiful princess while still dazzling the world on her own terms?

Post-war Britain isn’t glamorous for The Honorable Vera Strathmore. While writing scandalous novels, she dreams of living and working in New York, and regaining the happiness she enjoyed before her fiancé was killed in the war. A chance meeting with the Princess changes her life forever. Vera amuses the princess, and what—or who—Margaret wants, Margaret gets. Soon, Vera gains Margaret’s confidence and the privileged position of second lady-in-waiting to the Princess. Thrust into the center of Margaret’s social and royal life, Vera watches the princess’s love affair with dashing Captain Peter Townsend unfurl.

But while Margaret, as a member of the Royal Family, is not free to act on her desires, Vera soon wants the freedom to pursue her own dreams. As time and Princess Margaret’s scandalous behavior progress, both women will be forced to choose between status, duty, and love…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Out of all of the members of the royal family none have ever interested me more than Princess Margaret. She is the princess who had it all but had nothing too. She was a member of the most famous family in the world. Wealth, jewels and stature was all hers to have but all she really wanted was the freedom to love who she wanted to. It may be a mix up with art imitating life and all of that but through programs like The Crown and now this book – The Other Windsor Girl – you get the impression that the royal family has learned from its mistakes in trying to control relations among the heirs as the scandal costs them too much in the end…or this could just be my interpretation.

The Other Windsor Girl looks at the woman behind the family persona and paints her has a real, flawed and broken girl. Georgie Blalock – whom you can tell by her lovely rich writing is fascinated by the royal family – has not sugar coated just how difficult Princess Margaret’s life was or indeed just how difficult she made things for herself.

This is a really good historical novel which makes us remember that privilege doesn’t just come in diamonds and pearls but comes with the freedom of not having a country to be responsible for and the more importantly the freedom to love whomever we choose without media and governmental scrutiny.

The Other Windsor Girl by Georgie Blalock is available now.

For more information regarding William Morrow (@WmMorrowBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Improbability of Love

Author: Hannah Rothschild

Pages: 408 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Books

The Blurb

When lovelorn Annie McDee stumbles across a dirty painting in a junk shop while looking for a present for an unsuitable man, she has no idea what she has discovered. Soon she finds herself drawn unwillingly into the tumultuous London art world, populated by exiled Russian oligarchs, avaricious Sheikas, desperate auctioneers and unscrupulous dealers, all scheming to get their hands on her painting – a lost eighteenth-century masterpiece called ‘The Improbability of Love’. Delving into the painting’s past, Annie will uncover not just an illustrious list of former owners, but some of the darkest secrets of European history – and in doing so she might just learn to open up to the possibility of falling in love again.

The Review

The Improbability of Love is a low key heist novel about the displacement of an expensive piece of art: The Improbability of love. Within the multi-narrative novel we see crooked art dealers, we see relationships blooming, and we also see the difficulty between families.

It is an interesting story, a bit tongue in cheek, but for me it was a bit of a slow burner. Things get more interesting later on in the novel when the origin of the artwork begins to unfold but it did take over half of the book to get there.

The most interesting chapters were the ones told by the painting itself. It sounds strange but the unique voice of The Improbability of Love was witty, entertaining and a little pompous so it is worth a read just for this character alone.

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild is available now.

For more information regarding Hannah Rothschild (@Hannah71771890) please visit www.hannahrothschild.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Books (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: Snug – A Collection of Comics about Dating your Best Friend

Author: Catana Chetwynd

Pages: 133 Pages

Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing

The Blurb

Why bother getting out of bed when you could stay bundled up with that special someone and a book of cozy, cute comics. From the author of the bestselling Little Moments of Love comes Snug, a collection of comics that perfectly captures the honest, playful, and relatable snapshots of romantic life.

Chetwynd’s second book has the same charming and inviting style as her first and includes 50 percent new, never-before-shared comics. Snug is a celebration of the quirks and peculiarities of every one of us—and the magic that happens when we find our matching puzzle piece.

The Review

In absolutely loved Little Moments of Love and gave a copy to my fiancé for Valentine’s Day a few years back and he thought it was adorable too. I couldn’t resist buying him a copy of Snug for this year’s Valentine’s Day…I also couldn’t resist reading it before I wrapped it up to give to him – cheeky, I know but this is the kind of fiancé I am and he has come to accept it. We just work like that.

Snug is adorable but more importantly, it is so relatable. I wanted to stick little post it notes on nearly every page with messages saying “this is so us.” but I really didn’t need to. He will get it. He will know.

These comic strips remind me of the Love is… comics from the 70s and 80s but they are just far more cute.

Once again Catana Comics has perfectly encapsulated love.

Snug – A Collection of Comics about Dating your Best Friend by Catana Chetwynd is available now.

For more information regarding Catana Chetwynd (@catana_comics) please visit www.bit.ly/2HinFIQ.