Title: The Housekeepers

Author: Alex Hay

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

UPSTAIRS, MADAM IS PLANNING THE PARTY OF THE SEASON.

DOWNSTAIRS, THE SERVANTS ARE PLOTTING THE HEIST OF THE CENTURY.

When Mrs King, housekeeper to the most illustrious home in Mayfair, is suddenly dismissed after years of loyal service, she knows just who to recruit to help her take revenge.

A black-market queen out to settle her scores. An actress desperate for a magnificent part. A seamstress dreaming of a better life. And Mrs King’s predecessor, who has been keeping the dark secrets of Park Lane far too long.

Mrs King has an audacious plan in mind, one that will reunite her women in the depths of the house on the night of a magnificent ball – and play out right under the noses of her former employers…

THEY COME FROM NOTHING. BUT THEY’LL LEAVE WITH EVERYTHING.

The Review

I love a bit of mystery and intrigue and I first heard about The Housekeepers by Alex Hay on Twitter. I saw the teaser campaign and thought that this book is right up my street. I didn’t know who the characters were, I didn’t know anything about the plot. It was the strength of the cover and the drip drip drip of teasing that made me want to read it. Well done, Headline!

If I had to describe The Housekeepers I would say it is an Edwardian, turn of the century mash-up of Downton Abbey meets Ocean’s 8. Quite the image. It is an awesome heist drama filled with family secrets, the ghettos of post-Victorian London and fabulous female characters who have a bootstrap attitude.

Honestly, I was lost in this world and I loved the feistiness of our characters. Definitely a read to get lost in.

The Housekeepers by Alex Hay is available now.

For more information regarding Alex Hay (@AlexHayBooks) please visit his Twitter account

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit their Twitter account.

Title: The Best Things

Author: Mel Giedroyc

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

Sally Parker is struggling to find the hero inside herself.

All she wants to do is lie down.

Her husband Frank has lost his business, their home and their savings, in one fell swoop. Their bank cards are being declined. The children are running wild. And now the bailiffs are at the door.

What does an ordinary woman do when the bottom falls out?

Sally Parker is about to surprise everybody. Most of all herself.

The Review

The Best Things is a family drama and the debut novel of Mel Giedroyc. It focuses on a well-to-do middle class family which is headed by Frank and Sally. Frank – the breadwinner – is having a crisis of health and wife Sally – the “homemaker” – is having a crisis of identity. When their financial stability comes under threat the family begins to topple like a house of cards.

Whilst I don’t think The Best Things had the most exciting storyline the way the story is delivered and the fully developed characters carry it along nicely. It is the characters and the humour that save the novel.

The Best Things by Mel Giedroyc is available now.

For more information regarding Mel Giedroyc (@mel_giedroyc) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Details

Author: Ia Genberg

Pages: 176 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

A famous broadcaster writes a forgotten love letter; a friend abruptly disappears; a lover leaves something unexpected behind; a traumatised woman is consumed by her own anxiety.

In the throes of a high fever, a woman lies bedridden. Suddenly, she is struck with an urge to revisit a particular novel from her past. Inside the book is an inscription: a message from an ex-girlfriend.

Pages from her past begin to flip, full of things she cannot forget and people who cannot be forgotten. Johanna, that same ex-girlfriend, now a famous TV host. Niki, the friend who disappeared all those years ago. Alejandro, who appears like a storm in precisely the right moment. And Birgitte, whose elusive qualities shield a painful secret.

Who is the real subject of a portrait, the person being painted or the one holding the brush? The Details is a novel built around four such portraits, unveiling the fragments of memory and experience that make up a life. In exhilarating, provocative prose, Ia Genberg reveals an intimate and powerful celebration of what it means to be human.

The Review

Whenever I read translated fiction I always marvel at just how different it is. Ia Grenberg’s The Details is a book full of poetic language and gorgeous reflective sentences but nothing actually happens. I’ve read books that do the same thing and found them extremely annoying but The Details was a one sitting read for me and I was intoxicated by this world that Grenberg had created in her interlinked stories.

I feel like this is one of those books that you can come back to at various points in your life and find something new that you had missed the first time round, where something that was maybe throw-away at one age suddenly becomes so important at another.

I think this book will get a reread in a few years time.

The Details by Ia Genberg is available now.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

Title: Six Tudor Queens – Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession

Author: Alison Weir

Pages: 544 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

The young woman who changed the course of history.

Fresh from the palaces of Burgundy and France, Anne draws attention at the English court, embracing the play of courtly love.

But when the King commands, nothing is ever a game.

Anne has a spirit worthy of a crown – and the crown is what she seeks. At any price. 

ANNE BOLEYN. The second of Henry’s Queens. Her story.

History tells us why she died. This powerful novel shows her as she lived.

SIX TUDOR QUEENS. SIX NOVELS. SIX YEARS.

The Review

No one really knows why Anne Boleyn is their favourite of Henry the VIII wives but sure as eggs is eggs most will pick her out of the 6. I would be one of those people for the exact reason that I mentioned. However, recently I started reading Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series and now I couldn’t say who my favourite is.

Weir has very cleverly told the story of the most infamous Tudor king and his wives by creating a believable fictional narrative that is gorgeously wrapped in truth. She has taken real events and information from archived documents to make the Tudor court come alive.

Anne Boleyn is the one that was accused of stealing Henry the VIII from Katherine of Aragon, committing treason and then getting beheaded. She really did have a fascinating life. As Weir tells the story from each queen’s perspective you become more sympathetic to each one.

The final part of this series is released in May and I can honestly say that it is engaging, enjoyable and educational.

A great historical story that comes to life.

Six Tudor Queens – Anne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison Weir is available now.

For more information regarding Alison Weir (@AlisonWeirBooks) please visit www.alisonweir.org.uk.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: A Good Neighbourhood

Author: Therese Anne Fowler

Pages: 311 Pages

Publisher: Headline

The Blurb

In Oak Knoll, a tight-knit North Carolina neighbourhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son. All is well until the Whitmans move in next door – an apparently traditional family with new money, ambition, and a secretly troubled teenage daughter. With little in common except a property line, these two very different families quickly find themselves at odds over an historic oak tree in Valerie’s yard. But as they fight, they fail to notice that there is a romance blossoming between their two teenagers. A romance that will challenge the carefully constructed concepts of class and race in this small community. A romance that might cause everything to shatter…

The Review

A Good Neighbourhood is a bold novel about disguised racism in a small town in North Carolina.

It centres on two neighbouring families: The Aston Holt’s – Valerie and her son Xavier and The Whitman’s – local businessman Brad, his wife Julia and their two daughters. Xavier and eldest daughter Juniper have started to have feelings for each other but by embarking on a relationship they are crossing the divide of class, politics and race.

Fowler has taken a risk with this A Good Neighbourhood. Often authors are criticised for writing outside of the boundaries of ‘what they know’ – Fowler, as a white woman –  cannot fully understand racism because racism is so internal and institutionalised therefore her writing cannot be ‘real’. However, to not write about racism is worse. It is almost to ignore it and disregard it as a topic because it doesn’t directly affect her. As you can see, writers are often in a no win situation.

I think Fowler handled the subject of racial division in a very sensitive manner. She shows just how internalised and institutionalised it can be and shows how much of a problem it is especially in specific states in America. We know it is a problem but when it is highlighted – by someone of whatever race – it is surely a good thing if it helps raise awareness and will hopefully – one day  insight change.

A Good Neighbourhood by Therese Anne Fowler is available now.

For more information regarding Therese Anne Fowler (@ThereseFowler) please visit www.thereseannefowler.com.

For more information regarding Headline (@headlinepg) please visit their Twitter page.