sylvia ashby

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

A book of brilliant beginning, strangely satisfying ending, and a “meh“ middle part.

41nTt6pxC4L._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Margo Lewis is a classics teacher living in Cambridge and doubling as an agony aunt for the local newspaper. Her column is called Dear Amy, hence the name of the book.

After a student from Margo’s school goes missing—presumed a runaway because of a few hastily gathered personal possessions—Margo begins to receive some very disturbing letters. They are addressed to the Dear Amy columnist and are written by a girl that’s gone missing decades ago and is presumed dead.

Now, I loved that beginning. It’s got everything I’m a sucker for in a psychological thriller: a narrator you are reluctant to trust because you instinctively feel she’s not telling you everything. A young girl in peril. A beautiful town and a community that does not quite match the moral dignity it inhabits. Well-buried old secrets surfacing reluctantly.

But, and in this case the “but” is a big one: the book needed more work.
Firstly, there are a few discrepancies in the story. Plot holes but also pieces of information that we are given and that don’t match from one chapter to the next. Secondly, I found the chapters from the villain’s perspective immature and clichéd, to say the least. I don’t think they were needed from suspense and plot development point of view, so I wish they hadn’t been included. The physiological methods for retrieving lost memories described in the book were painfully poor and a bit desperate.

There were a few brilliant moments, sparks, in the reviling of the story, which I enjoyed. The novel is fast passed. Margo is likable and I was rooting for her to be “saved” from her past.

Some reviewers have mentioned that they were annoyed by the romance streak in the novel. I wasn’t. I wanted something good to happen to that woman after all the crap she’s been through. The very last sentence saved the book for me, really. I’m not going into details, but it was kind of a full stop that really gave me closure. It was strangely satisfying in a conclusive sort of way.

This book was given to me by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. In this case, I wished they’d revise the book before releasing it to fix up the few weaknesses and make it a five-star read, which it could well be.

The Treachery of Trains Tour – Summary

Tacf302d9ebe69e681ebce6c5e04ce41d (1)he Treachery of Trains Tour is over.

I’ve been gearing up for it for weeks and now it’s finished I feel quite spent. Many things happened in the ten days it lasted: I met new bloggers and got to hear what they make of the novel. My laptop had to go to the laptop clinic because it suffered a bout of nerves and overheated (the fan was clogged with dust). Last but not least, I sold quite a few books.

Thank you to all the people that found my book appealing in some way. I’d love to hear what you make of it once you’ve finished reading it.

Here is a list of links to blogs that took part in the tour. Your contribution was much appreciated.

DAY 4

I was asked very authorly questions by Amber at Judging More Than Just The Cover. If you want to know why I write check out the interview.

DAY 5

The Treachery of Trains got reviewed by Ali – the Dragon Stayer. Ali had this to say “The writing is cleverly done and is at the right pace to keep pulling you back into the story just as your mind thinks it has found it’s niche. A good book for folks who want something a little different from the usual rom-com mould.” Thank you, Ali!

Here my laptop decided to take a little break and the next few days were a blur, but it eventually came back from rehab right on time for Fede’s amazing review!

DAY 8

Fede gave The Treachery of Trains five ladybugs (the highest honor in ItaPixie’s Book Corner). “This book was funny and heart aching at the same time.I absolutely loved it! The writing was so entertaining it was hard to put down.I was so intrigued by the development of the story I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.” Thank you, Fede!

DAY 9

This day was all about Hayley who is rather too fond of books. As Hayley points out in her blog post she jumped on the tour right before it was going to take off and as a result, her blog name was missing from some of the blog posters. BUT her review of The Treachery of Trains is amazing! I want to copy and paste it here in its entirety, but I shan’t as this post will get too long. “I’d never heard of the treachery of an image before but I loved the way it was used and described in this novel. It all then began to make some sense of the title too – the way Sky got the wrong train, a train that wasn’t what it appeared to be, and ended up in a place that she hadn’t mean to go to, that also wasn’t what it seemed to be and yet it ultimately led her to end up where she was destined to be.” Thank you, Hayley!

DAY 10

On the last day, the book and I discovered Chocolate Pages and Amanda, who said: “I am currently very excited about this book, and it is next on my to be read list.” I can’t wait for Amanda’s review!

This was all, lovely people. Keep well, keep reading, and we’ll catch up soon.

S. x

P.S. The image I’ve used in this post is by Edward Fielding. You can buy the poster here.

“The White Cottage Mystery” by Margery Allingham

 

51ukNLTFQnL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_This was Margery Allingham’s first detective story, originally serialised in the Daily Express in 1927. Margery Allingham was one of the beloved writers of the Golden Age of Crime alongside Agatha Cristie, Anthony Berkeley, Freeman Wills Croft, Father Ronald Knox etc.

Like every classic Golden Age of Crime novel “The White Cottage Mystery” features an impossible murder, a love story, a noble detective, a suspicious inheritance and demons from the past. There are a lot of charming ladies struggling to do “the right thing”. There is a man who fought in the war and a villain with a cockney accent; a nanny, who is obsessed with her charge and simple but arduous “house staff” who reveal snippets of information about their masters at exactly the right time.

When Eric Crowther is shot to death Chief Inspector Challenor and his son Jerry are involved in solving the crime. Moments before the crime is committed Jerry drives past the White Cottage giving one of its inhabitants – charming Nora – a lift. As Jerry and his father dig deeper into the lives of the people present in the house at the time of the murder, they realise that

anyone could have killed Mr Crowther.

He was a vile man who enjoyed nothing more than collecting peoples’ secrets and torturing them with what he knew.

The novel was, perhaps, fast passed for its time but it lost a bit of it’s shine at present. The emotions are a bit over the top; the dialogue a tad stifling.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book the same way I’d enjoy watching a black-and-white movie from the fifties. Or the same way I crave Shepherd’s pie every now and again. “The White Cottage Mystery” is comfort food for the mind.

J.K.Rowling claims her favourite Margery Allingham’s book is “The Tiger in The Smoke”, so I’m off to check out that next.

I’m grateful for this book to Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Treachery of Trains Tour Day 1, 2 and 3

3d-the-treachery-of-trainsHello!
The Treachery of Trains Tour is well and truly on its way. I’m collecting all the links here, so I can keep you posted.

Day 1: 9th of May

The tour opened with a post in Red’s Midnight Readers. There is an eBook giveaway until 20th of May. Go WIN a free ebook if you haven done so by now!

The Treachery of Trains got mentioned in Ever Growing Book Obsession on Facebook.

Day 2: 10th of May

The book was all over the Belgian Reviewer. Since I live in Belgium I think that’s quite fitting 🙂 The 3D hardback rendition is a nice touch to the post. Thanks, Inge.

Day 3: 11the of May

The book is visiting Steamy Book Momma with another giveaway (would there be any ebooks left after all this is over?!).

Tomorrow I’ll be giving the book some well-deserved rest and I’ll be appearing myself on Judging More Than Just the Cover

Talk soon!

Sylvia A. x

 

 

“The Treachery of Trains Tour” One Week To Go

Tour

Hi there!

May is upon us and with it the blog tour of The Treachery of Trains. My latest book. I can’t tell you how excited I am since quite a few people have opted to review it. I can’t wait to hear what you make of it, bloggers! Thank you so much for taking part.

Now, because this tour is a special event I’d be

giving away the book on Amazon

on a single day. I’m not going to tell you upfront which day it is going to be, so stay tuned and follow me on twitter @bysylvia_a

Happy #chicklitmay! I couldn’t choose a better month to talk about my book.

S. x