His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet

imageA brutal triple murder in a remote Scottish farming community in 1869 leads to the arrest of seventeen-year-old Roderick Macrae. There is no question that Macrae committed this terrible act. What would lead such a shy and intelligent boy down this bloody path? Will he hang for his crime?

After reading some great things about His Bloody Project I couldn’t resist picking it up when I saw it at the library.  Then I started reading it and wondered if I had made a mistake.  I struggled with the first thirty or so pages and was close to deciding it wasn’t the book for me.  Thankfully, something clicked before I gave up because this is a really good book and I really enjoyed it.

It starts with the author saying that this is the story of a relative of his, a young man convicted of murder named Roderick Macrae. Discovered in an archive and long forgotten, the author has found a handwritten record of the events leading up to the murder and the murder itself.  It is written by Roderick himself and, for a young crofter with limited education, shows an articulate and intelligent young man very aware of what has happened.

For me, as a reader, it also showed a young man pushed to the limits by bullying neighbours and the strict social structures in which he was living.  Roderick is also a boy who is suffering grief from the loss of his mother, regularly beaten by his god-fearing father, and trying to figure out how to become a man, including falling in love.  I felt very sympathetic to him and his situation and Burnet does a wonderful and realistic job painting this picture through Roderick’s words.

Then things start to change.  Following Roderick’s written statement there are autopsy reports, which paint a grisly picture; a paper and evidence from an expert who specialises in the criminally insane and isn’t convinced Roderick is telling the truth about his motives; and then a description of the trial itself, with neighbours giving testimony of a young man who was never “quite right” but who seemed completely calm and in control on the day of the murders.  All start to present a different version of events than those told by Roderick.

And as a reader, I then started to wonder.  Was he the victim he had led me to believe – in which case he was much smarter than his neighbours or the experts believe – or was he mentally ill with no real control over his actions?  It’s a difficult question to answer and I’m not sure I know how I feel now the book is finished.

I do know that I am really impressed with the book, after my initial reservations, how it presented the story, how it gave an insight into how mental illness was perceived and dealt with at the time, and how it developed the characters.  Burnet is a really good writer who completely drew me in.     As a result, I have to say I loved this book and would very much recommend it.

Enjoy!

Emma

Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas

31627176The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.

Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie’s brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can’t keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn’t relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn’t the only one there hiding truths.

When Francesca (or Frankie as she was known as a teen) gets a call from the brother of her long lost best friend, she feels like a long-asked question has been answered.  No one ever knew exactly what happened to Sophie and her disappearance has left a whole it many people’s lives, including Frankie’s.

When the brother, Daniel, then asks her to come back to their home town to be with him when he identifies the remains, however, she pauses.  Going home is something she really doesn’t want to do – is scared to do – because, as best friends do, she and Sophie shared everything including secrets neither every wanted revealed.

Still, she goes, unable to stop herself in the end.  Whether this is to find closure or whether it is to make sure the secrets she and Sophie buried stay that way is unclear.  What does become clear pretty quickly though, with messages left on her mat and strangers following her, is that someone already knows and – it seems – they want to make Frankie pay.

With each letter, each footstep she hears behind her, Frankie starts to unravel.  And so does her story, which she finds herself reliving and retelling to an imaginary Sophie.  At the same time, through diary entries, we hear Sophie’s version of events.  Both are different and start leading to what I thought was a clever twist at the end and a great conclusion to the story.

When I read Claire Douglas’ debut novel, The Sisters, earlier this year I said that I felt I wasn’t reading something fully formed and the final reveal was one I had seen coming from pretty much the beginning of the book.  I have to say that neither are the case here.

This is a much more confident and well-rounded book and the characters are all well-formed and well-written.  The twists and turns are less predictable and the ending was one I hadn’t figured out until the final chapters when there seemed nowhere else for the story to go.  I was left a very happy bunny and with a book I liked a lot.  A recommended read.

Enjoy!

Emma

 

Tuesday intro: Witness

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. In really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

This week I’m reading Witness by Caroline Mitchell, who I’ve never read but hear so many good things about.  It’s my favourite theme – murder – so I have high hopes.  Here’s what it’s about…

30637470To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal.

It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her.

Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims.

Fail to respond and you get hurt. Talk to police and you die. Ready to play? You have sixty seconds to decide…

As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.

And here’s how it starts (a bit of a longer one this week)…

PROLOGUE

12th September 2007

‘Stay away from me,’ I cried, shielding my face with a bloodied hand as the beam of a torch found me. A strong female voice responded, lowering the streak of light to the floor.
‘It’s the police. You’re safe now.’ The officer spoke in a Jamaican accent. The late September night was making her sweat in her fluorescent jacket, her eyes wide as she took in the scene.
‘Where’s the light switch?’ a male officer said, his flash lamp strobing through the darkness of my home. I blinked against the sudden glare as the light flicked on overhead. My Tiffany lamp lay smashed on its side, and had plunged us into blackness. The police woman was still speaking to me, but her words were muffled, as if she were talking underwater. My head spun. I was drowning in confusion. It wasn’t until her fingers dug into my shoulder I could distinguish her words.
‘Why don’t you come over here and let the paramedics do their job?’
Paramedics…It felt like forever since I had made the call.  I cradled Jake’s head in my lap, the tips of my fingers making blood-stained patterns on his greying skin. Glassy-eyed, he stared unblinking at the ceiling.

What do you think? Would you keep reading?

Emma

Authors I must read more of in 2017

Doing my Reviews by Author page a few weeks ago, I was struck by how many authors I say I am going to read more of and then never actually do. Having really enjoyed the first of their books that I’ve read I think I am likely missing out.

So, in an early New Year resolution, I have decided that in 2017 I am going to read at least one more book written by five of the authors that really jumped out at me and have stuck with me since reading their book (with links to their Goodreads or web pages for their names)….

Nicole Trope, whose book Blame I absolutely loved when I read it back in July.  She has written six books but the one that really caught my eye is Hush, Little Bird, released in 2015.

25398542.jpgNicole Trope’s explosive fourth book tells the story of two very different women. One has been damaged by her disturbing past, the other is a society wife of a television celebrity. We meet them on the celebrity wife’s first day in a minimum security prison where the other, much younger, woman is also an inmate. As each woman tells her story in alternating chapters, we gradually come to know how they came to be in prison. As their pasts are revealed we start to realise that they have much more in common than their crimes. Only one woman knows the shocking secret that connects them, and she is determined to have her revenge

Peter Swanson, whose The Kind Worth Killing I read couldn’t put down with it’s many twists and turns.  Peter’s third novel – Her Every Fear – is due out in January so that seems a good place to go next.

29938032.jpgThe danger isn’t all in your head . . .

Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own—curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves . . . until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment—and accidently learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? And what about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself . . . So how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Yet the danger Kate imagines isn’t nearly as twisted and deadly as what’s about to happen. When her every fear becomes very real.

And much, much closer than she thinks.

Sara Gran, whose Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway was a completely different type of detective novel and which I read way back in 2015.  This was the second in a series and, unfortunately, looking at Sara’s web site there won’t be a third anytime soon so I’ll have to go back to the first, which I haven’t read though it was released in 2011.

9231999Sara Gran has written a novel about an unprecedented private investigator named Claire DeWitt. Destiny, it seems, has chosen Claire to be a detective, planting a copy of the enigmatic book Détection in her path as a teenager. Claire has grabbed this destiny with both hands but fate has been cruel. Twenty years later detection is her religion and Détection is her Bible.

Now she is summoned to New Orleans, because someone has heard she is “the best,” to search for an upstanding citizen lost in the miasma of Katrina. The battered and beggared New Orleans, second only to Claire, is the star of this story. Thus the title. 

Alex Marwood, whose book The Darkest Secret I thought was really clever and not what I expected at all.  I’m going to go back to the beginning with this author and read a book that has been on my to read list since it first came out.

11940384One fateful summer morning in 1986, two 11-year-old girls meet for the first time and by the end of the day are charged with murder.

Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of attacks on young female tourists in a seaside town when her investigation leads her to interview funfair cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day when they were just children. But with new lives – and families – to protect, will they really be able to keep their secret hidden?

And finally, Colleen Hoover, whose November 9 is one of the few romances I have ever read and enjoyed.  I reviewed it a year ago yesterday and it got me stepping outside my comfort zone and is something I feel like I should do more of.  With so many books to chose from I have gone with the most popular on Goodreads.

15717943Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

I have high hopes for all these books and hope to continue to remain in love with all the authors.  What about you – what authors do you wish you could read more of…any of them also on my list?

Emma

 

 
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#FF : Favourite Winter Setting

feature-and-followAfter coming across Feature & Follow Friday on Closet Geek Book Group earlier today, I couldn’t resit heading over to check out the link and what others had to say.  Then, as I wasn’t sure what to post today, I decided I had to in; it looks fun and ’tis the season after all…

The question that caught my eye was…

What is your favourite book set in a winter world?

The first thing that popped into my mind?

317500The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, one of my favourite books from childhood (in fact the whole series but given the theme, this had to be the one I chose) and one I’ve read way more than once.

I remember reading it and loving the idea of being able to escape the real world and enter one where I could be someone else, someone brave and clever and world-saving.  The escapism sums up why I still love reading books.

I also remember really liking the white witch, which I know I shouldn’t but she was pretty compelling and oh so evil.  Of all the characters, she’s the one I have an image of that I can never shake and that no TV show or film has ever managed to match.

The only downside – all that winter but no Christmas!

As an adult, I don’t read fantasy books or books set in other worlds very often but every now and again one catches my eye and imagination.

T15932273he Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is one of those and has the perfect winter setting, remote Alaska in the 1920s and the perfect character in Faina, a girl who seems to have been made from ice and snow and who changes the life of a lonely, childless couple.

The setting was beautiful, the language gorgeous, and the story one I hadn’t read before, drawing me in and not letting me go until the end – when I may have shed a tear or two (but don’t tell anyone).

For a woman who mainly reads about murder, it is one of those books that was a welcome change but it is also one that has never left me and I often find myself recommending to others.

And there they are my favourite winter settings in book form.  What are your?

Emma

The Food of Love by Amanda Prowse

30333119A loving mother. A perfect family. A shock wave that could shatter everything.

Freya Braithwaite knows she is lucky. Nineteen years of marriage to a man who still warms her soul and two beautiful teenage daughters to show for it: confident Charlotte and thoughtful Lexi. Her home is filled with love and laughter.

But when Lexi’s struggles with weight take control of her life, everything Freya once took for granted falls apart, leaving the whole family with a sense of helplessness that can only be confronted with understanding, unity and, above all, love.

The Food of Love has been a hard book for me to review.  On the one hand, I found it very powerful, dealing as it does with the subjects of anorexia, bulimia, and mental illness in young women.  On the other, I didn’t like Freya, the central character and – as I’ve said before – I find it hard to like a book where I don’t like the people I am reading about.

Because of this, then, I have waited almost a week since finishing it to put fingers to keyboard and try and put down my feelings on this book.  With time to reflect, to step away from Freya a little, I have to say my thoughts are generally positive.  It is a good book, one that deals with a difficult subject and one that – having also done some reading up on the subject in the past week – shines a light on what I think is a not-so-hidden epidemic amongst young women (and increasingly young men) in our society.

Given the subject, it probably isn’t a surprise if I say this is also a book that is not filled with a lot of uplifting moments.  It is hard to read because of this.  Lexi is really struggling with her illness and, as a result, so are her family – all of whom have a different take on just how bit the problem is and how they should resolve it.  For Freya, who as I said is front and centre in this book, it is with love.  She believes that with kindness and patience and understanding she can help Lexi.  She is after all her mother. So she cooks, cajoles, cuddles and, sometimes, suffocates her daughter with affection.

Unfortunately, she is also Charlotte’s mother and her elder daughter ends up neglected because all Freya’s time and attention are on Lexi.  Seeing how it impacts Charlotte as a family member was almost as hard as seeing what Lexi was doing to herself.  Over the course of the year the story takes place, Charlotte is ignored – a lot – and misses out – a lot – during a pivotal part of her teenage life.  It shows the wider impact of Lexi’s illness, as does the way Freya and her husband Lockie’s relationship falters too.

Part of the reason is the stress of having to be constantly vigilant – imagine having to watch everything someone puts into their mouth and then having to watch to make sure they don’t immediately go throw it up or do a million sit-ups to burn off the calories they’ve consumed.  But there is also their disagreement on how to handle the situation.  Lockie believes in medical intervention.  He wants to let the professionals deal with things.  Freya doesn’t.

Given this, they try both approaches and, eventually, one works but watching them try to find a solution, knowing that if they chose the wrong one their daughter might die, is hard.   And in this I think the book did a really good job, highlighting how difficult a place families find themselves.  No one wants their child institutionalised – but what if that is the only way to save them.  And what if they are begging you, and hating you, for making that choice?  It makes the story and emotional rollercoaster I did wish I could get off at times.

The book also raised some questions for me as I raise my own daughter, about the emphasis we put on food – about clearing plates (or not), about focusing on healthy foods, and seemingly throw away comments on how we and/or others look.  It also revisits the ongoing debate about the images our children see of perfectly air brushed models and ideals they cannot live up to because they aren’t real.  I have to say I did stop and think more than once.

It is important to remember, I think, that – as Freya says to Lexi “beauty…is nothing to do with a number or a dress size or shape” and I don’t think I, or probably most of us do that enough.  It is this that I took from the book more than anything and why, on reflection, I have to say that – even though I didn’t always enjoy reading it because of the subject matter – it is a good book because it has left a mark on me.  It is well written and seems to be well researched.  I think it would have potentially been more powerful – and Freya possibly less frustrating – if it had been written in the first person but that is a personal preference.  Will it be everyone’s cup of tea – no (and I can see that by some of the reviews on Goodreads) but is it worth reading?  For me, it was and I would recommend it.

Emma

Note: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own.

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages:
350 (kindle)
Published on:
1st December, 2016 (yes today!)
Source: Netgalley

Other reviews of books by Amanda Prowse:

A Mother’s Story

 

 

 

Monthly round-up: November, 2016

O.k. so one more day till I need to start panicking about Christmas…November how can you have gone by so quickly?  Overall though, you were a pretty good month.  I got to see friends, spend time with family, became addicted to at least two new TV shows thanks to Netflix (How To Get Away With Murder and iZombie), and finally managed to finish the left-over Halloween candy – just in time for the last minute rush to lose weight before putting it all on again on the 25th.

Book wise, you were pretty good too.  Here’s what I read, loved and liked (there were not I really didn’t this month I am pleased to report)…

Loved it

25644437
Only one this month in the loved column and that was Find Her by Lisa Gardner,  an author I really, really, should read more of.  Find Her is what happens when a young woman is kidnapped, locked in a box and survives, or at least makes it out alive.  I couldn’t put this one down and couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

 

Liked a lot

24937499  511es3plnwl-_sy346_  30426898  28588073  image

Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni, the second in the Tracy Crosswhite series this sees Tracy back in Seattle and on the trail of a serial killer with a difference – he gets the victims to kill themselves…a clever twist in the tale.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, which I wanted to love but couldn’t because of the feeling I was being beaten over the head with the message.  This focuses on race relations in America, a difficult subject to tackle but done well for the most part.

The Doll’s House by M. J. Arlidge, the third in the Helen Grace detective series.  This was another cracker with Helen desperately searching for a missing girl only to come across a serial killer.

The Redemption of Galen Pike by Carys Davies, a great collection of short stories that took me from Wales to Australia via Birmingham and Siberia and introduced me from some interesting, heart-warming and intriguing characters.

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood, a modern retelling of The Tempest with a prison replacing the island and a play within a play.  Interesting and involving but maybe not for everyone.

Liked a little

29437949  img_0489  22614273

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris, a good debut that shows we never really know what happens between a couple when the doors and curtains are closed – this was a real page turner, I would just have liked a little more character development.

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt, which opens with a brutal scene of violence and shows just how cruel teenagers can be.  Personally, I couldn’t get away with the annoying teenagers in this one but it wouldn’t stop me recommending the book.

The Exit by Helen Fitzgerald, a book I had high expectations for after reading The Cry but was left feeling disappointed in because of one scene (I know but sometimes that’s all it takes) that meant I no longer believed in the story.

Along the way I also wrote about…

What books I’d be willing to fight for on Black Friday

My A to Z of books

Night time reading (how late doI stay up?)

and created a page (in part of my ongoing efforts to organise my blog) of Reviews by author.

So, like I said, not a bad month.  How was yours? What did you read?

Emma

month-in-review-6
This month I’m linking up with Kathryn at The Book Date for her month in review.  Head over and see what she and others have been reading too.

 

Tuesday Intro: His Bloody Project

Once again I’m linking up again with Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea who hosts a post every Tuesday for people to share the first chapter / paragraph of the book they are reading, or thinking of reading soon. In really enjoy these tasters when I read them on other blogs so wanted to join in.

This week I’m reading His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet, a book I read some great reviews of not so long ago and started last night. So far, I have to admit I’m struggling a bit but the good reviews have convinced me to keep going. Here’s what it’s about…

imageA brutal triple murder in a remote northwestern crofting community in 1869 leads to the arrest of a young man by the name of Roderick Macrae. There’s no question that Macrae is guilty, but the police and courts must uncover what drove him to murder the local village constable.
And who were the other two victims? Ultimately, Macrae’s fate hinges on one key question: is he insane.

 

And here’s how it starts…

Preface

I am writing this at the behest of my advocate, Mr Andrew Sinclair, who since my incarceration here in Inverness has treated me with a degree of civility I in no way deserve. My life has been short and of little consequence, and I have no wish to absolve myself of responsibility for the deeds which I have lately committed. It is thus for no other reason than to repay my advocate’s kindness towards me that I commit these words to paper.

So begins the memoir of Roderick Macrae, a seventeen-year-old crofter, indicted on the charge of three brutal murders carried out in his native village of Culduie in Ross-shire on the morning of the 10th of August 1869.

what do you think? Would you keep reading? If you’ve read it should I persevere?

emma

Her Final Breath by Robert Dugoni

24937499Homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite has returned to the police force after the sensational retrial of her sister’s killer. Still scarred from that ordeal, Tracy is pulled into an investigation that threatens to end her career, if not her life.

A serial killer known as the Cowboy is killing young women in cheap motels in North Seattle. Even after a stalker leaves a menacing message for Crosswhite, suggesting the killer or a copycat could be targeting her personally, she is charged with bringing the murderer to justice. With clues scarce and more victims dying, Tracy realizes the key to solving the murders may lie in a decade-old homicide investigation that others, including her captain, Johnny Nolasco, would prefer to keep buried. With the Cowboy on the hunt, can Tracy find the evidence to stop him, or will she become his next victim?

Returning to her role as Homicide Detective for Seattle PD after taking time off to search for her sister’s killer, Tracy finds herself faced with the death of another young woman, this time a dancer in a local gentleman’s club.  The woman, found hog-tied in a motel room and forced to strangle herself, has died a horrible death…one that exactly matches that of another dancer in another motel room.

It was a case Tracy was working on before her sister’s remains were found, one that her captain decided was a cold case and has filed away.  Now it seems he was wrong, and Tracy has a serial killer on her hands, a cold, calculating one that means the women essentially kill themselves whilst he (or she) watches.  She might also have the serial killer after her, putting her life in danger.

I really liked Tracy.  She’s a good cop, cares for her team (who like her too) and her boyfriend, Dan.  I like that she is vulnerable, her baggage (the death of her sister and subsequent relationship with her parents) making her that way, but isn’t hard or mean – something you often see in damaged female detectives.  As a character she is well-rounded and well-developed, having grown since the last book.

I also liked the plot, including that it wasn’t gory.  It was cleverly done, with lots of twists and turns and dead ends.  And if that isn’t bad enough there are the roadblocks put in the way by the captain, who – unlike Tracy – isn’t that nice, especially when one of his old cases starts to come under scrutiny.  I didn’t like Nolasco but he was a good foil to Tracy and added to the tension as more dead bodies turned up.

And, finally, I liked the writing.  Robert Dugoni is really good at setting a scene and developing characters, who have all grown since the first book and become much more real.  I was completely drawn in from the first few pages and didn’t want to put the book down.   I could feel the cold, grey, Seattle days and the seediness of the streets.   In fact, I was slightly disappointed when it was over and can’t wait to read the next book in the series.  Really, really, liked this one.

Enjoy!

Emma

p.s you might also enjoy Dugoni’s first Tracy Crosswhite novel – My Sister’s Grave

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Pages:
426 (kindle)
Published on:
15th September, 2015
Source: purchased

Book blogger hop: black Friday books

image
I’m joining in with Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer‘s book blogger hop again this week, where they post a question which you and other bloggers answer, hopping from blog to blog to see people’s answers. This week, the question is…

Name one book that you would fight for on Black Friday!

This is a hard one.

First , because I refuse to shop on Black Friday, even online. I tried once, when I lived in the states, and hated the crush. Now I’m back in the UK it feels like shops overwhelm us with offers, deals and sales for weeks in the run up to the “big day”.  I find it all a bit too much and all too easy to buy just because there is a deal, not because it’s something I want. So I avoid the whole thing. I delete every email immediately and won’t be stepping outside of the house today (other than to go to the pub later).

Second, though, and the one that makes this question really hard, is how do you chose one book? There are too many I have loved over the years. I’ve tried to narrow it down by looking at the books that will NEVER leave my shelves no matter what, books I just can’t bear to part with, or books where I have had to go out an buy a new copy after making the mistake of packing the original copy up in the charity box.

There are probably a handful of these as, for the most part, I’m not overly sentimental about books.  I believe they are for sharing and will often pass them along to friends, family or charity once I’ve read them.  Those that will never go that way, though, include (links to goodreads)…

239795    22059381220061588495

Why these books?  The Godfather, because it’s the first “grown-up” book I remember loaning from the library; Dracula, because it’s the first book that kept me up at night scared to death; The Robber Bride, because of all of Atwood’s books this one – for whatever reason – has stuck with me most closely; and finally it’s all of the Famous Five books because it was the first series I got hooked on and they are books I can’t wait to pass on to my daughter (yes, I still have the ones I read).

Any one of the them I would be desperate to keep hold or get a new copy of. Would I fight for them on Black Friday? I’m not sure…if it was the last copy on earth, probably. What about you – what books would you fight for?

two_women_boxing_3129861172

Emma