Close To Home – Lisa Jackson

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imageVowing to make a fresh start, Sarah McAdams has come home to renovate the old Victorian mansion where she grew up. Her daughters, Jade and Gracie, aren’t impressed by the rundown property on the shores of Oregon’s wild Columbia River. As soon as they pull up the isolated drive, Sarah too is beset by uneasy memories–of her cold, distant mother, of the half-sister who vanished without a trace, and of a long-ago night when Sarah was found on the widow’s walk, feverish and delirious. 

Ever since the original mistress of the house plunged to her death almost a century ago, there have been rumors that the place is haunted. As a girl, Sarah sensed a presence there, and soon Gracie claims to see a lady in white running up the stairs. Still, Sarah has little time to dwell on ghost stories, between overseeing construction and dealing with the return of a man from her past.

But there’s a new, more urgent menace in the small town. One by one, teenage girls are disappearing. Frantic for her daughters’ safety, Sarah feels her veneer cracking and the house’s walls closing in on her again. Somewhere deep in her memory is the key to a very real and terrifying danger. And only by confronting her worst fears can she stop the nightmare roaring back to life once more. . .

A ghost story, a mystery, suspense and romance – all in one book. Wow – but it works.

Sarah McAdams moves back to her childhood home with her two daughters; a house that she has bad and missing memories about and ran from many years before. The past continues to haunt her and now starts to include her family as she struggles to find all the reasons for her fear.

At the same time, someone is kidnapping girls and Sarah’s eldest daughter is the next target – the daughter who has issues of her own as the past and present intersect. Add Sarah’s first love to the mix and each thread winds together to culminate in the need to confront secrets and lies.

Despite the fact that there are a lot of plot threads and at times it seems a struggle to keep up each part of the differing aspects and give them sufficient attention, as ever, Lisa Jackson offers a suspenseful novel that keeps you interested as the pages pass you by. The addition of the supernatural element gives extra life to the back story and cleverly amalgamates into the present that leads into the shocking climax.

I always enjoy books by Lisa Jackson; she writes suspense beautifully and does not have heroines that scream, cry, fall apart in tough situations or are used purely for corpses and her characterisation includes the frailties and fractures of life without being atypical of this type of book.

Close to Home is a good read and yet again Lisa Jackson delivers a page turner.

 

Review by KL

Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well – Nancy Atherton

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The sleepy Cotswold village of Finch is filled with curiosity when young Australian Jack MacBride arrives to wrap up his late uncle’s affairs, but when Lori Shepherd volunteers to help Jack clear out his uncle’s overgrown garden, they discover something even more surprising.

After making a wish in the newly uncovered well, Lori is later baffled to find it seems to have come true, and as word of this granted wish spreads though the village, locals begin to turn out in droves in order to make their own wishes.

The village soon descends into chaos however, as one man’s wish can be another’s worst nightmare, and it’s up to Lori, together with some otherworldly help from Aunt Dimity, to find out what is really going on.

One of the great things about bookbridgr from Headline is that it is a brilliant way of discovering new authors. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I discovered Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well was actually the 19th book in its series, as it was one I had never heard of before and I love cosy crime mysteries and suspense novels.

I personally felt that Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well falls somewhere between two of my favourite writers MC Beaton and Paul Magrs, so if you enjoy either of them you will love these. It was a thrilling read with an intriguing supernatural side that will keep you turning pages until you suddenly realise that several hours have passed, and you’ve been unable to put the book down.

It has charming, well thought through characters, and an enchanting setting. As someone who lives on the outskirts of the Cotswolds and likes to visit villages much like the fictional Finch it’s well drawn. I also found that I had no need to have read any of the previous 18 novels in order to enjoy this one. To me, Aunt Dimity and the Wishing Well was a delightful tale that left me feeling light-hearted and with a pleasant smile on my face as I closed the book. By the time I have sourced the rest of these novels, as I now surely must, my book shelves will be groaning!