My Month - April 2017

Hello from a relatively calm Sunshine Coast. After a busy month that seemed a constant round of public holidays and school holidays the crowds have dispersed and we have our beautiful part of the world mainly to ourselves once more. At least for a while!

Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to see families here enjoying quality family time together. From my own family I know that is far too scarce these days. And while we sometimes complain about the difficulty of finding a parking spot, both Mal and I gain pleasure from seeing families make the most of the time they have here.

April has been a busy month for me. At last I have had sufficient get-up-and-go to get back into work. For me the hardest part of the post-op recovery process has been accepting that I did not have as much energy as usual. Now it is time to try and shed some of the excess kilos that have accumulated as I spent far too much time sitting or sleeping. I know they will take much longer to take off than they did to put on.

The rewards were that I had more time to read than I usually do, and for a change tried some different genres. I discovered I enjoyed reading Cozy Crime as opposed to the usual crime or mystery that I have tended to favour. One author who stood out was Anthony Horowitz, (you may have heard of him as he also writes for television – namely Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders).

The book I read was Magpie Murders, a clever, suspenseful tale based on the old children’s nursery rhyme One for sorrow, Two for joy, Three for a girl, Four for a boy, Five for silver, Six for gold, Seven for a secret, Never to be told.

When editor, Susan Ryland, is given a manuscript from a best-selling author only to discover the last few chapters are missing, alarm bells begin to ring.

In this unusual story set in the publishing world, Horowitz has given the reader a novel within a novel – two mysteries to solve for the price of one. It’s a longish read, reminiscent of an Agatha Christie mystery, with plenty of characters to provide red herrings along the way. Despite that, I had no trouble following the plot and found myself trying to work out just how the story was going to finish. I was wrong!

I admired how the author kept the reader’s attention throughout the complex plot – very clever writing! I shall look for more from him.

When I received an advance copy of Everyday Lies to review I was pleased to see that Sunshine Coast writer, Louise Guy, had switched from very successful children’s author to women’s contemporary fiction. And she has done it very well. This book grabbed my interest from page one and the story continues to flow smoothly through the lives and problems of the two main characters, both of whom are hiding a secret which could ruin their lives.

I found myself warming easily to the characters. Emma is a trophy wife, and despite having a financially successful husband, feels life has more to offer. Her charity work and the ‘plastic’ friends she is surrounded by, leaves her feeling discontented. Finding a way to add excitement to her days threatens to bring her life undone if it is discovered.

Lucie, widowed and financially struggling, is trying her best to rear an unruly five year old. The constant battles with him and Lucie’s fragile emotions, lead her to an impulsive and reckless encounter which ultimately threatens the extended family relationship she depends on for support.

Both have to embark on a life dependent on ‘everyday lies’ to keep their secret. Eventually unexpected circumstances bring the two women together and they form a close friendship despite their vastly different lifestyles. Here the introduction of a third character, Florrie, adds a good balance to the story.

Easy to read, the story keeps moving well and the supporting characters are well rounded out and believable. They belong together. The reader can understand and sympathise with the human failings that prompted these two women to take a road they regret and subsequently try to cover up.

With her first book, Louise had joined the ranks of Australian women writers who produce good contemporary fiction. I’m looking forward to the next book.

I’ll be back with more next month. Bye for now.

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