Category Archives: Contemporary

All That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien -a review

All Thats Left UnsaidAll That’s Left Unsaid by Tracey Lien

There were a dozen witnesses to Denny Tran’s brutal murder in a busy Sydney restaurant. So how come no one saw anything?

‘Just let him go.’ Those are words Ky Tran will forever regret. The words she spoke when her parents called to ask if they should let her younger brother Denny out to celebrate his high school graduation. That night in 1996, Denny – optimistic, guileless, brilliant Denny – is brutally murdered inside a busy restaurant in Cabramatta, a Sydney suburb facing violent crime, an indifferent police force, and the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history.

Returning home for the funeral, Ky learns that the police are stumped by her brother’s case: several people were at Lucky 8 restaurant when Denny died, but each of the bystanders claim to have seen nothing.

As an antidote to grief and guilt, Ky is determined to track down the witnesses herself. With each encounter, she peels away another layer of the place that shaped her and Denny,exposing the trauma and seeds of violence that were planted well before that fateful celebration dinner: by colonialism, by the war in Vietnam,and by the choices they’ve all made to survive.

Tracey Lien’s extraordinary debut pulls apart the intricate bonds of friendship, family, culture and community that produced a devastating crime. All That’s Left Unsaid is both a study of the effects of inherited trauma and social discrimination, and a compulsively readable literary thriller that expertly holds the reader in its grip until the final page.

Published 30 August 2022  |  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

Ky didn’t allow her mother to have feelings, because to grant her these would mean acknowledging that she was a person who had desires and dreams beyond what Ky saw. It was easier to imagine her as a caricature, as an immigrant Cabramatta parent, whose only desire was for her children to become doctors and lawyers (or ideally both), whose only means of expressing love to them was through cooking their meals, washing their clothes, and criticizing them into being better people.

My background isn’t Vietnamese nor refugee however I’m married into one and hence, this book piqued my interest. In the 90s, I was in my teens and we didn’t live anywhere near Cabramatta though we heard stories, of course. Despite Cabramatta not being my own stomping ground and my childhood, as sheltered as it was, there were many moments in the book that were just so identifiable in many different ways.

Ky is the main protagonist whom readers follow as she tried to find out how and why her brother was murdered. However, at least half of the novel is told from and of other people involved in this mystery. So much so that, near the end of the book, I feel that the structure of this novel is like a jigsaw puzzle where each piece reflects a different facet of this community and together, they form a full picture, albeit with cracks.

All That’s Left Unsaid is a novel of loss, of grief, of burdens we were given and picked up throughout our lives. Author’s prose is concise and phrases are polished to a shine; it is sharp as papercut. Please do yourself a kindness and read this book.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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The Opal Miner’s Daughter by Fiona McArthur -a review

the opal miners daughterThe Opal Miner’s Daughter by Fiona McArthur

Obstetrician Riley Brand leaves the city behind to go in search of her mother, who’s taken leave from her marriage to pursue a passion for opal mining in the dry backblocks of an old mining town. Accepting a short-term posting as a fertility expert in Lightning Ridge, Riley plans to assist women pursue their baby dreams in remote and regional areas, while at the same time helping to rekindle her parents’ love for each other.

The small dusty community is a far cry from her polite medical practice on the North Shore of Sydney, but the down-to-earth locals soon welcome her into the fold with their Friday night social gatherings. But no one is more welcoming than enigmatic doctor Konrad Grey, the GP who’s working alongside her.

When an employee of their medical practice confesses she’s hiding an unexpected pregnancy, Konrad and Riley are thrown together in challenging and wonderful ways.

A moving and heartwarming story about new life and new loves, about the treasures to be found above and beneath the surface of a small country town, and about the important choices women must make in life.

Published 30 August 2022  |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I really do enjoy rural romance but yet I don’t read that many and this is one of my reading goals this year, to read some more! The Opal Miner’s Daughter is definitely an excellent rural romance read and I’m thrilled to have been sent one for review. I must say that the title somehow led me to have had a different expectation. It just sounds more like one of those historical fiction with family tragedy etc etc but it is very much NOT. Also, I know 2 boys named Riley and having a female protagonist named Riley kind of messed with my head a bit; I kept having to check myself.

Dr Riley Brand is an intelligent and independent woman. She is a strong sensible character and I just love this to bits! She was fun, sensitive, and easy going except when it comes to a certain gorgeous doctor in town. And even then, she was open to learn. All the other women in this novel were just as amazing and the men were funny but overall this small community in Lightning Ridge was wonderfully tight-knitted.

The Opal Miner’s Daughter is a light-hearted romantic read; one that ended with my sigh of contentment. However, it also tackled tough issues such as stigma of illness, infertility, depression, and a few other things, and done in such beautifully sensitive way that didn’t make the reader sad but hopeful. An utterly delightful and pleasing read.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings -a review

The Women Could FlyThe Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings

Josephine Thomas has heard every conceivable theory about her mother’s disappearance. That she was kidnapped. Murdered. That she took on a new identity to start a new family. That she was a witch. This is the most worrying charge, because in a world where witches are real, peculiar behaviour raises suspicions and a woman – especially a Black woman – can find herself on trial for witchcraft.

But fourteen years have passed since her mother’s disappearance, and now Jo is finally ready to let go of the past. Yet her future is in doubt. The State mandates that all women marry by the age of thirty – or enrol in a registry that allows them to be monitored, effectively forfeiting their autonomy. At twenty-eight, Jo is ambivalent about marriage. With her ability to control her life on the line, she feels as if she has her never understood her mother more. When she’s offered the opportunity to honour one last request from her mother’s will, Jo leaves her regular life to feel connected to her one last time.

Published 9 August 2022  |  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$34.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I deserve to be angry about these things. There is nothing wrong with knowing you’ve been treated poorly for no good reason and wanting to be treated better.

I cracked open this book in the middle of reading When Women Were Dragons and immediately, I was hit with the similar vibe between the two. Granted, one is about dragons and the other, witches, but oh, the anger, the sadness, and over everything else, the tiredness was palpable and off the page.

The protagonist, Jo Thomas, is a woman and therefore, she could be a witch. She is also the child of a Black mother so that double or triple the chance that she could be a witch. And then, her mother disappeared when she was a child; with the suspicion that she was a witch, the chances that Jo is a witch skyrocketed and everything she does comes under scrutiny. Then she disappeared and reappeared… she MUST be a witch. Jo, understandably, is one very confused, lost, angry, and exhausted woman. One who has had to defend her position in society at every second and even to supress her uniqueness in order to fit and under the radar. 

The Women Could Fly is a story of self discovery of what could be if only we could be and how magical that could be. It is Jo’s story. It is her mother’s story. It is her grandmother’s story. It is her BFF’s story. It is a story of all the women. It is a powerful note on our society and those oppressed; a dark tale with a glint of hope.

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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The Happiest Little Town by Barbara Hannay -a review

The Happiest Little TownThe Happiest Little Town by Barbara Hannay

Happiness has a way of catching up with you, even when you’ve given up trying to find it.

Tilly doesn’t believe she can ever be happy again

Fourteen-year-old Tilly’s world is torn apart when her single mother dies suddenly and she is sent a million miles from everything she has ever known to a small country town and a guardian who’s a total stranger.

Kate is sure she will be happy just as soon as she achieves her dream

In the picturesque mountains of Far North Queensland, Kate is trying to move on from a failed marriage by renovating a van and making plans for an exciting travel escape. The fresh start she so desperately craves is within reach when an unexpected responsibility lands on her doorstep.

Olivia thinks she’s found ‘happy enough’ until an accident changes everything

Ageing former celebrity actress Olivia is used to winning all the best roles in her local theatre group, but when she’s injured while making a grand stage exit, she is relegated to the wings. Now she’s determined that she won’t bow out quietly and be left alone with the demons of her past.

When these lost souls come together under the roof of the Burralea Amateur Theatre group, the countdown to opening night has already begun. Engaging with a diverse cast of colourful characters, the three generations of women find unlikely friendship – and more than one welcome surprise.

From the bestselling author of The Garden of Hopes and Dreams comes a heartwarming and uplifting story about the joys of new beginnings.

Published 2 August 2022  |  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Isn’t it just the cutest book cover!? And that title, I feel that I’m guaranteed an easy, light-hearted, and uplifting read which my mood tells me I need these days. It did not disappoint; The Happiest Little Town certainly made me happy.

I find it always touching when 3 generations of women are brought together. I love to see the effect they have on each other. In this novel, the mix of Olivia’s wisdom, Kate’s generosity, and Tilly’s grief made a lovely cocktail of lasting friendship. I am in Kate’s age group so while I was rather frustrated with some of Tilly’s decisions and actions, they are rather understandable considering her loss. I am in awe of Kate’s heart and her generosity… it’s not Tilly’s fault that she is who she is but golly, Kate was just so very kind.

While the story revolves our 3 main protagonists above. There were bits and pieces about other residents of this town that made it The Happiest Little Town. They may not be that relevant to the plot as such but they do make the town more 3-dimensional. And what’s a town without its people?

The Happiest Little Town‘s residents may not be happy aaallll the time as each of them have either had difficult pasts or are still struggling to come to terms with those pasts. However, they do know to pick themselves back up and let’s just say it’s a happy ending all around. Such a comfort read and truly, I just want to give this book a cuddle – that’s how much I enjoyed it.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Booked on a Feeling by Jayci Lee -a review

booked on a feelingBooked on a Feeling (A Sweet Mess #3) by Jayci Lee

Jayci Lee’s romcom Booked on a Feeling features an overachieving lawyer. A failing bookstore. A childhood friend. And the chance of a lifetime…

Lizzy “Overachiever” Chung, Esq. has her life mapped out neatly:
* Become a lawyer. Check.
* Join a prestigious law firm. Check.
* Make partner. In progress.

If all goes to plan, she will check off that last box in a couple years, make her parents proud, and live a successful, fulfilled life in L.A. What was not in her plans was passing out from a panic attack during a pivotal moment in her career. A few deep breaths and a four hour drive later, Lizzy is in Weldon for three weeks to shed the burnout and figure out what went wrong. And what better place to recharge than the small California town where she spent her childhood summers with her best friend, Jack Park.

Jack Park didn’t expect to see Lizzy back in Weldon, but now he’s got three weeks to spend with the girl of his dreams. Except she doesn’t know of his decades-long crush on her–and he intends to keep it that way. She’s a high-powered attorney who lives in L.A. and he’s a bookkeeper at his family’s brewery who never left his hometown. He can’t risk their friendship on a long shot. Can he? When Lizzy decides that the local bookstore needs a little revamp, of course, Jack is going to help her bring it back to life. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to ignore there might be more than just friendship among the dusty shelves and books…

Sometimes the path to the rest of your life has been in front of you all along.

Published 26 July 2022|  Publisher: St Martin’s Press  |  RRP: AUD$22.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  |  QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Absolutely Adorable!

I was hesitant jumping into a third book in a series without having read earlier books however… the past few years have really made me see that life’s short so I’ve been DNF-ing books I’m not enjoying AND jumping in mid series (although of course, I still try to make sure that they’re ones that can stand alone like this one). This particular book in the series appeal to me because it’s one of my favourite tropes AND set in around books!! You guessed it, I read it in a single sitting.

The shaky beginning was followed by so much sweet cuteness and sparks overload reaching to a crisis that ended so very precious, I really felt like I was so warmly hugged by this whole book. To have characters who actually talked to each other! Ohmygosh, they communicate (!!) mostly and even if they were still hiding or uncertain of some things which I found a tiny bit frustrating at times but overall, I found these two to be quite mature and refreshingly somewhat functional adults. Now, I’ve really gotta dive into author’s backlists!

My thanks to St Martin’s Press for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy novel by Amanda Quain -a review

accomplishedAccomplished: A Georgie Darcy novel by Amanda Quain

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled after The Incident with Wickham Foster last year – at least if you ask any of her Pemberley Academy classmates. She may have escaped expulsion because of her family name, but she didn’t escape the disappointment of her big brother Fitz, the scorn of the entire school, or, it turns out, Wickham’s influence.

But she’s back for her junior year, and she needs to prove to everyone – Fitz, Wickham, her former friends, and maybe even herself – that she’s more than just an embarrassment to the family name. How hard can it be to become the Perfect Darcy? All she has to do is:

– Rebuild her reputation with the marching band (even if it kills her)
– Forget about Wickham and his lies (no matter how tempting they still are), and
– Distract Fitz Darcy — helicopter-sibling extraordinaire — by getting him to fall in love with his classmate, Lizzie Bennet (this one might be difficult…)

Sure, it’s a complicated plan, but so is being a Darcy. With the help of her fellow bandmate, Avery, matchmaking ideas lifted straight from her favorite fanfics, and a whole lot of pancakes, Georgie is going to see every one of her plans through. But when the weight of being the Perfect Darcy comes crashing down, Georgie will have to find her own way before she loses everything permanently—including the one guy who sees her for who she really is.

Published 26 July 2022  |  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$26.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Being a big fan of Pride and Prejudice, I was terrifically excited to see a retelling from a likeable minor character, Georgina Darcy. I’m not usually a fan of contemporary YA but this (!) I had to read. Set in today’s New York, it’s not necessary for language to be Austenesque and all we expect is that these characters to be true to the originals. Amanda Quain has done a great job fitting these characters into today’s world of teen (including fan-fics and instagram!).

Accomplished is a very easy and fast read. It is what I would termed fluff or brain candy because it was just so easy for the eyes & brain but so much fun to read. I must admit that I wasn’t too keen on Georgie to begin with but she did have her issues to deal with and she matured in the end and grew on me somewhat. Her naivety and very low self-esteem were to her detriment but the amount of time she spent lamenting over her ruined life and Wickham I really could have done less with. I just don’t like the fact that we’re giving Wickham more air time lol

I loved seeing Georgina Darcy growing up and owning it. I loved seeing Fitzwilliam Darcy from her sister’s perspective and their relationship. I also loved seeing (what little there was to see) Fitz with Lizzie Bennet. A cute retelling though possibly not for the hardcore fan of the classic. It was an entertaining & comfortable read for a grey day.

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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How to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan -a review

how to love your neighborHow to Love Your Neighbor by Sophie Sullivan

Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.

Published 18 January 2022|  Publisher: St Martin’s Press  |  RRP: AUD$33.95

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I don’t read straight out romance novels that often and I’m not particularly keen on the enemy-to-lover sort of trope as this one appears to be. However, that cover was just brilliant that I really couldn’t resist. Yes, it’s a case of read it for its cover and it’s not a bad decision at all. I actually quite enjoyed it once I got into it.

Both protagonists have plans for their future and are driven to succeed. However, the one they didn’t anticipate was each other and how they’d affect each other’s plans. While this story began with a bit of head-butting between the two, they weren’t quite enemies. They were just sort of in the way of the other’s future’s plans. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, they also couldn’t deny the attraction they felt for each other and as they got to know each other better, they found there could be more than just the physical chemistry between them.

How to love Your Neighbor is a very light & cute read if you’re after something that doesn’t require much brain power. Some of the romantic gestures received some terrific eyerolls from me but it’s a sweet dreamy tale in a non-COVID world (yeah!).

My thanks to St Martin’s Press for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Birds of a Feather by Tricia Stringer -a review

birds of a featherBirds of a Feather by Tricia Stringer

When three women are thrown together by unusual circumstances, ruffled feelings are just the beginning. A wise, sharply observed celebration of the life-changing power of female friendships.

Eve has been a partner in a Wallaby Bay fishing fleet as long as she can remember. Now they want her to sell – but what would her life be without work? She lives alone, her role on the town committee has been spiked by malicious gossip and she is incapacitated after surgery. For the first time in her life she feels weak, vulnerable – old.

When her troubled god-daughter Julia arrives at Wallaby Bay, she seems to offer Eve a reprieve from her own concerns. But there is no such thing as plain sailing. Eve has another house guest, the abrasive Lucy, who is helping her recuperate and does not look kindly on Julia’s desire for Eve’s attention.

But Lucy, too, has demons to battle and as each woman struggles to overcome their loss of place in the world, they start to realise that there may be more that holds them together, than keeps them apart.

But will these birds of feather truly be able to reinvent what family means? Or will the secrets and hurts of the past shatter their precarious hold on their new lives … and each other?

Published 29 September 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Birds of a Feather is October’s BOTM from The Book Stack. I’m not sure if I would have pick this one up at all if left to my own devices and as it is, I read this in beginning of November! October was one crazy month for me. While cover & description weren’t particularly intriguing to me, I do like the symmetry & colours of the cover and I have previously read a romance book by this author so I jumped in with a certain expectation. There isn’t much romance in this book but what there is, is certainly rather sweet. However, as I step back and mused on the 3 generation of women who aren’t related by blood coming together and being supportive towards each other, I just really love this idea.

Eve, the eldest of the three, is an independent woman and depending on others to help (despite having hurt herself quite badly) is not something that she can accept easily. Add to this is her nemesis who had spread a lie and turned her beloved community against her. She just feels tired. Her help comes in the form of Lucy, a nurse, mother of two, and youngest of the three women. She appears to be very good at her job in caring for Eve and yet, so uptight when it comes to her family and children. In blew, Julia, Eve’s goddaughter, who is in a rather uncertain circumstance and isn’t sure where to turn. As their lives collided, they also colluded and held each other up.

I avoid domestic thriller but I do read a lot of crime novels. This book is neither and yet, I kept expecting something truly terribly crime-y when these women opened up on secrets and hurts they’ve experienced. Even as their hurt is not on the scale of a crime novel, their pains were real and their courage and resilience admirable. Birds of a Feather is an inspiring novel of womanhood, motherhood, sisterhood, and family.

My thanks to The Book Stack for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer by Ilsa Evans -a review

the unusual abduction of avery coniferThe Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer by Ilsa Evans

Two women abduct and hide out with their four-year-old granddaughter Avery, who they suspect is being harmed. They both love Avery … shame they can’t stand each other. A wise and witty novel for readers of Sophie Green and Brooke Davis.

What would you do to protect a child?

Beth’s daughter Cleo and Shirley’s son Daniel used to be married. Now Cleo is in gaol for supposedly contravening a family violence order, and Daniel has full-time care of their four-year-old daughter, Avery.

When Shirley suspects that Daniel is harming Avery, she enlists Beth to abduct their own granddaughter, even though the two women can’t stand each other. They are joined on the run across country Victoria by Winnie, Shirley’s own 89-year-old tech-savvy mother, and Harthacnut, Beth’s miniature schnauzer.

The abduction gives rise to crises both personal and social, as Shirley’s large and interfering family – including her toxic son – struggle to come to terms with her actions, amid a whirl of police investigation and media excitement. This heartfelt, wise, witty and wholly original novel explores the lengths we may go to for those we love, and the unintended damage folded into daily life.

Published 1 September 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

I just love this title, The Unusual Abduction of Avery Conifer; it’s a bit of a mouthful but it does give a little of a comic air so you would expect it to be a humourous tale. The premise itself sounds rather unusually funny and yet, there is some serious themes explored in this light-hearted-sounding novel. You just have to dig deep.

This book is told by a myriad of perspectives. The main 3 being by the 3 instigators of this kidnapping of Avery but then there were perspectives of those sitting around the outside of this centre figures. The detectives, TV presenters, and some people that just happened to somewhat touch this ‘case’ who can provide a ‘clue’ or just a perspective from a different angle. I must admit that at times this gets absolutely confusing with all the names bandied about but I do appreciate this wide overlook into the problem.

I think that there was enough family drama as I was growing up which made me reluctant reading novels involving family dramas/conflicts so this started out as a rather uncomfortable read. However, author’s handling of these characters and conflicts present such a riveting look into motherhood that I cannot stop reading. And these ladies are just such characters, I can’t help but cheer for them throughout so in the end, I rather enjoyed this read.

My thanks to The Book Stack for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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The Raffles Affair by Vicki Virtue -a review

the raffles affairThe Raffles Affair by Vicki Virtue

A fun, modern twist on the classic whodunnit, set in the glamorous surrounds of Raffles Hotel.

The Raffles Affair is a light-hearted murder mystery featuring the elegant former MI6 agent Victoria West. A retro, tongue-in-cheek homage to the Golden Age mystery novel epitomised by Agatha Christie.

Beautiful former MI6 agent, Victoria West, arrives at Raffles Hotel in Singapore for the wedding of her good friend, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peyton Latchmore. Fresh from a gruelling three-month assignment in East Africa, Victoria’s plans for a relaxing break come to an abrupt end with the kidnapping of Peyton’s fiancé, the charmingly handsome English financier, James Winstanley.

Warned not to contact the police, Peyton begs Victoria to help. Reluctantly, Victoria agrees. Immediately it is clear the kidnapper knows too much to be a stranger, and Victoria suspects one of the wedding guests is involved. Tensions simmer, as one by one their motives are revealed.

With only 24 hours to make the ransom payment, Victoria must act quickly.

Published 14 September 2021|  Publisher: Penguin Random House  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s 

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I’m always up for a good whodunnit mystery and being set in The Raffles (Singapore) seems like an absolutely divinely glamourous way to travel from my comfy sofa. Even if I’m not a fan of humidity, it did not disappoint with all the gorgeous description of the décor and the delicious food spread. With an easily likeable protagonist and an engaging mystery, my evening flew by without me noticing the time.

To begin with, however, I struggled mightily with the number of characters. Trying to remember who’s who and how they are connected to the bride/bridgeroom to be was a nightmare. Even at the end, at the unveiling of the villain, I still had to stop for a few seconds to recall how this person fits in this set of characters. At this stage (third month of lockdown), I really don’t know whether it’s just too many characters or it’s my mindset / lack of focus these past few weeks.

About a third of the way, as I sort of got the hang of who’s who and as they mystery begins to develop, I was really drawn into trying to puzzle it out. I failed; soooo did not pick that character at all. Our protagonist, Victoria West, is in every essence a modern intelligent woman who can take care of herself. She also likes to dress well and in all this, she reminds me very much of Miss Phryne Fisher. Unlike Miss Fisher, however, Miss West did not have any kind of dalliance in this novel.

There was one thing that I had a good laugh at is how she ate rambutan by using a sharp knife to cut through the skin. This Asian gal would just use her nail and pierce that thick skin to get to the juicy bit. Granted, it’s a lot messier but that is the delight of rambutan.

The Raffles Affair definitely has all the markings of a golden age whodunnit reminiscent of those of Agatha Christie’s with moneyed cast of characters, a focus on human nature and their unending greed, a Poirot-esque denouement and ending with an air of tragic triumph.

My thanks to Penguin Random House for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram