Well, I have managed to read two books this week and I am part-way through a third. This is despite being glued to a TV programme on Amazon Prime: the fourth season of the superb This is Us!
The first book of the week was Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber. This is the blurb:
The only thing more dangerous than a lie… is the truth.
When a family man is killed at point blank range in his home, it shakes a sleepy town to its core. The murder is a strange, horrifying crime but for the authorities it’s an open-and-shut case.
Ten years on, the victim’s daughter, Josie, has started afresh in New York – far from the tragic events that blew her family apart. No-one knows the truth about her previous life, not even her fiancé.
Investigative journalist Poppy is convinced the wrong man is in jail for the murder and she’s determined to prove it. What starts off as a true-crime podcast snowballs into a national phenomenon and everyone has an opinion on the case. Poppy’s relentless pursuit of the truth threatens to expose old secrets. Josie realizes that her father’s murder could have consequences more devastating than she had ever imagined.
I rather went against the grain by giving the book a mere three stars on Goodreads (apparently it is being adapted for television!), but you can see my reasons for this in my review:
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
There are a lot of four and five star reviews of this book on Goodreads, but I feel that I can only give it three. The plot was certainly good and very twisty. The “who done it” aspects were well written and turned the spotlight on a range of protagonists. The addition of the very unpleasant character of the podcast writer was well done too – I certainly wanted her to get some kind of backlash for her behaviour. My main issue was that I simply didn’t like any of the main characters. I found it hard to empathise with them.
That’s probably my own failing so don’t let this put you off reading this book. I will definitely look out for anything else written by the author.
Perhaps I wasn’t in a very good mood when I read the book! Anyway, I then turned to something utterly different…
I have been meaning to read Christy Lefteri’s The Beekeeper of Aleppo for quite a while, but put it off in favour of fantasy and science fiction. Maybe I was feeling too cowardly to face gritty, dark, realism. Anyway, I put it in my ebook queue and decided to tackle it. Let’s see the blurb first:
Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.
As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.
I am so glad that I read this book! As you can read below, I did have the occasional difficulty with it, but those issues were caused by the stroke, not the book. This is my review from Goodreads:
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one of those books that quietly gets hold of your mind and thoughts and doesn’t let go, even hours after you finished reading it. I usually choose books full of excitement, energy and adventure which are sheer fantasy, this book has many of those qualities but is about reality. Events like these have taken place and will continue to do so. Yet, even amongst a tumble of different scenes, there are moments of quiet stillness and contemplation.
You can see that I am struggling to write about this book without giving any of the plot away!
The shifting of timelines did give me some issues. It is now over a year since my stroke, but I still struggle with my memory and this can bring problems when reading. The book was so beautifully written, however, that I shall not grumble – the issues are mine after all!
I have added the book to my favourites and recommend it to any reader.
I am now reading a very different book, but I will not tell you which one yet. This is because I am not sure whether I will persevere with it! Yes, you might say that I am having “issues” with this book. You will find out why next week, if you visit the blog.
Until then: Happy Reading to you all!
Love and best wishes,