#BookReview - Alex by Pierre Lemaitre (translated by Frank Wynne)

 SHE'S RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Alex Prévost - kidnapped, beaten, suspended from the ceiling of an abandoned warehouse in a wooden cage - is in no position to bargain. Her abductor's only desire is to watch her die. 

HE WANTS ONLY ONE THING

Apart from a shaky police report, Commandant Camille Verhoven has nothing to go on: no suspect, no leads. If he is to find Alex, he will have to get inside her head. 

ESCAPE IS JUST THE BEGINNING

Resourceful, tough, beautiful, always two steps ahead - Alex will keep Verhoven guessing till the bitter end. And before long, saving her life will be the least of his worries.

This isn't going to be an easy review to write. Not because I don't know what to say about the book - there's plenty I could say, but I really don't want to give away any spoilers and in a book that's as packed with twists as this one that's not easy. So I won't be saying much about the plot, suffice to say it's one of the most gripping, shocking and gr…

Book Review: After the Bombing by Clare Morrall



With girls called Alma, Curls, Natalie and Giraffe and a girls boarding school as the setting, the start of After the Bombing could have been the beginning of an Enid Blyton type school story. However, as the boarders of Goldwyn's school are rushed to the air raid shelter everything is about to change for them. This is Exeter on 3rd May 1942 - the night of one of the Baedeker raids when, in retaliation for the bombing of Lübeck, German bombers attacked historical English cities given a 3 star or above rating in the Baedeker Tourist Guide. When the girls emerge from the shelter later half their school has been destroyed and Exeter city centre is in ruins. Destruction and as we soon learn, death, has burst into their previously safe lives.
Twenty one years later and Alma is now a teacher at Goldwyn's. Living alone in her old family house, she believes herself to be content until the death of the long serving headmistress brings a sudden change in the form of Miss Yates who is determined to modernise Goldwyn's. With the arrival too of a new pupil, the daughter of Robert Gunner, a man Alma hasn't seen since 1942 she is forced look back on a time when she and her friends suffered terrible losses whilst still experiencing the exuberance of being girls on the cusp of womanhood.
The story switches between the summer of 1942 and 1963 and is a moving study of the long term effect the war had on those at home, particularly young women. Clare Morrall writes people very well; with their quirks and their inner dialogues, there aren't good and bad guys in this book but real people with dreams, regrets and flaws. It was an easy book to read -  by which I mean it was a believable world which I could easily immerse myself in, yet the complexity of the characters meant it was also a poignant and enthralling read and one I very much enjoyed.
Disclosure: I received my copy of this book through Netgalley in return for my honest review.

After the Bombing will be published by Sceptre on 27th March 2014.

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