My #Review of #TheBleeding by @JoGustawsson @OrendaBooks

Three women
Three eras
One extraordinary mystery…
 
1899, Belle Époque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.

1949, Post-War Québec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.

2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.

Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…

The Bleeding is the first novel I have read by Johana Gustawsson, and after reading it, it won’t be my last!

Firstly a word about the actual hardback published by Orenda Books, it is a divine little beauty, the size of a paperback but in hardback form, with a glorious cover (Those who know me well, know I LOVE cover art) and beautiful sprayed edges…it almost had the feel of an old fashioned book, and it works SO well with the story! Such a keeper!

Now the novel is set in 3 time zones and we hear from 3 women who each tell us their story, at first I was unsure about this and how it would work but let me tell you it is absolutely sublime the way Johana Gustawsson has managed to weave the timezones and characters together. And the feel of this book is gothic, its gritty, and so vivid, there’s so much to the storyline but as you know I never give away spoilers (it’s SO hard with The Bleeding as I want to shout from the rooftops about it!) but if you like a bit of history, maybe some magic and witchcraft mixed with a modern murder and Police Investigation, then this is the book for you.

The Bleeding is an absolute little gem of a book, I couldnt put it down and it really got into my head. I loved the way it was written with such aplomb by Johana Gustawsson, in fact ive gone straight to order her previous books! A final word to the translation by David Warriner, who has again managed to make it read like it was written in English, trust me there is nothing lost in translation here! And the ending was utterly shocking and i had not guessed it would end like that at all!!!

So I am giving The Bleeding a rapturous 5 stars (if I could give it more I would), a bloody wonderful book! You must read it!!!

Born in Marseille, France, and with degrees in Law and Political Science, Johana Gustawsson has worked as a journalist for the French and Spanish press and television. Her critically acclaimed Roy & Castells series, including Block 46, Keeper and Blood Song, has won the Plume d’Argent, Balai de la découverte, Balai d’Or and Prix Marseillais du Polar awards, and is now published in twenty countries. A TV adaptation is currently underway in a French, Swedish and UK co-production. Johana lives in London with her Swedish husband and their three sons.

You can follow Johana on TWITTER INSTAGRAM FACEBOOK

Johana Gustawsson has her own WEBSITE

You can buy The Bleeding HERE

My #review of #WomenInLove by #MiriamBurke @renardpress published UK 23.02.22

‘I couldn’t sleep that night; our conversation was like a trapped bird flying around inside my head. The next morning, I texted to say I wouldn’t be coming back. I lied about having to return to my country to nurse a sick relative. I couldn’t bear to see my story mirrored in his eyes, and to see what we never had. I knew he’d understand.’

Women and Love is a thought-provoking collection of seventeen tightly woven tales about the power of love, all its trials and complications, and the shattered lives it can leave in its wake.

The stories explore a huge variety of sorts of love surrounding women in wildly differing settings and features an unforgettable cast including GPs, burglars, inmates, emigrant cleaners, carers, young professionals, and many more. Navigating heavy themes, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ experiences, including gender dysphoria and searching for a sperm donor, the stories leave the reader burning with indignation, full of empathy and wonder.

Firstly, Thank you to Will at Renard Press for sending me a copy Women in Love to review.

This isnt my normal genre of book, but I was so intrigued by the description, that I wanted to read something different.

Here is a book with a plethora of love stories about women, they are well written and its clear that Miriam Burke knows her subjects well, in the description of all the various characters throughout the book.

Here we have 17 short stories about women in love. The clear who sees relationships from the outside and has a sad secret, the wife whose husband of many years makes a decision that rocks her world forever, the struggling single mother who encounters every parents nightmare.

I loved the way the stories were written so frankly and found all of them easy to read and compelling. and you can really feel yourself emphasising with the chrachters. My favourite was The Currency of Love, really gripping. I will also say that there are going to be some trigger warnings in these stories.

Overall a nice collection of short stories by Miriam burke, and a word for Renard Press as I loved the book cover design!

A 4 Star read.

A writer from the west of Ireland, Miriam Burke’s short stories have been widely published in anthologies and journals. She has a PhD in Psychology, and before becoming a writer she worked for many years as a Clinical Psychologist in London hospitals and GP practices. Women and Love is her debut collection.

You can buy Women In Love HERE