The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurant

  • IMG_1943Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprint edition (3 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1509836853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1509836857
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.3 x 19.7 cm

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Guylain Vignobles travels on the 6.27 everyday to a job that he hates at a factory where old books are destroyed and pulped then recycled into paper for new books. What makes his journey different is that everyday on his way to works Guylain reads from pages that he has saved from the jaws of the pulling machine.

His audience, the passengers on the train, are captivated by the partial storied he reads, but it ins’ until he reads the diary of Julie, that he finds someone who understands his world; a place where he feels lost, alone and on the edge of existence.

 

Review

The Reader on the 6.27 is a wonderful and charming read that reaffirms the importance of books in people’s lives. The style of Didierlaurent’s writing reminded me of Antoine Laurent, whose books I love. I know some may say the essence of a novel can be lost in translation, but I love reading translated novels, they do seem to have that je ne sais pas, an air if something different that intrigues me.

There are a fairly small cast of characters in this book, but a just under three hundred pages it is a fairly short read. I have to say I don’t think I could do Guylain’s job of feeding redundant books into a machine to be pulped. He is a very solitary character with just his goldfish for company, and obviously has some form of OCD in his counting of lamp posts on his way to work. Guylain can’t bring himself to name the machine, its just the thing, as if giving it a name would be complicit in what it does. The pulping plant has its fair share of interesting characters; Yvon the security guard, who likes to recite from plays and speak in ‘Alexandrian Rhyme’ and Lucien who takes a almost a pleasure in destroying the books. The Delacôte sisters, two elderly ladies, only catch the train to hear Guylain read, again they seem a little eccentric in their manner, but I felt a warmth towards them in their wanting to hear the stories.

The Reader on the 6.27 is a beautifully written charming novel with a cast of interesting and slightly eccentric characters. It is an erudite and funny read that shows the importance of books in our lives, a book for the literature lover; a charming and quirky read.

The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye

 

  • TheSecondCup CoverPaperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (9 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 197803007X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1978030077
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm

 

 

 

Synopsis

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.
With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

 

Review

The Second Cup is a book about the power of friendship and taking charge of your life, and taking the chance to be happy. The book is narrated by the four female characters. Faye, is an artist who hasn’t moved on from her first love from University, Jack. She is confident, and likes to be the centre of attention in the group friends. Olivia is the opposite to Faye, she is quiet , insecure and avoids any kind of confrontation, she finds it hard to trust and likes to stay in the background. Abbie is on her second marriage and has a good job, but she also has insecurities, mainly about her first marriage. Finally Beth, she is the glue that binds these friends together, the one that befriended each of them at difficult points in their life, when they were vulnerable, and brought them together. Beth hasn’t has an easy life, she felt she didn’t fit in with her family so her friends are her family, although they dont know about her dreams and mental health problems.

At the centre of this book is the death of Faye’s first love Jack. It is a catalyst in all their lives, a chance for them all to reconsider where they are and what really matters; a second chance and what the means to them. The reference in the title The Second Cup refers to drinking a from a pot of tea and savouring that second cup; throughout the book there are tea facts that are really interesting. In times of crisis the British always turn to a cup tea and Sarah Marie Graye uses that at times of reflection and change. The title could also refer to second chances; a chance for each of the characters to reassess their lives, and start over and take a second chance with their lives, have the courage to make the change and be happy.

I found all the characters interesting and realistic; we all now friends or acquaintances like them. The only time we see all four together is their regular Friday evening meet up at the pub, their natural interaction means you feel you know them, that they could be a group you would find in your local pub.

Sarah Marie Graye is a very descriptive writer in terms of feelings and characters, as well as place. I noted her like of insect metaphors and similes in the book; references to a tingling of the skin feeling like ants, a pier being like a centipede. The only thing I wasn’t so keen on was the swap between the third person narrative and first person narrative in the chapters. I found this disjointed my reading experience as I had to check back to make sure I knew where I was with this. Some very difficult issues are raised in this book; suicide, bullying, miscarriage and divorce and dealt with in care and understanding, obviously well researched.

The Second Cup is an engaging novel, with characters you will recognise and care about. A wonderful heartwarming read, inspite of the difficult topics raised, a book that will say with you after you finish the last page.

 

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The Woman in the Window by A J Finn

 

  • 51latWjOD0LHardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (25 Jan. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0008234159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008234157
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.9 x 24 cm

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?

Review

The Woman in the Window seems to be a very popular choice at the moment, if book clubs on Facebook are anything to go by, and after finishing this book late last night I can see why.  In the book industry it is being marketed as the next Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train; I don’t like these comparisons, it may be aimed encouraging readers, but it can also put people off and these books.  In this case I think the hype is around The Woman in the Window is well deserved, I thought it was brilliant, in plot, writing and characters.  It has an air of Hitchock about it, reminiscent of Rear Window; the same suspense throughout and has the flawed and troubled lead character; its no surprise that this has already been made into a film.

The plot centres around Dr Anna Fox, and agoraphobic, who medicates on pills and alcohol, and spends her time watching her neighbours through her camera.  When she is witness to a violent act her life becomes complicated as there is no proof that she did see anything.  Anna’s back story is drip fed through the book, and we are witness to her continued decline.  The tension in this book kept my heart in my mouth, the twists, turns,   kept coming, and this novel got darker as it went on.  The fairly short chapters add to this  gripping plot; I kept thinking one more chapter, one more chapter until the end.

Anna, as a character is obviously a damaged character, an addict to alcohol and her medication, and has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Her medication mixed with alcohol can cause hallucinations, and she finds it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is not.  However, throughout this, she runs a Facebook group for other agoraphobics and tries to help them even if she can’t help herself.  I found I did have a lot of sympathy for Anna and her situation, she is vulnerable, in pain and very lonely; a shadow of her form self when she was a Child Psychologist.

The Woman in the Window is one of the best psychological thrillers I have read in years; much better than The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, both of which I enjoyed.  It is dark, compelling spine-tingler of a book that took my breath away in parts; a stunning debut from A J Finn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake

  • IMG_1961Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin; Reprint edition (9 Jan. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250167205
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250167200
  • Product Dimensions: 14.1 x 2.6 x 21 cm

 

 

 

Synopsis

Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

Review

Just Between Us is an intelligent domestic thriller, that looks at how far you would go to protect a friend, and how that then ripples out to effect your daily life. The story is narrated mainly by three of the friends; Alison, Julie and Sarah, with the occasional chapter by Heather, the main protagonist. The three different observations and take on events adds layers and depth to the narrative, and give a more rounded version of events. I enjoyed Rebecca Drake’s writing style, her writing flowed seamlessly and she kept up the fast pace of the plot.

All four of her female protagonists were flawed in character and had troubled pasts that they hadn’t necessarily shared with each other, but do have an influence on events in the book. All four characters were very familiar, in that they could be someone you know from the school play ground; the tall blonde, the fun bubbly one, the quiet reader who stays in the background and the dark haired smart one. Their interaction and friendship is very natural as well and as in most groups of friends there are some closer than others, Sarah and Julie being friends the longest and Alison confiding some of her past in Heather. They reminded me in a way of the characters in Desperate Housewives. All are tied together in their decision to help Heather, and it is their slow unravelling, the paranoia, stress, turning to drink and their ultimate distrust of each other  that adds suspense and a sense of uncertainty to this fast paced thriller, just how well do any of us know our friends and what goes on behind closed doors.

Just Between Us is a compelling domestic thriller with lots of twists and turns along the way. It is a tale of friendships, obsession, lies, secrets and ultimately murder; an erudite and enthralling read.

 

 

 

Covent Garden in the Snow by Jules Wake

 

IMG_1946

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: HarperImpulse (16 Nov. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0008221979
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008221973
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3 x 19.8 cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Tilly Hunter has her dream job at the London Metropolitan Opera Company, a kind and caring Fiance, so life is looking good. But when her lack of IT skills lands her in trouble at work, she has to work with the new IT Director Marcus Walker.

Where as Tilly is artisitc, full of life and fun, Marcus is sharp-suited, serious and determined to get Tilly computer savvy. But opposites do attract and the more time they spend together, sparks begin to fly and when Tilly’s fiance betrays her it is Marcus who is there for her. Could Marcus be the perfect Christmas present for Tilly.
After all, the best presents are those you dont know you need.

Review

Covent Garden in the Snow is marketed as a feel good Christmas novel, obviously hoping to do well in the Christmas market. However, I think this is misleading, Christmas only makes a small appearance, mainly towards the end of the book. Even the snow is a bit misleading, yes there is snow in Covent Garden but again its not integral to the plot. For me this books could be read at anytime of the year, as it has a much wider plot line. The narrative follows Tilly as she seems to fall from one problem into another, from computer viruses to problems with emotional opera stars and personal issues. All of this dealt with in a warm and witty prose that will engage the reader.

Tilly is a very endearing character, she is quirky, sassy, artistic, kind and has a love for life. I did resonate with her technology problems as I am a terrible technophobe and have to admit that I have once or maybe twice used the disc drive as a coffee holder. Marcus is her complete opposite but over time, in his relationship with Tilly, a different side to him comes out. He is not so straight laced and business like, and they share similar interests. Of course he is also tall dark and handsome, as you would expect from a romantic hero. I also found Tilly’s sister Christelle an interesting character. Like Marcus she comes across as the complete opposite to her sister; she is a lawyer, and to Tilly is someone a lot more serious than her and they have little in common. Over the course of the novel it is lovely to see the interactions of the sisters and their closeness as they realise that they really don’t know each other that well. Tilly is one of those people that like to bury their head in the sand rather than deal with problems head on which has damages her relationship with her family and with Felix, the fiance who lets her down in every way.

Covent Garden in the Snow is a wonderful, warm and witty novel that is not just for Christmas. It has memorable characters, and sizzles with sexual tension throughout; the perfect book to loose yourself in.

 

 

 

The Doll Funeral by Kate Hamer

  • IMG_1951Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (4 Jan. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571313868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571313860
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

On Ruby’s thirteenth birthday she finds out that Barbara and Mick are not her real parents, she was adopted. Never fitting in, Ruby is happy at this news and sets out to find her real parents, who she believes will love and save her from the life of abuse and loneliness she has grown up with.

But Ruby is not totally alone, she has Shadow for company, she sees those that are dead. Shadow is her companion in her search for her parents, a search that takes over her life and she won’t be stopped by anyone.

 

Review

The Doll Funeral is a hard book to categorise in a specific genre. It is also hard to review, in that I don’t want to give any spoilers away. The narrative is split into two timelines; in 1983 Ruby narrates her story in the first person narrative. I found this gave the story a very personal touch, I felt I was there with Ruby on her journey. The second narrative is set in 1970, and follows Anna, Ruby’s mother through her pregnancy and after. Using the third person narrative marks the clear distinction between the two stories and marks it in the past; we are being told Anna’s story by a narrator.

I found Kate Hamer’s writing wonderfully descriptive. I understood Ruby, her childlike thinking, her feelings and made me want to protect her from the world around her. The Forest of Dean plays an integral part of this novel, not only is it where both Ruby and Anna are from, a place of safety for Ruby but also a metaphor for Ruby’s feelings and life. Ruby retreats to the woods at difficult times, she seeks protection and safety in the canopy of branches, the nurturing effect of the forest and she sees nature as magical, which she learnt from her Grandmother. Like the trees, she wants to put down and find her roots, who she really is. The forest offers Ruby everything that she doesn’t get at home. Her relationship with nature has a sense of otherworldliness about it, it is where she spends time with Shadow and sees other dead people, it is also a place that changes quickly adding to the ethereal quality of this book.

At thirteen, Ruby just entering adolescence which is a confusing time for many a young person, its that time where we question who we are, and start to push boundaries and rebel against the world. For Ruby this is a time of reawakening, and the theme of mothers and daughters and their relationships is very much a part of this story. As a character Ruby is very determined and I thought she had a strength way beyond her years. Her story is not an easy one to read at times, she is physically and mentally abused by Mick, her adoptive father, and finds herself in difficult circumstances. As well as the physical abuse there is also the subject of child neglect raised in this book. Set in the early 1980’s, when there was less legislation on child abuse, so children like Ruby were not reported to the authorities, the bruises were hidden and the subject kept with in the family.

The Doll Funeral is a beautifully written, powerful novel. It has a magical and atmospheric feel that weaves around Ruby’s and Anna’s stories, that will compel you to follow their stories; a captivating read.

The Chalk Man by C J Tudor

 

 

IMG_1947

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (11 Jan. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718187431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718187439
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24 cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis

Looking back it all started on the day of the fair and the terrible accident; when twelve year old Eddie first met the Chalk Man.

It was the Chalk Man who gave Eddie the idea of the drawings: a way to leave secret messages between his group friends. It was fun to start with, until the figures led them to the body of a young girl.

That was thirty years ago, and Ed thought the past was behind him. Then he receives a letter containing just two things: a piece of chalk, and the drawing of a stick figure.

As history begins to repeat itself, Ed realised the game was never over…

Everyone has secrets; Everyone is guilty of something; And children are not always so innocent.

 

Review

The Chalk Man is the debut novel from C J Tudor, and is already being talked about as one of the best books that will be released in 2018. The plot has a dual timeline, switching seamlessly between 1986 and 2016. In 1986, Eddie and his friends, Metal Mickey, Fat Gav, Hoppo and Nicky, are twelve years old and spending the summer on their bikes as children did in the 1980’s (this brought back fond memories of my childhood). Events that summer will alter their friendships and lives forever, their innocence disappears in a a matter of months. In 2016, they are now in their forties, their relationships have changed but their past comes back to haunt them.

Ed/Eddie is the main narrator and it his through his thoughts and experiences that we learn the of the events. He may not be the most reliable narrator sometimes, he obviously doesn’t remember everything, but then again we all look back at our childhood with gaps in our memory and with rose-tinted glasses. He also drinks quite a lot and has nightmares that are very real and can cloud his memory, and cause confusion as it blurs the line between dreams and reality. The relationship between the gang of five was very natural in their use of nick-names, making fun of each other, and their interaction with each other and others around them. In the present it is obvious that none of them has really moved on from what happened that summer; they have got on with their lives but the events have left their footprint. Nicky was a character I had great empathy for, it was obvious her father physically abused her and it can’t have been easy growing up without her mother, especially at a time when single parents, especially single father’s were rare.  It has to be said that by the end of the book all none of the characters come out well, all have their secrets and all have told lies.

There are some difficult issues raised in this novel; rape, abortion, bullying and of course murder. C J Tudor deals with these with great empathy and in a way they would have been treated in the 1980’s, which is very different to now. There wasn’t so much awareness over sexual grooming, rape and bullying then, and this is reflected in the writing of the story.

From an attention grabbing prologue, The Chalk Man continues as a slow burner, simmering with tension and menace until the final thrilling conclusion.  With the 1980’s being in vogue in television and film this book fits right in today’s cultural zeitgeist, and I have no doubt that this book is going to fly off the shelves and straight to the top of the bestseller lists. A fantastic debut novel, with a sinister thread running through to keep you up late at night just to see what happens next.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

IMG_1924The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Published: January 11 2018

  • Publisher: Zaffre (11 Jan. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785763644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785763649

Synopsis

1942, Lale Sokolov arrives in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Originally working as a manual labourer,  building more huts, he is given the job of tattooing the prisoners as they arrive at the camp.
One day, a young girl catches his eye, looking frightened and shaken he tries to calm her, and for Lale it is love at first sight. And so the story of Lale and Gita begins, Lale is determined to survive Auschwitz so he and Gita can have a life together after the war. His job as the tattooist has some privileges that he uses to help Gita and his friends, in the face of adversity Lale shows great humanity, and so begins the love story of Late and Gita.

Review

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a book I have heard a lot about recently, even though it isn’t published until January 11. After reading it I understand why it is being so highly praised.

The story of Lale and Gita is all the more remarkable in that it is a true story. Author Heather Morris spent three years with Lale Solokov, listening and documenting his and Gita’s story. Originally, Heather wrote this as a screen play before deciding to turn it into her debut novel.

Today we are all aware of the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and reading about it from Lale’s perspective of being there really brings the reality and horrors of Auschwitz to life. Late is a very likeable character, and even in the harsh living conditions, with constant fear of death, his generosity and kindness to other prisoners really shines through. His position as a tattooist enables him to see and do things other prisoners can’t, and the horrors he sees are deplorable, he sees things no man should ever have to see. But through out all this he keeps his positivity and belief that he will survive this, and have a life with Gita after the war.

Gita is very young when she enters the camp, and her trust and belief in Lale is what I feel gets her though. Again, she has a kind and caring nature, a commamarederie with her fellow workers and girls who share her hut. Her bravery is also very apparent towards the end. I can’t even imagine what she went through, and I am glad that no one will ever have to face what she, Lale and others did at Auschwitz.

The only thing lacking for me in this book was some emotion and feeling in parts. As I mentioned it was originally written as a screen play rather than a novel and maybe that is why; actors on screen can convey their feelings and emotion.

At the end of the book, Heather Morris includes several photographs of Lale and Gita through the years. I found this very touching, and emotional, to see the people who went through this, it gives the story a more personal touch.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a remarkable, if at times disturbing read. It is a story of courage, bravery, horror, love, belief, death, survival but most of all hope and the affirmation the human character and the will to survive. I think that this will be one of the most talked about books of 2018, and for good reason. A slice of history that should never be forgotten and never repeated; a beautiful book of an awful experience.

Thank you for a wonderful 2017

 

2017 is nearly at an end and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and for reading my blog.  Earlier in the year I wrote a post about why I started Bookliterati Book Reviews, and the problems I had faced with my health and how the blog was helping me cope.  I never expected my blog to take off as it has and it has meant a lot to me that so many of you have contacted me and supported me.

Writing the blog has also given me the opportunity to make new friends, online and in person.  As part of a Facebook group I organised a meeting in April for authors and readers in the Newcastle area, it was such a success that we had another meeting in October and have our third in February.  As a result of this I set up a group for authors and readers in the North East, a place for people to connect and find out about local bookish events.  This has grown and we now cover the North of England, from Leeds up to the Scottish Boarders.   A few also meet for coffee on a regular basis;  this has been a life line to me as I am can’t go out much and have been very isolated.

Over the past year I have read a lot of wonderful books from many different genres, I posted my top ten of the year earlier in the month, and I have to say it was a very difficult process.  I have also, through my  A Life in Books, been privileged to interview a lot of authors.  The stand out ones have to be my interview with Lucinda Riley, whose Seven Sisters’ series is just going from strength to strength.  From A Life in Books I was also honoured to have Marina Fiorato take part, she is one of my favourite historical fiction authors.  I have also had to opportunity to connect with many more of my favourite authors on Twitter, I have been star stuck on a few ocassion.

So, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the authors for their time, the publishers for sending me some brilliant books to read, the blogging community for the support over the last year, and most importantly to you, my followers and readers.  It means the world to me if  just one person reads a book that I have reviewed and recommended and enjoyed it.  All your follows, shared and comments are very much appreciated, without you there would only be my family reading my reviews.

I will now take a break until the New Year and will be back with reviews of some of the wonderful books due out next year.  So, thank you again and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

 

Fairytale by Danielle Steel

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Synopsis

Camille Lammenais has grown up in the beauty of the Napa Valley surrounded by acres of her family’s vineyards. Her parents, Christophe and Joy, still deeply in love after two decades marriage, have built a renowned winery and a chateau modelled after Christophe’s ancient family estate in his native Bordeaux. Camille has had a perfect childhood, safe in her parents’ love. After graduating from Stanford, she returns to help in Chateau Joy, but their fairytale ends suddenly when her mother dies.
Six months after loosing his wife, the devastated Christophe, is easy prey for a mysterious, charming Frenchwoman visiting the valley. Camille, still grieving for her mother, is shocked by the news that her father is intends to remarry. Then she begins to see past the alluring looks, designer clothes and elegant manners of the Countess, while her innocent father is caught in her web..

 

Review
I used to read a lot Danielle Steel’s novels when I had my daughter twenty-four years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed them. I have no idea why I stopped reading them, so when I was sent Fairytale by Pan Macmillan I had a touch of nostalgia mixed with excitement. As soon as I picked up this book I was drawn in by the writing and plot, it felt a comfortable read. The plot line and the title may give it away that this book is loosely based on the story of Cinderella, a rich young lady treated badly by her stepmother. It may sound a bit kitsch and sweet, but this book really works well and is so much more than just a retelling of a fairytale.

 

Camille as the central character is really endearing. She may come from a rich family but she is very down to earth, hard working and puts her family first. The Countess, Maxine, is obviously the wicked step-mother, she is beautiful, sexy, seductive and very shallow and conniving. She is a character to really hate, she is horrible to her mother and spoils her two sons and is a gold digger.  Rather than the wicked step-sisters there are the step-brothers, Gabreil and Alexandre, indulged and spoilt by their mother, and just as awful in character.  My favourite character had to be Simone, Maxine’s badly treated mother.  She is a wonderful character, in her eighties she has bright red hair and wears floral dresses with converse trainers; her personality is as flamboyant as her style.  Her relationship with Camille is lovely, she takes her under her wing and try to protect her from her horrible daughter and grandsons, she is like the grandmother Camille never had.

I really enjoyed Fairytale, it is a heartwarming tale, with a great plot line and wonderful characters.  It is an engaging read, perfect for this time of year, or any time you want a feel good read.  I will now be looking up more of Danielle Steel’s books.