Book Reviews – October 2021

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Hello and welcome back to The Spoonie Mummy and the books I have finished in the last month. It has been a bit of a weird one for me – I always have a few books on the go but this month I couldn’t get settled into one – until I came across The Midwife’s Secret and Chloe Cates Is Missing and I got my reading groove back. Read on to find out what I thought about these books and more!

Titanic: ‘Iceberg Ahead’*

The Story of the Disaster By Some of those Who Were There

by James W Bancroft

The Blurb

To have sailed on ‘the voyage of the century’ aboard White Star Line’s RMS Titanic – described at the time as ‘a floating palace’ – was like being one of the first passengers to fly on Concorde.

On 10 April 1912, people from all walks of life began embarking on Titanic, then the largest ship afloat, for what was to be the trip of a lifetime on the ship’s maiden voyage across the north Atlantic. Many were looking forward to starting new lives in the United States.

However, just before midnight on Sunday, 14 April 1912, Titanic’s crew began to send out distress signals stating, ‘We have struck an iceberg’. The liner had been steaming at speed when it collided with an enormous iceberg which stripped off her bilge under the waterline for more than 100 yards, opened up five of the front compartments and flooded the coal bunker servicing one of the boilers.

The damage was fatal, and some three hours after the disaster began to unfold the last visible part of Titanic slipped beneath the waves. There were only sixteen lifeboats and four collapsible dinghies – which was completely insufficient for the number of passengers making the crossing. As a consequence, more than 1,500 passengers and crew died: two out of every three people onboard perished.

Much has been written about the Titanic disaster, and it has been the subject matter for several films. The author is well-known for his depth of research and his attention to detail, and in a new style of format, he has selected fifty people involved in the disaster, and by using their specific eyewitness accounts he has managed to make the confusing situation much clearer, making it possible for the reader to experience the dreadful events as they unfolded. The book also includes biographical tributes to the fifty people, who came from all walks of life and geographical regions, telling who they were, their experiences during the disaster, and what happened to those who were fortunate enough to survive.

What I Thought

Anyone who knows me will know I love a bit of a true crime and mystery and the Titanic disaster is right up there for me, ever since watching the film when I was a teenager!

This book was fab. It was interesting to read about those who sailed on the ship, and not just the famous names but from all walks of life with all different reasons to be on the Titanic. There was a mixture of people who died as well as those who survived, detailing if known, what they went on to do after the disaster, as well as what they had seen and witnessed on board.

Anyone like me, interested in big historical events, dare I say conspiracy theorists or just people who are interested in the Titanic will love this. I haven’t read anything like it – and I have read and watched a lot about the ship and what happened – so it was an interesting read that I really enjoyed.

Where To Buy

Buy from Amazon – available in Hardcover

The Midwife’s Secret*

by Emily Gunnis

The Blurb

From the bestselling author of THE GIRL IN THE LETTER, a gripping, powerful and heartbreaking new novel of two families and the devastating secret that binds them…

Spellbindingly good! Heartbreak, intrigue, mystery. I was totally engrossed in this story from start to finish. *****’ Real reader review

‘This novel will tug at your heart. A gripping, heart-wrenching story of love, loyalty and family secrets. Reminded me of Kate Morton and Eve Chase *****’ Fictionophile blog

She shone the torch around and spotted some names written on the wall: Clara, Sara, Megan. Who were these girls and what had they been doing in there? She clicked open the old trunk and pulled out a leather-bound book, opening it on the first page: ‘Tessa James, Patient Notes’. She began to read…

1969 On New Year’s Eve, while the Hiltons of Yew Tree Manor prepare to host the party of the season, their little girl disappears. Suspicion falls on Bobby James, a young farmhand and the last person to see Alice before she vanished. Bobby protests his innocence, but he is sent away. Alice is never found.

Present day Architect Willow James is working on a development at Yew Tree when she discovers the land holds a secret. As she begins to dig deep into the past, she uncovers a web of injustice. And when another child goes missing, Willow knows the only way to stop history repeating itself is to right a terrible wrong.

For decades the fates of the Hilton and James families have been entwined in the grounds of Yew Tree Manor. It all began with a midwife’s secret, long buried but if uncovered could save them from the bitter tragedy that binds them. And prove the key that will free them all…


What I Thought

Absolutely fantastic! The author has managed to write about two different families and span three different time periods in this book, creating one fabulous story.

Sometimes at first I did feel a little lost with the different characters and the time periods but I soon got on board with who each character was and how they were connected. While I could guess certain things were about to happen, I wasn’t always right as there were many twists and turns and even when I was – I felt more proud of myself rather than disappointed for guessing a twist, as it really was an intricately written story.

A gripping, emotional, at times heart-breaking mystery which I’d highly recommend. I haven’t come across this author before but will certainly look out for her name in the future!

Where To Buy

Pre-order from Amazon (available 28th October) – available in Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audible


by Dolly Alderton

The Blurb

Everything gets easier in your thirties, right?

Though she has plenty to celebrate – successful career, new home, loving friends and family – for Nina Dean, her thirties have not exactly been the liberating experience she was sold. From fading friendships to exes popping the question, everyone is moving on (or worse, to the suburbs). And as her dad slowly loses his memories, her mum seems dead set on making new ones.

Then she meets Max, who tells her on date one that he’s going to marry her. But what seems like an exciting new development will ensure this year is Nina’s strangest yet . .

What I Thought

I haven’t read Dolly’s first book (yet) which was apparently amazing, but this one has really polarized readers. I was really happy to get back into my Audible books though this month and listened to this via my Audible subscription.

While I can’t say I loved this book, I did love parts of it. I think as a single woman in her thirties, I could definitely identify with parts of it ad laughed out loud at some of the things that happened to Nina and what she came across in the world of online dating.

I think my issue was I didn’t really love Nina, she wasn’t the most likeable character, which I suppose is the case in every day life – we can’t like everyone. To me, Nina seemed overly cynical for someone who was in her position, she hadn’t had that much happen to her to make her this way and I would have thought her best friend actually had much more reason to feel this way.

I did think the side of the story that dealt with her family life and the sad decline into dementia of her Dad was handled really well and definitely tugged at the heart strings.

I think if I had read this book I may not have been rushing to pick it up every night but I did enjoy listening to it, it was an easy listen, sometimes funny, sometimes really thoughtful. While not one of my favourite books this year, there where definitely some interesting insights and I think women would enjoy this book and probably be able to identify some similar situations in their own lives.

Where To Buy

Buy from Amazon – available in Kindle, Hardcover, Paperback and Audible

Chloe Cates Is Missing*

by Mandy McHugh

The Blurb

The disappearance of a young internet celebrity ignites a firestorm of speculation on social media, and to find her a detective will have to extinguish the blaze.

Chloe Cates is missing. The 13-year-old star of the hit YouTube series, “CC and Me,” has disappeared, and nobody knows where she’s gone — least of all ruthless momager Jennifer Scarborough, who has spent much of her daughter’s young life crafting a child celebrity persona that is finally beginning to pay off. And in Chloe’s absence, the faux-fairytale world that supported that persona begins to fracture, revealing secrets capable of reducing the highly-dysfunctional Scarborough family to rubble.

Anxious to find her daughter and preserve the life she’s worked so hard to build, Jennifer turns to social media for help, but the hearsay, false claims, and salacious suspicions only multiply. As the search becomes as sensational as Chloe’s series, Missing Persons detective Emilina Stone steps in, only to realize she has a connection to this case herself. Will she be able to stay objective and cut through the rumors to find the truth before it’s too late?

Told from multiple points of view including Jennifer, Emilina, and pages from Chloe’s lost diary, Chloe Cates Is Missing is a suspenseful novel of a child pushed to the brink, and of the troubled family that desperately needs her back. 

What I Thought

I really do love a thriller and when it involves a situation so relevant at the moment – in this case influencing and social media – it often grabs me even more.

This was the case here and this book involves a family in which the mum runs a blog and social media accounts based around her daughter. This book takes you an a wild ride of twists and turns – hold on tight! It was cleverly written, there were great characters involved and I didn’t know where it was going to take me next.

I absolutely loved and devoured it, it was exactly what I needed when I went into hospital and took me just three days to get through. Highly recommend a read for every thriller fan, you will love this!

Where To Buy

Pre-order now from Amazon (released January 2022) – available in Kindle and Hardcover

Well, that’s it from me this month – apologies for the lack of reviews – I am hoping my reading speed will pick back up and I will have lots more recommendations for you in November! Have you read anything this month that you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below! Take care all,

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