Karen Rose, ‘I’m Watching You’.

Karen Rose, ‘I’m Watching You’.

So before Christmas this past year I had never read anything by Karen Rose, and gosh I was missing out! I got lots of her books as gifts this year, and I’ve only just started working my way through them, and I have to say I’m a fan, they’re addictive reads. Especially if like me, you like books that are filled with plot intrigue, crime and relatable characters. So do expect numerous reviews of Rose’s work in the next couple of days!

‘I’m Watching You’ was published in 2007, and details the victimisation of Kristen Mayhew, a ‘star prosecutor’ in Chicago’s Public Defender’s office. Kristen is being watched, extremely closely, by an individual who dedicates his murders as tokens of respect to Kristen. The body count rises rather quickly in this book, and the victims of the killings have all been implicated in criminal activity, and the killer’s need for retribution becomes increasingly obsessive eventually threatening Kristen and her loved ones. The story is full of plot twists, unexpected occurrences, and intricate details. The narrative is action packed! And events happen quite quickly, at first this could maybe be overwhelming, but Rose manages to move the narrative on, whilst making sure the reader can follow character and plot developments.

Although the murders dominate the book, and Rose is a crime fiction writer, the book also develops full characters and the relationships between the characters are superbly written. Roses’s creations are relatable, and as a reader, I started to build affinity with the characters, I wanted Kristen to be safe and happy, and the murderer to be someone different (no spoilers…)! Rose effectively blends romance and crime in a way that I haven’t really seen before, and it works! I found this, and the other Rose book’s that I have read truly difficult to put down, and I will be going out and buying all her other books!

 

Week One in New York…

Hello from NYC!

This is hopefully the first of many blogs… I’m going to attempt to blog weekly throughout my trip to let people know how my time in New York is going, and what is like to go from being a university student to an intern in Manhattan New York!

My first week in New York has been a blur of sunshine, touristy things, and sunburnt feet! My boyfriend (Ed), came with me, and we treated the week like a holiday week. We arrived on Saturday, and as soon as we got to the hotel dumped our bags and headed into the city! We were really lucky to stumble across a street market – the entire avenue was closed and filled with food stalls, musicians, and craft stalls… It was a wonderful introduction to NYC!

The following day was HOT… so hot… it was a central park day!!! The park itself is beautiful – we actually ended up playing drafts in the chess/checkers house, reminiscent of some very iconic movie scenes! We actually ended up going to central park lots of times in the week – it is like a little haven of peace in the craziness of the city! The lake with the little boats was my favourite! OH and I saw TURTLES – I was so happy – I LOVE turtles!

Other highlights of the week include the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. As a soon to be history graduate Ellis Island was particularly poignant, just thinking of all the families, and individuals that passed through the island on their life journey. I managed to find a record of some individuals that passed through that had the same surname as mine, I’ve asked my Grandma if members of our family went through Ellis Island – but so far no luck in finding out whether I am actually descended from them!

We also visited the Empire State building at dusk, arguably the most perfect time to go! We got to the top when the sun was setting and the lights of the city were just starting to turn on! It was definitely a beautiful way to see the city.

In all honesty, we spent a lot of time eating and wandering around the city – I have literally eaten some of the best food of my life here! New Yorkers definitely know how to eat/cook!

Ed left on Saturday after dropping me at my residence for the duration of my internship, and I spent the day moving in and getting my room organized! I’m staying in the West Village! Close to work, and a very lovely part of town – looking forward to exploring more this week before my internship begins next week!

 

Rebecca x

 

 

Suzanne Joinson, The Photographer’s Wife

Suzanne Joinson, The Photographer’s Wife

After reading Joinson’s previous novel, A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar (2012), I was really looking forward to reading The Photographer’s Wife, after a rather slow start it did not disappoint. The book is hauntingly beautiful. The narrative creeps on you rather unexpectedly, revealing details about Prudence Ashton’s childhood, marriage and relationships in an unobtrusive way. I started the book with a rather avid dislike of the protagonist, when I finished the book I was not ready to let her go.  I had more questions, and wanted to more about her childhood, her route to motherhood and the troubled relationship with her father.

The narrative is written from the perspective of Prudence at different times in her life. At the start of the book the rapid change between timeframes and setting seemed really disjointed, however, after persevering through the first sections I grew accustomed to the style, and admittedly enjoyed the way it enabled slow reveals about each of the characters. Although the book is written from the point of view of Prudence, and her experiences, each character has been expertly crafted by Suzanne Johnson. Eleanora, a photographer and friend of Prudence, is one example of how the narrative succeeds in simultaneously revealing everything and nothing.

The setting of inter war Jerusalem and London provide a compelling, and evocative, backdrop to the story. Place is extremely important in this book – manifesting itself in Prudence’s artwork, and in her psychological state.

However, the book is more than a powerful story about a child and her troubled upbringing; it is a story about relationships. Prudence is known as a ‘little witness’ Prue’s uncanny ability to go unseen tells the story of deep betrayals between husband and wife, and between nations.

I have consciously chosen to omit details of the narrative from this review; this book is one that is made to be read. To have its story revealed by turning a page. It is a book that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.

The symbiosis of troubled characters, the inter-war setting and the shocking acts of extreme violence, work to create a book which is moving, passionate and at times slightly disturbing.  Suzanne Joinson is a master at her craft, and this book is a beautiful expression of her ability to create a narrative that stimulates an emotional response in her reader.

Read courtesy of NetGalley and Bloomsbury.