You Will Not Have My Hate- Antoine Leiris

4175CtWuOmL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Antoine Leiris lost his wife Helene in the Bataclan attack in November 2015. Days after her murder, he posted an open letter to the terrorists on Facebook, writing the immortal line ‘Vous n’aurez pas ma haine’ in an incredible show of dignity and restraint in the face of his loss.

You Will Not Have My Hate is a raw and powerful testimony of Leiris’ life in the days and weeks after the attack. Despite his composed Facebook post, we learn of his struggles to contemplate raising his 17 month old son alone.

The details of his attempts to maintain a regular, daily routine, whilst remembering ‘mama’ by singing songs and looking at photographs is heartbreaking and yet throughout, the reader is filled with a sense of admiration for a man who vows to continue living life for the sake of his son and the woman he has loved and lost.

He is inundated with letters of support and mothers at his son’s nursery rally round providing daily meals on a rota basis, all with the best of intentions, but ultimately adding to his sense of hopelessness.

Yet despite the despair, the reader draws immense inspiration from Leiris’ remarkable courage and determination.

Truly exceptional.

Baby Doll- Hollie Overton

Baby-Doll-e1466336446963

Unlike many other ‘hostage’ novels, Baby Doll opens with its main character Lily realising she has an opportunity to make a break for freedom as, for once, her captor appears to have forgotten to secure the door.

The tension is evident from the start, with the reader almost forced to hold their breath for the first frenetic few chapters, not knowing whether or not she will succeed or if the evil Rick will discover her plan.

What unfolds is an intriguing look the impact on all those involved when a loved one is taken captive; from the captor and his hostage to the family members and friends who are left behind waiting, wondering and hoping and ultimately seeing their lives changed forever.

The plot is full of unexpected twists and turns along the way as each character is forced to confront the psychological effects that have taken their toll over the years.

A fast-paced, page-turning, psychological thriller!

Before the Rains- Dinah Jefferies

51DmEZcs0sL._SX309_BO1,204,203,200_
Dinah Jefferies has a wonderful ability to transport her readers deep into the heart of each of her novels and ‘Before the Rains’ is no exception. Set in India in the 1930s, it centres on the life of Eliza Fraser who is breaking new ground by being assigned by the British as an official photographer within the royal palace, where she will spend a year capturing the lives of the royal family in Rajputana.

Eliza is no stranger to India or to heartache, having witnessed the death of her father at an early age in Dehli before moving to England. She returns to India newly widowed and armed with a steely determination to establish herself as a talented and respected photojournalist. Along the way, she encounters prejudice, unusual customs and of course, romance when she meets Prince Jay, the younger, somewhat nomadic, brother of the ruling prince.

There are many twists and turns to the plot and the culture, customs and landscape of India at that time are seamlessly interwoven, creating truly atmospheric scenes and evoking a real sense of time and place. An historical novel bursting with colour and a fabulous read!