On Track for Murder by Stephen Childs starts with Abigail Sergeant and her brother Bertrand on a ship heading towards Australia. They are en route to live with their father and step-mother who have been there for some time setting up the family home and business. Abigail is incredibly protective of Betrand as he has special needs, and the relationship and the way in which she looks after him is incredibly touching.
When the pair finally arrive, it is clear that their step-mother Frances is not happy to have them here and that she has a particularly volatile relationship with Abigail, whilst she just completely disrespects Betrand and treats him abominably. Pretty soon, with tempers frayed, it seems that life in Australia will not be bliss. When Abigail’s father is found dead and Betrand is found holding the murder weapon it is up to Abigail and the handsome Constable Dunning to find the real killer and prove Betrand’s innocence.
Although historically interesting, with Abigail constantly battling against the belief of women’s roles in society, there was just something a little flat about the story. Maybe it’s just me but I found it confusing that Abigail was constantly referred to as a strong and clever woman, yet she didn’t seem to realise when people shouldn’t be trusted. Although well-paced there were some aspects of the book that I found unnecessary and predictable, and if I’m completely honest some of the dialogue didn’t read particularly well. That being said, I did feel gripped enough to discover the resolve.
On Track for Murder is published by Clink Street Publishing and is available on the Kindle from Amazon.co.uk (RRP £4.01) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £7.99)
Sins of the Mother by Irene Kelly is a book that is told from three different perspectives. We hear from Jennifer who tells us about how strange her home life is, how she takes time to walk home because she prefers to be out of the house, how her mother and father rarely speak to her and how she, essentially, has to look after herself.
As the book progresses and we hear Irene’s story it’s easy to get an understanding of why she is like that with Jennifer. Dating back to her time as a small child, Irene describes how her beautiful mother singled her out for torment, spilling vitriol and insults to the tiny girl who only ever wanted her mother affection. As Irene’s mother had a drink problem and asked the children to steal from the local shop it wasn’t long until the social services took the youngest children away and place them in an orphanage run by nuns. I’d like to say that this is where Irene’s life improved but instead she was to face a more horrific and scarring ordeal at the hands of the nuns who have been sworn to care for her. An incredibly emotive and raw novel, the chapters where Irene talks about the abuse she suffered is very difficult to read but more difficult to comprehend that this could happen to such young children and babies.
As the book moves on we hear from Irene’s husband and how Irene was when they first met and straight up to present day when Irene decides to go to the re-dress board for some justice of what happened to her, her other siblings and other children. Although a very upsetting subject matter it’s very well written and we must commend people like Irene for having the courage to share their experiences with the world and help others find the courage to do so.
Sins of the Mother is published by Pan Macmillan and is available on the Kindle from Amazon.co.uk (RRP £3.59) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £7.99)