On the surface Elizabeth, Just Sixteen by Cecilia Paul seems like it could be a potentially emotive and informative piece of work. The story revolves around Elizabeth who at the age of 16 finds out she has MRKH (Mayer Rokitansky Kuster Hauser) a disorder that causes the vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent. As you can imagine this is incredibly harrowing and heart-breaking news for Elizabeth to come to terms with at such a young age. Unfortunately the writing is incredibly juvenile. Perhaps this is what the author wanted to achieve, to aim the book at more YA demographic, however there were just large chunks of the text that were so convoluted and badly written that it was a struggle to get through. It’s a shame because this had potential but the unnecessary filler about the food shopping and meals that Elizabeth and her family eat just made the whole thing a struggle to get through. It was tedious and frustrating.
The only praise I can give this novel is the author highlighting MRKH which is something I’d never heard of, and I imagine that although it isn’t incredibly well written or an easy read, that any young girl out there who receives a similar diagnosis can use this to gain more of an understanding about the condition.
Elizabeth Just 16 is published by Clink Street Publishing the print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £9.99)
There was something instantly hypnotic about the style of writing in The Dress, it follows the story of Ella and her mother Fabbia Moreno who arrive in York to set up a vintage dress shop. Pretty soon Ella makes friends with a local boy named Billy and Fabbia starts making dresses for the local women. But it seems both Fabbia and Ella have a strained relationship, with Ella wanting her mum to be more like the others and constantly wondering what secrets her mother is keeping from her.
This book actually reminded me a lot of Chocolat by Joanne Harris but the chocolate was substituted for delicious sounding clothes. I loved the elements of magic that Fabbia brings to the dresses she makes and as the book unfolds we learn more about what happened in Fabbia’s past that makes her so fearful and secretive. It’s a delightful and easy read, and could work as both a beach read or one to curl up with in the colder months.
The Dress is published by Bonnier Zaffre and is available on the Kindle from Amazon (RRP £7.99) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £7.99)
The Ice Beneath Her by Camilla Grebe opens with homicide detective Peter Lindgren arriving at the scene of a gruesome murder, where a young woman is found beheaded in the home of a controversial CEO Jesper Orre.
The Modus Operandi of the murder seems very similar to one that happened ten years previously. As the book develops we’re interested to two more characters, Emma Bohman who starts a lover affair with the charismatic businessman and Hanne a criminal profiler who is dealing with the early onset of dementia.
There was something that pulled me in with this book, Camilla perfectly weaving the storyline at the right pace, the flashbacks with Emma being particularly well written. Although I found the ending of the book a little disappointing, there was just enough in here to keep me invested in the characters (especially Peter and Hanne) and it also had me guessing. What more could you want from a book as though colder months begin to set in?!
The Ice Beneath Her is published by Bonnier Zaffre on September 8th and is available on the Kindle from Amazon (RRP £3.99) The print edition is available in all good bookshops (RRP £12.99)