Tag Archives: Linwood Barclay

The Highs of Hebden Bridge & Heptonstall (A Book Crawl in Yorkshire)

Before I take you on a virtual tour which includes beautiful countryside, several book shops, Sylvia Plath’s final resting place and an impressive book loot, I just want to say a huge thank you for all the comments, emails and texts I got yesterday after I told you of the latest with my health. It was lovely to have all your thoughts and meant a lot. Anyway before I get any mushier let me tell you about a wonderful day out I had on Tuesday which was something of a destination lottery as it turned out.

Wanting to do something to keep me occupied before ‘results day’ on Wednesday myself and the lovely Paul Magrs decided we would head to the train station and pick a random destination to head to for some kind of bookish adventure. And what a lovely station it was that we chose, you know how I love my Victoriana…

As soon as we stepped inside I had a good feeling that we would have a great day for books and adventure when I saw this wonderful old signage from the original station…

We decided we would get the next train which happened to take us into the Yorkshire Dales with Hebden Bridge as its destination. With a lovely M&S sandwich selection (which Paul rather took the mickey out of me for) and some nibbles we got onto a train that looked like it should be sat on a snowy peak and be taking us off to the top of the alps. Instead it took us as far as Todmorden where we sneakily got off (sometimes you need to stop and hop off along the way)…

Paul had raved about a wonderful bookshop that was housed there; unfortunately it seemed that like most of Todmorden on a Tuesday it was closed… which was rather unimpressive, did they not know we were coming? Oh no, they didn’t. We did pop into several charity shops though before both grabbing a corned beef pasty (I might also have had a gingerbread man) which we ate by the canal…

Soon enough though we headed off to Hebden Bridge which has one of the most wonderful train stations I have scene, its literally like going back in time…

Again, sadly the independent book shop here was also closed on a Tuesday (maybe we should have said we were coming) it looked a corker too…

We did visit a marvellous remainder book shop…

In which I found an absolute gem I could have walked away with about five books from this store but I was incredibly restrained, well ok I was restrained because we had visited every charity shop going in Hebden Bridge and had already got a corking seven books in my bag. Which meant rather than walk all the way to the peak point of Heptonstall I begged to get a bus, which was driven by the happiest bus driver I have ever had the pleasure of meeting – he drove us back down too rather like a taxi service), and came to the stunning derelict Heptonstall church which either got struck by lightening or was bombed, I need to look it up…

It honestly was incredibly haunting and rather spooky. It has stayed with me since and seems to have got my creative juices flowing, I have been scribbling away in my notebook ever since seeing this…

Before we left we went and, after rather a lot of searching, found the final resting place of Sylvia Plath, I was rather surprised by her grave to be honest I think I expected something more showy or extravagant. Instead was a rather understated grave in the middle of a simple hidden church yard…

Paul and I then had a rather interesting, if slightly sacrilegious, discussion on the way back down with the jolly bus driver as to whether ‘The Bell Jar’ (which is the only Plath that I have read, I am not so good with poetry) would have been quite so successful if Sylvia hadn’t died early? All in all it was an amazing bookish day. Oh of course… you will want to know what books I came away with. So without further ado…

  • Murder At The Laurels/Murder in Midwinter/Murder in Bloom by Lesley Cookman – you may have noticed in the last few hauls I have managed to get almost all the Libby Sarjeant series. I will be tucking into these soon.
  • Dewey by Vicky Myron – I am actually rather cross with myself for buying this but it’s become a rather’in’ joke with Paul and I and for 50p I couldn’t hold back. A book about a library cat, I have an awful feeling that like ‘Marley & Me’ I will love this and be ever so slightly disgusted with myself.
  • Eating For England by Nigel Slater – I almost squealed when I saw this after LOVING ‘Toast’ earlier in the year.
  • This Is Not A Novel by Jennifer Johnston – You don’t see Johnston’s books very often in second hand shops and I do like her style and prose a lot plus I loved the title, so in the bag it went.
  • The House of Mitford by Jonathan Guinness – This was the bargain I found in the discount store, it was the most expensive purchase of the day at a whopping 3.99 but it’s normally over a tenner, its about The Mitfords which is themost important factor and is normally quite hard to get hold of – hoorah!
  • Fear The Worst by Linwood Barclay – I can’t deny that I am having a real ‘Savidge Reads Crime’ phase and I really liked the first Linwood Barclay ‘No Time For Goodbye’ so even though I haven’t read the one between these I picked this up anyway.

What an ace bookish day it was. Books, Sylvia Plath, adventures in the dales, and stunning locations. No wonder we had to have a drink afterwards in central Manchester to calm ourselves down. Have you visited Heptonstall? Read any of the books that I picked up? When did you last go on a random book haul trawl and where?


Filed under Book Spree, Book Thoughts

Tube Tales – The Return Journey

So yesterday I discussed adverts for books on the tube. I also set you a quiz to see if you could guess how well you know me sort of an also asking had I bought any of the books advertised in the last four weeks since noticing the book adverts on the underground and if any of them have made it into the top reads I have seen on the tube. Believe me from my nosey parker behaviour on public transport in the last few weeks I have noticed people do read in trends.

So which books did I buy that were advertised on the tube, if I bought any at all? Well clearly advertising works a little bit for me as I now own two of the books in the adverts. The first of which may come as a bit of a surprise…

I actually bought not one but two copies of Linwood Barclay’s ‘Too Close To Home’, the other copy was for Novel Insights as on her trip round the world we had made a pact to read four books together though in different parts of the world and one was ‘No Time For Goodbye’ which we absolutely and utterly loved. If you like fast plots, punchy dialogue, a complete page turner and a book that is difficult to put down then Linwood Barclay’s last novel is a must, seriously. Now I would have bought his new novel anyway but if it hadn’t been for the advert on the tube I wouldn’t have been aware of it being out in paperback. Novel Insights hasn’t been able to hold back from reading this one and is already in and loving it. With the premise being “when the Cutter family’s next-door-neighbours, the Langley’s, are gunned down in their house one hot August night, the Cutters’ world is turned upside down. That violent death should have come so close to them is shocking enough in suburban Promise Falls, but at least the Cutters can console themselves with the thought that lightning is unlikely to strike twice in the same place. Unless, of course, the killers went to the wrong house...” I can see I am going to be completely gripped again. 

The other book that I bought, though I will admit second hand not new, was ‘The Piano Teacher’ by Janice Y.K. Lee which has very dangerously been labelled ‘this season’s Atonement’. This is a very careless statement as it implies a book as good as that is written every three months and they aren’t, plus what if people hated that book? However it did actually intrigue me and then once I found out it was set in Hong Kong in the 1940’s I knew I had to have a copy. I then happened to be in a store just the other day and there it was. I think this might be a book to take on my travels to be read on the beach so will report back after my trip away in the first week of September. Here’s the blurb though in case you fancy it… 

 “Ambitious, exotic, and a classic book club read, ‘The Piano Teacher’ is a combination of ‘Tenko’ meets ‘The Remains of the Day’. Sometimes the end of a love affair is only the beginning! In 1942, Will Truesdale, an Englishman newly arrived in Hong Kong, falls headlong into a passionate relationship with Trudy Liang, a beautiful Eurasian socialite. But their love affair is soon threatened by the invasion of the Japanese, with terrible consequences for both of them, and for members of their fragile community who will betray each other in the darkest days of the war. Ten years later, Claire Pendleton lands in Hong Kong and is hired by the wealthy Chen family as their daughter’s piano teacher. A provincial English newlywed, Claire is seduced by the colony’s heady social life. She soon begins an affair only to discover that her lover’s enigmatic demeanour hides a devastating past. As the threads of this compelling and engrossing novel intertwine and converge, a landscape of impossible choices emerges — between love and safety, courage and survival, the present and above all, the past.”

It could actually be a perfect escapist tube journey read, speaking of which, what are the most common books that I have seen (this isn’t official just my observations) on the tube at the moment and did any of the above get in? Two did actually as you will see in italics… 

  • New Moon – Stephenie Meyer (9 copies)
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson (6 copies)
  • Twilight – Stephenie Meyer (6 copies)
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire – Steig Larson (4 copies)
  • The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger (4 copies)
  • Armadale – Wilkie Collins (3 copies)
  • Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer (3 copies)
  • The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga (3 copies)
  • My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Piccoult (3 copies)
  • Too Close To Home – Linwood Barclay (2 copies)
  • The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini (2 copies)
  • Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer (2 copies)
  • This Charming Man – Marianne Keyes (2 copies)
  • Scarpetta – Patricia Cornwell (2 copies)
  • Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith (2 copies)
  • The Host – Stephenie Meyer (2 copies)
  • The Secret Scripture – Sebatien Barry (2 copies)
  • Dear Fatty – Dawn French (2 copies)
  • Secret Life of Evie Hamilton – Catherine Elliott (2 copies)
  • The Return – Victoria Hislop (2 copies)

So there you have it, it shows a very small slice of what people are reading and yet as my journeys are at peak commuter time its interesting to see so many people in one carriage on one journey over 4 weeks reading so much in common. I was thrilled by the copies of ‘Armadale’ and that just goes to show the power of people looking hooked by a book on the tube as I have been hankering after it ever since!

 Have you read any of the twenty I most commonly saw? Are you surprised by the results? Will any of you be reading ‘The Piano Teacher’ or ‘Too Close To Home’? What book does everyone seem to be reading when you look around on your travels?


Filed under Book Thoughts

No Time For Goodbye – Linwood Barclay

I have had this book on my TBR pile for ages and ages and finally have gotten around to reading it as I needed some serious escapism. Escapist reading for me can be one of a few things, a comedy, a who-dunnit or indeed a gripping page turning thriller. Everyone has different escapist reading, I know on person who can find no finer escapist reading than Mills and Boon. So as it was also one of the books on mine and Novel Insights books to read (I still have to conquer The Blind Assassin yet to have caught up) I decided that this would be my next read.

Linwood Barclay’s debut novel No Time For Goodbye is definitely escapist reading. It is also a very thrilling read with possibly one of the most unpredictable plotlines that I have come across (bar the immense Child 44) in some time. One day a fourteen year old girl wakes up to find her entire family have vanished. There are no traces of them anywhere they have simply disappeared. Come forward twenty five years and Cynthia is still none the wiser to what has happened, however when a TV show decide to pick up the story again things slowly but surely start to unfold and Cynthia may begin to wish that she remained in the dark.

I found this a real thriller, it’s a proper page turner and you are thrown some big red herrings and then random possible theories that turn up later to make much bigger plot twists. I have seen reviews of this that state ‘this is no literary masterpiece and doesn’t deserve the sales’ and I have to disagree with that. I am not a literary snob, I like what I like some of it isn’t literary and some of it is, it’s the same with books I don’t like. No Time For Goodbye is a book that I enjoyed thoroughly because the plot and pacing are fantastic. I quite liked the characters without being attached to them but most of all it did what I wanted and drew me in, took me on a thrilling mysterious adventure and most of all I escaped.

What I will say was a slight issue for me was that despite the blurb, I have issues with blurbs that don’t tell the truth (this one says a letter arrives that changes everything – that doesn’t happen), the book isn’t actually written from Cynthia’s point of view. The thrilling tale itself is told through her husband Terry’s eyes. I really wanted more insight into how she felt about it all rather than what she told him she felt throughout it all if that makes sense? He was a great narrator and got fully entrapped in the whole situation and scenario and I enjoyed reading it from his perspective I just think hers would have given the book an extra something.

I thought that the plotting was brilliant, the end of every chapter makes you want to read on. Yes, there are parts that go slightly beyond coincidence and what is and isn’t believable but that’s what makes a great thriller and also some things that happen to people in real life you couldn’t make up, I never myself stopped believing that the whole situation could have happened.

Other reviews I have seen say that the plot is over the top. Yes it is, that tends to happen in most thrillers and if you don’t like that then don’t you tend to stay away from these types of books? I mean I don’t believe in goblins so I have always avoided J.R Tolkien. In the same vain don’t we all like to have the realms of our beliefs pushed I don’t really believe in magic but I really enjoyed the Harry Potter books. Sorry I have gone off on a bit of a tangent.

Overall I found this a ‘thrilling’ thriller. I became completely engrossed in the whole story line and though I predicted some of the ending there were still lots of twists that left me reeling. I can understand why this book has sold so well, I think the fact it was a Richard and Judy Summer Read (which I can find hit and miss) probably helped, but even without that I think this book would have done well. It has a very original and unsettling storyline, and you simply cannot stop reading it… well I couldn’t anyway. 4/5


Filed under Linwood Barclay, Orion Publishing, Review, Richard and Judy