The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman | @CharityNorman1 @AllenAndUnwin @annecater

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A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage.

But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

 

I’ve read and enjoyed all of Charity Norman’s previous novels but I have to start by saying that The Secrets of Strangers is her best yet, it’s an incredible read!

The Secrets of Strangers is set in a small London cafe on an ordinary morning. The regulars are all their grabbing a coffee or a quick breakfast but this isn’t going to be a normal day for many of them. A row breaks out between the owner and a customer and it leads to everyone in the cafe being held hostage by a gunman.

The novel follows multiple characters throughout and we get to learn about everyone’s lives and their pasts and where they are in their lives. They all have their own problems and the novel explores one character’s infertility journey, another’s battle with addiction, and how one of them survived a genocide. All of these issues are explored in such a sensitive way and it really makes you feel for every single person.

The tension is immediate in this novel but it waxes and wanes as the novel progresses and we’re at the mercy of the mood of the gunman. At times the tension is palpable and I felt I was holding my breath, at other times I wanted to cry. I always felt like I was right there in the cafe with this group of people.

Charity Norman in a brilliant writer and whilst this novel explores some very difficult themes, there is some lightness to balance the darkness because of the way she makes everyone so real and so human. I ended up feeling a connection to every single person I read about and even now, weeks after I read this novel, I still find myself thinking about them.

This is a one sitting book – I picked it up one afternoon and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished reading it. I was experiencing a reading slump at the time and nothing was holding my attention but this book did and it’s a testament to the wonderful writing. I loved this novel, it’s my new favourite Charity Norman book and I strongly suspect it’ll be in my favourite books of the year list. I highly recommend it!

The Secrets of Strangers is out now in paperback, ebook and audio book and available here.

Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours and Allen & Unwin for my ecopy of this book and my blog tour invitation. All views are my own.

 

You can follow the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

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WWW Wednesday (29 Apr 2019!) What are you reading this week?

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WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now: 

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Just my Luck by Adele Parks

I just got approved for this book on NetGalley yesterday and I’ve been so keen to read it that I started it straight away! I’m enjoying it so far.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This is the book that really began to get me out of my recent reading slump and I read it in two sittings. It’s such a good book and I’m looking forward to sharing my review as part of the blog tour next month. In the meantime I highly recommend pre-ordering it!

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

I picked this up as I was trying to find a way back into reading and thought a much-loved book from my childhood would help. I did enjoy this one but not quite as much as I did when I was little.

Adele by Leila Slimani

I borrowed the ebook of this one from the library and it was an okay read. It kept me gripped all the way through but I didn’t feel as engrossed as I did when I read Lullaby. I’m glad I read it though.

The Trap by Melanie Raabe

I’ve had the ebook of this on my TBR for over four years so when I spotted the audio book was available on the library app I decided to get it and listen to it. This book wasn’t what I expected really, I’m glad I listened to it rather than reading as it kept me going with it when I might have put it down.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and its Private Consequences by Catherine Pelonero

I bought this book recently and have been keen to pick it up. I read a novel based on this case a year or two ago and have wanted to know more about what happened ever since. I hope to get to this one this week.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I feel like while we’re on lockdown a book about people being trapped together might be interesting and this one grabbed my attention on my kindle!

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

I’ve had a copy of this on my review pile for a while now and I think I’m just in the mood for it so hopefully I get to read it in the coming days!

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂