The Girl Who Came Back by Susan Lewis

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Synopsis: When Jules Bright hears a knock on the door, the last person she expects to find is a detective bringing her the news she’s feared for the last three years.

Amelia Quentin is being released from prison.

Jules’s life is very different now to the one she’d known before Amelia shattered it completely. Knowing the girl is coming back she needs to decide what to do. Friends and family gather round, fearing for Jules’s safety. They know that justice was never served; every one of them wants to make the Quentin girl pay. 

The question is, what will Jules do; and which of them – her or Amelia – has the most to fear?

Kat’s Rating: 3/5

Kat’s Review: I have been reading Susan Lewis for years and my very first review on Amazon nearly 10 years ago was one of her books. I always enjoy them but every now and then one comes along that I struggle with and sadly this was one of them. In the beginning we see glimpses of Amelia and instantly it becomes apparent she is no ordinary child and if that continues she may well become a very disturbed individual. Jules then becomes the main focus of the story and we see her struggle to come to terms with the news she has just been told. Amelia Quentin will be released from prison following an event that had far reaching consequences for her family.

As the story continues we see both present and past explored but it was done in an easy to read way. There are many elements to this book that maybe wont sit right with some people (subject matter for a start wont be everybody’s cup of tea), however the story flowed well and was easy to get into. However, there were one or two issues within the book I just felt had no added value, as well as the fact that certain elements within the story didn’t seem authentic and to be honest this spoiled things a little for me.

I continued reading and finished the book, and although I enjoyed it there were too many things I didn’t like or had niggles with so felt that the fairest rating would be the middle of the road. I certainly hope her next book is just as enthralling as the numerous others of hers I have read.

No Place To Hide by Susan Lewis

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Synopsis: Why has Justine Cantrell suddenly changed her name, abandoned the husband and family she loves and a successful business to start a new life in a place many thousands of miles away? 

There isn’t a man involved, but there is a terrible secret that she must hide from her new friends and neighbours as securely as she needs to hide herself from those she’s left behind. 

What is Justine’s Secret?

Kat’s Rating; 3/5

Kat’s Review: I was really torn with this book and the synopsis says it all. There is absolutely no way you can really describe too much of the plot as the mystery surrounding Justine Cantrell is the whole point of the book. However, having now finished I’m unsure how I feel about it, and it seemed most sensible to sit on the fence!

Justine Cantrell has moved thousands of miles from her home in the UK to her birthplace USA. She has abandoned her husband and family as well as a successful business taking her youngest daughter with her to start afresh. Susan Lewis does a wonderful job describing Lake Maxinkuckee in Culver, Indiana which is where Justine is now living. I could just imagine the town, the people and the house she lives in. Her daughter Lula was a joy to read, a typical boisterous and fun loving young child who is clearly the apple of Justine’s eye.

It’s very unclear why Justine has moved away but her fear of being found is palpable. There is an underlying tension in the book and the more I read the more I wanted to know the why of her story. The negatives I had was the main crux of the story (which I cannot go into). It was a little too off the wall for me and just didn’t sit right. Having said that, the storyline was written with empathy and compassion so I don’t think SL did a bad job telling the story in the way she did.

As well as the main thread being revealed far too late in the book for my liking, the story just left a bitter taste in my mouth and to be honest although I enjoyed reading it, I still feel undecided by it. It’s certainly a far cry from Susan Lewis normal type of books, and maybe isn’t for everyone.

Behind Closed Doors by Susan Lewis

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My Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: When fourteen-year-old Sophie Monroe suddenly vanishes one night it looks at first as though she’s run away from home. Her computer and mobile phone have gone, and she’s taken a bag full of clothes. As the police investigation unfolds a wealth of secrets from the surrounding community start coming to light. And it seems everyone has something to hide. For Detective Sergeant Andrea Lawrence, the case is a painful reminder of the tragedy that tore her family apart over twenty years ago. She is convinced there is more to Sophie’s disappearance than teenage rebellion. But is the past clouding her judgment, preventing her from seeing a truth that neither she, nor Sophie’s family, would ever want to face?

Kat’s Review: I am a fan if Susan Lewis and am rarely disappointed. This latest book didn’t disappoint me, but it felt like there was something missing. The one thing I really loved was the Detective Sergeant Andrea Lawrence. She had her own experience with missing persons and it makes her such an interesting character as her past inevitably affects her future. The story becomes quite involved quite quickly as the 14 year old Sophie Monroe goes missing. The parents are distraught and the police move quickly to try and establish if she has run away of her own choice.

The storyline was certainly engaging and like I say the lead character was great, but the whole time I was reading it I felt like there was something I just couldn’t connect with. Having said that, it was still an incredibly good read, I guess I just have high expectations from this long time and reassuringly good author. There were parts where I felt like things were dragging and I wasn’t as engaged as I normally would be. 

Overall, an interesting and enjoyable read but not one of Susan Lewis best. I think when you buy an SL book you know you are in for a great story, but this one just wasn’t my cup of tea. 

The Truth About You by Susan Lewis

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My Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: Lainey Hollingsworth has spent her whole life on the outside of a secret. Her mother would never discuss the reasons she abandoned Italy when Lainey was a new born, nor has she ever stayed in touch with the family she left behind.

Now Lainey’s mother is dead, taking the secret with her, and leaving Lainey free to find out about her roots. Her husband, Tom, appears supportive, until he hits her with a bombshell that shatters the very foundations of their marriage. Another secret Lainey never knew anything about.

Shaken, but more determined than ever to find out who she really is, Lainey takes her children to Umbria in search of answers. What she finds in the sleepy, sunbaked village of her birth turns her world inside out.

My Review: Susan Lewis has always been an author who I enjoy and I can normally guarantee a brilliant read. With this latest book there was no exception and I demolished the book in one day. The only downside for me was that I read a book only a couple of months back with a similar storyline. That aside, it was again another fantastic book by SL.

The characters in this book are easy to relate to as on the surface it seems like thousands of other families you may know. Lainey is married to Tom, and they have like that for around16 years. They have two kids, one a teenager. Tome has a third grown up son who lives with them too, and in addition they have Lainey’s father Peter who is sadly suffering from Dementia.

Lainey’s life is taken up in the most part with caring for her children and father, as well as managing her husband Tom’s diary. Her friend Susan also adds another dimension to Lainey’s life and this makes for lots of interesting characters. In the beginning we get to know everybody involved and I couldn’t help but like everybody. The situation concerning her father was very sad, but dealt with in a lovely way. Lainey’s one wish is to find out about her roots and who her biological father was. Although Peter had raised her as his own, she has a yearning to find out more about what really happened with her Mother, and the secrets she held back from Lainey right up until the day she died.

We see Lainey arrange the trip to Italy to find out more, when her life starts to unravel. The good thing about this story was that there were so many elements to it constantly keeping you from wondering. There were threads to this story which involved more than one of her kids, then she gets a bombshell from her husband and before she knows it her life doesn’t resemble anything it should do. The book all in all was pretty emotional and manages to touch on a lot of sore subjects, but Susan Lewis has managed to craft them into a sensitive tale rather than anything that made me uncomfortable.

I was so taken with the story that I didn’t really want to put it down. The only thing which I thought was maybe a little far fetched was the element concerning her daughter Tierney and a ‘secret man’. Other than this I was once again thoroughly immersed into another great book by Susan Lewis.

Losing You by Susan Lewis

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My Rating: 5/5

I have read the majority of Susan Lewis’ books and there aren’t many that I don’t enjoy. She varies the topic but generally isn’t frightened of dealing with sensitive topics. This book is no different and I knew from the synopsis that this may well be a sad story. This story introduces us to Lauren Scott who is a bright and talented young girl with the world at her feet, and her mother Emma who is very close with her daughter. The beginning of the book is a bit of a slow burner as we learn about Emma and Lauren’s lives in more detail. It turns out that Lauren is musically talented and is a well behaved and thoughtful daughter. Susan Lewis writing style is very easy to get along with although I must say even I began to wonder when the story was going to start moving along at the early stage of the book.

Thankfully, as soon as the story slipped up a gear it engaged me right until the very end. On the other side of this story we meet Oliver Lomax and his brother and father, each of whom are struggling with various aspects of their life mainly brought about by Oliver’s mother who is an alcoholic. The story builds up to a point where both families are brought together following a tragic accident. At this point I don’t think I stopped reading until I was finished. Lauren initially seems like the perfect daughter and it was easy reading seeing how much Emma trusted her. However, before long the reader begins to realise that all is not as it seems. Oliver and his family are also very easy to read about and I couldn’t help feeling such empathy for a family that have to deal with the day to day troubles of alcoholism. Susan Lewis tackles this subject with startling clarity but also sensitivity.

The second half of the book was outstanding and was a real testament to why Susan Lewis is so successful. I am not a particularly emotional person but must say that I can see why some people will find this book to be a bit of a tear jerker. The events that go on I think are just a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of times this sort of thing happens in real life I would imagine. I think this was what made it such a compelling read. I certainly think Susan Lewis fans won’t be disappointed, but be warned please don’t give up on this book. Give it a chance, because once it gets going it’s a brilliant book!

No Turning Back by Susan Lewis

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My Rating: 5/5

I only recently read Susan Lewis book Stolen and usually I wouldn’t read two of her books so close together. Her last book was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although she falls into the Chick Lit genre, I think maybe she should just be put under modern fiction as her style of writing and the sort of books she produces are far from romance stories where everything turns out great.

In her latest release we meet Eva who is the main character in this story. I instantly felt sorry for her but also felt she was a little weak and that was portrayed really well. When her world falls apart we see her character change and this in itself made for a very turbulent book when it comes to real emotions.

The other main characters were Eva’ husband Don, who if I am honest, never really warmed to throughout the whole story. We also meet Eva’s sister Patty and her two adult children Livvy and Jake, as well as Don’s daughter Jasmine. The two characters of Jasmine and Livvy were my favourites and throughout the book you see the development of them as both characters and people.

The story itself is fantastic. There are two major plot threads running throughout the story. One of them is quite obvious from the outset and the other is interlinked throughout the whole book. I can’t imagine that either subject is particularly easy to write about but Susan Lewis has done just that, with remarkable compassion.

Although I cannot quite put my finger on exactly what it is she does, all I know is she does it extremely well. Her books are lovely to read and although not always the happiest of subjects, they are made real and heart warming. This book in particular I thought was amazing, it was so easy to read and although not always with the perfect fairytale ending, so enjoyable. There are many people who will have experienced something like the character Eva and can maybe relate to her a little. Although her character started off as maybe a weak and insecure person it was nice to see her progress as the events in her life forced her to change.

I would highly recommend this book to anybody. Not your bog-standard chick lit type of book, but thoroughly good!

Stolen by Susan Lewis

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My Rating: 4/5

Lucy Winters’ parents have always been there for her. Loving, gentle and kind they have given her everything she could have wished for. Now, estranged from her husband, she has moved to the country to take over their thriving auction business. The moment she begins to prepare for her first sale she knows she’s made the right decision. And she dares to hope that at last she is living the life she has always dreamed of.

But then, quite suddenly, her world is thrown into turmoil. She discovers a shocking truth, one that forces her to question everything she has ever known. And it becomes frighteningly possible that the very people who should have protected her are the ones who have betrayed her in the most devastating of ways. Can she ever forgive them? Can they ever forgive themselves…?

I always enjoy Susan Lewis’ books. There is a certain quality of realism to them and real feeling which makes a pleasant change. This book was no different and as you read the prologue, you get an idea of the harrowing scenario one set of parents face as their child disappears. The first few chapters are spent introducing us to Lucy Winters and her family. Lucy is an easy character to like as she struggles to convince her daughter that their relocation is a good idea. Lucy has been given the task of runnign her parents auction business. Lucy’s husband and daughter make you realise that her life is not straightforward and her husband I took an instant dislike to.

Once Lucy has made her fresh start and tries to run her parents business she soon realises that there are more problems than she realises. We soon meet the other characters that make up this wonderful book. There is Sarah who is suffering her own losses as she tries to come to terms with the loss of her father and son as well as trying to get through day to day life.

John and Pippa are newcomers to the town and I immediately fell in love with the brother and sister and wanted only good things for them. The book took me no time at all to get in to and I was soon beginning to see that there were many threads to the story as well as many unanswered questions.

The main plots become inter weaved and as the book nears the end all the answers become a lot clearer. What I loved about this book is that there were so many outcomes that could have been, but the ones that actually took place made the book lovely to read. It was as usual for one of her books a pleasure to read and very heartfelt. It frightens me to think that things like this probably do happen many times in real life but the book is written with real sensitivity and I thought it was very enjoyable. I look forward to the next book from her.

Forgotten by Susan Lewis

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My Rating: 3/5

It is very hard to write your opinion on this book without majorly spoiling the main plot but I will try my hardest. I have always been a fan of Susan Lewis and find her books often have a very real and harrowing storyline and this one is no different.

The book is a little bit of a slow starter as we are introduced to all the main characters such as Lisa, David and David’s daughter Rosalind. Although slow to begin with once you have a real feel for the characters the story progresses with hints as to the major problem they will both be facing. The issues that the book covers, and the reality of it for the characters, are written with real feeling and are very descriptive. From this perspective I think Susan Lewis shone and although the book is not the typical `feel-good’ you may expect it is written with incredible sensitivity.

The story itself is very believable and will be an eye opener for people that know nothing about the subject matter. Although I wouldn’t go as far as to say this is her best work it’s certainly not awful. I think the fact that it was quite slow was one downside. The only other real negative I found was the abrupt turnaround in the character Rosalind towards the end of the book.

All in all the story and characters were good but the story itself a little sad. I felt that the ending was okay although maybe it could have ended very differently had the author wanted to follow that path. I certainly hope that Susan Lewis will produce a much better book next time as some of my favourite books have been hers such as `Missing’. This book wasn’t bad but is certainly not a reflection on the sort of books she can produce.

Lost Innocence by Susan Lewis

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Synopsis: When Alicia Carlyle returns to the home of her childhood after the tragic death of her husband, she is hoping to put the past behind her. But first she must come face to face with the woman who nearly destroyed her marriage and tore her family in two – her sister-in-law, Sabrina. Their enmity runs deep, but Alicia is determined to make a fresh start for herself and her two children, Nathan and Darcie, and to heal her fractured relationship with her beloved brother.

However, just when it looks as if they might have a chance at a brighter future, Sabrina’s fifteen-year-old daughter, Annabelle, accuses seventeen-year-old Nathan of a crime he insists he didn’t commit. And once more the two families are locked in a battle that is fraught with mistrust, betrayal and lies – a battle that threatens to destroy them all…

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

My Review: Susan Lewis has written her 22rd novel Lost Innocence which was published in 2009. I have written every one of her novels since she started writing back in 1988 and must say that she is an absolutely fantastic author.

This particular story introduces us to Alicia Carlyle and her children Nat and Darcie. Alicia has to make some huge changes following the sudden death of her husband Craig. Alicia grew up in Holly Wood which is where her brother Robert and his wife Sabrina live along with Sabrina’s daughter Annabelle. When Alicia is forced to move back to her childhood home to start afresh she realises that things aren’t going to be easy. She is going to have to face her sister-in-law who nearly wrecked her life and marriage. She also wants to try and build bridge with her brother Robert as things between them have been strained for over a year. When she does return at first it seems like life will bring her a brighter and better future with the introduction of a man who can help her career and a new home and schools for her children. At 17, Nat has decided to follow in his late fathers footsteps and go into law and his sister Darcie is looking forward to meeting the friends that she used to play with when she was younger. However before long all of their lives are shattered when Annabelle accuses Nat of a crime he says he didn’t commit. The following months tell a very sad and tragic tale of two children locked in a battle over who is telling the truth. The truth is marred by the past involving both Sabrina and Alicia with Robert stuck in the middle. Will the truth come out, and more importantly who is telling lies and who isn’t?

I must say that although I have been a huge fan of Susan Lewis, this latest book exceeded all expectations. She manages to write a fantastic book that really pulls at heart strings. She manages to write about situations that have probably happened across the world to many different people. She writes with feeling and emotion telling a truly sad tale. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think that unlike other authors; her work seems to get better with every book she writes. I struggle to fit this book into a category as she doesn’t fall into my opinion of `Chick Lit’. She writes books that touch a nerve and never fails to impress. HIGHLY recommended.

Missing by Susan Lewis

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Synopsis: It’s an early autumn day like any other as Miles Avery drives his wife, Jacqueline, to the station. Nothing remarkable crops up in conversation, nor do either of them appear anything other than their normal selves. At the station, Jacqueline gets out, takes an overnight bag from the back seat, then turns towards the platforms. This is the last anyone sees of her

Kat’s Rating: 5/5

Kat’s Review: I have been reading Susan Lewis books since she first started writing and I must say that this book was one of the best Ive read. She seems to have got better the more she writes. This book is filled with believable characters that you empathise with immediately. The story and plot were fantastic and I loved this one so much I read it in a day and a half. If you’ve never tried reading Susan Lewis before…..start now.