Review of ‘Bring Holly home’ by A.E. Radley.

Fashion magazine editor Victoria Hastings discovers while staying in Paris that her former assistant Holly Carter, who allegedly abandoned the job, is in hospital with amnesia. Victoria is adamant to bring Holly back home and help her recover but, in the process, both women will undergo a journey of mutual discovery of their feelings.

This is another novel based on the Devil wears Prada trope which normally features an age gap relationship and an ice queen against a more lively character. The peculiarity of this novel is that Holly suffers from amnesia which brings additional conflicts to the plot.

The novel is written in third person from the point of view of three characters: the leads Victoria and Holly and Victoria’s friend Gideon. While the main characters are well-rounded, I didn’t feel their chemistry until the very end maybe because the reader is told about the characters’ feelings more than shown by their actions. The secondary characters are a bit stereotyped and Victoria’s children sometimes act too mature for their ages.

All in all, the story is entertaining with some funny and humorous moments and a good twist at the end. Depite some situations feel a bit far-fetched, it’s a good read if you don’t take things too seriously.

Overall, an entertaining read based on the Devil wears Prada trope. 3.5 stars.

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Review of ‘Alias’ by Cari Hunter.

I have conflicting feelings towards Cari Hunter’s books: sometimes her stories are a bit gruesome for my taste. The problem is she’s a great writer, probably one of the best mystery authors, and her books are engaging, well written and exciting to read. So I always end up reading them. In the case of ‘Alias’ the gruesome scenes were almost absent so I’m really happy to have read it.

A woman wakes up in a car accident next to a dead body. She doesn’t remember her name or how she got there. As she is recovering in hospital from her injuries, she discovers some facts about her identity which leaves her with more questions than answers. She realises that her life is in danger because she knows something that might implicate someone… but has no idea what or whom. The only person she trusts is Browen Pryce, the smart and beautiful detective who rescued her from the car wreck. Will they be able to solve the mystery before it’s too late?

‘Alias’ is written in first person from the point of view of the amnesiac woman (I won’t mention her name to avoid spoilers) which gives us perfect access to her headspace. Amnesia is quite a common occurrence in book plots sometimes to the verge of credibility. This is not the case as the events seem very realistic. Along with the characters, the readers slowly bring the pieces of the puzzle together. We suffer and get frustrated with the slow progress in reconstructing the events, the plot teasing us with incomplete memory flashbacks. Even though we know all that the character learns about herself, and without playing tricks on us, Ms. Hunter manages to deliver a twist at the end. This is mostly a mystery/thriller story, definitely not a romance but as usual in Ms. Hunter’s books there is an intense emotional connection between the main characters. Even though the romance doesn’t take too much space in the plot, it has a strong presence and the chemistry between the mains works very well.

This novel has a definite British feel and Ms. Hunter is unapologetic about her references to British popular culture, food and language. So much so that despite that I’ve been living in the UK for sixteen years, I was clueless about some of the regional words from the north of England and Wales. I’m glad that her latest books are less edited for the American market. It provides an authentic feel and aren’t a burden to understand. For the most obscure words, there’s always Google.

Overall, another excellent book by Ms. Hunter. A real treat for lesfic mystery fans. 5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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