book review · NetGalley · psychological suspense · tense · women's fiction

Book Review – The Stillwater Girls

The Stillwater Girls

by Minka Kent

Description:

Two sisters raised in fear are about to find out why in a chilling novel of psychological suspense from the author of The Thinnest Air.

Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.

As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.

To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.

Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.

My review:

This book was recommended to me by a good friend who was raving about it, so I jumped on the bandwagon and got a copy for myself, only to hear from the same friend a few hours later – yes, hours – that the ending did not live up to expectations.

Argh! Was I about to waste my valuable reading time on something that would disappoint? A few other reviews – though definitely not all – said much the same thing. It didn’t bode well.

Still, I had the book already – it had to be worth checking it out for myself, after all, I might love it. My friend and I have disagreed over books in the past. (Though, to be fair, we’ve agreed more times than disagreed) Maybe this would be another one of those moments.

And you know what? For the first 75%, I abso-bloody-lutely loved this story. It was well-paced; I could totally empathise with the characters, they intrigued me – it was all good.

I felt for Wren and Sage, left alone in that cabin in the woods, where food was running out but not their hope that Mama and sister Evie would be back soon. When that knock on their door came, I was with them, hiding behind the couch, trembling. The plan wasn’t working out. It was time to leave. I so wanted Wren and Sage to find their mother and sister, and to see that maybe the world wasn’t as bad nor as scary as they’d been told.

Meanwhile, Nicolette and husband Brant lived a charmed life, endless travel opportunities led to recognition for Brant’s photographic career while Nic looked forward to them becoming foster parents after an emergency hysterectomy meant she couldn’t carry a child herself.

Unfortunately, a baby photo in Brant’s sock drawer, and several large withdrawals from her trust fund – without her knowledge – brought doubt to her door. Was Brant cheating? Did he have another family somewhere else?

There was tension every which way, and I raced through the book. It didn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that the first house Wren and Sage came across belonged to Nic and Brant; and there was a logical reason for Nic to be at home when they knocked on her door. (She usually went to Florida for the winter, but had decided to confront Brant about the money instead)

As the truth came out about the Stillwater Darlings who lived in the cabin in the woods, living a life without electricity or modernity of any kind, it seemed only reasonable – and rather sweet – that Nic would want to help them.

And then came the moment that left me open-mouthed, where the facts of Nicolette’s past were revealed. My first thoughts were that the story had taken a shocking, fascinating and somewhat incredulous turn. While all the connections were finally made, it still left me baffled. Could that have happened? (I’m not going to share the details here in case you’d care to see for yourself) Everyone in Stillwater knew what had happened to Nicolette, including Brant, Cate, (her friend in Florida) and even her parents – and they all agreed to say nothing. Only Nicolette had no idea, no memory of what she’d done.

I loved the author’s writing, she drew me in with strong characters, all the emotional ups and downs you could wish for, and so much dramatic tension. I’ll definitely be checking out her other books. This would be perfect for #bookclubs as it certainly generates conversation. I love that in a book, and I’d recommend those curious enough to check it out for themselves.

My thanks to Netgalley and the author / publisher for a copy of this book; my review is made voluntarily.

As always,

blog blitz · historical fiction · interviews · medieval · romance

Mini Blog Blitz ‘n’ Interview – Reclaimed by her Rebel Knight

It’s Q&A time on the blog today with Jenni Fletcher,author of Reclaimed by Her Rebel Knight.

So, without further ado, let’s go …

Reclaimed by her Rebel Knight

by Jenni Fletcher

Married to a perfect stranger

Reunited with her warrior husband

When Constance inherited her father’s lands she had no choice but to marry cold-hearted Matthew Wintour. He left her for the battlefield without even a wedding night. Five years later Matthew has returned—a valiant knight! But Constance is no longer a frightened girl. And this time she must reach out to discover the honourable man behind the armour and what pleasures await them in the marriage bed…


Purchase Links

Amazon viewbook.at/RebelKnight

Kobo http://bit.ly/2FPYhIz

B&N http://bit.ly/2G08q6S

WHSmith http://bit.ly/2GvC3vM

Apple https://apple.co/2ZxLcfU


Author Bio

Jenni Fletcher is Scottish by birth, but now lives in Yorkshire where she writes Medieval, Roman, Victorian and Regency romance novels. She studied English at Cambridge and Hull University and now teaches Creative Writing at a small university in the north of England. Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe thats just because she’s northern.

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/JenniAuthor

https://www.facebook.com/JenniFletcherAuthor/

 

Giveaway to Win 3 x US Version PB copies of Reclaimed by Her Rebel Knight (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

1 Coffee or tea?

Tea first, then coffee mid-morning, then tea again for the rest of the day. Always with some kind of chocolate biscuit.

Chocolate biscuits? A women after my own heart!

2 How did you start writing?

I always wanted to be a writer, pretty much from the day I started reading, but I didn’t really know how to get started. So I read a lot of other books, started a few times and gave up, and then one day woke up with this idea for a Medieval story. I wrote the first 3 chapters and sent them off to Mills & Boon, who encouraged me to finish the rest so I did. That turned into my first book Married to Her Enemy. I’ve written nearly every day since!

I love the Medieval era! Kudos for writing every day – that’s dedication. 

3 Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?

Read everything you can, but also work out what genre you like reading the most because that’s probably what you’ll enjoy writing, too. It’s not easy so it really needs to be a labour of love. Also get a Fitbit or you’ll spend way too much time sitting and snacking at a desk.

Ha ha! I have a Fitbit – it’s in a drawer somewhere. Does that count? 

4 What is Reclaimed by Her Rebel Knight about?

It’s a Medieval story set in 1214 so just before the year of Magna Carta. There’s a bit of political intrigue involving King John, but it’s really a romance between an heiress and a soldier who were married when they were both young and then didn’t see each other for five years. There’s also a scheming father and a mystery involving Matthew’s former step-mother and some noisy seals!

You had me at Medieval, but the seals sold it! 

5 Who are your writing inspirations?

There are so many. One historical romance writer who’s an auto-buy for me is Mary Balogh. She really goes deep into the psychology of her characters – I love that! I’m also a big fan of Kate Furnivall and Tracy Borman.

6. What next?

I have a Victorian book, Miss Amelia’s Mistletoe Marquess, coming out in December and I’ve just finished a Regency romance all about biscuits (some romance, mostly biscuits), but right now I’m writing a Viking story set on the Isle of Skye. So I’m keeping busy.

Vikings! I’m in – getting the biscuits ready!

Thanks for having me! Jenni x

You’re most welcome. 

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As always,