Tag Archives: Family Relationships

Review of Daughters of the Lake by Jane Riddell


About Daughters of the Lake

Daughters of the Lake is a contemporary family drama set in Switzerland. Madalena invites her four adult children to celebrate her hotel’s fortieth anniversary, unaware of their tensions and secrets. As the day of the celebration approaches, confused emotions take hold, and the occasion goes badly wrong. Set against a backdrop of mountains and lakes, this is a story of love, betrayal and family conflict.

My Thoughts

I love stories focused on dysfunctional families, serves as a distraction from my own family troubles. My life is always a cake walk compared to the families in narratives.

Purely character driven, a family reunion unleashes secrets and individual hidden issues unknown to family members. Lots of friction, spats and suspicion float about, a tension filled reunion without a doubt. Twists galore provide captivating reading.

Family reunions were risky. You couldn’t always know where your children were in their lives, how they regarded you. How often had she observed this in her guests? Tension in the public dining room. Family members occasionally checking out earlier than planned. Why, then, had she considered her family situation so rock solid? Especially when she had her own issues. Things to conceal.

It was difficult to warm or connect with the numerous protagonists. I empathized with Madalena, the mother, loving, supportive, trying to bridge the gaps between her scattered and troubled brood, not fully aware of the amount of discord within her family. Not immune to problems as she privately and singularly battles her own challenges. I liked Annie, the less selfish and kindest of the bunch. All the characters are flawed, intricate, and anxiety filled over various issues, incredibly well drawn you find yourself distancing from the lot as the drama unravels and you learn of their varying personalities.

This was the horrid thing about knowledge, the fact you could never “unknow” it. You could bury it, but it would always be there, always threatening to appear.

A family riddled with juicy secrets, guilt, regrets, betrayal, love and fractured intercourse. Extremely well written and presented.

About Jane RiddellJane Riddell

Jane Riddell grew up in Glasgow, Scotland but defected to Edinburgh in her thirties, after living in New Zealand and Australia. For many years she worked for the NHS as a dietitian and health promoter. In 2006 she took a career break to move with her family to Grenoble, France, for three years. During this time she wrote more seriously, so seriously that when she returned to Edinburgh she decided to make writing her ‘job’.

Jane writes contemporary fiction, and is a keen blogger, including penning letters from a Russian cat. She is always on the lookout for interesting authors to interview for her Papillon blog. If you fit this category, email her on: Riddell.Jane@gmail.com

Jane holds a Masters in Creative Writing. In 2011 she started a small editing business, Choice Words Editing. She is currently rewriting her second novel, Chergui’s Child, a long work in progress….

Her debut novel, Water’s Edge, is published by ThornBerry Publishing and is available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon.

Her editing guide, Words’Worth – a fiction writer’s guide to serious editing, is published by ThornBerry Publishing and is available in paperback from Amazon.

Jane is enthusiastic, addicted to chocolate and has a dysfunctional relationship with time.

Published November 28th 2014 by Jane Riddell


Review & Giveaway: Love At First Flight by Tess Woods

Tess Woods will be on tour May 18-June 15 with her novel Love At First Flight


What begins as a flirty conversation between strangers quickly develops into a hot and obsessive affair with disastrous consequences neither Mel nor Matt could have ever seen coming. Mel’s dream life turns into her worst nightmare.

I was blown away with the story!!

“The verb love is what counts, not the feeling of love. When you feel love, it’s selfish, it’s just for you and it affects nobody but you. But when you act love, you are committing the act of loving somebody.”

A powerful painful story of infidelity. Choices, actions, reactions. The ravages of the aftermath, consequences, and the cutting impact. This story left me lost deep in thought in both subject matter and characters regaling under my skin for days. Filled with emotion you will find yourself fully invested in the story. The intricacies and complexities of relationships explored thoroughly. Heartbreaking, excruciating yarn of one woman torn.

Tess Woods is on my radar, unbelievable debut effort. Unforgettable compelling read. I found myself immersed in the characters world, I was left depleted and exhausted, breathless and at times speechless. A rollercoaster ride of every feeling and emotion imaginable, charged, frustrated, eyes brimming with tears.

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tess woodsAuthor Bio:

Tess Woods is a health professional who lives in Perth, Australiawith one husband, two children, one dog and one cat who rules over all of them. Love at First Flight is her first novel for HarperCollins. When she isn’t working or being a personal assistant to her kids, Tess enjoys reading and all kinds of grannyish pleasures like knitting, baking, drinking tea, watching Downton Abbey and tending to the veggie patch.


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Three Little Lies by Melissa Wolff


Amber Swanson puts the pieces of her best friend’s disappearance together,

Clearly not my cup of tea, you very well might feel differently. Whatever my thoughts venture for yourself.

Love the surprise twist, very well done. Amber is a 15/16 year old, snarky, angry, defiant and a bastard child (authors words, not mine), a little more character development to further explain why she is the way she is would be nice, as it stands the reader bears the burden of why with an awful lot of assuming.

Her reaction to the horrid discovery is absolutely implausible, she would be freaked out as anyone would be stumbling upon what she did. The auspicious narrative needs heavy editing. The numerous grammatical errors deter from the reading experience. The plot is good, would be great if Amber wasn’t 16 years old but older. She vacillates from being a immature brat to acting half human, her personality is annoying, difficult to like the girl.

Weighty subject matter was addresses but sloughed off casually. A big no no in my book. If you introduce touchy topics you should resolve them properly otherwise edit/omit please.

With a more mature and developed protagonist in combination with the somewhat promising plot, this novella could pass muster to an average audience. Solid strong editing would vastly improve the entire undertaking. Clean up the heavy topics with clear resolution, messy as is. A fast pace read, in need of fine tuning.

On a side note: I am so tired of children with an unmarried parent referred to as a bastard. It’s 2015 can we please stop with the negative labeling. Do we refer to a fetus escaping abortion as ‘an almost aborted human?’ I say this as a mother to a ‘bastard child’….STOP.

Paperback, 222 pages
Published May 24th 2014 by Melissa Wolff
ISBN13: 9781499159882
Reviewer: Melinda

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaria


Love Letters to the Dead
Ava Dellaria

 From Goodreads:
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

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