Hey dear readers, today I am EXTREMELY excited as it’s my stop on Lesley Pearse’s blog tour for her latest novel, THE WOMAN IN THE WOOD. As a HUGE fan of Lesley, I’m honoured to be part of this very special blog tour. The Woman in the Woods is in many ways a special book and one many readers will love. But one of the reasons why it’s so special is that it’s Lesley’s 25th book and represents one milestone in her very successful writing career. Her books have been global No1 bestsellers and have sold in more than 10 MILLION copies to date…and I’m pretty sure even the birds in the sky know who Lesley is and what kind of books she writes. If you’re one of the rare ones who hasn’t had the opportunity yet to read any of her books, I seriously advise you make a start with The Woman in the Woods. It’s the perfect blend of family drama and mystery, set in England in the 1960s and tells a beautiful story about twin love, kindness of strangers and how deceiving looks sometimes can be. Before I get down to my review, I want to say that Penguin have really done an amazing work to make the blog tour even more special, so each of us, tour hosts is sharing one factoid about Lesley’s books. They are indeed brilliant, so make sure you visit all blogs involved to learn interesting facts about Lesley, how she writes, the inspiration for her books and generally…feeling her and her books closer. Today I’m sharing a factoid about Lesley’s eight book, Never Look Back, which was first published in 2000. Massive thanks to guys from EdPr and Michael Joseph, Penguin for my review copy and the chance to be part of this amazing event. Big congrats to Lesley on her 25th book & cheers to next 25!
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Woman in the Wood by Lesley Pearse
Published by Michael Joseph
Published on 29.6.2017
Genres: historical fiction, cozy mystery
Buy on amazon.co.uk or Buy on amazon.com
Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . .
One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.
It's not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales - a large house deep in the New Forest countryside - to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before - freedom.
The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn't come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.
When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson's disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.
The Woman in the Wood is a powerful, passionate and sinister tale of a young woman's courage, friendship and determination from one of the world's favourite storytellers.
‘The Woman in the Wood’ is Lesley Pearse’s new book and one I’ve been SO excited about reading. Firstly, it’s Lesley Pearse!!! How am I not supposed to be excited? And secondly it’s her 25th book which adds another dimension and makes it even more special both for her and her fans who have been following her work devotedly for years. Her books have been No1 bestsellers and have sold in more than 10 million copies to date! One would expect that after so many books and such a long writing career she’d be out of inspiration or publish less. Well, not Lesley. Just in May this year (a month ago) she published her 24th novel Dead to Me. WOW talk about super productivity and talent. I am seriously in awe of her talent and never ending inspiration and how after so many books she keeps them fresh and interesting.
Being a huge fan of Lesley and having read most of her books naturally I had high hopes for this one too. But the thing with reading so many books from an author…it gives you certain comfort and after so many read books (all of them great) you not only know what you’re expecting but you expect magical hours being completely immersed in their book. What always happens to me when I read Lesley’s books, happened again. I was completely absorbed in The Woman in the Wood and forgot all about my chores (oops) or even my needs (skipped both dinner & lunch so I can finish it, but my diet is very grateful for this). Once I started reading it, it was so bloody hard to put it down.
The story involves 15 year old twins, Maisy and Duncan who are sent to their grandmother’s house (posh house called Nightingales in the New Forest) after their mother’s been admitted to asylum. They haven’t seen much affection or care, both from their mother and their father. Their father is strict and uptight, cold and mostly out of home. Their mother on the other hand they rarely see as she’s in her room for years, blaming a horse accident for shutting down and not willing to participate in their lives. One evening their father decides to take their mum to the asylum not giving the kids any explanation or address of where she’s staying, as well as if/when she’s coming out. They are to live with their even colder grandmother, whom they haven’t seen for almost a decade and have no good memories of her (mildly said). Old Mrs Mitcham is so distant, she hardly sees them, talks to them or shows any interest in them whatsoever. But at least they have Janice, who’s been in Nightingales for years and who’s like the mother they never had. Between classes with their private teacher and the long hours in the house, the twins find a new favourite pastime. Which involves observing the weird woman that lives in the woods, an outcast or even a witch as the rumors say. But comes August and the twins’ lives will forever be changed. Duncan goes missing and Maisy is all by herself. However on a mission to find her brother…and even find him alive.
Woohoo, this has been such a fantastic book, I don’t know where to start. Should I start with the great story that keeps you glued to the pages? I absolutely adored the pace and the building up of the characters, it gave me enough time to really get to know them and create this firm bond. The book is set in England in the 1960s, so we get a good feel of that time, post war England, the family relationships, how parents behaved and we really get to see how much times have changed since then. Reading about the twins’ parents and grandmother, I was feeling such deep sorrow because of how neglected they were by the adults. No kid should be treated this way, as there’s no money, no estate, no education that can substitute affection and care. In many ways, this is a sad story and if you’re anything like me, there will be times when you’ll be really angry at the adults.
However, despite everything, the kids have each other and their bond really melted my heart. I loved their banter, how connected and close they are. Maybe they haven’t been dealt the best cards, however they don’t feel like victims but are true little warriors. I loved how courageous and determined Maisy was to find her brother and there were some scenes that brought tears to my eyes.
Grace Deville, the woman who lives in the wood, is one mysterious lady and I absolutely loved that whole mystery veil around her. Who is she? Why is she like that? Why is she living alone? All of these questions kept me turning the pages. I won’t say more as it’s all very connected to the story and I don’t want to spoil it for you. However, what I can tell you is that there are few stories perfectly intertwined, loads of mystery, some romance and one very difficult topic connected with the missing boy. I seriously applaud to Lesley for making all these matter equally and keeping me equally interested in Duncan’s missing, Maisy’s life and Grace’s story. But then again, it’s classic Lesley, perfect research and profound knowledge in the human psyche.
I really could go on and on, talk for days about this book. Which brings me to this, it’s the perfect Book Club read and if you’re a member of one, I definitely advise adding it to your reading lists as there are just so many things to discuss and I bet there will be tons of different opinions. The Woman in the Wood is the perfect blend of drama and mystery and has that Agatha Christie feel to it. It’s a beautiful, layered story with equally wonderful characters you won’t be able to forget. Do I recommend this book? Oh you bet I do! Not only that, I urge you to read it as soon as possible so we can all discuss it. Enjoy!