11 Oct 2022


 Today I'm sharing my thoughts on not one book but two; both 'crime' novels, both set in London, both featuring women protagonists, both of their families pivotal to their stories.


The Wilson family was torn apart the night little Christopher was almost killed ...

Though the two year-old survives the brutal attack by his drunken father, his older sister Kaitlyn is convinced it's all her fault. Christopher is taken into care and never returns to the family home on the notorious Roxford estate in South London. But the bond between the siblings remains strong, and as Kaitlyn gets older she dreams of a new life away from the violence of the estate and her mother's dangerous addictions. But most of all, she dreams of being reunited with her little brother. 

Will Kaitlyn's dreams ever come true? 

And if they do, could they really turn into a nightmare? 

Kaitlyn is the heart-rending story of a family ripped apart by tragedy and reunited by a twist of fate that threatens to destroy all their lives and of a girl who has to choose between everything she has worked for, and the only family she has ever known. ... Back Cover Blurb

A well written and interesting character, I felt like I really shouldn't like the adult Kaitlyn but then, having been privy to her childhood and upbringing in earlier chapters of the book, how could I not, if not exactly like her, feel some empathy for her?

Her brother Christopher on the other hand, Hmm! Not a particularly interesting character. However, it was through him that we got to explore the whole nature - nurture debate; just how much was he a product of the notorious London estate where he spent his formative years? Despite not knowing about his upbringing, how much of his abusive father's bad blood pulsed through his own veins.

A gritty not always pleasant read, some of the aspects, if not exactly unbelievable then certainly far-fetched,  the ending ... Meh! rushed and, well, a tad disappointing. And yet I nevertheless really enjoyed this novel that will doubtlessly be liked by fans of Martina Cole's books. 

On the other hand,


They grew up with nothing.

 Just a regular family scraping by, living an honest life while crime ruled the East End. Until all that honesty and all that hard work left them with nothing. Poor, destitute and hungry, young Ruby decides to pull them from the ashes.

It starts as one job, one step outside the law. Yet that one step sets her on a path – straight to the top.

But in the East End you don't build an empire without making a few enemies . . .

Welcome to the underbelly of London, where criminals run the streets and one woman will do anything to protect her family. ... Back Cover Blurb

Written by a women who herself lived in the criminal underworld, spending 18 years in prison before her release, the author may well write with an insight that few other authors have BUT this does not mean she writes constructively or well.

Very female centric, which given my love of well written, feisty female characters you'd have thought would appeal to me and yet, alas, I didn't feel any of these characters, finding them either underdeveloped or cliched caricatures of the cheeky, chirpy, 'poor but honest' Cockney.

And it wasn't just the characters ...

Poorly written in general; the plot, predictable, the pacing off, the use of "ave" and nuttin" etc ... AGGGHHH! Whilst I can understand that using local spellings can set the scene, that sooo much emphasis was placed on it did nothing to improve the book, indeed, the longer I read, the more annoying it got. Perhaps worst of all though was that it seemed to actually glorify the criminal underclass, something that, rightfully or wrongfully, didn't sit well with me.

Obviously in a more generous mood when I rated this {some weeks have passed since my doing so and sitting down to type my thoughts}, re-reading my notes if I were to be rating this today I think I'd be less incline to rate it as generously as I did.


Meg said...

Great review! lots of nuance here

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Your thoughts on Kaitlyn have me adding the title to my GR TBR. Thanks for sharing about both books.

Kelly said...

Honestly, I'm not really tempted by either of these. Much like spy stories, I usually prefer crime in film form. Even so, I never seem to watch movies anymore since so many have become streaming only. And when I say crime, I don't mean detective/murder mysteries. I prefer those in print.

nightwingsraven said...

Perhaps I would appreciate Kaitlyn.
Which I will keep in mind. And thank
you for your honest and excellent

Ash said...

Great reviews! They look like good books.

Ash @ Essentially Ash