The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger: book review

The Banker’s Wife by Cristina Alger
Published July 3, 2018 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons
341 Pages
Affiliate Link : Buy From Amazon

From PublisherOn an early morning in November, a couple boards a private plane bound for Geneva, flying into a storm. Soon after, it simply drops off the radar. Among the disappeared is Matthew Lerner, a banking insider at Swiss United, a powerful offshore bank. His young widow, Annabel, is left grappling with the secrets he left behind. Ambitious society journalist Marina Tourneau is engaged to Grant Ellis whose father is set to run for President of the US. While looking into Swiss United, Marina uncovers information that implicates some of the most powerful men in the financial world, including some who are too close to home…

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I’ll admit, when I first came across this title I assumed it was another domestic psychological “wife” thriller (although one with a great cover). The Banker’s Wife , however, was not at all what I expected. I knew from the opening scene in the London airport that this financial thriller was not only going to keep me on my toes, but it had such an international flair and hint of conspiracy and secrets to come that I couldn’t wait to find out more. 

We first meet Marina, an investigative journalist for Press magazine, whose fiancé’s father is close to securing the bid for the next US Presidential election. Although she’s been contemplating quitting the further immersed she gets in the upper echelon of New York society, she’s enticed by her editor to help gather secret evidence from a source in Paris. What follows propels Marina into an investigation of a top Swiss Bank, Swiss United, which may or may not have close US ties. From there we get to be flies on the wall, immersed in the secrets and scandals that cross the globe.

The story alternates perspectives between Marina and Annabel, whose husband Matthew is missing after his plane goes down in the Swiss Alps. Matthew is a banking executive with Swiss United (can you start to see the threads?) and it’s not long before Annabel is questioning not only what happened to her husband’s plane but also if she really knew her husband. 

I was equally invested in both these smart, sophisticated, take control women and the way Alger structured the novel, with lightening paced chapters that combined phenomenal dialogue with increasing tension, was just brilliant. Seriously, I felt like I was watching a movie while reading this book, if that makes sense? It is one of the most cinematic, globe trotting novels I’ve ever read, taking us to Switzerland, Paris, London, and New York.  I could picture each place and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out how all the little threads were connected…or not. Some advice though, this is a close reading type of story where details can be missed, especially in the second half where a few more characters were introduced. I had to really pay attention so as to not feel confused. I highly recommend this intelligent, tightly plotted thriller if you’re looking for something original and fast paced. 

Many thanks to G. P. Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy

 

 

Bookreview: Ghosted By Rosie Walsh

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Published July 24, 2018 by Pamela Dorman Books 

Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart.

Book Quote – “I wondered how it was that you could spend weeks, months – years, even – just chugging on, nothing really changing, and then, in the space of a few hours, the script of your life could be completely rewritten.”

 

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I feel very conflicted about this review! I was dying to read this book, not only because I feel like everyone has been ghosted at some point in their lives, but I was also really intrigued about why he ghosted her. If they were in love as we’re pretty much told right from the start that they are, did he (Eddie) get killed? Was he kidnapped? Was he really a criminal? Did he have a secret family somewhere and got cold feet? Or was she (Sarah) reading the whole thing wrong and perhaps a little off? So many questions and I was completely on board with finding out the answers.

For all the above questions, I was initially very pulled into the beginning of the story but it wasn’t long before I realized the structure wasn’t quite what I expected. We’re basically told in shorter vignettes…Day 1, Day 2…etc (interspersed with present day & letters to someone?) about how Eddie and Sarah met and the development of their insta-love. I have to say, I’m ok with insta-love BUT I need to feel invested and connected with the characters and I just didn’t with these two. For me, the short time we spend with them in each section felt forced, I didn’t believe in their connection let alone the fact they were supposed to be in love so quickly; therefore, I had a very hard time with Sarah’s complete obsession and basic meltdown when he never called.

But here’s the weird thing….I read this straight through, staying up super late to find out what happened. So on the one hand it’s compulsively readable; on the other, I also did quite a bit of skimming…of the abundance of scenery details as well as the side characters’ stories because I just really wanted to know WHAT HAPPENED TO EDDIE!! I won’t say more about whether I was satisfied with the outcome as I’m still figuring out what I think about a few of the twists the author surprised me with. Rosie Walsh is definitely a talented author who can weave interesting surprises in her story.

If your interest is piqued, I highly encourage you to not read a bunch of reviews or even any more of the blurb, just jump right in and see for yourself what you think….and then come back here or send me a message on Twitter or Instagram and let’s discuss!!

 

 

REVIEW: THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR By Sally Hepworth

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Publication March 6, 2018 By St. Martin’s Press

The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street.

Isabelle Heatherington doesn’t fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.

But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread – and they’ll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.

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Desperate Housewives meets Big Little Lies in this page turning domestic suspense drama! This is my first time reading Sally Hepworth but it definitely won’t be my last as I enjoyed every last page of this book. I have to say, I wonder if I enjoyed it so much because she tapped into the underlying thoughts I have as I take long nighttime walks in my neighborhood….what’s really going on inside all these houses? I can’t be the only one out there who waves at my neighbors, says hi here and there, gets together on each other’s patios in the summer but occasionally wonders how well I really know them.

Sally Hepworth has done a magnificent job of deconstructing the idiosyncrasies of suburban living and families, especially the lives of mothers with young children. Although my kids are older, I can remember those days so clearly and the way she weaved those details in with the secrets and drama of each family was perfection. The story revolves around the lives of four women – Essie, Ange, Fran, and Isabelle- and boy are they keeping secrets…big ones, little ones, and bombshells!

I had no idea what was happening and at one point I realized I needed to stop trying to figure it all out and just enjoy the drama. This book was so well paced that I felt like I flew through the pages, staying up late into the night to find out how it would all unfold. No spoilers here but I will say there were surprises galore!! Were a couple of them a little predictable, yes, but the others were superb…I love it when I can say I didn’t see that coming…or that. This would make a perfect book club book as well as a fantastic must read for your summer TBRs…if you can wait that long to read it that is:)

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley for my copy

5 UNDERRATED BOOKS I LOVED

My friend Annie at The Misstery recently wrote about her favorite underrated books and it got me thinking about my own.  I was curious to see what favorites of mine had only 500 or less ratings on Goodreads…surely there couldn’t be that many, right? I have to say I’m pretty shocked that the following books I loved have all received (as of today) only around 500 or less ratings on Goodreads. I know there’s still time for word of mouth to spread on these awesome reads but…just to put things into perspective, The Help by Kathryn Stockett currently has 1,645,869 ratings so these have some catching up to do. I thought all of these were SO good for different reasons so I hope they’ll catch your eye as  you’re finishing up your 2017 reads!

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Castle of Water was one of my favorite books this summer. I thought the writing was outstanding and the story grabbed me from beginning to end. At less than 300 pages this is an easy one sit read

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Trophy Son might be my surprise hit of the year because I almost passed it by but something made me take a closer look and I’m so glad I did. This was such a unique coming of age story with a very likable main character. You don’t have to love tennis to appreciate this story either, it just happens to be the backdrop just as hockey was in Beartown. Such a fast, easy read!

 

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Favorite Sons is such a wonderful mystery that takes place around 4 childhood friends involved in a death and a coverup which alternates between 1974 and 2004. This actually worked SO much better for me than the very similar storyline of The Chalk Man

A Brilliant Death  ….hmmm, I’m seeing a theme I really can’t believe! Robin Yocum is a fantastic writer and is clearly underrated on Goodreads imo. If you like atmospheric, well plotted mysteries with outstanding characterization you really should pick up A Brilliant Death 

 

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Tall Oaks is one of those quietly amazing books that had mystery, suspense, humor, and lots of drama. I hope Chris’s books gain a huge following in the US soon because he’s an author to watch out for. I’ve read and loved both his books and forced, hounded nicely encouraged most of my book club to read this one and everyone has really liked it!

 What are YOUR underrated favorites? 

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

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I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….

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Published Oct 2016 By Riverhead

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance–and the subsequent cover-up–will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

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This is one of the best blurbs I’ve read, it really highlights the book well without giving away the story. I finished this a couple weeks ago and I was blown away by the exquitsite writing of Brit Bennett. How is this a debut?? This was one of those books that I had seen around but resisted reading…why?…I have no idea. I need to do a post someday on all the books I’ve resisted reading that I end up loving!

The story begins with The Mothers narrating as all knowing voices from a time in the future. We meet Nadia who’s finishing up high school and living with her father in a small seaside community in California. I was immediately taken with the setting as well as Nadia’s character. Her heartbreak over her mother’s suicide pierced the pages and made me empathize with how painful that must’ve been. She had been close with her mom and she would never have answers as to why. Her sorrow leads her to make some impulsive decisions with consequences that will follow her for years to come.

The narrative flows beautifully through the years which I loved. I enjoyed seeing where Nadia’s ambition led her and whether she would achieve peace with herself, her father, the church and her community. We’re also privy to Luke and Aubrey’s life through the years and I really liked both of them, flaws and all. The story, however, belonged to Nadia and I was hoping against hope she was able to be happy in the end. Was she? Well, you’ll have to read to find out! If you’re in the mood for wonderful literary fiction with a roads not taken theme, I highly recommend giving this debut a try. As for me, I’ll be waiting impatiently for Brit Bennett’s next novel.

HAPPY READING! 

 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Cathy at Between the Lines

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Bill at Especially Books

Ann Marie at Lit Wit Wine Dine

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….

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Published Feb. 2014 By Doubleday

My Rating: 4/5 stars

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

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I’m so glad I haven’t featured this book on TBT yet because now, with Halloween approaching and everyone putting together their creepy Oct TBR’s, is the PERFECT time to add this atmospheric mystery to your upcoming reads list. My book club read this a couple years ago and it was the first book by Jennifer McMahon I had read and boy was I impressed. Her ability to take you back to 1908 to that spooky farmhouse where murder is in the air and old legends abound was just spot on. From the opening chapter I was hooked! McMahon’s storytelling has a gothic, ghost story like feel to it and the dual timelines were equally eerie in creating and maintaining the thrills and mystery. I’m not always a fan of past and present timelines but I thought in this book they were seamless. Although I read this one a couple years ago, I still remember the feeling I had while reading because I don’t read too many scary books but this one definitely gave me the creeps. I think it would make the perfect hide under your favorite cozy blanket by the fireplace read this Autumn season.

I’ve added Jennifer McMahon to my must read author list after enjoying this one and Burntown  which I read in the spring. If you’ve read and loved any of her other books please leave me a comment and let me know which ones!

I’d love to hear what’s on your Fall TBR’s…anything creepy for the month of Oct? 

HAPPY READING!

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….