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“The charm of reading this book is that: always, and I mean always, the reader is satisfied with the result.”
Maria, the protagonist of The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter, is a retired, respectable teacher. Happy wife, mother of two daughters and Benjamin’s granny. Life is gorgeous in her West London residence (or not?), by the Thames, and lovely Maria has all the time in the world to read books, drink tea, enjoy the time with her beloved husband Humps (or not?), or do whatever she wants to do, all the day long. Or not?
Zia, the other main character, an influential, fragile looking, old woman, and Maria’s aunt, will turn her niece's way of life upside down. Despite appearances, Zia is made of iron. La famiglia before anything else is her motto, and she proves it along with the action of the book.
Suddenly Maria’s easy life turns into a fast stream, and she hardly manages to keep the direction. Her values and beliefs are washed away and she has to face fear and anger.
Written in the first person The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter immerses the reader deeply and actively and it blows away the benefit of the doubt for the perpetrators, because justice, in Mafia terms, is a matter of feelings, guts and immediate reaction. The charm of reading this book is that: always, and I mean always, the reader is satisfied with the result. A gun under the bed will make the owner more confident and his/her self-esteem 1000x higher. Just saying!
The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter is a confrontation between raw, unpolished power (men) and the sophistication of women’s minds. Guess who will win in the end!
Manuela Iordache, Romania
“It’s a must-read for mystery lovers.”
From the get-go (catchy title), The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter delivers an exciting multigenerational story. I enjoy reading fast-paced novels steeped in cultural drama. This one fulfills my love for mysteries and intrigue.
Linda Lo Scuro weaves the story about the daughter of Sicilian immigrants with layer upon layer of substance. Soak up the history and ride the turbulent waves of discovery as Maria learns about herself and the roles of women in the Sicilian families.
Carolyn Bowen, USA
“A cracking good read”
This is a cracking good read and it brings to life the Sicilian family that Mary/Maria has tried to forget for over 30 years. Mary is married to Humphrey, a banker with two delightful daughters and a grandson. They live in an upmarket apartment and she has just retired from teaching in a series of prodigious schools. Despite her seemingly Englishness as the tale unfolds we learn of her connections to a family of women who are definitely Mafia and of her dreadful childhood of abuse and neglect. She has carefully created her place in society through her looks and intelligence making sure that her Sicilian family stays out of her life, that is until she reconnects with Zia her mother’s sister and through helping her she begins to expose dreadfully deeds that have occurred and are still occurring due to the women in her family. Her life is then torn apart by realising that she is just the same as her Sicilian family and she needs them to help her when the life of her immediate family is at risk.. A story that will bring alive the heat and the underbelly of life in a Mafia controlled Sicilian village.
Ann Gough, UK
“This is an addictive read from page one to last and thoroughly enjoyable!”
I have always considered women to be the 'power behind the throne' (I apologize to all those Queens like Her Majesty and her husband who has to walk BEHIND her) and this book proves it to be true. It was fascinating to read about how different her lives were depending on where she was or WHO she was that day.
Janet Cousineau, Canada
“An enthralling read on many levels.”
An interesting and thought provoking read this one. Mary also known as Maria has two identities - an Italian one and a British one. She now lives in London but returns to the place known as The Village, in Sicily to unpack the mysteries of her past.
She’s living a troubled life, not feeling part of the world she’s now in - She’s known not by her name by many but as “the Sicilian woman’s daughter” and this separation of identities and anonymity is crushing to read about.
Maria tells her story of her Sicily and the image the world has of that place - its mafia connections and how she and everyone from there is tarred with the same brush. As the story takes us on that (very fascinating) train journey across to the island, secrets start to float to the surface, as do the bodies from the depths of the water no doubt.
A fascinating look at the mafia stain on a family of women and what they have to do to survive, bring justice and not be a victim. Thee’s four generations of women’s tories to immerse yourself in and this is a real treat, never too much nor too long. Sicilian words pepper the text as they would the pasta.
An enthralling read on many levels.
Book Trail, UK
"Certainly exciting and riveting reading."
Living in London Maria (Mary) has sought to escape her Sicilian roots keeping her family history away from her English husband and her children. However a cup of tea with her Sicilian aunt results in her being drawn back to her roots, and the mafia connections.
Maria tells her story, her memories of her mother, the visits to Sicily and family there. An enthralling glimpse into another world where grandmothers keep a gun close to hand, and it pays to be very respectful to others - who knows what mafia connections they may have. Maria has recently retired, is enjoying life in West London, and uses some of her free time to visit her aunt. In so doing she is drawn into Sicilian plots and intrigues, ranging from making a man love a woman to dealing with a violent husband. Eventually Maria takes her family to visit Sicily, and becomes embroiled in revenge and justice mafia style. Certainly exciting and riveting reading.
The book has a list of characters and Sicilian/Italian words at the front, which I found a little daunting, but in fact I only referred to them on a couple of occasions. Although the book covers 4 generations of Maria's family, it is very clearly written and I was never confused as to who was who. The Sicilian/Italian words used are done so in context, blend in well, and are mostly explained in the main text.
It was a fast moving book, included plenty of surprises, and gave an insight into different way of life and family ties. The book has left me wondering how much of it is based on the reality of life in some of the regions of this island. Thought provoking!
Emma B Books, Austria
“Insightful, well written and I found the pace just right”
As I read this book I felt I was reading a true account of how ordinary lives can be turned upside down by family connections we try to remove ourselves (in this case the Mafia). Insightful, well written and I found the pace just right. The storyline took an interesting twist at the end which didn’t disappoint.
Dawn D’auvin, UK
“Wow – this is a great story!”
We start with Maria (Mary) presently in the UK, who feels that she is caught between two cultures – Sicilian and British – although she hasn’t been back home to her Sicilian village for over four decades. Having migrated to London as a child she now reads The Times, the Economist and the Financial Times. She has also joined the UK Conservative Party, and occasionally imitates BBC newsreaders to get a posh accent after graduating in English. She met and married Humps, an investment banker, and had two children with him. There are, however, Mafia links within Maria's family...
The writing is superb throughout and I see Linda Lo Scuro progressing to great success.
Phil Rowan, UK
“I really enjoyed the book.”
When I saw the list of characters at the front I thought I would never be able to remember the names or follow. But once I got into it, it was brilliant. I loved the sicilian translations.
Pamela Lewis, UK
“A thoroughly enjoyable read.”
An exciting plot, great characterisation and an unexpected ending all add up to a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Millie Thom, UK
This book makes very interesting reading and a lot of research has gone into it. I also like Linda’s writing style, and the plot flowed. I have awarded this book 5 deserving stars.
Haley Norton, UK
“Female sophistication and guns, poison, and network connections do the trick”
Family ties can be strong. The Sicilian Woman's Daughter shows how four generations of mafia women both protect and destroy. Maria, the protagonist, is a daughter of Sicilian immigrants to the British society. Where Maria herself seems to prefer settling in the UK and marries a local, her mother and grandma still pull. Illustrated in very Italian English, pull. Returning to The Village on Sicily is accompanied by three funerals and no wedding in sight. Women acting as perpetrators and victims of domestic violence, brutal murders, money laundering, alcohol and drug abuse, and adultery.
No matter how many rosaries you say, how faithful you are, there are always excuses to take revenge if that suits you well. Female sophistication and guns, poison, and network connections do the trick. The plot’s convincing and rich in local flavors.
Henk-Jan van der Klis, Netherlands
“This book is full of cultural drama”
A very interesting and thought provoking book. This book is full of cultural drama, which I really enjoyed.
This book is about a woman who has been living with two identities. One as Mary who lives in London with her English family and the other as an Italian, a life that she has been trying to keep secret from her English family for over 30 years. (Don’t want to give anymore away)
The book is well written and flows consistently through to the end. This makes the book easy to read. It is written in the first person which makes you feel as if it’s a true account of Mary/Maria’s experiences rather than the story being fictional. While reading this book you can tell that Linda Lo Scuro has researched the topics covered in the book thoroughly.
I really liked how Linda has given a list of characters at the beginning of the book. When I first saw the list I thought, how am I going to remember all these characters, but as I started reading I didn’t have any trouble. Also, at the beginning there is a list of Sicilian /Italian words and definitions. I thought this was a great idea, also now I know a few basic words in Sicilian/Italian.
An interesting ending as I wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did.
Definitely worth reading.
Manisha Natha, UK
“This is a book that deserves a thorough read... ”
Firstly, I wanted to get my hands on this because of the research. The Sicilian mafia, the Italian roots of someone who's grown up in London. Bam! Perfect match.
But then the story starts flowing and is easy to follow and you find yourself carrying a lot more than you'd expected.
I mean what do I know about what it feels to grow up surrounded by the mafia?
While teaching English in Rome, I had a few students with stories that blew my mind. So, of course, seeing this synopsis I plunged right in. I can't say how genuine it is, but it sure reads well. Like a truly good book. Not like your typical commercial thriller about what most people assume is mafia from the movies.
That was exactly what I wanted. And that's exactly what I got.
I would love to read other works by Linda Lo Scuro.
Julie Parks, UK
“This was definitely a satisfying read from start to finish!”
I really enjoyed Linda Lo Scuro style of writing it was like peaking into Maria's diary sometimes others it felt as intimate as having a conversation with Maria about her life. What an interesting life!
Marianne Peluso, USA
“The book grabbed me and I couldn’t put it down!”
I went into this book without knowing anything about it and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The book grabbed me and I couldn’t put it down!
Robin Ruiz, USA
Very intriguing good read. Mary or Maria, as she has double identities, is a great heroine. Thought provoking.
Aggie Barnes, USA
"I enjoyed it very much!"
The story was pleasing and easy to follow. When I started the book I read all the characters and thought I would lose a lot trying to keep everyone together to get to the end of the book, not so. It was written in just such a way that it was easy to follow all the players.
Maria grew up in England and Sicily with a mother who was very mean to her. Her mother would hit and beat her.
Peppina was the reason that Maria was forced into an arranged marriage. She also hit and kicked Maria so badly that Maria lost a kidney. Maria never told anyone about this but kept it bottled up inside her.
The story tells of all the things that the mafia had done in Sicily and brought over to London when another of Maria's aunts moved there. Her name was Zia! She at least helped Maria to get through her life!
The story was very interesting and very easy to follow. I would recommend it to all my family and friends.
Mary Weimer, USA
This had a perfect balance of deduction and soul searching to make the main character compelling. The mysteries were well written with refreshing style.
Bridgit Davis, South Africa
Four stories focus on the quest for truth and justice, no matter how inconvenient. To build up trust and tension Rathe's private investigations are contrasted to Inspector Cook. The stories read like a classic crime story on TV, concise, and conversations to look into the investigator's line of thought to solve the whodunnit puzzle.
Henk-Jan van der Klis, Netherlands
A good book of shorter stories featuring a lawyer after helping convict an innocent man who later committed suicide. Said lawyer - Rathe - overcome with guilt and despair finds himself continually helping a policeman in intriguing cases that help draw him out of his despair. Well written and definitely worth the read.
Matthew Shank, USA
Anthony Rathe is a disillusioned former lawyer having left the bar because an innocent young man called Marsden, whom he prosecuted, committed suicide in gaol. As a result, haunted by guilt and shame, Rathe finds himself investigating crimes of passion where injustice is evident. ‘The Marsden disgrace’, as Rathe views the matter, is a connecting thread through the four stories in this excellent collection as he attempts to atone for his perceived sin.
Anthony Rathe is a fascinating character who works in a solitary fashion down the narrow line between the police and the legal system. He is a wonderfully incongruous mix of the stoical and passionate. Here we have a character who is intriguing and pleasingly different from the run of the mill sleuths who people modern crime fiction. Indeed his heritage is in the tradition of the unusual golden age detective who is neither a tired policeman nor the risibly eccentric private detective. He is a very welcome addition to the raft of modern crime solvers.
In this collection we have a quartet of stories in which Rathe solves a series of murders. I think of these as cabinet detective tales in that the mysteries are tightly plotted and cunning, while involving only a small cast of players, which works well with Booth’s rich and intense storytelling style. He is particularly good with atmosphere and Rathe’s internal monologues. The characters are expertly drawn and psychologically accurate. While at times we are in Agatha Christie whodunit territory with the plots which challenge the reader to spot the culprit before the denouement, the literary quality of the writing adds an elegant and realistic patina to the narratives.
One of the added pleasures of these stories is the growing uneasy relationship Rathe has with the police detective Inspector Terry Cook, a belligerent but very human copper who tolerates rather than accepts Rathe’s interference in his cases. Indeed on occasion he sometimes seeks his help, albeit begrudgingly. The two men rub each other up the wrong way most of the time, but Booth subtly reveals that there is a respect growing between them. It’s an engaging double act.
Anthony Rathe is a new star on the crime fiction stage and this reviewer wants more, please.
David Stuart Davies
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and marvelled at both its pace and great character in Anthony Rathe with its intriguing twists and turns in four great imaginative tales.
This gripping collection of detective stories is an excellent blend of contemporary and traditional crime drama. Each story is tightly plotted, exciting, and each with a satisfying twist at the end. There is a variety to the stories, ranging from dark secrets being exposed to genuinely tragic family secrets coming to light.
But the real success of these stories are the two main characters and their relationship. Rathe is a fascinating and original character, a troubled man trying to make sense of his life in the wake of a tragedy which still haunts him. Contrasted with Rathe’s private quest for redemption is Inspector Cook, a man with his own troubles, trying to come to terms with the violence he sees in his everyday life in the best way he can.
The contrast between the two of them is set off against their mutual desire to find the truth and it forms the basis of an uneasy alliance. It is their uncertain partnership which sets these stories aside. It is not the usual detective duo combination and this amiable hostility between them is a welcome change. Rathe and Cook are wary of each other but what these stories show so well is the slow building of trust and respect between them as they investigate the crimes at the centre of these four excellent stories. A sequel can’t come soon enough.
This was not my usual read but I enjoyed it. I liked the character Rathe very much. This felt more like a gentlemanly approach to crime detection. The fact that Rathe was trying almost to redeem himself from his previous behaviour made him even more appealing. Each case was self contained and fairly succinct. I enjoyed the change in pace from more grisly stories.
The stories and characters are well-developed.
John Tatum, USA
"The need for a reasoned and sensible debate about the impact of Brexit has never been higher, with continued Government obfuscation about what Britain's exit from the EU will entail. David Kauders' well-researched book concisely explains the different Brexit options available and details their implications, with the case for Britain's continued access to the single market shining through. Kauders' work should be required reading for all those wishing to quickly grasp the consequences of Brexit" - - Lord Bilimoria, Chairman, Cobra Beer Partnership and Cross Bench member of the House of Lords
"With little clarity over what Brexit entails, 'Understanding Brexit Options' takes its reader through the options open to the UK in its future relationship with the EU. It helps lift the fog hanging over the toughest decision the UK will have to take in this generation." - Tom Brake MP
"A useful addition to the current debate and has the benefit of being a short read" - Lord Bruce of Bennachie
"'Understanding Brexit Options' by David Kauders illuminates the complexity of the options involved: staying within the single market, within the customs union, or either, or both. Or neither, which is what a hard Brexit would mean, or some sort of associated agreement (which seems the least likely). Brexiteers gave voters no idea of what they had in mind, and for that matter still seem to be at sixes and sevens over what they hope to achieve. Kauders exposes the facile promises of a free trade bonanza after Brexit in an increasingly protectionist world, and the illusion that we can stay in the single market and control our own borders - "have our cake and eat it" in Boris Johnson's dream world. In fact, anyone who wants to be better informed about the best solution, or the least bad, or feels they should be, could do no better than to read this clear analysis." - Lord Taverne
"Captures the feel of the originals ... well-rounded tales" - Jonathan Johnson, Librarian, USA
"Gripping stories which capture the essence and spirit ... satisfying complex mysteries" - Neil Coombes, UK reviewer
"It is a testament to the writers ... that it is difficult to see where Doyle ends and the new authors begin ... A welcome addition to the legacy of Conan Doyle" - Tracy Colton, UK reviewer
"These stories bring Holmes and Watson back to life in the true spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle." - Jeannette Beech, UK reviewer
"Featherbones is an ethereal love song to a city by the sea. Thomas Brown's beautiful novel depicts a liminal world of statues, drownings and winged creatures. It's also a real page turner. I love this book." - Rebecca Smith, author of The Bluebird Café
"I loved the use of language, I loved the story and above all I loved the constant sensation that I was walking on the top of the dividing wall between reality and dream and imagination and past and present and future. I want to live on that wall for the rest of my life." - Bookrazy blog
"What to call this experience? Magical realism doesn't quite fit right. Magical-psychological-philosophical-realism. Maybe. This is a book that will be unlike any other that you have read. If you enjoy reading books that make you think, and make you wonder at the author's ability to turn every day ordinary into something else, something a bit more extraordinary, then I recommend this book to you." - Ionia Martin, Readful things blog
"Loved this book - engaged with it straight away - especially liked Betty. Delightful book. Well recommended." - Lorraine Baker, Bookseller, Wales
"... a great book for reluctant readers ... A good fantasy read with good vs. evil" - Ann Klausing, Books-a-Million
"There are three witches, a hidden school and a lot of evil in this story. You'll meet characters that will surprise you and the ending is great. - Ms. Bentley does not write boring books. I can see a young one reading this book more than once. Maybe they can even write a story of their own..." - Jo Ann Hakola, The Book Faerie
"You'll have to jump on this fast moving fairy tale thriller to find out what happens..." - Bill Baker, Teacher
“A great middle-grade mystery novel that will keep readers hooked from the first page. Well done!” Jenni French, Morgan County Library, USA
“Great story. I will recommend it to my middle school readers.” Librarian, USA
“Such a great fast paced book... FUN FUN read" Love to Read Always book blog
"One hell of a lot of fun! Readers of all ages will gobble up this non-stop rip roaring adventure – don’t miss this one!" – Bill Baker, Educator, USA
"I am so excited to discover an adventure book with a boy for the protagonist/narrator. Peregrine is such a great character and one I think middle grade students (especially boys) will fall in love with. The story is highly imaginative and original, and I love how the plot was fast paced." The Hopeful Heroine Blog
'A dark horror story set in a picturesque village. I would recommend this to fans of classic English horror as well as fans of Stephen King.' - Lucy O'Connor, Waterstones
"A quintessentially British folk horror chiller, with an escalating power of dread that is rendered deftly. A new voice in British horror, that you'll want to read, has entered the field." - Adam Nevill
"The plot line is new and exciting ... I was surprised more than once at what was happening. If you are looking for a good book, definitely pick up this one." - Alison Mudge, Librarian, USA
" A dark journey not only of the mind, but of the soul. Mr. Brown's extraordinary talent is evident as he paints a virtual feast for the reader with eloquently chosen prose in this powerfully engaging novel." - Nina D'Arcangela
"An exciting, on the edge of your seat gothic that will have readers begging for more." - Rosemary Smith, Librarian
"An exciting début from a new young writer with a dark imagination. Thomas Brown's beautifully written novel proposes a modern gothic forest far from the tourist trail, a place filled with strange events and eerie consequences." - Philip Hoare
"This book was great! I loved the author's writing style - the words flowed perfectly. Reading this was less like reading a book and more like watching the movie in my mind's eye. Fantastic!" - Laura Smith, Goodreads Reviewer.
"This is a delightful read because you are not quite sure what will happen and you are hooked enough to keep on reading. Enjoyable " J Robert Ewbank, author
"Kids will like this. Girls will like it for romance and boys will like it for the scare factor." - Ann Klausing, Books-a-Million
"Full of ghosts and ghoulies, this is an imaginative tale." - Bertrams Books
"Radical thinkers might have a point" - Financial Times
"innovative and insightful... couldn't wait to devour part two" - Times Educational Supplement
"I was utterly flabbergasted... one of the most compelling novels I've ever read" - Heffers Review, Cambridge
"Brilliant writing, brilliant structure, brilliant book" - Des Dillon, author of Me and Ma Gal
"... definitely up there with the modern classics" - What? Magazine
"A Must-Read for Teens and Adults: The Boy Who Made It Rain is an innovative novel that will keep you glued to the story until you turn the last page and learn the final outcome." - Fran Lewis, New York Reviewer.
"I have just stumbled onto the nicest surprise" - Susan Abraham
"an atmospheric novel with thought provoking themes" - Bookish Magpie
"A good read" - Book Pleasures
"For those who know me, giving a book a 5 is something I don't do. My belief is if a book receives a 5 rating, it better be worthy of a Nobel Prize in literature. The Eloquence of Desire is one such book. Ms. Sington-Williams has written a book that flows rhythmically, lyrically, like poetry or a song, but touches on every facet of human nature. This is not an easy read. Filled with emotion and every facet of human nature laid bare before the reader, this story will grip your heart and bring your emotions to the foreground. I don't think anyone will come away from this story untouched." - Romance Writers United.
"an engrossing and atmospheric novel... has the sharp edge, clarity and narrative drive of Somerset Maugham... Thoroughly recommended!" - Dr. Stephen Wyatt, Award-winning writer of Memorials to the Missing.
"It's a tale that will keep them wondering, gasping, thinking, smiling, grimacing, rereading. What more can a reader ask for?" - Spinetingler Magazine
"I wouldn't have stopped reading if my house was on fire!" - Cas Peace
"Tight, evocative gut-punches tempered by the desperate details of everyday life" - Shaun Kupfer, author of White Male, 34
"This is the type of story that keeps the reader up half the night" - Maureen Vincent-Northam, author of 'The Writer's ABC checklist', Hereford