Book Review: Viral by Helen Fitzgerald

ViralWhat’s it about?

When Leah Oliphant-Brotheridge and her adopted sister Su go on holiday together to Magaluf to celebrate their A-levels, only Leah returns home. Her successful, swotty sister remains abroad, humiliated and afraid: there is an online video of her, drunkenly performing a sex act in a nightclub. And everyone has seen it.

Ruth Oliphant-Brotheridge, mother of the girls, successful court judge, is furious. How could this have happened? How can she bring justice to these men who took advantage of her dutiful, virginal daughter? What role has Leah played in all this? And can Ruth find Su and bring her back home when Su doesn’t want to be found?

My thoughts

“Like everyone else in this place, she left her senses at home with her raincoat”

And therein, I feel, sets the moral of this story….

Well..the opening line kind of sets the tone for the rest of the book – I’ll let you discover that for one for yourselves. Suffice to say, I can’t see this book being found on any low supermarket shelf. It’s hard to read in places with very sexually explicit scenes and is probably not a book to leave around for young people to find.

It’s very easy to see and understand how Su would find herself in this situation, the whole Magaluf holiday lifestyle is certainly an eye-opener and totally believable especially if you’ve watched those warts and all TV shows.

I found some of Ruth’s actions extreme and wasn’t entirely convinced that her and some of the characters actions were believeable. I think she was looking for someone else to blame and whilst this book highlights the differences between legally and morally wrong and making people sorry for their actions she was looking in the wrong place.

Gone are the days when “today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper”. Here is a book which is very of our time; where one click online can last a lifetime! You have been warned!

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Helen Fitzgerald


Talk of the Town

Book Review: In My House by Alex Hourston

In My HouseWhat’s it about?

Maggie lives a life of careful routines and measured pleasures. But everything changes when, walking through Gatwick a few days shy of her fifty-eighth birthday, a young woman approaches her and whispers a single word: ‘Help.’

Maggie responds, and in that moment saves a stranger, earning Anja her freedom and ensuring the arrest of a brutal trafficker.

But when the story gets picked up by the papers, Margaret is panicked by the publicity, as well as the strange phone calls she begins to receive.

Meanwhile Anja makes contact. She wants to thank her rescuer, but quickly insinuates herself into Maggie’s life.

As her relationship with Anja intensifies, Maggie begins to reveal, in increments, what it is she has been hiding. As a picture of her past takes shape, we are drawn into a slippery moral maze in which every choice is compromised. Maggie’s account is faithful, but she will keep you guessing about what really happened until the very end.

My thoughts

I was expecting something very different from this book. I was expecting more from the human trafficking plotline rather than the human interest story that I got. The majority of the book was quite slow and even the initial airport scene I felt lacked real tension.

The relationship formed between Mags and Anja is quite heartfelt but only felt one sided to me. I felt Mags was lonely and was really looking for a second chance at motherhood with Anja as she’d become estranged from her own daughter.

I didn’t really engage with any of the characters so I found it quite sluggish to get through and it has this continual overwhelming sense of sadness. To be honest if I hadn’t have been sent it by the publisher and that I don’t like giving up on books I don’t think I would have finished it. However, the last 20% or so picked up pace as quite often a book will as the revelations started to untangle.

Thanks to Sophie at Faber & Faber for sending me a copy but sorry; this one just wasn’t for me.

Try the book Hardback | Kindle

Connect with the author Alex Hourston

Twitter | Goodreads