The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D.Tysall

Paul finally has his life back on track. After losing his wife, Helena in a horrific car crash, he has found love with Sally and moves into her country cottage.  
As a former high-ranking Naval Officer, Paul now works as Head of Security at MI5.
Paul has no memories from before he was ten years old. An accident left him in a coma for 9 months.  But was it really an accident?
Soon Paul starts to have flashes of childhood memories, all involving his childhood friend, Owen.
Sally introduces him to her friend, Juliet, the owner of a craft shop. Paul is shocked when he is introduced to Juliet’s partner, his old friend Owen.
Flashes of memories continue to haunt Paul, particularly the memory of his first wife Helena burning in the car crash.
As dark things start to happen, and local people begin dying in horrific accidents, Paul must face his past and will end up fighting for his life.

It's my pleasure to be one of the hosts of the blog blitz for The Bitter End by Ann Evans and Robert D. Tysa…

Book Review - The Former Chief Executive by Kate Vane




Without your past, who are you?

Deborah was a respected hospital manager until a tragedy destroyed her reputation. She has lost her career, her husband and even her name.

Luca wants to stay in the moment. For the first time in his life he has hope and a home. But a fresh start is hard on a zero-hours contract, harder if old voices fill your mind.

When a garden share scheme brings them together, Deborah is beguiled by Luca’s youth and grace. He makes her husband’s garden live again. He helps her when she’s at her lowest. But can she trust him? And when the time comes to confront her past, can she find the strength?

This sharply drawn short novel explores the distance between the generations – between health and wealth, owners and workers, guilt and blame.

Having reviewed Kate Vane's previous book, Not the End, I was delighted when she contacted me again to ask if I'd like to read her new book. The Former Chief Executive may be a short novel but it explores some deep themes and is anything but slight.
Deborah is grieving the loss of her husband, they had made plans for their retirement but his cancer diagnosis meant those plans would never be realised. She's an interesting character, often judgemental, particularly regarding her next-door neighbour, but also of herself. She has a softer side too, she's undoubtedly lonely and has a strained relationship with her daughter but her response to Luca when she discovers his past show a more thoughtful and forgiving facet to her character. The truth about her own past and why she is now a former chief executive is slowly revealed and goes some way to explaining why she is somewhat mistrustful and guarded.
Luca's struggle to build a new life for himself is sensitively told and reflects how difficult it is for some people to make their way in a society that often seems stacked against them. As the two slowly grow to trust one another they both take steps to examine their respective histories but whether they can ever fully leave the past behind them is a different matter, particularly when other people exert their influence on them and exploit their vulnerabilities. The Former Chief Executive looks at grief, duty, forgiveness and regret. It may be short but it's not an easy read, ageing, death and the many failings of our current society are all themes explored within its pages. Without giving anything away the ending really left me thinking, I must admit I was left wanting more but nevertheless the conclusion is a striking, if not necessarily an entirely satisfactory one. This is not meant as a criticism, I don't actually think endings should necessarily satisfy the reader's wishes, as long as they finish memorably, and Kate Vane certainly achieves that here. The Former Chief Executive is a clever and thought-provoking literary read.
Many thanks to the author for my ARC,  received in return for my honest review.

The Former Chief Executive will be available on Kindle or paperback on Amazon from 8th June 2017.
Kate Vane is on Twitter as @k8vane and her website can be found here.


About the Author

Kate Vane has published two other novels, Not the End, and Recognition.

She has written for BBC drama Doctors and was a shortlisted BBC Talent Drama Writer. She has had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday, and received a Yorkshire Arts award for her first novel.





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