Review of ‘The Hit List’ by Holly Seddon: 4 stars

Unputdownable, gripping, intense and utterly thrilling. ‘The Hit List’ will have you sitting on the edge of your seat biting your nails with anticipation to learn how the story will unfold. This is a must read for any mystery and physiological thriller lovers in need of something to whisk you away from reality and completely take over your senses. I found myself desperately trying to discover what would happen before the mystery unfolded but it constantly alluded me. Seddon’s cleverly written story gives you enough nuggets of information to make you think you may know where the story is headed but then your thoughts are dashed as she takes the story in a different direction. 

The story follows the widow Marianne, who lost her husband in a bike accident. Lost in grief and wallowing by searching through her late husband, Greg’s belongings. On his laptop she discovers something that will shock her to the core- her own name on a hit list. Throughout the book the author switches between perspectives and we see through the eyes of Marianne, Greg and Sam as the story develops. I really enjoyed being able to learn more about each character through their own voice and how others saw them. This fast paced, addictive thriller tells of the dark web, assassins, morally questionable behaviour and makes you question how far you would go to protect someone that you loved. 

I listened to the audiobook which was narrated by Chris Reilly, Damian Lynch, Perdita Weeks, Stephanie Racine, and Tuppence Middleton. I really enjoyed how each brought their character to life and made an already stellar story shine brighter! 

I want to thank NetGally and Holly Seddon for my audiobook copy in response for an honest review. 

Books, culture

The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner

4.5 Stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


Norwich born author, Natalie Jenner gives us her first novel – and what a treat she has given us. Even today we see the impact of Austen’s work as people continue to fall in love with her novels. Jenner brings together lovers of literature and history in her eloquently written and entirely moving novel. It is simply divine, and a book that I would heartily recommend to all, not just Jane Austen fans! Naturally any Austen fan will be interested in this book, but there is so much more which Jenner offers the reader.

Lovers of literature and history, I am delighted and overjoyed by this beautifully written and utterly fabulous story which delves into the history of Jane Austen and the enormous power that her work holds over people. We are introduced to the beautiful village of Chawton, its lovely inhabitants and their stories. The main characters who this tale follows are all lovable, well developed and completely draw you in. You feel their struggles as if they were your own, you will discover you cannot put this book down, it is a page turner, you will wholeheartedly love it. Set just after the Second World War the troubles which have befallen the people in this village are great but there is one person who can bring joy to even the darkest of woes. 

I visited Chawton House and the Jane Austen House Museum last year and thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of Jane Austen, seeing the table at which she wrote her novels and especially visiting the beautiful library which holds a large collection of women’s literature. Having visited the beautiful village of Chawton, it really enhanced this read for me as it felt more personal as I visualised my own memories of the place. Chawton village was where Jane Austen lived in the latter part of her life and a rather unusual collection of its inhabitants, 150 years on, are brought together through their love of her work.

I read (or devoured) this beautiful hardcover first but then afterwards discovered the audiobook is read by Richard Armitage so naturally I had to download it! I would thoroughly recommend buying both- this book lends itself to being reread multiple times!  

Synopsis (Goodreads):

“Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society”


‘The Castle of Athlin and Dunbayne: A highland story’ by Ann Radcliffe – 4 stars!


Baron Malcom of Dunbayne Castle kills the Earl of Aithlin and their clans become sworn enemies. A tale of intrigue ensues when the new Earl Osbert, comes of age and is desperate to avenge is fathers’ death. His mother has been attempting to stop this from occurring in order to prevent losing a son as well as a husband. The villain of the piece, Malcom, (you will love to hate him) desires nothing more than to kill Osbert too. Of course there is a romantic element to this tale and Alleyn, a brave highlander falls for a woman far above him, Osbert’s sister Mary. Though Alleyn tries to hide his attraction to Mary it ultimately brings trouble for him. Follow the journey of those who seek revenge, honour, justice, and ultimately love. 


Do you like thrilling tales bursting with adventure, sword fighting heroes and of course great escapes with both virtuous and villainous characters? Then my friend, you have come to the right place! Radcliffe is the champion of the gothic novel and she establishes credibility for the genre. She is the master of creating suspense and terror and she empowers women within the genre. Here we glimpse elements and themes, which are fully established in her later works such as The Italian or The Mysteries of Udulpho. 

Louis’ book of the month!

Published in 1789, ‘The Castle of Athlin and Dunbayne’ is Radcliffe’s first work and it introduces themes, which will be explored further in her later work. Set during the Middle Ages in the highlands, she uses the Scottish landscape and ruined castles to her advantage to create a rather spectacular tale, which uses descriptions of both the landscape and nature to create the atmosphere of a gothic novel with which we are so familiar with today. Whether it has foundations in revenge or desire, be it the villain or hero, the driving force of this novel is passion. I would highly recommend this action filled, adventure story with its clan feuds, heroism and some pretty fabulous sword fighting and escape attempts. I was so engrossed in the story and felt the characters plights as if they were my own; I was intrigued and entertained throughout!