First thoughts

The Thread, Victoria Hislop

Review: Stephanie Murray

VICTORIA Hislop has found a winning formula. As with her previous novels, The Island and The Return, The Thread begins in the present before the narrative moves to a time many years before.

University student Dimitri pays a visit to his grandparents in Thessaloniki, who decide the time is right to tell him the history and secrets of his family. As they tell their stories, the action moves to 1917.

Dimitri’s grandfather is born just before a fire breaks out and destroys the city. Five years later, Dimitri’s grandmother arrives in a house on the same street in part of a population exchange with Turkey following the Greco-Turkish War. From that moment on, the lives of the two are intertwined.

A fascinating tale, Hislop has achieved a good balance between the history of Thessaloniki and the personal stories of the main characters, making it very readable and very enjoyable.

11.22.63, Stephen King

Hodder & Stoughton

£19.99

Review: Victoria Burt

WHEN high school English teacher Jake Epping steps through the door of an American diner in 2011, he accidentally ends up heading back in time to a world of pink Cadillacs and clean-cut guys and gals.

The first chapters fly by as Epping’s character discovers the entrance to 1958, five years before John F Kennedy’s assassination.

And as he joins diner owner Al’s adventures in this confusing parallel universe, he’s dragged into an other-worldly challenge to stop the assassination of JFK.

King, who started writing suspense novels and horror stories in the late Sixties, while also teaching high school English, holds the reader’s attention from the start.

At more than 800 pages, this is definitely one to curl up with on the sofa, to travel back to King’s own old-school America.

Let This Be Our Secret, Deric Henderson

Penguin

£6.99

Review: David Mark

DERIC HENDERSON, a journalist of many years, has covered endless murder investigations. But not one has affected him in the same way as this. And no book about a murder has ever so captivated this reviewer.

Let This Be Our Secret (The Colin Howell/Hazel Stewart Murder Case) expertly and intricately details a crime that is almost pure Hollywood. This story of infidelity and murder tells how, in 1991, Lesley Howell and Trevor Buchanan were found dead in a car full of exhaust fumes. Their deaths were classed as suicide, brought on by their partners having an affair.

It was nearly 20 years before Lesley’s husband Colin Howell and Trevor’s wife Hazel Stewart — who both later remarried — were found guilty of the murders.

A truly expert examination of a chilling crime, flawed investigation and charismatic man. Henderson’s book is superbly researched and paced; a true lesson in investigative and substantiated journalism.

The Secret Of Happy Ever After, Lucy Dillon

Hodder & Stoughton

£6.99

Review: Laura Temple

IF YOU are looking for the perfect book with which to curl up on the sofa in the run-up to Christmas then Lucy Dillon’s The Secret Of Happy Ever After is for you.

Fans of Katie Fforde will devour this latest novel quicker than a mince pie.

In keeping with Dillon’s previous book Walking Back To Happiness, it includes another canine. However, this time it is a troublesome Dalmatian called Pongo who introduces Longhampton residents Michelle and Anna.

Separated from her husband, career-driven Michelle has escaped to the small town to open a shop, whereas Anna — a recently married librarian — is struggling to adapt to a ready-made family of three step-daughters and a dog, while yearning for a baby of her own.

Heart-warming and honest, this is a tale of love and friendship at its very best.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.





Ireland's best off-road cycling trails. Volume 2 of our series.

READ HERE

Lifestyle
Newsletter

The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up