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QBD reviews: The Wife and The Widow

Have you picked up our Book of the Month, Christian White's The Wife and the Widow, yet?

Set against the backdrop of an eerie island town in the dead of winter, The Wife and the Widow is a mystery/thriller told from two perspectives: Kate, a widow whose grief is compounded by what she learns about her dead husband's secret life; and Abby, an island local whose world is turned upside down when she's forced to confront the evidence that her husband is a murderer. But nothing on this island is quite as it seems, and only when these women come together can they discover the whole story about the men in their lives.

What our reviewers thought:

An unsettling and shocking murder mystery set on a small island off the coast of Melbourne, where a Wife hunts for answers about the murder of her husband and discovers things are not as she thought. The twists in this novel were second to none - completely unexpected and skilfully plotted. Easily one of the best crime thrillers I have read all year. One word - Brilliant!

Tricia, QBD Books Bondi

From the author that gave us The Nowhere Child comes another thrilling masterpiece that will leave you questioning if you truly know those close to you. A widow is left unravelling the secrets her husband left behind, while a wife starts to question if her husband could in fact be a murderer. A truly incredible narrative, full of twists and turns. Another amazing Aussie crime author to watch.

Rosie, QBD Books Mandurah

Get your copy of The Wife and The Widow here.

Meet our May Book of the Month: 55 by James Delargy

Our May Book of the Month is a thriller with a killer hook that will have you hanging until the very last page. 

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.

He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim. Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55. Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

What our readers think...

In a remote West Australian town surrounded by harsh wilderness and terrain, two men present with identical stories. Only that each man, Gabriel and Heath, are accusing the other of being the serial killer who was going to make the other victim no 55. Sergeant Chandler Jenkins must determine who is telling the truth before there are more victims. A suspenseful, creepy thriller akin to Wolf Creek. - Sheridan, QBD Tweed Heads

For lovers of gritty crime thrillers James Delargy's "55" is a superb addition to the growing number of crime novels based in Australia. "55" explores the complicated and intriguing dilemma faced by Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins whom gets thrown in the deep end after two men accuse each other of attempted murder. Come and find out who the real killer is, I bet you won't be able to guess!! - Liam, QBD Carousel

Get your copy of 55 in store or online today!

Meet our March Book of the Month – Star Crossed by Minnie Darke

"Love is written in the stars"

Our March book of the month is a sparkling romantic comedy in which a young journalist tampers with a magazine's horoscopes to win her friend's heart, with unpredictable (and hilarious) results!

When Justine Carmichael (Sagittarius, aspiring journalist and sceptic) bumps into her old friend Nick Jordan (Aquarius, struggling actor and true believer) it could be by chance. Or it could be written in the stars. Justine works at the Alexandria Park Star - and Nick, she now learns, relies on the magazine's astrology column to guide him in life. Looking for a way to get Nick's attention, Justine has the idea of making a few small alterations to 'Aquarius' before it goes to print. It's only a horoscope, after all. What harm could it possibly do?

What our readers think...



A quirky light- hearted read for those who enjoy romantic comedies. When Justine runs into her old childhood friend Nick, her crush on him is quickly renewed. Once she finds out that Nick bases his life choices on the horoscopes that are written in the paper Justine works for, she decides to make a few small changes to them before they go to print, leading to unforeseen effects for everyone - Amanda, QBD Blacktown

Star crossed had me hooked from the start! I'd never had an interest in horoscopes until this book. I found it incredibly clever how Minnie interwined the tales of numerous side characters in an easy to read fashion. The perfect read for anyone who enjoys rom coms or is even slightly interested in horoscopes. Crossing my fingers and toes that this stunning story will become a movie in the future! - Amelia, QBD Strathpine

Justine, a sceptic, employs the power of astrology to gain the attention of Nick, childhood friend and true believer. What harm can come from changing the horoscopes in a magazine, after all? But Justine will learn Nick is not the only Aquarius that takes life advice from the magazine she works at. Lighthearted and humorous, it reminded me of Zoe Foster Blake's easy-to-consume chick lit titles. - Rosie, QBD Carousel

Get your copy of Star Crossed in store or online today!

QBD Recommends: The Pearl Thief by Fiona McIntosh 

 

Most booklovers who have spent any time in an Australian bookstore are probably familiar with the name Fiona McIntosh. One of Australia’s most prolific writers, Fiona has written over thirty books across a wide range of genres, including crime, fantasy, and children’s literature. Arguably though, it is her historical fiction for which she is most well known, and keeps her place as one of Australia’s best-selling authors.

And it is her historical fiction that recently brought the Sussex-born author all the way from her home in South Australia, to Penrith, NSW – to discuss her new novel, QBD’s current Book of the Month, The Pearl Thief.

Having just finished reading The Pearl Thief myself, I can personally tell you: This book is extraordinary! The Pearl Thief is the type of book that will keep you up at night, reading into the early hours of the morning, because you just can’t put the book down! (An experience I haven’t had with a book in years, but with The Pearl Thief, sleep was not an option!)

But what did Fiona McIntosh have to say about her latest novel?

The evening was hosted by Penrith City Library on Thursday, 15th November. Readers of all ages had come out to fill the Library’s Lower Lounge. Around the room, copies of The Pearl Thief were tucked under arms, or kept open on laps, as readers continued to flip through the pages with an insatiable need.

Fiona McIntosh took to the podium, decked out in tribute to the titular pearls. Pearl necklace, pearl bracelet, pearl earrings. Her entire discussion was presented with her unmistakeable, vivacious energy and passion for storytelling.

But let’s start with the most important question. Why should readers read The Pearl Thief?

Fiona McIntosh described this book as “a book of firsts”, admitting that usually, when she writes, she is never aware if her writing is good or not. But when it came to The Pearl Thief, things were different.

“Usually, I just write, and I’ve got no sense of ‘Is this good? Is this bad? Is this ordinary? Is this fabulous?’

“But as I was writing this one, I knew… it was fabulous!”

For the first time, Fiona knew, what she was writing was not only tremendously special, but she was hitting all the right notes. Her storytelling, her setting, her characters, her words – all combining to create magic!

So where did this magic begin? What was the origin of the idea for The Pearl Thief?

When it comes to writing her stories, Fiona attests, she always starts with place. Where is the story set? So when she set out to write what would become The Pearl Thief, she asked herself, “Where would my readers like me to take them next?” The answer: Prague.

This choice of setting then provided the catalyst for the story to follow. Once Fiona had decided on Prague, she began to think about the city’s history, and how the German occupation of Czechoslovakia became a trigger for World War Two.

So, Fiona had her setting, and her timeline. Prague, 1930’s/1940’s. Now she needed a character. She knew immediately that she wanted this character to be a survivor. Enter, Severine Kassel.

“She arrived, and tapped me on the shoulder, and she was complete. It was the first time… that a character had arrived into my life and said ‘Here I am! I’m ready to go!’”

Who is Severine Kassel?

When Severine Kassel arrived as a character in Fiona’s mind, she knew she was a survivor. But what was her story? From her podium at Penrith Library, Fiona described how she knew she wanted this character to be running from something, until something came along in her life, and forced her to turn around.

“And that’s why on the front cover of the book, she’s turning. Because I wanted her to turn around and face all the darkness, and all the pain.”

But what was it that was going to set Severine’s story in motion? Fiona came up with the idea of a glorious, family heirloom of Byzantine pearls. These pearls would then be stolen from Severine, only for her to stumble across them again, twenty years later.

“And when she sees them, having reinvented her life over those twenty years, and glued herself together, all of her pain, and all of her anger is going to be unleased, when she sees these pearls again and decides the only way she can go forward, the only way she can live her life properly, is to go and hunt down the man she holds responsible for all of her pain.”

“That’s what the story became. This is her turning around to say “I’m no longer running from you, I’m coming for you.”

The writing process behind The Pearl Thief

Now Fiona had told us all about the story, and the origins of The Pearl Thief, it was time for her to share some inside tips on the writing process. When it comes to her historical fiction, Fiona lists research and travel as two of the most important ways to create a “bubble of believability around the reader”. When writing a novel like The Pearl Thief, Fiona always travels to the place where her story is set, to walk where her characters will walk.

“I go and find all these places… and then I can weave them into the story with great authenticity… Every place you read about in the story, I’ve been to, and I’ve put my feet there.”

To make sure her travels are well informed, Fiona hires a personal tour guide, and allows them to teach her all about the history, and people of the place she has chosen to set her story. But she never takes notes for her research.

“Everything I do is based on feeling... When I’m researching, I’m never taking notes, I’m just looking, and absorbing, and a bit like osmosis, whatever gets through, sticks, and stays with me. And then the writing is done all on pure emotion.”

Here, Fiona shared her most poignant moment in researching the Prague setting of The Pearl Thief. The moment came when she asked her guide to show her the forests that lay beyond Prague. At this point, Fiona knew, something bad was going to happen to her character here, but she needed to see it for herself. To find this place, and walk in her character’s shoes. To feel what her character would feel. So her guide drove her out, and around the forests, until Fiona asked her to stop. Then, she hopped out of the car, and walked down the wooded lane alone, listening to the sounds of the few birds, and the falling autumn leaves.

“The leaves were falling by the hundred, on top of me. It was like confetti. And I could just hear this flutter. And it was the most beautiful sound, but the most chilling sound. And I began to cry, and I knew I’d found the spot. I thought, ‘this is where it’s going to happen. This is where Severine is going to walk.”

When you read The Pearl Thief, it’s easy to see why this setting brought Fiona to tears. The forests became the scene of Severine’s most traumatic moment. A moment that turns her life upside-down, robbing her of far more than her family pearls. A moment that McIntosh has written to absolute, horrific perfection. This is the moment that will stick with you, long after you’ve read it. This is Fiona McIntosh at her best, and absolutely why you should be reading this incredibly powerful story.

So make sure you head to your nearest QBD store, and pick up a copy of The Pearl Thief today!

~Alyssa, QBD Penrith.

Have you met our September Book of the Month?

Have you heard about our September Book of the Month? 

If you've ever dreamt about getting revenge on an ex that has wronged you (and who hasn't?), you will absolutely DEVOUR The Sunday Girl!

Described as Bridget Jones meets The Girl on the Train, I couldn't wait to read The Sunday Girl, and when I finally managed to get my hands on a copy, I even read it in one sitting - it's THAT good.

After Taylor's ex decides to leak her sex tape, Taylor decides to consult The Art of War in order to successfully destroy Angus' life... but at what cost to her own? Taylor is broken-hearted, angry, and fixated on revenge. As relateable as Bridget Jones, Louisa Clark and Bella Swan, Taylor is awkwardly funny and often cringe worthy in the best possible way.

When her plan goes horribly wrong, Taylor is dragged into the grip of the consequences of seeking revenge, and the reader is forced to question if perhaps she'll be the one who is destroyed after all.

I rate this read 4.5 out of 5 stars; a must read that will keep you gripped until the every last page (and watch out for that plot twist!)

~Emily, QBD Loganholme

Get your copy of The Sunday Girl in store or online here