Book Review #92: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

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“Science never abandoned me the way religion had that night.”

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Mystery
Format: Digital Copy
Pages: 320
Date Published: September 20, 2016
Publishing House: Jimmy Patterson
Goodreads Rating: 4.01
Personal Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ / 5

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege, stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

My Personal Thoughts

Stalking Jack the Ripper is Kerri Maniscalco’s debut novel about the popular serial killer in the district of London in 1888, Jack the Ripper. I must admit that the author impressed me in so many aspects! Wow! Just wow! When I was drafting and outlining this review, I couldn’t think of a negative thing to say because damn it was so good! Beautifully written and it definitely stimulated most of my senses. If crime/thriller/mystery authors would always come up with a story like this, it might bring back my love for this genre. A few years ago, I was so obsessed with these type of stories but as I’ve read novels with the same plot and twist and flow, I got no choice but to be disappointed and switch to fantasy novels. This is so refreshing and entertaining! All the characters are easy to like and understand. All the gripping and intense scenes were magnificently executed. I adore each and every chapter and I could not ask for more!

Characters

Audrey Rose Wadsworth – a 17 y/o young lady who’s wealthy and smart but loves forensic medicine which isn’t ladylike during those years
Thomas Cresswell – young bloke who loves forensic medicine as much as Audrey Rose
Nathaniel Wadsworth– Audrey’s older brother
Lord Edmund Wadsworth – Audrey and Nathaniel’s troubled father
Dr. Jonathan – Audrey’s uncle and mentor whose passion is forensic medicine
Jack the Ripper/Leather Apron – the villain

Aspects that I like most about the story:

  • Medical Terms. Because being a registered nurse made me understand all the terms involved in the story. And I must warn you, it’s overflowing with these words so if you are not a fan of consulting a dictionary or Google while reading, then this novel is not for you. In my case, this is definitely my cup of tea. Incorporating medical terms stimulated my senses and made me understand the murders more.
  • Fast Pace. The story is definitely progressed in a fast manner. You can finish the book in a day or two given all the gripping and mind-blowing events. I love how the author made everything easy and you’ll never ever put the book down. The turnout of events is just perfect, not too fast to the point that you won’t understand the messages and scenarios.
  • Setting and Era. This is an old-school setting and I was amazed by how the surroundings and the settings were described. The author did a great job. I’m not a fan of the old era but everything became convenient because of the way she gave justice to every detail.
  • Unpredictability. I suspected three to four people to be Jack the Ripper and all my guesses were wrong! That’s how unpredictable the story is and it’s the exact same reason why I liked it. Just imagine knowing the killer right from the start? It will make the reader bored and the reading experience not thrilling.
  • Feminism and Equality. Audrey Rose inspired me a lot. How she values gender equality and how she showed the male species that being a woman and having a uterus doesn’t ma a lady incapable. She pushed through with her passion and did not bother on what the society would think of her.

Things that I am not happy about the story:

  • Too gruesome to imagine scenes that almost made me puke. Don’t get me wrong, the author showed her readers how the popular ripper did his murders ages ago but everything was described in an intricate manner and if you’re weak, this isn’t for you; as for me, I can stomach the mind-boggling murder scenes and shit.
  • Too few illustrations. I was hoping for more drawings and photos especially with hard to picture out things or apparatus. Hopefully, with the succeeding books, the author might somehow include additional illustrations to make the story more entertaining.
  • Choice of Words. This is not a downside of the story, it’s just that some of the words are too deep and hard to understand. Maybe because it was set in the late 1800s so the words incorporated are classic and highly intellectual. I have to check the dictionary once in a while just to be sure that I understood them.

Lessons

  • Having the capability to bear a child doesn’t make us, women, less productive and competent in the society.
  • Even those people that we love the most can surprise us in some ways that we can never imagine.
  • Curiosity will help a person grow and learn.

Quotes

“Roses have petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”

“Arrogance usually y hides something below the surface.”

“It seemed it’d take a little more time for some girls to free themselves from chains society placed upon them.”

“I despised remaining silent under awful judgments.”

“Monsters were supposed to be scary and ugly. They weren’t supposed to hide behind friendly smiles and well-trimmed hair.”

Setting: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Characters: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Plot: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Lessons: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Cover: ☆☆☆☆☆/5
Overall Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆/5

~JaNnA

 

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Book Review #79: The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel (Review Copy from Hachette Australia)

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“Vowing to discover the fate of her missing cousin, a woman returns to her family’s Kansas estate where she spent one haunting summer as a teen, and where she discovered the dark heart of the Roanoke clan that left her no choice but to run.”

Title: The Roanoke Girls
Author: Amy Engel
ISBN: 1473648394
Pages: 277
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Date Published: March 14, 2017
Publishing House: Hodder and Stoughton
Goodreads Rating: 3.73
Personal Rating: 4/5

Synopsis

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her maternal grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, at the Roanoke family estate in rural Osage Flats, Kansas, following the suicide of her mother. Lane knows little of her mother’s family, other than the fact that her mother ran away years before and cut off all contact with her parents. Allegra, abandoned by her own mother at birth and raised by her grandparents, introduces Lane to small-town life and the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But there is darkness at the heart of the Roanoke family, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull she has no choice but to run, as far and as fast as she can.

Eleven years later, Lane is scraping by in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls with the news that Allegra has gone missing. “Come home,” he beckons. Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to Osage Flats, determined to find her cousin and assuage her own guilt at having left Allegra behind all those years ago. Her return might mean a second chance with Cooper, the boyfriend whom she loved and destroyed that fateful summer. But it also means facing the terrible secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between the summer of Lane’s first arrival and the summer of her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart. [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts

Wow! This book is very controversial, dark, and twisted; and I don’t know where and how to start this book talk (face palm). I rarely read stories that are unconventional. I actually had no idea that this is one of them when I requested for a copy to read and review here on my blog. However, despite the fact that it is somewhat disturbing, I found myself being thrilled to find out more about the characters and how the story will progress.

The story took place in Kansas; a small town where the population is just few and everybody knows almost everyone’s secret. It is perfect for the story because every family has a secret and the Roanoke clan was able to preserve their most precious one; not until it’s already too complicated to hide all their skeletons in the closet.

The main character is Lane, the only remaining Roanoke girl. She had a troubled childhood because she did not really have an amazing relationship with her mother. I feel sorry for her because she went through a lot and suffered too much because of the Roanoke family’s curse. All the women in the family underwent through a lot of struggle because of this. Lane’s love interest is a man who also happened to be a person with a tragic family history. I guess misery loves company. Lane’s cousin, Allegra, is the main reason how she was able to unravel all her grandparents’ secrets. She did everything she can to find out how and why her cousin suddenly went missing and she did not stop until she finally discovered the truth; the shocking and horrifying truth. Lastly, Yates, the Roanoke girls’ grandfather is the antagonist in the story. I don’t know what to say regarding his character because I despise his existence. I’ve read one particular story like this before but this is the most disgusting so far. I don’t want to get into details because it will spoil you if ever you’re interested to read it. Overall, the characters are all well-crafted and the masks that they were all wearing made the story even more enticing.

The writing style is pretty fine. I was able to finish the story in 6 hours and I was really hooked (not in a very positive way though). I did not put the book down (literally) because I was full of rage towards the antagonist. I wanted to find out more and be done with it. It was a nice ending but that does not make the story great and impressive. The story is uncommon and I find it creepy. Maybe it is not my cup of tea. In addition to this, everything was also very predictable. When I just started, I already made a guess as to how the story will go and what in the hell is going on. And I was right. I hope the author made it more mysterious so readers will crave for more. But still I liked the way it was executed, all the other elements are good especially how the characters made a connection to each other. I also like how it ended, it is the proper ending but I was hoping that other than the person who was convicted, the actual person who has been committing a crime decades ago should be the one behind bars. It was a story where the sinner was not able to accept that everything was his fault. Right until the end, he was firm that he was just doing the best for everyone and that is bullshit. Sorry but things as delicate as the controversy involved here should not be discussed as if it was right and natural and needs to be accepted. However, I still gave this story a four because like what I always say, psychological thrillers always excite me. Would I recommend this book? Yes, if you are an open and mature reader because I know that you will appreciate what’s within. But if you are a conservative reader, I suggest that you stay away from this book. Young adult readers can also read this as long as you don’t let it get to you because I was not kidding when I mentioned that it is “DISTURBING”.

Thank you, Hachette Australia, for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest and fair review. This, however, does not affect my views and opinions.

~JaNnA

 

Movie Review #4: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

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Film Synopsis

Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case and that Starling, as an attractive young woman, may be just the bait to draw him out.

Watch the trailer H E R E

DETAILS [Wikipedia]

Directed by Jonathan Demme

Produced by Kenneth Utt, Edward Saxon, Ron Bozman

Screenplay by Ted Tally

Based on The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Music by Howard Shore

Cinematography by Tak Fujimoto

Edited by Craig McKay

Production Company: Strong Heart/Demme Production

Distributed by Orion Pictures

Release Date: February 14, 1991

CAST

Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling

Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Scott Glenn as Jack Crawford

Ted Levine as “Buffalo Bill”

MY PERSONAL THOUGHTS

Okay, so I personally picked this movie during a random sleepover/pyjama party because of the reviews and high ratings on the internet (I love reading Rotten Tomatoes reviews). Dr. Hannibal Lecter is actually one of my favourite psychopath fictional characters of all time, aside from Norman Bates (of Psycho). I remember watching the TV series a couple of years ago. Moving on, this was aired 1991 so I did not really expect that much. Surprisingly, given the kind of technology that the world of entertainment has during that time, this movie still managed to give me goose bumps and left me in deep awe! I was also able to read one book about Dr. Lecter a few years ago, so I already have an idea as to how the story will evolve. I love and adore Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkin’s acting! It was superb! Hannibal Lecter made me cringe all throughout the story! He portrayed the character in a dignified and perfect way. I am so impressed! Watching this movie made me realise that I really want to pursue a career in Mental Health Nursing, I have always been fascinated with the human brain and people’s behaviour. I love reading and watching psychological thriller books and movies, not because I am MAD, but because it is always amazing and entertaining to know how troubled people behave and what are the reasons behind their personality disorders. This is undeniably a classic movie that deserves all positive feedback and praises from viewers!  The plot twist and turn out of events are all good and gripping! The characters are all perfect and fit for their roles. I can say that the effects are still not that left behind compared to the ones that film producers have today. Given the fact that it was more than two decades ago, this movie still and will always deserve the hype and a standing ovation! I have no plans of watching the sequels because according to my research, they are “no match” compared to this and I want to leave it that way, plus the fact that Jodie Foster did not play the lead role of Clarice Starling in the succeeding films. Overall, I only have one rant, maybe the sensitive topic about homophobia, transphobia, and sexism, other than the above-mentioned stuff, this movie definitely NAILED it. IT WAS JUST TOO AWESOME and I LOVE EVERY PART OF IT.

Watch full movie on N E T F L I X

~JaNnA

Book Review #72: Berlin Syndrome by Melanie Joosten (Advance Reader Copy from Scribe Publications)

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Title: Berlin Syndrome
Author: Melanie Joosten
Pages: 256
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Format: Paperback, Film Tie-In edition
Date Published: January 12, 2017
Publishing House: Scribe Publications
Goodreads Rating: 3.42
Personal Rating: 4/5
Synopsis
2006, Berlin. The once-divided city still holds its share of secrets.

One afternoon, near the tourist trap of Checkpoint Charlie, Clare meets Andi. He’s a native Berliner and English teacher; she’s an architectural photographer who has taken leave from her job in Australia to travel through Eastern Europe. There is an instant attraction, and when Andi invites her to stay, Clare thinks she may finally have found somewhere to call home.

But as the days pass and the walls of Andi’s apartment close in, Clare begins to wonder if it’s really love that Andi is after … or something more sinister.

This closely observed and gripping psychological thriller shifts between Andi’s and Clare’s perspectives, revealing the power of obsession, the fluidity of truth, and the kaleidoscopic nature of human relationships. Berlin Syndrome is a startling debut from a talented new writer. [Goodreads]

My Personal Thoughts

WHOA! This story made me cringe a couple of times!I’ve heard and read mixed reviews about it especially from people who compared the story with the movie adaptation last February 2017. They said that the movie was boring, some said it was intense and gripping, while a majority said it was different from the book. I have no idea, honestly, I requested for a copy because of its synopsis. It is so intriguing, I remembered the time when I finished reading Stolen by Lucy Christopher. It was kind of similar to this story because both have victims slash prisoners and they both sort of fell in love with their captor although in this story the prisoner is also messed up and a little fucked up. This was so INTENSE. I must admit that there were moments of boredom but as the story progresses, the author made me like the flow even more! I thought it will just be another case of stockholm syndrome where the victim felt attached to the captor. I was wrong, the main character named Clare is also twisted and sick. She is as crazy as the antagonist and it made the story way better compared to previous novels published with the same plot twist. I admire the author for creating a masterpiece that talked about the effect when someone leaves a person during his vulnerable age  and what might happen to his interaction with other people and his way of life as well. I was in deep awe because the female character became accustomed to being trapped in an apartment far away from anyone who can hear or notice her absence. The male antagonist on the other hand is just so freaking crazy but every move and decision that he made sort of convinced me that he was doing the right thing. I can’t believe that I even felt sorry for him.  Frankly, the cover is not stunning because it is a movie tie-in edition and it looks boring. Probably I will give the movie a chance and find it out for myself how it goes.

Overall, the story is a must read for readers who enjoy dark and twisted stories. I liked it! It may be slow-paced during the first part but it definitely caught my interest! Kudos! I am giving it a four out of five for a beautiful setting (Berlin), for messy characters, for an impressive writing style, and for mind-boggling life lessons that it wants to convey to its readers. I really do appreciate novels like this one and I am definitely recommending it.

~JaNnA

Book review #49: My Husband’s Son by Debborah O’Connor

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Title: My Husband’s Son
Author: Deborah O’Connor
Pages: 352
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: Large Paperback
Date of Publication: June 16, 2016
Publishing House: Bonnier Zaffre
Goodreads Rating: 3.61
My Personal Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis
Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.
Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.
By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.
But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.
Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth… (www.goodreds.com)
My Personal Thoughts
Deborah O’Connor’s debut novel is beautifully written and executed! Everything that I anticipated and hoped for in a thriller/crime/mystery story is present. It is, indeed, a gripping and mind-boggling roller coaster ride! At first, I felt somewhat frustrated and disappointed because of its slow pacing. As I flip and turn the pages, I found myself being hooked and very eager to unravel the secrets and mysteries that the characters are trying to conceal. The book’s synopsis is very intriguing and that’s the exact same reason why I personally requested for a copy of this masterpiece to read and review here on my blog.
Heidi and Jason proved that misery loves company. They are bound together by their individual loss and suffering. Heidi’s daughter was murdered a couple of years ago while Jason’s son was suspected of being kidnapped; he never gave up searching for his kid. Grief has always been a part of their relationship, they are happy together but there will always be that part of them that longs for their departed and missing loved ones. One day, Heidi bumped into a little boy whom she strongly believed is Jason’s son. She did everything she can to stalk the boy and his family. She even risked her own life just to find out the true personality of the kid. Unfortunately, Jason did not believe her. He is so firm that the boy is not his son and that his wife is just hallucinating.
The setting is fine. It is well-suited for a story like this which involves crime. It is a simple neighbourhood where people are accustomed to keeping secrets and pretending that things are normal. The characters are promising. Heidi is very admirable because of her perseverance and devotion towards Jason. The husband, on the other hand, is lousy, frustrating, and such a waste of time. I don’t want to get into too much detail because I might spoil the most important part and the twist of the story. I was mind-fucked! Yes, I expected those turn out of events but I was surprised with Heidi’s decision in the end. I am impressed! I like it because it’s not every day that I get to read books where the ending will shock you. It became fast-paced as the story went by; I think I managed to finish it in two days. It is pretty intense especially when Heidi is playing detective-ish.
What I liked most about this story is that it contains a lot of lessons. First, no matter how much you think you know someone so well; there will always be secrets between the two of you. Second, frustration and sadness can ruin a lovely and fruitful relationship among two people. And lastly, we just have to move on no matter how badly we are hurt. We have to move forward and still be the best person for those who are still here for us.
Thank you, Allen and Unwin Australia, for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.
~JaNnA

Book Review #42: The Silence between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe

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Title: The Silence between Breaths
Author: Cath Staincliffe
Pages: 263
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781472118004
Genre: Thriller, Crime, Mystery
Date of Publication: September 22, 2016
Publishing House: Constable
Goodreads Rating: 4.2
Personal Rating: 4.5 / 5

Synopsis

Eight people, one deadly secret.

Passengers boarding the 10:35 train from Manchester, Piccadilly to London, Euston are bound for work, assignations, reunions, holidays or new starts, with no idea that their journey is about to be brutally curtailed.

Holly has just landed her dream job, which should make life a lot easier than it has been, and Jeff is heading for his first ever work interview after months of unemployment. They end up sitting next to each other. On board customer service assistant Naz dreams of better things as he collects rubbish from the passengers. And among the others travelling are Nick with his young family who are driving him crazy; pensioner Meg and her partner setting off on a walking holiday and facing an uncertain future; Caroline, run ragged by the competing demands of her stroppy teenage children and her demented mother; and Rhona, unhappy at work and desperate to get home to her small daughter. And in the middle of the carriage sits Saheel, carrying a deadly rucksack . . .

(Credits to http://www.goodreads.com)

Personal Thoughts

The Silence between Breaths by Cath Staincliffe is a story about life, death, and second chances. I honestly find it difficult to give my thoughts about this book because it discussed a very sensitive topic which is terrorism. I don’t want to say things that might offend any nationality and religion so I will just give my opinion about other things that occurred in the story. I absolutely enjoyed reading this masterpiece because it is action-packed and thrilling. I received this copy from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The story took place in Europe. All the eight characters mentioned in the book’s synopsis are riding the train going to Euston. The first part of the story basically occurred inside the train then after the incident that changed all of their lives, the story is scattered into different places where the survivors reside. London… Why London? Maybe because it is full of life and fun. There are people who are very busy with their responsibilities in life. This scenario is not impossible; it happened a lot of times before to different places where there are plenty of people who might be affected, die or incur massive injuries. It is very sad but a story like this is an eye-opener for everyone. The setting is perfect for the plot.

There are eight characters so there is an alternation narration. I liked it! I was able to understand every character; their life, sorrow, ambitions, and everything. This is the same in our everyday life; we get to meet a lot of people in the street, on our way to work, in the bus station, etc. Each person out there has their own dose of happiness and fear. We all have our problems and shortcomings. We may judge other people based on their appearance but the truth that we don’t know anything about them will still remain. This is very heartbreaking, each person in that train is undergoing some major difficulties in their lives but sadly the incident still took place. Naz is very brave and helpful. Jeff is a promising employee. Holly is an independent woman. Nick is a jackass husband and father. Meg is sick. Caroline only wants to relax and rest for a while from her responsibilities. Rhona is a desperate mother. And Saheel, Saheel destroyed each and every one of them including a hundred more people on the same train.

The writing style is impressive. I am hooked on the story and I am able to finish it in three days. You will never put the book down once you start reading it. It is very intriguing and mysterious. Terrorism is one of the major problems that the world is facing today. We all have our different opinion about it. It is excruciating to know that some people who became victims of tragic incidents like this even from the past are still not yet over it. The story is about a train explosion caused by a university student named Saheel. He believed in his religion so much that the thought of sacrificing himself crossed his mind. He believes that if he washes away all the immorality in this world by committing suicide through hijacking a train, then he will be considered a hero in their sector. He idolized a lot of people who did it before. He resents his own family for not abiding in their religion wholeheartedly. Saheel is a very nice student who excels in school. He is a good brother and son. He thinks that homosexuality is a major sin and that people who commit it should repent. I will definitely never understand why he did it and why some of them actually want to do it. I feel sad for the people who lost all their loved ones; those who were injured, the ones who were amputated, the scars, the trauma, and all the shit that they went through. Their lives will never be same again. They will always carry the horrifying incident that happened to them. The first person narration is okay with me, I like how the way it was written. This is one great book is highly recommended to every reader out there. I am impressed by how the author presented the problem and eventually made a solution for each and every one of them in the end.

I made a lot of realizations here. Moving on and forgiving are two things that are very hard to achieve when you lost someone you love. Surviving a terrifying incident is a challenge. People who were able to make it alive after the explosion are left not just with scars but hatred and pain. Dealing with what’s left is the most difficult part especially the ones who had their limbs amputated. The most important thing here is to appreciate that you are still alive; that God gave you another chance to live. Some people died but here you are, you are alive and you can still be with your family. There a lot of things to be thankful of despite all the difficulties. Forgiving someone is a process and it will take time.

~JaNnA (@BibliophileMom)~

Book Review #41: The Scholl Case: The Deadly End of a Marriage by Anja Reich-Osang

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Title: The Scholl Case: The Deadly End of a Marriage
Author: Anja Reich-Osang
Pages: 213
ISBN13: 1925240932
Format: Paperback
Genre: Mystery, True Crime, Historical Fiction (Germany)
Date of Publication: October 3, 2016
Publishing House: Text Publishing Company
Goodreads Rating: 3.54
Personal Rating: 3.5 / 5
Synopsis

In December 2011, a corpse was found in a forest in Ludwigsfelde, a small and peaceful town south of Berlin. The body was hidden between pine trees, covered with leaves. The victim was Brigitte Scholl, sixty-seven, cosmetician and wife of Ludwigsfelde’s former mayor Heinrich Scholl. There were rumours that Brigitte was raped and killed by a serial killer. While the police hunted for the murderer, parents kept their children indoors, and joggers avoided the forest. Three weeks later, the police arrested the victim’s husband.

The residents were shocked. Heinrich Scholl was well-respected in his community, regarded as the most successful mayor of East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This charming man had it all: a successful career, influential friends and a marriage of almost fifty years. But behind closed doors, it was a very different story. Friends and family were staggered at the picture that emerged during the trial.

In 2012, Heinrich Scholl was pronounced guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. To this day, he pleads not guilty. Journalist and author Anja Reich-Osang followed the trial and talked to family, friends and Heinrich Scholl himself. She tells a gripping story about marriage, sex and politics, where nothing is as it seems.

(Credit to http://www.goodreads.com)
My Personal Thoughts

I am totally mind-blown by this book! The synopsis itself astounded me that much so I requested this copy from Text Publishing to be read and reviewed here in my blog (Thank You!). This was sent to me in exchange for an honest and fair review. I must admit that this story is pretty gripping and intense! I read and finished it in two consecutive days (with bladder break in between, hahaha!). The Mystery/Crime/Thriller genre triggers my adrenaline so badly! I am able to explore and deal with a wrecked relationship; how it affected both the husband and the wife not just physically but emotionally as well.

The story took place in a small town called Ludwigsfelde. It is set right after the World War II. This is the place where the two main characters, Henry and Brigitte, grew up and built their family. I am not sure if young adult readers will find this creation appealing because the setting per se is kind of odd and boring. I personally enjoy reading historical fiction themed books so I did not have a hard time appreciating its beauty.

The main character is Henry Scholl. He is accused and convicted for allegedly murdering and raping his wife. He is an intelligent man, career-oriented, and reserved. He always does things that he thinks is right but he mistakenly did one thing that is not right, and that is marrying Brigitte. It is all for obligation and the promise of belonging. He gets what he wants but not the affection that he needs from his wife. He is actually considered a miserable man. Brigitte, on the other hand, is a glamorous woman who came from a well-off family. She is sophisticated and always after on what other people will think of her and their family. She is an almost-perfect wife except for the fact that she is constantly neglecting Henry.

The writing style is awesome! I am really impressed by how the author showed the readers a real life situation. All the important details to be expected are present; from the day that the couple met until the day that the horrifying death of Brigitte occurred. All the people around their circle are interviewed in a manner that the significant details in the case are presented. This is a very interesting case because a couple who have been married for 50 years and overcame plenty of obstacles in their relationship still ended up being separated, but this one is very tragic. Overall it is a fun reading experience but there are certain things that I dislike about it. There is no closure and the case is not solved, yet. I am left puzzled and hanging; I still want more, more information, and more of everything. The third person narration also bothered me because I am not able to look at Henry’s perspective to be able to understand or guess if he really murdered his wife. I am giving this book 3.5 out of 5.

I made a lot of realizations after diving into their world but I will just state the major thing that made a huge impact on me. Forced relationships do not really work out well. I have met some people in the past who underwent the same situation like Henry and Brigitte (not the tragic part, though). It is so depressing to find two people who are just staying for the sake of the kids or for the sake of not having a broken family. It is stupid and heartbreaking to be in a situation like this. They do not love each other even from the start. They just need each other and it is a win-win situation. This is indeed one of the worst feelings in the world. If you do not want to be with the person any longer, just be straight forward about it. There is no point in staying when you are both aware that you are better off without the other person. In the end, it will just ruin the whole family which is exactly what happened to the main characters. Respect should always be present because once it is gone, everything else will fall.

~JaNnA (@BibliophileMom)~