Category Archives: Louise Beech
Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech
Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …
What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…
I have been a huge fan of Louise Beech since her debut novel How to be Brave (Orenda Books) was released back in 2015. Just look how far this amazing writing journey has taken Louise to-date. Now comes her latest release Call Me Star Girl (Orenda Books) which hit the bookshops on 18th April. Now I read this back in February and have had to wait ever so patiently to post my review.
To put it simply Louise Beech has blown me away. It can be difficult when a writer changes genre style but Louise has done this effortlessly. Now a psychological thriller writer and it is just sensational. Anyone who has seen the Hollywood film Play Misty for Me starring Clint Eastwood will love this novel.
Stella McKeever is a radio show host and it is her last show and she decides she wants to end with something different. Stella asks her listeners to call in with their secrets, and in return Stella would share some of hers. Dangerous territory for a radio host to enter as you just don’t know how far it could go.
Then a local girl is found dead and it is clear this is murder and there has been a witness and this witness calls the studio to say they saw the murder. The beauty of this tight and pulse racing thriller is that there are not many characters in the storyline so you get to concentrate on the plot.
Stella has her own secrets and these include the relationship with her boyfriend Tom. Then there is her mother and the broken relationship between them both.
There is something about creating a storyline around a radio station at night it is dark and quiet. Just you and your listeners and you set the tone and you can hold them in the palm of your hand. There are many twists and turns in the plot that you just do not know where it is likely to turn next.
The tension builds so much that you could cut with a studio microphone, it is atmospheric and compelling. You might even say disturbing. But either way it is nothing short of brilliant. Louise Beech’s fifth novel is by far her very best and this is why I love Louise Beech’s writing. HIGHY RECOMMENDED
Thank you to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books and Anne Cater for the review copy of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech
Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech was published by Orenda Books and was published on 18th April 2019 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
How to follow the Blog Tour
Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech
Maria in the Moon is the third novel from Louise Beech and by far the best yet. A novel that will test your senses through to the very last page. A dark psychological thriller with complex and damaged characters. So beautifully written, this is a novel that will linger long after you have finished reading.
Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope lost her home in the terrible floods in Hull in 2007, like many she lost everything. People felt loss so a Flood Crisis helpline was set up. But for Catherine there is much more that she has lost. Memory and sleep. Insomnia is just dreadful. Trust me on that one. Now Catherine has volunteered on the helpline and for Catherine she is learns to listen to people who are just in need of help and support through a difficult time even to the point of taking their own lives. But away from the call centre there is another side to Catherine. Memories of a painful breakup of her relationship. Catherine is vulnerable, and lonely. But there is something lurking in the background that is disturbing and she can only deal with this by being brutal and hostile to others. The dark humour she uses is only to cover up the painful memories that are slowly coming back from the past.
Like a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces missing for so long suddenly now falling into place her memory now is releasing parts of those missing pieces. The road to recovery is a long road for Catherine and a painful one. Life can be cruel and for Catherine life has been more than just difficult even when it comes to her relationship with her closest family. How I hoped for better times for Catherine through this incredible and beautifully written novel. I have been fortunate to have read all of Louise Beech’s novels and how she writes. She manages to capture the reader and here in Maria in the Moon Louise has managed if that is possible to go further and your feelings will be tested in every sense. It is dark and also a deeply moving story that will stay long after you have finished reading.
I have high hopes that Maria in the Moon will be the breakthrough novel that gets Louise Beech the recognition she so deserves. Sometimes her novels can deal with difficult subjects but how she brings the stories alive with every character in each of her novels. Maria in the Moon is released at the end of September and is one of my books for the autumn. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Thank you to Karen Sullivan for the advanced review copy of Maria in the Moon.
Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech is published on 30th September by Orenda Books and is available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
The Mountain in My Shoe – Louise Beech
The Last Word Review
From the author of the highly acclaimed How to be Brave, Louise Beech is back with her second novel The Mountain in My Shoe. Anyone who has read Louise’s first novel are going to really enjoy this one just as much.
Louise Beech is one of the new writing talents that are writing some of the most exquisite novels of recent times. How she writes her characters into her stories that make them so real and life like. When a book plays on your mind and emotions for days after you have finished reading it then you have succeeded in writing one very special book for the reader. Louise Beech has done just that with The Mountain in My Shoe you really have a strong relationship with the characters in her latest novel although only released at the end of September it is already receiving very high praise.
This is a story primarily about three people. These people are lost and damaged by circumstance. We meet Bernadette who is married and her husband keeps Bernadette under his thumb, we know the type. We meet Conor a ten-year-old boy who life is like the proverbial tennis ball being bounced around from Care home to care and then foster care. Conor has no balance in his life as he does not know what each day will bring let along where he will end up next. There are just a few things in Conors life that have any meaning to him. One of them is Muhammad Ali the reason for this is plain as you begin to understand Conors story. Bernadette is a volunteer friend through Befriend for Life scheme and has been assigned to Conor.
For Bernadette the time has come to make a decision on her husband and her loveless marriage but he does not return home from work that evening and then a telephone call tells Bernadette that Connor has gone missing and he has not arrived at his foster home after school. But that is not all. Conor’s ‘lifebook’ has also gone missing. Conor’s ‘lifebook’ make for painful and heartbreaking reading. It is his life story from care home to care home. The book is punctuated with passages from Connor’s ‘lifebook’. For young Conor as much as life has let him down he is a real character and one that you instantly warm to and there is humour within his story. The fact that her husband has not returned home, Bernadette does not show any concern, she is more concerned for Conor is there a link to both her husband and Conor’s disappearance?
The setting for Louise’s latest is around Hull and the sights and sounds come through the story just as much as the twists and turns of book that reads like a thriller. Your heart aches for a happy ending for both two souls who deserve not only stability but happiness. Then when you reach the end the story and its characters will linger deep inside you for some time after. To put this book on the bookshelf will not put the story to the back of your mind of this you can be assured.
It is beautifully written and told it is heartfelt and at time sad. But read it and see for yourself why I hold Louise Beech in such high acclaim as a writer not just for today but for tomorrow and now look forward to see what she comes up with next. Outstanding.
Thank you to Karen at Orenda Books for the advanced review copy. The Mountain in My Shoe by Louise Beech is published by Orenda Books and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
The Mountain in My Shoe – The Official Blog Tour 2016
How to be Brave by Louise Beech
Review Date: 6 November 2015
Author: Louise Beech
Release Date: 17 September 2015
Publishers: Orenda Books
ISBN –10: 1910633194
ISBN – 13: 978-1910633199
Available in Paperback, Kindle and audio
The Last Word Review
Your heart will be taken by this beautifully written story of loss, hope and redemption. Louise Beech is a born natural storyteller
Rarely has a book touched me the way that How to Be Brave has. Louise Beech has written a debut novel that will live long in this reviewer’s memory and for those who have read it, for those who are going to read this and I urge you to do just that, your heart will be taken by the sheer natural brilliance of the writing.
This is primarily part fact, part fiction and part memoir always a tricky one to get the right balance so that your reader follows each of the stories contained within the pages of the book, but here in How to Be Brave, the balance is remarkable.
Natalie is married to Jake a serving soldier on a tour of duty in Afghanistan so the unbearable daily tension of a wife worried about her serving husband is real. Then one day her nine year old daughter Rose collapses at home and is rushed to hospital and is diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes and all the trauma for Natalie as she stays at her daughter’s bedside, Natalie is having to cope with all the worry of will Rose survive on her own as Jake cannot get home. The daily routine of blood sugar testing and injections of insulin are real at first Rose fights Natalie in the way a nine year old can. The pain and worry are there on the pages.
Then one day Natalie is visited by man and one thing leads to another and a diary is found in their garden shed, no ordinary diary as Natalie had a grandfather (Colin) who tells the story through his diary of the sinking of his ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
Natalie and Rose now embark on a voyage of discovery through Colin’s diary, while Natalie and Rose face their daily fight with Diabetes she reads passages of Colin’s diary as part of the process. What happens here is that unknown to them Colin is now holding their hands through the pain and suffering that Natalie and her daughter now face. Colin’s diary entries are real this is taken from the authors own real life relative and that of Colin trying to survive in a life boat with little in the way of rations and fresh drinking water how they all clung on to the daily hope that very soon they would be spotted and rescued through this story comes one of courage and hope, so both mother and daughter and Colin and his fellow survivors all trying to survive the stormy waters that they must tread in the hope they will come through.
As this reviewer is discovering sometimes illness can be a very lonely existence and you can feel incredibly isolated when sometimes you do lose hope that you will come through this stormy period in your life. How to Be Brave is a story of just that. Hope and survival clinging to the lifeboat and hoping and believing that you come through.
A deeply incredible book that will move you to tears so please have tissues to hand, you will need them. I have no shame in admitting that it did indeed move me to tears in parts.
The front cover of the book is of a lifeboat cradled in the hands of both mother and daughter tell the story of hope and survival. A heart-warming story that uses a real life event to tell the story of an ‘against all the odds’ fight for survival.
It is not very often that I get to the end of a book and felt completely numb at the sheer beauty of the author’s writing and storytelling. Hard to believe this is a debut novel.
How to Be Brave a book I always remember and strongly recommend it will move you as it has already moved many.
Thank you to Karen at Orenda Books for a review copy.
Meet the Author
Louise Beech remembers sitting in her father’s cross-legged lap while he tried to show her his guitar’s chords. He’s a musician. Her small fingers stumbled and gave up. She was three. His music sheets fascinated her – such strange language that translated into music. Her mother teaches languages, French and English, so her fluency with words fired Louise’s interest. She knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic.
She loves all forms of writing. Her short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her first play, Afloat, was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2012. She also wrote a ten-year newspaper column for the Hull Daily Mail about being a parent, garnering love/hate criticism.
She is inspired by life, history, survival and love, and always has a story in her head. Her debut novel, How to be Brave, came from truth – when Louise’s daughter got Type 1 Diabetes she helped her cope by sharing her grandad’s real life sea survival story.
When she was fifteen Louise bet her mother ten pounds she’d be published by the time she was thirty. She missed this self-set deadline by two months. Her mother is still waiting for the money