Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Nanny At Number 43 by Nicola Cassidy – Book Review



Wanted, a respectable woman to care for a motherless child.

When William D. Thomas’s wife dies in childbirth, he places an advertisement in his local newspaper seeking a nanny for his newborn child.

He is thankful when an experienced nanny arrives at 43 Laurence Street and takes over from his frazzled housekeeper Mrs McHugh.

Mrs McHugh confides in her bedridden friend Betty, who has a bird’s-eye view of all the happenings on Laurence Street, that the Nanny is not all she seems. Betty begins her own investigation into the mysterious woman.

When the bodies of twin babies are discovered buried in a back garden, by a family who have moved from their tenement home into a country cottage, a police investigation begins.

But it is Betty who holds the key to discovering who the Nanny really is … and the reason she came to 43 Laurence Street.



“What is wrong with you?”

This is set in Ireland in the 1880’s.

Mrs McHugh, the housekeeper is struggling, trying to look after the baby of Mr Thomas when his wife dies in childbirth. He puts an ad in the local paper for a respectable woman to care for a motherless child. 

We meet Margaret Murphy (Maggie), who has responded to the ad, a stern woman who instantly calms and feeds the baby… the job is hers.

Mrs McHugh tells her friend Betty, she doesn’t trust her, she said something doesn’t feel right. Betty is housebound and spends her days watching from the window, she knows everyone’s business and so decides to find out more about the Nanny…..

We learn of Maggie’s past, and it wasn’t easy to say the least, but is she the woman she purports to be….or is there something more sinister going on?

This is a slow burn of a thriller, thoroughly engrossing, filled with atmosphere and a sense of menace. Mary Poppins this is NOT….I can recommend this for anyone who loves historical fiction with a thrilling edge.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here




Nicola Cassidy is a writer and blogger from Co. Louth, Ireland.

She started her writing career early, entering short story competitions as a child and became an avid reader.

Encouraged by her English teachers, she chose to study journalism at Dublin City University and while working in political PR and marketing, studied a series of advanced creative writing courses at the Irish Writers’ Centre.

Later she set up a lifestyle and literary blog, which was shortlisted in the Ireland Blog Awards in 2015 and 2016 and finalist in 2017 and 2018.

She signed with Trace Literary Agency in 2016.

December Girl is Nicola’s debut historical fiction novel and is set in the mystical and ancient Boyne Valley, Co. Meath, famed for its stone age passage tombs. Elements of the story are inspired by true events.

Her second novel The Nanny at Number 43 is published by Poolbeg Press. 

She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Termonfeckin, Co. Louth.

Follow her at, on Twitter @ladynicci or


The Nanny At Number 43 by Nicola Cassidy

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Poolbeg Press Ltd; 1 edition (1 July 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781998086
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781998083








Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

What You Did by Claire McGowan – Book Review



A vicious assault. A devastating accusation. Who should she trust, her husband or her best friend?

It was supposed to be the perfect reunion: six university friends together again after twenty years. Host Ali finally has the life she always wanted, a career she can be proud of and a wonderful family with her college boyfriend, now husband. But that night her best friend makes an accusation so shocking that nothing will ever be the same again.

When Karen staggers in from the garden, bleeding and traumatised, she claims that she has been assaulted by Ali’s husband, Mike. Ali must make a split-second decision: who should she believe? Her horrified husband, or her best friend? With Mike offering a very different version of events, Ali knows one of them is lying, but which? And why? 

When the ensuing chaos forces her to re-examine the golden era the group shared at university, Ali realises there are darker memories too. Memories that have lain dormant for decades. Memories someone would kill to protect.



Six college friends have a reunion 25 years later. 

When the alcohol flows they begin to reminisce but then Karen, battered and bruised, says Mike,  married to Ali, raped her……..

Ali’s life starts to unravel…..who does she believe…?

The story jumps between the past and the present to gradually build a picture of what had happened …..just who is telling the truth ?

What follows is a story of lies, denials and betrayals. Where old grievances and prejudices are brought into the open…..I have to say I didn’t really find any of the characters particularly likeable…but I think that’s the point…so you can look at the story objectively and not side with anyone….it deals with tough issues so is not a light read, but is definitely compelling…..

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 


About Claire McGowan:

Claire McGowan

Born in Northern Ireland in 1981, Claire McGowan studied in Oxford then lived overseas in France and China. She is the author of standalone thriller The Fall, and the Paula Maguire series, including The Lost, The Dead Ground, The Silent Dead, A Savage Hunger, Blood Tide, and The Killing House. The Paula Maguire series was optioned by the BBC in 2014. A ten-part radio drama written by Claire was broadcast on Radio 4 in early 2019, and as a screenwriter she was selected as the 2017/18 Nickelodeon International Writing Fellow.

Claire set up the Crime Thriller Writing MA at City University, London, and has also taught for the Arvon Foundation, Guardian Masterclasses and at many literary festivals.

As Eva Woods, she has published four women’s fiction novels, including the bestselling How To Be Happy.



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Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

The Last Stage by Louise Voss – Book Review



At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now she lives incognito in a cottage on the grounds of Minstead House, an old stately home, whilst working in the gift shop. Her past is behind her and she enjoys her new life.

But a series of inexplicable and unsettling incidents have started to happen around her – broken china, vandalised gardens… And when a body is found in the gardens of Minstead House, Meredith realises that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is and who wants to destroy her…

A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Final Stage is a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.



Meredith works in a Shop, it’s attached to a stately home and she loves the isolation and peace…..but there’s a few unsettling things, a break in at the shop, a dead rat and flowers beheaded. Nothing too sinister, but due to an event in her past it’s causing her a lot of stress and paranoia..

After a drunken ‘knee trembler’ with her boss Ralph, she is guilt ridden as he’s the husband of a friend…but when she finds him dead….panic sets in.

She calls her twin brother, Pete, for help……then after another death she begins to fear for her safety……so do the police!

Meredith, now 50, seemed a bit wet, but the more you hear of her and her past your realise she is a bit of a dark horse with reasons for her paranoia….I ended up really liking her character. 

This is a tale of obsession and revenge. An incredibly well plotted thriller with a feeling of menace from the start… and while you have chapters from the past to present and from several perspectives, you are kept guessing right to the nail biting end…I loved every minute.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here





Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had eleven novels published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number one bestseller in eBook. Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime- writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.



‘Top summer read’ Prima Magazine


‘The way the plot unfolds, unfolds – and unfolds again – is brilliant. Poignant, clever and terrifically tense’ William Shaw


‘A brilliant tale of deception with a twist that took my breath away’ Mark Edwards


‘A cracking page-turner’ Marnie Riches


‘A twisty, thrilling read’ Sarah Ward


‘Completely gripping’ Cass Green ‘Ingenious and twisty!’ Steph Broadribb


‘An expert piece of contrivance’ Publisher’s Weekly


 ‘I loved the subtlety and style of Louise Voss’s writing… impossible to put down!’

Sarah Pinborough



Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell. @OrendaBooks