Winner of the Literary Blog Hop

blog-hopIt’s the end of the Literary Blog Hop and time to announce the winner.

The winner is…

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

ashfaanwer

Congratulations! I’ll send you an email to ask you for your address details. Please answer this within 3 days.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Did you take part in the hop? And… did you win anything?

Book Review: Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander EssbaumHausfrau: What it is about

From the publishers: “Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno—a banker—and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zürich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her.

But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds it’s difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.”

Hausfrau: What I thought

Anna isn’t exactly an endearing main character. I found her rather frustrating. She’s been in Switzerland for nine years, but she has hardly any friends, doesn’t speak the language, and the people in the village where she lives aren’t very forthcoming. Or so she thinks. But she hasn’t tried very hard. She’s waiting for something to happen and doesn’t undertake much action herself. Until she starts her German lessons and meets new people. Ex-pats, just like her.

It was both recognizable and totally strange for me. I also spent many years in a foreign country. I spoke the language, I had friends, and made an effort not to get acquainted to ex-pats. But at times, I also felt like a foreigner who stood forever outside the real society. Still, having kids helped, and Anna should have made good use of the mothers she’d meet via her children.

The story is built up really nicely. The story in the current time is often interrupted by flash backs to a few years ago, or sometimes to a few days ago. The flash back to the past make sense, but I wasn’t sure why the author sometimes moved the current story forward by a few days or weeks, and then looked back on the days just before. There were also short paragraphs in which conversations with her therapist were related. The therapist often came with some fantastic insights, but I found her a little too clever. Also, I wasn’t quite sure when Anna actually went to see the therapist. It wasn’t mentioned as part of her daily or weekly program.

Having said that, I just loved the way it was written. Amazing, given that I didn’t particularly liked Anna. But her story was interesting, and I was wondering what would happen. Would her husband find out about her affairs? Would she finally make some friends? The ending was totally unexpected, and I’m not sure I was too happy with it. It was a possible ending, but I did not expect this, and it didn’t seem to be the most interesting conclusion to the story.

While I have some reservations about the story and, especially, about Anna, the main character, I very much enjoyed reading this novel.


Rating: 5 out of 5 stars (very good)

Number of pages: 328

First published: 2015

I got this: from my local Random House representative

Genre: mystery

 

Literary Blog Hop

blog-hop My Book Self is organising a Literary Blog Hop! A number of blogs are offering literary prizes. Visit them all and try your luck. But first enter here at Leeswammes’ Blog! I have a book so new, it was published just a week ago and it’s fan.tas.tic! I finished it today and decided, this is the book to offer for the blog hop (no review yet). Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum The publisher says: “Anna Benz, an American in her late thirties, lives with her Swiss husband, Bruno—a banker—and their three young children in a postcard-perfect suburb of Zürich. Though she leads a comfortable, well-appointed life, Anna is falling apart inside. Adrift and increasingly unable to connect with the emotionally unavailable Bruno or even with her own thoughts and feelings, Anna tries to rouse herself with new experiences: German language classes, Jungian analysis, and a series of sexual affairs she enters with an ease that surprises even her. But Anna can’t easily extract herself from these affairs. When she wants to end them, she finds it’s difficult. Tensions escalate, and her lies start to spin out of control. Having crossed a moral threshold, Anna will discover where a woman goes when there is no going back.”


To enter

To enter, please read the rules and then fill out the form below.

The rules:

  1. Anyone can enter. You do not need to have a blog.
  2. You do not have to be a follower of my blog or become a follower, although if you like my blog I hope you will! You can follow by email or by RSS (see buttons in the side bar on the right at the top).
  3. There will be one winner.
  4. You need an address where bookdepository will deliver.
  5. Leave a comment to say you’d like to win the book. You can enter the giveaway until Sunday April 12th. I will close the giveaway when I turn on my computer on April 13th (Netherlands time).
  6. Tweet about the giveaway for ONE extra entry. Use this text: Win Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum in the Literary Blog Hop http://wp.me/pTjfK-4MG
  7. Note that double or invalid entries will be removed.
  8. I will notify the winner by email. The winner need to answer my email within 3 days, or I’ll announce a new winner.
  9. That’s it! Good luck and thanks for playing.

Now go to the other blogs and try your luck!

Click here to view the list with participating blogs.

Book Review: The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer

The Shut Eye by Belinda BauerThe Shut Eye: What it is about

From the publishers: “Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.
And now they are all his mother has left.
Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity.
When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it. Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…
But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?
Or is he something far, far worse?

The Shut Eye: What I thought

I have read almost all of Bauer’s books and enjoy them a lot. This one was a little different: it had a supernatural element. Anna, who lost her son a few months ago, wants to know whether he’s still alive. Visiting a psychic, she is shown someone else’s picture, and she gets a vision. This happens several times. It doesn’t seem to be related to the disappearance of her son, but it may be something to do with the disappearance of a girl, a year earlier. The police think she’s crazy (which is how she behaves, from grief) but one inspector, DCI Marvel, believes that they should investigate further.

DCI Marvel is obsessed with the disappearance of the girl. He can’t get along with his colleagues and goes his own way. His superior, side lining him, gives him the lowly task of finding back Mitzi, his wife’s dog. This leads him to Anna. It becomes likely that the person who stole the dog is also responsible for the missing children.

I found the characters very convincing. Especially Anna, who was clearly mad with grief, even madder than it seems at first. When she is at the police station, one of the officers makes a discovery about Anna, which came very suddenly – I had not seen this coming at all, even though Anna had been a main character for some time. An amazing revelation, very clever of the author.

There are some elements in the story, especially related to the missing girl, that didn’t make complete sense to me and that weren’t resolved, which was a pity. The reason the girl had disappeared is something that I would never have been able to conjure up – another brilliant, if slightly unlikely, move by the author.

An entertaining, but not totally convincing read.


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (good)

Number of pages: 304

First published: 2015

I got this: from the publishers for review, via Netgalley (ebook)

Genre: mystery

 

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