Archives for posts with tag: dark

Hi all:

As you know, I love books and I review books. I recently joined a team of reviewers I’d been following with interest for some time, Rosie’s Book Review Team (see the logo at the bottom of the page). They are a fabulous team and Rosie is a great team leader.

I was very intrigued by Vanessa Matthews’s The Doctor’s Daughter and you’ll soon see why. First let me tell you a bit about the author.

Author Vanessa Matthews

Author Vanessa Matthews

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Vanessa’s debut poetry collection ‘Melodies of my Other Life’ was published by indie press Winter Goose Publishing in 2013. Since then she has been featured in several poetry publications, has won two poetry contests and has developed her fiction writing skills through training with the Arvon Foundation and mentorship from The Literary Consultancy. The Doctor’s Daughter is her first novel. When she is not writing fiction, Vanessa works as a freelance copy writer and marketing consultant. She lives in the South West of England with her husband and four children.

You can find out more about Vanessa Matthews, here:


Twitter @VanessaMatthews
And now, the novel:

The Doctor's Daughter by Vanessa Matthews

The Doctor’s Daughter by Vanessa Matthews

THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER. A prominent psychiatrist’s daughter realises insanity can be found much closer to home when she unlocks secrets from the past that threaten to destroy her future. 

It’s 1927, women have the right to vote and morals are slackening, but 23 year old Marta Rosenblit is not a typical woman of her time. She has little connection with her elder sisters, her mother has been detained in an asylum since Marta was born and she has spent her life being shaped as her father Arnold’s protégé. She is lost, unsure of who she is and who she wants to be. Primarily set in Vienna, this dark tale follows her journey of self-discovery as she tries to step out of her father’s shadow and find her identity in a man’s world. Her father’s friend Dr Leopold Kaposi is keen to help her make her name, but his interest is not purely professional and his motivations pose greater risks that she could possibly know. Marta’s chance encounter in a café leads to a new friendship with young medical graduate Elise Saloman, but it soon turns out that Elise has some secrets of her own. When Marta’s shock discovery about her family story coincides with her mother’s apparent suicide, Marta can’t take anymore. None of the people she has grown to love and trust are who they seem. Her professional plans unravel, her relationships are in tatters and her sanity is on the line – and one person is behind it all.

Here is my review (WARNING: It’s a long one. I’ve tried not to share any spoilers.)

I am a psychiatrist, and when I read the plot of this book I could not resist. A book set in Vienna about the early times of psychiatry, and a woman, the daughter of a psychiatrist, trying to develop her own ideas and become independent from her father’s overbearing influence. I had to read it.

The book is fascinating and very well-written. I suspect that somebody without my background might enjoy the story more for what it is, and not try and overanalyse it or overdiagnose it. Arnold Rosenblit’s theories are suspiciously reminiscent of Sigmund Freud’s. And of course, he also had a daughter, Anna, who dedicated her life to study and develop child-psychology. I’ve read some of Freud’s works, but I haven’t read that much about his life, although from what I’ve seen, his relationship with his daughter was much more congenial than the one Arnold (a man difficult to like, although the description of his relationship with his wife is quite touching) had with Marta, the daughter of the title.

The book is written in the third person and mostly narrated through Marta’s point of view, although there are chapters from her friend Elise’s perspective, her father’s, and Leopold’s, a physician and long-time friend of the family.

Marta is a very complex character, and one I found difficult to simply empathise with and not to try and diagnose. Her mother was locked up in a psychiatric asylum when she was very young and she became the subject of her father’s observation. The father tried to keep her as isolated as possible from his other daughters, but the oldest daughter looked after her, even if minimally, and they were all in the same house. (It made me think of the scenario of the film Peeping Tom, although Arnold does not seem to have been openly and intentionally cruel.) She appears naïve and inexperienced, at least in how to behave socially and in her role and feelings as a woman, but she is a doctor, a psychiatrist, attends and organises her father’s talks and lectures, and teaches outside, therefore she’s exposed to society and has always been. This is not somebody who has truly grown up in isolation, although she has missed a guiding female figure in her life and the close emotional attachment.

She has her own psychological theories and ideas, but finds it difficult to make her father listen to her. She has very low self-esteem, self-harms and has been doing so for a long time, and when she enters a relationship with a man, she’s completely clueless as to standards of behaviour or how to interpret this man’s attentions (a much older man than her, but somebody with influence and who promises to help her). Although she was not brought up by her mother, I wondered how realistic some of her behaviours would be for a woman of her social class at that period. However, the novel does paint the fine society of the time as a close set-up with a very dark undercurrent, with drugs and alcohol being consumed abundantly, and adventurous sexual behaviours being fairly common, and perhaps Marta is reflexion of such contradictions. On the surface, very controlled (the superego), but with strong and dark passions underneath (the unconscious).

Eloise, the friend she casually meets (or so it seems at the time), is a formidable character, determined, strong-willed, and resourceful, prepared to fight the good fight for women in a society of men. It’s very easy to root for her.

There is a classical villain, that you might suspect or not from early on, but who eventually is exposed as being a psychopathic criminal. The difficulty I had with this character was that I never found him attractive enough or clever enough to justify the amount of power he had over everybody. He is narcissistic and manipulative but even he at some point acknowledges that he uses people but has no great contributions or ideas of his own. It is perhaps because we’re privy to Marta’s thoughts and we see behaviours most people wouldn’t see that we don’t fall for him, but later on he’s revealed to have behaved similarly with quite a few people, especially women, and for me, it was difficult to understand why they would all fall for him. Marta is a damaged individual and he takes advantage of it, but what about the other women? And the rest of society? Leaving that aside (it might be a personal thing with me), he’s definitely somebody you’ll love to hate. (I’m trying not to spoil the plot for readers, although the description of the books gives quite a few clues).

The ending, despite terrible things happening and much heartache, is a joy. Considering what has gone on before, everything turns very quickly, and it’s difficult to imagine that in real life psychological healing would be quite so complete and perhaps so smooth. But it is a fairy tale ending, and although a dark tale, one of sisterhood triumphant.

A word of warning, the book can prove a tough read, as some pretty dark things take place, and there are some cringe-inducing moments. It is not an easy read, but it will challenge you and make you think. And that’s not a bad thing.

I was offered a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.

And now, the links:

Kindle edition £2.54*Version*=1&*entries*=0  (UK link but available worldwide)

Here the link in

Paperback edition £7.99–1 (A paperback edition will also be available on Amazon within 2-6 weeks but is available now on CompletelyNovel.)

Thanks so much to Vanessa Matthews for her thought inspiring book, thanks to Rosie Amber for co-ordinating and organising this wonderful team, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Ah, and as you know, the second book in my series Angelic Business 2. Shapes of Greg is due to be published very soon (15th July). I’ll be telling you more next week, but in the meantime, I thought I’d leave you a new video:

Hi all:

Yes, it’s Friday and I’ve already shared a new book today. But Valentine Day is coming and that’s put me in the mood for sharing and talking about romances.

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Dariel Raye, author extraordinaire, a few months back and we’ve exchanged tips and information about our respective writing and plans. She was also kind enough to feature my interview in her blog, here. Dariel told me she had a new story coming out for Valentine, and it’s now ready for pre-order, so I could not help but bring it to you. I hope to dedicate a lengthier post to Dariel and her writing, but as you’ll see I could not let this opportunity go by.

Without further ado:

“Dai’s Dark Valentine” Now available for pre-order!

Dai's Dark Valentine by Dariel Raye

Dai’s Dark Valentine by Dariel Raye

Dai’s Dark Valentine

What happens when a sheltered cat-shifter and a dark fey come together?

Three-hundred years is a long time, but left to its own devices, what began as the vendetta of one man can grow to encompass even more formidable hatred.

Daitre Salons is a beautiful but naïve heiress whose true heritage has been kept secret even from her. Now, her abilities are emerging and her father’s enemies want her dead, but what bothers her most is that her new husband “in name only” insists on treating her like a child.

Joban Beaucoup, professional guard to the Salons family, and dark fey (alternate spelling from Vodouin origin), has chosen to leave the quaint yet suffocating French town of his orphan-childhood and venture to the Americas, but he needs one thing he cannot concoct, despite his magical abilities – a wife.

When Joban agrees to marry Daitre and take her to the Americas with him, he carries her three-thousand miles away, then whisks her three-hundred years into the future to assure her safety, but while Daitre struggles to adjust to this strange new world, manage her newfound powers, and make peace with her feelings for Joban, Joban learns that even here, their enemies have followed them, now more deadly than ever. Pre-order

For more information:

Dariel’s Blog

Author Dariel Raye

Author Dariel Raye

And just a snippet of information about Dariel:

Dariel’s love for books, as well as her fascination with animals and all things paranormal, prompted the beginning of her writing journey at the tender age of 8. The paranormal romance, “Raven’s Shelter,” one of five stories in Taming of the Wolf, was her second publication, and her first with The Wild Rose Press as a result of placing second in their “Got Wolf” competition – prompted the new “Dark Sentinels” series. Also a paranormal romance, “Vashti’s Star,” which she has plans to update, was her first published novel. Dariel has written articles for The News Item of Mobile, and Black Health Magazine of Atlanta.


A classically trained pianist and vocalist with a degree in piano and vocal performance, Dariel plays more than 10 instruments, and worked as a band and choral director. With a master’s in counseling psychology, she worked in mental health therapy, substance abuse counseling, and school/career counseling for more years than she wishes to reveal. She has presently completed studies for a Ph.D. with the exception of her dissertation, but a more recent battle with kidney failure changed her perspective and renewed a focus on her first loves, writing and music. Dariel is a native Mobilian and minister of music. In addition to her novels and articles, she has written and directed three musicals and composed more than 30 scripturally based compositions. She lives with a variety of pets, where she is working on three paranormal romance series, composing music, and making plans to record soon.

Here her Amazon page:

Thanks to Dariel for bringing us the chance to pre-order her new book, thanks to all of you for reading, and I hope you have an exciting Valentine planned. And you know what to do: like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK!

Hi all:

As you know I’m dedicating some posts to new books, and today I bring you three books by Casey Clipper, a new author in one of the groups I frequent. She writes contemporary romance, but not your standard feel-good novel, but one with darker themes. And rather than writing a standard series, what Casey has decided to do is to complete the story she tells in her novel ‘The Boss’s Love‘ by writing three prequels explaining the backstories of the three main characters in the story. I leave you the novels and their descriptions, as they talk for themselves:

The Boss's Love by Casey Clipper

The Boss’s Love by Casey Clipper

The Boss’s Love

Love isn’t always clean, all hearts and flowers and perfect. Love is a daily fight, especially when your world is anything but…legal.

Daren Murphy, along with his brother Derrick, are men not to be crossed. Darren is head of a world where rules don’t apply, the law can be bought and bent at will, and love isn’t an option. Until Courtney Millen. Upon meeting the beautiful blonde, Courtney immediately captures his interest. She quickly becomes his obsession and after coming to her rescue during an attack, Darren vows to make certain Courtney belongs to him. Permanently.

Courtney Millen is a successful real estate agent, who catches the eye of eligible bachelor Darren Murphy. His heroics on the fateful day of their meeting throws Darren into her life, and he doesn’t seem anxious to leave anytime soon.

After Darren finally muscles his way into Courtney’s life, their relationship is everything they could have ever wanted, until the FBI decides it’s time to bring down the head of the organized Murphy crime ring. The FBI’s agent is determined to use Darren’s greatest weakness, Courtney, against him. The fallout of the FBI’s pursuit is great, something Darren and his brother had not foreseen. No one, even the government agency, anticipated agent John Marshall’s singular obsession with Courtney. His means to get the woman for himself knows no boundaries.

The Murphy organization gets turned inside out by the newly turned rogue agent. Courtney’s life is riddled with decisions she must make but never planned to be a part of, and leaves one brother to pick up the pieces of their shattered world.

Darren’s Story. A Prequel

Darren's story. Novella by Casey Clipper

Darren’s story. Novella by Casey Clipper

Darren Murphy, notorious mobster and ruthless mastermind of the Murphy organization has power, money, and is not to be crossed. He’s built himself a thriving empire, but the one thing he desires most in the world eludes him. Until he meets Courtney Millen, who becomes his obsession. He’ll go to any means and use all his resources to get to her.

This is Darren’s backstory. Read about how those in his inner circle find their way into his world. From the day he’s brought home from the hospital after his birth, his high school and college years, to getting his hands dirty in the seedy world he created, to the day he meets Courtney Millen is covered in this story.

**This prequel is in no particular order.

Courtnery's story by Casey Clipper

Courtnery’s story by Casey Clipper

Courtney’s Story. A Prequel

Courtney Millen, an only child to a military dad and stay-at-home mom, is kept sheltered by her parents and two close cousins until she turns seventeen. When her cousins leave for the Navy, she spends years trying to find herself, including losing her virginity, choosing a career, and falling in love with a man who hides his dark side until he has her under thumb. Courtney’s life becomes a daily effort in survival. Until Darren Murphy. An hour alone with the handsome, eligible bachelor sends Courtney into a dizzy whirlwind of possibilities she has no idea are being chosen for her. Life takes a dramatic turn she never saw coming, in the form of Mr. Murphy and his entourage.

**This prequel is in no particular order.

Derrick's story by Casey Clipper

Derrick’s story by Casey Clipper

Derrick’s Story. A Prequel

Derrick Murphy, brother of notorious mobster Darren Murphy, is a cold and cunning man who is in line to take over the Murphy organization. Closed off from everyone around him, he internally battles with himself over his obsession with the woman in his brother’s life. Surprisingly, his relationship with Courtney blooms into an unexpected commodity for his brother and an unexpected, potential weakness for himself.

**This prequel is in no particular order.

Thanks so much for reading and you know the drill, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and don’t forget to CLICK!


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