Bluethroat Morning

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

I was expecting a bit more thriller from the advertisements I'd seen for this book.  It was more a retrospective about Harold and his life.  He is a teacher who still mourns his wife who committed suicide 6 years ago.   Set in Norfolk , England Harold reminisces about his wife Allison who was almost 20 years younger than him.  Now Harry has met Helen and he wonders if he can forget about his dead wife.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Mystery novel about a troubled author

Content warning: suicide

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.

"Bluethroat Morning" by Jacqui Lofthouse is a mystery novel about a retiring schoolteacher called Harry Bliss who, six years on, is still mourning the death of his wife Alison. Haunted by her lingering fame as a model, as well as her suicide in a small Norfolk village while working on her new book, Harry is unable to face learning what happened to his wife. When he meets Helen, he is encouraged to visit the village and retrace Alison's steps to try to understand her, and ultimately himself.

This is a quietly compelling book that explores a multitude of issues ranging from grief, fame, success, marriage, family, depression and what it means to be a woman. Lofthouse has a classic, almost gothic style of writing and juxtaposes the warmth of beauty and life against the cold, bleak backdrop of the Norfolk coastal village. I thought that the first half of the book was particularly strong, and I particularly enjoyed Lofthouse's exploration of ethical boundaries and forbidden love. I also liked how Alison was portrayed as both otherworldly and human. I also liked that Harry's indifference was examined as both a strength in his relationship with Alison as well as a weakness. By the end of the book, there was still an intriguing air of mystery around Alison, her life and her motives.

While I understand that the structure of the novel is sort of a quintessential tragedy, the action falling from the climax to the dénouement, I did find the second half of the book to be a little less gripping that the first half. While I understand that there is never a satisfactory resolution when someone has taken their own life, I did feel that some of the elements of the plot were at times a little difficult to connect with. I thought Harry was an interesting choice for a point of view character, and I think I would have liked to have seen a little more of some other perspectives.

A thoughtful and timeless book that explores familiar themes in a fresh way.
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Nice feel good book. It flowed very well. was easy to read. Nice characters. Good storyline. What’s not to love.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC. Bluthroat Morning is another one of those novels that has such a sense of atmosphere. It follows Harry, his former wife Alison who committed suicide, and then his second wife, Helen. Alison had been in the middle of writing a novel about a relative of Harry’s when she died. Harry was basically unaware of the writing project Alison had been working on. This book follows Harry as he navigates the past as well as the present alongside his new wife. As Harry begins to read Alison’s journals he begins to wonder what he really knew and seems to wallow a bit in self pity. Although this book is a story of several characters, it focuses mostly on Harry. It’s an interesting read, especially taking in the the thoughts between the lines.
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I loved this book. The prose was magical. The locale subscriptions were so vivid that I feel as if I’ve been to the locations. Wonderful character development. The detailed story is about love, grief over a loss and truth. The author unfolds the story slowly. Taking her time while the MC’s ancestry is fully revealed. 

Terrific book. Highly recommended.
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Emotional and engaging. Perfect pairing of both the past and present. A love story full of longing and pain, with a splash of suspense woven in.  Easy weekend read. 

Thank you NetGalley and Blackbird Digital Books for this edition and hearing my honest review. Looking forward to reading more with you
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This dark but fascinating story follows the main character as he six years after his famous wife committed suicide, makes a trip to the town where she died. Living alone in a cottage, she was investigating and writing a book about the life and eventual suicide of another woman whose photo she found in her husband's collection of family photos. Unfortunately, the unfinished manuscript was found burnt after her death, and Harry, her husband is held responsible both for that and even the presumed despair which led to his wife's suicide. Harry interviews an elderly man who proves instrumental in revealing much of the mystery behind the two suicides, especially when he returns to Harry his wife's journal which illuminated her thoughts during the last days of her life. This somber narrative is full of reflection as Harry ponders how "familial relationships" and "broken connections, even generations apart" are fraught with difficulty and despair. One quibble: A few swear words used.
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This was a good mystery book and thriller that is set in atmospheric Norfolk . I loved this twisty plot. 
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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Harry Bliss is a school teacher, married to Alison, a former model, turned writer who decides to return to her Norfolk village to work on her book, an exploration of Harry's grandfather's wife Arabella. One day while there, Alison inexplicably walks into the Norfolk sea in an apparent suicide.

Six years later, Harry is still devastated by her loss. His friend and colleague at school, Richard, has a daughter Helen who is also infatuated with Alison's writing. They embark on a questionable relationship, with Harry chucking in his job, and they flee to the Norfolk village in search of answers as to why Alison suicided.

None of the main characters are particularly likeable but the reader's engagement is sustained by unravelling the mystery surrounding Alison's suicide. Lofthouse captures the atmosphere of the bleak Norfolk coast which infuses both her story and that of Arabella. We meet some other memorable characters of the village with whom Alison interacted. I found it a very interesting read and particularly liked the way Lofthouse interwove the historical with the present. However, although I realise many men fall for young women decades younger than themselves, the fact that this was his best friend's daughter, someone he had known from birth, was quite unsavoury for me with the obvious inequities in power. No doubt this was intended by Lofthouse but it did distance me from the character of Harry in a way which proved to be quite a barrier to empathising with his journey of grief.
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Bluethroat Morning by author Jacqui Lofthouse is an intense trilling read of a book! Lots of mystery and character! 

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
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