Blog Tour & Review: Should You Ask Me by Marianne Kavanagh

Should You Ask Me by Marianne Kavanagh

Publication Date: May 18, 2017
Hodder & Stoughton

Genre: Historical Fiction

A story of love, history, war, murder, revenge and unlikely friendships - sweeping and compulsive, perfect for fans of Sarah Waters and Tracy Chevalier.

'I've come about the bodies. I know who they are.'

Just before D-Day in 1944, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, an elderly, formidable woman walks into the police station. She has information, she says, about human remains recently discovered nearby. William, a young policeman invalided out of the army, is told to take her statement. The bodies could have stayed buried for ever - like the pain and passion that put them there. But Mary Holmes is finally ready to tell the truth. Her story initially seems rambling and inconsequential, talking about a shipwreck, the killing of a pig, and the discovery of a Stone Age skeleton of a young woman with a missing jaw. But gradually William discovers that Mary is giving him elements of a dark story from her Victorian childhood and early adulthood. William is still suffering from the injuries that ended his army career. As he tries to make sense of her tale, he finds himself increasingly distracted. Mary's confession forces his own violent memories to the surface - betrayals and regrets as badly healed as his war wounds. Over the course of a few days of statement taking in the claustrophobic confines of the police interview room, and a battle of wits between two generations, the stories of both Mary and William’s pasts and presents unravel.

Now William has to decide whether to pass on Mary’s story to the coroner, or to allow her secrets to stay buried. As pressure builds for the final push in Europe, two lives reveal their secrets. Should You Ask Me is a captivating story about people at their worst and best: raw, rich, and utterly compelling.

My Review

4 Stars.

I must say, Should You Ask Me, is one of the most unique books I've had the pleasure of reading. When Mary Holmes stops by the police station to tell what she knows about the bodies that were just discovered, she recalls her past and tells the tale of who the bodies are and how they got there. She frustrates the constable by her insistence on telling her story from the very beginning, and while you feel for him, you as the reader are fascinated to hear what she has to say.

The story takes course over one week and as Mary tells her story, readers also learn more about the constable William and his life, and how people were affected during the war on their island and in London. I don't want to give too much away and the description above tells you all you should know. You'll just have to read it for yourself and find out who the bodies are :) I can tell you that I certainly didn't guess where the story was going and was very surprised when it was revealed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Kavanaugh has a way with dialogue and Mary Holmes is not a character that you can easily forget, nor is her story. I would definitely read more from this author.

I'd like to thank Hodder & Stoughton for my review copy. I highly recommend Should You Ask Me.

Praise for Should You Ask Me

‘A genuinely mysterious thriller, with an intense sense of time and place – a historical novel of a very different sort.’ ANDREW MARR ‘Vivid and brilliantly gripping. I was captivated from the first page.’ ESTHER FREUD

‘Charming, gleeful, a delight…brings Britain at war to vivid life.’ GUINEVERE GLASFURD, author of The Words in my Hand ‘An intriguing and atmospheric novel, cleverly interweaving different times and crimes through an elderly and most unreliable narrator…absorbing.’ AMANDA CRAIG, author of The Lie of the Land

‘Succeeds on so many levels. It’s a thriller, a love story, a vivid portrait of wartime England, a cautionary tale, but above all, it’s a fascinating study of suppressed guilt and the human need for absolution through confession. I absolutely loved it.’ DAVID HAIG, actor and playwright

‘A moving Hardy-esque story of love, lies and loss thrown into sharp relief by its vivid WW2 setting. Indomitable Mary Holmes is a memorable character.’ ELISABETH WILHIDE, author of If I Could Tell You

‘SHOULD YOU ASK ME is a beautifully written and gripping novel – boldly traversing genres and historical eras, yet always compassionate, wise and humane.’ JOANNA KAVENNA, author of A Field Guide to Reality

About the Author

Marianne Kavanagh has worked for Woman, the Tatler, the Sunday Telegraph magazine and British Marie Claire, and has contributed features to a wide variety of newspapers, magazines and websites, including the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Woman & Home, Good Housekeeping, Easy Living, Red and My Daily. She lives in London.

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