After Leaving The Village By: Helen Matthews (Reviewed by Rochelle)

About Book

Two women. Two villages. Different destinies. Odeta’s life has shrunk to a daily round of drudgery, running her father’s grocery store in a remote Albanian village. One day a stranger from Tirana walks into the shop and promises her a new career in London. Odeta’s life is about to change, but not in the way she expected. Journalist Kate lives on a quiet London street and seems to have a perfect life but she worries about her son Ben, who struggles to make friends. Kate blames the internet and disconnects her family from the online world so they can get to know their neighbours. On a visit to her home village in Wales, Kate is forced to confront a secret from her past. But greater danger lies closer to home. Perhaps Kate’s neighbours are not the friendly community they seem.

About Author

My debut suspense thriller ‘After Leaving the Village’ was published on 12th October by Hashtag Press. It won first prize in the opening pages of a novel category at Winchester Writers’ Festival.

I’m originally from Cardiff, studied English at Liverpool University and hold an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes. I’ve won prizes for short stories and been published in ‘Artificium’ and in an eBook ‘Garage 54 and other stories’.

Long ago in a galaxy far away (before I focused on fiction) I had some articles published in the Guardian, on the BBC and in lifestyle magazines. I love travelling and you can read about some quirky encounters and places on my blog.

Publisher:  Hashtag Press

Published: October 12th 2017

Pages:  352

My Review

At first I was not getting into this book but after read a few more chapters; I found this to be great novel which kept me up all night reading. I was drawn in by the opening chapters in Albania, which set the story up so that I got to know Odeta and understand her situation.  At times I found Odeta a little innocent and gullible and fell for everything.  The story’s told in two viewpoints – I especially liked Odeta’s but it was good to have the counterbalance of ordinary suburban life going on next door and it keeps you wondering how these two worlds might be brought together.  I found that it ended well and I was hoping for more. This is the first time of reading anything by this author and I will certainly be looking out for more books from her.  Thanks to the Fiction Café Review Group for an ARC copy of this book.

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