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Well-crafted mystery. Kept me reading past my bedtime. The only drawback was a few too many convenient coincidences.
by J.A. Bower
4 out of 5 stars
I loved the concept of this book including how the characters interacted with each other. My only qualm was the ending as it didn't seem to tie into the story as well as it should have.
Had the ending linked more to what I anticipated I would have given 5 stars but even with that it was a great book.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to meet the wonderful characters such as Rory, Tom and Sarah.
by Sean Talbot
5 out of 5 stars
I've just finished reading "Sewing the Shadows Together" - I couldn't settle to anything else since I started it! I really REALLY enjoyed it. The characters were great, very believable and came to life off the page. Great that it had a love story as well as the crime theme. It was quite thought-provoking too - there was so much in the book I could relate to. It shows Sarah, a middle-aged woman trying to do everything for her family - torn between her self-obsessed husband, her demanding mother and her twenty-something twins. But she's still haunted by the murder of her best friend when they were thirteen. When she is reunited with Tom, her best friend's brother, and discovers that the supposed murderer is not guilty she begins to question everything in her life and finds that all is not as it seems and everyone is hiding secrets.
An excellent debut novel - and I can't wait for the author's second novel "The past will come to light"!
3 out of 5 stars
A good debut, strong characters, I would've liked to have know more about the past, making it more of a thriller. I loved the relationship between Tom and Sarah, very sweet. Being Scottish myself I enjoyed the setting. A good read and an author I will keep an eye out for.
by Wendy Haines
5 out of 5 stars
Sewing The Shadows Together is the debut novel by Alison Baillie and an excellent debut it is too. Many years after a young girl is raped and murdered her brother and best friend are bought back in touch with each other. How have the tragic events of years gone by affected their lives and the lives of their families? Do people ever get over something like this? And what if the person imprisoned for the murder is found to be innocent after all this time? That means the real murderer must still be out there. Do they know him or her not realising that they committed the crime that has blighted their lives? This is a fabulous page-turner read that anyone can enjoy - although the subject matter is bleak rest assured that all the blood and violence is left off the page. What is clear is that Alison Baillie is a very talented writer and I very much look forward to reading more books by her in years to come.
by Mike Linane
4 out of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book. It had me gripped from the beginning. The story centres around the main characters of Sarah and Tom. Sarah was best friends with Shona who was raped and murdered when they were children. Tom was Shona's brother. There was a quick arrest and the murderer went to jail. When Tom returns to Scotland following his mother's death many years later, he is reunited with Sarah and other childhood friends. They soon discover thanks to advancements in DNA technology, that the man who was in jail for the rape and murder of Shona could not have done it. The remainder of the story revolves around trying to discover who raped and murdered Shona. The author had me guessing until the very end. I enjoyed the characters and found that the story successfully incorporated a romance with the mystery.
by Netta Genua
4 out of 5 stars
Very good story. Will be interested to read more by this author.
by Brenda Wright
5 out of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this from the first chapter. There were twists and turns aplenty and the story flowed beautifully. The sense of suspense and tension was effective through most of the book. I found the part where the murderer was revealed was rather rushed and a little unsatisfying. However, overall, I would recommend this book.
by Lesley Muriss
5 out of 5 stars
This is a lovely story where the mystery of a young girl's murder and a school reunion draw old friends and suspects together. Based in South Africa and Scotland, you're drawn into the characters' lives; you get to feel their emotions and the atmosphere of the various settings. Having been to both places I could just visualize the scenes. Although a murder mystery I found myself just being wrapped in the various characters' lives so I wasn't concentrating all the time on whodunnit. It brought back memories of being at school and meeting up with those people 40 years later. Loved it and I am going to miss my new friends. Thank you Alison.
by Caron Mackenzie
4 out of 5 stars -
Loved this book. Being from Edinburgh and Portobello myself I enjoyed the setting and found the characters really interesting and well written. Looking forward to more from this author.
by Sheila Pasi
4 out of 5 stars
I was given an ARC of this book by netgalley in return for an honest review.
Tom McIver returns to Scotland from South Africa to scatter his mother's ashes in her hometown. On the way he stops off in his old hometown of Portabello for a high school reunion. Whilst in Portabello he finds out that the man who was convicted of his sister's murder has been cleared of the murder, so who did kill her? Not only does this book unravel the mystery of Shona's murder but it shows how the tragedy has impacted on the lives of the main characters in the book. Tom a man who could never commit to either a relationship or a career and Sarah who became the "perfect wife and mother", taking care of everyone else's needs above her own.
This is a great debut novel with an interesting plot that keeps the reader engaged, wanting to know "who did it"? There are many twists and turns that keeps you turning the page to find out what happens next. What happens next and the relevation of the murderer is quite a twist, something I never saw coming.
I enjoyed reading this book and would certainly recommend it to others. Alison is certainly an author to watch one that I am hoping to see more of and can't wait for her next novel.
by Nolene Driscoll
5 out of 5 stars
Can you ever get over the death of your sister? Or of your best friend? More than 30 years after 13-year-old Shona McIver was raped and murdered in Portobello, the seaside suburb of Edinburgh, the crime still casts a shadow over the lives of her brother Tom and her best friend Sarah. When modern DNA evidence shows that the wrong man was convicted of the crime, the case is reopened. So who did kill Shona? Sarah and Tom are caught up in the search for Shona’s murderer, and suspicions fall on family and friends. The foundations of Sarah’s perfect family life begin to crumble as she realises that nothing is as it appears. Dark secrets from the past are uncovered, and there is another death, before the identity of the real killer is finally revealed…Set in Edinburgh, the Outer Hebrides and South Africa, Sewing the Shadows Together is a thoroughly modern murder mystery that keeps the reader guessing to the end. Filled with characters who could easily be friends, family or people we work with, it asks the question: Do we ever really know the people closest to us?
Sewing the shadows together by Alison Baillie is a fast paced and exciting debut novel, that is a welcome addition to the Tartan Noir pack. It reminds me of a classic who dun it that you would have expected from the like of Agatha Christie but with a modern twist. What makes this novel is the way in which the author has written about her characters, you can really tell that she really cares about them, there stories, there relationships and there felling jump out from the pages of the book and makes the reader really feel and care for them, it’s like they are real people that you know personally not just characters in a novel. What then follows is a well plotted psychological suspense story with a distinct air of family drama, from the start of the book the author manages to keep the Pace of the novel, so that the reader are taken on a roller coaster of a ride through out the novel up to the last pages.
This is accomplished as we follow the families through a thirty year journey, from the murder investigation and all that entails, but also about the tangled relationships that exist between the main characters. Any return to the past, and a life once led, is always fraught with the danger of reawakening uncomfortable memories, and this story is all about the memories of the past, and about how people are shaped by what has happened to them, whether it be good, or bad and I really enjoyed following their progress, as the cracks in their individual stories start to appear, I had great fun in trying to figure out who had hidden the most secrets and trying to figure out what really happened, which in turn kept me on the edge of my seat until the truth was finally revealed. I can’t wait to see what this talented authors does next, she is definitely one to watch.
by Lynsey Adams
5 out of 5 stars
Great debut Novel..with a really good story line. Keeps you guessing until the end.
by Denise Sharp
This was great read. It is the story of Tom and Sarah the best friend of Shona, Tom's murdered sister. When Tom returns to Scotland he renews his aquaintance with Rory, Sarah's husband and an old friend. What Tom thought was a quick visit to scatter his Mother's ashes turns out to be his entry into a Web of lies, half truths and suspicions. When the man accused of his sister's murder is declared innocent and released from prison it leaves Tom wondering who the murderer is. This is only the first of many things to trouble Tom as he gets involved with Sarah, Rory and their family, who hold many secrets of their own. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC
by Alfred Nobile
An excellent debut mystery with an atmospheric Edinburgh setting!
It was the setting that first attracted me to this debut mystery. It has been on my NetGalley TBR for some time, and I'm so happy that I finally got around to reading it!
Shona and Sarah were best friends. Two lovely young girls growing up in the Portobello suburb of Edinburgh. Then, one evening in 1976, Shona was raped and murdered... A local man is convicted of the crime.
Skip ahead 30+ years.
Sarah is married to a local television celebrity, Rory Dunbar. She is the mother to twins, Lottie and Nick, now young adults living off on their own. She is still haunted by the murder of her best friend these many years later.
Tom McIver, Shona's brother, is back in Scotland to spread his mother's ashes on Eriskay, the island where she was born - and, coincidentally, to attend his school reunion. His family left Scotland after his sister's murder - when he was just sixteen. They emigrated to South Africa. He has never married, and has worked at various jobs in his adult life.
At the reunion he meets up with his childhood friend Rory, and Rory's lovely wife Sarah. Rory had always been handsome and charming and he hadn't changed in that regard. His celebrity status makes him even more attractive to the ladies and he takes every advantage.
Sarah, who had secretly nursed a crush on Tom in her teenage years, finds that she is still drawn to him. The attraction is mutual, and Tom is appalled at the way his old friend treats his wife.
Sarah has been playing 'happy families' for many years. She hosts a weekly Sunday supper for her family. Rory, her mother, and her twins. During the week she is lonely and vulnerable with only her cat Sultan for company. Rory pays her little attention and the twins are busy with their own lives. Her mother, a bitter pill, is not one of her favourite people.
The philandering Rory is irredeemable and his many woman eventually make themselves known to Sarah.
Tom, realizing that Scotland will always be the place where he feels at home, makes plans to relocate back to Edinburgh - much to Sarah's delight.
It comes to light that the man who served all those years in prison for raping and murdering Shona McIver was convicted erroneously. Modern DNA has proven that he could NOT have been guilty! Tragic to be sure, but that means that Shona's killer was never found and could still be among them!
Subsequently, the police reopen the case of Shona's murder and utilize all of the scientific advances that are available to further their inquiries.
The inquiries and their consequent revelations cause Sarah's life to implode in a ghastly manner.
This is more than a cold case mystery, it is a character study into the lives of people living with buried trauma. The characters were well drawn, the plot believable and entertaining. The ending was satisfying and tied up all loose ends.
I had no expectations for this novel, as the author was unknown to me and I had heard little about it before starting the book. This hidden gem was a lovely surprise and I look forward to further novels by this talented author.
by Lynne LeGrow
Alison Baillie was born and brought up in Yorkshire by Scottish parents. She studied English and Philosophy at the University of St Andrews and then taught English in Edinburgh secondary schools for twenty years. She has taught English as a Foreign Language in Finland and Switzerland, where she now lives. It was only when she retired from teaching full-time that she wrote her first novel Sewing the Shadows Together, based partly on her time teaching in Portobello. She’s now just finished the first draft of her second novel, which seems to be taking nearly as long to write as her first one.