Book Review | #ChocLitSaturdays (a feature of #JLASblog) | “Up Close” by Henriette Gyland A Romantic #Suspense you tuck inside and do not want to step outside it’s world.

Posted Saturday, 7 February, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By:

I am a ChocLit reviewer who receives books of my choice in exchange for honest reviews! I received a complimentary copy of “Up Close” from ChocLit via IPM (International Publisher’s Marketing) in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. 

Why I love reading Romantic Suspense:

Don’t get me wrong — I love curling inside a lovely light and sweet Romance (although at first I took grievance with the ‘term’ Sweet Romance) yet there are moments where I like a bit of mysterious suspense underwrit into the Romance itself! I like feeling my heart pulse, my breath catch, and that sense of urgency — is whichever ‘something’ going to be found, caught, discovered, uncovered, or overcome? One of my favourite Romantic Suspense novels was actually a bit of an experiment for the writer herself, as she teamed up with a bloke who enjoyed writing traditional psychological suspense (to be honest, this is the category I am akin to myself!) whereas she appreciated writing stimulating INSPY Historical novels for modern women who wanted ‘a different turn of the page’ to traditional INSPY offerings. I’m referring to Deeanne Gist’s Beguiled which left me wanton for more!

I had the chance to enquire if there would be more books of this nature alighting on shelves in the future from her (as I used to take part in the author to reader conversations by live streaming video on YouTube and/or direct to author reader phone conversations by landline! via the now defunct and dearly missed BookTalk Nation!) to which she remarked she wasn’t quite as keen as I was to walk down that road again. She took me by surprise (not just in the reply but with the book itself!) as previously it was Dee Henderson who wrote psychological suspense with romantic undertones that gave me just enough ‘chill for me bones’ to keep me glued to me seat and the page whilst not growing hypersensitive about the nature of the story I was reading!

I’ve attempted to read mainstream Romantic Suspense novels (outside the INSPY world) but too oft-times I find myself pulling back — either from the dangerous vortex of ‘living too close to the action’ of the characters themselves or feeling a bit overcome by the story to where the joy factor left to read it. Then I discovered ChocLit’s method for publishing Romantic Suspense — and I must say, it’s now perking my appetite for what I appreciate!

Why do I love it as much as I do? Hmm, why did Helen want to go with her husband on a mission in True Lies? I think sometimes you want to break up the ruts you fall into during the patterns of your reading wanderings — mix it up, try something completely outside your level of comfort or go for the pulse of an adventure you can safety survive without having to leave your house! I’m sure even Jason Bourne wishes he hadn’t left the house sometimes!

Book Review | #ChocLitSaturdays (a feature of #JLASblog) | “Up Close” by Henriette Gyland A Romantic #Suspense you tuck inside and do not want to step outside it’s world.Up Close
by Henriette Gyland
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Too close for comfort…

When Dr Lia Thompson’s grandmother dies unexpectedly, Lia is horrified to have to leave her life in America and return to a cold and creaky house in Norfolk. But as events unfold, she can’t help feeling that there is more to her grandmother’s death than meets the eye.

Aidan Morrell is surprised to see Lia, his teenage crush, back in town. But Aidan’s accident when serving in the navy has scarred him in more ways than one, and he has other secrets which must stay hidden at all costs, even from Lia.

As Lia comes closer to uncovering the truth, she is forced to question everything she thought she knew. In a world of increasing danger, is Aidan someone she can trust?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Also by this author: Blueprint for Love, The Highwayman's Daughter

Genres: Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense


Published by ChocLitUK

on 7th December, 2012

Format: Paperback

Pages: 369

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback, Audiobook, Large Print, & Ebook

Converse via: #ChocLit & #HenrietteGyland

Cover Art Design by: Berni Stevens @circleoflebanon | Writer | Illustrator

About Henriette Gyland

Henriette lives in London but grew up in Northern Denmark and moved to England after she graduated from the University of Copenhagen. She has worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist.

Expecting her first child and feeling bored, she picked up the pen again, and when a writer friend encouraged her to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association, she began to pursue her writing in earnest. Her debut Up Close won the New Talent Award in 2011 from the Festival of Romance and a Commended from the Yeovil Literary Prize.

Novels: Up Close, The Elephant Girl, Blueprint for Love & The Highwayman’s Daughter

On how beautifully lovely this is bang-on brilliantly British:

I have blogged about my affection for British phrases and turns of speech, inasmuch as my particular penchant for British words in the more general sense as being the bits of language and speech I become quite giddy over discovering anew in the past. Yes, except, this novel (and there are a few before it too!) by Ms Gyland has truly lit up my eyes with such a delish array of *new words!* and small inklings of how to express oneself if you were bourne in Britain rather than an American bourne British descendant thrice over (such as I) to where you can start to piece together a patchwork of modern British vernacular!

I have lamented about the fact I need to sort out the *best of the best* British language dictionary to collect to help alleviate most of the ‘mystery’ for me, as I grow my own vocabulary and awareness of the words and phrases through my dedicated readings of British Literature (non-exclusive of era or generation). To give a preview of how my joy exploded exponentially as I read Up Close, you might want to jump open this tweet where I mentioned what I did with the neon pink reader flags!

Brought back a lot of memories of my grandmother (part of where my British roots originate, esp in direct connection to the Pilgrims!), who would use certain turns of phrase that were decidedly British yet were not highlighted as such as my grandmother had difficulty in some ways with my keen interest and fascination on behalf of my ancestral roots (taking after my Mum!). By reading Up Close, I started to converse about what I learnt inside this novel as a gateway of insight into my grandmother, where Mum and I turnt back the clock with a fresh pair of eyes! To me that is a gift that is unexpectedly beautiful to receive for having picked up a novel!

*To read why the British language is important to me as a writer, visit My Bookish Life

*British English books discovered & placed on my Book Wishes List

My Review of Up Close:

You’re jolted awake the moment you start to settle into Up Close, as Gyland starts the story off on such a heightened moment of horror, truly, as your observing a presumed murder taking place whilst an overseeing menace lies in wait without an inch of remorse. Such an opener truly leaves you on pins to await what is coming next, as it’s quite ominous how vindicative the person in wait comes across and how deathly precise the reaction of seeing them outside a window affects the victim!

A swift-foot turn of face happened when I realised the lead character Lia was related to is the recently deceased, which tipped my curiosity to sort out what might have led to her grandmother’s death; perhaps a secret of a prior life? It smelt of espionage to me, as there are quite a limited few who would become so violently vile to watch someone die as the person inside the Prologue had with Lia’s grandmother! Seeing Lia attempt to put to rights what is left behind of the estate is quite the chucklement because she has to sort out the neighbours inasmuch as the affairs! When the dog came back to the residence, I couldn’t help but see the irony of how much the dog observed and how much was left secret with the dead.

Even the good-hearted neighbour who returnt the dog had me smiling; yet I believe this is because I could very well see this playing out in my mind! I’ve watched quite a heap of BBC dramas to envision how comfortable a neighbour might find themselves taking up house on a visit to someone who wasn’t even expecting their company!

By the time Lia and Brian were sharing a half pint of Guinness, I truly wanted to jump continents and join them! I took a keen liking to the taste whilst experimenting with a recipe that called for a lot of this particular stout beer, and it turnt me into a girl who loves the taste of it outside the meal! A hearkening of me Irish roots sprouting out a bit, eh? Pub lunches in England are all the rage and quite a bit envogue stateside in New England —  half of what implores me to visit, because you cannot just duck-in for grub and conversation at ‘any ole pub’ you dare choose elsewhere! I have a curious attachment to ‘dives’ as they tend to have the best faire with the best abled cooks behind the creations and pub’s have this aesthetic to them; part community watering hole and part wicked place to chat with mates!

Diving is a sport of interest of my own, except there were always a bit of caution on the fringes of my mind as to whether or not I wanted to pursue it. Straight-up admiration for the under the surface worlds you’d meet if you dove were enticing enough but the dangers of what could happen kept me grounded on land. Despite that, I have the tendency to get lit with an energy to peer through a writer’s take on how addictive the sea can lure a diver into the shallows and beyond. Gyland writes these passages of Brian’s affection for scuba diving as if she’s either gone out herself or know someone within her circle who dives regularly. She’s pierced through this world with observational realism.

You curl inside Up Close where hours melt off the clock, as your wholly rooted inside the visuals Gyland is painting you as much as you’ve attached yourself to the introspective guidance of Lia’s internal thoughts. There is a unnerving dice of ‘other worldly’ threads interwoven through the journey Lia has undertook to dig back through her grandmother’s life and the house she left behind that staggers it’s own curious ‘mystery’ to unlock as much as why her grandmother’s death is anything but ordinary. Your bolted straight to rights to Lia’s internal conflict of seeking out a path through the pain of her past and alight better for it to walk towards her future.

Emotions are votive high, as Brian has his own unresolved demons due to his war-ravaged brother who went missing before having been presumed dead. Brian wrestled with his own issues after war, but it is the ambiguous losses in his life which prove the most devastating to accept. His soul is wrenched taut with mistakes he cannot amend as much as regrets that seek to erode him rather than cleanse his anguish. Both Lia and Brian are flawed characters whose lives are ruddied in the gray, where sea smoke and light are attempting to touch them. They are hardened a bit on the edges, but there are glintings of a turnabout of mind and spirit emerging as their paths start to collide into each other.

On how Henriette Gyland crafted her suspense novel:

Gyland’s pen for psychological suspense if incredible! She has a sophistication in her selection of conveying the elements you’re expecting to find inside a Rom Suspense novel, but it’s elevated quite a heap because your tucked into these beautiful blocks of narrative prose; half introspective, half hauntingly ethereal (nearly paranormally inclined!), and creatively intriguing! You soak inside Up Close so readily your eyes are hungry for the next words to wash over your mind and carry you further into the heart of the novel itself!

I love how the confluence of detail is matched against the strength of the character’s who alight on the page as wholly true of a convincing real-life counterpart! Lia is an interesting lead character, as straight from the onset you can sense she’s a private person who aches to be around people and to step outside her shell, but she’s not quite assured how to go from who she is in the States to whom she always was in England. She’s betwixt countries as much as she is confused on where her heart lies. Not just in love, mind, but rather where she fits inside her cosy comfort of a niche for life.

Within the background of the story surrounding Lia and her grandmother’s untimely death, Gyland has elected to hit on topical subjects that other writers might shy away from but she handles them with a deft ease and a cunning depth for compassionate writing. Brian’s brother whose unexplained disappearance left him with a certainty of death had befallen his trouble sibling, stemmed out of the effect deployment has on soldiers serving at war. PTSD is spoken about openly, with an honesty that honours servicemen everywhere. The manner in which Parkinson’s is disclosed is humbling with a careful tone for acceptance of what it represents without treating it as something to fear. The details surrounding Lia’s brother’s death and his diagnosis with Down Syndrome felt realistic to how families can react to children who are bourne with definitive differences to their siblings.

I haven’t even touched on some of the other bits of thematic you’ll discover, because Up Close is dramatically writ for the modern reader, who will find a culling sense for contemporary life and the woes that stem out of circumstances that take us unawares. This is a style of Romantic Suspense where the layers of the story knit inside you as you read.

Gyland takes you on a journey through the mind – where memory, illusion, and extra-sensory perception are key elements used to elicit a ‘knowing sense’ of where she wants you to traverse and how there is quite a heap of unknowns for us to put aside and simply absorb through the portal in our hands!

A few new things I learnt:

Thunderflies are quite an insect that I’m thankful we do not have over here, or at least not in the parts of which I live! I hadn’t quite realised you can ‘potter’ about whilst walking towards a particular place, rather than use the word to mean your ‘tinkering about’ as to refer to an action of doing something without aim or true motivation. This is one reason I love reading literature outside my own country’s offerings — you get to pick up a new way of seeing the world and how what is seen can be reflected back through narrative voice!

British words & phrases allowing me a window into my heritage and my grandmother’s way of expressing herself. On accents of Norfolk, England I happened upon a cheeky bloke who posted a YouTube vid of how quizzingly curious a sheet of paper led him to ‘saying aloud’ a haphazard array of words whilst he attempted to cross-compare us ‘Yanks’ (truly used to being called this due to the whole ‘Northern stock, Southern bourne’ bit of my youth; he is merely referring my ‘country’ rather than the part of it I was bourne) to Britons, but the reason I kept the vid playing is I was curious how folks from Norfolk England ‘sounded’! In this, I learnt Norfolkers do not sound quite how I expected?! I mean, truly their voices sound as I would have presumed?! Hmm,… Have a go if your inclined (due note: he does say a naughty word or two!): Accent Challenged: Norfolk England.

Ploughman’s lunch is quite delightfully appetizing! Thus, I hopped on the ‘duck’ (i.e. duckduckgo) and found this lovely: Eating in England: Ploughman’s Lunch! Best new Brit foodie discovery since I became encased in the ‘fever of the hour’ revelations on *Best British Bake-Off* series on PBS! Oh, dear! I’ve blundered that series title again! *The Great British Baking Show!* the kind dears are on Twitter! Hmm, when did they get-on saying “bake-off”? I’ve chatted up this series for a full month, plus two and it was “baking show”? Oy vie.

Suspense & Romance do not have to be bone-chilling as I loved the atmospheric way Up Close evolves in front of the reader’s eyes! Your in the prime seat of view for everything happening, yet your nearly ‘too close’ to see what is ‘unveiling’ in front of you! This is classic psychological suspense and I love it!

Discover the Norfolk Coast England via Love Great Britian

Inspired to Share: As I read Up Close, there were certain clues and alarmingly familiar registrations as I read the novel that not only gave me a proper joy in reading the book itself for it’s locale but as strange as this felt as I read the story, I couldn’t help muse “isn’t Norfolk an awful lot like New England?” This video I’m sharing confirms those nettling bemused thoughts and how quite bang-on I was to notice! Wow! Ticket, please! Book me on that train! Oh, dear my! Isn’t it dreamy?!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This book review is courtesy of:

ChocLitUK Reviewer

Be sure to catch my next Choc Lit review
which will be Dance Until Dawn by Berni Stevens!
And, visit my ChocLit Next Reads List on Riffle
to see which stories I fancy to devour in 2015!

Reader Interactive Question:

When it comes to Romantic Suspense novels, what are you looking for as a motivating interest to continue with the story once your caught between knowing the cause of the anxiety for the main character and the revelation of how much danger they truly were in?

What do you find wickedly delightful about reading novels and stories outside your own country? Do you delight in the educational bits and bobbles like I do?!

Don’t forget to Replay the Bookish Chat #ChocLitSaturday had on 31st January, 2015 on “Diversity & Equality in Romance”! RSVP our next chat for the 28th of February, 2015! Til soon, I hope we’ll see you chatting with us! Spread the joy of #ChocLitSaturday to your bookish friends, all are welcome! Visit my post on #ChocLitSaturdays vs #ChocLitSaturday for more information!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Related Articles:

Please take note of the Related Articles as they were hand selected due to being of cross-reference importance in relation to this book review. This applies to each post on my blog where you see Related Articles underneath the post. Be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the further readings which are offered.

Thrips – (en.wikipedia.org)

{SOURCES: Cover art of  “Up Close”, author photograph for Henriette Gyland, author biography, book synopsis, and book reviewer badge were all provided by ChocLitUK and used with permission. #ChocLitSaturdays Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Bookish Events badge created by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. The tourism video for “Norfolk England” had either URL share links or coding which made it possible to embed this media portal to this post, and I thank them for the opportunity to share more about this novel and the author who penned it. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 7 February, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, British Literature, ChocLitSaturdays, ChocLitUK, Crime Fiction, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Modern British Author, Modern British Literature, Modern Day, Suspense, Vulgarity in Literature




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