Her Three Lives by Cate Holahan – #BookReview – #domesticthrillers

Book Blurb:

Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanGaslight goes high-tech in USA Today bestselling author Cate Holahan’s new standalone thriller in which a family must determine who the real enemy is after a brutal home invasion breaks their trust in each other.
Her public life Jade Thompson has it all. She’s an up-and-coming social media influencer, and she has a beautiful new home and a successful architect for a fiancé. But there’s trouble behind the scenes. To Greg’s children, his divorce from their mother and his new life can only mean a big mid-life crisis. To Jade, his suburban Connecticut upbringing isn’t an easy match with her Caribbean roots.
Her private life A savage home invasion leaves Greg house-bound with a traumatic brain injury and glued to the live feeds from his ubiquitous security cameras. As the police investigate the crime and Greg’s frustration and rage grows, Jade begins to wonder what he may know about their attackers. And whether they are coming back.
Her secret life As Greg watches Jade’s comings and goings, he becomes convinced that her behavior is suspicious and that she’s hiding a big secret.  The more he sees, the more he wonders whether the break-in was really a random burglary. And whether he’s worth more to Jade if he were dead than alive.

My Review:

My first book by this author, a domestic thriller standalone features two main characters. Greg is a well-to-do early fifty something, Harvard educated, and an architect. After only six months, he has invited Jade Thompson to a rental home they’ll share until they are married and have their baby in their new home. She is the product of the Caribbean and a strong social medial influencer who has managed to create a sufficient enough following that she makes her own living. She is also the May to his December.

Her Three Lives by Cate HolahanUnfortunately, this is not his first marriage, nor his first child, and although he met Jade after he separated from his wife of twenty-five years, his soon to be ex and both of his children by her are more than a little unsettled at being replaced.

From the outset, there is the sin of omission between the two. Not lies. Not untruths. The failure of disclosure. And both harbor secrets—but perhaps more so on her side. So when they are attacked and he’s left with a serious brain injury and she loses their baby, it sets off a slow chain of events.

Greg’s recovery is slow and debilitating requiring further surgery and in the meantime, his daughter is planting more and more venom in his mind regarding Jade, adding to his insecurity and paranoia. He has wealth and added her to his insurance policy. Is it his money? She has hidden an appalling childhood. Does the attack stem from her father, his associates, or one of his victims?

The attacks on her character are vicious. Greg follows one theory then another. Watches her. She is trying to settle the doubts in her mind about her dad. But Greg and Jade don’t sit and talk. No honest heart-to-hearts here. Just suspicion. They aren’t well developed, so it’s difficult to walk in either shoes.

I had a problem getting into this one. It dragged a bit for me. Not so much as a thriller as a slow build of suspense. I had a couple little problems with the lack of sufficient research (Rikers? Nope—not going to happen). It gradually makes it to conclusion, but by then a matter of eliminating one or the either (not that many and a bit obvious). The relationship between the two is one you’d peg to fail. Communication being a major problem and then add the disparity in cultural and financial backgrounds.

His daughter is awful—no way you can get over that—or his quick lack of support for Jade in a crisis. Yes, I know, I know!!—he’d almost died from the head injury. Am I being too harsh on him? She’d also suffered loss—where was her sympathy? (Don’t get me started.) 3.5 stars

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Domestic Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

  • ASIN : B08F4ZJVN6

Print Length: 353 pages
Publication Date: April 20, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Kobo

Cate Holahan - authorThe Author: Catherine “Cate” Holahan is the USA Today bestselling author of The Widower’s Wife (August 2016), Lies She Told (Sept. 2017), Dark Turns (November 2015), and One Little Secret (July 9, 2019). An award-winning journalist and former television producer, her articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record newspaper, and on many web sites. She is a graduate of Princeton University and lives in New Jersey with her husband, two young daughters, and sometimes-good dog.

©2021 V Williams

The Chain by Adrian McKinty – #Audiobook Review – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

(Amazon) Editors Pick Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense 

Book Blurb:

It’s something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it’s a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a ransom, and find another child to abduct. This is no ordinary kidnapping: the caller is a mother herself, whose son has been taken, and if Rachel doesn’t do as she’s told, the boy will die.  “You are not the first. And you will certainly not be the last.” Rachel is now part of The Chain, an unending and ingenious scheme that turns victims into criminals — and is making someone else very rich in the process. The rules are simple, the moral challenges impossible; find the money fast, find your victim , and then commit a horrible act you’d have thought yourself incapable of just twenty-four hours ago. But what the masterminds behind The Chain know is that parents will do anything for their children. It turns out that kidnapping is only the beginning.

My Review:

Somehow I feel like I was tricked into listening to this audiobook by a beloved author and then just before I clicked on my speaker, the author got switched. Reading the reviews, everyone loves McKinty’s Sean Duffy series. Of course, I weighed in for Reading Ireland Reviews and this was not anything like I expected.

The Chain by Adrian McKintyThe premise here, of course, is the kidnapping of a thirteen year old girl, Kylie. Rachel Klein, the mother, however, is not a monied person, and in fact a single mother with a history of cancer. It doesn’t make sense she’d have been the target of a kidnapper—can you really get blood out of a turnip? Apparently so.

In this case, it’s a terrifyingly unique ransom. Not just the money—no—she has now been inducted into the “chain.” Her daughter can only survive by her abducting another child and jumping through the hoops as she’s done. And the chain can’t be broken. Remember all the admonitions when you got a chain letter? Terrible things would befall those who didn’t keep it going. Talk about a rock and a hard place!

There are subsequent parents as Rachel works to free her own daughter. Can the daughter be returned unscathed? What must something like this do to a child? There is the obvious exposition of laying one’s life open on social media. Gees, TOO EASY! Just pick someone. Or maybe not. Must be the right family, the right child to insure the chain continues.

Rachel becomes a mamma bear and will countenance no less in the other mothers or families. But mothers and families are different. And Rachel can’t do it alone—she brings in a brother-in-law, former Marine. He waxes strong and dependent with his own physical problems.

The plot gradually reveals in small dollops those behind the chain. But at this point even the parents have been forced into acts they’d have never dreamed of doing. The narrative goes darker and stretches disbelief. Are any of the characters sympathetic now?

A thriller at the beginning, a suspense, not a lot of sagging, but tilts in the end to disbelief. Still, I’m intrigued enough that I’ll try this author’s main series as this is apparently a standalone and veers substantially from his norm.

Book Details:

Genre: Kidnapping Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Mulholland Books – Hachette Audio

  • ASIN: ASIN : B07K6HCYPY

 Print Length: 369 pages
Listening Length: 10 hrs 9 mins
Narrator: January LaVoy
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Chain [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four of Five Stars 4 stars

Adrian McKinty - authorThe Author: Adrian McKinty is an Edgar Award winning crime novelist from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Adrian studied philosophy at Oxford University on a full scholarship. In the early 90’s he emigrated to New York City where he worked in bars, building sites and bookstores for seven years before moving to Denver, Colorado to become a high school English teacher. He lives in Melbourne, Australia with his wife and two children.

His first crime novel Dead I Well May Be was shortlisted for the 2004 Dagger Award and was optioned by Universal Pictures. He has written a dozen novels since then. He has won the Edgar Award, the Ned Kelly Award, the Barry Award, the Audie Award and the Anthony Award. He has been shortlisted for the Dagger Award, Theakston Crime Novel of the Year Award and the Prix du Meilleurs Polar.

 

January LaVoy - narrator, actressThe Narrator: January LaVoy is an Atlanta-based actress, best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz-Stubbs on the long-running ABC daytime drama ONE LIFE TO LIVE.  She has appeared on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters across the country, and guest starred on several prime time network series, including Elementary, Blue Bloods, and N0S4A2. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and is a full-time faculty member in the Department of Theater and Dance at Emory University.

©2021 V Williams

Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent – An #Audiobook Review – #psychologicalthriller – #readingirelandmonth21 – #TBT

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five Stars 5 stars

Reading Ireland Month 2021 (Amazon) Editors Pick – Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

Book Blurb:

From the international best-selling author of Unraveling Oliver, an “unputdownable psychological thriller with an ending that lingers long after turning the final page” (The Irish Times) about a Dublin family whose dark secrets and twisted relationships are suddenly revealed.

My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it*. 

On the surface, Lydia Fitzsimons has the perfect life – wife of a respected, successful judge, mother to a beloved son, mistress of a beautiful house in Dublin. That beautiful house, however, holds a secret. And when Lydia’s son, Laurence, discovers its secret, wheels are set in motion that lead to an increasingly claustrophobic and devastatingly dark climax. 

My Review:

OMG! This book is crazy twisted. The narrative is a psychological thriller-suspense but that doesn’t really classify a novel that reaches for and secures the devastingly dark, gasp-inducing hyperventilating novel this produces.

Doesn’t that line hook you in the blurb?* It did me and like a horror film you carefully sneak peaks through your fingers, you must…need to…finish. This is a family drama. No, not drama, noir, so dark it’s causing disbelieving, disturbing waves as you read it.

Lying in Wait by Liz NugentThe storyline is set in Dublin. A woman so narcissistic that no loved one is beyond sacrificing and it would appear that’s essentially what she does either directly or indirectly.

It’s beyond this normal reader’s fathom to wrap my head around the plot line—a woman who feels justified in pushing her husband to find a surrogate. She MUST have another baby. Her son, poor innocent Laurence, is growing up, getting older. She is a smother mother and there is a cruelly unhealthy connection between mother and son. But really, her husband Andrew, the judge, isn’t the first casualty. The surrogate, Annie Doyle (a prostitute and junkie now buried in their backyard) is not either. What extended family can look at this perverse situation and continue to make excuses?

There are few characters in the book and several have their own POV’s. My heart wept for Karen (sister of Annie), ached for Laurence, raged at Lydia Fitzsimmons. So easy to go from one POV to the other, filling in little voids, little thoughts or questions, mini-contradictions. The author smoothly develops her characters, adds the tension, gravitas, that the reader doesn’t realize how darkly and deeply ugly the plot has become. It’s sick. My heart was sinking and I kept waiting for that tiny spark, the pinpoint of light. Surely it was coming.

The well-plotted pace was full of twists and turns. The conclusion hurts—does nothing go the way you hoped or predicted? And then the final blow—the fatal punch to the gut. I woke my husband sleeping peacefully beside me with a plaintive cry—NOOOO! What did I just read?! I couldn’t believe it—it CAN’T end this way—but it did? No no no

I look at the author’s picture and think she looks so normal but from where in her mind did this come? And the narrator? Nailed it!

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Fiction, Psychological Thrillers, Crime Thrillers
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Audio
ASIN: B07BHTQPXW
 Print Length:
Listening Length: 8 hrs 33 min
Narrator: Caoilfhionn DunneDavid McFetridgeLesley McGuire
Publication Date: June 12, 2018
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Lying in Wait [Amazon]

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Liz Nugent - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] Liz Nugent worked as a stage manager in theatres in Ireland and toured internationally before writing extensively for radio and television drama.

Unravelling Oliver was published in 2014, hit the number 1 spot for several weeks and won Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards.

Liz Nugent - author witth awardLying in Wait, published in 2016, went straight to number 1 and was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club. It won the Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Listeners Choice Award at the Irish Book Awards.

In October 2017, Liz won the Irish Tatler Woman of the Year Award in Literature.

Skin Deep was published in 2018. It also went straight to number 1 in the bestsellers charts and scooped two awards at the An Post Irish Book Awards in Nov ’18: Crime Novel of the Year AND the Radio 1 Ryan Tubridy Listener’s Choice Award. Catch her at her website or her Twitter account @lizzienugent.

The Narrator: Caoilfhionn Dunne is an actress, known for Love/Hate (2010), In View (2016) and Wrath of the Titans (2012). Born in Dublin, Ireland.

©2021 V Williams

No Going Back (Sawyer Brooks Book 3) by T R Ragan – A #BookReview – Vigilante Justice Thriller

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars 5 stars

 Book Blurb:

No Going Back by T R RaganThe biggest story of a crime reporter’s career could be her last as fury, vengeance, and justice collide in this breathtaking thriller by New York Times bestselling author T.R. Ragan.

Some call it murder. Others, karma. The female vigilantes dubbed The Black Wigs call it justice. The victims? Sexual predators who never paid for their sins. For three months, The Black Wigs byline has belonged to Sawyer Brooks, a crime reporter still struggling with her own demons. But for Sawyer, there’s suddenly more to the story than just catching the dark web avengers.

Copycat vigilantes are cornering the unchecked abusers of Sacramento and uploading the men’s abject fear to social media. The trending insanity isn’t making Sawyer’s job any easier. Neither is a new murder—another predator, but one who doesn’t fit so neatly into The Black Wigs’ agenda. Something even more sinister is at play.

As she follows every lead, someone with the answer is following her, determined to bring Sawyer to her knees. Because soon enough, for both Sawyer and a killer, the truth she’s been looking for will be a punishing revelation. 

His Review:

An orphanage with a troubled past and a history of raising unwanted children. Sounds boring unless you remember the bullies in your youth! If so, this book should fill a void in the revenge you wanted as a child. Too small to protect yourself, you were tied up, beaten, abused and there was no one to turn to! T. R. Ragan paints this backdrop with vivid colors and bitter memories.

No Going Back by T R RaganOccasionally girls and ladies will get together to seek revenge for the cruelties foisted on them as young girls. This is one of those tales. Warnings of avoiding fraternity parties and places where young girls are left alone is the backdrop of this saga. Does the end justify the previous crimes committed on these young women? I found myself lacking in sympathy for the perpetrators.

Rape and molestation are often adjudicated by the courts in favor of the rapists. “The girl was asking for it.” However, if the victim is a ten year-old girl and the thugs are teenagers, this is obviously not the case. Four guys lying about the circumstances and a good defense attorney and the crime is thrown out of court.

A group called the “Black Wigs” undertake to right these wrongs. Sawyer Brooks is a reporter for the Sacramento Independent that is an investigative reporter trying to find out who is doing these crimes. She and another reporter are trying to get to the bottom of the case. Bodies are found in old warehouses and other locations in the Sacramento, CA area and a bizarre series of crimes are set into motion.

This well-developed narrative is satisfying in its’ conclusion and tragic in the outcome. I was hoping the police department would solve the murders but had my fingers crossed that the women seeking justice would not get caught. Definitely a near dual personality read. Enjoy this tale and hurrah for the author!

Previously read were two in the Jessie Cole series and Book 2 in this series by the other half. She rated four and one-half stars and five. The link to those reviews indicated by bold below. A solid thriller author we both appreciate and recommend! Currently on pre-order. 5 Stars-CE Williams

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Book Details:

Genre: Vigilante Justice Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

  • ASIN : B088F26YSF

Print Length: 283 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 4, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: No Going Back [Amazon]
Also find the book at this location:
Barnes and Noble

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T R Ragan - authorThe Author: T.R. Ragan (Theresa Ragan) has sold over three million books and is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling mystery and thriller author.

Readers interested in signing up for a monthly newsletter or getting their name in a TR RAGAN book should check out her website at http://www.trragan.com

Facebook * Twitter * Instagram: @trraganauthor

LIZZY GARDNER SERIES
Abducted
Dead Weight
A Dark Mind
Obsessed
Almost Dead
Evil Never Dies

FAITH MCMANN TRILOGY
Furious
Outrage
Wrath

JESSIE COLE SERIES
Her Last Day
Deadly Recall
Deranged
Buried Deep

SAWYER BROOKS SERIES
Don’t Make a Sound – 6/20
Out of Her Mind – 11/20

©CE Williams – V Williams the CE and I

House of Correction by Nicci French – An #Audiobook Review – #crimethrillers

House of Correction by Nicci French

Book Blurb:

In this heart-pounding stand-alone thriller from best-selling author Nicci French, a woman accused of murder attempts to solve her own case from the confines of prison – but as she unravels the truth, everything is called into question, including her own certainty that she is innocent.

Tabitha is not a murderer.

When a body is discovered in Okeham, England, Tabitha is shocked to find herself being placed in handcuffs. It must be a mistake. She’d only recently moved back to her childhood hometown, not even getting a chance to reacquaint herself with the neighbors. How could she possibly be a murder suspect?

She knows she’s not.

As Tabitha is shepherded through the system, her entire life is picked apart and scrutinized – her history of depression and medications, her decision to move back to a town she supposedly hated…and of course, her past relationship with the victim, her former teacher. But most unsettling, Tabitha’s own memories of that day are a complete blur.

She thinks she’s not.

From the isolation of the correctional facility, Tabitha dissects every piece of evidence, every testimony she can get her hands on, matching them against her own recollections. But as dark, long-buried memories from her childhood come to light, Tabatha begins to question if she knows what kind of person she is after all. The world is convinced she’s a killer. Tabatha needs to prove them all wrong.

But what if she’s only lying to herself?   

My Review:

Tabitha Hardy returned to her childhood home in Okeham to renovate a property after she inherited some money and used it to buy a cottage. She has a history of being a loner, of having depression, eccentricities, and rudeness and hasn’t exactly ingratiated herself with the home town people. She wakes one day to send her handyman off as she didn’t wish to deal with repairs or work that day and he discovers a body in her outhouse.

Oops!

House of Correction by Nicci FrenchThis can’t end well. And doesn’t. After she is arrested for the man’s murder, it is discovered he was her math teacher when she was 15 and it is revealed was abused by him. Uh oh, means, motive, and opportunity.

And the problem is that she can’t remember the day—anything about it—but she is pretty sure she couldn’t have murdered him. The attorney assigned to her simply suggests she should plead guilty—too much evidence against her—and hope for a short sentence. Tabitha fires her and now she’s up the creek without a paddle as she knows nothing about the law, about the procedure, or even how to go about defending herself if she can’t remember what happened that day. There are times she doubts herself.

Could she have done it?

Tabitha may have gotten lucky, however, in the initial cellmate she is given, Michaela (released early), ends up supporting Tabitha right into the courtroom. Perhaps the first third to a half of the narrative is Tabitha’s assumption it’s all a mistake and she’ll be found not culpable and sent home. Doesn’t happen. The second half of the book is her courtroom fight. While it quite accurately shows her lack of expertise, ignorance, and egregious mistakes, it also paints the picture of an overly tolerant judge, allowing a large degree of latitude where I doubt would realistically happen.

Tabitha is not a protagonist to love—she is difficult, foul-mouthed, and short tempered. Once she digs in, however, she does appear to be making some headway into her case, challenging witnesses and discrediting her share of them. There are periods where she waxes philosophical and you get a glimpse of the woman she might have become were it not for those crippling teen experiences. I really appreciated the character of Michaela—smart, loyal, empathetic. The authors draw the prosecutorial team as you might expect, overly confident, competent, and theatrical.

My introduction to the husband/wife team that is Nicci French in a narrative that captures attention immediately, draws you in, and keeps a fast-paced, well plotted storyline. Not part of a series and out now, get the audiobook as I did enjoying a particularly fine narrator or the format of your choice. I think you’ll find this thriller worth the read and I’ll be looking for more. Recommended.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Suspense
Publisher:  Harper Collins Publishers

  • ISBN-10:1471179281

ASIN: B083WPBQ84
Print Length: 487 pages
Listening Length: 11 hrs., 19 mins.
Narrator: Michelle Ford
Publication Date: October 27, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: House of Correction (Amazon)

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Nicci FrenchThe Author: Nicci French is the pseudonym of English husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write psychological thrillers together.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Apdency (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

(Goodreads—Truncated) Note: (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French also write separately.)
Nicci Gerrard was born in June 1958 in Worcestershire. After graduating with a first class honours degree in English Literature from Oxford University, she began her first job, working with emotionally disturbed children in Sheffield. In that same year she married journalist Colin Hughes.

In the early eighties she taught English Literature in Sheffield, London and Los Angeles, but moved into publishing in 1985 with the launch of Women’s Review, a magazine for women on art, literature and female issues.

In 1987 Nicci had a son, Edgar, followed by a daughter, Anna, in 1988, but a year later her marriage to Colin Hughes broke down.

In 1989 she became acting literary editor at the New Statesman, before moving to the Observer, where she was deputy literary editor for five years, and then a feature writer and executive editor.

It was while she was at the New Statesman that she met Sean French.

Sean French was born in May 1959 in Bristol, to a British father and Swedish mother. He too studied English Literature at Oxford University at the same time as Nicci, also graduating with a first class degree, but their paths didn’t cross until 1990. In 1981 he won Vogue magazine’s Writing Talent Contest, and from 1981 to 1986 he was their theatre critic. During that time he also worked at the Sunday Times as deputy literary editor and television critic, and was the film critic for Marie Claire and deputy editor of New Society.

Sean and Nicci were married in Hackney in October 1990. Their daughters, Hadley and Molly, were born in 1991 and 1993.

By the mid-nineties Sean had had two novels published, The Imaginary Monkey and The Dreamer of Dreams, as well as numerous non-fiction books, including biographies of Jane Fonda and Brigitte Bardot.

In 1995 Nicci and Sean began work on their first joint novel and adopted the pseudonym of Nicci French…Nicci and Sean also continue to write separately. Nicci still works as a journalist for the Observer, covering high-profile trials including those of Fred and Rose West, and Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr…

Michelle FordThe Narrator:  Michelle Ford is a native Brit and professional voice actor. Having moved “across the pond” six years ago, Michelle now lives just outside New York and still gets a buzz when driving into the city and seeing the Manhattan skyline. Michelle has a proven track record in long narration, with over twenty titles in published audiobooks covering contemporary fiction, historical romance, mythical/paranormal fiction, biographies, children’s stories, short stories, science fiction, and business, and she is never happier than when she is in flipflops and behind a mic.

In addition, Michelle is experienced in voicing e-learning (she’s worked with many blue-chip pharmaceutical, medical, and technical clients), animation voice-over, corporate messages, Web sites, characters, children’s stories, film narration, podcasts, industrial projects, on-camera, tv, and radio commercials. She has worked for clients in fourteen countries, from Brazil to South Africa, and the Middle East to Australia. (Courtesy Tantor Media)

©2020 V Williams V Williams