The Most Difficult Thing

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Member Reviews

Charlotte Philby does a wonderful job of creating a sense of isolation and confusion, and exploring the manipulation, fear and cruelty that goes into doing the 'right' thing - I'm really looking forward to her panel with Sarah Armstrong, Manda Scott, and Asia McKay at Bloody Scotland!
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Told from 2 different viewpoint, I just failed to like this book. I found it confusing and ohhhh so slow. The setting was well described but the characters weren't well defined and I really didn't care at all for Anna - a self-absorbed person, to say the least. I did have high hopes for this book, given the provenance of the author, but it just didn't work for me. Struggled to finish it and when I did, I was left with so many unanswered questions. The author does have potential, cannot deny that, however, a change of genre might be in order. My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.
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Disappointing - 
This is a novel about subterfuge, espionage, counter- espionage, duplicity, fallibility,  the importance of marriage guidance and many other matters too numerous to mention. (Since reading this novel I had a good look at my wife's birth certificate just to satisfy myself that she is who she claimed to be and didn't marry me for my debt.)
Sorry but as you might have already guessed the novel didn't work for me. All the characters were either one dimensional or lacking in grey matter and the plot? 
The plot involves Anna marrying David in order to lay her hands on the secret trading of the family business: Tradesmart. When she does do that she finds herself outwitted and destined to life as a widow without any inheritance. Surely there would have been easier ways to glean trading secrets than to have an agent who is not really an agent marry the target's son? Granted this is a debut but I honestly expected better.
Whilst this novel didn't work for me it might for other readers.
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I was rather intrigued by this book, it wasn’t something I would usually go for - but the plot really appealed to me.

In all honesty I did find it hard to get on with this book, I liked the way that it began and the way the characters pasts were explored.

As the book went on, I found the plot to become a little outrageous and unbelievable, which was a stark contrast from the beginning and ruined the rest of the book for me.
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Most of this book was great, and a good read, but there were parts of it that were quite confusing - for instance the ending that left me a little puzzled. I'd have given it more stars for a clearer ending.
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I didn’t know what to expect when I started this book so my expectations were low - however very quickly I became embroiled in this well plotted story. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters but that didn’t really matter, I just wanted to find out why, and what.  There are twists and turns most of which you don’t see coming and there was a definite WTF moment.  I’m definitely going to read Charlotte Philby’s next book!
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I didn't really get on with this book. It started well and I liked the character on Anna and her intriguing past. The writing seemed to change though when Maria appeared and became much more melodramatic and unconvincing. It was almost like reading a different author, or writing from when she was much less experienced and then it was padded out and re-ordered.
The final parts were just silly and unbelievable and the end of the book was very disappointing. I enjoy some creative ambiguity, but to be just left hanging like that.
3* is generous.
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I have mixed feelings about this.  I enjoyed the story but felt that not enough detail was given at the beginning as to how she found herself in that situation in the first place.  it just didn't really seem feasible to me.  Good writing though and would definitely try something else by the author.
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Truly twisted in the story here. So much changes from what you start with to where you end up, it keeps you hooked right in
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Unfortunately this is just one of those books I struggled with. I kept picking it up reading a bit and putting it back down. I just couldn’t engage with it. 

I didn’t bond with the main character Annie it just didn’t work for me. The writing is good. I think it was just the fact the story didn’t pull me in.

I will look out for whatever the author writes next. This is just my opinion I am sure many others will enjoy it as we know that books are subjective.
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So this was totally unexpected - I loved this. Really really interesting and highly recommend! It went above my expectations!
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The book begins as Anna is meeting someone in subterfuge. The book then fast forwards three years. Without giving anything away this part of the book is then repeated at the end so it felt like some kind of deja vu when I got to the end of the book. It also slightly spoiled the book for me as when the tension was building I was aware of what was going to happen near the end of the book.

The book then reverts back to Anna's earlier life when she had just left Uni and has a sub heading of "Then". At this point I felt the book got a little too drawn out and I thought I was going to struggle to stay with it. Eventually the plot turned into more of a spy type thriller and at times I was on the edge of my seat, but then the beginning of the book would come back to me. It felt a little like an episode of Star Trek, when you know nothing will ever happen to the main characters just those who have a walk on part. 

Somewhere around part three of the book there was so much double, treble crossing that I got really confused about who was working for who and what was actually happening. Then came the ending - apart from the bit from the beginning of the book, there is a twist and then what felt like falling into a black hole. I have been trying to reconcile it in my mind - what did it mean? I've re read it and I'm no clearer with it, just wondering if there is a follow up book maybe?

It has taken me a while to be able to write this review because I have such mixed feelings about it. I was happy with the writing, but cared little for Anna or David. They were both so self absorbed in their own worlds and most of the supporting characters were too.
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A well written thriller with plenty of twists and turns. Fell a little flat in places and the ending with left too open for my liking, but still a great read.
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Thank you to Charlotte Philby, Harper Collins UK and NetGalley for the ARC of THE MOST DIFFICULT THING..
I really enjoyed the premise of this novel, but there were a few things that didn't quite chime. Anna seemed to be an intelligent, forward thinking woman with an enviable job, but she allowed herself to be put in danger by Harry. Okay, he was a kind of Svengali she fell for, but she married a man she didn't love and had his children to find out what his father was up to in his business dealings. On the face of it, it would seem far-fetched, yet we know people do some odd things for love, and in her defence, once she was in it up to her neck she didn't know how to get out. Also, David's death was kind of a shock, not in terms of his death, but one minute she's hunting for a receipt in her father-in-law's study, then she's at David's funeral.I had to go back and re-read it because I didn't know where I was. or if I'd got something wrong.. I'm not saying this novel wasn't good. It was. I enjoyed the spy thing and trying to work things out. I just think maybe some of this could be made clearer. Even with that it deserves 4 stars.
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I have to confess I have slightly mixed feelings about this book.  Part domestic drama, part spy thriller, there is much to like about this book - it is well written, with well developed characters and strong descriptive writing, as well as an intriguing story line.  The book is well structured, told from alternative points of view through Anna, the main character, a successful journalist, mothers of twins and husband to David who works for his family firm, and Maria, nanny to the family and a childhood friend of David.  

It drew me in from the beginning and for the most part it kept me engaged right to the end, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.  However, at times I found it a little frustrating - the plot was almost too drawn out at times and I found myself somewhat confused as to what was going on and whose side people were on.  The ending was also rather too open-ended for my taste, leaving many questions unanswered.  If there is to be a follow up I would certainly read it and liked it enough to ensure I am interested to see where this author goes next.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins for a copy of this novel.
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I loved this, you got to hear two different versions of the truth, however the ending is far too open, even I cannot read between the lines.
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Great premise and build up, excellent writing – as you’d expect from Philby – unfortunately the dismount was flawed. That ending just fell a bit flat for me. I would still recommend it because it’s so well written and the rest of the book is intriguing and compelling.
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I am sure some readers will love this book which is written in an engaging way but it just didn’t thrill me at all. 
I read it in one long hot summer day out with the grandkids ( they were busy so I had some peace) but if it hadn’t been such an easy sort of day I may have given up on it. The ending I hav3 to say was too vague for me.
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I expected a lot from Charlotte Philby and she did not disappoint. A well written thriller, although the end was a bit disappointing.  If you enjoy spy novels do give this a try, it is interesting and very readable.
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Read in a day on holiday - perfect reading for this.  Very compelling, a real page turner.

But what was that ending?!!!
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