#BlogTour! #Review -Wildflower Park Part Two – A Budding Romance by Bella Osborne (@osborne_bella) @AvonBooksUK

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I am sharing my review today, of part two in the Wildflower Park series, A Budding Romance. I fell in love with this series from part one, so I am delighted to be back on the blog tour for the next installment. Huge thanks to Avon Books for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

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Life’s not always a walk in the park…

When Anna is dumped by her fiancé, she moves in to her own place on the edge of the gorgeous Wildflower Park and pledges to stay off men and focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives an accidental text from a mystery man, could it be the new start she needs? Or someone she really shouldn’t be falling for?

Anna’s neighbour Sophie is a stressed-out mum-of-two with a third on the way. Her husband is a constant frustration, and their children are a regular source of newly-invented swear words and unidentifiable sticky surfaces.

Luckily, Anna and Sophie have each other – and Wildflower Park proves to be a sanctuary as they map out a path to find the happiness they both deserve…

What does TWG think?

This probably goes without saying but I had better say it anyway – ‘A Budding Romance’ IS part of a series, and because the novellas follow simultaneously, each of the books need to be read in order otherwise you’d end up missing out on some of the storyline.

We left the last instalment on a cliffhanger. Obviously I won’t tell you what that cliffhanger entailed, but trust me when I say that it was enough to read part two straight away. I just couldn’t wait to find out where the storyline was heading in regards to Sophie’s frustration and Anna’s annoyance. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t have a negative vibe at all, it’s just that when Anna’s ex appears at a place she feels herself, she can’t help feeling a bit miffed. Why won’t he just leave her alone? Surely he has done enough damage?

Things will make perfect sense if you have already read the first two books, but if you haven’t then i do highly recommend losing yourself in Wildflower Park.

Like I said above, this novella follows on from the first so I am trying my best to be quite vague with my review – I’m not doing it to annoy anyone!! ‘A Budding Romance’, once again, had me in hysterics due to Sophie’s humour, and the way that Anna’s working relationship is blossoming with her colleague. I say ‘blossoming’ very loosely as it isn’t as straight forward as it should be.

I really enjoyed the latest addition to the Wildflower Park series, and I thought the way that Bella Osborne created tension in such a loveable and hilarious manner, was an absolute joy to read.

I cannot wait to read the rest of this series – it’s safe to say that I am hooked!!

Buy now from Amazon UK

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker by Jenni Keer (@JenniKeer) @AvonBooksUK @RaRaResources

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Today I am delighted to be one of the bloggers hosting Jenni Keer and ‘The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker’. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Avon for the ARC. Here is my review:

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Meet Lucy, aged 25, and Brenda, aged 79. Neighbours and unlikely friends.

Lucy Baker is not your usual 25-year-old. She is more at home reading and knitting in her cluttered little flat than going out partying and socialising.

79-year-old Brenda is full of wise and wonderful advice, but when she’s diagnosed with dementia her life begins to change. Before her memories slip away for ever, Brenda is desperate to fulfil one last wish – to see Lucy happy.

Gifting Lucy the locket that helped Brenda find her own true love, she hopes to push her reticent neighbour in the right direction. But is Lucy Baker ready for the opportunities and heartbreaks of the real world? It’s about time she put her knitting needles aside and found out…

What does TWG think?

Isn’t it funny how we automatically assume someones situation based on what things look like on the outside? As much as we all sit there and say ‘nahhhhh’ I don’t judge, we still find ourselves doing it, intentionally or not. I mean, if you spotted people like Lucy and Brenda in real life, bonding over knitting, despite having over 50 years between the two of them – would you wonder?

An unlikely friendship may be, but Lucy and Brenda’s friendship is as real as a beating heart. They look after each other. They listen to each other. They make each other laugh. To be honest, I would go as far as to say that they’re each others lifelines. Brenda is such a heartwarming character whose personality makes you feel as though you’re coming home. Every time she had a part in the story, I felt her presence as though I was getting hugged from deep within. She was such a special character, and I will hold her in my heart for a long time to come.

As for Lucy – I couldn’t believe it when the story told me that she was 25! I don’t know why though. Maybe it’s because she acted like someone much older. I took a little while to gel to her because she wasn’t someone who was so forthcoming with her emotions and feelings – she was someone who would say ‘okay’ to keep the peace which meant for a while, she wasn’t showing exactly who she was. It was a shame that she felt like she couldn’t be herself though, but the storyline does delve a little deeper into the reasoning behind that.

I will admit that something got into my eye in the last part of the book. I won’t tell you exactly what it was though as it could be considered a spoiler and I’m not that mean!

I really enjoyed following Lucy’s journey, especially when she was able to get that all important lightbulb moment when it came to her own dreams instead of living the life that was expected of her. I did find the storyline a little confusing at times though because there was a lot to keep track of, and sometimes I struggled to link all of the relevant information to the relevant characters as there was more information to digest than storage to file it in. If that makes sense.

I loved Jenni Keer’s heartwarming style of writing as it was clear that she believed in her characters and wanted the best for them, even though she had to put them through a bit of heartache beforehand. Oh, and Scratbag deserves to get an uber special mention because he is just brilliant!!

‘The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker’ is a really uplifting, thought-provoking read which will have you reaching for your own hopes and dreams that you shelved long ago. Lucy Baker is proof that dreams can happen as long as you believe. Believe in what though? Social media? The latest fashion trends? No. As long as you believe in YOURSELF.

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before
settling in the middle of the Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing women’s fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a
disco formation dance team.

Website

#BlogTour! #Review – Wildflower Park Part One (Build Me Up Buttercup) by Bella Osborne (@osborne_bella) @AvonBooksUK

Happy New Year!! What a fantastic way of kicking off a brand new year than with a blog tour! I am delighted to be reviewing part one of Bella Osborne’a new serial, ‘Wildflower Park’. Many thanks to Avon for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Escape to Wildflower Park with Part One of a brand new four-part serial from bestselling author Bella Osborne.

Life’s not always a walk in the park…

When Anna is dumped by her fiancé, she moves in to her own place on the edge of the gorgeous Wildflower Park and pledges to stay off men and focus on her career, but a handsome new colleague seems to thwart her attempts at every turn. And when she receives an accidental text from a mystery man, could it be the new start she needs? Or someone she really shouldn’t be falling for?

Anna’s neighbour Sophie is a stressed-out mum-of-two with a third on the way. Her husband is a constant frustration, and their children are a regular source of newly-invented swear words and unidentifiable sticky surfaces.

Luckily, Anna and Sophie have each other – and Wildflower Park proves to be a sanctuary as they map out a path to find the happiness they both deserve…

What does TWG think?

Omg I love this series already!!!! What with ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’ being part one of the new series, the instalments aren’t very long so, if you’re after a quick read to tickle your tastebuds – this would be ideal! Bella Osborne’s new series is split into multiple parts before the full length novel gets published later on in the year. Thankfully there isn’t too long to wait between each part!

I’ll keep this review sweet as I don’t wish to ruin this novella sized read for anyone, but can I just say that I have a feeling that this will be Bella Osborne’s best work to date. The humour in the story was incredible! I couldn’t stop laughing at the brilliant one liners written in at exactly the right time. Sophie and Anna, the two main characters, are very chalk and cheese and what one ‘lacks’, the other one certainly makes up for. Personally, there were things about both of them which I liked and disliked, but Sophie’s whinging aggravated me the most.

I thought that this first instalment was a fantastic way of starting a new series – there’s drama, humour, romance, lack of romance, questionable work colleagues and children who make you cringe whilst laughing hysterically. What more could anyone want?

Yes this read is short, however it packs more than the intended punch. I am addicted already!!!

Buy Part One (e-book) now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – Cuckoo by Sophie Draper (@sophiedraper9) @AvonBooksUK #canyoukeepasecret

Apologies for how late in the day this post is, but I have literally just finished reading it thanks to internet issues! However, I am rather excited to be sharing my review of Sophie Draper’s ‘Cuckoo’ as part of the blog tour. Many thanks, as always, to Sabah and Avon for the blog tour invite and ARC.

There’s a stranger in your house…

When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again.

But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.

As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?

What does TWG think?

Let me just get this bit out of the way first – ‘Cuckoo’ was so far out of my comfort zone that it needed its own nest. But you know what? What a creepy and addictive read it was! I love being able to step outside of my comfort zone with my reading choices, especially when I end up rather enjoying the novel.

Ten out of ten to the prologue – it had me on tenterhooks straight away and I couldn’t wait to uncover the nitty gritty details behind it!

Caroline has gone back to the ‘family home’ after the death of her stepmother, Elizabeth. Her own personal life hasn’t taken the path she would have liked, and she welcomed being able to relieve the stress from her finances until she got back on her feet. Or so she thought. Being back in the place she once called home, ended up stirring up a lot of the past which Caroline thought had long been buried. No pun intended. You know how it is though. You end up forgetting things yet once you’re in the vicinity of the memory, everything comes flooding back…

I wasn’t too sure on the first few chapters after the prologue, as I was rather confused by all of the information given which didn’t seem to lead to anything in particular. I know that books like this need to start off slow, so that wasn’t my issue at all. It was simply the information overload in a short space of time before things started happening. Having said that, once the storyline did get rolling and things began to get twisty, snippets of the information previously given allowed me to have multiple lightbulb moments where things made sense. I just didn’t make sense of it at the time it was given.

‘Cuckoo’ is such an complex novel with a lot of mini storylines coming together to create one, big firebomb of a storyline. I have to say – it was cleverly done and certainly kept me on my toes. I genuinely didn’t see the conclusion coming at all and, like most readers, I had formed my own ending in my head because of the way I reacted to every situation in the book. I had my suspicions about some things, but the rest had my jaw dropping!

Sophie Draper has written such an atmospheric, twisted, and addictively intense novel which left me reeling in every sense of the word. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Cuckoo’, and I am so pleased that I decided to spread my wings and venture out of the nest!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – #HushHush by Mel Sherratt (@writermels) @AvonBooksUK

Apologies for the late post, spent the day with mumma TWG for her birthday! Tonight I am very pleased to be hosting Mel Sherratt’s new novel, Hush Hush. Many thanks to Avon for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

A killer is on the loose, attacking people in places they feel most safe: their workplaces, their homes. It’s up to DS Grace Allendale to stop the murders, and prove herself to her new team.

All clues lead to local crime family the Steeles, but that’s where things get complicated. Because the Steeles aren’t just any family, they’re Grace’s family. Two brothers and two sisters, connected by the violent father only Grace and her mother escaped.

To catch the killer, Grace will have to choose between her team and her blood. But who do you trust, when both sides are out to get you?

What does TWG think?

If you ever needed a reason to start a new series then you needn’t look any further! What a cracking first book!

DS Grace Allendale is back on her home turf, Stoke, once again. Having lived in Manchester for many years, Grace decides to return to her roots after life chose to throw her a few curveballs. However, if Grace thought that moving back to Stoke was going to be plain sailing and calm, she should think again as things are about to get personal.

What I loved most about ‘Hush Hush’ was the way the author created such an atmospheric presence throughout the entire book. One minute I was starting the book, unaware of the characters I may come up against, and then the next minute I had reached the end with a ‘what the….’ look on my face!

‘Hush Hush’ has the perfect amount of suspense, grit, and rollercoaster ride tendencies, holding my attention hostage until the very last page. If this is the strength of the first book in the series, I cannot wait to see what’s coming next!

A belter of a book which has been very well thought out – a job very well done in my opinion!!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft (@SueMoorcroft) @AvonBooksUK

Take two on posting this review!! Anyway, I am delighted to be today’s stop on the blog tour for ‘A Christmas Gift’ by Sue Moorcroft. Many thanks to Avon for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

One Christmas can change everything…

Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.

To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?

Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?

What does TWG think?

Oh my gosh, Sue Moorcroft never disappoints!!

Relatable? ✅

Festive? ✅

Cosy? ✅

Practically perfect in every single way? ✅

Sorry, Mary Poppins! Sue Moorcroft has stolen your crown!

I won’t delve into the bits and bobs about the storyline in fear of unintentional spoilers, especially as a lot of the storylines intricate detail is entwined with other parts of the book which need to be found out, in my opinion, by the readers very own eyes.

The theme which runs throughout the storyline is no doubt one which will end up resonating with readers of all ages. Both of the main characters, Georgine and Joe, have pasts they would rather never bring up again but, due to their present actions and thoughts, it doesn’t take either of them long to realise that they need to be the ‘bigger person’ where their pasts are concerned and show it who’s boss. Easier said than done, obviously, but watching these two characters, who are like chalk and cheese, embark on a journey of self discovery and self awareness was quite tender to read.

I don’t think that this book could have had a better title if it tried! Why? Because, hand on heart, reading ‘A Christmas Gift’ was like receiving my own gift. A gift which hugged me from the inside and warmed me up like a hot water bottle. A gift which had me smiling like Wallace from ‘Wallace and Gromit’. I honestly couldn’t have wished for more in one book.

I loved how festive the entire storyline was, even if I did read it in October but, most importantly, I loved how Sue Moorcroft’s words reached deep within and made me feel as though she was telling the story to me, and me only.

A enchanting, poignant, and beautifully written; Sue Moorcroft has delivered a novel which is both heartwarming and emotive, absolutely flawlessly. A truly lovely, lovely read.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Extract – Perfect Silence by Helen Fields (@Helen_Fields) @AvonBooksUK


Today I am breaking the perfect silence by taking part in the blog tour for Helen Fields’ brand new novel! For my stop on the tour, I have a fabulous extract to share with you all. I am currently reading Helen’s new book so please keep an eye out later on in the week for my review! Thank you, as always, to Avon for the blog tour invite and the ARC. I hope you enjoy the extract!

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

Buy now from Amazon

Extract.

‘Luc, call the station. Ask them if they have a young woman
listed as missing in the last forty-eight hours. Just say between
sixteen and twenty, long brown hair, red-brown dress. No other
description for now,’ Ava instructed Callanach.

‘It’s not,’ Jonty said.

‘Not what?’ Callanach asked.

‘It’s not a coloured dress,’ Jonty replied. He slid a gloved
hand under the girl’s left shoulder to raise her a few inches off
the fl oor, exposing a small section of the dress behind her
shoulder blade. The bright white patch of cotton glowed in
the floodlights.

Ava took in a sharp breath. ‘It’s a white dress?’ she muttered.

‘How the fuck did she . . .’

Jonty answered the question by raising the hem up over the
girl’s thighs and abdomen. A massive section of skin had been
cut from her stomach, the raw sections of fl esh curling back
where her body had begun to dry out. Blood was crusted over
the whole of her lower half, washing down her legs and her
bare feet.

If that extract doesn’t make you head to Amazon to pick up a copy of ‘Perfect Silence’, I don’t know what will!

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – Kiss of Death by Paul Finch (@paulfinchauthor) @AvonBooksUK #KissOfDeath

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Excuse my lateness with my review of Paul Finch’s ‘Kiss Of Death’, but I literally have just finished reading it! Big thank you to Avon Books for the blog tour invite and the ARC of the book – here is my review:

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Don’t let them catch you…

A Deadly Hunt
DS ‘Heck’ Heckenburg has been tasked with retrieving one of the UK’s most wanted men. But the trail runs cold when Heck discovers a video tape showing the fugitive in a fight for his life. A fight he has no chance of winning.

A Dangerous Game
Heck realises that there’s another player in this game of cat and mouse, and this time, they’ve not just caught the prize: they’ve made sure no one else ever does.

A Man Who Plays With Fire
How far will Heck and his team go to protect some of the UK’s most brutal killers? And what price is he willing to pay?

What does TWG think?

I don’t usually do this, and I one who dislikes reviews with swearing in, but I have to break my rule just this once as I don’t think a measly ‘oh my goodness!’ will cut the mustard this time around.

Fucking hell! I mean….fuuuuuucking hell! What an ending!!!!!! I have never read anything like it, and I am also extremely gutted that the next book in the series is not available right this second (there had better be another book in the series!). There’s nothing like leaving your readers hanging is there? Usually I dislike endings where I find myself with multiple questions instead of getting things resolved, yet this just….works. No, wait, it doesn’t just work, it’s absolutely genius.

I must admit that I haven’t read many of the ‘Detective Mark Heckenburg’ series, nor have I read them in order. However, ‘Kiss Of Death’ was a belter of a read as a standalone. Of course I must have missed out on the basic background of good ol’ Heck and Gemma, but seeing as my knuckles went white as I gripped the kindle whilst I was reading ‘Kiss Of Death’, I have a slight feeling that I will be going back to book one and binge reading them all. In fact, that is exactly what I am going to do – how can I not?! Paul Finch is a genius!!!!

Heck seems to have his own set of rules where his job is concerned, especially if it means him being smack bang in the firing line despite being told to step away by his superiors. Heck’s colleagues all know that they have to follow procedures and do things by the book, however Heck’s memo with that on seems to have been mislaid….every time. I found his bulshyness quite arrogant yet it ended up being quite endearing as his passion pushed aside the arrogance like no tomorrow.

If you’re after a story which raises your heart rate, keeps you glued to your seat, makes your jaw hang open like you’re pretending to be a fish, as well as gripping hold of things like you’re about to fall off, then ‘Kiss Of Death’ is PERFECT for you. Don’t shoot me here, but I wasn’t overly keen on the book when I first started reading it. It took me at least 30 odd percent before I was able to lose myself in Heck’s powerful persuasion’s and Paul Finch’s gripping storyline – I felt that the pace was too slow to begin with which ended up making the hook a lot slower to do its job. However, once the book surpassed the 30 odd percent mark, I became gripped by what my eyes were reading. It’s gruesome, I won’t lie, but yet again Paul Finch makes it work!

The more of ‘Kiss Of Death’ I read, the faster the pace became and the more intense the situations within the storyline became. There was so much to keep focused on, I couldn’t help but feel as though my head was turning in every direction to keep up with Heck and the gang as they attempt to take on another, well, gang. No, I’m not complaining either!

Despite my earlier reservations, ‘Kiss Of Death’ ended up surpassing all of my expectations, making this one of the best books I have read so far this year! I am so pleased I ignored my earlier thoughts as what a cracking (literally), spine tingling, chilling, and utterly, utterly suspenseful read this turned out to be. I’ve said it once but I will say it again – that ending!!!!! Paul Finch has certainly got his readers where he wants them, and given the outstanding strength of his latest novel, I will be standing here with bells on waiting for the next book in the series!!!

Out-flipping-standing – give this man an award! Brilliant. Intense. Absolute GENIUS!

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Come Away With Me by Maddie Please (@MaddiePlease1) @AvonBooksUK

Come Away With Me Blog Tour
I am delighted to be on the blog tour today for Maddie Please and her latest novel, ‘Come Away With Me’. Big thanks to Avon Books for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

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Somewhere beyond the sea…

When Alexa Fisher finds herself trapped on a twelve-day cruise to celebrate her younger sister’s hen-do – just the two of them – she wishes she’d jumped overboard.
Despite the age difference, India has always been the judgemental sibling, and there’s been even more friction than usual since ‘the big engagement’. With India constantly obsessing over wedding plans, Alexa has never felt more single, or more of a failure.
If only she could find a man who was funny, handsome and faithful. But when she meets the enigmatic (and *gorgeous*) Gabriel Frost on the cruise, he is as cold as his name suggests… Isn’t he?

Set sail for an adventure on the high seas, it’s time for Alexa to discover that sometimes romance can surprise you!

What does TWG think?

Would you just look at that cover?! What a beautiful and rather apt cover this is. Seriously. After reading ‘Come Away With Me’, I can honestly say that the cover sums up the contents of the storyline rather well. Don’t fret though, that is not a spoiler at all!

I must admit that it did take me quite a while to get into the book as I found one of the characters rather immature. I am a fan of Maddie Please’s writing, but for me, the hook of the book wasn’t immediate and I struggled to get into it. I did persevere though as, like I said, I enjoy Maddie’s writing and I didn’t want to give up too early.

Thankfully perseverance paid off and once the storyline hit the halfway mark, that was when the book and I became buddies. It was as though the book had a lightbulb moment, either that or I did! I did still find one particular character rather immature and wished the other character would stand up for themselves though! Maddie Please had me snorting at what she had made her characters do, and she even made me want to go on a cruise like….yesterday. I have always thought that cruises were for the older generation, just like many of the characters in the book thought, but I will hold my hands up now and say that my opinion has completely changed. Hopefully one day I will be able to step foot onto a cruise ship because it does sound rather fab!

Overall, the vibe and underlying message of ‘Come Away With Me’ were the true stars of the novel as they made me sit back and look at certain situations from a different, and more open minded angle. Sometimes we go through phases where we are unsure of our next steps, or where we find our confidence with our decision making plummeting before our very eyes. Despite the main characters not being my favourite at all, I thought they highlighted Maddie Please’s message very well, especially Alexa. She is proof that you need to take that leap in life before regret takes over. Live a little or regret a lot? The relatable factors to this book and the characters were poignant and certainly made me think.

‘Come Away With Me’ is a light-hearted and care free novel which will have you reaching for the cruise brochures like there’s no tomorrow.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Extract – 11 Missed Calls by Elisabeth Carpenter (@LibbyCPT) @AvonBooksUK

11 Missed Calls Blog Tour FINAL
Today for my stop on the ’11 Missed Calls’ blog tour, I will be sharing an extract from Elisabeth Carpenter’s new book. Enjoy!

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Here are two things I know about my mother:
1. She had dark hair, like mine.
2. She wasn’t very happy at the end.

Anna has always believed that her mother, Debbie, died 30 years ago on the night she disappeared.

But when her father gets a strange note, she realises that she’s never been told the full story of what happened that night on the cliff.

Confused and upset, Anna turns to her husband Jack – but when she finds a love letter from another woman in his wallet, she realises there’s no-one left to help her, least of all her family.

And then a body is found…

Extract.

I grab my laptop and take it into the living room. I still don’t know what to say in my reply to Debbie. It is too important to just fire off a few words when I have a whole lifetime to write about. She won’t be expecting a message from me, but I doubt Monica or Dad have replied yet. They would have told me if they had, though I’m not sure of anything these days.

‘Just ask to meet,’ says Jack, reading my mind. ‘You don’t have to write an essay. If she is who she says she is, then you’ll find out soon enough.’

Perhaps it is as simple as that. There is a tiny part of me – self-preservation, again – that tells me not to give too much away in an email. She must earn the right to hear my news. The least she could do is meet me.

I click on the email forwarded by Dad. I already know her words off by heart, but I still read it. ‘The memories of shells and sweet things …’ No one else could know about that.

I type out the reply before I can think about it, and press send.

Buy now from Amazon