Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Lily Graham’s blog tour for ‘The Last Restaurant in Paris’, and for supplying me with an ARC. All thoughts written in this review are done so in an unbiased manner.
Paris 1944. To save her people, she served the enemy.
In enemy-occupied Paris, as the locals go to bed starving and defeated by the war, music and laughter spills through the door of a little restaurant, crowded with German soldiers. The owner Marianne moves on weary feet between its packed tables, carrying plates of steaming, wholesome food for the enemy officers. Her smile is bright and sparkling, her welcome cordial. Nobody would guess the hatred she hides in her heart.
That night, the restaurant closes its doors for the final time. In the morning, the windows are scratched with the words ‘traitor and murderer’. And Marianne has disappeared without a trace…
Years later, Marianne’s granddaughter Sabine stands under the faded green awning, a heavy brass key in her hand, staring at the restaurant left to her by the grandmother she never met. Sabine has so many questions about herself. Perhaps here she can find answers, but she knows she isn’t welcome. Marianne was hated by the locals and when Sabine discovers they blamed her for the terrible tragedy that haunts the pretty restaurant, she is ready to abandon her dark legacy.
But when she finds a passport in a hidden compartment in the water-stained walls, with a picture of a woman who looks like her grandmother but has a different name, she knows there must be more to Marianne’s story. As she digs into the past, she starts to wonder: was her grandmother a heroine, not a traitor? What happened to her after the tragic night when she fled from her restaurant? And will the answer change her own life forever?
If you aren’t aware by now, I ADORE historical fiction novels, especially those set during the war, and ‘The Last Restaurant in Paris’ ticked all the boxes for me.
Once again, Lily Graham’s emotive writing style took centre stage as she delivered a tale about survival, trust, hope and fear. Many families have hidden secrets in their past and Sabine’s family were no different, however the secrets hidden were life or death. Or, putting it bluntly, revenge.
Sabine’s grandmother loved hard, yet she loved even harder and heaven forbid people got in her way. Granted what she did during the war wasn’t the most wholesome of things, to a certain degree I could see why she did what she did. Like I say, I don’t condone her actions, but there was a lot more to what happened that night than first thought.
Lily Graham has an incredible way with words, and I was captivated by this story from the very beginning until the very end. There was so much grit to sink my teeth into, and I loved how I was able to find out the truth at the same time as the characters. It was as though we were connected if that makes sense.
I can’t fault ‘The Last Restaurant in Paris’ at all. It had suspense, emotion, power, strength, but most of all it had a heart. A captivating, wholesome and poignant novel – highlighting the importance of finding out the truth of a situation before a judgement is made.
Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Lieutenant’s Girl’, and for supplying me with an ARC of the book. All thoughts written in this review are done so in an unbiased manner.
Pearl Harbor, 1941. War planes hurtle across the horizon, skimming the clouds. Gunpowder fills the air as the earth shatters. Everett’s hands cup my cheeks. “If I lose you, Elizabeth, please know that the time I’ve spent with you has been worth every second I’ve been alive.”
On the fateful day that sirens rend the air and warplanes fly over the harbor, Elizabeth and Everett had sneaked away to whisper sweet nothings to each other. As bombs rain down, they cling to each other, the ground shaking and smoke suffocating them. Miraculously, they survive—but their world is ripped apart. The beautiful island, where the turquoise ocean once lapped the golden sand, is destroyed.
Over a sweltering summer, the couple had fallen madly in love. Elizabeth was in awe of Everett’s sacrifices for the Air Force, and Everett adored strong-willed Elizabeth, a Jewish girl who defied her father’s wishes for a sheltered life by training to be a nurse.
But tragedy changes everything. Although they are hopelessly devoted to one another, they vow to serve their country. Elizabeth joins the Army Nurse Corps in Europe and Everett flies across the world chasing down the enemy. With a tearful goodbye, they promise to write.
When Everett’s letters stop arriving, heartbroken Elizabeth fears the worst. Will she ever see the love of her life again? And what chance does she have of surviving Europe, where Hitler’s tyrannical rule places her in grave danger?
It’s going to be really difficult to do this book justice at all (even though I am someone who talks quite a bit). I’ll give it my best shot though.
‘The Lieutenant’s Girl’ wasn’t just a story about a war – it was a tale of two hearts combining, two people trying to find their calling in life yet finding each other in the process, a story which made time stand still.
Set during the Second World War in 1941, the storyline switches between life back then, and life in the ‘present’ day of 2018, with Elizabeth (Lizzie) being the dominant character of the present day. A lot has changed in Elizabeth’s life over the years, not just because of what she saw as an army nurse, but because of personal gains and losses. We find out early on that Elizabeth lost her mum a few years prior, and her dad is so set on doing what was right by her, that he ended up stopping her being a ‘typical’ twenty year old. He was scared that he would lose his daughter due to the war, yet by not listening to her and guarding her life choices, he was beginning to lose Lizzie anyway by pushing her away. Part of me could see why he was so protective of his daughter – he had already lost someone he loved dearly and he wasn’t going to take the chance with the last female loved one in his life. I understood that completely. That said, I could also see why Lizzie was so irritated by it because she felt suffocated and felt as though she wasn’t good enough to be like her two brothers who were in the army as well as their father.
As we all know, life during the war was male dominated and women weren’t really put into the ‘firing line’, so to speak, purely because of their gender. It was noted that a woman’s role was to serve her husband, care for her family, and/or nurse. The latter two being exactly what Lizzie did and was trying to do. She was aware of the dangers that could potentially lie ahead, but one thing she wasn’t fully aware of were the dangers of being in the throws of a war AND being a jew. One word – Hitler.
Historical fiction fascinates me greatly, especially when it comes to war time, Auschwitz etc, so this book was right up my street and I took to the book like a bee takes to pollen! I was also fascinated by Lizzie and Everett’s story, wow. From the get go those two had a special something. I didn’t think it was going to last because of the uncertainty of the war, being Missing In Action, and so forth, and I could feel the emotion behind Lizzie’s words every time she spoke about not receiving a letter she so badly longed for. Their relationship was such a powerful one to read, and I loved how the author made me feel as though I was being taken on the journey alongside them, witnessing first hand their raw emotions, feeling frightened for them both, thinking that every single day news was going to break that one of them had died. I can’t even begin to imagine the heartbreak that people suffered during the war and just how much of a selfless act it was to put themselves on the line for their countries. If you’re reading this and are someone who has lived through wars, been in the army or what not, I just want to say thank you to you and yours for your service.
Apologies, I’m rambling slightly! I was blown away by every word, every letter, every snippet of information that was given to me throughout ‘The Lieutenant’s Girl’. Everything had its place, everything spoke to me in such a way that broke my heart yet gave me strength at the same time. This book showed me even more so that life is such a gift and your memories are your treasures.
You know what else is also a treasure? Shari J.Ryan and this book. ‘The Lieutenant’s Girl’ will forever have a piece of my heart and I thank Shari J.Ryan for giving me the gift of Lizzie and Everett.
Shari J. Ryan is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Women’s Fiction, WWII Fiction, and 20th Century Historical Fiction with a focus on the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor.
Shortly after graduation from Johnson & Wales with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, Shari began her career as a graphic artist and freelance writer. She then found her passion for writing books in 2012 after her second son was born. Shari has been slaying words ever since.
With two Rone Awards and over 125k books sold, Shari has hit the USA Today Bestseller List, the Amazon’s Top 100, Barnes & Noble’s Top Ten, and iBooks at number one. Some of Shari’s bestselling books include Last Words, The Other Blue Sky, Unspoken Words and A Heart of Time.
Shari, a lifelong Boston girl, is happily married to her personal hero and US Marine and have two wonderful little boys. For more details about her books, visit: www.sharijryan.com
Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Lost Ones’ by Marnie Riches, and for supplying me with an ARC. All thoughts written in this review are done so in an unbiased manner.
The girl is sitting upright, her dark brown hair arranged over her shoulders and her blue, blue eyes staring into the distance. She looks almost peaceful. But her gaze is vacant, and her skin is cold…
When Detective Jackie Cooke is called to the murder scene, she is shocked by what she sees. Missing teenager Chloe Smedley has finally been found – her body left in a cold back yard, carefully posed with her bright blue eyes still open. Jackie lays a protective hand on the baby in her belly, and vows to find the brutal monster who stole Chloe’s future.
When Jackie breaks the news to Chloe’s heartbroken mother, she understands the woman’s cries only too well. Her own brother went missing as a child, the case never solved. Determined to get justice for Chloe and her family, Jackie sets to work, finding footage of the girl waving at someone the day she disappeared. Did Chloe know her killer?
But then a second body is found on the side of a busy motorway, lit up by passing cars. The only link with Chloe is the disturbing way the victim has been posed, and Jackie is convinced she is searching for a dangerous predator. Someone has been hunting missing and vulnerable people for decades, and only Jackie seems to see that they were never lost. They were taken.
Jackie’s boss refuses to believe a serial killer is on the loose and threatens to take her off the case. But then Jackie returns home to find a brightly coloured bracelet on her kitchen counter and her blood turns cold. It’s the same one her brother was wearing when he vanished. Could his disappearance be connected to the murders? Jackie will stop at nothing to catch her killer… unless he finds her first…
YES, YES, YES, YESSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!
Okay, review done!!
Absolutely flipping brilliant. Sorry, being straight to the point on this one, no beating around the bush or anything! You simply MUST read ‘The Lost Ones’, you must!
Detective Jackie Cooke is one hard-nosed individual who, if she were to tell you to jump, you would simply reply with ‘how high?’. She demanded respect and she gave it back. Look I’m not saying she was perfect, but she was the police procedural version of Mary Poppins – PRACTICALLY perfect in every way. She had her flaws, she admitted those too. Granted that doesn’t make them any easier to swallow, but what the heck.
I want to know just how Cooke managed to keep up with her fast paced, risky job while she was heavily pregnant! Are we sure that there is a baby in her belly and not a huge amount of fire?!
‘The Lost Ones’ is a chilling and momentarily graphic read, both of which added to the storyline and gave it that dark factor, that hook. I loved the fast paced nature of the novel and the way that the story flowed, with each individual situation paving way for the next or setting the scene for any potential misgivings. It worked. It all bloomin’ well worked. I also thought the randomly placed humour was such a brilliant idea, with Cooke and her colleagues not afraid to have a laugh once in a while. They were such a mixed bunch, yet if you asked me to choose her a different partner or different colleagues to work closely with, I honestly don’t think that I could.
‘The Lost Ones’ is atmospheric, chilling, fast paced, gripping, and downright incredible novel. I cannot WAIT to get my hands on the next book in the series. Simply one of the easiest 5 stars I have given to a book, ever.
Marnie Riches grew up on a rough estate in north Manchester. Exchanging the spires of nearby Strangeways prison for those of Cambridge University, she gained a Masters in German & Dutch. She has been a punk, a trainee rock star, a pretend artist and professional fundraiser.
Her best-selling, award-winning George McKenzie crime thrillers were inspired by her own time spent in The Netherlands. Dubbed the Martina Cole of the North, she has also authored a series about Manchester’s notorious gangland as well as two books in a mini-series featuring quirky northern PI Bev Saunders.
Detective Jackson Cooke is Marnie’s latest heroine to root for, as she hunts down one of the most brutal killers the north west has ever seen at devastating personal cost.
When she isn’t writing gritty, twisty crime thrillers, Marnie also regularly appears on BBC Radio Manchester, commenting on social media trends and discussing the world of crime fiction. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Salford University’s Doctoral School and a tutor for the Faber Novel Writing Course.
The Writing Garnet is officially 5 years old TODAY! When I started my blog back in 2016, I never envisioned it turning out the way that it has. It never even crossed my mind that my blog could turn into a multi award winning blog (yes, multi), nor did it cross my mind that my review quotes would make their way into physical copies of books or even on the cover of some. Without blowing my own trumpet, I am unbelievably proud of all of that. At the very beginning, my blog was created as my way of saying thank you to authors for writing their books which has allowed me to escape via their words, when things in my personal life have been difficult. It wasn’t created as a popularity tool (because clearly I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes had that have been the case), nor was it created merely to get free things because, in all honesty, I had no idea that that was even a thing when I first started.
Over the last 5 years I have met a wide variety of authors, met fellow bloggers, other like minded bookish folk, and found myself involved in a world that went beyond just loving books. I had never really had that before. I had never been able to sit and discuss books with people who had read the same book as I, nor would I have ever found the confidence to cart myself off to events such as Edinburgh Book Festival, Aye Write in Glasgow, or even more intimate events such as meeting the Orenda gang in Edinburgh (to name a few), if it wasn’t for a select few of people who, after ‘meeting’ through the online book world, have gone on to becoming real life friends (Jen, Mandie, Kelly, Joanne, Lainy, DC to name a few). Not only that, despite not having met them in real life yet, I have come to know even more people who I consider to be friends now, who one day I would love to be able to give them a hug (COVID permitting, obvs – special shout out to Liz B for being as true as they come). If I named each and every one of the people who I called friends and who I would do anything for, I would be here a while and would no doubt miss someone off so, to put it simply, if we talk, I adore you. Simple as, and I thank you for your kindness and support over the last 5 years.
For me, the highlight so far has got to be meeting Sue Perkins and Tom Fletcher as those were the times where I unintentionally embarrassed my little girl with my high pitched squealing and trampoline bounces. I think I was fair excited……. Would I have been able to meet them had it not been for my blog? Honestly? Probably not as I never knew events like that existed until I became a blogger. I have so many other authors, bloggers, publicists etc, that I would love to meet and I have everything crossed that that will become a reality.
I know blogging isn’t all about stats, but for the first time in ages I had a quick nose at the stats of TWG. In the last 5 years TWG has had:
160,424 views. 84,689 visitors. 1837 blog posts have been posted.
Also, I even worked out roughly how many books I have read over that time…..1270!!! Ermmmmmmmm, say what?
As I may have mentioned previously, 2020 for TWG wasn’t the greatest as, putting it quite bluntly, I was treated like dirt via the bookish community (not all of you, just to clarify), and it hurt me so much that I ended up retreating because I didn’t know what else to do because, as I have also said many times, I’m not the most popular of people and I don’t fit into the tight knit groups. I suppose my face doesn’t fit, so I knew that regardless of what I said and what I did, I wouldn’t have been believed which is unfair and incredibly hurtful. Because of that, my posts within the last year have been few and far between, however I still have been ‘here’ from afar and still able to keep my feet in the door so to speak. Again, I want to thank those who have stood by me, supported me, and been true friends during that time and continue to do so. I see you.
I am super shocked that my little, multi award winning blog turns 5 today. Yes there have been some ups and downs and confidence knocks along the way, and yes, at times I bit off more than I can chew and left myself over stretched. However the joys of anything in life is that you can learn from your mistakes and realise where you went wrong or what needs to change. There is only me running this blog and, even though I like to think that I can do everything, I physically can’t….I just wish it hadn’t taken me 5 years to realise that! Well, in all fairness it’s probably taken me over 20 years to realise that as I recently turned 31 but y’know, semantics.
Creating The Writing Garnet was probably one of the best, on the spur decisions I have ever made and I just want to thank every single author, publisher and publicist who have sent me countless books over the years and trusted me to review your books. I want to thank the organisers of book events of their hard work and dedication in bringing likeminded bookish folk together. I also want to thank each and every person I have come to know and admire for being true to themselves and becoming good friends of mine. I have your backs – you are all awesome. Major shout out to my fellow bloggers, and anyone who is thinking about starting a blog – you’ve got this! Just remember it’s okay to say no….
On that note, happy birthday to TWG! Heres to another year full of weird and wonderful books, intriguing debuts, and a truck load of reviews.
Thank you, Bookouture and Julia herself, for asking me to be involved in the blog tour of ‘My Mother’s Secret. You can read my thoughts on the book right after the blurb. Enjoy!
‘They told me he died, but I never believed them. I’d have known,’ she says, her voice little more than a whisper and her eyes searching mine. ‘A mother would know if her child died, wouldn’t she?’
The phone call comes in the middle of the night, rousing Danni from her safe, warm bed. The police have found her mother Diana wandering miles from her house, confused and lost. Danni races to her mother’s side – and as usual, Diana doesn’t seem to want her there. But when Danni finds out that her mother is seriously ill, she decides to put the past behind her, and care for her mother in the time they have left.
But as some of Diana’s memories are slipping away, others are forcing their way to the surface. One night she breaks down and reveals that before Danni was born, she had another baby who never got to see the world. Faced with her mother’s heartbreak, Danni vows to do everything she can to bring Diana some peace, hoping that it will mend their fractured relationship too.
Yet as Danni investigates the past, tracking down the aunt she’s never met and searching for her lost brother’s resting place, her good intentions have unexpected consequences as more truths emerge. And there’s one shocking revelation which could change Danni’s life forever. Are some secrets best left buried?
What does TWG think?
I’ll get straight to the point. This book broke me. It left me an emotional, vulnerable shell of a person and I am astounded at Julia Roberts’ talent at making that happen. It takes a lot to melt my exterior, but by golly ‘My Mother’s Secret’ turned me into a puddle.
A mother’s instinct is one of the most powerful tools a woman could ever possess. Despite the fact that Diana’s health was deteoriating and that time was of the essence, her instinct told her to trust them and what she has been believing all along; that her dear child never died.
I felt for Diana, dont get me wrong, but I felt so sorry for Danni because of how she ended up living in the shadow of a brother she had never even met, or never knew existed until now. She has so many questions yet her mother isn’t in a position to answer them all….its no wonder she ended up doing a bit of detective work, right?
This storyline reminded me of something so fragile. So precious. Something that requires delicate handling. The emotional scenes that took over the book were heart shattering snowflakes. You want to touch them, to look after them, yet they cannot be held. It broke me. Im not saying that that is a bad thing either because it takes talent to reduce me to a snivelling shell.
What i enjoyed most about this book was the power and strength of the characters and their actual storyline. It touched upon situations that aren’t really spoken about, and I felt that Roberts did her characters justice in the way she told their story.
If youre in the mood for a powerful, emotionally driven novel, then this is definitely the one for you.
Happy publication day to D.K.Hood and ‘Promises In The Dark’! I am delighted to be kicking of the blog tour today – many thanks to Bookouture for having me.
The young girl pushes against the backseat of the family sedan, fighting to free herself from the crude ties restricting her hands and feet. As the car speeds towards the edge of town, she looks back at her family home, and watches in horror as it is suddenly engulfed in a mass of flames. Trembling with fear, she turns towards the driver and hears only laughter. She knows that the worst is yet to come…
Detective Jenna Altonsurveys the charred remains of the large suburban home, stopping to pause at the three lifeless bodies of the Woods family. Jenna knows she’s looking for a serial killer, but her priority is finding the missing teenage daughter last seen on the night of the inferno.
Days later, Sophie Wood’s body is discovered floating in a shallow pool of crystal-clear water—known locally as Dead Man’s Drop—but Jenna still doesn’t know who would target the quiet family in such a brutal attack.
Delving into the family’s past, she makes a shocking discovery—a link between the killer and someone connected to her deputyDavid Kane. If Jenna is right and the killer is back and seeking revenge, then she must act fast to keep her deputy safe.
When another girl is taken, Jenna and David follow the trail into a network of underground caves on the outskirts of town. With little time before the killer claims his next victim, they race into the pitch-black tunnels, unsure whether they have just walked into the killer’s trap. Can they find the girl in time and escape the caves without the killer chasing them down?
What does TWG think?
One of, if not THE most disturbing book of the series so far! Which is saying something considering the things that Kane and Alton have come across in the 9 previous books.
A story that starts off with young children being the bait, indirectly speaking, always puts the fear of christ up me. Not that I’m saying should a child be used as bait later on in the book then I’ll be okay with it, not at all. I just find themes like that enough to make my jaw drop further, and a nervous energy crawl up my body far quicker than if I had read it in the middle. That’s exactly what happened here. The prologue plants the seed and ties the roots of the storyline in knots, making it hard for the reader to leave it alone regardless of how nervy you have begun to feel. Honestly, it was brilliantly written and definitely set the scene for the rest of the book.
Once again Kane and Alton have their work cut out for them. Their murderer hasn’t made things very easy for them, despite leaving a ‘trail’ of dead bodies in his wake. Whoever this person is is clearly dangerous and doesn’t think much of other living things. Just another thing that kept me hooked!
I was very disturbed by the storyline, but without sounding weird, I didnt find that a negative thing because what else would you expect from a thriller? Teddy bears and picnics? No. D.K.Hood may have her characters having picnics, but she would also have a dead body stuffed in the bear! (Just to clarify, that isn’t what happens in this book!)
As I may have said once or twice, I was truly glued to this novel and the way the characters developed over time. It may be the tenth book in the series, yet Kane and Alton never fail to surprise me.
Yet another dark, devious, and utterly transfixing novel from an author who is outstanding at holding her readers hostage with her words.
Broken Heart Syndrome: A sudden and acute form of heart failure, brought on by emotional or physical distress..
After years of studying cardiac medicine, thirty-one-year-old Keisha knows the heart inside out. She knows the average heartrate for each age group, she can name every valve, and she can tell you exactly how much blood it pumps daily.
The one thing she doesn’t know is how to fall in love. And nor does she want to. The secret her tattoo covers is a reminder that the best way to protect a heart is to never let it feel in the first place…
Seventy-nine-year-old Clive is Subject Five in Keisha’s latest research project. He’s been in love since he was seventeen, ever since he met Nancy at a tea dance. But last night, his beloved wife was killed. Suddenly, he has no one to waltz with. He has woken up in hospital, a widower diagnosed with Broken Heart Syndrome.
These strangers, brought together by a broken heart, must face up to the truth of their pasts. Can Clive teach his new friend that until you’ve loved, you haven’t lived? And can Keisha help him see that it’s never too late for a second chance?
What does TWG think?
Omg I was all excited at first after spotting the main characters name, thinking that my name was being used!!!! Spoiler…its not as I’m Kaisha, not Keisha. Gutted! And no, they’re not pronounced the same either! Trying not to read it as my own name was definitely a task and a half I must say ha!
Keisha is a very reserved character who is severely set in her ways. Her own little quirks (like continuously checking her pulse) are what makes her who she is, but not many people understand her because of it. Honestly, she doesn’t even understand herself half the time!!
After the loss of a loved one, Keisha’s life changed and she was left feeling as though she was the cause and so, because of that, Keisha put that energy into her work to try and help others such as Clive or, as he is affectionately known; Subject number 5. No, not mambo number 5….SUBJECT number 5.
Poor Clive hasn’t had it easy and he fights a daily battle with his memory. I felt for him but I was so pleased that Keisha and nurse George refused to give up on him, even when he wanted to give up on himself.
I thought this book was such a cute, heartwarming novel which took on a voice I hadn’t really heard/read before. I thought the storyline was so unique and so interesting, my attention didn’t falter from the book at all.
Whilst I didnt cry or find the book overly emotional, I did love how touching it was and how every character had multiple layers to their personalities, as I felt as though I was constantly surprised by a new revelation instead of knowing everything straight away.
Its evidently clear that a lot of love and attention has gone into creating this story by the author, and I believe that she has done herself and her characters exceptionally proud by bringing their story to life in such a tender and warming manner.
Overall this was an enlightening, thoughtful read which warmed that ice cold heart of mine.
Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for the ARC.
The Cornish beach house creaked in the salty sea wind and, from the weathered wooden porch, Mara watched a lone magpie circle above. It was silly to think that her mother’s spirit was still with her, but Mara felt as if there was something keeping her here. A secret that needed to be told…
When Mara Hughes inherits her late mother’s tumbledown beach house overlooking the bright, sandy sweep of Magpie Cove, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. With her marriage on the rocks and her husband threatening to take the family home, the beach house – with all the bittersweet memories it holds – might be the thing that finally sends Mara’s world crashing down around her. She tells herself she’ll only spend a few days there: sell it and move on to rebuilding her life.
When Mara arrives, the house is in a worse state than she feared – holes in the bedroom ceiling, birds’ nests in the attic and the beautiful, wrap-around porch on the brink of collapse… but she loves it anyway. With all its history it feels like the last link to her late mother and, determined to do whatever it takes to keep it in the family, Mara strikes a deal with local handyman – and town heartthrob – Brian Oakley to save the crumbling cottage from ruin.
But when a box of unopened old letters arrives on her new doorstep– a bequest from her mother’s will – Mara’s resolve to save the beach house will be tested to the limit. Because Mara’s mother’s perfect childhood in Magpie Cove was forever spoiled by one haunting day in July, and the letters contain a secret about her family that Mara can scarcely believe to be true…
What does TWG think?
I really needed a book like this to fall in my lap as it was such a perfect distraction during such difficult times.
Its been a while since I was last transported to Cornwall and, whilst I’ve ‘travelled’ there multiple times via various different stories, I genuinely missed reading about idyllic and picturesque scenes. Was definitely better than reading my four walls!
Mara’s heartache is evident from the get go. She could fight against it all she wanted, however the more she fought, the stronger her emotions became. That said, i don’t think a box full of letters helped matters either!
I really felt myself getting lost in the storyline and Mara’s past, and I loved how the transition from reality to fiction was so very well done. Hats off to the author, Kennedy Kerr, for that as that is an incredible talent to have.
I really enjoyed getting to know Mara and, even though there was a lot of emotional situations in the story, I still felt that it was a really uplifting and humbling novel. Such a pleasure to read.
Many thanks, as always to Bookouture for the tour invite and ARC.
It is just past ten o’clock on a cold Friday evening when Rebecca and her husband Jack’s doorbell rings. Outside is a woman who introduces herself as Jack’s ex-girlfriend Cara. And she’s holding the hand of a shivering, blue-eyed, four-year-old girl. Who she claims is Jack’s daughter. Rebecca is shocked to discover he has a child from his last relationship – even one he hadn’t known about. Because becoming parents isn’t part of their life plan. They like children, but they also love their freedom and spending time together uninterrupted; the way that, if they wanted to, they could travel the world at a moment’s notice. But Cara needs them. Because Cara has a devastating secret that she can’t tell anyone yet. Not even her daughter. A secret with the power to change all of their lives. A secret that will ultimately mean Rebecca has to ask herself – could she find it in herself to welcome her husband’s child into her home, and into her heart?
What does TWG think?
Oh for goodness sake, Emma Robinson, did you have to go and switch on the water works? I mean, really?!
I’ve been crying a lot recently, so when I decided to pick up a book thought it was going to be a light hearted, Peppa Pig type book that I had chosen (no, wait, that mardy pig makes me cry too!). Then I realised I needed to read Emma Robinson’s novel and straight away knew that any hopes of furry beings having picnics were to stay where they belonged; on my daughters bookshelf. Instead of a Teddy bear picnic I had tension. I had suspense. I had emotion so fraught that I was scared it was going to slice my heart in two.
This book is black and white proof as to why Robinson is a published author, and there is no denying that her characterisation and realistic storylines make for excellent and dramatic reading.
The main topic of this read is a tough pill to swallow, however it is beautifully done in every sense of the word. I know I am being exceptionally vague by not delving into specific parts of the book or giving too much away, and thats because I don’t want to ruin the experience of this novel for anyone else. My only advice to you all would be to grab the tissues before you start reading, mute the phones, and buckle up for a ride you’ll never forget.
Before I start, I just want to apologise profusely to Tilly and Bookouture for the delay in getting this review out, but huge thank you to the publisher for their patience and understanding. (Oh, and the tour invite and ARC too!)
As the snow flutters down in the little village of Linnetford, escape to a cosy farmhouse kitchen, scented with the rich aromas of fruitcake and gingerbread, where a love of baking is about to unite two lonely hearts…
Cathycooked at her mother’s side her whole life and could bake a fairy cake before she could ride a bike. Now she is facing her first Christmas without her beloved mother, she’s determined to use her memories for something positive. She decides to organise a weekly cooking class, sharing her mother’s precious recipes with other lonely souls.
There’s just one small spanner in the works: teenager Tansy, who attends Cathy’s classes even though she’s rude to everyone there and seems to hate every minute. Cathy is poised to ask Tansy to leave, but her uncle, physiotherapistMatt, begs her to give the teenager another chance. And Cathy can’t resist Matt’s sparkling hazel eyes and incredibly kind heart…
But just as Cathy is feeling she might find joy again, her ex returns to Linnetford, desperate for a second chance. With Matt becoming distant as his life gets more complicated, it seems so easy to return to the safe embrace of someone she knows so well. Can Cathy avoid the temptation of falling back in love with the man who broke her heart and let Christmas bring her the greatest gift – that of happiness?
What does TWG think?
There’s just something about baking at Christmas time, isnt there? I simply adore it and i am so excited to get into the kitchen to rustle up some festive goodies. Until then, I was able to live vicariously through Cathy and her love of baking, which thankfully kept that baking bug at bay for the time being.
Christmas for Cathy this year will be tainted with emotion, what with it being the first one without her mum. To keep herself busy, and her mums memory at the forefront of her mind (not that it ever left there), Cathy puts her skills to use and organises a class for other budding bakers. Now it wouldn’t be much of a storyline if everything went plain sailing from start to finish, would it?
Cathy’s heart was in the right place, however not everyone got the memo regarding the happiness that learning to bake can bring, leaving Cathy questioning the future of the classes and her own talents.
Of course, like all romantic fiction, there is a love interest involved. And, again, like most romantic fiction, there is also a past love interest who makes their presence known, much to Cathy’s annoyance.
(Doesn’t sound all plain sailing now, does it? Self raising if you ask me….).
Tilly’s latest novel was an absolute joy to read from start to finish. The storyline had festive cheer and tender moments, but it also had humour and situations which came at me like a bull in a china shop. Tilly truly brought her characters to life and put them in a league of their own without making them come across samey. Not only did this tickle my taste buds, it made me want to stalk my local physiotherapists to find one like Matt….