Stepping back in time now with #TheChildOfAuschwitz @lilygrahambooks @Bookouture

Many thanks to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and ARC, I am delighted to be hosting Lily Graham on her publication day today.

It is 1942 and Eva Adami has boarded a train to Auschwitz. Barely able to breathe due to the press of bodies and exhausted from standing up for two days, she can think only of her longed-for reunion with her husband Michal, who was sent there six months earlier.

But when Eva arrives at Auschwitz, there is no sign of Michal and the stark reality of the camp comes crashing down upon her. As she lies heartbroken and shivering on a thin mattress, her head shaved by rough hands, she hears a whisper. Her bunkmate, Sofie, is reaching out her hand…

As the days pass, the two women learn each other’s hopes and dreams – Eva’s is that she will find Michal alive in this terrible place, and Sofie’s is that she will be reunited with her son Tomas, over the border in an orphanage in Austria. Sofie sees the chance to engineer one last meeting between Eva and Michal and knows she must take it even if means befriending the enemy…

But when Eva realises she is pregnant she fears she has endangered both their lives. The women promise to protect each other’s children, should the worst occur. For they are determined to hold on to the last flower of hope in the shadows and degradation: their precious children, who they pray will live to tell their story when they no longer can.

What does TWG think?

Just like any book which contains the topic of Auschwitz, Lily Graham’s new novel is a story that attempts to put you in the mindset of those who were involved in such a historically devastating event, whilst also keeping the readers entertained due to the fictional elements.

I love the way that Lily Graham’s writing style has taken more of a historical turn, and I am in awe of the fact that the author has chosen such an iconic topic to write about.

The dynamics between the women in this book, namely Eva and Sofie, were both heartwarming and emotive. Their relationship was incredibly iconic in terms of creating memories, and I feel that the author did an incredible job at allowing her readers to have a voice.

The historical elements of the book, in my opinion, were highly captivating and kept me hooked. As someone who is incredibly interested in the topic of Auschwitz, I thought that the author delivered in all aspects of the story and more.

A thoroughly enjoyable, if somewhat emotional, historically insightful and poignant read.

Buy now.

This Halloween I’m dressing up as #TheGuardianOfLies – what about you? @simonschusteruk @KateFurnivall @ed_pr

Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and ARC, it is such an honour to be kicking off Kate Furnivall’s blog tour today!

1953, the South of France. The fragile peace between the West and Soviet Russia hangs on a knife edge. And one family has been torn apart by secrets and conflicting allegiances.

Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father’s farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive.
But everything changes when André is injured – a direct result of Eloise’s actions. Unable to work, André returns to his father’s farm, but Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him.
Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents. Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse is still relentlessly hunting down the man who betrayed her brother and his country, and she is learning to look at those she loves and at herself with different eyes. She no longer knows who she can trust. Who is working for Soviet Intelligence and who is not? And what side do her own family lie on?

What does TWG think?

Revenge? Or family loyalties? Eloise has always looked up to her big brother, Andre. When they were children if he could do something, she would go to great lengths to prove that she could do it too. However, now that they’re older, do they know each other as well as they used to?

Andre has asked Eloise for help and his life, and possibly her own, are now in her hands. However, one bad move led them both to a hospital bed. With scars shining on their bodies like beacons, and the guilt eating at Eloise from the inside out, she is determined to put things right. But at what cost?

Accidents happen and, even though I could empathise with the frustration from both parties, Eloise didn’t do it on purpose so why was Andre channeling his anger towards her, and not the people who actually set out to end his life? Maybe maybe maybe she’s there and they’re not? Andre’s life has changed and it’s only natural for him to feel angry that he can no longer carry on with his duties. I just felt quite sorry for Eloise.

‘The Guardian Of Lies’ is such a devious and compelling novel, and I LOVED the addictive nature of the entire storyline! The way in which Kate Furnivall kept the secretive tendencies at the height of the story for the duration of the book was incredible. There were no slip ups, no pregnant pauses, no padding out the story with unimportant information – it was, in my opinion, utterly flawless.

Eloise’s journey definitely made me think as she had to choose between seeking revenge and being loyal to her family. That said, with her wanting to seek revenge, surely that was her being loyal to her family anyway? Personally, I thought that there were a lot of bad apples in the book and that Eloise was taking the brunt of their bad decisions! I cannot deny that it made for excellent reading though!

I am envious of anyone that gets to read this for the first time – you’re all in for a sublime, compelling treat that will question your own loyalties and integrity. Fabulous read.

The Guardian of Lies by Kate Furnivall is out now, published by Simon & Schuster, priced £8.99 in paperback.

Buy now.

Stepping back in time now with a #review of #ARationBookChildhood by Jean Fullerton (@JeanFullerton_) @RaRaResources

Congratulations to Jean Fullerton on the publication of ‘A Ration Book Childhood’! I am excited to be kicking off the blog tour today with a review – many thanks to RaRaResources for the tour invite and ARC.

In the darkest days of the Blitz, family is more important than ever.

With her family struggling amidst the nightly bombing raids in London’s East End, Ida Brogan is doing her very best to keep their spirits up. The Blitz has hit the Brogans hard, and rationing is more challenging than ever, but they are doing all they can to help the war effort.

When Ida’s oldest friend Ellen returns to town, sick and in dire need of help, it is to Ida that she turns. But Ellen carries a secret, one that threatens not only Ida’s marriage, but the entire foundation of the Brogan family. Can Ida let go of the past and see a way to forgive her friend? And can she overcome her sadness to find a place in her heart for a little boy, one who will need a mother more than ever in these dark times?

What does TWG think?

I may have mentioned this once or twice, but I am in my element when I read books with the topic of rationing. There is just something so powerful about those days in history and the steps people took when it came to celebratory events and what not.

One of my go to authors in this genre is Jean Fullerton, and once again she delivers a brilliantly written, fascinating story about life in London during the war. Not only does Fullerton indulge all history fanatics out there with her attention to detail, she also incorporates the strength of the community in her story too.

Ida and Ellen’s lives are about to get a whole lot more difficult, especially as Ida needs to drum up some inner strength to be able to get through the new lot of challenges she has to face. As the storyline progresses, the emotion behind Ida and Ellen’s friendship becomes a lot more raw and fragile. Tears did prick my eyes once or twice, however due to the nature of the circumstances, I couldn’t help but enable my motherly instinct as I was reading.

Just like many other historical fiction novels, the bare bones of the storyline is a tough pill to swallow, however due to the authors insightly way with words, the storyline gave me hope. I really enjoyed reading ‘A Ration Book Childhood’, and I urge you all to devour it like I did.

Buy now from Amazon

Fiona Valpy is back with a fab new #book, #TheDressmakersGift..and #TWG #reviews it for the #blogtour! @AmazonPub @ed_pr @FionaValpy

Many thanks to EdPr for inviting me to take in the blog tour for Fiona Valpy’s STUNNING novel, ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’, and for the ARC. I am delighted to be reviewing the book as part of the blog tour today!

From the bestselling author of The Beekeeper’s Promise comes a gripping story of three young women faced with impossible choices. How will history – and their families – judge them?

Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them.

Two generations later, Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, rootless and adrift, desperate to find a connection with her past. Living and working in the same building on the Rue Cardinale, she learns the truth about her grandmother – and herself – and unravels a family history that is darker and more painful than she ever imagined.

In wartime, the three seamstresses face impossible choices when their secret activities put them in grave danger. Brought together by loyalty, threatened by betrayal, can they survive history’s darkest era without being torn apart?

What does TWG think?

Ever since I finished reading this book the other morning (early hours to be exact), I knew that I was going to struggle writing my review. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the book, it was the fact that I was so emotionally invested in Harriett’s story, both past and present.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and after reading ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’, my love for the genre was cemented even more. Set in Paris in 1940 and then in Germany several years later, Valpy’s novel tells the story of Harriett’s ancestor, Claire, and her friends as they’re faced with living life during the war. As well as being set in the past, the story is also set in the ‘present day’ of 2017, making it a dual timeline and quite complex read.

Harriett hasn’t had it easy after losing her mum to suicide. She has never felt as though she belonged anywhere and, after finding a photograph from 1940, she was determined to find out more about where she came from. The truth becomes clear over the duration of the book, something I certainly wasn’t ready for let alone Harriett!

I’m sure a lot of you are aware of concentration camp, Auschwitz, but are you aware of the other camps? I knew of some, but nothing in depth, however that definitely changed as I learnt about Flossenburg. My goodness, my blood ran cold. The events that were described in this book about that camp were chilling, didistressing and incredibly heartbreaking. I had no idea that the Gustapo went to such lengths, and my heart broke for Claire, Vivi, and everyone else involved.

History and family ties is what makes ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’ what it is, yet Fiona Valpy’s fragile storytelling is what gave me a body covered in goosebumps and a heart haphazardly put back together with sellotape.

Witnessing the events from 1940 through the eyes of Claire and friends, was something I will never be able to forget. The things those women endured is what people actually went through, all because of one selfish and evil individual. Its disgraceful, disgusting, diabolical, but from the bottom of my heart (not that anyone involved would be able to read this), I want to say thank you to all the soldiers who fought for the good of the people, and thank you to everyone who lost their lives for our freedom today. I wish they hadn’t.

Sorry, went off on a tangent there but it needed to be said.

I absolutely adored ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’ for both its beauty and its emotive undertone. Fiona Valpy is an exceptional author who has given those who can no longer speak, a voice and the ability to share the power of their wisdom.

I won’t lie, this book broke me and left me utterly speechless, yet I cannot recommend it enough. This is power at its finest, poignancy in all its beauty, and the history which makes time stand still all over again. A beautiful, powerful and emotive read – one of the best books I have ever read.

The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy is out now, published by Lake Union in paperback original and e-Book.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #AuthorInterview with Carol Rivers, author of #ChristmasChild (@carol_rivers) @rararesources

Christmas Child Full Tour Banner
This afternoon I am delighted to be chatting to the author of ‘Christmas Child’, Carol Rivers. Before we get down to business, here is a little bit more about Carol’s book, as well as the all important ‘to buy’ links:

51LQuF9LnBL

Christmas Day, London 1880
Snow falls … a dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie O’Reilly as their own and provide her with the love and education she might never have had. But the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by a powerful and greedy bishop.

The heart-breaking outcome separates Ettie from her friends and family, luring her into a world of male dominance and the fickle nature of intimate relationships. In her naivety, with her faith in the goodness of human nature severely tested, she doesn’t know who to trust. And when the boy who has promised his undying love and loyalty betrays her, Ettie’s world starts to crumble.

She must finally accept the hard-hitting truth – happiness comes at a cost! Does she have the courage and wisdom to face the demons she long ago learned about from the Sisters of Clemency? Will the resolution of an undiscovered and painful secret be her making – or breaking?

Buy now from Amazon UK
Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

“Were there’s muck there’s money!” If my family had a royal crest I’m sure those are
the words that would have been hewn into the stone above it.
Mum and Dad were both East Enders who were born on the famous or should I say the then infamous Isle of Dogs. They were costermongers selling fruit, veg and anything else that would stand still long enough!

Their family were immigrants who travelled to the UK from Ireland and France, while others emigrated to America. As a child I would listen to the adults spinning their colourful stories, as my cousins and I drank pop under the table.

I know the seeds of all my stories come from those far off times that feel like only yesterday. So I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all my family and ancestors wherever you are now …UK, Ireland, France or America, as you’ve handed down to me the magic and love of story telling.

Carol’s Website

TWG sits down to talk to Carol Rivers….

 Have you always been a writer?
I think it’s safe to say I’ve always been a storyteller. It’s in the
genes! A huge cockney family, a tribe of East Enders, survivors
of the Blitz, evacuees, totters, costermongers, seamstresses,
dockers, factory workers, you name it – the stories were told! I
gradually transferred the family secrets to the writing, then to
technology and then to books.

 Have you been published for long?
I’m lucky enough to have been part of the traditional publishing
industry for many years. Hales, D.C. Thompson, Mills and
Boon, the lovely Magna who publish my books in audio and
large print and my current traditional publisher Simon &
Schuster. However, I’m now known as a hybrid author,
independently publishing in a brand new world on Amazon –
and loving it!

You say “the lovely Magna” – why is this?
I’ve been with Magna for well over a decade and have never
known them to produce less than the perfect product. Their
liaison with authors is second to none, the artwork and covers
exemplary. But above all, these wonderful publishers provide
books and audios for our precious libraries, the lifeblood of our
reading communities. The ailing or blind can listen to audio, the
short-sighted like me can read large print. What a joy!

What are your most memorable books?
Without doubt, Christmas to Come, my single ebook, and Lizzie
Flowers and the Family Firm. Two (as the late great Jackie
Collins would say) feisty heroines who kick ass! Though I qualify that by saying this year’s book CHRISTMAS CHILD has
blown me away. My first Victorian novel, a coming of age saga
that I have so enjoyed writing. I plan to take the heroine, Ettie
O’Reilly, into a series.

What made you decide to write in the Victorian era?
I wanted a fresh challenge and a new kind of leading character
and when Ettie O’Reilly made her presence known in a dream –
many writers will tell you a dream spurs them on – and I saw her
little figure almost lost on the streets of the East End, calling out
for life and love, that was it. I was off!

 Do you write a certain amount of words in a day and have
you a strict regime of writing?
I’m often asked this, but all I can say is, I begin writing by
reading a fav book, just a few minutes – Edwin Drood at the
moment and I’m lost in an opium den! Inspired, refreshed and
invigorated, I’m off into my own story. I couldn’t tell you how
much or how long I write – I don’t like rules and don’t stick to
them. But I always write a book in nine months and publish one
a year. Slow in comparison to some, but I get there.

Can you give a description of CHRISTMAS CHILD?
Indeed I can.
CHRISTMAS CHILD is my 2019 Victorian romance, a perfect
Dickensian saga for Christmas.
The story begins: Christmas Day, London 1880. Snow falls … a
dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the
sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the
mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie
O’Reilly as their own, but the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by an unscrupulous bishop. The heart-breaking
outcome turns Ettie’s life upside down and Christmas will never
mean the same again.

So you’re back on the mean Streets of East London?
The story opens in Poplar, East London, but takes a turn to
Soho, another absolutely fascinating hamlet of the city in the
late 1800’s. I loved the diversion, but fate has a way of
interrupting the best laid plans and it’s no different for my lovely
leading lady, little orphan, Ettie O’Reilly, who finds herself
caught up in a desperate flight for survival.

 If you could give advice to anyone wanting to write, what
would it be?
One word – read! If your read lots you can write lots. Read every
spare moment. Get into the heads of the characters. Examine
the plots. Notice the crunchy dialogue and how the writer uses it
to convey information that doesn’t end up in long boring
paragraphs of narrative. Lean new words, punchy, fresh
adjectives, hard-hitting verbs and watch for the stomach-
blipping tension. Have hundreds of holes for your main
character to fall into, just as in the books you read that turn you
on. READ. READ MORE. READ EVERY DAY and love
reading.

And last of all, Carol, what do you do to relax?
Other than reading, it’s all about nature. Walking, watching
birds, being part of this amazing universe and breathing the
fresh air. We live by a river and walk its banks or go to the sea
and the cliffs. The water, the fields, the trees, the wild animals,
the sky and the great beyond; bring it all on I say!

Good luck with CHRISTMAS CHILD Carol.

Thank you so much TWG for this
opportunity to connect! Love Carol XX

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheRabbitGirls by Anna Ellory (@AnnaEllory) @LakeUnion @Ed_pr #Auschwitz

Rabbit Girls Blog Tour Banner
It is an honour to be on the blog tour today for ‘The Rabbit Girls’ by Anna Ellory – thank you to EdPr for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

The Rabbit Girls high res cover

Berlin, 1989. As the wall between East and West falls, Miriam Winter cares for her dying father, Henryk. When he cries out for someone named Frieda – and Miriam discovers an Auschwitz tattoo hidden under his watch strap – Henryk’s secret history begins to unravel.

Searching for more clues of her father’s past, Miriam finds an inmate uniform from the Ravensbrück women’s camp concealed among her mother’s things. Within its seams are dozens of letters to Henryk written by Frieda. The letters reveal the disturbing truth about the ‘Rabbit Girls’, young women experimented on at the camp. And amid their tales of sacrifice and endurance, Miriam pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk’s heart for almost fifty years.

Inspired by these extraordinary women, Miriam strives to break through the walls she has built around herself. Because even in the darkest of times, hope can survive.

What does TWG think?

Where to begin? On subject matter alone due to a large portion of the story being set in Auschwitz, ‘The Rabbit Girls’ is a devastating read. Yet on the other hand, Anna Ellory’s novel is heartbreakingly beautiful because of the characters poignant memories.

Set in Berlin in the late 1980’s, ‘The Rabbit Girls’ follows the life of Miriam as she cares for her dying father. Unfortunately, the impending death of her father, Henryk, isn’t the only devastation Miriam has in her life. Without giving too much away, Miriam’s own personal tale is enough to break anyone and, as the story progresses, it is abundantly clear that it has nearly broken her, until a stranger steps in and gives her the strength to realise otherwise, that is.

Miriam’s father is in a bad way, clearly, he is dying. At times he is conscious and aware of Miriam there, and other times all he can do is shout out the name ‘Frieda’. But that wasn’t Miriam’s mothers name, was it? Who is Frieda, and why is Henryk so set on this person?

‘The Rabbit Girls’ is a dual timeline read as it steps back in time, courtesy of letters Miriam has found, and it’s because of those letters that we find out who ‘The Rabbit Girls’ actually were, and why they were called that (amongst other things of course, but spoilers!). I hadn’t heard that terminology before and due to it being related to Auschwitz, I just knew that it wasn’t going to be a case of something cuddly and cute like rabbits are usually associated with. It broke my heart which, is quite a selfish thing to say because I wasn’t the one enduring the heart ache, the pain, the devastation of watching people die and hearing their screams. Why do I, a mere 29 year old who wasn’t even around then, have any right to feel upset about a moment in history which didn’t directly affect me?

It’s simple; because that moment in history was one which moves people, even to this day, because of the sheer atrocities. The people who were in that camp need to have the recognition they deserve, even if they are no longer here to see it, which is why their stories are getting told both fictionally and non fictionally, at the hands of various different authors.

So, not only is this book a poignant, historical piece, it is also a romantic and insightful novel about love once loss and the deep routed power of that four lettered word. I may not have witnessed the pain directly, yet due to Anna Ellory’s beautiful story telling and her emotionally charged historical elements, I was able to feel a snippet of the heartache felt in both Auschwitz, and the world in which Miriam lived in at that time.

Miriam’s story, as I said above, is heartbreaking, harrowing, and simple quite scary. However, it is also a story which was probably extremely common during that time. The sacrifice of ‘The Rabbit Girls’ was jaw dropping and, even though my emotions regarding this book are still very fragile, it was an honour to be able to read such an incredible, incredible novel.

Anna Ellory and ‘The Rabbit Girls’ are forces to be reckoned with, as are all of the victims of Auschwitz. I was blown away by every single word in this novel, and I urge you all to take the time to be in the hands of a story which will leave you absolutely broken, yet hopeful and spellbound, all at the same time.

Buy now from Amazon.

#BlogTour! #Review – Her Last Promise by Kathryn Hughes (@KHughesAuthor) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

Apologies for the delay in posting my review today, I have been at Edinburgh Book Festival! Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Kathryn Hughes’ latest novel, ‘Her Last Promise’. Also, many thanks to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:

Tara Richards was just a girl when she lost her mother. Years later when Tara receives a letter from a London solicitor its contents shake her to the core. Someone has left her a key to a safe deposit box. In the box lies an object that will change everything Tara thought she knew and lead her on a journey to deepest Spain in search of the answers that have haunted her for forty years.

Violet Skye regrets her decision to travel abroad leaving her young daughter behind. As the sun dips below the mountains, she reminds herself she is doing this for their future. Tonight, 4th June 1978, will be the start of a new life for them. This night will indeed change Violet’s destiny, in the most unexpected of ways…

What does TWG think?

Ever since I lost myself in Kathryn Hughes’, ‘The Letter’, I just knew that this was an author to watch and, after reading ‘Her Last Promise’, my opinion of the authors talent was cemented on a whole new level.

As far as I am concerned, Kathryn Hughes is the queen of historical fiction who also knows how to incorporate the dramatic realism, with the hint of broken family ties that readers have come to know and love.

‘Her Last Promise’ focuses on the devastating effect that harboured regret and guilt can have on one person and families alike.

The gentleness of Tara’s personality alongside Violet’s lack of confidence, could easily have been a recipe for disaster, yet their characters spoke volumes and made the story, and their own personal journeys, come to life beautifully.

I loved how Kathryn Hughes emphasised the importance of living life to the full as best as you are able, as well as highlighting the fact that a lot of people get scared when they are faced with life changing decisions, just like both Tara and Violet.

‘Her Last Promise’ is such a beautifully written and thought provoking novel which made the hair on my arms stand to attention due to the power of the written word.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #SecretsOfTheHomefrontGirls by Kate Thompson (@katethompson380) @HodderBooks

Happy publication day, Kate Thompson! It is an honour to be kicking off the blog tour today for ‘Secrets of the Homefront Girls’. Huge thanks to Hodder for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

Stratford, 1939.

Britain may be at war, but on the home front keeping up morale and keeping up appearances go hand in hand. For the young women working on the lipstick production line at Yardley’s cosmetics factory, it’s business as usual.

Headstrong Renee Gunn is the queen of the lipstick belt – although her cheeky attitude means she’s often in trouble. When Esther, an Austrian refugee, arrives at Yardley’s, it’s Renee who takes her under her wing and teaches her to be a true cockney.

But outside of the factory, things are more complicated. Lily, Renee’s older sister, has suddenly returned home after six years away, and is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile Esther is finding life in England more difficult than expected, and it’s not long before Renee finds herself in trouble, with nowhere to turn.

In the face of the Blitz, the Yardley girls are bound together by friendship and loyalty – but could the secrets they are hiding be the biggest danger of all?

What does TWG think?

Kate Thompson is my go to author for historical fiction, without a doubt. I have never read a historical novel with such grit and factual beauty like the ones Thompson writes, and ‘Secrets of the Homefront Girls’ is no exception.

Set in 1939, during WWII, ‘Secrets of the Homefront Girls’ tells the story of Renee, Lily and Esther, aka the Yardley girls. What I loved most about this book was the fact that, whilst we are aware of what the soldiers endured in the war and what not, we never really hear about what happened behind the scenes so to speak. I know that a cosmetics factory isn’t really behind the scenes of a war as such, however it still had a large role in showing readers how the war affected businesses that may or may not have been directly affected by any shortages.

Renee, deary me..! I loved her character and her fiestiness, but I just knew it was going to get her into trouble somehow. She acted like she didn’t care, yet I could tell a mile off that it was mostly bravado. Deep down she wanted to succeed and do well, and I felt that she knew that too…..she just didn’t know how to. Either that or she felt that she wasn’t worthy of a happily ever after like her sister, Lily.

Kate Thompson is a phenomenal storyteller who takes facts and turns them into a story which ends up touching every inch of your soul. It’s always hard reading a story set during a time where people lost the ones they loved, however the empathy this author showed, despite not focusing directly on the lost lives, was incredibly moving.

‘Secrets of the Homefront Girls’ is a compelling, magnetic read which allows you to touch up your lippy whilst being taken on a journey of self discovery at the same time. A thoroughly enjoyable, indepth and fascinating read.

Buy now.

#BlogTour! #Review – #ThoseWhoAreLoved by Victoria Hislop (@VicHislop) @HeadlinePG @AnneCater

VH
Next up on TWG today is a review of ‘Those Who Are Loved’ by Victoria Hislop. Many thanks to Anne Cater and Headline for the blog tour invite and ARC – it’s a pleasure to be involved in the tour today!

Those Who Are Loved Cover

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

What does TWG think?

‘Wow’, is all I can say to this one! How do you even begin to write a review for a novel like this one? If you are into your history, ‘Those Who Are Loved’ will be right up your street. What an intricately detailed, powerful novel this is.

Set in Greece, main character, Themis, tells the story of her life during the Second World War, and the devastation she, and many others, had to live through. I’m not clued up on my history regarding Greece, so it was a very bittersweet pleasure to learn more about what happened in the 1940’s over there, even though it was quite heartbreaking to read at times. It’s not that I was ignorant to the fact that the Nazi’s took over Greece, I had no idea as it’s a topic which isn’t given as much ‘airtime’ so to speak, as other historic events from that time.

Themis is a character and a half. She is one of a kind and a true gem whose life I had the honour of delving into. I cannot even begin to imagine just how many hours research, Victoria Hislop embarked on to get the details of the storyline up to scratch, but it is very clear that the author took to the task to ensure that the storyline was as factually correct as possible.

‘Those Who Are Loved’ is a very deep, atmospheric read, that is full of emotion and incredibly complex due to the political and historical premise behind the storyline. This book blew my mind, and I can honestly say that Victoria Hislop has set the bar incredibly high with this novel. A beautiful, compelling, highly atmospheric read which I was able to sink my teeth into and forget my surroundings – perfect.

Pre-order now! Published 30th May.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Daughters of Ironbridge by Mollie Walton (@RebeccaMascull) @ZaffreBooks

The Daughters of Ironbridge Blog Tour (1)
Blog tour two of the day is where TWG gets to step back in time with ‘The Daughters of Ironbridge’ by Mollie Walton. Bit ironic for Easter Sunday is it not! Thank you to Zaffre Books for the blog tour invite and ARC. Here is my review:

51kIhm4JOzL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_
Anny Woodvine’s family has worked at the ironworks for as long as she can remember. The brightest child in her road and the first in her family to learn to read, Anny has big dreams. So, when she is asked to run messages for the King family, she grabs the opportunity with both hands.

Margaret King is surrounded by privilege and wealth. But behind closed doors, nothing is what it seems. When Anny arrives, Margaret finds her first ally and friend. Together they plan to change their lives.

But as disaster looms over the ironworks, Margaret and Anny find themselves surrounded by secrets and betrayal. Can they hold true to each other and overcome their fate? Or are they destined to repeat the mistakes of the past?

What does TWG think?

Got to love a saga! ‘The Daughters of Ironbridge’ is such a special read. In no time at all, the author allowed me to lose myself in the lives of such three-dimensional, well thought out characters such as Anny and Margaret. Set in the mid 1800’s, Mollie Walton takes her readers on a journey back in time where society and class were completely different to they are now. Not only that, readers are given an insight into the ironworks, and just how much hard work it took for those who worked there.

Mollie Walton makes her characters come alive in such a seamless and flawless manner, at times making me feel as though I was sitting on the characters shoulders like a little parrot, following their every move.

I was moved by the community spirit and the strength of the friendship between Margaret and Anny, two very different people whose lives may have been bound by the strength of their friendship, yet their class couldn’t have been more chalk and cheese if it tried.

There is a lot of storyline to sink your teeth into, just like most saga’s, so if you’re into reading books which give you more than your moneys worth, and then some, ‘The Daughters of Ironbridge’ will no doubt tick several boxes.

I was so pleased to see that this is the first book in a trilogy – roll on more is what I say!

An in-depth, powerful and beautifully crafted novel from an author who puts ‘history’ in the word ‘historical’. Brilliant.

Buy now!