arc · blog tour · Book Review · historical fiction · Legend Press

#TheTinNoseShop by Don J Snyder (@legend_Times_) #blogtour #review #wartimefiction #blogger

Many thanks to Legend Press for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘The Tin Nose Shop’ by Don J Snyder, and for supplying me with an ARC of the book to review in a non-biased and honest manner.

INSPIRED BY ONE OF THE LAST GREAT UNTOLD STORIES OF WW1

1916. Young artist Sam Burke is spared death by firing squad on the battlefields of France and brought to a remote castle by the Irish Sea. At the ‘Tin Nose Shop’ he is tasked with creating intricate masks to hide the mutilated faces of his fellow soldiers from the Front. While he tries to come to terms with the death of his best friend and the promise he failed to keep, Sam and the disfigured soldiers struggle to return to their former lives and their loved ones.

A stirring and emotional tale based on the real-life story of the Tin Nose Shop.

TWG’s thoughts.

‘The Tin Nose Shop’ intrigued me at the very beginning. Despite having read multiple historical fiction set during the war, I hadn’t ever heard of masks being made for disfigured soldiers – it was nice to learn something new and to find out a bit more information about such a momentous time.

For me personally, the concept of the storyline was what grabbed my attention. I enjoyed the uniqueness of the idea. It was refreshing I must say.

That said, I do wish that that had a little more focus in the book. I felt like there was a lot of coverage surrounding Katie, Sam and Ned’s relationship, as well as Sam’s meeting with Lily, yet I wanted more about the main concept.

I thought the chapter headings were brilliantly thought out and cleverly done, and the authors attention to detail when it came to describing certain situations, feelings, and scenery, was spot on – everything seemed to come to life which I loved.

I also thought that the way the story was told, switching between narratives and locations was a little difficult to follow at times, and I couldn’t help but feel as though I had unintentionally missed out vital pieces of information as the characters seemed to transport themselves! I am glad that Sam got to tell his story though!

Overall, ‘The Tin Nose Shop’ was a unique read which highlighted something very important, allowing me to gain some new knowledge about a topic I really do enjoy. A very insightful, interesting concept with a poignant undertone.

Buy now from Amazon.

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · historical fiction · netgalley

#TheLieutenantsGirl – Shari J.Ryan (@sharijryan) @Bookouture #review #blogtour #historicalfiction #PearlHarbor #booktwitter

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?

TWG’s thoughts.

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.

Beautiful. Just….beautiful.

Buy now!

About the author.

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

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#suspense · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · historical fiction · lifestyle · On location · Panmacmillan

#TheFourWinds – KristinHannah (@PanMacmillan) #KristinHannah #AmericanHistory #GreatDepression #review #booktwitter

She will discover the best of herself in the worst of times . . .

Texas, 1934. Elsa Martinelli had finally found the life she’d yearned for. A family, a home and a livelihood on a farm on the Great Plains. But when drought threatens all she and her community hold dear, Elsa’s world is shattered to the winds.

Fearful of the future, when Elsa wakes to find her husband has fled, she is forced to make the most agonizing decision of her life. Fight for the land she loves or take her beloved children, Loreda and Ant, west to California in search of a better life. Will it be the land of milk and honey? Or will their experience challenge every ounce of strength they possess?

From the overriding love of a mother for her child, the value of female friendship and the ability to love again – against all odds, Elsa’s incredible journey is a story of survival, hope and what we do for the ones we love.

TWG’s Thoughts.

I have been delaying writing my review of ‘The Four Winds’ because I knew that, deep down in my heart of hearts, I would never find just the right words to sum up my thoughts of the storyline. I had to give it a go though.

‘The Four Winds’ was the first book I have read by Kristin Hannah, and it certainly hasn’t been the last. Since finishing, my collection of Hannah’s books has increased drastically and I have read ‘The Nightingale’ and ‘Night Road’ (more on those another time).

It didn’t take me long to work out that the plot of ‘The Four Winds’ was very heavy and, in places, somewhat depressing. Goodness me, it was set in the time of the ‘Great Depression’ in America, so obviously it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and roses, laughter and joviality. Whilst most people would associate the words ‘heavy’ and ‘depressing’ with negative connotations, and rightly so, I found that the storyline needed that darkness to showcase the strength of the main character, Elsa, as well as the strength of the real life people who lived through such a tumultuous time. It wasn’t the fact that I was revelling in other peoples misfortune by enjoying a storyline that had heartbreak and devastation at the centre of it, not at all, however it opened my eyes to a time in history that should be spoken about.

Elsa was a majorly flawed character who wanted to do so right by everyone else, that she ended up doing the complete opposite. She was quite a naïve woman and that often got her into trouble. At times I felt like she was forgetting that she had two children, with their lives depending on her strength and courage to point them in the right direction, safely. Something which again, ended up being the complete opposite and Loreda and Ant were put in harms way. It’s crazy to think just how different life was back in the 1930’s, let alone in 1930 America, and I loved how those differences were portrayed in the storyline.

With the best intentions in mind, I absolutely loved ‘The Four Winds’, and I was blown away (pardon the pun) by the powerfully flawed characters, the eyeopening historical moments, and the power behind Kristin Hannah’s words. Every sentence was delivered with determination and hard hitting grit. By the time the book had ended, my brain was awash with emotion, empathy, and belief that no matter what you’re faced with in life, you must attack it head on with courage, whether you feel strong or not.

Buy now on Amazon.

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · contemporary fiction · historical fiction

#APostcardFromParis – Alex Brown (@alexbrownbooks @fictionpubteam @harperfiction) #review

Many thanks to the lovely Jen and the Harper Fiction team for asking me to be involved in Alex Brown’s blog tour for ‘A Postcard From Paris’. I am delighted to be hosting day two of the tour, sharing my review of this picturesque novel. Thanks to the publisher for also supplying me with an advanced copy.

Annie Lovell is keen to put the spark back into her life and when her elderly neighbour inherits an abandoned Parisian apartment she goes to Paris to discover more. Her curiosity takes an unexpected turn on discovering a bundle of secret diaries hidden within the walls, detailing the life of a young English woman, Beatrice Crawford, who volunteered in 1916 to nurse the soldiers in the fields of France.
 
Captivated by the romantic City of Light, Annie realises first appearances are not always as they seem. Following Beatrice’s journey from the Great War, through the Roaring Twenties and to a very different life in Nazi-occupied Paris, Annie must piece together the events from the past, if she is to fulfil the legacy that Beatrice left for her to find…

What does TWG think?

A book by Alex Brown which also contains historical elements? What’s not to love?

I adore losing myself in anything that Alex Brown has written, and this novel was no exception. There was quite a mysterious vibe to the story as main character, Annie Lovell, finds old diaries dating back to 1916 during the war in France. Having moved to a new country to add some variety to her life, Annie didn’t expect to become Miss Marple almost instantly, and neither did I for that matter. I was genuinely surprised by the direction the story took because of the diaries – which certainly was not a bad thing! Finding out about Beatrice and the volunteer work she was involved in, was both astounding and intriguing. I can’t even begin to imagine what Beatrice must have seen in those fields with the soldiers, nor can I even begin to imagine the pain and anguish that they must have felt in battle.

I thought that Alex Brown approached the historically emotional subject with extreme grace. It was evident just how much research the author put in to keep the events and descriptions as close to reality as possible. As a history lover, I appreciated the dedication from the author, but on the other side of the coin as a fiction lover, I also appreciated the way that Alex Brown incorporated facts alongside fiction without making them stand out like a sore thumb. I loved how seamless the entire thing was, and the flow of the story was on point. I was gutted to reach the end as I was captivated by every word I was reading.

Alex Brown exceeded my expectations with ‘A Postcard From Paris’, from the characterisation to the factual information, to the emotional turmoil to the sense of belonging. Everything worked and it blew me away. I would read it all over again in a heartbeat.

Purchase from Amazon.

#Avon · #Harpercollins · book blogger · Coming Soon · cover reveal · historical fiction

Cover Reveal – #CollectorsDaughter by Gill Paul (@GillPaulAuthor) #ComingSoon #PreorderNow #GillPaul #HistoricalFiction #CoverReveal



I am delighted to be bringing you another cover reveal this week, courtesy of the extremely talented Gill Paul. I have been a fan of this author for many years, and in my opinion, she has never written a book that I have disliked! To say that she is talented would be a huge understatement, so knowing that a new book is coming out in a few months makes me extremely, extremely excited. I cannot wait!

Here is the cover for Gill Paul’s upcoming novel, ‘The Collector’s Daughter’. Spoiler, it’s a stunner!



Bestselling author Gill Paul returns with a brilliant novel about Lady Evelyn Herbert, who grew up in Highclere Castle—the real Downton Abbey—and became the first person in modern times to enter the tomb of Ancient Egyptian king Tutankhamun. 

She is the daughter of the Earl of Carnarvon, brought up to make her society debut and follow it with a prestigious marriage. But popular and pretty Lady Evelyn Herbert has other ideas. First she falls for a man her mother doesn’t approve of, then she accompanies her father to Egypt, leaving behind the world of etiquette and chaperones to work alongside archeologist Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings.

In November 1922 the extraordinary happens when they discover the burial place of Tutankhamun, packed full of gold and inconceivable riches. Eve is the first to crawl inside, the first person to see the treasures in three thousand years. She calls it the “greatest moment” of her life—but soon afterwards a string of tragedies leaves her world a darker, sadder place.

Newspapers claim it is “the curse of Tutankhamun.” Howard Carter says no rational person would entertain such nonsense. Fifty years later, an Egyptian academic comes asking questions about what really happened in the tomb in 1922. And that visit unleashes a new chain of events threatening Eve’s happy life, and making her wonder if there could be some truth behind the stories of an ancient curse.


The Collector’s Daughter is due to be released in the UK on the 30th September and can be pre-ordered now by clicking here.
The book is due to be published in the US on the 7th September and also can be pre-ordered now by clicking here.

Also, if you wish to be notified of Gill Paul’s further releases or any other news, you can sign up to her newsletter now!

Who else is excited for a new Gill Paul novel?! I cannot wait to read it!

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The Writing Garnet turns 5! Happy birthday TWG! #blogger #blogbirthday #TWGTurns5 #Awardwinningblogger

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.

TWG x

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · historical fiction

#TheItalianGirls by Debbie Rix (@DebbieRix) @Bookouture

Thank you, as always, to Bookouture for inviting me on Debbie Rix’s blog tour, and for supplying me with an ARC.

The sun hung low in the sky, casting pink light all over the city. A faint breeze blew over the rooftops, as flocks of starlings swirled above her, swooping and diving in unison. It seemed unimaginable that, even now, German soldiers were marching along the streets below. It was time, she decided, for direct action. It was time to fight back.

Each morning Livia Moretti makes her way from an apartment overlooking Florence’s famous Duomo to a nearby café, where she drinks espresso and reads the newspaper. To the crowds of tourists who pass by, snapping selfies, nothing about Livia will be memorable. She is simply an old lady. They walk on without knowing the part she played in ensuring the future of this beautiful city. And to Livia now, those dark days feel very far away too.

But today, when she opens the paper, she sees a name she has not heard for a long time. A name that will bring memories flooding back of Nazi troops marching through the city and the dangers she faced as a young woman, carrying out secret missions for the resistance.

Isabella Bellucci.

A siren of the silver screen, Isabella cultivated all the right connections to ensure her rise to stardom. But when Rome falls to the Nazis, Isabella is suddenly faced with the choice between protecting herself, and all she has worked for, or sacrificing everything to save the man she loves.

As the war rages across Europe, a terrible misunderstanding causes the fates of Isabella and Livia to become forever intertwined. And each woman must decide what they’re willing to risk, to protect the ones they hold dear from a brutal enemy.

What does TWG think?

My first piece of advice to anyone wanting to read this is; make sure your mind is free from distractions beforehand as the storyline requires your attention.

My second piece of advice is not to rush the book. There is a lot of to-ing and fro-ing between times and characters, and time is needed to appreciate those parts for what they are.

‘The Italian Girls’ is a WW2 novel set in Italy. I have read several historical fiction novels that have had Italy as their settings, so i was a little bit concerned about whether they would be similarities between the stories aside from the obvious influences of the war. Thankfully, Debbie Rix has a unique voice within her stories and that is what gave this particular book its own stance.

Livia was such an interesting, multi layered character who constantly surprised me. I loved getting to know her personality and finding out about her life. Its safe to say that she was my most favourite character in the novel.

Debbie Rix has written an atmospheric, heart rendering novel that just kept on giving. I love historical fiction and I am delighted to say that ‘The Italian Girls’ really didn’t disappoint.

Buy now.

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · historical fiction

#TheStolenLetter by Clara Benson @ClaraBooks @bookouture

Many thanks to Bookouture for the tour invite and ARC.

The longer her imprisonment went on, the more she cast her mind back to the stolen hours they had spent together. His love had blown in like an unexpected breath of warm summer air, giving her the promise of life and joy. But now they had been torn apart and she was tormented by the thought that they might never be reunited.
Italy, 1938: When Stella arrives in Florence, it’s love at first sight. She is wowed by the rolling hills dotted with olive trees, the buttermilk villas with shuttered windows and terracotta roofs that glow gloriously in the sunlight. Even the breeze holds the scent of freedom – freedom from England, where the shadow of her past haunted her.

Then there is Ted, an American journalist who is wild and mischievous, with an arrogance bordering on rude. Stella is infuriated by him – but she cannot deny the lure of the danger and excitement he promises.
But there is something dark under the bright surface of this beautiful country, with unspeakable tragedies just around the corner. When the Nazis take control of Italy, Stella and Ted – and whatever dreams the future held for them – are ripped apart. As bombs descend, destroying everything in their wake, there is nothing to do but sit in darkness, praying to see tomorrow.
And it seems that even in Italy, Stella’s past has found her. Somewhere in the winding streets of Florence there is a letter that could change the course of her fate. Unknown to her, it holds a secret with the power to rewrite her past, and everything she has been running away from. But will she live to find it? And with the odds stacked against her, will she ever see Ted again?

What does TWG think?

Novels set during wartime are my most favourite historical fiction to read, and thankfully Clara Benson kept that momentum going.

Set in Italy in 1938, Stella can’t help but be excited for her promising new life in her beautiful new surroundings. However, unfinished business has a way of catching up with people when they expect it to, and soon enough Stella’s new life takes a turn that looks set to be a lot darker than she anticipated.

Stella is such a memorable character to read about and get to know. I felt a lot of empathy towards her because of how she had to mature a lot faster than nature intended her to. I think she surprised herself, and the readers, by flourishing the way that she did. Whilst I applauded her strength and courage, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss for her and the roads she wasnt able to go down because of certain choices that were made.

‘The Stolen Letter’ really is a heartwarming read, one which reminded me so much of author Kathryn Hughes ‘The Letter’! If you’re after a well balanced, detailed and blossoming read, then I highly recommend you get a hold of this.

Buy now.

blog tour · Book Review · Bookouture · historical fiction

#TheOrphanHouse @AnnBennett71 @Bookouture #blogtour #review #bloggers

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in Ann Bennett’s blog tour for ‘The Orphan House’. Here is my review:

As she looks at the baby wriggling in her father’s arms, a bolt of recognition goes through her and she takes a step back. And it’s in that moment that she begins to protect her father’s secrets.

1934, Weirfield-on-Thames. Connie Burroughs loves living in the orphanage that her father runs. Exploring its nooks and crannies with her sister, hearing the pounding of a hundred pairs of feet on the wooden stairs, having a father who is doing so much good. But everything changes the day she sees him carrying a newborn baby that he says he found near the broken front gate. A baby she recognises…

Present day. Arriving at her father’s beloved cottage beside the river, Sarah Jennings is hoping for peace and quiet, to escape her difficult divorce. But when she finds her father unwell and hunched over boxes of files on the orphanage where he was abandoned as a child, she decides to investigate it herself.

The only person left alive who lived at Cedar Hall is Connie Burroughs, but Connie sits quietly in her nursing home for a reason. The sewing box under Connie’s bed hides secrets that will change Sarah’s life forever, uncovering a connection between them that has darker consequences than she could ever imagine.

What does TWG think?

With the topic of adoption being at the heart of the book, ‘The Orphan House’ is a very poignant read which will ask to borrow the emotions of anyone who readers it.

I felt that the storyline was full of hope, whilst also keeping the realism of the heartache where adoption is concerned. What I will say though, is that the language used in reference to ‘real’ mothers left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth and i found it to be a little archaic which was a shame.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the history and I was impressed with the authors attention to detail and belief in her characters – a real ‘food for thought’ novel.

Buy now.

#suspense · arc · blog tour · book blogger · Book Review · Bookouture · historical fiction

#WhenWeWereBrave @Bookouture #blogtour @SuzKelman

Many thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for ‘When We Were Brave’ by Suzanne Kelman. Here is my review:

The face of the woman in the photograph was tilted upwards, as if enjoying the sunshine just for a moment, even as the wreckage of the bombed-out street lay behind her…

1944, Cornwall: Blinded by love, Vivienne Hamilton eloped to Paris with a Nazi prisoner-of-war, never to be seen again. A disgrace to her family, her name would not be mentioned by any of her relatives for over 75 years.

Present day, London: When Sophie discovers a photograph of her great aunt Vivi from World War Two, it throws her into a world of confusion. Because, as she learns about this secret relative, she quickly realises that the photograph doesn’t fit with her family’s story. It shows Vivi leaving an address associated with a spy network in London – a place she had no reason to be – and it is dated right before she disappeared.

Meanwhile Sophie’s own life feels as blasted and bombed as the blitzed city in the photograph she’s looking at. Her beautiful daughter – as full of joy and wild energy as Vivi had apparently once been – is gone; and Sophie’s heart has been left broken into pieces.

Retreating to the family home in rural Cornwall to seek solace from her pain and the feelings of guilt that she could have done more to protect her daughter, Sophie finds herself becoming obsessed with Vivi’s life.

But nothing can prepare Sophie for what she is about to uncover – the story of a woman who risked everything for the person she loved the most; and a secret family history that could be the key to Sophie’s own future.

What does TWG think?

Reading ‘When We Were Brave’ got me thinking about the fact that I have never, ever been to a museum! How?! I really need to change that!

Sophie is a character that you cant help but warm to. She hasn’t had the easiest of lives to date, what with losing two of the most important people in her life. Knowing that her heart wont be easily fixed, Sophie puts all of her energy into trying to find a relative she never knew existed. Life isnt that simple though is it?

Dual timelines, historical fiction and a whole load of intensity, ‘When We Were Brave’ really ticked my boxes and kept me gripped until the very end. The storyline was full of emotion and heartache, yet it was also full of hope and determination. I really couldn’t have asked for more.

Buy now.