#BlogTour! #Review – The Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott (@nikola_scott) @Headlinepg @AnneCater


Summer may be pretty much behind us, but are the secrets still under lock and key? I am excited to be day two on the blog tour for ‘Summer of Secrets’ by Nikola Scott. Big thanks, as always, to Anne Cater from RandomThingsTours for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Headline for the ARC. Here is my review:


August 1939

At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her
adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy
fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into
their lives…

Today

Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her
husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what
happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could
change everything…

What does TWG think?

I am, as a lot of you know, quite partial to a historical fiction novel. I love being able to step back in time to witness moments in history which can only be remembered by visuals or Wikipedia. Reading ‘Summer of Secrets’ allowed me to sneak a peek at a fictional, yet historically based, moment in time during World War ll where ‘uncertainty’ was the popular feeling amongst everyone at Summerhill and beyond.

It took me a little while to get into the swing of things as I found the pace to be a little bit slow, but once things started to pick up I found myself going with the flow rather nicely.

‘Summer of Secrets’ is set during World War ll in 1939 and the present, bringing characters from the past into the life of the main character in the present, Chloe. Chloe is trapped in a life she has been told that she wants, yet after getting a taste for the life she actually does want for herself, she realises that her husband has been manipulating Chloe’s journey for many years. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be JUST Chloe’s life he is intent on controlling.

In the parts of the story set in 1939, emotions are rife and secrets which have been kept hidden for many years, are threatening to escape after being prodded and poked by good ol’ revenge.

I was very impressed by how Nikola Scott brought the past into the present as it was done in such a seamless manner, as though the characters had been friends all this time. If I did have to choose between which parts I liked the best, the past or the present, I would have to say that the pace and the content of the present just swayed it for me as I loved the constant grit throughout those chapters. I’m not saying that I disliked the parts set in 1939, not at all, I just thought that those chapters had some unnecessary padding.

Overall, ‘Summer of Secrets’ kept me hooked and interested from start to finish, and I especially loved watching Chloe and Maddy’s gather the strength to stretch their wings in their own individual ways. Nikola Scott has a magical way of piecing her stories together, and I feel that she has done her characters proud with the way she has written their journeys in this book.

An emotionally charged, harrowing and majestic novel – ‘Summer of Secrets’, it has been a pleasure.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Nikola Scott was born and raised in Germany and studied at
university there. Having been obsessed with books from a young age, Nikola moved to New York
City after her Master’s degree to begin her first job in book publishing, a career in which she
could fully indulge her love of fiction! 

She spent ten years working in publishing in New York and then in London, editing other
people’s books, before she decided to take the leap into becoming a full-time writer herself. 
She now lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two sons.

MY MOTHER’S SHADOW was published in 2017 to wonderful reviews. Her new novel
SUMMER OF SECRETS is coming in September 2018.

Please visit http://www.nikolascott.com/ for more information,
or find Nikola on Instagram @nikolascottauthor,
Twitter @nikola_scott and Facebook/NikolaScottAuthor.

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#BlogTour! #Review – The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble (@RachelBrimble) @RaRaResources


Very happy to be able to re-share my review for Rachel Brimble’s ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’. Thank you to RaRaResources for asking me to be involved in the blog tour as I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Here is my review:


1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store. Perfect for
the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her
enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington believes his daughter
lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.

Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store,
Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph
Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s
equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.

Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself
an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

What does TWG think?

I absolutely adore books like this! I have to say that this reminded me so much of the BBC drama, ‘Mr Selfridge’, and there were times where the storyline was incredibly similar to said drama, I found it difficult to separate the two. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the premise of ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’. I found the entire storyline captivating and enticing, with certain characters personalities making me react in various different ways. Whilst I loved watching ‘Mr Selfridge’ and I did enjoy this book, what let it down for me was just how similar the book was to the drama.

However, I thought that Elizabeth Pennington was such a wonderful character to read about, with her determination becoming the star of the entire novel due to how inspirational it was. I couldn’t help but find myself becoming emotional in regards to her history and the disastrous choices of her father, Edward Pennington. I realise that it took a while before women were allowed to be heard in the work place and at home, but it definitely hit home reading about the differences in gender equality through this storyline. I am incredibly honoured that I now live in a time where equality is nowhere near as bad as it was, yet I cannot forget the history of our female ancestors and the challenges they faced trying to get their voices heard. I really did appreciate just how Rachel Brimble got that historical message across through her characters. Times are changing, but it is very important to keep that history alive.

Overall, ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’ was right up my street due to the historical elements themselves. Rachel Brimble has captured the story brilliantly, and I think that women of the 1900’s would be pleased with how the author made their voices come alive with her words.

Amazon UK // Amazon US // Barnes and Noble // Kobo

About the author.

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since
2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin
Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set
in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and
was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest.
When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English
countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

Website // Blog // Twitter // Facebook

#BlogTour! #Review – The Lost Letters by Sarah Mitchell (@SarahMwriter_) @Bookouture


Last but not least is my review for ‘The Lost Letters’ by Sarah Mitchell. Huge thanks to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Here is my review:


Canada, present day 

When Martha’s beloved father dies, he leaves her two things: a mysterious stash of letters to an English woman called ‘Catkins’ and directions to a beach hut in the English seaside town of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Martha is at a painful crossroads in her own life, and seizes this chance for a trip to England – to discover more about her family’s past, and the identity of her father’s secret correspondent.

Norfolk, 1940

Sylvia’s husband Howard has gone off to war, and she is struggling to raise her two children alone. Her only solace is her beach hut in Wells, and her friendship with Connie, a woman she meets on the beach. The two women form a bond that will last a lifetime, and Sylvia tells Connie something that no-one else knows: about a secret lover… and a child.

But the tragedy of war brings heartbreaking choices. And a promise made between the two women will echo down the years, and could change everything for Martha…

What does TWG think?

Can I just take a moment to appreciate just how STUNNING this cover is?! This has got to be one of my all-time favourite covers that Bookouture have ever created – simply stunning!

Oh this is a little gem of a read! Instead of being a told a story set in the present day, us readers are lucky enough to not only meet characters from the present, but to be able to step back in time to where it all began….so to speak. If you’re the type of person who enjoys finding out how things became the way that they are now, you are in an absolute treat as Sarah Mitchell has done just that with her characters, Martha, Connie and Sylvia. With Martha still grieving the loss of her father, anything she comes across reminds her of him, especially when she finds letters written to a mysterious ‘Catkins’. Yes, I know, who is Catkins, and why were she and Martha’s father in contact? If Martha delved into her father’s past, would she end up unearthing things that she would have preferred not to know? Or will those letters end up being the key to finding out more about where she came from?

Such a sticky situation with no correct answer. My heart went out to Martha, but selfishly I was eager to find out the truth about her past and her future. I wasn’t going to sit there and relish in it, nothing like that at all, I guess I was just curious about Martha’s past. As I said to begin with, Martha’s life is in the present, yet the story does switch between the ‘now’ and 1940, where the war was raging and uncertainty was rife. Especially for Sylvia. However, when I first came across Sylvia’s character, I couldn’t help thinking that there was a lot more to her that meets the eye, I just couldn’t put my finger on what or why that was. Sylvia certainly is one of a kind and whilst I did find myself becoming emotionally attached to her situation, I struggled to feel complete empathy towards her decisions. That said, how can anyone judge someone’s situation when they’re not living it themselves?

The historical element to ‘The Lost Letters’ was beautifully written, and the characters were delicately crafted, creating a very spirited and emotive storyline for readers to lose themselves in. If you’re after a storyline where the pace is faster than a train, you will be disappointed as the true beauty of this book isn’t in how fast it flows, it’s in how much it gets under your skin.

An enchanting, thought-provoking and dynamic read – I am looking forward to reading more from Sarah Mitchell in the future.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Sarah Mitchell practised as a barrister in London for 20 years, working in the field of human rights and European Law. She was tempted to write fiction for a long while and finally signed up for an introductory creative writing course with the Open University. Two years later she took a sabbatical from the bar to do an MA in Creative Writing at the UEA and has never looked back. THE LOST LETTERS is her first novel, inspired by a walk on the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea to calm her nerves before starting the MA, and the decision her grandparents almost made to evacuate her mother to Canada at the start of the Second World War. Sarah now lives back in Norfolk – where she grew up – with her husband and three almost-grown-up children, and combines writing with some legal work.

You can follow Sarah Mitchell on Twitter at @SarahM_writer

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Telegrams and Teacakes by Amy Miller (@AmyBratley1) @Bookouture


Day two of the blog blitz for ‘Telegrams and Teacakes’, and it is an absolute pleasure to be able to share my review as part of it. Big thank you, as always, to Bookouture for the blog blitz invite and the ARC of the book. Here is my review:


‘There was no denying it, being cheerful was a challenge. You just had to be grateful for small mercies: a sunny day, a night without an air raid, an extra rasher of bacon from the butcher.’

England, 1942: 23-year-old Betty runs away from Bristol to make a new life for herself. Betrayed by her husband, Betty flees to the seaside town of Bournemouth, where she has fond memories of childhood holidays. There, she finds a small family bakery, in desperate need of a new shop girl…

At the Barton BakeryBetty finds a sanctuary with shopkeeper Audrey Barton, but Audrey is fighting battles of her own. Her husband is at war and in grave danger, she is heavily pregnant, and her customers are horrified by the demands imposed by rationing.

Audrey’s stepsister Lily receives a letter from a man she once loved very much, a man she thought was lost to her forever. He offers her a new future with him, but one that will mean sacrificing so many of her hopes and dreams…

As Winston Churchill tells the country to ‘never give in’, the women of the Barton Bakery struggle on to keep their families, homes and loved ones safe in a time of turmoil.

What does TWG think?

Book three in the ‘Wartime Bakery’ series, and what a corker it is! I have loved this series from book one, and I can honestly say that with every book Amy Miller releases in this series, the storylines just go from strength to strength and the bar gets raised even higher.

Even though I have read a fair few books between the previous book and ‘Telegrams and Teacakes’, I was able to slot back into life at Barton Bakery very easily. I guess that each book could be read as a standalone perfectly fine, but I would definitely recommend that you read the books in order as there are a lot of characters who come and go throughout the series.  I think some readers may find that they will miss out on little snippets of information which may later become important, if they chose to read the books out-of-order. However, if you think you can cope with that, then by all means read them whichever way you choose – just as long as you read them all! They’re fabulous!

Oh Audrey…what a selfless, warmhearted, caring and considerate lady she is. I was worried sick that she might end up working herself to the ground, especially when the family bakery becomes full to the brim of people who Audrey can’t see go without. It just goes to show how fierce the level of community spirit was in the wartime, because a lot of people would get their noses pushed out of joint if they did what Audrey did. She is definitely a cut above the rest, even though I wanted to shout at her to take it easy. But again, it just goes to show just how times have changed in regards to pregnancy and what not.

Hand on heart, I don’t think that I would ever get bored with this series. Please say that there is another book coming soon?!

‘Telegrams and Teacakes’ certainly gave me food for thought and made me appreciate the little things in life that little bit more. Once again, Amy Miller has delivered a touching, jam-packed novel which delivers in excellence from start to finish. A truly wonderful and inspiring read, one that I won’t be tiring of anytime soon.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

Amy Miller lives in Dorset with her husband and two children. New to saga, she has previously written women’s fiction under a different name.

#BlogTour! #Review – Fatal Inheritance by Rachel Rhys (@MsTamarCohen) @AnneCater @TransworldBooks @alisonbarrow


Today I am delighted to be reviewing ‘Fatal Inheritance’ by Rachel Rhys. Big thank you to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to Transworld Books for the ARC. Here is my review:

London 1948: Eve Forrester is trapped in a loveless marriage, in a gloomy house, in a grey suburb.
Out of the blue, she receives a solicitor’s letter. A wealthy stranger has left her a mystery inheritance but in order to find out more, she must travel to the glittering French Riviera.

Eve discovers her legacy is an enchanting villa overlooking the Mediterranean sea and suddenly, life could not be more glamorous.

Alone in paradise, Eve must unlock the story behind her surprise bequest – before events turn deadly…

Reminiscent of a Golden Age mystery, Fatal Inheritance is an intoxicating story of dysfunctional families and long-hidden secrets, set against the razzle-dazzle and decadence of the French Riviera.

What does TWG think?

As I think most of you are aware of by now, I am quite partial to a historical fiction novel…or two, and Rachel Rhys seems to have this genre absolutely nailed. Set in the late 1940’s London, Eve is at the end of her tether. Her marriage isn’t relighting her fire anymore, and her life is just shouting out for more colour and more excitement. Thankfully someone must have heard her calling, as Eve randomly receives a letter, telling her that the dazzling, French Riviera, requires her presence sooner rather than later. Of course Eve jumps at the chance, who wouldn’t? But why has she been summoned there of all places? A mysterious legacy in a glamorous setting, what’s not to like? Call me a cynic, but there must be some sort of catch….right?

Rachel Rhys is brilliant at setting the scene in her stories, and ‘Fatal Inheritance’ is no different. There was an incredible air of mystery from the very beginning which, when more characters came into the spotlight, brought the tension of the overall storyline, up several notches. Personally, whilst the tension was brilliant and the mystery had made itself known, there were moments where I felt as though the storyline was a little bit too slow-paced for my liking. Yes, there were times where the pace was on point and I was kept on the edge of my seat, but it did dip the odd time. However, Rachel Rhys is an enchanting author who makes her stories jump off the page so I put the difference in pace down to my own personal tastes.

I loved how old-school, cluedo-esque ‘Fatal Inheritance’ came across, as it made me more excited to delve into the rest of the book. I was rather impressed by how glamorous yet highly suspenseful, every inch of this book appeared to be.

Another delectable read from the very talented, Rachel Rhys.

Buy now from Amazon

About the author.

RACHEL RHYS is the pen-name of a much-loved psychological suspense
author. Fatal Inheritance is her second novel under this name. Her debut
Dangerous Crossing a Richard and Judy bookclub pick, was published
around the world. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Factory Girls of Lark Lane by Pam Howes (@PamHowes1) @Bookouture


Pam Howes is back, and what a fantastic start to a very promising new series! Happy publication day to Pam Howes and ‘The Factory Girls of Lark Lane’. I am absolutely delighted to be one of the bloggers kicking off the blog tour today, so a big thank you to Bookouture for allowing me to do so, and for the ARC. Here is my review:

The struggles of war will build the strongest of friendships…

1940, Liverpool: Best friends Alice Turner and Millie Markham work for the war effort at Rootes munitions factory, making shell caps and Halifax bombers. Alice’s sweetheart Terry is home from the front for a brief period of leave, and the women are excitedly planning a whirlwind wedding.

But the honeymoon is soon over, and the ever-present air raid sirens quickly bring Alice back down to earth. When a terrible explosion at the factory leads to a tragic death, and a loved one is announced missing in action, it’s only their friendship and the support of the other factory girls which help to keep Alice and Millie’s spirits up.

As the war stretches on with no sign of an ending, can Alice and Millie help one another make it through – and find happiness even in the darkest of times?

What does TWG think?

Oh what a corker of a start to an extremely promising new series! I was in my element with ‘The Factory Girls of Lark Lane’. An emotional element, but still in my element.

Set in 1940’s Liverpool, ‘The Factory Girls of Lark Lane’ tells the story of Alice Turner’s life during the war. Whilst Alice is lucky that she gets to work with her best friend, Millie, she cannot help but feel bereft when the love of her life is sent back to the frontline after their wedding. What Alice doesn’t realise, however, is that her new husband leaving is the least of her concerns. To be honest, I underestimated just how much wartime novels get under my skin, but Pam Howes has done herself and her characters justice with her fantastic storytelling.

As I said at the beginning, I did find this book rather emotional. Obviously I won’t state exactly what made me emotional, but for those of you who have read the book already, all I will say is…Brian. If you haven’t read the book yet and are no curiosity by the name ‘Brian’, I would advise you to grab this book pronto so that you can find out. Tissues ready though, okay?

‘The Factory Girls of Lark Lane’ has its sights predominately set on Alice Turner and her family, yet due to how close-knit the community is, it cannot be helped if you find yourself delving further into some of the other characters lives as well.

Seeing as I have read Pam Howes’ previous novels and adored them, I didn’t know how she was going to top those fab novels with a new series, however, after reading this one, I am flabbergasted by the fact that she has done just that. ‘The Factory Girls of Lark Lane’ literally moved me to tears, filled my arms with goosebumps, and made me wish that communities these days were like the communities during the war. Pam Howes doesn’t just tell a story by writing down words, she also tells a story by telling it to her readers’ hearts and souls.

A truly spell-binding, humble, and utterly poignant first book in a brand new series. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series if this one is anything to go by. Historical fiction at its finest, you can always rely on Pam Howes to tick all of the boxes in the saga genre, without a doubt.

Buy now!

About the author.

Pam is a retired interior designer, mum to three daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren and roadie to her musician partner.

The inspiration for Pam’s first novel came from her teenage years, working in a record store, and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. The first novel evolved into a series about a fictional band The Raiders. She is a fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to begin writing.

You can find Pam on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PamHowes1

You can find Pam on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Pam-Howes-Author-260328010709267/?fref=ts

#BlogTour! #Review – The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble (@RachelBrimble) @Aria_Fiction @BrookCottageBks

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Rachel Brimble’s ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’. Big thanks to BrookCottageBooks for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store.
Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.

Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her
enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his
daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the
store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker
Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing
woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.

Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove
himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

What does TWG think?

I absolutely adore books like this! I have to say that this reminded me so much of the BBC drama, ‘Mr Selfridge’, and there were times where the storyline was incredibly similar to said drama, I found it difficult to separate the two. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the premise of ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’. I found the entire storyline captivating and enticing, with certain characters personalities making me react in various different ways. Whilst I loved watching ‘Mr Selfridge’ and I did enjoy this book, what let it down for me was just how similar the book was to the drama.

However, I thought that Elizabeth Pennington was such a wonderful character to read about, with her determination becoming the star of the entire novel due to how inspirational it was. I couldn’t help but find myself becoming emotional in regards to her history and the disastrous choices of her father, Edward Pennington. I realise that it took a while before women were allowed to be heard in the work place and at home, but it definitely hit home reading about the differences in gender equality through this storyline. I am incredibly honoured that I now live in a time where equality is nowhere near as bad as it was, yet I cannot forget the history of our female ancestors and the challenges they faced trying to get their voices heard. I really did appreciate just how Rachel Brimble got that historical message across through her characters. Times are changing, but it is very important to keep that history alive.

Overall, ‘The Mistress of Pennington’s’ was right up my street due to the historical elements themselves. Rachel Brimble has captured the story brilliantly, and I think that women of the 1900’s would be pleased with how the author made their voices come alive with her words.

Buy now from Amazon UK // Buy now from Amazon US

Extract.

Her gentle study drifted to his mouth and back again. ‘Did you love her? The woman you
once worked with?’
Joseph stared, as disquiet whispered through him. ‘Why do you ask?’
‘I find it implausible that a man who holds women in such high regard has not known
what it means to love one. You have been in love. I see it in your eyes. Unfortunately for you,
they’re very revealing.’
He ran his gaze over her face and hair. Every sound muted. The amber glow of the few lit
candles danced over her skin, turning it pearlescent. ‘I was married. To a wonderful, caring
woman. A woman who worked beside my father and I every day after we were married.’
Her voice softened. ‘What happened to her?’
‘She died.’ He would tell her no more, the shame of his failure burned like acid in his
chest and he quickly stood, wanting the intensity to ease, her justified scrutiny to end. ‘Will
you try on a pair of gloves?’
He brushed past her and breathed deep as he approached a box of his finished gloves.
Lifting a pair of soft kid, perfectly stitched and the exact green of her eyes, the pale cream
stitching the colour of her skin.
When he turned and walked back to his bench, she had sat in his seat. She carefully
watched his approach, her eyes unreadable.

About the author.

Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since
2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin
Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set
in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s releases in July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and
was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest.
When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English
countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

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#BlogTour! #Review – Arlette’s Story by Angela Barton (@AngeBarton) @RaRaResources

Arlettes Story Full Banner
How are we at the end of June already? Ending the month on a high, I am delighted to be sharing my review of ‘Arlette’s Story’ by Angela Barton. Big thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite!

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One woman’s struggle to fight back against the enemy in order to protect the ones she loves.

When Arlette Blaise sees a German plane fly over the family farm in 1940, she’s comforted by the fact that the occupying forces are far away in the north of the country. Surely the war will not reach her family in the idyllic French countryside near to the small town of Oradour-sur-Glane?

But then Saul Epstein, a young Jewish man driven from his home by the Nazis, arrives at the farm and Arlette begins to realise that her peaceful existence might be gone for good…

What does TWG think?

Given the nature of this storyline, part of me feels incredibly bad for sitting here and typing that I loved this book. How can someone love a storyline about a world war? Even though the contents of ‘Arlette’s Story’ is heart-breaking, eye-opening and very emotional, the way in which author, Angela Barton, delivered the story made me fall in love with the characters and the premise of the book. Not only that, I found myself becoming rather emotional at how many people put their lives on the line to save people like Arlette, and indeed, us.

Yes, this book is devastating in parts, but it is also bewitching and magnetic.
Yes, ‘Arlette’s Story’ describes the chaos of a world war in an eye-opening manner, yet it is also a beautiful representation of people coming together and supporting each other when they need it the most.

Angela Barton has written about a time where futures were uncertain with such poise, whilst also keeping in mind how sensitive of a subject this could be for multiple readers. I appreciated the emotional scenes as it made the story come alive. Obviously I wasn’t around during any of the world wars, yet due to my love of history, I loved how on point the entire storyline was without taking anything away from anyone who was actually involved in the devastating events.

‘Arlette’s Story’ moved me to tears, but thanks to Angela Barton’s insanely beautiful writing, I also felt like I was getting hugged from the inside out.

Buy now!

Arlettes Story - Giveaay - bodleian_hobbies_pastimes_notebook_cutoutGiveaway – Win a beautiful notebook (UK Only) 

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box
below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the author.

Angela Barton was born in London and grew up in Nottingham. She is married with three grown up children. Passionate about writing both contemporary and historical fiction, Angela loves researching for her books and is an avid reader. Having signed publishing contracts for three of her completed novels with Ruby Fiction, Angela is excited to be working alongside such a friendly and supportive publishing team. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Nottingham Writers’ Studio.
Having recently moved to France, Angela (alongside her husband, Paul) is now a lavender farmer, creating products from the oil that’s distilled. Angela says she’s looking forward to spending more time writing in the company of her two spaniels while sitting on her veranda overlooking the breath-taking countryside of Charente.

Social Media Links –

Twitter // Facebook // Blog

#BlogTour! #Review – The Island Villa by Lily Graham (@LilyGrahamBooks) @Bookouture

lilygraham
Apologies for the late night post due to my dog in the vet today, so thank you to Bookouture for their patience and understanding. A huge congratulations to Lily Graham on the publication of ‘The Island Villa’, and thank you (again) to Bookouture for the blog tour invite, as well as the ARC of the book. Here is my review:

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Marisal. A villa on a sleepy Spanish island. A place that time had forgotten. A place of long ago summers, sun-kissed memories and one terrible betrayal …

When Charlotte’s husband James tragically dies, he leaves her an unexpected gift – her grandmother’s beautiful villa, Marisal, on the Spanish island of Formentera.

As she begins to explore her new home, and heal her broken heart in the warm golden sunshine, Charlotte discovers that her grandmother Alba has been keeping secrets about her life on the island. Intrigued by her family’s hidden history, Charlotte uncovers a devastating love affair that put many lives at risk and two sisters torn apart by loss.

Can the heart-breaking truth of the island’s dark history finally be laid to rest? Or will the secrets of the past shake the new life and love that Charlotte is close to finding?

What does TWG think?

Oh my goodness me! I LOVE the change in direction that Lily Graham has taken  with her latest release!

At first I thought that ‘The Island Villa’ was just going to be about the villa that Charlotte’s husband bought her, but after reading several chapters I came to the conclusion that there was going to be a lot more to this storyline than I originally thought. Complaining? Hell no!

Charlotte knew that the villa was part of heritage, she just didn’t know why or how it got there. With James, her husband, sitting in an urn that follows Charlotte everywhere, she knows that he would have wanted her to move forward in life without him, however hard that may be.

Split between the past and present, ‘The Island Villa’ tells a story about a life once lived, and a life that needs to learn to live again, allowing Charlotte to realise that unearthing the truth to her heritage is the only way she is going to move forward without her husband.

I have been a huge fan of Lily Graham’s novels from the word go, with her majestic story telling taking me on journeys which filled me with love, joy, and belief. I had no concerns about ‘The Island Villa’ before I read it, because I knew that the author would deliver the story in her flawless, soulful and magnetic manner. What I didn’t expect, however, was the storyline to make me feel as though I was playing pass the parcel with myself, unwrapping multiple layers whilst reading such intensely thought-provoking chapters. My only question about the entire novel is; why on Earth did Lily Graham not change direction and include historical elements in her storylines with such strength as this one?

I thought that ‘The Island Villa’ was a beautiful, beautiful representation of finding life after loss, and being able to find the right key to unlock a part of you that you never knew existed until that moment. Every character in this book had their own story to tell, yet when they were all together they became a force to be reckoned with. I am in awe at how many finer, intimate details the author included in her references to the past, combining them with the truth in the present in such a seamless way.

‘The Island Villa’ allowed me to feel excitement from the tips of my toes, to the top of my head, and I cannot recommend this book enough. Full of beautiful descriptions and characters who will no doubt take your breath away, ‘The Island Villa’ is both heart-breaking and thought-provoking, whilst also filling me to the brim with joy. If this is the direction that Lily Graham has now chosen to go in with her future stories, I cannot wait to get my hands on her next book if this read is anything to go by. Outstanding.

Buy now!

About the author: 
Lily grew up in dusty Johannesburg, which gave her a longing for the sea that has never quite gone away; so much so that sometimes she’ll find sand grouting the teaspoons, and an ocean in a teacup. She lives now in the English countryside with her husband and her sweet, slobbering bulldog Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.

#BlogTour! #Review – The Photograph by Debbie Rix (@DebbieRix) @Bookouture

The Photograph - Blog Tour
Huge thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog blitz for Debbie Rix  and ‘The Photograph’, as well as the ARC of the book. I hope you enjoy reading my review just as much as I enjoyed reading it.

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Italy, 1958: Rachael is a young widow with a small child. After a lifetime of running for survival, of not knowing who to trust and where to call home, she finds herself in a place of safety. On a sun-drenched Italian island for one carefree summer the troubles of her past fade away and she falls in love. But will Rachael’s new-found happiness bring her further heartache?

England, 2017: Sophie has a handsome husband, a gorgeous house in the English countryside and a successful career as an anthropologist. But the one thing she longs for is a baby of her own. As she struggles to conceive, cracks begin to appear in her marriage. So Sophie throws herself into her work and tries to seek comfort in childhood memories of her beloved grandmother Rachael.

One afternoon, Sophie finds a forgotten letter and an exquisite silk bracelet hidden in Rachael’s old writing desk. Intrigued, she begins to unravel the extraordinary story of her grandmother’s past – and a secret that has the power to change everything…

The Photograph is an utterly beautiful and compelling story of love, loss and a family secret spanning generations.

What does TWG think?

I absolutely adore historical fiction, but reading ‘The Photograph’? Well, this is a book that was in a league of its own. Set in Italy in 1958 and England in 2017, ‘The Photograph’ tells a story about mother and widow, Rachael, and Sophie who would do anything to have her very own child, regardless of how much it will cost financially, and emotionally.

Rachael spends years trying to find a place where she and her young child can finally call home. Rachael has had to endure so much heartache in such a short space of time, making the parts of the storyline that are set in Italy in 1958, such heartbreaking yet beautiful sections to read. Sophie is only beginning to understand the meaning of heartbreak and how strong you have to be to get through it, yet is determined to take her mind off her sad times by getting on with her work and finding out pieces of information that would stay with her for a very long time.

I have read many split timeline style novels in my time, yet it isn’t often that I find a book in a similar format which, after reading the first part of the novel that was set in a different time, I found myself getting excited, wondering where the next setting and year would have in common with the previous. How were the characters linked? What heartache had Rachael endured? And, once the answers to those questions (and more) were found out, my excitement grew because I ended up in a position where I knew something that other characters didn’t. I knew what Sophie could end up facing, yet I was still in shock when the truth came to light.

Every chapter and every word regarding ‘The Photograph,’ screamed enchanting, majestic, and utterly enthralling. I honestly haven’t read a book of this calibre before, allowing myself to succumb to the magical undertone of the entire novel, and allowing the vibe of the storyline to get under my skin. Debbie Rix believed her characters lives, and she believed in the beauty and love behind the words her characters spoke – if she didn’t, ‘The Photograph’ wouldn’t have come across as beautiful as it did. And because of the way the author wrote this book, I ended up believing everything as well. I became so invested in Rachael and Sophie’s lives, that when it was time to go as the book had ended, I was utterly bereft, wishing that I could have stayed with the characters much longer.

‘The Photograph’ is a simply stunning read, which projects beauty in all directions due to the authors flawless and phenomenal story telling. I wish I could convey just how much this book warmed my heart and touched my soul, but there are not enough words that would ever do this book justice. The only thing that will convey it better than anything else, is the book itself.

Such a wonderful, wonderful read that I will be holding in my heart forever. It’s book like this which make me feel privileged to be a reader.

Buy now!

About the author.

Debbie Rix has written four novels, the latest of which – ‘The Photograph’ – will be published on June 27th 2018. The story crosses generations and continents as Sophie, desperate for a child of her own, uncovers the extraordinary secrets of her grandmother, Rachael, fifty years earlier.

Earlier this year Debbie was shortlisted for the RNA’s Historical Novel category for her third novel ‘The Silk Weaver’s Wife’ (pub: 19th July 2017) about a silk designer named Anastasia from Verona whose life is almost destroyed when she is forced into a marriage to a Venetian silk weaver. In the present day Millie visits an old villa near Verona and uncovers a lost painting. Who is the woman in the painting and how will her experiences affect Millie’s life?

Debbie‘s debut ‘The Girl with Emerald Eyes’, reached the No.1 spot in Amazon’s Italian category. Set amidst the world of medieval Italy, it explores the creation of the most famous building in the world – the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Her second novel – ‘Daughters of the Silk Road’ topped the historical fiction charts, reaching No.1 in Italian, Women’s fiction and Mystery, Thriller & Suspense and spent many weeks in the top 100 best selling lists. It follows the fortunes of a family of merchant explorers who bring a Ming vase back to Venice from China in 15th century. 

Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and the setting of the novels reflects her knowledge and passion for the country. She lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, sheep, chickens and cats. When not writing, she is usually to be found in the vegetable garden. She began her career with the BBC- initially as the news reader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt, and has also written about gardens and gardening – one of her private passions.