#BlogTour! #Extract – The Foyles Bookshop Girls at War by Elaine Roberts (@RobertsElaine11) @Aria_fiction

Today I am excited to be kicking off the blog tour for Elaine Roberts’ new release; ‘The Foyles Bookshop Girls at War’ with an extract. Many thanks to Aria for having me involved, and congratulations to Elaine on the publication of her new book. Enjoy!

Swapping books for the bomb factory takes courage – and could be dangerous. 

Working at the Foyles bookshop was Molly Cooper’s dream job. But with the country at war she’s determined to do her bit. So Molly gathers her courage, and sets off for the East End and her first day working at Silvertown munitions factory… 

It’s hard manual labour, and Molly must face the trials and tribulations of being the ‘new girl’ at the munitions factory, as well as the relentless physical work. 

The happy-ever-afters Molly read about in the pages of her beloved books have been lost to the war. And yet the munitions girls unite through their sense of duty and friendships that blossom in the most unlikely of settings…

Buy now from Amazon

Extract.

Molly glanced through the large window, into a small square room. The soft grey walls were bare, apart from the round, oak-framed clock, sitting fairly high up, telling her it was quarter to seven. She breathed a sigh of relief. There were three desks in there, each covered with paperwork. A blue book with a red spine was on one of the desks, next to a pad of lined paper. Glasses sat open, on top of the pad. Molly fleetingly wondered if they were his. A calendar sat on a shelf over one desk, with a family photograph standing proudly next to it. Underneath the shelf, stood three cream bottles, each of them a different size, but the largest was no more than six inches tall.

The man opened the office door, stood aside and indicated for her to walk in.

Molly nodded and stepped past him, making sure no contact was made. She had no desire to get off on the wrong foot. She shook her head. He had barely spoken to her and she didn’t know his name, so how could she do anything to upset him?

‘Is everything all right, Miss Cooper?’

The man’s deep voice broke into her wayward thoughts, startling her back to reality. ‘Yes, yes of course.’

He smiled and immediately his face looked younger. She momentarily wondered how old he was, thirty maybe. There was also the niggling question of why he hadn’t signed up to the Great War.

He pulled out a dark wooden chair from under one of the desks and indicated for her to sit down, before quickly pulling out another for himself. ‘It can be difficult for people when they first arrive, because it’s very noisy, with all the machinery and everything.’

Molly noticed the window for the first time. No sunshine was going to break through the thick dirt that coated it. She tilted her head slightly. Was that a crack that ran down the glass? She squinted as she stared at it. It was hard to tell, but maybe it was the dust locked onto the glass. Her mother immediately jumped into her thoughts and a smile formed on her lips. She would have had a bucket of water and a cloth on it within a blink of an eye. That is, once she got over the fact her daughter was sitting in this dingy office.

‘Right, Miss Cooper.’ The man shuffled some paperwork around the desk, before opening one of the drawers and slamming it shut again. ‘We just have some form-filling to do and then I’ll get someone to take you to the lockers, where you can change into the rather fetching uniform of overalls and cap.’

Molly’s blonde ponytail bobbed, flicking the back of her neck as she nodded. Her hand went up to smooth it down and she caught her fingers in the bright red ribbon tied around it. It had been gifted to her mother as a child, when she had nothing. She treasured it, claiming it brought her and her husband, Jack, together. Molly often borrowed it, under the threat of death if she lost it. She regretted her ponytail, wishing she’d taken the time to put it in a bun. It would have been more elegant, as well as making her look older than her twenty-three years. Molly realised she was worrying unnecessarily, as he didn’t look at her. She sighed. There was a time before the war when she would have enjoyed a little innocent flirting with a man of his calibre, but those days were long gone. They had disappeared with Tony.

The man suddenly looked up at her and gave a little cough. ‘When we’ve finished the paperwork, someone will show where to get changed. It’s what we call the dirty area of the factory. You’ll remove your clothing and let your hair down. There can’t be anything metal about your person, including any material covered buttons or jewellery.’ He held out some forms and a pen. ‘If you can just read and sign these, then we’ll get you settled.’

Molly reached out. Their fingers brushed against each other and she snatched her hand away.

He stared at her for a moment, before dropping the papers on the desk.

Molly picked up the pen and quickly signed the forms.

He coughed again and colour rose in his cheeks as he looked down again at his paperwork. ‘If you’re wearing a corset, I’m afraid that will also have to be removed. You will be allocated a locker to store your things, then you will cross over to the clean area, where you will put on your overall and mob cap. Your hair must be completely covered by the cap.’

Her hand immediately reached for the gold heart around her neck and she swished it back and forth. Colour rose in Molly’s cheeks. Her mind started racing at this unexpected information. Would she have to undress in front of people? Her face was burning at the thought.

About the author.

Elaine Roberts had a dream to write for a living. She completed her first novel in her twenties and received her first very nice rejection. Life then got in the way until circumstances made her re-evaluate her life, and she picked up her dream again in 2010. She joined a creative writing class, The Write Place, in 2012 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. She was thrilled when many more followed and started to believe in herself.

As a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Women Writers & Journalists, Elaine attends many conferences, workshops, seminars and wonderful parties. Meeting other writers gives her encouragement, finding most face similar problems.

Elaine and her patient husband, Dave, have five children who have flown the nest. Home is in Dartford, Kent and is always busy with their children, grandchildren, grand dogs and cats visiting. Without her wonderful family and supportive friends, she knows the dream would never have been realised.

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#Review – The Quality Street Girls by Penny Thorpe (@PenThorpeBooks) @HarperCollinsUK

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A seasonal delight, inspired by the true story of the Quality Street factory.

At sixteen years old, Irene ‘Reenie’ Calder is leaving school with little in the way of qualifications. She is delighted to land a seasonal job at Mackintosh’s Quality Street factory. Reenie feels like a kid let loose in a sweet shop, but trouble seems to follow her around and it isn’t long before she falls foul of the strict rules.

Diana Moore runs the Toffee Penny line and has worked hard to secure her position. Beautiful and smart, the other girls in the factory are in awe of her, but Diana has a dark secret which if exposed, could cost her not only her job at the factory but her reputation as well.

When a terrible accident puts supply of Quality Street at risk, Reenie has a chance to prove herself. The shops are full of Quality Street lovers who have saved up all year for their must-have Christmas treat. Reenie and Diana know that everything rests on them, if they are to give everyone a Christmas to remember…

What does TWG think?

We have all heard of and no doubt eaten, the iconic brand of ‘Quality Street’, right? I don’t know about you but whenever I hear those two words, I instantly think of Christmas and being able to delve into the purple tin of goodness, trying to find the green triangles and orange crunches before someone else fills the tin up with wrappers. We have all been there I’m sure! Although saying that, I remember the Quality Street tins to be much bigger than what they are now! Well, either that or I was a very, very small young person at the time of my memory….

Reenie Calder has, in her eyes, been given the gift of a lifetime when she’s told that she will be starting work in the factory which makes the Quality Street sweets, Mackintosh’s. With so many ideas filling her head before her feet even cross the threshold, Reenie’s mum has to reign her in very quickly before she finds herself getting too big for her boots and without a job. To be Frank, I could see why Reenie was getting agitated though – why should she be punished for bringing ideas to the table?

‘The Quality Street Girls’ doesn’t just follow the life of Reenie Calder, it also follows the life of another Quality Street girl, Diana Moore. A young lady whose face could turn milk sour if she stared at it too long. Before you start shaking your head at my analogy, there is a reason for it and it all becomes clear further on in the book. Poor Diana has multiple reasons as to why her face could make anyone run a mile. But, just like Reenie, why should Diana be punished for trying to protect her family?

Oh my heart did go out to those two young girls! Two very different, impressionable personalities who led two, very different lifestyles with two rather questionable outlooks on life. I don’t mean that rudely, but that’s how it was. I loved Reenie’s enthusiasm when it came to work. Heck, the job centres could use someone like her in this day and age, that’s for sure! I thought that Diana’s strength was incredible, but for someone who isn’t afraid to speak her mind when things are wrong, she sure seemed to keep her mouth shut at a time she, in my opinion, needed to open it the most. Obviously I won’t delve into the details of that reason as I don’t wish to give away spoilers.

I loved finding out how the iconic brand of Quality Street started, especially with the fact of ‘The Purple One’. I had absolutely no idea that that was the case, and I loved being able to tell my family that on Christmas Day….knowing full well I hadn’t just Googled it! Thanks Penny Thorpe!!

Historical fiction novels are one of my favourite type of genres to read, yet after reading Penny Thorpe’s ‘The Quality Street Girls’, I think I have now found myself a brand new, go to, historical fiction author!

I absolutely adored the energy that the entire storyline was laced with! It kept me on my toes and allowed me to speed read the book as though someone was dangling multiple orange crunches in front of my face. The history element was absolutely brilliant and kept my brain fed with knowledge from start to finish (even though, just like the author admits, some parts were stretched to fit in with the overall storyline). That didn’t even bother me, instead it just added a lot more character to the overall vibe of the story.

‘The Quality Street Girls’ tickled my taste buds, made me giggle, and allowed me to lose myself in Penny Thorpe’s chocolatey goodness (no, that isn’t a euphemism!). My only regret where this book is concerned, is that I wish I had started it sooner! I cannot wait to see what’s next for the girls at Mackintosh’s, and I hope that Reenie and Diana fill another story with their emotional and highly addictive drama.

Such a classic, cosy, and wonderfully written book which puts the nations favourite chocolates in everyone’s hearts once again.

If ‘The Purple One’ told me before I read the book, that I would need to point my ‘chocolate toffee finger’ at this ‘strawberry delight’, I would have told them ‘fudge’, and to jog around the ‘milk choc block’ because I, hand on ‘orange crunch’, think that ‘The Quality Street Girls’ is an absolute ‘toffee deluxe’.

Buy now from Amazon

#BlogTour! #Review – #TheLineWeLeaveBehind by Eliza Graham (@eliza_graham) @ed_pr @AmazonPub

Apologies for my slight delay with this blog post, however I am delighted to share my review of Eliza Graham’s, ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’. Many thanks to EdPr for the blog tour invite and the ARC. Here is my review:

The Lines We Leave Behind cover

England, 1947: A young woman finds herself under close observation in an insane asylum, charged with a violent crime she has no memory of committing. As she tries to make sense of her recent past, she recalls very little.

But she still remembers wartime in Yugoslavia. There she and her lover risked everything to carry out dangerous work resisting the Germans—a heroic campaign in which many brave comrades were lost. After that, the trail disappears into confusion. How did she come to be trapped in a living nightmare?

As she struggles to piece together the missing years of her life, she will have to confront the harrowing experiences of her special-operations work and peacetime marriage. Only then can she hope to regain the vital memories that will uncover the truth: is she really a violent criminal…or was she betrayed?

What does TWG think?

I am going to put my hands up and say that, at first, I really didn’t think that I would like this book. I know that sounds slightly negative, but hear me out. I am a massive fan of WWII novels, but my experience of reading wartime novels set anywhere other than Britain is very limited. Would I struggle to understand the crimes which happened in other places during the war? Would I be able to keep up with the storyline in a country I have had pretty much nothing to do with in real life, let alone fiction? I couldn’t help but ask myself those questions as I read the first few chapters of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’. So, going back to my earlier comment, I didn’t think that I would like this book at first because I guess I didn’t feel intelligent enough to read it. Every page of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ is full of in-depth situations, detailed discussions, and quite a bit of to-ing and fro-ing between the main character’s past and present.

After attempting to dismiss my earlier thoughts, I got stuck into Maud’s life and the awful predicament she has unfortunately found herself in. How did she end up living in an asylum? Why can she remember some parts of her life, yet draws a blank when she attempts to think of other events?

Once again I am holding my hands up to say that, after several chapters of eye-opening material, I ended up surrounding to the book in its entirety. Wow – yes, this book is very, very deep and often dark, but oh my goodness me, what a brilliant, brilliant novel this is. I cannot believe I even thought that I wouldn’t like it at first! It was certainly hard-hitting to read what Maud’s life was like during the war and the devastating things she came across. I had absolutely no idea that times in Yugoslavia were so devastating, but I am so very glad that Eliza Graham has written the theme into her storyline to educate people on wartime events outside of Britain.

‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ blew me away from the attention to detail whilst Maud was in service, to the psychologically damaging events later on down the line which I couldn’t help but feel emotional about. Poor Maud had lost years and years of her life due to somebody else’s actions, or did she? The text may be black and white (literally), yet the author has given her readers free reign to interpret Maud’s situation in the latter half of the book. Well, at least that’s what I felt that I was able to do!

I am so pleased that I didn’t pay too much attention to my first impression of ‘The Lines We Leave Behind’ as it has turned into one of my all-time favourite books of 2018 due to its incredible level of intensity, magnetic storytelling by Eliza Graham, as well as its poignant and highly emotive attention to detail. I cannot recommend it enough.

Buy now!

#BlogTour! #Review – Christmas With the East End Angels by Rosie Hendry (@hendry_rosie) @RaRaResources

I am delighted to be on the blog tour for Rosie Hendry’s latest novel today, as I share my review. Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, and many thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Here is my review:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – and the East End Angels are working hard to keep Londoners safe.

Frankie is trying hard to keep everything together. She can count on the support of the East End Angels, even in the face of family trouble.

Winnie‘s beloved husband, Mac, is putting himself at risk every day in the bomb disposal unit and she’s finding it hard while he’s away.

Bella is growing in confidence and happiness. Her friendship with Winnie’s brother, James, is getting closer all the time.

Christmas on the Home Front is a hard time with loved ones far away – but the women of the Auxiliary Ambulance service are making do and mending.

What does TWG think?

I am a huge fan of wartime sagas/historical fiction, especially those that have a unique bite to them. That probably sounds quite a daft thing to say, but whilst novels set in the war are worth their weight in gold, if a storyline showcases a different side to the war or different jobs, it makes me feel very excited, aka that ‘unique bite’. Just like Rosie Hendry’s novel.

Set during World War II, ‘Christmas With the East End Angels’ puts the Auxiliary Ambulance service in the spotlight by allowing readers to ‘be’ in amongst the going’s on like main characters, Frankie, Winnie, and Bella.

Whilst this book is number 3 in the series, I was able to read it fine as a stand-alone but I would suggest reading the books in order due to older characters popping up again. That said, if not knowing all of the details about characters lives doesn’t bother you then reading these books out of order would make no difference.

I thought the topic of the ambulance service was very well researched and a joy to read, even though I found myself becoming quite emotional at times due to the poignancy of it all, and I loved the close knit relationship between the main characters as they came together despite being from different walks of life.

Now, this book is a ‘Christmas’ book yet the oneness wasn’t on the festive season at all, understandable to a point. Personally, I would have loved it if the storyline contained more of the Christmas element as it states just that in the title. However in the grand scheme of things, with such a strong and emotive storyline as the one in ‘Christmas With the East End Angels’, my heart was captured anyway, regardless of how little Christmas was spoken about.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed Rosie Hendry’s latest book and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves wartime sagas, or those you wish to try something new.

Buy now from Amazon UK

Buy now from Amazon US

About the author.

 Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in Norfolk with her husband, two children, chickens and a snake. She’s worked in a variety of jobs from fruit picking, waitressing, teaching and as a research scientist but has always loving reading and writing. Starting off writing short stories for women’s magazines, her stories have gradually become longer as her children have grown bigger.

Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked Rosie’s interest in this period and she’s especially intrigued by how women’s lives changed during the war years. She loves researching further, searching out gems of real-life events which inspire her writing. 

When she’s not working, Rosie enjoys walking along the beach, reading and is grateful for the fact that her husband is a much better cook than her.

Websitewww.rosiehendry.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/RosieHendrybooks/

Twitter  https://twitter.com/hendry_rosie 

#BlogTour! #Review – #MissMarley by the late, Vanessa LaFaye and Rebecca Mascull (@RebeccaMascull) @HQStories

This is beautifully bittersweet, and I am sure a lot of you will understand why. Devastatingly, Vanessa LaFaye passed away earlier this year, which meant that ‘Miss Marley’ was unfinished. To keep Vanessa’s legacy, Rebecca Mascull finished writing the novel which Vanessa lovingly started, resulting in the finished product of ‘Miss Marley’. Today I have the honour of sharing my review on publication day as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to HQStories for the ARC and allowing me to be involved in the tour. Here is my review:

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

What does TWG think?

‘A Christmas Carol’ is a classic piece of literature which I am sure a lot of people have either heard of and/or read. Whilst a lot of Dickens’ tale focuses on the man with a frozen heart, Ebenezer Scrooge, his right hand man, Jacob Marley, is still a poignant character in the tale. However, have you ever wondered about what went on in Jacob’s mind? How he became who he was? That’s where the delightful, ‘Miss Marley’ comes in, Jacob’s sister. A character who was specifically created for this book, thus being a beautifully written introduction to the festive tale we have all come to know and love.

‘Miss Marley’ tells the story of Jacob and Clara’s life on the streets and how Jacob became the man who many loved to hate. Whilst the siblings were indeed close growing up as they only had each other, life as adults made their relationship much more strained than they would have liked. Jacob Marley was so focused on his work, on trying to keep a roof over their heads, yet point blank refused to look at the bigger picture, despite the urges from his sister. They were both aware of the struggles that came with being poor, not knowing where their next meal came from, not knowing whether they would be killed in their sleep by a thief or the weather. So why did Jacob refuse to look at the situations of others? The situations that weren’t quite so dissimilar to his very own, instead making other people’s lives a lot harder – including his sisters.

‘Miss Marley’ is a beautiful, beautiful tale which has been written from the hearts of two incredible authors. Authors who have clearly researched Dickens and the Victorian era before embarking on their prequel to a classic tale. Reading this book was incredibly bittersweet due to the fact the original author had passed away before her book was out in the world. However, Rebecca Mascull seamlessly finished the story, making me feel as though I was reading a book by one author and not two. Mascull has done LaFaye incredibly proud by her enchanting storytelling, and by bringing ‘Miss Marley’ to life in the most memorable way possible.

Until now, I had never envisioned a prequel to ‘A Christmas Carol’, but now I can honestly say that ‘Miss Marley’ is an outstanding addition and something which the literary world never knew it needed. A truly fantastic story told by two hearts which became one.

Buy now!

#CoverReveal! ‘The Things We Cannot Say’ by Kelly Rimmer (@KelRimmerwrites) @headlinepg @Phoebe_Swinburn

Ohhhhh I’m so excited today!!!! I have been asked by the lovely, Phoebe Swinburn from Headline books, to help reveal the cover of Kelly Rimmer’s new novel, ‘The Things We Cannot Say’. I am a hugeeeeeee, HUGE fan of Kelly’s – it’s an honour to help out with the cover reveal, so thank you!!

It feels like a bit of a ‘Kelly Rimmer’ day on TWG today as you’ll never guess what….I will be sharing my review of Kelly’s latest novel ‘Before I Let You Go’ as part of the blog tour for the paperback release! Make sure you check back later!

However, back to the task in hand and the beautiful new cover! Are you ready for this? I cannot wait to get my hands on this beauty!!

See what I mean? But that’s not all, for all of you blurb loving folks out there, here is a little bit more information about this intriguing novel:

What would you sacrifice for love?
Inspired by the author’s family history, a searing page-turner of war, family secrets and a love to defy all odds.

World War Two
Alina and Tomasz are childhood sweethearts. The night before he leaves for college, Tomasz proposes marriage. But when their village falls to the Nazis, Alina doesn’t know if Tomasz is alive or dead.

Present day
When Alice’s cherished grandmother is hospitalised, a hidden box of mementoes reveals a tattered photo of a young man, a tiny leather shoe and a letter. Her grandmother begs Alice to return to Poland to see what became of those she held dearest. 

In Poland separated from her family, Alice begins to uncover the story her grandmother is so desperate to tell, and discovers a love that bloomed in the winter of 1942. As a painful family history comes to light, will the struggles of the past and present finally reach a heartbreaking resolution?

If you like the sound of ‘The Things We Cannot Say’, the e-book is set to be released in March 2019, with the paperback set to follow in October 2019. If you wish to pre-order your copy now you can do so here:

Pre-order now from Amazon UK

I am so looking to reading this! What do you think? Is it up your street? Are you a fan of Kelly Rimmer? If so, which book is your favourite? Let me know your thoughts on the cover in the comments!

Please note that publication dates are subject to change at the publishers discretion! To keep up to date with the latest news from Headline, you can follow them on twitter Here. Or, if you wish to have the latest news of all things Kelly Rimmer, you can follow her on twitter Here!

#BlogTour! #Review – The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul (@GillPaulauthor) @Headlinepg @annecater

Busy here on TWG today! First up is my review for the absolutely phenomenal new novel by Gill Paul, ‘The Lost Daughter’. Big thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite, and thank you to the publisher for my review copy. Here is my review:

A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret

From the author of The Secret Wife, a gripping journey through decades and across continents, of love, devastating loss and courage against all odds.

1918
With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia’s imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.

Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father’s side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: ‘I didn’t want to kill her.’ As she unravels the secrets behind her mother’s disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world’s greatest mysteries.

What does TWG think?

Omg I think I have just found my most favourite book of 2018!!!! Gill Paul is an incredibly intelligent and vivid storyteller who blurs the lines between fact and fiction. Put it this way, I struggled to work out what parts of the storyline were indeed fiction because, whilst I had heard of the ‘Romanov’s’ rather briefly, I didn’t know the ins and outs of the historical Russian family and knew that Gill Paul would do a better job than Google, at explaining what happened to the Romanov’s all those years ago.

I was completely bowled over by such a heart wrenching yet historically brilliant storyline, as it not only kept me glued to the book until 2.30am, I also couldn’t help but feel as though I was witnessing the 1918 events with my own eyes. It was as though I was there, feeling the emotion which set Maria Romanov apart from the rest. Feeling the pain as she witnessed the aftermath, the end of life as she knew it.

Wow – I wish I could convey my opinions of the book a lot better than what I am currently doing it, but please trust me when I say that ‘The Lost Daughter’ is a gem to be discovered. A gem which, regardless of how much it fades, will always manage to shine bright and beautiful and, if I were to be perfectly honest, I would rather have this type of gem in my hands than a shiny diamond.

I adored how the author switched between the multiple viewpoints as it was just so effortless and natural. There was no confusion on my part at all. In fact, Val’s story blended exceptionally well with Maria’s – I have genuinely never read anything like it.

I urge each and every one of you to sit and read ‘The Lost Daughter’ – it blew me away more times than one book has ever done before. My heart broke for Maria and her family, and I could only hope for the best where Val and Nicole were concerned. The storyline was incredibly hard hitting at times, because the author has used a lot of historical facts in her storyline where the Romanov’s are concerned, as well as the events during 1918 Russia. I still cannot believe that people endured those horrific conditions, watching their loved ones being taken from their families in the blink of an eye.

‘The Lost Daughter’ is an outstanding, breathtaking, powerful, and utterly poignant read which I know will stay with me for a very, very long time. Gill Paul was a favourite author of mine before I read this book, but I can safely say that she is now my go to author for anything historical. This really is my top book of 2018 without a doubt. Absolutely brilliant – I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!

Buy now!

About the author.

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman’s Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – “It’s good for you so long as it doesn’t kill you”– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls “research trips” and attempting to match-make for friends.

WEBSITE : www.gillpaul.com

 

TWITTER : @GillPaulAUTHOR

 

#BlogTour! #Review – A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton (@JeanFullerton_) @Rararesources @CorvusBooks

Swooon!!!! Day two of the blog tour for ‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is here and I am so excited to be a part of it! Many thanks to RaRaResources for the blog tour invite, here is my review:

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London’s East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe’s nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.

For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

What does TWG think?

If you aren’t aware of this fact already, I LOVE historical fiction novels, and I have always been fixated with ration books and the unfortunate circumstances which led to those books becoming a way of life. So you see, my excitement for this book was through the roof; history, romance, more history, ration books….what’s not to like?

The cover of ‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is rather pretty, but please don’t be sitting there thinking that the storyline is going to be all pristine and happy because it’s not. It’s far from it, and I do not mean that in a bad way at all. Yes, the storyline does contain happiness, but not the sort that comes with ease. It’s the type of happiness which breaks your heart because you have been championing a character to finally have some good luck, or you have witnessed a family reach their breaking point yet when something positive comes their way the sun seems to shine brighter than ever before.

This book is deep. Very deep. I mean, the storyline is based on events during the Blitz; an emotional, powerful time which saw thousands of people lose their lives. How couldn’t it be deep? It needed to be to convey that strong historical element. Okay, I did find it hard going at times because it is thickly laced with facts versus fiction, harrowing circumstances, and characters you wish you could do things for, yet all of that put together just worked.

I can’t even begin to imagine what life was like during that time, trying to save people in amongst rubble yet finding out later that they would be making their way to the mortuary instead of back with their families. Watching Jo and Mattie tend to those people made my heart sore in such an emotional manner. The community spirit in this book was second to none and would definitely put a lot of people in this day and age, to shame.

I loved how raw and poignant Jean Fullerton’s story telling was, as it brought the storyline to life on so many different levels and captured my heart at the same time.

‘A Ration Book Christmas’ is a book to be savoured, but it’s also a book which highlights the importance of ‘being’ and being able to find happiness in the little things in life despite the strong storms which may loom overhead.

A wonderfully written, heartwarming and poignant story. I cannot wait to read more from this author.

Buy now!

About the author.

Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer.  She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

Social Media Links

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton-202631736433230/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_

 

#BlogBlitz! #Review – Keep You By My Side by Callie Langridge (@clangridgewrite) @bombshellpub

Happy publication day to Callie Langridge and ‘Keep You By My Side’! I am honoured to be kicking off the blog blitz today with a review, many thanks to the publisher for the blitz invite and ARC.

Are family secrets the ties that bind or the lies that divide?

The secrets of one family live in the walls of a cottage perched high on a Dorset cliff. But secrets can only be kept for so long.

 Follow three generations of a family from war-torn London, to the permissive 60s and liberated 80s. Gertie, Rose and Abi live through joy, tragedy and heartache as they navigate complicated mother-daughter relationships and learn the importance of friends and finding love. When circumstances force them under the same roof, secrets begin to unravel and promises made in love threaten to tear them apart. 

 How far would you go to protect the people you love?

What does TWG think?

Having read and absolutely adored Callie Langridge’s debut novel, I could not wait to see what the author would bring out next. She had certainly set the bar high for herself with her debut, that’s for sure! I tried to ensure that I kept my mind open, reading the book as though I hadn’t read anything from the author before, purely because the bar was so high. I must admit that it didn’t always work though.

‘Keep You By My Side’ is gold from various viewpoints at multiple moments in time, with one character in particular telling her story during the war. It took me a little while to work out how all of the characters fit together, but when I did, I enjoyed being able to connect with the characters on a deeper level now that I was aware of their individual links in the storyline.

I would say that the romance element is evident throughout the entire novel, and it is also written in such a heartfelt manner so that even someone as unromantic as I, could fall under the heartwarming spell.

I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy ‘Keep You By My Side’ because I did, but for me personally, I didn’t find it as strong as the debut. Don’t get me wrong, Langridge told Gertie’s story beautifully and I was mesmerised by her journey, I just wanted more as I know the author has the outstanding talent to achieve that. This book was a very poignant and pleasing read, I just hope that the next novel comes back as strong as the first one.

As a story told by three generations, it was remarkable to see just how their personalities differed over the years, even though a lot of their choices and decisions were quite similar. My heart went out to Abi, but for me the star of the book was Gertie. I think that was because she reminded me of one of my own family members. Her story really touched me and I am delighted that I was able to be a part of that by reading it.

Overall, ‘Keep You By My Side’ was a very heartwarming and tender read which kept me cosy from start to finish. It is a lovely, lovely read which came across well, despite having to follow in the footsteps of the authors incredible debut novel.

Buy Now!

About the author.

Callie was born and brought up in Berkshire. After a brief teenage spell in the depths of Lancashire, she moved back to London.

 Having left school at 16, she studied drama before embarking on a career in marketing. This saw her work in music marketing in the heady days of Britpop in the nineties. She unleashed her creativity in the design of window displays and marketing campaigns for the leading music retailer. More recently she has followed her passion for history, working in marketing and communications for historical and cultural organisations.

 On hitting her thirtieth birthday, she decided finally to pick up her pen and take the first of many creative writing courses. A few years later and she has had a number of short stories published and plays performed at theatres and venues across London. Her first novel A Time to Change was published in September 2017.

 Her second novel Keep You By My Side will be published in October 2018.

 Callie lives in London with her long-term partner, an ever-growing collection of antique curiosities, and more books than any person really needs. 

#PublicationDayPush – The Warrior’s Bride Prize by Jenni Fletcher (@jenniauthor) @rararesources #Promo

The Warrior's Bride Prize

Warrior'sBridePrize_Cover

Daughter of a slave…wedded to the warrior!
Livia Valeria is furious when she’s ruthlessly gambled away by her intended bridegroom. Luckily, it’s tall, muscled and darkly handsome Roman centurion Marius Varro who wins her as his bride! Livia must hide her Caledonian roots, but when Marius faces a barbarian rebellion at Hadrian’s Wall she must make a choice: her heritage or the husband she’s falling for…

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK

Amazon

iBooks

WHSmith

B&N

Author Bio –
Jenni Fletcher was born on the north coast of Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire, where she writes Medieval, Roman and Victorian romance novels.

She studied English at Cambridge University before doing an MA on Women and Literature in English and a PhD on Victorian & Edwardian literature at Hull. After realising that she was better at writing than teaching, she worked in a number of administrative jobs whilst trying to finish her first book, which was rejected. Thinking there must have been some mistake, she then wrote another, which was fortunately accepted by Harlequin Mills & Boon.

Her favourite Jane Austen novel is Persuasion and her favourite Brontë is Anne. If she had to choose a romantic hero it would be John Thornton, but maybe that’s just because she’s Northern.

Social Media Links 
Facebook

Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed US Copy of The Warrior’s Bride Prize (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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.

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