Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister - my Review for the Blog Tour

The Tissue Veil by Brenda Bannister:

Welcome to my blog today where I am taking part in the Blog Tour for the new book by Brenda Bannister called The Tissue Veil.

My Review

It's an intriguing and heartwarming dual time story set in 1901 and 2001 and features two teenage girls aeons apart but whose lives become as close as though they were divided by a thin sheet of tissue paper, the tissue veil.

Both girls are teenagers with all the angst of young adulthood, facing decisions which could shape their entire futures, so this would make an ideal young adult read, as a coming of age novel, nevertheless I feel it will appeal to any age, I adored it and loved meeting Aysha and Emily.

Aysha lives in the 21st century, in a house in London with her large Asian family, her beloved father moved here from Pakistan when he was a young man, now an ageing invalid he oversees his family from an armchair as he recuperates. Aysha is heading towards her A-levels, trying to reconcile the strict family values instilled on her by her extended, very traditional family who plan that she will soon make an advantageous marriage and be satisfied with domesticity and motherhood, with the normal social issues faced by any teenage girl, boys, friends and studying. Closely watched by her older brothers and strict Mum who still speaks little English and lives an isolated life which revolves around her home and family, Aysha feels a need to make her own niche, but struggles to break free.

As part of her coursework for exams she chooses to research the local history of the area surrounding her home, a large old street house.

This causes her to discover a journal, hidden for almost a century beneath her bedroom floorboard. This diary was written by a former occupant, Emily. Of a similar age Emily confides her worries and problems to her diary, and to Aysha as she reads the words written a hundred years earlier in this same house.

The worries and difficulties Emily was facing in the past, had very different causes but resonate strongly with Aysha. Emily is grieving for lost family and also wanting to make her own way in the world despite living in an age when women were expected to become an obedient wife and mother. Both girls face constraints and expectations within their own homes, which they feel unable to comply with. Then one day Aysha reads her own name in the book and begins to realise that although she has never seen Emily, somehow Emily has seen her!

I loved both girls storylines which are so very different and also extremely similar. I didn't find it hard to believe that communication across the years was possible between the two unlikely friends and watching their lives unfurl before me, was gripping and satisfying. It was like reading two books together which complemented each other perfectly.

It's about clashes of class and culture and above all it's about the strength which, even oppressed women, find when it's most needed. I also loved Daisy and found I could relate more to Emilys story in the past than to Aysha's in the much more recent past.

The Blurb 

What if you discovered a hundred-year-old diary under your floorboards - and then found references in it to yourself? Or if you lived in 1901, yet kept seeing glimpses of a girl from modern times? 
And what if both of you had problems that only the other could really understand? 
Emily and Aysha live in the same Stepney house and an inexplicable link develops between them, fuelled by Aysha's discovery of a journal and Emily's sightings of a 'future ghost'. Each takes courage from the other's predicament - after all, what's a hundred years between friends?

order your copy now 

From Amazon
or a local bookstore

Brenda Bannister

Author Bio –

Brenda studied English at university and later qualified as a librarian, working in various educational settings from schools to higher education. Moving from London to Frome in Somerset in 2010 proved a catalyst for her own writing as she joined local fiction and script writing groups. 

She has had a number of short stories published, plus short plays produced in local pub theatre, but all the while was incubating a story based in the area of Tower Hamlets where she had worked for eighteen years.  This germ of a story became 'The Tissue Veil'.

Brenda is a founder member of Frome Writers' Collective, an organisation which has grown from a handful of members to over a hundred in the past four years, and helped set up its innovative Silver Crow Book Brand. She is also the current organiser of the annual Frome Festival Short Story Competition. 

A lifelong reader, Brenda rarely follows genres, but enjoys modern literary fiction, historical fiction, classics and the occasional detective novel. The latest Bernard Cornwell might be a guilty pleasure, but she'll be even more eager to get her hands on Hilary Mantel's final instalment of Thomas Cromwell's story.

Social Media Links –

Friday, 12 October 2018

The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr - Blog Tour

Today is publication day for the new historical novel by Deborah Carr - The Poppy Field and just look at that delectable cover!

As my contribution to the blog tour to help celebrate todays launch of this exciting new title I have a question and answer session with the author for you.

Q&A with Deborah

J: Hi Deborah and Welcome to Beadyjans books.

D: Thanks very much for hosting me and my new book, The Poppy Field published by HarperImpulse.

Deborah Carr.

J: Q1: Firstly can you tell me a bit about The Poppy Field and what inspired you to write it?

D: The Poppy Field is a novel about two nurses, one a contemporary trauma unit nurse, Gemma Kingston, who is suffering from burn-out after a personal tragedy. She’s desperate to find a way to forget what’s happened and travels to a rundown farmhouse outside the town of Doullens to renovate it for her father. The other nurse, Alice Le Breton is a VAD working at a casualty clearing station near Doullens in the First World War. She is escaping her controlling mother back in her home island of Jersey and is desperate to ‘do her bit’ for the war effort. Both woman, have to face up to challenging obstacles in their lives and it’s through getting to know more about Alice’s life that Gemma comes to a decision about her own future.

Charlotte Ledger, Editorial Director at HarperImpulse read Broken Faces, my debut historical romance set during the First World War and commissioned me to write a book commemorating the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. Needless to say, I was thrilled! I’ve always been shocked and fascinated in equal measure by the horrors of that war and what people had to go through to survive it, both the men on the front line and the nurses and VADs who cared for them, to those back at home having to cope with their loved ones’ lives being in danger so far away from them. I was delighted to revisit the period and writing for HarperCollins’ romance imprint HarperImpulse was a dream come true so was relieved when I soon came up with an outline for the book that Charlotte liked.

J: Q2: This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, what change made since world war one has had the biggest impact on your life and career?

D: Apart from medical advances brought about through necessity from the shocking injuries caused by shrapnel, men being shot down in their planes as well as instruments of war, such as the dreadful gasses used on the soldiers, the best advance for me personally has to be computers. Drafting a book and being able to change it, countless times, as I go along rather than using a manual typewriter and needing to completely retype each draft must be the biggest impact on my daily life and certainly my writing career.

J: Q3: Do you have a special place to write or somewhere special which inspires your creativity?

D: I have a shed where I write during the summer months. The shed was known as Grumpy’s Palace and won the Office Category in the 2009 Shed of the Year competition – Grumpy was the nickname I gave to my gorgeous Miniature Schnauzer who used to doze in the office next to me on his pink Lloyd Loom chair as I worked from my matching one. I also write on my laptop at the dining room table, outside under a parasol whenever it’s warm enough, upstairs in my office, or anywhere really. I always have a notepad to hand to write things down if I’m not with my laptop.

J: Q4: Can you recommend 3 books which readers of your work may also enjoy?

D: Ooh, that’s difficult. I suppose readers who enjoy Pam Jenoff, or maybe Liz Trenow. My favourite book set during that period was Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

J: Q5: What advice would you give to budding authors?

D: I’ve included some writing tips on my website: I’m also one third of The Blonde Plotters. We’re three local authors who meet up and talk for hours about writing, we’ve also got writing tips and tips about becoming published on our website:
Personally, I always work out my main plot line, decide the names of my characters and write a vague synopsis before starting to write the first draft of any book. With Broken Faces and The Poppy Field, I also kept a chart for the different chapters and what happened in each one. I’ll develop the synopsis as I go along and as I work out more intricate aspects of my book. It can be easy to fret about a first draft being perfect. I doubt many are, but I think an aspiring author should allow themselves to simply write the first draft of the book. Don’t worry that it’s going to need editing. You can’t edit a blank page. Also, if you want to write, you need to read books. When I’m busy with my writing, especially if I have a looming deadline it’s difficult to take time out to read, but I always catch up on my reading when I’ve finished writing a book.

Another piece of advice I’d give is that all writers receive rejections, so developing a thicker skin and learning when to take note of the rejections - usually if several people are saying the same thing about the book. However, in the past I’ve had rejections from two different publishers completely contradicting each other, so sometimes it’s difficult to know what to think, or do. Writing isn’t a science though, it is subjective and that’s a good thing.

J: Q6: Finally sum up The Poppy Field in just 3 words.

D: Romantic, atmospheric, heartbreaking

Thanks, once again, Jan!

Deborah. x

Many thanks, Deborah it was a pleasure to have you on BeadyjansBooks today and I wish you huge success with your historical romance. I must confess I'd love to spend some time in the wonderfully named Grumpy's Palace!

The Book Blurb
The Poppy Field

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.
Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.
This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.

A bit more about where you can find the book and meet Deborah.

Author Bio – Deborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. She became interested in books set in WW1 when researching her great-grandfather's time as a cavalryman in the 17th 21st Lancers.
She is part of ‘The Blonde Plotters’ writing group and was Deputy Editor on the online review site, for seven years. Her debut historical romance, Broken Faces, is set in WW1 and was runner-up in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and given a 'special commendation' in the Harry Bowling Prize that year. The Poppy Field is her second historical novel.

Social Media Links –

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Review - The Lighthousekeepers Daughter by Hazel Gaynor

The Lighthousekeepers Daughter by Hazel Gaynor - my review

Can I give it six out of ten please?

The minute I heard about this book I knew I had to read it.
Not only have I read and loved work by this delightful author before, including The Cottingley Secret.

Not only is it a dual time frame historical novel with BOTH timelines set in the past (joy)
but the subject is very dear to my heart ..... (tells a little story of own)
"When I was about 7 years old I remember my (now late) Aunt, tracing our family tree on my Mums side. I was told she had traced it back to the 1800s where she had found a strong family link to Grace Darling. I went to school and told my teacher who incorporated Grace Darling into a lesson. Tragically, my Aunt died and the family tree research she had done has never surfaced. I dabbled with genealogy myself but didn't manage to go into as much depth as she must have and couldn't verify the link but anything connected with this heroine of the North East instantly grips my imagination".

I'm delighted to say that Hazel Gaynor has done Grace Darling great justice and woven a wonderful, heartwarming story around her life and the lives of future generations of light keepers, in this wonderful book about daughters and love, bravery and loyalty, loss and determination.

Two stories interweave skilfully, that of Grace herself in 1838 on the Northumbrian coast, tangles with the stories of Matilda and Harriet 100 years later on the other side of the world.

I will say no more about the storyline as I want everyone to read this book and love it even half as much as I did. I wept brokenly at the end, which is extremely emotional, throughout the book it is haunting and lovely, even when you know it can't end well for everyone there is a tender poignancy and lovely little twists that wrench your heartstrings this way and that.

The Blurb

“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”

1838: Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays. But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.

1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Street cat Blues by Alison O'Leary - BLOG TOUR and review

Street cat Blues by Alison O'Leary - BLOG TOUR and review

Today I am thrilled to join in the Blog Tour to launch the new title from Crooked Cat Books - Street cat Blues by Alison O'Leary.

My Review

You had me at cat! Honestly, who can resist a book with a cat as the lead character?

The main protagonist is a big tabby cat called Aubrey, he’s been around a bit and is pretty streetwise. He was locked up in the Stray cats home for a while, after his shopkeeper owner is killed. But now he has found his forever home with young couple Molly and Jeremy.

He’s loveable but a tad aloof, as most streetwise cats are. He is quirky and lively and pretty realistic, even if he’s telling the story, he can’t talk to humans or anything daft like that. The story is told as it runs through his mind as he observes what’s going on. He can, of course, communicate with other cats and there are plenty of them in the book and the cat narrative is fun and lively.

He still hangs around with all his feline chums who patrol the streets, they reminded me of Top Cat and his cronies. But this isn’t a children’s cartoon this is a murder mystery, when a serial killer begins to target local folk, some of whom Aubrey considered his friends (and one or two he’s not going to miss)

Being a cat he can hang around unnoticed, so he makes the perfect amateur sleuth. But being a cat, although he is bright and has a good take on humans, he doesn’t always cotton on to what’s going on, as quickly as a human would but he makes a really good attempt to figure out what’s going on.

When one of the ensuing murders is too close to home for young Carlos, a pupil at the school where owner Jeremy teaches, Aubreys adoptive family become embroiled in events and begin to fear for their own safety with a murderer on the loose. Aubrey grows fond of this young lad who’s a bit of a misfit just like him and the pair develop a tentative friendship.

Aubrey’s not about to let another friend get murdered if he can help it, though he knows being less than 2 feet tall means he has limitations, nevertheless he’s a tough cookie, he’s had to be, scrapping with other bigger cats for his territory, leaping swiftly from guttering to rooftop.

The deeper issues covered are of course murder, also a bit of bullying and illegal immigration.

The book is obviously aimed at adults but could be enjoyed by all ages as its quirky and fun and the murders although horrid aren’t described too gruesomely, I think it’s what you’d call a cozy mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed my forays through the streets with Aubrey and his chums.

My only gripe is – why not have a cat on the cover? Even a silhouette of a cat on one of the rooftops to catch the eye of many cat lovers who will be drawn to this super book.

Don’t let that put you off though, Aubrey is so well rounded as a character you will soon picture him and want to give him a little rub behind the ears as you read his story.

The Blurb

A quiet life for Aubrey?

After spending several months banged up in Sunny Banks rescue centre, Aubrey, a large tabby cat, has finally found his forever home with Molly and Jeremy Goodman, and life is looking good. 

However, all that changes when a serial killer begins to target elderly victims in the neighbourhood. 

Aubrey wasn’t particularly upset by the death of some of the previous victims, including Miss Jenkins whom Aubrey recalls as a vinegar-lipped bitch of an old woman who enjoyed throwing stones at cats, but Mr Telling was different. 

Mr Telling was a mate…

Released on 24th September 2018 it can be ordered via Amazon

The Author - Alison O'Leary

Alison was born in London and spent her teenage years in Hertfordshire.
She has also lived in Somerset and Gloucestershire.
After studying Law she decided to teach rather than go into practice and for many years taught Criminal Law to adults and young people.
Since moving to the south coast, Alison has been involved in qualification and assessment development for major awarding bodies.
When not writing, she enjoys crosswords, walking by the sea and playing Scrabble on her iPad – which she always sets to beginner level because, hey, why take chances?
Alison lives with her husband John and cat Archie.

Find her on Twitter @alisonoleary81

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Spotlighting - The Winter that made us by Kate Field - Blog Tour

The Winter that made us by Kate Field:

I am pleased to help introduce you to this new novel, in the genre of contemporary women's fiction.
As part of the Blog Tour for this new book by Kate Field I am delighted to share with you the beautiful cover:

Here's the blurb so you can discover what it's about:

When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?

Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…

As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.

Order a copy now from Amazon.

My thanks go to Rachels Random Resources @Rararesources who arranged the blog tour.

The Winter That Made Us - Kate Field - Spotlight post for BLOG TOUR

The Winter That Made Us - Kate Field - Spotlight post for BLOG TOUR

Today I'm pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for the new book by Kate Field - The Winter That Made Us.

Isn't that cover beautiful? So wintry and serene.

The book is contemporary romantic fiction:


When Tess finds herself unexpectedly alone and back in Ribblemill, the childhood village she thought she’d escaped, she’s sure she can survive a temporary stay. She’s spent a lifetime making the best of things, hasn’t she?

Determined to throw herself into village life, Tess starts a choir and gathers a team of volunteers to restore the walled garden at Ramblings, the local stately home. Everything could be perfect, if she weren’t sharing a cottage and a cat with a man whose manner is more prickly than the nettles she’s removing…

As winter approaches, Tess finds herself putting down her own roots as fast as she’s pulling them up in the garden. But the ghosts of the past hover close by, and Tess must face them if she’s to discover whether home is where her heart has been all along.

Order your copy here

The Author:
Kate Field

Kate writes contemporary women’s fiction, mainly set in her favourite county of Lancashire,  where she lives with her husband, daughter and hyperactive cat.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Kate’s debut novel, The Magic of Ramblings, won the RNA’s Joan Hessayon Award for new writers in 2017.

Find her on Social media
Twitter: @katehaswords

My thanks to @rararesources for providing this tour and inviting Beadyjansbooks along.

Friday, 21 September 2018

The Woman in the Wood - Lesley Pearse - Review

The Woman in the Wood - Lesley Pearse - Review

My Review:

Oh My goodness, this was rather a surprise, it covers some rather shocking and brutal subjects.

The book begins very beguilingly and gently, it starts almost like an Enid Blyton - "5 go down to the woods" featuring Maisy and Duncan, a very innocent pair of teenage twins going to stay with their grandmother who doesn't want them at her home, or even like them much. Their father is also a very remote and dour character and their Mother has recently been committed to a mental asylum!

It's just as well that this brother and sister are very close and don't really need anyone else, they are happy to spend a lot of their leisure time together, having picnics, exploring the countryside and New Forest on their bicycles, it could almost be idyllic and I was lulled into an era of innocence and naivety. They even begin to make friends with the family helper Janis becoming almost a surrogate Mum and getting to know the strange and reclusive inhabitants of the forest including Grace, the woman in the wood.

But suddenly everything turns sour when Duncan suddenly disappears. Despite a police search the family aren't too concerned, only Maisy knows her twin so well she knows he wouldn't run away without telling her and she cannot give up her search for him.

It's just as well for what has happened to Duncan is no Babes in the wood fairy tale, its something out of a nightmare. The story is part mystery, part psychological drama.

Something terrible really has happened and it is up to Maisy to try and find out what.

There are some very dark and nasty things which are described mainly quite sparsely, leaving a lot to the imagination and without too much sensationalism or graphic detail. But one brief description of what happened to one young boy, quite literally gave me nightmares.

A very readable yet scary look at madness, survival, abduction and abuse, wrapped in a candy coating which doesn't take away the very unpleasant taste of things you don't want to think about.

The Blurb

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . .

One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.

It's not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales - a large house deep in the New Forest countryside - to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before - freedom.

The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn't come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson's disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.

The Woman in the Wood is a powerful, passionate and sinister tale of a young woman's courage, friendship and determination.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

#BlogTour and Review of Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the world by Caitlin Davies

Blog Tour and Review Daisy Belle: Swimming Champion of the World by Caitlin Davies

Today I am very honoured to kick-start the Blog Tour for the wonderful new novel Daisy Belle.

My Review

Isn’t the cover artwork just beautiful? I love that misty sepia vintage image of Daisy in her Victorian swimwear.

I loved the book too!  Daisy is such an endearing and engaging character, from her first forays into the water aged just four – right through to her adult life and the trials and tribulations of being a women born to succeed in a world dominated by men, and some of them pretty nasty men at that.

This book is Historical Fiction based firmly on real-life female swimming pioneers who broke the mould of swimming not being a ladylike pursuit and it is a real tribute to strong and determined women throughout the ages especially those who battle against the odds to achieve their goals.

This is one of a number of books I’ve read recently with swimming as a theme and it makes me want to don my swimming costume and dive right into the water alongside Daisy.

We meet Daisy when she is just 4 years old, accompanying her father who teaches swimming and works at Lambeth swimming pool, he knows she will never be able to swim competitively she is a mere girl after all. But she is a natural and takes to swimming like a fish to water and he is forced to acknowledge that she could be a valuable addition to his Family of frogs swimming troupe and perhaps a lucrative asset to his ambitions and plans.

As Daisy grows older, despite her Mothers reluctance to allow her to join in any swimming events, nevertheless knitting Daisy a swimsuit (a knitted swimsuit OMG) She takes part in some amazing feats of endurance and skill, but learns that placing your trust in anyone but your own self can lead to disappointment and very near tragedy.

I was rooting for her all the way, especially when she ends up as part of a mermaid exhibition that had me gasping for breath.

Daisy entranced me and the story is gently gripping and rather heartbreaking in some parts but Daisy is a real trooper and I couldn't help but admire her. She is a real pioneer for women's equality.

There is a lovely love story at the heart of the book, but really it’s about never giving up on the things you hold most dear and going for it whatever the cost.

For lovers of historical fiction, romance and of course swimming, Daisy Belle is a heroine who deserves to be heard and her story is charming and delightful despite the men who treat her badly and the true love of her life.

The Author - Cailyn Davies can be found at her website, on Twitter @CaitlinDavies2 and there's a Daisy Belle Facebook Page:

You can order it here 

Heres the Blurb

Summer 1867: four-year-old Daisy Belle is about to make her debut at the Lambeth Baths in London. Her father, swimming professor Jeffrey Belle, is introducing his Family of Frogs - and Daisy is the star attraction. By the end of that day, she has only one ambition in life: she will be the greatest female swimmer in the world.   

She will race down the Thames, float in a whale tank, and challenge a man to a 70-foot high dive. And then she will set sail for America to swim across New York Harbour. But Victorian women weren't supposed to swim, and Daisy Belle will have to fight every stroke of the way if she wants her dreams to come true.   

Inspired by the careers of Victorian champions Agnes Beckwith and Annie Luker, Daisy Belle is a story of courage and survival and a tribute to the swimmers of yesteryear.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Review - The Binding by Bridget Collins - heart pounding

MY REVIEW of The Binding by Bridget Collins

Isn’t it wonderful when you hear about a book you’re certain you’ll love.

Isn’t it awesome when you are granted a copy to read and review before most folk get to read it? (Thank you Harper Collins and Edelweiss+)

Isn’t it amazing when you love it even MORE than you thought humanly possible?

Isn’t it brilliant to be able to shout about it and tell people how amazing it is? And isn’t it hard to find the right words to do it justice?

To say I adored this book is a gross understatement, I devoured it and it satisfied every need.

First, it is fantasy realism which is utterly believable. There is really only the one element of fantasy - the premise that real memories can be taken from your mind by binders who create them into a book which allows all your worst most hurtful memories to be hidden, even from yourself, forever.

It is set in an unnamed historical era which feels like late 1800s. Peopled with many wonderful characters I fell in love with, several whom I loathed and one completely despicable, loathsome wretch I despised so much I shook when I read about him.

It is a work of literary genius, so beautifully written it made my soul ache.

Emmett is a farmers son, working the land on the family farm he has recently been best by ill health leaving him weak and barely able to think straight let alone do the heavy physical work labouring on the farm he loves alongside his sister Alta, the sibling he squabbles with but will do virtually anything for.

When an offer of an apprenticeship reaches him he is aghast at the thought of learning to be a book binder, one of the rare few who can take other people thoughts and bind them into books. He doesn’t want to learn this job, he doesn’t want to leave his family and live out on the marsh in the bookbinder Seredith’s rambling old house. But he goes, because he is given little say in the matter and because deep down he knows it makes sense.

The book is in 3 distinct parts, the first part introduces us to Emmett as we learn about his new trade alongside him, it’s quite slow paced and has a dreamlike quality as Emmett faces great change and makes a gradual recovery from the nameless malady which beset him for so long it eases us into the story, introduces Julian Darnay, leads us through Emmetts world and lulls us into a sense of false security thinking this is going be a steady, intriguing rather gentle book. OH NO IT ISN’T!!

The second and third parts take us back in time, before he was a binder, before he really knew what books were, before he really knew who and what he was, and as you begin to bite your lip, and hold your breath you realise exactly what it means to be a binder and to be bound and the pace increases and sharpens and begins to writhe and twist and deceive.

Love and passion and deception all play a part in this phenomenally breathtaking book which is an exquisite love story, an intriguing mystery with touches of depravity and cruelty which enraged and distressed me, whilst breathing the wonder of new love into my hardened soul.

The 3rd part – well you’ll have to read it to find out, suffice to say I read the second part with my breath held tightly and my heart beating far too fast than is good for me. By the time I read part 3 it felt as though I had STOPPED breathing altogether.

There was not one moment during this story that I managed to breathe properly and my heart hasn't yet stopped pounding (and OMG Splodge!)

Perfection on paper!

I think this is a book everyone will be talking about and will have fans from 15 to 150 quivering like mayfly as they gasp and shudder their way through The Binding.

The Blurb

Imagine you could erase your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.

Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice – but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.

In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and memories – are meticulously stored and recorded.

Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.

THE BINDING is an unforgettable, magical novel: a boundary-defying love story and a unique literary event. 

It won't be out until 2019 but it really isn't too early to put your name on a copy now.

Read more about it on the publishers website

Friday, 24 August 2018

Blog Tour The Cold Cold Sea - Linda Huber an extract

Today I welcome Linda Huber to my blog as part of the blog tour for her book The Cold Cold Sea. Linda has provided an enticing extract from her book to whet your appetite.

Book Description and info:


They stared at each other, and Maggie felt the tightness in her middle expand as it shifted, burning its way up… Painful sobs rose in her throat as Colin, his face expressionless now, reached for his mobile and tapped 999.
When three-year-old Olivia disappears from the beach, a happy family holiday comes to an abrupt end. Maggie is plunged into the darkest nightmare imaginable – what happened to her little girl? 

Further along the coast, another mother is having problems too. Jennifer's daughter Hailey is starting school, and it should be such a happy time, but the child is increasingly moody and silent. Family life has never seemed so awkward, and Jennifer struggles to maintain control.

The tide ebbs and flows, and summer dies, but there is no comfort for Maggie, alone now at the cottage, or for Jennifer, still swamped by doubts.

‘A psychologically astute, edge-of-the-seat story.’ Hilary Johnson

‘Unsettling and disturbing… I couldn’t put it down.’ Rebecca Muddiman

‘Breathtaking and utterly compelling.’ Debi Alper

Heres an extract so you can have a taster of Linda's writing before you rush out and order your own copy

Maggie stood in the doorway and stared into Olivia’s bedroom. It was tiny, like all the rooms in the cottage, but this one was still. Toys, games… everything in here had been motionless for a week now. Baby dolls vied with Barbies on the shelf, an assortment of soft toys lay strewn across the bed, and Olivia’s darling Old Bear was sitting on a wooden chair by the window.
   Maggie could hear the sea battering against the cliffs. High tide. The beach would be covered in water now; surging, white-tipped waves beneath a flawless blue sky. How beautiful Cornwall was, and how lucky they were to have a holiday cottage here. That’s what they’d thought until last week, anyway. If this had been a normal day they’d have been picnicking on the clifftop, or shopping in Newquay. Or just relaxing around the cottage, laughing and squabbling and eating too much. All the usual holiday stuff.
   But nothing was normal anymore, and Maggie knew that tomorrow was going to be the worst day yet. The twenty-third of August. Olivia’s birthday. Right now, Maggie and her daughter should have been making the cake Olivia had planned so happily, the raspberry jam sponge with pink icing and four pink and white candles. 
   No need for any of that now. Maggie stepped into the room, grabbed the pillow from the bed and buried her face in it, inhaling deeply, searching for one final whiff of Olivia, one last particle of her child. But the only smells left were those of an unused room: stale air, and dust.
   ‘Livvy, come back to me, baby,’ she whispered, replacing the pillow and cradling Old Bear instead, tears burning in her eyes as she remembered holding Olivia like this, when Joe had whacked her with a plastic golf club on the second day of their holiday. She’d had two children then. She hadn’t known how lucky she was.
   ‘I didn’t mean it, I didn’t.’ Her voice cracked, and she fell forwards, her kneecaps thudding painfully on the wooden floor. How could she live on, in a world without Olivia? 
   ‘I’m sorry, Livvy, I’m sorry!’ 
   She had barely spoken aloud all week, and the words came out in an unrecognisable high-pitched whimper. Bent over Old Bear on the floor, Maggie began to weep. Her voice echoed round the empty cottage as she rocked back and forth, crying out her distress.
   But no-one was there to hear.

Linda Huber

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