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Saturday, 24 August 2019

#TheGiverofStars - Jojo Moyes my #Review #historical #histfic

The Giver of Stars by JojoMoyes My Review



Recently I was asked the question who is your go-to author? Whose books I'd read regardless of the subject and would know, without doubt, they were going to be completely satisfying. Well, my choice is Jojo Moyes - she gets it right EVERY SINGLE TIME. This woman is a genius and I adore her work. So I was doubly thrilled to find her newest book coming out soon (from my go-to publisher, to boot) and delighted to be able to read it before it's even released. It didn't disappoint in any way whatsoever.

Jojo Moyes writing is the epitome of top quality women's fiction and like her previous novels which have included the highly acclaimed Me Before You, The Giver of Stars cast me under its spell as soon as I turned the first page. It ticks ALL my boxes. In this historical setting, I discovered some wonderful characters to keep in my heart forever and some loathsome ones which infuriated me.

From the stifled mundane existence of middle England between the 2 World Wars, still a very misogynistic society, emerges our protagonist Alice, stifled and oppressed by her domineering parents and longing for a way to escape her humdrum life.

Her opportunity arrives in the form of handsome, clean-cut, all American boy Bennett Van Cleve, who, after a whirlwind courtship, proposes and she willingly follows her new husband to the other side of the world. Harbouring hopes and dreams of the Glossy New York Society gleaned from the movies, her hopes of dinner parties, cocktails and society are soon shattered by the reality of her new life. In rural Kentucky where many men are bullies and most women, downtrodden doormats, Alice has swapped a domineering and uncaring mother for a life in the household of an aggressive and bullying father in law and her dream husband turns out to be a fastidious wimp!

Alice already feels she is a constant disappointment, not just to her family back home in the UK but her new husband seems to rapidly grow disillusioned with his new wife and with no woman to ask about the more intimate side of her relationship, has no idea what is wrong and takes the blame and sense of failure firmly on her own shoulders.

Life in rural Kentucky where she now lives in stifled luxury as the daughter in law of the local mine owner proves as boring as the life she struggled so hard to leave. But when opportunity of a job which involves working with her beloved books, she seizes the opportunity to join a small team of mobile librarians in a new enterprise the mounted library service taking books to remote and outlying regions where families live in abject poverty, often in isolated shacks, where hunting and brewing moonshine is their only income. Regarded with suspicion and scorn by some clients as frequently as joy and delight by others they help to spread learning and literacy by supplying much more than mere books, they bring contact to the isolated and friendship to the lonely.

As the library service grows and Alice’s contribution to it begins to make her re-evaluate her own worth, make friends and build her own confidence, her marriage still founders. Her fellow workers are a great bunch, especially Marjory, a briskly spoken, gun-toting equestrian, from a renowned rough family, bordering on criminality whose name taints her own respectability.

It is heart-warming and lovely, a stunning story, perfect for any book lover (and which reader wouldn’t be?) filled with wonderful characters, diverse women and a few totally vile men. Based on a true story, focussing on friendship, loyalty, and reminding me as a woman how far we have come in so relatively few years, from days when women really were second class citizens with few if any rights.


From the pen of this author flows a tender and genuine story of hope and redemption and the power of books. A little bird tells me it may soon be a movie – I will be at the head of that queue too!

The Blurb

England, late 1930s, and Alice Wright - restless, stifled - makes an impulsive decision to marry wealthy American Bennett van Cleve and leave her home and family behind.
But stuffy, disapproving Baileyville, Kentucky, where her husband favours work over his wife, and is dominated by his overbearing father, is not the adventure - or the escape - that she hoped for.
That is, until she meets Margery O'Hare - daughter of a notorious felon and a troublesome woman the town wishes to forget.
Margery's on a mission to spread the wonder of books and reading to the poor and lost - and she needs Alice's help.
Trekking alone under big open skies, through wild mountain forests, Alice, Margery and their fellow sisters of the trail discover freedom, friendship - and a life to call their own.
But when Baileyville turns against them, will their belief in one another - and the power of the written word - be enough to save them?
Inspired by a remarkable true story, The Giver of Stars features five incredible women who will prove to be every bit as beloved as Lou Clark, the unforgettable heroine of Me Before You.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

#AnotherYou by @JaneCable - Blog Tour and my #review - revisited

Another You by Jane Cable - Blog Tour and my review - revisited


When the publisher, Sapere books approached me to be part of the Blog Tour for Another you by Jane Cable, I was delighted to join in, especially as this is a book I'd already fallen in love with. 

Another you is a delightful book which I originally reviewed in January 2017. It's now got a beautiful new cover and is reaching out to a new audience, so if you didn't catch it first time around I urge you to try it now, treat yourself!

The Blurb

Sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself…

Marie Johnson fell in love with The Smugglers pub when she first moved to Dorset with her husband, Stephen.

But when Stephen’s wandering eye caused the breakdown of their marriage, and the costs of running the pub started to mount, Marie felt her dreams crashing down around her.

With local celebrations planned for the 60th anniversary of D-Day, Marie is hopeful things will turn around.

But she could never have predicted the ways her life will soon be changed forever.

A charming American soldier walks into Marie’s life, but it becomes clear nothing is really as it seems...

Why is Marie suddenly plagued by headaches? Is her American soldier everything he seems to be?


Or could the D-Day re-enactments be stirring up something from the past…?



MY REVIEW - REVISITED

Jane Cable writes wonderfully imaginative romantic fiction set in great locations which she describes so beautifully you feel you’re there.

Another you is set in Dorset, a place I’ve never visited. As I was nearing the end of the book, I watched the first episode of Julia Bradbury’s new walking series on tv and on her first walk she visited every location mentioned in the book – it was great! I recognised the locations of Old Harry, The Dunes and even the military camp and tank museum which feature in this novel, as clearly as if I’d actually been there – and I had – transported by the pages of this lovely book.

The storyline centres around the narrator, Marie’s life. She is a Chef in the pub business she owns with her partially estranged husband Stephen, who after a series of affairs, no longer lives there with her. Their Son Jude who is the light of Marie's life lives there and works there too and her, always angry and grumpy, ex-husband still works there too putting undue stress on Marie's life. No wonder she enjoys escaping to the beach hut she owns and strolling along the dunes. 

Between stress-induced migraines, hard work and long hours in the pub kitchen with cook Baz and argument after argument between her and her ex it’s not surprising that she is drawn to the enigmatic and gentle Corbin, an American soldier she meets on one of her walks but mystery surrounds him and he keeps disappearing when she most feels she needs him to talk to.

Dorset is preparing for a big re-enactment and celebrations of the D-day anniversary and the story is woven around this, as it brings a flurry of new men into Marie’s life and feeling as vulnerable as she does she embarks on a passionate and physical fling with one of them.

Apart from the mysterious old fashioned Corbin in her life, there comes Paxton, also an American soldier with striking physical similarities to Corbin, he is damaged goods, still reeling from PTSD caused by his recent posting in Iraq. Then there’s Elderly ex militarian George here for the celebrations and his amiable son Mark who has sworn off women after his wife treated him like dirt, devoted to his lovely dog Troy he sails around the coast in his yacht licking his wounds and Marie takes pity on his bachelor status, cooking him tasty meals to keep him going.

Meanwhile, teenage son Jude is fighting his own inner battles, newly in love with a girl he is keeping Mum about. He is the pawn between Marie and Stephen and often finds himself keeping the peace.

Almost every character in the book is flawed and damaged by circumstances, some almost beyond repair and we watch Maries struggle to find herself and work out what she wants from her own future as she begins to wonder if she is imagining things and going a little bit crazy herself.

There is a mystery surrounding a silver seahorse necklace and a frisson of spookiness that keeps you guessing throughout the book which builds to a tense climax and we wonder if Marie is on the route to self-destruct, fired by her own lack of confidence and low self-esteem.


This is a delightful read, very real, romantic without being in any way soppy dramatic and engaging and with enough mystery and suspense to keep the most demanding reader hooked.

The Author - Jane Cable



Although brought up in Cardiff, Jane Cable now lives in Cornwall and is a full-time writer. 
Another You is a moving saga of family life in the 21st century which draws on the horrors of combat, both in modern times and World War Two as down-trodden Marie fights to reclaim her identity and discover what really matters to her. Jane’s next book, Winter Skies, will be available for pre-order from Sapere Books soon.

Follow Jane Cable on Twitter @JaneCable, on Facebook at Jane Cable, Author (https://www.facebook.com/romanticsuspensenovels/), or find out more at www.janecable.com.
Purchase Another You at http://getbook.at/AnotherYou

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

#TheTenThousandDoorsofJanuary by Alix E Harrow - my #Review

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow - my Review

I absolutely adored this beautiful new book. 


The COVER, look at the beautiful cover!!


You know when you read a book then struggle to find the words to do it justice in a review? When you finish a book feeling bereft that its over and all you really want to do is hug the Author and say a heartfelt Thank You. 

Well, this is one such novel. I am one VERY fortunate person to have early access to this book and as such, I feel like a privileged explorer who has visited a world where few people have ever trodden.

From page one, I was spellbound with this wonderful debut novel, rapt in the story and utterly invested in the main character, January. The book is possibly best described as a young adult/ coming of age fantasy for ALL ages (I'm 63 and loved it) and as soon as I started it, I slipped into a world where Doors to other worlds exist. The storytelling is so convincing it had me looking behind every tree and at every old building with new eyes just in case it was hiding a Door (with a capital D)

Set around the turn of the century, in a world which is our world but with a few idiosyncrasies which include a touch of magic and a lot of legends. The first third of the book really just sets the scene, we get to know January, who at first is a little girl and we watch her grow up as we share her life. It is a sheltered and pretty strange life. She lives with her Guardian, William Locke in a large and rambling old Mansion filled with his collection of dubiously acquired, antiquities and curiosities, of which January herself feels like she is one, kept hidden away and only taken out on occasion to be observed and stared at. She doesn't quite fit into stuffy 1900's Vermont, where little girls, she is told, should be seen and not heard, obedient and unquestioning and to be acceptable in polite society, they should also, like her guardian, be white. Yes, racism is rife in the good ole' US of A in the early 1900s and Januarys skin, like her dear Papa's is darker than most. Not that she meets many people to compare. She is a lonely little girl. Her beloved father is away on his travels, off around the world tracking down and gathering artefacts for Mr Locke's collection whilst he leaves his daughter to be cared for by the obsessive Mr Locke, who is the Chairman of the enigmatic Archaeological society.

Her childhood companions are a strict nanny, whom she despises and infrequent but longed for interludes of companionship and surreptitious games with her one true friend, Samuel Zappia a merchants boy who delivers goods to the house and befriends her. He is to provide the one thing which sustains January throughout her solitary childhood, the surprise gift of a dog, who she names Sinbad, abbreviated to Bad, who comes to be her devoted and most loyal companion.

As she grows older Mr Locke occasionally allows her to accompany him on an occasional "business" trip, these are exciting events for a youngster, whos only adventures so far have been in the books she loves to read and she grabs every chance to escape and explore.

On one such trip, to Kentucky, she catches a glimpse of something which she can't really understand, a fleeting glimpse of another world, seen through a door, which may not even exist, which holds the promise of adventure and spawns a longing in her, to escape, to discover and to travel.

One day a breath of fresh air enters her life in the form of an unusual new nanny sent by her father to protect January and into the stuffy mansion comes Jane, bringing with her a whiff of her native Amazonian jungle and a brusque form of affection and around the same time January begins to read a new book entitled The Ten Thousand Doors, a handwritten and lengthy journal a love story and adventure about two people Adelaide (Ade) and Julian (Yule Ian), which is about to completely change her life.

It is in the remaining 2/3 of our book where the story gathers pace, we begin to realise the enormity of January's discoveries and to journey with her into strange and wonderous places as she sets out to uncover the truth of her own past, build her own future and break apart the myths and mysteries of the enigmatic couple in her book as she works out whether the ten thousand doors contained within the pages are much more real than any fiction she has read.

This is when everything becomes satisfyingly complex, spellbindingly mysterious and evolves into a gripping adventure, which created in me the deep inner joy which I used to feel when I read magical books when I was a child.

Evocative and mesmerising, this fable is threaded with possibilities and woven with a magical lyrical astuteness which I feel is going to earn it a place alongside such timeless classics as His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (and January is most definitely a heroine to equal Lyra), the Abhorsen books by Garth Nix and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, if you enjoyed any of these, I'm certain you will love The Ten Thousand doors of January. 

It explores grief, loss, love, acceptance and prejudice and will resonate deeply with anyone who has ever felt they don't fit in. It is entrancing and emotional, I won't deny I shed a tear. Stunning.


The Blurb

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.


Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Historical novel #TheRedPearl by Chloe Helton - guest post and excerpt

Today I have a wonderful guest to welcome to Beadyjans books - Chloe Helton author of several exciting historical novels and this post is about her latest book The Red Pearl.

The cover is just beautiful and the storyline sounds amazing, just my cup of tea, I'm sad I just haven't been able to fit it in to my reading schedule yet, but after having read this extract which the author has generously shared I'm even more keen to read it. I'll hand over to Chloe Now.....


Thank you, Janet, for allowing me to share The Red Pearl with your readers!

If you’re hoping to finish off your summer with a crackling, suspenseful read, take a peek at an excerpt of The Red Pearl. You’ll find a marriage on the rocks, a little bit of lost love, the trials of wartime, and the main event -- espionage.

During the American Revolution, a meek innkeeper’s wife becomes privy to some explosive secrets. Read more below! And if you want the rest of the book, you can visit my website or find it on Amazon.
 
Boston, 1778
For a moment, when I woke up, I was back at home. My mother had started to boil water for the porridge, and the faint smell of cinnamon shimmered near my nose. My father’s heavy boots sounded on the steps, and he hummed as he went down. My father was always humming, just as my mother was always praying. Between the two of them, his song and her prayer, there was never silence in the house.
But I wasn’t at my father’s home anymore, and it was silent now. I hadn’t lived with my parents in almost six years. When I married Jasper, I’d vowed never to speak to my father again, and although I had eventually broken that promise, I still kept my distance. When Ma got sick in ‘77, the bitterest winter I’d ever lived through, I stayed there awhile to help her. Not much since then.
No, I was not at home. Jasper’s arms were around me, his body the only warmth in our bed now that we were nearing winter, his face nuzzled in my hair. In the beginning, I told myself it was only for warmth that I let him wrap around me like a parasite, but now we did it every night, even during the summer. I’d begun to accept it, just like I now tolerated the rough taste of stone fence, a drink of hard cider and rum, now that I was a tavern-keeper’s wife.
When I started to move, Jasper mumbled something. He wasn’t much of an early riser, but the sun was splashing through the windows now and we couldn’t let the guests wake before us. It had become my responsibility to make sure of that. “Up,” I urged, nudging his shoulder. “Imagine if Robby gets in the kitchen before we do.”
Now he blinked. Robby, our hired boy, was an honest worker, but he was useless without direct and clear orders. If he tried fiddling with the pots and pans without my direction, they’d all be broken before we even made it downstairs. “Didn’t we just fall asleep?” he groaned.
“Oh, enough. You’re terrible in the morning.”
“Come back down,” he said, wrapping an arm around my waist to pull me. “Lay next to me just a minute longer.”
I couldn’t have resisted, really, even if I wanted to. He was too strong. I brushed a hand through his clipped black hair. There had been days when I yearned for another kind of man, shaggy blonde hair and sharp blue eyes, but although he crossed my mind every day, almost, he was now little more than a ghost swirling in the morning fog. I was here with Jasper, who was dark and quiet and excruciatingly clean-shaven. There was drink to brew and mouths to feed here and I wasn’t a girl anymore.
“Jasper,” I said. I hadn’t been planning to mention this, but he was the one who pulled me back down to bed. “Are you planning to let those Tory meetings go on long?”
“What d’you mean?” he mumbled, his eyes barely open. “If they pay for it, they can have their meetings. And you shouldn’t call them that.”
It had been a long while since the word “Tory” was something to gape at. A group of half-a-dozen men had been holding clandestine late-night meetings in our pub for the past few weeks, and you couldn’t tell by looking at them but the various chatter that caught my ears as I poured their drinks made things clear. Nobody who supported the revolution called the Continental army “rebels” and “hooligans”. It was unclear what they met about, but their leanings were no mystery, at least not to me.
“They might scare the others away, is all I mean. You know how our city is; think what would become of us if our neighbors discovered loyalists under our roof.” In Boston, of all places, it was no good to play both sides.
He rubbed his eyes, apparently realizing that he actually had to participate in this conversation. “We don’t know that for certain. All that matters is that they’re fine customers. Pay on time, leave coins on the bar for us when they leave, and they don’t shout and fight like the patriots do. It wouldn’t be so bad if we scared off a few radicals, now would it?”
He’d never listen. Jasper Finch refused to take a side in the war, and yet it was impossible not to. We had married while the harbor was closed after the Tea Party, and I’d watched him buy smuggled rum and sugar, because if the Crown had its way we would all have dry throats and empty bellies: fair retribution, in their eyes, for our act of rebellion. So the rum had to be snuck in bales of hay, among other methods, and Jasper struggled for months with the books in order to keep bringing those goods in. And yet, he claimed to be neutral, as if such a thing were possible in Boston, where the spark of revolution had first been lit, and where it still echoed through the streets even after every last redcoat had scampered away in terror behind General Howe.
To house Tories in our inn, even if he was doing naught more than accept their business, wouldn’t do him well. There was no city that hated the British more than ours. “I suppose not,” I lied. “I know it’s best to be neutral.”
“Neutral,” he repeated, satisfied. “That will get us through this.”
I remembered my father saying much the same. Jasper knows not to pick sides, he’d told me, unlike that boy of yours. And that was why I was in this soft bed in a tavern called The Red Pearl rather than with Sam on the battlefield, wiping sweat from my forehead as I threw pitchers of water on the cannons. My father had not wanted that life for me, so I was here.
“Well, I suppose it is time,” Jasper said finally, grunting as he pulled himself out of bed. “Sometimes I wish I could sleep all day.”
Funny, because in this place, where the dusty wooden walls closed us off from the war that raged outside, it seemed we were asleep all day. “Someday, when we’re very old and we have a son and a sweet daughter-in-law to take care of us, we’ll do just that. Sleep from dawn till dusk.”
“With you, I would,” he smiled.
My heart skittered, and he pecked me on the cheek. “I hope Robby hasn’t tried to make porridge already.”
“God’s bones,” Jasper cursed. “It would taste like pig slosh.”
With that, we hurried downstairs.

Hungry for the next chapter? Click here to get a new chapter in your inbox every week, or find it on Amazon!

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Riverflow by Alison Layland - Blog Tour and review

Riverflow by Alison Layland - Blog Tour and review

Today I'm part of the Blog Tour for the new title by Alison Layland - Riverflow.


My Review:

Riverflow, as the name suggests is a book set in a watery location, the banks of the River Severn in the Welsh marches, on the borders between rural England and Wales, the writing however is far from watery, it is slick and engaging and subtly nuanced.

It is all about undercurrents and things glimpsed below the surface which appear murky and alarming.

The setting of rural Wales has a lovely bucolic feel and the author does a sterling job of making the reader feel familiar with a place, I for one, have never visited. 

The themes of climate change and fracking are ultra-current, with eco-warrior Bede taking the lead role accompanied by his long-suffering wife Elin at his side. He believes passionately about environmental issues and is bent on saving the planet. Determined to stop fracking taking place nearby he makes it his mission. 

The couple, who are still grieving the death of a family member are struggling to keep their relationship together, and as secrets from the past uncurl, accidents begin to happen around them and Elin, feeling threatened grows fearful and more uncertain of who she can trust.

I did find it took me a little while to work out exactly who was who and when it all clicked into place I was already immersed in the story, this is a good old fashioned mystery with subtle psychological undercurrents.

If you enjoy well thought out books within a beautiful location, intimately described with a depth of feeling, quirky characters and plenty of mysteries and secrets you won’t go wrong with this book.


A creeping psychological thriller with tensions which move as sinuously as the river flows by I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a psychological family drama with plenty of tension.

Brought to you by @Honno books and #damppebblesblogtours it is out in paperback and for your kindle you can order a copy now, or support the blog tour by visiting some of my fellow bloggers on this tour where you'll find articles as well as differing points of view about the book.



The Blurb

After a beloved family member is drowned in a devastating flood, Bede and Elin Sherwell want nothing more than to be left in peace to pursue their off-grid life. But when the very real prospect of fracking hits their village, they are drawn in to the frontline protests. 

During a spring of relentless rain, a series of mysterious threats and suspicious accidents put friendships on the line and the Sherwells' marriage under unbearable tension. 

Is there a connection with their uncle's death? 

As the river rises under torrential rain, pressure mounts, Bede's sense of self begins to crumble and Elin is no longer sure who to believe or what to believe in.

About Alison Layland:


Alison Layland is a writer and translator. Raised in Newark and Bradford, she now lives on the Wales/Shropshire border. She studied Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge University and translates from German, French and Welsh into English. Her published translations include a number of bestselling novels.

Social Media:


Sunday, 28 July 2019

Found by Erin Kinsley - Review and Blog Tour

Found by Erin Kinsley - Review and Blog Tour

Today I have the pleasure of being part of another fabulous Random Things Blog Tour.

A BBC Radio 2 book club choice, there is plenty to talk about in Found and I hope my thoughts on this twisty new psychological thriller help you decide whether to read it.

#Found has just been published by @headlinepg and you can grab a copy right now.



My Review

Found is the story of every parents’ nightmare – imagine if your child went missing – wouldn’t that be …

…the WORST thing that could EVER happen? 

Well, it’s happened to Matt and Claire. Their 11 year old son Evan disappears without trace after setting off for a bus, he doesn’t come home from school and the family’s nightmare scenario begins and the reader is about to be with them all the way, experiencing their grief, frustration and anger at a system which leaves the police so overworked that it seems they haven’t the resources to find one small boy. 

We watch Mum and Dad’s lives fall apart all the time they are hoping and praying that their story will have an increasingly unlikely happy outcome. Memories become interspersed with blame and recriminations and life turns overnight into something dark and twisted and filled with uncertainty.

Then something wonderful DOES happen, Evan turns up and is reunited with his desperate parents. 

Isn’t that just about 

…the BEST thing that could EVER happen? 

Maybe not.

Their ordeal is far from over, it’s just about to begin.

The happy go lucky, cheerful lad who went missing has changed to a fearful, surly, silent boy who refuses to reveal where he’s been and the families misery continues as they try to adapt to the new situation after he is found, becoming suspicious and bitter themselves in the process, unsure of exactly what kind of crime has been committed, wanting someone to blame they turn on each other and even blame the lad himself for his continued reticence. They no longer know who they can trust and as a reader, everyone they encounter becomes not just a part of their story but suspected of involvement.

Engrossing and fast-paced, even though at times it seems nothing is happening, this is a fab holiday read when you want a change from romance and sweetness, enter the darker world of the Ferrers family tribulations and get to know the harassed police officer determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.

The characters with all their flaws are really convincing, their story could happen to anyone, their reactions rather than the circumstances creating their own nightmare.

As much an emotional journey as thriller, this book examines parenthood and family and coping when your imagination won’t let go. It’s psychologically adept and very twisty and will definitely appeal to anyone who enjoyed Broadchurch and who likes psychological thrillers and domestic dramas.



The Blurb

When 11 year old Evan vanishes without trace, his parents are plunged into
their worst nightmare - especially as the police, under massive pressure, have
no answers.

But months later Evan is unexpectedly found, frightened and refusing to speak.
His loving family realise life will never be the same again.

DI Naylor knows that unless those who took Evan are caught, other children
are in danger. And with Evan silent, she must race against time to find those
responsible...




Friday, 26 July 2019

The Girl at the Window - Rowan Coleman - A Random Things Blog Tour

The Girl at the Window - Rowan Coleman - A Random Things Blog Tour

Today I am delighted to be part of another Random Things Blog Tour, this time it's for the new book by Rowan Coleman and its a superb romantic read with everything book lovers will adore. 

Look at the exalted bloggers I'm joining - do pop by their blogs too.

I have read this delightful book and am pleased to share my review:




My Review

The Girl at the window is a delightful, eerie, atmospheric multi timeline story with a haunting sense of romance and loss.

In a Yorkshire setting of a spooky and legend filled old crumbling family home called Ponden Hall, we find the main character Trudy returning to the home where she grew up. Her unconventional crotchety Mother still lives there and when tragedy strikes Trudys happy marriage, it is back to Ponden that Trudy brings her young son Will when both are left reeling with shock and disbelief that Wills beloved father Abe is missing believed dead and their happy family life is no more.

At Ponden Hall mysteries have lain hidden for centuries and Trudy’s skill as a book archivist, leads her to investigate the strong links within the Hall with the Bronte’s and it is this link which gives Trudy something to cling to and focus on to cope with her grief. 

What unfolds is not the usual dual-time historical romance but a triple timeline story, with the lives of 3 young women all linking with each other over time. Modern-day Tru struggles to get on with the cantankerous mother she has always found it difficult to relate to, Back in the annals of time we hear the voice of a young woman called Agnes who worked at the hall and had the very unusual skill of reading and writing in a time when such skills marked a woman out as a rebel and she finds herself in a dire predicament. She shares her thoughts with her journal snippets of which emerge centuries later to reveal glimpses of her life. Plus there is the story of Emily Bronte who used the library at Ponden Hall (now bereft of books)  and even stayed there in a concealed window bed which still remains in the 21st century. 
There is a really creepy atmosphere throughout, glimpses of the past coupled with legends of a black beast who appears when a family death is imminent, serve to create an eerie and haunting Gothic backdrop to this contemporary love story.

It’s a lovely uplifting and heartwarming story of family ties, loyalty and abiding love. Will is a great little lad, and the Bronte link makes it all the more realistic. Tru is fighting hard to cope with losing the love of her life and bring up a small boy and everything in her life is change and mayhem, little wonder she finds it hard to get by and is easy to spook when she imagines things that go bump in the night … or IS it her imagination?


This is just the perfect book to lose yourself in, whether you are on a sunny beach whiling away your holidays or cosied up indoors with the rain lashing outside. It’s got everything a thoroughly enjoyable read should have…. Great characters with plenty of depth, flaws and foibles, lots about books, legends and ghosts, a haunting old house I’d love to have a look around, grief and forgiveness and a damn good "gallop along with it and gulp it all up" story.
There is a timeless quality to this book reminiscent of books I've enjoyed by Suzanna Kearsley and Barbara Erskine. 

Superb writing and a story so damned easy to get swallowed up in, I lost a couple of days in this book hardly even noticing life was continuing, just great escapism of the highest calibre.




The Blurb


A beautiful new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things. The Girl at the Window is a beautiful and captivating novel set at Ponden Hall, a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors and famously used as a setting for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Known as the place where Cathy’s ghost taps on the window, Emily Bronte used to visit often with her sisters and use the extensive library there. It’s a magical place full of stories.

In The Girl at the Window, Ponden Hall is where Trudy Heaton grew up, but also where
she ran away from…
Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, Trudy returns home with her young son,
Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead. While Trudy tries to do her best for her son,
she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present...

The Girl at the Window is hauntingly beautiful, and centred on an epic love story with a twist that draws you in fast. The strong themes of grief, absent fathers and maternal instincts are consistent emotional pulls throughout. Trudy and Abe are the ultimate love story, but there is also a wonderfully atmospheric ghostly mystery to be solved as well.


Author Rowan Coleman

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house
in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family. Rowan’s last novel,
The Summer of Impossible Things, was selected for Zoe Ball’s ITV Book Club. Rowan has an everlasting love for the Brontes, and is a regular visitor of Ponden Hall.

www.rowancoleman.co.uk | @rowancoleman

Monday, 22 July 2019

Blog Tour and Review - The Last Stage Louise Voss

Blog Tour and Review - The Last Stage Louise Voss


I am very pleased to be part of the Blog Tour for The Last Stage by Louise Voss as I've read and loved her previous books. I read, enjoyed and reviewed her previous book The Old You also for a Blog Tour and am thrilled to report that readers who loved The Old You are in for a treat with the fast-paced chilling read which is The Last Stage.

My Review:

The Last Stage is a taut and terrifying look at how one womans life begins to unravel as her past and present collide and old threats and fears come back to haunt her.



We meet the main protagonist Meredith as she is managing the Gift Shop at a stately home, in her 40s her life is very different to what it was in her 20s when she was the lead singer in a chart-topping Punk Band. 

Still single and notoriously bad at long term relationships she is lonely, with only her twin brother as a trusted confidant. But she can still put away a few bevvies and proves herself to be just as good at making BAD decisions in her middle age as she was when she was younger when she seizes the chance of a quick one night stand with a colleague which has a disastrous end.

This is only the beginning of a series of disasters and incidents which lead Meredith to believe she is being targetted. It wouldn't be the first time, her physical scars are almost as deep as her psychological ones and as her past is revealed little by little it's clear that someone may have it in for her. She doesn't know hwo she can trust and yet she can't really think of anyone who she should mistrust, as a result, I suspected every innocent soul she comes across of harbouring a death wish against her. 

Things pile up, from mild vandalism to outright murder and mayhem, the pace is relentless and the storytelling is superb. If you like to be taken on a roller coaster ride and never quite know who's doing what to whom this book will delight. I had a lot of empathy for Meredith, she has been pretty self-centred in her youth and this rings true. We all do stuff we wish we hadn't and we change as we mature, it makes her flawed but believable. The secondary characters are also really well rounded and real.

I know its easy to say I didn't see THAT coming! But I really didn't work out the culprit, despite suspecting almost every character in the book and there is wry humour, along with the hapless clumsiness of Merediths attempts to lead a normal life. 

Its a wonderfully twisted tale with psychological turns and terrifying consequences and quite a twist in the tail. Devilishly clever and immensely readable.

My thanks go to RandomThingsTours for including me on the Blog Tour.

The Blurb

A violent and horrific incident forces a young woman to go into hiding, at the peak of her career as lead singer of an indie pop band. Years later, strange things start to happen and it becomes clear that some know who she is…

At the peak of her career as lead singer of a legendary 1980s indie band, Meredith Vincent was driven off the international stage by a horrific incident. Now living a quiet existence in a cottage on the grounds of an old stately home, she has put her past behind her and come to terms with her new life.

When a body is found in the manicured gardens of her home, and a series of inexplicable and unsettling events begins to occur, it becomes clear that someone is watching, someone who knows who she is … Someone who wants vengeance.

And this is only the beginning…


A dark, riveting and chilling psychological thriller, The Last Stage is also a study of secrets and obsessions, where innocent acts can have the most terrifying consequences.

The Author - Louise Voss



Over her eighteen-year writing career, Louise Voss has had eleven novels
published – five solo and six co-written with Mark Edwards: a combination of
psychological thrillers, police procedurals and contemporary fiction – and sold
over 350,000 books. Her most recent book, The Old You, was a number one
bestseller in eBook. Louise has an MA (Dist) in Creative Writing and also works
as a literary consultant and mentor for writers at www.thewritingcoach.co.uk.

She lives in South-West London and is a proud member of two female crime-

writing collectives, The Slice Girls and Killer Women.

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Expectation Anna Hope - Blog Tour and review



I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour for the latest book by Anna Hope as I absolutely adore her previous books, both historical novels, Hope and the stunning Ballroom. This lady is without doubt an exceptionally talented and accomplished author with the ability to create a world into which you are gently immersed then suddenly drowning in emotion.

Expectation couldn’t be more different in style and setting to both this authors previous books and I must admit I was a little wary of the genre change, historical fiction being a theme I am reluctant to relinquish.



This is edgy women’s contemporary fiction, with a modern day setting and themes of female ambitions and friendship. The author will gather a whole new following with this book. Featuring twenty and thirty-something girls written with depth and feeling. Youthful and contemporary the book centres around feelings of dissatisfaction when life never goes quite to plan and opportunities are missed. It explores what people will do to try and put things right, dealing with envy, loss and a sense of self failure.

Expectation is woven around the lives of three women, Hanna, Kate and Lissa and moves back and forth between their lives when they were students, sharing a flat in London with a world of opportunity spread before them and moves forward 10 years to the present day when they are all dissatisfied thirty somethings

All 3 women are dissatisfied with where life and their choices have taken them. It is true to life, in that so many of us follow routes expected of us, make poor decisions and end up feeling “this isn’t the life I should be living” It’s easy to let this feeling overwhelm you especially when you see other people seem to have what you wanted. In these circumstances it’s easy to feel resentment and envy towards others who we perceive have done better than we have and often these are those closest to us, friends.

The 3 young women back in their twenties, studying at University, have pretty clear ideas of where they want to be in ten years and they all make every effort to be successful in their life choices, sometimes quite ruthlessly but things never go quite as planned and there is a lot of truth in the old adage be careful what you wish for, as even when you get it, things may not be what you hoped for.
When they are young I didn’t think I would be able to relate to any particular girl, but as they mature I felt a deeper empathy with one in particular which meant I connected with her story most. I think there is at least one of them who you will think I have felt exactly like that.

Present day again and each young woman sees at least one of her friends has something which she herself has missed out on. The women drift apart and back together, always friends but not always happy with each other. Resentments and jealousy create tension and ambition gets in the way clouding their judgement. Yes ladies this is life!! and we are allowed to vicariously live the lives of failing actress Lissa, bewildered and dissatisfied Wife and Mother Cate and Hanna desperate for a baby of her own.

There are a lot of dark and sad events in the book, interspersed with some lighter and wryly humorous moments. It is above all a testament to the ups and downs of relationships, female friendship, the roles women are expected to play in society and the pressure put on them to conform to society’s ideals of womanhood. It’s topical and current with loads of tension and emotion which I think would make a great tv drama.

The Blurb

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?


EXPECTATION is a novel of the highs and lows of friendship – how it can dip, dive and rise again. It is also about finding your way: as a mother, a daughter, a wife, a rebel. Most of all, it explores that liminal space between expectation and reality, the place – full of dreams, desires and pain – in which we all live our lives.

The Author


ANNA HOPE studied at Oxford University and RADA. 

Her contemporary fiction debut, Expectation, explores themes of love, lust, motherhood, and feminism, while asking the greater question of what defines a generation.

She lives in Sussex with her husband and young daughter

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