Friday, 30 August 2019

Feed Thy Enemy by Sue Parritt - Blog Tour @rararesources

Feed Thy Enemy by Sue Parritt - Blog Tour

Today I am spotlighting the new title by Sue Parritt entitled Feed Thy Enemy.

Feed Thy Enemy is a heartwarming story about an airman who served in World War Two, coming to terms with his past via a series of flashbacks to when he risked everything 30 years earlier.

It is based on a true event and promises to be exciting and thought-provoking.


In this heart-warming narrative based on a true story, a British airman embarks on a plan that risks it all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. 
Thirty years after serving in World War II, middle-aged Rob’s holiday plans see an unforeseen change that leads him on a coach tour of Italy. Struggling with post-war PTSD and depression, he reluctantly agrees to the journey – and sparks a dream that plunges him into long-stifled memories.
Set in Europe, Sue Parritt’s Feed Thy Enemy is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma. When Rob’s flashback delves into his attempts to save a famished family with a series of increasingly daring raids on his army’s supply stores, will he trigger suppressed remembrances of past war, love, and sacrifice – and find the strength to confront them in the present?

Purchase Links:

Author Bio – Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:

Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.

Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.

The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.

Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017

Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism.  Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.

Social Media Links – 

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Review - A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

Review - A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

What makes this book a wonderfully enjoyable read is the authors' talent at taking subjects I have absolutely no interest in and weaving such a lovely story around them that I am absorbed and entranced throughout. 

Her writing is outstanding and the book is a delight to read.

It tells the story of a very ordinary young woman, Violet, who has had the misfortune to become one of the thousands of "surplus" women following World War One. In an era when a woman’s worth was measured by the quality of husband she could marry and at a time when men are extremely thin on the ground and eligible ones almost non-existent, there are a plethora of such unattached ladies, the archetypal spinster.

Violet lives at home with her overbearing and crotchety Mother who neither appreciates nor values her daughter. Violet has known love, she is one of many women whose fiancé was killed in the war. Approaching early middle age her opportunities are few and her life is so dull and stifling she takes the quite bold decision to break free and manages to get a job in Winchester, a cathedral city which surely must hold more promise than slowly being suffocated as her Mothers drudge.

Moving into a respectable lodging-house for impoverished ladies, she becomes instead a slave to poverty. Trying to stretch a woman’s meagre wage to provide a roof, food and clothe herself proves almost impossible and any kind of social life also seems out of her reach.

At work she doesn't feel as though she fits in, working in a small office with 2 slightly younger women, who have already formed a clique they are reluctant to grant her access to. Her life is little better than before but at least she has broken free and she relishes this freedom even if she doesn't quite know what to do with it.

In a world filled with people broken by the recent war, she eventually finds a little niche for herself by "gatecrashing" an event at the nearby Cathedral which she so admires and discovers a group of ladies who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral. Eventually, she manages to join this little group and makes a new friend Gilda, who is also a “surplus woman” and as much a misfit as Violet (and most of the women who are in this group). With the Cathedral as central a character to the story as Violet herself, with the bells ringing as a backdrop she manages to stitch together a kind of life for herself.

What she doesn't expect is to fall in love, with someone very unsuitable with whom she can have no possible future. Little does she realise at first that her lively and outgoing new friend Gilda is also involved in an unconventional relationship she needs to conceal and the story unfolds as each tries to come to terms with choosing whether to love the wrong person or to forego love at all as they try individually to flout rigid convention and prejudice and find love where they can. 

There are a few idiosyncrasies which rather than detracting from the tale, add to it. Violets encounters with whom she refers to as Sherry men and an unpleasant character who seems to follow her with ill intent.

There is a lot of detail about embroidery and later in the book, about bell ringing, which although central to the story I must confess I rushed through wanting to get back to Violet's story.

It’s a warm and gentle story, in which you think nothing much at all is happening but when you reach the end you realize you've lived someone else's mundane life instead of your own and you know what - jolly well enjoyed every moment of it.

Violet is an unlikely heroine, living a very unremarkable life. She doesn't change the world in any huge way but she fights bravely for her own right to a life of her own and represents the small moves made by women in the past to open doors for us women of today to choose to live as we want to and not how other people want us to.

I unreservedly recommend this book to women of any age, who are interested in what life was like for the women who paved the way for us and who enjoy heart-warming women’s fiction and appreciate quality writing.

The Blurb

It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt.

Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancĂ© and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.

A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything…

Warm, vivid and beautifully orchestrated, A Single Thread reveals one of our finest modern writers at the peak of her powers.

Quotes from the Publisher  -The Borough Press at Harper Collins

‘Told with a wealth of detail and narrative intensity’ Penelope Lively

‘I loved it. So compelling and warm and subtle, and very moving’ Bridget Collins

‘Deeply touching … careful, beautiful’ Louisa Young

Sunday, 25 August 2019

#TheLostDaughter by @SylviaBroady - #Review and #BlogTour

#TheLostDaughter by @SylviaBroady -  #Review and #BlogTour

Today I'm part of the Blog Tour for the lovely engaging emotional read that is The Lost Daughter by Sylvia Broady and I'm thrilled to announce that it is available to purchase for the ridiculous sum of just 99p between 22nd and 29th August, now considering its a gorgeous book and you can't buy a cup of coffee for 99p these days, please read my review and let yourself be tempted.

My Review
To say I got swept along with this story is no exaggeration, I found it a completely immersive read, very easy to get involved with and just pure reading delight, pretty emotional throughout, by the end I had a soggy tear-soaked tissue in my hand.

We first meet our main character, Alice, as she is running for her life as her big bully of a husband, tries to beat her senseless. With nothing but the nightgown she has fled in, terrified, she runs in front of a car and is badly injured.

Awaking in hospital her injuries aren’t just physical, at first, she has complete amnesia. But as her memories return she looks forward to being reunited with her little girl, 6-year-old Daisy. 

But it’s not just her husband who has let her down, her poverty-stricken and overworked Mother, at the end of her tether trying to keep her families heads above water, has done the unthinkable and handed over little Daisy to the authorities and as Alice becomes increasingly more desperate to get her daughter back, the more difficult it becomes. 

Life goes on, world war two breaks out and we follow Alices life and loves as she first gets a job to keep a roof over her head, meets someone else and battles with her own guilt, as she is still officially a married woman.

The book really grabs your attention and gets you involved in the story straight away with the mystery of what has happened to Daisy keeping you interested and it’s a real page-turning saga, very emotionally engaging.

Set in Hull, in the grim interlude after world war one, then leading into the second world war, when poverty was rife, this is an emotional family saga, which will appeal to fans of Lesley Pearse, Anna Jacobs, June Tate and similar authors of womens historical fiction. 

In fact, I found it extremely similar in style and content to many of Lesley Pearse's books and if you are a fan of hers I'm certain you'll adore this too.

It deals with the stark difficulties of a woman on her own trying to fight the authorities and build a new life for herself when women were expected to stay at home and be subservient to their husbands even if they were battered and ill-treated, it makes my blood boil that this happened to so many real women in a past relatively recent, yet which feels so long ago.

Historical fiction with heart and soul an easy to follow and very engaging book.

The Blurb

Hull, 1930. A terrified woman runs through the dark, rain-lashed streets pursued by a man, desperate to reach the sanctuary of the local police station. Alice Goddard runs with one thing in her mind: her daughter. In her panic she is hit by a car at speed and rushed to hospital. 

When she awakes, she has no memory of who she is, but at night she dreams of being hunted by a man, and of a little girl.

As the weeks pass and her memories gradually resurface, Alice anxiously searches for her daughter, but no one is forthcoming about the girl’s whereabouts – even her own mother is evasive. 

Penniless and homeless, Alice must begin again and rebuild her life, never giving up hope that one day she will be reunited with her lost daughter.

About the author

Sylvia Broady was born in Kingston upon Hull and has lived in the area all her life, though she loves to travel the world. It wasn’t until she started to frequent her local library , after World War 2, that her relationship with literature truly began and her memories of war influence her writing, as does her home town.  
A member of the: RNA, HNS, S of A and Beverley Writers. She has had a varied career in childcare, the NHS and East Yorkshire Council Library Services, but is now a full-time writer. Plus volunteering as a Welcomer at Beverley Minster to visitors from around the world, and raising money for local charities by singing in the choir of the Beverley Singers, both bringing colour and enrichment to her imagination and to her passion for writing. 

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…?


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 (, or find out more at
Purchase Another You at

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.

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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.

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