Holy Island by LJ Ross #20Booksof summer #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Holy Island by LJ Ross. This is the first book in the DCI Ryan Mystery series. Although I do have a few of this authors books, this is the first one I have read. I am reading this as part of the #20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge and it marks the half point for me.

Let me show you what it’s about…

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby Priory.

When former local girl Dr Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight, while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.

Holy Island of Lindisfarne provides a wonderful setting for this crime and mystery story. It is accessible by a road at low tide, this gives it a secluded and remote feel. It’s where DCI Ryan has retreated and why he is first on scene when a young girls body is reported. She has been found in the midst of the islands ruins. Given the history of the island a consultant is required, this is where Dr Anna Taylor is called in. She knows the island, she used to live there.

This is a book that has atmosphere, it is enhanced by the setting, the ruins and the history of the area. The island has religious roots as well as pagan ones as well and the author has nicely woven in the later.

I found myself quickly warming to the characters as I got to know them and I liked the initial stubbornness shown by Ryan and Anna at the very beginning. Though as they do have to work together, they do warm to each other.

Because Anna used to live on the island, she appears to be the best choice to consult. Coming back brings up old memories and opens the odd wound. Ryan in contrast is more about the crime and personal issues he has not got time for.

This story is one that at times felt like a cosy mystery, almost like a classic “whodunit”but also has a macabre side given the bloody state of the bodies. It has several clever twists and turns that threw a red herring or two along the way. Easy to follow as there are not a huge cast involved, it also kept me guessing until the conclusion.

A good introduction for a new to me series and one that I am looking forward to progressing further with.

It is one I would recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, alike or share is always appreciated xx

Book 10 of 20

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite #20Booksofsummer #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite. I have gradually been reading this authors books and I think I have just read my favourite…so far! I still have to get up to date with her books, but my goodness this is an author who is well and truly on my “go to” Author list.By this I mean that when she releases a new book, I will automatically buy it.

Let’s see what Her Last Secret is all about…

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Some secrets you can never tell.

Everyone thinks the Thomases are the perfect family grand London house, gorgeous kids.

They don’t know wife Dominique is a paranoid wreck.
They don’t know husband Ben is trapped in a web of deceit.
They don’t know daughter Ruby lives in fear of the next abusive text.
But someone knows all their secrets.

Can the lies that bind them tear them apart?

This book is beyond awesome! What a devious author Barbara Copperthwaite is!

The synopsis, though brief, is intriguing and as I read it back after finishing the book I realise how clever it is. Just the merest of hints that give nothing away about what it contained inside the cover.

They say that you never know what truly goes on behind closed doors. Those doors in this this story belong to the family home, an office, a bedroom and a flat. The secrets that are contained behind those doors are the secrets of the individuals that occupy them.

I loved the dramatic way the story starts. Its Christmas Day and the police arrive. The story then backtracks for the members of the Thomas family painting a picture of them as a family as well as them individually. The author has cleverly spun a web and added more and more deception until things are brought up to the arrival of the police. Then things slot in place, well almost…

The Thomas family are: Benjamin, the father, an accountant that is in trouble. Dominique is the mum who isn’t quite a in control as she appears to be. Ruby, 15 year old daughter is being bullied and doesn’t tell her family and finally 8 year Amber the youngest, who prefers to hide in small spaces and is called “Mouse” because of this. What appears on the outside to be a successful family is one that behind the front door is one struggling. Their stories about their struggles are individual, but when they come together as a family the dynamic shown is one that is tense and edgy.

Keeping things to yourself and not admitting that you are struggling is something that is at the core of the story. These things become secretive and eventually controlling, it then affects your mood, decisions and how you interact with other people. This is where the author really has played her cards so well in writing this story. She has successfully woven a tale that had me on the edge of my seat and I was powerless to stop reading, I started this book mid evening and turned the last page in the early hours of the morning.

By the end of the book I actually punched the air! What an ending!

This is such a wonderfully wicked, deceptively devious and magnificently manipulative from start to finish. It is a book that I would absolutely recommend!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be appreciated xx

Book 9 of 20

Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawden#20Booksofsummer #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you today on Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawden, This is a fantastic read that is set during WWII

Let me show you what the synopsis says…

This heartbreaking and tender novel will appeal to readers who loved Sophie’s ChoiceSchindler’s Ark, and The Book Thief. Austria, 1944: Jakob, a gypsy boy—half Roma, half Yenish—runs, as he has been told to do. With shoes of sack cloth, still bloodstained with another’s blood, a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other. He runs blindly, full of fear, empty of hope. For hope lies behind him in a green field with a tree that stands shaped like a Y. He knows how to read the land, the sky. When to seek shelter, when not. He has grown up directing himself with the wind and the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is not. He has never, until this time, been so alone. “Don’t be afraid, Jakob,” his father has told him, his voice weak and wavering. “See the colors, my boy,” he has whispered. So he does. Rusted ochre from a mossy bough. Steely white from the sap of the youngest tree. On and on, Jakob runs. Spanning from one world war to another, taking us across England, Switzerland, and Austria, Jakob’s Colours is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope where there is no hope, and color where there is no color.

When I think of Hitler and his plan to create his perfect race, I immediately think of the persecution of the Jews. This story is about persecution but this time of the Gypsies.

The story is told in a style that alternates between chapters that are headed “This Day”, “Before” and “Long Before” and they are spread across five sections that gradually take you through the story. It is a style that is very easy to follow.

This is a story about 8 year old Jakob, a boy who is half Roma (Gypsy) and half Yenish (Swiss Gypsy). It is also about his parents and tells their life-story. With the alternating timelines it is a chance to build up valuable insight and knowledge of the family and their experiences. It also gives meaning to the importance of colour in the lives of this family.

This is a story that has been well researched, this research has then been woven and incorporated into an absolutely amazing story. It is a story that is heartbreaking as you would imagine, but it also has something that has a special balance to it. It shows people at their best as well as at their very worst. This means that not only do you get the desperation and plight of a persecuted people, you also get the balance of those willing to go out on a limb and by doing that they instil a sense of hope.

This is a very special book that has been so well written that I am really struggling with a review. It is a book, that as I read, I wanted to highlight and quote every single sentence. It is beautifully worded and it’s one of those books that will stay with me for a very long time indeed.

If you want to read about the plight of a people who were persecuted and almost wiped out, then this is the book to pick up. If you want a story about the balance of life and death, then pick this book up. If you want a story that is beautifully written and yet harrowing and heartbreaking then pick this book up.

It is a book that once I had read, I just knew I would not be able to do justice to when it came to write a review. I just hope that as you read this, it sparks a little curiosity in you and you go and pick this book up and read it.

Highly Recommended Book.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated xx

Book 8 of 20

The July Girls by Pheobe Locke #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you today on The July Girls by Pheobe Locke. This is a chilling psychological thriller that made for compelling reading indeed.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost. 

Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room.

Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives . . .

The title for this book “The July Girls” sounds like such a nice title for a book. Then you read what the book is about and you realise that “nice” is not what this story is about! It is a chilling thriller about murder, a murder every July. But the story is not about the murders or the investigation, it is about Addie her sister Jessie and their father.

The story is told from the perspective of Addie. The date is July 7th 2005 and it’s Addies 10th birthday. It’s also the day her father comes home covered in blood. It’s also the day of the London bombing. It’s the day that Addie finds something that doesn’t belong to their family.

Starting in 2005, the story follows Addie and Jessica’s lives. Addie stells of growing up in Brixton, of her friend and also Jessica’s boyfriend. Homelife is hard and Jessica is the one who looks after Addies as their father works long hours. Addie shares her thoughts and feelings about her doubts and insecurities as she struggles to understand things going on around her.

Using the voice of a 10-year-old gives a very basic yet quite addictive start to a story. You could almost say it’s a simplistic start but it then gathers momentum as Addie gets older. It leapfrogs through the years, stopping when important things and revelations happen. It is a way to fill the reader in on developments and all the times adds more intrigue and mystery to the story. This made it very compelling for me and also adds a good pace to the story.

This is a very clever and also very creepy and chilling thriller that differs from a lot of the murder/ crime books I read. It is one that is intriguing and has a tension to it that gradually builds.

It’s one I would definitely recommend.

It also leaves me wanting to read her first book “The Tall Man”!

My Week In Books (w/e 18th Aug) #MeAndMyBooks #BookNews

Someone please tell me that I have overslept by a couple of months! This is August and not October, I am right aren’t I? To be fair though, the weather is not too bad, it’s still mild and I am still in my shorts, though getting wet legs when I walk to work I not too keen on. But in the grand scale of things it could be a lot worse.

I have been back to work for a week and already booked my next week off, not that I am too eager to take time off work or anything. It’s just nice to know that I have a week to look forward to in a couple of months time.

So down to the books I read and received this week, because let’s be honest that is what you are here for 😂


Last week I had just started to read this one…

Raven’s Wind by Steve Hutton

When I started it I was really enjoying it. By the time I had finished it, I wanted to read the next one! I really, really enjoyed this one. It is a fantasy set in 1886 Britain and the author has mixed in a fantasy storyline that kind of feels right for the time. Witches, dragons, occult and superstition are the main themes, and I have to say that I could actually prnounce the names. Often I find myself struggling with this, but not with this one! It’s a good verses evil style story that is very much about the past coming up against progress.


Next up was…

Under a Cornish Sky by Liz Fenwick

This is now the second book I have read by this author , and the second book I have adored. The story is set in Cornwall around the Helford River and Falmouth, an area I know well, as does the author. Liz has a fabulous way with words when she describes her settings and this story is all about family secrets, history, pride and acceptance. A fabulous story that kept me captivated right the way through


From Cornwall I then went to Iceland…

Night Bond by Ragnar Jonasson

I have a real soft spot for this author and find that he creates a fabulous sense of foreboding and atmosphere with his books. This is the 2nd in the Dark Iceland series and the setting is the quiet fishing village of Siglufjörður. Ari Thor is looking into the shooting of a fellow police officer, in a small village everybody has something to hide and it seems that some may have their own agenda. A fabulously addictive read and ideal for those who love Icelandic Noir.


My next book was a different genre completely and I read…

Jennifer Brown Moving On by Angie Lanley

This is the second book I have read about Jennifer Brown, the first was fabulous and had me chuckling, this one is better again and I adored it. Jennifer Brown is amazing, I would recommend reading the first book “Jennifer Browns Journey” as it gives a brilliant introduction to this fabulous character.


CURRENTLY READING…

I have yet to start this book at the time of writing this post, but I am finally starting the Angela Marsons series, I have not read any of her books and I am really looking forward to taking my first step. I have seen so many other Book Bloggers raving about them that I could not resist.


Books recieved / bought…

I have had a very lucky couple of weeks with entering competitions for Giveaways on other peoples blogs and received some corkers in the post…

I bought a copy of Ronnie Turners book Lies Between Us, I have a copy on kindle and wanted a paperback but somehow forgot to pre-order it. Ronnie shared a post on Facebook and Twitter about her book being available on Amazon, so it prompted me to get myself into gear and buy mine.

Competition wins were…

A signed copy of Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw, the synopsis mentions this being “A dark comic, twisty, supernatural thriller in which everyone’s a sceptic” it sounds interesting and definitely intriguing and appeals to me a lot.

Another signed copy… I Can’t Tell You Why by Elaine Robertson North. This is listed under contemporary romance, and from the synopsis it is about mistakes made and an affair. It has some good reviews on Amazon and again is one that is right up my street.

Then there is Thomas Edison by David Boyle. Thomas Edison is someone that I know some things about, but not a lot. This kind of makes him interesting to me so I am looking forward to reading this Biography.

and…

yes there is one more that isn’t in the photo. It’s because it is a digital win…

Bridging the Gulf by Malcolm Hollingdrake

This is a story about Roy Hanna and his return from the Gulf. This novel is about how life has to carry on, it has mentions of Gulf War Syndrome and the struggles that are made. Again another book that sounds very interesting.


Reading Updates…

So, how am I getting on with my #20Books of Summer Reading Challenge? well better than getting the reviews written and posted up… I am up to 15 out of 20 that I have read, but only posted reviews for the first 7 🙄 hopefully I will get caught up soon with the reviewing side of this soon.

As for Goodreads, I am informed that I have read 136 books, this puts me 10 ahead of schedule, I only wish my review rate was that good 🤣

Netgalley stats… yeah I am ignoring that for a moment… I have more in the “older than 3 months” again I need to get sorted with those as well.

Right then, that’s me done for another week. I hope you all have an amazing week, and for those of you with children, take a deep breath… it’s not long till the little darlings go back to school 😉

Take Care, Yvonne xx

Warlock Holmes – A Study In Brimstone by G.S. Denning #20booksofsummer (7/20) #BookReview

Welcome to my review for Warlock Holmes – A Study in Brimstone by G.S. Denning. This is book number 7 of 20 in the 20 Books of Summer Rading Challenge.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius who uses the gift of deduction and reason to solve the most vexing of crimes.

Warlock Holmes, however, is an idiot. A good man, perhaps; a font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart flatmate. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety… and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.

An imaginative, irreverent and addictive reimagining of the world’s favourite detective, Warlock Holmes retains the charm, tone and feel of the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while finally giving the flat at 221b Baker Street what it’s been missing for all these years: an alchemy table.

Reimagining six stories, this riotous mash-up is a glorious new take on the ever-popular Sherlock Holmes myth, featuring the vampire Inspector Vladislav Lestrade, the ogre Inspector Torg Grogsson, and Dr. Watson, the true detective at 221b. And Sherlock. A warlock.

As you can see from reading the synopsis, this is similar to Sherlock Holmes and yet it is completely different!

Warlock is definitely a unique individual, you could say slightly mad, a little too mysterious and not altogether what you would expect.

This story is entertaining as I discovered the dynamics for this authors version of Holmes and Watson is more of a role reversal. Holmes is not the confident type of detective and in fact it is Watson who, once he gets to grips with the facts, takes the lead.

This is a re-imagined version of Sherlock Holmes, changing the name to Warlock and adding a more supernatural twist to it, actually worked rather well for me. I always think of the original Holmes as being mysterious and open to various thoughts and beliefs, and in some ways this lends itself to the way the author has taken with his version.

This is one of those books that I really enjoyed, although I do expect that it may not appeal to all. The books includes 6 stories and is entertaining reading. It does have the feel of the Conan Doyle original to it and I found myself quite engrossed wondering what on earth was going to happen next.

It is a book I would recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 x

Hudson’s Kill by Paddy Hirsch #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Hudson’s Kill by paddy Hirsch. I recieved a hardback copy of this book via Readers First. This is a historical fiction set in New York in 1803, so let me show you what it is all about…

‘A wild horse-and-carriage ride through early 19th century New York… Meticulously researched, the novel brings the city to life in lurid sensory detail.’ Noel O’Reilly, author of Wrecker

New York, 1803. The expanding city is rife with tension, and violence simmers on every street as black and Irish gangs fight for control. When a young girl is found brutally murdered, Marshal Justy Flanagan must find the killer before a mob takes the law into their own hands.

Kerry O’Toole, Justy’s friend and ally, decides to pursue her own inquiries into the girl’s murder. When they each find their way into a shadowy community on the fringes of the city, Justy and Kerry encounter a treacherous web of political conspiracy and criminal enterprise. As events dangerously escalate, they must fight to save not only the city, but also themselves…

This is a murder mystery read that also has a lot of conspiracy and tension mixed in as well. It is New York in 1803 and Kerry O’Toole finds the body of a young girl a back alley. Justy Flanagan is called in to investigate the identity of the girl and also the killer. Together Justy and Kerry kind of work together, I say kind of because they both want to find the same answers!

This is a book that has a lot going on in it. What I thought was going to be a murder mystery read, which it was by the way, also had gangs, conspiracy, rivalry and, tension. All these components added to the mixing pot that made up New York at the time. People from different, countries with various backgrounds, religious beliefs and traditions all arrived in the area. They all bring their own language and ways of speaking, and this is where I began to notice the research aspect of the book. The speech was very evident from the off as I cam across words that I recognised as being Welsh, Scottish and Irish.

The speech adds to the diversity of the setting and the people who inhabit it. The descriptions of bars, brothels, alleyways and the like bring home the fact that this is not an affluent area. The author has used the tensions to their advantage and played on it, escalating feelings between rivals. In someways this overwhelmed the investigation, but it was also part of the investigation, if you know what I mean. I just felt that the murder had been sidelined a little bit, but, at the same time I know that

This is a good read and even though there were a couple of things I struggled with, I did enjoy it. I thought it was quite a complex story and maybe this is what caught me out as I wasn’t expecting that when I started.

Earlier I mentioned about speech and I was incredibly glad to see a glossary at the end of the book, while there are some terms that I could work out, there were some that had me scratching my head. I love the inclusion of the old languages and phrases.

This is the 2nd book in the series, and as is my usual form I have not read the first one yet! So, I can say that this owrks well as a stand alone but, I would suggest reading in order as there are things mentioned that I assume are from the first book. There is also a dynamic between Just and Kerry that I am curious to know more about. So I will be reading the first book at some point to squash my curiosity.

Hudson’s Kill is an addictive if complex read and I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

A Week off and Days out! #Cornwall #NationalTrust #LocalEvents

So, as I mentioned in my weekly book wrap up post, I have finally got around to sorting out the photos I took during my during my week off work. Me and He (Alan) stayed at home and had days out, it was easier than arranging for someone to look after the 2 dogs and 3 geese.

The week started with the weather forecast not bring the best of news! A Yellow weather warning for wind and rain, so typical 😂 So a couple of days on decorating and the obligatory and never ending weeding was on the cards! Although I did have a little help with the weeding! I finally finished the painting the front room. Alan used to work with Shire horses years ago when he was a tacker, the fascination of these gentle giants has stayed with him over the years, hence all the Shire Horse ornaments.


The first Wednesday in our village means one thing… OX ROAST! It is a day where I stay home and leave the car parked, if I don’t I wont get parked later as visitors and locals come to the village. The Ox Roast is a fundraiser by our local St. Keverne Band. The Band plays a range of music from the traditional marches to more modern arrangements… I have to say that their medley of Queen songs was great! There are various stalls and as the village has 2 , yes 2 pubs, so not wanting to dehydrate, I did partake of a couple of pints! 😋😁This was the 59th Ox Roast and possibly the last to be held on a Wednesday, next year will see the move to a Saturday.

So a few pics from the day, the setting up in the morning and also of the local church than has a dominating presence across the square.

Yes that might be a random photo of a bag of candy floss and a shopping bag, but did you happen to spot the second hand book stall… yes every year that is my first port of call 😍 I suppose you nosy buggers Book Bloggers and readers want to see what I bought!

As the day went on, the crowds increase and by the end of the evening we were treated to a fabulous AC/DC tribute group who were fantastic! Sorry not the best photo of the that act because the spotlights played havoc with camera on my phone 😕


My next day out was to a local National Trust location, it is one of those places that is off the beaten track and has no facilities, just a car park! It is Poltesco Serpentine Works that has the derelict shells of buildings. It stands at Carleon Cove, a small pebble and rock cove that is a short walk from the car park through a small woodland. It is on the SW Coast path and does not attract the huge number of visitors, so is ideal so sit and listen to the waves and chill! It’s hard to believe that these were taken when we had a Yellow weather warning for 50-60 mph winds and heavy rain! Being on the east side of The Lizard Peninsular does have it’s advantages.


Our next day out was to another National Trust Property, this time to Gendurgan Gardens. A walk down through the gardens to sit on Durgan beach with a hot cuppa watching the world go by, before the trek back up again. While Alan is not a great fan of gardens, he did enjoy this one and enjoyed walking off his Sunday roast 😊


While out and about I did spot a couple of things that made me chuckle. A brilliant card and some coat hooks…

Well, that’s the lot. It has been fun to sort through. A really good week with plenty to do. Unfortunately Monday came round far too quickly and I had a 6 hour training course followed 4 hours later by a night-shift… reality and normality landed with a bump 😂

Thanks for reading my post, I hope you enjoyed it too!

Take care, Yvonne xx

Meet Me In Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb #Review

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you all today for Meet Me In Monaco by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb. This is such a stunning story that I absolutely fell in love with.

I bought a copy for my kindle, but I am also going to get a paperback when it is published at the beginning of September, it’s that good!

Let’s see what it is all about…

Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

What an absolutely brilliant read this was. Set in the 1950’s of Monaco, it has a wonderful atmosphere in the era of Grace Kelly and her meeting with Prince Rainier. The authors have blended a little fact with the fiction to create a stunning and highly addictive story.

The setting is wonderful adding a little of luxury of the country, with the film star and life style of the iconic and well known film star Grace Kelly.

I was introduced to perfumer Sophie Duval and photographer James Henderson. This happens as Grace seeks sanctuary in Sophie’s shop trying to avoid the press and photographers. Over the course of the story that follows I gradually got to know more about the friendship that forms between Sophie and James. They just never quite seem to get together at the right time, there always seems to be something that gets in the way.

For James, photography is his passion, but snapping celebs is not what he wants to do. He wants scenery and locations, not easy when there is someone at home that also needs his time.

Sophie is being pressured to sell her business, a business that she took over from her father. The business is in her bones and her soul, it is everything that makes her who she is.

This is such a stunning story and the authors have captured the feel and atmosphere so well. The visuals that they have conjured up made it so easy for me to imagine so many things from, dresses to scenery they made it seem effortless. There is a romantic tension that builds up between Sophie and James, and as much as I wanted to see them together early on I was glad that the authors kept pulling them apart.

The emotion of the story was something that gradually built up and by the end of the book the dam finally burst. I was in tears and not for the reason that you are probably thinking!

There are notes at the end of the book that gave some extra’s into the life of Grace Kelly as well as about perfumes and how the book came to be. I must admit I did spend quite a bit of time after finishing the book, Googling Grace and her life, I wasn’t quite ready to turn the last page on Grace at that moment and needed to read more about this beautiful lady.

This is a book that I would absolutely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

Before the Rains by Dinah Jefferies #20booksofsummer #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review with you for Before the Rains by Dinah Jeffries. A historical fiction/romance set in 1930 India. This is one of my picks for the #20Books of Summer Reading Challenge and is number 7/20.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

A romantic, heart-wrenching tale of love against the odds from the Number One Sunday Times bestselling author

1930, Rajputana, India. Since her husband’s death, 28-year-old photojournalist Eliza’s only companion has been her camera. When the British Government send her to an Indian princely state to photograph the royal family, she’s determined to make a name for herself.

But when Eliza arrives at the palace she meets Jay, the Prince’s handsome, brooding brother. While Eliza awakens Jay to the poverty of his people, he awakens her to the injustices of British rule. Soon Jay and Eliza find they have more in common than they think. But their families – and society – think otherwise. Eventually they will have to make a choice between doing what’s expected, or following their hearts. . .

This is my first time reading a book by this author and after reading Before the Rains, it will not be my last time.

Eliza is a photographer who gets a year-long job opportunity to take photographs of the Royal Family in Rajputana, India in 1930. It is a chance for her to hone her craft and hope to arrange an exhibition that could lead to further work.

The story is that mainly of Eliza. It tells of her childhood growing up in India as part of the British occupation. After leaving India after the death of her father she has the chance to return and it is on this return that she photographs.

At the palace, she meets several members of the family including Jay the Prince and next-in-line to the throne. Jay is more progressive in his thinking than other members of his family, though he still holds firm to some traditions. Jay and Eliza gradually get to know each other and he almost takes her under his wing, showing her things outside of the palace that she would otherwise not have seen. This friendship slowly grows and a more romantic aspect, it is not a sudden thing, instead, it has a tension that smoulders.

The author has some fabulous scenery descriptions and she describes the colours and sights to a point that I could imagine what she was explaining. Details of culture, religion and, traditions are touched upon and these are heartbreaking and also real eye-openers. It adds to the suspicion around Eliza she being not only British but also a widow. Speaking of suspicion, it is everywhere in the palace and outside of the palace and from various sources. The tension of the time is brought out very well, as India wants the British to be gone and they can rule themselves again.

This is a very immersive and a compelling book to read. I did think that it wrapped up a little too conveniently but saying that it did give a satisfying ending. Along with friendships and liaisons, there is also a good amount of drama, tension, conspiracy and heartbreak. The clash of culture between India and Britain is dealt with well and gives an impression from both sides. Another large clash is that of the social classes, from the extreme poverty to the extreme opulence of those in the palace.

This is a really good read that I found quite addictive, and it is one I would definitely recommend to readers who like historical fiction and romance.

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