I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Letters To My Daughters by Emma Hannigan. This book is another read for the Readin Challenge #20 Books Of Summer that I took part in this summer.
Let me show you what this book is all about…
Her three girls were her world. It was time to let them know.
To sisters Bea, Jeannie and Rose, the death of their beloved childhood nanny is a devastating loss. As the girls grew up, Nanny May had become so much more to them all: confidant, advocate, comforter, friend.In whom will they confide their hopes, fears and failures now she has gone? Especially now each sister needs a mother’s wisdom more than ever…
Martha cannot understand why her daughters are so upset about losing their childhood nanny. Yes, Martha was always in demand as a busy midwife, but that doesn’t mean she loved her own children any less. But why don’t the girls realise that? And has she left it too late to let them know…?
I think this is such a nice title for a book. The daughters are Bea, Jeannie and Rose, their parents are Jim and Martha. As both parents worked it fell to Nanny May to help raise the girls. Nanny May was an invaluable part of the household and they all kept in touch over the years as the girls grew up and left home to begin their own lives. The death of Nanny May hit the girls and Jim hard, but Martha isn’t quite affected in the same way by the death as the others.
Over the course of the story the author built up and developed a story that delves into all their pasts. It is told in the Now, with glimpses back in time. The author has created a story about a family that appears perfect from the outside, I say appears because there are cracks and some of those cracks are widening.
The story weaves its way at a pleasant pace and it was quite suprising how time just simply passed by as I was immersed in the book. I gradually got to know each of the main characters and found myself warming to them as I discovered more about them as a family as well as individuals. I discovered their secrets, their dreams and their wishes, what made them scared and what made them anxious.
It’s a story of a family, and with that came so many emotions as I read, anger, frustration, joy, hope, exasperation and doubt. As it progressed I did wonder how this family could stop the cracks from widening, if they could find compromises and if they could pull things back. By the end of the story I was surprised at the ending, I did not expect that, but at the same time it did feel right and so worked well.
It is one of those stories that I want to say is a delightful and lovely read. It has some tense moments that lead to distrust and dismay but also has a solid glimmer of hope and is heartwarming.
Letters to My Daughters is a book I would happily Recommend!
Book #18 of 20
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to welcome you to read my thoughts as I help to kick off the Blog Tour for Boxer Boys Collection by Nick Rippington. My huge thanks to Nick for sending me the 3 e-book set and to Sarah Hardy at BOTBSPublicity for the invite onto the Blog Tour. This collection is a series of 3 books and I will try by best to give you a mini review for each book…
But first how about I let you know what the Boxer Boys Collection is all about…
Some Family feuds just won’t go away… For 40 years the Dolans and the Marshalls have lived side by side on the same rundown housing estate in east London. While teens Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan forge a close friendship, fighting constant battles to survive both on the streets and closer to home, the relationship between their parents is complicated and, at times, toxic. Gradually family secrets emerge which have their roots in the early 80s… and Gary and Arnie realise their entire upbringing was built on lies.
So first up is Crossing the White…
Gary Marshall is being bullied on the rundown London estate he lives on, local lad Arnie (Arnold) Dolan steps in and saves Gary from a beating. This is the start of a friendship that see’s the boys through their teens and is the start of the Boxer Boys.
It is a story of family, friendship, changing from kids into adults and watching each others backs. Over the course of the story it becomes apparent that Gary is drawn into the murkier side than he really wants to. Things go awry for Gary and his chances at living his dream in a career he is passionate about, instead he takes different route.
This is a gritty read that deals with teens in the sprawling and gang ruled estates of London. There are various things that have been dealt with and it adds to the authentic feel of the story.
A great first book in the collection and it made me want to know exactly what was going to happen next. So much so that I went straight onto the 2nd in the set.
This is a book that goes back to the era of Gary and Arnies parents, mainly the Dolans, but the Marshall’s do have a part to play. The Dolan family is made up of Big Mo & Beryl and, Chuck their eldest, it is also about Clive, Big Mo’s brother.
This has a different feel to it and it was nice to get to know more about the family of the boys I had met in the first book. Big Mo is, well tough to say the least. He has a fiery temper and is the sort that hits first and then asks questions later and he is the leader of a shady small group of friends. The Dolan’s have a reputation not to be messed with.
Clive and Mo are very different in what they want out of their lives. Mo is about power, reputation and money. Clive is about wanting more from his life and this is why he joins the Scots Guards. This is the time of Maggie Thatcher in the 80’s and the Falklands conflict. Nobody thought that would come to anything and so off Clive goes. History tells us that this was something and Clive is not the same person he was when he left.
This is a more emotional read as well as having more violence. It gives a great insight into the families, their priorities and loyalty. It’s all about the family and who they are.
Once again as soon as I had finished this one I was straight onto the next…
Back again with Gary and Arnie, or should I say Gareth and Arnie. The previous books were extensive in their groundwork and this is brought to a fabulous conclusion in Dying Seconds. It is 2016 and while Garth is dealing with a job in Wales, Rugby and Football matches, Arnie is having to come to terms with his new lifestyle.
He has had his role in the Boxer Boys changed and the families are fracturing with tension and suspicions are running at an all time high.
There is a lot for the two men to deal with and their responsibilities and loyalties have changed. Gareth’s past is brought up to date and he can finally deal with things that have been hanging over him for the past few years.
This is a tense 3rd book and it is where all the threads are finally pulled together and things slot into their proper places. It is a story full of doubt, suspicion and fear and it is full of pace.
OVERALL – this has been a great series and I really do apologise for being so vague, but I was aware that if I wasn’t careful then spoilers would slip out.
The three stories combine to give a fabulous insight in two main families and the trials and tribulations that go with them. There are so many things that happen along the way for not only the families but also the boys as well.
The style of the story is gritty and it fits so well with the gangland setting. As much as there is violence with the story as you would expect, there is also much more than that. It is a story that show the dynamics of family and society of the respective times the stories are set in. It is about loyalty and friendship and how long they can be stretched before something gives.
This has been a really good collection of 3 stories that are intertwined and linked and that span the years. They each have a connection to each other and yet at the same time each have a different feel in the way they read. After reading Nick’s Bio I can see that he brings his own knowledge and experiences to his writing. This is a collection that I thoroughly enjoyed each one of the books and I would suggest that they are definitely read in order, you could argue that they could be read as stand alone books but for me they worked perfectly as they were set out.
It is one of those collections that falls into several categories. I add my own tags and the ones I have chosen for this is, Urban Fiction, Family Drama, Family & Lifestyle and Contemporary Fiction as well as General Fiction. I think it is one would interest many readers.
A fabulous collection and one I would Definitely Recommend.
NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World
phone-hacking scandal you never hear about.
As the newspaper’s Welsh
Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days notice when Rupert Murdoch
closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011.
On holiday at the time, Nick
was never allowed back into the building, investigators sealed off the area
with crime scene tape and seized his computer, which contained all the secrets
to his Fantasy Football selections.
Handed the contents of his
desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a
crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old
baby to support. Options were limited but self-publishing was booming. Having
hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of
the Rugby World Cup, in 2015 he produced Crossing The Whitewash.
The book was praised by
many, received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’
Digest self-published eBook awards and more than 25 five-star reviews on both
sides of the pond.
Almost two years after
Crossing The Whitewash came the second in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel
called Spark Out, which was released in paperback on July 1 and for Kindle on
July 10, 2017. The book received an award for best cover of 2017 with the Chill
With A Book website, along with a readers award, before receiving the IndieBRAG
medallion from a prestigious site covering Independent writers and publishers
throughout the world.
The third book in the Boxer
Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing the Whitewash, was released in
Married to Liz, Nick is now a full-time back bench designer on the Daily Star sports desk and has two daughters – Jemma, 36, and Olivia, 8. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex. In the past he has worked for the Sunday Mirror, Wales on Sunday and Media Wales in Cardiff as an executive editor.
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…
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
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”!
I am delighted to be shgaring mny review for The Secret – Violet’s Story by Eliza J Scott. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for accpeting my request to join the tour and also to Eliza for my e-copy of this book.
Having read the previous book I was eager to return back to the Life On The Moors series. Although I think this could be read as a stand alone novel, I think it is best read in series order.
Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…
It’s been two years since glamorous and ambitious Violet Smith fell head-over-heels in love with blacksmith Jimby Fairfax, and moved back home to the North Yorkshire village of Lytell Stangdale to be with him.
Life couldn’t get much sweeter. Their romance is blooming and Romantique – the business she set up with Jimby’s sister Kitty, designing luxurious underwear and burlesque costumes with the odd wedding dress throw in – is thriving.
But on a romantic weekend break, a face from her past triggers a series of events which send Violet into turmoil. She finds herself with no alternative but to reveal a secret she’s buried deep for the past sixteen years. A secret she hasn’t shared with anyone, not even her best friends, Kitty and Molly, and they share everything.
With the revelation forcing a wedge between herself and Jimby, heartbroken Violet fears that he won’t ever be able to think of her in the same way again and won’t want anything more to do with her.
As ever, Kitty and Molly rally round, offering their advice and support but Vi is worried that keeping her secret was just a step too far for Jimby. Will she succeed in showing him their love is strong enough to overcome it?
The Secret – Violet’s Story is book 3 in the Life on the Moors Series.
This is the third in the Life On The Moors series and I love it. The Secret is all about Violet, or Vi as she is known to everyone. She returned to the village of Lytell Stangdale a few years before and fell in love with Jimby, a childhood friend. The story that follows is one that caught my attention as I discovered more about Violet and what her secret is!
As soon as I started reading this book I felt that connection come back from the previous book, The Talisman – Molly’s Story. The friends that make up this series so far have been Kitty and Molly, so it was so nice to read about Violet. The warmth of the friendship that these women have is just a great thing to read about. They are supportive of each other in that wonderful “they have your back” sort of way. They have a more sisterly than friend relationship.
They know everything about each other, well almost! As Violet had been away at University she had a section of her life that she had not told anyone about. This I completely understood and also why she never said anything. I think it was quite plausible for her to hold this secret back. Something happens that makes Violet think it is time to explain, but will this drive Jimby away from her?
This is such a wonderful stroy that I happily immersed myself in, I happily read this while sat in the garden in the sun. The descritions of the surroundings, the village and the general characters were great. It didn’t take me long to get into the story and I loved that I was reunited within the characters of the story again. Emotions did come into play as I wondered what was going to happen and also the revelation of the secret.
If you love books about friendship, relationships within a gorgeous setting then this is a book, in fact it is a series that you should consider picking up.
It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me!
lives in a 17th-century cottage on the edge of a village in the North
Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two
mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can
usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or
working in her garden. Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the
countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can
indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.
is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write
heartwarming stories with happy endings.
I am delighted ot be sharing my review for Someone You Know by Olivia Isaac-Henry. My thanks to the publisher Avon Books UK for accepting my request to read this book via NetGalley.
I have had this title on my shelf for a while and I have decided to include it in my #20booksofsummer Readin Challenge. This is number 3/20.
Let’s see what it is all about…
You can trust your family, can’t you…?
Tess Piper was fourteen when her adored twin sister Edie disappeared.
She has spent the last twenty years building a life away from her fractured family, desperate to escape the shadow of the past.
Only now she needs to confront the huge hole her sister’s disappearance left in her life, because a body has been found. The police are shining a spotlight on the Piper family. And secrets are about to surface.
After all, it’s common knowledge that more often than not, these crimes are committed by someone close to the victim. Someone they trust. Someone they know…
What really happened to Edie Piper?
For 20 years Tess has not known what had happened to her sister Edie when they were both 14 years old. When Edie’s body is finally discovered it brings with it a lot of uncertainty and loads of unanswered questions. Throughout the story, new questions are asked and most of them are answered.
This story is a back and forth one, alternating between present day and 20 years ago where it builds up a picture of the girls growing up and also of Tess as she is today. Tess and Edie had been close but, as they grew older they started to drift apart as their interests and like started to change. Edie was more outgoing of the two, but Tess found herself more isolated, the odd one out if you like and wanting to hang onto her sisters coat-tails. Tess was more old-fashioned, preferring things to stay as they were, while Edie wanted to discover new things and people.
All families have things that are not shared with their children. Parents don’t discuss their doubts and fears with them, wanting to keep their children’s childhood as happy and carefree as possible. The full details of their childhood only start to emerge as Tess starts to dig into the past and finally starts to discover hidden truths.
This story has a good pace to it and follows the lives of the girls and the key figures in their lives. It is a story that felt more like a murder mystery rather than a crime thriller for me. It is one I enjoyed and I had a character in my head for the culprit and, while I was right in my assumption I did have the odd wobble of doubt and thought I may have misjudged it. For me, this didn’t take away any enjoyment of the story, it is about the journey and the reason behind the truth rather than who was responsible.
It is one I would recommend!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx
I am delighted to be sharing my review for Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton. I have had this on my kindle for a little while now and I am so glad I chose to read it, it is a stunning story.
Let’s see what it’s all about…
WHEN Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse.
Inside the Thorels’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’s blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.
It is silk that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she strikes up a relationship with one of the journeyman weavers in her attic who teaches her to weave and unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household.
Why have I waited so long to pick this book up? A fabulous Historical Fiction that has a smattering of romance, once I started it I didn’t want to step away from it for a second.
Starting in 1768 as a naive Sarah Kemp arrives at Spitalfields, London. She is basically scammed and is tricked into working in a brothel. With no prospect of leaving because of mounting debts, she is fortunate indeed that Esther Thorel takes a chance on Sarah and gives her employment.
Esther is the wife of a Huguenot Silk Master. She is the dutiful wife who fills her days with painting, embroidery and charitable works. A journeyman silk weaver works in her home. During the day he works on his employers’ silks, in his own time he works on his own with the hope that he will be able to become a Master himself. Seeing him work, Esther has an idea of her own.
I immediately felt wrapped up in this novel. Sarah was so naive and I felt for her and the situation she finds herself in. Esther I didn’t immediately take to, she felt a little too goody two shoes for me. It isn’t until the arrival of Sarah into the household that I saw a different side to Esther asnd my opinion of her definitely changed. In some ways, the women have similarities in their naiveness, but gradually they bring out the best in each other. They gain a sort of strength from each other.
It is soon apparent that as much as the household looks like it runs smoothly, there is a tension lying just below the surface. The tensions of the silk weaving community gradually make themselves known as silk prices fall due to cheaper calico imports. It threatens not only the silk masters but also the lower down the ladder weavers.
The author has done a great job of incorporating some of the techniques and terms of silk weaving into the story. It has literally been woven in strand by strand to create a stunning story. It compliments the story of the two women so well. Not only giving a great story but also something new that I was able to learn about.
The setting mixes the contrasts between the different social classes, the workers and the masters. Using the tension of the cheaper imports to build tension and an air of unrest in the community that also affects homelife.
This is a stunning story that took many surprising turns, it was insightful and an absolute pleasure to read. If you love Historical Fiction then you really should pick this one up, totally absorbing and addictive.
This is a book with such a stunning cover that I am probably going to buy the hardback even though I own the e-book version!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am absolutely delighted to share my review for The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick. It was a fabulous surprise when this beautiful book landed on my doorstep a few weeks ago.
Now I have a confession, this is the first book I have read by this author, I do have several on my kindle. Here lies the problem… I am more likely to pick up a physical book, and the ones I have by Liz are on my kindle! I am sure I am not the only one who finds this…Am I?
Anyway, I do digress so…
You can get a pre-order on Amazon UK and Publication Day is for 6th June.
Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…
Sometimes going home is just the beginning…
Boskenna, the beautiful, imposing house standing on the Cornish cliffs, means something different to each of the Trewin women.
For Joan, as a glamorous young wife in the 1960s, it was a paradise where she and her husband could entertain and escape a world where no one was quite what they seemed – a world that would ultimately cost their marriage and end in tragedy.
Diana, her daughter, still dreams of her childhood there – the endless blue skies and wide lawns, book-filled rooms and parties, the sound of the sea at the end of the coastal path – even the family she adored was shattered there.
And for the youngest, broken-hearted Lottie, heading home in the August traffic, returning to Boskenna is a welcome escape from a life gone wrong in London, but will mean facing a past she’d hoped to forget.
As the three women gather in Boskenna for a final time, the secrets hidden within the beautiful old house will be revealed in a summer that will leave them changed for ever.
The Path to the Sea beautifully evokes the mystery and secrets of the Cornish coast, and will be loved by fans of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore.
First things first, look at that cover… I am in love with it and feel I could just walk out onto one of the beaches. Now to try and convey how much I loved this book…
The story is one that tells of 3 generations of women at Boskenna House.
Within the first few chapters, I was struck by the wonderful skill this author has. Her descriptions for the Cornish scenery, the house, the gardens is sublime. It was so easy to visualise everything from the perfect choice of words she used. These descriptions kept flowing wonderfully throughout the story and kept building on what I could already imagine. The lavish parties given in the 60’s with jewellery, clothes and sumptuous food was an absolute delight to read.
The 3 women are Joan, Diana and Lottie, they are very different in character and also temperment. But within these differences I saw some subtle similarities. Joan the Grandmother tells her part of the story in1962, a summer of boats, buffets, sailing, beaches and friends. Diana, Joan’s daughter, was a child in 1962 and through her she told of her days with her father and her adventures. She also has a present day part to play, I disciovered her fears, guilt and some secrets that had been hidden over the years. Lottie is in the present, she is daughter to Diana, she is desperate to find out what is haunting her mother and why her Gran is so cryptic about the past and desperate to keep what she see’s as a failure hidden.
Combining a mix of history, Cold War Politics and family secrets, I felt an ominous shadow surrounding the story and it’s characters. I love stories that build up intrigue and a sense that some people are not willing to share what they know. The mystery, the secrets and also intrigue that is added made this a book that was hard to put down for even a moment. It made me wonder all the while about the “who’s” and “why’s” while I was avidly turning pages.
The chapters alternates between not only the 3 women but, also between their respective timelines. It did not take me long to recognise the time changes or the characters. I soon found that I didn’t pay heed to the headings for these changes as I immediately knew when I was and who I was reading.
There is a great pace to this book and while I wanted to take my time I was also so eager to discover the truths. I found it emotional and by the end I had shed a couple of tears. I found it was so easy to get caught up and to become invested in the characters.
This is a beautifully written contemporary fiction story, that is full of lavish and gorgeous descriptions with a story that gradually reveals it’s secrets.
The Path to the Sea by Liz Fenwick gets a Highly and Absolutley Recommended from Me! 🙂
I was born in Massachusetts and after nine international moves – the final one lasting eight years in Dubai- I now live in Cornwall and London with my husband and a cat. I made my first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought my home there seven years later. My heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories
My debut novel THE CORNISH HOUSE was followed by A CORNISH AFFAIR, A CORNISH STRANGER and UNDER A CORNISH SKY, A Cornish Christmas Carol (novella), THE RETURNING TID and ONE CORNISH SUMMER. All published by Orion in English. There are editions in Dutch, German, Portuguese, French, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Estonian, Latvian, Turkish, Serbian, Czech and soon Hungarian. My next novel THE PATH TO THE SEA is out in 2019.
I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan. My huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and also to Headline Review for my copy of this beautiful book.
Let’s have a look and see what it’s all about…
Kingfisher Road – a leafy, peaceful street in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10?
Engaged to handsome, wealthy Justin Johnston, Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have the perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems…
In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret, and each is nursing their own private heartache.
But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfisher Road discover all the help they need?
This thirteenth and final novel from the beloved and inspiring Emma Hannigan is a life-affirming, uplifting story that celebrates the strength and joys of female friendship.
Emma Hannigan was the No. 1 bestselling author of eleven novels including Letters to Daughters, The Wedding Promise, The Perfect Gift, and The Summer Guest, as well as a memoir, All to Live For, which was about surviving an eleven year battle with cancer – facing cancer 10 separate times over the course of those years – and remaining strong, positive and warm. Very sadly, we have now lost Emma in the fight against cancer – she passed away at the end of February 2018.
The Gift of Friends went straight to number one on the bestseller lists in Ireland and has remained there ever since.
As I sit and write this review I feel quite emotional. I am so sad that such a talented and amazing author was taken far too soon. Sad also that it is only now I have read one of Emma’s books, though I do have 3 of her books on my kindle, no excuse! Emotional because of the beautiful story she wrote and also for the words in the Acknowledgments. Having read The Gift of Friends I am determined to read the rest of this authors books.
The Gift of Friends is a perfectly wonderful story. I was warmly greeted by the residents of Kingfisher Road, Nancy, Maia, Pearl and Betsey. A wonderful group of women who alternate between being carefree, friendly, loud, sensitive, bold and just a little bonkers, but in a very good way. They are not backwards in coming forwards with advice or opinion, by that I mean they very much say what they think. Poor Danielle is a little overwhelmed by her new home with Justin and also with the 4 women when they introduce themselves in their very exuberant way.
As much as I felt for Danielle, I couldn’t help but smirk as the author described this encounter. This was the start of a story that had me riveted as I got to know about Kingfisher Road and it’s residents. Danielle gradually gets to know these women and friendship forms. Bonds are built upon and she finds that not only are they able to help her settle in, but that she is also able to help them.
As the story unfolds I began to realise that things are not as rosy as they first appear. There is something that is held back by each of the characters. Even though they are very close I began to realise that certain things were kept secret. It was one of those scenarios that showed that we don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors. Not everything is shared, somethings are so deep and so painful that the owner of them wants to keep them buried, rather than talk of the secret they carry.
This book had me with so many “lump in my throat” moments, and at times that lump broke and left me in tears. It was such an emotional read with serious as well as more lighthearted moments and beautiful friendships. I got to gradually discover the truth about the households and their residents.
This story had such an easy flow to it and a wonderful balance between the more serious and also the lightheartedness. It is such a beautiful read and one I would Highly Recommend.
Emma Hannigan was an Irish author and blogger, best known for writing about her experience of suffering from cancer.
With a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, Hannigan’s mother and maternal aunt tested positive for the responsible gene, BRCA1. She also received a ‘positive’ result in August 2005, which carries an 85% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. In 2006, Hannigan underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy (or both breasts removed) and a bi-lateral oopherectomy (or both ovaries removed) to reduce the risk of cancer developing to 5%. However, breast cancer soon developed, “in the neck, shoulder and under my arm”, in 2007. After repeated treatment, a tumor always reappeared. She died at age 45 after her tenth battle with cancer.
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I am delighted to share my review today for Not Having It All by Jennie Ensor. My huge thanks Heather at Bloodhound Books and Jennie for my copy and also spot on the BLog Tour.
Let’s see what the book is all about…
Neuroscientist Bea Hudson fears she is a bad mother and that her career will be thwarted by family life. When her husband suspects Bea of having an affair with her best friend, a chain of events is triggered, leading to a crisis in Bea’s life.
Bea Hudson, a neuropsychologist living in Godalming, is struggling to cope with the challenging behaviour of her obsessive husband Kurt and their disruptive four-year-old daughter Fran. On top of this, her boss is pressuring her to get results from her research. Bea has her work cut out.
Things come to a head when Kurt goes away on an extended business assignment. While sacking staff and drinking heavily, Kurt’s insecurities run amok and he becomes convinced that Bea’s close friend Madeleine is seducing his wife and unduly influencing his daughter.
Meanwhile, childless artist Madeleine sees her friend torn between the demands of work and offers to help with Fran. But when she reveals a startling desire to her unsympathetic therapist Mr Rowley, he advises her to focus on the attention of Colin, a man she met in a lift.
Can Bea survive the demands of her career and the turmoil in her marriage without having a breakdown? Can Madeleine survive Kurt’s anger and find happiness with Colin? And can love survive marriage, middle-age, alcohol and ambition?
Not Having It All is about a scientist torn between her stalling career and the demands of her family. With themes of trust, deception and obsession, it is a mercilessly playful take on modern friendships, relationships and family life.
How on earth does Bae Hudson juggle being a neuropsychologist on the brink of a breakthrough with being a wife, mum and friend? Well, I soon found that it isn’t easy for her as I read Not Having It All!
Bea is fraught and struggling. A serious career and research means she has to spend time at work to be seen as someone serious about her career. If she reduces her hours she could very easily be side-lined and her funding may disappear. Her husband also has a demanding job, often working away from home for periods. This time he is in Turkey because “he is the best man for the job”. With both of them in full time careers the housekeeping and looking after Fran, their daughter falls to Polish au pair Katie.
Along the way, I also met Madelaine, Colin, Nigel and Allie. They all have roles to play in one form or another. It seems they are also having some sort of crisis in their lives. This is at times a hilarious read as it includes such a cross-section of people. Whether they are having a midlife crisis, feeling guilty about working too much or feeling downright unappreciated, they all seem to be having problems of some sort. Life can be a pain sometimes as pressures easily mount, making mountains out of molehills and often just needed to be looked at from a different perspective or to have recognise the struggles of others. The author has taken everyday worries and wrapped them into a fabulous story that held my attention.
I liked the format or this book as it is told in journal entries, notes or emails from each of the respective characters. It felt that it added to the busy lives of those concerned. Yes, it is unusual but, it worked very well as I got to see different sides to each of the characters. It also meant that the story moved along at a good pace but also that it didn’t feel rushed.
I really enjoyed Not Having It All. I liked how it reflected today’s modern and fast world and also was upbeat and had a good level of humour that kept it from falling into a more serious read. I loved that I actually laughed out loud on several occasions.
Not Having it All is one I would Definitely Recommend.
Ensor lives in London and has Irish roots. During a long trip
overseas she obtained a Masters in Journalism and began her writing
career as a journalist, covering topics from forced marriages to
accidents in the mining industry. Her debut novel BLIND SIDE was
published by Unbound in 2016. In January 2018 her short story ‘The
Gift’ was placed in the Top 40 of the Words
and Women national prose competition.
Her poetry has appeared in many UK and overseas publications, most
Sweat and Tears.
She sings in a chamber choir.