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

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

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.

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

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christine Lefteri #20booksofsummer #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christine Lefteri. I have decided to include this one in the # 20 Book of Summer reading challange, this makes numer 5 of 20.

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

In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

What will you find from his story?

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees. 

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.

Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling.

The synopsis does a great job of explaining what this story is all about. The story of a man and his wife escaping their war-ravaged home in Aleppo, Syria and their journey to Britain as asylum seekers.

Nuri and Afra had a wonderful life, him a beekeeper and her an artist. The tensions in Syria gradually get closer to their home and they decide to leave, not an easy decision to make but one that becomes necessary if they are to survive.

The story flits back and forth telling of their lives in Aleppo and their journey to the UK. A hard journey that has no guarantee of survival or that when they arrive that they will be allowed to stay. Nuri and Afra are luckier than some as they have funds and can pay for certain things that are denied others. Some will start their journey and get no further than some of the refugee camps, some will die on the way, some will never leave their homes.

This is a heartbreaking read at times as I read about various people that Nuri and Afra meet along their journey. This is where the author uses her experiences of helping in refugee camps to help with her story. She has spoken to people in the camps, listened to their stories and created a novel that has some of its roots based in fact.

There is a great deal of emotion with this book, from anger at the way people are treated to compassion at the way people will help. It is heartbreaking as well as the story that the author has crafted around Nuri and Afra is slowly revealed.

I cannot imagine having to take such a journey that is so full of uncertainty but also necessity and for that I count myself very lucky. This is a beautifully written story that I simply could not put down. I had to know what happened to Nuri and Afra and also learn more of these interesting characters.

It is a story that I would absolutely recommend.

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

The Awakening Aten by Aiden K. Morrissey #TheAwakeningAten @AidenKMorrissey #RandomThingsTours @annecater #HistFic #Review

I am delighted to share my review for The Awakening Aten by Aiden k. Morrissey. My huge thanks to Aiden for my copy of his book and also to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.

Let’s have a look and see what The Awakening Aten is all about…

he Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  

Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  

This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

PURCHASE LINK – Amazon UK

If you like ancient historical fiction novels that have a huge amount of factual detail incorporated, then you should consider picking up a copy of The Awakening Aten. It is set in 1420 BCE Egypt and it is the first in a planned 5 Book Series.

I enjoyed this story so much and rather than write a review about the story itself I am writing about the things that stood out for me. It is just that when I try and write a review on the story it sounds so confusing because it is such a big story, and I don’t feel able to do it justice. That makes it sound like the story is confusing, and actually, once you get into it flows wonderfully and makes complete sense!

The story has quite a large cast and the main characters have a mention in a handy list at the front of the book. What I liked about this list was that is was broken down into family groups. The author has also noted which characters are real or fictional.

The cast covers a diverse range of backgrounds from those facing death to the King. In between, there are priests, mercenaries, artists, builders and princes just to name a few. This is where that handy list comes in useful as I started to get to grips with them all.

The story itself charts the lives of the key characters, the roles they play as well as the everyday things. Here the author manages to weave individual stories that gradually build into a far bigger picture.

The research and knowledge are very evident and the inclusion of some very interesting notes from the author adds to that feeling that the details were right. I am not knowledgable in this era of history, I do know bits and pieces like most others but things just felt right as far as I was concerned.

The story itself had so many things going on and though it follows the lives of the main characters, I also felt as though I was getting a grand tour of ancient Egypt and all that was involved at the time. The story has a lot of drama and it is explored through various means. There is murder, corruption, power-struggles, religion, social etiquette, tombs, mummification… in fact, pretty much everything I would expect from this period and then a whole lot more!

This was such a fascinating and very insightful novel with some fabulous detail. Following different families as they made their way through the story. It has left me very eager to read the next in the series.

This is a book that has left me wanting to read more and it is one I would definitely recommend.

I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.

A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.

My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.

I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.

I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.

This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.

My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

Website: http://www.aidenkmorrisey-author.com/

Twitter @AidanKMorrissey

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Blog Tour…

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

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton #Review

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.

Oh, Wow!

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!

Highly Recommended!

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

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood @Authormary @panmacmillan @EllisKeene #Review #Giveaway

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood. Whether this author writes as Mary Wood or as Maggie Mason I absolutely adore her books. The latest is another book that had me in tears yet again! Mary just manages to create characters that I care about and I cannot help but feel for.

Mary is generously running a Giveaway. To be entered into this just comment below. All comments on my Blog require my approval. Once I have approved your comments Mary will then be able to see them and enter you into her draw.

This Giveaway is run by Mary and she will get in touch with the winner direct. Me And My Books is not responsible for the Giveaway or the dispatch or the prize.

Now then, let’s have a look at The Abandoned Daughter and see what it is all about 🙂 xx

Voluntary nurse Ella is haunted by the soldiers’ cries she hears on the battlefields of Dieppe. But that’s not the only thing that haunts her. When her dear friend Jim breaks her trust, Ella is left bruised and heartbroken. Over the years, her friendships have been pulled apart at the seams by the effects of war. Now, more than ever, she feels so alone.

At a military hospital in France, Ella befriends Connie and Paddy. Slowly she begins to heal, and finds comfort in the arms of a French officer called Paulo – could he be her salvation?

With the end of the war on the horizon, surely things have to get better? Ella grew up not knowing her real family but a clue leads her in their direction. What did happen to Ella’s parents, and why is she so desperate to find out?

The Abandoned Daughter by Mary Wood is the second book in The Girls Who Went To War series.

The Abandoned Daughter is available in ebook and paperback now.

This is the second in the Girls Who Went To War series and while I have not yet read the first book it has no way marred my reading of The Abandoned Daughter. Though I will say I will be buying the first.

The author does put her characters through the proverbial mill and also characters that I care about. Elle is such a lovable and sweet character and my goodness does she have so much thrown at her. Pain and suffering seem to follow her, just I thought she was going to have a happy life something goes wrong. A phrase that I have heard many times and also that the author used in her book was the one about “God only gives you what he knows you can deal with”. This is something that does sum up Elle to a tee. Even so, how a person could deal with losing so much!

The story is not just about Elle, it is about her friends and her time as a nurse. I should explain that the story begins as World War I, Elle is a nurse at the battlefield hospitals. After the war ends and Elle returns home things at first start to go well. There is mention of the struggle that returning troops found and this I found very interesting. Many soldiers finding themselves homeless, ill and well… lost.

The struggles at home take on a different route to what I expected, but thank goodness for Rowena. Everyone should have a Rowena in their lives and I adored her. The author adds so many social and economic problems for the time to her stories. It is such a useful thing as not only does it fit with the setting of the book it also highlights the struggles of others.

Elle is such an amazing character who really is pushed to the limits of endurance. I had my heart in my mouth so many times as I wondered how or if she would cope with everything.

This author is an absolute delight to read. She creates characters that I care about with plot lines that touch the heart. Emotional is something I expect and tears from me seem to be a given whenever I read her books. She creates stories that keep me eagerly turning pages and often until the early hours of the morning.

If you love historical fiction and family sagas you will love Mary Wood and also Maggie Mason.

The Abandoned Daughter is a book I would Highly Recommend.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’. 

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels 

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle. 

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers on her FacebookWebsiteTwitter

Mary welcomes all contact with her readers and feedback on her work.

See what other Book Blogger think by following the Blog Tour

The Hunted by Tarn Richardson @TarnRichardson #free #ebook

If anyone asks me about my favourite books, I always mention The Darkest Hand Trilogy by Tarn Richardson. This is fabulous Dark Fiction that absolutely blew me away. A blend of historical fiction, fantasy and religious conspiracy.

Why am I letting you know about this, I hear you ask!

Well Tarn Richardson also has a novella, a prequel to the series and it’s called The Haunted. It is an amazing action packed, full speed intro to Poldeck Tacit and the best bit is that it’s FREE!

Yep!

You heard me right!

A FREE download over on Amazon!

Do yourself a favour go and get a copy. It is 48 pages long so grab a coffee and have a read.

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Tacit Poldek is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke. 


With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Tacit Poldek. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


THE HUNTED is the
FREE prequel to Tarn Richardson’s gritty and compelling DARKEST HAND TRILOGY featuring the brilliant but flawed inquisitor Tacit Poldek.

Amazon UK Link

Happy Reading folks!

Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler @rararesources review

I am delighted and also saddened to share my review for Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell. Delighted to read the next book in The Highbury Trilogy and saddened because it is the final book in the trilogy!

I have loved all three books and if you have not yet had a chance to read them and you like Austen’s Emma, then have a look at the book by Allie, she has used Emma as the inspiration behind them and has done such a wonderful and beautiful job. It has been my absolute pleasure to read each one.

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

The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane recounts events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma; the formative childhood years of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.


Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. Readers of Emma will be familiar with the conclusion of Jane and Frank’s story, but Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over its remainder.

Purchase Links – Amazon UKAmazon US

I had been looking forward to reading the final instalment of the Highbury Trilogy, and now I have I do feel a little sad that it is over.

The Trilogy started with Mrs. Bates of Highbury, followed by The Other Mrs. Bates and finally ending with Dear Jane. Each story has takes on a main character and explores their family, friends and acquaintances. Dear Jane focuses on Jane Fairfax, she had a minor role in Emma and Allie Cresswell has made her into the major role, and I will add she has done it superbly.

Jane is taken in by the Campbells and is treated like a daughter with all the privileges that come with one whom lives within a certain class in society. Jane is to be a companion to the Campbell’s daughter Rowenna. Jane’s life is mapped out for her and she is well aware that at some point in the future she will have to make her own way in the world.

I absolutely loved this story, well let me be honest I have loved the whole trilogy. The author has captured the tone and writing style I like when I read the older classic lit books. I love to read about the “ladies”, I say ladies but often they are very far from lady-like with their barbed comments. there are several of these comments within the book as even though some see Jane as an equal, not everyone does.

Dear Jane is told over several years and follows Jane and Rowenna, I have to say that Jane has the patience of a saint as she coaxes Rowenna. But actually even though Rowenna was a bit of a pain, I also really liked her and got to understand her shyness and insecurities.

With society and the standing within society being so important with those in the upper echelons there is a focus on marriage, or rather how much will be brought into a marriage, both on a monetary and also positional platform. Marriage is a business deal rather than one of love, though there is love. Who falls in love and with whom is something I will let you discover for yourselves!

Romance, courtship and falling breathlessly and hopelessly in love is in equal measure with many a furtive glance, stifled giggles and the occasional swoon. Though things often appear to be simple it is not always the case. For some the road to marriage and love appears straightforward but those behind the scenes may have had a hand to stay the route, keeping the recipients unawares.

The story just oozes that old classic literature style. The mannerisms, dress and fashion, conversation style, society and etiquette all feel so right. Mix into this a storyline that has uncertainties, heartbreak, hope and trouble and that was me hooked and avidly reading.

I would say you could read each as a stand-alone, but you know what… Just go and get the whole trilogy and then just sit down, put your feet up and just relax and read.

This book, well, the whole trilogy gets a Highly Recommended from me.

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England.

Dear Jane is her ninth novel.

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