Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #NetGalley #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls by Rosie Clarke. This is the latest in the Harpers Emporium series and I am loving it so much.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book from the publisher, Boldwood Books via NetGalley.

Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls

LONDON 1917

As the Americans enter the War, there is renewed energy in the war effort.  

With husbands and sons fighting for freedom, the women of Harpers are left to tackle the day-to-day affairs at home and work.

With Ben Harper away, Sally fears she is being followed by a mysterious woman. Who is she and what does she want?

Maggie Gibbs collapses seriously ill in the frontline hospitals and is brought back to England close to death. Can she be saved and what does the future hold for her and her broken heart? 

Marion Jackson’s father is on the run from the Police already wanted for murder. She fears he will return to threaten his family once more.
And Beth Burrows is pregnant with her second child, worried and anxious for her husband Jack, who has been many months at sea.

As Christmas 1917 approaches what will the future hold for Harpers, its girls and their men at War?

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

Set in 1917, the First World War is claiming lives, the results are being felt at home. Family and friends worry constantly about those who are serving, those who have been injured, and those that have not been in contact. Shortages are being felt as some things are becoming more difficult to source for the Harpers Store. Inferior quality products are emerging as materials are being used for the war.

Life still has to go on, work still needs doing, homes need to be looked after, mouths have to be fed and it is when times are difficult and fraught that you rely on people around you. Harpers is the linchpin of the story, it is where many of the characters have met over the course of the story. With each book that is released more characters are brought in.

The main four Harpers Girls are Maggie, Marion, Sally, and Beth. They have come on from their early days at Harper’s. This is the point where I do mention that these books can be read as stand-alone stories, but I do think they are better read in order as the character’s lives are developed more and more with each book.

This one, as the title suggests is set during a point where people are obviously wishing for a return to normality, wondering when it will be over and that loved ones can return home. Life is hard for those left behind, and I like how the author describes how lucky her characters feel to be in situations that they are. They either work or have a family or have someone in their lives that helps them, whether it is a family, partner, or friend.

This is a story that does have sad moments and ones that are fraught with despair. It is not only people who are in the midst of the fighting that falls ill. Things carry on at home as they normally would regardless of what is happening in the world, they add stress and worry. The author brings the feeling of hope and also of despair so well into her stories. She has a wonderful way of giving her characters various events to deal with. These may be worrying or add a sense of dread or intrigue, but they also have a way of making her characters stronger.

This is a story for those readers who like historical fiction, sagas, family drama, and stories with a sense of belonging and of friendship. A book and series that combines the individual tales of the characters and gives an overall sense of hope but with several twists to keep the reader on their toes. A book and series I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire. Rosie’s brand new saga series, Welcome to Harpers Emporium began in December 2019.

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The Lady in the Veil by Alllie Cresswell @Alliescribbler #TheLadyInTheVeil #historicalfiction #bookreview

i am delighted to share my review today for The Lady in the Veil by Allie Creswell. I have read a few, but not all of this authors books and I adore her writing. So when I got a message to ask if I would like to read her latest book I was immediately on board.

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What secrets hide beneath the veil? When her mother departs for a tour of the continent, Georgina is sent from the rural backwaters to stay with her cousin, George Talbot, in London. The 1835 season is at its height, but Georgina is determined to attend neither balls nor plays, and to eschew Society. She hides her face beneath an impenetrable veil. Her extraordinary appearance only sets off gossip and speculation as to her identity. Who is the mysterious lady beneath the veil?

The Lady in the Veil follows on from The House in the Hollow, but stands just as well alone.

Purchase Links – Amazon – UK or US

My Review…

I have not read all of this authors books, probably half of them but I am aware that she writes mesmerising stories in a classic style. This can be read as a stand-alone, the previous book Tall Chimneys was an amazing read, there is a prequel, The House in the Hollow, I have not read that one.

From the synopsis, I was aware of the mysterious veiled lady, Georgina and that she was sent to live with relatives in London. Why she kept herself veiled is something the author holds back until later in the story. Doing this the author keep the mystery and intrigue that surrounds Georgina.

Georgina has spent her life living simply, eschewing society. Preferring her life in the country and the pleasures she finds there. Being brought into a bustling metropolis like London is very far from what she knows. Her arrival at the Talbot house isn’t promising. Lady Jane Talbot takes a negative view.

The author gradually works her characters into the story, she introduces various members of society and she does it to great effect. Her portrayal of Lady Jane is fabulous, she is a character who epitomises the prejudice of ladies of the time. She really knows how to make her opinion and feeling felt.

There are several characters, each one has a place and a purpose within the story. A story that is about opinions, marriages, being seen, scandal and being one of the in-crowd in the upper echelons of the elite. The authors writing harks back to the classics such as Austen, and if you have read any of the Highbury books then you know how well she does this.

This is such a wonderful story that is just so lovely to sit and read. I do love the style of this authors writing. It feels right, the mannerisms, attitudes, phrases, marriages or rather contracts, how the wealthy parade around the town to be seen, take tea, have preambles in the park and the like. It really is a pleasure to read.

Another fabulous story from such a wonderful writer. While I do say that this has the feel of a classic style, don’t think that is over worded. It isn’t, it is a very accessible one. There are some fabulous descriptions, wonderful characters and some serious storylines. It is just a gorgeous read that fans of historical fiction and romance will adore. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Allie Cresswell

I have been writing stories since I could hold a pencil and by the time I was in Junior School I was writing copiously and sometimes almost legibly.

It was at this time that I had the difference between fiction and lies forcefully impressed upon me, after penning a long and entirely spurious account of my grandfather’s death and funeral…..

The teacher had permitted it as being good therapy for bereavement whereas in fact it was only a good excuse to get out of learning my multiplication tables (something I have never achieved).

Clearly I was forgiven. For for my next birthday I asked for a stack of writing paper and my parents obliged, it being more easily obtained and wrapped than a pony.

A BA in English and Drama at Birmingham University was followed by an MA in English at Queen Mary College but marriage and motherhood put my writing career on hold for some years until 1992 when I began work on Game Show.

In the meantime I worked as a production manager for an educational publishing company, an educational resources copywriter, a bookkeeper for a small printing firm, and was the landlady of a country pub in Yorkshire, a small guest house in Cheshire and the proprietor of a group of boutique holiday cottages in Cumbria.

I am currently teaching literature in the community alongside full time writing.

I have two grown-up children, Tom and Abby, and am married to Tim.

I live in Cheshire.

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Yours Cheerfully by A.J Pearce #histfic #NetGalley @panmacmillan #publicationday #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce. This is the second book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles. I loved the first book Dear Mrs Bird and this second book is just as good.

My thanks to the publisher Pan Macmillan for my advanced e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. This book is also #3 in the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

From the author of the “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) and international bestseller Dear Mrs. Bird, a new charming and uplifting novel set in London during World War II about a plucky aspiring journalist.

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.

Every bit as funny, heartwarming, and touching as Dear Mrs. BirdYours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship—a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times. 

My Review…

I have been waiting for a follow on to Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully is a fabulous 2nd book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles.

Emmy Lake wanted to be a war journalist, she did get a job but not quite the one she imagined. It was for an Agony Aunt Column in a magazine called the Woman’s Friend. Set during WWII Emmy is making her way in the magazine world. this magazine is a small friendly publication that is full of tips on clothing, making the best of what you have, gardening, cookery and of course advice.

The Ministry call on magazines to help recruit more women to work in a bid to help out the war effort. A chance meeting with Anne a mother of two gives her an insight into women working in the factories. the women are determined in doing their bit, but they feel they are being treated as men would be and that fact hey they have children and homes to look after is not being taken into account. This sets Emmy on something of a mission as the factory women become friends, she still has to be careful about what she writes due to censorship.

I loved how the author has continued the story of Emmy and also her good friend Bunty. There is enough information given to get an idea of the first book, but I would recommend reading it as it was such an excellent one.

Once again the author includes a letter from readers who seek advice during a worrying time. For young girls working for the first time, for mothers who have children to care for alone, she touches on how widows are treated and the conditions that women who are effectively single parents during wartime deal with in life.

The author has brought the style of the magazine, which was seen as one of the little publications for older readers into the forefront. Giving Emmy a larger role so that she is able to really get to grips with the working woman life. There is politics, there is a certain amount of elitism and snobbery and there is the old boy’s brigade that comes into play. But during all this, the author does remember that Emmy has a life outside of the magazine. One that involves her boyfriend Charlie.

Once again the author has created such an addictive read. She deals with issues of the day in such a way as it makes the reader care about the issues. Some of the things I was not aware of and it has been an enlightening read as well as an emotional one. It does have its moments of sadness but also many moments of hope. A gorgeous story and one for those who like historical fiction during WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes @AngelaMaryMor @RandomTTours #wartimestories @I_W_M #historical #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes. This is one of the books that has been republished by the Imperial War Museum.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book.

A reissue of Anthony Rhodes’s acclaimed 1942 novel detailing his own wartime experience during the evacuation at Dunkirk. 

It is September 1939. Shortly after World War II is declared, Anthony Rhodes is sent to France, serving with the British Army. His days are filled with the minutiae and mundanities of army life—friendships, billeting, administration—as the months of the “Phoney War” quickly pass and the conflict seems a distant prospect. 

It is only in the spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear. The men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk, where they face a desperate and terrifying wait for evacuation. 

Purchase from – IWM Online Shop

My Review…

This is a memoir and it is quite an easy read from the viewpoint of the author. His job in the British Army is to organise accommodation, supplies and help prepare for the rest of the troops behind him. There is a certain amount of camaraderie that comes across as he works out the logistics of getting things in place.

While he is out and organising it does appear that he is not in the thick of things, there is a certain amount of disbelief that Germany is really attacking as it is not seen first hand. In fact, they don’t get close to the enemy until further in the book and the retreat to Dunkirk is ordered.

There were times with this book that I did have to remind myself that is written and based on the authors own experiences. While it is a memoir it does read like historical fiction. This is written very much of the time and the language and style of writing have words or phrases that we would not use today. There were also a few french phrases that I didn’t understand, if I had read it on my kindle I could have checked quicker.

This is a book of the time and it does have a sort of reserve to it. There is some humour as tales are recounted. This is a book that at times I did struggle with as it didn’t hold my interest as much as I hoped it would. I did like it and I have rounded it up from 3.5 to 4 stars.

This is one for those who like memoirs set during WWII, I did enjoy it and therefore I would recommend it.

About the Author…

– Anthony Rhodes (1916 – 2004) served with the British Army in France during the
so-called ‘Phoney War’ and was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940. In the latter part of the war he was
sent to Canada as a camouflage officer and was invalided out of the Army in 1947 having served for 12 years.
After the conflict he enjoyed a long academic and literary career and wrote on various subjects, including the
1956 Hungarian Revolution for the Daily Telegraph and well-regarded histories of the Vatican.

About the Imperial War Museum…

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving
Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.
Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas
and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our
five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to
look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and
consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.
IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open
extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an
iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation
museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret
headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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Nellie’s Heartbreak by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #NetGalley #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Nellie’s Heartbreak by Rosie Clarke. I love this authors books and her latest one is another fabulous historical fiction read.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this wonderful book via NetGalley.

Nellie’s Heartbreak

A new stand-alone saga set in Yorkshire around out the outbreak of the second world war and the unlikely relationship between a master and servant.


As a small child, Nellie Peace was always dreaming but sensed her mother’s rejection.  

Abandoned and sent into service at Beaumont House at an early age, Nellie is lost and alone until she meets the unpredictable and reclusive artist, Lucas Harrington and falls in love with him.

This unlikely association between master and servant is encouraged by Lucas’s gentle natured Aunt Alice as Lucas sees something unusual in Nellie and is compelled to paint her. 


Broken promises lead to inevitable heartbreak and Nellie flees Beaumont House in disgrace for London. 
Alone again, Nellie must learn to live and fend for herself and her new-born child.

Can Nellie win a second chance of happiness and can she solve the mystery of her mother’s tortured past?

Purchase Link – Amazon

My review…

What a very apt title for the latest book by Rosie Clarke. Nellie has not had the best life growing up, but she has had it better than some. As soon as she is old enough to leave school her mother finds her a place in service. Not something Nellie expected or was aware of until she finished her last day at school and was whisked off for a new life.

You could say that her life in service was the making of Nellie, but also one that was the breaking of her. A sensible girl growing up, a hard worker, honest and a loyal friend. When Lucas spots her she becomes his muse, Lucas is the son of the house. A serving girl is definitely not the same class or carry the same status. What starts as a friendship gradually turns to more and leads to a real heartbreaking time for Nellie.

The author has done such a wonderful job to bring Nellie from a teenager into a woman. Having the love and excitement that comes with it only to be wrenched away. Battling through emotions, Nellie manages to overcome heartache and loss. Much of this is down to some wonderful friendships. It is this friendly nature of Nellie that really does shine through, as well as a stubborn pride.

The beginning section of the book could easily be something out of Downton Abby, with those upstairs and those downstairs. The author shows different sides and opinions to either side. Being set in the late 1930s there is a change in attitudes, some new ideas are challenging the old but not all are accepted.

Nellie has a good solid support system around her, a childhood friend, Tom has always had a soft spot for her, Alice, Mrs Jones, Iris and several others have taken to her and offered help and given advice. It is Nellie who has made the decisions in her life and taken the paths she thinks to be the right ones. Sometimes doing what feels right is hard, but the right paths are not always the easy ones as she will soon discover.

A fabulous story and be for lovers of historical fiction and romance as well as sagas. A captivating and completely absorbing story that I adored from start to finish and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire. Rosie’s brand new saga series, Welcome to Harpers Emporium began in December 2019.

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Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood @Authormary #panmacmillan @RandomTTours #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood. I am a huge fan of this author and her books and this is the second book in the series.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this fabulous book.

A heart-warming saga about female friendship from the bestselling author of The Jam Factory Girls.
Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls is a moving saga novel of friendship set in the heart of pre-WWI London from
bestselling author, Mary Wood.


Elsie’s worked her way up at Swift’s Jam Factory from the shop floor to the top, and now it’s her time to shine. But
when she’s involved in an incident involving her half-sister Millie’s new husband, she is forced to keep it secret – the
truth could threaten their sisterly bond.


Dot is dogged by fear, coming to terms with her mother’s rejection of her. She should be enjoying the happiness she
craves with her beloved Cess; instead, she’s trapped in an asylum, haunted by the horrifying cries of inmates. All she
wants is to get married, but what chance is there for her if she’s locked away?


Millie is trying to build a life with her new husband. But the man she loves is not all he seems . . .


Can the Jam Factory girls create the future they all deserve?


This historical saga series begins with The Jam Factory Girls.

My Review…

This is the second book in the Jam Factory Girls series and it does continue on from the previous book, but you could read it as a stand-alone, but you would miss out on a great story and intro to the girls.

Life has changed for Elise and Millie as their sisterly bond becomes closer. In fact, the bond between Cess, Bert and all the characters becomes closer. Within this closeness, there is still the feeling of not belonging as Millie has lived a very different lifestyle to that of her new fond family. These differences can be overcome and realisations are discussed as each person finds where they feel more at home.

This closeness is going to be tested, and not in a way I had ever envisioned. I don’t ever read the synopsis for any of this authors books, I just know I want to read them and that is just what I do. The Jam Factory is improving, and not just in the profits but also in production since Elsie and Millie have had more of an input. Working conditions and the health and well being of their mostly female staff has worked wonders.

With the slowly changing attitudes, things do have the appearance of looking up, there is however the old fashioned attitude that is still very strong, an attitude of ” this is how things have always been” still has a firm foothold. Challenging this attitude both on the work and homelife front is something that will be a strength of will.

This is a wonderful historical fiction that I adored, as I mentioned this is a continuation and it was great to catch up with the girls and their families. The author really does encompass so many things in the time of the setting. Hints and nudges towards working condition, family life, status, a little of the politics and of course it is all wrapped up in a wonderful story.

the author never makes things easy for her characters, or for that matter her readers as she does put us all through the wringer. I did find this book angered me a lot as the attitudes of the time and of particular characters are so bloody-minded and it is the strength of the writing that brings out the feelings.

A superb read as always from a fabulous author. If you are a fan of historical fiction, sagas and family dramas from a time gone by then you are going to get on so well with this author. I would definitely recommend this book.

About the Author…

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family was poor, but rich in love. Mary raised four children and has numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


An avid reader, she first put pen to paper in 1989 and is now a full-time novelist. She is the bestselling author of
numerous books, including The Abandoned Daughter and The Brave Daughters.

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Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis @I_W_M @angelamarymar @RandomTTours #wartimeclassics #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis. This is a wartime classis that is being republished by the Imperial War Museum.

I wish to thank Anne at Random Things tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book.

Here is some information about the Imperial War Museum…


IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts
involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas
and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our
five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to
look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and
consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.


IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open
extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an
iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation
museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret
headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

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IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMS TO PUBLISH ANOTHER NOVEL IN THEIR WARTIME CLASSICS SERIES FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE FAMOUS MEMOIR SAGITTARIUS RISING


In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics series which was launched in
September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back
into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict firsthand.


First published in 1944 and set over the course of one night in 1942, the story follows the fate of six crew
members of a Wellington bomber ‘P for Pathfinder’ thrown together by chance from different corners of the
world. They each reflect on the paths of their own lives, as they embark on a fateful mission deep into the
heart of Nazi Germany. Cecil Lewis’ novel examines the life of every man in turn, rendering a moving
account of each as not merely a nameless crew member, but as an individual with a life lived, ‘a life precious
to some, or one… these men with dreams and hopes and plans of things to come.”


Cecil Lewis was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of
pilots to fly, including his own son. It was while doing this training that he wrote Pathfinders. Pupils were
graded by the time it took them to fly solo – the best became fighters and then bombers. The RAF’s Bomber
Command was the only branch of the armed forces that could take direct action against Germany and in
1942 the strategic air offensive changed from precision to area bombing where whole cities were targeted in
order to destroy factories as well as the morale of those who worked in them.


The ‘pathfinders’ of the story were needed because often the bombers could not find the towns and cities
they were destined to attack at night, let alone the industrial centres within. The crew used coloured marker
flares to guide the bombers to their targets and the crews selected (often from the USA, Canada and NZ as
well as Britain) were the best night flying crews who were able to find the target unaided. As a pilot who
took part in both World Wars, Cecil Lewis brings his unique experience to bear, shining a light on this vital
and sometimes contested aspect of Britain’s Second World War focusing on the sacrifice made by the Allied
airmen it depicts.


IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the
wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable
projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and
helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

My Review…

I am so glad that The Imperial War Museum has republished this book. Originally published in 1944 I was expecting a book that focused mainly on World WarII, instead, I got a great book that told me of individuals and their personal lives.

Pathfinders is a fabulous read and the focus is on the crew of P for Pathfinder, a Wellington bomber. The crew are of mixed nationalities from as far afield as Canada and Australia. The author begins this book with quite a sombre opening and gives details of where the war is at, or at what stage it is at. He then goes onto delve into the background of each of the crew.

Each crew member gets a chapter and the author gives a brief history of the parents and living conditions or lifestyles of the time. It then goes into more detail about the crew member and how or why they made the journey to join up.

This is a very insightful and quite a poignant book that has some wonderful descriptions and observations, at times it leans toward a literary fiction style and I found these sections to be such a pleasure to read. It is not an action-packed book as such but it does feel very personal.

There is an introduction at the beginning of the book from one of the historians of the museum. I didn’t read this as I just wanted to get straight into the story, but I did glance over it afterwards.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it gives each crew member a face and a story rather than just being part of a bomber. It is a book that readers who like WWII accounts, stories and historical fiction readers will enjoy. Something a little different for me compared to my usual reads and one I would recommend.

About the Author…

Cecil Lewis (1898 – 1997) was a British fighter ace in the First World War and his
memoir Sagittarius Rising became a classic of the literature from that war, considered by many to be the
definitive account of aerial combat. He was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of pilots to fly, including his own son. After the war he was one of the founding
executives of the BBC and enjoyed friendships with many of the creative figures of the day, including George
Bernard Shaw, winning an Academy Award for co-writing the 1938 film adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion. He
had a long and varied career but retained a passion for flying all his life. In 1969 he sailed a boat to Corfu
where he spent the remainder of his life, dying two months short of his 99th birthday. He was the last
surviving British fighter ace of the First World War.

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Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson. This was such an amazing historical fiction novel that I read mid April. I requested this via Amazon Vine.

Venice, 1943: Under the Nazi occupation, life is increasingly perilous for Italian Jews. Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive – to leave her beloved parents and hide in the countryside, posing as the bride of man she has only just met.

Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to return home to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he refuses to remain a bystander to Nazi and fascist atrocities. The only way to keep Nina safe – and protect secrets of his own – is to convince prying eyes that their sudden marriage is a love match.

But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbours are wary of this soft, educated stranger. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico.

As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their relationship deepens, transforming into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart…

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it was such a wonderful as well as heartbreaking read. It is a historical fiction that is set against the backdrop of WWII and the persecution of the Jews.

As the synopsis tells, this is the story of Nico and Nina. Nina is a Jew in Venice, through connections with her father she is helped out of the country by Nico and poses as his wife. They two have never met before, but they do become friends and then further entwined as a fuller relationship develops.

The story is very well researched, and there is a good section at the back of the book going into more detail. The story is based on true events and the author has then woven such an incredible and moving story. The life Nina once led is very different to the one she now embraces on the farm. There are so many things for her to learn and also she has to keep the secret of her Jewish roots and of the pretend marriage.

As the persecution of the Jews increases and the reach of Hitler, there is a point where Nina becomes concerned. It is not only Nina but also Nico that is also at risk. He has not only helped her but has been helping with the moving of other people. He will do what he can to help who he can, but this does put him in the sights of a certain German officer.

The author then takes the story into a much more harrowing section, that of the camps. It is here that the emotions for me really came, the sense of loss and uncertainty between life and death. The emaciation and the fear have been done with a balance of hope. That hope does flicker day by day as the war continues.

The author has created a story that I found so very addictive, it is one that’s full of heartbreak and also of hope. Of love, friendship and of family. I did have tears and I found it to be quite emotional at times. This is one for those readers who like historical fiction and saga style books. This was a stunning book to read and one that I would definitely recommend.

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

Cuban Heel (Alex Cohen #5) by Leopold Borstinski #CubanHeel #AlexCohenSeries @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for the latest Alex Cohen book, Cuban Heel (Alex Cohen #5) by Leopold Borstinski. I have read and loved everyone of these books and this one has moved on another decade to the 50s.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Would you work with the devil to build a paradise on Earth?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen joins long-time friend and business partner, Meyer Lansky to recreate Las Vegas in 1950s Havana. When dictator President Batista gives them the opportunity to build their dream casino complexes, Alex must choose between dancing with this devil or being in debt to the Italian mob.

If he takes the mafia money then he will be tied to the men who planned his earlier downfall and removed his mentor, Lucky Luciano from the syndicate. If he refuses their investment then he will be beholden to the tinpot generalissimo and his bloated ego. But Alex knows that there is more at stake than mere gelt–now he has his family surrounding him and they will suffer the ultimate price if he makes a bad decision.

The fifth book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which tears at the heart of the Jewish mob’s role in pre-revolution Cuba. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction gives each reader the shocking skinny into the building of modern America.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US – Direct from Leopold’s Website

My Review…

The setting is the 1950s, the place in Cuba and this is the 5th book in the Alex Cohen series. The author has created a series that follows the life, relationship, work and family of Jew, Alex Cohen. A man who had nothing and who has turned a profit from his various wheelings and dealings, oh and the occasional murder!

Cuba is the new Vegas for Alex’s business colleague Lansky Meyer. A country that will see the gambling empire that Meyer to possibly come to fruition. A place that he can call his own and is free from the mobs and bosses, as well as Hoover and the FBI.

Alex is a hustler, he has worked with and alongside the big bosses and now that he is back with his wife Sarah he wants a more settled life. While he is still in the thick of things, he is thinking more about the impact things could have on his family. In the past, he has been very much an act now think later guy. As he has aged and gained experience he is looking at a different lifestyle and that Cuba may provide that.

As this series does contain references to historical events, I was aware of the troubles that await Alex as Cuba, or Castro makes himself known. Being “in bed” with a president doesn’t make it a safe place when Castro makes his move.

Once again, the author has completely had me hooked on what happens next with Alex. Even though he is a rogue, I do have a soft spot for him as I have followed him from his beginnings and arrival in the US. Each decade the author takes his characters into have historical references and these are worked well in the stories.

Again Alex is at the forefront and he has certain roles, not just as a father and husband but also as a businessman. Wanting to leave certain parts of his past in the past is not easier. He is a man with a reputation and this means he is the man to go to. I do like how the author keeps him in the thick of things and never makes things plain sailing. The action and drama of Alex’s life never stop and this makes this such an exciting series.

A series that I adore and if you like historical fiction, gangsters, action, mobs and dubious dealings then this is one for you. I would definitely recommend this series and also this latest book.

About the Author…

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media – Twitter Facebook Instagram Website

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

The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley @SheilaRileyAuthor @rararesources #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley. This is a fabulous historical fiction novel and it is the first book I have read by this author. I will be reading more.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy via NetGalley.

BRAND NEW FROM LIVERPOOLS’ VERY OWN BESTSELLING AUTHOR, SHEILA RILEY

1910 LIVERPOOL DOCKS.


Ruby Swift is a hard-working, straight-talking woman of substance who does not suffer fools gladly,
But when tragedy strikes on a bitter Christmas Eve, Ruby and her beloved Archie take matters into their own hands when a trusted employee’s house is mysteriously engulfed by flames and lives are lost.
Orphaned by the fire, Ruby welcomes heartbroken sixteen-year-old Anna Cassidy, into her home and family but circumstances conspire against them and she is unable to save Anna’s twelve-year-old brother Sam Cassidy, who is sent by the Church to Canada as a Homeboy. 
Can Ruby help mend a broken heart and can these two children ever be reunited or is there another higher game in play?

Mersey Mistress takes you on a journey to another time, another place. From the banks of the River Mersey to the frozen waters of the Canadian Saint Laurence River.

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

This is such an addictive historical fiction story that fans of sagas will love. The intro to the story is hard and cruel, it is representative of a time gone by.

Set in 1910 in the dock area of Liverpool the author weaves the story of two women. One who has turned her back on all she knows for happiness. The other trying to the best she can. Both women have suffered tragedy in their lives. They have endured the pain of losing family. Yet they have fought through and are survivors.

This is quite an emotional story at times, that did pull at the heartstrings. There are so many ups and downs that I found myself unable to stop reading. The author has captured the feel of society and also of the conditions of the time. She has successfully used her characters to show the good and the bad in a society of the time.

The story is such a fabulous read and even though it has heart-breaking moments, I also felt that it was balanced with a sense of hope. This is one that historical fiction/ romance and family saga readers are going to adore. It has the feel of the start of a much longer story, and I would love to see a follow-up. I read this in one sitting, it was that good and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy for Boldwood under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years. She still lives in Liverpool. Her new trilogy began with The Mersey Orphan in September 2019.

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