Hollywood Bilker by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski   @ZooloosBT  #HollywoodBilker #AlexCohen #ZooloosBookTours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Hollywood Bilker by Leopold Borstinski. I have loved this series from the very first book and following the journey of the main protagonist Alex Cohen.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Is building another casino worth dying for?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen returns to America and settles in 1960s California to build a drug and prostitution empire in LA. When he gets a call from the mob to help the CIA invade Cuba, Alex must decide between family and his business associates.

If he helps Uncle Sam and the Mafia then he puts his life on the line fighting for freedom and the chance to rebuild his Havana casinos. If he refuses the favor then death will call on him, his ex-wife and their sons. Once he agrees to one accommodation then others are sure to follow, in a decade where even presidents, assassins and presidential candidates were whacked at a terrifying rate.

The sixth book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical thriller novel, which rips open Jewish organized crime involvement in Lee Harvey Oswald’s death and the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. Leopold Borstinski’s searing crime fiction lays bare the making of today’s USA.

PURCHASE LINKS – AMZON UK or US

MY REVIEW

This is the 6th book in the Alex Cohen series, a series I am loving and have with every book in the series. The series follows the life of Alex, his family, his friends, his enemies and his business associates. This 6th book sees Alex entering the 1960’s in America.

The previous book saw him high-tailing it out of Cuba, now the author has him rubbing the shoulders with the rich, famous and possibly infamous depending o which circles you mix within. With names such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy’s and Alex’s business background, well you know that these people are going to meet up in this authors series.

If you are new to this series then I would definitely recommend re4ading from the beginning, it gives you a better understanding of where Alex has come from, his background and his life growing up. Working his way up through the ranks of the racketeers and mobs of each decade of the 1900s.

With each book, the author uses names of new items that are relevant to the time, it sort of backs up Alex’s character and also keeps the reader in the time and moment.

Alex and his wife Sarah don’t see much of their family, and while Alex has hinted at retiring he has never done much about it. He is a careful man but also one that will take care of his own business. But, now as he is getting to the stage where he wants more family time he realises he needs to let some of his businesses go.

In this episode, the author has Alex rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, glamorous parties, with special extras are his speciality. It gives him a chance to get in with the in-crowd of the time. While this story is full of action, dodgy deals, hidden agendas, it also had a slightly different edge to it. Alex still puts himself in the midst of things, still in danger and risking his life, but he has a future that he is now thinking about. I think this does show in this story, don’t think that Alex or the author have gone soft, they have not. Just pickier about what job is absolutely necessary.

This is yet another fabulous book that I loved, especially as it involves the golden era of Hollywood stars and politicians. If you are a fan of history in the US through the 1900s then this is a series that may very well appeal. I have loved it and look forward to reading the next 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.

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The New Kingdom by Wilbur Smith @thewilbursmith @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #ancientegypt #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to be joining the Blog Tour today for an author whose books I have read since I was around 15 years old. The New Kingdom by Wilbur Smith is the 7th book in the Ancient Egypt series and it is an action packed journey.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for arranging my gorgeous hardback copy of the book from the publisher Zaffre Books.

In the heart of Egypt
Under the watchful eye of the gods
A new power is rising

In the city of Lahun, Hui lives an enchanted life. The favoured son of a doting father, and ruler-in-waiting of the great city, his fate is set. But behind the beautiful façades, a sinister evil is plotting. Craving power and embittered by jealousy, Hui’s stepmother, the great sorceress Isetnofret, and Hui’s own brother Qen, orchestrate the downfall of Hui’s father, condemning Hui and seizing power in the city.

Cast out and alone, Hui finds himself a captive of a skilled and powerful army of outlaws, the Hyksos. Determined to seek vengeance for the death of his father and rescue his sister, Ipwet, Hui swears his allegiance to these enemies of Egypt. Through them he learns the art of war, learning how to fight and becoming an envied charioteer.

But soon Hui finds himself in an even greater battle – one for the very heart of Egypt itself. As the pieces fall into place and the Gods themselves join the fray, Hui finds himself fighting alongside the Egyptian General Tanus and renowned Mage, Taita. Now Hui must choose his path – will he be a hero in the old world or a master in a new kingdom?

Don’t miss the rest of the epic Ancient Egyptian Series, River God, The Seventh Scroll, Warlock, The Quest, Desert God and Pharaoh, available now. And Wilbur Smith will return to Ancient Egypt in 2022.

PURCHASE HERE

MY REVIEW

I always enjoy reading anything by this author and his latest book The New Kingdom was a riveting read. This is the 7th book in the Ancient Egypt series, somewhere along the way I have missed the last two books! But, this book could easily be read as a stand-alone, if you haven’t started this series and are planning on reading it, then read the previous ones first.

This is the story of Hui, he is the son of Kwahy, the governor of Luhan. Bandits, tribes and outlaws are known to be in the area, Lower and Upper Egypt show animosity towards each other. Egypt is a country that has wealth and also a lot of hardship.

Hui finds himself on the outside of Luhan, no longer in a position of privilege. What should have brought him good luck instead brought him to the edge of death. He is forced to flee the life he has known to survive. This leads him to a world of bandits, the outlaws and he will need all his wits about him to survive.

The story focuses on Hui and those closest to him. There is a good amount of historical reference in this story as well as the religion of the time. But for me, this was more an action and adventure story rather than the historical fiction I was expecting. I have to say I really enjoyed this fast-paced and exciting journey as I follo0wed Hui from one dilemma to another putting himself in situation after situation. This is one of those stories that I could see working well on the screen as there is quite a bit of action.

Hui is a character who thinks on his feet and if it wasn’t for his wit he would soon find himself in more trouble than he already had. He is a character that I really liked, a rogue in some ways, a liar, but one who has an end goal. So, no, not that trustworthy but I couldn’t help but like him.

I liked the historical content and also the way the mythology and religion were worked into the story. Let’s be honest any story about ancient Egypt needs to have some sort of magic in it, as well as conspiracy, and there is a lot of that. Conspiracy between families as they try to manoeuvre and outwit other, characters swapping allegiances and sides. This all adds to the thrill of the story and as I mentioned earlier, it adds to the action.

This was a fast-paced and exciting read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a wonderful story and one that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith is the bestselling author of many novels, each meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His bestselling Courtney series includes AssegaiThe Sound of ThunderBirds of PreyMonsoon, and Blue Horizon. His other books include Those in PerilRiver GodWarlockThe Seventh Scroll, and The Sunbird. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages and have sold over 120 million copies. Smith was born to a British family in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, in Central Africa, and attended Rhodes University in South Africa. He has homes in Cape Town, London, Switzerland and Malta.

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Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #historicalfiction #mustread #trilogy #SturmtaucherTrilogy #bookreview

It is an absolute pleasure to be sharing my review today for Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones. This is the second book in his Sturmtaucher Trilogy. I read the first book, The Gathering Storm back in August and it blew me away. It still stays with me and I was delighted when the author offered me the opportunity to read these fabulous and powerful books.

You can read my full review of The Gathering Storm HERE.

Flight of the Shearwater is the second book in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘With Poland divided between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Union of Soviet Republics, the increasingly confident Third Reich flexes its military muscles northwards into Denmark and Norway, while the rest of Europe watches anxiously over its shoulders.

General Erich Kästner, in his key role in the Abwehr, is fast becoming aware of the mass expulsion of Jews and other minority groups from Germany and from northern Poland, to the new ghettos of the Generalgouverment area of southern Poland, and has an inkling of what the National Socialists’ have in mind for Europe’s Jews.

As Holland and Belgium fall, and the British are routed at Dunkirk, barely escaping across the channel, the seemingly impregnable France collapses under the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg, sealing the fate of millions of Jews, now trapped under Hitler’s rule.

The Nussbaums, thwarted in their attempts to escape to Denmark, desperately seek other routes out of Germany but, one by one, they are closed off, and they realise they have left it all too late…’

PURCHASE FROM – AMAZON UK

MY REVIEW…

Once again I am absolutely blown away by the writing of this author. The five years he has spent researching this trilogy, in my honest opinion, was time very well spent.

I will admit to approaching this second book with some trepidation, I was so hooked by the first book, The Gathering Storm, and I wondered if I would like the second book as much. I have to say that it is another amazing book.

If you have read the first book you will be aware of the two main families. The Kastner’s are a well-respected family with links to the German Navy and Army. Their housekeepers and friends are the Nassbaum’s they are German Jews who have been under the protection of General Erich Kastner. As the Jewish are being persecuted more and more it is getting harder for them to remain safe. I would suggest that you do need to read these books in order.

Flight of the Shearwater continues the story of the Kastner and Nussbaum families. In some ways the writing in this second book feels a little different, and a very good different. While the author still keeps the style, the feelings and the observations, he also displays some wonderful descriptive passages. I won’t say too much about these passages and chapters, but the vivid imagery he builds up through his story-telling is simply amazing. I can close my eyes and I can see stormy seas, feel the chill, experience the dread and fear, I also got angry, frustrated and was appalled at what various characters find themselves experiencing.

While the story does focus more on the younger member of the families, there are some vivid and horrific events that are described. It keeps the reader up to date with events unfolding during the most turbulent time in world history. For families having to make decisions as to how best to give their children a chance for survival, when this chance also leads them into danger is an awful choice to make. It is working out which is the lesser of two evils.

Once again I am stumped for words when it comes to writing a review. Once again I want to shout about various aspects of the story, well the story as a whole actually!

This is a superb book in the trilogy. It held my attention as fully as the first one and in some ways even more so as I needed to know what was going to happen to the characters I have come to care about. This author knows how to bring several emotions out in a reader. Research is amazing and there is a good section at the end for further reading. The storytelling is sublime. It is another amazing read.

If you are interested in reading about WWII, the differing views of the Germans, the treatment of the Jewish people and how the war affected the lives of people then this is a trilogy you seriously do need to pick up. Yes, it is hard reading at times as you would expect, but there is a glimmer of hope.

A stunning first two books and it has left me wanting, no, needing to know what becomes of these two families and the others they have met. Again it is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Alan Jones

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.

He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.

He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.

His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.

He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.

He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.

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The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull @rebeccamascull @SpellBoundBks @zooloo2008 #TheSeamstressOfWarsaw #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull. This is an amazing book that I adored, poignant, emotional and just simply fabulous.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the blog Tour and for arranging my e-cop of this stunning book from the publisher SpellBound Books.

1940
London
A man learns a shocking truth about his past.
Warsaw
A mother writes a diary as the ghetto walls go up.
From the bombed streets of London, to occupied Warsaw, to the Polish forests bristling with partisans, will their paths cross?
Will their pasts be reconciled?
And will they survive the deadly assaults on their freedom and their lives?

THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW is a tale of endurance and loss, family and blood, stories and histories, that questions the nature of who we are and where we are going, when the road ahead is burning.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK or US

MY REVIEW…

When Daniel discovers that he is not who he thought he was, it leads him on a journey at one of the worst times in history to travel. Leaving his home in London her manages to get to Poland to try and find his real family. It is 1940, the family he is looking for is Jewish.

It always sounds so wrong when I say how much I enjoyed a book especially when it is one within this time in history. The persecution of the Jews, the atrocities, the danger for everyone in Europe no matter their belief, their ethnicity or their country. I did, however, really, really enjoy this story.

This is a story that has two sides to it, one is from the perspective of Daniel, the other his Polish mother, Helena. Having two perspectives is great, especially when neither is aware of what has happened or is happening to the other.

The story details so many awful and desperate ways people survived the ghettos, as the Jewish people were crammed into appalling conditions. This is hard reading, but the author has done it in such a way as to get across the imagery and being visceral rather than dramatic. This gives a sense of quiet belief and hope amidst the horror.

The story is very moving and emotional, and I found myself wanting and hoping for various scenarios to unfold. The story is wonderfully paced and also frustrating as opportunities and moments are missed.

A wonderful, wonderful story that captivated and enthralled me. It is one that is a journey of discovery, hope and of survival. I think if you like historical fiction set during WWII and that has historical facts and some wonderful research then this one will be for you. It is a story I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Rebecca Mascull is an author of historical novels. She also writes saga fiction under the pen-name of Mollie Walton. 
Rebecca’s latest book under the Mascull name is coming on September 18th 2021, THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW, the powerful tale of two people unknowingly connected to each other, caught up in the whirlwind of World War II, whose perilous journeys we follow from the Blitz to the Warsaw Ghetto and beyond, published by SpellBound. 
Mollie Walton’s The Ironbridge Saga series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE (2019). The second book in the trilogy is THE SECRETS OF IRONBRIDGE (2020), set in the brickyards of the 1850s. The third book is set in the coalmines and servants’ quarters of the 1870s: THE ORPHAN OF IRONBRIDGE (2021). All three are published by Bonnier Zaffre. Mollie’s next trilogy will be set in WW2 North Yorkshire and the first book of this saga will be out in March 2022, published by Welbeck. 
Her first novel as Rebecca Mascull, THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton. 
She also completed the finishing chapters of her friend and fellow novelist Vanessa Lafaye’s final work, a novella called MISS MARLEY, a prequel to Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This novella is published by HarperCollins. 
Rebecca has worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, based at the University of Lincoln. 

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Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb @Hazelgaynor @msheatherwebb @Harper360UK @RandomTTours #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb. This is a beautiful and gorgeous read and one I absolutely adored.

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

Three cities. Two sisters. One chance to correct the past.


Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have reunited for the third time with another unforgettable historical novel following
their award-winning bestseller Meet Me in Monaco. In THREE WORDS FOR GOODBYE, estranged sisters Clara and
Madeleine Sommers take a journey across Europe inspired by Nellie Bly, one of the first investigative journalists, who set out to circumnavigate the globe in less than eighty days. This inspired co-written novel is already earning top praise from Kristin Harmel, who said: “I loved being swept away to 1930s Paris, Venice and Vienna” while Gill Paul compares the novel to “reclining in a comfortable beach chair with warm sun on your skin and a glass of champagne at your elbow.”


New York, 1937: When estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers learn their grandmother is dying, they agree to
fulfil her last wish: to travel across Europe—together. They are to deliver three letters, in which Violet will say goodbye
to those she hasn’t seen since traveling to Europe forty years earlier; a journey inspired by famed reporter, Nellie Bly.
Clara, ever-dutiful, sees the trip as an inconvenient detour before her wedding to millionaire Charles Hancock, but it’s
also a chance to embrace her love of art. Budding journalist Madeleine relishes the opportunity to develop her
ambitions to report on the growing threat of Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s control in Italy.


Constantly at odds with each other as they explore the luxurious Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and the sights of Paris and Venice, Clara and Madeleine wonder if they can fulfil Violet’s wish, until a shocking truth about their family brings them closer together. But as they reach Vienna to deliver the final letter, old grudges threaten their reconciliation again. As political tensions rise, and Europe feels increasingly volatile, the pair are glad to head home on the Hindenburg, where fate will play its hand in the final stage of their journey.


Perfect for fans of Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Kate Quinn, Gaynor and Webb have written a meticulously
researched narrative filled with colourful scenes of Europe and a stunning sense of the period. This unstoppable
historical fiction author duo will have readers enthralled as the sisters explore the luxurious Queen Mary and ride the
long-haul rail to take in the sights of Paris and Venice.

Purchase from – Amazon UK Book DepositoryKobo Waterstones

MY REVIEW…

A couple of years ago I read and absolutely adored Meet Me in Monaco, when I saw Three Words For Goodbye I immediately wanted to read it.

This is the story of sisters Clara and Maddie, they were close growing up but they are drifting as adulthood takes them in slightly different directions and they discover their own interests. Their Grandmother, Violet decides that the girls need something they can do together. A trip to Europe to hand-deliver three letters will give the sisters a chance to get to know each other again and hopefully rekindle their bond.

This is such a poignant and heartfelt story. the letters are the last thing Violet wants to achieve, her health is failing but she wants the girls to have the adventure she and her sister had. The letters are important to Violet as they are to people who have a special place in her heart, the girls will also discover more about themselves and their family along the way.

The chapters are alternated between Clara and Maddie, and it doesn’t take long to see the different personalities that emerge as I got to know them. There is also the occasional chapter from Violet, and she just fills in small details and kept me up to date with her health.

Alternating the chapters between two different personalities was a great way of seeing things from different perspectives. Clara sees the world as an artist, while Maddie as a journalist. One has a dreamy sort of look, the other more as it is. Clara is more reserved while Maddie is the impulsive one. It is easy to see how their personalities have caused issues for the sisters, but there is still a closeness to them, while it may be subtle, it is there.

This story was an absolute pleasure to read, there was the occasional lump in the throat moment, but I adored following the women on their travels and experiencing the world just before the outbreak of WWII. Opinions and expectations are brought into the story and this adds a nice touch to it, especially with the differences of the girls.

Set in 1937 it is one for fans of historical fiction and if you have read any of either authors books then you know you are in for a treat. I adored it and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUHTORS…

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Young & Brave, A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from The Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s novel, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, hit the Irish Times bestseller list for five consecutive weeks. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages and is published in twenty-one countries worldwide. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

HEATHER WEBB is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of The Next Ship Home, Rodin’s Lover, Becoming Josephine, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, as well as two novels co-written with Hazel, Last Christmas in Paris , which won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award, and Meet Me in Monaco, a finalist in the 2020 RNA Awards as well as the 2019 Digital Book World Fiction awards. To date, Heather’s works have been translated
into fifteen languages worldwide. She is also passionate about helping writers find their voice as a professional freelance editor, speaker, and adjunct in the MFA in Writing program at Drexeul University. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty bunny.

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A Winter Baby For Gin Barrel Lane by Lindsey Hutchinson @LHutchAuthor @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Winter Baby For Gin Barrel Lane by Lindsey Hutchinson. This was a wonderful historical fiction and saga story that I really enjoyed.

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

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Dolly Perkins and Jack Larkin have grown up in the notorious gin palaces of Birmingham.


It’s a world of happiness and friendship, but also violence and poverty. Now that Dolly runs the Daydream Gin Palace on Gin Barrel Lane she can finally control her own destiny, but sometimes fate still plays its hand.


Keen to expand her empire, Dolly and Jack take on a new pub, but they are in for a shock when a foul smell in one of the bedrooms turns out to come from a body hidden in the wall. As the police hunt for their suspect, rumours abound, spread by the local urchins – happy to be used as runners for a little bit of food and a coin or two.


But rumours can be dangerous, and as one of the worst winters on record covers everything in snow, Dolly and Jack have to fight for the lives they have made for themselves, and for the urchins that they have come to think of as family. Will the arrival of a new baby on Gin Barrel Lane bring the promise of new hope, or will the long-awaited thaw uncover new secrets and new tragedies…


The Queen of Black Country sagas is back on Gin Barrel Lane with a rip-roaring, heart-warming, page-turning story of family, friendship and beating the odds. Perfect for fans of Val Wood and Lyn Andrews.


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW…

I have not read the book that precedes this one, so I can definitely say that A Winter Baby for Gin Barrel Lane works very well as a stand-alone. I do wish I had read the first book, The Children from Gin Barrel Lane because there are things mentioned that I do think I would like to have known more about.

A Winter Baby for Gin Barrel Lane is a gorgeously written historical fiction book set in Birmingham around the 1860s. Dolly runs a gin palace and is looking to expand. Dolly is unmarried and while this does make it an issue for some, on the whole people are more than happy to deal with a woman in business. One man, however, is not. I do think this is where I would have benefited from the first book!

The one this about this story is the sense of community, support and people with long memories. The author has woven a story around a wonderful group of characters who all bring their own special something. Jack with his easy manner, Aggie with her gossip, Nellie, Nancy and Fred for advice and of course many more characters as well. All very easy to remember.

As Dolly decides to open another business, the nose of a certain businessman is definitely put out of joint. This does set a tense tone for the later part of the story, but on the whole, this is about the main characters and their coming and goings. The authors bring in street runners who deliver messages and this does highlight the conditions of these orphans and the lack of support for a whole part of society. The community, though, does tend to look out for its own.

This was a super story to read, it had me frowning one moment, grinning and chuckling the next and I will say there was the odd lump in the throat moments as well. If you are a fan of the saga type novel then I do think this is one for you, and an ideal story to sit down with over a couple of afternoons. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I would defiantly recommend it.

About the Author…

Lindsey Hutchinson is a bestselling saga author whose novels include The Workhouse Children. She was born and raised in Wednesbury, and was always destined to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the multi-million selling Meg Hutchinson. Lindsey’s first title for Boldwood was published in February 2020.

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The Gathering Storm – (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #1) by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #TheGatheringStorm #histfic #mustread #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for an amazing book. The Gathering Storm – (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #1) by Alan Jones is a book that has completely blown me away. If you have an interest in history and historical fiction in the lead up to WWII in Germany, then you really do want to look this book up. It is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

Book 1 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘Kiel, Northern Germany, 1933. A naval city, the base for the German Baltic fleet, and the centre for German sailing, the venue for the upcoming Olympic regatta in 1936.

The Kästners, a prominent Military family, are part of the fabric of the city, and its social, naval and yachting circles. The Nussbaums are the second generation of their family to be in service with the Kästners as domestic staff, but the two households have a closer bond than most.

As Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party claw their way to power in 1933, life has never looked better for families like the Kästners. There is only one problem.

The Nussbaums are Jews.

The Sturmtaucher Trilogy documents the devastating effect on both families of the Nazis’ hateful ideology and the insidious erosion of the rights of Germany’s Jews.

When Germany descends ever deeper into dictatorship, General Erich Kästner tries desperately to protect his employees, and to spirit them to safety.

As the country tears itself apart, the darkness which envelops a nation threatens not only to destroy two families, but to plunge an entire continent into war.’

You can buy a copy of this brilliant book HERE – at the time of writing up this post, the book is at a ridiculously low price!!

My Review…

Since finishing this book two days ago, I am only now ready to pick up another book. The Gathering Storm is an amazing read, it has left me desperate to continue the other two books in this trilogy.

I have read books from different perspectives of World War II, but I think this is the first time I have come across a book that explores various different perspectives and that has so much excellent research.

The story begins in the years prior to the start of the war. Hitler is only just coming back into the public eye. He is making some speeches that are catching peoples attention. At this point, he is focusing on Germany’s lost power and how the Treaty of Versailles has made life for those living in Germany harder than it should be. Obviously being based on history, we know where the story is heading.

The Kastner’s are a German family, they have a good social standing. Erich is a respected General and his wife moves in favourable social circles. Their three children have good educations and have promising futures. They employ a German family to help with the house, children and domestics. The Nussbaum’s have been with the Kastner’s for two generations, they are German Jews.

As Hitler’s National Social Party garner more support the story and the perspectives really come into their own. Not all German’s are with Hitler and his subtle indoctrinated messages, others eye the changes with a critical and sceptical eye. No one at this point really understands what will happen in the coming years.

This is such an amazing book to read, I have read it over several days as I wanted to be able to absorb it properly rather than just race through it. This has meant the books has nagged at me and got under my skin. There are obvious emotions that I felt with the book, the obvious disbelief that people will blindly follow and completely change because someone has the ability to talk them into it. The obvious horror as living conditions and lives change. The profiteering from the pain and suffering of others and also the dictatorial direction the country was going in.

I realise that I have not spoken too much about the story, but I sincerely believe that this is a book that the synopsis that does a great job of doing what it is supposed to do. It worked so well for me, the synopsis lured me in and the author took up the reins and led me into the lives of the two main families. A story that shows different perspectives, treatments, living conditions, and how one man could bring so much destruction, distrust and abhorrent behaviours out.

This is a stunning book that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you have an interest in history, WWII, The Holocaust, and persecution then you really need to pick this one up. It is a fabulous and important story that at 800 pages long was simply an amazing read. It absolutely blew me away!

About the Author…

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published from August to December 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.


He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.


He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the coxswains on the local RNLI lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht, cruising in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.


His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.


He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at the Bloody Scotland crime fiction festival in Stirling and has done two pop-up book launches at previous festivals.


He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.


To find out more, please visit his WEBSITE TWITTER

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

The Mersey Angels by Sheila Riley @1sheilariley @rararesources @bookandtonic # boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mersey Angels by Sheila Riley. This is the second book in the series, and it can be read as a stand-alone. I did adore the first book – The Mersey Mistress (my review HERE)

My 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.

1916 LIVERPOOL
Following the death of her father, Ruby Swift, and husband Archie finally move back into Ashland Hall.
As the Great War rages, fathers and sons take the King’s Shilling and head off to fight the unknown enemy, not knowing what horrors lie ahead.
With Ned Kincaid in the Navy, Archie signs up to the volunteer constabulary and nurses Anna Cassidy and Ellie Harrington enlist to do their bit for King and Country.
Soon the true casualties of war are being brought home in droves, Ruby converts Ashland Hall into an auxiliary hospital for wounded servicemen.
It’s not long before the true cost of war is brought closer to home and Anna and Ellie enlist in the British Military Nursing Corp and soon find themselves in the battlefields of France in search of the truth.
But they soon discover more than they bargained for…

Purchase Link – AMAZON

My Review…

This is the second book in the Liverpool Saga series and carries on from The Mersey Mistress. This book can be read as a stand-alone, but I do think that it works better if read in order.

As the synopsis describes, Ruby has moved into Ashland Hall. WWI is taking its toll and the casualties are mounting, Ruby decides that she will give over the hall to help the injured servicemen as beds and hospitals are in short supply. As the injured are brought in thoughts of loved ones away in Europe is always on the minds of those who are home in Briain. Everyone, well almost everyone is wanting to do their part.

Set in 1916, the author uses her knowledge of the Liverpool area, to give the reader a chance to glimpse the lives of those who lived and worked both in Liverpool and further afield. This is a story that has its hardships and also its secrets. Even though the war is going on people still have to carry on with their everyday lives. For some that means working longer, doing jobs they would never have been considered for and putting themselves in the midst of some of the worst events in history.

The story does focus on key people, I found myself quite caught up in their various stories. Wondering along with the characters if a loved one would return, if they would be injured and if a telegram would bring the worst news. Following the characters as they struggled with loss, love but with a hope that things would be ok.

This is a story that falls into the saga and historical fiction genres. It is an addictive read and one that brought attitudes, social etiquette, some politics into the lives of the characters. It is a book and a series I am really enjoying and The Mersey Angels is one I would happily recommend.

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.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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A Stitch in Time by Amanda James @amandajames61 #histfic #romance #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Stitch in Time by Amanda James. I first came across Mandy’s books when she was with Bloodhound and I have read every book since then and loved each one. It has taken me until now to pick up a book before that time!

This is one of my picks on the #20booksofsummer reading challenge, and it is book 12 out of 20.

A stitch in time saves nine… or does it? Sarah Yates is a thirty something history teacher, divorced, disillusioned and desperate to have more excitement in her life. Making all her dreams come true seems about as likely as climbing Everest in stilettos.

Then one evening the door bell rings and the handsome and mysterious John Needler brings more excitement than Sarah could ever have imagined. John wants Sarah to go back in time…

Sarah is whisked from the Sheffield Blitz to the suffragette movement in London to the Old American West, trying to make sure people find their happy endings. The only question is, will she ever be able to find hers? 

My Review…

I have read several of this authors later books and thoroughly enjoyed them. I wanted to read some of her earlier novels and A Stitch in Time fits the bill perfectly.

This is essentially a love story between Sarah and John. Sarah is a disgruntled school teacher who is struggling with a couple of her students. Stuck in the everyday. John offers Sarah a chance to change her everyday life to one that will take her back in time. Ideal for a history teacher.

Yes a mix of romance with a little bit of time travel. This was easy to follow and the time travel but added a nice twist to a really lovely story. The author did explain the travel bit, but like Sarah I am still bewildered! You don’t need to understand it, but it does work very well within the context of the story.

I really liked how the author brought the two characters together, and then threw obstacles in their way. A couple who are interested and obviously want to be together, but not everyone thinks the same way.

Will they get the ending they deserved? Only time will tell.

A fabulous book that shows a different side to this author writing. A wonderfully heart-warming story and one that I found delightful and very addictive. It’s one I would definitely recommend. 

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

The Fair Botanists by Sara Sheridan @sarasheridan @HodderBooks #histfic #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for an absolutely gorgeous book. I received a copy of The Fair Botanist by Sara Sheridan via Hodder & Stoughton Publishers. I would like to wish Sara a very Happy Publication Day for such a stunning book.

I have decided to add, or rather, swap this book into my list for #20booksofsummer reading challenge 🙂

It’s the summer of 1822 and Edinburgh is abuzz with rumours of King George IV’s impending visit. In botanical circles, however, a different kind of excitement has gripped the city. In the newly-installed Botanic Garden, the Agave Americana plant looks set to flower – an event which only occurs once in several decades. When newly widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt Clementina, she’s determined to put her unhappy past in London behind her. As she settles into her new home, she becomes fascinated by the beautiful Botanic Garden which border the grand house and offers her services as an artist to record the rare plant’s impending bloom. In this pursuit, she meets Belle Brodie, a vivacious young woman with a passion for botany and the lucrative, dark art of perfume creation. Belle is determined to keep both her real identity and the reason for her interest the Garden secret from her new friend. But as Elizabeth and Belle are about to discover, secrets don’t last long in this Enlightenment city. And when they are revealed, they can carry the greatest of consequences . . .

You can purchase a copy HERE or from local book shops.

My Review…

I absolutely enjoyed this book, it is a mix of historical fiction, romance and botany. It is set in 1822 in Edinburgh as the Botanical Gardens are being moved. There is excitement in the city as large trees and plants of various sorts are gradually moved to their new home. I did actually look this up on the internet and there is some really good reading regarding this move.

Clementina is a newcomer to the city, she is to live with her inlaws after the death of her husband. She is an artist and has an interest in plants, flowers and trees. She is a reserved woman, a little shy and has lived in the shadow of her deceased husband. Bella is the exact opposite, she also has a botanical interest and one that she hopes will make her fortune.

This was such a brilliant book to sit and read, I found a fabulous story that does have historical facts and of course there is the botanical part of the story. I thought this made fascinating reading as did the section at the end where the author gives more details as to her characters. Those who were real and for these, she did give a little more detail.

This is a historical fiction story, it has some romance, and also some mystery as there are things that occur. I really enjoyed how the author brought her characters together and there is a good mix of them and also different ages. It is a time when Enlightenment is in force, a time when peoples ideas are changing, people are becoming more vociferous. They are challenging ideals, society rules and etiquette and of course, there are those who will not abide by any change from the norm.

As the story progressed I found myself being drawn more and more into the story of the characters, they are, as I mentioned a wonderful. Just the right amount and they were easy to remember. Mentions of various historical figures were great and it helped keep me well and truly in the time and setting of the story.

This is a wonderful read and is one that I thoroughly enjoyed. One for those who like good historical fiction and romance, and one I would definitely recommend.

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