The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood @Authormary @RandomTTours @panmacmillan #historicalfiction #hisotricalromance #publicationday #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood. This is part of a series and it is a fabulous one at that. I would also like to wish Mary a very Happy Publication Day 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging my PB copy of this book and my spot on the Blog Tour. This is published by Pan MacMillan.

“The Orphanage Girls reunite in the second installment of a moving saga series about an orphanage in London’s East End, from the bestselling author of The Jam Factory Girls, Mary Wood.

Ellen
  Abandoned by her father for the second time, left scarred from the orphanage, Ellen finally finds happiness and hope – reunited with her long-lost gran. But it cannot compensate for being torn apart from her beloved friends Ruth and Amy. When a devastating encounter leaves Ellen broken and desperate, she is forced to fight her past demons.

  Ruth 
  Ruth has found peace, building a new life as an actress surrounded by new friends. But still, she longs to be with Ellen and Amy after everything they endured together in the orphanage. Amy was shipped to Canada with hundreds of other orphans, what hope have they of finding her?


  One wish comes true when Ruth’s acting career leads her to Ellen. No sooner has the dust settled, war is on the horizon. Friendship locked them into each other’s her hearts forever. 

  Will they find Amy? Can The Orphanage Girls ever unite?

MY REVIEW

This is such a wonderful book and as always, the author has created a heartbreaking story for her main characters.

Ruth and Ellen had been at the orphanage, been through some awful times and then they are split up. Ruth stayed in London with her friend and started to make hats. Ellen got taken away by her father and left with her grandmother. Their lives are very different and they have not seen each other for quite a while.

It is a shock when Ellen sees Ruth in a newspaper, Ruth works in a theatre and is quite successful. She still makes her hats and is part of the Red Cross. Ellen who is younger has had a private tutor and after an awful event needs help.

The author has created a heartbreaking story for Ellen, it is one that is making her struggle with her emotions and it is having a drastic effect on her mental health. This is the turn of the 1900s and it while there have been advances in medicine, there is still a large stigma. The route the author took for Ellen was a great one and it saw a different aspect of how mental health conditions would be treated.

When the girls eventually do meet up they become closer again, but the threat of WWI is looming and the girls want to do their part in helping.

This is such a wonderful story and although it is full of tragedy and heartbreak for both of them. there is also a huge amount of love, support and respect between these girls. They have been through a lot together and they are now going to have to deal with more as the war begins to impact their personal lives.

The author does a wonderful job of creating a storyline that weaves through the lives of the girls and those they meet. People from their past are even that far from their thoughts. This at times makes creates a wobble in their emotions, but it shows them how far they have come, what they can achieve and how they are going to deal with the future.

This is one for fans of women being strong in the face of adversity, of women helping their country and also each other. A story of compassion, loyalty and bravery. It is part of a series, but it would work well as a stand-alone book, but in all honesty, the previous book gives so much about the characters that you will be missing out. This is a story I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary
Wood’s childhood was a mixture of love and poverty. Throughout her life Mary has held various
posts in office roles, working in the probation services, and brought up her four children and
numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An avid reader, she first
put pen to paper in 1989 while nursing her mother through her last months, but didn’t become
successful until she began self-publishing her novels in 2011.


Her novels include All I Have to Give, An Unbreakable Bond, In Their Mother’s Footsteps and the
Breckton novels.

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The Highland Girls at War by Helen Yendall @HelenYendall @rararesources #WWII #saga #historicalfiction #Giveaway #historicalromance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Highland Girls at War by Helen Yendall. This is the first book I have read by this author and I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from her.

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.

Can the Highland girls prove everyone wrong? Don’t miss this poignant and heartwarming WW2 novel for fans of Rosie Clarke, Dilly Court and Rosie Archer, from the author of A Wartime Secret.

Scotland, 1942.
The Lumberjills, the newest recruits in the Women’s Timber Corps, arrive in the Scottish Highlands to a hostile reception from doubtful locals. The young women are determined to prove them wrong and serve their country – but they’re also all looking for something more…

Lady Persephone signed up to show everyone she’s more than just a pretty face – but it’ll take more than some charm and her noble credentials to win handsome Sergeant Fraser over.

Tall, strong Grace has led a lonely life working on a croft, with just her mother for company. All she wants is to find her place in the world – even if that’s a thousand miles from home.

And Irene misses her husband terribly, so until he returns home from the frontline, she’s distracting herself with war work. But one distraction too far leads to devastating consequences…

Can the Lumberjills get through their struggles together – even when tragedy strikes?

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON – UK US

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything from this author and this book was a wonderful one to read. The setting is Scotland during WWII. As some women join the WVRS or become LandGirls, there is another group they can enlist with, this is The Womens’ Timber Corp. I seem to remember something about this but I am not sure from where. The WTC was set up in 1942, the aim was for women to take over the forestry jobs of the men who had to go to war.

The story focuses on a small group of women, you couldn’t get a much different group as they come together to do what they can to help. A mix of Scottish women, a couple are married, some are engaged, some come from other jobs and there is even an English Lady!

The author brings this group of women together and over the course of the story, they start to form friendships. The work is tough, some that have come from crofts or small holding are more used to the physical work, whereas others come from shop or factory backgrounds. Each of them though odes brings their own personality and it seems that all have a reason to be there.

The women are not the only ones in the forest, there are some Candian Lumberjacks that have been stationed close by. The girls much prefer their own nickname, the Lumberjills. Living in close proximity there are dalliances between the two groups. There is going to be heartache somewhere down the line.

The author has woven a group of strangers that have a job to do, it also turns out they have a point to prove. Working a very tough job that is seen as being “men’s work” gives the girls a push to do the best they can. As the months roll on the camaraderie between the women grows, and solid friendships are formed.

This was a wonderful glimpse into a group that I had heard about and it definitely made me search for more information about the WTC. The author has mixed a factual group that played its part in their service to the war effort and worked some wonderful storylines into the story. This was a wonderful one to read and if you are a fan of WWII historical romances and sagas then you are really going to enjoy this one. A story of friendship, support and overcoming the odds. A great cast of characters and I was sorry to get to the end of the story. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Helen Yendall has had dozens of short stories and a serial published in women’s magazines over the past twenty years and now writes female-focused WW2 novels. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
She studied English and German at Leeds University and has worked in a variety of roles: for a literary festival, a university, a camping club, a children’s charity and in marketing and export sales. But her favourite job is the one she still has: teaching creative writing to adults.
Although a proud Brummie by birth, Helen now lives in the North Cotswolds with her husband and cocker spaniel, Bonnie. When she’s not teaching or writing, she likes reading, swimming, tennis and walking in the beautiful countryside where she lives.

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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The Empire by Michael Ball @mrmichaelball @rararesources @ZaffreBooks #historicalfiction #romance #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Empire by Michael Ball… yes that Michael Ball! This is a fabulous debut novel that I adored and I was so lucky to have got a spot on the Blog Tour for this book.

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

Welcome to The Empire Theatre

1922. When Jack Treadwell arrives at The Empire, in the middle of a rehearsal, he is instantly mesmerised. But amid the glitz and glamour, he soon learns that the true magic of the theatre lies in its cast of characters – both on stage and behind the scenes.

There’s stunning starlet Stella Stanmore and Hollywood heartthrob Lancelot Drake; and Ruby Rowntree, who keeps the music playing, while Lady Lillian Lassiter, theatre owner and former showgirl, is determined to take on a bigger role. And then there’s cool, competent Grace Hawkins, without whom the show would never go on . . . could she be the leading lady Jack is looking for?

When long-held rivalries threaten The Empire’s future, tensions rise along with the curtain. There is treachery at the heart of the company and a shocking secret waiting in the wings. Can Jack discover the truth before it’s too late, and the theatre he loves goes dark?

Musical theatre legend Michael Ball brings his trademark warmth, wit and glamour to this, his debut novel.

Enjoy the show!

Purchase Links – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW

I really didn’t know what to expect when I first saw this book, and I only glanced at the synopsis to know it was one I wanted to read. The author has trod the boards of theatres around the world and so it makes sense that his first book would be set in a theatre.

The Empire is a theatre that has pretty much been left to its own devices. It is owned by the Lassiters, but neither really seems to take a huge amount of interest. The day-to-day running is done by Grace, a young woman with a passion for theatre. Not officially in charge, but knows that she needs to organise things to keep it running. The behind-the-scenes crew go about doing what they need to. When Jack is told to go and see Mrs Lassiter for a job it is Grace who he sees. Mrs Lassiter is in the US still in the morning over the death of her husband. As there seems to be no one really paying attention to the Empire, it seems that another businessman sees an opportunity to take advantage.

The author brings his passion for theatre, musicals and variety to every page of this wonderful novel. There are stories within stories and some real mysteries that are wonderfully woven into this tale of family disagreement, rivalry and blackmail. Underneath all of this though is the dogged determination of those who do not want to go down without a fight. It is their stubbornness and belief that gives magic to this story. They add glamour and glitz if you like.

While this is a story about grief and getting on with your life it is also about accepting mistakes from your past. There are a few juicy little secrets that the author has snuck into this story and it is one that had me hooked from the very first pages.

As well as the story of The Empire, this is also a story about certain characters as well. It is the everyday lives and working relationships of those who work in the theatre. They are a family and they have close bonds and therefore loyalties. This is something that I adored, as the author took me through the mazes behind the scenes, to the offices, the foyers, the dressing rooms and the stage.

The story has a bit of everything in it, so it is a romance, a mystery, it has loss and regret and hope for the future. Set between the wars in the 1920s this has the glamour and glitz of the music hall and variety shows. This is where the author really did work his magic so well. There were several times when I got goosebumps reading this book. Whether it be the cast getting a scene right, someone singing and dancing at an unexpected moment or when the cue for the show is called. The emotions and feelings that this book oozed were spo0t on for me.

This is a fabulous story and one that I really adored. It has the razzmatazz and the glamour, it also has the shady and the undesirable, but all the way through this story the feeling of “the show must go on” is one that resonated with me. No matter what the pitfalls there is always something to work toward, whether it is in the belief of others around you or accepting that you are capable of being successful, there is always a glimmer of the possible.

This a fabulous debut novel from someone who knows the industry, the history, the backstage and centre stage of theatres. A time when Jazz was making its way across the Atlantic and the roaring 20s was making itself heard. It is an addictive story and one I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Ball OBE is a singer, actor, presenter and now author. He’s been a star of musical theatre for over three decades, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical twice, he’s also won two BRIT awards and been nominated for a Grammy. Michael regularly sells out both his solo tours and his Ball & Boe shows with Alfie Boe and has multiple platinum albums. The Empire is his first novel.


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A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin @HarperFiction #histfic #regency #romance #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin. This is a brilliant read for those who like a good Regency period romance. If you are a fan of “Bridgerton”, a recent NetFlix period drama, then you are going to really enjoy this book.

My huge thanks to Harper Fiction for my e-copy that I requested to read and review via NetGalley.

The season is about to begin—and there’s not a minute to lose.

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

With only twelve weeks until the bailiffs call, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her, and Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost, especially when it comes to his own brother falling for her charms.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one—not even a lord—will stand in her way…

MY REVIEW

Set in 1818 England, Kitty Talbot has one thing on her mind. THat is snagging herself a rich husband. Now, before you think she is a money-grabbing wench, she is doing this out of duty and for the benefit of her sisters. However, can she fit into the Ton and society without looking out of place?

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it has all the glamour and societal expectations but it is one full of learning curves for Kitty. Coming to London she is well out of her league, she knows what she wants but she doesn’t revolve around the high society echelons. You cannot just walk up to a Countess. Lord or Lady, you have to be properly introduced. This is a problem for Kitty as she hasn’t any connections, well she does have the connections of her Aunt, but they could be, well dubious!

This is a fun read and one that I really enjoyed, there are reasons for Kitty’s actions and when she catches the eye of a certain young, some to be rich, the gentleman then she thinks all she has to do is convince him and his family of her respectability. One problem, he has an older brother!

I did like Kitty, she is a feisty young woman who is determined, to say the least. The downside to her is that she doesn’t have the ‘breeding’ for what she is to embark on. But, to be fair she learns to hold her own. there are some wonderful battles she has to deal with and her ‘breeding’ does stand her in good stead for the most part.

The storyline at times reminded me a little of Pride and Prejudice as well as the TV series Bridgerton ( I have only watched the 1st one!). It felt like a mix of history with the excitement of a modern story but in costume. This is a fun read, but it also does highlight society of the time. It does have the feel of a Young Adult story at times.

Enjoyable, fun, and fast-paced story that I really enjoyed and I would happily recommend.


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Victory Bells for the Harpers Girls by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Victory Bells for the Harpers Girls by Rosie Clarke. This is the 6th book in this series and it has been one of ups and downs.

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 latest book in the series.

Can the Harpers Girls look forward to some happy times as a new dawn rises over London?

Sally Harper is busy juggling running London’s Oxford Street Store Harpers and looking after her beautiful newborn daughter, whilst her husband Ben is overseas on another dangerous mission, this time to rescue a friend in need.
Young Becky Stockbridge finds herself in a difficult situation which could bring shame to her and her family. Will Becky, with the help of her friends, find her happy ever after and keep her secret?
Marion Jackson is blessed with a son as she eagerly awaits the return of her husband Reggie. But all is not right when Reggie returns. Is Marion strong enough to save her family from yet another crisis?
As the war clouds retreat and the victory bells ring, tears and joy mingle with those of sadness as the world counts the true toll of war and celebrates peace.

MY REVIEW

Each of the books in this series follows the lives of key characters. The Girls made friends and have carried their friendships on through difficult times. Some helped nurses during the War and others did what they could to keep things going. The constant has been Harpers, an Emporium that has had its good times and its bad.

Set towards the end of World War I, this book is again such a wonderful read. It could be read as a stand-alone but I do think it is better to read in order as the lives of the characters have helped define them and their lives.

The war has had an impact on the country and also on families and friends, the constant worry as to who will get that dreaded telegram, who will have letters from family members, who will come back and also those that will never return. I really liked the emphasis the author took on some of the problems those who returned had to deal with, shell shock as it was known was dismissed by many. But for those fortunate to receive the proper care things could be easier for them over time. Encompassing the challenges of those returning as well as those lost gives a balance that felt right. While the obvious happiness of a reunion is evident, there was also a quiet sense of unease and nerves.

As I mentioned, the constant in this book is Harpers Emporium. For those who work and manage the store, there is a constant worry about getting stock and also keeping the business going so that those who work there can still get a wage. Things are in short supply, and there is a lot of moving around to make the shelves look full. Being a close-knit group friendships are as important as family. It is times of worry and distress having a non-judgmental ear is important.

There are changes afoot for a few of the characters and having the means and opportunity to talk things through really brings the closeness of the characters out. This is something that I have really enjoyed with each book I have read. The author has kept the characters moving, progressing, growing and learning. Families expand and unfortunately, families also reduce. Times of joy have a tinge of sadness as things for some will never be the same.

This is another gorgeous book to read. Keeping up with the coming and goings of the characters as they continue their lives is something I look forward to with each instalment. While there is sadness there are also things to look forward to, changes, developments, new plans and new beginnings. If you love your sags and historical fiction stories then this is one you are going to really enjoy. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Shop Girls of Harpers and The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.


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The Mersey Mothers by Sheila Riley @1sheilariley @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #historicalfiction #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mersey Mothers by Sheila Riley. I have read a few books by this author but this is the first I have read from the Reckoners Row series, this is book #3!

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 fabulous book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley.

The Mersey Mothers
Liverpool 1953

January sees the dawn of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation year as the mothers of Reckoners Row unite in preparation for the celebration of the new Queen.

Meanwhile, Evie Kilgaren is dreaming of her summer wedding to Danny Harris, but trouble looms for Skinner & Sons with a new rival trying to put them out of business, but no one knows why….

Ada Harris is summoned to the bedside of her estranged husband, who, in his dying moment confesses to a deadly secret – he knows who really murdered Evie’s mam Rene all those years ago and the consequences are far-reaching.

Has an innocent man been jailed and is there still a murderer walking carefree?

Will Evie get the happy-ever-after she so longs for with Danny? And will The Mersey Mothers unite and still be friends?
Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

I have read several books by this author and enjoyed all I have read. The Mersey Mothers is the 3rd book in the Reckoner’s Row series. I have not read the two earlier ones and while I do wish I had because the author is fab, this one did read well as a stand-alone novel.

This book opens with a prologue and then jumps forward a few years. Set in Liverpool in 1953 the residents of Reckoner’s Row are hard-working, supportive of their families and also of their community. When one of their own does something to upset the harmony then it is made known, as Ada Harris is all too aware. There is a story about her ex-husband Bert that gradually emerges and how things have changed for the main characters. This may have been present in the previous books but the author includes details so that I didn’t feel as if I was missing anything.

The area is near the docklands and is handy for haulage businesses, and this is what Danny and his fiance Evie are desperately trying to keep going. There is however a rival business that is threatening their livelihood.

In the 50s there are several historical references to keep the reader set in the day. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the Korean War and also rationing started to be more relaxed after the end of WWII. The country is starting to move forward, things are improving but life is still hard. This is where the communities, friendships and families are really important. This is one of the things the author really does manage to get across well in her books and The Mersey Mothers have all that sense of spirit and supportiveness.

There are several stories that are brilliantly intertwined in this family saga style story. It is these stories that make this a fabulous book to read. Families and friendships may be tested but there is a sense that the community will always keep an eye out for their own. Things are not always rosy and there are still those who are trying to get one over the rest.

This is another wonderfully addictive historical fiction story from this author. Ideal for those who love reading family sagas and while it can be read easily as a stand-alone novel you do get to see developments and changes over the course of reading a series in order. I adored this one 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 the Reckoner’s Row series 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.


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Jeannie’s War by Carol MacLean @carolmaclean @rararesources #HeraBooks #historicalfiction #familysaga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Jeannie’s War by Carol MacLean. This is a fabulous historical fiction 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 the publisher Hera Books.

War changed her country, but it couldn’t change her spirit


Glasgow, 1939
Despite being shy and reserved, Jeannie Dougal finds herself newly engaged to handsome soldier, Arthur Dunn, the day war is announced. Jeannie accepts, even if she is unsure if a girl from the tenements will fit in with Arthur’s comfortable, middle-class background. But as WW2 takes its toll on the world, her wedding must wait…


As she sets off to work at a munitions factory she meets Eileen, Janet and Annie. As her new friends bond together in war work, sharing their stories of romance, Jeannie is grateful to be settled with Arthur, even if he is set in his ways.


Until she meets a charming Canadian soldier, Bill, and realises she has found a spark she was always missing. But how can Jeannie tell Arthur? And is she strong enough to fight her own battle, with the country already at war…?


An emotional and romantic family saga set in WW2 Scotland and the start of a captivating new series. Fans of Call the Midwife and Katie Flynn won’t be able to put this down.

Purchase Links – Amazon Kobo

MY REVIEW

This is a fabulous book and one that I just couldn’t put down. Starting in Glasgow 1939 rumours of war and the memories of the previous one are on everyone’s mind. More so for those living on Kiltie Street where this story is set.

The author has focused her story on one main family, the Dougal’s. Jeannie is a shy girl and has caught the eye of Arthur Dunn. He is also reserved and so it seems like the two will make a good match. When war is declared many men are due to join up and be sent for training. It is a time fraught with worry and so plans are made for the future. Jeannie and Arthur get engaged like many at the time.

The author weaves such a wonderfully compelling story. Kiltie Street is like many areas and war brings people closer and communities support each other. When bombs start to fall this becomes even more apparent. It is something that affects everyone and all try to do their part.

Although the focus is more on Jeannie, it is also about the rest of the family and also friends. The author has created such a heartwarming story but also has got the balance of fear for those who are at home waiting for news of their loved ones. The ever-present danger of the bombing is something that I feel the author has captured well. Mentioning the areas around Glasgow, factories such as Singer, and also how the River Clyde was used on moonlit nights as a marker.

I thought the pacing of the book was great, although it does move through the war years quite quickly it didn’t feel rushed. It mentions so many things that people have to endure during troubled times and how the family work together and support each other. The younger children evacuated, the older ones doing their bit for the war effort, whether it be enlisting or working in factories. Things such as rationing, food, clothing, Anderson shelters and so much more.

There is also the romance side to the story and this one isn’t straightforward and it also involves various couples, after all this is a community and friendships are formed.

A fabulous story that I happily read over one evening. Ideal for readers who like historical fiction, family sagas during WWII and it is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carol MacLean lives in the Glasgow area. She began by writing pocket novels, having 18 published before deciding to write a historical saga. She enjoys weaving social history into fiction and imagining how life must have been for ordinary people living through different times.
When she’s not writing, Carol can be found visiting museums or walking around the city looking for traces of old Glasgow to inspire her next novel.
Carol is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

She has written 18 pocket novels published by DC Thomson and Linford Romance Series (Ulverscroft).


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The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield @kateheartfield @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam @HarperVoyagerUK #histfic #histfantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield. This is an amazing read and is definitely one for fans of historical fiction and fantasy.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my gorgeous paperback of this book from the publisher Harper Voyager UK.

‘Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman,
it is a little more difficult, that’s all

1768 – Charlotte, daughter of the Habsburg Empress, arrives in Naples to marry a man she has
never met. Her sister Antoine is sent to France, and in the mirrored corridors of Versailles, they
rename her Marie Antoinette.


The sisters are alone, but they are not powerless. When they were only children, they discovered
a book of spells – spells that work, with dark and unpredictable consequences.


In a time of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, they use the book to take
control of their lives.


But every spell requires a sacrifice. And as love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send
Europe spiralling into revolution.

MY REVIEW

If you are looking for a historical fiction based on fact but with a fantasy reimagining to it then look no further than The Embroidered Book. This is based in Europe and concentrated on one generation of the Hapsburg family.

How does a little insignificant-looking book that has an unfinished embroidered cover lead to the rise and fall of some of the most famous monarchs of Europe? Well, this book is one that has something rather special in it and it opens up a fantastical world of magic. Where there is magic there is greed, there is the hunt for more power and not everyone has access to it, in fact, most people don’t even know that there is magic in Europe.

This story is set in the late 1700s when a young woman leaves her family and home in Austria to marry the king of France. She will have her name changed to help her fit in, she will have to change her style and her whole way of presenting herself. She will be known as Marie Antoinette. Her sister, Charlotte is her closest sibling and they have always been close. The Hapsburgs have been arranging marriages to bolster their own heritage, remain in power and always look to improve or stabilise countries through marriage. They are the power family of the time.

The author has picked such an interesting time in history, it is turbulent and there are revolutions and uprisings to come. Using this period makes the weaving of the fantasy element work so well. There is already a sense of distrust and of poverty. While the Kings and Queens of Europe are living lavish and opulent lifestyles, the common people are starving. So adding this twist into the story is just a great way of not only showing Europe at the time but of giving the reader an exciting alternative.

As this is a historical-based novel there is a lot of historical and political references to events. This has been done in a great way and is very much part of the story rather than a dry narrative. The author really brought the characters to life, rather than being figures from history she gave them thoughts, personalities and opinions. Even though this is an age of mistrust from regular people, it was also interesting to read the authors take on how the thoughts of the monarchs could have also been.

This is an absolutely fascinating read, the magical aspects are such a good inclusion and for me worked really well. The balance of it felt right within the contest so even if you are not a reader of fantasy I think you will get on well with this.

I adored this book and it ticked many, many boxes. It is riveting, exciting, mysterious, politically charged, has loads of research, a touch of magic, mistrust, infighting, double-crossing, treachery and treason, I could go on! It shows the wranglings and machinations of the powerful leading historical figures and thought it was done brilliantly. This is a book I would absolutely recommend. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Heartfield is the author of The Embroidered Book, a historical fantasy novel out in February 2022.

Her debut novel won Canada’s Aurora Award, and her novellas, stories and games have
been shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, Sunburst and Aurora awards. A former
journalist, Kate lives near Ottawa, Canada.

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The Secrets of Latimer House by Jules Wake @OneMoreChapter_ #NetGalley #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Secrets of Latimer House by Jules Wake. I requested this via NetGalley from the publisher One More Chapter, a division of Harper Collins.

I do like this author and have always enjoyed her books, she also writes under Julie Caplin.

In the war against Hitler every secret counts…

Society heiress Evelyn Brooke-Edwards is a skilled interrogator – her beauty making her a non-threat in the eyes of the prisoners.

Farm girl Betty Connors may not be able to type as she claimed, but her crack analytical skills soon find her unearthing covert connections.

German ex-pat Judith Stern never expected to find herself listening in to German POW’s whispered conversations, but the Nazis took her father from her so she will do whatever it takes to help the Allies end this war.

Billeted together in the attic of Latimer House – a place where secrets abound – Evelyn, Betty and Judith soon form a bond of friendship that carries them through the war. Because nothing is stronger than women united.

Tucked away in the Buckinghamshire countryside, Latimer House, a grand country estate, stands proudly – a witness to some of greatest secrets of WW2.

Used by the SOE to hold Nazi prisoners of war, this stunning historical novel is inspired by the untold story of the secret listeners of ‘M Room’ who worked day and night to help the Allies win the war. A must-read for fans of Dinah Jefferies, Fiona Valpy, Elaine Everest, Jean Fullerton and Deborah Burrowes.

MY REVIEW


What a fabulous story this was, it does have a mix of historical fact and fiction. This is the story of three women who come from very different backgrounds but have a valuable and important way of helping the war effort. These girls are listeners and secret gathers and what they discover help Churchill and his g3enerals plot and plan to bring down Hitler and end World War II.

Judith is a quiet woman, she isn’t outgoing, more mouselike. She is one of the survivors who made her way to England and is of Jewish descent. Betty is local to Latimer house as she grew up in the village nearby. She has a farming background. Evelyn is from a monied background, private education and believes it is more important to help out where she can rather than gallivant around in social circles.

The author provides a quick intro to each of the women and to what they have been doing up to this part of the war. Each of them has a specialism that is of benefit to the goings-on in Lattimer House. Whether it is the ability to speak German or have lived there or indeed having a memory that makes connections easier.

The author brings these three together and gradually as they begin to get to know each other it is easy for the reader to do the same. It wasn’t long before I could distinguish each character, their personality and their way of thinking. Each one brings sadness with them, this is war and life being life is always going to leave an impression.

The author really does a brilliant job with the characters, the main ones as well as the supporting ones. The story has a fabulous flow and I was able to see the women doing their job and realise what an impact this actually had on them mentally.

The author has included a piece at the end of the story as she describes the role of this large Buckinghamshire house and its part in the war. A place where captured crew and pilots were taken to prior to their transfer to Prisoner of War camps in other parts of the UK. It was interesting to follow up this story by having a browse through the internet to discover more.

I found this book to be addictive and a fabulous read apart from the last 15%, it is hard to read when you have tears in your eyes. This ending was very special and I loved how the author brought the story of the three women to a conclusion. It seemed very fitting and appropriate as well as keeping in with the story.

A wonderful story with fabulous characters and one for fans of historical romance and fiction. It is one I would definitely recommend

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jules Wake’s earliest known declaration that she planned to be a writer came at the age of ten. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands, taking journalists on press trips to awful places like Turin, Milan, Geneva, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and occasionally losing the odd member of the press in an airport. It gave her the opportunity to eat amazing food, drink free alcohol as well as providing opportunities to hone her writing skills on press releases and to research European cities for her books.

Eventually the voices in her head persuaded her it was time to sit down and write the novel she’d always talked about. Her debut novel in 2014, was quickly followed by the bestselling From Italy With Love, published by One More Chapter, HarperCollins, which reached number 1 in the Amazon Kindle charts.

Jules’ book Covent Garden in the Snow was a Kindle Top 2 bestseller and the follow up book Notting Hill in the Snow was nominated for a Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Her latest books The Saturday Morning Park Run came out in August 2020 and The Spark in December 2020. Her next book will be a complete departure as The Secrets of Latimer House is her first foray into historical fiction.

She also writes cosy romantic fiction as Julie Caplin and the seventh in her popular Romantic Escapes Series, The Little Swiss Ski Chalet was published in January 2021. The next in the series The Cosy Cottage in Ireland comes out in Autumn 2021.

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War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm by Rosie Clarke. I have read a few books by this author and have thoroughly enjoyed them. Her latest book is the start of a new series, it was a brilliant book to read.

As always, 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.

Cambridgeshire – March 1939


As the clouds of war begin to gather in Europe, the Talbot family of rural Blackberry Farm will be torn apart, just as so many families all over the world will be. Life will never be the same again.


Whilst in London, the Salmons family will feel the pain of parting and loss.


Brought together by war, the two families become intertwined and, as the outlook looks bleak, they must draw on each other’s strength to fight through the hard times.


Lizzie Johnson and Tom were sweethearts until a mistake caused a terrible rift. Lizzie takes herself off to London to heal the pain in a glamorous new job but she still loves Tom. His pride has been hurt – but deep down inside Tom still cares. Can they find happiness before their chance is gone and the whole world is swept into the terrible madness of war?


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

War Clouds Over Blackberry Farm is a new series from the author and it is another fabulous historical fiction set in 1939.

Blackberry Farm is a delightful sounding farm where the Talbot’s, a hard-working and well-respected family in Cambridgeshire. Tom and Lizzie have been together for a while, but one night something happens that leaves her embarrassed and she decides to leave the village and try to find a job in a London hair salon. She falls on her feet when she finds not only a job but also a wonderful family to stay with.

The Salmon’s are another close-knit family who is welcoming and Lizzie soon finds herself feeling welcomed. She finally decides that she needs to confront what happened in the past come what may. She needs to know if Tom will accept her explanation as to what happened and if there is a chance for a future between them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first book in this new series. It didn’t take me long to work out the characters and their roles in the families. Working between the city and the countryside brings different views and of course ways of living.

As the war is becoming more definite, people are thinking towards the weeks, months ad possible years to come. Some men sign up, others decide to wait to be called and some will apply for exemptions to work in their job. As the inevitable begins, wounded men are starting to return, women are thinking of training to be nurses as well as becoming land girls.

Bringing two new families means that I get to know a whole new set of characters. There are some glimpses of backstories and of course, not all the characters are nice to meet. The way the families live and work is laid out well and the mentions of foods and especially cakes sound amazing. I did like how the author used the soon to begin war as a way for her characters to make use of what they have while they have it.

I liked the contrast between the city and the country and how well the author bridged the gap between the two and also how the families become connected. I was gutted when I realised I had gotten to the end of the book. I did that whole thing of swiping back a page, and forward again, then back again before it sunk in that I had actually got to the end.

This is a book for those readers who like historical fiction and romance, for sagas and women’s fiction set in the early days of WW II. A brilliant opener to the series and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Shop Girls of Harpers and The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is an RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.

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