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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Review…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is some information about the Imperial War Museum…


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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

My Review…

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author…

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

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson #historicalfiction #bookreview

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

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

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

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

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

My Review…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor #TheBirdintheBambooCage @HazelGaynor @HarperFiction @RandomTTours #RandomTTours #histfic #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour and to share my review for The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor. It is due to be published on 20th August in the UK and there are links further down so you can pre-order a copy. If you are lucky enough to live in Ireland it was published on 6th 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my stunning copy of this amazing book. Let me show you what it is all about…

War imprisoned them,
friendship set them free.

China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.


Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.


Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.

**The following purchase links are Amazon affiliate links**

Pre-order you copy today –KINDLEHARDBACKAudiobook

This is an amazing book to read and one that opened my eyes to another aspect of WWII. The story of a group of Missionary School children living in China who were caught up in the war when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. 

The story is told predominantly in two voices, a schoolgirl calledNancy Plummer (Plum) and her teacher Elspeth Kent. Between them, they tell their story of their time in Chefoo Missionary School, a boarding school where children live while their parents are off doing missionary work, are diplomats or doing work in areas where it is not suitable for children to live. 

Through Plum and Elspeth, I quickly learnt the routine of the school, children, teachers and local people who worked as servants. It sounded like a very idyllic life and in some ways quite privileged but with a sad side to it. Children had to come to terms with their parents work being more important. 

Things soon change as Japan enters the war. Disruption soon follows for the school as soldiers take over. The resolve of the teaching staff to carry on as best as possible really stands out. Elspeth uses the motto of the Girl Guides/ Brownies to help the girls through this transition. The emphasis of taking daily tasks and challenges and turning them towards earning badges gives the girls something to work towards especially when the school is moved.

The school is then moved again, this time to an internment camp. Illness, appalling conditions, lack of food and medical supplies make this is very glum and dissolute place. Again the resolve of the teachers is admirable and again making the best of a bad situation comes in to play. 

The story is one I read over a couple of days. It is a story that has a huge sadness around it but actually what comes through more than anything else is the feeling of hope, of friendship and of one day hopefully returning home to family. 

The author has created amazing characters, I immediately adored the main characters of Plum, Mouse, Sprout, Elspeth, and Mrs T. There are several other characters that have very important roles in the story as they provide support to their friends. There are obviously going to be characters that I am not going to like and I have to say I liked how the author dealt with a truly horrid and awful one. 

The author does characters and descriptions of setting so well. Research is obvious throughout the book and the whole story felt right. She does an amazing job of describing the awful conditions but in a way that mirrors the resolve of the staff to see the best in the conditions.

I adored this book and the way the author has woven a story around real-life events and true accounts. There is a wonderful list of books at the back of the book for further reading and also about how she was introduced to this story. It is interesting and well worth reading. 

This is a fabulous read, it took me through a range of emotions and also left me with a feeling that was heartwarming. It is a story of how a group of people are thrust into unthought-of conditions and situations. How that group then supported each other where possible. A story based on true events that readers are historical fiction needs to add to the reading list. It is an amazing book and one I would absolutely recommend.

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today,
and Irish Times, bestselling author of historical fiction, including
her debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received
the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. THE
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019
HWA Gold Crown award. She is published in thirteen languages
and nineteen countries. Hazel is co-founder of creative writing
events, The Inspiration Project, and currently lives in Ireland with
her family, though originally from Yorkshire.

Follow Hazel on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

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All We Left Behind by Danielle. R. Graham #hisfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for All We Left Behind by Danielle R. Graham. Let me show you what this book is all about…

A powerful and incredibly moving historical novel inspired by an untold story of the Second World War.


Vancouver 1941
As the war rages around the world, Hitler’s fury is yet to be felt on the peaceful shores of Mayne Island. Sweethearts Hayden and Chidori are in love.


But everything changes after Pearl Harbor.
Now seen as the enemy, Chidori and her family are forced into an internment camp. Powerless to help them, Hayden joins the Royal Canadian Air Force to bring about an end to this devastating war – the thought of Chidori is all that keeps him alive.


Can they both survive long enough to be reunited?  Or will the war be the only thing to separate their love?

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is a historical romance and fiction story that is set during WWII. It is set out as a time slip and it flows effortlessly between the lives of two people before the war, during and what happens to them after.

Chidori is a Japanese-Canadian and Hayden is Canadian, their story is told in journal entries and also from log book entries. The two have been friends for years and gradually they realise that they have formed a relationship that goes beyond friendship.

When WWII starts there are rumours about what may happen, but it is when Japan attacks Pearl Harbour that real changes happen. Those living in Canada that are of Japanese origin are being moved to internment centres, it doesn’t matter if they were born in Canada or not. So Hayden and Chidori have to deal with being exasperated.

This is a story that I really enjoyed, it has a setting that I have not about before in this era of history. The author knows this area well and I though it cam across well as she described various aspects of the town. The characters of Chidori and Hayden were really good, Hayden being a bit of a hot head, and even though he has a temper it is only shown when there is a mistjustice. Chidori is more calm and serene, she is able to keep Hayden calm and together they balance each other very well.

The story is told mainly from Hayden’s perspective and Chidori’s part is told in the journal entries and I really liked the mis of the two styles. It fills in the gaps and gives more information.

This is a lovely story and one that I really enjoyed as, I think, will other readers of historical fiction and romance set in WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Good Doctor Of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford. I was very lucky to receive a copy of the book and also an Audio Cd in a giveaway run by Elisabeth on her Facebook page, that was last year!

Let me show you what it’s about…

‘You do not leave a sick child alone to face the dark and you do not leave a child at a time like this.’

Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha’s mentor, Dr Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.

As the noose tightens around the ghetto Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day…

Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.

Half a million people lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Less than one percent survived to tell their story. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland’s greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak. 

It feels so wrong to say that I really enjoyed this book given the subject it is about, but I really did enjoy it. This is a meticulously researched book about Misha and Sophia and also of Dr Janusz Korzak.

Misha and Sophia live in Warsaw, Poland and they are the main focus of the story. Dr Korzack is a man who features in the story quite a bit along with many others who had to endure the tyranny of Hitler during WWII. Out of the 1/2 million people who were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto, less than 1% survived.

There are so many parts of this book that are so hard to read because of what they went through and what happened. The author paints a vivd and heartbreaking picture of suffering, devastation and pure horror of the living conditions of these people. What makes it so difficult is that I know what was going to happen as it did happen. When those living in the Ghetto are told that they will be relocated to a work camp at Treblinka, I know it was never going to be a work camp. I thought if only they knew the truth before they boarded the train! What was the alternative though, remain and be tortured and beaten to death or face starvation. This is why there were so few survivors.

Dr Korzak ran a home for orphans, this is where Misha and Sophioa meet. Dr Korzak’s main principle with dealing with children in his care was that you should look at the child as an individual. To do this you have to get to know the child and only then could you understand the child and their behaviour.

As Germany invades Warsaw, Korzak, the children in his care, Misha, Sophia and many hundreds of thousands are forced into ghettos. The conditions are squalid, disease ridden, food is scarce and is smuggled in. Escaping the ghetto is not an option as being caught is certain death. Misha and Sophia have to make a decision, stay and be rounded up and put on a train or separate and hope they can both survive the war and be re-united.

This is so emotional and hard to read, but it also shows hope and the determination. It is compelling and addictive and the author has done a beautiful job of telling this story.

I mentioned earlier the meticulous research. At the end of the story there are several pages that include the books she used to compile the facts, the places she had visited and the people she met. All these things were brought together and once she had all the facts she began to write. There are photographs on the inside covers of the book.

This is an inspiring story based on the true story of Misha and Sophia. It is a harrowing, heartbreaking, poignant story of courage, loyalty, belief, commitment and hope.

It is one I would Absolutely Recommend!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx


Book 12 of 20

Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawden#20Booksofsummer #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you today on Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawden, This is a fantastic read that is set during WWII

Let me show you what the synopsis says…

This heartbreaking and tender novel will appeal to readers who loved Sophie’s ChoiceSchindler’s Ark, and The Book Thief. Austria, 1944: Jakob, a gypsy boy—half Roma, half Yenish—runs, as he has been told to do. With shoes of sack cloth, still bloodstained with another’s blood, a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other. He runs blindly, full of fear, empty of hope. For hope lies behind him in a green field with a tree that stands shaped like a Y. He knows how to read the land, the sky. When to seek shelter, when not. He has grown up directing himself with the wind and the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is not. He has never, until this time, been so alone. “Don’t be afraid, Jakob,” his father has told him, his voice weak and wavering. “See the colors, my boy,” he has whispered. So he does. Rusted ochre from a mossy bough. Steely white from the sap of the youngest tree. On and on, Jakob runs. Spanning from one world war to another, taking us across England, Switzerland, and Austria, Jakob’s Colours is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope where there is no hope, and color where there is no color.

When I think of Hitler and his plan to create his perfect race, I immediately think of the persecution of the Jews. This story is about persecution but this time of the Gypsies.

The story is told in a style that alternates between chapters that are headed “This Day”, “Before” and “Long Before” and they are spread across five sections that gradually take you through the story. It is a style that is very easy to follow.

This is a story about 8 year old Jakob, a boy who is half Roma (Gypsy) and half Yenish (Swiss Gypsy). It is also about his parents and tells their life-story. With the alternating timelines it is a chance to build up valuable insight and knowledge of the family and their experiences. It also gives meaning to the importance of colour in the lives of this family.

This is a story that has been well researched, this research has then been woven and incorporated into an absolutely amazing story. It is a story that is heartbreaking as you would imagine, but it also has something that has a special balance to it. It shows people at their best as well as at their very worst. This means that not only do you get the desperation and plight of a persecuted people, you also get the balance of those willing to go out on a limb and by doing that they instil a sense of hope.

This is a very special book that has been so well written that I am really struggling with a review. It is a book, that as I read, I wanted to highlight and quote every single sentence. It is beautifully worded and it’s one of those books that will stay with me for a very long time indeed.

If you want to read about the plight of a people who were persecuted and almost wiped out, then this is the book to pick up. If you want a story about the balance of life and death, then pick this book up. If you want a story that is beautifully written and yet harrowing and heartbreaking then pick this book up.

It is a book that once I had read, I just knew I would not be able to do justice to when it came to write a review. I just hope that as you read this, it sparks a little curiosity in you and you go and pick this book up and read it.

Highly Recommended Book.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated xx

Book 8 of 20

Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook #RandomThingsTours @unbounders @annecater #NonFiction #WW2 #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook with you all today. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book.

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

In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy.

He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator. Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead…

Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis.

When Tim Clark wanted to know more about his parents’ involvement in Special Operation during WWII, he thought it would be a case of simply asking them. His father was not forthcoming with details and his mother very similar. Neither spoke much of their involvement, only odd comments mentioned. The curiosity was sparked however, but a full conversation would never happen.

After the death of his father, Tim decided to embark on a research journey. It involved travelling, meeting with people and meticulously putting together the story of Monopoli Blues. All the pieces found and placed together like a jigsaw. Now when I say meticulous I really do mean it, dates, places, timelines, photo’s and information is amazing. Given all the information that is included I never once felt overwhelmed. The story that is told is so easy to follow and became very addictive reading.

While the story is one of his parents meeting and their life during the war, it is also one of the unknown, survival and courage. From a solid friendship and realtionship followed. The story gives a glimpse into the lives of two people who met during the war.

There are so many things I enjoyed about the story as well as the one about his parents. The photgraphs, snippets from letters, details of missions and other things that I was unaware of. This is where the background of both Authors helped. Bringing history and journalism together to create a fascinating read.

I found myself on the internet looking at various items that caught my curiosity in the book. I love it when this happens!

This is a fascinating book and it is one that I think lovers of WWII History will enjoy. It was a book I flew through and one I would Definitely Recommend.

Tim Clark spent a large part of his career working as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading firms specialising in M+A and corporate work in the UK and internationally, ultimately becoming Senior Partner. Since retiring as a lawyer, Tim has taken on board positions on a number of corporate, arts and charitable organisations, and senior advisory roles at a number of international think tanks.

Nick Cook is an author, journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. In 1986, he joined the world-renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly , initially as a reporter, rising quickly to become Aviation Editor, a position he held until 2005. His first novel, Angel, Archangel , was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. In 2001, Cook’s first non-fiction title, The Hunt For Zero Point , was published, reaching Number 1 in Amazon’s Non-Fiction charts. He has also written, hosted and produced two documentaries about the world of aerospace and defence – Billion Dollar Secret and an Alien History of Planet Earth . He lives and works with his wife and two children in London.

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Tour…

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The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes @endeavourquill #review

Today I am delighted to be joining the Blog Tour for The Blameless Dead by Gary Haynes. My thanks to Hannah Groves at Endeavour Quill for the invite and for arranging my e-copy of this book. This is due for Publication in e-book and paperback on 18th March and is also available on kindle unlimited. Here’s the link.

In the dying days of World War Two, Pavel Romasko and his Red Army colleagues pick their way through the carnage and detritus of a dying Berlin. Stumbling upon the smoking remains of a Nazi bunker, they find something inside that eclipses the horror of even the worst excesses in the city above them…

As the war ends, retribution begins. But some revenge cannot be taken at once. Some revenge takes years.

And so it is, as post-war Europe tries desperately to drag itself back onto its feet, and soldiers attempt a return to normality, that retribution continues to ferment in the Gulags of the Soviet Union and beneath the surface of apparently ordinary lives.

Which is how, seventy years later, FBI agent Carla Romero and New York lawyer Gabriel Hall are enlisted to investigate a series of blood-chilling crimes that seem to have their roots in the distant past — even though the suffering they cause is all too present. And for one of them, the disappearance of young women is a particularly personal matter.

The Blameless Dead is an epic, compelling, edge-of-the-seat drama that sweeps the reader from twentieth-century Europe to modern-day New York, taking in some of the most important events of modern history and exposing them in honest and unflinching terms. Part murder-mystery, part historical novel and shot through with adrenaline-pumping action, this novel superbly demonstrates that, while the hostilities may cease and the peace be signed, the horror that is war is never really over.

The synopsis does a really great job of describing this book. It’s a story that starts at the end of WWII and finished 70 years later.

I found this to be a complex story and one that took me a little longer to read than usual for a book this length. It has two main timelines, with the appearance of a couple of others as well, these additional ones are very relevant to the story. The main timelines have been expanded on so it is not just a basic then and now. At the start of each chapter. It is obvious where you are as they start with the date and then through the rest of the chapter I was taken to different characters, subchapters if you like, and these began with the same day or the next day. This may sound a little confusing, but it really wasn’t, I always knew where and when I was.

The plot is one that I am struggling to define as such as I found there were many plots, but they also had a link. There are those from the past that have revenge to them and the more recent one is more about the discovery of the truth. The hints and what links everything gradually becomes more clear as the story goes on. The story is of human tragedy with the origins being in the past. It tells of wanting justice and the sense of what justice is depends on the relevant person. Revenge is also mixed in as well as a hunt for a missing girl. This leads to a very dark discovery.

There is a lot of historical detail in this book, it delves into the murky world of Secret Police, Russian and German involvement with political prisoners. While I am aware of secret police and their roles I am not that knowledgable about the numerous departments, but I did get the feeling that the author does know a lot or he has done a good deal of research.

This story is intense and shows the lengths people can and are willing to go. Revenge and guilt, as well as the road to truth, are definitely in play with this story.

This for me was a complex and intense story, it did require concentration and I did enjoy it. It took me a while to get the basics settled in my head and once that was sorted and I was then able to settle into the book a lot more and found it was quite a compelling read. If you like intense, dark crime thriller reads then I think this is one that you would enjoy, it has WWII atrocities, Russian and German Secret Police, that is a mix of murder/ mystery and historical fiction. It is one I would recommend.

Bestselling Thriller/Crime novelist published by HarperCollins/Endeavour Quill. Gary Haynes studied law at university before becoming a commercial litigator. He is interested in history, philosophy and international relations. When he’s not writing or reading, he enjoys watching European films, travelling, hillwalking and spending time with his family. He is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization. 

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GIVEAWAY ON GOODREADS

Before I finish off this post…

There is a Giveaway being run on Goodreads to win 1 of 10 copies of this book. If you want a chance of winning a copy then follow the link HERE

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A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton @JeanFullerton_ @rararesources #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be sharing my review of A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton with you all today. Huge thank you to Rachel for the invite onto this Blog Tour and also to Jean for sending me a copy her book xx

Synopsis:

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London’s East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe’s nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.

For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

Follow the link to buy a copy – CLICK HERE

My Thoughts:

Jo Brogan and her younger brother Billy decide they cannot be evacuated any longer and return to their home in London’s East End. Set in 1940 with nightly bombing raids and food rations, the Brogan family are doing their bit like most of the other families. Jo joins the ambulance service and there is a hope that her romance with Tommy could be rekindled.

This is an absolutely wonderful read with so many things that caught my attention. First off, there is Jo, determined if at times stubborn. Tommy who does not have the best of reputations,. The Brogan family themselves with a few skeletons in the family closet. Reggie is Tommy’s brother and is not really someone who you want to get involved with.

The one thing I felt when reading this book is how well researched it felt. I often say that it is the little details that make a huge difference to a story and this book has loads of little details. Sight, sounds, smells, dialects, clothing and food are just some of those “little things”. It meant I was well and truly transported to the time and place of the setting. A chance for me to feel totally engrossed in the story.

Set during the Second World War, there are obvious mentions of those who have been hurt or killed during the blitz. Alongside this is the British resolve and tenacity that people show in trying to make the best out of the situation they find themselves in with a cuppa tea in hand.

The story of Jo and how others felt about her relationship with Tommy before she was evacuated is told, then how misunderstandings can interfere and cloud judgments. Following Jo’s story was wonderful, meeting her family and friends as the war is happening around them. The author created a balance that not only told of the pain and horror of war but also showed that determination and hope that people hold. There are wonderful descriptions throughout the story and along with this, the author has injected some wonderful humorous tones with little phrases from the characters that had me smirking.

This really is a fabulous book and one that I didn’t want to put down. At the end, you will find some recipes and some interesting items in the authors’ notes.

Definitely one for readers of Historical Fiction, Historical Romance with a World War II setting in London’s East End. One I would definitely recommend xx

About the Author:

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Author Bio – Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

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