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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Many thanks for reading my post, alike or share would be wonderful πŸ™‚ xx

Blackpool Lass by Maggie Mason @Authormary #Giveaway #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Blackpool Lass by Maggie Mason. Maggie Mason is the pseudonym for Mary Wood and is being published by Sphere Publishers. The Blackpool Lass is available in various formats from AMAZON UK and good book shops.

I have read The Street Orphans by Mary Wood and you can find my review HERE

Synopsis:

Orphaned and destitute, will Grace find her own way in the world?

When Grace’s Ma passes away and her Da’s ship sinks with all hands, Grace is utterly alone in the world. She’s sent to an orphanage in Blackpool, but the master has an eye for a pretty young lass. Grace won’t be his victim, so she runs, destitute, into the night.

In Blackpool, she finds a home with the kindly Sheila and Peggy – and meets a lovely airman. But it’s 1938, and war is on the horizon. Will Grace ever find the happiness and home she deserves?

My Thoughts:

Starting in 1924 near Blackpool and then continuing through the 30’s, then World War II you get to meet Gracie (Grace) who looses not only her parents, but also her home and is forced to move away as there is no family willing to take her in. She is instead taken to an orphanage, a place that is far from the safe haven it should be. After leaving the home she returns to Blackpool, can she overcome her past ordeals and start a new life?

Oh my goodness this author knows how to write her characters. Gracie is as tough as old boots and has had to be to just get through life. She is a wonderful character who knows how tough living can be, yet she is warm, generous , fun and supportive. She deals with what life throws at her with a certain dignity even when things look really bad.

This is an era of change, women are more outspoken but often are still unheard. This is a time when men still rule the roost, their women are expected to behave in a certain way because that it the way it has always been. But since the end of Worlds War I women have found a foothold. They were needed to help while the men were away at war. This foothold gave women something to hope for and as World War II approaches they are needed once again and their courage to be treated fairly gains in volume.

This story touches on many of the things that girls and women had to deal with and while it is never pleasant to read about some of these aspects of life at that time, I think it is important that they are still acknowledged as being something that happened and I think the author has done a great job telling the story and without being graphic.

There were many things in this story that really stood out for me, but I am going to briefly focus on the sense of community as this was the one that shined through and complimented Gracie’s story so well. When things look so bad that you have nowhere to turn it is the kindness of strangers that can often show more support than you can imagine. Being accepted into a community is something that Gracie found and it allowed her to heal. People pulling together and letting differences aside was essential during the war and the author again instils the sense of pride that people had, giving love, time and resources when they were thin on the ground. But as Grace was to find out, not everyone has shares the same sense of community mindedness.

I loved Gracie and her friends and felt that even though they worked hard and some had been dealt “a bad lot” they still found warmth, love and comfort in their friendship, and also I bet they would have been a noisy bunch as well…

If you are after a historical saga then you will not be disappointed in The Blackpool lass, it is about family, friends, community, life, loss, love, despair and hope, dealing with many aspects of social history relevant to the time. This is a story that would definitely appeal to readers of historical fiction, family saga, and general fiction and one that I would definitely recommend xx

About the Author:

MMΒ Maggie Mason is a pseudonym for saga author Mary Wood. Mary was born the thirteenth child of fifteen and throughout her life had various factory, office and home-based jobs, finally becoming a Probation Service Officer before she retired.

Mary married in 1963 and with her husband Roy has four children, eight grandchildren, and five step-grandchildren. She got her first book deal in 2013 and has not looked back since.

You can follow Mary on TwitterΒ – Website Facebook

There is a giveaway being run by the author.

Follow her Facebook Page to get all the details.

*Please note I am not responsible for this giveaway, this giveaway is the responsibility of the author.*

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The Choice by Edith Eger #BookReview @PenguinRHUK

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Today I am delighted to be sharing The Choice by Edith Eger, a holocaust survivor and now an acclaimed psychologist. I would like to thank Bishneen Gurwara at Penguin Random House for inviting me to read a copy of this book.

You can purchase a copy of this book at good bookshops or at AMAZON UK where it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

‘Little dancer’, Mengele says, β€˜dance for me’

In 1944, sixteen-year-old ballerina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience.

The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.

My Thoughts:

Edith Eger was 16 when she made the journey with her mother and one of her sisters, to join a queue to enter her first concentration camp. This would be the last time she saw her mother. This is Edith’s story. The story of her life. The story of her survival. The story of how she was liberated and then learnt to live.

This is a book of two halves as Edith recounts her experiences of her life. A girl who wanted to dance, her parents, her sisters and first love. Then the how she survived the war in the concentration camps, sharing many thoughts and feelings not from herself but of her sister. Then how to live her life after leaving Europe to live in America.

Sometimes you can move away, but at some point you really do have to deal with the horror of your past.

The Holocaust and Auschwitz are words that evoke so many emotions. Edith Eger tells her story in four parts. The first being about her life, including the camps, up to her liberation, then her liberation, dealing with her freedom and finally how she started to heal herself.

As you would expect I found her time as a prisoner very hard to read. It is something that still brings shock, horror and disgust that any person could be treated in such a horrific and abhorrant way. I did however find that it was the story of her freedom and her healing that caught me by surprise. She then started to piece her life together and learn how to live. This is where the inspiration of this lady really Shines through, even more so than it had previously. To me this sounds slightly wrong but, she trained as a psychologist to help people from various backgrounds. They had many different problems that they struggled to deal with. In meeting and trying to help these people she found that she could also use their experiences to help herself, using her own advice if you like. This took her many years to reach a place where she felt some sort of freedom from her past, but to do that took a huge amount of courage to escape from her own fears and trauma.

This is a stunningly beautiful and candid account from a truly inspirational lady. It is moving and emotional, inspiring and hopeful. The more psychological aspect in the latter half of the book was something that I found very insightful and gave me a different way of looking at things.

This is a moving and important story that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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A native of Hungary, Edith Eger was a teenager in 1944 when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. Despite overwhelming odds, Edith survived the Holocaust and moved with her husband to the United States. Having worked in a factory whilst raising her young family, she went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas and became an eminent psychologist. Today, she maintains a busy clinical practice and lectures around the world.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing πŸ™‚ xx

Tapestry Of War by Jane MacKenzie @JaneFMackenzie #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Tapestry Of War by Jane Mackenzie. A Second World War setting for a story of love, war, loss and new beginnings. You can get a copy from most good bookshops and from AMAZON UK.

Synopsis:

From the deserts of North Africa, to the waters of Scotland, the Second World War touches the lives of two women from two very different worlds. In Alexandria, Fran finds her world turned upside down as Rommel’s forces advance on the idyllic shores of Egypt. The life of luxury and stability that she is used to is taken away as she finds herself having to deal with loss, heartache and political uncertainty. Meanwhile, in the Firth of Clyde, Catriona struggles between her quiet rural life and her dreams of nursing injured servicemen on the front lines. As the war rages on, the two women’s lives become intertwined – bringing love and friendship to both.

My Thoughts:

With a dual setting of Scotland and Egypt during WWII you will get to meet to women. Catrina from the Scottish Island of Islay and Fran from Alexandria in Egypt.

This is a lovely story that follows these two women from very different backgrounds. The simple island life for Catrina is not quite enough and she wants to be a nurse, Fran is a socialite and journalists. The war is in full rage and really has an impact on these women as you would expect. It gives them an extra drive to do what is right, for one to become the nurse and the other to report on the war rather than propaganda version ofΒ it. The author references military events that kept me firmly rooted in the time of the story and the research has been done well, expressing not only details of events but also the views from a political aspect. This is all woven around the story of Catrina and Fran, their families and their friends.

War changes people and for the women of this story it made them more determined and gave them challenges and also opportunities they never would have had if it was a time of peace. There is a romantic aspect to this story, and while it is not a love-dovey one it does fit in with the story well. There is that uncertainty of will the partner return from war, will they be the same, will they still be in love and it really has been dealt with in a very realistic and for me felt right for the time. I most likely have a slightly stereotypical idea of life and love during war, but the way the author approached it felt right.

This is a book I would recommend to readers of Historical fiction, Historical Romance. A slower paced story that is well written, descriptive and emotional.

 

About the Author:

Jane MacKenzie has spent much of her adult life travelling the world, teaching English and French everywhere from the Gambia to Papua New Guinea to Bahrain, and recently working for two years at CERN in Geneva. She now splits her time between her self-built house in Collioure, France and the Highlands of Scotland, where she has made her family home.

Follow Jane on TwitterΒ or Website

Β Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing πŸ™‚ xx