I am delighted to share my thoughts with you today for Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade. I read this for the Blog Tour and wish to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my space on this Publication Day Push!
Let me show you what it is about…
A time for spilling secrets…
Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child – has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…
In the past old uncertainties are resolved when an elderly woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.
Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.
This is a lovely novella and so a quick read. A story of a family that spans the generations and has a mysterious, magical and Christmas feel to it.
This is told in two timelines, there is the present setting as I get to know the family currently residing at Ladywell. Then there is the italicised sections that deal with the history of the area and the family through the years.
So a mix of two different styles as such, historical fiction and mystery as they are combined to create an enchanting and almost magical story. The present setting in Ladywell sounds lovely and a wonderful place to be at Christmas. While the past shows similarities and I gradually saw mysteries and secrets starting to emerge.
This is a charming read that has a folk lore-ish feel to the historical and a warm and generous family feel in the modern time. If you want a quick read then this is ideal, it had a nice flow and had some surprises within its pages and it is a short story that I would recommend.
Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.
She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.
Now then! Are you ready for a chnace to win a copy of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola? You are! Well, ideal 🙂
I read The Convalescent Corpse a while ago and you can see what I thought of it HERE 🙂
Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide 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 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.
I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for All Summer With You by Beth Good.
Let me show you what it is about…
There’s no place like home…
Nursing a broken heart, Jennifer Bolitho retreats to Pixie Cottage. Her new landlord – a former soldier turned movie heartthrob – has grounds so large, she’s sure the little house nestled in the woods will bring her solitude.
Alex Delgardo also has reasons to hide away. Seeking refuge after a tragic incident turned his world upside down, he knows that the most important thing now is to care for his ailing family.
But when Jennifer enters their lives, that changes. Because, as they both learn, you can’t heal others until you learn to heal yourself…
When Jennifer moves into the cottage that adjoins the estate of film star Alex Deldgardo, there are certain clauses attached. One is that she should not trespass onto his property. She has no intention of doing so, unfortunately or fortunately a goat has different ideas. Jennifer finds a friend in an elderly lady and feels welcomed. Alex on the other hand is moody, grumpy and quite rude.
The author does such a fabulous job of entwining all things Cornish into this story. From local foods, plants, folklore, language and stories and weaves them wonderfully into the story that unfolds. Jennifer is a story teller and the author uses this character to introduce some well known Cornish stories into her tale.
The main characters of Jennifer and Alex both have histories, Jennifer is using the solitude to write her next book while also trying to come to terms with a break-up. Alex is also recovering, though from something quite different. I liked how the author took an unusual approach with his back story and as I learnt more my initial thoughts on him changed.
The author weaves a thoroughly enjoyable story the inclusion of various Cornish elements was great and very recognisable to me as I have lived in this county for 20 years. Including the language and stories was wonderful and the way they were included added an extra element to the reading. Often descriptions of scenery and food are mentioned in Cornish based books so it was a treat to see some of the extras.
The story flowed along at a really nice pace and had some really good heartwarming and also heartbreaking moments, and also the odd humorous moments as well. There were various elements that complemented each other so well.
This is a story that is a tale of coming to terms with the past and accepting that some things are out of your control. It is a story of life, love and loss and is one that I would definitely recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be wonderful 🙂 xx
I am delighted to share my thoughts on Stealing the Scream by Theodore Carter. I would like to thank the lovely people at Run Amok Books for my review copy and apologise for not getting this post wrote up sooner!
Let me tell you what it’s about…
In 2004, masked thieves stole Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” from an Oslo museum. Norwegian police recovered the painting two years later but never explained how or where they had found it. Stealing The Scream examines/re-imagines the event, offering a tantalising account of what happened through fictional characters, Percival Davenport, an artist whose obsession with Munch leads him to steal “The Scream” and Leonard, a museum security guard and amateur sleuth, whose interest in Davenport’s art leads him and the police to the artist’s door, setting up a tense climax and a satisfying if unexpected ending to the story.
The author has used the theft of Edvard Munch’s iconic painting as the basis for his story. He has then created and wrapped a fictionalised story around it, and what a great story it is too!
Starting with the theft of the painting in 2004, the author then goes back in time 2001. From then he gradually introduces the reader to Percival Deavenport, a soon to retire CEO who, with plenty of tie and money on his hands decides to return to his love of painting. This provides a link to the art world and also starts an intriguing storyline that then brings the reader up to events of theft and after.
I really liked the writing style and he has a very easy to follow flow that I found quite addictive. I liked his approach to the theft and it felt very coy. By this I mean that he has taken several steps to distance his characters from the theft, it is not until later in the story he gradually tip-toes them closer. By this point a lot has already happened to Percival in his personal life and his changes are rather strange and it makes for an almost unsettling glimpse into his character.
Percival has a right-hand woman in the form of Lucinda and she is responsible for keeping an eye on him, this is far easier said than done. Also joining them are Will, Leonard and Red. These additional characters have very different roles and their role size varies. For me they were good stable characters who are able to keep Percival grounded, well they do until later in the book.
This story had quite a few surprises tucked within its pages. It is one of those stories that is almost quiet, it sits simmering gently and then it gradually starts brewing with intrigue and suspicion and the tempo and pacing is upped until the arrival at the surprising end section of the book.
This is a book that sounded intriguing and was one that I thought “Yeah! I might like this!”and I’m so glad I picked it because it very quickly became hard to put down and was such an unexpected and wonderful read.
Its a story that has crime and mystery and also leans towards the contemporary fiction style because of the dynamic that is involved with Percival. This gets a Definitely Recommended from me, thoroughly enjoyable and addictive reading.
Theodore Carter is the author of The Life Story of a Chilean Sea Blob and Other Matters of Importance (Queens Ferry Press, 2012), Frida Kahlo Sex Dreams and Other Unnerving Disruptions, and Stealing ‘The Scream’ (Run Amok Books, 2019).
His fiction runs the gamut from humor, to literary fiction, to horror. He’s appeared in several magazines and anthologies including The North American Review, Pank, Necessary Fiction, A capella Zoo, The Potomac Review, and Gargoyle.
His street art projects, which began as book promotion stunts, have garnered attention from several local news outlets including NBC4 Washington, Fox5 DC, and the Washington City Paper.
Carter lives just outside Washington, DC in Takoma Park, MD.
I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Coming Home to Glendale Hall by Victoria Walters. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and also for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.
Let me show you what its all about…
No matter how far you go, home is where the heart is…
Beth Williams hasn’t been home for ten years. After falling pregnant at sixteen, she ran away from the imposing Scottish estate where she grew up rather than risk her family’s disapproval, working hard to build a life for herself and daughter Isabelle – but now she’s finally returning to Glendale Hall.
As Beth tries to mend her broken family ties, and fights to bring the community of Glendale back together, she realises that the story she has told herself for a decade might well be a very different one from the truth. Even though she ran from Glendale it has never left her heart. And, she soon realises, neither has Drew – Beth’s first love.
Will Beth be able to forgive her mother and grandmother (and herself) for what happened ten years ago? What will Drew say when he discovers the secret she’s been keeping from him for so long? Can a festive trail bring the village back together?
Will Christmas work its magic on Glendale – or will Beth be forced to run away from it all over again?
A charming, uplifting novel that will warm your heart – the perfect read to curl up with this autumn. Fans of Trisha Ashley, Debbie Johnson and Cathy Bramley will love this gorgeously romantic read.
I have to say I am not normally a reader who reads festive fiction out of season but as there is a definite autumnal chill in the air I found that the season did a great job of adding the right seasonal atmosphere!
Beth Williams left Glendale Hall in Scotland at 16 thinking she had no other option but to leave her home and family. 10 years later she gets a call from her father to say that Beth’s Grandmother is ill and that Beth should return home. Beth brings her daughter, 10 year old, Izzie who will visit her mums childhood home for the first time.
Within a few pages I was hooked as the author introduced me to Beth and her daughter Izzie. It wasn’t long before I then got to see Glendale Hall and meet the rest of the family. From their meeting up after Beth’s long absence I was aware of an underlying anger and frustration as old feelings of sadness and rejection crept into the conversations as feelings of things being unsaid stood like a shadow around the adults.
Beth’s shock at how things had changed in the area after her decade away really did home for her and gives her a sense of motivation. People from her past come into her life once again, her best friend and also her first love. This adds for more tension between some of them and misunderstandings are rife. Yet another emotional twist is woven into an already emotional story.
Izzie is such a wonderful character and she is like glue, she has the ability through her childhood innocence to see things for what they actually are. She injects a great sense of fun and also the author uses her character to give others the ability to take part in Christmas activities that help put the sad feelings to one side for a moment.
This is a glorious read that brings out all the hurt and pain from the past, the author has brought everything to the forefront again and foces her characters to deal with things that have gone on in past. It is a personal journey for not only Beth but for others as well. As adults there are things that have happened and they have sat and festered, now is the time for them to be revisited.
This is not just a story about the family at Glendale Hall, it also encompasses the local village as well. The changes in the community have not been for the best and it has left the village feeling a loss of identity and is threatened. Its story works so well and compliments the one with Glendale so well and is perfectly woven.
This is a wonderful read that had me guessing and kept me on my toes right the way through. I was never sure how the author was going to work through the threads and there were several moments when I had that fabulous will they/ wont they feelings as I read. Nothing was guaranteed to work and it kept me addictively turning pages.
A wonderful read from the first to the last page that dealt with the past and the present and also the future, and it made for the ideal “snuggle down and read” book. It is one I would definitely recommend 🙂
Victoria Walters writes up-lifting and inspiring stories. Her moving debut novel THE SECOND LOVE OF MY LIFE was chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent and shortlisted for an RNA award. Victoria was also picked as an Amazon Rising Star. Her heart-warming new novel SUMMER AT THE KINDNESS CAFE is available to download now.
As well as being an author, Victoria also works as a Waterstones bookseller and buys far too many books there. She lives in Surrey with her cat Harry (named after Harry Potter). Victoria is not only obsessed with books but loves buying slogan tops, mugs and notebooks, and posting them all on Instagram.
I am absolutely delighted to share my thoughts on The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna by Juliet Grames. This book surprised me as the title made me think it would be more of a mystery read, while there was a mysterious element to it, it was actually a historical fiction and I loved it.
Before I get too carried away, let me share the synopsis with you…
Hundred-year-old Stella Fortuna sits alone in her house in Wethersfield, Connecticut, crocheting blankets and angrily ignoring her sister, Tina, who lives across the street. The sisters, once the best of friends, have not spoken for thirty years, not since The Accident—the eighth time Stella nearly died.
But what unspeakable betrayal made Stella turn on her sister? Born in a mountaintop village in southern Italy, Stella and Tina had grown up in abject poverty in the years between the two World Wars, abandoned by their father, who had left to seek his fortune in L’America, and forced to drop out of school after first grade to work in the olive groves. Tough, vivacious, and fiercely loyal, the inseparable sisters were foils for each other, Stella precocious and charismatic, Tina obedient and hard-working. But as Stella suffered ever more serious near-death experiences—beginning in their childhood with the time she was burned by frying oil (“the eggplant attack”)—the girls’ beloved mother, Assunta, became convinced her eldest daughter was cursed, a victim of the Evil Eye or a malevolent ghost. But what was really trying to kill Stella Fortuna, eight (or maybe seven) different times?
Now, after a century of trauma, Stella has turned on those who she once thought loved her most. It is up to the family historian to unravel the life and deaths of Stella Fortuna and to connect the inexplicable dots in her dramatic story—to suggest, finally, a redemption of the battle-scarred and misunderstood woman known now to the family as “crazy Stella.”
The synopsis does a brilliant job of explaining what to expect from this wonderful book.
As I began reading I was reminded of another book I read many years ago, that was One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in that book there was a repetition of family names being handed down to the next generation. While The Seven or Eight Deaths also has a similar naming tradition it was not as confusing as Marquez’s.
The author depicts a very simple life for the Fortuna family in the small remote Italian village that they call home. It is simple but also a very hard life. The main focus is on Stella and her sister Tina and their parents Assunta and Antonio. It is the females of this story that are the strength and I think their hard lifestyle in Italy has helped them in their strength and determination as the book proceeds further with their story.
Antonio is a father who has not spent a lot of time with the family, he goes off to work and eventually ends up in America where he then sends for the rest of his family to join him. I have to say I really did not like him, he is very much a “do as I say because I am your husband” character. It is typical of the traditional family dynamic of the time. As much as it really grated it was right for the story.
Because the author has used a time span of 100 hundred years there is a lot of world history things that could have been included, the author has picked out a couple of key events and this makes the reading very fluid and relevant to the females in the Fortuna family. I very much enjoyed their arrival in America and witnessing Stella and Tina’s reaction to the American way of life, the social differences made me smile. But life as a recently arrived immigrant is not all smiles and roses and the women have to work hard.
The author has a wonderful style of writing that made it so easy for me to disappear into the pages for 2-3 hours at a time. She showed the differences in the way of life for the family from a cultural as well as a social point of view. I liked how she touched on traditional local dishes that Assunta would have made, then being Americanised. It is little touches like this that appealed to me, it is a way of seeing the subtle changes and adaptations in culture and society.
The Seven or Eight deaths of Stella are explained throughout the story, and also the disagreements that gradually cause a rift between the sisters. The deaths part of the story does have a slight spookiness to it and this is why it is also listed in horror/occult and I, I do hope that does not put people off because for me this was just a small part of a bigger story. As I mentioned earlier, the women of the story are strong and determined and so I can see why the rift had been caused. The women are fabulously developed characters that grow and evolve with the story, they are joined at intervals by various other relatives and friends.
This is an emotional story but also one that I did not feel emotional about as I was reading it. This sounds a rather odd thing to say, as yes the story is emotional but the characters have a very firm and solid outlook on life. They do show emotion as such but as they are such strong characters they are more able to hold it in, although there are times when the dam breaks for them.
This is such a wonderful story that is set through the 1900’s, it gives a century of family history and at times has a literary fiction style to it. I found it to be very addictive reading and when I wasn’t reading I did often find myself thinking about it.
This is one that I think other historical fiction readers would really enjoy. It is heartwarming and also heartbreaking but without being overly emotional and does have some hard reading moments, it is about family and new starts and also tipping a nod to the past. I would definitely recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx
I am delighted to welcome you to my thoughts on Letters To My Daughters by Emma Hannigan. This book is another read for the Readin Challenge #20 Books Of Summer that I took part in this summer.
Let me show you what this book is all about…
Her three girls were her world. It was time to let them know.
To sisters Bea, Jeannie and Rose, the death of their beloved childhood nanny is a devastating loss. As the girls grew up, Nanny May had become so much more to them all: confidant, advocate, comforter, friend.In whom will they confide their hopes, fears and failures now she has gone? Especially now each sister needs a mother’s wisdom more than ever…
Martha cannot understand why her daughters are so upset about losing their childhood nanny. Yes, Martha was always in demand as a busy midwife, but that doesn’t mean she loved her own children any less. But why don’t the girls realise that? And has she left it too late to let them know…?
I think this is such a nice title for a book. The daughters are Bea, Jeannie and Rose, their parents are Jim and Martha. As both parents worked it fell to Nanny May to help raise the girls. Nanny May was an invaluable part of the household and they all kept in touch over the years as the girls grew up and left home to begin their own lives. The death of Nanny May hit the girls and Jim hard, but Martha isn’t quite affected in the same way by the death as the others.
Over the course of the story the author built up and developed a story that delves into all their pasts. It is told in the Now, with glimpses back in time. The author has created a story about a family that appears perfect from the outside, I say appears because there are cracks and some of those cracks are widening.
The story weaves its way at a pleasant pace and it was quite suprising how time just simply passed by as I was immersed in the book. I gradually got to know each of the main characters and found myself warming to them as I discovered more about them as a family as well as individuals. I discovered their secrets, their dreams and their wishes, what made them scared and what made them anxious.
It’s a story of a family, and with that came so many emotions as I read, anger, frustration, joy, hope, exasperation and doubt. As it progressed I did wonder how this family could stop the cracks from widening, if they could find compromises and if they could pull things back. By the end of the story I was surprised at the ending, I did not expect that, but at the same time it did feel right and so worked well.
It is one of those stories that I want to say is a delightful and lovely read. It has some tense moments that lead to distrust and dismay but also has a solid glimmer of hope and is heartwarming.
Letters to My Daughters is a book I would happily Recommend!
Book #18 of 20
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
I am delighted to welcome you to read my thoughts as I help to kick off the Blog Tour for Boxer Boys Collection by Nick Rippington. My huge thanks to Nick for sending me the 3 e-book set and to Sarah Hardy at BOTBSPublicity for the invite onto the Blog Tour. This collection is a series of 3 books and I will try by best to give you a mini review for each book…
But first how about I let you know what the Boxer Boys Collection is all about…
Some Family feuds just won’t go away… For 40 years the Dolans and the Marshalls have lived side by side on the same rundown housing estate in east London. While teens Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan forge a close friendship, fighting constant battles to survive both on the streets and closer to home, the relationship between their parents is complicated and, at times, toxic. Gradually family secrets emerge which have their roots in the early 80s… and Gary and Arnie realise their entire upbringing was built on lies.
So first up is Crossing the White…
Gary Marshall is being bullied on the rundown London estate he lives on, local lad Arnie (Arnold) Dolan steps in and saves Gary from a beating. This is the start of a friendship that see’s the boys through their teens and is the start of the Boxer Boys.
It is a story of family, friendship, changing from kids into adults and watching each others backs. Over the course of the story it becomes apparent that Gary is drawn into the murkier side than he really wants to. Things go awry for Gary and his chances at living his dream in a career he is passionate about, instead he takes different route.
This is a gritty read that deals with teens in the sprawling and gang ruled estates of London. There are various things that have been dealt with and it adds to the authentic feel of the story.
A great first book in the collection and it made me want to know exactly what was going to happen next. So much so that I went straight onto the 2nd in the set.
This is a book that goes back to the era of Gary and Arnies parents, mainly the Dolans, but the Marshall’s do have a part to play. The Dolan family is made up of Big Mo & Beryl and, Chuck their eldest, it is also about Clive, Big Mo’s brother.
This has a different feel to it and it was nice to get to know more about the family of the boys I had met in the first book. Big Mo is, well tough to say the least. He has a fiery temper and is the sort that hits first and then asks questions later and he is the leader of a shady small group of friends. The Dolan’s have a reputation not to be messed with.
Clive and Mo are very different in what they want out of their lives. Mo is about power, reputation and money. Clive is about wanting more from his life and this is why he joins the Scots Guards. This is the time of Maggie Thatcher in the 80’s and the Falklands conflict. Nobody thought that would come to anything and so off Clive goes. History tells us that this was something and Clive is not the same person he was when he left.
This is a more emotional read as well as having more violence. It gives a great insight into the families, their priorities and loyalty. It’s all about the family and who they are.
Once again as soon as I had finished this one I was straight onto the next…
Back again with Gary and Arnie, or should I say Gareth and Arnie. The previous books were extensive in their groundwork and this is brought to a fabulous conclusion in Dying Seconds. It is 2016 and while Garth is dealing with a job in Wales, Rugby and Football matches, Arnie is having to come to terms with his new lifestyle.
He has had his role in the Boxer Boys changed and the families are fracturing with tension and suspicions are running at an all time high.
There is a lot for the two men to deal with and their responsibilities and loyalties have changed. Gareth’s past is brought up to date and he can finally deal with things that have been hanging over him for the past few years.
This is a tense 3rd book and it is where all the threads are finally pulled together and things slot into their proper places. It is a story full of doubt, suspicion and fear and it is full of pace.
OVERALL – this has been a great series and I really do apologise for being so vague, but I was aware that if I wasn’t careful then spoilers would slip out.
The three stories combine to give a fabulous insight in two main families and the trials and tribulations that go with them. There are so many things that happen along the way for not only the families but also the boys as well.
The style of the story is gritty and it fits so well with the gangland setting. As much as there is violence with the story as you would expect, there is also much more than that. It is a story that show the dynamics of family and society of the respective times the stories are set in. It is about loyalty and friendship and how long they can be stretched before something gives.
This has been a really good collection of 3 stories that are intertwined and linked and that span the years. They each have a connection to each other and yet at the same time each have a different feel in the way they read. After reading Nick’s Bio I can see that he brings his own knowledge and experiences to his writing. This is a collection that I thoroughly enjoyed each one of the books and I would suggest that they are definitely read in order, you could argue that they could be read as stand alone books but for me they worked perfectly as they were set out.
It is one of those collections that falls into several categories. I add my own tags and the ones I have chosen for this is, Urban Fiction, Family Drama, Family & Lifestyle and Contemporary Fiction as well as General Fiction. I think it is one would interest many readers.
A fabulous collection and one I would Definitely Recommend.
NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World
phone-hacking scandal you never hear about.
As the newspaper’s Welsh
Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days notice when Rupert Murdoch
closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011.
On holiday at the time, Nick
was never allowed back into the building, investigators sealed off the area
with crime scene tape and seized his computer, which contained all the secrets
to his Fantasy Football selections.
Handed the contents of his
desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a
crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old
baby to support. Options were limited but self-publishing was booming. Having
hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of
the Rugby World Cup, in 2015 he produced Crossing The Whitewash.
The book was praised by
many, received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’
Digest self-published eBook awards and more than 25 five-star reviews on both
sides of the pond.
Almost two years after
Crossing The Whitewash came the second in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel
called Spark Out, which was released in paperback on July 1 and for Kindle on
July 10, 2017. The book received an award for best cover of 2017 with the Chill
With A Book website, along with a readers award, before receiving the IndieBRAG
medallion from a prestigious site covering Independent writers and publishers
throughout the world.
The third book in the Boxer
Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing the Whitewash, was released in
Married to Liz, Nick is now a full-time back bench designer on the Daily Star sports desk and has two daughters – Jemma, 36, and Olivia, 8. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex. In the past he has worked for the Sunday Mirror, Wales on Sunday and Media Wales in Cardiff as an executive editor.
I am delighted to welcome to my thoughts on Under A Cornish Sky by z Fenwick. I recently read my first book by Liz, it was her latest book A Path To The Sea and adored it. I have a few of this authors books and had not quite got around to reading them. It is slightly embarrassing really especially she only lives a few villages up the road from me! But at least I am getting there, first steps have been made and I have not been disappointed 😊
So then, let me show you what this book is all about…
Demi desperately needs her luck to change. On the sleeper train down to Cornwall, she can’t help wondering why everything always goes wrong for her. Having missed out on her dream job, and left with nowhere to stay following her boyfriend’s betrayal, pitching up at her grandfather’s cottage is her only option.
Victoria thinks she’s finally got what she wanted: Boscawen, the gorgeous Cornish estate her family owned for generations should now rightfully be hers, following her husband’s sudden death. After years of a loveless marriage and many secret affairs of her own, Victoria thinks new widowhood will suit her very well indeed . . .
But both women are in for a surprise. Surrounded by orchards, gardens and the sea, Boscawen is about to play an unexpected role in both their lives. Can two such different women find a way forward when luck changes both their lives so drastically?
In Under a Cornish Sky Liz Fenwick weaves another deliciously irresistible tale set in the heart of her beloved Cornwall.
There are two main female characters in this book and that are the focus of the story, Demi and Victoria.
Demi is a mouselike character who lacks confidence. She has been passed over and generally ignored, and would rather be invisible than the centre of attention. She is in a rut and as she makes her way down to her Grandfathers house in Falmouth, Cornwall.
Victoria is the very opposite, she is confident and definitely knows what she wants and how to progress to get it. She is a woman who knows her own mind and is not afraid to add her voice to her thoughts.
Although the women are complete strangers they have a connection that neither knows about. When a revelation in the reading of a will comes about, well knocking the wind out of their sails, is a phrase that comes to mind. A bombshell is delivered that rocks the world both women think they know. It leaves them confused, dumbfounded and questioning what they believed. A chance for a fresh start for both of them? Well, maybe, maybe not!
This author has a fabulous way of creating interesting and complex characters, she develops there personalities and their traits, she explores their weaknesses and chips away at their strengths and wraps them in a well woven story. The characters have to do some real soul searching and dig deep for their outcomes, it’s not easy for them and there is a magic word called “compromise” that does not come easy, and is hard to do.
Using the Cornish landscape is another thing that the author uses to great effect. It is obvious from her writing alone that she has a connection to the area because it really shows in her stories. At times the landscape can mirror the characters, rugged angry cliffs and calm tranquil creeks!
There is a lot of family history in Cornwall, some families have lived in the same house, or on the same farm for generations. The buildings have altered or been added to over the years, but the land has always been. This means traditions, history and pride have a large part to play and the author nailed that sense of belonging, the feel of that is how it should be and also of things being done right.
This story is captivating and once again the author has effortlessly drawn me into her story. Fabulous descriptions of scenery and setting, wonderful characters who have more than a few surprises up their sleeves all brought together in a fabulous story line that flowed and wove it’s way to a very satisfying conclusion.
Under a Cornish Sky gets a “Definitely Recommended” from Me!
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I am delighted to welcome you all to my review for the Audio version of The Hat Shop on the Corner by Marita Conlon-McKenna.
Let’s see what it is all about…
A gloriously warm-hearted novel about wonderful hats, the people who buy them – and their remarkable stories.
Hats! Hats! Hats! Upbrims, sidesweeps, silks, ribbons and trims all become part of Ellie’s life when she inherits the little hat shop on Dublin’s South Anne Street. But the city is changing, and Ellie must decide if she wants to follow the hat-making tradition of her mother or accept a generous offer to sell the shop.
Encouraged by her friends, Ellie takes on the hat shop, and her quirky designs and tempting millinery confections soon attract a rich assortment of customers all in search of the perfect hat.
Creating hats for weddings, shows, fashion and fun, and falling for the charms of Rory Doyle along the way, Ellie is happier than she has ever been before. But as her fingers work their magic she discovers a lot can happen in the heart of a city like Dublin….
Ellie inherits a hat shop on the corner of South Anne Street in Dublin. After some thought, she decides that she will take on the running of the shop and continue in her mothers’ footsteps. Using her own experience and knowledge to create millinery masterpieces fit for any occasion.
This is a lovely story to listen to and the narrator Caroline Lennon has the perfect tone to her voice to make the story come alive.
This is obviously a story about hats, the making of them, the different materials used and all manner of other things. The author has the balance of the millinery world just right. Giving enough information to keep my interest without overburdening me. It compliments the story of Ellie and her customers. There are also other different things going on this this story. The street where the hat shop is situated is underthreat, not just Ellie’s shop, but also other retailers, from a large development.
I am going to go back to the hats again, well the customers actually. Each customer that comes into the shop wants a bespoke hat. This involves Ellie finding out what the occasion is and then also a little bit about each customer. This means I got to know more characters and their own stories, some are sad, some happy, some nervous, some shy but all want a hat. I got to know their likes, dislike and preferences. Whether they were willing to take a chance on something they wouldn’t normally pick or knew exactly what they wanted.
This was such a lovely story to sit and listen to. It’s one I would recommend to those that like a gentle, heartwarming story about people in their everyday lives. It has also left me wanting to now go and read the book as well.
This is book 4 out of 20 in my #20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge.
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I am delighted to share my review for Meet Me iN Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May. My huge thanks to Rachel for acceprting my request to join the tour and also to Nicola for my e-copy of her latest book.
Let’s see what it is all about…
The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa, Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.
Newly wed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems to have all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.
Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears, addiction and jealousy head on.
With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.
This is the 2nd book in the series and I am so annoyed with myself that I didn’t read the 1st one. There are some fabulous characters that I am meeting for the first time though it is their second appearance. I would say that you are better to read in order, though this second book did read well as a stand-alone.
Rosa runs a corner shop and specialises in all things pet-related. She is really struggling with her home life and coming to terms with her husband working away during the week. This adds a fraught tension to their relationship and gradually rosa starts to spiral out of control until she finds herself at rock bottom.
This is such a great read and one that I found was relatable. We all have things going on in our lives and the doubts and insecurities are a real threat. The author has very realistically and sympathetically captured this with her storyline and characters.
Rosa is not an “all doom and gloom” character and it is only in her times of solitude does she step on the slippery slope. She has around her some wonderful friends who are there to keep an eye out for her and to help her when she needs it.
Hitting rock bottom and getting some “tough love” treatment is something that Rosa needs, it sounds harsh but sometimes you have to see what you have lost before you realise what you had. The story goes through various emotions as Rosa starts to take a good look at what she has achieved in her life.
This is a story that I thoroughly enjoyed and it took me along the “things are not always as they appear” route. The balance between Rosa and her problems are levelled out with the other characters and things in their lives and the parts they play.
After reading this book, it has left me curious as to the previous book. There are tantalising little snippets and hints back to the first that has sparked my curiosity… ok nosiness!
This is a story of emotion, drama, romance and life in general.
It’s one I would recommend!
winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her
rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a
lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and
enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors
Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes
as chicklit with a kick.