Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland @rararesources #romance #summerreading #coverlove #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this absolutely gorgeous book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

How gorgeous is that cover? 😍

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow


Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?

As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…

Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.

Purchase Link –Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

Wow-what an amazing read this was. I started it as I got in the bath, 2 hours later I decided I really need to get out the bath! I then got dry, warmed up in PJ’s and then finished reading the book, it was that good!

This is the story of Samantha and her life, the people in her life and how she is treated. She has not had the best relationship with some of her family and when her cousin, who is also best friend marries her ex-boyfriend, then things take a real turn after the ceremony.

But in some ways, this leads Samantha to what will be the best fresh start she will ever have. It will also bolster her confidence, give her some well-deserved respect and make her realise that she is as good as everyone else.

This is a story that is so full of emotion, and not just the happy ones either. There were times where I was so frustrated at how Samantha was being treated, she is such a nice person and has the biggest heart, but this is just what some people need to take advantage and to manipulate.

Samantha has the sort of determination to crack even the grumpiest person and make their lives better for it. Thomas was just what she needed and without realising it, he needed her as well. Their relationship was very special, it brought back forgotten happy memories for both.

This is as much about the bond of friends and family as it is about making changes to life. It’s about taking opportunities and chances and running with them. Most of all it is about fulfilling a long lost dream and surrounding yourself with positive and special people.

A gorgeous book full of beautiful descriptions and it was an absolute pleasure to read. A romance with a whole lot of heart and soul and one I would absolutely recommend.

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.


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Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff by Della Galton

I am delighted to share my review today for Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff by Della Galton, this is a gorgeous summer read and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Here is what it is all about…

Bluebell Cliff Hotel is a place to make your dreams come true…

Clara King is left in sole charge of a fabulous new clifftop hotel for the summer.


The owner has barely left the country when Clara realises that someone is hell-bent on putting the Bluebell Cliff Hotel out of business.
It becomes a race against time to hunt down the sneaky saboteur before they succeed in bringing the hotel to its knees.


With her dream job under threat and her personal life in chaos, Clara discovers that, when what you love the most is in danger, it can bring out the very best in you.

Purchase Link from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

The synopsis for this book gives a very nice idea as to what this story is about. Clara is the main focus of the story and she takes over running the hotel when its owner has to fly off to Australia for a family emergency.

The staff are like a big family and their loyalty is soon seen as random events start to occur. These events could threaten the reputation of the hotel, a hotel that is built on dreams and offers a vast array of different events and functions.

What I really liked about this book where the descriptions of the area and the way the author set the scene. Clara has the extra responsibility of running a hotel, she also has her own family problems to deal with and a potential rival hotel that may cause problems. Dealing with what she can she goes to see the owner of the rival hotel, not the best of meetings, the second one wasn’t much better either.

This story has a few threads woven into it, the family problems, the personal problems, a saboteur and all through this the staff and Clara have to keep things running, “the show must go on” and all that. With these various threads, there is little time for relationships, but there is a tentative one.

This was such a good read and I devoured it in one sitting, it was just one of those books that I quite happily lost myself in for a few hours and it is one I would definitively recommend.

Image and Bio taken from Amazon UK

Della Galton is a novelist, short story writer and journalist. She’s had over 1500 short stories published in the UK alone and she’s run out of fingers to count her books on.

She is a popular speaker at writing conventions and the agony aunt for Writers’ Forum Magazine.

When she is not writing she enjoys walking her dogs around the beautiful Dorset countryside and beaches.

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

Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian @LevParikian @alisonmenziespr #publicationday #nature #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Into the Tangled Bank by Lev Parikian. When I received and email from Alison at Elliot & Thompson and it was entitled “A funny nature book” I knew this was for me. I would also like to wish Lev a very Happy Publication Day.

Let me show you what it’s about…

Into the Tangled Bank – In which our author ventures outdoors to consider the British in nature
Lev ParikianPublication: 9 July 2020

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)


This is a thought-provoking , humorous examination of how we experience the natural world -described by Melissa Harrison as “Funny, accessible and full of wonders – a genuine breath of fresh air” .


Lev is a conductor, writer and birdwatcher.  In Into the Tangled Bank, he attempts to get to grips with what it means to be a nature lover.  The book travels from his doorstep to garden plot, local patch, wildlife reserve and as far as the Isle of Skye.  Everywhere, he comes up against nature lovers of all varieties: from ramblers and dog-walkers, to passionate enthusiasts or just people out for a stroll in the sun.


Lev is the instigator of the #twitterbirdsong project and hosts a new youtube channel  Bird Brains devoted to all things avian.  

AND… the cover is gorgeous in real life!

I really enjoyed reading this book as I followed Lev’s observations on how people and nature interact. Lev has such an easy style to his writing and as well as various facts there is also a nice level of humour. The book is littered with various interesting facts from history, nature and life.

Lev looks at various aspects of nature including our own gardens, parks and open green areas. He notices various things about human nature and how people with certain interest can chat about things for quite a while. As a gardener I found myself sniggering about they way gardeners can talk about “their patch” what they grow, the pests and bugs.

Lev’s observations of people in nature draw together different walks of life. From the dog-walkers, to the gardeners, the photographers to the birdwatchers. These observations make a really enjoyable read and many times I found myself nodding my head in agreement or as I read sections thought “this is me!”.

A book that is ideal for dipping in and out of, in fact I read most of this book sat in the garden have a break from the weeding, trimming and filling bird feeders and it was the perfect spot.

A refreshing read that I think various people would really enjoy, and I am sure any nature lover, or those who spend time outdoors and then reads this book will find themselves in it at some point. A good book about the observations of an author and one I would happily recommend, its a fabulous read.

Lev Parikian is a writer, birdwatcher and conductor. His book Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear? was published by Unbound in 2018. He lives in West London with his family, who are getting used to his increasing enthusiasm for nature. As a birdwatcher, his most prized sightings are a golden oriole in the Alpujarras and a black redstart at Dungeness Power Station.

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

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds – Living The Dream in rural Ireland by Nick Albert @Nickalbertautho @rararesources #memoir #recommendedreading #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds by Nick Albert. This is a brilliant book to read and I would like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

Buying links for UK – Kindle Paperback Audible (all via Amazon UK) or for Amazon US readers – Kindle Paperback Audible

Oh my goodness what a fabulous book this is. Following a diagnosis from his Doctor, Nick needs to drastically change his lifestyle. Stress had been a major part of his job and it has taken it’s toll. Along with his wife Lesley, decide to sell up and start somewhere new with a slower paced lifestyle.

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds is a fabulous account of the journey this couple made to finally discover a new home and they decide on the move Ireland. This book is great fun to read and it had me smirking so many times. It was great to follow their journey around rural Ireland as they become the latest “blow ins” (newcomers) to a life in rural Ireland.

The first half of the book was great and is written in such an honest way. Mistakes, mishaps and misunderstanding are all laid out. The quirky workings of a different legal system, buyers market and trying to find builders are all really interesting.

The second half of the book had me in hysterics and laughing out loud so many times as I read about the antics of Nick, Lesley and also their dogs and chickens. There were actually a couple of moments where I actually had tears running down my face with laughter! Nick has recounted so many moments so vividly that as a reader I could see what he was telling me.

This book is brilliantly written and I loved the open and honest style in which it was presented. This is a wonderful read about a couple starting afresh in Ireland, getting used to the local flow and way of life. In some ways it is their innocent naivety as they start this new stage in their lives that adds such a wonderful feel to the book and it also had me willing them to succeed. I have never been to Ireland and so I could very much empathise with the couple as they came across many different things. Ireland is a place I would love to visit with my husband, and reading this book has made this a trip change from want to visit, to definitely must visit.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a real life stories, and memoirs. To be honest I think this book would appeal to many readers and I would highly recommend it. It is amusing, honest, funny and heartfelt.

I enjoyed it so much that immediately after reading this first book I then immediately bought the second one and I can’t wait to see what happens to them next 🙂

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Visit Nick on his Website Twitter Facebook InstagramYouTube

See what other Bloggers think by checking out the Tour…

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

The Choice by Claire Wade #Dystopian #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for The Choice by Claire Wade. I originally saw a review for this book on Linda’s Book Bag and after reading her fabulous review I immediately ordered a copy.

If you have read this book you will understand the significance of the cake in my photo! If you haven’t read the book then go and get a copy as you will not be disappointed 🙂

‘Eat the best, leave the rest! Remember Mother knows best.’

Olivia Pritchard lives in constant fear since Mother Mason came into power. Everything from healthy eating to exercise is controlled by the government, all in the name of health and happiness. Olivia hates being dictated to, but to protect her family she must follow the rules or face a stay in the Shame Box – a perspex box, placed in a public place for everyone to judge.

After Olivia witnesses an innocent woman being violently arrested, she is no longer able to ignore the injustice. The underground rebellion ‘Cut The Apron Strings’ is gaining momentum and for the first time in years Olivia has a choice: keep her head down or join the fray…

When you hear the saying “Mother knows best” it conjures up an image of your mum knowing what is good for you, helping you to make good and right decisions to hopefully give you the tools for living and leading a good life in the future. However, what if that guiding encouragement is taken to the extreme and becomes more than guidance. What if it becomes a regime! What if Mother is a dictator that does know what is best and controls your life, health, exercise and in fact permeates your every waking moment!

The author has done an amazing job of exploring the idea of choice to a wonderful level. Having a choice about the things we eat, drink, talk about and take part in, is part of our way of life. The author has used the character of Mother Mason to show how a figure in power can use and a political platform and then abuse her position to create a society that lives in fear.

The main protagonist of this story is Olivia Pritchard, a wife and mum of two. She lives in perpetual fear. Fear of being caught doing or saying the wrong thing, of being noticed and it consumes her life. The consequences of making a mistake are severe. It could impact her life, but more importantly the lives of her two children. This is a story that shows Olivia’s “Mothers Love” can make cause drastic and life-threatening implications.

I adored the style and theme of this story. The author has taken the idea of certain foods being bad for us and taking it it to a whole new level along with the idea that rules regarding how a healthy life should be lived. Because of this basis, the story has a really good believable feel to it. Government guidelines are often in the news about what we should eat more of, what we should limit ourselves to and how much exercise we should have. While these guidelines are good, they are also ever-changing.

Olivia was a character that I immediately felt for, I felt sorry for her and I could see why she worried about everything. She was the quiet one who had priorities. Her friend, the slightly reckless Alice, didn’t have children so she could afford to be a little more outspoken in her views. As the story progressed from the opening few chapters, the real oppression could be felt. It gradually got deeper and the full implications started to come to light.

I do love a good dystopian novel that has it’s feet well and truly in the Orwellian Big Brother style and this book really did have that feel.. The fear of your neighbour or someone overhearing a remark or seeing something was so good. It added a thrill element to the story that had me on the edge of my seat.

This is a story that has a core of character that are the main players, there are a few others that are introduced but not too many that you lose track of them. This keeps the flow of the reading as I didn’t have to remember who was who.

This was a fabulous read and had me totally hooked. If you are a fan of this style of story then you are going to love The Choice. It gets a definitely recommended from Me!

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

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. This is a fabulous and fantastical read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have a paperback copy of this book and it is gorgeous, my photo really doesn’t do this book justice, it has gold embossing on the keys and it is just a stunning cover!

Let me show you what it is all about…

EVERY STORY OPENS A DOOR

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artefacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored and utterly out of place.

But her quiet existence is shattered when she stumbles across a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page reveals more impossible truths about the world, and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

I really enjoyed this book so much, it was fabulous to delve into the worlds that the author has created for her main protagonist January.

January is a girl who doesn’t quite fit in, she is an in-between person who lives with the very wealthy Mr Locke. Locke is her guardian and looks after her while her father is off travelling and collecting artefacts. As January starts to feel where she fits in society she becomes more aware of her differences and also of the restrictions that Locke imposes on her. Living in a large house surrounded by artefacts, curios and all manner of different things, she becomes aware that she may actually be part of his collection.

This is such a good read that I within the first saw few chapters I felt the addiction. It has a whimsical fantasy feel that also had a historical and literary fiction vibe to it. It is a story of stories or a story within a story as I followed January on her journey through life. Along the way, I learnt of her parents and of their travels and meetings.

The journeys the author takes January on are ones that force this young girl to grow up quick. They put her in danger as she tries to discover the truth of her life and also of her parents. These journeys are wonderfully written and describe with some fabulous imagery.

This is a slower-paced story and gave me a chance to enjoy the writing and the story. It covers various emotions such as loneliness, isolation and abandonment but equally it is about hope, determination and stubbornness to continue. So has a nice balance to it.

This is a really well-written book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I would recommend it to readers who like fantasy stories.

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

Unlocked by Soulla Christodoulou @schristodoulou2 @Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Unlocked by Soulla Christodoulou, this is a beautiful short story that given it’s short length has so much to it.

I would like to thank Soulla for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of Unlocked and to also like to add…

Happy Publication Day Soulla 💞

Let me show you what it is all about…

Helen, wallowing in pain and shunning the world and everyone around her, happens across an inspirational quote in her local store after leaving the house for the first time in weeks. Instantly, its message awakens something within her and she books a flight to a country she has always wanted to go.

In India the sounds, sights and colours of this spiritual place, evoke a new awareness within her and the promise of release from the agony of her husband’s infidelity. An impromptu encounter and an invitation to a local wedding open up an unexpected path and a flood of long-forgotten feelings.

Purchase link – Amazon UK

Helen has isolated herself after the breakdown of her marriage. Let herself go and become a recluse. A simple quote awakens something inside of her and she books a ticket to India.

Helen’s journey to India is a chance to be free of her self imposed confines. Her journey is not just a physical one, but one the heart, soul and mind.

The author has created such a captivating short story that is beautifully written. Within this short format there is a sense of hope and of starting to imagine a life being lived.

The author uses a few cultural references and at the end of the story these are explained in a little more detail. There is some wonderful vivid imagery that the author has carefully and superbly incorporated.

After I had finished Unlocked I had a wonderful sense of Helen being at peace. Also a little sad that it had finished, this is a story that I could have happily read in a longer format. The story is a tranquil and heartwarming read and I adored it and would definitely recommend it.

This is a beautiful story that has a perfectly matching and beautiful cover.

Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.

Soulla is a Women’s Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education and is a mother of three boys.

She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes.

Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters will be featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’ out in September 2017.

When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!

She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and is releasing her second novel, The Summer Will Come in Autumn/Winter 2017.

Follow Soulla on Twitter Website

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

Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman @LucyColemanAuth @rararesources #Bookreview #Giveaway (UK only)

I have been waiting for so long to share my review for Magic Under The Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman and finally my spot on the Blog Tour has arrived! 🙂

My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book. I have read a few books by this author and also under her real name of Linn B Hatton she is a fabulous author and I adore her books.

Now, let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

How gorgeous is that cover… let me tell you the story inside is just as gorgeous! 😍

Christmas and romance are in the air…

It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.

So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?

Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!

Purchase Link HERE

Leesa is not having the best day before Christmas Eve, stuck on a flight with an energetic child, then when she finally get to the airport she weather has taken a turn for the worse. It was fortunate that her client is on the same flight, but if her client didn’t keep moving the boundaries in a video shoot she had done, then she would have been home a few days earlier.

But sometimes fate intervenes.Her client Cary, has a proposition for Leesa and it is something that could benefit them both. Leesa would get a to stay in a gorgeous house overnight, but only if she agree’s to pose as Cary’s girlfriend.

In a world of deals, contracts and clauses, this agreement seems to be quite workable and it has surprising benefits as far as their respective families go. A handy pact to fill in the plus-one gap if you like.

This author has created a wonderful setting for this story that has characters who are stubborn and quite happily dig there heels in. Some are quite justified, but ramifications and truths will always rear their heads. Not everything that goes on in families is straight forward, and I gradually found out some surprising details within the families of this story.

Past loves and relationships leave there mark, it can affect how people react to others, how easy they trust people and also take advice. There are a few strong characters who don’t always want to listen to advice or suggestions. Sometimes it is what is not said that is the important bit to listen out for. There have been several things that had been skirted around and tey do have a little habit of popping up and spoiling things.

This is another fabulous, one-sitting read read from a wonderful author. It is a heartwarming story that at times took me by surprise, a fabulous story with brilliant characters and completely gripping from start to finish. Magic Under the Mistletoe was just that …Magic and I would definitely recommend it.

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. She writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

Social Media Links – WebsiteFacebookTwitter

There is a fabulous #GIVEAWAY for you to enter…

Giveaway to Win a Signed paperback copy of Snowflakes over Holly Cove and Christmas Pamper Pack. (UK only)

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

Enter Here via Rafflecopter

Good Luck xx

See what other Book Bloggers think of this book by checking out their stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing. If you entered the #Giveaway I wish you all the best 🙂 xx

Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton. I have had this on my kindle for a little while now and I am so glad I chose to read it, it is a stunning story.

Let’s see what it’s all about…

WHEN Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse.

Inside the Thorels’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’s blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

It is silk that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she strikes up a relationship with one of the journeyman weavers in her attic who teaches her to weave and unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household.

Oh, Wow!

Why have I waited so long to pick this book up? A fabulous Historical Fiction that has a smattering of romance, once I started it I didn’t want to step away from it for a second.

Starting in 1768 as a naive Sarah Kemp arrives at Spitalfields, London. She is basically scammed and is tricked into working in a brothel. With no prospect of leaving because of mounting debts, she is fortunate indeed that Esther Thorel takes a chance on Sarah and gives her employment.

Esther is the wife of a Huguenot Silk Master. She is the dutiful wife who fills her days with painting, embroidery and charitable works. A journeyman silk weaver works in her home. During the day he works on his employers’ silks, in his own time he works on his own with the hope that he will be able to become a Master himself. Seeing him work, Esther has an idea of her own.

I immediately felt wrapped up in this novel. Sarah was so naive and I felt for her and the situation she finds herself in. Esther I didn’t immediately take to, she felt a little too goody two shoes for me. It isn’t until the arrival of Sarah into the household that I saw a different side to Esther asnd my opinion of her definitely changed. In some ways, the women have similarities in their naiveness, but gradually they bring out the best in each other. They gain a sort of strength from each other.

It is soon apparent that as much as the household looks like it runs smoothly, there is a tension lying just below the surface. The tensions of the silk weaving community gradually make themselves known as silk prices fall due to cheaper calico imports. It threatens not only the silk masters but also the lower down the ladder weavers.

The author has done a great job of incorporating some of the techniques and terms of silk weaving into the story. It has literally been woven in strand by strand to create a stunning story. It compliments the story of the two women so well. Not only giving a great story but also something new that I was able to learn about.

The setting mixes the contrasts between the different social classes, the workers and the masters. Using the tension of the cheaper imports to build tension and an air of unrest in the community that also affects homelife.

This is a stunning story that took many surprising turns, it was insightful and an absolute pleasure to read. If you love Historical Fiction then you really should pick this one up, totally absorbing and addictive.

This is a book with such a stunning cover that I am probably going to buy the hardback even though I own the e-book version!

Highly Recommended!

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

#BlogTour : Fatal Masquerade by @vivwrites #BookReview

 

 

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Fatal Masquerade published 4th October 2017

Synopsis:

Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois are back in a gripping new adventure facing dangerous opponents at a masked ball in the countryside.

Masked danger…

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!

But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…

This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.

My Thoughts:

This is the fourth in the “Lady Alkmene Mystery” series of books.  I have read the first one “A Proposal to Die For”, so was interested to see what, if anything had changed or been carried through from the first one, as well as the more important on going character developments.

Alkmene is on her first visit to Hargrove Eastate with her relatively new friend, Denise Hargrove.  She is the daughter of the landowner but does not get on with his second wife, her step mother, Cecily.  Not getting on is an understatement, at times their relationship boarders on vicious. There is to be a masked ball at the estate, a large elaborate and lavish event that Alkmene is looking forward to.  The chance to get away from London and the investigations she is spending more time on.  She is surprised to see that Jake is also there, this is not the sort of event he would be socially invited to, so why was he there ? Then the inevitable happens, a murder!

As events come to pass Alkemene and her social status comes into play as she can talk more freely to guests, or should I say potential suspects.  Jake Dubois sudden appearance is ideal for Alkmene to bounce ideas and thoughts off as the duo are once again in the thick of it.  In this book, Lady Alkmene takes more a front seat, leading lady role as far as the investigative side of the plot is concerned.

I do think that Alkmene has grown a little stronger and more confident, she has lost some of her naivety but still manages to rush headlong into situations without thinking things through.  This is a book I really enjoyed reading, the thing that makes it work for me is the 1920’s  old style mystery feel it has.  There are quite a lot of different events that have been cleverly twisted together to make for some really good mystery.  Once again Vivian has created some very interesting characters who you will love, like and loathe.  Again touching on the social class differences of the time, she has managed to find the right balance that was still a prominent aspect of the time.

I would recommend this book to readers who like a slower, gentler paced mystery, that is well written, with good plots and several twists. A cosy, deductive mystery with a female sleuth.

 

About the Author:

Vivian Conroy discovered Agatha Christie at 13 and quickly devoured all Poirot and Miss Marple stories. Over time Lord Peter Wimsey and Brother Cadfael joined her favorite sleuths. Even more fun than reading was thinking up her own fog-filled alleys, missing heirs and priceless artifacts. So Vivian created feisty Lady Alkmene and enigmatic reporter Jake Dubois sleuthing in 1920s London and the countryside, first appearing in A PROPOSAL TO DIE FOR (published by Carina UK/Harper Collins).

For the latest #LadyAlkmene, with a dash of dogs and chocolate.

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Book details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1188 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: HQ Digital (4 Oct. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English

Amazon Book Links for the series:

A Proposal to Die for  | Diamonds of Death  | Deadly Treasures |Fatal Masquerade

Many thanks for reading my post.