Wishing Under a Starlit Skye by Lisa Hobman @LisaJHobmanAuth @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #romance #contemporaryfiction #netgalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Wishing Under a Starlit Skye by Lisa Hobman. This is a wonderful read and one I absolutely adored.

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 book via NetGalley.

Wishing Under A Starlit Skye
Glentorrin bakery owner, and lone parent, Caitlin Fraser, is single and finally ready to mingle.
With her daughter, Grace, about to become a teenager, and her friends all settling down, Caitlin decides she deserves a shot at happiness too.


Resisting the pull of dating apps, Caitlin embarks upon a series of disastrous singles events where she bumps into fellow villager, and astronomy buff, Archie Sutherland, who is nursing his own past secrets.
When Grace’s best friend’s father, handsome Lyle Budge, asks Caitlin to dinner, things progress quickly and she has a taste of what their future as a family could be, much to both their daughters delight! But when Archie makes a shocking discovery, and he turns to Caitlin for help, she soon discovers Lyle isn’t the sharing type, meaning prickly ultimatums loom for everyone.


Will wishing upon the stars over Glentorrin help Caitlin to figure out her way forward? Or is her hunt for romance like a once in a lifetime comet, easily missed in the blink of an eye?


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

This is the second book I have read set on Skye by this author and I have to say both have been gorgeous reads. The author does a recap with some of the characters, but this latest one could also be read as a stand-alone.

Caitlin and her daughter Grace are two strong and lovely characters. Caitlin has lived on Skye since just before Grace was born. Grace’s father is not on the scene and the relationship mum and daughter have is amazing. They are supportive of each other. Friends have been pushing Caitlin towards trying dating, something she hasn’t done since before Grace, and Grace thinks it’s a great idea.

What better than being in a relationship with Grace’s best friends Dad, Lyle. He sounds like such a nice man, supportive of his daughter and such a nice man. Caitlin however mentions how Grace came to be and it doesn’t go down as well as she hoped. Not everyone knows about Grace’s conception, but then it’s not something that Caitlin or Grace have spoken to others about.

This is a fabulous book that I read in one sitting, it was definitely one of those books where I kept saying “I’ll just read one more chapter”… and then just kept going!

Being part of a family or choosing to start a family is different for many people, Caitlin is one that decided what she wanted and has done an amazing job by herself, much to the disgust of her mother.

The island community of Skye is a wonderful idyllic sounding one that the author has created. The supporting cast for this story are a wonderful bunch, there when you need them and also to give the odd honest opinion when it is most needed.

As the story gradually led into the main section, it is friends that give Caitlin a nudge, but it is ultimately up to Caitlin to do something about it. This is not just a simple and straightforward romance where two people meet and that’s it, no, this is a story that throws up some really interesting scenarios and it makes for such an addictive read.

A story that fans of contemporary fiction and romance will adore. Not the standard romance, or family set up and I think this is what makes this so good, it has a realistic feel to it. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lisa Hobman has written many brilliantly reviewed women’s fiction titles – the first of which was shortlisted by the RNA for their debut novel award. In 2012 Lisa relocated her family from Yorkshire to a village in Scotland and this beautiful backdrop now inspires her uplifting and romantic stories. Her first title for Boldwood Dreaming Under an Island Skye was published in February 2021.


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Heartcross Castle by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow @rararesources #LoveHeartLane #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for the latest book in the Love Heart Lane series. Heartcross Castle by Christie Barlow is the 7th book in the series, and yes I have read and loved every one of them. If you know this series then you know you will be in for yet another treat.

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

Heartcross Castle
Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what
A second chance…
When her grandfather Marley passes away Grace Power discovers she’s been left the beautiful but crumbling estate of Heartcross Castle. As a single mum of three, Grace has no idea what she’s going to do with it – but who can say no to a roof over their kids’ heads and a chance to get away from past hurts?
And a forever home
Heartcross Castle is full of secrets – especially a lost security deposit box that holds the truth to everything… But when celebrity chef Andrew Glossop sets his eyes on the castle and, to make matters worse, mistakes Grace as the new housekeeper, Grace tells him there is absolutely NO CHANCE he is getting his hands on her home.
 
Devastated to have got it so wrong, Andrew will do anything to make it up to her – but is she willing to listen?

Purchase Links Amazon – UK US

MY REVIEW

I know that there are many readers out there that adore the Love Heart Lane series, I am definitely one of them. This is book 7 and it keeps getting better and better, I do think this one may be my favourite so far.

Running away from home and Heartcross Castle as a teen was something that Grace felt she had to do. Years later she finds herself realising that life hadn’t been a bed of roses, but at least she had her three sons. Her life revolves around them and when she receives a letter she knows that this is the thing she has been waiting for. A fresh start for her and her boys.

I have read and loved every one of the books in this series, they can be read as stand-alone as they are a story in their own right. What you will miss out on is how the community has been connected, brought together and developed with each book.

Grace returns to her childhood home, but rather than being the gorgeously decorated castle she finds a run-down, unloved looking place that definitely needs work. Her first impression isn’t good, but gradually it is her sons that give her the inspiration she needs to see past the grime and tatty facade. It is the community that will give her the support and rekindle the lost friendships because this is what this community does best.

Andrew her neighbour, well he could not be more different to Grace if he tried. Their first meeting didn’t go well when he mistakes her for being the housekeeper! It sort of sets the tone of his characters and shows how out of touch with the real world and everyday life he really is.

Thank goodness for the three boys, who are just adorable. They are mischievous, cute, funny and they themselves steal the show for this story. While they are a major part of the story, they just crop up in the best parts and in the best way. I imagine the author chuckling as she wrote their antics into the story.

This is once again another fabulous addition to the series. It is heartwarming, at times sad, with plenty of surprises and revelations but most of all it has all the magic of previous books, once again cementing another wonderful set of characters into this series. I adored this one a huge amount and it is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

– Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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

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

As always, my huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book via NetGalley.

Cambridgeshire – March 1939


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


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


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


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


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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The Story of Our Secrets by Shari Low @sharilow @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Story of Our Secrets by Shari Low. This is a gorgeously written and very emotional book.

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 book via NetGalley.

Colm O’Flynn was loved by his close circle of family and friends, however, his death came too soon for everyone to make peace with their past.


Shauna, his second wife, adored him. But one night she broke their marriage vows and didn’t get time to ask Colm’s forgiveness.
Jess was the first Mrs O’Flynn. Her heart is set on someone new, but will the last one night stand she shared with Colm come back to haunt her?


Colm’s best friend, Dan, is recently divorced. Can he take a second shot at happiness if it means betraying the one person who always had his back?


What no one knows is that somewhere out there Colm left messages that could set them free to start over again.


Can divine intervention help them find Colm’s last wishes before it’s too late to love again?


Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW


What an absolutely gorgeous and emotional book the author has created with Thre Story of Our Secrets. When Colm is diagnosed with a brain tumour, he doesn’t sit and discuss the practical things about life after his death with his wife Shauna. He has never discussed anything important that would involve emotions. Shauna is not the only person he left behind, there is his daughter Beth, his ex-wife Jess and their twin sons, and also his business partner and best mate Dan.

This is an emotional roller coaster as I gradually got to know the people that are important in the life of Shauna. She is good friends with Jess, the ex-wife and both of their families fit together as one. Trying to cope with grief and also the anger of not knowing what to do for the best, Shauna is struggling, Dan is also struggling as is Jess. These three need to move on, but they are finding it difficult. Life is not the same with Colm.

While this story is obviously sad at times, there is also a lot of good happy things going on in it. The biggest feeling that came through for me was that very tentative thread of hope and wanting the characters to move forward in their lives. And did the author make these characters go through it or what!!! SHe didn’t give them an easy route and this made the story so much the better. Nothing about life is particularly easy and before any of the characters can move forward they have to face some truths, and also hear some secrets.

This is a fabulous book to snuggle up and read. It had me with watery eyes with several of the scenes, but also feeling that it was time for the next step. The author has created some amazing characters and with them comes some fabulous dramatics and drama. The storyline is one that fans of romance and contemporary fiction will really enjoy. I adored this book and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 25 novels, including One Day In Summer, My One Month Marriage, and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Review…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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One Summer Sunrise by Shari Low @sharilow @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks #contemporaryfiction #NetGalley #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for One Summer Sunrise by Shari Low. This was an absolutely gorgeous read. 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 book via NetGalley.

As the sun rises on a hot summer’s day, four lives are about to be changed forever…

Brand new from the bestselling author of What If?, What Now? and One Day In Summer.

Today, Maisie McTeer decides to track down the ex who jilted her at the altar. Today, she’ll find out that revisiting the past can also rewrite her future. 

After losing her husband, Harriet Bassett can no longer bear her lonely life. Today, a familiar face in a crowd will spark a quest to discover if there’s something and someone worth living for. 

Scott and Kelly Bassett’s daughter is leaving home. Today, Scott plans to tell Kelly that he’s ending their marriage to pursue his rock and roll dreams. 

However, Kelly, has a bombshell of her own. How will Scott react to the news that a new arrival is on the way to fill their empty nest? 

Between sunrise and sunset, there’s love, heartbreak, laughter and tears, but who will find happiness at the end of the day?

Purchase HERE

My Review…

The synopsis gives a quick introduction to the main characters of the story, Maisie, Harriet, Kelly Scott. Along with other family and friends, this is the story of one day in the summer.

Oh, my goodness did I love this story! I was completely wrapped up in the lives of the characters and how in one day their lives all changed dramatically. The author did such a wonderful job of introducing the characters in such a way that they became easily memorable. Even though the focus is on the main characters, the supporting ones are just as important, without them, this would be a very different story.

The supporting characters are to help interlink the main characters and bring them together and also weave an emotionally charged story. As well as this there are snippets of backgrounds, relationships, family and friends that create a much bigger picture.

This is a story that has a whole lot going on, there are moments when grief and guilt make an appearance, but this is what happens in real life. There are also some inappropriate comments, some well-meaning comments, quite a few giggles and some wonderful heartfelt moments. The story is one that deals with family, friends and relationships. While on the outside lives can look great, you’re not always aware of things that are hidden away.

The author gradually works her characters and the storyline to provide a book that is very addictive. She effortlessly glides between characters and weaves her tale. I adore this book from the very start, and then there was that final section. Oh my! what a wonderful ending, it left me with tears.

A fabulous story about family and friends, of happiness, guilt and grief all worked together to give a stunning read. One for fans of contemporary fiction and family drama. Great book and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter and With Or Without You and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow and her first title for Boldwood was My One Month Marriage in January 2020.

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Nellie’s Heartbreak by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #NetGalley #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Nellie’s Heartbreak by Rosie Clarke. I love this authors books and her latest one is another fabulous historical fiction read.

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 wonderful book via NetGalley.

Nellie’s Heartbreak

A new stand-alone saga set in Yorkshire around out the outbreak of the second world war and the unlikely relationship between a master and servant.


As a small child, Nellie Peace was always dreaming but sensed her mother’s rejection.  

Abandoned and sent into service at Beaumont House at an early age, Nellie is lost and alone until she meets the unpredictable and reclusive artist, Lucas Harrington and falls in love with him.

This unlikely association between master and servant is encouraged by Lucas’s gentle natured Aunt Alice as Lucas sees something unusual in Nellie and is compelled to paint her. 


Broken promises lead to inevitable heartbreak and Nellie flees Beaumont House in disgrace for London. 
Alone again, Nellie must learn to live and fend for herself and her new-born child.

Can Nellie win a second chance of happiness and can she solve the mystery of her mother’s tortured past?

Purchase Link – Amazon

My review…

What a very apt title for the latest book by Rosie Clarke. Nellie has not had the best life growing up, but she has had it better than some. As soon as she is old enough to leave school her mother finds her a place in service. Not something Nellie expected or was aware of until she finished her last day at school and was whisked off for a new life.

You could say that her life in service was the making of Nellie, but also one that was the breaking of her. A sensible girl growing up, a hard worker, honest and a loyal friend. When Lucas spots her she becomes his muse, Lucas is the son of the house. A serving girl is definitely not the same class or carry the same status. What starts as a friendship gradually turns to more and leads to a real heartbreaking time for Nellie.

The author has done such a wonderful job to bring Nellie from a teenager into a woman. Having the love and excitement that comes with it only to be wrenched away. Battling through emotions, Nellie manages to overcome heartache and loss. Much of this is down to some wonderful friendships. It is this friendly nature of Nellie that really does shine through, as well as a stubborn pride.

The beginning section of the book could easily be something out of Downton Abby, with those upstairs and those downstairs. The author shows different sides and opinions to either side. Being set in the late 1930s there is a change in attitudes, some new ideas are challenging the old but not all are accepted.

Nellie has a good solid support system around her, a childhood friend, Tom has always had a soft spot for her, Alice, Mrs Jones, Iris and several others have taken to her and offered help and given advice. It is Nellie who has made the decisions in her life and taken the paths she thinks to be the right ones. Sometimes doing what feels right is hard, but the right paths are not always the easy ones as she will soon discover.

A fabulous story and be for lovers of historical fiction and romance as well as sagas. A captivating and completely absorbing story that I adored from start to finish and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire. Rosie’s brand new saga series, Welcome to Harpers Emporium began in December 2019.

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Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood @Authormary #panmacmillan @RandomTTours #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls by Mary Wood. I am a huge fan of this author and her books and this is the second book in the series.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this fabulous book.

A heart-warming saga about female friendship from the bestselling author of The Jam Factory Girls.
Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls is a moving saga novel of friendship set in the heart of pre-WWI London from
bestselling author, Mary Wood.


Elsie’s worked her way up at Swift’s Jam Factory from the shop floor to the top, and now it’s her time to shine. But
when she’s involved in an incident involving her half-sister Millie’s new husband, she is forced to keep it secret – the
truth could threaten their sisterly bond.


Dot is dogged by fear, coming to terms with her mother’s rejection of her. She should be enjoying the happiness she
craves with her beloved Cess; instead, she’s trapped in an asylum, haunted by the horrifying cries of inmates. All she
wants is to get married, but what chance is there for her if she’s locked away?


Millie is trying to build a life with her new husband. But the man she loves is not all he seems . . .


Can the Jam Factory girls create the future they all deserve?


This historical saga series begins with The Jam Factory Girls.

My Review…

This is the second book in the Jam Factory Girls series and it does continue on from the previous book, but you could read it as a stand-alone, but you would miss out on a great story and intro to the girls.

Life has changed for Elise and Millie as their sisterly bond becomes closer. In fact, the bond between Cess, Bert and all the characters becomes closer. Within this closeness, there is still the feeling of not belonging as Millie has lived a very different lifestyle to that of her new fond family. These differences can be overcome and realisations are discussed as each person finds where they feel more at home.

This closeness is going to be tested, and not in a way I had ever envisioned. I don’t ever read the synopsis for any of this authors books, I just know I want to read them and that is just what I do. The Jam Factory is improving, and not just in the profits but also in production since Elsie and Millie have had more of an input. Working conditions and the health and well being of their mostly female staff has worked wonders.

With the slowly changing attitudes, things do have the appearance of looking up, there is however the old fashioned attitude that is still very strong, an attitude of ” this is how things have always been” still has a firm foothold. Challenging this attitude both on the work and homelife front is something that will be a strength of will.

This is a wonderful historical fiction that I adored, as I mentioned this is a continuation and it was great to catch up with the girls and their families. The author really does encompass so many things in the time of the setting. Hints and nudges towards working condition, family life, status, a little of the politics and of course it is all wrapped up in a wonderful story.

the author never makes things easy for her characters, or for that matter her readers as she does put us all through the wringer. I did find this book angered me a lot as the attitudes of the time and of particular characters are so bloody-minded and it is the strength of the writing that brings out the feelings.

A superb read as always from a fabulous author. If you are a fan of historical fiction, sagas and family dramas from a time gone by then you are going to get on so well with this author. I would definitely recommend this book.

About the Author…

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family was poor, but rich in love. Mary raised four children and has numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


An avid reader, she first put pen to paper in 1989 and is now a full-time novelist. She is the bestselling author of
numerous books, including The Abandoned Daughter and The Brave Daughters.

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Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas #festivefiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share m,y review today for Finding Love at the Chriwtmas Market by Jo Thomas. I am a huge fan of this author and it is no real surprise to me as to how much I loved this book!So here is what it is all about…

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Synopsis…

Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners along with her…

Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a checklist of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.

Will Connie’s wish for love this Christmas come true, and if so – with who?

My Review…

If you are looking for a fabulous festive feel-good book then look no further than this one. Grab a big old mug of hot chocolate, put on your favourite Christmas jumper and snuggle into a warm blanket and settle down to read Finding Love at the Christmas Market.

Connie is a meal delivery driver and has made friends with the elderly residents at residents she delivers to. It was Elsie’s last wish that she return to her home in Germany and so Connie and the residents get in the minibus to carry out Elsie’s final wishes. Oh, and to make sure that Connie is ok when she meets Heinrichwho she met online and is now going to meet in person.

Connie is a woman who lives by her lists, but does ticking all the boxes mean she will succeed? The author throws a spanner in the mix in the form of William. While Heinrich is organised, neat and punctual, William is the exact opposite. So is it organised or chaos that will win the day?

Now, the residents sound like an amazing bunch and yes they older than Connie but this means they have experience and also a few hidden secrets. They are such an amazing bunch of characters and as I got to know them I got to adore their different personalities. Sharing their experiences of happy times definitely brought a lump to my throat.

I did mention earlier hot chocolate, I should also mention the gingerbread, this book just oozes delicious-ness with festive fare and the aroma of gingerbread. Once again the author has brought the sights, sounds and smells of the towns to life. Traditional and modern are mixed into this story along with rivalry, friendship, new acquaintances and fulfilling wishes and promises.

The spirit of Christmas in a more nostalgic sense is definitely here within these pages. It brings home that Christmas is about friends, families and making memories. It is a truly wonderful read that has a touch of humour, a dash of romance, a sprinkling of memories and is such a wonderful read that I cannot help but absolutely recommend it.

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

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

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

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

War imprisoned them,
friendship set them free.

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


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


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

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

Pre-order you copy today –KINDLEHARDBACKAudiobook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Hazel on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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