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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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.

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Sunshine and Second Chances by Kim Nash #summerfiction #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Sunshine and Second Chances by Kim Nash. I read this book a few weeks ago and thought it was about time I shared this as it is a fabulous read. If you have read Kim’s previous books then you are not going to be disappointed.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

It’s never too late for second chances.

Liv wants her friends to think she has the perfect life. But honestly? She’s running on empty. Desperate from a break from her needy family, Liv is determined that as she and her three life-long friends turn fifty they will honour their promise to each other – made on a beach at sunrise twenty-nine years before – to celebrate this milestone together.

And what better place to celebrate than a gorgeous villa in the Algarve? They’ll enjoy the stunning beaches, picturesque fishing towns and glorious climate, and maybe be spoiled by the gorgeous Eduardo, who’s making one particular heart unexpectedly flutter…

Liv’s friends can’t wait to escape with her: Debs is newly single, Fiona is caring for her mum, and Samantha is grieving. But does time away make the heart grow fonder? Is the thought of returning to reality too hard to bear? Is what they have really all there is to life?

It begins as a reunion in the sunshine, but little do the four friends know what life-changing decisions they’ll all be making before their flight home…

A heart-warming, feel-good summer read about friendship, love and second chances. Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Milly Johnson and Holly Martin.

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

What happens when 4 women get together for a holiday in a gorgeous villa in Portugal? Well after the initial awkwardness of not seeing each other for years passes there is laughter, tears and revelations. The woman are 50 or almost 50. They have different backgrounds, styles and personalities but they are all stuck in the rut and monotony of life. A week away is a chance to reconnect and gives them each a chance to be honest.

This author has created yet another one sitting read and what a wonderful read it was as well. I really like the idea of the 4 women getting away and seeing how they react and interact with each other. None of them are truly happy but what can they do about it, after all that is life… right!

I was hooked from the first couple of pages as I was gradually introduced to the women, had a glimpse into their lives until their arrival at their holiday destination. They are normal everyday women and go through life as women do, as mothers, as wives or single. The scenarios the authors weaves for the women at home are realistic and believable, and for me this is what makes this story work.

As the title suggests, this is about second chances. It is a chance to get off the roller-coaster of life for a while and take stock of what you have, what you dreamt about or where you see yourself. It is like a coming of age story but for adult women rather than teens.

The story is perfectly paced and there are so many heartwarming moments, as well as the odd sharp word, well after all you do have 4 menopausal women together! In fact one of my favourite scenes is when there is a discussion about the menopausal, it had me in sniggering knowingly.

A perfect escapism read and one that I adored from start to finish. A story about 4 women reconnecting, admitting the truth and then doing something about it. Brilliant story and definitely recommended.

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

The Beauty of Broken Things by Victoria Connelly @VictoriaDarcy @rararesources #rararesources #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Beauty of Broken THings by Victoria Connelly. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this beautifully written book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

United by tragedy, can two broken souls make each other whole?

After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.

Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.

When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.

As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?

Buy your copy from Amazon – UKUSAUS

This was an amazing read full of emotion that was a mix of heartbreaking storylines but with a glimpse of something better in the future.

The main characters are Orla and Luke, they don’t know each other. It is only when Luke checks his wife’s phone that he discovers she was friends with someone called BB. Helen and BB had an online friendship and an interest in photography. It is through the photographs that Luke is able to track down BB and discover who BB is.

Orla is a recluse, she lives in a castle. She doesn’t speak to anyone, she wont answer the door and she only goes out to walk her dog on a close by beach. He withdrawal from people is a sad story and it explains why her only presence is online with her photography.

The link between the Orla and Luke is Helen, a woman who had wanted to live life through her photography but settles for a job that pays the bills. It is when she decides that her and Luke are secure enough for her to finally take the chance and change her career. This is when tragedy strikes and her life is cut short.

The story is sad and there where many times I had tears and was just able to keep them at bay. There was a simple line in the story that broke me though and it was such a simple and yet poignant one “She left the world with a smile,” at the end of chapter 6. It summed up how Helen saw the life.

The story that followed was about how Luke and Orla gradually become friends, one helping the other to overcome grief and pain. Challenging each other to take steps, but while one of them is taking steps forward the other is in denial and hides in the shadow of grief. It is a story about things happening when it is time for them and when you are ready to face them. Grief and tragedy cannot be measured and categorised into simple stages with a time limit on each stage.

This is a stunning read and one that I read in one sitting. It is emotional as the author takes the reader into the lives of two people that have had two very different things happen to them. Even though these events are different they still have to go through similar processes of acceptance. While reading the story I was willing the two main characters forward, but I also knew that there would be setbacks.

A fabulous story that I thoroughly enjoyed, heartwarming and emotional as well as one of hope. The title is just perfect and it fits so wonderfully with the story. I would definitely recommend The Beauty of Broken Things.

Victoria Connelly studied English Literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.

Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

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Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 @annecater #randomthingstors #romance #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Escape to the French Farmhouse by Jo Thomas. This is an author who I will automatically read without reading a synopsis, and will always make room for. She has such a fabulous style and I love her stories. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Let ma show you what it is all about…

A heart-warming tale of a woman reclaiming her life in the lavender fields of Provence. Filled with warmth and recipes.

Can she find her recipe for happiness?


Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier… a new life in France – without Ollie.


Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?


A heart-warming tale about reclaiming your life, set amongst the lavender fields of Provence.


Perfect escapism from the author of Late Summer in the Vineyard and The Honey Farm on the Hill.

What a gorgeous book this was as Jo Thomas once again delivers a wonderful read. Del and Ollie had dreams of a new life in rural Provence, unfortunately their marriage is rather like the old house they move into, crumbling! They both decide it is time to go back home, but Del has a change of heart and decides to stay.

Thank goodness for Ralph, loyal if a little disobedient, Oh he is the dog by the way. With her mind made up, Del decides to make a go of living in a foreign country alone, with no money and no friends. As she starts to find her way around the local market, she learns a little more about the farmhouse and the lavender that used to be grown there.

It is not long before Del finds that there is more to her than meets the eye, a shame she doesn’t see it herself. This is a gorgeous book with some fabulous characters, Dell herself is one of life’s helpers and people seem to be drawn to her.

With stunning scenery and characters what is there not to like. While all sounds perfect and idyllic there are clouds on the horizon and they show themselves soon enough.

This is another wonderful read and one that definitely warms the heart. Uncertainty and nerves of a new start and the support of friends help move this story along and I was easily transported to the perfumed lavender hills of the location and I stayed there for the whole afternoon as I read this book from start to finish. This is another Jo Thomas book that I would definitely recommend. A wonderful read that is an ideal for for pure escapism from everyday life.

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first
for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and
Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie
Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a
runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan
Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook
Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and
three children.

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Swallowtail Summer by Erica James #contemporaryfiction #holidayfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Swallowtail Summer by Erica James. This is an author who I have not read before and after reading Swallowtail Summer I will be keeping my eye for more by her.

Let me show you what this is all about…

It was the summer it all ended . . . It was the summer a new story began.

Linston End has been the summer home to three families for several decades. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together. But recently widowed Alastair is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all… Can these friends learn to live life to its fullest?

Fans of Fern Britton and Katie Fforde will love escaping into summertime with this warm-hearted, uplifting story set in the beauty of the Norfolk Broads.

Do not be taken in by this beautiful cover, there is something dark lurking behind it.

Linston End was left to Alistair, it is a house on the Norfolk Broads and is a place where he and his friends have met up every year. Alistair, Simon and Danny have always been friends, well more brothers than friends. They have all married and some have children. Summer holidays are taken at the house with the families coming together.

This summer is different, this summer Alistair is bringing someone new and his friends are nervous and worried. The newcomer is Valentina, she is the new lady in his life and has a chance at a new start. With changes ahead, tension is ever-present during the summer holiday.

The author has done a wonderful job are creating a stunning setting for Swallowtail Summer, the house sounds like such an idyllic place for old friends and their families to come together. A chance to catch-up and reminisce about old times. But with the arrival of Valentina things are different. There is an air of mistrust at her arrival. The author mentions, partway through the story, that some things from the past have been swept under the carpet, they have been things that others may have been aware of but not voiced. With the added tension of Valentina nerves are a little frayed. Comments are made and past events alluded to, and gradually the ticking time-bomb of the past ignites.

This is a story that is quite captivating as I do like a story with a past, with secrets and with a touch of the dramatic, and this story does have those. It also has the dynamics of family and friends who are close, but apparently not quite as close as they like to think as they have all held something back.

There is quite a lot of intrigue throughout and as to have a fresh start you do have to deal with the past first, it means admitting your part in the events before moving on. I like the way this had all been laid out and then gradually pulled together for quite an ending.

A very enjoyable read that will appeal to readers of a slower-paced story about family, friends, secrets, the past and the future. It is one I would recommend.

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