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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Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis @I_W_M @angelamarymar @RandomTTours #wartimeclassics #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Pathfinders by Cecil Lewis. This is a wartime classis that is being republished by the Imperial War Museum.

I wish to thank Anne at Random Things tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book.

Here is some information about the Imperial War Museum…


IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts
involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas
and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our
five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to
look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and
consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.


IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open
extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an
iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation
museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret
headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

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IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUMS TO PUBLISH ANOTHER NOVEL IN THEIR WARTIME CLASSICS SERIES FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE FAMOUS MEMOIR SAGITTARIUS RISING


In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics series which was launched in
September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back
into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict firsthand.


First published in 1944 and set over the course of one night in 1942, the story follows the fate of six crew
members of a Wellington bomber ‘P for Pathfinder’ thrown together by chance from different corners of the
world. They each reflect on the paths of their own lives, as they embark on a fateful mission deep into the
heart of Nazi Germany. Cecil Lewis’ novel examines the life of every man in turn, rendering a moving
account of each as not merely a nameless crew member, but as an individual with a life lived, ‘a life precious
to some, or one… these men with dreams and hopes and plans of things to come.”


Cecil Lewis was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of
pilots to fly, including his own son. It was while doing this training that he wrote Pathfinders. Pupils were
graded by the time it took them to fly solo – the best became fighters and then bombers. The RAF’s Bomber
Command was the only branch of the armed forces that could take direct action against Germany and in
1942 the strategic air offensive changed from precision to area bombing where whole cities were targeted in
order to destroy factories as well as the morale of those who worked in them.


The ‘pathfinders’ of the story were needed because often the bombers could not find the towns and cities
they were destined to attack at night, let alone the industrial centres within. The crew used coloured marker
flares to guide the bombers to their targets and the crews selected (often from the USA, Canada and NZ as
well as Britain) were the best night flying crews who were able to find the target unaided. As a pilot who
took part in both World Wars, Cecil Lewis brings his unique experience to bear, shining a light on this vital
and sometimes contested aspect of Britain’s Second World War focusing on the sacrifice made by the Allied
airmen it depicts.


IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the
wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable
projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and
helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

My Review…

I am so glad that The Imperial War Museum has republished this book. Originally published in 1944 I was expecting a book that focused mainly on World WarII, instead, I got a great book that told me of individuals and their personal lives.

Pathfinders is a fabulous read and the focus is on the crew of P for Pathfinder, a Wellington bomber. The crew are of mixed nationalities from as far afield as Canada and Australia. The author begins this book with quite a sombre opening and gives details of where the war is at, or at what stage it is at. He then goes onto delve into the background of each of the crew.

Each crew member gets a chapter and the author gives a brief history of the parents and living conditions or lifestyles of the time. It then goes into more detail about the crew member and how or why they made the journey to join up.

This is a very insightful and quite a poignant book that has some wonderful descriptions and observations, at times it leans toward a literary fiction style and I found these sections to be such a pleasure to read. It is not an action-packed book as such but it does feel very personal.

There is an introduction at the beginning of the book from one of the historians of the museum. I didn’t read this as I just wanted to get straight into the story, but I did glance over it afterwards.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it gives each crew member a face and a story rather than just being part of a bomber. It is a book that readers who like WWII accounts, stories and historical fiction readers will enjoy. Something a little different for me compared to my usual reads and one I would recommend.

About the Author…

Cecil Lewis (1898 – 1997) was a British fighter ace in the First World War and his
memoir Sagittarius Rising became a classic of the literature from that war, considered by many to be the
definitive account of aerial combat. He was a flying instructor for the RAF during the Second World War where he taught hundreds of pilots to fly, including his own son. After the war he was one of the founding
executives of the BBC and enjoyed friendships with many of the creative figures of the day, including George
Bernard Shaw, winning an Academy Award for co-writing the 1938 film adaptation of Shaw’s Pygmalion. He
had a long and varied career but retained a passion for flying all his life. In 1969 he sailed a boat to Corfu
where he spent the remainder of his life, dying two months short of his 99th birthday. He was the last
surviving British fighter ace of the First World War.

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Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson. This was such an amazing historical fiction novel that I read mid April. I requested this via Amazon Vine.

Venice, 1943: Under the Nazi occupation, life is increasingly perilous for Italian Jews. Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive – to leave her beloved parents and hide in the countryside, posing as the bride of man she has only just met.

Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to return home to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he refuses to remain a bystander to Nazi and fascist atrocities. The only way to keep Nina safe – and protect secrets of his own – is to convince prying eyes that their sudden marriage is a love match.

But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbours are wary of this soft, educated stranger. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico.

As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their relationship deepens, transforming into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart…

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it was such a wonderful as well as heartbreaking read. It is a historical fiction that is set against the backdrop of WWII and the persecution of the Jews.

As the synopsis tells, this is the story of Nico and Nina. Nina is a Jew in Venice, through connections with her father she is helped out of the country by Nico and poses as his wife. They two have never met before, but they do become friends and then further entwined as a fuller relationship develops.

The story is very well researched, and there is a good section at the back of the book going into more detail. The story is based on true events and the author has then woven such an incredible and moving story. The life Nina once led is very different to the one she now embraces on the farm. There are so many things for her to learn and also she has to keep the secret of her Jewish roots and of the pretend marriage.

As the persecution of the Jews increases and the reach of Hitler, there is a point where Nina becomes concerned. It is not only Nina but also Nico that is also at risk. He has not only helped her but has been helping with the moving of other people. He will do what he can to help who he can, but this does put him in the sights of a certain German officer.

The author then takes the story into a much more harrowing section, that of the camps. It is here that the emotions for me really came, the sense of loss and uncertainty between life and death. The emaciation and the fear have been done with a balance of hope. That hope does flicker day by day as the war continues.

The author has created a story that I found so very addictive, it is one that’s full of heartbreak and also of hope. Of love, friendship and of family. I did have tears and I found it to be quite emotional at times. This is one for those readers who like historical fiction and saga style books. This was a stunning book to read and one that I would definitely recommend.

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Cuban Heel (Alex Cohen #5) by Leopold Borstinski #CubanHeel #AlexCohenSeries @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for the latest Alex Cohen book, Cuban Heel (Alex Cohen #5) by Leopold Borstinski. I have read and loved everyone of these books and this one has moved on another decade to the 50s.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Would you work with the devil to build a paradise on Earth?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen joins long-time friend and business partner, Meyer Lansky to recreate Las Vegas in 1950s Havana. When dictator President Batista gives them the opportunity to build their dream casino complexes, Alex must choose between dancing with this devil or being in debt to the Italian mob.

If he takes the mafia money then he will be tied to the men who planned his earlier downfall and removed his mentor, Lucky Luciano from the syndicate. If he refuses their investment then he will be beholden to the tinpot generalissimo and his bloated ego. But Alex knows that there is more at stake than mere gelt–now he has his family surrounding him and they will suffer the ultimate price if he makes a bad decision.

The fifth book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which tears at the heart of the Jewish mob’s role in pre-revolution Cuba. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction gives each reader the shocking skinny into the building of modern America.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US – Direct from Leopold’s Website

My Review…

The setting is the 1950s, the place in Cuba and this is the 5th book in the Alex Cohen series. The author has created a series that follows the life, relationship, work and family of Jew, Alex Cohen. A man who had nothing and who has turned a profit from his various wheelings and dealings, oh and the occasional murder!

Cuba is the new Vegas for Alex’s business colleague Lansky Meyer. A country that will see the gambling empire that Meyer to possibly come to fruition. A place that he can call his own and is free from the mobs and bosses, as well as Hoover and the FBI.

Alex is a hustler, he has worked with and alongside the big bosses and now that he is back with his wife Sarah he wants a more settled life. While he is still in the thick of things, he is thinking more about the impact things could have on his family. In the past, he has been very much an act now think later guy. As he has aged and gained experience he is looking at a different lifestyle and that Cuba may provide that.

As this series does contain references to historical events, I was aware of the troubles that await Alex as Cuba, or Castro makes himself known. Being “in bed” with a president doesn’t make it a safe place when Castro makes his move.

Once again, the author has completely had me hooked on what happens next with Alex. Even though he is a rogue, I do have a soft spot for him as I have followed him from his beginnings and arrival in the US. Each decade the author takes his characters into have historical references and these are worked well in the stories.

Again Alex is at the forefront and he has certain roles, not just as a father and husband but also as a businessman. Wanting to leave certain parts of his past in the past is not easier. He is a man with a reputation and this means he is the man to go to. I do like how the author keeps him in the thick of things and never makes things plain sailing. The action and drama of Alex’s life never stop and this makes this such an exciting series.

A series that I adore and if you like historical fiction, gangsters, action, mobs and dubious dealings then this is one for you. I would definitely recommend this series and also this latest book.

About the Author…

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

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The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley @SheilaRileyAuthor @rararesources #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Mersey Mistress by Sheila Riley. This is a fabulous historical fiction novel and it is the first book I have read by this author. I will be reading more.

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.

BRAND NEW FROM LIVERPOOLS’ VERY OWN BESTSELLING AUTHOR, SHEILA RILEY

1910 LIVERPOOL DOCKS.


Ruby Swift is a hard-working, straight-talking woman of substance who does not suffer fools gladly,
But when tragedy strikes on a bitter Christmas Eve, Ruby and her beloved Archie take matters into their own hands when a trusted employee’s house is mysteriously engulfed by flames and lives are lost.
Orphaned by the fire, Ruby welcomes heartbroken sixteen-year-old Anna Cassidy, into her home and family but circumstances conspire against them and she is unable to save Anna’s twelve-year-old brother Sam Cassidy, who is sent by the Church to Canada as a Homeboy. 
Can Ruby help mend a broken heart and can these two children ever be reunited or is there another higher game in play?

Mersey Mistress takes you on a journey to another time, another place. From the banks of the River Mersey to the frozen waters of the Canadian Saint Laurence River.

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

This is such an addictive historical fiction story that fans of sagas will love. The intro to the story is hard and cruel, it is representative of a time gone by.

Set in 1910 in the dock area of Liverpool the author weaves the story of two women. One who has turned her back on all she knows for happiness. The other trying to the best she can. Both women have suffered tragedy in their lives. They have endured the pain of losing family. Yet they have fought through and are survivors.

This is quite an emotional story at times, that did pull at the heartstrings. There are so many ups and downs that I found myself unable to stop reading. The author has captured the feel of society and also of the conditions of the time. She has successfully used her characters to show the good and the bad in a society of the time.

The story is such a fabulous read and even though it has heart-breaking moments, I also felt that it was balanced with a sense of hope. This is one that historical fiction/ romance and family saga readers are going to adore. It has the feel of the start of a much longer story, and I would love to see a follow-up. I read this in one sitting, it was that good and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy for Boldwood under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years. She still lives in Liverpool. Her new trilogy began with The Mersey Orphan in September 2019.

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Girl With Secrets by Carol Rivers @carol_rivers @rararesources #GuestPost

I am delighted to share a post with you today from, Carol Rivers, the author of Girl With Secrets. I wish I had the time to read all the books I see and I know this is one that would be right up my street!

My thanks to Rachel at Rachels Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for organising wonderful Guest Post for me today to share with you all.

A coming of age war story and family saga full of romance, mystery and danger in London’s East End. From the Sunday Times and ebook bestselling author of the Lizzie Flowers series and A Wartime Christmas comes a gripping NEW coming-of-age saga about love, loyalties and secrets.



IN THE TURMOIL OF WAR, CAN SHE KEEP HER FAMILY TOGETHER?

‘Surely one of the best saga writers of her time’ – Rosie Clarke

1938, East London. Nine year old Daisy Purbright is a country girl at heart and together with beloved brother Bobby, they’ve enjoyed the endless freedoms of rural England.

But when her father gambles the family’s fortunes on a speculative investment in London’s docklands, Daisy and her family are swept up into the intrigue, danger and excitement.Desperately the Purbrights attempt to settle to a new life in the East End, but the whisperings of war grow louder.

Then, one late afternoon in September 1940, Adolf Hitler conducts a paralysing bombardment on London and war tightens its grip. Life changes dramatically and closely guarded secrets threaten the Purbrights’ happiness.

Can Daisy and her family survive one of the most fateful events of the 20th century?

Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Pam Howes, Rosie Clarke and Dilly Court.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

Guest Post by Carol Rivers…

How Daisy became Daisy …

Have you ever wondered how authors bring their characters to life? There are many techniques and each author’s way is different. But for me, the first step is essential. I need to have a visual image of my character, similar to a photofit sketch similar to a police drawing. Google gives me this definition. “A facial composite is a graphical representation of one or more eyewitnesses’ memory of a face, as recorded by a composite artist.”

Well, I am the eyewitness and I’m fortunate enough to have an artist in the family – my husband. Right from the word go, he sketches out my description, in this case, fair hair, blue eyes, cheeky smile and a determined appearance. (Above left). I am always blown away by the end result and this time, my nine-year old heroine, Daisy Purbright, literally jumped off the page and into my hard drive!

Girl with Secrets is my most ambitious book yet, a culmination of thirty-five years writing and what a project it turned out to be! Daisy’s extraordinary wartime journey had me riveted. Thanks to the magic of my photofit Daisy, she became the character I had always wanted to write. She’s gutsy, precocious, self-centred, but deeply loyal. Luckily her faults become her attributes during one of the most terrifying events of the twentieth century, World War ll. I do hope she entertains you as much as she did me!

With love as always, Carol x

About the Author…

Mum and Dad were both East Enders who were born on the famous or should I say the then infamous Isle of Dogs. Their family were immigrants who travelled to the UK from Ireland and France, while others emigrated to America.

As a child I would listen to the adults spinning their colourful stories, as my cousins and I drank pop under the table.

I know the seeds of all my stories come from those far off times that feel like only yesterday. So I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all my family and ancestors wherever you are now … UK, Ireland, France or America, as you’ve handed down to me the magic and love of story telling.

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The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger by Suzanne Fortin @suefortin1 #ArthurPettinger @Aria_Fiction #AriaFiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for a very special book. The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger by Suzanne Fortin. I wish to say a huge thank you to Vicky at Aria Fiction for the gorgeous copy she sent me through the post for an honest review. This is such a stunning book and I loved it.

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Sometimes the past won’t stay hidden, it demands to be uncovered…

Arthur Pettinger’s memory isn’t what it used to be. He can’t always remember the names of his grandchildren, where he lives or which way round his slippers go. He does remember Maryse though, a woman he hasn’t seen for decades, but whose face he will never forget.

When Arthur’s granddaughter, Maddy moves in along with her daughter Esther, it’s her first step towards pulling her life back together. But when Esther makes a video with Arthur, the hunt for the mysterious Maryse goes viral.

There’s only one person who can help Maddy track down this woman – the one that got away, Joe. Their quest takes them to France, and into the heart of the French Resistance.

When the only way to move forwards is to look back, will this family finally be able to?

My Review…

Oh my goodness this is such a special book, it is an absolutely stunning read.

Arthur Pettinger is getting flashbacks of memories, fragments of times past and is struggling to remember. He has Alzheimer’s so his grandaughter and great-grandaughter struggle to understand the significance when he gets upset or apologises to a mystery person.

This is such a wonderfully written story that is about the past and the present. For Arthur, he recalls memories but cannot explain the meanings of them. For Maddie and Esther, they want to help him piece together a mystery they don’t know much about. This leads to such a heartwarming story that is full of emotion and discovery.

This story is told in a timeslip format for Arthur’s story, the past is his time in France and how he met a young woman Maryse during the second world war. These events come in fragments from his experiences. The present, for Arthur, is told in a mix of confusion of short term memory loss. I have to say that the way the author dealt with the disease and its effects has been very well done. It shows confusion and frustration from the perspective of the sufferer. Also from the angle of family members that again includes frustration but also concern.

The story is also one about love, truth and misunderstandings, or maybe missed opportunities depending on how you look at it. It is a mix of contemporary fiction with historical fiction and it is a stunningly beautiful read.

This book got to me very quickly, I knew within the first couple of chapters that this book was going to be special and it just got better and better. Emotional it most definitely is but it is also about discovery and truth. I was in tears several times in this book as I read and by the end, I was gutted to have finished this wonderful story.

If you like a mix of past and present with a historical fiction wartime setting and a contemporary fiction one, then you really do need to get this one. It is one that I would absolutely and most definitely recommend. 

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The Hat Girl From Silver Street by Lindsey Hutchinson @LHutchAuthor @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers @rararesources #histfic #bookreview

Today see’s the final day of the Blog Tour for The Hat Girl from Silver Street by Lindsey Johnson. I am delighted to be one of the Book bloggers to share my review today as tour. I would like to thank Rachel at Rachels Random Resources for my e-copy of this wonderful historical fiction novel.

Let bestselling author Lindsey Hutchinson take you back in time to the Victorian Black Country, for a tale of love, hardship and fighting against the odds to succeed.

Life is tough for Ella Bancroft. After her father, Thomas, is wheelchair-bound by an accident at the tube works, the responsibility for keeping a roof over their head falls to Ella. Ella’s mother died when she was ten, and her sister Sally lives with her no-good, work-shy husband Eddy, so is no help at all.  If she and her father are to keep the bailiffs from the door, then Ella must earn a living.

But Ella is resourceful as well as creative, and soon discovers she has a gift for millinery. Setting up shop in the front room of their two-up, two-down home in Silver Street, Walsall, Ella and Thomas work hard to establish a thriving business. Before long, the fashionable ladies of the Black Country are lining up to wear one of Ella’s beautiful creations, and finally Ella dares to hope for a life with love, friendship and family.

Meeting the man she longs to marry should be a turning point for Ella, but life’s twists and turns can be cruel. As the winter grows colder, events seem to conspire to test Ella’s spirit. And by the time spring is approaching, will the hat girl of Silver Street triumph, or will Ella have to admit defeat as all her dreams are tested.

The Queen of the Black Country sagas is back with a heart-breaking, unforgettable, page-turning story of love, life and battling against the odds. Perfect for fans of Val Wood and Lyn Andrews. 

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

What a wonderful story The Hat Girl From Silver Street was, and also my first outing with this author and be I will come back to based on this book.

The story revolves around Ella, the younger, and nicer of two sisters. She is a hard worker under the employ of a milliner. With low wages and unfair working conditions, her father encourages Ella to leave. Between them, they start their own business and this introduces them to many other people.

This is a lovely story that I found very easy to get caught up in, so much so I read it in one sitting. The author delves into the living conditions briefly as well as the hardships and uncertainties of the time. Starting a business from scratch is a brave decision but the author has given solid reasons. Meeting new people in a society is one fraught with danger as Ella’s shop is in her house.

This story revolves around family and life in general. A society that is all about class and getting the best marriage deals is something the author did tackle well. It made for an agonising waiting game as I read the story, getting more and more drawn in.

There are some really good characters that range from the outspoken to the more gentle and with a good range of traits that include vindictive, sly, aloof and downright nasty there is something to keep a sense of intrigue. This means that you will root for some and wait for the others to get their comeuppance.

Overall a great story to lose yourself in for a few hours, it is one that I found easy reading as well as very addictive. A little predictable at times but still very enjoyable. One for those that do like their historical fiction and romance that leans more towards the family saga style of story. One I would recommend and a great introduction for a new to me author.

About the Author…

Lindsey Hutchinson is a bestselling saga author whose novels include The Workhouse Children. She was born and raised in Wednesbury, and was always destined to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the multi-million selling Meg Hutchinson.

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Wartime With the Tram Girls by Lynn Johnson @lynnjohnsonjots @HeraBooks @rararesources #excerpt #histfic

I am delighted to share an extract today for Wartime With The Tram Girls by Lynn Johnson . I wish I had got the time to read this rather than just offering an extract as this book sounds great. Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour and for arranging my extract for the final day of the tour.

This is the second book in the two book series.

July 1914: Britain is in turmoil as WW1 begins to change the world. While the young men disappear off to foreign battlefields, the women left at home throw themselves into jobs meant for the boys.

Hiding her privileged background and her suffragette past, Constance Copeland signs up to be a Clippie – collecting money and giving out tickets – on the trams, despite her parents’ disapproval.

Constance, now known as Connie, soon finds there is more to life than the wealth she was born into and she soon makes fast friends with lively fellow Clippies, Betty and Jean, as well as growing closer to the charming, gentle Inspector Robert Caldwell.

But Connie is haunted by another secret; and if it comes out, it could destroy her new life.

After war ends and the men return to take back their roles, will Connie find that she can return to her previous existence? Or has she been changed forever by seeing a new world through the tram windows?

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EXTRACT…

Preparations for Christmas were well underway at Holmorton Lodge. Mrs Williams had been working day and night in the kitchen. Alice had taken over much of the housework and day-to-day management under Mrs Williams’s tutelage and was doing a good job.

Constance and her mother were sitting in the morning room taking their tea. There was a knock on the door and Mrs Williams, along with a tearful Alice, entered.

‘Sorry to trouble you Mrs Copeland, but Alice here’s had a problem at the butcher’s.’

‘Whatever’s the matter, Alice?’ asked Constance.

‘They have put up the meat we ordered but won’t give it to me unless I pay for it. Oh Miss Constance, they say we’re behind with the bill. I dunno what to do.’

‘She’s right, ma’am, I have checked the book. Nothing’s been paid since October,’ said Mrs Williams.

Constance turned to look at her mother. ‘Surely that can’t be right?’

‘Mrs Williams, would you and Alice mind leaving us, and I’ll get it sorted?’ Mother asked.

When they were alone, her mother continued. ‘I will speak to your father immediately.’

‘Before you go, Mother, I would like to understand a little more about our finances. We have a very nice lifestyle, but I have no idea how it’s funded.’

‘Your father deals with all of that, but I can tell you a little. The proceeds from the sale of the business and our house in Manchester enabled us to buy this house,’ her mother waved her arms about her, ‘and renovate it.’

‘I remember, it looked very sad when we moved in. I imagined it to be haunted or fancied some other terrible event had taken place!’

‘It’s a substantial property and your father could see its merits. The remainder of the money was invested equally in Government Bonds and shares in solid British companies.’

‘What are Government Bonds?’

‘I believe it’s money lent to the government by people like ourselves. In return, we get guaranteed interest periodically. The shares pay dividends which are not guaranteed but the income we get is higher, so it makes sense to have a mix of both. We live on the interest and dividends.’

‘I think I understand.’

‘Things have not gone too well for us recently. The war has had a considerable effect on our income. Many companies are paying very low dividends or none at all.’

‘Is that why he hasn’t replaced any of the servants?’

‘In part. We would have had considerable difficulty finding anyone when factories are paying such high wages for women, and conscription has taken most able-bodied men.’

Constance’s cheeks felt tight. How could they be in such a predicament without her knowing? She might have helped in some way. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’

‘We didn’t want to bother you. You had enough on your plate. Your father thought we could manage without selling investments which are perfectly sound and will pay out again once the war is over and things get back to normal. We didn’t think that the war would last so long and it is affecting all incomes. Add this to the increase in living costs and we are feeling the strain of it all.’

‘My wedding fiasco hasn’t helped, has it?’

‘In all honesty, no. But we shall manage.’ Her mother got to her feet. ‘I must talk to your father.’

Constance didn’t understand much of what her mother said, after all financial matters were the domain of the man of the house and her education had done nothing to change that. All this information about shares and bonds and equities was beyond her current understanding, but that could be resolved in time and Constance decided that would be her first priority.

She could understand now why her father had been so eager to see her married, but she was not and never would be another commodity to be bought and sold. She would get a job as soon as she possibly could, where she could start immediately, and get paid. She might not earn very much initially, but at least she would make a contribution.

A job that was different, where the pay was the same for men and women. A job that gave her some freedom.

About the Author…

Lynn Johnson was born in the Staffordshire Potteries and went to school in Burslem, where the novel is set. She left school with no qualifications and got a job as a dental nurse (and lasted a day), a nursery assistant, and a library assistant before her ambition grew and she enrolled at the Elms Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent and obtained six O’levels. She obtained a Diploma in Management Studies and a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University while working full-time.

Most of her working life was spent in Local Government in England and Scotland, and ultimately became a Human Resources Manager with a large county council.

She started to write after taking early retirement and moving to the north of Scotland with her husband where she did relief work in the famous Orkney Library and Archives, and voluntary work with Orkney’s Learning Link. Voluntary work with Cats Protection resulted in them sharing their home with six cats.

She joined Stromness Writing Group and, three months after moving to Orkney, wrote a short story which would become the Prologue to The Girl From the Workhouse.

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