The Orphanage Girls by Mary Wood @Authormary @RandomTTours @panmacmillan #saga #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Orphanage Girls by Mary Wood. I have read and always loved this author’s books and also the books she writes under Maggie Mason.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my wonderful PB copy of the book from the publisher – Pan Macmillan.

Children deserve a family to call their own.

Ruth dares to dream of another life – far away from the horrors within the walls of Bethnal Green’s infamous orphanage. Luckily she has her friends, Amy and Ellen – but she can’t keep them safe, and the suffering is only getting worse. Surely there must be a way out of here?

But when Ruth breaks free from the shackles of confinement and sets out into East London, hoping to make a new life for herself, she finds that, for a girl with nowhere to turn, life can be just as tough on the outside.

Bett keeps order in this unruly part of the East End – and takes Ruth under her wing alongside orphanage escapee Robbie. But it is Rebekah, a kindly woman, who offers Ruth and Robbie a home – something neither has ever known. Yet even these two stalwart women cannot protect them when the police learn of an orphan on the run. It is then that Ruth must do everything in her power to hide.

Her life – and those of the friends she left behind at the orphanage – depends on it.

MY REVIEW


I have read and enjoyed several books by this author and I know I am going to be on a heart-warming and heart-breaking journey. This book was definitely that.

The author gets straight to it with this story of Ruth Faith. An orphan in Bethnal Green’s Orphanage. It should be a place of security but not so in this case. Set in the early 1900s the author relates how orphans were treated by the staff, how they are seen to be the lowest of the low and are abused, tortured and sometimes worse!

The one thing that gives Ruth hope is that she is almost at an age to leave the home for good. She can then find work and a place to live for her fellow friends at the orphanage. However, Ruth needs to survive to stand any chance of starting a new life.

The author has once again created a story that is heartbreaking but also one that is full of hope. SHe does write some amazing sagas and I think this one is one of the tougher ones as far as the content is concerned. I am aware of the history of orphanages and how life was almost too much for its innocent residents. The author has captured the main fears, challenges, difficulties and so much more as she tells the story of Ruth and her friends.

This isn’t just about Ruth, although she is the main focus. There are several other characters such as Robbie, Hettie, Horacio, Rebekah, Bett and many more. As this is set in London, the author brings in the Cockney pride and the sense of looking out for each other. It gives some of the characters a real boost instead of feeling alone and out on a limb.

This is a fabulous read, yes it does have some tough moments but the author also brings so many other things into her story. There are social expectations, a sense of family, and community spirit but also racism, abuse, corruption and other awful things. I will say though, that the author doesn’t linger too much or over-describe things, enough to make you aware.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, sagas and stories that revolve around small close-knit communities then this is a book for you. If you have read any of this author’s previous books and enjoyed them, then you know you are getting to enjoy this one as well. It is a book I would definitely recommend. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.


Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool, United Kingdom during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.


After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels
Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.


Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.
When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening.

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A Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin @HarperFiction #histfic #regency #romance #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting by Sophie Irwin. This is a brilliant read for those who like a good Regency period romance. If you are a fan of “Bridgerton”, a recent NetFlix period drama, then you are going to really enjoy this book.

My huge thanks to Harper Fiction for my e-copy that I requested to read and review via NetGalley.

The season is about to begin—and there’s not a minute to lose.

Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.

With only twelve weeks until the bailiffs call, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her, and Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.

The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost, especially when it comes to his own brother falling for her charms.

Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one—not even a lord—will stand in her way…

MY REVIEW

Set in 1818 England, Kitty Talbot has one thing on her mind. THat is snagging herself a rich husband. Now, before you think she is a money-grabbing wench, she is doing this out of duty and for the benefit of her sisters. However, can she fit into the Ton and society without looking out of place?

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it has all the glamour and societal expectations but it is one full of learning curves for Kitty. Coming to London she is well out of her league, she knows what she wants but she doesn’t revolve around the high society echelons. You cannot just walk up to a Countess. Lord or Lady, you have to be properly introduced. This is a problem for Kitty as she hasn’t any connections, well she does have the connections of her Aunt, but they could be, well dubious!

This is a fun read and one that I really enjoyed, there are reasons for Kitty’s actions and when she catches the eye of a certain young, some to be rich, the gentleman then she thinks all she has to do is convince him and his family of her respectability. One problem, he has an older brother!

I did like Kitty, she is a feisty young woman who is determined, to say the least. The downside to her is that she doesn’t have the ‘breeding’ for what she is to embark on. But, to be fair she learns to hold her own. there are some wonderful battles she has to deal with and her ‘breeding’ does stand her in good stead for the most part.

The storyline at times reminded me a little of Pride and Prejudice as well as the TV series Bridgerton ( I have only watched the 1st one!). It felt like a mix of history with the excitement of a modern story but in costume. This is a fun read, but it also does highlight society of the time. It does have the feel of a Young Adult story at times.

Enjoyable, fun, and fast-paced story that I really enjoyed and I would happily recommend.


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Operation Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smiley #JustinKerrSmiley @RandomTTours @UnicornPubGroup #action #histfic #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Operation Edelweiss by Justin Kerr-Smiley. This is a brilliant book and is one for those who like a cracking action, adventure and mystery thriller story.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my PB copy of the book via the Publisher – Unicorn Publishing Group

In 1976, Argentina is governed by a military junta bankrolled by former Nazis. It is the anniversary of a mysterious village fire in the jungle. The lone survivor, a Guaraní boy, is now a Jesuit priest. A Jewish journalist, Ariel Guzman, interviews him at his mission. The man claims Adolf Hitler escaped from Berlin with Eva Braun and made a secret camp near the Iguaçu Falls. The Führer ordered the village’s destruction, but the priest refuses to say why. He mentions the codename Edelweiss and will only reveal the person’s identity if he dies.
Argentina’s most powerful man is billionaire and Waffen-SS veteran Tiago Hecht. He is searching for Edelweiss so that he can establish a Fourth Reich. Hecht now has confirmation Hitler’s son is alive. But so does the Mossad and they have sent an agent to eliminate him. The only sanctuary for ‘Edelweiss’ is at the Vatican, but time is running out.
The hunt is on… 

MY REVIEW

When I first saw this book I knew it was one I wanted to read, there have been many conspiracies and theories following the death of Hitler. Did he really die? Did he get out of Germany? I do love a good conspiracy book and this one sounded right up my street.

The author has taken the concept that Hitler and Eva Braun did indeed survive and made a voyage to start a new life in South America. Many made this journey some for survival and some to escape any repercussions. Many stories have circulated over the years and there is something about a conspiracy that intrigues me.

The story is one that sounds plausible and one that I found extremely addictive. From a journalist taking a statement from a priest to discovering the whereabouts of a secret camp, the political, religious and moral aspects are covered. Set over several years from WWII to the 1970s the story fills in an action-packed adventure style read.

As the synopsis suggests. this book takes in various organisations, including Mossad, the Vatican and a newspaper. Politics are also woven into this as you would expect as well. The author has created a story that flows so well between the many characters and locations. It is one that is taken through scenarios that have implications for the world and for those immediately involved. While the story is about the search for Hitler’s son, the author also includes life in Argentina in the 70s, the political stage.

I found this book to be very well-paced and the tension was amazing not everything turned out as I thought it might. I did like the way the author finished this story, it answered questions raised and felt right in some ways.

This is one for those who enjoy a proper action and adventure style read with conspiracies, secrets, and mysteries that need to be revealed. A fabulous book to read and one that I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin Kerr-Smiley was born in 1965 and educated at Newcastle University.
As a journalist, he has reported from the Balkans, Northern Ireland, the West
Bank and South America. He has also written for the Guardian, The Times
and The Spectator. He is the author of two previous novels, including Under
The Sun. He lives in London

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May God Forgive by Alan Parks @AlanJParks #HarryMcCoy @RandomTTours @canongatebooks #crime #histfic #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for May God Forgive by Alan Parks. This is a brilliant book and series, although I do still have the first two to read!!! I do have them and I really must get to them.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book via the Publisher –

Detective Harry McCoy returns in the suspenseful, atmospheric fifth instalment in Alan Park’s internationally bestselling thriller series.

Glasgow is a city in mourning. An arson attack on a hairdresser’s has left five dead. Tempers are frayed and sentiments running high.

When three youths are charged the city goes wild. A crowd gathers outside the courthouse but as the police drive the young men to prison, the van is rammed by a truck, and the men are grabbed and bundled into a car. The next day, the body of one of them is dumped in the city centre. A note has been sent to the newspaper: one down, two to go.

Detective Harry McCoy has twenty-four hours to find the kidnapped boys before they all turn up dead, and it is going to mean taking down some of Glasgow’s most powerful people to do it.

MY REVIEW

Wow! Wow! And Wow! This is a brilliant read and if you like your crime to be dark, murky and set in the 70s then you really need to pick up this book. In fact, pick up the series so far!

Harry McCoy, well what a brilliant character he is. He is the epitome of the 70s style copper. He drinks too much and smokes too much and he is suffering because of it. When he is given a case there are those who don’t think he is up to it due to his health. If you have read the previous books you will understand more of McCoy as a character, this latest book however does delve a little further into his past. Does it have connections with his present case? Well, you know what? Read the book and you’ll find out!

This is set in Glasgow in 1974. Three young men, as the synopsis states, have just been taken from a prison van. They had been charged with arson and the death of five people. Tempers are high within the community and the city. When one of their bodies is found there isn’t much sympathy for them. Just what they deserve, is the overall opinion.

Whatever the opinion is though, McCoy has a job to do, discover where the remaining men are, discover the motives and also deal with an apparent suicide. Not bad considering McCoy has just come out of the hospital!

I really enjoy this author’s writing, he does slip in some dialect, but nothing that is not understandable btw. He also does such a brilliant job of showing the reader the darker, murkier side of Glasgow. The tenements, the alley and back streets are not the places anyone would want to be, especially a copper. But McCoy is different, he knows these streets and while he isn’t afraid to walk them he is very wary.

Using his knowledge of the area and the locals he gradually pieces things together, well he thinks he does! This is the part of the book I adored, as the author teases the reader just as much as he does McCoy. It feels like things are just in grasp, but the answers are just out of reach, tantalisingly close but slippery and elusive. As I was r4eading this book I kept thinking, “I wonder if it’s…” and ” Oh what if…”. It definitely kept me turning the pages.

The way the author moves in between procedural and, well let’s say, slightly off the book, is great. It introduces the criminal and gangs to the reader. Some very nasty characters to say the least. It is a credit to the writing skill of the author who managed to give a sense of unease, danger and doubt as McCoy carefully walked the grey line between legal and illegal activities on the streets.

This book, in case you haven’t realised by now, is brilliant. I didn’t want it to end. The story is so addictive and draws in some worthy moral dilemmas. McCoy isn’t alone in his search for the truth, he has Wattie, at times a bit of a hapless character, but one who does have McCoys back. He also keeps an eye on McCoy, and yes, he does need a bit of looking out from time to time.

If you are looking for a series or a book that allows you to wander vicariously, yet safely through the underworld of Glasgow during the 70s then you need to have a look at these books. I started this series with the March one (Bobby March Will live Forever) but I did buy the previous two… I still have them to read! So, yes you can read it as a stand-alone but I for one, wish I had started this series at the very beginning.

Gritty, with some not altogether likeable characters, dark, murky, full of tensions, public opinion and an all-in-all amazing book to read. I would highly recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALAN PARKS captures the dark beating heart of 70s Glasgow in his highly acclaimed Harry McCoy series.
Parks has spent most of his working life dealing with the production of images for Musical Artists, as
Creative Director at London Records in the mid-1990’s then at Warner Music. From cover artwork to
videos to photo sessions, he created ground-breaking, impactful campaigns for a wide range of artists
including All Saints, New Order, The Streets, Gnarls Barclay and Cee Lo Green. He was also Managing
Director of 679 Recordings, a joint venture with Warner Music. For the past few years, he has worked as
an independent visual and marketing consultant.
Alan was born in Scotland and attended The University of Glasgow where he was awarded an M.A. in
Moral Philosophy. He still lives and works in the city as well as spending time in London.

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Victory Bells for the Harpers Girls by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Victory Bells for the Harpers Girls by Rosie Clarke. This is the 6th book in this series and it has been one of ups and downs.

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 latest book in the series.

Can the Harpers Girls look forward to some happy times as a new dawn rises over London?

Sally Harper is busy juggling running London’s Oxford Street Store Harpers and looking after her beautiful newborn daughter, whilst her husband Ben is overseas on another dangerous mission, this time to rescue a friend in need.
Young Becky Stockbridge finds herself in a difficult situation which could bring shame to her and her family. Will Becky, with the help of her friends, find her happy ever after and keep her secret?
Marion Jackson is blessed with a son as she eagerly awaits the return of her husband Reggie. But all is not right when Reggie returns. Is Marion strong enough to save her family from yet another crisis?
As the war clouds retreat and the victory bells ring, tears and joy mingle with those of sadness as the world counts the true toll of war and celebrates peace.

MY REVIEW

Each of the books in this series follows the lives of key characters. The Girls made friends and have carried their friendships on through difficult times. Some helped nurses during the War and others did what they could to keep things going. The constant has been Harpers, an Emporium that has had its good times and its bad.

Set towards the end of World War I, this book is again such a wonderful read. It could be read as a stand-alone but I do think it is better to read in order as the lives of the characters have helped define them and their lives.

The war has had an impact on the country and also on families and friends, the constant worry as to who will get that dreaded telegram, who will have letters from family members, who will come back and also those that will never return. I really liked the emphasis the author took on some of the problems those who returned had to deal with, shell shock as it was known was dismissed by many. But for those fortunate to receive the proper care things could be easier for them over time. Encompassing the challenges of those returning as well as those lost gives a balance that felt right. While the obvious happiness of a reunion is evident, there was also a quiet sense of unease and nerves.

As I mentioned, the constant in this book is Harpers Emporium. For those who work and manage the store, there is a constant worry about getting stock and also keeping the business going so that those who work there can still get a wage. Things are in short supply, and there is a lot of moving around to make the shelves look full. Being a close-knit group friendships are as important as family. It is times of worry and distress having a non-judgmental ear is important.

There are changes afoot for a few of the characters and having the means and opportunity to talk things through really brings the closeness of the characters out. This is something that I have really enjoyed with each book I have read. The author has kept the characters moving, progressing, growing and learning. Families expand and unfortunately, families also reduce. Times of joy have a tinge of sadness as things for some will never be the same.

This is another gorgeous book to read. Keeping up with the coming and goings of the characters as they continue their lives is something I look forward to with each instalment. While there is sadness there are also things to look forward to, changes, developments, new plans and new beginnings. If you love your sags and historical fiction stories then this is one you are going to really enjoy. It is 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 a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire.


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When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill @bonnierbooks_uk #fantasy #feminism #histfic #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill. This was a fabulous book to read and while it is a fantasy story, the Dragons in this book could be seen as a metaphor for the feminism that lies behind it. As a fantasy read I thoroughly enjoyed it, as a metaphorical read, I can see the points that the author is making. (I hope this makes sense!!!) However you read this or take the message, it is a brilliant story. And… I love the cover 😍

My huge thanks to Bonnier Books UK for granting my request to read this e-book via NetGalley.

Learn about the Mass Dragoning of 1955 in which 300,000 women spontaneously transform into dragons…and change the world.

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours. But this version of 1950’s America is characterized by a significant event: The Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales and talons, left a trail of fiery destruction in their path, and took to the skies. Seemingly for good. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved Aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of, even more so than her crush on Sonja, her schoolmate.

Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of dragons: a mother more protective than ever; a father growing increasingly distant; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and a new “sister” obsessed with dragons far beyond propriety. Through loss, rage, and self-discovery, this story follows Alex’s journey as she deals with the events leading up to and beyond the Mass Dragoning, and her connection with the phenomenon itself. 

MY REVIEW

Ok, so I will admit the title of this book really called to me when I saw it. When Women Were Dragons is a reimagining with a definite fantasy thread, the dragons kind of give it away really!

Set in the 1950s this is a brilliant book that mixes historical with fantasy. Women through the years have transformed into dragons, they are never seen, mentioned or talked about ever again. In 1955 when 1,000s of women worldwide changed were still covered up. No one is allowed to mention the word dragon or anything to do with this event.

The thing is, the women have very little control over this change, some could hold it back and others just went with it.

This is a brilliant story that is about women empowering themselves and making the choice as to how they live their own lives. This is a time when women stay home, cook meals, look after the house, raise the children and have a meal ready on the table for when their husband walks in the door. It is very much a patriarchal society and while this story is set in a small area in the US, it was something that was a worldwide thing.

The focus is on Alex, a young girl who is confused by events that are happening, not just to family and neighbours who have changed, but also the changes in her own body. As a young girl, there are expectations of her and what she is to do with her future. Alex however has other ideas, she wants to go on with her education and go to university. Others think that a piece of paper to say you are clever isn’t much use when you are a mother and wife.

This story is very much about discrimination and there are times I got so angry with the attitudes of some of the characters, this is all credit to the author. I do love a story that makes me go through various emotions and this one definitely did that. Anger, euphoria, happiness, sadness and a sense of justice are just some of them. The way the author portrayed Alex and other women was just so good, the way they carried themselves with eyes down at the ground while all the time wanting to look up and to the future made it quite a powerful read.

This was a brilliant book to read, at times I admit it did get a bit far-fetched, but it still kept up the flow and feel of the story. I think at times I actually forgot some of the characters were dragons!

I adored this book and I did like the mix of fantasy with historical fiction. The concept is such a good one and it really appealed to me. This is a story about empowerment as well as a coming of age story. It does carry a powerful message and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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The Birdcage by Eve Chase #PublicationDay #NeyGalley @PenguinUKBooks #mystery #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Birdcage by Eve Chase. This is a wonderful suspense and mystery read set in Cornwall.

My huge thanks to Penguin Random House & Michael Joseph Books for granting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

Kat, Flossie and Lauren are half-sisters who share a famous artist father – and a terrible secret.

Each has found their way of burying it. Over the years they’ve grown apart, and into wildly different lives. But an invitation to Rock Point, the Cornish cliff house where they once sat for their father’s most celebrated painting, Girls with Birdcage, reunites them.

Rock Point is a beautiful, windswept place, thick with secrets, electrically charged with the one subject the family daren’t discuss. And there is someone in the shadows watching the house, their every move. Someone who remembers the girls in the painting. What they did.

The sisters must unlock the truth to set themselves free – and find each other again.

MY REVIEW

Covers are a great way of noticing books and this cover is gorgeous. The cover shows a lovely white house in a cage and as I have now read this book, it is very relevant. The Birdcage is a novel that skips back and forth in time. It has mysterious undertones that are not always obvious.

Three sisters, well half-sisters as they share the same father, but have different mothers. The sisters have been summoned back to the house which has caused painful memories. They have been summoned by their father and it is the first time they have been back for 20 years. The last time was in 1999 for the solar eclipse.

Each sister is nervous as they make their way back to Rock House, each one has something that is easting away at them and each one just wants to get through this reunion and go back to their lives. While they may have tried to put events of 20 years ago behind them, things are certainly going to resurface.

This is a wonderful book that really draws on the wilder side of Cornwall, a country steeped in mystery and one that lends itself to stories like this one so well. The author brings the windswept moors and the crashing seas into the story. In some ways, the unpredictability of the weather also matches the feelings of those in the house.

Each of the sisters has memories from 1999, but some are more deeply hidden than others. The author gives the sisters very distinct characters and personalities, but the one thing they have in common is that they have all drifted. They are not the same people they were and so this becomes a very tentative, stepping on the egg-shells reunion.

I really enjoyed how the author gradually brought in the mystery via each of the main characters, there is a sense of something quite serious happening. When this is finally revealed I sort of didn’t see it coming as such, but it also wasn’t a huge shock as I had realised the author had been very subtly leaving breadcrumbs.

This has a haunting atmospheric feel to it, with the secrets and unsaid things that have lurked in the past. It is one that I think is ideal for those who like family mysteries and secrets as well as contemporary time-slip novels. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth @PenguinUKBooks #PublicationDay #NetGalley #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Theatre of Marvels by Lianne Dillsworth. This is a wonderful historical fiction story about a Black Actress in London, that has its Publication Day today.

My huge thanks to Penguin Random House for my e-copy of this book via NetGalley.

Crowds gather at Crillick’s Variety Theatre, where curiosity is satisfied with displays of intrigue and fear. They’re here for the star of the show – the Great Amazonia warrior. They needn’t know this warrior is in fact Zillah, a mixed-race actress from the East End fooling them each night with her thrilling performance.

But something is amiss, and when Crillick’s new act goes missing Zillah feels compelled to investigate, knowing the fates that can befall women in Victorian London.

From the bustle of the West India Docks to the coffee houses of Fleet Street to the parlours of Mayfair, Zillah’s journey for answers will find her caught between both sides of her own identity, and between two men: her wealthy white admirer, and an African merchant appalled by her act.

Will Zillah be forced to confront the price of her own performance? And in risking everything can she also save herself?

Featuring a defiant heroine for our times and a theatrical world of fragile dreams and ruthless ambition, THEATRE OF MARVELS shines a light on the experience of being Black and British in Victorian London through one woman’s journey to live her life on her own terms.

MY REVIEW

Zillah is a young woman of mixed race. Her mother has given her the best chance in life she can, as a free person, not a slave. This is set in the Victorian era of London and the author has created a vivid picture of what life may have been like for someone like Zillah.

Working as an actress, she isn’t happy that her role is to play a warrior from the Amazon, especially when she has never left London. Zillah was born in the slums of St Giles and a job is a job. She does however start to realise that maybe her painting herself up, dancing and chanting on stage may not be right.

This story is about how a young girl is discovering more about herself and the world she lives in. In some ways, she does live a sheltered life, she has a job, and a place to live and while she has worries she does have the basics. It is when she starts to see other people and listen to their opinions and what they are fighting for that sZillah herself wants to make her own contribution.

This is a time of exploitation, slavery and manipulation. The world is changing and not everyone wants to keep up or change with it. The author does such a great job with descriptions of sights sounds and smells that this did become a very immersive story. I genuinely cared about what Zillah was faced with and what decisions she had to make.

Trying to do the right thing isn’t easy, but when you are still struggling to understand what is going on it makes it hard. But the thing about Zillah is her determination, it is something that grows with her and it was great to read of her finding the courage to join the campaign for better laws and freedoms.

This is a historical fiction story, I did think it had more of a Young Adult feel to it as the story does focus on Zillah, her realisation that there are things in the world that are not right, it is her journey of self-discovery and empowerment. It is a story that does have some serious themes, but the author doesn’t go into too much detail which was rather nice from a reader’s point of view. It is an interesting and evocative read and one that I would recommend reading.

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City of Vengeance by D.V Bishop @davidbishop #CesareAldo #historicalfiction #mystery #bookreview

am delighted to share my review today for City of Vengeance by D.V. Bishop. I have to give a massive shout out to the wonderful Eva @noveldeelights and David for my copy of this book. This is ideal for those who adore mystery novels set in the past, I adored this book and cannot wait to read the next one – The Darkest Sin.

“A first-class historical thriller . . . Bishop’s spirited and richly detailed story is a tour-de-force” —DAVID BALDACCI

City of Vengeance is an explosive debut historical thriller by D. V. Bishop, set in Renaissance Florence.

Florence. Winter, 1536. A prominent Jewish moneylender is murdered in his home, a death with wide implications in a city powered by immense wealth.

Cesare Aldo, a former soldier and now an officer of the Renaissance city’s most-feared criminal court is given four days to solve the murder: catch the killer before the feast of Epiphany—or suffer the consequences.

During his investigations, Aldo uncovers a plot to overthrow the volatile ruler of Florence, Alessandro de’ Medici. If the Duke falls, it will endanger the whole city. But a rival officer of the court is determined to expose details about Aldo’s private life that could lead to his ruin. Can Aldo stop the conspiracy before anyone else dies, or will his own secrets destroy him first? 

MY REVIEW


This is the first book in the Cesare Aldo series. Set in Florence in 1536 there are several names I am aware of from history. Such as the Medici family, I do think many of us historical fiction readers or those with an interest in European history are quite aware of this name.

Cesare Aldo is essentially a policeman, he works for the Otton who are responsible for gathering the information together before it goes forward for charges and sentences to be sorted.

Florence, and to be fair the rest of Europe is not the safest place to be. An age of power struggles, murders, spying and conspiracy. The time is one where those who are in power have to watch their backs and also where the wranglings and politics of those lower down the scale come into play. Very much a chess game, yet a brutal, bloody and dangerous one.

Cesare Aldo finds himself in the midst of an investigation, and while he makes slow progress he is aware of other things going on that could make life very difficult for him. A murder has ramifications for many and this is great for a reader as it is a way of immersing them further into the story and also the atmosphere of the story.

When I started reading this book I did have a bit of a struggle with remembering who was who. This is something I found got easier the more I read, I think it was more me coming across names I didn’t recognise. I did think there were some similarities at the beginning but I soon got to grips with the names within a few chapters.

The story is one that isn’t just about a murder, it is much more mysterious than that and the author does a fabulous job of twisting various subplots. It is also a great way of bringing in things that are not acceptable at the time and also social etiquette. Religion and politics seem to work hand in hand but neither want to tread on toes. Aldo walks a fine line and at times this line becomes very indistinct!

This is a very addictive murder mystery, it is a slower-paced story but one that suits the era it is set in. It has been well researched and there is an author’s note at the end as regards the facts that were used. I really enjoyed meeting Aldo and look forward to reading more of him. He isn’t a character who is particularly likeable, but he is very thorough, has loyalties and does tend to keep himself to himself. But there is a sort of aura of wisdom and respectability about him that I really liked. As I said I am looking forward to getting to know more about him.

This is one for those who like historical crime, murder, and mystery novels. This one is fabulously atmospheric, twisted, devious and there are several surprising turns. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Mersey Mothers by Sheila Riley @1sheilariley @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #historicalfiction #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mersey Mothers by Sheila Riley. I have read a few books by this author but this is the first I have read from the Reckoners Row series, this is book #3!

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 fabulous book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley.

The Mersey Mothers
Liverpool 1953

January sees the dawn of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation year as the mothers of Reckoners Row unite in preparation for the celebration of the new Queen.

Meanwhile, Evie Kilgaren is dreaming of her summer wedding to Danny Harris, but trouble looms for Skinner & Sons with a new rival trying to put them out of business, but no one knows why….

Ada Harris is summoned to the bedside of her estranged husband, who, in his dying moment confesses to a deadly secret – he knows who really murdered Evie’s mam Rene all those years ago and the consequences are far-reaching.

Has an innocent man been jailed and is there still a murderer walking carefree?

Will Evie get the happy-ever-after she so longs for with Danny? And will The Mersey Mothers unite and still be friends?
Purchase Link – HERE

MY REVIEW

I have read several books by this author and enjoyed all I have read. The Mersey Mothers is the 3rd book in the Reckoner’s Row series. I have not read the two earlier ones and while I do wish I had because the author is fab, this one did read well as a stand-alone novel.

This book opens with a prologue and then jumps forward a few years. Set in Liverpool in 1953 the residents of Reckoner’s Row are hard-working, supportive of their families and also of their community. When one of their own does something to upset the harmony then it is made known, as Ada Harris is all too aware. There is a story about her ex-husband Bert that gradually emerges and how things have changed for the main characters. This may have been present in the previous books but the author includes details so that I didn’t feel as if I was missing anything.

The area is near the docklands and is handy for haulage businesses, and this is what Danny and his fiance Evie are desperately trying to keep going. There is however a rival business that is threatening their livelihood.

In the 50s there are several historical references to keep the reader set in the day. The coronation of Queen Elizabeth, the Korean War and also rationing started to be more relaxed after the end of WWII. The country is starting to move forward, things are improving but life is still hard. This is where the communities, friendships and families are really important. This is one of the things the author really does manage to get across well in her books and The Mersey Mothers have all that sense of spirit and supportiveness.

There are several stories that are brilliantly intertwined in this family saga style story. It is these stories that make this a fabulous book to read. Families and friendships may be tested but there is a sense that the community will always keep an eye out for their own. Things are not always rosy and there are still those who are trying to get one over the rest.

This is another wonderfully addictive historical fiction story from this author. Ideal for those who love reading family sagas and while it can be read easily as a stand-alone novel you do get to see developments and changes over the course of reading a series in order. I adored this one 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 the Reckoner’s Row series 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.


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