#Nefertiti (Rai Rahotep #1) AND #Tutankamun (Rai Rahotep #2) by Nick Drake @nickfdrake @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #RandomTTours #histfic #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share not just one but two reviews today! Yes, you read that right I have two book reviews. Both books are by Nick Drake and are the first two books in the Rai Rahotep series, Nefertiti and Tutankhamun.

Both books were read as part of the Blog Tour organised by Anne at Random Things Tours, my huge thanks to Anne for my spot and for arranging the copies of both books. I enjoyed these so much I immediately went and bought the 3rd book – Egypt!

These books are being re-published by Transworld and I am so glad of this because I had actually not come across them before.

I am including a link HERE to Nick’s Amazon Page so you can order all three books.

So, let me show you what the books are about…

Synopsis…

A MISSING QUEEN. A DARK GAME OF POWER.

With her husband, AkhenatenNefertiti – the most powerful, charismatic and beautiful Queen of the ancient world – rules over an Empire at the peak of its glory and domination.

Together, they have built a magnificent new city in the desert on the banks of the Nile and are about to host kings, dignitaries and leaders from around the Empire for a vast festival to celebrate their triumph.

But suddenly, Nefertiti vanishes.

Rahotep – the youngest chief detective of the Thebes division- can see patterns where others cannot. His unusual talents earn him a summons to the royal court.

With ten days to find the Queen and return her in time for the festival, Rahotep knows that success will bring glory – but if he fails, he and his young family will die…

Rahotep’s adventure continue in Tutankhamun and Egypt: The Book of Chaos

NEFERTITI – MY REVIEW…

From a slow start this book really picked up its pace and intrigue. When I say a slow start what I mean is that there is quite a bit of description and observation that sets the scene and also introduces the main protagonist Rahotep. He has been summoned by Akhenaten to the palace to look into the disappearance of his wife, Nefertiti. Sounds OK, but this has a time limit of 10 days. 10 days until Nefertiti is supposed to attend a public festival. If Rahotep fails it will cost him his life and also that of his family!

The first few chapters were very good at really giving the reader a chance to get to grips with some of the ways of life for this era in history. I say ways of life because there is so much distrust and a wrong word can have tragic and dire consequences. Rahotep has to work his way through a society that is all about being seen the right way and doing the right thing. People are devious, seem to be after their own gain and at times at any cost.

With the uncertainty of the people and the time limits on solving this mystery Rahotep definitely faces an up hill battle. Trying to work out who is telling the truth as he uses an investigative style of question and observational skills to work out the final truth.

This book was really intriguing and also I found it very addictive. I found myself quickly drawn in and I also found that the descriptions and observations were quite fascinating in giving the reader more insight into life, traditions, new ways, old ways and the current climate and feel of the population. I did feel that even though this slowed the story somewhat it was also a great addition for giving an all round reader experience.

A really intriguing and interesting mystery read that I quite enjoyed and I left me eager to continue with this series. It is one for mystery and also historical fiction readers and one I would recommend.

Synopsis…

A KING IN DANGER. A BATTLE TO STAY ALIVE.

On the shadowy city streets the cryptically mutilated bodies of several young people are discovered. These brutal acts are destabilizing a ruthless regime already unstable thanks to corruption and the appalling divide between rich and poor.

Meanwhile, Tutankhamun, at 18, has inherited an empire that should be at the height of power and glory. But he faces only a Court full of conspiracies and plotting, and a bitter struggle for power.

And when his own security is threatened by an intruder in the palace, he needs an outsider he can trust to track down the traitor. Rahotep receives a mysterious invitation to the labyrinthine halls of the Royal Palace.

But what he discovers at the dark heart of power will put his life, and his family, in grave danger. . .

Rahotep’s adventures continue in Egypt: The Book of Chaos. Have you read Nefertiti, his first adventure?

TUTANKHAMUN – MY REVIEW…

As soon as I had finished the first book, Nefertiti, I went immediately onto this one, the second in the series. As I still had the characters so fresh in my head it was very easy indeed to slip straight back into Ancient Egypt.

The previous book left off with a young Tutankhamun making an appearance. This book jumps forward a few years and I liked how the author made me aware of Rahoteps ageing, not old but slower and a bit achy than he used to be. Something we are all aware of! His mind is still sharp and once again his skills as a detective have been requested once again, and again he doesn’t have a choice int he matter!

This book was similar to the previous in some ways, as Rahotep is called to solve the mystery of objects being left in the palace to upset Tutankhamun. Even though he is the King it is Ay, the regent who runs the show. Ay is a character who is very unlikeable, he is cold, ruthless and conniving in every aspect possible. So, while the story had similarities as far as the mystery-solving went it was also different due to the power wrangling and the politics. It seems that everyone is out for their own benefit and this builds a wonderful feeling of distrust.

Another brilliant story in the series, this felt like a much quicker read compared to the first, but I think this is because I was already aware of the characters and also how the writer includes a good amount of detail about the way of life. Not just the way of life, but also politics, foods, social class and hierarchy.

I have enjoyed the first two books and so I have also bought the next one and I am looking forward to reading that as well. This is a really good series and one that would appeal to readers of historical fiction set in Ancient Egypt, as well as readers of mysteries. Ideal for me as it mixes two of my favourite genres and it is one I am more than happy to recommend.

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A Reunion at Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for A Reunion at Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke. Yes it has a Christmas cover, yes it is only September, but Christmas is not the only thing in this gorgeous book.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Synopsis…

A brand NEW festive read from Rosie Clarkes’ bestselling Mulberry Lane series.


1949

Peggy and Able Ronoscki’s seaside cafe in Devon is thriving and their twins Fay and Freddie are growing up fast.
To pursue her daughter’s destiny, Fay must train in London and Peggy is faced with a dilemma of moving the family back to London once more.

Meanwhile, Peggy’s elder daughter Janet has her own troubles. She fears her husband is having an affair and Is desperately unhappy.

Peggy is torn two ways and can only hope that a reunion with her friends at Christmas can help resolve her problems.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2T4OS6m

My Review…

What an absolutely lovely book A Reunion at Mulberry Lane was to read. This is the 6th book in this series but the first one I have read. It does work very well as a stand-alone.

I met several characters who are family and friends of Peggy and Able. These two have left Mulberry Lane, also known as The Lanes, to run a cafe. They work hard but do miss their family and friends back home. It is set just after the end of WWII and the effects of the war are still being felt there are those who are suffering from we now know as PTSD and have a very hard time adapting. But on the whole, it is a time when people are gradually getting back to how things used to be, there are still some food shortages but the country is getting there.

The family and friends of Peggy are a wonderful group and there is an obvious bond between these characters that have been built up over the previous books in the series. The sense of belonging and having people to turn to for support and also the reactions when news is shared gives a wonderful feeling for the reader.

The storyline is a gentle one as such because it is one about the everyday lives of people who work hard and support each other. There is a wonderful feeling of belonging and being loved between the characters and this is what makes this book so special. There are some fabulous characters that I have met and I soon found myself getting to know them and remembering them.

Considering I have come to this series quite late on, I was surprised and also delighted at how quickly I found myself invested in this book. There are mentions of things that have happened in the past and the author gives just enough to make me aware but without giving too much away.

While this book works very well as a standalone I do wish I had begun this from the very beginning as I think the reading journey with the resident of The Lanes would be wonderful. I really enjoyed this book and I think readers of historical fiction and family sagas will absolutely adore this if you haven’t read any of the books I would say read from the beginning as I think this would be a wonderful series to settle down with. I Would definitely recommend A Reunion at Mulberry Lane.

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.

Social Media Links – Newsletter Sign UpWebsitebookbubTwitter

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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.

Follow Hazel on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

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The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden @MichaelJBooks #histfic #publicationday #TheGatesOfAthens #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Gates of Athens by Conn Iggulden. This is one for historical fiction readers and is an author who I really enjoy reading. Let me show you what his latest book is about…

490 B.C.

Two great empires are about to go to war . . .

The momentous struggle between Athens and Sparta as rival powers and political systems will last for twenty-seven years (431 to 404 BC).

It will end in the fall of a dynasty.

Filled with cunning political scheming and astonishing military prowess, invasions and treacheries, plagues and slaughters, passion and power, Conn Iggulden brings to life one of the most thrilling chapters of the ancient world.

Published by Penguin UK Michael Joseph Purchase Link from Amazon UK – HardbackKindleAudiobook (these links are affilaite)

Well, what a brilliantly addictive read this book was. I have read a few books by this author now and he is an author who I can rely on to give a riveting read that is also very well researched. This is an author who definitely knows his history and is also how to weave that historical fact into a story that is an incredible read.

I do like historical fiction and non-fiction books, although my knowledge is only small. What I did find with The Gates of Athens is that it felt right. This is a story that sees the historical battle between the Persians and the Greeks, it is the one that leads up to and includes the stand of the Spartan King at the pass in an attempt to stop the progress of Xerses into Athens.

The story focuses on key figures of the time in Athens, a city of democracy and that no one man can be above all others. It is a city of culture, wealth and politics. Now, wherever politics are involved there is also a certain amount of political wrangling. Of being seen to support certain figures or making a stand against them. I have to say that I really enjoyed this part of the story as I saw how subtle nudges and comments can lead to something much bigger.

There is also a good amount of other details of how people lived, the wealthy households are run from different cultures of the ancient world. Many of the details are brief but they help to show the differences between the various cultures.

If you like historical fiction that is set in Ancient Greece, that is full of battles, intrigue, politics and is simply a fabulous read then this is a book I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio from Author Page on Amazon UK

Born in London, Conn Iggulden read English at London University and worked as a teacher for seven years before becoming a full-time writer. Married with three children, he lives in Hertfordshire. Since publication of ‘The Gates of Rome’, Conn has written a further thirteen books including the wildly successful ‘The Dangerous Book for Boys’.

Visit Conn on Amazon Author Page

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

Midtown Huckster (Alex Cohen #3) by Leopold Borstinski @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #histfic #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for Midtown Huckster by Leopold Borstinski. This series is just getting better and better with each book. My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my spot on the Tour and for my e-copy of the book. Let me show you more about the book…

Can you keep your gelt and freedom when the cops have enough evidence to take you down?

1930s Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen runs Murder Inc for Lucky Luciano. After the death of Prohibition he must find a new way to make money, just as the cops are baying at his heels. When Luciano goes down for racketeering, Alex loses his protection and is arrested for tax evasion–he must decide between saving his skin and ratting out his friends.

If he chooses prison time then his gang will fall apart and he will end up with nothing. If he squeals then he will have to flee the city he loves and the family he once adored. What would you do in a world where nobody can be trusted and you have everything to lose?

The third book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical noir novel, which plunges you deep into the early days of narcotics trafficking and the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction delivers a fix to every reader like heroin from a needle.

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is the third book in the Alex Cohen series and I having been enjoying it so much. This book follows on from the previous books and while you could read them as a stand-alone I would advise reading in order.

Set in 1930’s New York as prohibition is coming to an end and as President Hoover forms the Federal Bureau to investigate tax evasion and bringing the profiteers to justice.

As I mentioned, this story follows on from the previous books, these include Alex’s arrival in New York and his Jewish background. This book feels more involved as there is more secrecy as the investigators are getting closer to convicting the main bosses. Another thing that I noticed was slightly less Jewish terms, this kind of makes sense as Alex would have become more Americanised but, I also do miss them.

The book once again uses various points of history to keep the story in the right period, with mentions of Thomas Dewey who was a New York City prosecutor in the 1930’s and whose aim was to beat organised crime. I like these historical mentions as it makes for great additional reading outside of the story.

The journey Alex has made up to this point has been gradual, he is trusted and has respect but there are things afoot that are making him suspicious. Times are changing and not necessarily in Alex’s favour. As he has had his fingers in many pies and looks for more ways to earn a living, the more the investigators have to go on, and what they can’t find well…

Another excellent read in the series and I am so glad there are more planned book to follow, I am certainly interested in what happens next for Alex. This is an excellent series for Historical fiction readers and I would definitely recommend reading Midtown Huckster.

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.

Social Media: TwitterFacebookWebsiteInstagram

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All We Left Behind by Danielle. R. Graham #hisfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for All We Left Behind by Danielle R. Graham. Let me show you what this book is all about…

A powerful and incredibly moving historical novel inspired by an untold story of the Second World War.


Vancouver 1941
As the war rages around the world, Hitler’s fury is yet to be felt on the peaceful shores of Mayne Island. Sweethearts Hayden and Chidori are in love.


But everything changes after Pearl Harbor.
Now seen as the enemy, Chidori and her family are forced into an internment camp. Powerless to help them, Hayden joins the Royal Canadian Air Force to bring about an end to this devastating war – the thought of Chidori is all that keeps him alive.


Can they both survive long enough to be reunited?  Or will the war be the only thing to separate their love?

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is a historical romance and fiction story that is set during WWII. It is set out as a time slip and it flows effortlessly between the lives of two people before the war, during and what happens to them after.

Chidori is a Japanese-Canadian and Hayden is Canadian, their story is told in journal entries and also from log book entries. The two have been friends for years and gradually they realise that they have formed a relationship that goes beyond friendship.

When WWII starts there are rumours about what may happen, but it is when Japan attacks Pearl Harbour that real changes happen. Those living in Canada that are of Japanese origin are being moved to internment centres, it doesn’t matter if they were born in Canada or not. So Hayden and Chidori have to deal with being exasperated.

This is a story that I really enjoyed, it has a setting that I have not about before in this era of history. The author knows this area well and I though it cam across well as she described various aspects of the town. The characters of Chidori and Hayden were really good, Hayden being a bit of a hot head, and even though he has a temper it is only shown when there is a mistjustice. Chidori is more calm and serene, she is able to keep Hayden calm and together they balance each other very well.

The story is told mainly from Hayden’s perspective and Chidori’s part is told in the journal entries and I really liked the mis of the two styles. It fills in the gaps and gives more information.

This is a lovely story and one that I really enjoyed as, I think, will other readers of historical fiction and romance set in WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Brave Daughters by Mary Wood @Authormary #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for a favourite author of mine. The Brave Daughters by Mary Wood is part of The Girls Who Went to War series.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A moving and emotional family drama set between France and Britain from bestselling author, Mary Wood.

They would fight for their country, at all costs . . .

When Sibbie and Marjie arrive at RAF Digby, they are about to take on roles of national importance. It’s a cause of great excitement for everyone around them. Perhaps they will become code-breakers, spies even? Soon the pair embark on a rigorous training regime, but nothing can prepare them for what they’re about to face . . .

Amid the vineyards of rural France, Flora and Ella can’t bear the thought of another war. But as the thunderclouds grow darker, hanging over Europe, a sense of deep foreboding sets in, not just for their safety but for the fate of their families . . . With danger looming, as the threat of war becomes real, Flora and Ella are forced to leave their idyllic home and flee. Can they make it to safety, or will the war have further horrors in store for them?

The Brave Daughters is the fourth book in the Girls Who Went to War series by Mary Wood.

Buy your copy HERE

(This site uses Amazon affiliated links at no cost to you)

I am a big fan of this author and I have adored reading this series, The Girls Who Went to War. This is sadly the final book in this wonderful series. The first books introduced me to Flora Mags and Ella, I watched as these three girls grew up and overcame various things in their lives. This book is about the women and of their children.

The setting is in Britain and Europe at the start of WWII, having lived through and served during WWI, the women ha devive experienced the horrors. Now they watch as their own children step up to do their duty and serve their countries.

This is a book that I knew would have me reaching for the tissues, to be honest, I do with pretty much all of this authors books. I could feel the nervousness and fear of the parents as well as the fear and the want of doing their part from the children. I call them children, they are adults and are old enough to serve., but to a parent, your child is always a child no matter how grown up they are.

As is the case with conflicts there are going to be casualties. The author does not shy away from death and injury and in doing so she keeps the story feeling realistic. As much as I wanted all the characters to survive unharmed I knew deep down that this would not have been the case.

What the author has done is to provide the story of the next generation, giving them a real-life event to work through. It is emotional and full of danger, and the risk to life is every present, but the author balances this with positives such as love and the hope that there will be a future for them to return to.

Once again, Mary Wood has created a story that has compassion and is full of emotion, there are a couple of surprising twists and she has given a very poignant ending to the series that felt right.

If you love historical fiction that focuses on the strength of women during hard times, that has a wonderful feeling of unity, family and romance then this is a book that you may enjoy. All four books in this series could be read as stand-alone but to be honest you get far more out of them by reading them in order. The Brave Daughters is a wonderful read and one I would definitely recommend.

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s family were poor, but rich in love. Over time, she developed a natural empathy with the less fortunate and is fascinated by social history. 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.

Visit Mary on – Website – Twitter – Facebook

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

Rainy Days for the Harpers Girls by Rosie Clarke @AnneHerries @rararesources #rachelsrandomresources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #historicalfiction #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Rainy Days for the Harper Girls by Rosie Clark. I would like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

I have a feeling that this is a very popular series for fans of historical fiction, I have the first two books in the series still to be read. I jumped in at book 3, so let me show you what it is about…

Hard times ahead for the Harpers girls…


It is two years since Harpers opened in Oxford Street and Ben is planning to expand the premises.

Life is good for Sally and Ben as they look forward to their first child and hope for a prosperous future. Beth is settling into married life with Jack, gradually recovering from her aunt’s tragic death, though still unable to conceive a child.

New girls have joined Harpers and Marion, Janice and Becky all become a part of the daily life at the busy store. Rachel is undecided whether to marry a man she isn’t sure she can trust, while Minnie meets an old love.

The sun is shining in English streets but on the horizon dark clouds gather over Europe and war looms threatening bringing rainy days for the Harpers girls…

Purchase LinkHere

This is the 3rd book in the “Welcome To Harpers Emporium” series, I have not read the previous two books even though I do have them on my kindle! It did take me a couple of chapters to get to grips with the characters that are obviously already established, but once I started to get to know them I was well away and absolutely enthralled and captivated by this book.

The story is about the owners and the workers at Harpers Emporium, even though the main cast have backstories I found that very quickly I was given enough detail to get me up to speed. But, I do so wish I had read the previous two books so I knew the full stories of each of them.

Set just before the first World War, there is a tension of things in Europe, and also of the Suffragette movement. These things are great for keeping the reader in the time and setting of the book. The Harpers Girls are a mix of backgrounds and upbringings, but one thing I loved was that each of the employees was looked upon with respect and valued as a member of staff. It gave the book such a lovely feeling of togetherness and also loyalty.

For some times are tough with large families to support, others are lonely and unmarried, but the sense of support was very evident within the story. AS the war eventually does come there is a feeling of doing the right thing as some of enlist, this again adds another emotion to the story, one of worry and also bravado.

I absolutely loved this book and if you are a fan of historical fiction that has a strong friendship and family feel to it then I really would suggest picking up this series, and I would also start from the beginning! I would definitely recommend this book.

Author Bio – 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.

Social Media Links –
Newsletter Sign Up – HERE

Follow Rosie on – WebsiteTwitterBookbub

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Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys @MsTamarCohen @annecater #randomthingstours #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Island of Secrets by Rachel Rhys. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

‘Say, wouldn’t it be a gas if all of us here are pretending to be something we’re not?’


1957: Iris Bailey is bored to death of working in the typing pool and living
with her parents in Hemel Hampstead. A gifted portraitist with a talent for
sketching guests at parties, she dreams of becoming an artist. So she can’t
believe her luck when wealthy socialite Nell Hardman invites her to
Havana to draw at the glittering wedding of her Hollywood director father.


Iris is thrilled to escape to a faraway city by the sea. But she soon realizes
that the cocktails, tropical scents and azure skies mask a darker reality. As
Cuba teeters on the edge of revolution and Iris’s heart melts for troubled
photographer Joe, she discovers that someone in the charismatic Hardman
family is hiding a terrible secret. Can she uncover the ugly truth behind the
glamour and the dazzle before all their lives are torn apart?


‘Rachel Rhys should be on everyone’s summer reading lists’
CLARE MACKINTOSH

Puchase link – Amazon UK

Oh my goodness I absolutely adored this book. The title suggests that there are secrets, but trying to work out what they are and who they are about is something else. The setting of Cuba in the mid 1950’s is wonderful for this story and it has a glamorous feel to it as I followed Iris, an artist from England, as she is hired to draw people who will be attending the wedding of Hugo and Lana.

I liked Iris a lot and I think she is the only character who I felt was honest, the others all seemed to have something to hide. For me, Iris was a naive woman but also one who was curious. She is a character who yes appears honest but she has something that she is holding back on, by this I mean that she is not being completely honest with herself. This trip will either make or break her as she works out what she wants with her life.

As the setting is Cuba and it is the 50’s, there are the obvious mentions of Castro and Guevara, there are political tensions and it is not exactly the idyllic island paradise. While the house that all the guests are staying at is perfectly safe, there are mentions of politics, and of rebels in the mountains. I liked how these were mentioned but not dwelt on too much.

Now as for the secrets, well there are so many and as I said trying to work out who was completely honest was something else. But not once did I feel confused, the author has set the story out perfectly and it made for effortless reading. The reveals as and when they came were good and they caught me out several times.

The story is about a family and an extended family, they are privileged, have property and status. But beneath the beautiful and shiny exterior there is something not so pretty.

I loved this story and I was completely captivated by it. I think it is a wonderful historical fiction and I would definitely recommend it.

Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a much-loved psychological suspense author. She is the author of the Richard and Judy bookclub pick, Dangerous Crossing and the bestselling A Fatal Inheritance. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family.

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The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal @esmacneal #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal, I have had this book on my TBR since it came out last year and I read it last month. Let me show you what is is all about…

The Doll Factory, the debut novel by Elizabeth Macneal, is an intoxicating story of art, obsession and possession.

London. 1850. The Great Exhibition is being erected in Hyde Park and among the crowd watching the spectacle two people meet. For Iris, an aspiring artist, it is the encounter of a moment – forgotten seconds later, but for Silas, a collector entranced by the strange and beautiful, that meeting marks a new beginning. 

When Iris is asked to model for pre-Raphaelite artist Louis Frost, she agrees on the condition that he will also teach her to paint. Suddenly her world begins to expand, to become a place of art and love.

But Silas has only thought of one thing since their meeting, and his obsession is darkening . . . 

I have had this book on my tbr since it first came out last year. I have wanted to read it but kept putting it off until now. I have to say I wasn’t sure what I was expecting and I didn’t read the synopsis until after I had finished the book! To be fair though, even if I had read the synopsis prior to reading I think I would still have been surprised by how dark this book turned.

Let me backtrack, and start with the cover and say that now I have read the book how amazing and so appropriate this cover is, that glass dome encompasses the story perfectly and has a lot of things in it relevent to the story of Iris.

Iris and her sister Rose have been working in a rather depressing and soul destroying business making dolls. When there is a chance for Iris to leave and have the nerve to join an artist as his model, she takes it. Rose isn’t impressed and neither is Silas.

Silas is besotted with Iris, but she doesn’t see him as he thinks she does. He watches her, hoping that she will take him up the various offers her proposes. She however has no time for him, she has her own life and a chance to be something.

Now I did mention this book takes a dark turn, and well to be honest I am not going to tell you why or how even though I am bursting to. The author takes a route that leads its way to this dark thread that is part of the story. It has been done so well, it starts off quite subtly and then worsens over the course of the story. It seems to fit well with the setting.

Now the setting is London, wealth is evident as The Great Exhibition opens so showcase the industry and culture, a place where the who’s who would have been seen. But balanced against that are the slums, side-streets and squalid alleyways where the poor live. This contrast between living conditions, social class and opinions seem to share the ideals behind the various characters. Some wanting to move up, others reluctantly making the most of their lot in life and others just wanting to be accepted.

This is a book that I am so glad I have finally got around to reading, it is a beautifully written book about life in 1850’s London, about life, love, betrayal, art and yes as the synopsis states “obsession and possession”. A fabulous read and one I would definitely recommend.

Elizabeth Macneal was born in Edinburgh and now lives in East London. She is a writer and potter and works from a small studio at the bottom of her garden. She read English Literature at Oxford University, before working in the City for several years. In 2017, she completed the Creative Writing MA at UEA in 2017 where she was awarded the Malcolm Bradbury scholarship. 

The Doll Factory, Elizabeth’s debut novel, won the Caledonia Noel Award 2018. It will be published in twenty-eight languages and TV rights have sold to Buccaneer Media. 

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