The River Between Us by Liz Fenwick @liz_fenwick @HQStories Also: Liz’s Top 10 Tips- For visiting Cornwall #contemporaryfiction #NetGalley #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The River Between Us by Liz Fenwick. I also have an added extra as Liz is sharing her “Top 10 Tips for visiting Cornwall. As I live in the same area as Liz, I couldn’t help but smile and nod knowingly as I read through her tips! Some of these are quite relevant to any where people holiday!

My thanks to Izzie at the HQ PR team at Harper Collins for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of this book.

Following the breakdown of her marriage, Theo has bought a tumbledown cottage on the banks of the river Tamar which divides Cornwall and Devon. The peace and tranquillity of Boatman’s Cottage, nestled by the water, is just what she needs to heal.

Yet soon after her arrival, Theo discovers a stash of hidden letters tied with a ribbon, untouched for more than a century. The letters – sent from the battlefields of France during WW1 – tell of a young servant from the nearby manor house, Abbotswood, and his love for a woman he was destined to lose.

As she begins to bring Boatman’s Cottage and its gardens back to life, Theo pieces together a story of star-crossed lovers played out against the river, while finding her own new path to happiness.

The River Between Us beautifully explores the mystery and secrets of a long-forgotten love affair, and will be loved by fans of Kate Morton.

My Review…

What an amazing and beautiful book The River Between Us is. The title is also quite clever as it provides not only a geological divide but also one that shows the divide between the classes.

This is a dual timeline story that is so easy to follow. Theo is the present-day character and it is through her unseen purchase of an old cottage on the River Tamar that gives the introduction to the tale from the past.

Theo discovers old letters that had been hidden, they tell a tale of forbidden love, of sacrifice, and of times just before and through the first world war. This is a time when women’s suffrage is being spoken about more. When the country and the world is changing as are peoples attitudes. Some attitudes can never be changed and when it comes to having the right marriage then that is what matters. This is the case for Lady Alice.

The author uses her knowledge of the South West to create a mesmerising and beautifully written story. It is mainly set in the earlier timeline of Lady Alice, this is something that worked so well as some events of the past become quite relevant to the present day.

I do adore the author’s descriptions and this time gardening, flowers and wildlife play a good part. Using the flora and fauna to great effect in expressing emotions is wonderful. The days Lady Alice spent fishing and her time on and around the river are gorgeous.

The present-day timeline is also quite emotional, but for very different reasons. Theo’s move and purchase of a cottage open up a mystery and one that has many links to the past. So, while this story is very much contemporary fiction it is also a mystery. It delves into family, secrets long forgotten and hidden things.

The author paces this book wonderfully, it makes the reading extremely addictive and so effortless. I found myself transported with her descriptions. It was emotional and heartbreaking with the revealing of the past through the earlier timeline and also through the forgotten letters.

It was a wonderful book to read. Mesmerising, beautiful and I adored it very much. It is one I would definitely recommend. 

Check out the other stops on the tour

So here are the Top 10 Tips…

Coming to Cornwall this summer especially if you’ve never been before. Here are my top tips for a successful visit!!

1. The roads are more like lanes and in many cases paths or bridleways, but they are two-way for traffic, really.

2. This leads to passing places…yes passing places and not parking spaces.

3. Do not come to Cornwall with a car if you cannot reverse (seriously)… And not just a few feet. It can be necessary in some cases to reverse half a mile, especially if someone has parked in the nearest passing place

4. Locals are mostly friendly…except when you won’t reverse. They know the roads inside out…they know when you’ve just passed a passing place…reverse willingly. Locals love their Cornwall so please leave it as you found it, free of litter. Especially those old single-use barbecues, plastic bags…

5. Be kind to the serving staff…they are locals who are doing the best they can with all the new regulations…your pint, pasty or plaice may take a bit more time. Be patient

6. Walkers on roads…it’s local custom for the walkers to make it easier for vehicles to get past, not the other way round

7. Tractors…be patient. They still have a job to do while you enjoy your holiday. Also note they generally don’t reverse…see above

8. Beaches…be careful. There are rip currents, rapid tides, weaver fish… Always know the tide times…always.

9. If you are on the water in a speed boat…respect others on the beaches and don’t swamp other small boats, kayaks, paddle boards with your wash

10. Sunblock! The sun is strong here even when it isn’t hot, or clear. Don’t be fooled by overcast skies and forget to apply sunblock because of the cooling breeze…

Most important, take the time to enjoy the unique beauty of Cornwall whether on the coast or inland. It is a place of constant contrast especially in variable weather. It offers wonderful people, wild landscape, magical folklore and divine food. 

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

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson @HQstories #NetGalley #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson. This is one for crime thriller fans who like their reads to be on the gritty side.

My thanks to HQ Stories for accepting my request to read this title via NetGalley.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…

When body parts are found on the banks of the River Thames in Deptford, DI Angelica Henley is tasked with finding the killer. Eerie echoes of previous crimes lead Henley to question Peter Olivier, aka The Jigsaw Killer, who is currently serving a life sentence for a series of horrific murders.

When a severed head is delivered to Henley’s home, she realises that the copycat is taking a personal interest in her and that the victims have not been chosen at random.

To catch the killer, Henley must confront her own demons – – and when Olivier escapes from prison, she finds herself up against not one serial killer, but two. 

My Review…

If you like gritty crime thrillers then this is a book that should be on your radar. Not for the faint-hearted as there are some pretty brutal murders. If, however, you do like your crime to be a bit more bloody then give this a go.

This is the first book in the Inspector Anjelica Henley series and I loved it. The story begins really well and has a strong hook to it. The main character is Anjelica, aka Anj or Helnely. She has been on office duty after the brutal case of Peter Olivier, a man that she helped hunt down and resulted in injuries to herself.

There is a new wave of murders and body parts are being discovered around the London area. This looks to be the same sort of modus operandi as Olivier, but with some slight differences. Some of the similarities were only known to a select few people. How to catch the copy cat of an already incarcerated killer? Well, you go to see the incarcerated one!

This is a very addictive crime thriller that starts the series but gives a background to its main characters. There is a good amount of detail on the main players and they soon become very recognisable. Given this is the start, there is already a nice vibe going on between some of the characters and their backstories and working relationships are filled in to give a bigger picture.

This story also has a psychological edge to it in respect to Henley and her previous run-in with Olivier. I do like how the author did play on this a little but not too much. Trying to juggle work, family and having a trainee detective with her, she has a full plate, to say the least.

This novel has a good amount of twists, when you think things are going in one direction the author deftly turns and takes you on another route. This is a great intro for a new series and also for me to this author. I will be keeping an eye out for more Henley books in the future.

This is one for crime fans who love a good, gritty and at times brutal police procedural thriller. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and I would definitely recommend it.

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

The Island by C.L. Taylor #TheIslandBook #YAThriller @HQStories #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Island by C.L. Taylor. It has been a while since I read one of Cally’s books, so I was really looking forward to this one. Aimed at Young Adult Readers it also works very well for Adults as well.

Here’s more…

Lost meets The Hunger Games in the thrilling new young adult novel from C.L. Taylor, the Sunday Times and million-copy bestselling author.

Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

My Review…

I really enjoyed this YA book and how the author approached fears and phobias through a group of teens alone on an island near Thailand.

The group of 6 have known each other all their lives, they have holidays every year. As they have grown up they have drifted apart somewhat, dynamics between each of them have altered. Tragedy has hit more than one of the group and this leads to a small void starting to encroach on the group.

A holiday on an island, a chance to get away under the supervision of a guide should be good for the group. However, when the guide dies things that had been kept hidden or controlled start to unravel. A sense of seeing beyond the mask if you like as the situation the teens find themselves in changes dramatically.

I really enjoyed the tense suspense of this novel and how the author explored the changing and challenging dynamics of the group. As they find themselves in disarray they also start to suspect that there is a danger stalking them. What or who this is they are not sure, who is to blame, who is playing games and what is to happen are questions that I needed to know the answers to as I read.

The isolation of the island adds to the sense of loneliness and separation. As I got to know each of the 6 better I began to realise that there is more than meets the eye, they are not quite the stable group I initially thought they were.

This is a really good tense, suspense ridden YA thriller and one that I really enjoyed. A good deal of mystery, intrigue and suspicion across the novel gives it that page-turner addiction. One I would recommend.

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

Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye with Rebecca Mascull @RebeccaMascull @HQStories #review of #MissMarley

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review for Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye and Rebecca Mascull. I was over the moon to be sent a copy by Joe Thomas HQ Stories. A wonderful cover for a wonderful book.

Synopsis:

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill, and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

My Thoughts:

Have you ever wondered about Jacob Marley, how he became the ghost in A Christmas Carol? What did he do in life to deserve such a penance? I always have. So when the chance to read Miss Marley came along I jumped at it. Set as a prequel to A Christmas Carol, the author has invented a sister for Jacob, Miss Clara Belle Marley. Jacob’s story is told from her perspective.

As a reader I have always associated Christmas with Dickens, A Christmas Carol is one of those books that is synonymous with the festive season and has been the basis for many offshoots in the form of film, musical, and theatre. Miss Marley is a welcome addition and is the perfect book to accompany the Dickens classic. Dickens has some mighty big footsteps and I was a little wary as to how this book would fair. I have to say here and now it faired very well indeed and it complimented those footsteps completely for me.

From the outset I was transported and completely immersed into Dickensian London, slums, rough neighbourhoods, dank sewer lined streets and the notorious poverty. This was here I was introduced to two youngsters, Jacob and Clara. I followed them as they struggled to find food to eat, a roof and warmth to keep themselves healthy and safe. The story tells of a chance event that was to provide the start of a new life. A life that would see them rise from the gutters and to meet Ebenezer Scrooge. 

There are a few references to A Christmas Carol and these were perfect for setting the scene, the feel and introducing characters that follow in Dickens book. By the time I had finished reading Miss Marley, I found my reading appetite definitely whetted and was eager to continue into the book we all know.

You may notice that there are two authors mentioned for this book, I wasn’t really aware of this until I got to the end and read the afterword. The first author is Vanessa Lafaye, she wrote the vast majority of this book. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer before it’s completion. Rebecca Mascull then took on the role of finishing the final few chapters. The friendship, discussions and the love these two authors shared for Dickens really does show and I had no idea where one author left off and the other picked up. It wasn’t until I read the afterword that I discovered this revelation. It was a seamless transition between the two and an ending that I believe Vanessa would approve of (in my opinion). 

This is a novella that is an absolute must-read not only for fans of Dickens and A Christmas Carol but also for those that have not turned the pages of a Dickens before. It would be the perfect introduction to the style and feel of this great author. Everything about this book was absolutely perfect and spot on and it will be one that I will read again for the festive season years to come. This book gets an absolutely highly recommended from me.

About the Authors:

Vanessa Lafaye was born in Florida and studied in North Carolina. She moved to the UK in 1999 (having been deported once). She is the author of two previous novels, her first book Summertime, was chosen for Richard and Judy in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Historical Writers Award. Vanessa passed away in February 2018.

Rebecca Mascull is the author of three historical novels and also writes saga fiction under the pen-name Mollie Walton. Visit her websites for more information: https://molliewalton.co.uk/ & https://rebeccamascull.co.uk/

She is currently hard at work on her next trilogy of historical fiction, with the first novel slated for publication in spring 2019 to be published by Bonnier Zaffre as The Ironbridge Saga. These will be published under the name of Mollie Walton and the first book in the series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE.
Her first novel THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton.

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