Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland #boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the blog tour today and to share my review today for this third book in a series, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. This is a fabulous series and one I am loving, each book gives an insight into the lives of those who reside there and also visit.

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Every family has its secrets, and at Hedgehog Hollow there is no exception…


It was always Samantha’s dream to run her beautiful rescue centre, Hedgehog Hollow, full-time. But just as her wish comes true, she becomes a victim of her own kindness when she finds herself with a house full of guests – all with their own problems and secrets – looking to her for support.

When her self-absorbed cousin, Chloe, unexpectedly turns up at the farm – swiftly handing over her baby to Samantha to care for – trouble is definitely brewing. Especially as Chloe won’t tell anyone why she’s left her husband, James…

As Samantha juggles new hedgehog arrivals, family dramas and her own health challenges, it soon becomes clear that she needs to start putting herself first for once. Little does she know that life-changing secrets from the past are about to unravel and turn their lives upside down…

Return to glorious Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a heartwarming, emotional but uplifting story of family, friendship and moving on from the past.

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

Oh my goodness this was a fabulous and also emotional 3rd book in the Hedgehog Hollow series. I have adored each book as I have followed the journey of the characters.

This story focuses on Sam and Chloe, their story alternates and fills in some important events in Chloe’s life, it also goes a good way to understanding her behaviour and gradually why she has upped and left her husband landing on Sam’s doorstep with a baby in tow.

How Sam has the patience and energy to deal with all that is going on in her life is beyond me! The woman never stops and never thinks of herself, always there for others. With the running of the hedgehog rescue centre, additional family staying in the house and then Chloe’s arrival she is run ragged. Something is going to give, quite how and what I will leave you to discover.

Over the course of the series, Chloe has been the demanding princess type, everything has been about her and how important her life is. This latest chapter of the series shows that there is more to Chloe than anyone realised and this is based on events in her teens. A secret that is so big that it threatens to tear her marriage apart.

Sam has her own problems and the author gives her quite a lot to cope with. Sam is a character who is always busy has miles of patience and she is a character that can take a lot of pressure. The author got the balance right for when the pressure gets too much.

This is another gorgeous instalment of the series and it is one that has a much more serious tone to it. Once again the author has created a story that is truly addictive and of course has gorgeous bundles of hedgehog-iness! A fabulous read and one for fans of contemporary fiction and stories about families and their trying times. And we have been left with such a tantalising teaser for the next book!!! It is a series and a book that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Prisoner by Ross Greenwood @greenwoodross #boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #NetGalley #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Prisoner by Ross Greenwood. I do like this authors books and have read several, Prisoner is a little different and a fabulously addicted read!

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

Behind bars, the rules are different…

Prison Officer Jim Dalton is used to walking the landings on the male side of HMP Peterborough. It’s a dangerous place, fuelled by testosterone-driven violence, but he’s done the job for a long time. He understands the unwritten rules, and he has the prisoners’ respect. 

When a relative is sent to the jail, Dalton is transferred to the female side of the prison. His next shift is so easy, he can’t believe that the officers over there get paid the same wages. He sleeps well for the first time in years.

But when he is assigned to the young offenders’ wing, dealing with female prisoners no longer seems so simple.  As every day passes, and he gets to know the women better, he is slowly drawn in to new temptations, new traps and a new nightmare. One which could destroy everything.

Taking a break from his bestselling DI Barton series, Ross Greenwood returns with this shocking, page-turning and utterly compelling glimpse behind the bars of a women’s prison. From a man who walked the landings himself…

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

I have read quite a few of this authors crime thriller books, his latest release Prisoner is very different to what I have read in the past. Ross uses his working experience in the Prison Service as inspiration and it shows in the writing.

A blend of fact and fiction as the author writes a very compelling story around Prison Officer Jim Dalton. A man who has respect on the male side of the prison from both fellow officers and also inmates. He comes across as a fair person, but one who is struggling in his home life. The stress of the job is telling and his marriage is rocky.

A move from the male wing to the female wing for a short period gives him a reprieve as such. The stress is less and the work more manageable. There are however a different set of unspoken rules for working in the female wing, unfortunately, Jim is a little slow to heed the warnings and see the signs.

I loved the way the author created an understated thriller like this one. There is a good amount of intrigue and suspense and there is a tense vibe and atmosphere to it. The author has created some great characters and making them so believable. Having the experience of working in a prison has definitely added a wonderful balance to the story as he gives a more balanced outlook. Describing the ways in which the psychology of a male or female wing differs.

How the characters of Jim deals with the changes in his role gives a really good insight and shows how easy it is to get caught up in simple things and to fall prey to a lie. While it is obvious that this is an environment where lies and deceit are going to be part of the norm, the author takes a little bit further.

This is such a clever story and one that I adored. There are some very hard to read parts of the story, again adding credibility to an at times harrowing read. It shows the good and the bad as well as the grey areas. If you like prison-based stories then this is one for you. It is a story that sort includes many genres from the obvious crime to the thriller, suspense and also partly psychological. It is a book that I do think will appeal to a great variety of readers. Tense, gritty, absorbing and definitely recommended.

It also includes a very insightful author note as the end. 

About the Author…

Ross Greenwood is the author of six crime thrillers. Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years. He lives in Peterborough and his first title for Boldwood – the beginning of a series – The Snow Killer was published in November 2019.

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Games People Play by Owen Mullen @OwenMullen6 @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #thriller #crime #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Games People Play by Owen Mullen. I do like this authors books and this latest one is a cracking read.

My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy via NetGalley.

When a baby is stolen from a Scottish beach, private investigator Charlie Cameron reluctantly agrees to take the case.

While her parents are just yards away, thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland. Three days later, her distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has taken his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment, Charlie takes the case—and when bodies are discovered, he suspects this may not be an isolated crime. Is there a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades? Is baby Lily his latest victim? Charlie won’t be able to give up on this case. Memories and guilt from his childhood won’t let him…

Owen Mullen is a best-selling author of psychological and gangland thrillers. His fast-paced, twist-aplenty stories are perfect for all fans of Robert Galbraith, Ian Rankin and Ann Cleeves.

Purchase LinkAmazon

My Review…

With a very dramatic prologue opening this story I found myself quickly drawn into this authors latest book. A story of a missing child is only the very start of describing the storyline for this opener to a new series featuring Charlie Cameron, a Private Investigator.

When mark, the father of missing 13 month old Lily turns up on Charlie’s doorstep asking for help alarm bells start to ring. Why would Mark asked for Chalire’s help when the police are already active in the case? Deep down Charlie knows he should walk away, it brings memories back they Charlie still hasn’t dealt with.

A missing child, dark secrets, and devious and intriguing “other events” that make up this story are brilliantly worked together to give the reader quite an intense reading journey. This is a slow burner and one that involves quite a few characters that did take me a while to get my head around.

The author has woven a tale that involves the past and there are secrets involved that need to be worked through. I do like the slower pacing of this story as it gives the reader a chance to get completely absorbed. Alongside the missing child, Charlie still has other cases that are brought to him. Being a Private Investigator is what Charlie is, so taking on several cases is what he does. It is mentioned in the story that it is often a feast or famine type of business, and it is definitely a case of a feast with several to juggle. Good job he has a couple of friends to give a helping hand.

As I mentioned this is a novel that has various threads, one of which is Charlie himself, his personal life and gradually more of his past. This is interwoven into the other plots. It does mean that the investigations do alternate, for me, it gave a more complete character, showing his working and home life balance.

This is a brilliant book that is a mix of crime, mystery and personal life and one that I thoroughly enjoyed, I do like the slower pace of this story. At times I did want it to move on quicker but that was because I was impatient to get answers to the questions. Forcing myself to slow my reading was great because it meant I could get into the storyline. This is one for those who like a slower-paced crime, mystery read and one I would defiantly recommend. It has left me looking forward to reading more in this series.

About the Author…

Owen Mullen is a highly regarded crime author who splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete.  In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. He has now written seven books and his first gangland thriller for Boldwood, Family  will be published in January 2021.

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Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage by Samantha Tonge @SamTongeWriter @Aria_Fiction @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #romance #PublicationDay #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage by Samantha Tonge. This is a fabulous read and perfect now that we have more sunny days and the weather is warming up.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for arranging my e-copy of this gorgeous book. I would also like to wish Sam a very Happy Publication Day 🙂

Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage

A new start can come from the most unexpected places…

It’s been years since Lizzie Lockhart spoke to her parents. But she was safe in the knowledge she knew everything about them. Once upon a time, they were as close as could be. Until they weren’t.

After receiving the earth-shattering news of their passing, Lizzie decides it’s time to unearth some family secrets and find out just who her parents really were… starting with Streamside Cottage. A cottage Lizzie never knew existed, in a place she’s never heard of: the beautiful English village of Leafton.

Leaving behind London, and the tattoo parlour she called home, Lizzie finds herself moving to the countryside. Faced with a tight-lipped community, who have secrets of their own, Lizzie is at a loss for what to do, until her rather handsome neighbour, Ben, steps in to help.

As Lizzie finally begins to piece together the puzzle of her family history she realises she has to confront the truth of the past in order to face her future.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or US Kobo

My Review…

Oh my goodness what a fabulous read Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage was. Lizzie discovers her parents owned a cottage when their will is read. The cottage is left to her Aunt Fiona, Lizzie knows nothing about the house.

The village of Leafton has that wonderful community feel and Lizzie feels at home after living in the buzz of London. She had led quite a sheltered childhood as her parents were overly protective, and I mean really over the top protective. Leaving home to go to Uni was an ey opener and this led to her starting to stand on her own two feet causing a rift between daughter and parents. Staying in the secretive property will give Lizzie a chance to find out more about her past and parents. But are the locals of the village willing to share their secrets?

This is such a wonderful read that I absolutely adored from the first few paragraphs. It is told in a now and past format, the way the past is told works well with the Now part of the story. It is told in gradual back steps through the years and links in with Lizzie’s discoveries. There are more secrets to be unearthed than the obvious and these cause more than a few emotional discoveries and admissions for some of the characters.

I really liked how the author used a tattooist as the main protagonist. Even though tattoos are more accepted there is still a stigma attached. It would have been easy to give Lizzie a harder time as she does have artwork adorning her skin, but the author went down a more acceptable route and I liked how it was woven into the story with explanations. I am slightly biased about tattoos as I do have three of my own.

The sense of things being secretive and hidden was wonderful, at times with the sense that there was something much deeper to come. Weaving the locals and their stories into the story of Lizzie was a really good way of adding intrigue. While the locals are supportive there is a feeling that there is more that needs to be told.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, it is one of family and accepting the past, of heartbreaking discoveries. While it is a rom-com and it has a nice romantic thread, this feels more serious as there are some more serious issues that are dealt with. It is one for those who like a romance with a touch more suspense to it and it is one I would definitely recommend. 

About the Author…

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris, and has travelled widely.
She has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.

In 2014 her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction Best Ebook Award.
In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.
In 2019 she was shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award.
In 2020 she won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award with her novel Knowing You, from publisher Canelo.

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

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

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy via NetGalley.

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

1910 LIVERPOOL DOCKS.


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

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

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

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

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

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

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

About the Author…

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

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Uncork My Love by Rich Amooi @RichAmooi @rararesources #romcom #NetGalley #Giveaway #bookreview

It is no surprise to regular visitors that I do love Rich Amooi‘s books, his latest one, Uncork My Love is a fabulous bit of literary escapism and as always it put a smile on my face.

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

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Uncork My Love

A sweet romantic comedy set in beautiful Napa Valley!

Ivy needs a miracle and a drink—not necessarily in that order. With a struggling winery, the only hope of keeping her dream alive is snagging a gold medal at the annual wine competition. She’s determined to win, but she can do it without the help of Ted Jacobs, aka Mr. Know-it-All.

Ted wants to catch lightning in a bottle and create the world’s greatest wine, but he’s smart enough to know he can’t do it alone. When he heads to Napa to keep his grandma from ending up in jail (don’t ask), he meets Ivy. She’s as complex and intoxicating as his award-winning cabernet, but as stubborn as the mule next door when she stomps on his offer to collaborate.

Ted knows it’s risky to mix business with pleasure, but if Ivy would only listen, they might just be the toast of the town.

Purchase Links from Amazon UK US

My Review…

If you like a good romantic comedy, that is full of heart-warming moments and quite a few chuckles then this is the author for you. Rich’s latest book Uncork My Love is set in the Napa region and is about two winery owners.

Now, I am the first to admit that I adore this authors books and this one is another fabulous light-hearted escapism read that is perfect for losing yourself in for a couple of hours or so. I often mention that his novels are a little bit cheesy and tongue in cheek and this is what makes them so good.

Uncork My Love did feel a little different, it did have some of the cheesiness as the two main characters danced around “not liking each other”, but the joy of this story was the hilarious moments of the two, well, I suppose you could call them “interested others”, and I am not saying much about them at all.

Having a business head is all well and good but sometimes you need to step back and take a risk. This is something that Ivy is reluctant to do and the last thing she needs is some no it all man telling her how to do things properly. Ted does know his stuff and wants to help, but he and Ivy clash and are at loggerheads much of the time.

The author uses his magic to create yet another story that had me grinning and also sniggering several times. There is also some detail about wine, mixing, the flavours and these are expertly combined into Ivy and Ted’s story. I like wine, I don’t know much about it apart from if I like it I will drink it!

This is a wonderful rom-com from an author who knows just how to hit all the right notes. A bit cheeky with wonderful characters and an all-round cracking read. I adored it and would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Rich Amooi is a Taleflick Discovery Winner, Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Recipient, Holt Medallion Finalist, and the Amazon Bestselling author of 16 romantic comedies, including It’s Not PMS, It’s You, Dying to Meet You, There’s Something About a Cowboy, and Madam Love, Actually.

A former radio personality and wedding DJ, Rich now writes romantic comedies full-time in San Diego, California, and is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

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There is also a GIVEAWAY as part of the Blog Tour and you can enter HERE for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally). Good Luck xx

Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

Guest Post by Carol Rivers…

How Daisy became Daisy …

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

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

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

With love as always, Carol x

About the Author…

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

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

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

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Mr Right Across The Street by Kathryn Freeman @KathrynFreeman1 @rararesources #NetGalley #romcom #bookreview

Kathryn Freeman is an author who I regularly read and her latest book Mr Right Across The Street was another fabulous read. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Mia Abbott’s move to Manchester was supposed to give her time and space from all the disastrous romantic choices she’s made in her past. But then the hot guy who lives opposite – the one who works out every day at exactly 10 a.m., not that Mia has noticed thank-you-very-much – starts leaving notes in his window…for her.

Bar owner Luke Doyle has his own issues to deal with but as he shows Mia the sites of her new city he also shows her what real romance looks like for the first time. And when he cooks up a signature cocktail in her honour, she realises that the man behind the bar is even more enticing than any of his creations. And once she’s had a taste she knows it will never be enough!

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

This was a really fun book that I sat and read over the course of an afternoon. Mia, a newcomer to the Manchester area eagerly awaits 10 each morning when she can watch the gorgeous hunk in the opposite flat work out.

She has decided it is time to start over and stand on her own two feet. She has been a bit of a recluse since moving into her flat, her mum and sister want her to go out and meet people and find friends. Mia not so much, she isn’t one for socialising, doesn’t appear to like letting people find out much about her. But then her last relationship has left her doubting herself so its no wonder really.

Good job she walks into the local bar and finds people to talk to then, especially when one of them is the guy opposite who works out. She soon discovers from others that he is a player, he doesn’t do relationships and he, being the cool guy isn’t going to be interested in her, the nerd!

This is such a lovely story about opposites attracting, but when you have a reputation then its hard for anyone to see past that. Wanting to find herself and gradually into a new life in a new area, Mia finds herself making a deal to get to know the area a little better. As she gets to know people Mia finds that not everyone is quite as they seem. Not quite as shallow as she originally thought, so is she going to take a chance!

The author created as tory with some very likeable characters and with plenty of will they/won’t they moments. It was a story that was easy to get into and provided a light-hearted literary escape, ideal for fans of rom-coms and contemporary romance. One that has some serious moments but also plenty of chuckles. One I would thoroughly recommend.

About the Author…

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a sexy hero. 

With a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author…

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

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

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

This is the second book in the two book series.

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

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

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

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

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

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EXTRACT…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘What are Government Bonds?’

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

‘I think I understand.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author…

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

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

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

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

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