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

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

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 Good Doctor Of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford. I was very lucky to receive a copy of the book and also an Audio Cd in a giveaway run by Elisabeth on her Facebook page, that was last year!

Let me show you what it’s about…

‘You do not leave a sick child alone to face the dark and you do not leave a child at a time like this.’

Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha’s mentor, Dr Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.

As the noose tightens around the ghetto Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day…

Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.

Half a million people lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Less than one percent survived to tell their story. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland’s greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak. 

It feels so wrong to say that I really enjoyed this book given the subject it is about, but I really did enjoy it. This is a meticulously researched book about Misha and Sophia and also of Dr Janusz Korzak.

Misha and Sophia live in Warsaw, Poland and they are the main focus of the story. Dr Korzack is a man who features in the story quite a bit along with many others who had to endure the tyranny of Hitler during WWII. Out of the 1/2 million people who were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto, less than 1% survived.

There are so many parts of this book that are so hard to read because of what they went through and what happened. The author paints a vivd and heartbreaking picture of suffering, devastation and pure horror of the living conditions of these people. What makes it so difficult is that I know what was going to happen as it did happen. When those living in the Ghetto are told that they will be relocated to a work camp at Treblinka, I know it was never going to be a work camp. I thought if only they knew the truth before they boarded the train! What was the alternative though, remain and be tortured and beaten to death or face starvation. This is why there were so few survivors.

Dr Korzak ran a home for orphans, this is where Misha and Sophioa meet. Dr Korzak’s main principle with dealing with children in his care was that you should look at the child as an individual. To do this you have to get to know the child and only then could you understand the child and their behaviour.

As Germany invades Warsaw, Korzak, the children in his care, Misha, Sophia and many hundreds of thousands are forced into ghettos. The conditions are squalid, disease ridden, food is scarce and is smuggled in. Escaping the ghetto is not an option as being caught is certain death. Misha and Sophia have to make a decision, stay and be rounded up and put on a train or separate and hope they can both survive the war and be re-united.

This is so emotional and hard to read, but it also shows hope and the determination. It is compelling and addictive and the author has done a beautiful job of telling this story.

I mentioned earlier the meticulous research. At the end of the story there are several pages that include the books she used to compile the facts, the places she had visited and the people she met. All these things were brought together and once she had all the facts she began to write. There are photographs on the inside covers of the book.

This is an inspiring story based on the true story of Misha and Sophia. It is a harrowing, heartbreaking, poignant story of courage, loyalty, belief, commitment and hope.

It is one I would Absolutely Recommend!

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx


Book 12 of 20

Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawden#20Booksofsummer #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you today on Jakob’s Colours by Lindsay Hawden, This is a fantastic read that is set during WWII

Let me show you what the synopsis says…

This heartbreaking and tender novel will appeal to readers who loved Sophie’s ChoiceSchindler’s Ark, and The Book Thief. Austria, 1944: Jakob, a gypsy boy—half Roma, half Yenish—runs, as he has been told to do. With shoes of sack cloth, still bloodstained with another’s blood, a stone clutched in one hand, a small wooden box in the other. He runs blindly, full of fear, empty of hope. For hope lies behind him in a green field with a tree that stands shaped like a Y. He knows how to read the land, the sky. When to seek shelter, when not. He has grown up directing himself with the wind and the shadows. They are familiar to him. It is the loneliness that is not. He has never, until this time, been so alone. “Don’t be afraid, Jakob,” his father has told him, his voice weak and wavering. “See the colors, my boy,” he has whispered. So he does. Rusted ochre from a mossy bough. Steely white from the sap of the youngest tree. On and on, Jakob runs. Spanning from one world war to another, taking us across England, Switzerland, and Austria, Jakob’s Colours is about the painful legacies passed down from one generation to another, finding hope where there is no hope, and color where there is no color.

When I think of Hitler and his plan to create his perfect race, I immediately think of the persecution of the Jews. This story is about persecution but this time of the Gypsies.

The story is told in a style that alternates between chapters that are headed “This Day”, “Before” and “Long Before” and they are spread across five sections that gradually take you through the story. It is a style that is very easy to follow.

This is a story about 8 year old Jakob, a boy who is half Roma (Gypsy) and half Yenish (Swiss Gypsy). It is also about his parents and tells their life-story. With the alternating timelines it is a chance to build up valuable insight and knowledge of the family and their experiences. It also gives meaning to the importance of colour in the lives of this family.

This is a story that has been well researched, this research has then been woven and incorporated into an absolutely amazing story. It is a story that is heartbreaking as you would imagine, but it also has something that has a special balance to it. It shows people at their best as well as at their very worst. This means that not only do you get the desperation and plight of a persecuted people, you also get the balance of those willing to go out on a limb and by doing that they instil a sense of hope.

This is a very special book that has been so well written that I am really struggling with a review. It is a book, that as I read, I wanted to highlight and quote every single sentence. It is beautifully worded and it’s one of those books that will stay with me for a very long time indeed.

If you want to read about the plight of a people who were persecuted and almost wiped out, then this is the book to pick up. If you want a story about the balance of life and death, then pick this book up. If you want a story that is beautifully written and yet harrowing and heartbreaking then pick this book up.

It is a book that once I had read, I just knew I would not be able to do justice to when it came to write a review. I just hope that as you read this, it sparks a little curiosity in you and you go and pick this book up and read it.

Highly Recommended Book.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated xx

Book 8 of 20

Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook #RandomThingsTours @unbounders @annecater #NonFiction #WW2 #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook with you all today. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy.

He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator. Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead…

Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis.

When Tim Clark wanted to know more about his parents’ involvement in Special Operation during WWII, he thought it would be a case of simply asking them. His father was not forthcoming with details and his mother very similar. Neither spoke much of their involvement, only odd comments mentioned. The curiosity was sparked however, but a full conversation would never happen.

After the death of his father, Tim decided to embark on a research journey. It involved travelling, meeting with people and meticulously putting together the story of Monopoli Blues. All the pieces found and placed together like a jigsaw. Now when I say meticulous I really do mean it, dates, places, timelines, photo’s and information is amazing. Given all the information that is included I never once felt overwhelmed. The story that is told is so easy to follow and became very addictive reading.

While the story is one of his parents meeting and their life during the war, it is also one of the unknown, survival and courage. From a solid friendship and realtionship followed. The story gives a glimpse into the lives of two people who met during the war.

There are so many things I enjoyed about the story as well as the one about his parents. The photgraphs, snippets from letters, details of missions and other things that I was unaware of. This is where the background of both Authors helped. Bringing history and journalism together to create a fascinating read.

I found myself on the internet looking at various items that caught my curiosity in the book. I love it when this happens!

This is a fascinating book and it is one that I think lovers of WWII History will enjoy. It was a book I flew through and one I would Definitely Recommend.

Tim Clark spent a large part of his career working as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading firms specialising in M+A and corporate work in the UK and internationally, ultimately becoming Senior Partner. Since retiring as a lawyer, Tim has taken on board positions on a number of corporate, arts and charitable organisations, and senior advisory roles at a number of international think tanks.

Nick Cook is an author, journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. In 1986, he joined the world-renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly , initially as a reporter, rising quickly to become Aviation Editor, a position he held until 2005. His first novel, Angel, Archangel , was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. In 2001, Cook’s first non-fiction title, The Hunt For Zero Point , was published, reaching Number 1 in Amazon’s Non-Fiction charts. He has also written, hosted and produced two documentaries about the world of aerospace and defence – Billion Dollar Secret and an Alien History of Planet Earth . He lives and works with his wife and two children in London.

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Tour…

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

Blackpool’s Daughter by Maggie Mason @Authormary @LittleBrownUK #Giveaway #review

I am delighted to share my review for Blackpool’s Daughter by Maggie Mason. I am a big fan of Mary Wood she also writes as Maggie Mason. It was an absolute pleasure to have the chance to take part in the Blog Tour.

Before I get carried away I must mention that Mary will be running a #GIVEAWAY so to take part please leave a comment on this post. Mary is responsible for the giveaway and will contact the winner. I have no involvement in the giveaway. **Please note that I approve posts on my site, I may not approve straight away today because I will will sleeping after working a night shift! Good luck everyone 🙂 xx

Right then, let’s have a look and see what this book is all about…

The perfect read for fans of Mary Wood, Kitty Neale, Val Wood and Nadine Dorries

Clara is forced to flee her home as the Nazis invade the beautiful island of Guernsey

Separated from her mother, far away from anything familiar, she is at the mercy of a cruel shopkeeper. Clara is worked like a dog, but the warmth of her Blackpool friendships will go far to save her.

Julia just wants to find her beloved daughter – but the trials of war will keep them far apart.

They will meet again – but the war will change everything for mother and daughter

Having read the previous book called The Blackpool Lass, (you can read my review here) I was very keen to see if this author could pull at my heart and emotions again! Well! Oh my goodness! Yes she could! Blackpool’s Daughter is such an emotional rollercoaster that took my emotions once again through the wringer.

The story is of Clara and her mother Julia and I first met them on Guernsey, they do not have the best of life their but do make the most of what they have. As the threat of Germany taking over the island looms ever closer, the decision is made to evacuate the children and younger people off the island to the mainland. Clara eventually ends up in Blackpool while Julia remains behind. A change of circumstance makes it possible for Julia to find the fare for passage as well. She wants to find her daughter… but where she is, well no-one seems to know. She is given a rough idea of where Clara was possibly placed.

Oh Clara my goodness… Blackpool sounds like such a perfect place for her to be posted, but it’s not the Blackpool I imagine. Instead Clara is forced to work like a slave for such her obnoxious landlady. What should be a place of safety is in fact dangerous, dirty and an absolute nightmare. Clara’s situation just seems to go from bad to worse with every decision that is forced upon her. Clara is caught up in the back streets, full of danger and deceit. The Author really shows her research in this book as there are so many mentions of relevant things.

Julia does not find it any easier. The anguish at watching her daughter leave is so heartfelt and I really did feel for this strong character. She is one of those silent women that bear all that is thrown at her but not saying anything about. This silent strength is something that she will definitely need as she tries to earn enough to try and find Clara. The strength her mother has is something that Clara has also taken and she will need all her strength to get through some really tough situations.

Heartbreak and emotion are very strong themes in this book and at times it is gut wrenching to read some of the dilemmas and situations the characters find themselves in. The second world war has such a huge impact on families, communities and the nation as a whole. Pain and suffering is evident, but also that resolve to try to carry on as best as you can is in evidence. But with this resolve there are also the minority that see the war as a means to profit, it is these people who are the real danger.

The stories of the two women are told in quick alternating chapters. Each chapter left me wanting to know what was happening with the other, to see how they were faring and coping. But it was not only the two women that had my interest it was also the people they met along their travels and whose lives they become part of.

Along with the heartbreak and feeling of sadness there is also another emotion, it’s called hope and comes in various different other aspects and from other characters. Hope that mother and daughter will survive, hope they will be united, hope that others are re-united and, hope that futures and lives will eventually get better.

This is such a fabulous read, once I started I really did not want to put it down. The story hit me right from the start and this author really knows how to put her characters and also this reader through the emotional mill.

If you are a fan of historical fiction and family saga’s then you really should check this author out. Blackpool’s Daughter get a Highly Recommended from me! xx

See what other Book Bloggers thought

Maggie Mason is a pseudonym of author Mary Wood. Mary began her career by self-publishing on kindle where many of her sagas reached number one in genre. She was spotted by Pan Macmillan and to date has written many books for them under her own name, with more to come. Mary continues to be proud to write for Pan Macmillan, but is now equally proud and thrilled to take up a second career with Sphere under the name of Maggie Mason. A Blackpool Lass is her first in a planned series of standalone books and trilogies set in her home town of Blackpool.

Mary retired from working for the National Probation Service in 2009, when she took up full time writing, something she’d always dreamed of doing. She follows in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, Dora Langlois, who was an acclaimed author, playwright and actress in the late nineteenth – early twentieth century.

It was her work with the Probation Service that gives Mary’s writing its grittiness, her need to tell it how it is, which takes her readers on an emotional journey to the heart of issues.

Follow the Author on – WebsiteTwitterFacebook

Dont forget… leave a comment if you want to to be entered into the Giveaway ✍📖😘


Many thanks for reading my post, likes and shares are always appreciated 🙂 xx

#BlogTour : Doomed Destroyer by Ron Cope : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR

Doomed Destroyer Cover

Today I have “Doomed Destroyer” by Ron Cope.  Published by Clink Street Publishing and available in paperback and also eBook format.  I have a paperback copy and I would recommend if you are buying this book then paperback is the way to go.  I will explain why in “My Thoughts” a little further down the page.  To buy your own copy from Amazon UK CLICK HERE

Synopsis:

On March 1st 1940, Adolf Hitler ordered Operation Weserubung: the invasion of Norway. Having swept across Europe, the Nazi assault on Scandinavia was designed to secure the valuable iron ore being delivered by rail from Sweden to the Norwegian port of Narvik. To complete the task, Hitler sent ten large destroyers, with 220 Alpine Troops on each. Five smaller British H Class destroyers were sent up the fjord in retaliation, with little knowledge of what to expect. On April 10th , the first British battle of Narvik began in earnest. Royal Naval Captain Bernard Warburton-Lee led his flotilla at midnight into the fjord; undetected, under darkness and in driving snow storms. The harbour erupted into a torpedo attack; back into the fjord, the destroyers Hardy, Hunter, Hotspur, Havock and Hostilewere confronted by five German destroyers. A ferocious sea battle ensued and Hardy and Hunter were lost. In his first account of The Battle of Narvick, Attack at Dawn, Ron Cope focussed on the experience and the survival of the crew of HMS Hardy. After nine long years of research, he now reveals for the first time the untold story of HMS Hunter and her crew. Just forty-eight of the 159 servicemen on board survived in the cold waters of the fjord; picked up by German destroyers, they were eventually forced to march in freezing conditions over the mountains into internment in Sweden. Before the handover to the Swedish authorities, a German Army officer made the British servicemen sign a form: “On my being sent into Sweden I will not take up arms against Germany… Should I do so, and in the event of again being taken prisoner I shall be subject to such conditions as are provided under the Death Penalty Act”. Doomed Destroyer follows the astounding stories of the Hunter sailors, who would spend the next five years plotting and attempting to escape their captivity. Cope provides an extensive account of the viciously fought events at sea and in the fjords, examining the Norwegian price paid at Narvik and the early impact of war on the local community’s simple way of life. A remarkable account delivered with care and respect for those lost and left behind, Doomed Destroyer shines a light on this important but previously little known event in British history. “Without dedicated men like Ron Cope, the testimony and the stories of the men who were there – whether they were lost, wounded, or survived – what became of them, their families, might otherwise be lost to future generations.” Percy C. Danby, Lieutenant (E), C.D. RCN Retired. Ottawa. March 2017, survivor on HMS Hotspur.

My Thoughts:

The author has created a book that is very heavy on factual details and also accounts.  This is where I would recommend buying a paperback book as I think this would be more easy to follow than on an e-reader. It is packed with information about HMS Hunter and its crew.

There is everything from ship layout schematics, photographs, transcripts from the “BBC World Service” broadcasts, maps, newspaper reports and well; you start to get the picture of how much research and detail the author has included.

While this is a really interesting read, and I did enjoy it, I found myself occasionally bogged down by the detail. I just think a little bit of re-organising would make this book flow a lot better.

This is a comprehensive book and I think readers who like World War II naval battle books will enjoy this one. It is one I would recommend if you have an interest or would like to know more about naval battles and the effects of war.

About the Author:

Born in Salford, Ron Cope followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Royal Navy in 1964, working in electronics. After leaving the forces in 1986, he spent over twenty years working in the probation service, specifically with young offenders. Now a proud father and  grandfather, Cope is retired and living with his wife Alison in Telford, Shropshire. His first naval history book Attack at Dawn: Reliving the First Battle of Narvik in World War Two was published to acclaim back in 2015.

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