Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #historicalfiction #mustread #trilogy #SturmtaucherTrilogy #bookreview

It is an absolute pleasure to be sharing my review today for Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones. This is the second book in his Sturmtaucher Trilogy. I read the first book, The Gathering Storm back in August and it blew me away. It still stays with me and I was delighted when the author offered me the opportunity to read these fabulous and powerful books.

You can read my full review of The Gathering Storm HERE.

Flight of the Shearwater is the second book in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘With Poland divided between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Union of Soviet Republics, the increasingly confident Third Reich flexes its military muscles northwards into Denmark and Norway, while the rest of Europe watches anxiously over its shoulders.

General Erich Kästner, in his key role in the Abwehr, is fast becoming aware of the mass expulsion of Jews and other minority groups from Germany and from northern Poland, to the new ghettos of the Generalgouverment area of southern Poland, and has an inkling of what the National Socialists’ have in mind for Europe’s Jews.

As Holland and Belgium fall, and the British are routed at Dunkirk, barely escaping across the channel, the seemingly impregnable France collapses under the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg, sealing the fate of millions of Jews, now trapped under Hitler’s rule.

The Nussbaums, thwarted in their attempts to escape to Denmark, desperately seek other routes out of Germany but, one by one, they are closed off, and they realise they have left it all too late…’

PURCHASE FROM – AMAZON UK

MY REVIEW…

Once again I am absolutely blown away by the writing of this author. The five years he has spent researching this trilogy, in my honest opinion, was time very well spent.

I will admit to approaching this second book with some trepidation, I was so hooked by the first book, The Gathering Storm, and I wondered if I would like the second book as much. I have to say that it is another amazing book.

If you have read the first book you will be aware of the two main families. The Kastner’s are a well-respected family with links to the German Navy and Army. Their housekeepers and friends are the Nassbaum’s they are German Jews who have been under the protection of General Erich Kastner. As the Jewish are being persecuted more and more it is getting harder for them to remain safe. I would suggest that you do need to read these books in order.

Flight of the Shearwater continues the story of the Kastner and Nussbaum families. In some ways the writing in this second book feels a little different, and a very good different. While the author still keeps the style, the feelings and the observations, he also displays some wonderful descriptive passages. I won’t say too much about these passages and chapters, but the vivid imagery he builds up through his story-telling is simply amazing. I can close my eyes and I can see stormy seas, feel the chill, experience the dread and fear, I also got angry, frustrated and was appalled at what various characters find themselves experiencing.

While the story does focus more on the younger member of the families, there are some vivid and horrific events that are described. It keeps the reader up to date with events unfolding during the most turbulent time in world history. For families having to make decisions as to how best to give their children a chance for survival, when this chance also leads them into danger is an awful choice to make. It is working out which is the lesser of two evils.

Once again I am stumped for words when it comes to writing a review. Once again I want to shout about various aspects of the story, well the story as a whole actually!

This is a superb book in the trilogy. It held my attention as fully as the first one and in some ways even more so as I needed to know what was going to happen to the characters I have come to care about. This author knows how to bring several emotions out in a reader. Research is amazing and there is a good section at the end for further reading. The storytelling is sublime. It is another amazing read.

If you are interested in reading about WWII, the differing views of the Germans, the treatment of the Jewish people and how the war affected the lives of people then this is a trilogy you seriously do need to pick up. Yes, it is hard reading at times as you would expect, but there is a glimmer of hope.

A stunning first two books and it has left me wanting, no, needing to know what becomes of these two families and the others they have met. Again it is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Alan Jones

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.

He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.

He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.

His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.

He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.

He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.

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

The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull @rebeccamascull @SpellBoundBks @zooloo2008 #TheSeamstressOfWarsaw #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull. This is an amazing book that I adored, poignant, emotional and just simply fabulous.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the blog Tour and for arranging my e-cop of this stunning book from the publisher SpellBound Books.

1940
London
A man learns a shocking truth about his past.
Warsaw
A mother writes a diary as the ghetto walls go up.
From the bombed streets of London, to occupied Warsaw, to the Polish forests bristling with partisans, will their paths cross?
Will their pasts be reconciled?
And will they survive the deadly assaults on their freedom and their lives?

THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW is a tale of endurance and loss, family and blood, stories and histories, that questions the nature of who we are and where we are going, when the road ahead is burning.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK or US

MY REVIEW…

When Daniel discovers that he is not who he thought he was, it leads him on a journey at one of the worst times in history to travel. Leaving his home in London her manages to get to Poland to try and find his real family. It is 1940, the family he is looking for is Jewish.

It always sounds so wrong when I say how much I enjoyed a book especially when it is one within this time in history. The persecution of the Jews, the atrocities, the danger for everyone in Europe no matter their belief, their ethnicity or their country. I did, however, really, really enjoy this story.

This is a story that has two sides to it, one is from the perspective of Daniel, the other his Polish mother, Helena. Having two perspectives is great, especially when neither is aware of what has happened or is happening to the other.

The story details so many awful and desperate ways people survived the ghettos, as the Jewish people were crammed into appalling conditions. This is hard reading, but the author has done it in such a way as to get across the imagery and being visceral rather than dramatic. This gives a sense of quiet belief and hope amidst the horror.

The story is very moving and emotional, and I found myself wanting and hoping for various scenarios to unfold. The story is wonderfully paced and also frustrating as opportunities and moments are missed.

A wonderful, wonderful story that captivated and enthralled me. It is one that is a journey of discovery, hope and of survival. I think if you like historical fiction set during WWII and that has historical facts and some wonderful research then this one will be for you. It is a story I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Rebecca Mascull is an author of historical novels. She also writes saga fiction under the pen-name of Mollie Walton. 
Rebecca’s latest book under the Mascull name is coming on September 18th 2021, THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW, the powerful tale of two people unknowingly connected to each other, caught up in the whirlwind of World War II, whose perilous journeys we follow from the Blitz to the Warsaw Ghetto and beyond, published by SpellBound. 
Mollie Walton’s The Ironbridge Saga series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE (2019). The second book in the trilogy is THE SECRETS OF IRONBRIDGE (2020), set in the brickyards of the 1850s. The third book is set in the coalmines and servants’ quarters of the 1870s: THE ORPHAN OF IRONBRIDGE (2021). All three are published by Bonnier Zaffre. Mollie’s next trilogy will be set in WW2 North Yorkshire and the first book of this saga will be out in March 2022, published by Welbeck. 
Her first novel as Rebecca Mascull, 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. 
She also completed the finishing chapters of her friend and fellow novelist Vanessa Lafaye’s final work, a novella called MISS MARLEY, a prequel to Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This novella is published by HarperCollins. 
Rebecca has worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, based at the University of Lincoln. 

Follow her at – Facebook Instagram Twitter

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Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb @Hazelgaynor @msheatherwebb @Harper360UK @RandomTTours #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb. This is a beautiful and gorgeous read and one I absolutely adored.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging m advanced copy and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Three cities. Two sisters. One chance to correct the past.


Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have reunited for the third time with another unforgettable historical novel following
their award-winning bestseller Meet Me in Monaco. In THREE WORDS FOR GOODBYE, estranged sisters Clara and
Madeleine Sommers take a journey across Europe inspired by Nellie Bly, one of the first investigative journalists, who set out to circumnavigate the globe in less than eighty days. This inspired co-written novel is already earning top praise from Kristin Harmel, who said: “I loved being swept away to 1930s Paris, Venice and Vienna” while Gill Paul compares the novel to “reclining in a comfortable beach chair with warm sun on your skin and a glass of champagne at your elbow.”


New York, 1937: When estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers learn their grandmother is dying, they agree to
fulfil her last wish: to travel across Europe—together. They are to deliver three letters, in which Violet will say goodbye
to those she hasn’t seen since traveling to Europe forty years earlier; a journey inspired by famed reporter, Nellie Bly.
Clara, ever-dutiful, sees the trip as an inconvenient detour before her wedding to millionaire Charles Hancock, but it’s
also a chance to embrace her love of art. Budding journalist Madeleine relishes the opportunity to develop her
ambitions to report on the growing threat of Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s control in Italy.


Constantly at odds with each other as they explore the luxurious Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and the sights of Paris and Venice, Clara and Madeleine wonder if they can fulfil Violet’s wish, until a shocking truth about their family brings them closer together. But as they reach Vienna to deliver the final letter, old grudges threaten their reconciliation again. As political tensions rise, and Europe feels increasingly volatile, the pair are glad to head home on the Hindenburg, where fate will play its hand in the final stage of their journey.


Perfect for fans of Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Kate Quinn, Gaynor and Webb have written a meticulously
researched narrative filled with colourful scenes of Europe and a stunning sense of the period. This unstoppable
historical fiction author duo will have readers enthralled as the sisters explore the luxurious Queen Mary and ride the
long-haul rail to take in the sights of Paris and Venice.

Purchase from – Amazon UK Book DepositoryKobo Waterstones

MY REVIEW…

A couple of years ago I read and absolutely adored Meet Me in Monaco, when I saw Three Words For Goodbye I immediately wanted to read it.

This is the story of sisters Clara and Maddie, they were close growing up but they are drifting as adulthood takes them in slightly different directions and they discover their own interests. Their Grandmother, Violet decides that the girls need something they can do together. A trip to Europe to hand-deliver three letters will give the sisters a chance to get to know each other again and hopefully rekindle their bond.

This is such a poignant and heartfelt story. the letters are the last thing Violet wants to achieve, her health is failing but she wants the girls to have the adventure she and her sister had. The letters are important to Violet as they are to people who have a special place in her heart, the girls will also discover more about themselves and their family along the way.

The chapters are alternated between Clara and Maddie, and it doesn’t take long to see the different personalities that emerge as I got to know them. There is also the occasional chapter from Violet, and she just fills in small details and kept me up to date with her health.

Alternating the chapters between two different personalities was a great way of seeing things from different perspectives. Clara sees the world as an artist, while Maddie as a journalist. One has a dreamy sort of look, the other more as it is. Clara is more reserved while Maddie is the impulsive one. It is easy to see how their personalities have caused issues for the sisters, but there is still a closeness to them, while it may be subtle, it is there.

This story was an absolute pleasure to read, there was the occasional lump in the throat moment, but I adored following the women on their travels and experiencing the world just before the outbreak of WWII. Opinions and expectations are brought into the story and this adds a nice touch to it, especially with the differences of the girls.

Set in 1937 it is one for fans of historical fiction and if you have read any of either authors books then you know you are in for a treat. I adored it and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUHTORS…

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Young & Brave, A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from The Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s novel, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, hit the Irish Times bestseller list for five consecutive weeks. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages and is published in twenty-one countries worldwide. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

HEATHER WEBB is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of The Next Ship Home, Rodin’s Lover, Becoming Josephine, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, as well as two novels co-written with Hazel, Last Christmas in Paris , which won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award, and Meet Me in Monaco, a finalist in the 2020 RNA Awards as well as the 2019 Digital Book World Fiction awards. To date, Heather’s works have been translated
into fifteen languages worldwide. She is also passionate about helping writers find their voice as a professional freelance editor, speaker, and adjunct in the MFA in Writing program at Drexeul University. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty bunny.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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The Gathering Storm – (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #1) by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #TheGatheringStorm #histfic #mustread #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for an amazing book. The Gathering Storm – (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #1) by Alan Jones is a book that has completely blown me away. If you have an interest in history and historical fiction in the lead up to WWII in Germany, then you really do want to look this book up. It is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

Book 1 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘Kiel, Northern Germany, 1933. A naval city, the base for the German Baltic fleet, and the centre for German sailing, the venue for the upcoming Olympic regatta in 1936.

The Kästners, a prominent Military family, are part of the fabric of the city, and its social, naval and yachting circles. The Nussbaums are the second generation of their family to be in service with the Kästners as domestic staff, but the two households have a closer bond than most.

As Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party claw their way to power in 1933, life has never looked better for families like the Kästners. There is only one problem.

The Nussbaums are Jews.

The Sturmtaucher Trilogy documents the devastating effect on both families of the Nazis’ hateful ideology and the insidious erosion of the rights of Germany’s Jews.

When Germany descends ever deeper into dictatorship, General Erich Kästner tries desperately to protect his employees, and to spirit them to safety.

As the country tears itself apart, the darkness which envelops a nation threatens not only to destroy two families, but to plunge an entire continent into war.’

You can buy a copy of this brilliant book HERE – at the time of writing up this post, the book is at a ridiculously low price!!

My Review…

Since finishing this book two days ago, I am only now ready to pick up another book. The Gathering Storm is an amazing read, it has left me desperate to continue the other two books in this trilogy.

I have read books from different perspectives of World War II, but I think this is the first time I have come across a book that explores various different perspectives and that has so much excellent research.

The story begins in the years prior to the start of the war. Hitler is only just coming back into the public eye. He is making some speeches that are catching peoples attention. At this point, he is focusing on Germany’s lost power and how the Treaty of Versailles has made life for those living in Germany harder than it should be. Obviously being based on history, we know where the story is heading.

The Kastner’s are a German family, they have a good social standing. Erich is a respected General and his wife moves in favourable social circles. Their three children have good educations and have promising futures. They employ a German family to help with the house, children and domestics. The Nussbaum’s have been with the Kastner’s for two generations, they are German Jews.

As Hitler’s National Social Party garner more support the story and the perspectives really come into their own. Not all German’s are with Hitler and his subtle indoctrinated messages, others eye the changes with a critical and sceptical eye. No one at this point really understands what will happen in the coming years.

This is such an amazing book to read, I have read it over several days as I wanted to be able to absorb it properly rather than just race through it. This has meant the books has nagged at me and got under my skin. There are obvious emotions that I felt with the book, the obvious disbelief that people will blindly follow and completely change because someone has the ability to talk them into it. The obvious horror as living conditions and lives change. The profiteering from the pain and suffering of others and also the dictatorial direction the country was going in.

I realise that I have not spoken too much about the story, but I sincerely believe that this is a book that the synopsis that does a great job of doing what it is supposed to do. It worked so well for me, the synopsis lured me in and the author took up the reins and led me into the lives of the two main families. A story that shows different perspectives, treatments, living conditions, and how one man could bring so much destruction, distrust and abhorrent behaviours out.

This is a stunning book that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you have an interest in history, WWII, The Holocaust, and persecution then you really need to pick this one up. It is a fabulous and important story that at 800 pages long was simply an amazing read. It absolutely blew me away!

About the Author…

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published from August to December 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.


He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.


He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the coxswains on the local RNLI lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht, cruising in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.


His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.


He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at the Bloody Scotland crime fiction festival in Stirling and has done two pop-up book launches at previous festivals.


He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.


To find out more, please visit his WEBSITE TWITTER

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

The Mersey Angels by Sheila Riley @1sheilariley @rararesources @bookandtonic # boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks #histfic #saga #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mersey Angels by Sheila Riley. This is the second book in the series, and it can be read as a stand-alone. I did adore the first book – The Mersey Mistress (my review HERE)

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

1916 LIVERPOOL
Following the death of her father, Ruby Swift, and husband Archie finally move back into Ashland Hall.
As the Great War rages, fathers and sons take the King’s Shilling and head off to fight the unknown enemy, not knowing what horrors lie ahead.
With Ned Kincaid in the Navy, Archie signs up to the volunteer constabulary and nurses Anna Cassidy and Ellie Harrington enlist to do their bit for King and Country.
Soon the true casualties of war are being brought home in droves, Ruby converts Ashland Hall into an auxiliary hospital for wounded servicemen.
It’s not long before the true cost of war is brought closer to home and Anna and Ellie enlist in the British Military Nursing Corp and soon find themselves in the battlefields of France in search of the truth.
But they soon discover more than they bargained for…

Purchase Link – AMAZON

My Review…

This is the second book in the Liverpool Saga series and carries on from The Mersey Mistress. This book can be read as a stand-alone, but I do think that it works better if read in order.

As the synopsis describes, Ruby has moved into Ashland Hall. WWI is taking its toll and the casualties are mounting, Ruby decides that she will give over the hall to help the injured servicemen as beds and hospitals are in short supply. As the injured are brought in thoughts of loved ones away in Europe is always on the minds of those who are home in Briain. Everyone, well almost everyone is wanting to do their part.

Set in 1916, the author uses her knowledge of the Liverpool area, to give the reader a chance to glimpse the lives of those who lived and worked both in Liverpool and further afield. This is a story that has its hardships and also its secrets. Even though the war is going on people still have to carry on with their everyday lives. For some that means working longer, doing jobs they would never have been considered for and putting themselves in the midst of some of the worst events in history.

The story does focus on key people, I found myself quite caught up in their various stories. Wondering along with the characters if a loved one would return, if they would be injured and if a telegram would bring the worst news. Following the characters as they struggled with loss, love but with a hope that things would be ok.

This is a story that falls into the saga and historical fiction genres. It is an addictive read and one that brought attitudes, social etiquette, some politics into the lives of the characters. It is a book and a series I am really enjoying and The Mersey Angels is one I would happily recommend.

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.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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Yours Cheerfully by A.J Pearce #histfic #NetGalley @panmacmillan #publicationday #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce. This is the second book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles. I loved the first book Dear Mrs Bird and this second book is just as good.

My thanks to the publisher Pan Macmillan for my advanced e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. This book is also #3 in the #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

From the author of the “jaunty, heartbreaking winner” (People) and international bestseller Dear Mrs. Bird, a new charming and uplifting novel set in London during World War II about a plucky aspiring journalist.

London, November 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Henrietta Bird from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles (now stationed back in the UK) is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, is bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It.

When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty and standing by her friends.

Every bit as funny, heartwarming, and touching as Dear Mrs. BirdYours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship—a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times. 

My Review…

I have been waiting for a follow on to Dear Mrs Bird and Yours Cheerfully is a fabulous 2nd book in The Emmy Lake Chronicles.

Emmy Lake wanted to be a war journalist, she did get a job but not quite the one she imagined. It was for an Agony Aunt Column in a magazine called the Woman’s Friend. Set during WWII Emmy is making her way in the magazine world. this magazine is a small friendly publication that is full of tips on clothing, making the best of what you have, gardening, cookery and of course advice.

The Ministry call on magazines to help recruit more women to work in a bid to help out the war effort. A chance meeting with Anne a mother of two gives her an insight into women working in the factories. the women are determined in doing their bit, but they feel they are being treated as men would be and that fact hey they have children and homes to look after is not being taken into account. This sets Emmy on something of a mission as the factory women become friends, she still has to be careful about what she writes due to censorship.

I loved how the author has continued the story of Emmy and also her good friend Bunty. There is enough information given to get an idea of the first book, but I would recommend reading it as it was such an excellent one.

Once again the author includes a letter from readers who seek advice during a worrying time. For young girls working for the first time, for mothers who have children to care for alone, she touches on how widows are treated and the conditions that women who are effectively single parents during wartime deal with in life.

The author has brought the style of the magazine, which was seen as one of the little publications for older readers into the forefront. Giving Emmy a larger role so that she is able to really get to grips with the working woman life. There is politics, there is a certain amount of elitism and snobbery and there is the old boy’s brigade that comes into play. But during all this, the author does remember that Emmy has a life outside of the magazine. One that involves her boyfriend Charlie.

Once again the author has created such an addictive read. She deals with issues of the day in such a way as it makes the reader care about the issues. Some of the things I was not aware of and it has been an enlightening read as well as an emotional one. It does have its moments of sadness but also many moments of hope. A gorgeous story and one for those who like historical fiction during WWII. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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

Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes @AngelaMaryMor @RandomTTours #wartimestories @I_W_M #historical #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes. This is one of the books that has been republished by the Imperial War Museum.

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

A reissue of Anthony Rhodes’s acclaimed 1942 novel detailing his own wartime experience during the evacuation at Dunkirk. 

It is September 1939. Shortly after World War II is declared, Anthony Rhodes is sent to France, serving with the British Army. His days are filled with the minutiae and mundanities of army life—friendships, billeting, administration—as the months of the “Phoney War” quickly pass and the conflict seems a distant prospect. 

It is only in the spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear. The men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk, where they face a desperate and terrifying wait for evacuation. 

Purchase from – IWM Online Shop

My Review…

This is a memoir and it is quite an easy read from the viewpoint of the author. His job in the British Army is to organise accommodation, supplies and help prepare for the rest of the troops behind him. There is a certain amount of camaraderie that comes across as he works out the logistics of getting things in place.

While he is out and organising it does appear that he is not in the thick of things, there is a certain amount of disbelief that Germany is really attacking as it is not seen first hand. In fact, they don’t get close to the enemy until further in the book and the retreat to Dunkirk is ordered.

There were times with this book that I did have to remind myself that is written and based on the authors own experiences. While it is a memoir it does read like historical fiction. This is written very much of the time and the language and style of writing have words or phrases that we would not use today. There were also a few french phrases that I didn’t understand, if I had read it on my kindle I could have checked quicker.

This is a book of the time and it does have a sort of reserve to it. There is some humour as tales are recounted. This is a book that at times I did struggle with as it didn’t hold my interest as much as I hoped it would. I did like it and I have rounded it up from 3.5 to 4 stars.

This is one for those who like memoirs set during WWII, I did enjoy it and therefore I would recommend it.

About the Author…

– Anthony Rhodes (1916 – 2004) served with the British Army in France during the
so-called ‘Phoney War’ and was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940. In the latter part of the war he was
sent to Canada as a camouflage officer and was invalided out of the Army in 1947 having served for 12 years.
After the conflict he enjoyed a long academic and literary career and wrote on various subjects, including the
1956 Hungarian Revolution for the Daily Telegraph and well-regarded histories of the Vatican.

About the Imperial War Museum…

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving
Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.
Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas
and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our
five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to
look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and
consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.
IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open
extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an
iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation
museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret
headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson. This was such an amazing historical fiction novel that I read mid April. I requested this via Amazon Vine.

Venice, 1943: Under the Nazi occupation, life is increasingly perilous for Italian Jews. Antonina Mazin has but one hope to survive – to leave her beloved parents and hide in the countryside, posing as the bride of man she has only just met.

Nico Gerardi was studying for the priesthood until circumstances forced him to return home to run his family’s farm. A moral and just man, he refuses to remain a bystander to Nazi and fascist atrocities. The only way to keep Nina safe – and protect secrets of his own – is to convince prying eyes that their sudden marriage is a love match.

But farm life is not easy for a cultured city girl who dreams of becoming a doctor like her father, and Nico’s provincial neighbours are wary of this soft, educated stranger. Even worse, their distrust is shared by a local Nazi official with a vendetta against Nico.

As Nina and Nico come to know each other, their relationship deepens, transforming into much more than a charade. Yet both fear that every passing day brings them closer to being torn apart…

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and it was such a wonderful as well as heartbreaking read. It is a historical fiction that is set against the backdrop of WWII and the persecution of the Jews.

As the synopsis tells, this is the story of Nico and Nina. Nina is a Jew in Venice, through connections with her father she is helped out of the country by Nico and poses as his wife. They two have never met before, but they do become friends and then further entwined as a fuller relationship develops.

The story is very well researched, and there is a good section at the back of the book going into more detail. The story is based on true events and the author has then woven such an incredible and moving story. The life Nina once led is very different to the one she now embraces on the farm. There are so many things for her to learn and also she has to keep the secret of her Jewish roots and of the pretend marriage.

As the persecution of the Jews increases and the reach of Hitler, there is a point where Nina becomes concerned. It is not only Nina but also Nico that is also at risk. He has not only helped her but has been helping with the moving of other people. He will do what he can to help who he can, but this does put him in the sights of a certain German officer.

The author then takes the story into a much more harrowing section, that of the camps. It is here that the emotions for me really came, the sense of loss and uncertainty between life and death. The emaciation and the fear have been done with a balance of hope. That hope does flicker day by day as the war continues.

The author has created a story that I found so very addictive, it is one that’s full of heartbreak and also of hope. Of love, friendship and of family. I did have tears and I found it to be quite emotional at times. This is one for those readers who like historical fiction and saga style books. This was a stunning book to read and one that I would definitely recommend.

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

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…

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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