Letters to Iris by Elizabeth Noble book review

letters to iris

Letters to Iris written by Elizabeth Noble publisher Michael Joseph (an imprint of Penguin) is available NOW in ebook and hardcover format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/ErY46d

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Tess has a secret – one which is going to turn her life upside down in just nine months’ time.
The only person she can confide in is her beloved grandmother. But Iris is slipping further away each day.
Then chance brings a stranger into Tess’s life.
Gigi’s heart goes out to Tess, knowing what it’s like to feel alone. She’s determined to show her that there’s a silver lining to every cloud.
As their unlikely friendship blossoms, Tess feels inspired to open up.
But something still holds her back – until she discovers Iris has a secret of her own. A suitcase of letters from another time, the missing pieces of a life she never shared.
Could the letters hold the answers that Tess thought lost for ever?

stack of old letters

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes. 

I am in total awe of this wonderful novel and it will definitely be one of my standout reads for 2018.  Letters to Iris is Elizabeth Noble’s eighth novel and I am astonished that it is my first introduction to the author’s work.  Elizabeth Noble’s writing flows beautifully and you are soon enraptured in the hearts and lives of the characters she has described on the pages.

Letters to Iris focuses on predominantly four female characters with the principal character being Tess.  Tess adores her grandmother Iris, who at 96 years of age is now living with the devastating condition of alzheimers.  Tess’ mum Donna has led abit of a nomad lifestyle and Tess spent a lot of her childhood with her gran Iris.  Tess and Donna’s relationship is a little strained but when Iris’ condition becomes worse and she needs more specialist care in a home Donna surprises everyone with her attention to detail when visiting her mother.  When Tess’ own life takes on a new journey that shakes up her love life she soon faces an uncertain future but once again Donna surprises Tess with a solution to her immediate problems.  Tess is quite overwhelmed emotionally with all that is going on in her life but when she bumps into another visitor, Gigi, at the Care Home a bond is soon formed.  Gigi’s father-in-law is a resident of the same care home and Gigi has spent many hours visiting him.  Gigi has been married for over 30 years to Richard and has three grown-up children and a granddaughter.  Gigi is starting to feel a little invisible in her marriage and she starts to question her future.  Reading about how each character’s relationship is evolving with each other was wonderful to see and left you feeling hopeful and gave you a warm cosy glow.

Four different women at different stages in their lives coping with changes in their journeys.  Changes that can bring positive directions to their lives but also new enlightenments bringing many thought provoking moments and questioning of the past. Secrets from the past that are so heart wrenching and unbearable to think about.  A highly emotive story but also with a beautiful, underlying story of romance.  You cannot help but fall in love with Letters to Iris and I didn’t want to leave the characters I had warmed to and soon classed them as my friends.  Truly stunning, emotive storytelling.

To learn more about the author Elizabeth Noble please visit the publisher’s website page:

Penguin UK:  https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/elizabeth-noble/32447/

 

 

The Sapphire Widow by Dinah Jefferies book review

the sapphire widow

The Sapphire Widow written by Dinah Jefferies, publisher Viking (an imprint of Penguin) is available in ebook, paperback and audiobook format from 5th April 2018.

To pre-order/buy link:  https://goo.gl/eeQDK2

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Ceylon, 1935. Louisa Reeve, the daughter of a successful British gem trader, and her husband Elliot, a charming, thrill-seeking businessman, seem like the couple who have it all. Except what they long for more than anything: a child.
While Louisa struggles with miscarriages, Elliot is increasingly absent, spending much of his time at a nearby cinnamon plantation, overlooking the Indian ocean. After his sudden death, Louisa is left alone to solve the mystery he left behind. Revisiting the plantation at Cinnamon Hills, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn towards the owner Leo, a rugged outdoors man with a chequered past. The plantation casts a spell, but all is not as it seems. And when Elliot’s shocking betrayal is revealed, Louisa has only Leo to turn to…

sapphire

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

This was such a captivating story by Dinah Jefferies who has once again taken the reader to another culture and another time.  This story takes us travelling back in time to 1935 and the city of Galle, Ceylon, south-west Sri Lanka.  With Dinah Jefferies words describing the vivid colours, sounds and aromas you can visualise the cinnamon plantations, the streets in and around Galle and the serenity of the coastal area.

Louisa and Elliot Reeve have been married for 12 years living and working in Galle with such lush surroundings.  Their marriage has weathered a few storms experiencing much sadness but the prospects of starting a new joint venture of a jewellery and fine goods emporium is giving the couple a much needed boost. However, life was to throw more anguish in Louisa’s way that crushes her heart.  The days following this tragedy opens up many more wounds for Louisa and she soon starts to realise did she ever know what her husband was really like?

Louisa had led a fairly charmed existence growing up in an affluent family however, sadness in her past has given her a strength and empathy to cope with what lies ahead.  My heart ached for all the turmoil Louisa had accrued and I could totally understand why she didn’t know anything about the events that had unfolded.  Louisa’s husband Elliot had many business interests and it was common during this era that wives were not often involved in the day to day functions of business.  Louisa’s strength through adversity was admiral and seeing through the fog of turmoil she could compartmentalise her own emotions to help those in need.  She didn’t let prejudices thwart her actions.  Life had to go on and light would eventually shine through bringing, hope, belief and love.

A stunning, evocative story coping with grief, deceit, emotional turmoil and fresh starts.

To learn more about the author please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.dinahjefferies.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/DinahJefferies

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/dinahjefferiesbooks/

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees by Rebecca Raisin blogtour book review

the little perfume shop off the champs elysees

The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees written by Rebecca Raisin, publisher HQ Digital, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/vcwJz8

Product Details (as per amazon page)

What is French for falling in love?
When Del leaves small town America to compete in a perfume competition in Paris, she thinks it is just the next step on her five-year-plan. It’s an exciting opportunity. What started out as just a dream for Del and her twin sister is nearly in her grasp. If she wins this competition, they are on their way to opening their very own perfume boutique!
Arriving in Paris, watching the sun glinting off the Seine and wandering the Champs-Elysees, Del discovers the most perfect perfumery she’s ever seen. Yet, as the competition dawns Del realises that whilst she might have had the best nose in her small village, her competitors seem to know more than she could ever have dreamed. This competition isn’t going to be easy…
Del has the romance of Paris to sweep her away from her worries, but as the competition heats up, so does her desire for that which she cannot have! If only the dashing owner Sébastien didn’t smell so seductive, look so handsome and make her heart flutter like it never has before. They say love smells as sweet as a red rose in bloom, but Del would tell anyone that true love can’t be bottled – it’s beautiful and unique to everyone…even herself. With everything on the line for her future, can Del really let a little attraction get in the way of securing her dreams?

LittlePerfumeShop_BlogTour

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Rebecca Raisin’s latest book: The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees.  This is the third book in The Little Paris Collection but each story can be read as a standalone however, I’d highly recommend reading each story in the collection because you will be intoxicated by the beauty of these stories set in the city of light (love).  The books in the series are:

  • The Little Bookshop on the Seine
  • The Little Antique under the Eiffel Tower
  • The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees

I absolutely adore stories set in Paris, I get swept away with the magic of the streets, icons and chic of the city.  Rebecca Raisin once again has taken me to the delights of Paris.  This was an evocative tale of following your dreams but also accepting that sometimes your dreams may need a little deviation along the way and also the helping hand of others to open your eyes to the clues that will lead you to the most loveliest of possibilities.

I loved this storyline of a search for a new star in perfumery.  Perfumery experts from all around the world were shortlisted to attend the final few challenges set in an esteemed perfumery in Paris.  This perfumery was a dream for it’s creator who sadly is no longer with us, his son Sebastien is still grieving for his father.  Sebastien is like a lost soul at the moment and has lost his love for the trade which took more than his father from him.

Del has travelled from America and learned all her perfumery skills from her late grandmother.  Del has a five year plan and winning this competition would be the first step in achieving her goal.  However, since her gran’s death she has struggled with certain elements of perfumery.  Maybe Del needs to experience more aspects of life to enable her to fill in the gaps in her skill.

I loved all the challenges in the competition, there were the usual competitors in attendance, the highly competitive and the shy individuals hiding in the shades.  Del’s character was very likeable she was sensitive to other’s feelings and emotions and was a sort of whisperer when it came to prescribing scents and aromas to heal the heart and soul of others but could she put this into practice in helping herself?  The challenges took you on a journey through the streets of Paris to the aromatic and colourful fields of Provence.  Del had another challenge in addition to the perfume competition and this was a challenge she didn’t expect but her heart and soul was being put to the test also.

Rebecca Raisin has taken you on a wonderful sensory journey with this story, she has sensitively dealt with the poignant emotions of grief with new friends amongst a new city bringing with it new possibilities in life and love. Gorgeous and romantic story that filled me with warmth and I didn’t want it to end.

To learn more about Rebecca Raisin and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.rebeccaraisin.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/@jaxandwillsmum

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RebeccaRaisinAuthor

old perfume bottles

Sweet Home Summer by Michelle Vernal blogtour book review

Sweet_Home_Summer_01_New

Sweet Home Summer written by Michelle Vernal, publisher HarperImpulse, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/bKXcTQ

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Sometimes, home really is where the heart is…
Leaving behind her hi-flying career in London, Isla Brookes has had enough. Burnt out and tired of an unfulfilling profession and lousy boyfriends, it’s time for her to go home.
Arriving back in cosy Bibury to stay with her grandmother, Bridget, everything is charmingly familiar. Even her childhood sweetheart, Ben, is as handsome as she remembered…
And when she discovers a stack of long-forgotten Valentine’s Day cards, Isla, with the help of Ben, begins to realise exactly what is most important in life.

Sweet Home Summer Full Banner

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of  this book.  All opinions are my own and no content may be copied.  However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting Michelle Vernal’s latest novel: Sweet Home Summer.

This was a lovely family saga, a story of two halves and told in two voices; gran Bridget’s coming of age and falling in love story set in 1957 and forward to the present day grandaughter Isla moving back home after 10 years in London following her burn-out professionally and personally.

After 10 years in London Isla Brookes was ready for a change, exhausted from work and her love life strains a new work-life balance was needed and Isla felt like the place to reflect on her future was back home in New Zealand.  Moving back in with her beloved gran Isla was ready to start again looking for a certain something to inspire her.  However, when she left home years ago she broke not only her own heart but another.  Seeing Ben again after so long has ignited a slow burning for her old flame but the timing is not right now as Ben has moved on.  Inspiration comes from an unlikely location but Isla feels a pull and feels totally reinvigorated with this new dream that is building inside her.

Living with her gran has given Isla some wonderful moments of nostalgia and when she unearths a secret her gran has kept hidden for so long Bridget soon starts reminiscing about the past.  A past that held a beautiful, touching blossoming love that was sadly thwarted by prejudices and tragedy.  Once Bridget starts unravelling her past she vows to make things right and sets a plan in action with the help of her granddaughter and her new friends.

I loved Isla’s relationship with her gran they were quite similar in personality and their love of baking I felt opened up the emotions from both gran and granddaughter.  Isla’s mother and father were a great pairing, her mum was so vivacious and young spirited, I loved the sound of the new keep-fit class NLNL.  Isla’s dad loved his hobbies and liked to spread this love to all around him.  The author, Michelle Vernal, has woven some humorous scenes in the storyline bringing much charm and character.  I also loved the sense of community spirit involvement helping out one of their own and also to a local cause that was an essential place to all in the village.  The secrets that started unravelling brought many mixed emotions and gave all those concerned reflection to what was important in the whole scheme of life.

A charming time-slip story filled with nostalgia, love, tragedy, inspiration and warmth.

To learn more about Michelle Vernal please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.michellevernalbooks.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/MichelleVernal

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/michellevernalnovelist