The Girl You Forgot by Giselle Green @gisellegreenUK @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #bookreview #blogtour

THE GIRL You FORGOT 1

The Girl You Forgot written by Giselle Green, publisher Boldwood Books, is available NOW in ebook, kindleunlimited, audiobook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Does the heart never really forget?

When Ava’s partner Will is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour, the doctors give Will one chance to survive – an operation which means he will lose his recent memory. Ava begs him to take the chance, sure that she can cope with Will forgetting her. After all, they have something very special to live for.

But they are also keeping a heart-breaking secret, and if Will loses his memory, Ava will have to carry that secret alone.

Can they rebuild their love from scratch or will their secrets and past come between them? Will Ava really be a stranger when Will wakes up – or does the heart never really forget…

Giselle Green returns with a heart-breakingdeeply moving story of love, loss, and what it really means to be alive. Perfect for all fans of Jodi Picoult, Susan Lewis and Diane Chamberlain.

Purchase Link- https://amzn.to/3eapMfK

Thje Girl You Forgot Full Tour 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 the launch of Giselle Green’s latest novel: The Girl You Forgot.

The Girl You Forgot is a story that will break your heart many times and you will fall in love with the two leading characters as their lives are turned upside down with the strain of a terrible illness.  However, not only do Ava and Will have to cope with the diagnosis they have the long recovery and there’s also the question of the secrets that Ava has promised to Will that she will not reveal to him again post op.

What a conundrum to face for Will when making the decision on having the life saving operation.  He knows the operation is essential but he also knows he will lose his most recent memory.  A memory that holds so much of his creative inspiration for his musical talent.  A memory that also holds the time he fell in love with Ava and the time that his heart was broken.  Ava does everything in her power to ensure Will has the operation and the couple vow to keep the secrets that broke them hidden forever.  However, as time passes during Will’s recovery Ava struggles to rebuild their relationship and holding back all the secrets.

This is a wonderful, heartfelt story that will stay with you for a long time.  To have love and lost and to keep loving whether it is reciprocated and knowing it could all shatter at any time must have been such an emotional strain but it also shows the strength of the love within Ava.  During Will’s recovery he learns much about his emotional wellbeing during past events and discovers that looking at life through different eyes can make the view a different outlook.

The author, Giselle Green, knows how to create a storyline that draws you in and leaves you feeling wrung out with emotion but you can also feel a sense of hopefulness and warmth.

Author Bio –

The Girl You Forgot Author PhotoGiselle Green is an award-winning, bestselling contemporary women’s fiction author. Mum to six boys (half of whom have flown the nest) and owner of one bright orange-and-cinnamon canary who hopefully never will, Giselle enjoys creating emotionally-gripping storylines about family and relationships.

Social Media Links –

Twitter Profile: @gisellegreenUK

https://gisellegreen.com/

Facebook Profile:Giselle Green Author

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/giselle-green

Newsletter sign up: https://bit.ly/GiselleGreenNewsletter

 

 

 

 

The Friendship List by Susan Mallery @SusanMallery @MillsandBoon #TheFriendshipList #summerreading

The Friendship List

The Friendship List written by Susan Mallery, publisher Mills & Boon, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover, audiobook and paperback format.

The paperback is available from all good book retailers and can be purchased online.  Here are a few to buy links:

Mills & Boon website:  https://www.millsandboon.co.uk/collections/all/products/hqnsingle-08189408

amazon:  https://amzn.to/2DDToVx

hive:  https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Susan-Mallery/The-Friendship-List/24228246

Waterstones:  https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-friendship-list/susan-mallery/9781848458116

Book Blurb

One Summer can change your life…

As a single mum, Ellen Fox missed out on a lot, but she wouldn’t change a thing. Then she overhears her son saying he can’t leave home to go to college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

To help, Ellen’s best friend Unity creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too. Only to support her friend, not because she needs to change. She’s a perfectly fine thirty four year old widow, who socialises at an old people’s home!

For both women, The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re doing just fine. But somewhere between ‘wear a bikini in public’ and ‘have sex with a gorgeous guy’, Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, and filled with humour, heartache and perhaps the odd regrettable tattoo!

FriendshipList_BlogTourBanner1

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 Susan Mallery’s latest novel: The Friendship List.  I’m shocked to admit that this is the first book by Susan Mallery that I’ve read but I’m so pleased that I’ve now discovered this author as I loved this novel and the author’s style of writing; definitely one to add to my ever increasing favourites list!

The Friendship List is a wonderful story of two childhood friends who are now in their mid thirties and are feeling like life is passing them by.  The girls lives were very similar, they’d experienced one relationship and for many reasons they felt like this was enough.  However, as time went by and life’s hurdles blocked some of their intended paths the best friends, Ellen and Unity, were feeling afraid of the future without the loves of their lives.

Ellen fell pregnant at 17, her son is now 17 and she is about to face the next stage in his life with college interviews.  But Ellen is shocked to learn that her son doesn’t want to travel far and leave his mum on her own.  Ellen is frightened that she is holding her son Cooper back and strives to change her life to prove to him that she has plenty in her life to keep her occupied whilst Cooper is away at college.

Unity fell in love quite young and married her sweetheart Stuart.  Stuart was in the military and Unity was happy to follow him with his career.  However, life was to be very cruel for Unity and sadly her husband lost his life whilst serving his country.  It’s been three years since her husband was tragically killed but Unity is still struggling with grief.  When she finds out about Ellen’s list to change her life Unity decides to make her own list in helping her overcome her grief.

Both Ellen and Unity’s lists were filled with items to make them step out of their comfort zone and were a little scary for them.  Unity was very unsure of her list but with Ellen having completed one item off her list she feels a competitive spirit within her and it’s given her the much needed boost she needed to make the first step in tackling her list.

The girls hadn’t envisioned romance on the list but unexpected new acquaintances and seeing an old friend in a new light sparks a heat within the girls that they feared had been left frozen for good.

The Friendship List is such a fun read by Susan Mallery, it’s filled with adventure, it’s sexy and romantic but it also deals with some serious life issues.  I didn’t want this story to end and felt like Ellen and Unity had become part of my very own inner circle of friends.  A gorgeous sun filled read full of fun, love, laughter and tears.

About the Author

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

Website:  https://susanmallery.com/

Twitter:  @SusanMallery

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

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/susanmallery/

Lucy’s Great Escape (Little Duck Pond Cafe) by Rosie Green @Rosie_Green1988 @rararesources #feelgoodfiction #bookreview #summerreading

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Lucy’s Great Escape written and self-published by Rosie Green is available NOW in ebook and kindleunlimited format.

Book Blurb

Lucy never wanted to abandon her friends and family, and travel to the other side of the country to start a new life. And all without telling anyone where she was going. But these are desperate times. And finding herself with a nightmare of a dilemma, fleeing her home town seems like the only way she can protect herself and those she loves.

The Cornish town of Pengully Sands holds happy childhood memories for Lucy and seems the perfect place to escape to, although having little money and no friends, life at first seems grim.

But a chance meeting with Madison and the rest of the Little Duck Pond Café girls, plus a decidedly attractive local guy who won’t take no for an answer, gives Lucy a glimmer of hope for the future. Could she really settle in Pengully Sands and make a living by selling her watercolours?

But just as life is starting to look a little rosier, it becomes clear that someone back home – the last person she ever wanted to see – has tracked her down…

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2xGW5mJ

Lucys Great Escape Full Tour 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 the launch of Book 11 in the Little Duck Pond Cafe series; Lucy’s Great Escape.

The Little Duck Pond Cafe is one of my favourite series of feelgood fiction and Book 11 sees us return to Cornwall to Pengully Sands.  We briefly met Lucy, the shy artist, in the last novel (A Cornish Summer Holiday) but this is the chance to learn of her back story and why and how she ended up escaping her life in London to start afresh in Cornwall.

Lucy is still grieving the loss of her mum, it’s a year since her mum sadly passed away and life will never be the same again.  Lucy’s dad has become friendly with a woman called Eleanor and Lucy feels more at ease knowing her dad has found some happiness again.  However, since Eleanor has appeared on the scene little things have started happening making Lucy doubt her own thoughts and actions.  When Lucy can’t take anymore of her life at home with her dad and his new love she feels the only option is to to take herself away from the situation.  She goes to Cornwall in her late mum’s campervan to a place that holds so many lovely memories for her.

However, bad luck seems to have followed her to Cornwall and Lucy is desperate for money.  A kindly lady offers her work but is this offer too good to be true?  As Lucy’s new life in Cornwall unfolds we learn of how her vulnerability is targeted.  A chance encounter with Madison from the cafe gives her the much needed boost she requires and a handsome stranger helps her in more ways than one.

The Little Duck Pond Cafe series is wonderful, heart-warming, feelgood fiction with realistic storylines.  The author has created such a myriad of characters to fall in love with and leaving you with thoughts of hopefulness and joy.

Another gorgeous instalment in a must read feelgood series.

Author Bio –

Rosie has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then, they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all – unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love. Rosie’s Little Duck Pond Cafe series of novellas is centred around life in a village cafe. Each book can be read as a stand-alone story. The latest, ‘Lucy’s Great Escape’, is out now. Watch out for further tales of the Little Duck Pond Cafe, including the delicious ‘Log Fires & Toffee Apple Cake’, which will be published in autumn 2020.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – @Rosie_Green1988

 

 

 

 

Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock @wood_beez48 @raresources

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Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace written and self-published by Julie Stock is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

It’s springtime at The Vineyard in Alsace, a new season and a new beginning

After being abandoned by her partner when she falls pregnant, Lottie Schell goes home to live on The Vineyard in Alsace, where she has started a new relationship with the estate’s winemaker, Thierry. Now about to give birth, Lottie’s determined to raise her child and to provide for them both on her own without having to depend on anyone else.

Thierry Bernard is still dealing with his grief and guilt following the death of his wife two years earlier, for which he blames himself. When he meets Lottie, the instant attraction he feels towards her gives him hope that he can move on from the tragedy of his past, as long as he can tell Lottie the truth of what happened.

When circumstances force Lottie and Thierry closer together, they both find it hard to compromise – she’s proudly independent and he’s fiercely protective – and they’re both wary about trusting someone new with their heart.

Can Lottie and Thierry take a chance on each other, move on from their pasts and start over?

Escape to The Vineyard in Alsace once again with this romantic read set in the heart of Alsace’s wine country.

Purchase Link – Amazon

Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace Full Tour Banner

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Julie Stock’s latest novel: Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace.  I have the pleasure of sharing an extract with you.

Thierry faces up to the fact that he is still grieving for his wife, Nicole, and that he needs help to move on.

Thierry

By the time he’d returned to the vineyard, Thierry was feeling calmer. Just the sight of the rows and rows of vines in front of him, and the order they depicted, allowed his breathing to return to normal and his frustration to abate. Lottie had never been afraid to speak her mind to him – that was one of the things he liked best about her – but he wished she wasn’t so perceptive sometimes. He was still grieving for Nicole – Lottie was right about that – and he had no idea how to start moving on.

He’d been angry ever since Nicole had died, but what husband wouldn’t be, after losing his wife in such a senseless way? There wasn’t a limit to how long it should take him to get over her loss, was there? But then an inner voice of doubt spoke up. Shouldn’t you be feeling less angry about it all by now? Is it time to start moving on?

He couldn’t answer any of these questions for himself, that was for sure. He found it hard to talk about his feelings at the best of times, so there was no way he was going to talk to his friends about it. He certainly couldn’t talk to Nicole’s parents, who were still struggling to come to terms with their own feelings after losing their only daughter.

He stopped in front of the pinot noir vines and stared out across the estate. He owed it to Lottie to tell her what had happened if they were going to be together, but right now, he wouldn’t even know where to start with explaining how he felt. He’d been wondering for a while now whether counselling might help him, but he was afraid to take that step. He rubbed his eyes, trying to clear his mind. What was the right thing to do?

He took one last look at the estate, before turning away from the vines to head back to the office in search of Didier. He walked through the bare vines to the path that led up to the courtyard where the estate office was and made his way steadily up the slope.

Didier was alone and Thierry sighed with relief. He didn’t want to talk in front of Henri, Didier’s assistant, even though they were all good friends and had worked together for years. It would be hard enough having to reveal his weakness to Didier, his best friend, let alone anyone else.

Salut, ça va?’ he asked as he came in, closing the door behind him.

‘Not bad, you? Do you want a coffee?’

Thierry nodded and sank gratefully into Henri’s padded desk chair.

‘I think I may need counselling.’ He winced, embarrassed at saying it out loud.

‘That’s a great conversation starter,’ Didier replied setting a cup of coffee in front of him. ‘How did all this come up?’

‘I asked Lottie to move in with me again, and she told me I still need to deal with my grief.’ Thierry stared absently at his coffee. ‘And the thing is, she only said what I’ve been telling myself for a while now.’

Didier blew out a long breath. ‘And you think counselling might be the answer?’

Thierry nodded, looking up. ‘But the trouble is, even the thought of needing therapy makes me feel weak and inadequate. Then after our conversation, as I thought about it, I wondered if she was right. If I want to be with her, I need to sort this out.’

Author Bio –

Starting Over - Author PicJulie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in 2015, after starting to write as an escape from the demands of her day job as a teacher. Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace is her ninth book, and the second in the Domaine des Montagnes series set on a vineyard.

Julie is now a full-time author, and loves every minute of her writing life. When not writing, she can be found reading, her favourite past-time, running, a new hobby, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, glass of wine in hand.

Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors. She is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

Social Media Links –

Website:  https://julie-stock.co.uk/

Twitter:  @wood_beez48

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

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/julie.stockauthor/

 

 

The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days by Juliet Conlin @julietconlin @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #bookreview

the uncommon life of alfred warner in six days

The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days written by Juliet Conlin, publisher Black & White Publishing, is available NOW in ebook, kindleunlimited and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Approaching 80, frail and alone, a remarkable man makes the journey from his sheltered home in England to Berlin to meet his granddaughter. He has six days left to live and must relate his life story before he dies…

His life has been rich and full. He has witnessed firsthand the rise of the Nazis, experienced heartrending family tragedy, fought in the German army, been interred in a POW camp in Scotland and faced violent persecution in peacetime Britain. But he has also touched many lives, fallen deeply in love, raised a family and survived triumphantly at the limits of human endurance. He carries within him an astonishing family secret that he must share before he dies… a story that will mean someone else’s salvation.

Welcome to the moving, heart-warming and uncommon life of Alfred Warner.

To buy linkhttps://amzn.to/32Rw8hq

Alfred Warner Twitter (1)

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 Juliet Conlin’s novel: The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days.  Firstly, I’d like to apologise for my late posting of my review, I have only just finished reading the novel but I didn’t want to rush this post and not do this remarkable story justice.

The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warnerin Six Days was first published back in 2017 and I’m so pleased it is being promoted again as it is such a compelling read.  This is a timeslip novel that is quite unique.  It’s a story of a brave elderly gentleman taking his first flight to visit his long lost granddaughter that he’s never met.  Alfred Warner has lived a life that has taken him from war torn Germany, to Scotland and to the English countryside.  It isn’t difficult to be charmed by Alfred, he’s a quirky old man but he’s on a mission to tell his story and that of his granddaughter’s heritage before it’s too late.

Alfred manages to get to Germany but cannot find his granddaughter anywhere, a chance encounter with a kindly stranger opens up an unlikely partnership that was to become crucial for both Alfred and his plight to get to his granddaughter.

Alfred has a unique skill to some but a hinderance to others, he can hear voices in his head, these voices throughout his life have helped him immensely but they have also brought considered anxiety and confusion.  As Alfred entrusts his story with this kindly stranger we travel back in time to Germany when life was about to change for all and there was a deep feeling of uncertainty.  Hearing Alfred’s childhood, the devastation through hardship, tragedy and uncertainty broke me many times.  For a child to experience such heartbreak is unimaginable but I felt a steely strength and hope within young Alfred.  Even till his last breath he never gave up.

The author takes us on a journey with both elderly Alfred and young Alfred, we travel with him as he tackles all that life has thrown his way and it is one eventful life that you wouldn’t wish on anyone.  But it is also a life that many would have experienced back in WWII, children had to grow up overnight and find an inner strength to survive.  Alfred had his own personal ‘friends’ to help him along his way.  As we learn more about Alfred we discover his ability to hear voices is not uncommon and this is a little reassuring for Alfred and he hopes he can pass on some guidance and support.

At times the story is very raw and honest and the pain and heartache feels very real.  However, there are moments in Alfred’s life that is pure joy and the author balances out the pain with wonderful charming scenes.

I’d like to thank Love Books Group for introducing me to this remarkable, compelling, emotive, thought-provoking novel.

About the Author

Juliet Conlin was born in London and grew up in England and Germany. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Durham. She works as a writer and translator and lives with her family in Berlin. Her novels include The Fractured Man (Cargo, 2013), The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black & White, 2017), The Lives Before Us (Black & White, 2019).

Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop by Ali McNamara @AliMcNamara @ClaraHDiaz @littlebookcafe @littlebrownUK #feelgoodfiction #bookreview

kate and clara's curious cornish gift shop

Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop written by Ali McNamara, publisher Sphere, is available NOW in ebook, audiobook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Kate thinks all her wishes have come true when she opens her own little craft shop in the idyllic harbour town of St Felix.

But she soon finds a mystery lingers in her new shop – a sixty-year-old love story told through beautiful paintings and intricate embroideries.

Jack, the owner of the nearby art shop, volunteers to help Kate unravel the mystery, but in doing so they realise their own lives share some uncanny similarities with Clara and Arty, their 1950s counterparts . . .

Can Kate and Jack put right a decades-old wrong, and maybe find their own happy ending on the way?

To buy links

The book is available to buy from Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.  It can also be purchased from Waterstones, WHSmith and many other independent book stores. The book can also be purchased online from amazon and Hive.

amazon:  https://amzn.to/2WK1y5h

Hive:  https://bit.ly/2D0EuIw

REVIEW

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

First of all I’d like to wish the author, Ali McNamara, a Happy Publication Day for her latest novel: Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop.  I also have to confess that this is the first book I’ve read by Ali McNamara and after finally reading her work she is going straight to my favourites author list.  Ali McNamara’s wonderful words envelope you into a story that makes you feel comforted and leaves you with a glorious sense of joy.  I am so glad that I’ve finally experienced the work of this author and have the knowledge of a lovely back catalogue of stories to catch up with.

Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop is a story that sees us return to St Felix, a fictional coastal village in Cornwall, that has played host to a few of the authors stories.  The story starts with the opening of a new art exhibition at the gallery celebrating the life and work of one of St Felix very own artists.  The Cornish coast  inspires many crafts people now and in the past so local craft shop owner Kate is one of the VIP guests at the event.

Kate with her teenage daughter have lived in the area a few years now and loves having her own shop but when she finds out another art supplies shop is to open in the village she becomes very protective of her business.  Her first encounter with the new art shop owner, Jack, doesn’t get off to a good start but when mysterious happenings start occurring simultaneously in each craft/art shop both Kate and Jack put their heads together to work out the mystery that is literally unfolding before their eyes.

Ali McNamara has written a wonderful tale of chance encounters and new beginnings and of a lost treasure that’s taken nearly sixty years to unearth the truth.  An enchanting story with Cornish myth and magic in the air bringing lost souls together with the past merging with the present.

Kate and Clara’s Curious Cornish Craft Shop is a time slip romance that captivates and bewitches the reader.

About the Author

ALI MCNAMARA is a writer, and author of eleven novels. Her debut From Notting Hill with Love…Actually, published in 2010, became an instant bestseller, and her novels Step Back in Time and Letters from Lighthouse Cottage were nominated for the Romantic Novel of the Year. She lives in Cambridgeshire with her family and suffers with several auto-immune illnesses: UTCD (Undifferentiated connective tissue disease.), Graves’ Disease and M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.).

To find out more about Ali visit her website: http://www.alimcnamara.co.uk
or follow her on Twitter: @AliMcNamara, Facebook and Instagram.

 

Paris Savages by Katharine Johnson @KJohnsonauthor @allisonandbusby #ParisSavages #blogtour #bookextract

Paris Savages

Paris Savages written by Katharine Johnson, publisher Allison & Busby, is available in hardcover, ebook and audiobook format from the 23rd July 2020.

Book Blurb

Fraser Island, Australia 1882. The population of the Badtjala people is in sharp decline following a run of brutal massacres. When German scientist Louis Müller offers to sail three Badtjala people – Bonny, Jurano and Dorondera – to Europe to perform to huge crowds, the proud and headstrong Bonny agrees, hoping to bring his people’s plight to the Queen of England.

Accompanied by Müller’s bright daughter, Hilda, the group begins their journey to belle-époque Europe to perform in Hamburg, Berlin, Paris and eventually London. While crowds in Europe are enthusiastic to see the unique dances, singing, fights and pole climbing from the oldest culture in the world, the attention is relentless, and the fascination of scientists intrusive. When disaster strikes, Bonny must find a way to return home.

To pre-order/buy link:  https://amzn.to/2BgYfeD

paris savages tour poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Katharine Johnson’s latest novel: Paris Savages.

I have the pleasure of sharing an extract for you:

Hilda rests the dip-pen across the inkwell and stands to stretch. Dry in the mouth with thirst and slick with sweat, she goes to the table at the foot of her father’s bed and pours a glass of water from the jug they keep there. Each evening, she fills the pottery jug from the nearby creek and makes a habit of checking the contents of her glass for insect larvae before she drinks, secretly afraid that if she missed one, or two, the larvae would grow into mosquitos inside her. It is only since her mother died that Hilda and her father have shared this front room, their single beds pressed to either side.

Louis’s elbow-patched coat hangs from the end of his bedpost, the envelope from Germany protruding from the pocket. Hilda remembers the visiting missionary delivering it, her father’s keenness to see what it said and his desire for the man to be gone.

‘It is with some reluctance that I pass this on to you, Herr Müller. I have not heard much of Herr Hagenbeck, but Barnum, the American equivalent, is, as you know, a fraud. Am I right that you also received correspondence some weeks ago from him?’ the missionary asked. His repeated and ill-pronounced use of the German title ‘Herr’ failed to impress Hilda’s father, who shook his head dismissively, yet he used his penknife to carefully slice open the envelope so that the return address remained intact. On the envelope’s reverse side, Hilda made out the word ‘Hamburg’ and a crest in the shape of a lion.

‘Papa?’

‘Later.’ He kissed her forehead.

But her father did not show the letter to her, choosing instead to tell her of its contents: the invitation to go back to Germany, the idea to take three of their friends. He made it sound, indeed, like a God-given opportunity, if one believed in God.

Now, the morning sun rising steeply, burning off the mist blanketing the banksias and other flowering plants of the woodland understorey, it is Hilda who holds the envelope. Through a crack in the hut’s crooked door, she sees her father and Jurano coming along the southern track into the camp. Jurano is carrying his spear and a fish. Louis takes a seat cross-legged on the white sand beside Jurano and begins sharpening a stone tool against a larger rock the way he was taught. He laughs warmly at something Jurano says, then tests the sharpness of the tool by slicing a long fair hair from his own head. The Badtjala man nods at his student, who at forty-four is exactly twice his age, and slowly claps his hands. Jurano’s laughter is high-pitched. It is the kind of laughter that is difficult not to take part in, but today Hilda stays quiet.

Her nightdress clings and she opens the window shutter wider beside her father’s bed. Dorondera and her young cousins are already some distance along the beach collecting shellfish, dillybags bulging on strings around their necks, a white ribbon flashing in Dorondera’s hair. The ribbon was a gift from Hilda’s father. Bonny is there also, broad-backed and handsome, with Little Bonny on his shoulders, scouting. Little Bonny calls out and Bonny sets his nephew on the ground, casts his spear and hauls up a flapping fish.

Hilda moves deeper into the shadows of the shelter in case her father should look up. He has told her often enough that it is wrong to read another person’s mail, but her mother had impressed upon her, too, that it is wrong to keep secrets, and she cannot help but feel her father is doing just that. She looks at the carte de visite and reads the text in the margin: C. Hagenbeck with Nubians. Carl Hagenbeck’s Thierpark, Hamburg. The black men are pictured with elephants. Hagenbeck is leaning on a stick, his beard neatly trimmed, a light-coloured homburg on his head.

Sweat is building on Hilda’s face and under her nightdress, and she is overwhelmed with the need for cooler air. In the small back room, she quickly changes into a white cotton day dress that belonged to her mother and takes the letter and carte de visite pressed to her skirts as she exits the shelter, walking swiftly until she is safely behind the hut and hidden in the shade of a pandanus. If her father saw her leave, he will assume she has continued on, following the narrow path through the banksias, and is relieving herself in the privacy afforded by the canvas screen he erected there for her. He will keep an ear out in case she shouts, Snake!

Hilda wipes her hands against the dress and opens the letter, gold-green under the pandanus frond. In the dappled light, a mosquito swarm hums. She takes several leaves from a neighbouring eucalypt, crushes them against her skin, and reads in German:

 

Sehr geehrter Herr Müller,

I am proud to have pioneered anthropozoological exhibitions to meet the great public interest in seeing exotic peoples first-hand, and to facilitate the growing interest in anthropological science. It is to this end that I invite you to bring several Australian Aborigines to Germany. I am offering to sponsor your expenses, including your passage back to Europe.

You may be encouraged to know that I believe in showing people naturally, displaying their skill with weapons, their exotic dances and songs. In short, their culture. Perhaps you also have been contacted by the American P. T. Barnum, who I believe is advertising in Australia and contacting agents directly. Although I supply animals to Barnum’s circuses, my approach to exhibiting exotic people cannot be compared with his.

Sincerely,

  1. Hagenbeck

Hilda breathes out. It is as her father explained, although she wonders if the German showman realises her father is an engineer by training, not strictly a scientist. Surely he has heard of him and the scandal of the bridge. She rereads the end of the letter and recalls the missionary asking if her father had also received mail from the ‘fraud’ Barnum. Finally, she locates an envelope bearing a green Washington stamp.

9 October 1881

Dear Sir,

I desire to carry out as far as possible an idea I have long entertained of forming a collection, in pairs or otherwise, of all the uncivilised races in existence and my present object is to ask your kindness to render me what assistance is in your power to acquire any specimens of these uncivilised peoples.

My aim is to exhibit to the American public, not only human beings of different races but also, where practicable, those who possess extraordinary peculiarities such as giants, dwarfs, singular disfigurements of the person, dexterity in the use of weapons, dancing, singing, juggling, unusual feats of agility etc.

The remuneration of these people in addition to their board and travelling expenses is usually nominal. I shall see that they are presented with fancy articles such as are acceptable and a small allowance monthly. If interpreters should be absolutely necessary please inform me what would be the cost which must be moderate. For yourself I should be glad to reimburse you for any outlay.

I wish to thank you kindly to favour me with an early reply as convenient.

Yours faithfully,

  1. T. Barnum

Heat rises in Hilda’s neck and face, and a sick feeling consumes her. Why hadn’t her father told her that he had received this? Surely he would not have anything to do with a venture that collects people as curiosities and promises them ‘fancy articles’, as if they were children.

‘Papa,’ she calls, and her father raises his head, a smile still on his lips. The smile goes when he sees her holding the envelope with the distinctive green stamp. He stands and walks towards her, telling Jurano in Badtjala that he will return to his lesson soon.

‘Hilda, Liebchen,’ he says, studying her. ‘What are you doing going through my things?’ He sighs as he reaches for the mail, but she refuses to hand it to him, clutching both letters instead behind her back like she used to with a find her parents considered dangerous – a nail or screw or piece of iron from a construction project on the outskirts of the colony. He takes another long breath. His bare chest, stronger since their arrival on K’gari, expands and slowly contracts. He lets out a warm chuckle as one might do if amused by a child, yet something in his expression suggests he is nervous.

Hilda is aware of tears welling in her eyes. Didn’t he see her now as a companion as well as a daughter, someone he could confide in?

‘Why didn’t you tell me that Barnum had contacted you?’ she asks. ‘It’s awful what he wrote.’ She walks towards the fire.

‘Because it is of no concern. I have declined Barnum’s offer.’ Louis shakes his head and Hilda stops, reluctantly placing the mail in his outstretched hand.

‘Hagenbeck is precisely what Barnum is not,’ he says. ‘Why would I bother you with the rantings of that showman?’

Hilda releases her own withheld breath as her father continues.

‘I am forcing no one. Herr Hagenbeck’s offer is generous and our friends have accepted the invitation. They will gain so much, if Bonny is not too proud to learn.’ He smiles and takes her hand. ‘They are excited, Hilda. As I hope you are.’ He studies her. ‘You don’t doubt Hagenbeck’s intentions? Is there something else concerning you?’

Hilda shakes her head.

Her father looks towards Jurano, who is now talking with his wife and again laughing light-heartedly at something, perhaps even making a joke at their expense.

‘Jurano will miss his wife. She really doesn’t want to come?’ Hilda asks.

‘No. I offered several times. She doesn’t want to join us.’

‘What if he gets sick? What if any of them get sick?’

‘People fall ill here, too, Hilda.’ He looks at her pointedly and she knows he is talking of her mother. ‘I need you to be supportive. There is a great deal of interest to see them before . . .’

‘Before they are all dead?’ She quickly wipes her face dry with her sleeve, the lace cuffs of her mother’s dress almost entirely worn away. ‘These people are not weak, they are being killed!’

Jurano looks up from his own conversation and stares towards them.

Louis reaches out and squeezes Hilda’s shoulder. He presses the index finger of his other hand to his lips, asking that she speak more quietly.

‘It is why I want to take them overseas. To find an audience. Your mother always wished others to see our friends as we have,’ he says, his voice low. He pats her shoulder and starts again with growing conviction. ‘I simply cannot stand by and do nothing while they are moved off the island as some say will happen within the year. Your mother’s life, her death, must count for something. It is my greatest hope that there will soon be an Aboriginal reserve bearing her name.’ He looks at Hilda intently, and she is surprised to see that he is holding back tears.

‘I thought you would be more excited, Hilda. You’re a young woman now. There are so many more possibilities for you back home. Look at you.’ He waves his hand in admiration, the silver ring with the family crest glinting in the sun. He has only recently started wearing the ring again.

‘Beautiful, smart, wilful,’ he continues, laughing on the last word. Laughter is something he has done more of since being on the island, although less so in the last year. ‘Your mother would have been so proud.’ He looks down at the beach, serious again. ‘Of them, too.’

‘And when will you bring them back?’

He picks a dry frond from a dja’ga plant, the one the settlers call black boy because of its spear-like flowering body, and feeds it into the gap between his front teeth.

‘You will bring them back?’

‘Of course,’ he says. ‘When tensions here have eased and we have finished our tour. When we have drawn sufficient attention. Bonny says he wants to meet the Queen of England, no less. He wants to tell her personally what the native people of this colony are suffering in her name.’ As if thinking Bonny’s request quaint, Louis twirls the long, grass-like leaf in his smile.

Why hadn’t Bonny told her of this? ‘Then we must,’ she says, turning towards the beach.

About the Author

KATHERINE JOHNSON lives in Tasmania with her husband and two children. She is the author of three previous novels and her manuscripts have won Varuna Awards and the Tasmasnian Premier’s Literary Prizes. She recently completed a PhD, which forms the basis of her latest novel, Paris Savages.

Rose’s Choice by Chrissie Bradshaw @ChrissieBeee @rararesources #TheCollieryRows #blogtour #bookreview

Rose's Choice Cover SMALL WEB

Rose’s Choice written and self-published by Chrissie Bradshaw is available from tomorrow, 17th July 2020, in ebook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Rose’s Choice – a heart-wrenching wartime saga of love, family and secrets

Rationing, bombing, disease and pit disasters are part of Rose Kelly’s World War 2 childhood. When the spirited coalminer’s daughter discovers a family secret, she makes a choice that overshadows her teenage years. Rose tries to make the most of post-war opportunities but family tragedy pulls her back to a life in the colliery rows. She relinquishes her bright future for domestic duties because her family comes first. Will family ties get in the way of her dreams?

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088FY2P8Z

US –  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088FY2P8Z

Roses Choice Full Tour 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 the launch of Chrissie Bradshaw’s latest novel: Rose’s Choice.  Rose’s Choice is my first introduction to the work of Chrissie Bradshaw and her words captivated me from the start.  Chrissie Bradshaw has written a wartime saga filled with wrought emotion throughout.  I have to confess I shed a tear or two many a time but the story isn’t all sad and sorrowful there are wonderful endearing moments that will lift your spirits.

Rose’s Choice is the first book in a new saga series by Chrissie Bradshaw called The Colliery Rows.  I’m a pitman’s daughter myself and was brought up in a small mining community so I knew from the start that I wanted to read this novel.  I was to learn that the storyline resonated with me on so many lives.  There is a real sense of authenticity about the story with the use of local dialect that draws you in to the location and to the era.  The dialect at times is raw and honest but northerners have never been shy of speaking before thinking.

Rose was the first child of local pitman John Kelly and his wife Ginnie.  As soon as Rose was born the couple were enchanted with her and Rose was a child loved by all.  As Rose grew up she became inquisitive and had a thirst for knowledge and had a wonderful empathy with animals.  As John and Ginnie’s family grew Rose was to take on some of the household tasks to help her mother who was increasingly busy with the younger siblings.  However, Rose was no young aspiring housewife, she knew what she wanted to do in the future and it wasn’t what her mother did.

With the wartime struggles the family learned to cope with rations and make do and mend however, when a widespread contagious disease wreaks havoc through the village many are left devastated in it’s wake.  Life sadly had to move on and Rose’s future looks brighter as new opportunities are opened.  Along the journey of life Rose becomes embroiled in a secret that could rip her family apart and she is torn to how to proceed.  Tragedy alas is not too far ahead and Rose is left with an unfortunate choice.

An endearing coming of age family saga that is filled with heightened emotions with the highs and lows of wartime England.  Life is tough but the community of Colliery Rows have coped with worse and pull together through hardship, tears and smiles.  I can’t wait for more from this series and from Chrissie Bradshaw.

Roses - Author RNA-96Author Bio – Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. She has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further. She has written two contemporary sagas, A JARFUL of MOONDREAMS, a contemporary story about family relationships, secrets and how dreams can come true, and THE BARN OF BURIED DREAMS, a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. ROSE’S CHOICE is her first historical saga and is set where Chrissie lives in Northumberland. When she is not writing or reading, you will find Chrissie walking Oscar on the beautiful Northumbrian coastline, travelling or spending time with her family and friends.

Social Media Links

Chrissie enjoys tweeting to readers on @ChrissieBeee
Her instagram account is chrissie_bradshaw_author
Her blog is http://www.chrissiebradshaw.com/
and she has a Chrissie Bradshaw author page on Facebook.
She would love to hear from readers

 

 

 

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #FindingLoveatHedgehogHollow #extract

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow Cover

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow written by Jessica Redland, publisher Boldwood Books, is available NOW in ebook, audiobook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?

As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…

Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2xrmxAo

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow Full Tour Banner

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Jessica Redland’s latest novel: Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow.  I have the pleasure of sharing an extract:

‘Oh, Sammie,’ he said gently, his eyes full of sympathy and his shoulders slumped. ‘I’m so sorry.’

‘Please don’t be nice to me. You’ll set me off again.’ I took a deep breath. ‘I know it’s not ideal that he chose someone in my family but, if it hadn’t been Chloe, I’d have lost him to someone else. It was never going to last much longer, no matter how much I wanted it to. But it was Chloe he fell for and it is what it is. And look how happy she is. She deserved to find a good guy after all the bad ones.’

How could I begrudge her happiness with someone who I knew to be a genuinely lovely person whose only flaw, from what I’d seen, was that he hadn’t fallen helplessly in love with me like I had with him?

‘Can I have the bridesmaid and best man?’ the photographer called. ‘And can the immediate family be standing by please?’

‘That’s our cue.’ Dad squeezed my hand as we stepped forward. ‘You know I’m here for you if you ever want to talk about it.’

‘Thanks, Dad. I know and I love you for it.’

As we posed for what seemed like hundreds of photos, I pushed my heartache aside and focused on Chloe’s happiness. She wasn’t just my cousin, she was my lifelong best friend. With only a six-month age difference, we’d been in the same class at school and had attended many of the same after-school clubs. We lived a couple of streets apart and our families holidayed together so every aspect of our lives had always been inextricably linked. And now we were linked by James, and I just had to learn to live with that or risk losing Chloe.

About the Author

Finding Love - AuthorJessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

Social Media Links –

 

Instagram –https://www.instagram.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Twitter –  @JessicaRedland

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Own website – https://www.jessicaredland.com/

Blog – https://jessicaredlandwriter.wordpress.com/

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-redland

Mailing list sign up – http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter

 

**Cover Reveal** Buried Treasure by Gilli Allan @gilliallan @RandomTTours #BuriedTreasure #coverreveal #bookreview

Gilli Allan Cover Reveal Poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the new cover for Gilli Allan’s contemporary mystery romance: Buried Treasure.  I read this novel back in August last year and once I’ve revealed the wonderful new cover I’m delighted to be able to re-share my review.

All the important details

Buried Treasure written and self-published by Gilli Allan is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07SN5NWJ2

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07SN5NWJ2

Book Blurb

Jane thinks he sees her as shallow and ill-educated. Theo thinks she sees him as a snob, stuffy and out of touch.
Within the ancient precincts of the university the first encounter between the conference planner and the academic is accidental and unpromising. Just as well there’s no reason for them ever to meet again. But behind the armour they’ve each constructed from old scars, they’ve more in common than divides them. Both have an archaeological puzzle they are driven to solve. As their stories intertwine, their quest to uncover the past unearths more than expected.

Treasure is not always what it seems.

About the Author

Gilli Allan Author PicGilli Allan began to write in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Writing was only abandoned when she left home, and real life supplanted the imaginary kind.

After a few false starts she worked longest and most happily as an illustrator in advertising and only began writing again when she became a mother.

Living in Gloucestershire with her husband Geoff, Gilli is still a keen artist. She draws and paints and has now moved into book illustration.

All of her recent books TORN, LIFE CLASS, FLY or FALL and BURIED TREASURE have gained ‘Chill with a Book’ awards.

Following in the family tradition, her son, historian Thomas Williams, is now also a writer.

And here it is, the new cover for Buried Treasure:

Buried Treasure Cover

Review

Buried Treasure was my first introduction to the works of Gilli Allan and I appreciated all the research she had undergone with this story as I became fascinated with the tale of long-lost archaeological finds.

I have to admit I did find the story a little slow at first and it did take me a little while to warm to both our leading lady, Jane and our leading man, Theo.  I think this was because the author had to show the vulnerability of these characters and to a time in their respective lives that were a little dark and controlling.  I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would let their lives be so manipulated but when your minds have been lost with a young love and lust logic sorts of goes out the window.  As a reader we needed to hear about the characters history as this is what has made them who they are now.

Jane is an events organiser and whilst visiting prospective sites for a future conference she comes across Dr Theo Tyler a university lecturer specialising in Archaeology.  Their first introductions doesn’t bode well for a forthcoming friendship but fate keeps bringing the unlikely pair together.  For Jane and Theo, although from different backgrounds and different careers, they have a shared vulnerability from their respective pasts.  Jane also has a family interest with buried treasure which interests not only Theo but another fellow in the field.

Theo’s current project is to investigate the archaeological worth of a piece of land that is due for development, he needs to find enough evidence to put through a portfolio to back up objections against the developers.  When Jane and Theo’s lives keep interconnecting with each other she finds herself having a vested interest in Theo’s project likewise Theo begins to express curiosity in a puzzle in Jane’s family.

The more I invested time in this story the more I became fascinated and I felt compelled by both Jane’s puzzle and also of Theo’s archaeological project.   I am so pleased I took a chance on a new author as by the end of this novel I really enjoyed it.  I will certainly check out Gilli Allan’s back catalogue.