The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl @KathMcGurl @rararesources #blogtour #bookreview


The Stationmasters Daughter_FINAL

The Stationmaster’s Daughter written by Kathleen McGurl, publisher HQ, is available NOW in ebook format.  The paperback is due out in October.

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Book Blurb

As the last train leaves, will life ever be the same?

Dorset 1935
Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But soon the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…

Present day
Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken. When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past.

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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 Kathleen McGurl’s latest novel: The Stationmaster’s Daughter.  This is my first introduction to the work of Kathleen McGurl and it most definitely will not be my last as I adored everything about this novel.

The Stationmaster’s Daughter is such a wonderful historical timeslip story that was beautifully told.  I was swept away by the ‘here and now’ tales and when the stories collided I felt an overwhelming sense of satisfaction but also an immense sadness  of the tragedies that shaped the story.

Kathleen McGurl has written a story that takes the reader back to 1935 and the stunning, quintessential English countryside of Dorset.  An area of outstanding beauty that I feel was brought to life by the steam trains bringing visitors to and from the small villages along the coastline. Ted was the stationmaster who was proud of his position of 15 years for the rail company.  Ted was a sensitive man who enjoyed the simple pleasures in life which mainly revolved around his beloved railway and his sister and her three children that visited him often.  However, when a young lady caught Ted’s eye he soon became besotted but he was too shy to reveal his feelings.  These new flutters of the heart were to change Ted’s life irrevocably.  Ted is one of those endearing characters that you fall in love with and want to champion.

Over eighty years later we take up of the story of Tilly who’s received many heart-breaking blows over the years but the final blow was nearly enough to take her over the edge.  Needing time to recover Tilly goes to stay with her father at his bungalow in Dorset.  Tilly’s father is now retired and has found himself enjoying being part of the railway restoration society; a group of enthusiasts bringing the old, unused and dismantled railway back to life.  Tilly’s father hopes to get Tilly involved with the restoration, specifically helping with the archives.  He’s hoping this sifting through the paperwork and photographs will give Tilly a purpose and help her not forget her worries but to move on from then.

I loved both sides of this story; the charming love blossoming for Ted and the historical mystery that Tilly was involved with.  The tragedy of the story was so heart rending and my emotions were broken for what could have been.  A poignant historical time slip novel that will totally captivate you.

About the Author 
The Stationmasters Kathleen McGurl author photoKATHLEEN MCGURL lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

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Ike and Kay by James MacManus @jamesmac1x @Duckbooks #blogtour #bookreview #IkeandKay #SummerReads


ike and kay

Ike and Kay written by James MacManus, publisher Duckworth, is available NOW in ebook, hardcover, audiobook, audio CD and paperback format.

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Book Blurb

Acclaimed author and managing director of The Times Literary Supplement, James MacManus, creates a compelling historical novel that brings to life an unbelievable but true love story set during the Second World War. In 1942, Cork-born Kay Summersby’s life is changed forever when she is tasked with driving General Eisenhower on his fact-finding visit to wartime London. Despite Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie, the pair takes an immediate liking to one another and he gifts Kay a rare wartime luxury: a box of chocolates. So begins a tumultuous relationship that against all military regulation sees Kay travelling with Eisenhower on missions to far flung places before the final assault on Nazi Germany. She becomes known as “Ike’s shadow” and in letters Mamie bemoans his new obsession with ‘Ireland’. That does not stop him from using his influence to grant Kay US citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer when he returns to America. When the US authorities discover Eisenhower’s plans to divorce from his wife they threaten the fragile but passionate affair and Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves…

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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 James MacManus latest novel: Ike and Kay.  Ike and Kay is my first introduction to the work of James MacManus and I was drawn to this novel as I am fascinated with stories set around the world wars, I love to read about how the wars impacted on people’s lives.  Ike and Kay is a slightly different wartime novel I have previously read, this is a story based around the lives of the personnel directly involved in the war.  Ike and Kay is a fictional story based loosely on facts regarding the life of General ‘Ike’ Eisenhower and that of his driver Kay Summersby.

The story starts in 1942 when Kay Summersby is assigned to be the driver of General ‘Ike’ Eisenhower during his first military visit to London.  Kay is a people person and soon learns what Ike needs to stay focused with his job and what he also needs to wind down after many difficult days.  Kay has achieved what many of his trusted staff haven’t, she’s got into his head and found in Ike a man that on the surface is a sort of an enigma but she picks out little things in Ike’s mannerisms and loves and expands on these making small comforts in a life that would face many difficulties with the war that continued for many years.  Kay and Ike’s relationship was to become like a well-oiled cog in a wheel and Kay was forever by his side travelling with him to many different war zones around the globe.

Ike Eisenhower was travelling up the ranks of the US Army rapidly with his involvement with the war efforts.  His wife of over 20 years was left at home in the US and only had his letters, an occasional short stay visit and the gossip columns in the State press to keep her up-to-date with Ike’s progress.  The continuing presence of the female driver, Kay Summersby, was to cause much speculation in the press and both women in Ike’s life were to become anxious for their future with Ike. But did anyone truly know Ike Eisenhower? There were many sides to Eisenhower and neither his wife or Kay could truly know the real Ike.

Ike Eisenhower soon felt at home in London with Kay foreseeing to his comforts both at work and during time at rest.  Ike soon became to rely on Kay and it felt like an obsession with him, like he felt he couldn’t perform his duties without her by his side.  Ike’s friendship with his driver soon became a cause for concern for the military on both the British and American sides.

I was captivated by this story, a story predominantly about an unlikely friendship between two people who had found comfort during very difficult times.  There was a poignancy and tragedy about the love that blossomed, at times it felt like they were living in their own bubble but once the war was over and a different reality set in their lives were no longer in their control and paths they’d dreamed about were blocked.  I also found the novel interesting to learn about the tactical side of the war efforts.  I appreciated the great research the author undertook with this novel, I didn’t know much about Eisenhower and following reading this story I am keen to learn more about him.

About the Author

James MacManus is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. After studying at St Andrews University he began his career in journalism at the Daily Express in Manchester. Joining The Guardian in 1972, he later became Paris, and then Africa and Middle East Correspondent. He is the author of several novels including On the Broken Shore, Black Venus, Sleep in Peace Tonight and Midnight in Berlin. James MacManus has three children and lives in Dulwich, London.




A Stranger in Paris by Karen Webb @bookwormpegg @ImpressBooks1 #blogtour #bookreview #memoir #literaryfiction #AFrenchLife


a stranger in paris

A Stranger in Paris written by Karen Webb, publisher Impress Books, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

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Book Blurb

The first in a three-part memoir exposing the darker side of French culture, a brilliantly funny and poignant study of French life that begins when a young graduate makes a spontaneous decision to follow the man she loves to Paris. He is, however, nowhere to be found . . . now a penniless singleton she must work in order to survive. With only a smattering of French she begins a new life. A Stranger in Paris follows Karen in her formative years as she searches for friends, family, and love. A portrayal of French life ‘from the inside’ by a narrator who has seen the various echelons of French society from rich to poor, from the capital city to the rural South West.

eiffel tower sunset (image courtesy of pinterest)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.

There’s a kind of romanticism about living in Paris walking amongst the chic Parisian women and viewing the city life from the many cafes.  I love books set in France and especially those based in Paris so I jumped at the chance of reading Karen Webb’s novel ‘A Stranger in Paris’, which is book 1 in her trilogy ‘A French Life’.  The trilogy is based on the author’s diary entries written at the time on her own life experiences when as a young graduate from Aberystwyth University Karen went on a ‘wild goose chase’ across the channel in pursuit of the man she fell in love with whilst at university.

Reading this book of the author’s memoirs felt very much like a work of fiction as you are swept away with this young woman’s quest for the romantic idealism of a life cosied up with your lover in an art deco styled apartment overlooking the Eiffel Tower.  What transpired was far from Karen’s dreams …

Once Karen arrived in Paris she realised she needed work, a roof over her head and she then had to find her lover.  This was such a brave move by Karen with her head in the clouds she was soon brought back down to reality.

We follow Karen’s journey in Paris of finding her own feet and learning to become independent.  Life was to throw many obstacles in her way that were so unexpected, a little dangerous and at times you couldn’t help but smile at the chaos around her.

I really enjoyed reading A Stranger in Paris it was an enlightening coming of age story that will have you packing your bags and searching for your passport heading for the city of lights.

I can’t wait for the next instalment in Karen’s memoir as I’m desperate to find what route her life takes next.

About the Author

Karen graduated from Aberystwyth University with a Degree in English Literature. She then moved to Paris, where she worked for 16 years as an English language teacher for business professionals before settling in rural South West France. With few employment opportunities other than stuffing geese or picking melons, she qualified as a licensed real estate agent.
Karen then attended Lancaster University where she graduated with a Masters in Creative Writing in 2015, after which she set up a series of Creative Writing retreats, “A Chapter Away”, inviting world famous authors, literary agents and publishers to teach aspiring novelists. Inspired by the comments of tutors on the memoir writing course, she began “A Stranger in Paris.”
Passionate about theatre, and script-writing, Karen has also written plays, several short stories and a novel – all of which are lurking in the bottom drawer. “A Stranger in Paris” is her first published work, and is the first novel of the trilogy La Vie Française.
Karen now lives in Gascony with her husband and son, and has a grown-up daughter who works in London. Much of her writing is inspired by the North West of England where she grew up, and France which became her country of adoption.



Sweet Little Lies by Carrie Elks @CarrieElks #bookreview #contemporaryromance #AngelSandsseries #indieauthor


sweet little lies

Sweet Little Lies (Angel Sands, Book Three) written and self-published by Carrie Elks is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

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Book Blurb

He was the boy from the wrong side of the tracks. She was everybody’s princess. Ten years later, he’s back in town and this time he has something to prove.

Aiden Black never thought he’d return to the small beach town he grew up in. But as the new director of a luxury resort, he’s determined to make it a success. What he doesn’t expect is to run into an old flame, the girl that got away.

Single mom, Brooke Newton, cares about two things. Taking care of her son and helping out at the local animal shelter. Until she’s sent on a mission to save an endangered dog, and comes face to face with the only man she’s ever loved.

As soon as they meet, the attraction between them reignites. But Brooke has a secret – a big one – and she has no idea how to tell Aiden. As lies are exposed, and truths are told, they’re determined to take advantage of this second chance. It’s a shame not everyone in town has got the message…

sweet little lies poster

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.

Sweet Little Lies is Book Three in the Angel Sands series and although each story is a standalone novel that focuses on one characters journey I would highly recommend reading all the books in the series in order as characters from previous books do crop up in each story and also you’ll be missing a treat of a series if you don’t get chance to read them all.  The books in the series are:

  • Let Me Burn
  • She’s Like the Wind
  • Sweet Little Lies

Once again, Carrie Elks has written an addictive, sexy story but what I’ve also found with the Angel Sands books is that there’s a real charm and homeliness about them.  Firstly, I think that this is down to the strong bond the girls have and secondly the setting of the novels based in a small coastal town in America that’s filled with sunshine, laughter and community spirit.

Sweet Little Lies is Brooke’s turn in the spotlight.  For eight years Brooke has worked hard as a single mom to her son Nick.  After discovering she was pregnant at 18 Brooke gave up college to look after her baby but now she’s back studying and working at the animal shelter all fitting around the care of her young child.  It’s been a long time since Brooke has experienced love and her heart felt broken for a long time following the sudden break-up with her then boyfriend.  But when the young boy Brooke fell in love with long ago returns to Angel Sands he’s no longer the young boy climbing trees and sneaking around to see her, he’s a strapping handsome, successful man that rocks her emotions just as much as he did years ago.  Brooke is shocked to see the return of Aiden Black she has so many questions for him regarding his sudden departure but Brooke is afraid to ask them as she’s kept a secret hidden from him that could destroy any hopes of any friendship resuming.

Aiden Black was dubious of returning to Angel Sands as he left many years ago under a dark cloud, he also felt like his heart had been crushed leaving Brooke.  Aiden always felt like Brooke could do better than him as Aiden was from a poorer family, his brother was notorious for being in trouble.  Brooke was the daughter of a well to do family and she’d had a privileged upbringing so their teenage love was kept hidden from prying eyes.

I adored Brooke and Aiden’s story as I particularly loved Brooke’s personality; the single mom with hopes and dreams for a career working with animals.  Brooke adored her son and the work at the animal shelter was her second love and these character strengths shone through Brooke’s personality.  Aiden’s characters had a vulnerability about him, he’d turned his life around and was back in his home town to prove to any cynics he’d done good.  However, Aiden couldn’t shake all the dirt from his history and once it caught up with him it would change his life and that of others.

A story with heart and soul that was addictively moreish.

About the Author

Carrie Elks writes contemporary romance with a sizzling edge. Her first book, Fix You, has been translated into eight languages and made a surprise appearance on Big Brother in Brazil. Luckily for her, it wasn’t voted out. Carrie lives with her husband, two lovely children and a larger-than-life black pug called Plato. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found baking, drinking an occasional (!) glass of wine, or chatting on social media.


Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance by Laurie Benson @LaurieBwrites @MillsandBoon @rararesources #blogtour #bookreview #RegencyRomance


mrs sommersby second chance

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance written by Laurie Benson, publisher Mills & Boon Historical, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

The paperback is available from all good book retailers including Waterstones, WHSmith, amazon and direct from Mills & Boon website.  The ebook is available to download for kindle, kobo, iBooks and Google Play.

To buy links:

Mills & Boon:

Barnes & Noble:
Google Play:

Book Blurb

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance
She’s played Cupid for others
Now she’s met her own unlikely match!
The final book of The Sommersby Brides quartet. Widowed society matchmaker Mrs. Clara Sommersby thinks self-made businessman William Lane is just the man for her neighbor’s overlooked daughter. He’s successful and confident, if emotionally distant, until suddenly—shockingly—his attention turns to Clara herself! She thought her days of romance were over, but is this younger man intent on giving her a second chance?

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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 Laurie Benson’s latest novel: Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance.  Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance is book four in The Sommersby’s Brides Quartet, each book can be read as a standalone story but as a series it’s such a treat to be able to read each book and learn more about the characters as each story focuses on a different lead character.  The books in the series are:

  • One Week to Wed
  • One Night Under the Mistletoe (novella)
  • His Three-Day Duchess
  • Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance

Mrs Sommersby’s Second Chance is my first introduction to the works of Laurie Benson and her writing style ticked every box in my historical romance wishlist.  I’m a big fan of Regency Romance novels; I love the etiquette of the courtship, the Lords and Ladies of the ton with it’s dashing heroes, rogue-ish rakes and strong willed heroines stepping out of the expected ways of ladies from this period.

I particularly enjoyed this story as it focused on a slightly more mature courtship.  Mrs Clara Sommersby, a widower of ten years who is in her early forties is known for her matchmaking within the city of Bath society but Clara also has a secret business involvement that has proved very successful.  Clara is enjoying her life with her business and vows that no man will come in the way of her financial success.  However, a newcomer in the name of William Lane is about to rock Clara’s world with her heart and mind having conflicting thoughts.

William Lane is a self-made businessman from London who is keen to expand his business ventures in Bath.  Lane has a vulnerability about him due to his heritage that during his childhood and adulthood has left him feeling exposed and outcast.  Whilst visiting Bath he bumps into Clara Sommersby and a friendship of sorts is built and he finds himself experiencing emotions he’s kept contained.  With his mind becoming tangled with business and pleasure his life is about to become more confusing when his new venture hits a stumbling block.

This was such a glorious Regency romance story that charmed and entertained me but it also had my heart beating for the delectable courtship.  I look forward to reading more from Laurie Benson.

About the Author
Laurie_Benson-2_2_3_2Laurie Benson is an award-winning author who writes flirty and frisky Regency romances. She began her writing career as an advertising copywriter, where she learned more than you could ever want to know about hot dogs and credit score reports. Now, she is happy to put that behind her and spend her time writing stories that take her and her readers on a romantic adventure. When she isn’t at her laptop avoiding laundry, Laurie can be found browsing antique shops, going on ridiculously long hikes, or sitting in her car on the school pickup line. She lives with her husband and two sons in a house filled with testosterone—even her bunny is a boy.

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Giveaway to Win 2 x Paperbacks of His Three-Day Duchess by Laurie Benson (Open INT)
Mrs Sommersbys - Giveawy Prize - His Three-Day Duchess*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino @nickypellegrino @orionbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #blogtour #bookextract


A Dream of Italy


A Dream of Italy written by Nicky Pellegrino, publisher Orion, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format.  The paperback is due for release on Thursday 8th August 2019.

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Book Blurb

For sale: historic building in the picturesque town of Montenello, southern Italy. Asking price: 1 Euro
Cloudless skies, sun-soaked countryside, delicious food… In the drowsy heat of an Italian summer, four strangers arrive in a beautiful town nestled in the mountains of Basilicata, dreaming of a new adventure. An innovative scheme by the town’s Mayor has given them the chance to buy a crumbling historic building for a single Euro – on the condition that they renovate their home within three years, and help to bring new life to the close-knit local community.
Elise is desperate to get on the property ladder. Edward wants to escape a life he feels suffocated by. Mimi is determined to start afresh after her divorce. And there’s one new arrival whose true motives are yet to be revealed…
For each of them, Montenello offers a different promise of happiness. But can they turn their dream of Italy into reality? A deliciously escapist summer read, perfect for fans of Jo Thomas.

A Dream of Italy blog tour

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of the paperback of Nicky Pellegrino’s latest novel:  A Dream of Italy.  I have the privilege of sharing an extract from the novel with you:

The Silver Divorcees met on the second Wednesday of every month. There were times Mimi felt as if the only thing keeping her going was the prospect of gathering in some cheap and cheerful restaurant and drinking too much wine as all of them talked at once. The few occasions over the past couple of years that she could recall laughing properly were her Silver Divorcee evenings.
Despite the name not one of them had silver hair. All were tended to regularly by skilful colourists, a couple were Botoxed, and at least one was keeping a cosmetic surgeon busy. Still they were a social phenomenon, apparently, part of a rising tide of middle-aged couples deciding to divorce after decades of putting up with one another.
‘These are the new freedom years,’ Mimi’s closest friend Sinead declared. ‘The kids have left home, we’re financially secure and we don’t have to deal with anyone’s dropped socks. This is our time and we’re not going to spend it cleaning up after other people.’
Mimi wasn’t especially buoyed by those remarks. Her friend’s situation was entirely different to hers. Sinead was the one who had walked away from her marriage, striking out for freedom and independence, determined she wasn’t going to spend another minute with the nice but dull man who had been by her side for the past thirty years.
‘Fuck that,’ Sinead said (she swore more now she was divorced). ‘Perhaps the two of us had something in common once but we don’t any more. I want my life back.’
Mimi, on the other hand, had been happily married; at least, she had thought so. With their two sons gone to university, she and Glenn had been making plans to move out of London and build their dream house somewhere leafy and green. Glenn had seemed as enthusiastic about the idea as she was. They used to sit together watching Grand Designs and talk about how they might manage something similar. So when Glenn told her he had rented an apartment because their relationship had run its course and it was time for a fresh start, Mimi had been rocked.
He refused couple’s counselling and only offered her clichés. He still loved Mimi but he wasn’t in love with her. He needed some space. He wanted a new life.
And so her husband moved out, and Mimi was left behind in their old life, alone in the family house surrounded by all their shared stuff. She spent a lot of time rearranging things, trying to make the place seem more her own. Buying a new bed, shifting the sofas, painting a feature wall and filling the living room with plants – none of it helped much.
‘Just sell the house, settle up with him and move on,’ Sinead urged her.
Mimi could see the sense in this advice but not how to follow it. ‘Move on where?’
‘Your work isn’t keeping you in London, is it? You could go absolutely anywhere.’
‘That’s the problem,’ Mimi said.
Sinead was an incurable solver of other people’s problems. ‘Go and live in a little village somewhere just like you were planning to before the break-up,’ she advised.
‘Which village, though? I can’t just stick a pin into a map.’
‘I don’t see why not. It doesn’t really matter which place you choose. You need to make a move. You’re stuck.’
‘I am aware of that.’ Mimi squinted in the bright light of the ladies ‘toilets as she reapplied her perfect pinky-brown lipstick. She was sure Sinead had followed her in on purpose, determined to have this conversation. She was standing right beside Mimi now, talking at her reflection in the mirror.
‘Un-stick yourself,’ she counselled, ‘and do it sooner rather later. You’ve never been this indecisive before, have you?’
‘No, but I always had a vision of what I wanted in life.’ Mimi slipped the lipstick back in her bag and gave her short, fair hair a quick fluff with her fingers. ‘I saw myself being married, having a family, working as an illustrator. I saw Glenn and me going on long walks and eating Sunday lunch in country pubs. All of a sudden the vision has disappeared completely, it’s like the screen’s gone blank. I can’t see a way forward any more.’
Sinead stared at her, bereft of advice, temporarily at least.
‘Another glass of wine and some food, that’s as far ahead as I want to look right now,’ said Mimi, quickly. ‘Come on, or the others will think we’ve abandoned them.’
They were at an Italian restaurant favoured by the Silver Divorcees mainly for its bring-your-own-booze Tuesdays. Mimi enjoyed the food, always ordering the pizza with burrata because she loved to slice into the soft cheese and watch its creamy centre oozing over the crisp, charred dough. She was the only one among the Silver Divorcees still eating carbs and saturated fat, but then all the others were dating; they were on Tinder or signed up with elite matchmaking agencies.
That was what they were discussing when Mimi and Sinead made it back to the table, shrieking with laughter at stories of Tinder encounters gone wrong.
‘So when I woke in the night, I thought he was stroking my shoulder,’ Jayne was saying now. ‘Then I turned over and it was actually this huge, hairy dog which had wriggled into bed between us and was drooling on my pillow. I could not make the thing move. In the end I got up, left a note to say I was a cat person, and went home.’
Sinead jumped into the conversation. ‘The dog wasn’t actually in the room when you were…’
‘Yes! It was lying on the rug, staring at us and panting. I kept catching its eye. It was really off-putting.’
‘Oh my God, that reminds me of the time I was dating the guy who had these Burmese cats…’
Mimi listened to their voices growing louder. She never had similar stories to share. She had been with Glenn for thirty years. It was impossible to imagine herself with anyone else.
‘Men…I really don’t know why we bother.’ Someone trotted out that line almost every time the Silver Divorcees met up; tonight it was Jayne, shaking her head in dismay. ‘All of us should buy a big house, move in together, and give up on them altogether.’
‘You’re right, we probably should,’ agreed Sinead.
‘Count me in,’ said Mimi. ‘It sounds like a great idea.’
‘Me too,’ added Dottie.
‘Why don’t we stop talking about this and actually do it?’ said Sinead, leaning forward, arms crossed. The Silver Divorcees had been her idea in the first place and she thought of herself as the group’s leader. ‘Let’s pitch in and buy a holiday villa, the four of us. Seriously, I mean it.’
‘Nice idea but I can’t afford it,’ said Jayne.
‘What if it hardly costs us anything? Hang on a minute, I saw this ad on Facebook.’ Sinead rummaged for her phone and started jabbing at the screen. ‘Here we go, this is it: Live Your Dream of Italy.’
She read the advertisement aloud with extra emphasis on the words, ‘just one
‘Sounds too good to be true; there must be a catch,’ said Jayne.
‘Not necessarily,’ Dottie countered. ‘I’m pretty sure I read an article about that in the Telegraph. The ad’s gone viral and they interviewed the mayor of the town..’
‘Salvio Valentini,’ said Sinead, reading from the screen again.
‘Could have been.’
‘If it’s gone viral then we’ve no chance of getting a house.’ Jayne sounded almost regretful.
‘Why don’t we try, though?’ Sinead urged. ‘It’s worth putting in an application. Imagine the Silver Divorcees with their own place in southern Italy.’
‘Do you really mean it?’ asked Mimi.
‘Yes, of course I do. We can all afford one euro. Tell you what, it’s on me.’
‘We’d have to spend some money on renovations,’ pointed out Dottie.
‘Not that much, surely, at least to begin with, so long as it’s structurally sound and has a serviceable kitchen and bathroom,’ said Sinead. ‘Imagine the sunshine and the fabulous food, just lazing round with books and opening the first bottle of wine at lunchtime.’
‘Living the dream,’ agreed Jayne, wistful.
‘Why not do it then?’ suggested Mimi, who suddenly had this new feeling, a kind of happy excitement that filled her with the sense anything was possible. She pulled her phone out of her bag. ‘Let’s send an email now.’
Extract from A Dream of Italy by Nicky Pellegrino (out in paperback on 8th August).

About the Author

Nicky Pellegrino was born in Liverpool but spent childhood summers staying with her family in southern Italy. A shy, tall, gingery child she never really fitted in with her exuberant Italian cousins and had a tendency to stay quiet and observe things. When Nicky started writing fiction it was her memories of those summers in Italy that came flooding back and flavoured her stories: the passions, the feuds but most of all the food.
Nicky now lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband Carne plus a menagerie of dogs and horses. She works as a freelance journalist and her novels are distributed in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and have been translated into numerous languages.
She loves cooking for friends, drinking red wine, walking on New Zealand’s amazing beaches, riding her horse through the forest and lying in bed reading other people’s novels.




The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman @rowancoleman @EburyPublishing @annecater #blogtour #bookreview

the girl at the window

The Girl at the Window written by Rowan Coleman, publisher Ebury Press, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format and is due for release in paperback on Thursday 8th August 2019.

The paperback will be available from all good book retailers including Waterstones, WHSmith, Foyles and amazon.  The ebook is available for kindle, kobo and iBooks.

To buy/Pre-order links:



Book Blurb

A house full of history is bound to have secrets…

Ponden Hall is a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors, a magical place full of stories. It’s also where Trudy Heaton grew up. And where she ran away from…
Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, she is returning home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead.
While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…
A hauntingly beautiful story of love and hope, from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things

Girl in the Window B T Poster

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 Rowan Coleman’s latest novel: The Girl at the Window.  As you can see from the blogtour poster a lot of highly respected book bloggers are very keen to help promote Rowan Coleman’s novel, this is a testament to the popularity of the author and of her wonderful way with words.

This book is so beautifully atmospheric I didn’t want it to end.  From the very beginning I felt emotional with the words on the pages.  My heart ached for Trudy and Will and I felt a hunger within me to know what happens next in the story. Rowan Coleman has written a story that will appeal to many; to the die-hard Brontë fans and to the hopelessly romantic lovers your heart will be lost with this wonderful story.

Trudy Heaton grew up in Ponden Hall on the Yorkshire Moors, the hall that was reputed that Emily Bronte spent time visiting alongside it’s library.  Trudy is a huge fan of the Bronte sisters work, especially Emily’s and with growing up in the village and her later work as an archivist Trudy understands and appreciates the joy of keeping history and any artefacts revolving around the Bronte sisters alive and available for all to see.

When Trudy and her young son receive devastating news Trudy feels the place she needs to be to recover from this traumatic blow is to go home to Ponden Hall.  The last time Trudy was at Ponden Hall and with her mother was 15 years ago and from thereon mother and daughter have had a strained relationship.  With her son in tow Trudy hopes they will be welcomed with open arms.

Ponden Hall warmly welcomes Trudy back and she feels a real connection to the building and it’s history.  With emotions high revolving around the loss of her husband Trudy is struck by new highs and lows with long lost discoveries from her past and that of Emily Bronte and also that of a mysterious young girl that may hold the key to secrets that could change what is believed of the heritage of Ponden Hall.  I loved this side of the story with the discovery of forgotten secrets.  The atmosphere in Ponden Hall and the land surrounding it fizzled with spirit and it took Trudy on a journey of hope, strength and belief.

The Girl at the Window is so beautifully written with the past hauntingly desperate to speak out changing the viewpoints of people and bringing much hope for the future.  This is another WOW book and one that I predict will be a bestseller for Rowan Coleman.

About the Author

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family.

She really wishes someone would invent time travel.

She is the bestselling author of THE MEMORY BOOK, WE ARE ALL MADE OF STARS and the critically acclaimed THE SUMMER OF IMPOSSIBLE THINGS.


Twitter: @rowancoleman.