Love at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea by Jane Linfoot @janelinfoot @0neMoreChapter @rararesources #bookreview

Love at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea written by Jane Linfoot, publisher 0ne More Chapter, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format. The paperback version is due out in November.

Book Blurb

St Aidan: a cosy Cornish village where friendships are made for life and it’s always cocktail hour somewhere…

‘A pure delight’ Debbie Johnson

Return to your favourite little wedding shop by the sea for love, laughter and a romance to sweep you off your feet!

It’s the most romantic day of the year but the girls aren’t just gearing up for Valentine’s Day and a busy wedding season ahead, it’s also the 10 year anniversary of their beloved shop!

Jess is planning the party of the decade and with the champagne and cocktails flowing, sparks are going to fly…and not just from the fireworks display!

Purchase Links –

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Little-Wedding-Shop-Sea-ebook/dp/B084L7SJJV

US – https://www.amazon.com/Love-Little-Wedding-Shop-Sea-ebook/dp/B084L7SJJV

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 Jane Linfoot’s latest novel: Love at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea.

Love at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea is Book 5 in the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea series written by Jane Linfoot. I wholeheartedly recommend reading all the books in the series in order as its a gorgeous, uplifting set of stories. Every time I pick up and read a new book in this series I think it’s the best one yet and yet again Jane Linfoot has written her best story yet (in my humble opinion) with Love at the Little Wedding Shop by the Sea. I galloped through this book as I was desperate to know what hurdle lovely Milla was going to face next and as the end of the story was approaching I wanted to slow down and savour every last word as it was just perfect!

This is Milla’s story; a close childhood friend of the girls from the wedding shop who moved to Bristol five years ago when her mum sadly passed away. Milla has escaped Bristol after a very eventful year when her heart was left in pieces and her working life is also in a precarious position. Milla is going to work with the girls at the wedding shop to give her heart and mind chance to recover. However, what Milla didn’t have in mind was for her heart to be jolted awake by local yachtsman Nic. With her new role she is left working closely with Nic and her heart refuses to calm down whilst he is around.

Can Milla’s heart cope with anymore complications?

This is a story that’s filled with light hearted humour, great banter between old and new friends, nostalgia, warmth and a campervan full of the type of romance that makes your heart sing!!!

Author Bio – I write fun, flirty fiction, with feisty heroines, and lots of heart. Writing is fab, because I get to wear pretty shoes instead of wellies. I live in a cottage up a mountain road in Derbyshire, where my family and pets are kind enough to ignore the domestic chaos. Happily, we’re in walking distance of a supermarket. I love hearts, flowers, happy endings, all things vintage, most things french. When I’m not on facebook, and can’t find an excuse for shopping, I’ll be walking, or gardening. On days when I want to be really scared, I ride a tandem.

Social Media Links – Follow Jane on Twitter @janelinfoot, or find her on her Author Page on Facebook. She’s also on Instagram, and has lots of Pinterest boards relating to her novels.

Starcross Manor by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter @rararesources #bookreview #StarcrossManor #feelgoodfiction

Starcross Manor Cover

Starcross Manor written by Christie Barlow, publisher 0ne More Chapter, is available NOW in ebook and audiobook format.  The paperback is due out in November.

Book Blurb

Dying to know more about the brooding and mysterious Flynn Carter and the secrets behind his plans for Starcross Manor?

You won’t want to miss the next spellbinding chapter in the Love Heart Lane series – where friends are there for you no matter what.

When Julia Coleman meets Flynn Carter again in the cosy village of Heartcross it can only mean trouble. Flynn might be rich, brooding and sexy, but Julia knows first-hand he’s ruthless and she plans to watch his every move.

When Julia discovers Flynn’s plans for beautiful Starcross Manor her greatest fears come true.  Because Flynn’s dreams of turning Starcross into a luxury hotel could ruin Julia’s dreams…and finish off the community of Heartcross for good.

Flynn makes it clear he doesn’t want trouble, and he’s not the man Julia thinks he is.  As he sets about convincing the community he’s changed, he hopes he can convince Julia to give him another chance too…

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/34uomL7

Starcross Manor 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 Christie Barlow’s latest novel: Starcross Manor.

Christie Barlow’s writing has once again captured my heart with Starcross Manor.  Starcross Manor is book four in the Love Heart Lane series.  Although each novel can be read as a standalone story I would highly recommend reading the books in the series in order to appreciate the history of the characters, the setting and the ambiance of the community of Heartcross.  The books in the series are:

  1. Love Heart Lane
  2. Foxglove Farm
  3. Clover Cottage
  4. Starcross Manor
  5. The Lake House (due later this year)

The Love Heart Lane series is set in the most idyllic of locations in a small village in the Scottish Highlands.  A village that holds the community within it’s heart and it’s success is borne by each and every one of the small independent businesses pulling together helping each other.  Although the village sounds idyllic the lives of the villagers are full of realistic problems and situations that are relatable.  The characters are written with such warmth that you instantly fall in love with, even the likeable rogues.  Each story in the series is centred around a different character and business but Starcross Manor has two businesses as it’s focus; the main one is Julia’s B & B that has been established five years now and is doing very well with the tourists flocking to enjoy the natural beauty of the area, the other business is Starcross Manor which has recently been bought and in the process of renovating by a newcomer, hot shot entreprenuer Flynn Carter.

When Julia bumps into the new owner of Starcross Manor she is shocked to discover that someone from her past has turned up in the village and looks like he is here to stay.  There’s a lot of bad feeling between Julia and Flynn but it appears that Flynn can’t recall all the hurt that he once caused.  The villagers soon become unsettled with this high flying businessman in their midst and they fear for their livelihood.  However, when an emergency ensues within the village fears are put on hold and the strength of the community pull together with a surprising benefactor to the cause.

Starcross Manor is another gorgeous instalment in the bestselling series Love Heart Lane.  It’s a series that you just want to keep going and going and as each story emerges you once again escape into the lives of the villagers of Heartcross and leave a tiny bit of your heart in the Scottish Highlands.  A story that sparkles with fun, friendship, hopefulness and blossoming romance.

Author Bio – Christie Barlow is the number 1 International bestselling author of ten bestsellers including A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Clover Cottage. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.

Social Media Links –

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christie_barlow/?hl=en

Twitter @ChristieJBarlow

Facebook page Christie Barlow author

A Sunset in Sydney by Sandy Barker @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #blogtour #bookreview #TheHolidayRomanceseries #summerreading

a sunset in sydney

A Sunset in Sydney written by Sandy Barker, publisher 0ne More Chapter, is now available in ebook format.  The paperback is due out in September.

Book Blurb

How far would you go in the name of love?

Sarah Parsons has a choice ahead of her. After the trip of a lifetime she’s somehow returned home with TWO handsome men wanting to whisk her away into the sunset.

Pulled in two directions across the globe, it’s making life trickier than it sounds. Her gorgeous American, Josh, wants to meet Sarah in Hawaii for a holiday to remember. Meanwhile silver fox, James, plans to wine and dine her in London.

It’s a lot to handle for this Aussie girl, who had totally sworn off men!

Join Sarah after her adventure in One Summer in Santorini, for the heart-warming and uplifting third novel in The Holiday Romance series.

Purchase Links

AmazonUK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sunset-Sydney-totally-uplifting-holiday-ebook/dp/B081MSC5S3

Google play: https://bit.ly/3dLjJxU

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-sunset-in-sydney/sandy-barker/9780008390020

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-sunset-in-sydney-the-holiday-romance-book-3

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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 Sandy Barker’s latest romcom in The Holiday Romance series: A Sunset in Sydney.

This is the second novel I’ve read by Sandy Barker and what I’ve learned is that the author intends for you to fall in love many, many times.  With the setting, the characters, the storyline and in particular the book boyfriends.  A Sunset in Sydney spoils us as we have two book boyfriends to fall in love with.  As a reader my head and heart was swinging like a pendulum clock and I couldn’t make my mind up whether I was #TeamJames or #TeamJosh but deep down in my heart of hearts it had to be #TeamSarah.  I can’t wait to see what other readers think …

Sarah’s not long back from the holiday of a lifetime in Greece.  She’s desperate to tell her sister that she’s fallen in love but there’s a snag to this tale; she’s fallen in love with two men from the same holiday!  Sarah is a teacher and lives in her home town Sydney and her sister currently works and resides in London.  Readers of Sandy Barker’s work will recognise Sarah’s sister Cat from book two (That Night in Paris) and we first discovered Sarah in book one (One Summer in Santorini).  Sarah is due to visit her sister soon and knows it will be the perfect opportunity to catch up with James, the sexy silver fox she met in Greece.  However, Sarah has already fixed up plans to meet her handsome, cheeky, adventurous American Josh in a few months time on a trip to Hawaii.  What a dilemma?  Can Sarah make a choice between them?

We follow Sarah from London to Hawaii and back home to Sydney climbing through obstacles of the heart and working out what she wants for her future.

A Sunset in Sydney is another gorgeous, sexy romcom from Sandy Barker that will have you reaching for the travel guide and have you dreaming for your own everlasting holiday romance!

The Holiday Romance series by Sandy Barker are stories set in beautiful surroundings when love makes a welcome bonus to the sightseeing.  The books in the series can be read as a standalone (I started with book two) but the stories do feature characters that continue on with their journeys in life with each subsequent story.  The Holiday Romance series are:

  • One Summer in Santorini
  • That Night in Paris
  • A Sunset in Sydney

 

Author Bio –

A Sunset in Sydney - Author Photo Sandy BarkerSandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humour. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.
Many of Sandy’s travel adventures have found homes in her writing, including her debut novel, a contemporary romance set in Greece, which was inspired by her true-life love story.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @sandybarker

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

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

Blog: https://sandybarker.com/

 

 

 

That Night in Paris by Sandy Barker @sandybarker @rararesources @OneMoreChapter #blogtour #bookreview #romcom #feelgoodfiction

That Night in Paris Cover

That Night in Paris written by Sandy Barker, publisher 0ne More Chapter, is available NOW in ebook format.

Book Blurb

Note to self: don’t sleep with your flatmate after a curry and three bottles of wine… especially if he’s secretly in love with you and wants you to meet his mum.
Cat Parsons is on the run. She doesn’t do relationships. After ten years of singlehood even the hint of the ‘L’ word is enough to get Cat packing her bags and booking herself onto a two-week holiday.
A European bus tour feels like a stroke of genius to dodge awkward conversations at home. But little does Cat realise that the first stop will be Paris, the city of love itself.
Joined by new friends, Cat has got two weeks, eight countries and a hell of a lot of wine ahead of her. As they discover hidden treasures and the camaraderie of life on the road, will Cat find a new way of looking at love?

That Night In Paris 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 Sandy Barker’s latest romcom: That Night in Paris.  This is my first introduction to the work of Sandy Barker and it won’t be my last, I loved this fun-filled sexy romcom.  That Night in Paris is book two in The Holiday Romance series, with each story easily read as a standalone but if you wish, like me, to catch up with the whole series please do check out One Summer in Santorini.

I’m drawn to stories set in Paris and That Night in Paris is more than just a gorgeous romcom, it’s also your free ticket to travel around Europe courtesy of the characters in this novel.  The quote “Reading gives you some place to go when we have to stay where we are” is perfect for this novel and for the uncertain times we are facing now.  Author, Sandy Barker, has give us the perfect opportunity to tag along with the characters on a whirlwind trip around Europe with the added bonus, for some, of a holiday romance and journeys of self-discovery for many.

Cat Parsons has woken up feeling she’s made an error of judgement, so in order to rectify the situation, albeit temporarily, she books herself on a two week bus tour of Europe visiting many cities and towns across France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.  Cat soon makes friends with 3 other solo female travellers and a bond is formed.  However, it’s not all glamorous and some of the accommodation stopovers are a little basic but the girls make do.  There’s an unexpected benefit to the trip when the girls bump into someone from Cat’s past, totally taking her by surprise and bringing up all sorts of confusing emotions.

Since the break-up of her last serious relationship Cat has vowed never to let love in again to avoid having her heart broken.  She is so adamant not to go down the love route but when she struggles to understand her feelings in the past and the present she has to accept that love isn’t something to be afraid of.

A girls-on-tour romcom full of fun, laughter, love and plenty of wonderful sights, sounds and cultural delights that will have you drooling for more than the food!

About the Author

That Night In - Author Photo Sandy BarkerSandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humour.

Many of Sandy’s travel adventures have found homes in her writing, including her debut novel, a contemporary romance set in Greece, which was inspired by her true-life love story.

Website: https://sandybarker.com/

Twitter:  @sandybarker

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

 

 

Clover Cottage by Christie Barlow @ChristieJBarlow @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #blogtour #bookreview #feelgoodfiction #LoveHeartLane

Clover Cottage (002)

Clover Cottage written by Christie Barlow, publisher 0ne More Chapter (digital division of HarperCollins UK), is available NOW in ebook format.

Book Blurb

A page-turning new cosy novel in the bestselling Love Heart Lane series – perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Phillipa Ashley and Milly Johnson!

Love Heart Lane – where friends are there for you no matter what.

When Vet Rory Scott inherits ramshackle Clover Cottage in the quaint village of Heartcross, Allie MacDonald just knows this is their happy ever after. A place to call home with the man she loves – it’s her dream come true!

Until Rory drops a bombshell. He loves Allie but he has dreams of his own to follow – to live and work in Africa. Clover Cottage will have to wait just a little longer…

Allie can’t imagine life without Rory, but she loves him too much to hold him back. And as he embarks on his adventure, Allie begins to rethink her own plans. She loves Rory and knows she wants him in her life, but maybe she can follow her own dreams too?

And always there, nestled in the beautiful village of Heartcross, surrounded by the people she loves, will be the place that will always bring them back to each other. Their forever home, Clover Cottage.

 Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07S7TBKP2/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07S7TBKP2/

Clover Cottage 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 Clover Cottage; Book 3 in the Love Heart Lane series written by Christie Barlow.

Returning to Love Heart Lane and discovering Clover Cottage was such a much needed treat of a read.  I still can’t believe that the Love Heart Lane series is my first introduction to the works of Christie Barlow as she has now become a must read for #feelgoodfiction.

Clover Cottage is Book 3 in the Love Heart Lane series, the book can be read as a standalone but as the characters grow and progress from each novel I would highly recommend reading all the books in order to fully appreciate the setting and characters.  The books in order are:

  • Love Heart Lane (you can find my review here)
  • Foxglove Farm (you can find my review here)
  • Clover Cottage

Clover Cottage is Allie and Rory’s story and as per the author’s writing style there are many emotional obstacles that the characters have to endure to find their happy ever after.

Rory is the local vet and has been working in partnership with his father for a while now but he is starting to feel a little held back at work.  Rory wants to expand the business but his dad is adamant that the practice is fine as it is, so when his parents give him a surprise gift he feels like his life has been planned out stage by stage in front of him and he freaks as he visions a brief glimpse into a life that he feels will remain stagnant.  Allie is totally shocked by Rory’s reaction and starts to wonder is this the end for their relationship?

When a TV celebrity visits the village temptation is put in Rory’s grasp to travel and work overseas.  Also, opportunities for Allie become available opening up dreams that she felt she couldn’t or didn’t want to pursue.

Both Rory and Allie have a lot to think about regarding their dreams for a more fulfilling career but alas sadly another obstacle is thrown in Rory’s direction and one that needs addressing urgently.  Can Rory and Allie make decisions for their careers and private lives that work harmoniously together?

Clover Cottage is another wonderful story set in the Scottish Highlands in a community that instantly makes you feel welcomed and at home.  I fell in love with Love Heart Lane back in January 2019 and I still have pangs of wanting to live in a cosy cottage surrounded by the Scottish hills, wildlife and fauna.  Christie Barlow has written a gorgeous romantic series with characters that are filled with warmth, humour but are still very real and relatable.  I do hope we can have a return to Heartcross and Love Heart Lane sometime in the future, please 🙂

Author Bio – Christie Barlow is the international bestselling author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm, Love Heart Lane and Foxglove Farm. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada & Australia.

Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christie_barlow/?hl=en

Website www.christiebarlow.com

Twitter @ChristieJBarlow

Facebook page Christie Barlow author

 

 

 

Mrs Boots by Deborah Carr @DebsCarr #bookreview #historicalfiction @0neMoreChapter

mrs boots

Mrs Boots written by Deborah Carr, publisher 0ne More Chapter (digital imprint of HarperCollins UK) is available in ebook format from 27th March 2020.  The book will be available in paperback in the summer.

Book Blurb

An incredible historical novel inspired by the true story behind the Boots empire.
Jersey 1885
On the beautiful island of Jersey, Florence Rowe lives a quiet life working in her father’s bookshop. Life for the Rowe family is good, but Florence can’t help yearning for more…
When Jesse Boot, the successful owner of Boots the chemist, arrives on the island, Florence is immediately captivated by his tales of life in a busy, bustling city on the mainland. For the first time ever, Florence imagines a life away from the constraints of Jersey society, of being someone more than just a shopgirl.
Until her parents reveal the shocking news they will refuse any marriage proposal from Mr Boot. Can Florence find a way to be with the man she loves and make a new life for herself?

To pre-order/buy link: https://amzn.to/3acpKC5

Boots storefront

image courtesy of Google search

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

Mrs Boots is book one in a new historical series inspired by Florence Boot, the woman behind the Boots empire. I devoured this story, it was so captivating, interesting and beautifully romantic. Florence is a headstrong young woman who wants to help those in need. She never wanted to marry but when she met Jesse Boot, the son of the founder of Boots the chemist, she found a kindred spirit with him. However, their friendship was frowned upon by her family. Her mother in particular made her opinions quite clear and as a mother myself I could see her point of view but I also knew to stop the power of love is impossible.

Deborah Carr’s words took me to an era were social etiquette was prevalent, religion and belief were very strong and the beliefs of Florence’s mother were true to her character and faith. The atmosphere of the storyline was perfect, I could sense a time and place. Hearing about the life in the stationery shop in Jersey sounded wonderful and it brought back pangs of nostalgia of visiting small independent shops receiving personal customer service with my grandparents. Just hearing that shop bell indicating a new customer brings back pangs of warm, fuzzy emotions.

The budding friendship between Jesse Boot and Florence was lovely, especially as it took Florence by surprise how her feelings soon changed.  Both Jesse and Florence had a desire to educate those less fortunate and giving them the opportunity to better themselves.  They also want to impart on all classes of society the importance of nutrition and health and make affordable medicine available to all.

When you start a new book series and so wish the other instalments were instantly available to enable you to binge read them all; this is how I felt about Mrs Boots. As soon as I finished reading I felt compelled to research both Jesse and Florence Boot and the legacy they’ve left behind is inspiring.

A gorgeous start to a new historical series that captivated, charmed and inspired me.

About the Author

USA TODAY best-selling author of The Poppy Field

Publisher: HarperCollins, One More Chapter

Deborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband and three rescue dogs. She was described as ‘One to Watch’ by Good Housekeeping magazine for her debut historical romance, Broken Faces. Her book The Poppy Field, published by HarperCollins’ One More Chapter imprint to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, was a USA TODAY best-seller.

The first book in her new Mrs Boots series, Mrs Boots, Book 1 is out on 27 March 2020 with Book 2, Mrs Boots of Pelham Street, being published in May.

Deborah is one third of The Blonde Plotters and Co-Founder of multi-award-winning tech start-up MyVLF.com – the first global virtual literary festival venue platform developed to connect readers and authors.

Follow Deborah:
Website: http://www.deborahcarr.org
Twitter: @DebsCarr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahCarrAuthor/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/deborahcarr/

Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross @ComedyKaren @0neMoreChapter_ @rararesources #guestpost #romcom

Five Wakes and a Wedding cover

Five Wakes And A Wedding written by Karen Ross, publisher 0ne More Chapter, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.

Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.

When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.

Because, after all, it’s her funeral…

The perfect antidote to all those books about weddings, this book will make you laugh until you cry, perfect for fans of Zara Stoneley’s BridesmaidsFour Weddings and a Funeral and The Good Place.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Five-Wakes-Wedding-Karen-Ross-ebook/dp/B07NXYXFSB

US – https://www.amazon.com/Five-Wakes-Wedding-Karen-Ross-ebook/dp/B07NXYXFSB

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I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross.  I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post from the author:

As a novelist, the question I get asked most often is, ‘Where do your story ideas come from?’
My new romantic comedy noir, Five Wakes and a Wedding owes its existence to the rise and rise of online shopping, which in turn is leading to the death of so many local high streets.
Here’s an excerpt from one of the early chapters about a shop that’s gone past its sell-by date:
Noggsie’s General Hardware Store had been a local landmark for longer than Gloria could remember. As the years passed, his business had survived and thrived. Car showrooms, coal merchants, computer shops, curry houses, coffee shops . . . butchers, bakers, bookshops, betting shops, builders’ merchants . . . dry cleaners and drapers . . . fish-and-chip shops, furniture shops, florists . . . laundromats and lending libraries . . . glaziers, greengrocers, Apple Stores . . . Their custodians came and went, but the General Hardware Store was a permanent fixture, a family business that continued undaunted by the changes happening around it, rather like Ian Beale in EastEnders, which was one of Gloria’s many guilty pleasures.
This time last year, Noggsie’s shop was still a much-loved anachronism, its green-tiled façade a shabby yet proud island in the present sea of Michelin-starred restaurants, cupcake shops, art galleries, pampering places, frock shops, interior designers, more cupcake shops (mostly gluten-free; some of them also vegan), wine bars and – briefly – a pop-up shop that specialised in miniature replicas of fairground attractions whose price tags might reasonably have been thought sufficient for the full-size originals.
Now Noggsie was gone and the General Hardware Store along with him. It had been shut for several months, and was one of several shops in the high street that continued to stand empty. It had come as an unwelcome surprise to many of the locals – Gloria included – to discover that even Primrose Hill was not immune from the toxic effects of hard times, greedy freeholders, ridiculous business rates, and the residents’ own growing tendency to go shopping without ever leaving home.

I wrote this not long after I’d been chatting with friends about the growing number of empty shops in our neighbourhood. We started crunching numbers to try to work out what sort of a business could operate profitably, and decided it would need to be a pole dancing club. One idea led to another and we were soon thinking about other businesses that could make money, but wouldn’t go down well with our neighbours. A funeral parlour seemed like a natural fit . . . people don’t want to have death staring them in the face when they’ve just popped out for a pint of (non-dairy) milk!

So there was half an idea. Then a week or two later I read in a local newspaper about a group of residents who were organising a petition to protest about plans to covert a disused church on a busy street into a funeral home and mortuary. I got myself online, discovered several similar cases, and duly started writing what turned out to be the first draft of Five Wakes and a Wedding.
A story was born, but there was still a long way to go. I knew my protagonist, Nina Sherwood, was going to have a tough time of it, and I knew I’d need to tread a careful line between death and comedy, which is my brand of fiction. The eventual result – the book I hope your readers will take a look at and perhaps buy – was described by an early reader as ‘Romantic Comedy Noir’.
Five Wakes and a Wedding is more about living – and living well – than it is about death. A lot of the feedback I’ve had is that once they’ve finished reading, people have started thinking about the sort of send-off they’d like for themselves . . . did you know it’s possible to have your ashes made into a vinyl record? Or even perfume . . .
If you decide to take a look, I’d love to know what you think: karen@karenross.online

Author Bio – As a former journalist, broadcaster and advertising copywriter, Karen Ross has followed a fairly traditional path into writing fiction.   Five Wakes and a Wedding is her fourth book, and like its predecessors, the novel has two common threads: the setting is London’s Primrose Hill – Karen’s own neighbourhood – and one of the characters is a dog . . . this time he’s called Chopper and he’s almost the same size as a Shetland Pony

Karen has been self-employed for many years, and continues to work as a marketing consultant, in the absence of an offer to manage Tottenham Hotspur. By way of credentials, her other ‘job’ is trading profitably on the world’s first football stockmarket, a platform called Football Index, where you buy and sell players with real money.

 Social Media Links – @ComedyKaren

https://karenross.online/