12 Days of Clink Street Publishing – Olga’s Egg by Sophie Law @authoright #blogtour #bookreview #HistFic #Faberge #12DaysofClinkStreet @FayeRogersPR

Olga’s Egg written by Sophie Law, publisher Clink Street Publishing, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

When Fabergé specialist Assia Wynfield learns of the discovery of a long-lost Fabergé egg made for the Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, daughter of the last Tsar of Russia, she appears to be the only person with misgivings. On travelling to St. Petersburg to see the egg, Assia moves among Russia’s new rich but finds herself pulled back into a family past she would rather forget. With news that a friend is missing, Assia starts to dig deeper. But does she really want the answers to the questions she is asking? Set in today’s glamorous world of Russian art with glimpses into the lives of the last Romanovs as their empire crumbled in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Olga’s Egg is an enthralling tale of love, family secrets and the artistic treasures that conceal them.

To buy links:

amazon UK: https://amzn.to/33ZOaxO

Waterstones: Olga’s Egg by Sophie Law | Waterstones

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 12 Days of Clink Street Publishing blogtour celebrating books published by Clink Street. I have chosen a historical fiction novel to review: Olga’s Egg by Sophie Law.

I was completely fascinated with this debut novel by Sophie Law. Olga’s Egg is a novel blending fact with fiction. I always appreciate how fiction brings history to life and after reading Olga’s Egg it’s given my a thirst to learn more about Russian’s history and also the history of Faberge eggs.

Olga’s Egg is a time-slip historical novel about Assia Wynfield, a Faberge specialist, she is investigating the provenance of the newly discovered egg believed to have once belonged to the Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, daughter of the last Tsar of Russia. As you can imagine Russia and the art world are buzzing with this discovery but Assia feels that something doesn’t fit right about the piece. We follow Assia’s journey learning about this new egg taking her on an emotional, informative and at times dangerous journey from Russia to Oxford and back.

The author takes us back in time to 1918 when there was much political unrest in Russia and tragedy was to trike leaving a lasting mark in Russia’s history.

The story is filled with the glamour of the rich and powerful in Russia but there is a sense of secrecy and danger amongst the elite. Can Assia find the truth surrounding the egg and can she learn from the secrets of the past?

A suspenseful story steeped with history and intrigue. I really enjoyed this glimpse into the breath-taking splendour of the Faberge egg that was tainted with a dark side.

About the Author

Sophie Law was born in London in 1981 and studied at Oxford University and the School of Slavonic and East European Studies. She began her career as a Russian art expert at Bonhams in 2006. After a number of years heading the Russian department and as a UK Board Director at Bonhams, she now acts as a consultant specialist. She lives with her husband and daughter in Oxford.

Website: http://www.sophielawconsultancy.com

Instagram: @sophielouiseannlaw

If Only They Could Talk by Ian Walker @fayerogerspr @authoright #IfOnlyTheyCouldTalk #histfic #debutnovel

if only they could talk

If Only They Could Talk written by Ian Walker, publisher Clink Street Publishing, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

Book Blurb

Miles Goodyear’s whole life has been planned out for him. Born into a wealthy brewing family in Chesterfield between the wars, he knows he will go to the local grammar school, followed by St John’s College, Oxford. After graduating, he will then follow his older brother into the family business where he will remain until the next generation eventually takes over when he retires.

But life – and a series of bad decisions – go against him and, as a result, things turn out very differently from what was originally planned.

If Only They Could Talk is the story of one man’s reflection on his life, his failed relationships, his regrets and his dashed hopes. It’s about someone born with so much, who loses everything as he struggles to cope with a changing world. Or at least that’s what his relatives are led to believe as they clear out his house following his death.

Gradually, the house reveals its secrets, but nothing his relatives find there can prepare them for the final twist to Miles’s story.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53482988-if-only-they-could-talk
Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/If-Only-They-Could-Talk/dp/1913340279/

If Only They Could Talk Banner1

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 Ian Walker’s debut novel: If Only They Could Talk.

I was initially drawn to this novel as the story is set in Chesterfield, Derbyshire which is not far from where I live.  The author of this debut novel is also from Chesterfield so I wanted to support and help promote a new author from Derbyshire.  I have to add before the publicist contacted me about the book I had never heard of the author so as always I’m reading and reviewing with an open mind.

The storyline is very apt for me as sadly I’m going through the emotive process of a house clearance following the death of a loved one.  I was so enamoured by the Goodyear family and of young Miles that I became absorbed in his life and left my own behind.

Miles Goodyear was the fourth generation in the Goodyear family who were founders of the Goodyear Brewery.  Miles knew from a young age that his brother and himself would follow the footsteps of their fathers and join the company.  However, life had different plans for them all.

Many years later Miles’ nephew, Nigel, has the sad task of clearing his Uncle Miles house following his death and room by room he discovers much memorabilia from his Uncle’s past and that of the brewery.

If Only They Could Talk is a great debut from Ian Walker writing about inspiration from his life and the historic town of Chesterfield.  I really enjoyed the timeslip element of the storyline and found myself looking forward to being transported back in time with Miles.

If Only They Could Talk was sad and poignant at times but laced with elements of fun, laughter and a little bit saucy in places.  I’m finding myself wishing that memorabilia of life could have the magic ability to talk.

About the Author

Ian Walker was born in Chesterfield in 1956. His father was chief clerk for a brewery in the town and his mother was a ballet teacher. He went to Chesterfield School before gaining a place at Leicester University where he studied Chemistry and Maths. After graduating he got a job working in the laboratory at Truman’s Brewery in Brick Lane London. The following year he transferred to Watney’s Brewery in Mortlake, where he moved into the sales department 18 months later.
A variety of sales rolls then followed until eventually he ended up as Regional Sales Director for Scottish and Newcastle in the West Country based in Bristol. All this came to an end in 2006 when aged just 50 he suffered a stroke and had to give up work. After 12 months of physiotherapy he felt sufficiently recovered to buy a pub in the North York Moors along with his wife Eunice.
In the eight years that they owned it they achieved listings in both The Good Beer Guide and the Good Pub Guide. They also were in The Times the list of the top 50 places to eat in the British Countryside.
In 2016 he decided to retire and move back to Chesterfield where he hadn’t lived for 40 years. He and his wife now live just around the corner from the house where he grew up. He has two grown up sons by his previous marriage.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ian-Walker-Author-103223348058236/

 

 

The Alphabet for Life by Fran Norris @authoright @fayerogersp #picturebook #bookreview #blogtour #AlphabetForLife #AlphabetofLife #mindfulness #values

alphabet of life ebook cover

The Alphabet for Life written and illustrated by Fran Norris, publisher Clink Street Publishing, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link: https://amzn.to/2PPH60m

Book Blurb

An alphabet book with a difference! Who said A is for Apple? Why not A is for Acceptance?! Let’s learn the alphabet using words that will inspire and empower everyone to thrive in life! Packed with fun illustrations and thoughtful quotes and themes, The Alphabet For Life is a unique children’s book the whole family can enjoy and learn from for a lifetime.

The Alphabet of Life Banner1

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 Fran Norris’ debut book: The Alphabet for Life.

The Alphabet for Life is a truly special picture book, it says in the write up on amazon that’s it is aimed at children aged 4-7 but after reading and enjoying this little book I would say it is completely suitable for all ages.  I’ve worked in environments with children of all ages and have had the pleasure of reading to my own children so can totally appreciate the gift of learning and enjoying through books.

Fran Norris has created an alphabet reference book with meaningful words.  For example instead of A is for Apple we have A is for Acceptance.  Alongside each alphabet there are quotes that correspond and relate to the new themes and in the foreground we have delightful drawings.  These quotes would have more emphasis on older children and adults and I found myself thinking how true and relevant the words were.

The drawings in the book need a praise all by themselves as they are clear, colourful, quirky and lots of fun and if you look closely you can spot lovely little scenes being played out by the animal characters, some slightly going off-piste.  The images reminded me a little of the Richard Scarry books with lots going on across the page to keep your little-ones talking about the characters for a good while.  I could easily imagine a child creating their own story just from looking at the pictures in the background.

In a world that is fast-paced we need constant reminders to slow down and pick up a book.  A book that is suitable for all and would be an ideal ‘coffee table’ style book.  Whether you read the whole alphabet in one go or just a few pages you will gain something from this unusual take on the alphabet.  Mindfulness is a process that needs to be in your everyday life and the combination of inspirational quotes and words with delightful drawings I think Fran Norris has created a winning formula.

About the Author

alphabet for life IG profileFran Norris is a mother of two living in Devon. Like most parents, her daily life largely involves coming up with creative approaches to making the good-for-you stuff enjoyable and appealing to children. She believes that education should nurture our natural curiosity and empower each individual to reach their fullest potential. Inspired by the playful way children approach any task, from brushing their teeth to eating toast, Fran is convinced that fun should be at the core of all learning.
As a former scientist, Fran approaches life as a wonderful experiment and loves to question everything. Her children provide a never-ending source of mystery and challenges to be solved. Creating THE ALPHABET OF LIFE reconnected Fran with her love of drawing and painting, encouraging her to work as an illustrator now.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frannorrisillustrations/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/alphabet4life

Tuppenny Rice & Treacle and Tunes on a Penny Whistle by Doris E Coates/Richard Coates blogtour book review

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating the launch of Doris E Coates books that have been re-edited by her son Richard Coates thus giving us insight in to more information about life living in a small Peak District village over a century ago.

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

Blog Tour Banner - Richard Coates

Tuppenny Rice & Treacle:  Cottage Housekeeping 1900-1920 written by Doris E Coates, edited by Richard Coates, publisher The Harpsden Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/cpXsnY

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Feeding a family on a limited budget is always a challenge. Yet even with a budget as low as ten shillings (50p) a week in the early part of the twentieth century, it is remarkable how interesting and varied the menu could be.

This delightful book draws on recipes compiled by Doris’s mother in Derbyshire and mother-in-law in Cumberland, and contains detailed records of weekly expenditure.

It includes numerous recipes for nutritious and filling meals for working men and growing families, taking full advantage of what was available – hearty meat dishes, with lots of root vegetables, puddings and dumplings to fill them out, cakes and buns, sweets and jams, and beverages to go with them (some highly alcoholic!). The recipes work just as well now as then.

It is also full of household and cleaning hints and products, illustrating immense pride in the home, as well as medicines, lotions and potions that would ‘kill or cure’.

Tuppenny Rice and Treacle, which still has resonance today, is illustrated with many contemporary photographs, and line drawings by George Coates, the author’s husband. It is one of a series of social and local histories written by the author and published by The Harpsden Press.

Review:  This was a fascinating insight to the lives of women living in the heart of rural England; the small village of Eyam in the rugged beauty of the Peak District.  It’s hard to imagine when you look at mothers now to the life of what your Great Grandmother must have witnessed first hand.  Life was very tough; no electric, no gas, no running water.  A mother’s life back in 1900-1920 was certainly hard work.

Reading about and seeing images from the past was very enlightening.  This book includes many images that are copies of handwritten journals, drawings and photos from the author’s ancestors.  I particularly enjoyed the journals that the woman of the household wrote all expenditure and income in, it was informative but also equally shocking.  Families were living off every penny that passed through their doors.

The book also included numerous vintage recipes that originated from Derbyshire and the other also included many other region based recipes that were popular a century ago.  We also get to glimpse how common ailments were treated, all I can say is thank goodness for medical research!

fancy-scroll

Tunes on a Penny Whistle:  A Derbyshire Childhood written by Doris E Coates, edited by Richard Coates, publisher The Harpsden Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/CqaDsR

Product Details (as per amazon page)

The early 1900s were a period of great hardship for many working-class families, particularly in rural areas. However, they were also times of pride and self-sufficiency, with fun and laughter derived from simple pleasures as well as mutual support and courage when poverty could have become unbearable.

This book is a personal history of a childhood in the village of Eyam – known as the Plague Village – in the Peak District of Derbyshire. Doris recalls how her mother confronted tough living conditions without labour-saving devices and often with little or no money.

She remembers, too, her father, who fought for the right for union representation, worked for self-help groups, and organised political meetings and village entertainments. He was a talented self-taught musician, producing a wide range of music on his Canadian organ and penny whistle. His fighting spirit made him a remarkable and influential character within the village community.

Both humourous and shocking, this description of domestic and community life at the beginning of the twentieth century is illustrated with many contemporary photographs, documents, and line drawings by George Coates, the author’s husband.

Tunes on a Penny Whistle is one of a series of social and local histories written by the author and published by The Harpsden Press.

Review:  This second book by Doris E Coates was another insightful look at the life of a childhood back in Derbyshire over a century ago.  It was very interesting looking back to times long ago however, I didn’t quite enjoy this book as much as Tuppenny Rice and Treacle as I much prefer women’s social history and the history of food.  This book includes details about Doris’ father and his ancestors and also the political upheavals in the area at the time.

Hearing about how Doris’ determination to learn and go on to further education was quite inspirational.  Doris E Coates was a very purposeful young woman and I’m sure her dogged determination helped her get through many of life’s trials through the years.

I would recommend both books to anyone interested in social history and especially that of a family living in the Peak District during the early 1900’s.

About the Authors

Born in Eyam in the Peak District of Derbyshire, Doris E. Coates achieved a successful and varied career as a teacher in both Derbyshire and later in Norfolk. Along with her husband George, she was an active member of her community promoting local groups, enjoyed singing in the local choir and, after retirement, turned her talents to writing. Her son, Richard Coates, now based in Bath enjoyed a happy childhood and grew up appreciating the importance of a strong education. After gaining a scholarship at Oxford University he went on to read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. Later as a management consultant he worked for international companies including Audi, British Airways and Mars in both the UK and oversees and continues to sit on the board of Davos Consultancy. Now retired, and in memory of his mother, Richard has decided to republish her books with fascinating new additions after researching further into his family history.