The Letter by Ruth Saberton book review

the letter

The Letter written by Ruth Saberton, publisher Notting Hill Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/6KDbdJ

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Perfect for fans of Rosamunde Pilcher, Daphne du Maurier and Kate Morton.

A lost love story…

1914: In Cornwall, on the eve of the First World War, eighteen-year-old Kit Rivers has a bright future ahead. As the Lord of the Manor’s heir, Kit knows his duty is to the family estate – even though he longs to become a poet. When he falls passionately in love, Kit is determined not to let his parents’ bitter opposition spoil an idyllic summer. But even before the golden days can fade into autumn, war comes to change Kit’s world and writing forever…

The Present: One century later, widowed Chloe Pencarrow exchanges London for the solitude of a Cornish cliff top house. Haunted by memories, Chloe’s interest in obscure war poet, Kit Rivers, proves a welcome distraction and leads her to piece together a forgotten history. Faced with more questions than answers, her own life soon becomes entwined with Kit’s through love, loss, and the darkest of secrets…

 

Daisy

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

This latest novel by Ruth Saberton is achingly beautiful.  Such strength in a love so tragic.  I believe The Letter is Ruth Saberton’s best story yet and it will certainly be one of my outstanding reads for 2018.

The extensive research that the author must have taken and the love of a lost love story of her Great Aunt clearly shows across the pages.  Scenes were clearly laid out and you could picture them and feel the emotions of the characters.  Many a time emotions took over me and I was swamped with intense reactions to the storyline.

The story begins in 1914 when sixteen year old Daisy Hills has arrived to stay with her godfather at the rectory in a small village off the coast of Cornwall.  Daisy is hoping for the sea air and daily exercise around this beautiful village to bring back her strength following an illness.  What Daisy doesn’t expect is for her life to experience a whole new adventure and for it to change the course of her future entirely.

A century later we meet grieving Chloe Pencarrow, who has escaped her life of so many sad memories in London with wishes to experience peace and tranquility in a Cornish coastal village.  Chloe rents The Old Rectory and unbeknown to her at present the rectory holds many secrets to a past when time was cruelly snatched from many.

This story takes on two different time frames that slowly start unravelling into the present.  Chloe finds interest in fallen war poet Kit Rivers who lived in the great mansion that can be seen from The Old Rectory.  Delving deeper into Kit River’s life with the help of historian Matt Enys and the Kernow Heritage Foundation, Chloe and Matt’s lives are soon captivated by a forgotten time and a forgotten love story.

Truly outstanding storytelling from Ruth Saberton that deals with grief and loss and the hope of light bringing new directions.  To a time when futures of young men and the women they left behind was unknown.  To a time that we will not forget.

A story that is not to be missed.

To learn more about Ruth Saberton and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.ruthsaberton.com/

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

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

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The Secrets Between Us by Laura Madeline blogtour book review

the secrets between us

The Secrets Between Us written by Laura Madeleine, publisher Transworld Digital, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/TEycic

Product Details (as per amazon page)

High in the mountains in the South of France, eighteen-year-old Ceci Corvin is trying hard to carry on as normal. But in 1943, there is no such thing as normal; especially not for a young woman in love with the wrong person. Scandal, it would seem, can be more dangerous than war.

Fifty years later, Annie is looking for her long-lost grandmother. Armed with nothing more than a sheaf of papers, she travels from England to Paris in pursuit of the truth. But as she traces her grandmother’s story, Annie uncovers something she wasn’t expecting, something that changes everything she knew about her family – and everything she thought she knew about herself…

LauraMBlogTour

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this novel.  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 Laura Madeleine’s latest novel: The Secrets Between Us.

Wow!  The Secrets Between Us is such an exquisite story, it will certainly be hard to beat in the Best of the Best for 2018 for me.

Laura Madeline’s writing style is stunningly beautiful in this novel, it almost felt poetic. The words swept me away to two different time frames to the South of France 1943 when a small village, surrounded by mountains, was in the hands of the Italian army.  With the uncertainty of war, the new Italian control and now an influx of refugees temporary seeking shelter in the village, life was so different for the locals.  Lack of food and now sharing with the army and refugees led to people taking risks with the black market and poaching.  People feared the newcomers but young Ceci Corvin was captivated by one particular refugee and a friendship soon blossomed between Ceci and Madame Reiss.  18 year old Ceci and the young Jewish woman would sneak off together and share elicit moments foraging for food, escaping the humdrum of reality and breathing in the crisp mountainous air; like cleansing their soul.

After a while the locals and newcomers with the Italian Army were living in a unique harmony but this was not to last.  Fear of life took hold and life for many in Saint Antoine, including Ceci, would never be the same again.

Fifty years later Annie was working in England and happened by chance to find a closed file on her Grandmere Ceci.  Annie’s mother and Ceci had had a falling out years ago and had lost touch.  Will this closed file hold a thread of information for Annie to find her long lost Grandmother?

We follow Annie and Ceci on two very different journeys.  Journeys of self-discovery, a forbidden love, of growing up in a war torn country.  Facing heartbreak, loss, betrayal and conflict.  A truly stunning story that will captivate you.

To learn more about Laura Madeleine and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  https://lauramadeleine.com/

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

 

 

Q & A with author Kate Murdoch #historicalfiction

stone circle

Today I am pleased to welcome author Kate Murdoch to my blog answering a few questions about her work and inspiration.  Her debut novel Stone Circle is available NOW in ebook and paperback format and was published by Fireship Press.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2nPc4ZZ

Hello Kate and welcome …

  • I understand you were a widely recognised artist prior to writing.  Has your love, skill and experience in painting helped at all with the research work for your writing?

In the case of Stone Circle, it helped in that I’d done a lot of study of the Renaissance period at art school, so I had a sense of the aesthetic, the culture and the society. Most importantly, the art history gave me a fascination with the period in Italy. As a result, I enjoyed delving into further research focusing on alchemy, the role of women and the social hierarchy.

  • Where did the inspiration come for Stone Circle?

Originally from a dream I had of two young men and an old man, rowing in a canoe on a calm stretch of water. I knew the old man was imparting knowledge and that the time period was long ago. Then it was a matter of narrowing down the period, which led me to alchemy and the fact that it was practised at the time. 

  • Can you give us a brief overview of Stone Circle?

Stone Circle tells the story of Antonius, a fisherman’s son with psychic abilities, who wins a competition to be apprentice to the town seer. The son of a nobleman also wins, and there is intense rivalry between them for their mentor’s favour and the affection of his daughter as they study alchemy and magic rituals.

  • Do you have a set writing time in your day?  And, do you have a writing room?

Not really. Although my most productive time is the middle of the day and, quite often, the hour before I must pick up my children from school. I don’t have a dedicated writing room – I mainly write in the living room, looking out to the garden. If I have something more challenging, like intensive edits, I sit at the dining table.

  • Do you prefer writing a full length novel or short stories?

I love both. I’ve written many short stories and flash fiction pieces as well as two novels. There is satisfaction in creating a complete narrative in fewer words, but there’s also much enjoyment to be had in long-form, where you can create more detailed descriptions and delve deeper into characterisations. I also like the mystery of long-form – I enter it fairly blindly, never sure where the story will go.

  • If you’ve had time to relax and read this last year, what was your most outstanding book?

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. This was a book that impressed me for many reasons. The luminous prose and the exploration into choices and moral ambiguity. The fact that there is so much we don’t understand about peoples’ actions and the turmoil that can provoke them. Along with the heartbreak of being unable to turn back the clock. I found it deeply moving.

Thank you so much Kate for joining me today.  To learn more about Kate Murdoch and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  https://katemurdochauthor.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/@KateMurdoch3/

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/katemurdochauthor/

 

A Pearl for My Mistress by Annabel Fielding book review

a pearl for my mistress

A Pearl for My Mistress written by Annabel Fielding, publisher HQ Digital, is available NOW in ebook format.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2mKYKFK

Product Details (as per amazon page)

England, 1934. Hester Blake, an ambitious girl from an industrial Northern town, finds a job as a lady’s maid in a small aristocratic household.
Despite their impressive title and glorious past, the Fitzmartins are crumbling under the pressures of the new century. And in the cold isolation of these new surroundings, Hester ends up hopelessly besotted with her young mistress, Lady Lucy.
Accompanying Lucy on her London Season, Hester is plunged into a heady and decadent world. But hushed whispers of another war swirl beneath the capital… and soon, Hester finds herself the keeper of some of society’s most dangerous secrets…

vintage pearls

 

This debut novel by Annabel Fielding is loosely based on a pivotal moment in Britain’s political history.  To a time in the early 1930’s were a political uprising was brewing bringing with it fear, unease and danger. I didn’t know a great deal about this part of history and this is the beauty of historical fiction it does give the opportunity for the author to bring history to life to a new audience that otherwise wouldn’t have known about it.

The story starts with young Hester Blake leaving home and starting her job in service as a Ladies Maid.  She was to aid the Earl of Hereford’s daughter, Lady Lucy Fitzmartin, to care for her needs and play chaperone during her first appearances in society.  Hester’s first impression of Lady Lucy was of a delicate, porcelain-esque young lady that held an almost ethereal beauty.

Underneath this delicate cloak Lady Lucy held a strong attitude especially towards her beliefs in politics and this was clearly evident in her writing with her articles in the press.  When her writings take on an almost obsessive indulgence to this new regime her life together with those around her becomes in danger.  I felt that this fear almost drove her on and Lucy became blinkered to the whole picture of what was really going on in the country and Europe.

This was a story of a political uprising filled with secrets and espionage and a fear bringing danger.  Amongst all this upheaval the author has woven a love within the storyline.  A love that had to be kept hidden, a love that the lovers greedily sought comfort with each other.  Two women from very different backgrounds, both with a harrowing and heart breaking past, brought together at a time when women were glamorous but also finding that they had a useful place in society and their efforts could make a difference.  An interesting story that had me gripped wanting to know where the author would take me next.

To learn more about Annabel Fielding please do visit the following pages:

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

Blog:  http://historygeekintown.com/

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale by Rebecca Stonehill book review

the secret life of alfred nightingale

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale written and published by Rebecca Stonehill is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2zFC5xi

Product Details (as per amazon page)

A compelling page turner of a buried past resurfacing, set against a backdrop of the 1960’s youth culture and war torn Crete.

1967. Handsome but troubled, Jim is almost 18 and he lives and breathes girls, trad jazz, Eel Pie Island and his best friend, Charles. One night, he hears rumours of a community of young people living in caves in Matala, Crete. Determined to escape his odious, bully of a father and repressed mother, Jim hitchhikes through Europe down to Matala. At first, it’s the paradise he dreamt it would be. But as things start to go wrong and his very notion of self unravels, the last thing Jim expects is for this journey of hundreds of miles to set in motion a passage of healing which will lead him back to the person he hates most in the world: his father.

Taking in the counter-culture of the 1960’s, the clash of relationships between the WW2 generation and their children, the baby boomers, this is a novel about secrets from the past finally surfacing, the healing of trauma and the power of forgiveness.

A captivating story that will mesmerise fans of Lucinda Riley, Dinah Jefferies and Tracy Rees.

caves of Matala

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

This was such a profoundly moving novel that evoked many emotions in me.  A story cleverly told in two different time frames from two generations of one family going through a pivotal time in their own lives which would leave a lasting impression forever.

The author, Rebecca Stonehill, swept me away to a time in 1967, to a place of free spirit, young love and a time of self-discovery.  This particular part of the story was quite fascinating.  An adventure for the youngsters who quite bravely took this journey.  The caves of Matala with their steeped history intrigued me and with the backdrop of the beach and sea I can understand the draw especially with the Mediterranean temperatures.  For young Jim though, who was hellbent on escaping the stifling relationships at home, it wasn’t the idyllic retreat he expected.  As the days drew on he felt like something was missing, he was hurting inside with unresolved angst from home and the young love he craved wasn’t like he’d dreamed.

I was then transported back to a beautiful coastal area of Crete to 1940 when British forces were posted to defend Suda Bay and the British ships.  This beautiful area was soon to become tarnished and the locals and military personnel were fearing for their lives due to the onset of WWII.  Rebecca Stonehill took me to this terrifying time when the man you eat, sleep, work with becomes your closest friend in the world.  He’s your brother in arms that you will trust with your life and share your innermost thoughts with.  We see a different side to a character that our first impressions of are so far from the truth.

The Secret Life of Alfred Nightingale is a historical timeslip novel about friendship, about self-discovery, about grief, about young love and much, much more.  Beautifully poignant, emotive and informative.

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

Website:  http://rebeccastonehill.com/

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

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/RebeccaStonehillBooks/

The Betrayal (The Guernsey Novels book 6) by Anne Allen book review

the betrayal anne allen

The Betrayal (The Guernsey Novel – Book 6) written by Anne Allen, publisher Sarnia Press is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2l8KipY

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…
1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…
Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?
Who betrayed Leo?
Who knew about the stolen Renoir?
And are they prepared to kill – again?

renoir guernsey

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

Two tragedies just less than 70 years apart, is there a connection?

A time slip mystery that takes you to a war torn Guernsey, who at first were coping fairly well but with the threat of German occupation the small island and it’s community were soon left isolated from the rest of Europe.

Now in 2011 Fiona and her twin brother Nigel, the new owners of a long-established antique shop in Guernsey, are fizzing with excitement of the paintings they have just found hidden amongst the property.  With Fiona’s expertise in the field of Historical Art and her current work for the V & A museum, Fiona recognises the possible work of local artists Naftel and Toplis but another painting looks almost like a Renoir, which totally astounds Fiona.  Renoir was known to have created fifteen paintings of Guernsey during his stay on the isle in 1883.  To have first hand sight of one of his works was every Art Historian’s dream.  The twins, Fiona and Nigel, knew then that what they have stumbled across could be a pivotal moment in the art world and especially important that this was found in Guernsey.

As Fiona was authenticating the painting back in London she knew nothing of the danger her brother Nigel was in.  Coming home on a high with news of the painting Fiona was in for a traumatic shock when she discovers Nigel’s body.  Fiona is utterly devastated, she has lost not only her twin brother, her best friend but also the last remaining member of her immediate family.  She is shocked that the police believe Nigel’s death may be suicide and sets out to find the truth with the help of a local private detective.

We follow Fiona on her search to find out what exactly happened on this fateful day.  We also follow her on her journey to find the original owners of the Renoir painting.

The storyline also travels back in time to 1940 and of the inhabitants of Guernsey during the war, in particular to Leo Bichard, his young wife Teresa and new baby Judith.  The fear of the future during the war, the fear of being separated during evacuation and the fear of losing everything.

I really enjoyed this story especially going back in time to 1940, reading about the social ramifications of the war fascinates me but also as Guernsey was such a small isle I could understand how isolated and alone the islanders must have felt.  The author, Anne Allen, has packed The Betrayal with drama, history, intrigue, anguish and grief but I also felt a strength of warmth of friends rallying around to support one of their own in their desperate hour of need.  Also the spark of love at a time when your life has been shattered was a welcome distraction to all the emotional despair.  4.5/5*

To learn more about Anne Allen and her work please do visit the following pages:

Website:  http://anneallen.co.uk/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/AnneAllen21

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/Anne-Allen-Author

 

 

The Red Thread by Dawn Farnham blogtour book review

the red thread

The Red Thread written by Dawn Farnham, publisher Monsoon Books, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is on special promotion on amazon and is FREE until 25th September 2017.

To buy link:  http://amzn.to/2xA882C

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Set against the backdrop of 1830s Singapore where piracy, crime, triads and tigers are commonplace, this cultural romance follows the struggle of two lovers: Zhen, once the lowliest of Chinese coolies and triad member, later chosen to marry into a Peranakan family of Baba Chinese merchants; and Charlotte, an 18yearold Scots girl and sister of Singapore’s Chief of Police.

Red Thread Banner1

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour promoting and celebrating The Red Thread, which is volume 1 in The Straits Quartet.

I’m not afraid to say that it took me a little time to get into this story but a novel filled with so much culture, history and diversity cannot be rushed.  From the vivid descriptions of the scenes set on the pages I was transported to a Singapore filled with heady scents and could visualise the changing colourful and sometimes dark landscape.  From the first moment that Zhen laid eyes on Charlotte the intensity of the gaze was bewitching and as a reader you were willing for them to make an acquaintance.  But this wasn’t the time to be foolhardy and life for both the Chinaman and the English woman moved in different directions for a while.  However, the gods of luck were in their court and chances were brought their way to make this acquaintance happen.

Singapore in the 1830’s was becoming multicultural but not all were welcoming the newcomers to their lands.  Political and social unrest was heightened and fear was felt for the lives of many.  The author has woven this love story filled with angst, fear, drama, love and lust at a time were traditions and culture were so evident in many lives.  It was fascinating reading about the varying traditions for life, love and death.  The author was very honest with her writing and we saw life in Singapore in all its glory through the wonderful celebratory events and to times of terrible, horrific acts.  These highs and lows were part of history and come as a package.

The Red Thread was a dangerous, passionate love story that was so touchingly tragic.  In another world and another time there would be no barriers and love would win.

I’d like to share a quote I particularly enjoyed from the novel:

It was dangerous, but for some things it was right to dare danger.

About the Author

Dawn Farnham is the author of The Straits Quartetdawnfarnham
(The Red Thread, The Shallow Seas, The Hills of
Singapore and The English Concubine), as well as
numerous short stories, plays and children’s books. A
former long-term resident of Singapore, Dawn now
calls Perth, Australia, home. Her new book, Finding
Maria is published in October 2017.
Learn more about Dawn Farnham at: