Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie blogtour book review

tapestry of war

Tapestry of War written by Jane MacKenzie, publisher Allison & Busby, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tapestry-War-Jane-Mackenzie/dp/074902299X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1524565321&sr=8-1&keywords=tapestry+of+war

Publisher’s Website:  http://www.allisonandbusby.com/book/tapestry-of-war-trade-paperback

Product Details (as per amazon page)

From the deserts of North Africa, to the waters of Scotland, the Second World War touches the lives of two women from two very different worlds. In Alexandria, Fran finds her world turned upside down as Rommel’s forces advance on the idyllic shores of Egypt. The life of luxury and stability that she is used to is taken away as she finds herself having to deal with loss, heartache and political uncertainty. Meanwhile, in the Firth of Clyde, Catriona works day in, day out nursing injured servicemen. Both have their lives challenged, and both dream of a more certain future with the men they come to love. Their heart-warming story takes them through tragedy to a quiet, hopeful triumph. Tapestry of War is a sweeping, evocative novel which brilliantly captures the second world war period of colonial Alexandria and the west of Scotland and will appeal to readers of Dinah Jeffries, Victoria Hislop and Rosie Thomas.

tapestry of war tour 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 promoting and celebrating the launch of Jane MacKenzie’s latest novel: Tapestry of War.  This is my first introduction to the work of Jane MacKenzie, Tapestry of War is her fourth novel.

Tapestry of War is a compelling story of people from different continents, cultures, backgrounds brought together by one denominating factor: war.  War wherever it was scarring the landscape is the same all over the world.  It affected people all the same whatever background they came from.  Lives, livelihoods, hearts, minds and bodies were shattered.  Tapestry of War is a story of two women; Fran and Catriona, living thousands of miles apart from very different backgrounds and worlds, are united in friendship, in a shared love and a comradeship for the love of a man that has felt the scars of the war the most.

I haven’t read much about this side of WWII, the conflict in Egypt with Rommel advancing.  The story also takes us to the most northern isles of Scotland with their own part in the WWII efforts with medical facilities for the wounded and also ports for the carriers of troops.

Fran was a journalist for a paper in Alexandria, she was limited to what she could report with a fear of political backlash.  Alexandria was full of foreign troops and Fran soon built up a friendship with many, in particular a shy Scotsman serving in the Navy Jim MacNeill.

Catriona thousands of miles away in Scotland had just finished her nursing qualification and was keen to help with the war wounded. Her father was struggling with grief of his wife and now with his son in the Navy, goodness knows where, he wasn’t keen on his daughter working on the front line.  Catriona felt like she had to make a compromise with her father as she was so keen to be involved with the war help.

With war came great hardship, fear, anguish and many casualties.  Casualties that would alter the lives of many.

Jane MacKenzie took us to the heat of Alexandria, Egypt to the British people that were living in quite a privileged lifestyle before the war and she then took us to a small community in Scotland with very differing lifestyles to the British occupancy in Egypt.  These two communities were very different and the impact of the war on food and livelihoods was felt the keenest in Scotland but the emotional impact was very much the same.

A fascinating, compelling, beautiful and real story, full of hope for a new life, peace and love.

To learn more about Jane MacKenzie please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://janemackenzie.co.uk/

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

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jane.mackenzie.co.uk

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The Vanished Bride of Northfield House by Phyllis M Newman guest post/excerpt

VanishedBrideFrontCover

The Vanished Bride of Northfield House written by Phyllis M Newman, publisher PageSpring Publishing is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/uU5QBC

Product Details (as per amazon page)

England, 1922. Times are hard. Anne Chatham is a clever, modest young woman with little money, no prospects for marriage, and a never-shared secret—she can see spirits. Anne finds employment as a typist at Northfield House, the grand country manor of the Wellington family. Her employer, the wheelchair-bound Mr. Wellington, is kindly. His haughty wife is not. He has two handsome sons, the wry and dashing Thomas and the dark and somber Owen. Anne feels sure her prayers have been heard. Until the terrifying night she stumbles upon a tortured spirit roaming the dark halls of Northfield, a spirit that only she can see. In a search for answers, she finds herself drawn to Owen as they unearth a tragic story from the Wellington family’s past—a beautiful young bride gone missing on her wedding day. Then tragedy strikes again on the night of a glittering masquerade ball…

Thank you for joining my blog today Phyllis …

GUEST POST:

I began writing this tale after looking for—and not finding—an honest to goodness real ghost story. Not one where the visions and sounds experienced in the dark have a rational explanation, but a story about unexplained things that go bump in the night. My goal was to transport the reader to a place of mystery and malevolence. Also, I wanted to create a good fright without smearing blood and guts on the page or presenting the kind of mind-bending creepiness offered by Stephen King that you wish you’d never read.

As I wrote, however, it evolved into a great deal more. This novel embraces the audacity and determination required to succeed in a society that has never addressed a woman’s needs and desires, a society that is crumbling. My vulnerable yet plucky protagonist has an unusual collection of talents—from her choice of a profession, which was the exclusive domain of men at the time, to the ability to see the dead. I believe there is a place for this kind of ghost story, where the unexplained explains a lot—about ourselves. The ghost represents not only who we might have been, but the lost past.

Ultimately, The Vanished Bride of Northfield House is about belonging. My main character, Anne Chatham, is a young woman trying to survive in a rapidly changing world. An orphan who has no family or money to fall back on, she trains to operate a typewriter, the new technology of the age. She succeeds at this and sets about to support herself, an opportunity available only because the Great War has decimated the male population. She and other young women like her face a future where marriage is not a readily available option. Mired in the social and political upheaval following World War I, single women scrambled to make a life for themselves.

Anne represents the new woman. Her situation contrasts sharply with that of Lavinia Wellington, the lady of the manor, married and occupying a high social position, and her great niece Charlotte, born to wealth and privilege. In every sense, Lavinia and Charlotte represent a time no longer viable while Anne represents the future. It is a future where women take a more active role in their survival rather than depending upon a husband, father, or brother.

Arriving at her new place of employment weighted with the immense struggles of the times, Anne can empathize with the wraith that roams the halls of Northfield House, a figure that is both frightening and sympathetic. Anne sees in the spirits that she encounters regularly as beings who are lost, who don’t know where they belong, or have left behind something undone. She sees similar battles in her own life. But the specter she encounters as she takes up her position as a working woman in a grand home in the English countryside has in addition a more compelling need: revenge.

Anne learns more about herself as she endeavors to resolve the mystery presented by the malevolent ghost of the missing bride. She discovers resolve, resourcefulness, commitment, and courage.

EXCERPT:

I turned up my face to look at him. We were standing closer than propriety allowed. Owen bent nearer.
Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.
A stab of fear nailed me where I stood. Owen wrapped a protective arm around my shoulders. I leaned into him.
“What is it?” he asked softly. “Is she here?”
“Maybe,” I whispered.
Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.
The noises first came from directly overhead, then surrounded us, coming from the walls and the floor. The sounds of something trapped—a thing desperate and struggling—repeated every few seconds.
“Where’s it coming from?” he hissed.
“From everywhere. And nowhere.”
Owen pulled me closer. I was terrified, despite taking shelter in his arms. My shoulder pressed against his warm chest and my head tucked under his chin.
After a moment, the sound changed. I heard scratching—fingernails or claws or beaks on wood. The shadows in the corners thickened and seemed to pulsate. Or was something breathing? I felt an overwhelming sense of dread. The scratching was followed by the rustle of wings, a soft fluttering. Perhaps a bird had gotten trapped on the floor above.
Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud. Knock. Thud.
Then nothing.
I waited for the thumps and scratches to begin again, but heard only Owen’s rapid breathing.
His grip on my shoulder softened. Before we could step away from each other, I heard something else. Whispers. Not words, but sibilance. A faint weeping.
I could pretend no longer that the sounds issued from a bird or animal. I had heard crying and scratching from spirits before, but none had ever filled me with such horror.
Owen shuddered, and I tried to swallow.
My sight darted from the floors to the ceilings, from corner to corner, searching for additional signs of a spirit. I saw none. The bed, its elaborate draperies, and the pictures on the walls were all mute, but a plaintive lament—a mournful sobbing—suddenly filled the space.
When the weeping stopped, I found my hand pressed against Owen’s chest. I could feel his heart beating, hard and fast, under my palm.
“I think it’s over,” he said, releasing my shoulders.
I withdrew my hand and took a step away.

About the Author

Phyllis M. Newman is a native southerner. Born in New Orleans, she spent formative years in Florida, Iowa, Mississippi, and a dairy farm in Ross Country, Ohio. After a long career in finance and human resources at The Ohio State University, she turned her attention to writing fiction. She published a noir mystery, “Kat’s Eye” in 2015, and “The Vanished Bride of Northfield House” in 2018. Today she lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three perpetually unimpressed cats, ghost watchers all.

You may contact/follow/like her at:

http://www.readphyllismnewman.com

or Facebook https://facebook.com/ReadPhyllisMNewman/

Readers can find The Vanished Bride of Northfield House at Amazon.com/co.uk, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble.

 

The Summer Will Come by Soulla Christodoulou blogtour book review

the summer will come

The Summer Will Come written and self-published by Soulla Christodoulou is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/DwtxsN

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Set in the 1950s, the story begins in Cyprus. EOKA, British rule, and the fight for Enosis (unity) disrupt the world of two Greek Cypriot families, living in different villages on the island. They are desperately trying to cope with the unpredictability of this fractious time.

Circumstances over a five-year period push both families to escape to London where, as immigrants, they struggle to settle, face new challenges, trauma and cope with missing their homeland’s traditions and culture.

Both families’ lives cross paths in London and it seems that happier beginnings could be theirs. But at what cost?

The summer Will Come Full 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 promoting and celebrating the launch of Soulla Christodoulou’s latest novel: The Summer Will Come.  This was my first introduction to the work of Soulla Christodoulou and after reading The Summer Will Come I felt thoroughly entertained by this gripping, intriguing, poignant historical novel.

The story begins in the early 1950’s Cyprus, we are introduced to two Cypriot families that are strong believers of the culture surrounding their beloved Mediterranean island.  Life in their small village is quite idyllic and there is a real sense of community spirit however, this wasn’t to last long with the country now in the midst of political uprising.  Lives are soon at risk and families are forced to flee, many taking the long arduous journey to England.  Elena with her twin brother Andreas, her mother and grandmother are on their way to join their father who has been living in England a good few years.  From a neighbouring village Christaki with his brother, sister and mother were also on their way to England.  A journey filled with excitement of an unknown land, with new possibilities, new horizons and hope for the future.

This was a very interesting family saga; a family struggling leaving their homes, their heritage and all that they knew and loved.  The promised land wasn’t all that they dreamed of but the alternative was worse at this moment in time.  Elena in particular was having many moments of nostalgia daydreaming about her beautiful home in Cyprus and this brought moods of melancholy.  However, Elena still hoped for a better life and never gave up her dreams of finding her own ‘summer days’.  Christaki too had a strength about his soul and wasn’t deterred.  A story full of angst, turmoil and family drama but the hope of new beginnings and love gave the families the light to lead the way to a newer future filled with peace, harmony, friendship and love.

To learn more about Soulla Christodoulou please visit the following pages:

Website:  https://www.soulla-author.com/

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/schristodoulou2

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

Among the Branded by Linda Smolkin blogtour book review

Among The Branded

Among the Branded written and self-published by Linda Smolkin, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/e4r87r

Product Details (as per amazon page)

What if a 70-year-old letter from World War II changed the course of your life?

While attending Valor of the ’40s, art director Stephanie Britain stumbles upon a flea market selling letters from the war. She buys a handful, hoping they’ll inspire the redesign for a client’s website at her branding and design firm. At first, she’s drawn by the lost art of penmanship, but soon discovers a hidden treasure nestled inside declarations of love from homesick soldiers.

Stephanie enlists a coworker to translate one and realizes it’s not a love letter after all. When a shocking discovery about a client causes Stephanie to question her principles and dedication to her firm’s business, she’s forced to make a difficult decision—one that could give her peace of mind, yet ruin her career in the process.

among the branded poster

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating Linda Smolkin’s debut novel, Among the Branded.

I honestly wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting with this novel.  The story starts off with an American family starting a new venture in their life packing their eldest son off to college.  I recognised the emotions in this part of the storyline as I have experienced them myself and this scene evoked many emotions in me and felt very real and honest.  Stephanie with her husband and youngest son were keen to learn more about WWII and visited Valor which held many 1940’s re-enactment scenarios of servicemen and women from all regiments around the world.  During their visit Stephanie purchased a bundle of love letters dating back to the era and was intrigued by the stories behind these letters.  One letter in particular sparked an interest in Stephanie and she was keen to learn more about the recipient and the members of the family mentioned in the letter.

This letter was to ignite a journey of discovering for Stephanie and her extended family and friends.  A very thought provoking discovery that would lead to Stephanie making serious decisions about her work and the clients she was representing at the Advertising Agency.

I too soon became intrigued with the letters Stephanie had found and was eager to learn about the past lives she had discovered.  My heart was aching for the lost lives and families from a very traumatic couple of years.  A time which would stay with the families involved for the rest of their lives.  A very emotive, thought provoking read that also had a wonderful warmth within the storyline that left you feeling hopeful.  A storyline with words that will never be forgotten and need to be said.  I look forward to more work from Linda Smolkin.

About the Author

Linda Smolkin always wanted to be a writer—ever since she saw her first TV commercial and wondered how to pen those clever ads. She got her degree in journalism and became a copywriter. Linda landed a job at an ad agency, where she worked for several years before joining the nonprofit world. She’s currently working on her second novel, which will be released in Spring 2018. When not in front of the computer, she’s behind the drums (slightly) annoying her husband, son, and their 70-pound dog.

Website:  http://www.lindasmolkin.com

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

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

 

 

The Flower Seller by Linda Finlay blogtour book review

the flower seller

The Flower Seller written by Linda Finlay, publisher HQ, is available NOW in ebook, paperback and audiobook format.

To buy link: https://goo.gl/BDMhwY

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Isabella Carrington has been brought up in a life of privilege in London. Her life seems perfect, until her father suddenly announces bankruptcy. To save Isabella from destitution he sends her to stay with family she has never met, far away on a violet farm deep in Devon.
Isabella is horrified to find her uncle expects her to work for her keep, packing up the flowers and selling them in the nearby market. However she soon discovers that life on a violet farm may not be so bad, especially when she meets handsome local farmer Felix Furneaux…

Flower Seller Blog Tour

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 Linda Finlay’s latest novel; The Flower Seller.  This is my first introduction to the work of Linda Finlay and after being completely captivated by this delightful family saga that transported me back in time to the late 19th century I will definitely check out Linda Finlay’s back catalogue of novels.

Twenty year old Isabella Carrington’s privileged life in London was comfortable and full of the elegance of the late 1800’s.  Isabella didn’t want for anything but her life was about to change drastically after her father’s announcement of impending financial doom she was to be relocated to her Uncle’s house in Devon.  Isabella hadn’t met any of her late mother’s family and hadn’t even been to Dawlish before.  Isabella was in for a complete surprise to be greeted a farmhouse full of children and of an Aunt and Uncle who expected all members of the family to graft to earn their keep and maintain all aspects of violet farming.

Completely out of her comfort zone Isabella found the transition very difficult but with hopes of her stay being temporary she soon decided to muck in with the others.  I loved learning and reading about the violet farm.  It’s not a subject I’ve known about before but it sounded like such an idyllic farming trade to be in with the glorious colour and scent of the plant transforming the landscape around you.  As Isabella got to learn more about her family in Devon she started to pick up on glimpses of her mother’s past and soon realised there were many secrets to be uncovered.

The country life wasn’t without danger for Isabella and she found herself in a few situations that posed a risk to her life.  However, her new family were always there offering her guidance and support when needed.

This was such a delightful, charming, nostalgic read.  The storyline flowed effortlessly and I found myself fascinated by this glimpse into the past.  I loved the inclusion of Devonshire dialect making the story feel more honest and giving it a certain charm.  A story full of family drama and secrets, of hope and new beginnings, of a community spirit and of a beautiful love.

To learn more about the author Linda Finlay please do visit the following pages:

http://www.teresachrisliteraryagency.co.uk/author_lindafinlay.html

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1057183.Linda_Finlay

bunch of violets watercolour

 

 

 

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/

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