A Ration Book Christmas by Jean Fullerton blogtour book review


a ration book christmas

A Ration Book Christmas written by Jean Fullerton, publisher Corvus, is available NOW in ebook, paperback and audiobook format.

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

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2S46HRW

Product Details

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London’s East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe’s nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.
For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

A Ration Book Christmas 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 Jean Fullerton’s latest novel: A Ration Book Christmas.  This is my first introduction to the works of Jean Fullerton and I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to pick one of her books up as I was enthralled, entertained and totally swept away by this story.  I will certainly be checking out Jean Fullerton’s back catalogue of novels.

I thoroughly enjoyed this family wartime saga set in World War Two.  The author set the scene and I could feel a sense of belonging within the storyline.  We were treated to charming, cheeky, charismatic, brave, heroic characters that were all down to earth and easily relatable.  I also loved how Jean Fullerton used dialect that suited the era and location and also fitted the characters perfectly.  There were some fabulous one liners from the cockneys from the east end of London and also great words of wisdom from the Irish family that had set up home in the capital city.

I felt the tension of the war.  Jean Fullerton didn’t brush away any of the sights that were very evident during the biggest bomb attacks during the blitz of the streets of London.  I could feel the tension during the nights of the blackouts with the dread of the sirens and then when the inevitable destruction happened the fight for survivals set my heart racing.  What was so special about this story was the community spirit with all generations and all classes mucking in and doing their bit with the war help, this warmed my heart that in dire times of need folk forgot their own problems and situations and pulled together.

This was the story of one family coming to terms with the onslaught of war with evacuations, the blitz, food rationing, separation, fear, making do.  It was also a story of life, a story of survival, a story of love overcoming many hurdles and finding a way through the many terrible days and nights of the conflict.  Jean Fullerton had taken me back to a pivotal moment in British history using fiction as a way of re-telling an horrific time for so many, we learn of how life literally carried on for everyone and routines of a different kind were made.

A Ration Book Christmas was one of the best historical wartime sagas that I’ve read. Jean Fullerton’s words totally swept me away with this story, it was engaging, tragically beautiful and filled me with warmth.

About the Author

Jean FullertonJean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She is also a retired district nurse and university lecturer. She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.

Social Media Links
Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton
Twitter: @JeanFullerton_



The Poppy Field by Deborah Carr blogtour book review


The Poppy Field Cover

The Poppy Field written by Deborah Carr, publisher HarperImpulse, is available NOW in ebook format and is due to be published in paperback at the end of December.

To buy/pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2PBccWF

Product Details

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.
Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again.

This is a beautifully written epic historical novel that will take your breath away.

The Poppy Field 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 Deborah Carr’s latest novel: The Poppy Field.

This is my first introduction to the work of Deborah Carr and it ticked all the boxes for me.  I love reading historical fiction and especially stories set around pivotal moments in history, events that changed the world we live in now.  2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.  During the summer I had the privilege to visit many of the war graves and commemorative monuments around Flanders Field.  I was deeply moved by the graves and the traces of a war that etched scars across the country.  My husband was a member of the armed forces and I could totally emphasise with the families and loved ones that were left behind during times of conflict.  The constant fear of the unknown was a daily battle.

The story is set in two time zones; the present day and then we travel back to 1917.  Gemma has recently left her nursing job back in the UK following a very emotional break-up.  She has agreed to help oversee the renovation of an old farmhouse that has been left to her father.  The farmhouse is in Doullens, France, not far from the Somme.  A chance to escape her life in Brighton proves to be the best medicine for Gemma.

The farmhouse is pretty derelict and Gemma has quite a job on her hands but with the help of a fellow Brit living in the French village they start the task of renovating the property.  An unexpected find is made in one of the outhouses; a tin box full of letters dating back to 1917.  Curiosity peaks Gemma’s attention with these letters and she is keen to learn about the author and recipient of them.  Gemma slowly learns from the letters the emotional, brave plight of Alice Le Breton, a young VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) originally from Jersey who worked in a casualty clearing station near the frontline in Northern France.

I was captivated by the scenes the author portrayed back in 1917: it was atmospheric and you could feel the bravado from these young volunteer girls witnessing scenes they never could have imagined.  The days in the makeshift wards were relentless and there was little escape for the VADs.  Gemma felt a kinship with Alice, they were both nurses working under extreme pressure and conditions so for Gemma to learn of Alice 100 years on must have really brought to home the differences in life in medicine back then and now.

Deborah Carr’s novel was very raw and honest at times revealing war in it’s true colours.  Alice’s story must have been very similar to many back in WWI.  Love finds a way during the dark days of conflict bringing glimpses of hope for the future.  These moments must have been cherished by many.  I adored both sides of this story, the present day with Gemma overcoming her heartache and finding inspiration in the farm and letters and to Alice’s story that was just so tragically beautiful.  Heart-breaking and utterly captivating.

About the Author

The Poppy Field - Deborah MedDeborah Carr lives on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands with her husband, two children and three rescue dogs. She became interested in books set in WW1 when researching her great-grandfather’s time as a cavalryman in the 17th 21st Lancers.
She is part of ‘The Blonde Plotters’ writing group and was Deputy Editor on the online review site, Novelicious.com for seven years. Her debut historical romance, Broken Faces, is set in WW1 and was runner-up in the 2012 Good Housekeeping Novel Writing Competition and given a ‘special commendation’ in the Harry Bowling Prize that year. The Poppy Field is her second historical novel.

Social Media Links
Website: https://www.deborahcarr.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeborahCarrAuthor/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DebsCarr
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ofbooksandbeaches/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/deborahcarr/


The Eyes That Look by Julia Grigg blogtour book review


the eyes that look

The Eyes That Look written by Julia Grigg, publisher Universe Publishing Group, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

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

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2yppwGe

To buy link (Waterstones):  https://bit.ly/2Nv00Vr

Product Details

We may have eyes that look – but how clearly do we see? This compelling novel of art and adventure, Julia Grigg’s debut, is set in the feverish creativity of mid-sixteenth century Italy. Francesco Bassano wants to find out how and why an extraordinary painting was made; the story traces his quest to discover the secrets of the portrait’s past. Francesco’s journey, his coming-of-age, takes him and his questions to Venice, Verona, Maser and Florence. Encountering the High Renaissance’s masters Titian, Veronese and Vasari in the very act of creating and recording the era’s stupendous art and architecture, he is witness to astonishing achievements. Enthralled, he learns of the determination needed for innovation and the sacrifices demanded of an artist if cherished ambition is to become reality. Little by little he unravels what lies behind the painting, gaining new understanding of love, truth and beauty, and of loyalty, devotion and the unbreakable bond between a master and his dogs. However, in delving deeper, the past’s dark side reveals itself: cruelty, inhumanity and human frailty — and Francesco cannot avoid the experience of bitter betrayal. A spirited, entertaining fiction drawing on historical facts, The Eyes that Look is multi-sensual in its storytelling, inviting readers to revel in the unrivalled artistic riches of the Italian Renaissance.

the eyes that look 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 was kindly sent a paperback copy for review and it is stunning and I am most grateful to the publishers and blogtour organisers for this.  It has a glorious image of the famous Bassano’s Hunting Dogs painting on the front and in the inside cover.  The colours are rich but there’s a warm, earthiness to them.  I would strongly urge you to buy a copy of the paperback instead of an ebook due to this sumptuous cover.  Many a times I’ve just found myself mesmerised by the eyes and the facial expressions of the dogs.

I enjoy historical fiction, mainly romance I have to admit, but I loved both history and art at school and still appreciate both subjects now, however I’ve never studied Art History, the classics and their meanings.  Firstly, I was taken by this book by the cover image and I can see why this painting by Jacopo Bassano of the Hunting Dogs is so famous.  The eyes of the dogs draw you in and you can feel life within them.  I love the almost muted colours of the blue and copper.  It’s quite a simple painting with two main colours but I feel the image holds so much emotion.  The synopsis then drew me in about a mystery surrounding this painting, I wanted to find out more.

Julia Griggs novel based on facts around this classic painting was quite fascinating.  We travel back in time to Italy 1566 when Jacopo Bassano’s son, Francesco, was learning the craft from his father and he was keen to make his own mark on the art world.  Stumbling across sketches of the dogs Francesco was equally mesmerised by the images and was eager to learn more.  However, his father wasn’t keen on revealing the story behind the images and it was as if he was forbidden to disclose any further details.  Francesco was undeterred and went on a mission travelling far and wide through Italy and through the lives of many people who were linked to the painting.

The story behind the painting was to reveal much heartache and tragedy that was very dark at times to learn about.  The story also revealed glimmers of hope and of acceptance.

This is a story not to be rushed, it’s a story to read at your leisure to fully appreciate and enjoy this fictional tale based on facts around the Italian Renaissance by Julia Grigg.  The author definitely evoked many emotions within me and she captivated me to a time and event I had no knowledge of.  It’s given me an insight into a world of classical artists and paintings and it’s left me pondering about the stories behind many other classics.

Quite a beautiful telling of an almost tragic tale.  Julia Griggs words took me to rural Italy in the mid 1500’s journeying with a young man eager for his own independence with his craft but eager for the truth surrounding a picture that had spellbound many.  A painting that would stay with Francesco Bassano for the rest of his life with the lessons learned from his journey.

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

“You put a dog into a composition, you affirm life.  It’s like lighting a lamp in a darkening room: hold the flame to the wick and in the next instant you’re imbued with warmth and good feeling.”

About the Author

Julia Grigg started out in fashion journalism, her first job on Vogue, also writing on the arts, food and travel. She retains an abiding interest in all these but soon moved into a career with UNICEF as a writer and advocate for children’s issues, deployed to some of the world’s most demanding and complex countries.

Julia began The Eyes that Look – the secret story of Bassano’s Hunting Dogs while studying for the Bath Spa University Masters in Creative Writing. An early draft was longlisted for the Exeter First Novel Prize.

The novel was years in the making before a single word was put on the page. Writing it meant Julia could delve deep into the Italian High Renaissance, indulging a lifelong fascination with its art, music and poetry. In the research process she embraced online study, attended the Courtauld Institute summer school and the British Institute in Florence, and spent much time in Italian archives, galleries and churches as well as in trying to master the language.

Julia is working on the second novel of a planned Renaissance trilogy, involving mid 1500s Rome, Florence and Venice settings and some of the same cast of characters as The Eyes that Look.

Cornish in origin, Julia spends as much time as she can in the West Country, always thrilled to be once again crossing the Tamar. Dogs are another passion; she and her husband share their home with a pair of black and tan dachshunds.

Website:  http://www.juliagrigg.com/

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



Mrs Bates of Highbury by Allie Cresswell blogtour book review

mrs bates of highbury

Mrs Bates of Highbury: A prequel inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma is written and self-published by Allie Cresswell.  The book is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2NwOwpd

Product Details

The new novel from Readers’ Favourite silver medalist Allie Cresswell.

Thirty years before the beginning of ‘Emma’ Mrs Bates is entirely different from the elderly, silent figure familiar to fans of Jane Austen’s fourth novel. She is comparatively young and beautiful, widowed – but ready to love again. She is the lynch-pin of Highbury society until the appalling Mrs Winwood arrives, very determined to hold sway over that ordered little town. Miss Bates is as talkative aged twenty nine as she is in her later iteration, with a ghoulish fancy, seeing disaster in every cloud. When young Mr Woodhouse arrives looking for a plot for his new house, the two strike up a relationship characterised by their shared hypochondria, personal chariness and horror of draughts. Jane, the other Miss Bates, is just seventeen and eager to leave the parochialism of Highbury behind her until handsome Lieutenant Weston comes home on furlough from the militia and sweeps her – quite literally – off her feet. Mrs Bates of Highbury is the first of three novels by the Amazon #1 best-selling Allie Cresswell, which trace the pre-history of Emma and then run in parallel to it.

Mrs Bates of Highbury Ful 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 Allie Cresswell’s latest novel; Mrs Bates of Highbury.

I haven’t read Jane Austen’s Emma but I do love a good historical romance so after reading the synopsis for Allie Cresswell’s Mrs Bates of Highbury I was keen to learn more.

This is my first introduction to the work of Allie Cresswell and her words complimented the era and genre of the novel.  I feel for historical fiction you have to set your mind to that era and to expect the writing style to use words and phrases that are no longer in fashion.  Allie Cresswell did just that and at times I had to look up the meaning of some words; this is such a benefit with reading an ebook as a quick touch of the screen soon brings up the dictionary.  The author totally convinced me with her prose and I was soon immersed into the character’s lives.

Mrs Bates sounded such a kind, caring, gracious woman; a friend to all and a favourite figure to the whole community of Highbury.  As the wife to Revered Bates she complimented her role and would seek daily to help others.  She helped her husband with his work and was a guiding figure to her two daughters; 29 years Hettie and 17 year old Jane.  Hettie was a character I struggled to warm to at first, she had her quirks and her personality sometimes appeared rude and cumbersome.  But she was totally misunderstood and towards the end of the novel I grew a fondness to her and felt my feelings wanting to champion her and wishing her all that her heart desires.  Jane was just like her mother, very amenable but she also had an energy and lust for adventure.

This was such a lovely novel that lays down the groundwork to 30 years prior to Jane Austen’s Emma.  We learn of the backstory.  We learn of the heartache and struggles of the lives of the well-loved characters.  We learn of a village on the cusp of new beginnings for many.  At times I was evoked with emotions as I journeyed through life with Mrs Bates and her daughters.  There is also a gentle humour interwoven within the storyline.  I’m very much looking forward to discovering what lies ahead for Mrs Bates, Hettie and Jane.

About the Author

Mrs Bates Author PictAllie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.
You can contact her via her website at http://www.allie-cresswell.com or find her on Facebook

Social Media Links –

For the duration of the blog tour, Allie Cresswell has five hard copies of Game Show and five hard copies of Tiger in a Cage, all signed, available for £5 plus p & p to UK addresses. If you are interested then please get in touch.

The Mistress of Pennington’s by Rachel Brimble blogtour book review


mistress of penningtons book cover

The Mistress of Pennington’s written by Rachel Brimble, publisher Aria, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

The ebook is available to download for amazon kindle, kobo and Google Play.

To buy link (amazon UK):  http://amzn.eu/2SvRcqp

Product Details 

1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath’s leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.
Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath’s premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father’s iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington’s into a new decade, embracing woman’s equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.
Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington’s plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

The Mistress of Penningtons 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 celebrating and promoting Rachel Brimble’s new series set in an Edwardian premier department store in the city of Bath. The Mistress of Pennington’s is book one in the series and after reading this story I am delighted that I have more instalments to come so I can continue reading about the characters I’ve learned to love.

City of Bath 1910 the department store Pennington’s was on the verge of change.  A change that would mirror the feelings of many men and women around the country.  A change for the better with equality amongst men and women starting to take the next step forward, a gap between the classes would be shortened with high end goods and services being made more affordable and a change in working conditions boosting morale and production.

The Mistress of Pennington’s is Rachel Brimble’s first instalment in the new Edwardian mini series and her words of fiction took me to the splendour of the glamorous department stores of the early 1900’s with it’s esteemed clientele and bespoke services.  I could picture the scenes of the doorman welcoming the ladies of the city draped in their finery wishing to spend a morning strolling through a beautiful store choosing their next purchase and then enjoying a cup of tea in the store’s restaurant.  Elizabeth Pennington was in her mid twenties and the daughter of Edward Pennington the owner of the store.  Elizabeth was keen to make her mark working at the store, she had so much energy and ideas she wanted to invest in the business.  However, her father was a difficult man, he was a bully and very controlling towards his daughter. Elizabeth has been afraid all her life of her father but she has a determined spirit within her to stand up against her father and not fall for his ways just like her dear mother had.

When local glove designer Joseph Carter approached Elizabeth with a view to Pennington’s selling his designs little would Elizabeth and Joseph himself realise that this meeting would be the start of something too strong to break.  Something that would ultimately open up wounds from the past that could harm the union of two talented individuals.  The future of Pennington’s truly depended on this union but would the old fashioned ideas of Edward Pennington thwart any future plans?

Joseph Carter was passionate about his work and also continuing the legacy of the charity work his late wife Lillian was involved in.  His heart is still broken since her death and he feels the guilt of not being able to save her from her untimely death.  This guilt and heartbreak has given him the need to succeed.  Meeting Elizabeth Pennington has ignited more than a fire of a desire to succeed, it’s ignited a flame in his heart that he felt would never heat up again.

Elizabeth and Joseph were from two very different backgrounds and any form of relationship either professional or personal would be thwarted.  But as secrets from the past are revealed it opens up old wounds revealing more heartache and obstacles for the journey ahead.

The Mistress of Pennington’s is a brilliant start to a new historical romance mini series.  It had a sense of atmosphere from the period, I could feel the political uprising with the hope of new beginnings and new opportunities but there was also fear in some for change.  The story was filled with optimism, hope, inspiration and a desire to change filled with a blossoming romance that sizzled.

I’m looking forward to book two which is due out later this year.

About the Author

Rachel Brimble author picRachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. Since 2007, she has had several novels published by small US presses, eight books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical.
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a brand new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.

Website:  http://www.rachelbrimble.com/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/RachelBrimble

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

Giveaway to win £20 / $20 Amazon Gift Card (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


Leo’s War by Patricia Murphy blogtour extract


Leo's War - Poolbeg cover - FOR PRINT

Leo’s War written by Patricia Murphy, publisher Poolbeg Press, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link (amazon UK):  https://amzn.to/2MBOPhj

To buy link (Direct from Poolbeg Press):  https://bit.ly/2BAJdjl

Product Details

It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy. After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them. But he is no ordinary priest. Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line. Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews. But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

Leo's War Full Tour Banner

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Patricia Murphy’s latest novel: Leo’s War.  The book is aimed for young adults but I think it sounds equally fascinating for adults too.

The author has kindly offered to share an extract with you all today:

In this extract from Chapter 4, Leo and his disabled younger sister Ruby escape at night to Rome to seek help from Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, after their mother is arrested as a member of the Resistance. Deep in the forest they bump into a group of young partisans led by Roberto, the older brother of a nasty classmate, who used to be an enthusiastic fascist. But after Mussolini joined Hitler in the ill-fated invasion of the Soviet Union, many Italian troops who were ill-equipped to deal with the Russian winter, deserted and joined the partisans on the side of the Allies. Many of these partisan groups were astonishingly brave, fighting the Germans with ill-assorted weapons and relying on their knowledge of the local terrain. Often too, they were little more than teenagers.

* * * * * * *

Halfway in, we came upon a tiny clearing where there
was a rough stone hut, the kind used by shepherds,
underneath a canopy of branches. But apart from the
remains of a recent fire, there was no sign of life. I wondered
if it would be a good place to have a little rest. But as I
hesitated there was a sudden whoosh in the trees. I sensed
a darkness closing in behind.
And then a shape dropped from the tree in front.
“Fermati! Basta!” Halt! That’s enough!
The donkey brayed and kicked up its legs. I lifted up my
Before me stood a youth by the slenderness of him,
dressed in ragged clothes with a cloth over his face. He had
a mass of black curly hair and his dark eyes bored into me.
He was cradling a rifle in his arms.
“Don’t hurt us!” I cried out in Italian.
But the youth tore off his kerchief and laughed.
“Englishman! What are you doing here?’
Ruby popped her head out of the cart, her hair covered
in straw. Two other equally ragged boys emerged out of the
trees and burst into laughter.
“Roberto!” I cried. He was the older brother of Filippo,
my sworn enemy. A Blackshirt. He joined up even though
he was too young and was sent to the Russian front. He
sang the songs in praise of Mussolini with such gusto I used
to think his lungs would burst. But he didn’t look like a
Blackshirt now. He was the opposite – the spit of a bandit.
I stood stock still, staring hard at him.
“We are partisans now fighting for freedom from
Mussolini!” he exclaimed proudly. “I am the leader of our
band. ‘Lucky’ they call me. Because I got us all back from the
Russian front.” He puffed out his chest with pride even
though his little band of fighters looked like ragamuffins or
the Lost Boys from the story Peter Pan that my mother used to
read. And there only seemed to be two of them. Some band!
“This is Carpo, our sharpshooter,” he said. “And cook.”
He nodded towards a skinny little boy of about fifteen
with tufts of blond hair peeking out of a cap. He wore a
rough burlap sack tied at the waist instead of a jacket and
his trousers were in flitters. On his feet were two left boots
with twine instead of laces. But at least he had shoes. The
other one, a tall skinny boy with glasses called Primo, had
pieces of leather on his feet tied with string like some
peasants wore. Roberto referred to him grandly as their
“munitions expert”.
“Gigi is sleeping in the hut. She’s a refugee from the
south and she’s joined our partisan group,” he said,
swaggering as if he were a battle commander. “The rat we
roasted last night didn’t agree with her.”
While I gaped at this, the others laughed and Carpo
patted his belly, saying, “Yum, yum! More for us.”
I pushed the image of the rat out of my head and eyed
the group suspiciously. “I thought you loved Mussolini,” I
said to Roberto. “You beat me up when I sang that song
about him and you didn’t even know what it was about.”
“I knew it was disrespectful with those farting noises
you made at the end!” He laughed then. His face
brightened. “Sing it for us, eh?”
So I did! I puffed out my chest and sang at the top of my
“Oh Mussolini, what have you done?
You have a fat head like a baby’s bum,
You are the Duce but you’re just a fool,
Everyone knows you are Hitler’s tool!
Oh Mussolini, with your face like a bum,
If ever I see you, I’ll tell you you’re scum!
Then away I will run, run, run, run, run!
And one of these days you’ll be shot by a gun!”
They listened, grinning, and cheered when I translated
for them as best I could.
“You sing well for an Englishman,” the string-of-beans
boy, Primo, said.
Roberto looked around at his little band and smiled like
I was his long-lost brother. He winked at me and cuffed me
around the head. “You were right, Englishman! We have seen
what a mess he made of his lousy stinking army by following
those other German fatheads and we fight for Italy now!”

About the Author

Patricia Murphy Leo's WarPatricia Murphy is the bestselling author of The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and Dan’s Diary – the War of Independence 1920-22 published by Poolbeg.
She has also written the prize-winning “The Chingles” trilogy of children’s Celtic fantasy novels. Patricia is also an award winning Producer/Director of documentaries including Children of Helen House, the BBC series on a children’s hospice and Born to Be Different Channel 4’s flagship series following children born with disabilities. Many of her groundbreaking programmes are about children’s rights and topics such as growing up in care, crime and the criminal justice system. She has also made a number of history programmes including Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and has produced and directed films for the Open University.

Patricia grew up in Dublin and is a graduate in English and History from Trinity College Dublin and of Journalism at Dublin City University. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young daughter.

Social Media Links
Website: https://www.patriciamurphyonline.com
Twitter: @_PatriciaMurphy
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Leos-War-Irelands-Secret-World-War-2-Hero-714055598929732
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Mollys-Diary-The-1916-Rising-277254289106782/

Giveaway to win a £30 Amazon Gift Voucher (Open to UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.


The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C Wilson blogtour book review


The last plantagenet-FinalCover-jcw small for 3d

The Last Plantagent? written and self-published by Jennifer C Wilson is available NOW in ebook format.  The ebook is also included in the kindleunlimited scheme.

To buy link:  https://amzn.to/2nQGJU6

Product Details

The fireplace hadn’t looked like a time-portal.
All Kate had wanted was a fun, relaxing day out, watching the knights jousting at Nottingham Castle. What she ended up with was something quite different.
Transported in a heartbeat from 2011 to 1485, how will Kate handle life at the Ricardian court? Even more importantly, how will she cope when she catches the eye of the king himself?

The Last Plantaganent Full Banner

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting Jennifer C Wilson’s novella; The Last Plantagenet?

Wow!  What an amazing short story.  I feel quite emotional after reading The Last Plantagenet? by Jennifer C Wilson.  The author managed to grasp my attention and my imagination and my emotions were evoked with the words and characters in the story.

I find short stories are ideal tea break reads or ‘in between’ reads but The Last Plantagenet? was so much more than a quick read.

I was enthralled by the story of Kate, a historical enthusiast and big fan of Richard III, to find herself travelling back in time to the 15th century.  To a time with the reign of King Richard III staying at Nottingham Castle.  To a time when the country was at unrest with the approaching arrival of the Tudors.

Jennifer C Wilson brought so much atmosphere to this story, it was very imaginative but still in line with historical events.  The story also felt a little eerie at times.  I was there with Kate experiencing life in the castle with it’s servants and ladies in waiting and I was also in the throes of unrest that was evident in the Kingdom.  Kate soon had to think on her feet and get in to character to keep her time travelling secret.

A short story that certainly packed a punch; full of drama, intrigue, passion, tragedy, sadness all mixed with a dose of magic.  I really enjoyed this novella and will definitely check out more work by the author.

About the Author

The Last Plantagenet - JenniferCWilson-NewPhotoJan2018Jennifer is a marine biologist by training, who developed an equal passion for history whilst stalking Mary, Queen of Scots of childhood holidays (she since moved on to Richard III). She completed her BSc and MSc at the University of Hull, and has worked as a marine environmental consultant since graduating.

Enrolling on an adult education workshop on her return to the north-east reignited Jennifer’s pastime of creative writing, and she has been filling notebooks ever since. In 2014, Jennifer won the Story Tyne short story competition, and also continues to work on developing her poetic voice, reading at a number of events, and with several pieces available online. Her Kindred Spirits novels are published by Crooked Cat Books and available via Amazon.

Website:  https://jennifercwilsonwriter.wordpress.com/

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

Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/inkjunkie1984


I had to re-cap with myself the meaning of Plantagenet and here is a short extract from Wikipedia:

The House of Plantagenet was a royal house which originated from the lands of Anjou in France. The name Plantagenet is used by modern historians to identify four distinct royal houses: the Angevins, who were also Counts of Anjou; the main body of the Plantagenets following the loss of Anjou; and the Plantagenets’ two cadet branches, the Houses of Lancaster and York. The family held the English throne from 1154, with the accession of Henry II, until 1485, when Richard III died in battle.