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/

 

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The Promise by Michelle Vernal blogtour book review

 

The Promise Cover

The Promise written and self-published by Michelle Vernal 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/2O4FrzP

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Two women from different generations brought together by another’s wrongdoing.

When British backpacker, Isabel Stark happens across a car accident on a lonely stretch of road in the South Island of New Zealand her life changes forever. The sole passenger, Ginny Havelock asks her to make a promise before she passes away—to find Constance and to say she’s sorry.
Isabel’s a lost soul who’s been drifting through life unsure of where she fits, and the promise she made in New Zealand haunts her upon her return to the United Kingdom. Her only clue as to finding Constance lies within a conversation held at Ginny’s funeral. It takes her to the Isle of Wight.
In the 1940’s sixteen-year-old Constance’s life on her island is sheltered until the death of her brother; Ted brings the reality of war crashing down around her. He leaves behind his pregnant young widow Ginny. When Constance meets a handsome Canadian Airforce man, she’s eager to escape her grief and be swept up by first love. It’s a love which has ramifications she could never envisage.
When Isabel and Constance’s paths finally cross will Ginny’s last words be enough for Constance to make peace with her past? And in fulfilling her promise will Isabel find a place she can call home?

The Promise 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 Michelle Vernal’s latest novel: The Promise.

The Promise is the author’s sixth novel and is another of her time-slip historical romances.  Michelle Vernal writes in both the historical time-slip romance genre and also the romantic comedy genre and her writing smoothly moves from one genre to the other producing enjoyable, relatable reads.

A chance encounter witnessing the after effects of a crash on a country road in New Zealand starts a surprising adventure for British backpacker Isabel Stark.

Heartbroken Isabel decided to take a gap year to New Zealand and give her heart a chance to heal.  Towards the end of her year Isabel is the first bystander to a car accident and offers comfort to the old lady trapped in the car.  Sadly Isabel was to be the last person to see the old lady alive and these last few minutes of comfort that a stranger gave to dear old Ginny was enough for her to pass on a very heartfelt message.  A message that had been laying heavily on Ginny’s mind for seventy years.  Feeling shaken by the emotion of the sadness of Ginny’s death Isabel attended her funeral and was to learn that Ginny was born in the UK and lived on the Isle of Wight just a short ferry ride from her hometown.  Isabel felt like fate had played a hand at putting her in the right place for dear old Ginny.

With Isabel’s gap year coming to an end she returned home with Ginny’s last thoughts and wishes on her mind.  With only a few clues as to Ginny’s last known UK residence Isabel sets off on a journey of discovery.  This journey would take her on an emotive tale travelling back to WWII and to a love story that life so cruelly snatched away.  The journey would also be a time for self-discovery for Isabel herself for her own personal and professional enlightenment.

I was captivated by this time-slip historical romance from Michelle Vernal.  Reading about the tragic love story in WWII was so touching.  I also loved the journey of self-discovery for Isabel, she was learning so much about herself that she had either kept hidden or hadn’t realised her true potential.  A lovely story filled with emotion but interlaced lovingly with warmth and charm with a whole host of great sub-characters.  I didn’t want the story to end as I wanted to know how the characters were progressing with the next instalments in their lives.

A touching, heart warming historical time-slip romance.

About the Author

btyMichelle Vernal is a Harper Collins author who loves a happy ending. She lives with her husband, their two boys and a needy three-legged black cat in Christchurch, New Zealand. She’s partial to a glass of wine, loves a cheese scone and has recently taken up yoga—a sight to behold indeed. She is a freelance writer for a Canterbury lifestyle magazine who is currently working on her seventh novel. Michelle’s a firm believer in happy endings, and all of her stories are written with humour and warmth.

 

Social Media Links
https://www.michellevernalbooks.com/
https://www.facebook.com/michellevernalnovelist/
http://www.twitter.com/michellevernal

 

 

The Guernsey Novels blogtour excerpt from Book 5 Echoes of Time by Anne Allen

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I’m so pleased to be involved in the blogtour for The Guernsey Novels written by Anne Allen, publisher Sarnia Press.  To-date there are 6 books in the series, each one can be read as a standalone and I’ve had the pleasure of reading books 4 and 6.  In a nutshell I would describe Anne’s novels as historical time-slip romances that are evocative, atmospheric and intriguing.

I have the pleasure of sharing today an excerpt from Book 5: Echoes of Time.

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Excerpt
Echoes of Time – The Guernsey Novels Book #5
Guernsey – 1987

Olive was cooking her usual meagre supper of scrambled eggs on toast when the sound of heavy footsteps outside made her jump. No-one ever visited and this was how she liked it. Always had. Her heart pounded as she moved the pan off the blackened range and turned to face the back door. Unlocked as was the custom in safe little Guernsey. Or was it safe? Grabbing a knife she watched, immobile, as the knob turned and the door began to open. The man stood silhouetted against the early evening sky and she stared hard at his shape, puzzled. There was something familiar about the slope of the shoulders and the angle of his head. Her mouth went dry in the moment before the door closed and he moved into the light.
It couldn’t be! Not after all this time…She felt her legs tremble and leant back against the range.
‘Hello, Olive. Bet you didn’t expect to see me again, did you?’ He chuckled, humourlessly.
She hid the knife up her sleeve and pulled the darned cardigan around her thin body. Old memories surfaced as she fought to stay calm.
‘We…we heard you were dead. You didn’t come back–’
‘No, well, I found someone and something better, didn’t I? But it doesn’t look as if you have.’ His gaze was contemptuous as he looked her up and down, and Olive was conscious of how unkempt she looked. Poverty does that to a person. Whereas he was immaculately dressed in what looked like a designer suit. A successful man. She watched, helpless, as his gaze wandered over the kitchen, and she registered, for the first time in years, how dirty and shabby it looked. The kitchen which had once been kept spotless. Feelings of shame, mixed with overriding fear, flooded her mind. What did he want?
His eyes alighted on the only personal item in the room. And the last thing she wanted him to see. She moved forward, attempting to block his view, but he pushed her aside and picked up the photo in its cheap wooden frame.
‘Who’s this?’ he demanded, his face flushed with anger.
A look she knew all too well.
Her stomach clenched. Could she lie? Pretend it was someone else? As her head whirled with possibilities he seized her arm, twisting it. She cried out in pain and the knife clattered onto the granite floor. Swiftly he grabbed it while still holding onto her arm. Olive’s knees buckled.
He thrust the knife towards her chest and she screamed.
‘Please…’
‘Don’t even think of lying,’ he hissed.
‘It’s…it’s my…our daughter–’
The world went black.

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The blogtour is also running a fabulous giveaway.  To enter please click on the link below.

The Guernsey Novels Prize Draw

About the Author

Anne AllenAnne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. She was born in Rugby, to an English mother and Welsh father. As a result she spent many summers with her Welsh grandparents in Anglesey and learnt to love the sea.

Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession Anne was a psychotherapist but has long had creative ‘itches’, learning to mosaic, paint furniture, interior design and sculpt. At the back of her mind the itch to write was always present but seemed too time-consuming for a single mum with a need to earn a living. Now retired from the ‘day job’, there i’s more time to write and Anne has now published six books in The Guernsey Novels series. She will be publishing her seventh novel later in the year.

Website:  https://anneallen.co.uk/

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

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

Sweet Home Summer by Michelle Vernal blogtour book review

Sweet_Home_Summer_01_New

Sweet Home Summer written by Michelle Vernal, publisher HarperImpulse, is available NOW in ebook and paperback format.

To buy link:  https://goo.gl/bKXcTQ

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Sometimes, home really is where the heart is…
Leaving behind her hi-flying career in London, Isla Brookes has had enough. Burnt out and tired of an unfulfilling profession and lousy boyfriends, it’s time for her to go home.
Arriving back in cosy Bibury to stay with her grandmother, Bridget, everything is charmingly familiar. Even her childhood sweetheart, Ben, is as handsome as she remembered…
And when she discovers a stack of long-forgotten Valentine’s Day cards, Isla, with the help of Ben, begins to realise exactly what is most important in life.

Sweet Home Summer 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 Michelle Vernal’s latest novel: Sweet Home Summer.

This was a lovely family saga, a story of two halves and told in two voices; gran Bridget’s coming of age and falling in love story set in 1957 and forward to the present day grandaughter Isla moving back home after 10 years in London following her burn-out professionally and personally.

After 10 years in London Isla Brookes was ready for a change, exhausted from work and her love life strains a new work-life balance was needed and Isla felt like the place to reflect on her future was back home in New Zealand.  Moving back in with her beloved gran Isla was ready to start again looking for a certain something to inspire her.  However, when she left home years ago she broke not only her own heart but another.  Seeing Ben again after so long has ignited a slow burning for her old flame but the timing is not right now as Ben has moved on.  Inspiration comes from an unlikely location but Isla feels a pull and feels totally reinvigorated with this new dream that is building inside her.

Living with her gran has given Isla some wonderful moments of nostalgia and when she unearths a secret her gran has kept hidden for so long Bridget soon starts reminiscing about the past.  A past that held a beautiful, touching blossoming love that was sadly thwarted by prejudices and tragedy.  Once Bridget starts unravelling her past she vows to make things right and sets a plan in action with the help of her granddaughter and her new friends.

I loved Isla’s relationship with her gran they were quite similar in personality and their love of baking I felt opened up the emotions from both gran and granddaughter.  Isla’s mother and father were a great pairing, her mum was so vivacious and young spirited, I loved the sound of the new keep-fit class NLNL.  Isla’s dad loved his hobbies and liked to spread this love to all around him.  The author, Michelle Vernal, has woven some humorous scenes in the storyline bringing much charm and character.  I also loved the sense of community spirit involvement helping out one of their own and also to a local cause that was an essential place to all in the village.  The secrets that started unravelling brought many mixed emotions and gave all those concerned reflection to what was important in the whole scheme of life.

A charming time-slip story filled with nostalgia, love, tragedy, inspiration and warmth.

To learn more about Michelle Vernal please visit the following pages:

Website:  http://www.michellevernalbooks.com/

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

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