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Archive for the tag “family drama”

Blog Tour – ‘The Storm’ by Amanda Jennings ~ @HQstories @MandaJJennings

‘The Storm’, Amanda Jennings brand new book, is being published on the 23rd July 2020 by HQ.  It will be available in paperback, eBook and Audiobook.

I am absolutely delighted to be participating in this blog tour along with a number of fellow book bloggers.  I would like to thank the publisher for the invitation to take part and for my review copy which I got from NetGalley.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘The Storm’.  Let’s have a look at the book blurb first though.

 

Book Blurb

Doesn’t every marriage have a dark side?

‘Beautifully written, chilling and absorbing’ Adele Parks, Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author of Lies Lies Lies and Just My Luck

‘Her best novel yet… Twisty, malevolent and gripping’ Lisa Jewell, No. 1 bestselling author of The Family Upstairs

To the outside world Hannah married the perfect man. Behind the closed doors of their imposing home it’s a very different story. Nathan controls everything Hannah does. He chooses her clothes, checks her receipts, and keeps her passport locked away. But why does she let him?

Years before, in the midst of a relentless storm, the tragic events of one night changed everything. And Hannah has been living with the consequences ever since. Keeping Nathan happy. Doing as she’s told.

But the past is about to catch up with them.

Set against the unforgiving backdrop of a Cornish fishing port in the ‘90s, this is a devastating exploration of the power of coercive control in a marriage where nothing is quite as it seems…

 

My Review

‘The Storm’ is a beautifully crafted book with a prologue which entices you to read on.  I absolutely loved the style in which this book was written.  It was well presented and very descriptive.

A family drama set in Cornwall, this story is narrated mostly by Hannah and occasionally by her husband, Nathan.  As the story starts to unfold the reader learns about Hannah’s past and the terrible tragedy which would change hers and others lives forever.  Although this was not a fast-paced story it was full of suspense and it had me trying to work out what had happened.

Appearances can be deceptive, and this was definitely the case for Hannah.  To the outside world she appeared to have the perfect marriage with a doting husband who provided for her and who was a pillar of the community.  Their marriage was in fact claustrophobic.

I really did not like Nathan at all.  He was a horrible character, almost sadistic.  Having said that I do believe that in his own way he loved Hannah even though he had a very strange way of showing it.  As the man of the house he liked to feel that he was in charge.  He was very controlling and the way he treated Hannah and their son was verging on mental abuse.  I was shocked at the way Nathan demanded to see all the receipts.

As I read on, I could see in a way why Nathan behaved how he did.  There was a lot more to things and I think they affected him more than was thought.  What he did still was not right though.  There really was no excuse.

I was most interested in the storm glasses which were used to predict the weather. They sounded so beautiful and delicate.

‘The Storm’ is a gripping, tense and chilling read.  It is a story about love and what sacrifices you would make to save someone even if it means virtually giving up the life you wanted for yourself.

This is without doubt one of my favourite books of the year so far.  I highly recommend it.  I really think that this would make a good television drama.

 

‘The Storm’ can be pre-ordered / purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Storm-Amanda-Jennings/dp/0008287066/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1595068555&sr=8-1

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-storm/amanda-jennings/9780008287061

Blackwell’s – https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9780008287061

Foyles – https://www.foyles.co.uk/all?term=9780008287061

hive.co.uk – https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Amanda-Jennings/The-Storm/24235250

 

About Amanda Jennings

Amanda Jennings was born in London in 1973, and her family moved to a village in rural Berkshire when she was young. She accepted a place to read architecture at Cambridge University, but it soon became clear it wasn’t for her and after a year she changed course to History of Art. After she finished university she set up a company with a friend writing copy for a variety of small businesses and then a year or so later was offered a job as a researcher at the BBC. But when she had her first child she found it hard to juggle home life with working, and could no longer ignore her yearning to write. When she became pregnant with her second child, and encouraged by the success of a shortlisted sitcom script in a BBC writing competition, she took the opportunity to be at home with her children, and grabbed every spare moment she could find to write.

Sworn Secret, her first novel, was published in the UK in August 2012. On kindle it was #4 bestseller in the UK, a Top 100 bestseller in the US, and reached the #1 spot in Italy in translation. It was also published in Taiwan in translation. Her second book, The Judas Scar, was published in May 2014, and shortly after was optioned by a film and television production company. In Her Wake, her third, was a WHSmith Fresh Talent pick and will be published in Germany, Sweden, Turkey and Italy. The Cliff House is published by HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins, in hardback, audio, ebook, and paperback, as well as internationally. HQ are publishing The Storm in July.

Amanda enjoys appearing at events, is a regular guest on BBC Berkshire’s Book Club, and is a judge for the annual Henley Youth Festival writing competition. She has been involved in the WoMentoring Project, which offers mentoring support for talented female writers with women who work in the literary world, and run writers’ workshops.

Amanda lives just outside Henley-on-Thames and has three daughters and a varied menagerie. She is currently writing her sixth book, which will be set on Bodmin Moor. When she isn’t writing she can generally be found walking the dog or dreaming of mountains or the sea.

 

Links

Website – https://www.amandajennings.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MandaJJennings

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/amandajenningsauthor

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/amanda_jennings1/

Blog Tour – ‘My Perfect Sister’ by Penny Batchelor ~ @RedDoorBooks @penny_author

It is an absolute pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘My Perfect Sister’ is Penny Batchelor’s debut novel and it is being published in paperback on the 18th June 2020 by RedDoor Press.  It is also available as an eBook.

I would like to thank Lizzie Lewis of RedDoor Press for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘My Perfect Sister’.  First though here is the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

How can you ever live up to the memory of someone you hardly remember?

Annie is five when her sister Gemma leaves for school one day and never returns. The family’s lives are changed forever with Gemma’s disappearance and Annie feels neglected and unloved. When she is just sixteen, she decides she can no longer live in the shadow of her perfect but absent sister and she leaves home, falling in and out of jobs and relationships, her resentment for Gemma always there, bubbling under the surface.

Many years later she reluctantly returns home to care for her mother, ill with cancer. Her anger only grows when she sees Gemma’s room still kept as a shrine while hers is now her mother’s sewing room, but as she cares for her mum she begins to soften and egged on by her best friend Priti she realises she has to uncover what happened to Gemma, for all their sakes.

Her research puts her in danger but with the help of a fabulous cast of characters and a satisfying twist in the tale, she finally discovers the truth but can she ever accept it?

 

My Review

I really did like the sound of ‘My Perfect Sister’ and was very much looking forward to reading it. I liked the author’s style of writing and the shortish chapters which had me turning the pages.

I found myself drawn to the story almost immediately. This was such an intriguing read and there were just so many questions going through my mind. I knew I would have to be patient though.

For Annie it must have been really difficult going back to look after her mother after years of hardly any contact. I cannot even begin to imagine all the emotions she must have felt. I would say it was definitely meant to be.

I think revisiting her past really opened Annie’s eyes and made her realise quite a few things. She was only five years old when her sister disappeared after all and she didn’t really have an easy childhood. But maybe things were not as she thought they were.

Throughout the story the reader is given an insight into what happened on the day Gemma disappeared. This I felt really spiced things up and added to the mystery.

I didn’t know what to expect with regards to Gemma’s disappearance and I found myself mentally making a list of who if anyone could have been involved. There were so many possibilities and at least two or three explanations as to what happened to Gemma.

There were some great characters in this story, some of whom were flawed. I really liked Aunty Lena, Annie and her best friend, Priti. They were my favourites.

‘My Perfect Sister’ looks at a number of topics including mental health. It is a thought-provoking read and has a lot of meaning. If you like family drama with a twist, then I highly recommend this book.

I will definitely be following this author’s work and I look forward to reading her next book.

 

‘The Perfect Sister’ can be pre-ordered/purchased from:-

RedDoor Press – https://reddoor-book-shop.myshopify.com/collections/new-releases/products/my-perfect-sister

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2U4KKVj

 

About Penny Batchelor

Penny Batchelor previously had careers as a Content Producer at the BBC and Web Editor at various educational institutions but due to ill health now works at home as a freelance journalist and award-winning knitting blogger. She is physically disabled and is keen to bring disability into mainstream literature. She lives with her husband in Warwickshire.

 

Links

Website – http://www.pennybatchelor.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/penny_author

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pennyauthor

Blog Tour – ‘The Orphan Daughter’ by Sheila Riley ~ @BoldwoodBooks @1sheilariley

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘The Orphan Daughter’, the first book in the Reckoner’s Row series, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 5th September 2019 by Boldwood Books and is also available as an audiobook and audio CD.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour.

I have an extract from ‘The Orphan Daughter’ for you all.  First though here is what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Winter, Liverpool 1947.

Evie Kilgaren is a fighter. Abandoned by her mother and with her father long gone, she is left to raise her siblings in dockside Liverpool, as they battle against the coldest winter on record. But she is determined to make a life for herself and create a happy home for what’s left of her family.

Desperate for work, Evie takes a job at the Tram Tavern under the kindly watch of pub landlady, and pillar of the community, Connie Sharp. But Connie has problems of her own when her quiet life of spinsterhood is upturned with the arrival of a mysterious undercover detective from out of town.

When melting ice reveals a body in the canal, things take a turn for the worst for the residents of Reckoner’s Row. Who could be responsible for such a brutal attack? And can Evie keep her family safe before they strike again?

A gritty, historical family drama full of laughter and tears from the author of Annie Groves’ bestsellers including Child of the Mersey and Christmas on the Mersey. Perfect for fans of Lyn Andrews, Katie Flynn and Nadine Dorries.

 

Extract

CHAPTER 1

SUMMER 1946

Nineteen-year-old Evie Kilgaren gathered her mane of honey-coloured hair into a loop of knicker elastic before taking a vase of heavy-scented lilies and freesias into the kitchen. The flowers were barely faded when she rescued them from the churchyard bin that morning.

Placing them in the centre of the table, she hoped their heady scent would mask the smell of damp that riddled every dwelling in the row of terraced houses opposite the canal and add a bit of joy to the place.

‘Who’s dead?’ her mother, Rene, asked. Her scornful retort was proof she had already been at the gin and Evie’s heart sank. She had wanted today to be special. Surely her dead father’s birthday warranted a few flowers. Even if they were knockoffs from the church – at least she had made an effort, which was more than her mother had.

‘I got them for Dad’s…’ Evie was silenced by the warning flash in her mother’s dark eyes. A warning she had seen many times before. Rene gave a hefty sniff, her eyes squinting to focus, her brow wrinkled, and her olive skin flushed. Evie knew that when her mother had drunk enough ‘mother’s ruin’, she could be the life and soul of any party or, by contrast, one over could make her contrary and argumentative.

‘I thought they’d look nice on the table,’ Evie answered lightly, quickly changing her answer to try and keep the peace. She should have known better than to mention her father in front of Leo Darnel, who’d moved in as their lodger six months ago and taken no time at all getting his feet under her mother’s eiderdown. ‘I found a vase in…’ Her voice trailed off. Her mother wasn’t listening. As usual, she’d disappeared into the parlour to darken her finely shaped eyebrows with soot from the unlit grate – make-up was still on ration – dolling herself up for her shift behind the bar of the Tram Tavern. The tavern was barely a stone’s throw away on the other side of the narrow alleyway running alongside their house, so why her mother felt the need to dress to the nines was anybody’s guess.

Out of the corner of her eye, Evie noticed a sudden movement from their lodger, who was standing near the range, which she had black-leaded that morning. Leo Darnel didn’t like her and that was fine, because she didn’t like him either.

He was a jumped-up spiv who tried to pass himself off as a respectable businessman. Respectable? He didn’t know the meaning of the word, she thought, her eyes taking in the polished leather Chesterfield suite that cluttered the room and seemed out of place in a small backstreet terraced house.

‘None of your utility stuff,’ he’d said, pushing out his blubbery chest like a strutting pigeon. All the time he had a wonky eye on the bedroom door. He would do anything to keep her mother sweet and made it obvious every chance he got to show Evie she was in the way.

He’d been very quiet for the last few minutes, Evie realised. That wasn’t like Darnel . He was up to something, she could tell. He hadn’t interrupted with a sarcastic comment as he usually did when she and her mother were having a tit-for-tat. His self-satisfied smirk stretched mean across thin lips as he hunched inside a crisp white shirt and peered at her.

His beady eyes looked her up and down as he chewed a spent matchstick at the corner of his mouth before turning back to the grate. His piggy eyes were engrossed in the rising flames of something he had thrown onto the fire. Her attention darted to the blaze casting dancing flares of light across the room.

‘No!’ Evie heard the gasp of horror and disbelief coming from her own lips. How could he be so callous? How could he? As he stepped back with arms outstretched like he was showing off a new sofa, Evie could see exactly what he had done.

‘You burned them!’ Evie cried, hurrying over to the range, pushing Darnel out of her way and grabbing the brass fire tongs from the companion set on the hearth, desperate to save at least some of the valuable night-school work.

Two years of concentrated learning to prove she was just as good as all the rest – reduced to ashes in moments. Thrusting the tongs into the flames again and again was hopeless Her valuable notes disintegrated.

‘Mam, look! Look what he’s done!’ Her blue eyes blazed as hotly as the flames licking up the chimney.

‘You are not the only one who can crawl out of the gutter? Mr High-and-mighty!’ Evie was breathless when her burst of anger erupted, watching the flames envelope her books, turning the curling pages to ash. She balled her work-worn hands, roughly red through cleaning up after other people and pummelled his chest. Why? She caught his mocking eyes turn to flint before being dealt a quick backhander that made her head spin.

Her nostrils, which only moments before had been filled with the sweet fragrance of summer freesias and Mansion polish, were now congested with blood as traitorous tears rolled down her cheek. Evie dashed them away with the pad of her hand, ashamed and angry because he was privy to her vulnerability. Her pale blue eyes dashed from the range to her mother, who was now standing in the doorway shaking painted nails.

 

‘The Orphan Daughter’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Orphan-Daughter-Sheila-Riley/dp/1838893202/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

About Sheila Riley

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years.  She still lives in Liverpool.

 

Links

Sheila’s Own website: http://my-writing-ladder.blogspot.com/

Sheila’s Profile on our website – https://www.boldwoodbooks.com/contributor/sheila-riley/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/1sheilariley

 

Blog Tour – ‘After the Funeral’ by Gillian Poucher ~ @RedDoorBooks @GillianPoucher


I am absolutely thrilled to be kicking off this blog tour.  ‘After the Funeral’ is being published in paperback and as an eBook on the 11th April 2019 by RedDoor Publishing.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate and for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘After the Funeral’.  First though, the blurb.

 


Book Blurb

You don’t know me but I know you

When a stranger approaches Julia Butler at her mother’s funeral and hints at a disturbing family secret, her life is turned upside down.

Who is this woman and how does she know so much about Julia’s life?

Grief-stricken, Julia finds her well-ordered life unravelling and her relationships in turmoil. As the mystery around the stranger deepens, she must not only make peace with those around her, but with the ghosts from her past to find hope for the future.

After the Funeral is a gripping debut novel which explores the complex relationships between three generations of women with sensitivity and compassion.

 

My Review

Wow! Are you sure this is really a debut novel? I can’t believe it myself. I loved the cover of the book and thought it to be very haunting. This was such a dark and disturbing read and it had me gripped from the start. I liked the style of writing, the descriptions and the diary entries from the Second World War, which I thought were a good idea. They made for intriguing reading. I also really liked the storyline itself and where it was heading.

I met some very interesting characters along the way. Poor Julia. Not only had she just bid farewell to mother, she was also still getting over the break up of her relationship. So when a stranger turned up at her mother’s funeral and said she was related, Julia didn’t really know what to think. Linda seemed to have a lot of information about her which naturally caused unease.

I really didn’t know what to make of Linda and had my suspicions about her. It did seem strange that Julia’s mother hadn’t told her about Linda at all. There had to have been a good reason why she had omitted to mention her.

I worked out quite a few things even before they came to light, but that didn’t put me off at all. It was like trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle. All the pieces eventually came together with some huge shockers along the way.

I really thought it was a shame that Julia’s mother didn’t live to tell the story herself. I guess that’s what the diaries were for though.

‘After the Funeral’ is a beautiful and tragic tale of love, loss and family. I look forward to more from this author.

~~~~~

‘After the Funeral’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Funeral-Gillian-Poucher/dp/1910453765/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1554533362&sr=8-3-fkmrnull

 

About Gillian Poucher

Gillian Poucher was born in Bolton, England. Reading and writing were passions from an early age.

After studying History at undergraduate level, Gillian worked as a Solicitor before training as a church minister. She was ordained into the United Reformed Church in 2006 and completed her PhD in Biblical Studies in 2013.

Gillian lives in Lincolnshire with her husband and daughter and far too many books! After The Funeral is her first novel and fulfils that childhood ambition.

 

Links

Website – https://www.gillianpoucherauthor.co.uk/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/GillianPoucherAuthor/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/GillianPoucher

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/Gillian_Poucher

 

The Guernsey Novels Blog Tour

I am thrilled to be helping to kick off this blog tour, along with TripFiction, Chat About Books and Breaks.com.  I would like to thank The Globeflower Agency for inviting me to take part.  I have read and reviewed a couple of Anne Allen’s previous books and her latest one really was fabulous.

You are all in for a treat because not only do I have a guest post from Anne Allen herself, but there is also a fantastic competition being run throughout this tour.

 

Guest Post

Anne’s Idyllic Childhood Holidays Inspired Her Love of The Sea

Anne Allen was born and raised in landlocked Rugby. However, she recollects the magical summer holidays she spent with her Welsh grandparents in Rhosneigr, Anglesey.

“Thanks to the wonderful summer holidays I spent in Rhosneigr, I have developed a life-long passion for the sea,” Anne says.

“The sea is definitely in my blood and has shaped my life.”

Anne’s grandparents ran the main village shop in Rhosneigr, back then it was called Empire Stores. They sold grocery produce, fresh fish and shellfish, including lobster.

Whilst visiting her grandparents, Anne and her sister slept in a little attic room which they accessed via a step ladder. Their room had a window looking over the road and down to the beach.

“As we spent the majority of our year, in landlocked Rugby. Our summer holidays in Rhosneigr were magical and we had adventures like the characters out of Enid Blyton books.

“We would spend most of our days on the beautiful beach with our buckets and spades digging up the masses of golden sand.”

Anne’s father taught her how to fish for perch in the local lake, Llyn Maelog, on the edge of the village.

“We went in the early evening but we rarely caught anything. However, I enjoyed spending quality time with my father.”

Anne’s happy childhood memories of being beside the seaside in Anglesey, led her to spend a lifetime of trying to get close to the sea and eventually inspired her writing career. She continued living in landlocked Rugby until tragedy struck and changed her life forever.

“Whilst in my mid-thirties, my husband died and I was left to raise three young children on my own.

“During my grieving period, I craved to be beside the sea again.

“We initially moved to Devon. However, I then visited Guernsey and it’s golden sands reminded me of my childhood holidays in Rhosneigr.

“Craving a fresh start, I sold my house and moved to Guernsey!”

She initially tried to buy a small guest-house in St Peter Port to use as a residential health centre. However, the deal fell through shortly after they arrived on the island with her car laden with all their belongings.

“I was devastated, but looking back I can see it was just as well, for at the time interest rates were sky high and financially it would have been difficult.”

Initially, life on the island was not plain sailing, as a non-local she had to live ‘Open Market’ which was both restrictive and expensive. Anne set up her own psychotherapy practice on the island and began to build up a number of regular and loyal clients. With their support, she was eventually able to get a housing licence. Anne and her children created many happy memories on the island.

“One friend had a boat and we would go out for fun trips with our children, mooring up in one of the lovely south coast bays. The boys would jump into the sea and splash around while us girls lay decorously on deck to top up our tans.”

Anne never envisaged leaving Guernsey, however, life threw her some curve balls, and she eventually moved back to Devon. She had always craved creativity, yet, never found the time due to being a busy working mum of three children. When they flew the nest, she eagerly put pen to paper and drafted her first novel, Dangerous Waters. A few months later, she was encouraged to enter a true-life writing competition in Prima magazine and was surprised when she won. This helped to boost her confidence and encouraged her to publish her first novel.

The novel was awarded Silver (Adult Fiction) in TheWishingShelfAwards 2012. Since then she has published five more books in The Guernsey Novels series.

 

About Anne Allen

Anne 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’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.

To find out more about Anne visit her website: you can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Competition

 

Win a two-night break

courtesy of The Guernsey Novels by Anne Allen

Would you like to visit gorgeous Guernsey? Well, here is your chance to win a two-night trip to this beautiful island, courtesy of Anne Allen, author of the riveting book series, The Guernsey Novels.

The Guernsey Novels

Anne Allen’s fascinating book series, The Guernsey Novels, comprises six standalone novels. All the stories in her novel series, take place predominantly on the island of Guernsey and are linked by characters popping up from one book to another.

They provide an ongoing story of a ‘village’ spread, so far, over 6 years. Each book is standalone with fresh new lead characters with their own links to the German Occupation during World War 2, having an impact on the present.

The Guernsey Novels are a mix of mystery, family drama, and love story and influenced by the author’s love of the island where she spent many happy years. Guernsey itself is always a main character in the books, offering a gorgeous backdrop to all the sorrows, joys and tragedies she describes.

The Guernsey Novels are available from all leading bookstores:

Book #1 Dangerous Waters

Book #2 Finding Mother

Book #3 Guernsey Retreat

Book #4 The Family Divided

Book #5 Echoes of Time

Book #6 The Betrayal

 

Enter the prize draw to win a two-night break at Hotel Ziggurat in Guernsey

Enter The Guernsey Novels Prize Draw https://js.gleam.io/e.js

Read more details about the prize draw, including the Terms and Conditions on Anne Allen’s Website

 

Blog Tour Organised by The Globeflower Agency Ltd

The Globeflower Agenc

 

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