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Archive for the tag “Guernsey”

Blog Tour – ‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ by Maggie Mason ~ @LittleBrownUK @Authormary

‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ was published on the 18th April 2019 in paperback by Sphere and is also available as an eBook and in hardback.  I was thrilled to be invited by the author to take part in this blog tour and would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book.

You will find out in a minute what I thought of this book.  First though, here’s the blurb.

 

 

Book Blurb

The perfect read for fans of Mary Wood, Kitty Neale, Val Wood and Nadine Dorries
***PREVIOUSLY CALLED BLACKPOOL EVACUEE***

Clara is forced to flee her home as the Nazis invade the beautiful island of Guernsey

Separated from her mother, far away from anything familiar, she is at the mercy of a cruel shopkeeper. Clara is worked like a dog, but the warmth of her Blackpool friendships will go far to save her.

Julia just wants to find her beloved daughter – but the trials of war will keep them far apart.

They will meet again – but the war will change everything for mother and daughter

 

My Review

As you probably know by now I love family sagas and historical fiction. I was really looking forward to reading ‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ and I can tell you that it was well worth the wait. I truly loved this story and was totally hooked all the way through. Maggie Mason is such a wonderful writer and tells it how it would have been in the 1940s. It is obvious that a lot of research and care and attention has gone into writing this book.

Set during the Second World War, this is the story of Julia and her young daughter Clara. The Nazis could invade Guernsey at anytime and Julia has no other option but to put her daughter’s safety before her own, even though that means they will be separated from each other. Clara is about to embark on a journey and doesn’t know where she will end up. When she finds out that she is being sent to Blackpool her spirits lift a little.

Clara’s life is far from easy and she has to do a lot of growing up quickly. Along the way she makes some good friends and they keep her going, even with things as unbearable as they are.

There were lots of characters in this story, many with their own tragic tale to tell. But whatever happened they kept going one way or the other. Then there were the unsavoury characters, i.e. the gangsters. The brutality Clara and others like her faced was appalling and at times there didn’t seem to be much hope for them, so it was nice to see that they could have a bit of fun together sometimes. Both Clara and Julia went through a lot and their lives changed so much over the years.

‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ is absolutely outstanding and is definitely one of my favourite books of the year. With unforgettable characters this is a story that will stay in my heart for ages. I hope Maggie Mason writes lots more books.

If like me you love family sagas then I recommend that you buy yourself a copy. You won’t be disappointed and will be wanting more.

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‘Blackpool’s Daughter’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blackpool-Evacuee-Maggie-Mason/dp/0751573191/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1555612146&sr=1-1-fkmrnull

 

About Maggie Mason

Maggie Mason is a pseudonym of author Mary Wood. Mary began her career by self-publishing on kindle where many of her sagas reached number one in genre. She was spotted by Pan Macmillan and to date has written many books for them under her own name, with more to come. Mary continues to be proud to write for Pan Macmillan, but is now equally proud and thrilled to take up a second career with Sphere under the name of Maggie Mason. A Blackpool Lass is her first in a planned series of standalone books and trilogies set in her home town of Blackpool.

Mary retired from working for the National Probation Service in 2009, when she took up full time writing, something she’d always dreamed of doing. She follows in the footsteps of her great-grandmother, Dora Langlois, who was an acclaimed author, playwright and actress in the late nineteenth – early twentieth century.

It was her work with the Probation Service that gives Mary’s writing its grittiness, her need to tell it how it is, which takes her readers on an emotional journey to the heart of issues.

 

Links

Website – https://www.authormarywood.com/

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/HistoricalNovels

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

 

Cover Reveal – ‘Occupying Love’ by Marilyn Chapman

Book Cover

This is the wonderful cover for ‘Occupying Love’ by Marilyn Chapman which is out on the 24th June.  Read on for more information.

 

Book Blurb

With the Nazis poised to invade Guernsey in World War Two, feisty student Lydia Le Page returns home to rescue her parents, but as she arrives the harbour is bombed and she’s trapped on the island as the German Military Occupation begins.

Two very different men enter her life: Martin Martell, the handsome but mysterious rector of Torteval Church and Major Otto Kruger, the ruthless German Kommandant, who soon falls under her spell.

When Martin disappears Lydia discovers a secret from her past that threatens her whole future. Will she be able to keep it from the enemy? Or is it too late?  This is a story about love, loss and the unique identity that makes us who we are.

 

Background to ‘Occupying Love’

Guernsey-born journalist Marilyn Chapman read almost every novel written about the Occupation of the Channel Islands, but none sounded quite like the stories her grandparents told her as a child.

Marilyn, who now lives on the Lancashire coast, learnt about life under German rule when Guernsey was occupied by Hitler’s troops in World War Two, and the memories have always stayed with her. The result is Occupying Love which she describes as ‘a fictional account of love, loss, bravery and heartbreak, as well as defiance and hope.’

‘My grandmother refused to acknowledge the German soldiers and even hid cheese in the stair rods at her home, rather than let the food be taken,’ says Marilyn. Eventually the couple’s home was requisitioned by the Germans but they never gave up hope that the island as they knew it would survive.’

Marilyn began her career as a reporter on the Blackpool Evening Gazette, later freelancing for national newspapers and magazines.

Her debut novel Baggy Pants and Bootees was published in 2014 giving her the confidence to finally follow her dream.

 

‘Occupying Love’ is available to pre-order from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Occupying-Love-Marilyn-Chapman-ebook/dp/B01H0MCYA4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466078531&sr=1-1&keywords=occupying+love

 

‘Finding Mother’ by Anne Allen

finding_mother_front

Last year I interviewed Anne Allen and asked her about ‘Finding Mother’, the second of her Guernsey novels.  You can read my interview with her here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/anne-allen/

Having previously reviewed Anne’s first novel I was very interested in reading ‘Finding Mother’ and recently got round to doing so.

Nicole was just three days old when Mary and Ian Le Clerq adopted her.  Now at 35 years old Nicole’s marriage is over and she feels the need to reassess her life and find out who she really is.  So she decides to search for her natural mother.  It doesn’t take Nicole very long to find her and she is soon on her way to Guernsey.

‘Finding Mother’ is a wonderful story which follows three generations of women.  It is a tale about family relationships, secrets, second chances, love and death.

I really enjoyed Anne Allen’s first novel ‘Dangerous Waters’ and I thought it was very good, but in my opinion I would say that this book is even better.  In fact it is excellent.  I liked Anne’s writing style throughout, the way she takes the reader to many different locations and her descriptions and I thought it clever how she included a couple of the characters from her first novel in this story too.  Absolutely superb!

I loved reading about Eve’s (the grandmother’s) past.  I found her tale to be very interesting and I couldn’t wait to learn more.  How she kept things to herself for so long I really do not know.

Through book reviewing I have discovered many new authors and read some fantastic books.  I can now say that Anne Allen has been added to my list of favourite authors.  I am looking forward to reading her latest novel ‘Guernsey Retreat’ and I really hope that Anne keeps writing.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

Interview with Anne Allen

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I reviewed Anne Allen’s first novel ‘Dangerous Waters’ in August last year.   You can read what I thought of it here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2012/08/05/dangerous-water/

Anne now has a second book called ‘Finding Mother’ coming out and I was very keen to interview her and find out more about it.

You’ve got a new book coming out.  Can you tell me a bit about it please?

It’s called Finding Mother and follows the search of a young woman, Nicole, for her natural mother. She’s always known she was adopted but hadn’t really thought about tracing her mother until her marriage lands on the rocks, forcing Nicole to look at herself. She’s not happy with what she sees so sets off from her home in England and travels to Spain, Jersey and finally Guernsey in pursuit of the woman who gave her away.

The book looks at the stories of the other women involved too, as secrets have been buried and Nicole’s arrival opens the proverbial Pandora’s box. As I’m fascinated by human relationships I’ve focused on how people relate to each other in the family as well as romantically. Like my first novel, Dangerous Waters, there’s a strong romantic theme running through the story, going as far back as WWII.

finding_mother_front

Front of Cover

finding_mother_back

Back of Cover

Where do you get your ideas from?

My work as a psychotherapist has provided much food for thought as it’s given me a unique chance to explore the human psyche. Some of my clients were adopted as were some family members. So, once adoption became the central premise, I then looked at the idea of family secrets to give a bit of a twist 🙂 Like any writer, once you have one idea, others seem to follow although the whole plan of the book can meander into unknown territory sometimes. I think the characters take over and make their own decisions! My love of Guernsey means that, for me, it provides the ideal setting for my books. It helps that it not only has a fascinating history but is also such a beautiful island. And islands have their own kind of magic, don’t they?

In your last book ‘Dangerous Water’ there were lots of references to food.  Do you like to cook?

Mmm, sort of. I like cooking for family get togethers, but they only happen a couple of times a year. Let’s say I like the idea of cooking more than the reality! I can get very uptight if things don’t go according to plan – and time 🙂

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to try their hand at writing a novel?

Just start writing. Anything, doesn’t have to be a full-length novel to begin with. You need to have some idea of what you want to write, first. Would it be romance, thriller, mystery or paranormal? I feel you need to choose a genre who love, one you’ve devoured as a reader over the years. At the very least that would give you a feel for how others write. If there’s a story burning a hole in your brain, let it out!

Can you describe a day in your life?

At the moment it’s pretty well taken up with getting Finding Mother published, with all the attendant promotion and marketing that is involved. Such as being invited to write something for your lovely blog, Sonya 🙂 I do seem to spend far too much time on my computer, but when I can get away from it then there’s always the housework. A no-brainer, really!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time? What’s that?! Well, I do like to walk by the sea when the weather’s decent. It helps me to unwind and sometimes ideas flow better after inhaling all that ozone. Indoors, I’ll watch drama on the TV or read. And I love going to the cinema or theatre with my friends.

Who are your favourite authors?

These days I’ve become very keen on historical fiction and loved Hilary Mantel’s books as well as CJ Sansome’s. I also love anything by Erica James and the late Maeve Binchy. My taste is quite eclectic and I’ll read a new author if I like the sound of the book.

Can we expect another book from you next year?

Well, I’ve made a start on my third novel, which will again be set mainly in Guernsey. It’s a romantic mystery which revolves around a newly opened Natural Health Centre in Guernsey and there’ll be a couple of bodies turning up. As with my other books, there’s a link to WWII and family secrets. At the moment the title’s either ‘Guernsey Retreat’ or ‘The Retreat’. I do hope to see it published in 2014 – sometime 🙂

‘Finding Mother’ is available as an ebook on Amazon.  Click on the link below to get yourself a copy.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finding-Mother-ebook/dp/B00G3C1Y2W

It will be available in paperback in November and can be ordered directly from Anne through her website – www.findingmother.com

I would like to thank Anne for taking the time to answer my questions.

Sonya

‘Dangerous Waters’ by Anne Allen

‘Dangerous Waters’ is Anne Allen’s first novel.  I was asked by Anne if I would review her book and as it appealed to me I was more than happy to.  This is a story of mystery, loss and love.

Fifteen years ago, Jeanne Le Page was involved in an awful boating accident in which she lost both her mother and father.  Unable to cope and suffering from traumatic amnesia she fled from the island of Guernsey.  Now after learning of her grandmother’s death, Jeanne has to return there to sort out her affairs including the cottage which she has inherited.  Deeply unhappy after the recent end of a long-term relationship, Jeanne has no desire to pick up her life on the island and does not really know what she is going to do.

Having suffered from nightmares for years following the accident, Jeanne finds that her return to Guernsey triggers flashbacks which become extremely frightening.  Over the coming months Jeanne makes a very disturbing discovery.

I found ‘Dangerous Waters’ to be an enjoyable read.  The two genres romance and mystery worked well together.  I really liked Jeanne as a character and enjoyed getting to know her.  You get a good feel for her including what types of books she likes to read and what music she listens to.  I also found it admirable how she got on with things despite what she had been through, thus achieving a lot.  I loved the descriptions of the cottage and the garden too.

You also get to learn quite a bit about Guernsey, both in the present and the past during WWII when it was occupied.  Food certainly played a very big part in this story too.  There is a handy map of Guernsey at the front of the book, a glossary at the back and even some recipes.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

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