A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “historical”

Blog Tour – ‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ by Millie Gray ~ #MillieGray @bwpublishing

I am delighted to be kicking off this blog tour.  ‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ is Millie Gray’s tenth novel and it is out today in paperback and as an eBook, published by Black and White Publishing.  I would like to thank the publisher for inviting me to participate in this tour and for my review copy.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about the ‘The House on Rosebank Lane’.  First though, here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Leith, 1953. Kirsten Mowat, eighteen years old and with a joyful spring in her step, couldn’t be more in love with her sea-faring sweetheart Duncan Armstrong. But, seven years later after a hasty wedding, a twist of lies and wrenching loss Duncan and Kirsten’s relationship has faded to tatters. When those closest to her turn their backs, Kirsten alone, with a young family to care for must gather all her spirit and strength if they are to survive. From much-loved Millie Gray, The House on Rosebank Lane is an Edinburgh story of families entwined, of sorrow and hopefulness . . . and of a young mother’s love for her children and a transforming quest for happiness.

 

My Review

It has been a while since I have read a book published by Black and White Publishing and what a treat ‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ was. I actually can’t believe that until now I had never picked up any of Millie Gray’s books. I love family sagas and I really liked that this book was based in Leith, Edinburgh. That’s what appealed to me when I first heard about it. I loved the author’s style of writing and the way the story was presented and found it very easy to follow.

Edinburgh will always be a very special place to me. Whilst reading this story I found myself wishing that I had been there in 1953 onwards. I think it would have been wonderful. I recognised quite a few of the streets mentioned and in the past have actually stayed in a hotel in York Place with my husband.

This story had so much packed into it despite not being very long and I felt I got a lot out of it. The one thing I wished would happen did so that really pleased me.

I loved Kirsten from the very start and I felt so sad for the situation she found herself in. She was a tough cookie though who with the help of friends and good advice coped with what life threw at her. I thought Dixie was so adorable and it was tragic what happened when he was doing so well.

‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ will have you hooked. You literally won’t be able to put the book down. I am looking forward to reading so much more by this author.

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‘The House on Rosebank Lane’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Rosebank-Lane-Millie-Gray/dp/178530223X/

 

About Millie Gray

Millie Gray is a writer and professional storyteller. Her humorous plays attract audiences from all over Scotland and she is much in demand to do workshops and talks about her work. Millie Gray was born and raised in Leith and lives in Edinburgh.

 

Links

Black and White Publishing

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bwpublishing

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

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘Death Will Find Me’ by Vanessa Robertson ~ #LoveBooksGroupTours @LoveBooksGroup @Ness_Robertson

Back in January I took part in the cover reveal for ‘Death Will Find Me’, which I absolutely loved the sound of.  It was published as an eBook on the 20th February 2019 by Wild Justice Press and is also available in paperback.  Today I am taking part in the blog tour.  I would like to thank Kelly Lacey of Love Books Group Tours for inviting me to participate and both the author and Kelly for my review copy of the book.

I will tell you all in a minute exactly what I thought of this book.  First though, here is a reminder of what its about.


Book Blurb

Scotland, 1920.
Meet Tessa Kilpatrick; heiress and war-time covert operations agent.

Finding her husband – the feckless James – with another woman at a 1920s country house party, she demands a divorce. But when his body is discovered in a lonely stone bothy the next morning, Inspector Hamish Rasmussen sees Tessa as his only suspect.

Back in Edinburgh, links to another murder convince Rasmussen of her innocence. He enlists her help and together they set off on a pursuit that will bring Tessa once again face to face with the brutality of war as well as revealing to her the lengths that desperate people will go to in order to protect those they love.

Will Tessa be able to prevent a final murder or will she become the killer’s latest victim?

This book will be perfect for anyone who’s enjoyed the work of Catriona McPherson, Sara Sheridan and Jessica Fellowes.

 

My Review

When I first read the blurb of this book I just knew I was going to like it. One thing that really appealed to me was its setting, i.e. Scotland. I actually fell in love with Edinburgh the very first time I went there on holiday. It is a place I would like to visit again and again. It is just so beautiful with lots of history.

The opening, i.e. the prologue was absolutely fantastic and I thought it was a great start to the story. It was literally a wow moment and I couldn’t wait to read more. I totally loved the author’s style of writing. Her descriptions were simply wonderful; from what Tessa wore to the property she lived in.

I thought Tessa to be an extremely astute and courageous woman. Life knocked her down but she didn’t give up at all. She just dusted herself off and got up again. She fought for what she thought was right just like during the war. Her husband might have had several affairs with other women but it still didn’t mean that he deserved to die. Divorce would have been enough. Naturally Tessa wanted to see justice done and also to prove that she didn’t murder him.

As the body count rose, I found myself fearing for Tessa as it seemed she could also be in real danger. The finger could no longer be pointed at her though and I think Inspector Rasmussen was just glad of her assistance. Together with the help of her friend they tried to work out what the motive for murder really was and along the way made some rather startling discoveries.

‘Death Will Find Me’ is a gripping read that you really won’t want to put down for too long.

I am truly delighted that there is another Tessa Kilpatrick Mystery to come. I can’t wait to see what happens with Tessa next. If you like mysteries and historical fiction then I really recommend reading this book.

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Like the sound of this book?  It is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://amzn.to/2T79REr

 

About Vanessa Robertson

I grew up in the Midlands where my main interests were horses and drama. Being a writer was a dream from childhood but I gave up on the idea of writing when I was a teenager, not long after I abandoned other childhood ambitions of being a trapeze artiste or a spy. After acquiring a couple of degrees and trying various ‘proper jobs’, I realised that I am fundamentally unsuited to office politics, bad coffee, and wearing tights.

My husband and I founded The Edinburgh Bookshop, winner of many awards. Bookselling is a wonderful profession and a good bookshop is a source of pure joy to me. I love independent bookshops and the amazing job they do in championing reading, supporting authors, and building communities. But, after a few years, it was time for a change and we sold the bookshop to make way for other projects.

I took the opportunity to start writing again and was a winner at Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect event for unpublished authors in 2015. It was a fantastic opportunity and getting such positive feedback about my ideas gave me the push I needed to take my writing seriously.

I live in Edinburgh with my husband, our teenage son and an unfeasibly large Leonberger dog. I can usually be found walking on windy Scottish beaches, browsing in bookshops, or tapping away on my laptop in one of the scores of cafes near my home.

 

Links

Book Funnel – https://dl.bookfunnel.com/nkzqkoy5in?fbclid=IwAR3qIZZZqnHDKMWd3u50Jvp2rDFdcRKof80PnmIMMeBK5QaqvkIVfkk9Xow

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Ness_Robertson

Blog Tour – ‘Sugar, Sugar’ by Lainy Malkani

‘Sugar, Sugar’ was published in paperback on the 25th May 2017 by HopeRoad Publishing, an independent publisher whose aim it is to support neglected voices by focusing on writings and writers from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.  I was delighted when HopeRoad contacted me via my blog asking if I was interested in taking part in this blog tour.

Lainy Malkani has written a guest post for my blog about books that inspired ‘Sugar, Sugar’.  First though, here’s what Lainy’s book is all about.

 

Book Blurb

A fascinating web of honey-coloured threads linking Indian migrant workers, who first left the SubContinent more than a hundred and fifty years ago, and their descendants now living in contemporary Britain

Sugar, Sugar is a contemporary collection of short stories which reveals a rich and culturally diverse history behind India’s migrant workers and one of the most abundant and controversial commodities in the world.

Inspired by historical documents between 1838 and 1917, and the living memories of the descendants of indentured workers, Sugar, Sugar, spans five continents, travelling through time uncovering inspiring tales of courage and resilience.

With sugar at its heart, this collection unveils lives rarely exposed in modern British literature and adds a new dimension to the history of sugar, post emancipation, whilst sharing a previously untold strand in the story of the making of contemporary Britain.

 

Guest Post

Books that inspired this book 

When I decided to write Sugar, Sugar I submerged myself in the short story genre trying to find my voice as a writer. I particularly enjoyed and felt connected to the stories in ‘The Thing Around Your Neck’, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Her stories are steeped in African culture and also contain universal themes which make them accessible to all readers.  I read, ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez so many times I have lost count and the same goes for Satyajit Ray’s ‘Twenty Stories’, which I love for its haunting atmosphere. Clare Wigfall’s ‘Night after Night’ found in her debut collection of stories, ‘The Loudest Sound and Nothing’ was a master class in getting to the heart of a story in the first line and I read Anton Chekhov’s Selected Stories every night before I went to bed, just so I could wake up feeling inspired.

 

About Lainy Malkani

Lainy Malkani is a London born writer, broadcast journalist and presenter with Indo-Caribbean roots. In 2013 she set up the Social History Hub to bring the stories of ‘unsung heroes’ in society to life. Her critically acclaimed two-part radio documentary for BBC Radio 4, ‘Sugar, Saris and Green Bananas’, inspired her to create this collection of short stories. She has written for the British Library, the Commonwealth and the BBC. She is married with two children and lives in North West London. Her cross-cultural roots; from Britain, India and Guyana, in the Caribbean, has been a great source of her work, both as a writer and journalist.

 

Links

‘Sugar, Sugar’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sugar-Bitter-Indian-Migrant-Workers/dp/1908446609/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1496069257&sr=1-1&keywords=sugar+sugar

HopeRoad Publishing – http://www.hoperoadpublishing.com/

 

Interview with Richard Whittle

I’m delighted to have Richard Whittle on my blog.  His new book, ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ is being published next month.  I asked Richard some questions.

 

Can you tell me a bit about ‘The Man Who Played Trains’ please?

The Man Who Played Trains is a crime novel and thriller in which two stories, apparently separate, run side by side. In one, mining engineer John Spargo is distraught when his mother is attacked in her home and later dies from her injuries. In the other, wartime U-boat captain Theodor Volker, on leave after a gruelling mission, is accosted by a stranger while waiting for a train to take him to the south of Germany to see his young son.

Though the stories appear to be separate, the reader gradually becomes aware of connections between them. John Spargo, desperate to understand who murdered his mother, and why, finds a link between his late mine-manager father’s wartime mine and the wreck of a U-boat found off the Scottish coast. The connection deepens when he discovers the diaries of the U-Boat captain and a wartime mission to spirit Göring to safety, along with a fortune in stolen art.

A mysterious consortium contacts John to say they have abducted his daughter, Jez. Unless he can meet their unreasonable demands, her life is at risk.

 

When I first saw the cover I was fascinated by it and I still am.  Where do those steps lead to?

The Man Who Played Trains has two main characters. Both are ‘underground men’. John Spargo is a mining engineer. The steps might well represent John Spargo about to come out from darkness in so many different ways. Also, perhaps, Theodor Volker emerging from a basement in Berlin. Or, possibly, from Hermann Göring’s Carinhall bunker…

 

Where did you get the idea for this book from?

This is a difficult one, and quite personal. Before WW2 my mother had a German boyfriend, the son of a ship’s captain. Just before the outbreak of war her father banned her from seeing him. I believe the boyfriend died in the war. I have often wondered what would have happened had my mother married that first boyfriend (apart from me being years older than I am now!). Having said all that, The Man Who Played Trains is not in the least bit autobiographical. Nor is it a war story. You asked me where I got the idea from. You will have to read the book to find out how that little bit of history fits the plot.

 

How long did it take you to write?

Several years ago, before setting pen to paper – or fingers to keyboard – to write The Man Who Played Trains, I did almost a year of background research. Then, after drafting around 50,000 words, I put it aside and started another novel, returning to The Man Who Played Trains some months later. It is difficult to say how long it took to write, as I rewrote it at least twice.

I always have two or three novels in the pipeline, revisiting them every few months to add chapters and to revise and rewrite. Writing this way has advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that I seldom get ‘writers’ block’. Almost invariably, in the intervening months, the next part of the set-aside novel has developed in my head. Another advantage is that when I restart, I have to read, and therefore edit, everything that I have written so far – though some would call that a disadvantage. Happily, it seems to work for me.

 

Can you relate to any of your characters?

I am always in my characters’ heads. I have to be, it is the only way I can see what they see, think what they think, and say what they say. I try to make my lead characters ‘victims of circumstance’, who become entangled in situations not of their own making. From a professional point of view I can relate to John Spargo: as a geologist and engineer I spent time working underground, in mines, tunnels and caverns.

 

Do you have a favourite place where you do your writing?

Always in coffee shops, seldom at home. I have a favourite café in a small, family-run garden centre south of Edinburgh, where they leave me alone and let me write.

 

Would you say that you are a people watcher?

Not really. I am more of a people rememberer. I have been a policeman, a diesel engine tester, a mature student, an engineering geologist and director. I can recall situations, individuals and conversations, even from way back. It is rather like having my own Aladdin’s Cave.

 

What has your experience of getting published been like?

The Man Who Played Trains will be published by Urbane Publications this April. Matthew Smith and his staff at Urbane have been a godsend because they have taken away the pressure I felt when I self-published my first novel, Playpits Park, with Amazon. For that novel I formatted the whole book, I even designed the cover. My previous attempts to find a publisher had elicited responses such as this does not fit with our current list. Or, more often, it is difficult to place your work in any genre…

 

Will there be any more books?

Undoubtedly. I am writing two others. In no way are they alike. Depending on my mood, I bounce between them. Is that weird? Maybe, but it works for me.

 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about writing?

Just keep writing! – advice given to me by Ian Rankin when he presented me with a prize when I was shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association’s Debut Dagger.

 

Who are your favourite authors?

Kate Atkinson, Michael Connelly, Graham Greene, John Grisham, Robert Harris, Shona Maclean, Peter May, Ian Rankin. Note the alphabetical order, not order of preference.

 

Do you actually like trains?

I have always been interested in engines of all kinds. Like many boys of my generation I was a ‘train spotter’, standing on railway station platforms, ticking off engine numbers in a small book. Modern diesel and electric trains do not appeal to me in the same way.

Despite my novel’s title, railways play a very small part in the story, though the small part they play is crucial to the plot. Also, the man who played trains is not John Spargo…

 

Links

Amazon: https://goo.gl/a4lWwY

Waterstones: https://goo.gl/8riR5d

Urbane: http://urbanepublications.com/book_author/richard-whittle/

Richard Whittle’s blog:  https://playpitspark.wordpress.com/

Richard’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/richard1whittle

 

 

 

‘A Treacherous Likeness’ by Lynn Shepherd

A Treacherous Likeness

This amazing book was released in hardback last week by Corsair.  It is the follow-up to Lynn Shepherd’s previous novel ‘Tom-All-Alone’s’, though as I discovered it’s not necessary to have read this book.  For me this was a brand new experience and it gave me the chance to discover yet another fantastic author.

‘A Treacherous Likeness’ is a work of fiction but it is actually based on fact.  It reconstructs events in the lives of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, his wife Mary who wrote ‘Frankenstein’, her step-sister Claire Clairmont and Lord Byron.  Lynn Shepherd has given her own fictional version of the Shelleys’ story with some possible answers to the mysteries that still persist all these years later.

It’s 1850 and young detective Charles Maddox has just taken on a new case.  His client happens to be the only surviving son of the long-dead poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.  Charles soon finds himself drawn into the bitter battle being waged over the poet’s literary legacy and along the way he discovers just how treacherous family can be.

I found ‘A Treacherous Likeness’ to be a very fascinating read and the further I got into it the more intriguing it became.  The research Lynn Shepherd has done for this book is admirable.  It’s certainly a very thought provoking story and it has you guessing about what might happen next.  There are some very shocking revelations throughout.  This is an historical and mystery read all in one.

I am very impressed at how this book has been arranged.  There is a nice author’s note at the very beginning followed by a family tree of The Shelleys and The Godwins, which came in very useful indeed.  The story itself is split into three parts.  At the back of the book there are a few pages in which Lynn Shepherd explains the facts and the fiction.  It really is best though that you read the whole story first before referring to these notes.

Now that I’ve read ‘A Treacherous Likeness’ it has left me wanting to know more.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

 

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