A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “loss”

Blog Tour – ‘Mix Tape’ by Jane Sanderson ~ @annecater @TransworldBooks @SandersonJane

It is a real pleasure to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Mix Tape’ is being published in hardback and as an eBook on the 23rd January 2020 by Bantam Press and will also be available in audiobook.

I would like to thank Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.  Thanks also to the publisher for my review copy.

I will tell you all in a minute what I thought about this book.  First though here’s the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

We all remember the soundtrack to our first love. 

Daniel was the first boy to make Alison a mix tape. But that was years ago and Ali hasn’t thought about him in a very long time. Even if she had, she might not have called him ‘the one that got away’; she’d been the one to run away, after all.

Then Dan’s name pops up on her phone, with a link to a song from their shared past. For two blissful minutes, Alison is no longer an adult in Adelaide with temperamental daughters; she is sixteen in Sheffield, dancing in her too-tight jeans. She cannot help but respond in kind. And so begins a new mix tape.

Ali and Dan exchange songs across oceans and time zones, across a lifetime of different experiences, until one of them breaks the rules and sends a message that will change everything…

Full of heartache and promises, joy and disappointment, Mix Tape asks the biggest question of them all: what if ‘what could have been’ is still to come?

Packed with music – some old, some new –  and featuring playlists of songs you’ll want to discover for yourself.

 

My Review

I first want to mention the cover which I really like. It’s so cleverly designed with the tape from the cassette tape forming a man and woman. It instantly made me think of a music video I sometimes see on television.

I found ‘Mix Tape’ to be a very enjoyable read and I thought it to be beautifully written. It was really quite hard to put this book down. I was lost within the pages and didn’t want to find my way back. Music played a huge part in this story and I would say that’s what made it work.

Set in the past and present, this story takes you from Sheffield where Ali and Dan lived as children to Edinburgh, Adelaide and London. I loved reading about Australia and the wildlife there, especially the cockatoos. They are such lovely birds.

There were some really interesting characters in this story. I absolutely adored Sheila and Dora and thought they were such fun. They are the sort of people I wouldn’t mind spending time with.

Ali’s story was heart-breaking. Things could have been so very different for her, but circumstances meant she had to decide what to do quickly even if it meant leaving the people she loved behind. As it goes, she didn’t really have any choice in the matter.

It’s amazing to think that years later the mix tape Dan made still meant something to Ali. I loved how music brought them together once again together with the amazing power of Social Media.

‘Mix Tape’ is a story about love, loss, joy, grief and heartache. I think a number of people will be able to relate to it in one way or the other. You are sure to be left feeling nostalgic.

I look forward to more from this author.

 

‘Mix Tape’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mix-Tape-Jane-Sanderson-ebook/dp/B07YBGMB2Y/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=mixtape+by+jane+sanderson&qid=1578847232&sr=8-1

The paperback version will be out on the 9th July 2020.

 

About Jane Sanderson

Jane Sanderson is a writer and journalist. She has worked as a producer for BBC Radio 4, first on the World at One, and then on Woman’s Hour. She lives with her husband and children in rural Herefordshire.

Jane has poured much her own story into this book; from the boyfriend who gifted her a mix tape introducing her to the likes of Van Morrison, to the carefully curated playlist (featured in the book) which includes songs that have helped to shape her life and pay homage to her own youth.

 

Links

Website – http://janesanderson.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SandersonJane

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4909104.Jane_Sanderson

 

 

Blog Tour – ‘Home Truths’ by Susan Lewis ~ @fictionpubteam @susanlewisbooks

I am delighted to be taking part in this blog tour today.  ‘Home Truths’ was published in hardback, as an eBook and audiobook on the 22nd August 2019 by HarperCollins.  It will also be out in paperback on the 9th January 2020.

I would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book which I received via NetGalley.  You will find out what I thought about ‘Home Truths’ in a minute after the book blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Angie Watts used to have everything. A new home. A beloved husband. Three adored children.

But Angie’s happy life is shattered when her son Liam falls in with the wrong crowd. And after her son’s bad choices lead to the murder of her husband, it’s up to Angie to hold what’s left of her family together.

Her son is missing. Her daughter is looking for help in dangerous places. And Angie is fighting just to keep a roof over their heads.

But Angie is a mother. And a mother does anything to protect her children – even when the world is falling apart…

If home is where the heart is, what happens when it breaks?

 

My Review

‘Home Truths’ is the first book I have read by this author and I have to say I am seriously impressed. Susan Lewis has written a truly wonderful and genuine story which I think will touch the hearts of many readers. I found myself getting heavily involved in it and the characters and I felt really quite sad when I finished the book.

Out of all the characters I thought Angie was just the loveliest person going. She certainly didn’t deserve to go through what she did. There she was working as hard as she could to bring more money in and doing the best for her children and things just seemed to get worse and worse for her. My heart literally broke for Angie and all the time I found myself wishing that something good would happen.

Despite what Angie was going through she never stopped trying to help people who were also badly or worse off. I had nothing but admiration for her. I also loved her family. Hard times brought them even closer together and it was nice to see them all bonding.

There were a number of unsavoury characters throughout the story too, the type who preyed on the innocent and vulnerable. Not people I would ever want to meet.

‘Home Truths’ is a beautifully written story which I highly recommend. It deals with a number of issues including debt, gangs, drugs, love and loss. There are some very important messages throughout.

I am looking forward to more from Susan Lewis.

 

‘Home Truths’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Susan-Lewis-Untitled-Book-2/dp/0008286787/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1566928587&sr=1-1-spons

 

About Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.

 

Links

Website – http://www.susanlewis.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/susanlewisbooks

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

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7142.Susan_Lewis

 

Guest Post by Angelena Boden ~ @matadorbooks

I am delighted to welcome the lovely Angelena Boden back to my blog.  Her latest book, ‘Edna’s Death Cafe’ was published last September as an eBook by Matador and it has been getting quite a few good reviews.

Angelena has written a post about the fear of dying for my blog.  There is also the chance to win copies of the book.  First though, lets take a look at what ‘Edna’s Death Cafe’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

As in life, death is not without its agenda. This is something seventy-nine year old Edna Reid finds out when her partner, Ted, suddenly dies.

To cope with her loss, she sets up a Death Cafe to break down the taboo around death and to encourage other members of the community to discuss it openly. Over tea and cake, the participants hide their fears behind a veil of dark humour.

Religious fanaticism clashes with Victorian spiritualism as Edna’s meetings trigger lively conversations on the fragility of life, anxiety over dying, cost of funerals, and making sure long-lost greedy relatives don’t benefit from inheritances.

Soon, a series of events begin to unfold which threaten to undermine Edna’s livelihood and the Death Cafe meetings. These events just happen to coincide with the arrival of a mysterious stranger into the village.

Who is she and why is she so hostile to Edna?

~~~~~

‘Edna’s Death Cafe’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://amzn.to/2Q046aN

 

Guest Post

THANATOPHOBIA – The Fear of Dying

Death isn’t something we like to talk about. If it pops up in conversation we suddenly find the floor covering very interesting. In researching for my new book, Edna’s Death Cafe I talked to many people about how they feel about death, particularly their own, and the response was the same – they didn’t want to think about it because it made them feel anxious. I can relate to that as I suffered for a long time with a similar affliction which verged on panic, usually in the early hours of the morning.

I would spring out of bed, grabbing my throat, unable to swallow or breathe. Breathing into a paper bag or my cupped hands helped to calm the nervous system enough to make a cup of tea and put things back into proportion.

Now in my sixties I’ve experienced many losses as you would expect.  When my father died a few years ago, I realised on a very conscious level that I would be next in line (according to the natural order of things). It’s a sobering thought.

I became obsessed with everything to do with the dying process, funerals, body disposal and the age old question of whether consciousness really continues. I read voraciously the stories of near death experiences, the works of doctors such as Pym Van Lommel and Raymond Moody. My mind was having great difficulty in accepting that death was the end – hence the anxiety. I no longer had control over my life at that point.

For two years it made living in the moment impossible.  Every waking thought was controlled by the ‘horror’ that one day I was going to be no more – such is the power of the ego. I thought I was going crazy but death anxiety is very, real and very common.

In trying to avoid my own premature death I took ridiculous precautions.  Germs were monsters and my hands became raw from scrubbing them clean. I feared leaving the house in case a bus happened to mount the pavement and squash me. Everything I did had to be risk assessed until I found myself sobbing in front of my doctor. Fortunately she was understanding and suggested something to calm me down as well as a grief counsellor who was trained in this field.

My condition was exacerbated by the fact I had post- traumatic stress syndrome which, despite therapy, was recurring especially when under stress. Death of a loved one is the number one stressor so my thought processes were understandable.

As well as these excellent therapies which help sort out the muddle between the rational and irrational I discovered my own path through the nightmare.

I trained as a funeral celebrant which put me in contact with the fundamentals of the dying process and of course with grieving relatives. I had to be the strong one and keep things together for the families. My work desensitised me to the fear of dying but strengthened my new belief that you can die well following a fulfilling life. Being at a burial site or in a crematorium for the final goodbye is a privilege but also provides a form of exposure therapy. It’s the fear of the unknown that gives the demons something to play with.

Writing about those things that make us anxious can be healing. My novel, inspired by the international death café movement provided succour and support. Through the main character Edna, an octogenarian who sets a good example of how to celebrate life we learn how we can talk about this last taboo. I think we need to name it properly: – death, dying and dead as opposed to the many euphemisms we use to lessen the impact of the reality.

We might not wear black or cover the clocks and mirrors as the Victorians did or have a religious belief – many funerals result in natural burials in woodlands – but we need to allow ourselves to mourn and not stiffen the upper lip or maintain a dry eye when someone kindly asks us how we are doing.

The only way to get through grief is through that painful, but necessary act of grieving, in our own time and at our own pace. We need to allow ourselves to feel the tidal wave of emotions knowing that we won’t drown. Grief doesn’t mean neglecting everything and everyone or shutting ourselves away in a darkened room. It means nurturing yourself with good food, fresh air, walks in nature and slowing down to appreciate that we’ve been lucky to be given this opportunity to experience life in all its glory.

The best things we can do for ourselves when faced with crippling anxiety over our eventual demise is to learn to relax. Yoga, gentle exercise, breathing exercises, meditation all help. When things get overwhelming, you can focus on counting backwards or reciting a bit of poetry – whatever will distract your mind from the mental pain.

So if you can relate to any of these feelings, don’t despair. You are normal and it will get easier.  ‘Sometimes a bit of humour can really help too. This is what Mark Twain had to say,   ‘I do not fear death: I had been dead for billions of years before I was born and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.’

 

Competition

Angelena is giving away 4 eBook copies of ‘Edna’s Death Cafe’.  2 lucky winners will receive their book via Amazon UK and 2 will receive an iBooks code.  To enter just leave a comment and let me know how you would prefer to receive your book.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 31st March 2019.

Winners will be randomly chosen within 7 days of the closing date and their email addresses will be sent to Angelena Boden.

 

About Angelena Boden

Angelena Boden has spent thirty-five years as an international training consultant, specialising in behavioural management and conflict resolution. She trained in Transactional Analysis, the psychology of communication and behaviour, her preferred tool for counselling and coaching.

She originates from the Peak District which is where her new book is set. Angelena has spent a life time travelling and living in places as far apart as Vancouver, Dubai, Paris, Seville and Iran. Now semi-retired in Worcestershire, she writes every morning, walks the hills and paints landscapes, fitting family and reading in between.

Angelena is writing stories for her new grandson about a little dachshund called Digger who is a very special sort of detective!

She is the author of two traditionally published novels and many articles and blogs.

Her most recent novel, Edna’s Death Cafe is published as an e-book by Matador. A new Edna Investigates will be available for Christmas 2019.

Angelena is keen to meet readers, old and new, and is available for book talks, events, and always chatting over a cuppa (within 60 miles of Worcester).

 

Links

Website – http://angelenaboden.com/

 

Book Review – ‘A Letter From Sarah’ by Dan Proops ~ @urbanebooks @Dan_Proops

‘A Letter From Sarah’ is being published in paperback and as an eBook on the 7th March 2019 by Urbane Publications.  I would like to thank the publisher for my review copy of this book.

You will find out in a minute what I thought about ‘A Letter From Sarah’.  First though, here is the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Adam’s sister, Sarah, has been missing for seven years, but he hasn’t given up hope of finding her. He is a sculptor and lives with his bedridden father who is a bully and a curmudgeon.

One morning, as the anniversary of Sarah’s disappearance nears, Adam receives a letter from her and she is apparently alive and well, living in New York. Adam travels to Brooklyn to search for Sarah as he’s desperate to see her, but she seems determined to avoid him.

Sarah’s letters arrive weekly, but she continues to remain elusive. Adam is perplexed by Sarah’s requests for secrecy, as is his father and his girlfriend, Cassandra.

He is determined to find her, whatever the cost to his wellbeing, health and sanity….

 

My Review

I really liked the sound of this book and was looking forward to reading it. The author has written a beautiful and poignant story. I found it to be very thought provoking and different to other books I have read.

When Adam received a letter from Sarah out of the blue I really wanted to believe that it was from her. It seemed too good to be true though. After all he hadn’t heard from her at all in the past seven years. But then as the letters started arriving regularly I had no doubt that they were from her, especially with the things she was mentioning in them. Like Adam, I found myself eagerly awaiting the next letter from Sarah and I hoped that one day she would say she wanted to meet up with him.

There were some interesting characters in this story. I liked how the author portrayed them along with their flaws. I really wasn’t very keen on Adam’s friend at all and felt he took advantage of things. Yes, he had problems but the way he behaved wasn’t great.

As I was reading this book I had a number of questions going through my mind. Something just didn’t add up and I was right. I have to say I never expected the story to unfold as it did though and was quite shocked.

‘A Letter From Sarah’ deals with many issues including loss, family and mental health. It will not let go of you even when you put the book down and you will find yourself thinking about it often and wondering what is going to happen next. This is not a story that you will be likely to forget either.

I look forward to more from this author.

~~~~~

‘A Letter From Sarah’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Letter-Sarah-Dan-Proops/dp/1912666219/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1551723199&sr=8-1&keywords=a+letter+from+sarah

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Letter-Sarah-Dan-Proops/dp/1912666219/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=a+letter+from+sarah&qid=1551723262&s=gateway&sr=8-3

 

About Dan Proops


Dan Proops has been a full time writer for six years and has completed four novels and a memoir. Previous to this he was a professional artist, organising a one man show at the age of fourteen. He has had many exhibitions over a long career and his artwork was purchased by internationally acclaimed art dealer, Eric Franck. His artwork appeared frequently in the national press and his painting was featured in Image of the Week in the Times. One of his exhibitions was previewed in the Telegraph by columnist Colin Gleadell.

Dan is a Twitter influencer and has a following of 22,000; last year 1.2 million people read his tweets, and he currently attends the advanced writing class at Morley College, run by the renowned radio four dramatist Mike Walker. Dan Proops is also the grandson of legendary advice columnist, Marjorie Proops. He lives and works in London.

 

Links

Website – http://dan-proops.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Dan_Proops

Guest Post by Sandra Danby ~ @SandraDanby

I am absolutely thrilled to be welcoming Sandra Danby back to my blog.  Her new book, ‘Connectedness’, the second in the Identity Detective series was published in paperback in April by Beulah Press and is also available as an eBook.

Sandra has written a guest post about how PD James influenced her work.

 

The influence of PD James

I’ve been a fan of PD James’ detective Adam Dalgliesh since I was a student and having gone back to the beginning to read Cover Her Face, I then bought each book as it was published. I don’t write crime fiction and never expected the Dalgliesh series to have such an influence on my own work but once I decided my identity detective Rose Haldane deserved her own series, I looked again at the structure used by PD James.

The key thing I learned was that each Dalgliesh novel tells the story of a murder and the people involved. Adam Dalgliesh gets involved once the murder is discovered but it is not his story, he is the conduit through which the story is told. This was an epiphany for me. Once I applied it to my own ideas for the ‘Identity Detective’ series, I could see it would work. Ignoring Gravity, the first, tells the story of journalist Rose Haldane, an adult who discovers she was adopted as a baby and was lied to all her life by her family, and her subsequent search for her true origins. Connectedness, my latest novel, is about Justine Tree, a birth mother now in her fifties who longs to find the baby daughter she gave away in the Eighties. Justine employs Rose as a kind of researcher to find her daughter. In the course of this book, Rose realizes she is good at this type of work, that she can become a detective of identities. I’m now writing Sweet Joy, third in the series, in which Rose is employed by an elderly lady to identify her parents who abandoned her in a house during The Blitz in London 1940.

Flash backwards to my writing group friends and the first time they read the complete manuscript of Connectedness. They were familiar with the story and characters, having read most of the chapters in isolation. But why, they asked, don’t you start with Rose? Because, I said, Connectedness is not about Rose; it’s about Justine. Worried I’d misjudged, I went back to a chapter-by-chapter analysis I did almost ten years ago of Original Sin, ninth in the Adam Dalgliesh series. He appears briefly in Chapter 4 when the body has been found – twenty five pages in – but his next viewpoint chapter is almost a third of the way through the book. Instead James patiently allows the story to unfold, told by the characters involved in the murder so the reader makes assumptions about what has happened and comes to know the characters involved. When Dalgliesh arrives on the scene however, he starts asking awkward questions so making the reader doubt his first impressions of people and events. And in this way, the mystery grows. I hope I’ve achieved a similar effect with Connectedness.

 

About ‘Connectedness’

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, ARTIST JUSTINE TREE HAS IT ALL… BUT SHE ALSO HAS A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY EVERYTHING

Justine’s art sells around the world, but does anyone truly know her? When her mother dies, she returns to her childhood home in Yorkshire where she decides to confront her past. She asks journalist Rose Haldane to find the baby she gave away when she was an art student, but only when Rose starts to ask difficult questions does Justine truly understand what she must face.

Is Justine strong enough to admit the secrets and lies of her past? To speak aloud the deeds she has hidden for 27 years, the real inspiration for her work that sells for millions of pounds. Could the truth trash her artistic reputation? Does Justine care more about her daughter, or her art? And what will she do if her daughter hates her?

This tale of art, adoption, romance and loss moves between now and the Eighties, from London’s art world to the bleak isolated cliffs of East Yorkshire and the hot orange blossom streets of Málaga, Spain.

A family mystery for fans of Maggie O’Farrell, Lucinda Riley, Tracy Rees and Rachel Hore.

 

About the ‘Identity Detective’ series

Rose Haldane reunites the people lost through adoption. The stories you don’t see on television shows. The difficult cases. The people who cannot be found, who are thought lost forever. Each book in the ‘Identity Detective’ series considers the viewpoint of one person trapped in this horrible dilemma. In the first book of the series, Ignoring Gravity, it is Rose’s experience we follow as an adult discovering she was adopted as a baby. Connectedness is the story of a birth mother and her longing to see her baby again. Sweet Joy, the third novel, will tell the story of a baby abandoned during The Blitz.

 

About Sandra Danby

Sandra Danby is a proud Yorkshire woman, tennis nut and tea drinker. She believes a walk on the beach will cure most ills. Unlike Rose Haldane, the identity detective in her two novels, Ignoring Gravity and Connectedness, Sandra is not adopted.

 

Author Links

‘Connectedness’ at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2q6qy5Z

‘Ignoring Gravity’ at Amazon http://amzn.to/1oCrxHd

Author website: http://www.sandradanby.com/

Twitter: @SandraDanby

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sandradanbyauthor

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6563021.Sandra_Danby

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandradan1/

 

Photos [all © Sandra Danby unless otherwise stated]:-

Author jpeg

CN cover jpeg

PD James – photo Murdo Macleod for The Guardian

PD James on Sandra’s bookshelf

Original Sin by PD James – Sandra’s own copy

 

Book Review – ‘The One’ by Maria Realf

‘The One’, Maria Realf’s debut novel, was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 22nd March 2018 by HarperImpulse.  I was contacted by Heidi of Bland PR about this book and would like to thank her for my copy to review.  You’ll find out what I thought about ‘The One’ in a minute, but first here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

You never forget the one.
You’ll never forget this book.

Lizzie Sparkes should be the happiest girl in the world she’s three months away from marrying The One in the wedding of her dreams! But then The One before the One walks back in to her life with a bombshell.

Alex’s unexpected return changes everything and now Lizzie faces an impossible dilemma. Because how can you leave the past behind you, when it’s standing right in front of you….asking you for one more chance?

Fall in love with this beautiful l love story. A must read for fans of Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You and Cecelia Ahern’s PS I Love You.

 

My Review

I am so very glad that I agreed to read ‘The One’. I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. The story has been beautifully told and is very realistic with a number of flawed characters.

Set in Surrey, this story switches between the present and the past giving readers a good insight into Lizzie and how she first met Alex. I thought this worked really well without any confusion. I also liked the way the chapters counted down to the wedding and I loved the build up to it.

I was just as intrigued as Lizzie as to why Alex was back in town and I found myself wondering if the wedding would actually go ahead.

I liked Lizzie and really felt for her. It’s stressful enough organising a wedding without your ex turning up and confusing matters. It seemed that even years later Alex still carried a torch for her. He was more encouraging of Lizzie’s dream than Josh was, something that I really loved about him.

‘The One’ looks at a number of different issues including relationships, illness, death, loss, break ups and marriage. It definitely is a story that will stay with you for a while.

The ending was just so sad but also really beautiful and because of this I am giving the book 5 out of 5. I am looking forward to reading more by this author. Perhaps there could be a sequel?

~~~~~

‘The One’ is available to buy from:-

HarperCollins – https://www.harpercollins.co.uk/9780008278960/the-one/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-moving-unforgettable-story-emotional-ebook/dp/B074Z2FGF4/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1523810804&sr=1-1

 

About Maria Realf

Since graduating with a degree in multi-media journalism, Maria Realf has wrked on a staff or freelance basis for many of the UK’s best-known magazines, including The Mail on Sunday’s YOU Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Cosmopolitan Bride, Fabulous, Marie Claire, Now and You & Your Wedding. In her spare time, Maria is also an all-round movie obsessive, theatre lover and karaoke enthusiast. Find out more at www.mariarealf.com.

 

Social Media Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/MariaRealf

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

 

‘The Fragile Thread of Hope’ by Pankaj Giri

‘The Fragile Thread of Hope’ was self-published as an eBook by Pankaj Giri last November. Pankaj contacted me a while back to ask if I would review his novel. I would like to thank him both for sending me a copy of his book and for being really patient with me. I meant to review it much earlier but things got in the way.

It’s the autumn of 2012 and two people are about to find their lives totally turned upside down.

Still haunted by losing his brother at a young age, Soham has managed to establish a promising career in IT for himself in Bangalore. Fiona, after having had a difficult childhood, finds her life is finally taking a turn for the better. She has married her beloved and things are wonderful.

But when tragedy strikes them both yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart. Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief and find some normality again?

I absolutely adored this book from start to finish. I found myself really wanting to savour it and so I took my time reading it. The writing was simply exquisite and the descriptions were just wonderful. Pankaj Giri has clearly given a lot of thought to this story.

The chapters are narrated by Sharon (Fiona’s mother), Fiona and Soham. The reader is given a good insight into their lives leading up to the individual tragedies. I warmed to the main characters instantly. I felt really bad for Soham who put himself through hell for years after his brother’s death.

It was really interesting learning about the different traditions; i.e. the festivals and what happens at funerals. I loved the description of the birch tree, how it loses all of its leaves year after year and yet it continues to stand there patiently. It waits for new leaves to grow and doesn’t give up hope. If only we could all be that patient and positive. This book really got me thinking and made me realise how short life really is and how you should make use of it. Material things are of course nice but loved ones are all the more important.

‘The Fragile Thread of Hope’ is a thought-provoking and emotional story about love and loss and how there can still be hope even in the darkest of moments. It gives a very strong message not to give up no matter what.

I really hope that Pankaj Giri writes more books. To not do so would surely be torture for his readers. I don’t normally compare authors with others, but I would say if you like Renita D’Silva’s books then you will hopefully enjoy this one.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘The Fragile Thread of Hope’ can be purchased from:-

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fragile-Thread-Hope-emotional-inspirational-ebook/dp/B076ZGGNH8/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076ZGGNH8

 

Author Links

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/_PankajGiri

 

Cover and First Chapter Reveal – ‘The Things We Need to Say’ by Rachel Burton

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for Rachel Burton’s new book.  ‘The Things We Need to Say’ is being published as an eBook on the 11th May 2018 by HQ Digital.

I hope you are ready to feast your eyes on the cover.  I really like it and think it’s beautiful.  It reminds me of long summer days.

Here goes……..

Book Blurb

Sometimes the things we never say are the most important.

Fran loves Will with all her heart. They had a whirlwind romance, a perfect marriage and a wonderful life. Until everything changed. Now Fran needs to find her way again and teaching a yoga retreat in Spain offers her just that. Leaving behind a broken marriage she has some very important decisions to make.

Will needs his wife, he needs her to open up to him if they’re to ever return to the ways things once were. But he may have damaged any possibility he had of mending their relationship and now Fran is in Spain and Will is alone.

As both Fran and Will begin to let go of a life that could have been, fate may just find a way of bringing them back together.

Perfect for fans of Katie Marsh, Amanda Prowse and Sheila O’Flanagan

~~~~~

And now to give you a taste of this book here’s the first chapter.

Book Extract

 

DECEMBER 2004

It started at the party. His hands on my hips, my forehead against his shoulder. He asked me to dance but he didn’t know how. We stood together at the edge of the dance floor shaking with laughter at his two left feet. I don’t know how long we stood there. I don’t know if anybody noticed.

He’d waited for me, sitting with my friends, not sure if I’d turn up or not. I wasn’t in the habit of going to work Christmas parties; I only went in the end because he said he would be there, because he said he would wait for me. I arrived just as the main course was being served. I slipped into the seat next to him. His hand brushed against my thigh as I sat down. He held my gaze for longer than he should have done.

I fell in love with him that night as we stood on the dance floor laughing, my hands on his waist, feeling the muscles of his back, the warmth of his body, through his dress shirt, the press of him against my hip.

That was where it began. I sometimes wonder if that should have been where it ended.

But later that evening, as I got out of his car, and I said those words I should have kept to myself, we both knew there was no going back.

 

JULY 2016

Fran

She wakes up in the same position in which she fell asleep, her husband’s arms around her, their hands entwined on her stomach. Neither of them have slept that deeply for months. Fran remembers something: a hotel room on a Greek island, a feeling of hope, of new beginnings. She doesn’t allow the memory to linger. This is what they have now. They can be happy again if they allow themselves to be.

The hot, humid weather has broken in the night and she listens to the sound of summer rain on the roof. Will moves gently against her, pulling her closer. She feels his breath against her neck and the sensation of hot liquid in her stomach, a combination of desire and need. This is their second chance – she can’t let it pass her by.

‘I love you,’ Will says sleepily.

‘I love you too,’ she replies. It feels good to be saying it to each other again. She’s never stopped loving him; she just forgot how to tell him for a while.

‘Do you want me to go and make coffee?’ Will asks, nuzzling her neck.

‘Not just yet,’ she replies, turning around to look at him. His brown eyes are dark, impenetrable pools. His hair is pushed back off his face. Sometimes she forgets how much all of this has affected him too. Sometimes she forgets everything except her own pain. She feels his warmth against her, his strength. She feels as though the gulf that had been threatening to open up between them for the last year is slowly closing. She realises they have so much life ahead of them. So much time to learn to be happy again.

‘I thought I’d lost you,’ Will says quietly, reaching up to stroke her face. ‘I thought you’d gone, but recently I feel as though you’ve come back to me.’

She smiles softly. ‘I thought I’d lost you too,’ she says. ‘This last year has been …’ She doesn’t finish. She can’t finish.

She watches as a shadow of anguish crosses his face, as his brow furrows, as his jaw tightens. She recognises that look, recognises the pain he is trying to hide. She hears the shudder of his breath. His eyes flick away for a moment; he pauses for a fraction too long.

‘No,’ he says. ‘You never lost me. I’ll always be here.’

She kisses him gently then, and feels his hand drift down the bones of her spine.

Later, showered and dressed, they finally appear in the kitchen; Will’s younger brother, Jamie, is already sitting at the table drinking coffee. Will and Fran are hardly able to stop touching each other.

Jamie smiles at them, raising an eyebrow. ‘You’re up late,’ he says. Fran feels herself blushing, her stomach flipping over, and turns away towards the toaster.

‘Thanks for last night,’ Jamie goes on. ‘I needed that.’ Recently separated from his wife, living apart from his children, Jamie is lonely. Last night wasn’t the first Saturday night he’d spent with them. Fran knows Will has been throwing himself into cheering his brother up. She doesn’t mind. Jamie makes Will smile and it’s good to see him smile again.

As Will and Jamie start talking about the cricket, she feels her husband’s hand on her thigh, the warm, solid sensation of him right there next to her. They have been given a second chance, and they have grabbed it with both hands. She isn’t naive enough to think everything is going to go back to the way it used to be, but she knows that they can move on; they can talk and heal together. They can take another chance on living, find a new kind of normal.

Will stretches, draining his coffee cup. ‘This weather isn’t going to let up is it?’ he says looking out of the window where the rain is rattling against the frames like beads in a jar. ‘I’m going to have to cancel the cricket.’ As captain of the village team it is up to him to reschedule this afternoon’s match. Fran is quietly delighted that the weather means she doesn’t have to spend her last afternoon with her husband before she goes away watching him play cricket. Will gets up and walks into his study, shutting the door behind him.

‘How are you feeling about tomorrow?’ Jamie asks.

‘Nervous,’ Fran replies. ‘It’s the first time I’ve been on a plane on my own, which is pathetic at my age, I know.’

‘It’s OK to be nervous.’

‘It’s the first time Will and I have been apart since …’ She trails off. Jamie knows what she’s talking about. ‘I’m worried about him too.’

Jamie smiles. ‘I’ll look after him,’ he says.

After a moment Jamie gets up and follows Will into his study. He doesn’t knock; he just opens the door and walks in. As Fran starts to clear the breakfast dishes she hears raised voices but can’t quite make out what they are saying. She rolls her eyes to herself. As an only child she has long since given up on understanding Will and Jamie’s relationship: best friends one minute, bickering the next. She just hopes Jamie doesn’t stay too long – she wants her husband to herself for the day.

 

Will

It rains all day, the sky grey and waterlogged and heavy with cloud. After Jamie leaves, Will pulls Fran towards him, his hands at the back of her head where her skull meets her neck, where her hair is cut so short.

‘No cricket,’ he says. ‘I’m all yours.’

She smiles, standing on tiptoe to kiss him.

‘Can we just watch a film or something?’ she says. ‘I’m tired and I have to pack for Spain later.’ His stomach drops at the thought of her going away. He wishes he’d never encouraged her to do it.

‘I’d forgotten about Spain,’ he says.

‘No you hadn’t. It’s the only thing we’ve talked about for ages.’

Will had watched Fran spend the last few weeks flipping back and forth between excitement and terror at the thought of going to Spain on her own. He knew she was strong enough to do it; he knew she was stronger than anyone realised. But he also knew that she wondered if she was ready. When she first mentioned Spain to him he had seen it as a perfect opportunity to help her begin to put herself back together again after what had been the worst year of both their lives. He tried to believe that everything life threw at him was an opportunity.

Fran had been teaching at a studio in central Cambridge for six years and had been asked to teach for a week on a retreat in Spain. Will had always supported her teaching, always tried to put her career on a level par with his own and had done everything he could to help her find the strength to go back to work in January. None of it had felt as though it was enough. None of it would make up for the last year, the things he had said, the things he had done. Suddenly he is terrified about being on his own. Neither of them have been alone for months.

‘What do you want to watch?’ he asks, squatting down in front of the TV.

‘Can we watch Some Like it Hot?’ Fran replies.

Will rolls his eyes. He must have seen it a hundred times, but puts it in the DVD player anyway and goes to settle himself on the sofa. ‘Come here,’ he says, and she sits with him, leaning back against his chest.

‘Are you OK about Spain?’ he asks quietly.

‘I think so,’ she says. ‘I’m nervous, but I’m excited as well.’

‘Elizabeth will be there with you, won’t she?’

‘Yes, and Constance. In fact, I already know most of the other people who are going. I’ll be fine.’ She pauses. ‘Are you going to be OK?’ she asks quietly.

‘I’m going to miss you,’ he says, lying back on the sofa, wrapping his arms around her. He doesn’t know how to answer the question. He wants to tell her everything but knows that now is not the right time.

‘I’m going to miss you too,’ she replies.

He kisses the top of her head as she presses ‘play’ on the remote control. He watches her as she watches her favourite film, her lips moving along with the characters – she still knows every word by heart. They used to spend rainy Sundays like this when they were younger, when life seemed easier.

Halfway through the film he realises that Fran is crying – fat, salty tears running down her cheeks.

‘Fran?’ he asks quietly, pressing pause on the remote.

Fran doesn’t reply, she just turns around and he takes her in his arms. He feels her body against his. She clings to him as though her life depends on it and he holds her close as she cries and cries. He can’t remember the last time he saw her cry like this. They had both done their grieving in private over the last year but to Will it feels as though Fran has been holding all this in for months, shutting herself down. He’s relieved that she finally seems ready to let go.

‘I want my old life back,’ she sobs. ‘I want to be happy again.’

‘So do I,’ Will whispers. ‘And we will, in time. I promise.’

‘I wish we’d never bought this house – we had so much hope.’

‘Shhh …’ Will says softly, stroking her hair as she weeps against him.

 

~~~~~

Hopefully your appetite for this book has been well and truly whet.  The good news is that it can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2kLqSYL

 

About Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories since she first learned to talk. After many false starts she finally made one up that was worth writing down.

After graduating with a degree in Classics and another in English, she didn’t really know what to do when she grew up. She has worked as a waitress, a paralegal and a yoga teacher.

She has spent most of her life between Cambridge and London but now lives in Leeds with her boyfriend and three cats. The main loves of her life are The Beatles and very tall romantic heroes.

Her debut, The Many Colours of Us, was an Amazon Kindle bestseller. Her second novel, The Things We Need to to Say, is released on 11 May 2018. She is currently working on her third novel in which the heroine follows the love of her life to live in a city in northern England. It has no autobiographical elements at all…..maybe.

Find her on Twitter & Instagram as @bookish_yogi or search Facebook for Rachel Burton Author. She is always happy to talk books, writing, music, cats and how the weather in Yorkshire is rubbish. She is mostly dreaming of her next holiday….

 

Links

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