A Lover of Books

Archive for the tag “romance”

Book Launch for ‘A Room at the Manor’ – Guest Post by Julie Shackman ~ @AllenAndUnwinUK @G13Julie

Congratulations to Julie Shackman whose book. ‘A Room at the Manor’ is out today in the UK in paperback, published by Allen & Unwin.  It is also available as an eBook and audiobook.  Julie has become quite a regular on my blog and it is always a pleasure to have her visit.

Julie has written a post about where she writes and how it inspired the tea room in her book.  Before you read it though here’s what ‘A Room at the Manor’ is about.

 

 

Book Blurb

For all the readers who love Cathy Kelly and Maeve Binchy.

When her Maltese love affair turns sour, Lara McDonald returns to her quiet Scottish hometown of Fairview heart broken, yet determined – instead of looking for another PR position, she decides to follow her dream of baking. She impulsively takes the first job offered and finds herself working for local dragon Kitty Walker in her tea room True Brew.

Lara’s life is full of surprises, however, not the least being an unlikely friendship forged with one of Kitty’s elderly customers, the Laird Hugo Carmichael. The Carmichael family has lived at the beautiful Glenlovatt Manor for almost 300 years and, although in need of renovation, Hugo, his son and grandson currently make it their home.

There’s something about Lara that Hugo likes, and when Hugo suddenly passes away, Lara is stunned to discover she is mentioned in his will. But not everyone is happy with the old Laird’s faith in Lara.

A story of love, family, hope and trust, A Room at the Manor will delight every reader keen to find their place.

 

Guest Post

Tea & Thistles – My Inspiration for A Room at the Manor

I write every day in a gorgeous little tea shop and it was this place, that inspired me for “Thistles,” the fictional tea room in A Room at the Manor.

I can’t write at home. I’ve tried. But there are just too many distractions, ranging from social media (Twitter especially) to things around the house.

So during week days, I get all my writing things together and take myself off to this local tea shop.

It was while I was sitting in there, around eighteen months ago, admiring the glistening slices of cakes; sparkly topped cup cakes and fruit studded scones, that an idea came to me, to create my own tea room.

It was from there, that the idea for “Thistles,” was born, together with my heroine, Lara McDonald and moody, aristocratic sculptor, Vaughan Carmichael.

I think that wherever you write, has to inspire you and my local tea shop is no exception. From its tempting baking to calm, pretty atmosphere; gingham quilted cushions and polished tables, it a perfect place to people watch and be creative – and it was whilst sitting there, that I was able to pull together my own array of characters and decide on their future.

Its floor to ceiling windows look out onto cobbled side streets, leafy trees and an eclectic mix of local shops and there is usually a wide range of music playing in the background.

For me, my favourite little tea shop is a source of calm, inspiration and reflection, which I have attempted to reflect in “Thistles.”

I hope you enjoy reading about Lara and Vaughan’s story, every bit as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

And remember – happiness is a slice of cake in each hand!

Julie X

A Room at the Manor is out in the UK on kindle and in paperback from Atlantic Books.  It can be purchased from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Room-at-Manor-Julie-Shackman/dp/1760632864/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1564598088&sr=8-2

 

About Julie Shackman

Julie Shackman trained as a journalist and studied Media & Communication before turning her hand to women’s fiction. When not reading and writing romance, she writes verses and captions for greeting card companies.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

Blog – http://julieshackman.wordpress.com/

Book Review – ‘A Summer to Remember’ by Sue Moorcroft ~ @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK

Following on from my post this morning promoting ‘A Summer to Remember’ by Sue Moorcroft, I am back reviewing this book.  I would like to thank Sue and Avon Books for sending me a review copy.

Before I tell you all what I thought about ‘A Summer to Remember’, here’s the book blurb again.

 

Book Blurb

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

 

My Review

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘A Summer to Remember’. No, actually I loved it. It was everything I expected it to be and so much more besides. From the very first page I knew this book was for me. Sue Moorcroft’s descriptions of Nelson’s Bar and the surrounding areas were simply breath-taking, and I could picture the village in colour in my head. It sounded like the ideal place to escape to away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and technology.

There were some truly wonderful characters in this story including Dilys and Ernie. They literally couldn’t live with each other but at the same time they couldn’t live without each other. It was quite sweet in a way.

Clancy was such a warm and lovely person and I found myself liking her instantly. Circumstances left her with no other option but to start afresh somewhere else which didn’t seem at all fair at first, especially when what happened was hardly her fault. Nevertheless, she got on with life as best as she could. I really liked Clancy’s spirt and how she was always there for others.

And of course, how could I forget Nelson the dog. He was just so adorable. I think it’s so nice when there’s a pet included in the story. That’s very important as they are characters in their own right.

Relationships and break-ups played a key part in this story. It took a lot to confront the truth and realise that sometimes things just weren’t meant to be. Hearts broke and life didn’t feel worth living but at some point, something or someone better was bound to come along as Clancy was about to discover.

I really recommend reading ‘A Summer to Remember’. I guarantee that it’s a story you won’t forget in a hurry.

Sue Moorcroft is now on my list of favourite authors. She is an amazing writer and her books are magical.

 

‘A Summer to Remember’ is available to buy from:- 

Apple iBook: buy
Amazon UK: buy
Kobo: buy

Don’t forget that the eBook is currently 99p.

 

Book Promotion: Guest Post – ‘A Summer to Remember’ by Sue Moorcroft ~ @SueMoorcroft @AvonBooksUK

If you are a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s books then I have some brilliant news for you.  Her latest novel, ‘A Summer to Remember’ is currently on promotion at only 99p for the eBook.  How good is that!  I can tell you now that you are in for a real treat.

Sue Moorcroft has written a guest post for my blog.  First though, here’s what ‘A Summer to Remember’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

COME AND SPEND SUMMER BY THE SEA!

WANTED! A caretaker for Roundhouse Row holiday cottages.

WHERE? Nelson’s Bar is the perfect little village. Nestled away on the Norfolk coast we can offer you no signal, no Wi-Fi and – most importantly – no problems!

WHO? The ideal candidate will be looking for an escape from their cheating scumbag ex-fiancé, a diversion from their entitled cousin, and a break from their traitorous friends.

WHAT YOU’LL GET! Accommodation in a chocolate-box cottage, plus a summer filled with blue skies and beachside walks. Oh, and a reunion with the man of your dreams.

PLEASE NOTE: We take no responsibility for any of the above scumbags, passengers and/or traitors walking back into your life…

GET IN TOUCH NOW TO MAKE THIS A SUMMER TO REMEMBER!

 

Guest Post

Dealing with the exes

In A Summer to Remember the ex-fiancé of Clancy and the ex-girlfriend of Aaron played pivotal roles.

Will, Clancy’s ex, was comparatively easy. He was ex at the beginning of the book because he’d been caught with another woman. The other woman, Renée, had come storming back at him from his past: the love of his life, now single and returning the love he felt for her, marrying Clancy could only be wrong. Nevertheless, readers weren’t meant to feel much sympathy for him when he was intimate with Renée before ending his engagement to Clancy. It was made hard for Clancy to remain in the business in which they were both partners. She was the innocent victim, but Will didn’t leave the biz and their home to make it easy on her. In fact, Will’s behaviour is increasingly self-serving throughout the book until, some might consider, he gets a bit of a comeuppance.

In writing terms, it was beyond easy to encourage the readers not to sympathise with Will.

Genevieve, Aaron’s girlfriend at the beginning of the book, I found trickier to handle. Essentially, she did nothing ‘wrong’ – at least, she didn’t cheat or lie. Genevieve, as so often in real life, made a mistake. Instead of continuing to be the independent woman Aaron had been enjoying being with for the past year, she tried to move their relationship on and move in with him. I think Aaron would have handled this better if she hadn’t hung this change on the fact that she had to move out of her cottage for building work. The more he told her it was the wrong reason for moving in with someone the more she seemed to realise that actually, she wanted to commit.

Sadly, Aaron didn’t.

It made him realise that not only was Genevieve not ‘the one’ but that his preoccupation with Clancy, with whom he’d shared one hot kiss, one blazing row and then six years of stilted emails, was altogether too much on his mind.

The problem, I found, was in making Genevieve nice enough for Aaron to have been with her for a year but not so nice that he’d remain with her when she gave him an ultimatum. At the same time, I didn’t want to make my hero look bad … I fought the Genevieve character throughout the book and finally got her where I wanted her. She played a pivotal part in the ending of the book and yet, I hope, the readers don’t hate her because it’s easy to see where she went wrong – she loved someone more than he loved her.

 

About Sue Moorcroft


Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times and international bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle. She’s won the Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary, and has been nominated for several other awards, including the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards.

Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared all over the world.

Part of an army family, Sue was born in Germany and lived much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus before setting in the UK.

 

Links

Twitter: @SueMoorcroft

Facebook: SueMoorcroftAuthor/

Instagram: @SueMoorcroftAuthor

 

The A Summer to Remember UK ebook is currently on 99P PROMO!

Apple iBook: buy
Amazon UK: buy
Kobo: buy

 

Look out for my review of ‘A Summer to Remember’ this evening.

 

Blog Tour – ‘Four Weddings and a Festival’ by Annie Robertson ~ @orionbooks @annierauthor

‘Four Weddings and a Festival’ was published in paperback and as an eBook on the 11th July 2019 by Orion.  It is also available as an audio book.  I am beyond thrilled to be taking part in this blog tour and would like to thank Kate Moreton for inviting me to participate and for my review copy which I got via NetGalley.

I am bursting to tell you what I thought about ‘Four Weddings and a Festival’.  First though, here’s the blurb.

 


Book Blurb

Four months. Four weddings. One happy ending…?

Lifelong friends and rom-com fans Bea, Lizzie, Hannah and Kat have curled up with Bridget Jones, sobbed at Love, Actually and memorised the script to Notting Hill. They always joked about getting married in one summer – their own Four Weddings – and it seems like this might just be the year . . .

That is, until Bea turns down her boyfriend’s proposal. Is her own Hugh Grant waiting for her amid the champagne and confetti? Can real-life romance ever live up to a Richard Curtis movie?

As the wedding – and festival – season gets into its swing, can all four friends find their happy ever after…?

Raise a glass of champagne and get ready for this summer’s most charming romantic comedy! Perfect for fans of Sophie Ranalds, Mandy Baggot and Sue Roberts

 

My Review

I absolutely loved this book. It was such a lighthearted and enjoyable read. I really liked the author’s style of writing and the storyline. I must also comment on the cover. Its just so beautiful and summery and really catches the eye. Love it.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Bea, Lizzie, Hannah and Kat and I felt as if I had known them all forever. I adored Aunt Jane. She was just so much fun, the kind of aunt I think we would all like to have in our lives.

I like that the author has included gay characters in her story. She has also touched on some very important issues.

I have to confess that I have never actually watched ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’. Yes, I know. Unbelievable isn’t it! I must be in the minority. Now that I have read this book though I am determined to watch it, even though I must be a zillion years late to the game.

I highly recommend reading ‘Four Weddings and a Festival’. It’s the sort of book which really helps you to escape from everyday life and it is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face.

I am looking forward to reading more of Annie Robertson’s books.

 

‘Four Weddings and a Festival’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Four-Weddings-Festival-Annie-Robertson/dp/1409189996/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1562868586&sr=8-1

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/annierauthor

Cover Reveal – ‘A Question of Us’ by Mary Jayne Baker ~ @Aria_Fiction @MaryJayneBaker

Today is a very exciting day indeed.  You see Mary Jayne Baker has a brand new book coming out.

Yes, you read right!  It’s called ‘A Question of Us’ and it is being published as an eBook on the 5th September 2019 by Aria Fiction.

Together with a number of fellow book bloggers I am helping to reveal the cover of this book.  I can tell you now that you are definitely in for a treat.

So, are you ready to see the cover?  Was that a no??

Only teasing!!  Feast your eyes on this………….

 


Isn’t this cover lovely?  I like that the title of the cover is in purple, my favourite colour.  Now, you’ll be wanting to know what the book is about won’t you.  Here is the blurb.

 

Book Blurb

Two best friends. Eight pub quizzes. One shot at love…

There are some people who seem like they have all the answers in life. Clarrie Midwinter isn’t one of them.

At the age of 26, tomboy Clarrie is still struggling to become a ‘proper’ grown-up. She’s eternally strapped for cash, she hasn’t had a date in nearly a year and her attempts to quit smoking tend to take a nosedive after the second pint. Most annoyingly of all, her ladykiller best friend Simon just won’t stop asking her out. The only thing keeping her sane is her pub quiz team, the Mighty Morphin Flower Arrangers.

But when Simon bets her a date their team will win the quiz league, Clarrie is forced to confront what she really wants out of life – and love. Is it finally time for her to grow up?

Gloriously irreverent, badly behaved romantic comedy from the author of Meet Me at the Lighthouse.

 

‘A Question of Us’ can be pre-ordered from:-

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XleC3A
iBooks: https://apple.co/2RQnN62
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2RSU2Bv
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2ROC4QC

 

About Mary Jayne Baker


Mary Jayne Baker is a romance author from Yorkshire, UK. She is represented by Laura Longrigg at MBA Literary Agents. Mary Jayne Baker grew up in rural West Yorkshire, right in the heart of Brontë country… and she’s still there. After graduating from Durham University with a degree in English Literature, she dallied with living in cities including London, Nottingham and Cambridge, but eventually came back with her own romantic hero in tow to her beloved Dales, where she first started telling stories about heroines with flaws and the men who love them. Mary Jayne Baker is a pen name for an international woman of mystery…

 

Links

Twitter: @MaryJayneBaker
Facebook: @MaryJayneWrites

Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Girl I Used to Know’ by Faith Hogan ~ @Aria_Fiction @GerHogan

I have something very special for all of you today.  Yes, that’s right!

The cover of Faith Hogan’s book, ‘The Girl I Used to Know’ has had a makeover and myself along with a number of fellow book bloggers are helping to reveal it.  I personally think that it’s gorgeous and hopefully you will agree.

Right are you all ready to see it?

Are you sure or do you want to wait for a bit longer?

It’s worth the wait.

Oh okay, I’ve kept you waiting for long enough.

Without further ado here is the cover…….

 

I love this cover.  I wish I could walk up those steps and go through that front door.  Here’s what ‘The Girl I Used to Know’ is about.

 

Book Blurb

Two women. Two very different lives. One unexpected friendship.

Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.

Amanda seems to have the perfect life. But the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.

While Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.

But if they can open up to one another, these two women may just learn that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

Perfect for fans of Lucy Diamond, Marian Keyes, Rowan Coleman and Veronica Henry.

 

‘The Girl I Used to Know’ is available to buy from:-

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2I0gt5U
Kobo: https://bit.ly/2G3VDAs
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2HYtAEB
iBooks: https://apple.co/2CYr25c

 

About Faith Hogan

Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has an Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

 

Links

Faith Hogan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GerHogan

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

 

Aria Fiction

Website: www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Aria_Fiction

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

Instagram: @ariafiction

Blog Tour – ‘The House at Greenacres’ by Darcie Boleyn ~ @canelo_co @DarcieBoleyn

‘The House at Greenacres’ by Darcie Boleyn was published as an eBook on the 25th March 2019 by Canelo.  I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for this book and would like to thank Ellie Pilcher of Canelo for inviting me to participate and for my review copy.

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

 

Book Blurb

All roads lead home…

When Holly Dryden fled Penhallow Sands nearly a year ago she was determined to put the past – and Rich Turner – behind her. But now an unexpected loss and financial trouble has led her back to the family vineyard and it’s time to tell Rich the truth – he’s a father.

Surrounded by the memories of what they once shared Holly’s anger fades in the glow of Rich’s undeniable love for their son and the way he selflessly steps in to help the vineyard out of trouble. As Holly watches Rich flourish in his new role as father to baby Luke, she realises that though they can’t change the past, the future is still theirs to write…

An uplifting, emotional romance set in Cornwall perfect for fans of Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley

 

My Review

This book was full of gorgeousness; from the cover which reminded me of a lovely summer’s day to the story itself. I absolutely loved Darcie Boleyn’s style of writing and I really did not want to have to put my kindle down. This was such a relaxing and uplifting read and it ticked all the right boxes for me.

The author’s descriptions of Greenacres were simply divine. I wanted to be there exploring the house, the vineyard and the fields and drinking plenty of wine.

I thought that the characters were wonderful. There wasn’t one that I didn’t like. At times I almost felt as if I was with them. Some of the things Holly’s granny came out with were just hilarious. I thought she coped extremely well after losing her husband. Holly’s granny was such a lovely soul.

Whether Holly decided to stay at Greenacres or return to Exeter, she had to talk to Rich, her ex-boyfriend. He needed to know the truth, that he was a father. Where they would go from there though she really didn’t know. As the days and weeks went by Holly found herself enjoying life at Penhalllow Sands. She had lots of love and support from her family, plus Rich took to fatherhood really well. He absolutely doted on Luke which was nice to see.

Financial troubles at the vineyard helped Holly to make an important decision. She would inherit Greenacres one day and she didn’t want to see its demise. There surely had to be a way to make the vineyard viable.

I don’t want to tell you how the story ended, but suffice to say it was what I wished for and more.

‘The House at Greenacres’ has all the right ingredients. It really is the ideal book to read if you’ve had a bad day. Darcie Boleyn is a wonderful writer and I will definitely be reading more of her books.

~~~~~

‘The House at Greenacres’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon (UK)

Kobo (UK)

Google Books (UK)

Apple Books (UK)

 

About Darcie Boleyn

Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/DarcieBoleyn

 

Book Launch – Guest Post by Julie Shackman ~ @G13Julie @foreververlag

Big congratulations to Julie Shackman whose book, ‘A Room at the Manor’ is published today as an eBook in Germany.  Julie has written a guest post all about it, but first you’ll be wanting to see the cover in all its glory.

 

Gorgeous isn’t it!  Over to Julie now….

 

Guest Post

Forever Grateful to Forever

Being told by my agent that my first traditionally published novel, A Room at the Manor, had been bought by a prolific publisher in Germany, was a very special moment.

The romance imprint of Ullstein, Forever, have a genuine passion for the genre and so when they said they loved my story and declared that they wished to release it in both kindle and paperback, I was delighted.

I can’t quite believe that on 4 March, the kindle is out, with the paperback following on 2 May.

From the beginning, the lovely Forever team, headed up by my wonderful editor Caroline Funke, have enthused about A Room at the Manor, titled in Germany as Das Kleine Café Im Gutshaus.

When I took a browse through their website, I was struck by how beautiful and original their covers are, as well as the talented family of authors that are published by them.

They produced a gorgeous cover for my German edition; drew up a comprehensive marketing plan and messaged me frequently, expressing their excitement and enthusiasm for Lara and Vaughan’s story.

(I should admit at this point, that my knowledge of German is extremely limited and is something I think I should rectify!)

There is a real team effort to what they do and seeing “my baby” in their creative hands, is a wonderful experience.

Knowing that A Room at the Manor is being introduced to another audience in another country, is a very humbling experience and one which I am very excited about.

I hope that German readers enjoy reading about Lara and Vaughan every bit as much as I enjoyed writing about them.

Thank you to everybody at Forever for allowing me to bring my story to German readers!

Julie XX

~~~~~

Here is the purchase link for readers in Germany:-

https://www.amazon.de/Das-kleine-Café-im-Gutshaus-ebook/dp/B07J2NH287/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1549367682&sr=8-1

 

About Julie Shackman

Julie trained as a journalist and studied Communication & Media.

Her first two novels, Rock My World & and Hero or Zero were published digitally by Not So Noble Books. A Room at the Manor is her first traditionally published novel.

When not writing women’s commercial fiction, she also writes verses and captions for greetings card companies.

She is an avid reader and is currently trying to reduce her To Be Read pile.

Julie has a passion for handbags and pretty stationery and is married with two teenage sons.

 

Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/G13Julie

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/julie.shackman

Blog – http://julieshackman.wordpress.com/

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Last Dance’ by Aimee Brown ~ @Aria_Fiction @AimeeBWrites

I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in the cover reveal for Aimee Brown’s new book, ‘The Last Dance’ which is being published as an eBook on the 16th April 2019 by Aria Fiction.

Feast your eyes on this gorgeousness….

 

Book Blurb

Can you truly forgive and forget?

Ambri and Henry have been best friends forever. They’ve been through the highs and lows of life with each other by their sides.

The worst? When Henry’s wife, and Ambri’s sister, died. Together, they can face it all. Until one night destroys everything. Two years after he stepped out of it Henry walks back into Ambri’s life and she’s more than a little shocked.

But as old friends fall into even older habits they need to decide whether they can forget the past and embrace their future.

Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Jodi Picoult and Anna Bell.

~~~~~

‘The Last Dance’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK –  Mybook.to/TheLastDance

 

About Aimee Brown

Aimee Brown is a writer of romantic comedies set in Portland, Oregon, and an avid reader. She spends much of her time writing, raising three teenagers, binge-watching shows on Netflix and obsessively cleaning and redecorating her house. She’s fluent in sarcasm and has been known to utter profanities like she’s competing for a medal. Aimee grew up in Oregon, but is now a transplant living in cold Montana with her husband of twenty years, three teenage children, and far too many pets. She is a lot older than she looks and yes, that is a tattoo across her chest. (In the Portlandia spirit, yes, I lived many years in PDX and I do indeed have a bird tattooed on me (2!)) Aimee is very active on social media. You can find her at any of the networks below. Stop by and say hello!

 

Links

Aimee Brown

Twitter: @AimeeBWrites
Instagram:@authoraimeeb
Facebook: @authoraimeeb

Aria Fiction

Website: www.ariafiction.com
Twitter: @aria_fiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Instagram: @ariafiction

 

Blog Tour – ‘Christmas on Lily Pond Lane’ by Emily Harvale ~ @rararesources @emilyharvale

Hello everyone!  I hope you are all well.  I am so pleased to be back blogging and what better way than to start off with a festive read.

‘Christmas on Lily Pond Lane’, a standalone novel in the Lily Pond Lane series, was published as an eBook on the 18th September 2018 by Crescent Gate Publishing and is also available in paperback.  I was invited by the amazing Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources to take part in this blog tour and would like to thank both the author and Rachel for my review copy.

I really can’t wait to tell you what my thoughts on this book are.  First though you’ll naturally be wanting to gaze at the beautiful cover and find out what ‘Christmas on Lily Pond Lane’ is all about.

 

Book Blurb

Snow is falling in Little Pondale, lights are twinkling and the smell of pine trees and roasting chestnuts fills the air …

But Mia Ward is in a bit of a jam. She’d planned to rent out Corner Cottage for Christmas but thanks to best friend, Ella Swann, it’s double-booked. Now Mia’s got to let one ‘party’ down, or find another cottage – fast.

Best friends and single mums, Cathy Cole and Christy Franks want their kids to have an old-fashioned Christmas. Ice-skating, carol singing, making decorations, and tobogganing are on their list of festive fun and Little Pondale is the perfect place. Especially as it has no mobile phone reception. That will make it harder for Cathy to be found.

City banker, Leo Hardman is wondering if renting a cottage for Christmas as an anniversary surprise for his parents, was such a good idea. Little Pondale may be where his parents met, but his mum doesn’t seem pleased to be back, and his brother, Hal isn’t happy that the village is so tiny and only has one pub.

Meanwhile, Jenny Lake is settling in at her cousin’s bakery, having left her (broken) heart in Florence, but Christmas was never her favourite time of year. And Reverend Glen Fox has taken over at St Michael and All Angels. He’s glad it’s a temporary post because village life is not for him.

But luckily, for locals and visitors alike, there’s a sleigh-load of Christmas magic heading for Lily Pond Lane; enough to put a sparkle in everyone’s festive season. Although Christmas may not go quite as each of them has planned.

 

My Review

The months are flying by and whether you like it or not it will soon be Christmas. This is my first festive read of the year and hopefully there’ll be many more to come.

I read the whole of the Lily Pond Lane series and loved it, so I was totally overjoyed when I found out that Emily Harvale had written a standalone novel. It meant I would get to visit the village again and have a reunion with all the characters so to speak. Happy days!

I loved, loved, loved this book. I was totally hooked from the first page. The author has a wonderful way with words and tells a very good story indeed. The descriptions of the village, the Christmas decorations and the festivities were simply out of this world. I couldn’t wait to catch up with Mia, Jet and their friends. Even better was getting to meet some new people. Oh, and then there was the bakery which was taken over by Justin’s cousin. The bread and cakes sounded divine. I think I would have been in there every single day somehow.

This really was a lovely and relaxing read. It was absolutely magical and I was left with such a warm feeling at the end. Even though it’s a fictional village, Little Pondale sounds like a wonderful place and I reckon it would look lovely on a postcard or a Christmas card.

‘Christmas on Lily Pond Lane’ can be read as a standalone novel but I recommend reading the series in full, preferably on a comfortable chair or a sofa with a nice hot drink.

This is without a doubt one of my most favourite books of the year so far. Thank you Emily Harvale for making me smile. I feel kind of sad leaving this lovely village and everyone behind. I hope they all live happily ever after for many years.

~~~~~

‘Christmas on Lily Pond Lane’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://newbook.at/christmasLPL

 

About Emily Harvale

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happy endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

 

Social Media Links

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

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Four: Trick or Treat’ by Emily Harvale ~ @rararesources @emilyharvale

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Four: Trick or Treat’ was published as an eBook on the 7th August 2018 by Crescent Gate Publishing.  I would once again like to thank Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this blog tour and the author for my review copy of this book.

I will tell you in a minute what my thoughts are on the final part of this serial.  First though, let me remind you all what Part Four is about.

 

Book Blurb

Mia Ward was amazed to inherit her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She was even more astonished to discover she’d only inherit the place if she lives there for a year.

But a lot can happen in a very short time, and life in Little Pondale is not going quite as Mia hoped. She may have finally beaten one fear, but now heartbreak threatens to drown her.

And when at last, she starts to unravel the mystery of Matilda’s past, she uncovers an extraordinary plan for her own future. Now just who can Mia trust?

As the nights draw in and cold winds steal through Sunbeam Cottage, she turns to an unlikely source for comfort and support. But with the fortune teller’s warning still ringing in her ears, is Mia about to make the biggest mistake of her life?

 

My Review

Wow! What an action packed last part that was. You wouldn’t think that so much could happen in such a short time. Part Three of this serial left me totally intrigued with lots of questions going around in my head and I’m glad to say that they were all answered. There were also a few shocks and surprises along the way which even I didn’t expect.

After a few months of trying to discover more about her great-aunt Matilda and not having much luck, Mia finally found what she is looking for. But the icing on the cake wasn’t to be revealed just yet. No, that would be way too simple. It just meant that Mia had to be patient for a little while longer. I was totally intrigued by what she found out about Matilda’s past and almost felt as if I was sitting there with Mia and her friends in the kitchen learning about her great-aunt’s life. Fascinating stuff. Matilda was a genius. She obviously cared greatly about Mia and her happiness even though she had never met her. It’s like she waved a magic wand.

This was an absolutely delightful read and it left me with a lovely warm feeling. Everything seemed to come together in the end. The residents of Lily Pond Lane are like old friends to me now. I hope Mia has many happy years there.

All in all this was one fantastic serial and I would say that readers are definitely in for a real treat. Thank you for the many hours of pleasure Emily.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Four: Trick or Treat’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

http://newbook.at/Trickortreat

 

Read my review of ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part One: New Beginnings’ here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/blog-tour-the-cottage-on-lily-pond-lane-part-1-new-beginnings-by-emily-harvale-rararesources-emilyharvale/

Read my review of ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Two: Summer Secrets’ here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/blog-tour-the-cottage-on-lily-pond-lane-part-two-summer-secrets-by-emily-harvale/

Read my review of ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Three: Autumn Leaves’ here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/blog-tour-the-cottage-on-lily-pond-lane-part-three-autumn-leaves-by-emily-Harvale/

 

About Emily Harvale

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

 

Social Media Links

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

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

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

 

Guest Post by Fiona Perrin ~ @fionaperrin @Aria_Fiction

I am delighted to have Fiona Perrin on my blog today.  Her book, ‘The Story After Us’ was published as an eBook on the 14th July 2018 by Aria Fiction and is also available in paperback.

Fiona has written a guest post in the form of Questions and Answers.

 

Tell us about The Story After Us…

It’s a story for everyone who found out that happy ever after had a sequel and for everyone who’s faced irreconcilable differences and survived. Here is the blurb:

If she tries very hard, Ami can remember when she used to have a dynamic and exciting career and a husband who she loved more than life itself, and who was equally smitten with her… 

Now she has two children, a terrifyingly large mortgage, and no idea who she has become – or why she and her husband can’t even be in the same room anymore. 

With life as she knew it in tatters around her, Ami is heartbroken, and in no way pulling off ‘consciously uncoupling’ like a celeb. But she’s starting to wonder if she just might come out the other side and be… happier? 

 As funny as Helen Fielding, as poignantly touching as Marian Keyes, Fiona Perrin’s dazzling debut is a story that is as much about finding out who you really are again, as it is about the exhausting balancing act of motherhood. Unmissable for women everywhere.

 

What was your inspiration for The Story After Us?

I wanted to write about messy, modern love. I know lots of women whose families don’t look like they belong in a magazine spread, but are filled with happiness, humour and hope. I am divorced myself – a long while ago – and good mates and parents with my ex-husband while happily married to my second. I’m a mother and stepmother to four kids and have had a fairly full-on job while they’ve been growing up. Ami’s story isn’t mine, but I hope it’s one thats relatable to lots of women – and makes them laugh.

 

How did you write it?

I’ve always written but, in 2012 I signed up for the Curtis Brown Creative writing course with a very rough draft of a novel. I learned loads about great storytelling during the short course and threw away most of my word count. Then, with the help of a spin-off writing group that met every Monday fortnight for years, I wrote it again.

Eventually I was lucky enough to get the editorial input of my agent, Diana Beaumont, who helped me write it again a few more times. Then Aria wanted to publish it, and everything got really exciting.

 

Are you writing another book?

I am. Again, it has a mad, modern family with a difficult dilemma at its heart. It’s different the second time – I have a lot more certainty about what I’m doing.

 

So, what’s writing life like?

I’m working as a freelance now so that makes everything a lot easier. And the kids are older and lovely (not that they weren’t but you know…) and I’ve got a study by the sea at the end of the Lizard peninsula in Cornwall. We call it life on the edge because it is (of England) and so far, it’s pretty great.

 

Links

‘The Story After Us’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Story-After-Us-Fiona-Perrin-ebook/dp/B07BM58ZNN/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1521988626&sr=8-1&keywords=the+story+after+us

Website – http://www.fionaperrin.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/fionaperrin

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

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Three: Autumn Leaves’ by Emily Harvale ~ @rararesources @emilyharvale

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Three: Autumn Leaves’ was published as an eBook on the 10th July 2018 by Crescent Gate Publishing.  For a person who doesn’t normally like reading books in parts, I am finding that I am thoroughly enjoying this series and therefore I am delighted to be participating in this blog tour.  I would like to thank Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite.  Thanks also for my review copy of this book.

I will tell you in a moment what I thought about Part Three of this serial.  First though, here’s what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

Mia Ward was amazed to inherit her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She was equally astonished to discover she’d only inherit the place if she lives there for a year.

But it didn’t take long for Mia and her friends, Ella and Garrick to settle in. Now Mia’s mum, Lori has joined them, and they’re all enjoying village life. Mia’s keen to overcome her fear of water and with Garrick by her side, she’s confident about the future.

Until a fortune teller’s predictions give everyone cause for concern. Now Mia’s not so sure of anything, except that someone still wants her to leave. That makes her more determined to learn all she can about Matilda – and the codicil.

But as the mists roll in over the sea, are autumn winds making passions cool? And when more than one unexpected visitor gives Mia a shocking surprise, is everything about to change?

 

My Review

I was really looking forward to reading the next part of this serial and finding out what was happening with Mia, her mum, Ella and Garrick. The lovely covers together with spending a few hours in Lily Pond Lane always leaves me with a nice warm feeling. Emily Harvale certainly did a great job of ending the last part with a cliffhanger and keeping her readers waiting.

Mia and her friends had visited a fortune teller. Some of what they were told was worrying, even more so when things they had been predicted actually started coming true. I couldn’t help thinking that Mia was making a huge mistake as far as her love life went. Things moved along way too quickly and it was so obvious that her heart just wasn’t fully in it. I wish that she could end up being with a certain someone.

The revelation about Mia’s great-aunt Matilda was shocking and did seem a bit far-fetched at first. I guess it was totally possible though. Hopefully we will find out more about her.

This is all getting so very exciting now and I really can’t wait to read Part Four. There are just so many questions I want answered. Thanks for many hours of entertainment so far, Emily. One thing is for sure, I will definitely be reading more serials.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Three: Autumn Leaves’ is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

http://newbook.at/LilyPondAutumn

 

Read my review of ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part One: New Beginnings’ here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/blog-tour-the-cottage-on-lily-pond-lane-part-1-new-beginnings-by-emily-harvale-rararesources-emilyharvale/

Read my review of ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Two: Summer Secrets’ here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/blog-tour-the-cottage-on-lily-pond-lane-part-two-summer-secrets-by-emily-harvale/

 

About Emily Harvale

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happing endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

 

Social Media Links

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

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

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

 

~~~~~

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Four: Trick or Treat’ was published on the 7th August 2018.

 

Book Blurb

Mia Ward was amazed to inherit her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She was even more astonished to discover she’d only inherit the place if she lives there for a year.

But a lot can happen in a very short time, and life in Little Pondale is not going quite as Mia hoped. She may have finally beaten one fear, but now heartbreak threatens to drown her.

And when at last, she starts to unravel the mystery of Matilda’s past, she uncovers an extraordinary plan for her own future. Now just who can Mia trust?

As the nights draw in and cold winds steal through Sunbeam Cottage, she turns to an unlikely source for comfort and support. But with the fortune teller’s warning still ringing in her ears, is Mia about to make the biggest mistake of her life?

Purchase Part Four from Amazon UK – http://newbook.at/Trickortreat

Blog Tour – ‘Puzzle Girl’ by Rachael Featherstone ~ @DomePress @WRITERachael

‘Puzzle Girl’ was published as an eBook on the 2nd August 2018 by The Dome Press and will be out in paperback next January.  This is Rachael Featherstone’s debut novel.  I am absolutely delighted to be taking part in this blog tour and I would like to thank Emily Glenister for inviting me to participate and for my review copy.

You will find out what I thought of ‘Puzzle Girl’ in a moment, plus there’s a competition to enter towards the end of my post.  First though here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

Love is a riddle, waiting to be solved…

Clued-up career girl Cassy Brookes has life under control until one disastrous morning changes everything. When she finds herself stuck in a doctor’s surgery, a cryptic message left in a crossword magazine sends her on a search to find the mysterious puzzle-man behind it.

Cassy is soon torn between tracking down her elusive dream guy, and outwitting her nightmare workmate, the devious Martin. Facing a puzzling love-life, will she ever be able to fit the pieces together and discover the truth behind this enigmatic man?

 

My Review

‘Puzzle Girl’ really appealed to me somehow and I was looking forward to reading it. I liked Rachael Featherstone’s style of writing and the way the story was presented. The storyline was great and I thought it to be very original. This was such a fun and light-hearted read, although there were a couple of serious issues too. I loved the humour throughout. It was exactly the tonic I needed.

There were some fantastic characters in this story. I absolutely adored Cassy. She wanted to be successful in her career and she had a good chance of getting a promotion. Determined not to let this opportunity slip through her fingers Cassy did everything she could to secure the position. But in doing so she lost sight of what was really important and couldn’t see what was actually staring her in the face which was a bit of a shame. Cassy also loved solving puzzles. The cryptic clue in the puzzle book at the doctor’s surgery certainly got her thinking and trying to work out who had left it for her. The things Cassy got up to in trying to solve the mystery were hilarious. I also really liked Dan. He is exactly the sort of person you would want as a best friend.

The ending was just so lovely and was exactly what I hoped for. It left me with a nice feeling. My only complaint is that the story had to finish.

If you are looking for a nice relaxing read then I recommend ‘Puzzle Girl’. I hope there will be more books from this author.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Puzzle Girl’ can be purchased from Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2vo0qXk

 

 

Competition

One very lucky person has the chance to win an eBook copy of ‘Puzzle Girl’ and a very special puzzle notebook which is being donated by Rachael Featherstone herself.  To enter, just leave a comment.

 

Terms and conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 12th August 2018.

The winner will be picked randomly within 7 days of the closing date and contacted via email.  Their details will then be passed on to Emily Glenister at The Dome Press.

 

About Rachael Featherstone

Rachael Featherstone was born and raised in Woodford. Her path to writing was a little unorthodox. After reading Mathematics at Oxford University, New College, Rachael went to work in research.

When Rachael’s mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2012, Rachael decided to take a chance, quit her job, and fulfill a lifetime ambition to write a novel. She went back to university and completed a Masters in English Literature and had several short stories published.

Rachael now lives in Hampshire with her husband and daughter.

Puzzle Girl will be published by the Dome Press in ebook on 2nd August 2018 and in paperback in January 2019.

 

Social Media & Links

Twitter: @WRITERachael

Instagram: @rachael_featherstone

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

Website:  www.writerachael.com

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Two: Summer Secrets’ by Emily Harvale ~ @rararesources @emilyharvale

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Two: Summer Secrets’ was published as an eBook by Crescent Gate Publishing on the 11th June 2018.   Having taken part in the blog tour for the first part of this serial last month, I am absolutely thrilled to be participating in this one too.  I would like to thank the lovely Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join in with this tour.  My thanks also for my review copy of this book.

You will find out what I thought about it in a minute, but first the important bit.

 

Book Blurb

Escape to the seaside village of Little Pondale with Part Two of this heart-warming and romantic, four-part serial.

Mia Ward was amazed to inherit her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She was even more astonished to discover she’d only inherit the place if she lives there for a year.

Now Mia and her friends, Ella and Garrick are embracing village life. Garrick’s also embracing someone in The Frog and Lily, so Mia turns her attention to one or two of her sexy, single neighbours. But great-aunt Matilda remains an enigma and Mia’s still determined to discover who she was.

When Mia’s mum, Lori arrives, she’s eager to see what the summer has to offer. There’s the Kite Festival, the Fête, the Frog Hill Run, but what really appeals to Lori, much to Mia’s horror, is the Midsummer Night’s naked bathing in the pond at Frog’s Hollow.

As sweltering days surrender to sultry nights, love is definitely in the air. And when an incident means Mia has to face her greatest fear, help arrives from a surprising source. But one thing is clear… someone is trying to make sure Mia doesn’t stay in Little Pondale…

 

My Review

I loved the first part of ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane’ so much that I couldn’t wait to get stuck into the next instalment. Emily Harvale is a truly wonderful writer and I wish I had discovered her books much earlier. I really like her style of writing and how she paints a good picture of what life is like in a small village.

It was nice catching up with Mia, Ella and Garrick. It was like meeting up with old friends after a few weeks of not seeing or hearing from them at all. I loved Mia’s mum, Lori. She was an absolute hoot.

I thought that there was a lot packed into this novella. I enjoyed reading about the various annual events. They were a good way of bringing everyone together. I also learnt a lot more about the villagers and got a few shocks and surprises along the way as well. There were certainly some strange happenings too. I can only think that someone in the village likes playing practical jokes or maybe they actually do want Mia to leave. I can’t work out who would do such a thing though. That for now remains a total mystery.

This series is getting more and more interesting and I am really looking forward to the next part as I can’t wait to find out what is in store. Mia definitely has some decisions to make and they aren’t going to be easy ones either.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Two: Summer Secrets’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07DDL5KCR

You can read my review of ‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Land – Part One: New Beginnings’ here:-

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/06/16/blog-tour-the-cottage-on-lily-pond-lane-part-1-new-beginnings-by-emily-harvale-rararesources-emilyharvale/

 

About Emily Harvale

 

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now spends her days writing… and chatting on social media. Emily is a Member of the SoA, a PAN member of the RWA and a Pro Member of ALLi. She’s an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. Emily loves writing and her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily says, “I write about friendship, family and falling in love. I believe in happy endings.” When she isn’t writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both.

 

Social Media Links

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

Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

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

 

~~~~~

‘The Cottage on Lily Pond Lane – Part Three: Autumn Leaves’ is out on the 10th July 2018.

 

Book Blurb

Escape to the seaside village of Little Pondale with Part Three of this heart-warming and romantic, four-part serial. 

Mia Ward was amazed to inherit her great-aunt Matilda’s thatched cottage in the tiny seaside village of Little Pondale – especially as Mia didn’t know she had a great-aunt Matilda. She was equally astonished to discover she’d only inherit the place if she lives there for a year.

But it didn’t take long for Mia and her friends, Ella and Garrick to settle in. Now Mia’s mum, Lori has joined them, and they’re all enjoying village life. Mia’s keen to overcome her fear of water and with Garrick by her side, she’s confident about the future.

Until a fortune teller’s predictions give everyone cause for concern. Now Mia’s not so sure of anything, except that someone still wants her to leave. That makes her more determined to learn all she can about Matilda – and the codicil.

But as the mists roll in over the sea, are autumn winds making passions cool? And when more than one unexpected visitor gives Mia a shocking surprise, is everything about to change?

You can pre-order Part Three from Amazon UK:-

 

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

 

Blog Blitz – ‘A Garden in Cornwall’ by Laura Briggs

Happy publication day to Laura Briggs whose new novella, ‘A Garden in Cornwall’, the twelfth and final novella in the A Wedding in Cornwall series is out today.

I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this blog blitz which was organised by the lovely Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources.  I have a guest post for all of you.  First though, here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

With their lives exactly what they’ve always dreamed, Matt and Julianne await the arrival of the third member of their family — but their happiness is threatened when their landlady Mathilda announces her intention to sell their beloved Rosemoor Cottage for an impossible value. Devastated, Julianne struggles to accept the cold reality of her and Matt making their home elsewhere.

Matt’s life has taken a new turn as he finally puts aside his academic work to pursue his gardening hobby as a career: his first new job as a landscape designer involves neglected Penwill Hall’s ‘lost’ garden — one with a truly romantic Cornish past. But the task of restoring its legendary beauty from nearly seventy years ago proves difficult among the ruins lost in weeds and wilderness.

With notions of secret gardens and wartime stories echoing in her thoughts, Julianne is determined to help Matt and the estate’s new owner after the discovery of a hidden mural in the hall itself, depicting a breathtaking garden that may well be the lost one. Her efforts to uncover the past lead her to a curmudgeonly local gardener who just may hold the knowledge that would restore the ‘lost garden’ to its former glory. Will Julianne’s quest help her find a way to deal with losing the home she loves?

Hellos and farewells abound as Dinah returns to lend a helping hand at Cliffs House and Julianne relives her favourite memories of her and Matt’s beloved cottage in Book Twelve — the final instalment in the bestselling series A WEDDING IN CORNWALL.

‘A Garden in Cornwall’ is available to purchase from:-

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2IUC9AY

Amazon US – http://smarturl.it/agardenincornwall

 

Guest Post

I would like to thank Sonya for inviting me to share about my writing with all her readers at A Lover of Books!

Two years ago when I penned the novella called A Wedding in Cornwall, I had no idea how readers would respond. After all, I’m an American author whose never set foot on Cornish land in her life and has mostly the internet and PBS airings of Poldark and Doc Martin to help them picture its beauty as a literary setting. But those breathtaking cliffs and images of water breaking on the rocky shore were just too good to resist. So in the end, my heroine, an American wedding planner named Julianne, took the leap ‘across the Pond’ to work at a beautiful Cornish manor house…and twelve novellas later, I’m happy to say it has been a fantastic experience.

Readers in the UK have overwhelmed me with their support for Julianne’s world. Overlooking the cultural inaccuracies (and I fear there are many, many of them), they have embraced its tiny fictional village and its characters, returning again and again for each new adventure. From a holiday ball to a baking competition, a royal wedding, and even a talent show, they have followed Julianne and her friends with a level of enthusiasm I never anticipated. Their reviews are a joy to read, especially those who know and love Cornwall and feel the series has a special meaning for them as a result. One reader even remarked that it inspired them to revisit that very county after many years—a truly lovely sentiment to hear as an author hoping to pay tribute to the place they’re writing about.

Now, as the story draws to a close with the bittersweet A Garden in Cornwall, I look forward to sharing new projects, including another Cornish-based romance series for 2019. A different heroine discovering Cornwall under very different circumstances than Julianne, but I very much hope that readers will enjoy these new characters and adventures.  I’ll be releasing details on Book One and the series as a whole throughout the year, including title and cover reveal, story synopsis, and special excerpts from the manuscript’s rough draft. I’m very excited for readers to meet these new characters (especially the dreamy hero!) over the next few months.

And I’m not forgetting those who enjoy the excitement of the wedding planning world. In fact, this summer will launch the first book in a new wedding-themed series I’m writing for the UK publisher Bookouture. I can’t wait for readers to meet its trio of plucky heroines as they navigate their own romantic troubles while making sure their client has a picture-perfect big day.

To be notified of all my new book releases, readers should be sure to follow my Amazon author page here: http://author.to/briggsauthorpage

 

Giveaway

Win an e-copy of A Garden In Cornwall (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Click on the link to enter http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c6949487/?

 

About Laura Briggs

Laura Briggs is the author of several lighthearted romance novels and novellas, including the bestselling Amazon UK series A Wedding in Cornwall. She has a fondness for vintage-style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

 

Social Media Links

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

Twitter:        https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

 

Blog Tour – ‘The Street Orphans’ by Mary Wood

Having totally loved Mary Wood’s previous novel, I am over the moon to be taking part in this blog tour.  ‘The Street Orphans’ was published yesterday the 17th May 2018 in paperback and as an eBook by Pan Books.  I am so looking forward to reading this book.

I have something very special for all of you today.  Yes, you can exclusively read the first chapter of ‘The Street Orphans’.  First though, here’s what its about.

 

Book Blurb

The Street Orphans is an emotional story set in 1850s Lancashire, from Mary Wood, the author of In Their Mother’s Footsteps and Brighter Days Ahead.

Born with a club foot in a remote village in the Pennines, Ruth is feared and ridiculed by her superstitious neighbours who see her affliction as a sign of witchcraft. When her father is killed in an accident and her family evicted from their cottage, she hopes to leave her old life behind, to start afresh in the Blackburn cotton mills. But tragedy strikes once again, setting in motion a chain of events that will unravel her family’s lives.

Their fate is in the hands of the Earl of Harrogate, and his betrothed, Lady Katrina. But more sinister is the scheming Marcia, Lady Katrina’s jealous sister. Impossible dreams beset Ruth from the moment she meets the Earl. Dreams that lead her to hope that he will save her from the terrible fate that awaits those accused of witchcraft. Dreams that one day her destiny and the Earl’s will be entwined.

 

Extract

1

Ruth Dovecote

 

A Shattered Family

‘Eeh, Ruth, will you hurry yourself ? It’s nigh on nightfall and we’ve to find shelter.’

‘Ma, I can’t. You go on. I’ll rest awhile and catch up later. Leave a message at the inn when you find somewhere  to bed down, so that I know where to find you.’ Shouting her answer to her ma sapped more of her strength than Ruth could spare, as she battled against the strong, bitter January wind that whistled around the mountainous hills of Bowland.

Ruth’s one good leg wobbled. Thinking she was going to topple over, she leaned heavily on her crutch. Her underarm burned as the crutch rasped against her armpit. Despair threatened  to  engulf  her.  The  weight  of  her  club  foot seemed to become heavier with every mile they walked – and they had trundled many miles these last days.

Turned out of their tied cottage on a remote farm within days of their da taking his last breath, Ruth, her ma and her four siblings had now reached the narrow high-peak road of Lythe Fell on their way to Blackburn.

It had been an accident that had taken their da. A strong man, he’d been to market in the nearby small town of Pradley, which lay topside of Slaidburn, north of the Forest of Bowland. He’d stopped at an old well on the edge of the town to haul up a bucket of water for the old horse pulling his cart. The sides of the well had collapsed, taking him thirty feet into the ground. He’d been in freezing-cold water up to his neck for two days before the rescue workers brought him to the surface. With many bones broken and pneumonia setting in, he’d stood little chance.

Their da’s boss, a rich landowner, hadn’t considered the grief that her ma and Ruth and her siblings were suffering, or the plight the family would now be in. Within an hour of Da dying, the agent for the estate had served notice on them to quit their cottage and had ordered them to leave within twenty-four hours of the funeral. They had no money and had been left with just the clothes they stood up in, plus an old pram. The undertaker had taken everything they owned, in payment for their da’s burial.

Ma had a cousin in Blackburn who she thought might help them. When she’d last heard from him, two years since, he’d told her how the town was flourishing with the rise of the cotton-mill industry. This held the hope that Ma and the lads and Amy could get taken on at one of the mills. Ruth’s task would be to care for them all and look after Elsie. It all sounded good, if very different from the life they had led so far, and Ruth wasn’t without her worries as to how it would all work out. But she knew they would never be able to find the kind of work on the land that they were used to. Farm work paid little to the menfolk, and nothing for the labour of women and young ’uns, who were expected to work as part of the deal to gain a cottage with the job.

They had taken few rests as they walked during the day-light hours in the unforgiving weather conditions, and had had to keep to the highway, because of Ruth’s difficulties. The road was little more than a track, and it stretched their journey by many more miles than going over the top would have done. At night they had huddled together and bedded down amongst the bracken.

By nightfall this day they hoped to reach Clitheroe, as Ma thought it was within ten miles now. There, they planned to beg some shelter and food, as the last of the bread and preserves  that Ma had packed  for their trip had run out the night before. Hunger and cold slowed their progress – Ruth’s more than that of the others, as her affliction, already a hindrance to her, worsened with the effort of walking such a long distance.

Looking up, she saw that her ma was three hundred yards ahead of her. Behind her ma trailed her sister, Amy, her curly hair frizzed even more than usual by the way the wind had played with it. Amy hated it and thought Ruth lucky to have long, dark hair. Amy’s wouldn’t grow long; it became too tangled and Ma had to cut it. It reminded Ruth of a bowl of soapsuds all bubbled up, and though Amy wouldn’t have it, it set off her pretty face and huge dark eyes. At fifteen years of age, Amy was younger than Ruth by three years. No one would take her and Amy for sisters, if they didn’t know them to be. There was nothing about them that resembled the other.

Amy held the hand of four-year-old Elsie, a delicate child, who was slow to learn new skills. Seth, fourteen and a bit, and ten months younger than Amy, and George, just nine months younger than Seth, were up in front. Seth pushed the pram that had carried them all as bairns, and which was still needed for Elsie as she tired easily.

Two handsome lads, Seth and George looked very much alike and had the same appearance as Ruth, with their dark complexions, black hair and shining blue eyes. They were different in character, though. Seth had a gentle nature and preferred to reason problems out rather than argue his point. He tended to be shy and rarely put himself forward. George, though quick to lose his temper with people, had a wonder- ful way with animals; in contrast to his short fuse, he also had a good sense of humour and at times was so funny with his antics that he’d have you wetting yourself.

The  five  of  them  were  the  only  survivors  of  the  ten children Ma had birthed; one of these children, and two miscarriages, accounted for the gap in age between Ruth and her first three siblings. Twin boys and another two girls had died between George’s birth and Elsie’s. Ruth had helped at the delivery of all of them, from Amy down, and still felt the pain of their loss.

‘By, lass, I can’t go on without you. I—’ The howl of the wind took away Ma’s words as she stepped  off the grass verge to walk back towards Ruth.

Ruth opened her mouth to urge her ma to go on once more, but fear changed  what she was about to say. ‘Ma! Look out, Ma!’

The coach had come from nowhere. The horses reared. Ma cowered. Her body fell to the ground. The hooves of the startled animals  pounded down on her.  The screams of terrified children and the whinnying of the stallions filled the space around Ruth. Her own scream strangled in her throat. Horror held her as if she’d been turned to stone, but then desperation moved her body and urged her forward.

‘Ma . . . Naw, Ma!’

All around her went into slow motion, and it seemed she had to claw her way through invisible barriers as she tried to hasten. When at last she neared them, the horses swayed. Their hooves lost their grip on the muddied road and the carriage went onto its left wheel, before banging down onto its right. The violent motion catapulted the driver from his seat and over the cliff. His holler held the knowledge of his own imminent death. The carriage didn’t right itself, and the crashing and splintering of its wooden structure drowned out the sound of the desperate driver.

A face appeared at the window of what was left of the carriage: a lad, his hair curled tightly to his head, his eyes holding a look of terror. Mud splattered Ruth as one of the horses tried to keep its grip, but the animal lost the battle and slid over the edge, pulling the coach almost upside down. The face disappeared. The three horses remaining on sturdy ground reared against the weight of the one dangling below. Steam rushed from their nostrils. The whites of their eyes glared their own terror and compounded Ruth’s horror. Finding her voice, she shouted orders. ‘Amy, come and help me. Seth, George, get Ma away.’

Leaning her weight onto her crutch, Ruth stretched her body to enable her to reach the handle of the door.  It resisted her pulling it open. ‘Amy, climb up. See if anyone is alive.’

‘But, our ma? Eeh, Ruth, Ma’s—’

‘Leave Ma to the lads. They’ll take care of her. We must help those in the carriage afore it goes over the edge. Hurry, lass.’ Ruth’s heart didn’t encourage her to take these actions – it wanted her to go to her ma – but something in her knew it was already too late and, if she didn’t help the occupants of the carriage, it would be so for them, too.

‘Get up, Amy, lass, go on. That’s reet. Can you see if anyone’s alive?’

‘Aye,  there  is, Ruth.  A young  man,  but  I’m  not  sure about the lady. She looks dead. She – she’s bleeding from a cut on her head.’

‘Tell the lad to climb out. Tell him!’ Turning, Ruth saw Seth and George standing over the tangled, unmoving body of  their ma.  Her heart clamoured with despair at what she knew to be the truth, but she had to save the lad in the carriage.  She couldn’t  let him die. ‘Seth, George  – here, quick! Amy, come down and let me lean on you. Seth, take me crutch, and you and George climb up with it to the window. Get the young man to take hold of the crutch, then pull him out. Go on, me lads, let sommat good come out of today.’

It didn’t take long to get the young man out, but he’d not let them think they couldn’t save his mother.

‘Please try. Mama is breathing. She is alive!’

‘We can’t. I’m sorry – there’s nowt we can do, as she ain’t able to help us. She’s unconscious.  We wouldn’t manage. It’s impossible.’

‘Do it, or I’ll have you all up for murder, you scum! What were you doing on the highway anyway? You caused this. You should keep yourselves to the bridle paths.’

Ruth felt her anger rising, but common sense stopped her from giving full rein to her temper. What she’d thought of as a lad, because of how small he was, she could now see was a man of around twenty-five years of age. He was in shock and was reacting as all toffs would. Though she needed to take heed of what he said, as he could have them all sent down if he wished – hanged even.

But how could she get the woman out of the swaying cab, with the horses still pulling in all directions, and the whole lot likely to go over the edge of the cliff at any moment?

‘I’ll unleash the horses, Ruth. I knows how to do it. I learned that time when our da’s boss made me work with his stablehand for a while.’

‘But they’ll kick you to death, Seth.’

‘I’ll help.’ George chipping in with this comment offered Ruth some relief from her fear for Seth.  George  would be able to calm the animals. His confidence helped, as he instructed, ‘Come on, Seth, get between the back of the horses and the carriage. I’ll try to soothe them.’

Before the lads could act, the toff spoke. ‘Unleash the one hanging over the side first. It cannot be saved, and its weight is a danger.’

‘Aye, Sir, that is me plan.’ Seth touched the brim of his cap in a mock-salute.

‘“My Lord” – not “Sir”! You are addressing the Earl of Harrogate.’

Ruth clenched her fist. The ungrateful devil! And them with their ma lying dead, not ten feet away. He showed no compassion. Her glance over to her ma’s body showed her the pitiful scene of Amy sobbing and Elsie looking bewil- dered and afraid, her wide eyes staring at the raging horses. Their plight undid Ruth. Hatred for this man, and all he stood for, trembled through her and spat from her before she could stop it: ‘You’re nowt to us. Us “scum” don’t recognize the likes of you toffs. We should have left you to rot in hell!’

His hand sliced her face. His foot kicked her crutch away from her. The mud, though wet and squelchy, didn’t cushion her fall, but slapped hard against her,  knocking the breath from her.

‘You’ll  pay for that, cripple.  You’ll  pay  dearly.’  Rage puffed his face, making  him appear ugly and evil. As he turned from her, his hand went inside his jacket. Ruth’s fear intensified at the sight of the pistol that he now brandished towards her brothers, as they made as if to charge at him. The click of the gun as he cocked it, ready to fire, resounded around Ruth. The Earl’s voice shook with anger and fear.

‘Get back! Get those horses under control – now.’

Ruth knew the threat from the Earl was real. Though she hadn’t seen him load his pistol, he could have done so before starting his journey, as these toffs were always afraid of coming across robbers.  Terrified of what the impetuous George might do, and of the consequences for him, she drew in a painful breath. ‘Naw! George, leave it. Go with Seth, see to the horses.’

George did as she bade him, and within moments his uncanny knack with animals showed in the way they became calm.

Seth freed the dangling horse, but despite the shouted commands of the young man, he didn’t unleash the others; instead he listened to George, who was telling him to leave them, as he wanted to try and drive them forward, to pull the remains of the carriage gradually from the edge and out of danger. Ruth closed her eyes, praying that he would suc- ceed.

The scraping noise told her something was happening. When she dared to look, she saw with relief that George had accomplished what he’d set out to do. But her relief was short-lived, as the searing tragedy of her ma’s plight came to her. Dragging herself along the ground, Ruth reached the grass verge where her ma lay and looked into the unseeing, once-beautiful eyes. ‘Oh, Ma . . . Ma!’

Elsie’s wails penetrated Ruth’s grief. Reaching for her and Amy, she held them close, but the Earl’s voice brought her attention back to what was happening behind her.

‘You there, get over here and help my mother!’

Picking up her crutch, the Earl threw it towards her. Ruth crouched over her sisters, afraid the hurtling crutch would hit them, but it sailed right over them. Gathering her wits, she spoke as calmly as she could. ‘Amy, lass, pass me crutch to me and help me up. Don’t be afraid. We’ve to do as he bids. We’ll see to Ma later.’

‘Is – is she . . . ?’

‘Aye, lass. Ma’s gone.’ She said this as though she were talking about something else, as neither her ma’s death, nor the crying of her sisters, touched her in the way it should have done. It was as if she’d been taken out of her own body and put inside one that shielded her from all that could hurt her. But then it had to be so. Somehow she had to be strong for them all.

With Amy’s help, Ruth managed to get up and hobble over to where the Earl’s mother lay on a rug on the ground. It surprised Ruth to see that the lady wasn’t as old as she’d first assumed, and she realized that she must have been very young when she birthed the Earl.

‘Do something!’

Ruth stared down the barrel of the gun, saw the Earl’s finger on the trigger. Sweat dripped off his face.

‘Ruth!’

‘Stay back, George, lad, it’s all right.’

On  George’s  movement  towards  her,  the  Earl  turned swiftly and aimed his gun. ‘Do as she says, urchin.’

Ruth held her breath. George froze. The Earl turned, his gun once more pointing  at Ruth. ‘I’ve heard it said that cripples like you have powers. Well, use them now. The likes of you were hanged for being witches in the past, and still should be, in my opinion.’

‘I’m naw witch, M’Lord.’

‘Oh?  And  you’ll  be telling  me next  that  your  brother there is not a sorcerer, when only such a one could have calmed those horses. I would be within my rights to shoot you all, and have a mind to do so.’ The weak sun, which gave no warmth, reflected on the barrel of the Earl’s gun as he trained it on George. ‘And us within spitting distance of Pendle Hill, where they hanged a whole bunch of your kind a couple of centuries ago.’

His words filled Ruth with the fear of the time when people in Pradley  had whispered about her having evil powers, and that she should be sent away. It had been after one lad had been teasing  her.  Losing her temper, she’d turned on him, telling him no good would come to him. The lad had fallen ill just afterwards and, in his delirium, had screamed her name in terror. The atmosphere had darkened from that day, as many gave her a wide berth. Some even spat in her path. What this man had just said about Pendle Hill deepened her fear. Please, God, save us; save me brothers and our Amy and me little Elsie. Don’t let this devil of a man kill them.

‘Get on with it or they will all die.’

Ruth’s fear turned to terror, as she saw the gun was now pointed at Elsie. The child had no concept of the danger she was in, as she ran over to Seth. The movement spooked the Earl. A crack resounded through the valley, echoing off the hills.

Amy screamed. Ruth’s heart banged against her ribs. But then relief flooded through her as she saw that no one was hurt.

The Earl smiled as he reloaded his gun. ‘Just to show you that I mean what I say.’

Bending over as best she could, Ruth touched the lady’s forehead. She stirred.

‘See! It is as I said – you are a witch! You only had to touch her and—’

Pushing back her hair, which had come loose from the ribbon Ma had tied in it, Ruth looked up at him and saw him properly  for  the  first  time.  ‘Puny’ was  how  she’d label him. His bones jutted from hollow cheeks, his lips were feminine in their fullness, and she could see that his hair hung  in  false  curls  held  with  pins, some of which had escaped and now looked hideous. The depths of his black eyes held terror for her and, in that moment, she knew she was damned if his mother lived, and yet damned if she didn’t.

The thought came to her that this would be the fate of her sisters and brothers as well. With this, her anger – fuelled by fear for herself and her siblings – caused her to grab her crutch and swing it with all her might. Catching the back of the Earl’s knees, her blow floored him. Lunging  towards him on all fours, Ruth scrambled across him, holding his body down with her weight. Her eyes glimpsed his pistol, now loosened from his grip. Grabbing it, she mustered all her strength and smashed it across his head.

The gaping, bloodied gash on his forehead shocked her back to reality. Gasping for breath, she stared in horror as the Earl’s head rolled to one side, as if independent of his neck. His breath gasped from him in a rasping, gurgling sound. He didn’t draw it back in. Oh God! No. No . . . I’ve killed him!

‘Ruth! God, Ruth, lass, what have you don

‘I didn’t mean to kill him, Seth. I didn’t. I just wanted to knock him out, so we could get away.’

A moan caught their attention. The lady moved her head, but didn’t open her eyes.

‘What’re we going to do?’ Seth’s whisper held tears. His fear spurred Ruth into action. Pulling her crutch towards her and grabbing the piece of ribbon she’d lost from her hair – a precious memento now, as her ma had won it when the fair had visited – she put her hand out to Seth, who helped her up.

A flash of memory  came to her, as she held onto the ribbon – her ma’s words: ‘I’m choosing you over Amy or Elsie for the ribbon, lass, as it will help to keep you cool, to have your hair tied back. Never cut your hair, our lass. It is your crowning glory. Look at it: it reaches your waist. It suits your beautiful oval face and complements  your blue eyes. You need it to distract people from your affliction, and to let folk see as you’re a bonny lass, despite that foot of yours.’

Shaking the tear-jerking recollection from her, Ruth brought her attention back to their current situation. ‘Seth, you and George get the Earl’s body back into the coach. Hurry, afore his ma comes round proper. Put him in a pos- ition that he would likely be in if he’d been killed in the accident. Go on, me lads.’

Hobbling over to the lady, Ruth placed herself between her and the carriage, because although the lady had sunk back into deep unconsciousness once more, Ruth felt afraid that she might still open her eyes and see what they were doing.

‘Amy, lass, bring Elsie to me, and then get sommat to disturb the mud to hide the trail of the lads dragging the body. A stick or something will do.’

‘But, our Ruth, anyone’ll know as he were out of the carriage afore he died. He’ll be covered in mud, and there’s mud on his boots.’

Fear of the truth of what Amy said stopped Ruth in her tracks for a moment. When a solution came to her, she knew George wouldn’t be in favour of it, but their situation was desperate – hers above all, as now the noose would be her certain fate.

‘We have to attach the horses again and drive them over the cliff to take the—’

‘Naw!’

George’s  horrified  gasp  showed  Ruth  the  enormity  of what she’d proposed, and she knew she wouldn’t be able to achieve it.

‘We have to do sommat to cover up what really happened, George. We have to.’

‘I think I knaw what we could do, our Ruth.’

Ruth didn’t dismiss Amy. The lass had a clever brain. She could even read and write, and she’d only had the miller’s lad to teach her what he’d learned in school.

‘We could just push the seating area of the carriage over the edge, with the Earl inside. Then, when he’s found, the state of him will give no clue to him having left the carriage before he died. And it won’t be too heavy for us to shift, now that it is detached from where the trunks are stored. We could say as we’d managed to get the lady out, but then had to unleash the horses as they were in danger of shoving the rest over the cliff. But just as we did so, the lightest part of the carriage went over, with the unconscious man still in it.’

‘Yes, that could have happened. You’re reet, lass. By, Ma allus said as you were the brains of the family, our Amy. Reet, me lads, that’s what we’ll do – just as Amy says – and I can help, if I get me back against it.’

‘Naw, you shield the lady’s view, Ruth, just in case. And mind our Elsie an’ all. Me and the lads’ll manage. We’re strong.’

Ruth did as Amy suggested. She knew her own strength was limited and would more than likely be a hindrance. It wasn’t just her foot that was crippled, as the bottom of her spine also had a curve in it. Though it wasn’t much of one and it didn’t bend her over, unless she was tired, like now, the curvature did cause her pain almost beyond endurance at times. She held Elsie to her, and the crashing sound of the carriage against the rocks undid her. Her body trembled. The dry sockets of her eyes filled with tears as the full impact of their plight hit her. She looked in fear at the lady, but she hadn’t moved. The thought came to her: God, what now? What now?

There was no doubt in Ruth’s mind that they had to take the lady down to Clitheroe and get help for her, but what trouble would that bring down upon them? The fear this caused increased the shaking in her body.

 

~~~~~

Did you enjoy this extract?  If so, ‘The Street Orphans’ is available to buy from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Street-Orphans-Mary-Wood-ebook/dp/B0796YKFT6/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1526581100&sr=1-1

 

About Mary Wood

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary’s family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter – a place that Mary calls, ‘her writing retreat’.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 – 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn’t until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening. One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers.

 

Links

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

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Authormary

 

Blog Blitz – ‘One Summer in Rome’ by Samantha Tonge

Huge congratulations to Samantha Tonge whose new book, ‘One Summer in Rome’ is out today as an eBook, published by HQ Digital.  I took part in the cover reveal back in January and today I am absolutely delighted to be one of a number of book bloggers taking part in this blog blitz, which was organised by Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources.  I would like to thank both Rachel and the publisher for my review copy.

You will find out in a little while what I thought of ‘One Summer in Rome’, but first here’s a reminder of what it’s about.

 

Book Blurb

To Rome…with love?

Mary Smith is turning her very ordinary life upside-down! She’s bought herself a one-way ticket to Rome and is ready for a summer she’ll never forget.

Men might be off the cards for waitress Mary, but within hours of arriving at the utterly charming family-run La Dolce Vita pizzeria, she’s already fallen in love with the bustling capital!

Only Dante Rossi, the mysterious (and drop-dead gorgeous) chef seems displeased with her arrival. And in the heat of the kitchen, it doesn’t take long for long-buried secrets to surface and sparks to fly…

A deliciously heartwarming romance to have you dreaming of summer. Perfect for fans of Debbie Johnson and Caroline Roberts.

 

My Review

Until now, I had never read any of Samantha Tonge’s books. So what is my verdict now that I have finished ‘One Summer in Rome’? Well, I could literally kick myself for not having done so. I absolutely loved this author’s style of writing and the descriptions of Rome, the restaurant and the piazza. It really is true when they say that you can travel all over the world without leaving your chair.

I warmed to Mary straightaway and thought that it was very brave of her to start a new life in Rome. It actually did her a lot of good. The Rossi family were just lovely and they welcomed Mary with open arms, although it did take Dante a little while to thaw out.  I wasn’t too sure about Rocco at first. All became apparent later on though.

Reading about the pizzas made my mouth water. How I would have loved to watch Dante creating them. In fact, he can come and make me a pizza anytime. I certainly wouldn’t turn him away.

‘One Summer in Rome’ is a wonderful story. It deals with a number of issues; things which can affect us all. What some of the characters had been through was heart-breaking. It’s not all doom and gloom though. This story will also warm your heart and make you smile on a number of occasions.

I really do hope to read some of Samantha Tonge’s previous books when I get the chance and I am already looking forward to her next one.

Thank you for the many hours of pleasure.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

~~~~

Has my review whet your appetite?  It is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/2rrwXfT

 

About Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and a cat who thinks it’s a dog. When not writing she spends her days cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. She has sold over 80 short stories to women’s magazines. Her bestselling debut novel, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award in 2014. Game of Scones hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Best Romantic Ebook category at the 2015 Love Stories Awards.

 

Links

Website – http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

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

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/

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Weekend Spa Break’ by Anne John-Ligali

I am delighted to be participating in the cover reveal for ‘The Weekend Spa Break’, the second part of the Friendship Online Series, which is being published on the 30th April 2018 as an eBook by Books and Authors UK.

There will be a blog tour to coincide with the publication of this novella from the 30th April to the 14th May 2018 and I will be just one of the bloggers taking part.

It’s time now to feast your eyes on the cover. Are you ready?

 

Isn’t the cover simply divine! I could literally look at it all day.

Here’s what the book is about.

 

Book Blurb

Friendships Online Series
Part Two

After finally meeting in person at the publishing party of the season, Constance and Estelle are determined not to let their friendship return to mere virtual champagne bottles and uploaded pictures of food.

It’s been a busy year, and Constance feels it’s time to reward herself with the spa break Estelle gave her for Christmas. Naturally, Constance wouldn’t dream of taking anyone other than Estelle, and this will provide the perfect opportunity to bond with her new chum.

As the excited pair spend some quality time together, they realise it’s not just writing books they have in common, but something that goes much deeper. After a few Jacuzzi sessions, facials, pedicures, and a massage by sexy Senior Therapist, Julio, everything seems to be peachy until an unexpected visitor turns Constance’s weekend of bliss … on its head.

 

A two-day spa break.

Sparkling water on tap.

And the perfect massage.

But who’s rubbing who up the wrong way?

~~~~~

‘The Weekend Spa Break’ can be pre-ordered from Amazon UK:-
https://amzn.to/2GVSnZX

 

About Anne John-Ligali

Anne John-Ligali is a writer and the founder of Books and Authors UK, a popular website featuring author interviews and book reviews. She loves all things books: reading, writing, going to book events, and meeting other book lovers. She has written a series of short stories and is currently writing her first novel.

Anne has always loved stories and read many books as a child, including the entire Sweet Valley High and Caitlyn series. Her interest in writing fiction came years later, when she began writing for pleasure in 2007.

Originally from Peterborough, Anne now lives in London. After moving to London, she studied graphic design at the University of Arts and has held a number IT administration jobs in the city. Anne continues writing and aspires to write more women’s fiction books, a non-fiction book and several children’s books.

 

Social Media Links

Author blog: http://annejohnligali.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/booksnauthorsuk/

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneJohnLigali

Author FB: https://www.facebook.com/annejohnligali/

 

Books and Authors UK: www.booksandauthors.co.uk

Books and Authors UK Twitter: https://twitter.com/BooksNAuthorsUK

Books and Authors UK Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Books-and-Authors-UK-674729805905507/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop’ by Isabella Louise Anderson

‘Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop’ was published in paperback and as an eBook by Chick Lit Goddess, LLC last year. I was invited by Jenny Marston of Neverland Blog Tours to take part in this tour and I would like to thank both Jenny and the author for my review copy of the book.

The owner of a thriving florist shop, Khloe Harper trusts her instincts. She has a strong bond with her family and her best friend, Sharon. However, after being betrayed by her last love she’s kept away from men and romance. But she doesn’t know what is about to hit her when the handsome Derek Thomas walks into her store.

Gabby Lewis, recently widowed, isn’t about to give up on life and love just yet. She just needs to release herself from survivor’s guilt, thus allowing herself to take a chance on finding happiness and companionship again. After signing up to an online dating site for senior citizens, much to her surprise she is matched with Harry, an energetic and loving man who quickly eases himself into her heart.

Frumpy Connie Albright has a faux fascination with an imaginary man called Walt. By sending herself flowers from him she feels less out of place at work amongst the “mean girls” she works with. She soon comes face to face with her possible prince charming, but will she have a happy ending?

As each woman’s story develops through flowers and cards sent from Khloe’s shop during the Fall months, they begin to learn that love can only truly blossom when you trust your heart.

I firstly want to mention the cover which I think is gorgeous. I was really looking forward to this book especially as it had a floral theme. I adore flowers and was delighted to read about the bouquets being made up and the beautiful colours. I wish I could have visited Khloe’s shop and had a chat with her about flowers. I’m not surprised her business was doing so well.

Narrated by Khloe Harper, Gabriella Lewis and Connie Albright who are the main characters, I read their stories with great interest. Out of all of them Gabby was my most favourite. She took a second chance and her life changed for good. I loved reading about her and Harry and his family. Little Andrew was just so adorable too.

I felt sorry for Connie and I could see why she did what she did. Her colleagues at work weren’t exactly nice to her for a start off. Connie was lacking in confidence and was lonely. She really deserved some happiness.

I was a bit disappointed at the end as I presumed the epilogue would give an update not just on Khloe, but Gabby and Connie too. I would really have liked to know how Gabby and Connie were getting on as well. Also, the editing could have been that much better.

Thank you for a lovely read. I might have to buy myself some flowers now.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

~~~~~

‘Flowers From Khloe’s Flower Shop’ can be purchased from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/search/ref=x_gr_w_bb?keywords=9780991416721&index=books&linkCode=qs&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21

 

Giveaway

To coincide with this blog tour there is a competition being run.  The winner can choose from an eBook copy of either; “The Right Design,” “Cards From Khloe’s Flower Shop,” or “The Hollywood Setup.” by Isabella Louise Anderson.

To enter just click on this link Rafflecopter Giveaway.  This competition is open internationally.

 

About Isabella Anderson

Isabella Louise grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. Aside from writing, she focuses her time on featuring other authors on her blog, Chick Lit Goddess, along with sharing book reviews. Isabella Louise is also a member of the Romance Writers of America.

She lives in Dallas with her husband, enjoys spicy Indian and Mexican food, margaritas, and red and white wines. She loves spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Texas Rangers. When Isabella Louise isn’t working on her next release, her attention is also on her Scentsy business, where she’s a consultant.

 

Links

Website – http://www.isabellalouiseanderson.com/

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/ChickLitGodess

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29923543-cards-from-khloe-s-flower-shop?ac=1&from_search=true

 

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

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/bookish_yogi

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

 

Cover Reveal – ‘The Magic of Stars’ by Jackie Ladbury

Happy New Year to you all!  I hope it’s been a good one so far.

This is my very first post of 2018 and today I am absolutely delighted to be sharing the cover for ‘The Magic of Stars’ by Jackie Ladbury.  The second book in the Blue Skies Airline series, it has been published as an eBook by Fabrian Books.  I can tell you now that I fell in love with the cover the moment I first saw it.  This is a series I would really like to read.

So, are you ready for a treat?  Here goes……..

 

Book Blurb

Sapphire Montrose always felt like a loser in the struggle of life, but when she becomes the airline manager of a run-down airline she starts to believe she is a winner – until she unwittingly propositions her new boss and all her hard work is undone.

In a moment of recklessness air stewardess, Sapphire Montrose throws caution and her dress to the wind by propositioning a handsome stranger in a hotel in Florence, only to find herself waking up alone and embarrassed in her hotel room.

Unfortunately for Sapphire, it turns out that her new boss, Marco Cavarelli, is the man she failed to seduce and she is now fighting for her job and her self-respect when he tells her there is no place in his revamped airline for an alcoholic woman with lascivious tendencies. To make matters worse she is increasingly attracted to him and he seems to be giving out the same vibes. Or is he simply testing her? One wrong move could be the end of her career. But what if he really is offering love – and is he worth the risk?

~~~~~

I really hope you like the sound of this book.   If you do then you’ll be pleased to know that it is available to purchase from Amazon UK:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magic-Stars-feel-good-heavenly-romance-ebook/dp/B078BF91XS

 

About Jackie Ladbury

Jackie Ladbury was desperate to become a journalist when she left school but was ousted within minutes on the day of the exam at her local rag because she’d forgotten to bring a pen.

Short and sharp lesson learned.

Her budding writing career was not on hold for long, though, as Jackie found herself scribbling love stories of pilots and ‘hosties’ while she flew in aeroplanes of various shapes and sizes as a flight attendant herself.

Fast forward a good few years and, after being short-listed in a couple of prestigious romantic writing competitions, Jackie decided it was time to discard her stilettos, say goodbye to the skies and concentrate on writing romantic novels, where the only given is a guaranteed ‘happy ever after.’

 

Social Media Links

Website – https://thewriteromantics.com/

The Write Romantics – https://thewriteromantics.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/jackie.ladbury

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JackieLadbury

 

My Top 12 Books of 2017

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve already and I really don’t understand where this year has gone.  I have had some ups and downs blogging wise and haven’t read half as much as I wanted to, but I’m pleased to say all is good with me now and I am feeling very positive.

I’ve read some fabulous books this year and it’s now time to choose my Top 12.

 

1.  ‘Deep Down Dead’ by Steph Broadribb

 

‘Deep Down Dead’ was published in paperback in January of this year by the fabulous Orenda Books.  I wasn’t too sure if this book would be for me, but I needn’t have worried as I was soon hooked.  If I remember rightly I think I was slightly late to work because of it, i.e. I couldn’t put it down.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/deep-down-dead-by-steph-broadribb/

 

2.   ‘Fade to Dead’ by Tara Moore

 

March was an incredibly busy month for my blog as it’s when I did my two week Urbane Event.  ‘Fade to Dead’ was published last year and it is the first book in the Jessica Wideacre series.  I absolutely loved it and I want to read more by this author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/book-review-fade-to-dead-by-tara-moore/

 

3.  ‘Six Stories’ by Matt Wesolowski

 

‘Six Stories’ was published in paperback by Orenda Books in March.  I took part in the blog tour for this book and it was so different to anything I have ever read before.  I just loved it.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/03/29/blog-tour-six-stories-by-matt-wesolowski/

 

4.  ‘The Lies Within’ by Jane Isaac

 

I had the pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for ‘The Lies Within’ which was published by Legend Press.  Until then I had never read any of Jane Isaac’s books.  I was totally gripped and I loved it from start to finish.  I am really looking forward to reading more by this fabulous author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/blog-tour-the-lies-within-by-jane-isaac/

 

5.  ‘The Wild Air’ by Rebecca Mascull

 

Rebecca Mascull has done it again with this book, published by Hodder & Stoughton.  It was absolutely incredible and I loved everything about it.  I also was lucky enough to meet Rebecca at her book launch for which I won a ticket.  You can read my review and write up on the launch here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/the-wild-air-by-rebecca-mascull/

 

6.  ‘Skin Deep’ by Laura Wilkinson

 

Laura Wilkinson is one of my favourite authors.  I have read and reviewed all her novels so far and was delighted to take part in the blog tour for ‘Skin Deep’ which was published by Accent Press.  This lady is so very talented and can turn her hand easily to writing about different subjects.  I could have cried with joy at being mentioned in the acknowledgements and at having my review quoted inside the book too.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/blog-tour-skin-deep-by-laura-wilkinson/

 

7.  ‘No Accident’ by Robert Crouch

 

I was given the wonderful opportunity to take part in the blog tour for this book.  I thoroughly enjoyed ‘No Accident’ and was delighted to discover yet another new author and to start reading another series.  You can read my review here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/blog-tour-no-accident-by-robert-crouch/

 

8.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ by A.J. Waines

 

I was delighted when A.J. Waines invited me to take part in her blog tour.  ‘Lost in the Lake’ is the second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series.  I hadn’t read the first one but this didn’t spoil things for me.  I totally loved it and I can’t wait to read more by this author.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/blog-tour-lost-in-the-lake-by-a-j-waines/

 

9.  ‘No Way Back’ by Kelly Florentia

 

I absolutely loved ‘No Way Back’ which was published in September by Urbane Publications.  I could kick myself for not having read Kelly Florentia’s first novel.  Kelly’s writing is incredible and I really can’t wait to read her next book.  You can read my review here:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/11/no-way-back-by-kelly-florentia/

 

 

10.  ‘You’re Next’ by Michael Fowler

Until recently I had never read any of Michael Fowler’s books.  But then I was invited to take part in the blog tour for ‘You’re Next’ and I’m so glad I took part.  Published by Caffiene Nights Publishing, this is the second book in the DS Scarlett Macey series and I really enjoyed it.  I will definitely be reading more of this author’s books.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/blog-tour-youre-next-by-michael-fowler/

 

11.  ‘Hell to Pay’ by Rachel Amphlett

 

I have read this series from the start and loved every single book, but I think ‘Hell to Pay’ has to be my favourite.  It was a real pleasure taking part in the blog tour.  I can’t wait to read more by Rachel Amphlett.  Here is my review:

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/11/17/blog-tour-hell-to-pay-by-rachel-amphlett/

 

12.  ‘Brighter Days Ahead’ by Mary Wood

When Mary Wood was looking for people to take part in her blog tour I was happy to help as I really liked the sound of ‘Brighter Days Ahead’, which was published in November by Pan Books.  It’s been absolutely ages since I have read a saga and I absolutely loved it.  I now want to read this author’s backlist.

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2017/12/06/blog-tour-brighter-days-ahead-by-mary-wood/

 

I hope you have all enjoyed finding out what my top 12 books of the year are.  I look forward to reading many more great books next year.

 

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: