Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Ballroom - Anna Hope - blog tour

I'm honoured and thrilled to be part of the blog tour for the wonderful new book by Anna Hope - The Ballroom.

I enjoyed this wonderful, moving book so much I couldn't wait to write about it and one or two people will have already heard my squeals of anguished delight after I finished reading it.

This is a book which has moved many readers and it certainly makes a huge impact and remains in your heart and mind for a long time after putting it down.

It will be published on 11th February and joins a recent glut of wonderfully enjoyable historical fiction. I have no qualms in saying this WILL feature highly in my top reads of 2016 as no matter what else I read in 2016 nothing will detract from this book which touched my very soul.

Please read my full review here and order your copy now

You can follow the blog tour here by visiting these wonderful book blogs:

I'm delighted to be in such distinguished literary company.....

Monday 8th February Lauraslittlebookblog.blogspot.co.uk

Tuesday 9th - Oh that's today and its me :) http://beadyjansbooks.blogspot.co.uk/ (Please follow my blog to keep up with my reviews)

Wednesday 10th February http://ifthesebookscouldtalk.com/

Thursday 11th February http://beccasbooooks.blogspot.co.uk/

Friday 12th February http://www.pagetostagereviews.com/

Saturday 13th February http://www.thebooktrail.com/

Monday 15th February https://fromfirstpagetolast.wordpress.com/

Thursday 16th February http://beingannereading.blogspot.co.uk/

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Song of the Sea Maid - Rebecca Mascull - Enchanting

My Thoughts

What a treat this delight of a novel was to read.

So much, well, bigger than I imagined it would be. It tells the story of a young orphan, separated from her only sibling when he is captured by a press gang and she is left alone to fend for herself on the mean streets of 18th century London.

Trying to make a crust for herself at the tender age of perhaps 4 or 5 years of age it’s hardly surprising she soon comes a cropper, but fortunately the gent she tries to rob becomes her saviour, taking her to an orphanage where she is named after said gentleman, given the name of Dawnay after his surname and she is provided with a roof over her head and scant victuals.

It soon becomes apparent that young Dawnay has a somewhat exceptional mind as she sets out to educate herself, learning her letters by candlelight in the dead of night.

Unconventional to say the least, she absorbs knowledge like a sponge, is helped in her education by the Matron of the orphanage home and as she grows manages to win the approval of another elderly gent who becomes her guardian and benefactor helping her realise her ambition to be educated in science.

It becomes her burning ambition to travel, not just for travels sake but to explore ancient civilizations, discover the secrets of the past even though defying convention in her blasphemous thoughts, if what she believes in is true, then God cannot possibly exist.

Her benefactor helps her get a place on board a ship traveling to Portugal where she lives a hermit like existence on a small island, discovers wondrous historical artefacts and makes a few unlikely friends, Disaster strikes in the form of a cataclysmic earthquake and event she miraculously escapes from relatively unscathed. Perhaps the God she fails to put her trust in looked after her after all?

Dawnays whole life is extremely unorthodox which is what makes her such a quirky and fascinating character. I didn’t always completely understand or agree with her motivations but she never failed to entertain me and kept me glued to every page.

What I thought might be a rags to riches orphan makes good saga, proved to be anything but, it’s a clever and intriguing look at the difficulties of being a woman in the 1700s with a bright and enquiring mind and an unorthodox upbringing. The story encompasses scientific research, paleontology, a lot of time is spent on board ship so there is quite a bit about naval life, natural disasters are covered in immense detail yet throughout is the ongoing search of a lonely child for love and friendship and the myths and legends surrounding the ethereal existence of mermaids.

Enchanting storyline, beguiling characters and exceptionally competent writing combine to make this book, one you don’t want to miss.

I seldom say this as I don’t usually like sequels but this book left me aching to know what happens after the book finishes.

Song of the sea maid is available in paperback from 11th February 2016 and is quality historical romantic fiction at its absolute best.

My thanks go to Bookbridgr and the publisher Hodder and Stuoghton for my advance copy to review.

The Blurb

As a child living on the streets of London, then in an orphanage, Dawnay Price grows up determined not to let her background stand in the way of her ambitions.

In an era where women rarely travel alone, especially for scientific study, Dawnay sets sail aboard The Prospect to the beautiful Iberian Peninsula. Amid rumours of mermaids in the sparkling waters, she makes some unexpected discoveries, including what it means to fall in love.

Having fought hard against convention, Dawnay is determined to put her career above all else. Yet as war approaches she finds herself divided by feelings she cannot control.

Told in Dawnay's words, from the author of THE VISITORS, this is an unforgettable story about what it takes to achieve your dreams, even when they seem impossible.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

No longer Safe - A J Waines - psychological thriller

I'm delighted to welcome to the blog today author A J Waines writer of several acclaimed psychological thrillers.

She has sold over 100,000 books worldwide and topped the UK and Australian Kindle Charts in 2015 with her number one bestseller, Girl on a Train. Following fifteen years as a psychotherapist, she is now a full-time novelist with publishing deals in France, Germany (Penguin Random House) and USA (audiobooks). 

In 2015, she was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Times and was ranked in the Top 20 UK authors on Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). She lives in Southampton, UK, with her husband. Visit her website and blog, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

I love a good psychological thriller and have been eagerly awaiting publication of her latest new book No Longer Safe on 4th February.

She has written this interesting article about writing psychological thrillers:

" Writing Psychological Thrillers seems an obvious choice for me, having spent fifteen years as a Psychotherapist! In the past, I’ve been privileged to work with ex-offenders from high-security institutions in the UK, as well as with ‘ordinary’ individuals, like you and me, who make mistakes, tell lies or keep secrets - with disastrous consequences. All in all, my experience has given me an amazing insight into what drives people to commit crimes - and even to kill someone…

So what makes a Psychological Thriller?

For me, the jeopardy in the story comes from the ‘inside-out’, rather than from the ‘outside-in’, so that the characters are exposed to danger on a mental level, rather than (or as well as!) a physical one. The plot usually centres around the  hidden unreliability or instability of characters in the story, with tortuous situations threatening either themselves or others. This kind of mystery allows the reader to get right inside the minds of key players to try to anticipate how they might handle certain dilemmas and tempts the reader towards trying to figure out what the true motives are.

In No Longer Safe, nothing is what it seems… There are twists and turns along the way, blindsiding the reader with actions and behaviours pulled out of the bag by various characters. A big shock at the end is pretty much de rigueur in psych thrillers. I love to knock my readers sideways – and there’s certainly a delicious sting in the tail in this novel!! "

What Advance Reviewers are saying about No Longer Safe:

‘…a disturbing psychological thriller that will resonate in your mind for many days to come. You will not forget this novel! It is that good.’ 5 stars, Sue Leonhardt, Goodreads

‘With tight and tense characters, No Longer Safe is a "Hair Standing on End" thriller that pushes the boundaries of deception and fear!’ 5 stars, Jennifer Giradin, Goodreads

‘I don't know how this authors does it, I don't know where she dreams up her stories, but she really does entertain me for hours.’ 5 stars, Sue Ward, Goodreads

Here's the blurb which has got me really excited ....

She was your best friend. Now she’s your deadliest enemy – and there’s nowhere to run…

When Alice receives an invitation from Karen, her charismatic University friend, to stay in a remote cottage in Scotland, she can’t wait to rekindle their lost friendship. But two more former students arrive – never friends of Alice’s – and as the atmosphere chills, Karen isn’t the warm-hearted soulmate Alice remembers. Barely is the reunion underway before someone is dead and the fragile gathering is pushed to breaking point.

As the snow cuts them off from civilisation and accusations fly, Alice finds herself a pawn, sinking deeper into a deadly game she can’t escape.

NO LONGER SAFE is a chilling Psychological Thriller that delivers a delicious sting in the tail.

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Ballroom - Anna Hope - haunting and captivating

May I give this book 6 out of 5? Yes it WAS that good. 

I actually finished reading my advance copy just before Christmas but decided to wait until a little nearer publication before writing my review. Now, this can be a mistake with some books, my memory’s pretty poor – so, leave a couple of weeks between finishing a book and writing about it and frequently I’ll have completely forgotten the storyline let alone my thoughts about it. Not this little beauty though – despite a hectic Christmas and New Year and a two week trip abroad, this book remains on the periphery of my memory haunting me like a beautiful but melancholic apparition. It gripped me like Velcro as soon as I started it and I was soon so deeply immersed in the storyline I couldn’t hear or see anyone around me for days! 

It has everything I love about a book, a strong historical setting - An asylum in Yorkshire in the early 1900s. A wistful nostalgic feel and a shadowy sense of unease, plus a doomed love story at the heart. In 1911 when men and women could end up incarcerated in an asylum for little more than making their feelings known, an outburst which would seem quite commonplace and reasonable could very easily be seen as signs of insanity …. Object to your working conditions girls and woe betide you, read too many books and everyone knows it will turn your brain to mush!!

Yet as asylums go, Sharston is perhaps less cruel than many of the era, at least on the surface. Men and women are kept separately, though men are allowed to work outside enjoying the fresh air and women may form friendships amongst themselves. Add to this a young doctor whose love of music leads him to experiment with helping the patients by holding a weekly dance in the ballroom where men and women may dance together and it seems it may be a not too unpleasant place to spend your days. 

Ella who broke a window in a moment of hysteria, in the factory where she worked long hours under appalling conditions meets John, depressed following a bereavement and both begin to look forward to their weekly dance sessions. Outside, an unprecedented heatwave rages helping emotions simmer unguarded. 

Doctor Charles Fuller, about whom my feelings completely did an about turn part way through the book, battles his own demons and struggles to maintain a grip on his sanity and as the heat builds and passions left buried threaten to rise to the surface, events are about to take a life changing turn. 

I became instantly and deeply involved with the superb characters and the storyline is emotional and poignant. I raged and gasped and squirmed in turn as the lives of these characters played out with me as an observer and above all I FELT every emotion with them and was completely wrung out by the end. 

Although the scope is perhaps not quite as epic as “A Place called Winter” by Patrick Gale which was one of my favourite reads of last year, the style of storytelling and the feel of the book remind me very much of this superb and very classy historical novel and I loved reading this equally.

My thanks go to Netgalley and the publisher Random House uk for my advance copy to review.

The Blurb (taken from Netgalley)

By the acclaimed author of WAKE:

Where love is your only escape ....

1911: Inside an asylum at the edge of the Yorkshire moors, where men and women are kept apart by high walls and barred windows, there is a ballroom vast and beautiful.
For one bright evening every week they come together and dance.
When John and Ella meet
It is a dance that will change two lives forever.

Set over the heatwave summer of 1911, the end of the Edwardian era, THE BALLROOM is a tale of unlikely love and dangerous obsession, of madness and sanity, and of who gets to decide which is which.

Sunday, 31 January 2016

At the edge of the orchard - Tracy Chevalier - claustrophobic and absorbing

My Review

I don't envy authors their task, especially once they're established and acclaimed as Ms. Chevalier is, trying to come up with original and unusual locations and themes for new books must become increasingly more difficult. This is one which has succeeded extremely well.

A historical period drama set in a location I've never read about before - The black swamp of Ohio - the very name oozes mud and drags you down into the mire, which is what happens to the Goodenough family when they settle there, attempting to cultivate an apple orchard in conditions you really wouldn't want to try and grow even a weed in. This is a grim and bleak place where the family are pretty isolated, relying on each other for company it's perhaps understandable that they become even more insular and fight amongst each other. Above all else this is a story of family but a family I really wouldn't want to belong to.

The first part of the story is told in the alternating voices of James and his wife Sadie and neither are at all likeable. James is a weak man with a temper thats slow to rise but explodes in violence every now and again, obsessed by his apple trees which are his true love, his family responsibilities come a poor second. When we change from his voice to Sadies, it's instantly apparent that she is poorly educated, her speech is peppered with slang and her grammar leaves a lot to be desired bearing no punctuation. She is the less likeable of the couple, addicted to the strongest home brewed alcohol Applejack she is at best slovenly, idle and sluttish - and that's when she's sober. When drunk she makes it her mission in life to goad her husband into violence - it appears that even a vicious reaction from him is the only attention she gets and therefore better than none and her family loyalties are almost non existent.

They have a bunch of children, many of whom die young from the miasmic and unrelenting swamp fever and the others are all very different to each other. Feckless Sal, is unfortunate enough to take after her mother most, there is cowering, mouse like Martha whose timidity provokes Sadie, to be an even greater bitch. Of the sons, eldest boy Robert is the only one whose story really develops and for whom I felt some warmth and empathy. He escapes the oppressive swampland after calamity befalls the family and makes his own way, travelling and searching for his place in the world.

He uses the tree knowledge taught him by James to good advantage and we follow his journey to California where he falls in with a tree specimen gatherer, William Lobb, based on a real historical character.

There is quite a lot of detail about arboriculture, from the cultivation of apple trees to the discovery of the huge sequoia trees yet the author manages to make this compelling reading rather than tiresome. The desolate location is mournful and claustrophobic yet expansive too, the characters in turns repel then fascinate and the shocking events within these pages, even though unexpected, almost seem inevitable in hindsight.

I was sucked into the black swamp from the first paragraph of this unique and absorbing tale and my destiny bound to that of Robert Goodenough as he searches for whatever it is that's missing from his life. I'd like to read more about what happens afterwards. Although I have no idea if the author plans a sequel, this intrepid novel well deserves a re-visit.

My thanks for my advance copy for review purposes go to Lovereading and the publisher 

The Blurb from Goodreads:

From internationally bestselling author Tracy Chevalier, a riveting drama of a pioneer family on the American frontier

1838: James and Sadie Goodenough have settled where their wagon got stuck – in the muddy, stagnant swamps of northwest Ohio. They and their five children work relentlessly to tame their patch of land, buying saplings from a local tree man known as John Appleseed so they can cultivate the fifty apple trees required to stake their claim on the property. But the orchard they plant sows the seeds of a long battle. James loves the apples, reminders of an easier life back in Connecticut; while Sadie prefers the applejack they make, an alcoholic refuge from brutal frontier life.

1853: Their youngest child Robert is wandering through Gold Rush California. Restless and haunted by the broken family he left behind, he has made his way alone across the country. In the redwood and giant sequoia groves he finds some solace, collecting seeds for a naturalist who sells plants from the new world to the gardeners of England. But you can run only so far, even in America, and when Robert’s past makes an unexpected appearance he must decide whether to strike out again or stake his own claim to a home at last.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Things to come - historical fiction

Just in case my blog followers think I haven't been reading anything recently - far from it. Here's a brief update on what I have been and soon will be reading. Theres a little glut of wonderful historical fiction due for publication soon.

I'm delighted to have been invited to take part in the blog tour for The Ballroom by Anna Hope, a heart rending story of unlikely love in a an asylum on the Yorkshire moors and am keeping my review under wraps until 9th February.

I've just finished reading  The English Girl by Katherine Webb another stunning offering of travel and romance set in Arabia in the 1950s and 1920s. Due for publication in March that's when my full review will be on here.

and now I've just begun to read At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy Chevalier set in The Black Swamp and Goldrush California in the mid 19th century.

and waving at me from my bedside table crying "read me" is the beautiful sounding and handsome looking Song of the Sea Maid by Rebecca Mascull. Also in the 18th century another story of a feisty heroine making her way in the world with travel to Portugal. Out in Paperback on 11th February, This looks like another one to watch for and my review should coincide nicely with publication.

I'm off back to the Black Swamp now folks. Don't miss my full reviews at later dates, follow my blog now for regular updates.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Summer moved on - Jo Lambert - a lovely summer read

My thoughts

When you discover a writer with the same surname as you and even the same initial it's a done deal that the books going to grab your attention. When its a lovely sweet romantic family drama with lots of fascinating characters it's even better.

This is a great summer read, set in rural Devon one summer it focusses on the story of 18 year old Jess. When the story begins her uncle is buying a pub in Devon and at the start of the summer holidays circumstances cause Jess to go to live in the pub with her uncle Rufus and becomes immersed in village life.

Romance isn't far away and despite being warned against local lad Talun, his smouldering gypsy eyes soon cast a spell on Jess and the young couple find they have more in common than you'd think. But true love never runs smoothly and circumstances conspire against them as the summer passes in a heat haze.

Although you'd think a book with an 18 year old heroine would be more of a coming of age novel for younger readers this book encompasses readers of all ages with a timeless quality and a backdrop of village life worthy of the village stories of Miss Read I used to enjoy, an enchanting romantic drama.

If you're looking for a lovely heartwarming story with lots of little twists and turns, hidden family secrets and raw emotion coupled with some nice and some far from nice characters, you won't go far wrong with Summer moved on.

You can buy it from Amazon

I was provided with a free copy for review purposes and the author is no relation to me.

The Blurb

After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle. Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.

TalĂșn Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with. Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met. Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them - an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle. 

As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities. Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him. For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for TalĂșn the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.

But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Pretty is - Maggie Mitchell - Pretty good

My thoughts

Another fascinating debut novel, this time from emerging US author Maggie Mitchell.

Imagine if you were a survivor of an abduction when you were 12 years old. Imagine if you were not the only victim of this seemingly random kidnapping. How do you think it would affect you? Would you spend the rest of your life looking for something, would it bond you to the other victim or ensure you despised them?

This novel looks at the aftermath of child abduction from the survivors points of view. 2 little girls, solitary, bookish Lois and Barbie doll beauty Carly May. Taken by car to a remote cabin in the woods where they are held captive for 6 weeks, this is the story of then and afterwards when both have changed their names, got on with their lives and made a success of their careers. But is it in spite of their ordeal or because of it?

It was a strangely chaste and pointless abduction, the reason behind which, I kept waiting for it to come to light and in this it failed me.

Yet the story kept me reading because of the strengths and believeability of the 2 girls both at age 12 and now aged nearly 30. Its an attention grabbing subject handled well and an excellent, unusual read.

The psychological aspect of the story focusses on how this one event shapes both womens lives and not on the abductor about whom I longed to know more.

It's a story which grabs your attention then keeps you reading, although I must admit personally I felt rather let down by the ending.

Recommended to lovers of the human psyche and how events affect people years later but don't expect a gritty thriller, although there is a slightly stalkerish sideline and it keeps you wondering what is going to happen, there is no sudden reveal, twist in the tail or really an OMG shock factor ending, it's nevertheless thought provoking and enjoyable.

I received my copy in advance of publication via Netgalley to read and review.
You can order yours from Amazon or your favourite bookshop.

The publishers blurb

Lois and Carly-May were just twelve when they were abducted by a stranger and imprisoned in a cabin in the woods for two months.

That summer, under the watchful gaze of their kidnapper, they formed a bond that would never be broken.

Decades later, both women have new lives and identities. But the events of that summer are about to come back with a vengeance.

Lois and Carly-May must face the truth about their secret, shared past...

What really happened in the woods that summer?

Friday, 8 January 2016

Learning to speak American - Colette Dartford - great debut

My review:

This is an accomplished and emotional family drama and an excellent debut novel about relationships and friendship which will help establish the author as a writer of womens fiction.

It follows the story of Lola and Duncan a middle aged English couple both struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of their daughter.

Duncan suffers in silence whilst Lola grieves hard and despairingly, their marriage seems to be all but over as they can no longer communicate with each other, and neither can seem to accept the way the tragic loss has affected the other. But in a last ditch attempt to rekindle their old feelings for each other Duncan takes his wife on holiday to the Napa Valley in California where she shows a flicker of interest in an old derelict house which is for sale and the couple buy it on the spur of the moment and begin to renovate it.

Seeing this as a possible chance to start afresh the grief stricken pair begin to merge in to American life and find that coming to America is just the beginning of a journey, which might bring them back to normality but Duncan is hit harder than it would at first appear and has his own demons to battle.

I found it a little hard to relate to the couple, especially Lola, but enjoyed the lovely setting, great descriptions of place and the many characters who take part in the story. It's an engaging, emotional and in parts rather dark story painted lightly with a deft hand and capable style. Essentially a romance it has underlying themes of grief, depression and despair yet its not depressing to read. I read it on holiday and feel it makes an excellent holiday companion as it's not too complex and is an easy and refreshing read.

I received a free copy from the publisher so I may read and review it and these are my thoughts after reading it.

The Official Blurb:

"Having suffered in silence since the tragic death of their young daughter, Lola and Duncan Drummond's last chance to rediscover their love for one another lies in an anniversary holiday to the gorgeous Napa Valley.

Unable to talk about what happened, Duncan reaches out to his wife the only way he knows how - he buys her a derelict house, the restoration of which might just restore their relationship.

As Lola works on the house she begins to realise the liberating power of letting go. But just as she begins to open up, Duncan's life begins to fall apart.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Behind Closed Doors - B. A. Paris - twisty genius

My thoughts

Fabulous read, a real page turner of a psychological domestic noir.

Jack and Grace - the perfect couple, recently married, in the flush of a new relationship, it's hardly surprising that they're so devoted to each other. At first I observed the relationship as others see it, their friends attending dinner parties Grace has carefully and lovingly prepared. They probably envy her - her handsome, successful and very attentive husband. She's so in love with him, she's happily given up her career to make sure he's content. She spends her days caring for their lovely designer home and looking forward to the time in the not too distant future when her younger sister Millie comes to live with them. Their guests certainly want to include her in their social lives, invitations to lunch and offers of friendship are made, despite Grace having let them down by not turning up before.

I then began to see behind the closed doors, once the guests have gone, catching glimpses of Grace's life, both when she first met Jack and in the present. There is something very off kilter but quite what it is I had yet to work out .... and that's when my blood began to run very, very, cold. From small tinkling alarm bells grow huge clangs of disbelief and as teeth clenching realisation dawns to why Grace is like she is, I couldn't put this book down. It switches between now and before with ease, painting a detailed picture of a doomed relationship that is unlike any I've come across before.

Grace is in a situation I can only pray I never end up in. At first I began to think why on earth does she put up with the things she does, but the author very cleverly covers all bases in assuring us that escaping is pretty darned impossible. Jack is evil and manipulates her effortlessly, and I kept thinking "No, for heavens sake, how far can my incredulity stretch" yet, I did end up believing this story and warmed to Grace, especially towards the latter part of the book.

I really can't say too much about this book without giving too much away. It's obvious it's about some form of abusive relationship and I went into it expecting some kind of battered wife story - Oh but this is SO much more than that. It's extremely twisty and so clever it's a work of genius.

That I loved reading this wonderful book from a talented new author is not in doubt. That Jack will haunt my nightmares for some time to come is also assured!

My gratitude goes to the folks at Netgalley for offering this advance copy for review purposes and to the publisher for granting me access to it.

The Blurb:

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.

You’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

Friday, 11 December 2015

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep - Joanna Cannon - The Avenue or Memory Lane?

My thoughts:

What a refreshing and enjoyable trip down memory lane this book is. It was intended to be my Christmas read this year, but reading some very complimentary advance reviews made me long to pick it up sooner and I did, and I read it and I wasn't disappointed!

Set in the long hot school summer holidays of 1976, set to go down in history as "the hot one" and make all of us over 45 repeatedly mutter "I remember when summers WERE summers", even though there was really only the one like this.

In The Avenue, a normal street on an ordinary housing estate live 2 little girls, Grace and her friend Tilly, They don't quite fit in with the other kids but it doesn't matter because they are a formidable duo, full of imagination and ideas.

When a resident of the street a Mrs Creasy goes missing one day Grace decides that she and Tilly will solve the mystery of her disappearance by finding Jesus, who of course knows everything, and as they try, in their own inimitable way, to unravel what is behind the missing woman they uncover secrets and years of cover ups and hidden flaws amongst the residents of The Avenue.

Behind the veneer of suburban respectability lurks a hint of decay, like a vase of flowers on the brink of rotting.

Every resident is harbouring some kind of secret, every person has hidden vices and not so hidden prejudices.

When and if the girls do find Jesus will he bring everyone together or tear them apart?

What unfurls is a melodic story, written in prosaic thoughts and sentences of singular beauty, the voices of the 2 young girls echoing across the intervening years and making me feel their memories were mine.

With the flavour of angel delight, pick and mix and custard creams and the sound of Hilda Ogden on tv in the background we are transported back in time watching the mystery of a missing woman unravel everybody's secrets.

What the book is about at a deeper level is not fitting in and prejudice, friendship and betrayal.

Overall it's an utterly charming and delightful read with a mystery at heart that will have you wondering more than once whether someone is a gentle sheep following the flock innocently or a feisty goat head butting their way through life.

My gratitude to the kind folks at Harper Collins publishing who made me very happy by kindly providing a proof copy for review purposes.

The Blurb

England, 1976.

Mrs Creasy is missing and The Avenue is alive with whispers. As the summer shimmers endlessly on, ten-year-olds Grace and Tilly decide to take matters into their own hands.

And as the cul-de-sac starts giving up its secrets, the amateur detectives will find much more than they imagined…

Early Praise
'An utter delight’ Sarah Winman
‘A treasure chest of a novel’ Julie Cohen
‘One of the standout novels of the year’ Hannah Beckerman
‘I didn't want the book to end’ Carys Bray
‘An excellent debut’ James Hannah
‘Grace and Tilly are my new heroes’ Kate Hamer
‘A wonderful debut’ Jill Mansell
‘A modern classic in the making’ Sarah Hilary
‘A stunning debut’ Katie Fforde
‘Phenomenal’ Miranda Dickinson

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Green Room - Faith Mortimer - murder and mayhem

My thoughts:

The Green room is a stand alone thriller in the Dark Minds series by Faith Mortimer.

I found it to be a fast paced, easy to follow murder mystery which I galloped through in a couple of sittings. I just kept turning those pages to find out what was going to happen to our main protagonist Ella.

The book begins with a gruesome and violent murder - of a victim with my name! This wasn't coincidence, I "won" the chance to have my name in print by this author and I was very excited and pleased to have a character named after me. I was however rather surprised how terribly uneasy it made me feel when reading it! This added to the eerie sense of prickling at the back of my neck, though and got me in that spooked frame of mind which is the best way to feel when you're reading a thriller.

There is a serial killer on the loose in and around Guildford and the victims are all dark haired young actresses, connected with the theatre and in particular the Green Room theatre bar.

35 year old Ella, settling into her first flat of her own, is a hard working nurse, the only theatre she works in is an operating theatre so she'll be safe from this brutal serial murderer - or will she? Her boyfriend is a policeman too so she's doubly more likely to avoid becoming a victim. But things start to happen around her which have her wondering if the killer may be closer to home than she would like. A handsome but mysterious man moves into the flat next door, a work colleague is behaving strangely, her parents seem absent more than usual and her love life is on the rocks. Poor Ella, surely things can't get much worse for her? ....

What follows is the chance to watch Ella's life spiralling out of control, to think "no, no, don't go there" and to feel relieved and a touch smug that it's not actually happening to you. Ella no longer knows who she can really trust any more and thats the scariest part for her.

The author cleverly plants lots of red herrings to throw the reader off the track and onto the wrong one and back again.

It's a very tense and creepy book. It's more of a who-dunnit than a psychological thriller to be honest and I really didn't feel I'd got inside the mind and motivation of the killer, once their identity is fully revealed. But it's a hugely entertaining read, very fast paced and gripping and a must read for anyone who enjoys a jolly good scare and loves reading about murder and mayhem.

I was provided with a free copy to read and review, and my thanks go to the author.

The Blurb.....

Ella, a thirty-five year old nurse, believes she has a good life: no money worries, a job she enjoys, a gorgeous apartment and an undemanding boyfriend…until one fateful evening when everything changes. 

A young woman is found raped and strangled near Ella’s home. The latest victim in a serial killer’s rampage across Surrey. 

Ella’s boyfriend Michael, a police constable on the team conducting the investigations of the crime, pleads with Ella to be vigilant at all times…the killer is bound to strike again. 

When a handsome, enigmatic stranger rents the empty apartment above Ella, the brutal death toll rises…but against her better judgement, Ella doesn’t listen to her boyfriend’s warnings about strangers until it is far too late… 

She is convinced that there must be a connection between the murdered women, and for some reason it is all linked to the Green Room…

Monday, 7 December 2015

Excerpt - The Broken Road - Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn

Today I'm delighted to share an extract from the new book by Lindsay Stanberry Flynn - The Broken road. I love the cover but haven't been able to fit it into my reading schedule yet so am sharing this extract kindly provided by the author herself. It sounds lovely I hope you enjoy it.

The Blurb:

What do you do when the past returns to haunt you?
When no one around you tells the truth?

Ollie’s life is in crisis. Estranged from his father when he refuses to take over the family hotel, his artistic career is floundering, and his marriage is under strain. His wife, Jess, blames him, but is she as innocent as she appears?

Louise, Ollie’s sister, takes on the hotel in his absence, testing her emotional fragility to the limit. She knows her father considers her to be second best, and her husband is hostile to her new role. 
As the action moves between London, Plymouth and Venice, the family implodes under the weight of past betrayals, leading to a nail-biting, fast-paced climax.

In another emotionally compelling novel from the award-winning Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, the complex ties that both bind us to family and drive us apart are laid bare. Can Ollie heal the fault-lines before it’s too late? Above all, can he salvage his relationship with his young daughter, Flo, before tragedy strikes?

Praise for Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn
Real insight into character Bel Mooney

The pages turn faster than an autumn leaf in the wind Reading Writes

The Extract:


If Ollie had been a lark, things would have been different. He envied larks: the glow of sainthood flooded their lives. They caught the worm; they got things done. If Ollie had been a lark, he’d have been up hours before his mobile buzzed at nine o’clock. He’d already have been for a run, dashed off half a dozen paintings, and made breakfast for Jess and Flo. But Ollie was an owl, not a lark, so he reached a hand from under the duvet, slammed the phone into silence and went back to sleep.

He was sorting through the paintings stacked in the hallway when it rang again. He let himself dream of good news. That new gallery in Highgate might be offering him an exhibition. Or there was a chance the American customer had come good and wanted to commission more of his Hampstead Heath scenes. He studied the painting in his hands: an avenue of lime trees in Alexandra Park. Sunshine pierced the canopy of leaves, spreading a lacework of light on the path below. He’d painted it during a period of inspiration last summer. Jess had loved it: ‘Hey, that’s good!’ she said. ‘You’ve got your magic back.’ She’d kissed him, the sort of kiss she used to give him when they first met.

A dog barked in the street below. A hacking, insistent noise, like a consumptive’s cough. It dragged him away from that summer day made forever idyllic by his painting. Traffic noise from the Holloway Road rumbled through the open window in the kitchen; a magpie screeched in the gardens behind the flats. The mobile had stopped, but rang again almost straight away. He propped the picture in front of the others and ran into the bedroom, snatching the phone from the chest of drawers.

It turns out the call is from Ollie’s father who has come up to London to visit and wants to meet. They don’t get on following Ollie’s refusal to take on the family hotel in Plymouth. Ollie agrees to meet him for a pub lunch, but the atmosphere is strained. And then ...

His father gripped the edge of the table, spreading his fingers wide. ‘But let’s cut to the chase, eh?’ A line of dark hairs sprouted above the knuckles, and the familiar gold signet ring decorated the little finger of his left hand. Physically, Ollie took after his mother’s side of the family, tall, skinny, dark-haired, but his hands with their wide palms and square-tipped fingers were identical to his father’s.

‘You haven’t been down to Plymouth for over a year.’

‘Our last meeting wasn’t exactly positive, was it?’ He fixed his eyes on his father’s face. ‘I seem to remember you said, “Don’t come back until you’re ready to discuss the next steps”.'

‘It’s breaking your mother’s heart, you know.’

‘Don’t do the emotional blackmail, Dad. I phoned Mum last week, and she’s fine.’ Ollie indicated the empty glass. ‘Another one?’

His father shook his head. ‘We need to talk business. I’m sixty-four this year. I’m getting tired, and I want to secure the future of the hotel.’

‘We’ve been through this before. You know how I feel.’

His father’s fingers drummed on the table. ‘I need you down in Plymouth, Oliver. One day the hotel will be yours –’

‘No, Dad!’ Ollie had been determined to keep his cool, but the words exploded from his mouth. The couple at the next table stopped talking and stared at him. ‘I’ve told you. I’m not interested in running the hotel.’

‘The South-West is renowned for its light. You could do a bit of painting on the side.’

‘I don’t want to do a bit of painting. I’m an artist; it’s all I’ve ever wanted to be.’

‘It’s your inheritance, Oliver. The hotel has been in the Anderson family for generations, father to son, father to son. You’re my first born –’

‘You’ve only got one child, Dad.’

‘What are you talking about? There’s you and Louise.’

‘The hotel has always been the only child you care about.'

‘Just because I took my responsibilities seriously. I regarded running the hotel as an honour and a privilege.’

‘Even at the expense of your family?’

‘You’re thirty-nine –’

‘Thanks, Dad. I’m well aware of my age.’

‘Come and join me in the hotel.’ Beads of sweat on his top lip were the only sign his father was agitated. ‘I can pay you a proper salary, show you the ropes, and when the time comes, you’ll be ready to take over.’

Ollie thumped his balled fists against his knees. ‘You haven’t listened to anything I’ve said. You can’t ride roughshod over other people’s feelings.’

‘I could have been all sorts of things. I was good at science. I’d like to have been an engineer.’

‘Then you should understand what it means to feel passionate about something.’

‘What I understand is duty. I promised your grandfather on his deathbed that I'd pass the hotel to you, his namesake. And it's your duty –'

'You can't promise on someone else's behalf, Dad.'

'A deathbed promise is sacred. I can still hear your grandfather's voice now: Another Oliver Anderson to take over the hotel. I can die in peace. You're asking me to break that.'

‘And you're trying to make me to feel guilty about something that was nothing to do with me.' Ollie jumped up, his hand knocking against the bottle. It crashed on the ground, and the glass splintered. ‘I’m not taking on the hotel, Dad. Sell it. Do whatever.’

His father looked up at him, grey eyes glinting in the sunlight. ‘I can’t believe it’s come to this. I always told your mother you’d see sense one day.’

‘Leave Mum out of it. Just because she’s had to do as she’s told, doesn’t mean I have to.’

His father stood up and faced him across the table. ‘You’ll regret that.’

Ollie dragged the band from his pony tail and shook his hair free. ‘I doubt I will, Dad. And you needn’t bother with the allowance any more. I don’t want your money.’

The silence grew around them and he sensed other people’s eyes on them. His father’s fists were clenching and unclenching. Their stares locked for several seconds. Then Ollie pushed back his chair and walked away.

Available now for your kindle from Amazon

Visit Lindsay's website here

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Favourite reads 2015

I've decided to choose my favourite reads of the year now because I'm working lots of overtime followed by being away at Christmas and New Year. I hope you enjoy my selection and find one or two new reads yourself.

My main criteria is to choose books which have stayed with me in some way. There are quite a few books which I read, love and give a great review or rating to but a few months later they have faded. If I can read my review and remember the great feeling the book engendered or feel as though I'm revisiting old friends THAT'S when I call a book a raging success.

It always surprises me a little to discover how many of the books I enjoyed most are historical fiction and period dramas. I read a lot of psychological chillers hence many of these make it through but often the books I really lose myself most deeply in are the epic historical dramas with quirky everyday characters in unusual settings, and there are actually too few of these around which fit the bill.

To read my review of any of them click on the title.

A brilliant, heartstopping, thriller which begins rather gently then explodes midway into a grippingly twisted storyline about Jenna trying to rebuild her life whilst re-living nightmares about the hit and run which killed Little Joshua.

A wonderful, epic historical drama with a great sense of place and brilliant characters who stayed with me a long time after finishing it. It tells the life story of Harry who abandons his life and family to become a homesteader in remote aerly 20th century Canada.

A very clever, creepily enjoyable book about a teenage girl who doesn't fit in and will go to almost any lengths to create a friendship.

An atmospheric historical novel which lives up to its promise. Set in turn of the century New York and Coney Island, with circus acts, sword swallowing women, asylums, night soil ceaners and illegitimate babies its brimming with authentic drama.

Emotional wonderful romantic fiction which tore my heart in two and sewed it back together as only a book set in a hospice and peopled by wonderful characters created by the wonderful Rowan Coleman can.

An engaging and irresistibly readable psychological drama with quirky characters and a twist of dark humour. Single parent Roz is th eone who makes the mistake and we watch her life spiral out of control as a result.

A truly magical historical romantic, drama set in a slightly alternative steampunkesque London and featuring a clockwork octopus you'll fall in love with. Unique, original and highly entertaining.

Compelling and poignant, bleak and haunting world war 2 drama that is both thought provoking and dreamlike. It's about the journey made and people met by Owen. trying to find his way home after awakening in a field in 1945 with no memory of who he is or how he got there.

A nostalgic and somewhat tragic story set in the 1980s with a lonely teenage girl becoming invloved with a rather bohemian family. Very atmospheric with a dreamlike reminiscent quality.

A stunning historical family drama set in Ceylon in the 1920s.The description and detail just oozes off the page and I was immersed in the life of newly married Gwen trying to adapt to marriec life on a tea plantation amidst unrest and prejudices.

This historical novel  seized me by the wrist and dragged me back in time to the late 18th century where it beguiled me throughout. Two womens paths cross and shape their lives - convicted criminal Mary Jebb transported to Australia and naive young bride Grace trying to adapt to marriage and life in a crumbling old mansion in England.

Brimming with hidden secrets, family tension, and the overwhelming sense of something nasty lurking underneath the surface. set mostly in the 1960s in a dilapidated cottage by a brooding lake its a tense mystery drama surrounding a young teenage girl who disappeared and Amy who comes to the cottage years later to work as a nanny/ companion.

A chilling and scary look into the mind of a serial killer, takes the reader deep beneath the cold killer to the damaged psyche of a mass murderer I couldn't help but have sympathy for.

A thriller chiller set in Social media land. This murderously scary, twisty who-dunnit is peppered with larger than life characters, scary events and a touch of tongue in cheek quirkiness making it a fun yet dark page turner.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Looking back

It's coming up to that time of year when I begin to choose my favourite reads of the past year.

Boy is it going to be hard this year! Not because I haven't read any good ones but because I'm fortunate to have read so many delightful new books I can hardly decide which I liked best of all.

I've received and read some truly wonderful books and as I begin to look back I'm finding there are more books this year where I want to shout at the top of my voice "If you haven't read this yet - go out and buy it NOW"

In part this has been helped by my membership of a fabulous book group on Facebook called #bookconnectors started and run by my lovely friend Anne Cater whose fascinating book blog Random things through my letterbox you can find here. This group brings together, keen reviewers, book bloggers, authors, publishers and book publicists ensuring readers are introduced to some amazing new writing talents and get to know a little more about the authors, in fact some of them have now become true friends in real life.

I've also been a more active member of Twitter this year (find me there as @Beadyjan) and am thrilled to now have over 800 followers, most of whom are book lovers and influencers.

I feel I will have to have a top 20 opposed to a top 10 and am still reading so am sure to add a few more by the end of the year.

When I looked through my record of books I've read (I keep track of them on Goodreads, which is an excellent tool for the keen reader and another good place to find recommendations) I felt glad and excited that reading still brings me such unashamed pleasure and sorrowful for those poor folk who have never discovered the joy of books and whose lives must therefore be so much less rich and nurtured as mine feels when I lose myself in a great read.

I'll be posting my list of favourites later in the year - so if you want some excellent recommendations - watch this space!

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Widow - Fiona Barton - a different point of view

My thoughts:

Having been lucky enough to be offered and sent a copy of this already well publicised book in advance of publication for a review, I wanted to be blown away by what is being described as "the ultimate psychological thriller" but I have mixed feelings now I've finished it. I'm sitting on the fence somewhat, because I liked it enough to keep reading and wondering but didn't like it enough to want to shout about it.

On the one hand it kept me reading late into the night, it's a competent page turner and rather cleverly written, jumping about in time, over a few years, there are a few deliberate red herrings and hints at some massive twist coming.

We know at the beginning that Glen Taylor is dead, that’s obvious without even picking up the book, as it’s told in retrospect by his widow Jean. Jean stood by Glen throughout his trial for the abduction of a child and as she prepares to tell her story to the press we are permitted insight to what the past few years have been like for her since little toddler Bella went missing from her Mums front garden and the finger of suspicion begins to point at Glen.

As Jean begins to talk to a reporter about her exclusive inside story, we are taken back in time to just after Bella is abducted, to earlier in Jean and Glen's marriage and a picture of a pretty loveless marriage emerges.

For me it doesn't have the required elements of a psychological thriller. The twists and turns, the great reveal, the OMG moment which are so essential for this type of book to work for me just weren't there. The ending was completely predictable and felt like a real let down. I kept thinking "it's going to be something different" - and it wasn't. It's more or less a straightforward story of a police investigation into a missing child, and the story behind the husband suspected of this crime from the perspective of his wife.

Oh and the characters, they are in the main, bland and shallow and completely unlikeable. Even when the police bungle the investigation, I only become mildly exasperated with them. I'm all for dark, despicable flawed characters the ones you love to hate but I just couldn't summon up enough emotion to care enough about one single character in this story, to be secretly rooting for them despite their flaws, to be appalled or horrified or annoyed by them or feel any sympathy and I still don't grasp their motives. They were just sad little people with even sadder little lives that I got sucked into for a while.

Jean has a few very unpleasant character traits, I almost worked up enough dislike to despise her and at one point felt a smidgeon of sympathy but on the whole I just wanted to shake my head and tell her she was a misguided fool.

However there was something very compelling about being on the wrong side of the fence regarding a missing child, I've read a few books recently which explores this theme from the viewpoint of the family of the abducted child but although we are introduced to Bella's Mum is from the viewpoint of the people on the wrong side of the police investigation.

If you like police dramas and murder investigations you may love this story written from a different viewpoint but don’t expect a twisty edge of your seat psychological screamer because if you do, like me you may feel a little let down by the time you reach the end.

The Official blurb from Goodreads:

We've all seen him: the man - the monster - staring from the front page of every newspaper, accused of a terrible crime.

But what about her: the woman who grips his arm on the courtroom stairs – the wife who stands by him?

Jean Taylor’s life was blissfully ordinary. Nice house, nice husband. Glen was all she’d ever wanted: her Prince Charming.

Until he became that man accused, that monster on the front page. Jean was married to a man everyone thought capable of unimaginable evil.

But now Glen is dead and she’s alone for the first time, free to tell her story on her own terms.

Jean Taylor is going to tell us what she knows.

'The ultimate psychological thriller' Lisa Gardner

The Secret by the Lake - Louise Douglas - Blog Tour

I am delighted to take part in the current blog tour for the new book by Louise Douglas as not only is it a stunning read, Louise is a genuine and lovely person.

I'm very selective about which blog tours I take part in, because they can take over your time so much you end up with no time to read or write reviews. But this is one I felt I couldn't say no to.

Mr review was publsihed a few weeks ago so here is a reminder and some more information about Louise and her book The Secret by the Lake.

My Review

This haunting, romantic mystery beguiled me throughout, it has everything the discerning reader could wish for in a captivating and intriguing new novel.

Brimming with hidden secrets, family tension, and the overwhelming sense of something nasty lurking underneath the surface this book is narrated by Amy, with a patchy childhood herself she has always sought to belong and when she landed a job as nanny with a wealthy family in France it became not merely a job but a whole new life and family to belong to and cherish.

Returning home to the UK to visit her ailing father out of a sense of duty more than familial love, she doesn't hesitate when she receives an urgent summons from her former employer Julia to whom tragedy has befallen. She drops everything to join Julia and young daughter Viviane in a tumbledown cottage overlooking a lake where Julia lived as a child with her hapless, misfit sister Caroline, an upbringing no more love filled than Amy's own.

What Amy finds is a fractured family living in near poverty in a dilapidated house where a young woman once lived and died in mysterious circumstances and a close knit rural community reluctant to let go of the past.

She also finds love and her own inner strength as she tries to uncover the truths about what really happened to Caroline.

Set mainly in the 1960s it captures the essence of buried small town secrets, the closeness of a rural community and a creeping sense of apprehension, desolation and imminent 

The whole book simmers with mysteries, camouflaged secrets and deeply shrouded unpleasantness that has been buried for years, as Amy begins to peel away the layers, the messages which are revealed are about to release unexpected corruption and depravity.

I loved the progressive sense of malignance and the ethereal quality of the brooding lake and the spectral brooding presence of the much maligned Caroline.

About the Book:

Amy’s always felt like something’s been missing in her life. When a tragedy forces the family she works for as a nanny to retreat to a small lakeside cottage, she realises she cannot leave them now.

But Amy finds something unsettling about the cottage by the lake. This is where the children’s mother spent her childhood – and the place where her sister disappeared mysteriously at just seventeen. 

Soon Amy becomes tangled in the missing sister’s story as dark truths begin rising to the surface. But can Amy unlock the secrets of the past before they repeat themselves?

Author Links:

About the author:
Louise was born in Sheffield, but has lived in Somerset since she was 18.  She has three grown up sons and lives with her husband Kevin.  The Secret By The Lake is Louise’s sixth novel and she currently writes around her full time job. 

In her spare time, Louise loves walking with her two dogs in the Mendip Hills, meeting up with her friends and she’s also an avid reader.

Friday, 20 November 2015

The Day of Second Chances - Julie Cohen - wonderfully absorbing

The publishers description

Can you imagine keeping a secret so devastating, you couldn’t even tell the people you love?

Honor’s secret threatens to rob her of the independence she’s guarded ferociously for eighty years.

Jo’s secret could smash apart the ‘normal’ family life she’s fought so hard to build.

Lydia’s secret could bring her love - or the loss of everything that matters to her.

One summer’s day, grandmother, mother and daughter’s secrets will collide in a single dramatic moment.

Is it too late for second chances?

My thoughts

I've read some lovely books recently and this is another brilliant read which blew my socks right off!

It's difficult to praise a book I loved without resorting to cliches and overuse of superlatives, so I won't even try and avoid them. I found it to be incredibly enjoyable, terrifically captivating and wonderfully heart warming.

It's an absorbing and moving story of relationships, and love and secrets. Focussing on the interconnected lives of 3 women, 3 generations, 3 very different secrets. Theres a lot of warmth and love and hugely believable relationships yet there are a few gritty issues faced by the characters keeping it firmly grounded in realism.

Between these pages we meet Jo, she's 40 with 2 marriages behind her and 3 children, a teenage daughter and 2 lively, loveable, handfuls of toddler Oscar and Iris around whom her whole world revolves.

Jo is so ordinary, so normal and so very special! When life offers her a glimpse of happiness for her alone she finds it hard to put herself first for once. We meet her when she is struggling onto a busy bus, overladen with shopping, a buggy and 2 very lively toddlers, this scene paints her life so realistically I was there on the bus with her and despite never having been in this situation myself I could SO feel her frustration, exhaustion and desire to remain smiling. She deserves some happiness.

Lydia is her teenage daughter, bright, with a great future ahead of her, many friends including her bff Avril, exams are looming and her secret threatens to spill over, she battles to keep it hidden despite the fact its almost killing her not to reveal it. She is a typical angst ridden teenager whom Jo finds it increasingly bewildering and difficult to deal with, her sweet loving little girl is rapidly growing into a woman concealing a life altering awareness she can't bring herself to face head on.

Into this family comes Honor, Jo's Mother in law from her first marriage the 2 women have never seen eye to eye in fact they can barely tolerate each other. When Honor falls downstairs she is reluctant to ask for support, but having been completely alone for many years Jo is the person she is forced to turn to. Honor is feisty, intractable, irascible and fiercely independent, she's not a warm cuddly Nana, isn't used to children and likes her own company, so it's unthinkable that she could fit in with Jo's noisy slapdash household.

Honor is the character I most closely related to, when she is first introduced to a noisy family meal with toddlers screaming and a sulky teenager I cringed with her.

The lives and pasts of these 3 incredibly real women are so stunningly written, believable and incredibly moving, that what could be an everyday family drama is transformed into a page turner I just couldn't put down. I was so deeply immersed in their lives, I emerged at the end, blinking and wondering who and where I was!

By featuring 3 women equally each of a different generation the book will assuredly appeal to women of any age from Teen, to Mum to Grandmother so if you're a woman - I think you'll relate more to one character than the others but I'm certain you'll love them all.

Author Julie Cohen has already written 2 previous fabulous novels which I loved, the Richard and Judy choice Dear Thing and the wonderful Where Love Lies which I just heard today has won a prestigious award Best Romantic Read 2015. Very well deserved, congratulations Julie. I have no doubt in my mind that this, The Day of Second chances will be as great a success.

My thanks go to the super https://www.netgalley.com/ for providing my copy to review and the wonderful publisherhttp://www.transworldbooks.co.uk/