Genre: Historical Fiction

#BookReview #GoodreadsGiveaways
The Gown by Jennifer Robson
@AuthorJenniferR @WmMorrowBks @goodreads

#BookReview #GoodreadsGiveaways The Gown by Jennifer Robson @AuthorJenniferR @WmMorrowBks @goodreadsTitle: The Gown

Author: Jennifer Robson

Published by William Morrow on December 31, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 292

Format: Paperback

Source: William Morrow, Goodreads Giveaways

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.

Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?

With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages.


Review:

Evocative, enchanting, and beautifully written!

The Gown is a captivating, sentimental tale predominantly set in London post-WWII, as well as present day, that follows the lives of three main characters.  Ann, a young talented embroider employed by the esteemed Norman Hartnell; Miriam, a Holocaust survivor and émigré from France who becomes Ann’s coworker and close friend; and Heather, Ann’s granddaughter who after discovering embroidered flowers in her grandmother’s possessions after her passing embarks on a journey to determine their significance.

The prose is eloquent and well turned.  The characters are flawed, multifaceted, hardworking, and brave. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive mix of drama, familial dynamics, emotion, secrets, love, loss, duty, heartbreak, passion, and courage; as well as an insightful look at life in postwar London and the importance of female friendships.

Overall, The Gown is a wonderful blend of historical facts and compelling fiction that’s mesmerizing, gripping, nostalgic and perfect for those who love anything royal.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to William Morrow and Goodreads Giveaways for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson first learned about the Great War from her father, acclaimed historian Stuart Robson, and later served as an official guide at the Canadian National War Memorial at Vimy Ridge, France. A former copy editor, she holds a doctorate in British economic and social history from the University of Oxford. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and young children.

#BookReview
Secrets Under the Sun by Nadia Marks
@Nadia_Marks @panmacmillan @PGCBooks

#BookReview Secrets Under the Sun by Nadia Marks @Nadia_Marks @panmacmillan @PGCBooksTitle: Secrets Under the Sun

Author: Nadia Marks

Published by Pan Macmillan on February 12, 2019

Pages: 384

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The truth will surprise you…

On the island of Cyprus, in the small seaside town of Larnaka, three childhood friends have reunited for the funeral of Katerina, the much-loved old woman who had a profound effect on their lives.

Eleni, Marianna and Adonis grew up together, as close as siblings. Although from humble beginnings – a housemaid from the age of thirteen – Katerina’s love, wisdom and guidance helped shape them all.

Her loss leaves the friends bereft, but the funeral is not just a time to mourn and remember. Adonis’s mother decides that with Katerina’s death comes the time to share the family’s secrets and answer the riddles of their childhood. A story of deception, forbidden love and undying loyalty unravels. What she reveals will change everything . . .


Review:

Sincere, enchanting, and expressive!

Secrets Under the Sun is set on the picturesque island of Cyprus and delves into the lives of several generations of the Linser family and all the secrets, tears, smiles, strength, and compassion they shared over the years.

The writing is heartwarming and vivid. The characters are complex, multi-faceted, and reliable. And the plot, alternating between the past and present, sweeps you away in a tale full of love, life, loss, friendship, heartbreak, deception, generosity, support, forgiveness, and the true meaning of family.

Overall, Secrets Under the Sun is a tender, alluring, beautifully depicted tale that highlights the enduring bonds of women and the power and everlasting effects of unconditional love and friendship.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                              

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Nadia Marks

Nadia Marks (ne Kitromilides,) was born in Cyprus, but grew up in London. An ex creative director and associate editor on a number of leading British women’s magazines, she is now a novelist and works as a freelance writer for several national and international publications. She has written for the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday, the Daily Express, the Independent, the Royal Photographic Society Journal, Psychologies, In Style magazine and others. For Europe and abroad she has contributed to Italian Vanity Fair, Brazilian Vogue, Greek and Australian Marie Claire, to the biggest Greek Sunday newspaper Vima, and the glossy Greek Cypriot lifestyle magazines Omikron and Must.

#BookReview
The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman
@lyndacloigman @StMartinsPress

#BookReview The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman @lyndacloigman @StMartinsPressTitle: The Wartime Sisters

Author: Lynda Cohen Loigman

Published by St. Martin's Press on January 22, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Two estranged sisters, raised in Brooklyn and each burdened with her own shocking secret, are reunited at the Springfield Armory in the early days of WWII. While one sister lives in relative ease on the bucolic Armory campus as an officer’s wife, the other arrives as a war widow and takes a position in the Armory factories as a “soldier of production.” Resentment festers between the two, and secrets are shattered when a mysterious figure from the past reemerges in their lives.


Review:

Expressive, thoughtful, and intriguing!

The Wartime Sisters is a fascinating, sentimental story of two Jewish sisters, Ruth, the smart, dependable one, and Millie, the beautiful, irresponsible one, and their struggle to understand, accept, support, unite, and show compassion for each other in a time of personal and global instability and turmoil.

The writing is clear and precise. The characters are strong, hardworking, and determined. And the plot takes us back to the early 1940s, from Brooklyn, NY to Springfield, Massachusetts, and tells the story of two lives filled with loneliness, abuse, inequity, friction, discontent, secrets, loss, rivalry, heartbreak, motherhood, friendship, and war.

The Wartime Sisters is truly a delightful blend of compelling fiction, historical facts, and heartfelt emotion. It’s an engaging, nostalgic tale that reminds us of the complex relationship that can exist between sisters and highlights Loigman’s remarkable knowledge and research into a time and place often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            


 

Thank you to St. Martins Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lynda Cohen Loigman

Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a law degree from Columbia Law School. Lynda practiced trusts and estates law in New York City for eight years before moving out of the city to raise her two children with her husband. She wrote The Two-Family House while she was a student of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. The Two-Family House was chosen by Goodreads as a best book of the month for March, 2016, and was a nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in Historical Fiction. Lynda's second novel, The Wartime Sisters, will be published on January 22, 2019.

#BookReview
The Light Over London by Julia Kelly
@The_Julia_Kelly @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Light Over London by Julia Kelly @The_Julia_Kelly @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Light Over London

Author: Julia Kelly

Published by Gallery Books on January 8, 2019

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 7.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Reminiscent of Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, this sweeping, entrancing story is a must-read for fans of remarkable women rising to challenges they could never have predicted.

It’s always been easier for Cara Hargraves to bury herself in the past than confront the present, which is why working with a gruff but brilliant antiques dealer is perfect. While clearing out an estate, she pries open an old tin that holds the relics of a lost relationship: among the treasures, a World War II-era diary and a photograph of a young woman in uniform. Eager to find the author of the hauntingly beautiful, unfinished diary, Cara digs into this soldier’s life, but soon realizes she may not have been ready for the stark reality of wartime London she finds within the pages.

In 1941, nineteen-year-old Louise Keene’s life had been decided for her—she’ll wait at home in her Cornish village until her wealthy suitor returns from war to ask for her hand. But when Louise unexpectedly meets Flight Lieutenant Paul Bolton, a dashing RAF pilot stationed at a local base, everything changes. And changes again when Paul’s unit is deployed without warning.

Desperate for a larger life, Louise joins the women’s branch of the British Army in the anti-aircraft gun unit as a Gunner Girl. As bombs fall on London, she and the other Gunner Girls relish in their duties to be exact in their calculations, and quick in their identification of enemy planes during air raids. The only thing that gets Louise through those dark, bullet-filled nights is knowing she and Paul will be together when the war is over. But when a bundle of her letters to him are returned unanswered, she learns that wartime romance can have a much darker side.

Illuminating the story of these two women separated by generations and experience, Julia Kelly transports us to World War II London in this heartbreakingly beautiful novel through forgotten antique treasures, remembered triumphs, and fierce family ties.


Review:

Sweet, intriguing, and romantic!

The Light Over London is a compelling tale set during the early 1940s, as well as the present day, and is told from two different perspectives. Louise, a young girl who finds adventure outside her hometown by becoming a Gunner Girl in the British Army and being swept off her feet by a dashing RAF pilot; and Cara, a recent divorcee who after finding an old locket, photograph, and diary during an estate sale embarks on a journey to discover the owner’s identity and life story.

The writing is light and fluid. The characters are intelligent, resilient, and determined. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel subtly into an engaging tale of life, loss, family, heartbreak, betrayal, friendship, secrets, and love.

Overall, The Light Over London is an uplifting, atmospheric, informative tale about taking chances, moving on, and discovering one’s true self. And even though I felt it delved a little deeper into the romance, relationship side than the historical fiction side of things I did enjoy the little glimpse into some of the unknown, specialty roles women played during WWII.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Julia Kelly

Julia Kelly is the award-winning author of women's fiction and historical romance books about the extraordinary stories of the past. She also writes fast-paced contemporary sports romance as Julia Blake. In addition to writing, she’s been an Emmy-nominated producer, journalist, marketing professional, and (for one summer) a tea waitress. Julia called Los Angeles, Iowa, and New York City home before settling in London.

Photograph by Scott Bottles.

#BlogTour #GuestPost
The Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison
@AnitaSDavison @aria_fiction

#BlogTour #GuestPost The Bloomsbury Affair by Anita Davison @AnitaSDavison @aria_fictionTitle: The Bloomsbury Affair

Author: Anita Davison

Series: A Flora Maguire Mystery #5

Published by Aria on November 20, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 333

 

 

 

Synopsis:

1905 London is a heady mix of unimaginable wealth and simmering political tensions, and with war looming Flora Maguire wants to keep her family safe.

So when her beloved charge Viscount Edward Trent is accused of murder, she’s determined not to leave the investigation to the police. Flora has trodden the path of amateur sleuth before, but with so much at stake, this time it’s personal.

Slowly the body of the victim found stabbed on a train bound for Paddington starts giving up its secrets, and Flora and her husband Bunny become mired in a murky world of spies, communists and fraudsters. And with the police more sure than ever that Edward is their murderer, Flora must work fast to keep him safe.

Anita Davison’s compulsive story-telling, combined with the irresistible mix of historical drama and gripping mystery, make this unputdownable.

 

And now Anita Davison with:

 

The Positives and Negatives of Writing a Historical Series

When I began writing about Flora Maguire, my amateur sleuth, I intended it to be a standalone story. However once published, I received e-mails from readers asking me questions like: What happened to Flora’s mother? Will she ever see Bunny again? What is Edward like as a grown up? etc.

When I was contracted to write Books 2 to 5, I began to wonder if my characters’ pasts were interesting enough to impact on their futures? Apart from the unique mystery at the core of each book, how could I develop the characters so they were worth reading about in themselves?

I implied in the first book that Flora’s mother, Lily Maguire disappeared mysteriously when Flora was a child. An incident in her early childhood related to her mother haunted Flora, giving her unexplained dreams.  I carried this theme into the next story, and although some aspects were covered, what happened to Lily wasn’t fully explained.  I didn’t want to drag out the mystery too long, so the full story was revealed in Book 4, giving closure for both the reader and Flora herself.

A disadvantage of an accidental series, is that I gave one major character an upper-middle class nickname, which seemed a good idea at the time, but after four books, I began to regret it, although it was too late to change. Some of my readers love the name, while others find it puerile and annoying – but I’m stuck with it.

One of the challenges which face me in each successive novel, is to make sure the information I included in a later book doesn’t contradict an earlier one. Eye colour and appearance is straightforward, but things like personal idiosyncrasies need to be dealt with. Flora had a nervous habit of chewing the base of her thumb which she acquired as a child; a reaction to her nightmares about what happened to her mother. Later on, when her questions are answered and her nightmares stop, she doesn’t do it anymore. It occurred to me recently that I have rationalised this to myself, but maybe I should have explained it to the reader as well?

Also, if a character’s childhood was portrayed as happy and secure in Book 1, introducing some new trauma as a reason for not entering a lift, or a graveyard jars with the reader as they were unaware of this. Bunny is a self-contained, loving man with a progressive attitude to women. I discovered there were many more like him too, but to suddenly make him into a wife controlling misogynist would anger some of my readers who adore him; especially the ones who point out if he is missed from more than one chapter!

Technology did not change as quickly in the early 20thCentury as it does now. For instance, telephones were few and far between right up until after WW1, so I cannot have everyone calling each other all the time.  Fingerprints were in the very early stages of being used in criminal cases, first used to convict someone in 1902, so weren’t universally searched for or used.  Identification of blood groups, X-Rays and the use of motor cars were all in their infancy Most people still used horse-drawn vehicles and women who ate in public on their own were rare enough to be remarked open, even criticised. All this, while suffragists were marching on Parliament, but weren’t yet smashing windows in Downing Street. Getting the historical timeline right is imperative – as inaccuracies can spoil a good story.

In a murder mystery series, the focus is on the mystery itself, so the history of the characters takes second place. However, I’m aware readers like to read about those characters. How their careers progress, their relationships with parents, husband, how many children they have etc. I enjoy aging my characters, some by popular demand, for instance the thirteen-year-old boy who made an appearance in Book 1 reappears in a later book as a young man. Flora also had a child of her own, one who might even get to talk back if the series continues.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy of this novel from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links!

                              

 

 

About Anita Davison

Born in London, Anita has always had a penchant for all things historical. She now lives in the beautiful Cotswolds, the backdrop for her Flora Maguire mysteries.

 

Thank you to Anita Davison for being featured on my blog today!

 

 

For more information on Aria visit them at:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

#BlogTour #BookReview
The Merest Loss by Steven Neil
@stevenneil12 @rararesources

#BlogTour #BookReview The Merest Loss by Steven Neil @stevenneil12 @rararesources

#BlogTour #BookReview The Merest Loss by Steven Neil @stevenneil12 @rararesourcesTitle: The Merest Loss

Author: Steven Neil

Published by Matador on November 28, 2017

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 8/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.

When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?

Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father?

The central character is Harriet Howard and the action takes place between 1836 and 1873. The plot centres on Harriet’s relationships with Louis Napoleon and famous Grand National winning jockey, Jem Mason. The backdrop to the action includes significant characters from the age, including Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Grafton, as well as Emperor Napoleon III. The worlds of horse racing, hunting and government provide the scope for rural settings to contrast with the city scenes of London and Paris and for racing skulduggery to vie with political chicanery.

The Merest Loss is historical fiction with a twist. It’s pacy and exciting with captivating characters and a distinctive narrative voice.


Review:

Fascinating, engaging, and insightful!

The Merest Loss is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Harriet Howard, a young, impulsive, British girl who aspired early in life to become a distinguished actress but who ultimately became most infamous as the benefactor and mistress to Louis Napoleon.

The prose is descriptive and smooth. The characters are vulnerable, independent, and well drawn. And the story sweeps you back and forth between London and Paris during the mid-1800s and into a world filled with love, loss, deception, manipulation, riches, power, politics, and 19th-century horse racing.

I have to admit that I knew very little about Harriet Howard when I started The Merest Loss but Neil did such a lovely job of blending historical facts with captivating, alluring fiction that you’ll not only be left entertained but questioning whether the Comtesse de Beauregard was really a strong-minded, forthright woman ahead of the times or merely a lonely, heartbroken, naive young girl who was used and exploited by a government looking to secure beneficial alliances.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

          

 

 

Thank you to Steven Neil & Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Steven Neil

Steven Neil has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. In his working life he has been a bookmaker’s clerk, management tutor, management consultant, bloodstock agent and racehorse breeder. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire.

 

#BookReview
The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos
@r_veletzos @SimonSchusterCA

#BookReview The Girl They Left Behind by Roxanne Veletzos @r_veletzos @SimonSchusterCATitle: The Girl They Left Behind

Author: Roxanne Veletzos

Published by Atria Books on October 30, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Paperback, ARC

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 10/10

 

 

Synopsis:

A sweeping family saga and love story that offers a vivid and unique portrayal of life in war-torn 1941 Bucharest and life behind the Iron Curtain during the Soviet Union occupation—perfect for fans of Lilac Girls and Sarah’s Key.

On a freezing night in January 1941, a little Jewish girl is found on the steps of an apartment building in Bucharest. With Romania recently allied with the Nazis, the Jewish population is in grave danger, undergoing increasingly violent persecution. The girl is placed in an orphanage and eventually adopted by a wealthy childless couple who name her Natalia. As she assimilates into her new life, she all but forgets the parents who were forced to leave her behind. They are even further from her mind when Romania falls under Soviet occupation.

Yet, as Natalia comes of age in a bleak and hopeless world, traces of her identity pierce the surface of her everyday life, leading gradually to a discovery that will change her destiny. She has a secret crush on Victor, an intense young man who as an impoverished student befriended her family long ago. Years later, when Natalia is in her early twenties and working at a warehouse packing fruit, she and Victor, now an important official in the Communist regime, cross paths again. This time they are fatefully drawn into a passionate affair despite the obstacles swirling around them and Victor’s dark secrets.

When Natalia is suddenly offered a one-time chance at freedom, Victor is determined to help her escape, even if it means losing her. Natalia must make an agonizing decision: remain in Bucharest with her beloved adoptive parents and the man she has come to love, or seize the chance to finally live life on her own terms, and to confront the painful enigma of her past.


Review:

Evocative, absorbing, and incredibly affecting!

The Girl They Left Behind is a powerful, riveting tale that sweeps you into a country ravaged and oppressed by war and then forced to endure economic instability, political upheaval, social injustice, and lack of freedoms under Stalinist rule.

The prose is poetic and enchanting. The characters are multi-layered, resilient, and vulnerable. And the plot, set in Romania during the mid-1900s, is a profoundly moving tale about war, familial relationships, heartbreak, loss, guilt, grief, suspicion, desperation, resilience, courage, coming of age, and hope.

Overall, The Girl They Left Behind is the perfect blend of historical facts, compelling fiction, and palpable emotion. It’s a beautifully written story that is nostalgic, heart-wrenching, and impactful and does a remarkable job of highlighting not only the indomitable spirit of humanity to endure, survive, conquer, and even love under even the most atrocious of circumstances but also Veletzos’ passion for her maternal heritage.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Roxanne Veletzos

Roxanne Veletzos was born in Bucharest, Romania and moved to California with her family as a young teen. Already fluent in English and French, she began writing short stories about growing up in her native Eastern Europe, at first as a cathartic experience as she transitioned to a new culture. Building on her love of the written language, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California State University, Northridge and has worked as an editor, content writer, and marketing manager for a number of Fortune 500 companies.

Photograph by Eric Lindstrom.

#BlogTour #BookReview
Chasing Ghosts by Madalyn Morgan
@ActScribblerDJ @rararesources

#BlogTour #BookReview Chasing Ghosts by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ @rararesources

#BlogTour #BookReview Chasing Ghosts by Madalyn Morgan @ActScribblerDJ @rararesourcesTitle: Chasing Ghosts

Author: Madalyn Morgan

Series: Dudley Sisters Saga #6

Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on June 23, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 159

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Rachel's Random Resources

Book Rating: 7/10

 

Synopsis:

In 1949 after receiving treatment for shell shock in Canada, Claire’s husband disappears.

Has Mitch left her for the woman he talks about in his sleep? Or is he on the run from accusations of wartime treachery?

Claire goes to France in search of the truth, aided by old friends from the Resistance.


Review:

Historical, menacing, and intriguing!

In this latest novel by Morgan, Chasing Ghosts, she transports us back to 1949 as Claire embarks on a journey to find her missing husband, Mitch with the help of her contacts and friends from the Resistance after he mysteriously disappears during treatment for PTSD in Canada.

The writing is descriptive and smooth. The characters are fearless, clever, and relentless. And the plot, although a little slow to start, is a compelling tale about the psychological effects of war, family dynamics, friendship, suspicion, desperation, duplicity, and murder.

Overall, Chasing Ghosts is a sinister, fascinating, well researched, easy read that has a nice little twist and a satisfying ending. And even though it’s the sixth book in the Dudley Sisters Saga and the sequel to China Blue (Book #3) it can certainly be enjoyed and read as a standalone novel.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following link.

    

 

 

Giveaway:

Win signed copies of China Blue and Chasing Ghosts (UK Only)

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

*Terms and Conditions – UK 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.

 

Thank you to Madalyn Morgan & Rachel’s Random Resources for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Madalyn Morgan

Madalyn Morgan has been an actress for more than thirty years working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television. She is a radio presenter and journalist, writing articles for newspapers and magazines.
Madalyn was brought up in Lutterworth, at the Fox Inn. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live, as there were so many different characters to study and accents to learn. At twenty-four Madalyn gave up a successful hairdressing salon and wig-hire business for a place at E15 Drama College, and a career as an actress.
In 2000, with fewer parts available for older actresses, Madalyn taught herself to touch type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau, and started writing. After living in London for thirty-six years, she has returned to her home town of Lutterworth, swapping two window boxes and a mortgage, for a garden and the freedom to write.
Happy to be an Indie Author, Madalyn has successfully published six novels. Foxden Acres, Applause, China Blue and The 9:45 To Bletchley are set before and during WW2 and tell the wartime stories of Bess, Margot, Claire, and Ena Dudley. Foxden Hotel and Chasing Ghosts are both post war. Chasing Ghosts is a sequel to China Blue.
Madalyn’s books are available on Amazon - in paperback and all formats of eBook.

 

#BookReview
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
@pcalhenry @ThomasNelson

#BookReview Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan @pcalhenry @ThomasNelsonTitle: Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Author: Patti Callahan

Published by Thomas Nelson on October 2, 2018

Genres: Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: Thomas Nelson, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called “my whole world.” When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren’t meant to have a voice—and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn’t know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer’s life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story—a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.


Review:

Vivid, compelling, and immersive!

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Joy Davidman, the American writer and poet who through a shared conviction of Christianity and love of writing became a close confidant, friend, and wife of the famous fantasy writer, C.S. Lewis until her untimely death from breast cancer in 1960.

It is a story about familial responsibilities, strength, friendship, kindness, encouragement, support, passion, desire, loss, and love.

Davidman was a strong, intelligent, forthright woman who not only found peace, contentment, and fulfillment through Christianity in midlife but also found her true self.

The prose is clear and precise. And the plot takes us back to the late 1940s to the early 1960s, from Ossining, NY to Oxford, England and tells the story of a life filled with loneliness, abuse, poverty, grace, riches, success, motherhood, and romance.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a well written, captivating, rich story by Callahan that does a remarkable job of highlighting her incredible knowledge and research into this complex, historical figure who is often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                                            

 

 

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

 

About Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan, who also writes as Patti Callahan Henry, is a New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including this latest novel BECOMING MRS. LEWIS – The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. A finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year, Patti is a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

#BookReview
Her Frozen Heart by Lulu Taylor
@MissLuluTaylor @PGCBooks @panmacmillan

#BookReview Her Frozen Heart by Lulu Taylor @MissLuluTaylor @PGCBooks @panmacmillanTitle: Her Frozen Heart

Author: Lulu Taylor

Published by Pan Macmillan on September 4, 2018

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Historical Fiction

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

Synopsis:

Caitlyn, there’s something I have to tell you. About Sara.

Caitlyn thinks her marriage to Patrick is a success. For one thing, he is one of the few people not to fall head over heels for her beautiful friend, Sara. Life is lived on his terms, but they are happy.

Aren’t they?

When a devastating accident turns her existence upside down, Caitlyn is forced to reassess everything she thought about her marriage, what she truly knows about Patrick, and his real feelings for her best friend. In the refuge of an old manor house, she begins to discover the truth.

In 1947, the worst winter in decades hits England, cutting off entirely the inhabitants of Kings Harcourt Manor. For Tommy Carter, widowed at the start of war, it is particularly hard: the burden of the family falls on her. She has the solace of her children, and the interesting presence of her brother’s friend, Fred. But there is also Barbara, a mysterious figure from her past who appears to want a piece of Tommy’s future as well.

Her Frozen Heart is a thrilling mystery from Lulu Taylor, top ten bestselling author of The Snow Rose.


Review:

Simmering, menacing, and dramatic!

Her Frozen Heart is predominantly set in the Oxfordshire countryside during the late 1940s, as well as present day, and is told from two different perspectives, Tommy, a young widow struggling to keep her family fed, safe, and warm during the harshest of winters, continuing war rations, and an unexpected visitor with malicious intentions; and Caitlyn, a young woman who finds her life unexpectedly turned upside down by the sudden loss of her husband and a secret that threatens everything she thought she knew about her marriage.

The writing is descriptive and unsettling. The characters in both time periods are troubled, determined, protective, and strong. And the plot, including all the subplots, intertwine and unravel subtly into a mysterious tale filled with life, loss, family, survival, heartbreak, betrayal, obsession, romance, misdirection, manipulation, and violence.

Overall, Her Frozen Heart is a clever, atmospheric, brooding thriller that reminds us just how quickly life can spin out of control and just how parasitic some of our relationships can truly be.

 

This novel is available in Canada on September 25, 2018.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                        

 

 

Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lulu Taylor

Lulu Taylor moved around the world as a child before her family settled in the Oxfordshire countryside. She studied English at Oxford University and had a successful career in publishing before becoming a writer. Her first novel, Heiresses was published in 2007 and nominated for the RNA Readers' Choice award. It was followed by Midnight Girls, Beautiful Creatures, Outrageous Fortune, The Winter Folly, The Snow Angel, The Winter Children, and The Snow Rose. She lives in Dorset, England, with her husband and two children.

Photograph by Alicia Clarke.

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