Wednesday, 20 October 2021

πŸ“– Book Review ~ I know You by Claire McGowan


Thomas & Mercer
Amazon Publishing
19 October 2021

My thanks to the publisher and FMcM Associates for my copy of this book

When Rachel stumbles upon a body in the woods, she knows what she has to do: run. Get away. Do not be found at the scene. Last time, she didn’t know, and she ended up accused of murder. But when this victim is identified as her boyfriend’s estranged wife, Rachel realises she’s already the prime suspect.

With mounting evidence against her, Rachel’s only hope is to keep the truth about herself well hidden. Because twenty years ago she was someone else—Casey, a young nanny trying to make it as an actress in Los Angeles. When the family she worked for were brutally murdered, all the evidence pointed to her and she went to prison. Back then, she narrowly escaped the death penalty and managed to free herself on appeal. Now she’s fighting to save the life she’s spent years piecing back together.

But with her behaviour raising suspicion and the police closing in, Rachel can’t help wondering: Was her discovery in the woods really just an awful coincidence, or is someone framing her for murder? Someone who knows who she is, and wants revenge.

πŸ“–My thoughts...

When Rachel finds a body in the woods she instinctively runs away, however, her actions that morning will have long lasting repercussions. For Rachel is no stranger to tragedy and it's only when the story gets underway that we start to learn just what has brought Rachel to this particular moment in time. 

Without giving away any spoilers I can say that the story is divided into two distinct time frames where we follow the story of Rachel in the here and now, and twenty years ago when she was known as Casey who finds herself working, as a nanny, in Los Angeles, with an interesting, and rather dysfunctional, family. It's not clear, at first, just what these two sides of one character have in common but as this clever thriller continues, all will be revealed.

I flew through I know You in almost one sittingas it is very easy to get into the story and both time elements are done cleverly so that you get drawn into two quite separate tragedies. The author writes this genre well and she certainly builds the tension to a high level with neither story seeking to outshine the other. As the plot progresses, I did sort of guess where it was heading but that didn't spoil my overall enjoyment of the story and there were some twists which I didn't see coming at all.

I know You is a cleverly put together murder/mystery written with a interesting plot and a great set of characters.

About the Author

Claire McGowan grew up in a small village in Northern Ireland. After a degree in English and French from Oxford University she moved to London and worked in the charity sector. She also writes as Eva Woods.

Twitter @inkstainsclaire #IKnowYou



Tuesday, 19 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop by Jessica Redland

Delighted to host one of the stops on today's blog today

Boldwood Books
3 August 2021

My thanks to Boldwood books for my copy of this book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for my invitation to the blog tour

Sometimes you just need a little Christmas magic to make your wishes come true...

When master chocolatier, Charlee, takes the leap to move to the picturesque seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, she is determined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps and set up a chocolate shop.

Luckily, she finds the perfect location for Charlee's Chocolates on beautiful Castle Street... Now she just has to refurbish it in time for Christmas!

With a useless boyfriend and countless DIY disasters, Charlee doesn't know if she'll make it in time. With no 'traditional' family to support her, she feels lost in her new surroundings and the secrets of the past are weighing her down.

But the warmth and festive spirit of the Whitsborough Bay community will surprise her, and when plumber, Matt, comes to the rescue, it might be that all of Charlee's dreams could come true this Christmas, and she could learn what family really means...


Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop was originally released as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

I’ve just spent a delightful few days, not just ensconced in the wonderful, and rather delicious world of chocolate making, but I’ve also got to know a delightful set of characters who call the charming Whitsborough Bay, in Yorkshire, their home.

Charlee Chambers has to make some pretty tough life choices when she leaves everything she has known to set up her chocolate shop in Whitsborough Bay. Moving in with her boyfriend soon presents it’s own set of challenges but Charlee is nothing if not resilient, and it soon becomes apparent that if she is to get anywhere in life she must do so  thanks to her own steely determination and sheer strength of will.

Charlee is such a likeable heroine that I was rooting for her all the way through and wanted her to succeed despite all the setbacks which seem to come at her from all angles. However, there are lovely characters who support Charlee through all of her challenges, but it is her special relationship with a certain, charismatic plumber who comes to her rescue in more ways than just fixing her faulty plumbing, that made me smile the most.

I raced through the story, at ease with the characters, the setting, and especially during the Christmas part of the story, which is quite magical, but I think it’s the warmth of the characterisation which makes this lovely, warm-hearted story, about love, life and friendship really quite special.

Beautifully written, with a joyous set of characters, not all likeable but all very memorable, Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is every bit as scrumptious as the chocolate which Charlee moulds with such loving care at her little shop on Castle Street.

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Twitter @JessicaRedland #ChristmasWishesattheChocolateShop

@BoldwoodBooks #Boldwoodbloggers @bookandtonic


Monday, 18 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ A Woman Made of Snow by Elisabeth Gifford


Thrilled to be hosting today's stop on this blog tour

7 October 2021

My thanks to Kirsty Doole at the publishers for my copy of this book
and to Random Things Tours for the invitation to be part of this blog tour

Scotland, 1949: Caroline Gillan and her new husband Alasdair have moved back to Kelly Castle, his dilapidated family estate in the middle of nowhere. Stuck caring for their tiny baby, and trying to find her way with an opinionated mother-in-law, Caroline feels adrift, alone and unwelcome.

But when she is tasked with sorting out the family archives, Caroline discovers a century-old mystery that sparks her back to life. There is one Gillan bride who is completely unknown - no photos exist, no records have been kept - the only thing that is certain is that she had a legitimate child. Alasdair's grandmother.

As Caroline uncovers a strange story that stretches as far as the Arctic circle, her desire to find the truth turns obsessive. And when a body is found in the grounds of the castle, her hunt becomes more than just a case of curiosity. What happened all those years ago? Who was the bride? And who is the body...?

πŸ“– My Thoughts...

Home to the Gillan family, Kelly Castle in Scotland has been in their family for generations. A sinister discovery there, in 1949, opens up a family secret which has been hidden for over a hundred years. Charged with the task of searching through the family archives, Caroline Gillan discovers far more about Kelly Castle, and its Victorian occupants, than could ever have been imagined.

The story moves seamlessly between learning more about the Victorian owners of the castle and what's happening to the Gillan family in 1949, especially that of Caroline who has married into the family and is finding life with her mother-in-law, Martha, a little overpowering. The Victorian mystery of Kelly castle is gradually uncovered in a fascinating dual time story which takes us deep into the biting cold of an arctic winter when Oliver Gillan finds himself on board a whaling vessel bound for the Artic. Discovering more about the eponymous woman made of snow adds a tantalising mystery and as we gradually discover just who she was, so we discover why her secret has lain hidden for so long.

The story is one of stark contrasts, harshly beautiful in places, whilst gently beguiling in others, and yet is also wonderfully descriptive of a bygone age. The oppressive restrictions of the social morals of Victorian England runs alongside that of the harsh beauty of the Arctic tundra, as the proud nature of the Inuit people, their legends and customs, come gloriously to life. Atmospheric, imaginative and beautifully written, A Woman Made of Snow, combines multi-generational history with a mesmerising family drama which was every bit as good as I knew it would be from this talented author who, since her very first book, in terms of story content, has never let me down. 

A Woman Made of Snow takes its well earned place on my Books of the Year List...

About the Author

Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway. She is married with three children, and lives in Kingston upon Thames. A Woman Made of Snow is her fifth novel.

Twitter @elisabeth04liz #AWoman Made of Snow



Sunday, 17 October 2021

🍴Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Angela Jackson

 On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo

I'm delighted to welcome Angela Jackson to our Sunday Brunch today

Welcome, Angela. What favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

I’m bringing boiled eggs and toast from Merci, an incredible book-lined cafe in Paris. They manage to get their yolks golden and runny, yet the white is lovely and firm, and the toast is cut into gorgeous delicate fingers. And, most importantly, they don’t stint on the butter and salt.

Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?

Oh, tea, please! I love anyone who makes me a cup of tea.

Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?

Around the kitchen table, laden as it is with all the other stuff I brought with me: sourdough bread, a rack of more toast, salted butter, apricot jam, honey, mini pastries, stoned cherries, ripe peaches, and endless tea. We’re in for the day! It’s Sunday! Let’s push the boat out!

Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?

The back door and the windows are open, so we’d have birdsong, but let’s have a bit of Miles Davis on, too, shall we? Kind of Blue.

Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?

Right, I have to say that I’m not good at gatherings. (Dinner parties are my absolute worst nightmare.) But if Nora Ephron, Dorothy Whipple and Alan Bennett could come over separately, each for an hour or so, that’d be great. Could I request that Nora brings her signature key lime pie?

Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?

The Most of Nora Ephron. It’s huge and we could dip in and out of it all day, reading passages aloud. Then, when Nora comes over (Nora is still very much alive in this scenario) we can get her to give us the inside track on some of the stories.

When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure?

I suppose I’m always writing, in that my brain’s on permanent alert for new ideas. But I do try to make time to read for pleasure, even if it’s an audio book as I’m doing the dishes. I just finished Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers and kept carving out pockets of ten minutes or so to get back to it; I love to be able to dip into a sharply drawn fictional world. I’m a creative writing tutor, and I’m always harping onto my students about the importance of reading.

And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

I would love to spend a whole day in Persephone Books, reading one fabulous silver tome after another.

Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

It’s been a really weird summer where I live (Edinburgh) because I usually spend it at various festival events, but Covid restrictions have meant it’s not been possible, and I’ve really felt the lack. However, anything can trigger inspiration. My first novel, The Emergence of Judy Taylor, was inspired by my experience of going for tests after finding a lump in my breast. I was teaching psychology at that point in my life, and it made me think of what Freud said: that we only fully appreciate life once we’ve brushed up against our own mortality. I started writing fiction that day. My current novel, The Darlings, was inspired by Carl Rogers’ theory that, in order to thrive, we need to feel loved unconditionally for who we are.

Other writers can be such inspirational catalysts. I’m lucky that a chat with Melissa Bank, who is an amazingly deft and clever writer, and a great ally, can send me off into full-on creative and productive mode.

Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?

I have to be on my own. I have no idea how people write in cafes — I’d be far too distracted! And a desk feels too formal. I’ll sit at the kitchen table if I’m planning to write for a while. Otherwise, I’m balancing my MacBook on my lap on the sofa. Terrible, terrible posture. A writer friend recently had a serious chat with me about the damage I’m doing to my back, so I’m thinking about making a change.

When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?

I am very easily distracted, but a deadline does have the power to focus me. I used to work for a local newspaper so I don’t miss deadlines.

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

We’re all different, but for me it’s an endless supply of tea, my MacBook, a stack of books (fiction and non-fiction), and pen-and-paper (those hyphens are there to make the pen and paper count as one item).

What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?

I have a couple of ideas bouncing around for my next novel, but when I discussed them with Melissa Bank she threw me a curveball by encouraging me to develop some autobiographical sketches I did a year ago. I think they’ll end up as the basis of my next one-woman show (I did my first at the Fringe in 2017).

Lightening Books

When Mark Darling is 15 years old, he is the golden boy, captain of the school soccer team, admired by all who know him. Until he kills his best friend in a freak accident. He spends the next decade drifting between the therapy couch and dead-end pursuits. Then along comes Sadie. A mender by nature, she tries her best to fix him and has enough energy to carry them both through the next few years. One evening, Mark bumps into an old schoolfriend, Ruby. She saw the accident first hand. He is pulled towards her by a force stronger than logic: the universal need to reconcile one’s childhood wounds. This is his chance to, once again, feel the enveloping warmth of unconditional love. But can he leave behind the woman who rescued him from the pit of despair, the wife he loves? His unborn child? This is a story about how childhood experiences can profoundly impact how we behave as adults. It’s a story about betrayal, infidelity, and how we often blinker ourselves to see a version of the truth that is more palatable to us

Angela,where can we follow you on social media?

It’s mainly blurry close-ups of our cats, food and flowers and fuzzy long shots of the beach, so if you’re up for that, I’m here…

Twitter: @angelaj

Instagram: @angelaedinburgh

More about Angela

Angela Jackson is a writer, a tutor in Creative Writing for Open College of the Arts, and a former psychology lecturer. Her first novel, The Emergence of Judy Taylor, won Edinburgh International Book Festival’s esteemed First Book Award, was Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year, and the novel reached number 2 on Amazon Kindle charts (number 1 in Comic Fiction). Her second book, The Darlings, was published worldwide by Lightning Books on 21st June 2021. Originally from the north of England, Angela now lives with her family in Edinburgh.

Thank you, Angela for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.

Follow us on Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo

Friday, 15 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Secrets of Hawthorn Place by Jenni Keer (and Giveaway)


Thrilled to be joining in with today's blog tour

Headline Accent
14 October 2021

My thanks to Boldwood Books for my copy of this book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for my invitation to the blog tour

Love will always find a way… Discover the intriguing secrets of Hawthorn Place in this heartfelt dual-time novel, filled with warmth and charm, perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Cecelia Ahern.

Two houses, hundreds of miles apart...yet connected always.

When life throws Molly Butterfield a curveball, she decides to spend some time with her recently widowed granddad, Wally, at Hawthorn Place, his quirky Victorian house on the Dorset coast.

But cosseted Molly struggles to look after herself, never mind her grieving granddad, until the accidental discovery of an identical Art and Crafts house on the Norfolk coast offers her an unexpected purpose, as well as revealing a bewildering mystery.

Discovering that both Hawthorn Place and Acacia House were designed by architect Percy Gladwell, Molly uncovers the secret of a love which linked them, so powerful it defied reason.

What follows is a summer which will change Molly for ever..

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

With her life in disarray, Mollie Butterfield has to make some important life choices and spending time with her elderly grandfather at his home, Hawthorn Place, is part of the plan to get her disordered life back on track. Hawthorn Place is unusual and in many ways its quirks and foibles are very much part of this heartwarming story which looks at how the magic, and mystery, of the house pull together to make Molly's life all the more meaningful.

This fascinating dual time story has an interesting twist so that it becomes a story not just about what is happening to Molly as she discovers the secret nature of Hawthorn Place but also where she learns far more about herself in the process. The slipping back through time is done really cleverly and the first time it happened it took me completely by surprise so much so I had to back track a little to get the sequence settled but once I understood the quirky nature of the time travel element I began to enjoy both aspects of the story. Running alongside Molly's unique story in the present is the story of architect, Percy Gladwell, and his client, Violet Marston, whose lives in the late eighteenth century also form an integral part to this lovely story.

Imaginatively written, with clever characterisation, The Secrets of Hawthorn Place is a lovely story about the undeniable power of love, both past and present.

About The Author

Jenni Keer is a history graduate who embarked on a career in contract flooring before settling in the middle of the S

Suffolk countryside with her antique furniture restorer husband. She has valiantly attempted to master the ancient art of housework but with four teenage boys in the house it remains a mystery. Instead, she spends her time at the keyboard writing commercial women's fiction to combat the testosterone-fuelled atmosphere, with her number one fan #Blindcat by her side. Much younger in her head than she is on paper, she adores any excuse for fancy-dress and is part of a disco formation dance team.

Jenni is also the author of The Hopes and Dreams of Lucy Baker and The Unexpected Life of Maisie Meadows.


 Win a Signed copy of the Secrets of Hawthorn Place, plus chocolate and a sparkly pen.(UK Only)

Enter via Rafflecopter here

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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 for fulfillment of this prize, after which Rachel's Random Resources will delete the data. I am bor responsible for dispatch of delivery of this prize.

Twitter @JenniKeer



Thursday, 14 October 2021

πŸ“– Book Nostalgia ~ The Go - Between by L P Hartley

I'm really privileged to read so many latest release books which are so current they haven't even hit the book store shelves that I forget about the books which have influenced my reading over the years.

So, welcome to my mid-month Book Nostalgia feature where I'm allowing myself the luxury of going back in time with some of my favourite reads.

Let's wallow in book memories...

Published 1953
Penguin Modern Classics
This edition 2004

'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there'

When one long, hot summer, young Leo is staying with a school-friend at Brandham Hall, he begins to act as a messenger between Ted, the farmer, and Marian, the beautiful young woman up at the hall. He becomes drawn deeper and deeper into their dangerous game of deceit and desire, until his role brings him to a shocking and premature revelation. The haunting story of a young boy's awakening into the secrets of the adult world, The Go-Between is also an unforgettable evocation of the boundaries of Edwardian society.

πŸ“– My Thoughts..

There's something about that classic opening sentence that immediately takes me back to the long hot summer of 1976, when, after completing my English Literature A' Level exam, I was able to read something that wasn't Shakespeare, Chaucer or Milton. Blue skies seem to stretch endlessly into my, then unknown, future and with the sound of my dad mowing the lawn, and my mum chatting to the next door neighbour, I settled down on my red sun lounger, with a can of Lilt and an Aztec bar, to read this classic story of forbidden love.

Thirteen year old Leo is staying with his school friend, Marcus when he develops a teenage crush on his friend's beautiful older sister. Wanting to please Marion, Leo becomes embroiled in the clandestine relationship which is developing between Marion and Ted Burgess, a local tenant farmer. Completely besotted by the beautiful and beguiling, Marion, Leo is unaware of the significance of the messages he is passing between Marion and Ted until it's too late. Looking back at this time in his youth, the much older Leo looks back at the events of the summer of 1900 and the devastating consequences of Marion and Ted's ill-fated love affair.

The Go-Between is a classic coming-of-age novel which evokes the languid summer of 1900 and the social and moral restrictions of the Edwardian era. I've read the story a couple of times since 1976 and although I can't recall seeing the 1971 film version which starred Julie Christie and Alan Bates, I did enjoy the 2015 remake starring Joanna Vanderham as Marion, Ben Batt as Ted, and Jack Hollington as young Leo.

About the Author

Leslie Poles Hartley was born in 1895 and educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. He is best known for Facial Justice, the Eustace and Hilda trilogy and The Go-Between, which won the Heinemann Foundation Prize in 1954 and whose opening sentence has become almost proverbial: 'The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.' He was appointed a CBE in 1955, having won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in addition to the Heinemann. He died in 1972.
(Source: publisher website)

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Cheltenham Literary Festival 2021~ Claire Fuller


Delighted to be part of this blog tour

Cheltenham Literature Festival returns for an international literary celebration like no other. Showcasing literary legends, fresh new voices and the biggest books of the year, there is something on offer for everyone: from stars of the stage and screen to incisive political debate, the programme spans history, food, travel, poetry and spoken word, art, sport, faith, philosophy, fashion, psychology, science, nature, business and much more.

For book lovers everywhere, The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is the only place to be each autumn. The Festival returns from 8-17 October 2021, welcoming the world’s greatest writers and thinkers to Cheltenham.

Appearing at this year's Cheltenham Literary Festival is best selling author

Claire Fuller

I'm delighted to review Claire's novel Unsettled Ground 

which was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction in 2021

Fig Tree
March 2021

Here are my thoughts about Unsettled Ground which I made my featured book of the month in March.

Middle-aged twins, Jeannie and Julius Seeder, live an isolated life, scraping out a meagre existence in their rural location, which is made so much worse by the sudden death of their mother. With their main support gone, Jeannie and Julius are left floundering in world which doesn't understand their naivety, or sense their total lack of awareness. Jeannie is the weaker of the twins and yet it is her powerful narrative which relates what happens to them when their world tumbles down around them, and when old secrets, so carefully hidden, threaten to destroy everything they rely on to survive.

Unsettled Ground is a disturbing read and whilst beautifully focused on what is happening in the present, there are hints back to a time when the twins were much younger and the story of a family tragedy which had far reaching effects on all their lives. The strength of the story lies with this author's uncanny ability to make the ordinary into something extraordinary and in creating Jeannie and Julius Seeder she gives us characters who are so engulfing that even when you move away from their story, you still wonder what is going to happen next for them. 

There's a deep underlying sadness to the story which is difficult to move away from, and the confining and secluded nature of Jeannie's life, in particular, makes for emotional reading. However, there is also hope in the twins' shared love of music, Jeannie's tender loving care of her garden, and in Julius's strength of character when courage is needed. My heart broke into so many pieces, that there were times when I had to stop reading in order to make a restorative cup of tea so I could gather my thoughts. 

Unsettled Ground is a strong and forceful family drama which made me feel quite angry at the injustice of what happened to Jeannie and Julius in the aftermath of their mother's death, and yet there were also times when the story was so tenderly compassionate, and so beautifully observed, that it, quite simply, took my breath away.

Without doubt one of my Books of the Year in 2021.

About the Author

Claire Fuller was born in Oxfordshire, England. She gained a degree in sculpture from Winchester  School of art, but went on to have a long career in marketing and didn't start writing until she was forty. She has written three previous novels, Our Endless Numbered Days which won the Desmond Elliot Prize, Swimming Lessons, which was shortlisted for the RSI Encore award, and Bitter Orange. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her husband.

Twitter @ClaireFuller2 #UnsettledGround

Follow the festival on Twitter @cheltlitfest #cheltlitfest


Tuesday, 12 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ A Winter's Wish for the Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett


Thrilled to hosting one of the stops on this blog tour today

Boldwood Books
7 October 2021

The Cornish Midwives Series  #3

My thanks to Boldwood Books for my copy of this book
and to Rachel's Random Resources for my invitation to the blog tour

A secret love…

As winter descends on the coastal town of Port Agnes, midwife Toni Samuels’ mood is as dark as the winter clouds that roll in. Toni loves her job as a midwife, but her private life is falling apart. Because Toni is keeping a secret– a relationship with fellow male midwife Bobby that no one can ever know about.

A damaged hope…

Kind and gorgeous, Bobby is a huge hit at the midwifery centre, but he’s tired of keeping his feelings for Toni a secret – of always coming second best. He knows that Toni’s past is painful, but unless she can be open with her feelings for him, he’s prepared to walk away from their love.

Can love find a way?

Toni loves Bobby and wishes things could be different between them. But torn between her past and a future with him, everything seems hopeless. Until fate hands Toni one last chance…

Now Toni’s secret wish is in her hands…if only she can be brave enough to take a chance and make her dreams come true.

πŸ“– My thoughts..

Returning to Port Agnes in the company of the Cornish midwives is something I look forward to and in this latest book we discover more about Toni and Bobby who are both midwives on the community unit. The secretive nature of their relationship has been something which has intrigued us since we first met up with them two books ago and to add another twist, Bobby is the only male midwife on the unit which presents its own set of challenges. However, it is his relationship with Toni which becomes all the more poignant as we discover the reasons why Toni in particular is reluctant to make a commitment.

Bobby and Toni's story really caught my attention and whilst I followed their story with interest and hoped that everything would eventually work out for them I was also just as interested in what was going on in the lives of the other characters. And that's what this author does so well, she brings everyone to life in such detail that you really care about each and every one of them. Some might be a bit more difficult to like than others but generally they're a great bunch and fill the stories with warmth, wit and oodles of compassion.

This is now the third book in the Cornish Midwife series and whilst it can be read comfortably as a stand alone, it sort of makes sense to start at the beginning in order to follow this lovely series which gives off such warmth that, with each successive story, it's like settling back down with a group of old friends. I especially love the Cornish setting and the way the community of Saint Agnes is always very much part of the story. As it's a series about a community midwife group there are details of births and whilst this is never overly dramatic, it does portray realistic situations, however, this doesn't intrude on the character driven aspect of the story.

Beautifully written by an author who has made this corner of Cornwall her own, A Winter's Wish for the Cornish Midwife carries the series forward in a really meaningful way, I can't wait to find out what happens in book number four.

About the Author

Jo Bartlett is the bestselling author of nineteen women’s fiction titles. She fits her writing in between her two day jobs as an educational consultant and university lecturer and lives with her family and three dogs on the Kent coast. Boldwood is publishing the first title in The Cornish Midwife Series – part of a twelve-book deal – in April 2021.

Twitter @J_B_Writer

@BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers @bookandtonic


Monday, 11 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Collector's Daughter by Gill Paul


Thrilled to host one of today's stops on this blog tour

30 September 2021

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and Random Things Tours for the invitation to the blog tour

An unforgettable discovery 

In 1922, Lady Evelyn Herbert’s dreams are realised when she is the first to set foot inside the lost tomb of Tutankhamun for over 3,000 years. 

A cursed life 

But the months after the discovery are marred by tragedy, when Eve’s father dies suddenly and her family is torn in two. Desperate to put the past behind her, Eve retreats into a private life with her new husband. 

A deadly choice 

But she is harbouring a dark secret about what really happened in Egypt. And when a young woman comes asking questions years later, the happiness Eve has finally found is threatened once more....

πŸ“– My Thoughts...

Lady Evelyn Herbert, the only daughter of the Earl of Carnavon, was actively involved in the discovery of a tomb located in the Valley of the Kings, in Upper Egypt, in 1922. Together with archaeologist, Howard Carter, and her father, Lady Evelyn was one of the first people to enter Tutankhamun's tomb in three millennium. This spectacular discovery is well documented as is the alleged curse of the Pharaohs which seemed  to follow those who had been involved in the excavation.

We first meet Evelyn in 1972 when she is in her early seventies and recovering from a stroke. During her slow recovery she is contacted by a young Egyptian academic who is interested in learning more about some of the artefacts excavated from Tutankhamun's tomb. In a series of imaginative flashbacks we are whisked back to the Egypt of 1922, and experience, with Lady Evelyn, the wonder and joy of this momentous discovery. The dusty ambiance of excavating is brought to life as is the close relationship which flourished between Evelyn, her father, and Howard Carter. As with all moments in history there are secrets which are known only to those who were closely involved, and The Collector's Daughter shines the spotlight on some of those well hidden secrets. 

This fascinating story is based on what little is known about Evelyn, and the author brings to glorious life, not just the enthusiasm which the discovery of the tomb brought but also of the difficulties Evelyn faced in the years afterwards. Her loving relationship with her husband, Sir Brograve Beauchamp, helped to put these challenges into perspective, particularly after the sudden loss of Evelyn’s father in 1923.

Combining historical fact, with beautifully written fiction, The Collector's Daughter has been an absolute joy to read from start to finish.

As an impressionable teenager I queued for many hours in the spring of 1972 to get a glimpse of the glory of Tutankhamun’s treasures. Seeing the London exhibition at the British Museum and the magnificent display of artefacts is something I will never forget.

About the Author

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in the twentieth century and often writing about the lives of real women. Her novels have topped bestseller lists in the US and Canada as well as the UK and have been translated into twenty-one languages. The Secret Wife has sold over half a million copies and is a book-club favourite worldwide. She is also the author of several non-fiction books on historical subjects. She lives in London and swims year-round in a wild pond. The Collector’s Daughter is her tenth novel.

Twitter @GillPaulAUTHOR #TheCollectorsDaughter



Sunday, 10 October 2021

🍴Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo ~ Eva Glyn


On this quiet Sunday morning why don't you put the kettle on, make your favourite breakfast and settle down for Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo

I'm delighted to welcome Eva Glyn to our Sunday Brunch today

Welcome, Eva, what favourite food are you bringing to Sunday brunch?

My favourite Sunday brunch food would be based on a fabulous breakfast I had in a hotel on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. As if the view wasn’t incredible enough they made big, fresh, fluffy gluten free pancakes (scotch pancakes we’d call them over here) served with maple syrup and berries. It was absolute heaven.


North Rim, Grand Canyon
Author's Photograph

Would you like a pot of English breakfast tea, a strong Americano, or a glass of Bucks Fizz?

A think a strong coffee would go best with the pancakes

Where shall we eat brunch – around the kitchen table, in the formal dining room, or outside on the patio?

I love eating outside and we don’t do it enough, so on the patio please. We have a tiny garden behind our flat and we deliberately set it up as an eating area, but sometimes it never seems to happen.

Shall we have music playing in the background, and if so do you have a favourite piece of music?

As we’re sitting outside I think it would be lovely to just listen to the birdsong and the hum of the bees. I love nature and something I tried to weave between the pages of The Missing Pieces of Us is how wonderfully restorative it can be.

Which of your literary heroes (dead or alive) are joining us for Sunday Brunch today?

I would really like to meet Victoria Hislop. I’ve loved her books since The Island, but on top of that I’d like to talk to her about the pros and cons of forging a writing career that’s largely based around a single country. I heard something of her experiences during an online talk she gave, but would love to know more about her deep personal connection with Greece, because to me that’s where her best work comes from.

Which favourite book will you bring to Sunday Brunch?

As I know you like poetry I think I will bring my well-thumbed copy of the Collected Poems of Glyn Jones. Glyn was a friend of the family and I read from this collection to my mother on the morning she died. It’s were the Glyn in my penname comes from.

When you are writing do you still find time to read for pleasure? And is there a book you would like to read but haven’t had time for …yet!

I sometimes think the list is endless! I now try to read every lunchtime, but so often that is tied to my reviewing commitments for Frost magazine. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the books, because if I’m not then I just won’t finish them.

I suppose the books burning the biggest hole in my Kindle at the moment are Jen Gilroy’s The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls (it sounds not unlike the fairy tree in The Missing Pieces of Us), and The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex. I’m embarrassed to say how long I’ve had the review copy of that one!


Where do you find the inspiration for your novels?

My biography says ‘beautiful places and the secrets they hide’ and that is the absolute truth. The Missing Pieces of Us was born from the magnificent oak on the banks of the River Hamble, where children leave messages for the fairies and they reply. It was when I was wondering who wrote the letters that I came up with the idea of two people meeting years after their brief affair and discovering their memories of it were completely different.

Have you a favourite place to settle down to write and do you find it easier to write in winter or summer?

My desk. There’s nowhere quite like it and I have invested in a smart new daylight lamp so I have all the light I need whatever time of year it is.

When writing to a deadline are you easily distracted and if so how do you bring back focus on your writing?

When it comes to writing every day I am more disciplined that I am about most things, but that is because I do it first thing in the morning and I’ve been thinking about what comes next and talking to my characters about it on and off for the best part of twenty-four hours. I normally can’t wait to dive back in.

Give us four essential items that a writer needs?

Inspiration, perseverance, work ethic – and writer friends (with apologies to referring to them as items).

What can you tell us about your latest novel or your current work in progress?

On Thursday I’ll be celebrating the release of the paperback of The Missing Pieces of Us. I am unbelievably excited because it’s the first time one of my books will be widely available through bookshops. Last week someone in a bookish Facebook group I belong to told me they’d ordered it through Waterstones and I felt a very special tingle.

There are three versions of the past – hers, his, and the truth.

When Robin Vail walks back into widow Isobel O’Briain’s life decades after he abruptly left it, the dark days since her husband’s unexpected passing finally know light. Robin has fallen on hard times but Izzie and her teenage daughter Claire quickly remind him what it’s like to have family…and hope.

But Robin and Izzie are no longer those twenty-something lovers, and as they grow closer once more the missing pieces of their past weigh heavy. Now, to stop history repeating, Izzie and Robin must face facts and right wrongs…no matter how painful.

Eva, where can we follow you on social media?

Twitter: @JaneCable

Facebook page: Eva Glyn, Author

Instagram: @evaglynauthor

Thank you, Eva/Jane for taking part in Sunday Brunch with Jaffareadstoo.

Follow us on Twitter @jaffareadstoo #SundayBrunchwithJaffareadstoo

Friday, 8 October 2021

πŸ“– Blog Tour ~ The Patchwork Girls by Elaine Everest


I am delighted to be opening this blog tour today

Pan Macmillan
14 October 2021

Thank to the publisher for my copy of this book
and ED Public Relations for the invitation to the blog tour

1939. After the sudden and tragic loss of her husband, Helen returns to her mother’s house in Biggin Hill, Kent – the one place she vowed she’d never go back to. Alone and not knowing where to turn, she joins the local women’s sewing circle to find some companionship and comfort, despite being hopeless with a needle and thread. These resourceful women can not only ‘make- do and mend’ clothes, quilts and woolly hats, but the fast-formed friendship with Lizzie and Effie mends something deeper in Helen too. When the reason for Helen's husband's death comes to light, her world is turned upside down yet again. The investigating officer on the case, Richard, will leave no stone unturned – but it’s not long before his interest in Helen goes beyond the professional. As she pieces together old fabrics into a beautiful quilt, will Helen patch up the rifts in her own life?

πŸ“– My thoughts..

After the unexpected death of her husband, Helen Wentworth returns to her childhood home to live with her mother and stepfather. The house at Biggin Hill holds no happy memories for Helen and as soon as she arrives she is determined to find things to occupy her away from home. Joining the local sewing circle is the best thing she could have done as it encourages Helen not only to make new friends, who she comes to rely on, but she also develops quite a skill for patchwork quilting. However, we soon discover that it's not all about cups of tea and slices of cake as there is a darker element surrounding Helen's reasons for being back home and this mystery is cleverly woven into the story in a way which compliments Helen's need to discover the painful truth about her husband's untimely death.

It's really lovely to have a WW2 story which focuses on the make do and mend generation and the lively nature of the village sewing circle shows just how important these practical skills were, not only in keeping morale high, but also in providing useful practical skills which would be of great value as the war progressed. I particularly enjoyed the references to patchwork quilting, an enviable skill with so much history, and meaning, stitched into the intricate designs. 

The Patchwork Girls is a warm hearted story about the camaraderie which is so often found in small communities and whose shared experiences made such a difference to the way women, in particular, coped with the worry of impending war. There's an authenticity to the story and from the very start I felt as if I was standing firmly in 1939 as the author brings to life the uncertainty of living in a country on the cusp of war. Rationing beckons and already the spitfires are gathering at Biggin Hill as the villagers start to prepare for an unknown danger.

My picture

Elaine Everest is the author of bestselling novels The Woolworths Girls, The Butlins Girls, Christmas at Woolworths and The Teashop Girls. She was born and raised in North-West Kent, where many of her bestselling historical sagas are set. She grew up listening to tales of the war years in her hometown of Erith, which has inspired her own stories.

Elaine has been a freelance writer for 25 years and has written over 100 short stories and serials for the women's magazine market. She is also the author of a number of popular non-fiction books for dog owners. When she isn't writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school in Hextable, Kent. She now lives in Swanley with her husband, Michael and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry.

The Patchwork Girls by Elaine Everest is out now, published by Pan Macmillan in paperback original, priced £7.99

Twitter @elaineeverest #ThePatchWorkGirls