Tuesday 28 February 2023

馃摉 Book Feature ~ My Chronicle Book Box


I was really thrilled when Louise at My Chronicle Book Box contacted me on Twitter to say that I had won a beautiful book box in her recent competition.  This feel-good prize has really boosted my spirits during a difficult time. It was all was presented in such a wonderful way and I am delighted with the contents of the box.

My photograph

Based in Yorkshire My Chronicle Book Box was created in 2017 and since then this book subscription service has gone from strength to strength. There are various subscription options to choose from and all the books are especially chosen, with bookish goodies which compliment and enhance the experience.

My photograph

My Feel-Good book box contained a signed copy of The Notekeeper by Hannah Treave, which I am so looking forward to reading, along with a beautiful book mark and two really pretty note cards. Everything was wonderfully gift wrapped which made unboxing such a joy. 

You will discover lots more interesting stuff about My Chronicle Book Box by visiting their website  

Find them on Social media

Twitter @MyChronicleBB



Friday 24 February 2023

馃摉 Blog Tour ~ Ascent by Cathie Dunn (Giveaway)

8 April 2023

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book 
and to Rachel's Random Resources for the invitation to the tour.

A brutal Viking raid heralds the dawn of a new, powerful dynasty – the House of Normandy

Neustria, Kingdom of the West Franks
AD 890

Fourteen-year-old Poppa’s life changes when Northmen land near Bayeux. Count B茅rengar, her father, submits to them, and she is handfasted to Hr贸lfr, the Northmen’s heathen leader, as part of their agreement.

To her relief, Hr贸lfr leaves immediately in search of further conquest, only returning to claim her years later. In the face of retaliating Franks, they flee to East Anglia, where she gives birth to their son and daughter.

When Hr贸lfr and Poppa return to reclaim Bayeux, his new campaign strikes at the heart of Frankish power, and King Charles of the West Franks offers him a pact he cannot refuse. In exchange for vast tracts of land in Neustria, Hr贸lfr must convert to Christianity and accept marriage to Gisela, the king’s illegitimate daughter.

Poppa’s world shatters. She remains in Bayeux, with her daughter, Adela. When Gisela arrives one day, demanding she hand over Adela, to be raised in Rouen, Poppa’s patience is at an end. But Gisela makes for a dangerous enemy, and only one woman will survive their confrontation high up on the cliffs.

Will Poppa live to witness the dawn of a new era?

馃摉 My Review...

Travelling back to the dark days in the latter part of the first millennium takes us right into the heart of Nuestria in the ancient kingdom of the West Franks. There we meet with Hr贸lfr, the heathen leader of the Northmen, who dares to infiltrate the peace of Bayeux where he lays claim to the town as his own.  Hr贸lfr strengthens this uneasy relationship with a handfasted marriage to Poppa of Bayeux, the young and spirited daughter of Count B茅rengar, which adds to the sense of destiny in these early days of the House of Normandy.

Ascent is a well written historical saga which brings to life the uncertainty and danger of living in a time when it was all too easy to get caught up in violence. Back to a time when danger lurked on every corner and brave, and strong, fighting men were constantly having to protect their hearth, and homes, from marauders who wished them harm. 

Throughout the story there’s a real sense of history and even though the story moves forward through time quite quickly it never felt rushed or lacking in detail. I enjoyed getting to know more about Poppa of Bayeux who was a real historical figure and uniquely instrumental in forging the House of Normandy. Poppa’s relationship with Hr贸lfr was not without its challenges and this fictional account of their time together helps to put history into context whilst allowing a sympathetic love story to emerge.

Ascent is the first book in a proposed series about the forgotten women of early history who helped to shape the foundations of the House of Normandy for the coming millennium.

About the Author

Cathie Dunn is an award-winning author of historical fiction, mystery, and romance. The focus of her historical fiction novels is on strong women through time.

Cathie has been writing for over twenty years. She studied Creative Writing online, with a focus on novel writing, which she also taught in the south of France. She loves researching for her novels, delving into history books, and visiting castles and historic sites. A voracious reader, primarily of historical fiction / romance, she often reviews books on her blog, Ruins & Reading.

Cathie is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Richard III Society, and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

After many years in Scotland, Cathie now lives in south of France with her husband, and rescued Charlie Cat and Ellie Dog. 

*Giveaway to win a  signed copy of Ascent (Open INT)*

*Terms and Conditions– Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then 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 only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

Twitter @cathiedunn #Ascent


Thursday 23 February 2023

馃摉 Book Review ~ Dear Mr Pop Star by Dave Philpotts, Derek Philpotts


Independently Published
January 2023


My thanks to the authors for my copy of this book

Bonkers letters to Rock, Pop and Punk Legends 

with genuine hilarious replies from the actual artists

For over a decade, ‘Team Philpott’, as their followers fondly refer to them, have been on a quite bonkers crusade, writing old-fashioned letters to punk, pop and rock stars, picking up on genuine ambiguities within their lyrics or often deliberately misunderstanding them for comedic effect.

The letters are eminently publishable in their own right, but what makes this project especially deserving of attention is that it has achieved a feat never before attempted or probably even thought of. The artists quite unexpectedly started to reply, writing back in just as witty and articulate a fashion, politely pointing out exactly where the original letter went wrong...or right.

2023 sees the eagerly awaited New Edition of Dear Mr Pop Star. This revised reboot is a much leaner volume with lots of new content and is already looking to be the most popular offering yet.

A donation will be made to homeless charities from the profits of every copy sold as a thank you to the artists involved.

馃摉 My Thoughts..

Back in 2018 I took part in a blog tour to help promote a slightly bonkers book, the authors' words, not mine, which featured descriptions of hand written letters to famous pop stars which called into question, albeit politely, the ambiguity of their song lyrics. The book caught my imagination and made me laugh out loud, so it was with interest that I took a look  at this reissued 2023 version which has some new content alongside some old favourites.

The content is just as funny as I remember and as I became reacquainted with the author's slightly wacky sense of humour so the letters became all the more enjoyable and I found myself laughing again at the interaction which goes on between them. Coming in at just short of 180 pages, Dear Mr Pop Star is a quirky little book and I found myself dipping into and out of it at whim. I found it especially entertaining to while away the time, whilst waiting for an appointment or when just sitting having a quiet coffee. In our complicated, and often fraught world, it's nice sometimes to just sit back, relax and be entertained and that's exactly what Dear Mr Pop Star does. 馃槉

Twitter @DerekPhilpott

The book is available via Amazon Click To Print Paperback and Kindle

Wednesday 22 February 2023

Author in the Spotlight ~ Mollie Walton, Romantic Novelists' Association Finalist


I'm delighted to welcome author Mollie Walton back to Jaffareadstoo

Photo credit: Hudson and Rose Photography

Firstly, congratulations on being one of the finalists in the RNA Romantic Saga Category for your novel A Mother’s War.

Thank you so much! I’m so delighted to have been shortlisted. I have tremendous respect for the RNA and they do so much to help writers and represent our genre positively to the world. I’m over the moon to be a finalist and really don’t mind who wins! I’m just thrilled to be in the final five!

A Mother’s War is the first in a trilogy of historical sagas, where did you get the first flash of inspiration?

In the summer of 2020, I took my daughter on holiday to Raven Hall Hotel in Ravenscar, not far from Scarborough and Whitby. We needed to escape from the house after the lockdown, so the cliff-top location of the hotel looked ideal to feel that sense of space we’d been missing.

Raven Hall

Around that time, I was working on ideas for a new WW2 saga, yet hadn’t decided on a location yet. When I arrived at the hotel and saw the incredible view of Robin Hood’s Bay and the farm and moorland tumbling down to the cliffs, it took my breath away. And it almost instantly came to me: this is where I want my WW2 story to be set, in Raven Hall itself.

Robin Hoods Bay

Without giving too much away what can you tell us about A Mother’s War?


It’s the story of Rosina, a mother of five daughters, who is a widow and has raised her children more or less single-handedly in Raven Hall. We meet them all at the very beginning of WW2, when she gathers her daughters by the radio to listen to Chamberlain’s speech in September 1939. From there, each novel in the series follows one daughter and also Rosina, through their wartime experiences. A Mother’s War is the first book in the series and we have the eldest daughter Grace’s story, as she becomes a Wren and is trained to be a wireless telegraphist, listening in to U-boats.

When you started writing did you always intend this to be a trilogy of novels? And if so, do you now know where the journey will end?

Yes absolutely – it was a three-book deal, so I knew I was going to tell the first three daughters’ stories. The second book is out next month and I’m writing the third book at the moment. We shall see if some more books are coming in this series...I certainly have an arc worked out for all the characters. I’m an obsessive planner as a novelist, so I always have a lot planned out in advance, although this often changes during the writing itself.

In your research for A Mother’s War did you discover anything which surprised you about the people or the area?

I was delighted to discover more about North Yorkshire, as I’ve been a fan of that area for many years, having visited Whitby a few times when I was younger. It’s a gorgeous landscape with a great sense of history. I was particularly fascinated to discover there had been a secret listening station on the moors just above Scarborough and that’s where Grace’s story came from. There, they listened into communications from U-boats and other German navy vessels and these messages were then sent immediately down to Station X i.e. Bletchley Park. Many now know about Bletchley and the codebreakers, but this was an essential part of the story I felt was far less known about. It inspired me to have my character become a secret listener.

A Mother’s War features strong female characters; do you have a favourite character and why?

Ah, that’s such a difficult question, like choosing a favourite child! (I only have one child, so I never have to think about that though!) I identify with all of them in different ways: I understand some of Rosina’s dilemmas as a lone parent; I also feel that Grace’s somewhat introverted ways mirror some of my own interior preoccupations at that age. Then there’s Nancy, the maid who becomes a Wren and a wireless telegraphist – her self-confidence and ambition is quite different from myself at her age, so I admire her hugely! So, I’m equally fond of them all, to be honest.

Your writing is always very authentic, have you always had an interest in history?

Thank you so much for saying that. That’s certainly what I always try to do. Whether I’m writing as Rebecca Mascull or Mollie Walton, it’s always been really important to me to get my facts straight. My aim has always been to create fictional characters, yet to place them within realistic historical settings. Sometimes I’ve had real people come and go from the stories, yet the main set of characters are always fictional for me. Even if the events of my stories may sometimes seem unusual (or even unlikely), my goal is always to ensure that my research backs up my plots i.e. even if it didn’t happen, it very well could have happened. I love reading about history and visiting places where historical events have happened; I sometimes get ‘history shivers’ when I think about certain events or visit such places, where the past suddenly feels very real and present. I love that feeling and that’s what I’m always trying to aim towards when I’m writing, so that the reader is transported and yet feels it’s as real as today’s world.

As a tantaliser, what can you tell us about the next book in the series?

2 March 2023

Ooh, well, readers don’t have long to wait, as it’s out in less than a month! A Daughter’s Gift, the second book in the Raven Hall Saga, follows the second daughter Evvy, as well as Rosina’s life at the hall. Evvy goes to London and joins the Auxiliary Fire Service just before the Blitz begins in earnest, while Rosina has to contend with the army requisitioning the hall. We catch up with the other sisters too, while we follow Evvy and Rosina through their own trials. I can’t wait to share it with readers – it’s out in hardback and ebook on March 2nd, with the paperback coming in August. The third daughter, Connie, is having her story written right now! And her book will be out in March next year. I’m loving this family and these five girls and I hope readers enjoy their stories as much as I do. 

Mollie, thanks so much for being a great guest, its always such fun to have you on the blog. 

Thanks so much for featuring me on your wonderful blog, Josie. Great questions, as ever. 馃槉


The Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) is a professional body primarily for writers of romantic fiction. Founded in 1960 to provide a voice for romance authors and to be a network for writers, it continues to raise the prestige of romantic fiction and encourage romantic authorship. Their 1000+ membership includes writers across the spectrum of commercial and women's fiction, along with publishing industry professionals, booksellers, and book reviewers. In addition to organising annual publishing awards, they also host arange of workshops, talks, networking events, a three-day annual conference, and provide support to unpublished authors through their New Writers' Scheme.

For more information about the Romantic Novelists’ Association, please visit their website:

Thursday 16 February 2023

馃摉 Book Review ~ The Garnett Girls by Georgina Moore


16 February 2023

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Forbidden, passionate and all-encompassing, Margo and Richard’s love affair was the stuff of legend– but, ultimately, doomed.

When Richard walked out, Margo locked herself away, leaving her three daughters, Rachel, Imogen and Sasha, to run wild.

Years later, charismatic Margo entertains lovers and friends in her cottage on the Isle of Wight, refusing to ever speak of Richard and her painful past. But her silence is keeping each of the Garnett girls from finding true happiness.

Rachel is desperate to return to London, but is held hostage by responsibility for Sandcove, their beloved but crumbling family home.

Dreamy Imogen feels the pressure to marry her kind, considerate fianc茅, even when life is taking an unexpected turn.

And wild, passionate Sasha, trapped between her fractured family and controlling husband, is weighed down by a secret that could shake the family to its core...

馃摉My Review...

Right at the heart of the story are strong women who collectively make up The Garnett Girls, three adult sibling sisters who have each been damaged by the events of their upbringing at Sandycove, the idyllic family home on the Isle of Wight. Their mother’s doomed relationship with their alcoholic father has left its mark on each of the girls and as the story unfolds and we get to know more about Rachel, Imogen and Sasha so we understand the destruction nature of witnessing a tremendous love which ultimately destroyed everything.

The story flows seamlessly introducing us to each of the sisters, getting to know more about them as adults and yet glimpsing within the vulnerable children who had been so let down by family secrets and lies. Their mother, Margot, is a force of nature, not always likeable and very often exasperating and yet I was fascinated by her and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about her and her ill-fated love affair with the girls’ father, Richard,  and her subsequent attempt to remove him totally from their lives.

The story is beautifully accomplished and almost magical in places, bringing place and people so vividly alive I felt as if I stood in the grounds of Sandycove looking out across the bay. The stultifying nature of living within a close community where everyone seemed to know each others’ business only reiterates the sense of atmosphere and makes the story quite memorable.

The Garnett Girls is that special story I was waiting to read and devoured it in the space of a couple of days. It proved to be both fascinating and thought provoking and is such a wonderfully presented debut by a talented writer who knows how to hold the reader in the palm of her hand.

About the Author

Georgina Moore grew up in London and lives on a houseboat on the River Thames with her partner, two children and Bomber, the Border Terrier. The Garnett Girls is her first novel and is set on the Isle of Wight, where Georgina and her family have a holiday houseboat.

Twitter @PublicityBooks #TheGarnettGirls


Wednesday 15 February 2023

馃摉 Book Review ~ The Lumberjills : Stronger Together by Joanna Foat


Merry Downs Press

My thanks to the author and Cameron Publicity for my copy of this book

When war breaks out, three spirited women must set aside their differences to help Britain win the war. Fighting from the forests, they find new depths of courage, strength and love. But – when war threatens everything – would you risk your life to save a friend?

When feisty, bohemian Keeva signs up for war work in the forest, she’s already learnt the hard way that people can’t be trusted. For Rosie, a factory girl from London’s East End, the forest is an escape – but she can’t stop her big mouth getting her into trouble. And Beatrice, a wealthy debutante, wants to use her brain, not ruin her fine hands felling trees. Meanwhile, Lady Denman, director of the Women’s Land Army, battles with bureaucrats in Whitehall to defend the Lumberjills.

As these strong women struggle to survive in a tough men's world, it seems they really may succeed in their dangerous war work… when a terrible disaster strikes and threatens everything they have achieved.

The Lumberjills Stronger Together is inspired by the incredible and heroic true stories of the Women’s Timber Corps, a branch of the Women’s Land Army. Author Joanna Foat researched and interviewed sixty women who served as Lumberjills in World War II. These first-hand accounts, and her own passion for adventure in wild landscapes, bring a rugged authenticity to this emotionally rousing novel of female courage, strength and determination.

馃摉 My Review..

It's hard for us to imagine just how adventurous these women were during WW2 who were so determined to do their bit for the war effort that they volunteered to join the Women's Land Army. 

This is the fictional account of three spirited women who left their homes and families to join a group of women assigned to working in the forests under the auspices of The Timber Corps.  Although I had an aunt who was in The Land Army, I must admit to not knowing anything about The Timber Corps or indeed of what was expected of them but this historical story certainly brings the time, place and people alive so that I followed Keeva, Rosie and Beatrice's story with interest. All three women are from very different social backgrounds and this makes for an interesting dynamic and shows just how leveling this was back breaking work was and how hard these young women worked. Friendships were forged in these exceptional circumstances which certainly helped to make the unbearable bearable and yet there were also times when the pressure of working together caused tempers to fray.

The author writes well and her considerable knowledge of this period in history adds an authenticity to the narrative as well as describing the vital work that went on in the British woodlands. Felling, chopping and loading timber for the war effort was no easy task for these women but they did so with huge determination and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude.

About the Author

Joanna Foat is the author of the Lumberjills: Britain's Forgotten Army, the definitive history of the Women's Timber Corps in WWII, published in 2019. The Lumberjills: Stronger Together is the first in a series of historical novels.

Twitter @JoFoat #TheLumberjills


Tuesday 14 February 2023

❤ Valentines Day ~ Fourteen Poems to Say I Love You from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this poetry pamphlet

How many ways are there to say “I love you”? According to poetry there are many – with room for humour, longing, lust, tenderness and a healthy dose of self-mockery.

These fourteen poems are not about love but declare it with an immediacy that’s captivating and irresistible. Longing may be expressed using all sorts of images – there’s even a riff on a famous Shakespeare sonnet where we find ourselves in outer space – but at the heart of all the poems is love and the urgent need to proclaim it:

“I love your eyes when the lovelight lies
Lit with a passionate fire.”

from ‘I Love You’ by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

This is an anthology that says “I love you” with a freshness and directness that’s guaranteed to stir even the stoniest of hearts.

Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Katharine Goda, Nathalie Handal, Christopher Marlowe, Mary Mulholland, James Nash, Ogden Nash, Abigail Parry, Rachel Plummer, William Shakespeare, Penny Sharman, Dominic Weston and Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Cover illustration by Clare Curtis.

My Review..

Beautifully expressive each of the fourteen poems which make up this latest poetry pamphlet demonstrate the power of love in all its many forms. Whether it be remembering a lost love or celebrating someone new, each of the verses have something special to share and awake the senses and help to evoke the charm and poignancy of love.

The fourteen poem feature a selection of work from poets who are very familiar and I enjoyed being reintroduced to Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to his Love :

" Come live with me, and be my love
and we will all the pleasure prove..."

Alongside less well know poets whose work is no less powerful and amongst my favourite is the very beautiful Love Letters by Nathalie Handal

"I'd like to be a shrine, so I can learn from peoples' prayers the story of hearts..."

No selection of love poems would ever be complete without Robbie Burns' delightful A Red Red rose which has been written in so many Valentines or shared between lovers.

"O my Luve's like a red rose,
That's newly sprung in June
O my Luve's like the melodie
That's sweeetly played in tune..."

Instead of a card and not just for Valentine's Day, Fourteen Poems to say I Love You is the perfect expression of love for any occasion, be it a special anniversary, or just to say I love You to that special person in your life ❤

 About the Publisher

Candlestick Press is an independent publisher based in Nottingham, UK. We’ve been publishing poetry pamphlets since 2008 not only for people who already love poetry, but also for those who will love it but perhaps don’t know that yet. Our ‘instead of a card’ pamphlets make an ideal alternative to a mainstream greetings card and are a small gift in their own right. They have matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message, and are excellent companions on journeys or for a bedtime read. By supporting us, you help an independent press and our supported charities at the same time as treating yourselves, your friends and family to some wonderful poems.

Twitter @poetrycandle

Thursday 9 February 2023

馃摉 Book Review ~ 1989 by Val McDermid


August 2022

#AllieBurns #2

My thanks to the publisher and Laura Sherlock PR for my copy of this book

It's 1989 and Allie Burns is back.

Older and maybe wiser, she's running the northern news operation of the Sunday Globe, chafing at losing her role in investigative journalism and at the descent into the gutter of the UK tabloid media.

But there's plenty to keep her occupied. The year begins with the memorial service to the victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, but Allie has barely filed her copy when she stumbles over a story about HIV/AIDS that will shock her into a major change of direction.

The world of newspapers is undergoing a revolution, there's skulduggery in the medical research labs and there are seismic rumblings behind the Iron Curtain. When kidnap and murder are added to this potent mix, Allie is forced to question all her old certainties.

馃摉 My Review...

Ten years on we meet again with journalist Allie Burns as she heads up the northern operation of the Sunday Globe, however, all is not well with the global news empire run by media tycoon Ace Lockhart and Allie is about to discover just what deadly secrets are lurking in the shadows

The background of the novel brings into focus the historical events of 1989 where there is not only a downturn in tabloid journalism but there is also the deadly spectre of HIV/AIDS which is threatening the most vulnerable in society. Allie soon discovers that there is more going on in the cut throat world of pharmaceuticals than she could ever have imagined.

With this author’s fine eye for detail and her unquestioned ability to bring people and places alive, a complicated story emerges which is as sharp as ever and so beautifully detailed, that 1989 comes to life so clearly you can hear the soundtrack of the late eighties running in the background. All the strands of this complicated story are woven tightly together and the multi-layers of the plot, which I’m not going to spoil, kept me guessing and which tell an altogether sinister tale.

I have really enjoyed following Allie’s exploits as she chases down the bad guys, getting to know how she operates has been fascinating. I like her maverick nature which is altogether softened by her relationship with her long term partner, Rona, who brings out the best in her. Whilst it is perfectly possible to read 1989 as a standalone those who have read 1979 will be familiar with Allie Burns and will, no doubt, enjoy seeing just what she has achieved in the intervening years, she’s older, and maybe just a little wiser, but no less courageous in the face of adversity.

Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

Twitter @valmcdermid 


Tuesday 7 February 2023

馃摉 Book Review~ Weyward by Emilia Hart

The Borough Press
2 February 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

Three women. Five centuries. One secret.

‘I had nature in my heart, she said. Like she did, and her mother before her. There was something about us – the Weyward women – that bonded us more tightly with the natural world.
We can feel it, she said, the same way we feel rage, sorrow or joy.’

In 2019, Kate flees an abusive relationship in London for Crows Beck, a remote Cumbrian village. Her destination is Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great Aunt Violet, an eccentric entomologist.

As Kate struggles with the trauma of her past, she uncovers a secret about the women in her family. A secret dating back to 1619, when her ancestor Altha Weyward was put on trial for witchcraft…

Weyward is a stunning debut novel about gender and control – about the long echoes of male violence through the centuries. But more than that, it is a celebration of nature, female power and breaking free.

馃摉 My review..

Weyward brings us the story of three very different women who, although separated by time, have a common bond, and it is this bond which links the Weyward women through  five centuries. They each face a battle against ignorance and prejudice which when brought up to date with Kate's battle against abuse in the present connects her with her ancestor, Altha who was on trial for witchcraft in 17th century Lancashire. When Kate's great-aunt Violet bequeaths her Weyward Cottage, in the remote hamlet of Crows Beck in Cumbria Kate is glad of the bolt hole but once at Crows Beck she starts to sense an encroaching atmosphere and the final loosening of family secrets which have been long buried.

Deftly keeping all triple strands of the multiple narratives together, Weyward is a nicely written historical time slip novel which has poignancy, excitement and danger in a story which brings to the forefront the manipulation of women whether it be in the 1600s, the 1940s or the 21st century.The story moves along well with each of women having their own individual chapters with none of them seeking to outshine the other. There is enough historical detail to make the older elements of the story feel authentic and the modern moments are well described. Weyward is the story of three strong female characters who are linked together by both blood and  strength of will.

Now out in paperback
15 February 2024

About the Author

Emilia Hart is a British-Australian writer. She was born in Sydney and studied English Language and Law at the University of New South Wales before working as a lawyer in Sydney and London. Emilia is a graduate of Curtis Brown Creative's Three Month Online Novel Writing Course and was highly commended in the 2021 Caledonia Novel Award. her short fiction has been published in Australia dn the Uk. She lives in London.

Twitter @EmiliaHartBooks #Weyward

@BoroughPress @HarperFiction


Monday 6 February 2023

The Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards featuring ~ Mollie Walton

It gives me great pleasure to feature this talented author on the blog especially with the fabulous news that Mollie Walton has been shortlisted in the Romantic Saga Category for her novel A Mother’s War.

Photo credit: Hudson and Rose Photography

On Thursday 2nd February Waltham author, Mollie Walton, was shortlisted in the Romantic Saga Award category with her novel, A Mother's War, for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s (RNA) annual Romantic Novel Awards for 2023. The awards celebrate excellence in romantic fiction in all its forms.

Mollie Walton is the saga pen-name for historical novelist Rebecca Mascull. As Walton, she has written The Ironbridge Trilogy and is currently writing The Raven Hall Saga. As Mascull, she is the author of The Elements Quartet and wrote the final chapters of the late Vanessa Lafaye's last novella Miss Marley. Rebecca has worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, based at the University of Lincoln.

Mollie commented, ‘I'm over the moon to be shortlisted for this RNA award! The work the RNA does with authors is so important and I'm thrilled to be honoured by such a wonderful organisation.’

Welbeck Publishing Group

North Yorkshire, September 1939. Rosina Calvert-Lazenby is the widowed matriarch of Raven Hall. When the RAF come to stay, Rosina is intrigued by their young, charismatic sergeant Harry. Grace is 21, the eldest of Rosina's five daughters. Joining the Wrens, she trades the safety of home for acts of secrecy.

Here's my review  of A Mother's War 



The Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) is a professional body primarily for writers of romantic fiction. Founded in 1960 to provide a voice for romance authors and to be a network for writers, it continues to raise the prestige of romantic fiction and encourage romantic authorship. Their 1000+ membership includes writers across the spectrum of commercial and women's fiction, along with publishing industry professionals, booksellers, and book reviewers. In addition to organising annual publishing awards, they also host arange of workshops, talks, networking events, a three-day annual conference, and provide support to unpublished authors through their New Writers' Scheme.

For more information about the Romantic Novelists’ Association, please visit their website:

Jean Fullerton, the RNA Chair, commented, ‘Once again, our lovely reader-judges have had the almost impossible task of creating award shortlists from what is an unbelievable number of cracking, page-turning novels. Thankfully they have, and I can only say this year’s shortlist books are the cr猫me de la cr猫me of romantic fiction.’

Sharon Ibbotson, the RNA Awards Coordinator, said, ‘Our genre continues to go from strength to strength, providing escapism, delight and delicious romance with the turn of every page. Our shortlisted books, voted for by real, everyday readers, are a testament to wordmanship and the dedication of their authors, who we congratulate today.’

The awards, which have been held since their inception in 1960, are highly respected in the UK publishing industry. Previous winners include Santa Montefiore, Joe Heap, Julie Cohen and Milly Johnson. The awards are unique in that they are judged entirely by readers, without input from any industry professionals.

The award categories are as follows: The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award, the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers, the Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award, the Christmas/Festive Holiday Romantic Novel Award, the Shorter Romantic Novel Award, the Romantic Saga Award, the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy, the Historical Romantic Novel Award, the Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, and the Popular Romantic Fiction Award (voted for by librarians, booksellers and book bloggers/reviewers).

The winners of the awards will be announced during the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel Awards ceremony, which is being held at the Leonardo Royal Hotel London City, 8-14 Cooper’s Row, London EC3N 2BQ, on Monday 6th March 2023 at 6.30pm.

THE CATEGORIES AND SHORTLISTS ARE AS FOLLOWS: (authors are listed alphabetically)

The Fantasy Romantic Novel Award

Hidden in the Mists, Christina Courtenay, Headline Review

I Let You Fall, Sara Downing, Quilla Books (TCK Publishing)

Skip to the End, Molly James, Quercus

Impossible, Sarah Lotz, HarperCollins

Ocean's Echo, Everina Maxwell, Orbit UK

The Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers

Cold Silence, Toni Anderson, Independent

Six Days, Dani Atkins, Aria (Head of Zeus)

My Other Husband, Dorothy Koomson, Headline Review

The Serial Killer's Girl, L.H. Stacey, Boldwood Books

 A Murder of Crows, Sarah Yarwood-Lovett, Embla Books (Bonnier Books UK)

The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award

 The Love of My Other Life, CJ Connolly, Joffe Books

A Colourful Country Escape, Anita Faulkner, Sphere

Twelve Days in May, Niamh Hargan, HarperCollins

Always by Your Side, Julie Haworth, Simon and Schuster UK

From Fake to Forever, Laila Rafi, Orion Dash

The Christmas/Festive Holiday Romantic Novel Award

 This Year’s for Me and You, Emily Bell, Penguin Michael Joseph

Merrily Ever After, Cathy Bramley, Orion Fiction

Christmas with his Ballerina, Jessica Gilmore, Mills & Boon True Love

Snowed in for Christmas, Sarah Morgan, HQ

Santa, Please Bring Me a Boyfriend, Sophie Ranald, Bookouture

The Shorter Romantic Novel Award 

The Earl's Mysterious Lady, Louise Allen, Mills & Boon Historical

Summer at Seaspray Cottage, Angela Britnell, Choc Lit

The Shopgirl's Forbidden Love, Jenni Fletcher, Mills & Boon Historical

Their Surprise Safari Reunion, Ella Hayes, Mills & Boon True Love

Stranded with My Forbidden Billionaire, Lucy King, Mills & Boon Modern

The Romantic Saga Award

 A Child of the Dales, Diane Allen, Pan Macmillan

A New Start for the Wrens, Vicki Beeby, Canelo

The London Girls, Soraya M. Lane, Lake Union Publishing

Courage for the Cornish Girls, Betty Walker, Avon

A Mother's War, Mollie Walton, Welbeck Publishing Group

The Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy

 Great Sexpectations, Kristen Bailey, Bookouture

Playing for Love, Jeevani Charika, HQ Digital

The Woman Who Took a Chance, Fiona Gibson, Avon

Take a Chance on Greece, Emily Kerr, One More Chapter

A Wedding at Sandy Cove, Bella Osborne, Avon

The Historical Romantic Novel Award

 A Postcard from Capri, Alex Brown, HarperCollins

The Dressmaker's Secret, Lorna Cook, Avon

The Legacy of Halesham Hall, Jenni Keer, Headline Accent

The Three Lives of Alix St Pierre, Natasha Lester, Sphere

Before the Dawn, Emma Pass, Aria (Head of Zeus)

The Contemporary Romantic Novel Award

 The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures, Holly Hepburn, Simon and Schuster UK

A Cottage Full of Secrets, Jane Lovering, Boldwood Books

Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies, Ali McNamara, Sphere

Elodie's Library of Second Chances, Rebecca Raisin, HQ Digital

Finding Happiness at Heritage View, Helen Rolfe, Boldwood Books

The WINNER of The Popular Romantic Fiction Award

 A Christmas Celebration, Heidi Swain, Simon and Schuster UK


The Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers Jackie Collins was a creative force, a trailblazer for women in fiction, and, in her own words, ‘A kick-ass writer!’ Since her 1968 debut The World is Full of Married Men, her books have sold in their millions in more than 40 countries and she is one of the world’s top-selling novelists. Ian Chapman, CEO of Simon & Schuster UK and International, said, ‘Jackie was kind, brilliantly astute, with a wicked, mischievous sense of humour. She was a consummate storyteller and made her craft look easy, like all great practitioners. I – along with many others – miss her still and often expect to see her appear suddenly in our midst. We have long made a solemn commitment to ensure that her legacy endures and are incredibly proud to partner with the Romantic Novelists’ Association again to sponsor the Jackie Collins Romantic Thrillers award to support her fellow writers.’

The Katie Fforde Debut Romantic Novel Award

Best-selling author Katie Fforde lives in the beautiful Cotswold countryside with her family and is a true country girl at heart. Each of her books explores a different profession or background and her research has helped her bring these to life. She’s been a porter in an auction house, tried her hand at pottery, refurbished furniture, delved behind the scenes of a dating website, and she’s even been on a Ray Mears survival course. She loves being a writer; to her there isn’t a more satisfying and pleasing thing to do. She particularly enjoys writing love stories. She believes falling in love is the best thing in the world, and she wants all her characters to experience it, and her readers to share their stories. www.katiefforde.com, @KatieFforde.

Saturday 4 February 2023

馃摉 Book Review ~ Exiles by Jane Harper


2 February 2023

Aaron Falk #3

My thanks to the publisher and Laura Sherlock PR for my copy of this book

At a busy festival site on a warm spring night, a baby lies alone in her pram, her mother vanishing into the crowds.

A year on, Kim Gillespie’s absence casts a long shadow as her friends and loved ones gather deep in the heart of South Australian wine country to welcome a new addition to the family.

Joining the celebrations is federal investigator Aaron Falk. But as he soaks up life in the lush valley, he begins to suspect this tight-knit group may be more fractured than it seems.

Between Falk’s closest friend, a missing mother, and a woman he’s drawn to, dark questions linger as long-ago truths begin to emerge.

馃摉 My Review..

I hadn't read any of the previous books in the Aaron Falk series but this hasn't spoiled my enjoyment of this third and final book. Federal Investigator Falk arrives in the small town of Marralee to attend the christening of his friend's son. His arrival coincides with the one year anniversary of the mysterious disappearance of Kim Gillespie who went missing on the night of the local festival leaving behind her baby daughter. This gap of a year has caused local feelings to run high and Falk, together with his friend Raco, and other friends of Kim and in particular Kim's teenage daughter, Zoe, all  continue to search for clues to find out just what has happened to this young mother.

The story works well, there is a nice amount of detail to keep the mystery at the forefront of the novel and yet this character driven story focuses more on the after effects of Kim's disappearance and the consequences which may have led up to her going missing. I have enjoyed getting to know Falk, he's an interesting character, and he obviously takes his role as an investigator seriously and yet, I think, in this final novel we see a somewhat quieter side to him, especially as he has a difficult decision to make which will affect his future going forward.

I enjoyed the several twists and  turns and the involvement of other characters who add to the overall dynamic of the story and I felt that everything was wrapped up nicely at the end.  Overall, Exiles is a well written mystery and although part of a series can easily be read as a stand alone story. 

About the Author

Jane Harper is the international bestselling author of The Dry, Force of Nature and The Lost Man. Jane is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestseller, and has won numerous top awards including the Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year, the Australian Indie Awards Book of the Year, the CWA Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel, and the British Book Awards Crime and Thriller Book of the Year. Her books are published in more than 36 territories worldwide, with The Dry in production as a major motion picture starring Eric Bana. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK, and now lives in Melbourne.

Twitter @janeharperautho

@panmacmillan @LauraSherlock21