The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor

Today I’m absolutely thrilled to share my review for this stunning debut novel on my book blog today. Thank you to Jess Barratt at Scribner, a Simon and Schuster UK imprint, for this gorgeous proof copy – my thoughts about the book are all my own and not influenced by the gift. I will be treating myself to a hardback copy of the book, which will now include a sticker to confirm that this has been picked as a Radio 2 Book Club book.

Synopsis:

July, 1962
 
Sixteen year-old Evie Epworth stands on the cusp of womanhood. But what kind of a woman will she become?
 
The fastest milk bottle-delivery girl in East Yorkshire, Evie is tall as a tree and hot as the desert sand. She dreams of an independent life lived under the bright lights of London (or Leeds). The two posters of Adam Faith on her bedroom wall (‘brooding Adam’ and ‘sophisticated Adam’) offer wise counsel about a future beyond rural East Yorkshire. Her role models are Charlotte Bronte, Shirley MacLaine and the Queen. But, before she can decide on a career, she must first deal with the malign presence of her future step-mother, the manipulative and money-grubbing Christine.
 
If Evie can rescue her bereaved father, Arthur, from Christine’s pink and over-perfumed clutches, and save the farmhouse from being sold off then maybe she can move on with her own life and finally work out exactly who it is she is meant to be.  
 
Moving, inventive and richly comic, The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is the most joyful debut novel of the year and the best thing to have come out of Yorkshire since Wensleydale cheese.  

My thoughts:

As a Yorkshire lass, who was born in Sheffield, grew up in Rotherham, and attended University in Huddersfield and Leeds, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to read this book early – described as the ‘best thing to come out of Yorkshire since Wensleydale cheese’. So did it live up to the claim?

The book starts with an introduction to Evie, who has just finished her last ‘O’ level exam (GCSE equivalent to those of you younger than 40) and is driving her dad’s MG. By page 5, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry as Evie saw old Mr Hughes – this has to be the most unusual start to a book I’ve ever read – please don’t eat or drink whilst reading the first chapter.

I’m not going to give a round up of what happens in the story – I am going to tell you is why you should buy it. I loved the way the characters developed, how Evie deals with the prospect of having Christine as a step mum and helps her neighbours reconnect. This is a book that also made me realise how much life has changed for the young people of today in terms of career opportunities and life choices.

This year has been a challenging year for many of us with the anxiety of a global pandemic, and this book was a chance to escape and to laugh out loud. My mum would have been slightly older than Evie and I’m much younger than Evie, but lots of the Yorkshire phrases and characters seemed so familiar from my own experiences and stories from my mum. I read the Adrian Mole books back in the day (and watched the TV series) and this is so much funnier.

In addition to the humour, the attention to detail was superb – the descriptions of rooms, clothes, music and food etc. My favourite chapters included a visit to the Royal Beverly hotel (chapter 5), the village fete (chapter 12), a trip to Leeds with Caroline (chapter 14) and starting work at the hairdressers (chapter 16), all building up nicely to the finale.

This is a stunning debut novel and I’m pleased to hear that another novel is underway. After reading the novel, I’ve enjoyed discovering the Betty’s website and the music of Adam Faith (he was an actor in my day). I’m happy to confirm that this book is better than Wensleydale cheese (and I do love a good piece of Wensleydale with cranberries). My recommendation is to order the book and some Fat Rascals from Betty’s, find a comfortable chair, turn off your phone and enjoy revisiting the summer of 1962 with Evie. This is currently my favourite book of 2020.

Matson Taylor:

Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire (the flat part not the Brontë part). He comes from farming stock and spent an idyllic childhood surrounded by horses, cows, bicycles, and cheap ice-cream. His father, a York City and Halifax Town footballer, has never forgiven him for getting on the school rugby team but not getting anywhere near the school football team.

Matson now lives in London, where he is a design historian and academic writing tutor at the V&A, Imperial College and the Royal College of Art. Previously, he talked his way into various jobs at universities and museums around the world; he has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers. He gets back to Yorkshire as much as possible, mainly to see family and friends but also to get a reasonably-priced haircut.

He has always loved telling stories and, after writing academically about beaded flapper dresses and World War 2 glow-in-the-dark fascinators, he decided to enrol on the Faber Academy ‘Writing A Novel’ course. The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is his first novel. 

Matson has also put a playlist together for the book – to be found at https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4LzC95vqQAuZMKJ2WZtF5i?si=Vu9Tl88DT9yMx5kt0UBDWQ

How to Disappear by Gillian McAllister

I’m thrilled to share my review for this page turner of a book by a new author to me, Gillian McAllister. Thank you to Penguin Books – Micheal Joseph for a digital review copy via Net Galley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

You can run, you can hide, but can you disappear for good?

Lauren’s daughter Zara witnessed a terrible crime. But speaking up comes with a price, and when Zara’s identity is revealed online, it puts a target on her back.

The only choice is to disappear.

From their family, their friends, even from Lauren’s husband.

No goodbyes. Just new names, new home, new lives.

One mistake – a text, an Instagram like – could bring their old lives crashing into the new.

As Lauren will learn, disappearing is easy.

Staying hidden is much harder . . .

My thoughts:

Over the years, I’ve watched many TV shows and films where people disappear into witness protection without really thinking about the implications of how this works. This book made me sit back and think about what the reality would be like.

The story starts with the death of a young homeless man and one witness. As the story develops, we discover that Zara hadn’t been totally honest about what she witnessed and now a gang are out to silence her for ruining the life of a young and talented footballer.

The story looks at Zara’s relationship with her mum, her step dad and step sister, and how all four of them will deal with the life changes and dangers they face.

This is a no spoiler review so I will say no more about the story except to say it is excellent. This was a book I didn’t want to put down (always the sign of a good thriller) and wanted to discuss with my family. This is well written, full of tension and intrigue, where no one actually appears to know the full truth. One of my favourite thrillers of 2020 (a 5 star read) and I will be busy recommending this book (and looking to read Gillian’s previous books).

Gillian McAllister:

Gillian McAllister is the Sunday Times Top 10 bestselling author of Everything But The Truth, Anything You Do Say, No Further Questions and The Evidence Against You. 

How To Disappear is her latest release, a witness protection thriller. 

All of her novels are standalone and can be read in any order. She is published in ten countries around the world. The Good Sister is her US debut, released by Penguin USA, and is the American title for No Further Questions. The Choice is her second American release which is the US title for Anything You Do Say. 

You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @gillianmauthor. She also blogs at http://www.gillianmcallister.com.

Beach Read by Emily Henry

I’m pleased to share my review for the latest book by Emily Henry on my book review blog today. Thank you to Penguin Books UK for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

January is a hopeless romantic who likes narrating her life as if she’s the heroine in a blockbuster movie.
Augustus is a serious literary type who thinks true love is a fairy-tale.
January and Augustus are not going to get on.

But they actually have more in common than you’d think:

They’re both broke.
They’ve got crippling writer’s block.
They need to write bestsellers before the end of the summer.

The result? A bet to see who can get their book published first.
The catch? They have to swap genres.
The risk? In telling each other’s stories, their worlds might be changed entirely..

My thoughts:

This book was actually very different to how I expected it to be – not as ‘light and fluffy’ as the title suggests. Instead I enjoyed meeting two writers dealing with hefty amounts of emotional baggage who had known (and kissed) each other during college and who are now neighbours overlooking a beach.

The story starts as we meet January, Gus, and Pete and slowly start to find out more about January and Gus. I enjoyed how the story evolved, as we found out what had happened in the past and how that had led them both to be living next to the beach, struggling to write their next books.

This is a book that looks at how our families shape us and how we love others, and how everyone has a different background story (including the families who lost family members to cults). There is sadness and humour, anger and love in this story. I enjoyed the book and will be recommending it to friends.

Emily Henry:

Emily Henry writes stories about love and family for both teens and adults. She studied creative writing at Hope College and the now-defunct New York Center for Art & Media Studies.

Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites. 

The Backpacking Bride by Janice Horton

Today I’m pleased to share my review for The Backpacking Bride (being published later this week) on my book review blog. Thank you to One More Chapter and Harper Collins UK for the digital proof copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

When her walk up the aisle leads to disaster Maya Thomas must forge a new path…

Saying ‘I Do’ was meant to be the start of her greatest adventure, but when Maya’s fiancé drops dead just moments before he’s set to kiss the bride, her life is spent spinning out of control.

Now, as Maya travels a path she never expected to take, setting off on the mystery honeymoon her fiancé had planned for them, she finds that there is life after loss, that fate has its own way of helping you heal and that those with the courage to grasp love will never go lonely…

My thoughts:

This book starts with Maya arriving in India on the honeymoon planned by the love of her life, Jon, who collapsed and died at the start of the wedding ceremony just one week earlier. She is middle aged, grief stricken and suddenly in a bustling foreign country trying to find peace, to practice yoga and mindfulness and to come to terms with how quickly her life has changed.

We spend a week with Maya in India, before continuing the journey to Hong Kong and beyond. Maya meets a variety of people on her way, including other travellers and local people. However meeting Henri in Hong Kong, organised by the post it notes in Jon’s folder, makes Maya reassess her life yet again.

I enjoyed the travel aspects of this story – India and Hong Kong sound amazing. I didn’t understand why the financially astute Jon wouldn’t have organised travel insurance but then we wouldn’t have had the story.

The story moved slowly during the week in India, then suddenly the pace picked up in Hong Kong. Looking back I’m confused by the timelines – was the end of the book really only about three weeks after the tragedy at the wedding? I enjoyed lots of elements of the story but found the timings very far fetched. A 3.5 star read for me.

Janice Horton:

Janice Horton, also known as the backpacking housewife, writes contemporary romantic fiction with a dash of humour and a sense of adventure. Once her three children had grown up, Janice and her backpacking husband sold their empty nest in Scotland UK along with almost everything they owned and set off to travel the world. Since then they have been travelling full-time and have explored over 50 countries, living out of an apartment, a hut, or wherever they happen to find themselves.

Janice works as a writer wherever she is in the world. When not writing bestselling romantic adventure novels, she writes lifestyle and travel features for her website and her work has also featured in national and international magazines like ‘Prima’ in the UK and ‘Friday’ in Dubai. She has also been involved in BBC Scotland’s Write Here Write Now project and has been interviewed on many podcasts and radio shows including Loose Women’s Kaye Adams’ prime time BBC Radio Scotland Show.

Look out for her latest romantic adventure novel and escape to a tropical paradise in this epic story of hidden pasts and family secrets: ‘Island in the Sun’ (published January 2019)

Janice writes for HarperCollins Publishers. Janice signed a three-book deal with HarperImpulse – the romance imprint of HarperCollinsUK for ‘The Backpacking Housewife’ (published July 2018) and two more backpacking romantic adventure novels including a sequel ‘The Next Adventure’ (July 2019) and a third title to be published later in 2019.

Her backlist of bestselling romantic adventure novels include: ‘Bagpipes and Bullshot’ and ‘Reaching for the Stars’ and ‘Castaway in the Caribbean’ – a #1 Kindle Bestseller shortlisted for the prestigious Love Story Awards.

Janice also writes under the author name of Janey Travis. Look out for her fun romantic comedy ‘I Need a Doctor’. “Just the right sprinkling of romance and humour” says Brook Cottage Books.

Janice keeps in touch with her readers on social media and from her website at: https://thebackpackinghousewife.com/

The Ringmaster’s Daughter by Carly Schabowski

I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for the Ringmaster’s Daughter by Carly Schabowski on my book review blog today – this thought provoking book is now one of my favourite book of 2020. Thank you to Bookouture for a digital review copy via NetGalley and for inviting me to join the blog tour. My thoughts about the book are my own and not influenced by the free copy (or by the author’s dogs – we also have a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel)

Synopsis:

Circus people don’t ask who you were before, or what god you believe in… when you join the circus, you are family, whatever your past.

Paris, 1940. Twenty-year-old Michel Bonnet lives on the edge of the law, finding work where he can breaking in horses on the outskirts of the city. But when the Nazis invade, Michel takes refuge as a stowaway on a rickety train bound for the rural south. It’s a journey that will change his life forever.

The train is property of Le Cirque Neumann – a travelling circus owned by the troubled and irritable showman Werner Neumann. Neumann offers Michel a job caring for the company’s horses – a lucky break, but with an unusual condition attached. Michel must keep to himself and never speak of what he sees behind the glittering curtain of the big top.

But as Michel finds himself pulled into the strange and wondrous world of the great spectacular it becomes more difficult to keep his promise. Why does the man with the performing monkey never speak, and the sword swallower turn his face away? Who are the silent, shadowy figures who flit like moths between the wagons when the sun is down? It’s clear that Neumann is keeping his performers hidden away… but why?

And how can Michel win the love of the beautiful and exotic trapeze artist Freida – the graceful, green-eyed star of Neuman’s spectacular – when he’s been forbidden to even meet her gaze?

A heartbreaking and uplifting wartime novel– perfect for fans of Water for ElephantsThe Nightingale and The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

My thoughts:

In May 2020, during the early days of furlough, I saw this book listed on NetGalley. Both the cover image and the synopsis appealed – I enjoy ‘modern’ historical fiction having studied the twentieth century during my O level course.

The book starts in Paris, just as the Germans are marching in, in the summer of 1940 and the British are heading home via Dunkirk. Carly Schabowski sets the scene of a city in turmoil, with neighbours running away and bomb damage being repaired. We are introduced to Michel, a shy young man, who is the main character. It was only after reading the book, that I realised that this is one of very few books I’ve read recently where the main character is male and is the first male historical fiction main character (the other books were of crime or thriller genres).

Michel escapes Paris (with help from his neighbour Betrand), and ends up travelling with the Le Cirque Neumann, looking after their horses. As the synopsis states, Werner, the Ringmaster keeps his performers away from Michel. The book follows Michel as he slowly becomes trusted by Werner and we discover the history of the various performers.

This wasn’t a book about a circus for me, but a book about how dangerous it was to be living in France in 1940 if you were Jewish, Catholic, disabled, gay or had a rare genetic condition. The circus performers all had reasons to hide and heartbreaking stories to share – including the one who made himself mute so that he couldn’t tell anyone where his family had fled to.

I was entranced by the story telling and could see this book as a movie. The detailed descriptions brought the locations and the show in the Big Top to life. I realised how much I had been encouraged to care for the characters when we reached the end of the book and I was holding my breath to find out what happened next. There are many friendships and romances to discover amongst the heartbreak and betrayals.

This is a beautifully written historical fiction book, dealing with some difficult topics and sadly even in our modern times, some of the same intolerances still exist. As I said earlier in my review, this is one of my favourite books of 2020 and I will be busy recommending it.

Carly Schabowski

Carly Schabowski worked as a journalist in both North Cyprus and Australia before returning to Oxford, where she studied for an MA and then a PhD in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University. Carly now teaches at Oxford Brookes University as an associate lecturer in Creative Writing for first and second-year English literature students. 
Twitter:  @carlyschab11

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://bit.ly/3eMifEf

Apple: https://apple.co/34mzW9h

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2RmjnoF

Google: https://bit.ly/38oTs77

A Sunset in Sydney by Sandy Barker #blogtour #nospoilers

I’m thrilled to share my review for the latest book by Sandy Barker on my book review blog today. Thank you to One More Chapter and Rachel’s Random Resources for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

How far would you go in the name of love?

Sarah Parsons has a choice ahead of her. After the trip of a lifetime she’s somehow returned home with TWO handsome men wanting to whisk her away into the sunset.

Pulled in two directions across the globe, it’s making life trickier than it sounds. Her gorgeous American, Josh, wants to meet Sarah in Hawaii for a holiday to remember. Meanwhile silver fox, James, plans to wine and dine her in London.

It’s a lot to handle for this Aussie girl, who had totally sworn off men!

Join Sarah after her adventure in One Summer in Santorini, for the heart-warming and uplifting third novel in The Holiday Romance series.

My thoughts:

After enjoying reading One Summer in Santorini last year, I was thrilled to hear that we continue following Sarah’s story after leaving Greece.

If you haven’t read One Summer in Santorini, Australian Sarah decided to remain single after a painful break up, then met a young American Josh and an older Brit James (aka Silver Fox) whilst visiting Greece. This story follows Sarah in the months after Santorini – will she rediscover her mojo for teaching and will she find a special someone to share her life with?

I enjoyed this book even more than One Summer in Santorini, especially the trip to Hawaii. It was great to see how Sarah’s trip to Greece changed her outlook on life and how she discovered what was important to make her happy. There is a great cast of characters again and lovely locations (London, Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand), and I especially loved the ending. This is a lovely summer time read full of virtual visits to foreign countries. Please check out the other blog tour reviews this week too.

Purchase Links 

AmazonUK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sunset-Sydney-totally-uplifting-holiday-ebook/dp/B081MSC5S3

Google play: https://bit.ly/3dLjJxU

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-sunset-in-sydney/sandy-barker/9780008390020

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/a-sunset-in-sydney-the-holiday-romance-book-3

Author Bio – 

Sandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humour. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.
Many of Sandy’s travel adventures have found homes in her writing, including her debut novel, a contemporary romance set in Greece, which was inspired by her true-life love story.

Social Media Links – 

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/sandybarker

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

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

Blog: https://sandybarker.com/

Summertime at the Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy James #blogtour

I’m thrilled to share my review for this gorgeous summertime read by Daisy James, a new author to me. Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for a digital proof copy so that I can read and review for the upcoming blog tour. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

It’s Summertime at The Cornish Confetti Agency!

When Lexie Harrington is asked to co-ordinate Kat and Dylan’s ‘English village fête’ wedding, she’s determined that this time everything will go according to her carefully laid plans; no ice bucket challenges, no whoopee cushions, and absolutely no googly eyes attached to everything in sight!

With gorgeous journalist-cum-wedding columnist Theo Barker to offer a helping hand, Lexie is optimistic that she can deliver the fairy tale wedding her clients have always dreamed of…. until the best man Noah is targeted by a loose hosepipe, the wedding rings go walk-about, and his beloved scarlet Porsche takes on a distinctly unpleasant aroma.

Can Lexie and Theo uncover what’s behind the mysterious goings on, or will the Cornish Confetti Agency be forced to close its doors to the future brides and grooms of glorious Cornwall.

My thoughts:

I hadn’t realised that this was the second book in a new series, the first was published in March 2020. However I quickly picked up on the events from The Cornish Confetti Agency and the blossoming friendship for Lexie and Theo.

I’ve still not visited Cornwall in person, but Daisy James brought the area to life for me. The book is set during the week of the wedding of Kat and Dylan, a very busy week for temporary wedding planner Lexie.

I loved the story – just what we need in the middle of a global pandemic to make us smile. Great characters, although some were more loveable than others, a gorgeous setting and a lovely theme for the wedding.

The story was uplifting in many ways and I loved the extreme ironing competition discussion. There are secrets to discover, mysteries to solve, new friendships to make, old issues to resolve and a wedding to prepare.

A book to enjoy with a glass of Pimm’s or with a cocktail during the summer months. I’m already looking forward to the next book – Christmas at the Cornish Confetti Agency.

Daisy James:

Daisy James loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. She especially likes to create sunshine-filled settings in exotic locations – the Caribbean, Tuscany, Cornwall, Provence – so she can spend her time envisioning her characters enjoying the fabulous scenery and sampling the local food and drink.

When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.

Purchase Links 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B086VLBSPJ

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086VLBSPJ

Social Media Links – 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009889775019

Twitter @daisyjamesbooks

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/daisyjamesstories/

June 2020 reads – #20readsofsummer completed

Part way through June 2020 I saw the #20ReadsofSummer appearing in blogs. Little did I think I would read 20 books this month. However, according to Goodreads, I did and here is a photographic record of the books. Just over half have already been reviewed on this blog, the remainder will be appearing over the next couple of weeks for blog tours or nearer their publication dates.

A big thank you to the publishers and authors for sharing their work to be read and reviewed. I’m currently furloughed and have this part time ‘job’ of reviewing books is helping enable me to keep a routine and a purpose to my life, in addition to keeping my family safe and fed in the middle of a global pandemic.

My blog will be back to a normal review tomorrow – I’m on the blog tour for Summertime at the Cornish Confetti Agency by Daisy James with Rachel’s Random Resources.

The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness by Laura Bambrey

I’m thrilled to share my review for the debut novel by Laura Bambrey on my book review blog today. Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for granting my wish on NetGalley to read and review – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to, well – herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.
 
When she’s offered a free spot on a wellbeing retreat in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).
 
From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t.  Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .
 

My thoughts:

2020 will be remembered for many different reasons, primarily the global pandemic. One small positive of this, is that I have been able to read and review more books this year, and I now have another lovely debut novel to shout about to fellow booklovers – I really enjoyed reading The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness.

In March 2020 most countries across the world had to lockdown, to keep their populations safe from an invisible killer. Thankfully many of us have access to modern technology and can stay in touch with family and friends via messages or video chats. However, millions of people across the world will be in Tori’s situation – lots of virtual friends but no close real friends. In my grandparent’s generation, people tended to not move far from their families when they left home and had their own families. However, this has now changed, especially as more of us travelled for university courses or fell in love with another county or country when on holiday.

I moved to Wiltshire from Yorkshire just over 25 years ago, and although I’ve made some good friends, I do find myself feeling lonely at times without my family living nearby. Loneliness is a big issue in our world and Laura’s book shows how easy it is to end up in this situation, especially now more people are working from home every day.

I loved the way the characters developed in this story, my favourite characters were actually secondary characters – Doreen and Rowan, who both help Tori in so many ways. There is also a dog called Dennis in this story and all the best stories include a dog (with a handsome owner). The story looks at how Tori found herself feeling so isolated and lonely and why she found it hard to trust other people. It also looks at the dangers of social media – how we need to be careful when chatting to strangers. However, it is a voyage of self discovery for Tori during her stay at The Farm, and without any spoilers, this is an uplifting read, not a tale of doom and gloom.

Thank you Laura Bambrey for such a thought provoking and touching story. I look forward to seeing this ebook flying high in the digital book charts after publication at the end of July 2020.

Laura Bambrey:

Laura Bambrey was born in Dorset but raised in Wales. She’s worked as a trapeze choreographer, sculpture conservator and stilt walker, amongst others, and spent most of her time collecting stories from the people she met along the way. 

She has spent many years as a book blogger and reviewer of women’s fiction and now lives in Devon with her very own romantic hero and a ridiculously fluffy rabbit named Mop. The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is her début novel.

You can connect with Laura on twitter @laurabambrey, on Instagram @laura_bambrey_books, on Facebook @laurabambreybooks, and via her author blog laurabambreybooks.blogspot.com

The English Wife by Adrienne Chinn #blogtour

I’m thrilled to share my thoughts about this time slip historical novel on my book review blog today. Thank you to One More Chapter and Rachel’s Random Resources for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Two women, a world apart.

A secret waiting to be discovered…

VE Day 1945: As victory bells ring out across the country, war bride Ellie Burgess’ happiness is overshadowed by grief. Her charismatic Newfoundlander husband Thomas is still missing in action.
 
Until a letter arrives explaining Thomas is back at home on the other side of the Atlantic recovering from his injuries.

Travelling to a distant country to live with a man she barely knows is the bravest thing Ellie has ever had to do. But nothing can prepare her for the harsh realities of her new home…

September 11th 2001: Sophie Parry is on a plane to New York on the most tragic day in the city’s history. While the world watches the news in horror, Sophie’s flight is rerouted to a tiny town in Newfoundland and she is forced to seek refuge with her estranged aunt Ellie.
 
Determined to discover what it was that forced her family apart all those years ago, newfound secrets may change her life forever…
 
This is a timeless story of love, sacrifice and resilience perfect for fans of Lorna Cook and Gill Paul.

My thoughts:

This is the first historical fiction novel I’ve read involving Newfoundland – I must admit that I had to look up Newfoundland to check exactly where it is. If you read some of the other blog tour posts for The English Wife, you can read about the author growing up in the area.

This book involves two distinct time periods – we follow Ellie through the war years in the UK, then her early years in Newfoundland. We also meet her again when her niece Sophie has an unexpected visit to Newfoundland in September 2001, returning again in 2011. This is not a ‘light read’ due to the time periods it is set in (war and terrorist attacks) and needing to move between the different time periods. However it is a well written and thought provoking book, looking at how the events of the 1940’s impacts on the life of Sophie.

I enjoyed travelling to the different time periods, each with their own challenges for the characters of this story. There is romance, love, loss, hardship, new friendships, in-laws, mystery and lots of secrets. My favourite time period was 2001 when Sophie met her aunt and other family members for the first time.

Purchase Links 

https://amzn.to/2KpCBpb

https://amzn.to/3bqYKPZ

https://amzn.to/2VpSoLk

Adrienne Chinn:

Adrienne Chinn was born in Grand Falls, Newfoundland, grew up in Quebec, and eventually made her way to London, England after a career as a journalist. In England she worked as a TV and film researcher before embarking on a career as an interior designer, lecturer, and writer. When not up a ladder or at the computer, she can usually be found rummaging through flea markets or haggling in the Marrakech souk. Her second novel, The English Wife — a timeslip story set in World War II England and contemporary Newfoundland — is published in June 2020. Her debut novel, The Lost Letter from Morocco, was published by Avon Books UK in 2019. She is currently writing her third novel, The Photographer’s Daughters, the first of a 3-book series, to be published in 2021.

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