Today I’m sharing details of a new book as part of the Love Books Tours Blitz Fanfare.
The last few years have been hard for Catherine Lothbury. Suffering from agoraphobia she’s never left the sanctuary of her house, and with no friends to help her, she starts to think that she’ll be stuck inside forever.
Enter Elliot Farringdon, a soldier in the British army, who vows to help Catherine overcome her fears, and reintroduces her to the outside world.
Their friendship quickly turns into something more, but when Elliot is sent away on deployment, Catherine finds herself feeling far more alone than she did before. And when he doesn’t return home, she starts to believe that she’s lost him forever.
As someone who grew up reading any book she could get her hands on it wasn’t long until Andrea realised she wanted to be an author. She’s been writing stories since she was in school and over the many years has developed her craft into what it is today.
After studying journalism at university she found her inspiration to become a writer and her debut novel “Who We Are” tries to answer one important question- can someone who’s been a criminal for nearly his whole life turn his life around and be seen as the hero he wants to be?
Thank you to Kelly and Meggy of Love Books Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. Regular readers of my blog will know that I don’t review many non-fiction books, but as the granddaughter of a coal miner this one appealed to me.
A large black cast iron range glowing hot, the kettle steaming on top, provider of everything from bath water and clean socks to morning tea: it’s a nostalgic icon of a Victorian way of life. But it is far more than that. In this book, social historian and TV presenter Ruth Goodman tells the story of how the development of the coal-fired domestic range fundamentally changed not just our domestic comforts, but our world.
The revolution began as far back as the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, when London began the switch from wood to coal as its domestic fuel – a full 200 years before any other city. It would be this domestic demand for more coal that would lead to the expansion of mining, engineering, construction and industry: the Domestic Revolution kick-started, pushed and fuelled the Industrial Revolution.
There were other radical shifts. Coal cooking was to change not just how we cooked but what we cooked (causing major swings in diet), how we washed (first our laundry and then our bodies) and how we decorated (spurring the wallpaper industry). It also defined the nature of women’s and men’s working lives, pushing women more firmly into the domestic sphere. It transformed our landscape and environment (by the time of Elizabeth’s death in 1603, London’s air was as polluted as that of modern Beijing). Even tea drinking can be brought back to coal in the home, with all its ramifications for the shape of the empire and modern world economics.
Taken together, these shifts in our day-to-day practices started something big, something unprecedented, something that was exported across the globe and helped create the world we live in today
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to read this fascinating book. Ruth’s writing style is excellent, the book is informative but also in a friendly way, rather than a boring factual textbook style.
The book looks at what the UK used for fuel before coal, and how the changes happened, primarily in London, then across the country. As coal use increased, the design of our houses, what we ate, how we cleaned all changed – hence the title of domestic revolution.
I’ve visited the National Coal Mining museum near Wakefield and went underground to see what the conditions were like for my grandpa and his family, but this book explains why so many people were needed to mine for coal, to provide heat, hot water and hot meals.
The book also reminded me about the old Aga that my grandparents had, explaining how it would work, allowing different types of cooking could happen simultaneously. I remember being equally scared and fascinated at the age of 4 when my grandpa made my toast with an open flame and toasting fork rather than the electric toaster we had at home.
I look forward to reading more of Ruth’s books. If you enjoy history and enjoyed watching Ruth’s programmes and/or the ‘Back in time’ series with Sara Cox on BBC2, then I recommend reading this book.
For the first time, shows how the Industrial Revolution truly began in the kitchen – a revolution run by women. Told with Ruth’s inimitable wit, passion and commitment to revealing the nitty-gritty of life across three centuries of extraordinary change, from the Elizabethan to the Victorian age.
A TV regular, Ruth has appeared on some of BBC 2’s most successful shows, including: Victorian Farm, Edwardian Farm, Wartime Farm, Tudor Monastery Farm, Inside the Food Factory and most recently Full Steam Ahead, as well as being a regular expert presenter on The One Show. The critically acclaimed author of How to Be a Victorian, How to be a Tudor and How to Behave Badly in Renaissance Britain.
Thrilled to see that one of my favourite books of 2020 is now available in paperback AND is a Richard & JudyBook Club pick too Synopsis:-
Rose Gold Watts believed she was sick for eighteen years.
She thought she needed the feeding tube, the surgeries, the wheelchair . . .
Turns out her mum, Patty, is a really good liar.
After five years in prison Patty Watts is finally free. All she wants is to put old grievances behind her, reconcile with her daughter – and care for her new infant grandson. When Rose Gold agrees to have Patty move in, it seems their relationship is truly on the mend.
But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty won’t rest until she has her daughter back under her thumb. Which is inconvenient because Rose Gold wants to be free of Patty. Forever.
Only one Watts will get what she wants.
Will it be Patty or Rose Gold?
Mother, or daughter?
Thank you Michael Joseph, Penguin Books and Stephanie Wrobel for my digital ARC – my thoughts are my own.
I don’t read many thrillers but this one caught my attention. Such an intriguing idea – could a daughter who had been convinced she was seriously ill really reconcile with the mother who had fed her this lie and deprived her of her childhood.
Patty and Rose take it in turns to tell their version of the story. The stories differ but who should we believe? This is so dark and twisted that it was uncomfortable to read in parts but I needed to find out what happened and couldn’t put this book down.
A great debut novel – I look forward to reading more by Stephanie Wrobel in the future.
Today I’m pleased to be sharing a mini review for the brand new book by Katie Fforde, published in the UK yesterday. Thank you to Random House for the opportunity to read and review a digital copy via NetGalley.
Lizzy has just arrived in London and is determined to make the best of her new life.
Her mother may be keen that she should meet a Suitable Man and have a nice wedding in the country, but Lizzy is determined to have some fun first.
It is 1963 and London is beginning to swing as Lizzie cuts her hair, buys a new dress with a fashionably short hemline, and moves to a grand but rundown house in Belgravia with two of her best friends.
Soon Lizzie’s life is so exciting that she has forgotten all about her mother’s marriage plans for her.
All she can think about is that the young man she is falling in love with appears to be engaged to someone else…
I discovered Katie’s books a few years ago on holiday, and I have enjoyed reading her uplifting books. This one is slightly different, as we headed back in time, to the Sixties to meet Lizzie, Meg and Alexandria.
I enjoyed reading about how Lizzie evolved from a very shy young girl into a wonderful friend and started to stand up for herself. The story is set in the era of when my mum was a teenager and makes me realise how different life was for teenagers then. I enjoyed my trip back in time and I’m happy to recommend this book.
Thank you to Sarah Harwood of http://www.harwoodpr.com for a copy of this book, being published today by Windmill Books, part of Penguin Random House.
For readers of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris, an immersive, heart-pounding debut about a German heiress on the run in post-World War II Germany.
Clara Falkenberg, once Germany’s most eligible and lauded heiress, earned the nickname “the Iron Fräulein” during World War II for her role operating her family’s ironworks empire. It’s been nearly two years since the war ended and she’s left with nothing but a false identification card and a series of burning questions about her family’s past. With nowhere else to run to, she decides to return home and take refuge with her dear friend, Elisa.
Narrowly escaping a near-disastrous interrogation by a British officer who’s hell-bent on arresting her for war crimes, she arrives home to discover the city in ruins, and Elisa missing. As Clara begins tracking down Elisa, she encounters Jakob, a charismatic young man working on the black market, who, for his own reasons, is also searching for Elisa. Clara and Jakob soon discover how they might help each other—if only they can stay ahead of the officer determined to make Clara answer for her actions during the war.
Propulsive, meticulously researched, and action-fueled, The German Heiress is a mesmerizing page-turner that questions the meaning of justice and morality, deftly shining the spotlight on the often-overlooked perspective of Germans who were caught in the crossfire of the Nazi regime and had nowhere to turn.
Regular readers of my blog will know that I regularly read historical fiction books set around the first and second world wars. However this is the first I’ve read set in Germany after the second world war.
This was a book I didn’t want to put down, once I started it. Clara is on the run from her past, having been in hiding since the Allies were advancing towards Essen. However now she is heading back home, to find out what happened to what was left of her family and her best friend Elisa.
Essen in December 1946 was a cold and bleak place, with very little food and many damaged buildings. We find out more about Clara’s life before and during the war, her friendships and what she tried to do during the war. We also meet Jakob, left disabled after being at the Russian front. Jakob tries to help Clara but who will he put first when the British Army turn up, his sisters or his new acquaintance?
Without giving any spoilers, I enjoyed the story and found it thought provoking. What would any of us done if we had been made to work as per the Nazi party instructions or face being killed ourselves? After what happened during the war, how would the Allied troops treat the German people?
I’m happy to recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. This is an impressive debut novel and I look forward to reading more by Anika Scott in the future.
Anika Scott lives with her husband and two daughters in Essen, Germany, where her debut novel is set. She grew up in Michigan, USA and has degrees in International Politics and Journalism. She began her career wanting to be a CIA agent and had security clearance from an internship at the State Department in Washington, but CIA applications included never being able to write stories or keep a diary. Anika loves stories too much for that, and so became a journalist instead. She was staff on the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chicago Tribune before becoming a freelance journalist in Germany: her work has appeared widely in the US and European media. She runs an online resource about post-war German history at http://www.postwargermany.com
Thanks to Jess Barrett at Simon and Schuster for a proof copy and thank you to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the blog tour. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift. This book was published in the UK on 4th February 2021.
They say those we love never truly leave us, and I’ve found that to be true. But not in the way you might expect. In fact, none of this is what you’d expect.
I’ve been visiting my mother who died when I was eight. And I’m talking about flesh and blood, tea-and-biscuits-on-the-table visiting here.
Right now, you probably think I’m going mad. Let me explain…
Although Faye is happy with her life, the loss of her mother as a child weighs on her mind even more now that she is a mother herself. So she is amazed when, in an extraordinary turn of events, she finds herself back in her childhood home in the 1970s. Faced with the chance to finally seek answers to her questions – but away from her own family – how much is she willing to give up for another moment with her mother?
For fans of The Time Traveler’s Wife comes an original and heartwarming story about bittersweet memories, how the past shapes the future, and a love so strong it makes you do things that are slightly bonkers.
I’m pleased to say that this is another stunning debut novel that I’m reviewing on my book blog today. I first heard about Space Hopper last year, and the title both intrigued and delighted me as a child of the 1970’s.
Having read the opening chapters, I decided to pick a time to finish the book without interruption (not easy in lockdown part 3 in a house with two teenagers, one husband and two dogs. However the rugby six nations came to my rescue and I was able to curl up and engross myself in the story.
I’m on the last day of the blog tour, and hopefully you may have read some of the reviews by my fellow book bloggers and bookstagrammers (see above poster for more information), but I still don’t want to leave any spoilers. However as the synopsis gives some clues, what would you do if you suddenly found yourself back in time and could meet a missing loved one? Especially when you’ve lost most of your clothes during the journey? And would you keep going back and risk getting stuck there, leaving your own children without a mother?
I loved this original story, both as an avid reader and also a closet Sci-fi fan (I love watching Doctor Who). The idea of travelling back in time has interested people for hundreds of years and I enjoyed the way the idea was used here. I also loved the fact that one of Helen’s main characters is blind, just as my cousin was.
A delightful debut novel, featuring the bond between mothers and daughters. I look forward to reading more by Helen Fisher in the future.
Helen Fisher spent her early life in America, but grew up mainly in Suffolk where she now lives with her two children. She studied Psychology at Westminster University and Ergonomics at UCL and worked as a senior evaluator in research at RNIB. Space Hopper is her first novel.
I’m thrilled to be joining in with the cover reveal today for Red Dog Press.
When former rescue cat Aubrey moves to the picturesque village of Fallowfield with his owners and their foster son Carlos, he is keen to explore the delights of the English countryside.
However, all is not as it seems among the villagers. The idyllic peace is shattered when a gruesome murder takes place at the village fete.
Tensions run high as spectres from the past begin to emerge, and Aubrey is particularly upset when suspicion falls on Morris, who may be almost permanently drunk, but is also a good friend to the local cat population…
Can Aubrey restore the peace in the village and help clear Morris’s name?
I was born in London and spent my teenage years in Hertfordshire where I spent large amounts of time reading novels, watching daytime television and avoiding school. Failing to gain any qualifications in science whatsoever, the dream of being a forensic scientist collided with reality when a careers teacher suggested that I might like to work in a shop. I don’t think she meant Harrods. Later studying law, I decided to teach rather than go into practice and have spent many years teaching mainly criminal law and criminology to young people and adults.
I enjoy reading crime novels, doing crosswords, and drinking wine. Not necessarily in that order.
The dazzling new novel from Richard & Judy book club author Catherine Isaac, The World at my Feet is a story about the transforming power of love, as one woman journeys to uncover the past and reshape her future.
The secrets that bind us can also tear us apart…
1990. Harriet is a journalist. Her job takes her to dangerous places, where she asks questions and tries to make a difference. But when she is sent to Romania, to the state orphanages the world is only just learning about, she is forced to rethink her most important rule.
2018. Ellie is a gardener. Her garden is her sanctuary, her pride and joy. But, though she spends long days outdoors, she hasn’t set foot beyond her gate for far too long. Now someone enters her life who could finally be the reason she needs to overcome her fears.
From post-revolution Romania to the idyllic English countryside, The World at My Feet is the story of two women, two worlds, and a journey of self-discovery that spans a lifetime.
When I started University in 1989, the world was changing quickly. The Berlin Wall fell and many of the former Communist countries finally allowed Western journalists to visit. I remember seeing the stories about the Romanian orphanages and feeling profoundly sad that children were abandoned in this way. So I was intrigued to see how this story would unfold.
I am a fan of Catherine’s writing and I’m pleased to see that the lockdown/ global pandemic hasn’t changed her storytelling style. I quickly became invested in the stories of Harriet and Ellie, two women who had their lives changed after a chance encounter in Romania.
I enjoyed both threads of the story, the trips back in time with Harriet and the more recent time with Ellie. Ellie has become trapped in her home/garden by agrophobia, but has stayed in touch with the outside world by becoming a gardening Instagrammer, passing on hints and tips, and sharing her passion for gardening. She knows she needs to get out, to live her life more fully but needs help to conquer her fears.
I quickly became hooked by the story, desperate to see if Ellie could make some changes and how the story about Harriet would link to Ellie’s. The well written characters came to life and on a cold January day, it was lovely to imagine being in Ellie’s beautiful garden.
I’m trying hard to not give away any spoilers, so I’m sorry if this sounds rather vague but I don’t want to spoil the storytelling. My advice is to order a copy and enjoyed watching the story unfold. Thank you Catherine Isaac for another lovely book.
Rockstar Johnny Mayhem sits on his bed, holding a bloody baseball bat. On the floor, clutching a lavender rose in her fist, is his wife, Amanda, who he has just beaten to death. Erika Piper knows this because she is one of the first on the scene. Mayhem is arrested and led away, screaming that they’ve got the wrong man. But the evidence is irrefutable and when Mayhem is sentenced to life in prison, no one is surprised.
Thanks to new evidence, Johnny Mayhem is a now free man. During a television interview, he issues a thinly veiled threat to those involved in the original case before seemingly disappearing off the face of the Earth. When the body of Mayhem’s dealer is found, Erika Piper is pulled from the safety of her desk job and thrown into the hunt for the Rockstar. Can she find Mayhem before he can enact his revenge or everyone involved, including Erika? Or, has he been telling the truth all along? Did the police really get the wrong man?
Originally hailing from the north coast of Northern Ireland and now residing in South Manchester, Chris McDonald has always been a reader. At primary school, The Hardy Boys inspired his love of adventure before his reading world was opened up by Chuck Palahniuk and the gritty world of crime. A Wash of Black is his first attempt at writing a book. He came up with the initial idea whilst feeding his baby in the middle of the night, which may not be the best thing to admit, considering the content. He is a fan of 5-a-side football, heavy metal and dogs. Whispers in the Dark was the second installment in the DI Erika Piper series, and Chris is currently working on his latest series, The Stonebridge Mysteries, to be published by Red Dog Press in 2021.