When Paris Slept by Ruth Druart

I’m happy to be sharing my non-spoiler thoughts about this fabulous historical fiction book as part of the book tour organised by Anne of Random Things Tours. Thank you to Anne and Headline Review for a proof copy to read and review.

Synopsis:

Santa Cruz 1953. Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

Paris 1944. A young woman’s future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

On a darkened platform two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined.

Beginning on an ordinary day and ending on an extraordinary one, WHILE PARIS SLEPT is an unforgettable read.

My thoughts:

Regular readers of my blog will know that I regularly enjoy reading books set around World War 2, having studied this era at school. I have discovered some fascinating historical fiction books during our repeated lockdowns and this one is definitely added to my five star list. So what makes this book special?

In addition to the gorgeous cover design, this book is an emotional read and left me thinking about it long after I had finished reading. We start in the USA in 1953 where Jean-Luc and Charlotte are living the American dream with their son, Sam. We then head back in time to find out how Jean-Luc and Charlotte met in Paris in 1944, and what happened next.

The story looks at how the ordinary French people dealt with being under German rule, afraid to say anything out loud for fear of reprisals but with hopes that the resistance and the Allies would soon rescue them from the Nazi occupation. We also spend time with Jewish families who have lost their jobs, homes and are facing losing their lives.

In 1953, everything changes again for Jean-Luc, Charlotte and Sam, as the events of 1944 catch up with them. I have to admit that I didn’t see this part of the story coming when I first started the book. This part of the book was emotional in a different way, and as a mother I was torn about how I felt. I did enjoy reading about Paris, the different customs and food, reminding me about my first visit to France.

This is beautifully written, full of emotion and heartbreak, but also hope for the future. The final chapters found me holding my breath, eager to know what would happen next. Apologies for the vagueness of this review, but I don’t want to spoil the story for any prospective readers. I didn’t sleep whilst reading While Paris Slept, this was a book I read in a day, curled up on a sofa with our dogs (there are some benefits to lockdown). I’m happy to recommend this book as a must read in 2021.

Author Bio:

Ruth Druart grew up on the Isle of Wight, moving away at the age of eighteen to study psychology at Leicester University. She has lived in Paris since 1993, where she has followed a career in teaching. She has recently taken a sabbatical, so that she can follow her dream of writing full-time.

Old Bones by Helen Kitson

Thanks to Emma at Damppebbles for the opportunity to read and review for the blog tour, and to Louise Walters Books for a digital review copy. This is the first book I’ve read by Helen Kitson, so my first visit to ‘Morvale’.

Synopsis:

Diana and her sister Antonia are house-sharing spinsters who have never got over their respective first loves. Diana owns a gift shop, but rarely works there. Antonia is unemployed, having lost her teaching job at an all girls’ school following a shocking outburst in the classroom after enduring years of torment. Diana is a regular at the local library, Antonia enjoys her “nice” magazines, and they treat themselves to coffee and cake once a week in the village café.

Naomi lives alone, haunted by the failure of her two marriages. She works in the library, doesn’t get on with her younger colleagues, and rarely cooks herself a proper meal. Secretly she longs for a Boden frock.

When a body is discovered in the local quarry, all three women’s lives are turned upside down. And when Diana’s old flame Gill turns up unexpectedly, tensions finally spill over and threaten to destroy the outwardly peaceful lives all three women have carefully constructed around themselves.

Helen takes us back to the fictional Shropshire village of Morevale in this, her brilliant second novel which exposes the fragilities and strengths of three remarkably unremarkable elderly women.

My thoughts:

The synopsis of the book intrigued me, what did the three women know about the body found in the local quarry? Had one or more of them been involved?

The story introduces us to the siblings, Diana and Antonia, who live together in their childhood home whilst loathing each other and Naomi, who knew them at school. All of them are living in the village they grew up in and are trapped by their past. I must admit that I didn’t like any of the three by the end of the story but I did find myself feeling sorry for them, as they had all become trapped by their reactions to past events.

The story is well written and we slowly start to find out what has happened in the past to each of the three main characters. All three have to face up to their past as the police start their investigation and old memories resurface. Although the story is sad in places, the day out in Birmingham for Antonia did make me laugh out loud, especially her visit to a fast food venue.

The message I took from the book was not to allow yourself to be stuck in an unhappy past, but to start looking forward, something we probably all need to do. See below for the purchase links so that you can also find out who the ‘old bones’ belonged to.

Author Bio:

Helen lives in Worcester with her husband, two teenaged children and two rescue cats. Her first poetry collection was nominated for the Forward Best First Collection Prize. She has published three other poetry collections and her short fiction has appeared in magazines including Ambit, Feminist Review and Stand. She holds a BA (Hons) in Humanities.

​Helen’s debut novel The Last Words of Madeleine Anderson was published in March 2019. Her second “Morevale” novel, Old Bones, will be published on 16 January 2021.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jemima_Mae_7

Purchase Links:

Louise Walters Books: http://bit.ly/37dpwKM

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2LPuDKI

Foyles: https://bit.ly/3pdjamn

Waterstones: http://bit.ly/3660WMc

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/365gdwN

Publishing Information:

Published by Louise Walters Books in paperback and digital formats on 18th January 2021

A Beautiful Spy by Rachel Hore

Thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the blog tour today. Thank you to Simon and Schuster for the stunning proof copy to read. Last year I read and enjoyed the Love Child by Rachel Hore (my review can be found at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/05/13/the-love-child-by-rachel-hore-bookreview/)

Synopsis:

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of Last Letter Home, a Richard & Judy Book Club pick, comes a thrilling novel about a woman with an extraordinary life, based on a true story.

Minnie Gray is an ordinary young woman. She is also a spy for the British government.

It all began in the summer of 1928… Minnie is supposed to find a nice man, get married and have children. The problem is it doesn’t appeal to her at all. She is working as a secretary, but longs to make a difference.

Then, one day, she gets her chance. She is recruited by the British government as a spy. Under strict instructions not to tell anyone, not even her family, she moves to London and begins her mission – to infiltrate the Communist movement.

She soon gains the trust of important leaders. But as she grows more and more entangled in the workings of the movement, her job becomes increasingly dangerous. Leading a double life is starting to take its toll on her relationships and, feeling more isolated than ever, she starts to wonder how this is all going to end. The Russians are notorious for ruthlessly disposing of people given the slightest suspicion. What if they find out? Full of suspense, courage and love, A Beautiful Spy is a stunningly written story about resisting the norm and following your dreams, even if they come with sacrifices.

My thoughts:

Minnie Gray is going to be one of my favourite book characters. In 1928, she knows her own mind and it doesn’t involve settling down just because everyone expects it. Minnie is looking to make a difference to the world, and through a chance encounter, she finds herself in a very different world.

When we think of a spy, of course, we tend to think of James Bond. We never see him wrestling with trying to keep the very different elements of his life apart or find out how emotionally draining it is to keep so many secrets, or to miss out on having proper friendships with work colleagues and neighbours.

I enjoyed the way this story was written, so that we could understand the emotions Minnie felt during the various stages of her journey from living in Edgbaston, travelling to India and appearing in court. She had to deal with a large number of changes and secrets with very little help. I also loved the ending of the book, which reminded me how spirited Minnie is. A fascinating book that I will be awarding 5 star reviews to.

Author Bio:

Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she taught publishing and creative writing at the University of East Anglia before becoming a full-time writer. She is married to the writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons. Her last novel, The Love Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller.

http://www.rachelhore.com │Twitter: @RachelHore │Instagram: @Rachel.Hore

Space Hopper by Helen Fisher

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.

Synopsis:

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.

My thoughts

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.

Author Bio

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.

Coming Home To Brightwater Bay by Holly Hepburn

Today I’m thrilled to be joining the blog tour for this gorgeous book set in the Orkney Islands. Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the opportunity and to Books and The City/Simon and Schuster for a copy of the book to read and review. My thoughts about the book are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

On paper, Merina Wilde has it all: a successful career writing the kind of romantic novels that make even the hardest hearts swoon, a perfect carousel of book launches and parties to keep her social life buzzing, and a childhood sweetheart who thinks she’s a goddess. But Merry has a secret: the magic has stopped flowing from her fingers. Try as she might, she can’t summon up the sparkle that makes her stories shine. And as her deadline whooshes by, her personal life falls apart too. Alex tells her he wants something other than the future she’d always imagined for them and Merry finds herself single for the first time since – well, ever.

Desperate to get her life back on track, Merry leaves London and escapes to the windswept Orkney Islands, locking herself away in a secluded clifftop cottage to try to heal her heart and rediscover her passion for writing. But can the beauty of the islands and the kindness of strangers help Merry to fool herself into believing in love again, if only long enough to finish her book? Or is it time for her to give up the career she’s always adored and find something new to set her soul alight?

The brand new series from Holly Hepburn, first published as four ebook parts: BROKEN HEARTS AT BRIGHTWATER BAY, SEA BREEZES AT BRIGHTWATER BAY, DANGEROUS TIDES AT BRIGHTWATER BAY and SUNSET OVER BRIGHTWATER BAY

My thoughts:

When my copy of the book arrived through my letterbox just before Christmas, the gorgeous cover design made me smile and I must admit to adding the book to my home office desk to brighten it up.

This is a fabulous uplifting book about authors, books, a library, avid book readers, author events, books and romance. Merry has been treated badly by Alex, and has escaped to Orkney to find inspiration for her writing. With a kind library manager, Niall, a friendly ‘Viking’, Magnus, and a persistent neighbour, Sheila encouraging her to rediscover herself and to enjoy her visit to Orkney, Merry begins to make changes to her life.

I loved discovering the history of the islands as Merry visited places and I found myself googling pictures of the island. Merry’s six months in Orkney flew by as the pages of the book turned and I found it difficult to put this book down.

Great characters (including Gordon the goat), a fabulous story, two attentive and attractive men, and a book about an author make for a uplifting romantic read. I have already been recommending this book via social media and I now need to read some of Holly’s earlier books – still not sure why I haven’t done so before! It was great to start 2021 discovering a new author to me.

Author Bio:

Holly Hepburn is the much-loved author of commercial women’s fiction. She lives near London with her grey tabby cat, Portia. They both have an unhealthy obsession with Marmite. Follow Holly on Twitter @HollyH_Author.

~*~Praise for Holly Hepburn~*~
‘A fresh new voice, brings wit and warmth to this charming tale of two sisters’ Rowan Coleman

‘Warm, witty and laced with intriguing secrets! I want to pull up a bar stool, order a large G&T and soak up all the gossip at the Star and Sixpence!’ Cathy Bramley

‘The Star and Sixpence sparkles with fun, romance, mystery, and a hunky blacksmith. It’s a real delight’ Julie Cohen

‘Like the dream pub landlady who always knows exactly what you want, Holly Hepburn has created the most delightful welcome to what promises to be a brilliant series, in the first Star and Sixpence. The sisters are warm and intriguing, the neighbours are (mostly!) friendly and the gossip is utterly addictive. I was very sad when it was time for last orders, and am already looking forward to the next round. Especially if a certain blacksmith happens to be at the bar…’ Kate Harrison

‘Warm, witty and utterly charming, Snowdrops at the Star and Sixpence is the perfect book to curl up with on a cold winter’s day. It left me with the most wonderful happy glow’ Cally Taylor

‘A super sparkling star of a story and I can’t wait for part two’ Alexandra Brown

in pursuit of happiness by Freya Kennedy

Thank you To Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation to join the Boldwood Books blog tour for this lovely book. I enjoyed reading The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn during the summer (see my review at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/07/01/the-hopes-and-dreams-of-libby-quinn-by-freya-kennedy/) and was thrilled to be able to head back to Ivy Lane again.

Synopsis:

The world is waiting…but just outside of your comfort zone.

Jo Campbell is perfectly content in a perfectly structured life.
Nothing ever changes in Jo’s life, and she likes it that way.
Or at least, she tells herself she does.
Most of the time, she manages to push down the tiny voice that tells her to chase her dream and maybe, just maybe, open her battered and bruised heart up to love.
But to chase her dreams she needs to take chances that are way out of her comfort zone and learn to not put other people’s happiness above her own.
Most of all she has to learn to trust her heart, which may just be the biggest challenge of all.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3iISOpc

My thoughts:

It was lovely to return to Ivy Lane to meet the characters created by Freya Kennedy in The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn. We do spend time with Libby and her lovely bookshop, but the main character this time is Jo, who has been putting everyone else ahead of her own dreams.

Jo helps her adopted brother with his pub, helps her mum care for her young adopted sister whilst her dad is working away and keeps an eye on elderly Harry at his shop in Ivy Lane. It is time for Jo to stop procrastinating and to work towards her dream of being a published writer. As her friend Libby has a bookshop with desks for writers and non stop coffee on offer, what could stop her?

I loved how Freya developed the relationships in the story, especially Jo with Clara her much younger sister. Jo also finds time to show Lorcan around when he comes to visit Harry, his grandfather and through a bookshop event, meets a best selling author who offers to help her achieve her dream of being a published author.

This is a non spoiler review, so I won’t ruin your journey through the book but will say that the course of events don’t always run smoothly. I loved my time back in Ivy Lane and hope that Freya Kennedy (aka Claire Allan) will take us back there again in the future.

Author Bio:

Freya Kennedy lives in Derry, Northern Ireland, with her husband, two children, two cats and a mad dog called Izzy. She worked as a journalist for eighteen years before deciding to write full time. When not writing, she can be found reading, hanging out with her nieces and nephews, cleaning up after her children (a lot) and telling her dog that she loves her. 

She has met Michael Buble and even kissed him. It was one of her best ever moments.

She believes in happy ever afters.

Freya Kennedy is a pen name for Claire Allan, who also writes psychological thrillers.

Social Media Links – 

http://www.claireallan.com/

https://twitter.com/ClaireAllan / 
https://twitter.com/AuthorFreya

https://www.facebook.com/ClaireAllanAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/claireallan_author/

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/freya-kennedy

Newsletter sign up: http://bit.ly/FreyaKennedyNewsletter

One Family Christmas by Bella Osborne

Thanks to Avon Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join the blog tour for One Family Christmas by Bella Osborne. Thank you to Avon Books for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember…

This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.

But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!

So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate (and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey). And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.

Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember… for the right reasons?

A festive treat to curl up with this Christmas, perfect for fans of Milly Johnson and Trisha Ashley.

My thoughts:

I only discovered Bella Osborne’s books this year, when I read Meet Me At Pebble Beach (which I heartily recommend). So I was pleased to be given an early opportunity to read and review her new festive novel, One Family Christmas.

The opening chapters are actually quite sad, as Lottie and her family say goodbye to Nana Rose. Lottie manages to persuade everyone to return to stay at the Manor House, for one last Christmas, before it is sold and the proceeds split between the family.

Lottie’s family are an eclectic mix, elderly Great Uncle Bernard and his carer, Lottie’s widowed brother, his young daughter Jessica and ‘new’ girlfriend Emily, her mum Angie and latest of many boyfriends, Scott, and her uncle Daniel and his family. As the ‘blurb’ states, everyone is nursing a secret, and these will be revealed over the Christmas period.

Lottie is trying to achieve a perfect family Christmas, which isn’t easy when her ex boyfriend, Joe and a stray dog arrive on Christmas Eve, she forgets to defrost the turkey and a surprise present goes missing from the tree.

I loved this book, so many laugh out loud moments, especially with little Jessica, Dave the dog and Duchess the cat. After a stressful day, this was just what I needed – a book to escape into, full of festive fun, a dysfunctional family, romance and disasters waiting to happen. Lottie is a wonderful main character with a heart of gold.

Another lovely book by Bella Osborne, and I’m already looking forward to 2021 for her next book.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B085XQXDB9/

Universal Amazon link – http://mybook.to/OneFamilyChristmas

KOBO – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/one-family-christmas

Author Bio :

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. Since then she’s written six best selling romantic comedies and she’s been shortlisted three times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award. 

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

For more about Bella, visit her website at http://www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on social media.

Social Media Links – 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/osborne_bella

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

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bellaosborneauthor/

Hermit by S R White

I’m pleased to be sharing my 5 star review for Hermit by S.R. White on the final day of the blog tour organised by Emily Patience at Headline Publishing Group. This debut novel was published last week in the UK. Thank you to Headline for a proof copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

HE DISAPPEARED FOR 15 YEARS…SHE HAS 12 HOURS TO FIND OUT WHY

After a puzzling death in the wild bushlands of Australia, detective Dana Russo has just hours to interrogate the prime suspect – a silent, inscrutable man found at the scene of the crime, who disappeared without trace 15 years earlier.

But where has he been? Why won’t he talk? And exactly how dangerous is he? Without conclusive evidence to prove his guilt, Dana faces a desperate race against time to persuade him to speak. But as each interview spirals with fevered intensity, Dana must reckon with her own traumatic past to reveal the shocking truth . . .

Compulsive, atmospheric and stunningly accomplished, HERMIT introduces a thrilling new voice in Australian crime fiction, perfect for fans of Jane Harper and Chris Hammer.

My thoughts:

When an email arrived from Emily at Headline asking if I would like to review a new book by a debut author I read the ‘blurb’ and quickly replied with a yes please. How could someone disappear for 15 years?

The book starts early in the morning as we are introduced to Dana. I did struggle a little with the first chapter due to having lost my sibling to depression and suicide. We don’t know why Dana is struggling with this day, just that it is the anniversary of something in her past. However a phone call changes her day.

I enjoyed the development of the characters. Dana is a detective in Carlton in rural Australia. Her colleagues Mike, Lucy and Bill recognise that Dana works in a particular way and support her fully. The murder suspect is Nathan Whittler, who disappeared 15 years ago and was found at Jensen’s store with the body of the owner, Lou Cassavette.

The story builds slowly as Dana carefully encourages Nathan to explain where he has been for the past 15 years AND what happened in the store. In between the interview sessions, Dana meets with her colleagues to find out more about the hunt for a weapon, Nathan’s hiding place and people who knew Nathan before he vanished.

This is a slow build up crime thriller, full of small details and personality development. The ending left me needing a sequel, to be able to find out more about Dana. I’m happy to recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery and/or crime fiction and I’m looking forward to reading more from S.R. White in the future.

Amazon purchase link : https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B081CKGT1G/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_iuWAFbNQFWW4J

Waterstones purchase link: https://www.waterstones.com/book/hermit/s-r-white/9781472268419

Author Bio:

S.R. White worked for a UK police force for twelve years, before returning to academic life and taking an MA in Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University. He now lives in Queensland, Australia.

Under a Siena Sun by T A Williams

Today I’m pleased to be sharing my review for Under a Siena Sun by T A Williams. Thanks to the publisher Canelo for a review copy via NetGalley and to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join the blog tour. This is the first book I’ve read by T A Williams and I will be looking out for the previous books.

Synopsis:

Lucy needed a change of scene. She didn’t expect the change of a lifetime.

Doctors Without Borders has been Lucy Young’s life for the past four years. After being rescued from a conflict zone, she’s making a change from saving lives under gunfire to practising medicine in safe, serene Siena.

Now treating wealthy patients at a private clinic, she’s never felt less comfortable. She’s used to helping those in dire need – not those in need of a nip and tuck. Her turmoil grows when she encounters injured tennis star David Lorenzo, whose smiles make Lucy forget her aversion to the rich.

She’s soon falling for the sportsman but is she losing herself in this world of excess? All she’s ever wanted was to help the underprivileged, so can her future lie in Siena at the clinic – with David?

This sunny romance is the perfect summer escape for fans of Lucy Coleman and Alex Brown.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this book, following Lucy, an experienced surgeon, as she escaped war torn Africa and started working in a private hospital in Tuscany, an area she had visited many times before.

This is primarily a romance story, set in the stunning surroundings of Siena in Tuscany. The book is full of colourful descriptions of the area and the food (do not read whilst on a diet!). Lucy needs to decide whether she can justify working in such a beautiful part of the world for wealthy patients after working for a medical charity in Africa, where the patients had no money.

I must admit that my favourite characters were of the four legged variety, all the black labradors beginning with B. This book was a pleasant escape from the global pandemic and I enjoyed my virtual visit to Tuscany.

Purchase Links 

http://mybook.to/SienaSun

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/under-a-siena-sun

Author Bio:

I’m a man. And a pretty old man as well. I did languages at university a long time ago and then lived and worked in France and Switzerland before going to Italy for seven years as a teacher of English. My Italian wife and I then came back to the UK with our little daughter (now long-since grown up) where I ran a big English language school for many years. We now live in a sleepy little village in Devonshire. I’ve been writing almost all my life but it was only seven years ago that I finally managed to find a publisher who liked my work enough to offer me my first contract.

The fact that I am now writing romantic comedy is something I still find hard to explain. My early books were thrillers and historical novels. Maybe it’s because there are so many horrible things happening in the world today that I feel I need to do my best to provide something to cheer my readers up. My books provide escapism to some gorgeous locations, even if travel to them is currently difficult.

Social Media Links – 

Website: www.tawilliamsbooks.com

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/tawilliamsbooks

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

At the Feet of Mothers by Adnan Mahmutovic

Today, I’m sharing my review for At the Feet of Mothers by Adnan Mahmutovic, as part of the blog tour organised by Emma Welton of Damppebbles. To read the other reviews, I’ve added the list of the other bloggers below.

Synopsis:

Joseph Schneider grows up in a Cherokee-Jewish family in the Smoky mountains of North Carolina. He dreams to be a cook on the biggest ship there is in the world but his attachment to his mother Rachel and his rootedness to the little mountain village keep him from moving on.

When his mother falls ill she reveals she stole him from a Palestinian girl Aliya in the 80s when she volunteered at a hospital in Gaza. Joseph refuses to know anything more about his biological mother, but later when Rachel dies, Joseph honors his promise to her and embarks on a painful pilgrimage to the holy land, a walk in the footsteps of his American mother and a search for Aliya.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Emma of Damppebbles for inviting me to join the blog tour. I have to be honest and say that otherwise this book would probably have passed me by.

At the centre of the story is Joseph, who believes that he is an American, with a Cherokee mum and a Jewish dad and twin sisters. However, he discovers during his teenage years that he was actually smuggled out of Gaza and his family aren’t biologically related to him.

Amongst this major storyline, there are more normal family dramas, including a sister moving in with an ‘unsuitable boyfriend’ and refusing to speak to the family, Joseph experiencing his first relationship with a girl and the death of the family dog.

Joseph has to decide whether to try and find Aliya after the death of Rachel, and the latter part of the book details his journey to a part of the world few people would visit.

The book is full of relationships – families, friends, and the kindness of strangers. A fascinating read about a young man trying to come to terms with his true identity.

Author Bio:

Adnan Mahmutovic is a Swedish-Bosnian writer. He works at Stockholm University as a lecturer in literature and creative writing. His other major works include a novel Thinner than a Hair (2010), short story collection How to Fare Well and Stay Fair (2012), literary criticism Ways of Being Free (2012) and Future in Comics (2017), and creative writing pedagogy The Craft of Editing (2019).

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/adnanmahmutovic

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

Website: http://www.adnanmahmutovic.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mahmutovic.official/

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/30C7joe

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/30FHYti

Cinnamon Press: https://bit.ly/2DQ37Ig

Book Depository: https://bit.ly/2DFZswN

Waterstones: https://bit.ly/3gHnyWr

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats on 4th May 2020 by Cinnamon Press