Girl Out of Place by Syl van Duyn and translated by Ernestine Hoegen @AuroraMetro @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

I’m pleased to be sharing my review for this historical fiction novel today as part of the blog tour organised by the Love Books Group. Thank you to the publisher (Aurora Metro Books) for a copy of the book – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

At the end of the war, Nell is released from a Japanese internment camp in Java. While searching for her father in the chaos, she meets Tim, a young man who is looking for his family too. Nell’s journey takes her first to Singapore then to a new life and new friends in Sydney, Australia. But although Tim may well be the love of her life, her father puts her on a passenger liner bound for the Netherlands. Will Nell really be able to settle in a country she’s never known – and will she ever see Tim again?

Based on the true story of Nora Valk, this is an exciting tale of courage and friendship, hope and determination, about the search for love and a place to finally call home.

My thoughts:

This was a book I devoured in a day. 15 year old Nell has experienced more in her short lifetime than many people would have in a full lifetime. As a young child she travelled to the USA, only to return to Indonesia to be imprisoned in a Japanese internment camp where her mother died. With her aunt, she flees the civil unrest in Indonesia, heading to Singapore to look for her dad who she hasn’t seen for over three years and hoping to meet Tim again, a young man who helped her on the day she left the internment camp.

This book looks at how people dealt with being imprisoned, losing their loved ones, struggling to reconnect with loved ones after a long time apart, first love and finding happiness. A thought provoking read that I’m happy to recommend.

Author Bio:

Syl van Duyn is author of four Dutch language children’s books: ‘Hallo Aarde, Hier Maan’ (2001), ‘Mijn Zus is een Flussemus’ (2002), ‘Angels’ (2008) and ‘Op zoek naar jou’ (2015), as well as an adult non-fiction book based on the columns she wrote for the Dutch magazine Margriet (‘Een kwetsbaar bestaan’ (2001). She works for the Dutch broadcasting network VPRO, selecting and purchasing documentaries, and lives in Amsterdam.

Ernestine Hoegen has translated Girl out of Place by Syl van Duyn from Dutch into English. She has also written a biography of Dutchwoman Mieke Bouman (Unieboek | Spectrum) 2020. She worked as a public prosecutor before turning to writing, translating and editing full-time in 2017. She lives near Arnhem.

Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin @Julietconlin @bwpublishing @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

Today. I’m pleased to share my review for the Sisters of Berlin by Juliet Conlin. Thank you to Black and White Publishing for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis:

Berlin 2014. The 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, and the city is gearing up for

a celebration of unity and liberation. But, beneath the surface, are those for whom the

divisions and allegiances of the past remain close to home.

In her hushed and leafy corner of Berlin, Nina’s life is a comfortable, conventional one

– until her younger sister Marie, a free-spirited writer, is attacked and left for dead.

For Nina, Marie’s brutal demise – and that of her unborn child – tips her own carefully

controlled life into a nightmare. Stonewalled by official incompetence and subterfuge,

Nina begins to realise that her sister’s past and the secrets of the once-divided city

are connected in unimaginable ways. As she seeks out justice for Marie, Nina becomes

caught in a tangle of obsessions, lies and hidden truths that threatens to destroy her

marriage, her livelihood and all that she holds dear.

My thoughts:

I remember the Berlin Wall falling – I had just started University and it seemed amazing that after all the recent worries about the USSR and the USA starting a nuclear war, that suddenly Communism was being swept away and the people of Berlin were now free to travel across their city.

This book is a murder mystery and historical fiction story rolled into one. Nina has recently lost her sister (murder), is struggling to keep her medical practice solvent and to look after her mental health (eating disorder).

This well written story looks at family relationships, the difficulties of being a working mum, dealing with grief and how the past can change the future. It is not an easy read due to the topics covered but was interesting and thought provoking. A stark reminder that no one knows what secrets people hold and what goes on behind closed doors.

Author bio:

Juliet Conlin was born in London and grew up in England and Germany. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Durham. She works as a writer and translator and lives with her family in Berlin. Her novels include The Fractured Man (Cargo, 2013), The Uncommon Life of Alfred Warner in Six Days (Black & White, 2017), The Lives Before Us (Black & White, 2019).

Buy Link

http://blackandwhitepublishing.com/shop.html

Publisher

Black & White Publishing was founded in 1999 by Managing Director Campbell Brown and Publishing Director Alison McBride. Since then, the business has grown into one of Scotland’s leading independent publishers with over 300 books in print across a variety of genres. Committed to publishing the best books from the most talented writers in the UK and beyond, some of our bestselling authors include Daniela Sacerdoti,  James Robertson,  Estelle Maskame,  Nick Alexander,  Richard Gordon,  Alex Norton,  Millie Gray,  Sally Magnusson and Tony Black.  We produce an extensive range of titles, including general non-fiction,  biography,  sport and humour,  as well as selected fiction,  young adult and children’s books.

This year, we’ve started an exciting new alliance with PGUK who now provide sales representation for our titles, and GBS continues to distribute our books. Our eBooks are distributed by Faber Factory. Over recent years, our range of fiction has grown following recent eBook successes such as Daniela Sacerdoti’s Glen Avich series, which has sold nearly a million copies to date. These new alliances and our e-book successes are helping us shape and develop the list in new ways to bring more exciting new titles to both local and global markets.

the Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

I’m pleased to share my review for the Eliza Doll by a new author to me, Tracey Scott-Townsend being republished by Wild Pressed Books this summer. Thank you to the publisher for a paperback copy and to Love Books Group for inviting me to join the book tour.

Synopsis:

Ellie can’t work out whether she’s running away from the past or towards a future she always felt she should have had. She left university and had baby after baby without even meaning to. But it was her third child she blamed for ruining her life.

Now her children have grown and Ellie is on her own. She shocks everybody by selling her home and moving into a converted van to travel the country selling handmade dolls at craft fairs.

It can be lonely on the road. Ellie has two companions: her dog, Jack, and the mysterious
Eliza who turns up in the most unexpected places. At every encounter with Eliza, Ellie feels as if she’s standing again in the aching cold of a waterfall in Iceland, the sound of crashing water filling her with dread.

Ellie can’t change the past. But is it really too late to rectify the bad thing she did when Eliza was a baby?

My thoughts:

This is the first book I’ve read by Tracey Scott-Townsend and it is being republished four years on from the original publication date.

We meet Ellie as she turns 50, hiding away from her family and friends, living in a converted van with Jack, her dog. The story travels back and forwards in time as we discover what happened to Ellie to cause her to travel the country in her van, selling handmade dolls at craft fairs and why she doesn’t want to sell the Eliza doll. We also travel to Iceland and Ireland, as Ellie looks for peace and forgiveness.

This was an interesting and thought provoking read, covering some difficult topics including child abuse. My favourite part of the book is when Ellie first joins Running Hare House and starts to work with the local community. A 4 star read for me.

Author bio:

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

Buy Link 

http://www.wildpressedbooks.com/the-eliza-doll.html

#CoverReveal The Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours

I’m thrilled to join the cover reveal for the latest book by Tracey Scott-Townsend today on my blog.

Ellie lives in a campervan with her dog, Jack, selling her handmade dolls at craft fairs. There is one doll that she can’t bear to finish until she comes to terms with the truth of what has happened.

The Eliza Doll is an uncompromising family drama about upheaval, off-grid living and living on the dole in 1980s England.

Set in East Yorkshire and Iceland from the eighties to the present.

Author Bio

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

Buy Link 

http://www.wildpressedbooks.com/the-eliza-doll.html