A Wedding in the Country by Katie Fforde

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.

Synopsis:

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…

My thoughts:

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.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Today I’m sharing my thoughts about another book set in a hospital (yesterday I reviewed Before I Saw You). Thanks to Random House Transworld Publishers for the opportunity to read and review a digital proof copy of the book via NetGalley. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.

Synopsis

Life is short – no one knows that better than 17 year-old Lenni Petterssen. On the Terminal ward, the nurses are offering their condolences already, but Lenni still has plenty of living to do.

For a start, she has questions about her fate she needs answers to, and stories yet to uncover.

When she meets 83-year-old Margot, a fellow patient in purple pyjamas offering new friendship and enviable artistic skills, Lenni’s life begins to soar in ways she’d never imagined.

As their bond deepens, a world of stories opens up: of wartime love and loss, of misunderstanding and reconciliation, of courage, kindness and joy.

Stories that have led them to the end of their days.

Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny, and brimming with tenderness, THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT unwraps the extraordinary gift of life even when it is about to be taken away, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we need it most.

My thoughts:

I did wonder if a book about two terminally ill people was going to be too depressing to read in the middle of another Covid lockdown, but I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed meeting Lenni and Margot. I’ve seen a lot of love for this book from other reviewers on social media, and it was well deserved.

Lenni is an amazing 17 year old, who know that she won’t be leaving the hospital Glasgow. After a difficult relationship with her mother and now terminally ill, she makes friends with Margot in the Rose Room and they decide to create 100 pictures to celebrate their combined ages.

I loved the way the characters interacted in the book, the meetings with poor Father Arthur in the church chapel made me laugh out loud. As the story develops, we find out why Lenni doesn’t have visits from her family and what has happened to Margot in the past, stopping her from using her talent for art. A book about the importance of kindness and friendship, with help from New Nurse, Pippa the art teacher, Paul the porter and Sunny the security guard.

This is a book that made me laugh and cry, full of stories within stories. I raced through the book and didn’t want to put my Kindle down, and was totally lost in the story of Lenni and Margot (sorry to my family!). I look forward to reading more by Marianne Cronin in the future.

A five star read for me.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

As we approach the end of 2020, I’m sharing some of my five star reviews for my favourite books of 2020. Thanks to Transworld / Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read and review this fabulous debut novel. This book helped me find my reading mojo during lockdown one.

Publisher comments:

Six strangers with one universal thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be.

What would happen if they told the truth instead?

Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.

Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.

Little do they realize that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.

My thoughts:

After seeing great reviews for this book, I finally started reading my review copy and didn’t want to put it down. I was desperate to find out what happened but also didn’t want the story to finish.

I loved the story telling in this book, the way the lives of the strangers become entwined as they each embark on their journeys of self discovery, how they face up to what happened in their past and how they move forward, all aided by The Authenticity Project book.

I would love to be able to go a visit Monica’s cafe, to sit with a hot chocolate in the Library area, even more so now that we are in lockdown two, as I write.

As other reviewers have commented, this would make a good film or TV series. One of my favourite books of 2020, so uplifting and enjoyable. I will be adding a copy of the paperback to my bookshelf when it is published in February 2021.

Author info (from Amazon):

Clare Pooley graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising before becoming a full-time mum. 

Clare lives in Fulham, London with her long-suffering husband, three children, dog and a cupboard filled with alcohol-free beer. 

Clare is the author of the hugely popular blog, Mummy was a Secret Drinker, under the pseudonym Sober Mummy.

You can also find Clare on Facebook.com/SoberMummy





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Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Today I’m sharing my review for this lovely book again to celebrate the paperback publication yesterday AND the announcement that this has been chosen as one of the Richard and Judy book club books. Thank you to Random House (Penguin UK) for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own. This is also known as How the Penguins Saved Veronica in the United States.

Synopsis

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting 
instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

My thoughts:

This is one of my favourite books of the year. Veronica McCreedy is a wonderful older lady who makes major changes to her life after being hidden away from the world, mostly at home. I love the way the story develops and the reader is hooked.

Hazel Prior has created a wonderful cast of characters and interspersed the story with facts about penguins. The story looks at how life events have changed Veronica and how spending time with a small group of scientists and thousands of penguins can dramatically change your outlook.

I loved this book and will be buying copies for Christmas presents. In this current time of uncertainty and anxiety, this book is uplifting and I would love to see it turned into a TV drama. If you enjoyed Saving Missy by Beth Morrey, you may enjoy this too.

Hazel Prior

HAZEL PRIOR lives on Exmoor with her husband and a huge ginger cat. As well as writing, she works as a freelance harpist. Ellie and the Harp-Maker was her first novel.

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

This morning I’m sharing my review for this gorgeous book again. I originally shared my review at the start of April 2020, two weeks into lockdown in the UK – not a good time for a debut novel to be published. So I’m sharing this again as the bookshops in the UK are starting to reopen this week.

Synopsis:

Six strangers with one universal thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be.

What would happen if they told the truth instead?

Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.

Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.

Little do they realize that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Transworld Publishers and Random House UK for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own.

After seeing great reviews for this book, I enjoyed reading my review copy. I read about half one evening and then used our enforced staying at home time to finish the book during the morning. I was desperate to find out what happened but I also didn’t want the story to finish.

I loved the story telling in this book, the way the lives of the strangers become entwined as they each embark on their journeys of self discovery, how they face up to what happened in their past and how they move forward, all aided by The Authenticity Project book.

I would love to be able to go a visit Monica’s cafe, to sit with a hot chocolate in the Library area. The sense of community spirit, helping strangers who then become friends, shines out from this story.

As other reviewers have commented, this would make a good film or TV series. One of my favourite books of 2020 – uplifting and enjoyable. One to look out for when the bookshops reopen.

Clare Pooley:

Clare Pooley graduated from Newnham College, Cambridge and spent twenty years in the heady world of advertising. 

When Clare realised that she was drinking way too much, she quit, and started a blog called Mummy was a Secret Drinker, which became a memoir – The Sober Diaries. 

The Authenticity Project, Clare’s first novel, was inspired by her experience of telling the truth about her life.



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Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Today I’m sharing my review for this lovely book again as a recommendation for an uplifting read. Thank you to Random House for a digital review copy via NetGalley – my thoughts are my own. This is also known as How the Penguins Saved Veronica in the United States.

Synopsis

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting 
instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

My thoughts:

This is one of my favourite books of the year. Veronica McCreedy is a wonderful older lady who makes major changes to her life after being hidden away from the world, mostly at home. I love the way the story develops and the reader is hooked.

Hazel Prior has created a wonderful cast of characters and interspersed the story with facts about penguins. The story looks at how life events have changed Veronica and how spending time with a small group of scientists and thousands of penguins can dramatically change your outlook.

I loved this book and will be buying a copy for my daughter. In this current time of uncertainty and anxiety, this book is uplifting and I would love to see it turned into a TV drama. If you enjoyed Saving Missy by Beth Morrey, you may enjoy this too.

Hazel Prior

HAZEL PRIOR lives on Exmoor with her husband and a huge ginger cat. As well as writing, she works as a freelance harpist. Ellie and the Harp-Maker was her first novel.

The Perfect Dress – Louisa Leaman #bookreview

Fran’s wedding dress shop isn’t like any other. A treasure trove of history, filled with gowns from every decade for every type of bride. But not as you’d expect.

Something bold for the shy and retiring.
Something simple for the woman who is unafraid to stand out.
And something dazzling for the bride who wouldn’t normally dare to be different. 

No matter your expectations, you’d never guess your own perfect dress. But Fran knows… she feels the wisdom woven into every gown, a gift from the previous owner waiting to be handed down to the next bride.

When Fran finds a dress that seems to be perfect for her she can’t wait to know its complex history which starts with her getting to know the son of the previous owner…

My thoughts:


I enjoyed this book – romance, mystery, psychology, reality TV stars all packaged into one book along with stories of brides and their gowns.

My favourite part of the book is when Fran matches the brides to be to their ‘perfect dress’ – often with interesting results.

Well worth reading – not a traditional romantic fiction book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House UK for a free digital ARC in return for an honest review – my opinions are my own.

This updated review is shared because the paperback was published this week.


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#BookReview The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

Publisher comments:

Six strangers with one universal thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be.

What would happen if they told the truth instead?

Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.

Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.

Little do they realize that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.

Being published April 2020.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Transworld Publishers and Random House UK for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own.

After seeing great reviews for this book, I finally started reading my review copy last night. I read about half last night and then used our enforced staying at home time to finish the book this morning. I was desperate to find out what happened but also didn’t want the story to finish.

I loved the story telling in this book, the way the lives of the strangers become entwined as they each embark on their journeys of self discovery, how they face up to what happened in their pasts and how they move forward, all aided by The Authenticity Project book.

I would love to be able to go a visit Monica’s cafe, to sit with a hot chocolate in the Library area.

As other reviewers have commented, this would make a good film or TV series. One of my favourite books of 2020 – uplifting and enjoyable.



View all my reviews

#BookReview Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior

Publisher comments:

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting 
instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

My thoughts:

Thank you to Random House, Hazel Prior and NetGalley for a digital review copy – my thoughts are my own.

This is one of my favourite books of the year. Veronica McCreedy is a wonderful older lady who makes major changes to her life after being hidden away from the world, mostly at home.

Hazel Prior has created a wonderful cast of characters and interspersed the story with facts about penguins. The story looks at how life events have changed Veronica and how spending time with a small group of scientists and thousands of penguins can change your outlook.

I loved this book and will be buying a copy to give to my daughter. In this current time of uncertainty and anxiety, this book is uplifting and I would love to see it turned into a TV drama. If you enjoyed Saving Missy by Beth Morrey, you may enjoy this too

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon (Paperback publication day)

Unexpected Lessons in Love

Unexpected Lessons in Love by Lucy Dillon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blurb:

What happens when ‘I do’ turns into ‘I don’t know’?

Jeannie always wanted to fall in love, and now she’s finally got the whirlwind romance she dreamed of. Dan’s gorgeous, he’s a successful young vet, and he flew her to New York and proposed on Brooklyn Bridge. Jeannie has to remind herself this is actually her life. It seems too perfect, too magical, to be real. Yet it is.

But now she’s on her way to the wedding she can’t shake off the tight sensation crushing her chest. Is it just nerves . . . or is this all happening a bit too fast?

Jeannie has one last chance to shout, ‘Stop!’ But just as she grabs it, a twist of fate throws everything she knows into the air like confetti. What Jeannie learns about Dan, about her own heart, and about the power of love itself, will change her world for ever . . .

My thoughts:

I enjoyed reading ‘Where the Light Gets In’ last year and was thrilled to be able to read a review copy from NetGalley of Lucy Dillon’s new book.

The opening chapters quickly hooked my interest – a bride (Jeannie) about to cancel the wedding, the groom (Dan) hit by a bus. The story flows well – Jeannie has to cope with living in a new house, making new friends and waiting for Dan to wake up. As a dog lover, the stories about the puppy farm dogs and Gem the Collie made this story even more special.

A great book to curl up with (preferably with a dog snoring on your lap).



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