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A French Affair by Jennifer Bohnet

What will be will be…

Belinda Marshall’s idyllic teenage life in Brittany, France, fell apart when her parents dramatically separated and her mother took her back to England.

Fast forward thirty-five years when Belinda’s world is once again turned upside down.

It’s the week before Christmas and Belinda’s employer ‘surprises’ her by asking for her help to rejuvenate their latest investment, a run-down campsite in Brittany. Memories and anxieties that had lain dormant for years suddenly begin to resurface.

As secrets from a lost life threaten to overwhelm her, there is a realisation that maybe she wasn’t told the whole truth by her mother all those years ago.

Can Belinda reconcile her emotions and find happiness once more in the place she so loved and called home?

 

My review

This is a very atmospheric novel, and couldn’t be set anywhere other than France. The author catches the sights, sounds and all the nuances of expat life beautifully.

It’s also rather sad at times, particularly where Belinda and Fern tackle some serious issues. We experience the action of the novel from the point of view of these two characters.  However, the book is fast-paced so we don’t  get too long to dwell, and in contrast to these more difficult elements, there are joyful moments, and lots of life and imagination, and yes, happiness.

It is, however, essentially an optimistic novel overall, dealing as it does with facing up to truths, processing them and moving on, although that’s not as easy as it might sound. But it doesn’t shy from the damage and difficulties having such lurking truths – or rather untruths – can inflict.

The cover is lovely and oh so enticing, but since there are a lot of books out there called A French Affair, or some sort of close variation on the theme, I do worry slightly that this particular book will get lost in the melee. It really isn’t the most imaginative title! I think it deserves to made far more distinctive as it’s a unique story and should be allowed to stand out as well as it deserves to.

 

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2N4AiJO

 

Author bio

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

Social Media Links –

http://www.jenniferbohnet.com/

http://facebook.com/Jennifer-Bohnet-170217789709356

http://twitter.com/jenniewriter

http://instagram.com/jenniebohnet

Newsletter sign up link: http://bit.ly/JenniferBohnetNewsletter
Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-bohnet

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Cynthia Smart’s Midwife Crisis by Liz Davies

At forty-four, Cynthia Smart is exactly where she wants to be. Almost.

In a couple of years, she’ll be the CEO of the company she’s spent her most of her adult life working in. For now, though, she’s still busy shimmying up the greasy pole of corporate business. She’s single, carefree, and independent, and nothing can stop her getting what she wants and deserves.

Until she discovers she’s pregnant.

Determined to have her cake and eat it, she’s convinced that having a baby will make little difference to her life, and that she will be one of those women who can hold down an incredibly demanding job and also be a perfect mother.

But as her pregnancy progresses and her life slowly falls apart, she has the sneaking suspicion that Max Oakland, the new guy on the block, is out to steal her dream job. That she’s terribly attracted to him doesn’t help, nor does the fact that he’s devilishly handsome, appears to be a really nice fella, and is good in a crisis.

When she gradually comes to realise that something has got to give, what she doesn’t want it to be is her heart.

 

My review

I’m mortified to be a day late with this review. My sincerest apologies to the author and tour organiser. I’m clearly nothing like as on top of things as our career-woman heroine Cynthia is! (At least to start with…)

This novel is delightful, light-hearted and uplifting, even though dealing with the rather huge and serious issue of unplanned pregnancy. For a career-driven, more mature person like Cynthia, it’s definitely a shock. However, her confidence that she can handle everything is all-pervading. But then reality begins to sneak in and Cynthia starts to see beyond the confines of work and workplace success. The path to motherhood isn’t smooth at any stage.

The foil to Cynthia is Max, whom Cynthia initially sees as a rival on the work front. She’s suspicious of him, but her opinion of him changes as the action progresses. And goodness, is there some action in this story!

And isn’t that cover superb!

The whole book is fun and lively, one that many women can relate to, and makes for a fabulous summer read.

 

Purchase Linkhttp://mybook.to/CynthiaSmart

Author Bio –

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.

She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.

She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.

Website: https://lizdaviesauthor.wixsite.com/home

 

Social Media Links:

Twitter https://twitter.com/lizdaviesauthor

Facebook: fb.me/LizDaviesAuthor1

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The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Gaff

The Greenbecker Gambit

‘I only feel truly alive when the chess clock is ticking and the patterns on the squares in front of me are dancing in my head. Very little else gives me the same feeling. Nothing else, that does not involve a flame.’

Tennessee Greenbecker is bravely optimistic as he sets out to claim what he sees as rightfully his – the title of world chess champion. But who is he really? Is he destined to be remembered as chess champion or fire-starter? Either way, might this finally be his moment?

 

My review

A gambit is an opening move in a chess game which usually involves making a sacrifice for, hopefully, future gain (of the opponent’s pieces). It suggests machination and strong self-confidence, and both of these qualities are to be found by the bucket load in our narrator, chess-player Terrence Tennessee Greenbecker.

This book falls into the ‘unreliable narrator’ genre which soon becomes apparent. We quickly work out that Tennessee’s accounts of his accomplishments and importance clash with reality, and realise that our narrator suffers from mental illness which alienates him from those around him.

The book gives an insight into the world of professional chess playing, which is fascinating. You don’t need to be a chess buff to appreciate the glimpse behind the scenes. However, a grasp of the game and having heard of Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov are will help a little.

As well as admiring chess players, and in particular Fischer, Greenbecker has another hero, Guy Fawkes, who reflects his own arsonist tendencies.

The action in the book takes place over the course of a weekend in 2018 when chessmasters Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana are playing each other in London. Greenbecker has something rather less controlled and dignified than a ches game in mind.

The novel takes a little time to settle into, and in places it’s a challenging read but it’s most definitely rewarding. Greenbecker ultimately makes for a tough but touching hero as he juggles hard reality with delusions of grandeur.

The book’s cover is excellent, cleverly hinting at the important elements of the story.

 

Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Greenbecker-Gambit-Ben-Graff-ebook/dp/B08774SJYN

https://www.amazon.com/Greenbecker-Gambit-Ben-Graff-ebook/dp/B08774SJYN

 

Chess and Bridge

https://shop.chess.co.uk/The-Greenbecker-Gambit-Ben-Graff-p/cb07811.htm

 

Author Bio

Ben Graff is a writer, journalist and Corporate Affairs professional. He is a regular contributor to Chess and Authors Publish. He is not a grandmaster but did draw with one once.

 Twitter

GreenBGambit

LinkedIn

Ben Graff

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Wedding Bells in Merriment Bay by Emily Harvale

Merriment Bay series – Book 3

Change is in the air as wedding bells ring out in Merriment Bay

Cat’s determined to propose to Amias. Well, it is a leap year so it’s fine for women to do the asking, and besides, it took him eighteen years to tell her how he felt. She’s not going to wait for him to pop the question. All she needs to do is find the perfect time and place.

Kyra’s fallen for Francis Raine, who seems happy to flirt and exchange banter but hasn’t actually asked her out. Does he reciprocate her feelings, or is he this way with every girl he meets? There’s only one way to find out. She’ll ask him on a date … as soon as he returns to Merriment Bay.

Mary’s leaving Devon Villa after a lifetime spent in the house. She’s never lived alone so it’s both an exciting and a terrifying prospect. But change is good, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s time she tried a few other new things too.

The Devon women want to move on to the next chapters in their lives. And as Viola Devon used to say before she died, “The only one who can write your own life story as you want it, is you.” Although Viola’s didn’t work out too well. Will Cat, Kyra, and Mary have better luck with theirs?

 

My review

This is a fabulously feel-good book that brings the Merriment Bay series to a very satisfactory end, although it’s by no means totally predictable. The place seems to be awash with love and romance, but it’s not certain that all the very human, sometimes complicated, always fascinating relationships will work out.

The author’s trademark style of quiet wit, delightful setting, complex and convincing characters and imaginative plot is here again, together with her beautifully readable style of writing. The book sweeps you along with it in a wonderful wave of escapism, although real world issues bubble along in the background.

This is uplit at its best. Do treat yourself and discover a real treat of a story and a truly talented author.

 

Purchase Link – mybook.to/WeddingBellsinMB

Author bio

Emily writes novels, novellas and short stories about friendship, family and falling in love. She loves a happy ending but knows that life doesn’t always go to plan. Her stories are sure to bring a smile to your face and a warmth to your heart.

Emily loves to connect with her readers and has a readers’ group in which many have become good friends. To catch up with Emily, find out about the group, or connect with her on social media, go to her website at www.emilyharvale.com.

Having lived and worked in London for several years, Emily returned to her home town of Hastings where she now writes full-time. She’s a member of the SoA, an Amazon bestseller and a Kindle All Star. When not writing, she can be found enjoying the stunning East Sussex coast and countryside, or in a wine bar with friends, discussing life, love and the latest TV shows. Chocolate cake is often eaten. She dislikes housework almost as much as she dislikes anchovies – and will do anything to avoid both. Emily has two mischievous rescue cats that like to sprawl across her keyboard, regardless of whether Emily is typing on it, or not.

 

Social media links

https://www.facebook.com/emilyharvalewriter

https://www.twitter.com/emilyharvale

https://www.instagram.com/emilyharvale

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Death Remembered (A Sleuthing Club Mystery: Book 1) by K E Coburn

Summer 1952

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, but Charity Nicholls is bored of her quiet life in a tiny English village where nothing ever happens. Other than her nagging, marriage-obsessed mother, all she has to fill the time are her dreams of becoming a writer, and the Sleuthing Club – the mystery-reading book club she attends every week.

But everything changes the day her father receives a poison pen letter.

With the help of the Sleuthing Club, particularly handsome Henry Taylor, Charity is determined to find the culprit. But when people start dying and the police arrive, led by the infuriating Inspector James Lawrence, her little village becomes a hotbed of crime.

Can Charity find the murderer before anyone else dies?

Perfect for fans of Helena Dixon and T E Kinsey.

My review

What an utterly enjoyable book! I revelled in every word.

The 1950s don’t seem to get much of a look-in when it comes to literature, but it’s a fascinating and important period when the world was pulling itself back together after the physical and emotional devastation of the Second World War. In a way Charity embodies the spirit of the time: tragedy in the background but quietly determined to live life to the full and to contribute as much as possible to making the world a better place. However, that’s not easy for a rather sheltered young woman.

The setting of a 1950s’ village is wonderfully portrayed. It’s not as quiet and calm as it might seem on the surface, but there’s a strong community spirit and eccentricities are tolerated, but probably commented on in private! So when murder rears its ugly head, the ripples spread throughout the village. Charity finally feels she can do something exciting and useful. She seizes the chance to get to know the suave Henry Taylor even better and spend time with him. Is he the one for her? Charity hopes so.

A lot of thought as well as talent has gone into the creation of this debut novel. Mystery, romance, historical insights and wonderful characters fill the pages of this absorbing novel, the first in a series. And the cover is super, don’t you agree?

I can’t wait to see what Charity gets up to next!

Purchase Links

UK –https://amzn.to/2LnXba7

US – https://www.amazon.com/Death-Remembered-Sleuthing-Club-Mystery-ebook/dp/B088FR2J99/

 

Author bio

K E Coburn lives by the seaside in Kent, England, and spends her time plotting murders and mayhem for her imaginary friends in the Sleuthing Club!

As well as having a master’s degree in history, she’s a huge fan of everything vintage, especially the 1950s, and loves researching this interesting period. Nothing makes her happier than looking at old photographs, drinking old-fashioned cocktails, and doing as little work as possible.

Her debut novel Death Remembered: A Sleuthing Club Mystery (Book 1) will be published in July 2020.

If you fancy keeping up to date with her murderous plots you can find her on Twitter at @KeCoburn or at her website: www.kecoburn.com and on Facebook at: https://bit.ly/2SYgQSo

or at her website: www.kecoburn.com and on Facebook at: https://bit.ly/2SYgQSo

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The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock: refreshing and entertaining

The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts

After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.

But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.

When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.

Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?

And as the village begins to come back to life, perhaps Amber will discover a reason to stay…

 

My review

This is an uplifting, easy-to-read novel about self-discovery, family, community and seizing the day.

Amber and Josh are our main characters, both very likeable. They are both at something of a crossroads in their lives. Together they make a good team and are united in their wish to revitalise the ailing shop which is central to the village. People would lose much more than just somewhere to buy groceries and newspapers were it to disappear.

The authors creates a wonderful sense of place. She really understands what makes small communities tick, and how very vulnerable they actually are in a misguided age of ‘bigger is better’.

Refreshing, thought-provoking and entertaining, do read this lovely story.

 

Purchase Links – https://amzn.to/2VPGfzh

Author bio

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and the first title will be published in July 2020.

 

 

Social media links

Twitter https://twitter.com/AlisonSherlock

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/alison.sherlock.73

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alison-sherlock

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Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland: uplit with prickles

Can love really be found when you stop looking for it…?

As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfill Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…

Escape to Hedgehog Hollow this summer with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for the perfect uplifting, feel-good read.

 

My review

This is a truly uplifting novel, enjoyable at any time of year although it makes for a perfect beach or sun-lounger read.

There’s a lot more to the book than the joyous, sweet title suggests. Yes, just as we want from romantic novels, there’s happiness in store but there are also some prickly (figuratively and literally) issues to deal with along the way. Family relationships frequently aren’t easy, and our key characters Sam and Joshua have more than their fair share to deal with. However, whilst not able to solve all of them they still discover that blood’s thicker than water and that there’ also endless love and loyalty within families too.

I particularly enjoyed the inter-generational friendships, and the wildlife element which was handled in a practical, non-cutesy way. The author has an easy, friendly, sparkly style, a wonderful imagination and lovely light touches of humour.

All in all, this is a super story which I’m sure you’ll enjoy no end.

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/2xrmxAo

 

Author bio 

Jessica Redland is the author of nine novels, including The Secret to Happiness, which are all set around the fictional location of Whitsborough Bay. Inspired by her hometown of Scarborough she writes uplifting women’s fiction which has garnered many devoted fans.

 

 

Social Media Links

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/JessicaRedland

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JessicaRedlandWriter/

Own website – https://www.jessicaredland.com/

Blog – https://jessicaredlandwriter.wordpress.com/

Bookbub – https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jessica-redland

Mailing list sign up – http://bit.ly/JessicaRedlandNewsletter

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Homeward Bound by Richard Smith: bitter-sweet and beautifully written

Homeward Bound

Homeward Bound features 79-year-old grandfather George, who didn’t quite make it as a rock star in the ‘60s. He’s expected to be in retirement but in truth he’s not ready to close the lid on his dreams and will do anything for a last chance. When he finds himself on a tour of retirement homes instead of a cream tea at the seaside his family has promised, it seems his story might prematurely be over.

He finds the answer by inviting Tara, his 18-year-old granddaughter, to share his house, along with his memories and vast collection of records. She is an aspiring musician as well, although her idea of music is not George’s. What unfolds are clashes and unlikely parallels between the generations – neither knows nor cares how to use a dishwasher – as they both chase their ambitions.

 

My review

This is an absolute gem of a book, it really is! It also has added bitter-sweetness during the current Covid crisis, when criminally inept political bungling has led to the deaths of more than twenty thousand people like our hero George: elderly but loaded with experience, accomplishments, stories to tell and so much still to contribute.

At first, the home in ‘homeward’ appears to relate to finding a convenient old people’s home for his family to park George in, now that he’s becoming a little ‘forgetful’ now and then. By the end of the book, that ‘home’ has taken on many, much deeper meanings and significance as I’ll let you discover for yourselves.

George is a wonderful character. He’s hugely talented, witty and, like many older folk (and I can say this as I’m heading far-too-rapidly towards 60), given to occasional grumpiness. That’s what makes him so wonderfully convincing. Tara is truly his granddaughter, with the shared musical talent and the strength of personality.

Graced with a classy and clever cover, the book is equally clever, beautifully written and utterly enthralling. A huge thank-you and congratulations to author Richard.

Purchase Links

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/homeward-bound-richard-smith/1136313433?ean=2940163088645

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Homeward-Bound-Richard-Smith/dp/1838591591/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

https://www.waterstones.com/book/homeward-bound/richard-smith/9781838591595

https://www.ink84bookshop.co.uk/product-page/homeward-bound-by-richard-smith


Author Bio

Richard Smith is a writer and storyteller for sponsored films and commercials, with subjects as varied as caring for the elderly, teenage pregnancies, communities in the Niger delta, anti-drug campaigns and fighting organised crime. Their aim has been to make a positive difference, but, worryingly, two commercials he worked on featured in a British Library exhibition, ‘Propaganda’.

@RichardWrites2  

richardsmithwrites.com

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A Quiet Death in Italy by Tom Benjamin

Bologna: city of secrets, suspicion . . . and murder

A dark and atmospheric crime thriller set in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna, perfect for fans of Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Philip Gwynne Jones.

When the body of a radical protestor is found floating in one of Bologna’s underground canals, it seems that most of the city is ready to blame the usual suspects: the police.

But when private investigator Daniel Leicester, son-in-law to a former chief of police, receives a call from the dead man’s lover, he follows a trail that begins in the 1970s and leads all the way to the rotten heart of the present-day political establishment.

Beneath the beauty of the city, Bologna has a dark underside, and English detective Daniel must unravel a web of secrets, deceit and corruption – before he is caught in it himself.

Tom Benjamin’s gripping debut transports you to the ancient and mysterious Italian city less travelled: Bologna.

 

My review

This is an exciting and absorbing book with interesting characters, a clever, intriguing plot and lots of excitement. It takes us to a lesser written-about part of Italy – the seedier side of Bologna.

The narrator is Daniel, who is somewhat detached being an Englishman. As such he is all the more observant, and makes the reader more aware of the particularities of Italian culture.

The book is all about connections, relationships, links with the past and betrayal, all of which gradually come to light. The pace of the action gradually builds up and the action and excitement builds up to an exciting and unforeseen conclusion. It’s clever, convincing and a must-read.

A thriller in every sense of the word.

 

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Quiet-Death-Italy-Tom-Benjamin/dp/1472131576/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Death-Italy-Tom-Benjamin/dp/1472131576/

Author Bio –

Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter before moving to the press office at Scotland Yard and running drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He moved to Bologna where his work as doorman at a homeless canteen inspired him to create English detective Daniel Leicester in a series that serves up equal helpings of the local cuisine and ubiquitous graffiti; the city’s splendour, decay, and danger.

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/tombenjaminsays/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tombenjaminsays

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

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A Sunset in Sydney by Sandy Barker: sparkly summertime reading

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 review

Provided lockdown rules permit, this books makes for perfect beach reading. It’s a brisk-paced, easy-read story that whiles away a few hours very enjoyably.

It’s the third, and last, in a series but works as a standalone.

There’s a wonderful sense of place which gives an ever lovelier holiday atmosphere. The characters are fascinating, from vivacious Sarah to lively Josh to smooth Josh. They make for an interesting and tricky love triangle.

Sandy Barker’s writing is always a deligh. She creates such fun scenarios, and there’s plenty of wit and imagination to enjoy.

 

 

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 –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sandybarker

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

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

Blog: https://sandybarker.com/