Synopsis

Convinced that his imperfect, solitary existence is the best it will ever be, Martin unexpectedly finds himself being sent to represent his company in Japan. His colleagues think it’s a joke; his bosses are certain he will fail. What does Martin think? He simply does what he’s told. That’s how he’s survived up to now – by hiding his feelings.

Amazingly, in the land of strange rituals, sweet and juicy apples, and too much saké, Martin flourishes and achieves the impossible. But that’s only the beginning. Keeping up the momentum for change proves futile. So, too, is a return to what he had before. Is there a way forward, or should he put an end to the search now?

Gradually, as you’ll see when Martin looks back from near the end of his journey, life improves. There’s even a woman, Fiona, who brings her own baggage to the relationship, but brightens Martin’s days. And just when you think there can be no more surprises, another one pops up.

Throughout his life, people have laughed at ‘weirdo’ Martin; and you, as you read, will have plenty of opportunity to laugh, too. Go ahead, laugh away, but you’ll find that there’s also a serious side to all this…

 

My review

Oh my goodness, this is such a moving and lovely story!

It’s essentially the story of one man’s lifelong battle with social anxiety. Martin is intelligent and compassionate but struggles to integrate in social situations. He’s bullied at school and generally life is pretty miserable for him. He’s unappreciated, but he soldiers on.

Fortunately he gets a lucky break (although not for the colleague who suffers a broken leg) at work and stands in for someone on a trip to Japan. Everyone expects Martin will be a disaster, Martin included, but Japan provides a very different environment for this gentle person to blossom in. This is his milieu.

The story isn’t just that – there’s much more going on. This is a very cleverly constructed novel and beautifully written. There’s no preaching or wallowing. The author presents the issue of social anxiety and gives us a view from both sides: from those who experience it and those who feel that it’s OK to put others down and induce such misery. There’s hope and despair, love and disappointment, achievement and failure, happiness and missed opportunities in this richly textured book that’s rewarding and poignantly enjoyable to read.

 

 

Purchase Link – mybook.to/cultivatingafuji

Author Bio –
Miriam Drori has decided she’s in the fifth and best stage of her life, and she’s hoping it’ll last for ever. It’s the one in which she’s happiest and most settled and finally free to do what she wants. Miriam lives in a delightful house and garden in Jerusalem with her lovely husband and one of three children. She enjoys frequent trips around the world. She dances, hikes, reads and listens to music. And she’s realised that social anxiety is here to stay, so she might as well make friends with it. On top of that, she has moved away from computer programming and technical writing (although both of those provided interest in previous stages) and now spends her time editing and writing fiction. NEITHER HERE NOR THERE (currently unavailable), a romance with a difference set in Jerusalem, was published in 2014. THE WOMEN FRIENDS, co-written with Emma Rose Millar, is a series of novellas based on the famous painting by Gustav Klimt. SOCIAL ANXIETY REVEALED (non-fiction) provides a comprehensive description of social anxiety from many different viewpoints. CULTIVATING A FUJI takes the social anxiety theme into fiction, using humour to season a poignant story.

Social Media Links –  Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, Wattpad, website/blog and social anxiety blog.

Amazon page: Author.to/MiriamDroriAtAmazon

 

And look, there’s a giveaway! Do enter.

 

Giveaway to Win copies of Neither Here No There and Social Anxiety Revealed  (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494227/?

 

Singles, Set and Match

The fifth and final book in the Singles’ Series takes us to the Mediterranean island of Ibiza then back to the Caribbean island of Antigua, where it all began.

 

After making a hard decision two years earlier Eve Mitchell has moved on with the hand that life has dealt her and she finds herself on the White Island working a tennis holiday.  While it isn’t a job she would have chosen, in her typical pragmatic way Eve gets on with it, working hard to ensure that her diverse group of singles, with their hopes, expectations character flaws and baggage, have the best time possible.  And as she binds together tennis sessions, social gatherings, meals and trips Eve hears some tragic personal news that brings her to another crossroads in her life.  Will she and the love of her life Melv finally make a life together and live happily ever after?

 

Publication Date – 1st July 2019

 

About the author 

 

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.  Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!  Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

 

Social Media Links –

Facebook: Elaine Spires Author

Twitter: @ElaineSWriter

Instagram: elainespiresauthor

 

Preorder here: UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07S3WGLX2

Synopsis

Ellie’s dreams of opening a bakery in Sunnybrook are finally coming true and best friends Fen and Jaz are happily rallying round, helping her to plan a fabulous grand opening day. Everything in their garden seems to be rosy – until the arrival of a newcomer brings chaos to the village and tests relationships to the limit. Can the bakery succeed in the face of such upheaval? And more importantly, can firm friendships survive?

My review

This is another lovely romcom from this prolific author. She’s created a wonderful world for us in her Little Duck Pond Café series, and is keeping up her high standards and originality with each book.
This time we focus on the adventures of Katje aka Kate and Madison. Due to a muddle, they’ve both been offered the same job at the bakery and have a trial run each. This is rather clever and reflects the popular trend in reality shows of someone having to leave after a particular ordeal! There are plenty of personality clashes between these two rivals.
There’s lot of fun too, wonderful interactions between the other characters and a very cosy, warm atmosphere is created despite the tension at the bakery. The story makes for a quick and delightfully enjoyable read.

 

Pre-order Links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bakery-Little-Duck-Pond-Cafe-ebook/dp/B07MLF2N6T
US – https://www.amazon.com/Bakery-Little-Duck-Pond-Cafe-ebook/dp/B07MLF2N6T

Author Bio
Rosie Green has been scribbling stories ever since she was little. Back then they were rip-roaring adventure tales with a young heroine in perilous danger of falling off a cliff or being tied up by ‘the baddies’. Thankfully, Rosie has moved on somewhat, and now much prefers to write romantic comedies that melt your heart and make you smile, with really not much perilous danger involved at all, unless you count the heroine losing her heart in love.

Rosie’s brand new series of novellas is centred on life in a village café. Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Cafe will be the sixth in the series

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988

Breaking News – Coming Soon – Confetti at the Little Duck Pond Café

With Ellie and Zak’s Big Day on the horizon, the sun is shining brightly on the Little Duck Pond Café community. But as dark clouds begin to roll in, threatening more than one close relationship, will the wedding of the year take place at all?

Follow Rosie Green on Amazon to hear when its published and available for purchase – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rosie-Green/e/B07CZYV7DW

The First Lie

We’ve all had sleepless nights thinking about it.
You’re home alone. Someone breaks in.
In defending yourself, you end up killing the intruder.
Now you’re the one the police want.

That is the situation that criminal barrister Paul Reeve arrives home to find.
His wife Alice stands in the bedroom, clutching a bloodied letter opener in her shaking hand.

“What have you done, Alice?”
“I didn’t have a choice…”

We would all believe the person we love most.
But would we all make the same choice Paul and Alice make next…?

 

And here is the cover…

It’s certainly stunning, and I can’t wait to read this novel!

 

Pre-order Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Lie-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07NLCMD44/

UShttps://www.amazon.com/First-Lie-addictive-psychological-thriller-ebook/dp/B07NLCMD44/

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-first-lie/a-j-park/9781409187424

 

Author Bio –

After studying literature, linguistics and Spanish at university, AJ Park trained as an English teacher and actor. He has edited magazines and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools in England. He was also a competitive fencer for seven years.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter @AJParkauthor               

Facebook KarlVadaszffy

www.karlvad.com

Synopsis

Jen Attison likes her life Just So. But being fished out of a canal in Copenhagen by her knickers is definitely NOT on her to do list. From cinnamon swirls to a spontaneous night of laughter and fireworks, Jen’s city break with the girls takes a turn for the unexpected because of her gorgeous, mystery rescuer.

Back home, Jen faces a choice. A surprise proposal from her boyfriend, ‘boring’ Robert has offered Jen the safety net she always thought she wanted. But with the memories of her Danish adventure proving hard to forget, maybe it’s time for Jen to stop listening to her head and start following her heart…

 

My review

Carlsberg may have changed its famous advertising slogan but it’s so well-established that it’ll be around in collective memory for a long while to come. It’s fun that it’s been adapted for the title of this book which, very appropriately, is set in Denmark and includes a brewery.

Jen is our heroine, but her sister Lydia isn’t so far behind. Both are very strong characters but Jen is somewhat blinkered by being over-organised. She feels safe when life is predictable and going to plan. She’s set to marry a very sensible, equally organised man, until a girls’ trip to Copenhagen totally upsets the apple cart.

As well as her close relationship to her sister, Jen has a small group of best friends. Their interactions are every bit as important as those of our heroine with the gorgeous Jakob, who fishes Jen out of a canal by her underwear. Who wouldn’t be humiliated by that? This event is key to not only Jen’s eventual happiness, but to her self-development as it makes her ask herself questions and open her eyes to her life, and to the wider world.

This book is lively, lovely and uplifting and offers a big portion of romance too. It’s fresh and fun, and is definitely – not just probably – worth reading!

 

Purchase Link

http://www.hyperurl.co/probablythebesteb

 

About the author

Pernille Hughes is a romCom author and mum, whose debut novel was Sweatpants at Tiffanie’s. Previously her writing has been printed in The Sunday Times and the fabulous Sunlounger summer anthologies. Find out about her new books at www.pernillehughes.com

Pernille (pronounced Pernilla) studied Film & Literature at uni and took her first job in advertising, having been lured by the temptation of freebies, but left when Status Quo tickets was as good as it got. After a brief spell marketing Natural History films, she switched to working in Children’s television which for a time meant living in actual Teletubbyland, sharing a photocopier with Laa-Laa.

Now, she lives in actual Buckinghamshire, sharing a photocopier with her husband and their four spawn. While the kids are at school she scoffs cake and writes RomCom stories in order to maintain a shred of sanity.

Social Media Links – www.pernillehughes.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/pernillehughes

Facebook  www.facebook.com/pernillehughesauthor

Instagram www.instagram.com/pernillehughes

Bookbub               www.bookbub.com/profile/pernille-hughes

Pinterest www.pinterest.com/pernillehughes

Rough And Deadly

Everyone knows Abe Compton’s Headbender cider is as rough as a cider can get. But is it deadly?

When self-styled ‘lady of the manor’, Margot Duckett-Trimble, announces she wouldn’t be seen dead drinking the stuff, who could have foreseen that, only a few days later, she’d be found, face down, in a vat of it?

Kat Latcham’s no stranger to murder. Indeed, the once ‘sleepy’ Somerset village of Much Winchmoor is fast gaining a reputation as the murder capital of the West Country and is ‘as sleepy as a kid on Christmas Eve’ when it’s discovered there’s a murderer running loose in the community again.

Kat has known Abe all her life, and she is sure that, although he had motive, he didn’t kill Margot. But as she investigates, the murderer strikes again. And the closer Kat gets to finding out who the real killer is, the closer to danger she becomes.

This second Much Winchmoor mystery is once again spiked with humour and sprinkled with romance – plus a cast of colourful characters, including a manic little dog called Prescott whose bite is definitely worse than his bark.

 

My review

This is a very entertaining and lively cosy mystery, but there is a more menacing thread of violence running through it too. However, the two elements of serious but slightly town-in-cheek murder and the secondary one of more realistic threat work well together in this author’s hands.

This is the second book about Kat, who’s moved back home after her city career crumbles. She does odd jobs and some reporting around Much Winchmoor, and keeps tuned in to all the gossip in her mother’s hair salon. However, don’t worry if you haven’t read the first book (Murder Served Cold) since this one works fine as a standalone. You quickly pick up all you need to know as the author deftly weaves in the essentials without them being intrusive.

Kat does tend to blunder in rather naively, but with the best of intentions. Fortunately there’s usually someone with a bit more sense to keep an eye on her! She’s a larger-than-life, lovely character, who takes life’s problems on the chin (work, mother and car troubles mainly) and never hesitates to roll up her sleeves and get stuck in. She’s helped and hindered by the eccentric and colourful residents of the village, both human and canine.

The writing flows and the plot is clever. This is the sort of book you just can’t put down once you start reading because it’s so enjoyable in every way.

Purchase Link

https://mybook.to/roughanddeadly

About the author

Paula Williams is living her dream. She’s written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it’s only in recent years that she discovered to her surprise that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.

Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke. She started out writing fiction for women’s magazines (and still does) but has recently branched out into longer fiction. She also writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers’ magazines, Writers’ Forum.

But, as with the best of dreams, she worries that one day she’s going to wake up and find she still has to bully her brothers into reading ‘the play what she wrote’.

Social Media Links –

Facebook.   https://www.facebook.com/paula.williams.author

Blog. paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com

Twitter. @paulawilliams44

Website.  paulawilliamswriter.co.uk

 

 

Bloom where you are planted (Life the Expat way)

Are you contemplating a move abroad?

Don’t panic!

From culture shock to capable, from language barriers to lifelong friends, and from foreign land to the familiar. Being hurled into life in a strange new place can be daunting and overwhelming, but it can also be exciting and enjoyable.

Rich with tips on how to expat like a boss, Lasairiona McMaster’s “Bloom where you are planted”, takes you on a journey from packing up her life in Northern Ireland to jumping in at the deep-end as an expat in two countries.

An experienced expat from a decade of living abroad, her honest and uncensored tales of what to expect when you’re expatriating, are as funny as they are poignant, and as practical as they are heartfelt. If you’ve lived abroad, or you’re considering the move from local to expat. If you’re looking to rediscover yourself, or simply wondering how on earth to help your children develop into adaptable, resilient, and well-rounded people, this book has something for you.

 

My review

As an expat myself twice over (UK-born but since 1992 I’ve lived in Ireland and then France), I couldn’t resist this book. It’s always fascinating to learn about other expats’ experiences and this one promised to be not only entertaining but helpful too.

I wasn’t disappointed on either account. The author has a lively, chatty style that’s a real pleasure to read. She shares her warts-and-all experience of expatdom, never hesitating to mention the grittier side of it and her own mistakes, but always aspiring herself and encouraging us to make the most of such an opportunity. She makes very valid points about how you need to be extra-organised and flexible, how you have to allow yourself settling-in time, how to cultivate friendships and cope with culture shock. Take your rose-coloured spectacles off before you embark on such an adventure.

Lasairiona takes a very practical and pragmatic approach. There will be good things, there will be bad things living the expat life –  you have to take the rough with the smooth. Compromise is key, both with your partner and affected family members, and also with the country you move to. You have to realise that it will be better in some ways than in your native country, but almost certainly worse in others. But you need to take the overall view and not focus on the negative unduly.

I honestly think she covers everything you need to consider when contemplating life as an expat, from packing, making friends, coping with stressful foreigness, struggling to fit in,  homesickness, issues that concern your Third Culture Kids (= nationals of one country through birth but living in another) and maintaining your sanity and identity. There’s a collection of tales from other expats at the end, which are  enlightening and add a few more tips and tricks to absorb.

The book is a must-read for all expats, but even if you’re not now, never have been or ever will be an expat, you’ll still enjoy this book. No, actually you’ll love it! It’s not didactic – do this, do that – rather the instructive element emerges indirectly through the ordeals and general discussion that Lasairiona presents. You’ll laugh and cringe, but the over-riding emotion  you’ll feel is admiration for this valiant author, who’s had the courage not only to embrace expatdom but share her ups and downs with us.

An excellent and very entertaining read.

 

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07RQ9BL6D/

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RQ9BL6D/

 

About the author 

Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.

 

Social Media Links –

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

Twitter –  https://twitter.com/QueenofFireLas

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/queenoffirelas/?hl=en

Foul Deeds Will Rise

By 1875, Lillian Nolan believes she has successfully shut off any connection to the spirit world. That winter she is thrilled when she wins the role of Ophelia in a new production of Hamlet in her home town of Chicago. Everything changes when the body of the managing director is found sprawled across the steps of the dress circle and all the investors’ money is missing. Lillian fears, once again, her career is over before it begins.

After her dearest friend is arrested for murder, Lillian commits herself to discovering the truth. Her search is complicated by a strange man who is following her, the romantic overtures of her co-star, and a reunion with an old nemesis. But nothing is what it seems. What she does find puts a member of her own family at risk and leads to the unmasking of the killer with lethal consequences for herself.

 

My review

This book follows on from the outstanding ‘A Walking Shadow’ and shares all the excellent characteristics of that book – an original plot, atmospheric settings, fascinating dramatis personae and superb writing. However, it works well as a standalone, since all we need to know is communicated to us as and when we need such information.

Lillian Nolan is a unifying feature, as is the theatrical background, but this new adventure is fresh and lively, not simply a variation on a theme. We learn more about our heroine and we witness her maturing and developing. She no longer depends on a spirit to help her with her acting, but is very accomplished all on her own. Yet she learns that it’s all right to call on the assistance of others for help, whichever realm they happen to reside in. It’s a sign of strength to know your limitations, not a weakness.

The action runs alongside a production of Hamlet. In the first book the tragedy in question was MacBeth, and I like how this theme continues. Shakespeare’s tragedies often have ghosts and supernatural occurrences in them, which is mirrored in the ‘real’ life of this novel.

The action moves swiftly and throws up some interesting people and events for our consideration. There are convincing friendships and enmities, and definitely some twists and turns in the plot.

Thoroughly enjoyable and very clever.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07NQM8NT4/

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NQM8NT4/

THE BACKSTAGE MYSTERY SERIES

Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.

Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”

The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

About the author

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theatre early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theatre, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theatre History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.

She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.

Social Media Links –

www.facebook.com/BackstageMystery/

www.BackstageMystery.com

https://twitter.com/EbethIreland

How (Not) To Date A Prince

Surely fairy tales don’t happen in real life?

After being jilted at the altar, high-flying journalist Sam doesn’t believe in love any more – and she certainly doesn’t believe in fairy tales! So, when she’s asked to cover the Royal Wedding, it’s the last thing she wants to do.

And when she crashes into a ridiculously handsome stranger, Anders, things go from bad to worse. But as the big day draws closer, Sam finds herself being swept up in the excitement – as well as swept off her feet by Anders!

But there’s something that Anders is hiding from her – and when he finally reveals his secret, might Sam just have the happy-ever-after she never thought she wanted…?

 

My review

This novel is tremendous fun. We have a super heroine in Sam, who’s an ambitious, strong and very likeable young lady, still recovering from a traumatic wedding day that wasn’t. It has thus become The Day That Shall Not Be Named. She has built up a deserved reputation for her political journalism, so when called on to cover the royal wedding in Norway between Prince Isaac and the glamorous Holly, since the usual journalist is indisposed, she’s rightfully indignant. However, once she’s calmed down she accepts the job and determines, as usual, to do her best on it.

Once she arrives in Norway, events take on breakneck speed as she goes from misunderstanding to mishap to mayhem. It turns into quite the Scandal-avian break and Sam eventually finds herself behind the wrong kind of bars.

But this is a romcom and we know we’ll have our happy ending. Zoe May enjoys teasing us along the way with the will-they, won’t-they actions that keep us hanging on every word!

There’s lots of humour, snappy one-liners, a cast of convincing and, in some cases, slightly eccentric characters who interact delightfully and engage in some brilliantly enjoyable escapades.

Absolutely to read!

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Not-Date-Prince-romantic-ebook/dp/B078YH9K19/

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/How-Not-Date-Prince-romantic-ebook/dp/B078YH9K19/

Apple: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/how-not-to-date-a-prince-you-re-invited-to-the-most-romantic-royal-wedding-of-the-year

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/how-not-to-date-a-prince-you-re-invited-to-the-most-romantic-royal-wedding-of-the-year

 

Author bio

Zoe May lives in Oxford and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She spent her twenties living in London, where she worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading.

Social Media Links –

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

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

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

Synopsis

What secrets were covered up at the court of Henry VIII …?

Whitehall Palace, England, 1539:

When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.

Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.

Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…

Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018:

Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.

Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.

Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…

What truths are hiding in Marquess House? What really happened to Catherine Howard?

And how was Perdita’s grandmother connected to it all?

THE CATHERINE HOWARD CONSPIRACY is the first book in the Marquess House trilogy, a dual timeline conspiracy thriller with an ingenious twist on a well-known period of Tudor history.

 

My review

I’ve always felt sorry for all of Henry VIII’s wives, but especially for the two, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, whom he had beheaded for no legitimate reason. I was thus delighted to discover this book that gives an alternative ending to Catherine’s short and tragic story. Here she is not disposed of as a teenager, but… well, I don’t give too much away. This is a book you really must read for yourself.

There are two timelines in this story – 1539 and 2018. In the Tudor timeline we encounter well-known historical figures, and in the present-day portion of the novel a cast of intriguing fictional characters. Perdita, our heroine, is a strong, ambitious but likeable woman, echoing Catherine’s courage. There’s a clever shadowing of the way Catherine was manipulated in the way Perdita’s grandmother have pulled a few strings in the background to make things happen. Perdita crosses paths with a few interfering men too.

Settings are fabulous everywhere, from the palaces of London, to splendid Marquess House in Pembrokeshire, to the Welsh sea floor where a fascinating cup engraved with mermaids comes to light.

The mystery is well sustained and thoroughly captivating, and there’s some romance along the way as an added bonus. This is an extraordinarily engrossing book, and I look forward to reading the next two books in this series.

   

About the author

From tales spun for her teddies when she was a child (usually about mermaids) to film scripts, plays and novels, Alexandra Walsh has always been a storyteller. Words are her world. For over 25 years, she has been a journalist writing for a wide range of publications including national newspapers and glossy magazines. She spent some years working in the British film industry, as well as in television and radio: researching, advising, occasionally presenting and always writing.

Books dominate Alexandra’s life. She reads endlessly and tends to become a bit panicky if her next three books are not lined up and waiting. Characters, places, imagery all stay with her and even now she finds it difficult to pass an old wardrobe without checking it for a door to Narnia. As for her magical letter when she was 11, she can only assume her cat caught the owl!

Alexandra’s other passion is history, particularly the untold tales of women. Whether they were queens or paupers, their voices resonate with their stories, not only about their own lives but about ours, too. The women of the Tudor court have inspired her novels. Researching and writing The Marquess House Trilogy (Book One: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy) has brought together her love of history, mysteries and story telling.

Website: http://www.alexandrawalsh.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/purplemermaid25