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Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar: promo post

It’s the time of year when the first of this year’s crop of Christmassy books start to appear. Here’s one that looks like a lot of fun. I haven’t been able to review it unfortunately since for whatever reason my request for the book from Netgalley was unsuccessful, but here’s a promotional post for it.

Christmas at Frozen Falls

Christmas magic can thaw the coldest of hearts…

Sylvie Magnusson is going to be lonely this Christmas. Instead of jetting off for her
sunshine honeymoon, she’s freezing at home in Cheshire. Guess that’s what happens when your fiancé dumps you a week before your wedding…

Sylvie’s best friend, Nari, plans a trip to see the Northern Lights and get Sylvie’s mojo back. But as their Lapland getaway approaches, Sylvie realises that Frozen Falls is the hometown of Stellan Virtanen, her dreamy Finnish ex-boyfriend, the one that got away. Even though he actually ran away, and Sylvie never understood why…

Luckily, when they meet, Stellan’s still gorgeous – and her heart is warmed when he shows her the romantic delights of Lapland (as well as some seriously adorable Husky puppies). But when she returns to England can she really leave Stellan behind? Or will she find that her heart belongs in the frozen North?

 

Curl up with the perfect cosy Christmas read this winter. Fans of Sarah Morgan and
Carole Matthews will adore this feel good, heart-warming romcom.

Purchase Links

AMZ https://amzn.to/2ZlURGa
Apple https://apple.co/2KcgmTk
Kobo http://bit.ly/2OrH6ol

 

Author Bio –

Kiley Dunbar is the author of heart-warming, escapist, romantic fiction set in beautiful places.

JOAN HESSAYON AWARD FOR DEBUT NOVELISTS CONTENDER 2019

Kiley is Scottish and lives in England with her husband, two kids and Amos the Bedlington Terrier. She writes around her work at a University in the North of England where she lectures in English Literature and creative writing. She is proud to be a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a graduate of their New Writers’ Scheme.

One Summer’s Night is Kiley’s first novel (published by Hera Books) and is on sale now!
Don’t forget there’s also a fabulous audiobook narrated by Eilidh Beaton.

Christmas at Frozen Falls, Kiley’s dreamy festive romcom set in Lapland is on pre-order now: amzn.to/2ZlURGa Out 4th September 2019.

You can find Kiley on Twitter @KileyDunbar
and on the ‘Kiley Dunbar Author Book Page’ on Facebook.

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/kileydunbar

https://www.facebook.com/KileyDunbarAuthor/

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The Last Landlady by Laura Thompson: a serving of social commentary, history and memoir to be lingered over

Summary

Award-winning biographer Laura Thompson pays homage to the English pub through the remarkable story of her grandmother, the first woman in England to be given a publican’s licence in her own name

Laura Thompson’s grandmother Violet was one of the great landladies. Born in a London pub, she became the first woman to be given a publican’s licence in her own name and, just as pubs defined her life, she seemed in many ways to embody their essence. Laura spent part of her childhood in Violet’s Home Counties establishment, mesmerised by her gift for cultivating the mix of cosiness and glamour that defined the pub’s atmosphere, making it a unique reflection of the national character. Her memories of this time are just as intoxicating: beer and ash on the carpets in the morning, the deepening rhythms of mirth at night, the magical brightness of glass behind the bar… Through them Laura traces the story of the English pub, asking why it has occupied such a treasured position in our culture. But even Violet, as she grew older, recognised that places like hers were a dying breed, and Laura also considers the precarious future they face. Part memoir, part social history, part elegy, The Last Landlady pays tribute to an extraordinary woman and the world she epitomised.

 

My review

This book is a beguiling mix of social commentary, history and memoir. The figure of the author’s landlady grandmother provides the central figure around whom the gentle decline of the English pub in the last quarter of the twentieth century.

The book begins with the landlady, Violet, and pubs in their heyday. Pubs were busy, welcoming, friendly places. As a child during that era I went to pubs with my parents and had lemonade and a pack of pork scratchings and happily soaked up the noise and smoke of my surroundings. As a teen I was in clubs and organisations that met in pubs, and the same as a student. Back home on Christmas Eves back home we’d all pack into a pub for a drink to mark the occasion.

During this time our landlady in the book struggled to get a grip with decimal money and dreadfully undercharged her customers, which is both touching and generous. She is somehow an emblem of timelessness, of continuity and dependence in a changing world.

Because it was changing. The large pub chains barged in and started doing food. When I was in my twenties on Friday lunchtime the whole office I worked in, and everyone else’s, went to the pub. Pubs now did ploughman’s lunches and other basic food. Some, anyway. Our landlady resisted the change for as long as she could, as did many others. Pubs were there for drinks, not food. Things slowly morphed into pubs becoming pretty much restaurants with a bar attached. I remember feeling quite sad at how our local pubs at home changed with this development. The atmosphere was different. From not going too far wrong with serving a drink, suddenly the proprietors had more to worry about. Would people complain about the food, the service, the length of time it took to cook it, the décor? An air of subservience emerged that these days has run riot with endless feedback and over-entitlement on the part of consumers.

We see our landlady slowly diminishing, yet never losing her dignity, along with the pub but she fights it all the way. She’s a fascinating figure, who eventually accepts that times are changing and so moves grudgingly but gracefully with them.

I enjoyed this book not just because of the superb writing and interesting subject, but also because I’ve witnessed this sanitising, character-destroying evolution of the pub. This book brings back lovely memories of a more honest, down-to-earth times, of genuineness, which the landlady personifies. It’s a wonderful read.     

The author

Laura Thompson won the Somerset Maugham award with her first book, The Dogs , and wrote two books about horse racing while living in Newmarket. Her biographical study of Nancy Mitford, Life in a Cold Climate, appeared in 2003 (re-issued 2015) and was followed by a major biography of Agatha Christie. A Different Class of Murder: The Story of Lord Lucan was published in 2014, and 2015’s Take Six Girls: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters was recently sold to television. She lives in Richmond.

 

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Re-Navigation by Sue Parritt: a must-read

Synopsis

A gloomy seascape is of little consequence to Julia, as a ferry transports her to an isolated Welsh island to undertake a Spiritual Development course.

Soon, Julia finds herself surrounded by new friends and questions. As relationships deepen, so does Julia’s feeling that something crucial is missing from her life.

As passion ignites and deep-buried secrets surface, Julia faces choices that will forever change the direction of her life. But at what cost?

 

My review

The synopsis above neatly encapsulates the intriguing story so I’ll focus here on the impressive presentation of this book.

Sue Parritt is such an interesting writer. She chooses unusual, challenging themes and her style is elegant and literary. She creates beautiful images and complex, engrossing characters.

Her books aren’t ones you can skim through or half-read while half-watching the telly. You don’t dare! This author demands your full attention and has you really thinking about things. If she can get you to drop any preconceived notions or go-to platitudes you many harbour then she will. Here faith and spirituality in particular are brought into the spotlight in a none-too-gentle way, and other rigid ‘beliefs’ are dissected too.

As with another novel by this author that I recently reviewed, ‘Feed Thy Enemy’, the title works on different levels. The ‘Re-Navigation’ could refer to our central character Julia now physically navigating new waters in leaving Australia to come to Wales, or to her finding a new direction for her soul, or generally getting her life back on track. Or all or none of these.

Decide for yourself. This is a must-read.

 

Purchase Links:

AU – https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07NN9LGG4

US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NN9LGG4

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07NN9LGG4

Book Depositorywww.bookdepository.com/Re-Navigation-Sue-Parritt/9781097158850

 

Author bio 

Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:

Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.

Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.

The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.

Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017

Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.

Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism.  Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.

 

Social Media Links –

Website: www.sueparritt.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/SueParrittAuthor

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Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira: a book rich with imagery

Sleeping Through War

The year is 1968. The world is changing. Students are protesting, civil rights are being fought and died for, nuclear bombs are being tested, and war is raging in Vietnam. For three women, life must go on as normal. For them, as it is for most ‘ordinary’ people, just to survive is an act of courage.

Rose must keep her dignity and compassion as a St Lucian nurse in London. Amalia must keep hoping that her son can escape their seedy life in Lisbon. And Mrs Johnson in Washington DC must keep writing to her son in Vietnam. She has no-one else to talk to. Three different women in three different countries. They work, they bring up children, they struggle to make ends meet while the world goes around and the papers print the news. History is written by the winners – and almost all of it has been written by men. The stories of women like these go unremarked and unwritten so often that we forget how important they are.

 

My review

The title quotation comes from something Amalia observes about her son, Ricardo – how he can sleep through war. Our three lead characters, Amalia, Rose and Mrs Johnson, all experiences ‘wars’ of one sort or another, whether it’s war between cultures, races or actual military conflict. It seems that the whole world is at war in 1968 in one way or another with so much turbulence, social unrest and hostility as well as battles between soldiers. This is what unites these three disparate women.

It’s fascinating to have three such different characters woven together: we have a young Portuguese mother who is doing whatever it takes to earn money to educate her father less son and give him the best start in life she can. Then there is a West Indian nurse who has come to England to work, but isn’t always appreciated. And we have a mother whose son is fighting in Vietnam. She writes newsy, chatty letters to her son, but you can see she’s racked with worry about him.

News reports are interspersed throughout the women’s narrations which give the wider, factual background to their stories.

This is a gentle, poignant read, but that’s not to say that shocking things and cruel twists of fate don’t happen. However, our heroines take events in their stride. Each woman is brave, although each considers themselves to be perfectly ordinary, in the difficult circumstances they find themselves in and cope in what ways they can. It’s the contrast between their apparent normalness and the upheavals they tackle without fuss in their daily lives that is so powerful.

The author has a deft way with words and a sharp eye for detail. It’s the little touches, the smallest o brushstrokes, to the broad canvas of this book that make it so convincing. If you enjoy a book that is rich with imagery, touching, thoughtful, firmly rooted in reality yet imaginative and innovative, then this is one you must treat yourself to.

Purchase Links

Link to purchase from Wordery: https://wordery.com/sleeping-through-war-jackie-carreira-9781788038539?cTrk=MTU3Nzg3NzQyfDVkMjgzOTAyZjA5OTA6MToxOjVkMjgzOGZhNjc5ODQyLjc0ODUxNDI0OmY0NzY0Njkx

Link to purchase from Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/sleeping-through-war/jackie-carreira/9781788038539

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Through-War-Jackie-Carreira-ebook/dp/B078XF7351/

Author bio

Jackie Carreira is an award-winning novelist, playwright, musician, designer, and co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company. A true renaissance woman, or a Jack of All Trades? The jury’s still out on that one. She grew up in Hackney, East London, but spent part of her early childhood in Lisbon’s Old Quarter. Sleeping Through War was inspired, in part, by some of the women she met when she was young. One of her favourite places to write is the coffee shops of railway stations. Her second novel, The Seventh Train (published by Matador in 2019) was born in the café at Paddington Station. Jackie now lives in Suffolk with an actor, two cats and not enough book shelves.

Social media links          

TWITTER: @JCarreiraWriter

FACEBOOK: @SleepingThroughWar
WEBSITE:
jackiecarreira.co.uk

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More Than A Game by Ralph Robb: energetic and engrossing

More Than A Game

Sabina Park Rangers is the first team of black players to reach the final of the Watney’s Challenge Cup. But coach Horace McIntosh has more selection problems than most. The First Division champions want to sign one of his best players – and right up until the day of the match he is uncertain that he will have a team for the biggest game in the club’s history because of arrests, a scam and an atmosphere of impending violence.

My review

This is a very energetic novel with a clever title, and the liveliness isn’t just confined to the football matches. The characters are full of life and the plot is fast-paced, clever and engrossing. It’s upbeat, even though there’s tension and difficulties to be faced in the novel and it deals with harsh realities of the period the book is set in, such as racism, hostile politics and heavy-handed policing. Life could be uncertain and dangerous for British people of West Indian descent.

There’s much that’s positive, as I hinted at with the ‘upbeat’ remark. Horace, the team coach and our main character, is a generous, encouraging person. He wants to contribute all he can to his community, despite this being made difficult for him by intolerance.  This community is caring and tight-knit. It’s reflected in the real camaraderie amongst Sabina Park Rangers’ players. There are some rogues amongst them and rules are there for the bending, but you see and sympathise the motives behind any slightly dodgy behaviour. What really comes over is the genuine wish and need to integrate and be accepted in their adopted country.

The book is set in The Midlands in the 1980s, both a place and a period I’ve experienced first-hand so I can honestly say that the atmosphere of that time and setting are convincing and atmospheric. There’s added pertinence in that the UK is sadly showing a worrying swing to the right at the current time and undervaluing certain members of society for shallow reasons. However, despite the more serious overtones this is an enjoyable and eye-opening slice of 1980s life, politics and people.

Oh, and about that clever title. There’s a reflection in it of the well known saying by Bill Shankly that football is more important than ‘life and death’ so it’s definitely more than a game. Also, given the extra challenges posed by discrimination that Sabina Park Rangers face, football is more than a game for them. It’s about self-worth and acceptance as well as demonstrating talent and scoring goals.

Author bio

Ralph Robb was born and raised in the industrial town of Wolverhampton, England, and now lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife, two cats and a dog. A proud father of four, Robb works as an engineering technician and loves rugby, martial arts and of course a good book. His world is balanced by his obsession with comic books, quality TV, global events and the great outdoors.

 

Social Media Links

Facebook: www.facebook.com/RalphRobbBooks

Twitter: @RalphSRobb

Webpage: www.ralphrobb.com

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Feed Thy Enemy by Sue Parritt: a privilege to read

Synopsis
In this heart-warming narrative based on a true story, a British airman embarks on a plan that risks it all to feed a starving, war-stricken family.
Thirty years after serving in World War II, middle-aged Rob’s holiday plans see an unforeseen change that leads him on a coach tour of Italy. Struggling with post-war PTSD and depression, he reluctantly agrees to the journey – and sparks a dream that plunges him into long-stifled memories.
Set in Europe, Sue Parritt’s Feed Thy Enemy is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma. When Rob’s flashback delves into his attempts to save a famished family with a series of increasingly daring raids on his army’s supply stores, will he trigger suppressed remembrances of past war, love, and sacrifice – and find the strength to confront them in the present?

My review
Dual timeline novels really do seem to on the up and up. They’re all I seem to be reading at the moment! Well, here’s one that is more narrative fiction than anything, and which is a real privilege to read. The main character, Rob, is the author’s father. This brave man fought for his country but suffered disastrous after-effects.
Which enemy is the title referring to? The wartime enemy who scarred his life so badly? The PTSD he suffered? Maybe even his wife who tries to get him to face his past and finally conquer the bad memories it brings? I love when there are layers like this to a story that make you have to think and consider.
There are good memories too. In the wartime thread of the story we also get to see Rob’s lighter escapades. We get a real sense of who he is as a person. Wife Ivy too is lovingly portrayed in great detail. There are even portraits which add an extra element.
This is a moving, challenging, beautiful story. The author very sensitively handles mental health issues and makes them meaningful and immediate. It’s a book that will stay with you for a long time.

Purchase links
AUS – www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07R6SXZ84
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07R6SXZ84
US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07R6SXZ84

Author bio

Originally from England, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on creative writing. Since then she has written short stories, articles, poetry, a short TV drama script and six novels:
Sannah and the Pilgrim, first in a trilogy of a future dystopian Australia focusing on climate change and the harsh treatment of refugees from drowned Pacific islands. Odyssey Books, 2014. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2014.
Pia and the Skyman, Odyssey Books, 2016. Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2016.
The Sky Lines Alliance, Odyssey Books, 2016.
Chrysalis, the story of a perceptive girl growing up in a Quaker family in swinging sixties’ Britain. Morning Star Press, 2017
Re-Navigation recounts a life turned upside down when forty-year old Julia journeys from the sanctuary of middle-class Australian suburbia to undertake a retreat at a college located on an isolated Welsh island. Creativia Publishing, 2019.
Feed Thy Enemy, based on her father’s experiences, is an account of courage and compassion in the face of trauma as a British airman embarks on a plan that risks all to feed a starving, war-stricken family. Creativia Publishing, 2019.
Sue’s current project, A Question of Country, is a novel exploring the migrant experience through the protagonist’s lifelong search for meaningful identity.

Passionate about peace and social justice issues, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue writing novels that address topics such as climate change, the effects of war, the treatment of refugees, feminism and racism. Sue intends to keep on writing for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.
Social Media Links – www.facebook.com/SueParrittAuthor/ Website: www.sueparritt.com

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The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl: a total pleasure to read

Synopsis
As the last train leaves, will life ever be the same?

Dorset 1935: Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But soon the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…

Present day: Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken.

When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past…

My review
Dual timeline stories seem to be all the rage at the moment, and when they’re as skilfully handled and beautifully written as this one then I’m really glad that they are!
So much goes on in this story, both in the present and past. We have misunderstandings, secrets, love, errors and atonement. There’s tension, fulfilment, disappointments and joy. As a reader you run a rollercoaster of emotions along with the characters.

Every character we meet is rounded, interesting and very persuasively portrayed. Settings are sharply detailed and convincing. That of the 1930s is particularly appealing. It was a time of great hardships – physical, financial and social – but there was also an air of overriding simplicity. That’s not to say the modern part of the story is inferior, because it isn’t, but I got a warmer feeling from the earlier timeline events.
This book is a total pleasure to read and I highly recommend it.

 

Purchase links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Stationmasters-Daughter-gripping-heartbreaking-historical-ebook/dp/B07P556918/
US – https://www.amazon.com/Stationmasters-Daughter-gripping-heartbreaking-historical-ebook/dp/B07P556918/

Author bio
KATHLEEN MCGURL lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Social media links
twitter @KathMcGurl
www.facebook.com/KathleenMcGurl/
About

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The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridge by Julie Stock: a book that will have you rushing back for seconds!

Synopsis

When Olivia goes to manage Finn’s failing bistro, will they end up sharing a table for two, or will it be a recipe for disaster?

Olivia Fuller longs to manage one of the restaurants in her father’s chain and to break free to live the independent life she’s wanted for so long. When her father finally puts his trust in her and sends her to a failing restaurant in Devon, she’s confident she can prove herself capable of doing the job.

Finn Anderson is about to lose his beloved seaside bistro, unless the bank can find a buyer to dig him out. When George Fuller offers Finn a deal, he has no choice but to accept if he wants any chance of getting his bistro back one day. And then the new manager arrives…

Even after meeting the prickly chef and discovering his complete lack of business skills,

Olivia is confident she can turn the struggling business round. But as Olivia and Finn start working together, a mutual attraction develops between them, and soon, nothing is going according to Olivia’s plan.

When there’s a real chance that the bistro might be sold off, Olivia and Finn determine to fight for it, united by their hard work and their growing feelings for each other.

But can they save the bistro and be together, or does destiny have a different path in mind?

A feel-good contemporary romance set in a bistro beside the sea in Devon.

 

My review

This is a book that will have you wanting to go back for seconds!

This is a very enjoyable, uplifting, interesting romcom. It has its tensions and teeterings on the brink of disaster, but that’s all part of this genre. The course of true love, just like life, never runs smoothly.

We have two voices in this book – Olivia’s and Finn’s. That’s the cherry on this already scrumptious cake. The counterpointing of their perceptions of each other and the ongoing situation is deliciously delightful and really adds to the story.

The author has a sure and light style, and a wonderful imagination in coming up with this lively, unique story. Everything, from the catchy, rhythmic title and joyful cover, to the beautifully described setting, to the sharp, snappy dialogue, to the rounded and complex characters we encounter is attractive and enjoyable.  It’s a positive delight to read.

 

Purchase  Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/Bistro-Watersmeet-Bridge-Julie-Stock-ebook/dp/B07V2K5K8S

UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Bistro-Watersmeet-Bridge-Julie-Stock-ebook/dp/B07V2K5K8S

 

About the author

Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in February 2015 and her second novel, The Vineyard in Alsace in March 2017. Over You (Sam’s Story) and Finding You (Jenna’s Story), her follow-up novellas to From Here to Nashville were published in 2018, making the From Here to You series complete. She has also published a boxed set of the From Here to You trilogy of books. If you’d like to sign up to her newsletter list, you can do so here: https://mailchi.mp/f3a7d28c0ab8/julie-stockcouk . As a thank you, you’ll be able to download Before You, the prequel story to the From Here to You series, for free.

You can connect with Julie via her website – www.julie-stock.co.uk , on Twitter – @wood_beez48, via her Facebook Author Page – www.facebook.com/JulieStockAuthor , and on Instagram – @julie.stockauthor. Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.

When she is not writing, she works in communications. She is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

 

And look! There’s a truly scrumptious giveaway too!

Giveaway to Win Signed copy of The Bistro by Watersmeet Bridget and goodies (UK Only)

The prize will contain

  • Signed paperback,
  • Notebook with front cover on
  • Postcard magnet with front cover on
  • Bookmark with front cover on
  • Bag of Devon fudge

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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/33c69494266/

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The Unlikely Occultist by Isobel Blackthorn: the life of a fascinating woman portrayed in an accessible, persuasive manner

The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey

Librarian Heather Brown discovers the fascinating life of Alice Bailey – a long forgotten occultist.
Back in 1931, Alice is preparing to give a speech at a Swiss summer school. But how can she stave the tide of hatred and greed set to bring the world to its knees?
Soon after, Alice is put on Hitler’s blacklist. What she doesn’t realize is the enormity of her influence to the world, and the real enemies who are much closer than she thinks.
A dynamic and complex figure, Alice Bailey’s reach was huge. She was influential among people and organizations of global power, especially the United Nations, and is widely regarded as the Mother of the New Age.
Yet today she is maligned by fundamentalist Christians, Theosophists, Jews, academics and above all, by conspiracy theorists. Are any of these groups justified in rejecting the unlikely occultist?
“Blackthorn’s exploration of Alice Bailey’s life and work provides a unique and intimate insight into Bailey’s life and the times in which she lived. For anyone seeking to explore the roots of Bailey’s influence on the New Age movement as well as her unsought role as the bête noire of the conspiracy scene, there’s no better place to begin.” – Aaron John Gulyas, associate professor and author of Conspiracy Theories

My review
This makes for truly fascinating reading. It’s also a timely read for anyone with UK connections. Alice Bailey worked ceaselessly to unite her fellow citizens who were hell-bent on destroying each other and their countries. Currently we see the peaceful Europe for which she strove under dire threat by a group of people with the same sort of populist tendencies that reared their ugly heads in the 1930s.
We have two time-lines: the modern one concerning Heather who is intrigued by Alice Bailey’s life and works, and then move back in time to see Alice herself. Both Heather and Alice fulfil the role of unlikely occultists, as too does Heather’s Aunt Hilary, so that’s a nice extra touch of complexity.
The author has a very readable, engaging style. She writes clearly and conversationally. We learn a lot, an awful lot, from the book but there’s never info-dumping or a loss of pace and interest.
Even if you’re someone who might be tempted to dismiss spiritualism in all its various guises as ‘bunkum’, do at least give this book a chance. It’s so intelligently written that I’m sure you’ll at least see if not understand why so many people give it credence.

In summary, this is a persuasively written novel that cleverly combines fact with a little fiction in order to thoroughly entertain as well as enlighten.

Purchase Link – viewbook.at/Occultist

Author bio

Isobel Blackthorn is a prolific novelist of unique and engaging fiction. She writes across a range of genres, including psychological thrillers, gripping mysteries, captivating travel fiction and hilarious dark satire.

Isobel holds a PhD in Western Esotericism for her ground-breaking study of the texts of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey. Her engagement with Alice Bailey’s life and works has culminated in the biographical novel, The Unlikely Occultist.

Social media links
http://isobelblackthorn.com
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The Oshun Diaries by Diane Esguerra

The Oshun Diaries

High priestesses are few and far between, white ones in Africa even more so. When Diane Esguerra hears of a mysterious Austrian woman worshipping the Ifa river goddess Oshun in Nigeria, her curiosity is aroused.

It is the start of an extraordinary friendship that sustains Diane through the death of her son and leads to a quest to take part in Oshun rituals. Prevented by Boko Haram from returning to Nigeria, she finds herself at Ifa shrines in Florida amid vultures, snakes, goats’ heads, machetes, a hurricane and a cigar-smoking god. Her quest steps up a gear when Beyoncé channels Oshun at the Grammys and the goddess goes global.

Mystifying, harrowing and funny, The Oshun Diaries explores the lure of Africa, the life of a remarkable woman and the appeal of the goddess as a symbol of female empowerment.

Trailer – https://vimeo.com/340907769

 

My review

This is an engrossing book. It explores a part of the world, Nigeria, then I suspect many European and American readers know very little about. In The Oshun Diaries we see both the mystic and grimmer parts of it and it makes for a fascinating read. The former is enlightening but the latter is depressing at times with corruption so rife.

The main thing I brought away from this book was what a courageous woman Diane is. She goes the upheaval of divorce, uncertainties at work, then through the shocking and harrowing experience in losing her beautiful son, and yet, with the help of the goddess, she finds resilience and the strength to go on. For her Oshun proved to be a focus for her considerable determination and resolve, and beyond doubt a crucial ingredient of her life.

The book is very moving at times, wryly amusing at others, even upbeat, and always full of sharp observation. It really is fascinating in depicting how other cultures live and they view the world and beyond.

Eye-opening and admirable.  

 

Purchase Links

Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 30% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkout – BLOGTOUROSHUN

http://eye-books.com/books/the-high-priestess-of-oshun

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Oshun-Diaries-Encounters-African-Goddess-ebook/dp/B07SYLJ9YC

Amazon US –  https://www.amazon.com/Oshun-Diaries-Encounters-African-Goddess-ebook/dp/B07SYLJ9YC

 

Author Bio

Diane Esguerra is an English writer and psychotherapist. For a number of years she worked as a performance artist in Britain, Europe and the United States, and she has written for theatre and television. She is the recipient of a Geneva-Europe Television Award and a Time Out Theatre Award. She is previously the author of Junkie Buddha, the uplifting story of her journey to Peru to scatter her late son’s ashes.

She lives in Surrey with her partner David.

 

Social Media Links

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianeLEsguerra

 

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of The Oshun Diaries (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK 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/33c69494265/