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The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

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

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Dear Jane by Allie Cresswell: Jane Austen would have approved!

Synopsis
The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane recounts events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma; the formative childhood years of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. Readers of Emma will be familiar with the conclusion of Jane and Frank’s story, but Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over its remainder.

My review
I hadn’t read the previous books in this series, but that didn’t stop me enjoying this book immensely.

It’s a bold step to take on some of Jane Austen’s characters and write new stories for them, but this author does it very successfully. She captures the atmosphere and time of Jane Austen’s novels with her use of language, social interactions and imagery, but clearly marks her own stamp too. I definitely prefer her Jane Fairfax to the rather remote one who appears in ‘Emma’, but then she’s intended to be somewhat mysterious in that novel. It’s intriguing to discover the possible events that might have accompanied these well-known literary personages, and I’m sure that Jane Austen would have approved!

The author must have done a tremendous amount of research into the Georgian era and captures it for us so convincingly.

Clever, imaginative and respectful of the original novels from which this springboards, Dear Jane is great fun and very entertaining to read.

Purchase Links:
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Jane-Highbury-Trilogy-inspired-ebook/dp/B07PXGL93S
US – https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Jane-Highbury-Trilogy-inspired-ebook/dp/B07PXGL93S

About the author
Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England.
Dear Jane is her ninth novel.

Social Media Links

www.allie-cresswell.com
https://www.facebook.com/alliescribbler/
@alliescribbler

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Green Gold by Gabriel Hemery

Green Gold by Gabriel Hemery

  • Publisher:Unbound Digital (18 April 2019)
  • Language:English
  • ISBN-10:1789650232
  • ISBN-13:978-1789650235

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Green-Gold-Victorian-Hunter-Jeffrey/dp/1789650232/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_3?keywords=green+gold+by+gabriel+hemery&qid=1554145936&s=gateway&sr=8-3-fkmrnull

BLURB

In 1850, young Scottish plant hunter John Jeffrey was despatched by an elite group of Victorian subscribers to seek highly prized exotic trees in North America. An early letter home told of a 1,200-mile transcontinental journey by small boat and on foot.  Later, tantalising collections of seeds and plants arrived from British Columbia, Oregon and California, yet early promise soon withered. Four years after setting out, John Jeffrey, and his journals, disappeared without a trace.  Was he lost to love, violence or the Gold Rush? Green Gold combines meticulous research with the fictional narrative of Jeffrey’s lost journals, revealing an extraordinary adventure. 

 

MY REVIW

There are two timelines in this fascination novel: the modern-day, when an intern researcher at the Arnold Arboretum, Helen, is given the job of sorting through a large chest of papers and journals, and the 1850s when we either travel with John Jeffrey through the pages of his journal or read correspondence to or from him, or concerning him. This novel thus encompasses three literary styles – first person narrative, third person narrative and epistolary – all of which the author handles very skilfully and convincingly.

Essentially, author Gabriel Hemery has provided us with his version of the missing journals of the young Botanist John Jeffrey. He has used extant factual historical documents on which to base his creation. He has totally succeeded in conjuring up for us a convincing human being, with flaws as well as many strengths. We see John’s emotional and personal side as well as his crisp, efficient, academic one.

The author excellently captures both time periods that he portrays. Small details and sharp observations make the settings very real, as does the language used. The novel is thus very atmospheric.

If you have any interest at all in botany or the Victorian era – but quite frankly even if you don’t, since it’s such an enjoyable read! – you will thoroughly this intriguing and elucidating novel.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gabriel Hemery is an author, tree photographer and forest scientist.
Books by Gabriel Hemery:

GREEN GOLD: THE EPIC TRUE STORY OF VICTORIAN PLANT HUNTER JOHN JEFFREY,
is a fictional biography, combining meticulous research with the fictional narrative of Jeffrey’s lost journals. Publishing with Unbound in spring 2019.

–*–

THE NEW SYLVA: A DISCOURSE OF FOREST & ORCHARD TREES FOR THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY, was published to wide acclaim by Bloomsbury in 2014. Its 400 pages feature more than 100 tree species, accompanied by 200 specially commissioned pen and ink drawings made by Sarah Simblet. Its publication coincided with the 350th anniversary of John Evelyn’s Sylva (1664).

Excellently Produced Masterpiece – Beautiful book and very well produced. A worthy successor to the original work that inspired this volume. *****

Five Stars – Beautiful! I brought this as a gift for someone who works in the tree industry and they absolutely love it! *****

–*–

DON’T LOOK BACK featured as a short story in the woodland anthology, ARBOREAL, published by Little Toller Books in 2016.

–*–

Gabriel Hemery co-founded Sylva Foundation, an environmental charity, and writes a popular tree and forestry blog. He lives near Oxford in England.

http://www.gabrielhemery.com/

Twitter : @GabrielHemery

 

 

 

 

 

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Coming Home To Wishington Bay by Maxine Morrey: it’ll make you smile and sigh

Synopsis

Home is where the heart is…

Holly doesn’t have time for a holiday this year. But when her job threatens to send her over the brink, her boss insists she take a sabbatical. So she packs her bags and escapes to her beloved grandmother Gigi’s house on Wishington Bay, which has sat empty since Gigi passed away.

But Holly’s dreams of a coastal escape take an unexpected turn. Holly didn’t expect to spend time with any man this summer – let alone an Aussie Adonis…but when she meets her next door neighbour Gabe and his little dog Bryan, it’s clear her quiet summer of strolling along the sand and wandering through the seaside village’s tiny streets on her own will come with a hefty dose of distraction.

With a summer to fill and Gigi’s wonderful and surprising house to sort through, Holly knew it would be a summer packed with old memories. She just didn’t expect to make so many new ones…

Coming Home to Wishington Bay is the new gorgeous uplifting rom-com from Maxine Morrey.

 

My review

This book has everything you want from a romantic comedy – gorgeous but slightly flawed male and female leads, misunderstandings, beautiful settings and a unique take on the perennially enjoyable ‘boy meets girl’ storyline.

Maxine Morrey creates wonderful characters and interactions. Holly and Gabe are both strong, solid characters on the outside but with hidden loneliness and vulnerabilities. Thank goodness that grandmother Gigi has given them the opportunity to discover themselves and each other. Although she never appears in person in the book, since it’s her death that has given Holly the chance to come to Wishington Bay, she’s a crucial element of the book.

There’s lots of humour but also heart-in-the-mouth ‘will they, won’t they’ moments. The plot is clever and interesting, and very well thought out.

This is a super and memorable romcom that will make you smile and sigh.

 

Purchase Links:

UKhttps://www.amazon.co.uk/Coming-Home-Wishington-Maxine-Morrey-ebook/dp/B07JH9MW41

US – https://www.amazon.com/Coming-Home-Wishington-Maxine-Morrey-ebook/dp/B07JH9MW41

 

About the author

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten.

As time went by, she continued to write, but ‘normal’ work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a local history book on Brighton. However, novels are her first love.

In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK’s ‘Write Christmas’ competition with her first romantic comedy, ‘Winter’s Fairytale’.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words loves to read, sew and listen to podcasts. Being a fan of tea and cake, she can (should!) also be found doing something vaguely physical at the gym.

 

Follow Maxine Morrey

Website           www.scribblermaxi.co.uk

Twitter                 @Scribbler_Maxi

Instagram            @scribbler_maxi

Facebook            www.Facebook.com/MaxineMorreyAuthor

Pinterest             ScribblerMaxi

 

Do enter the wonderful giveaway!

Giveaway to Win a Wishington Bay notebook, a Wishington Bay canvas shopper bag, and an e copy of the book. (Open to 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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494220/

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A clean Canvas by Elizabeth Mundy: a masterpiece of a cosy mystery!

Synopsis

Crime always leaves a stain…

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner, dusts off her detective skills when a masterpiece is stolen from a gallery she cleans with her cousin Sarika.  When Sarika goes missing too, accusations start to fly.

 

Convinced her cousin is innocent, Lena sweeps her way through the secrets of the London art scene. But with the evidence against Sarika mounting and the police on her trail, Lena needs to track down the missing painting if she is to clear her cousin.

 

Embroiling herself in the sketchy world of thwarted talents, unpaid debts and elegant fraudsters, Lena finds that there’s more to this gallery than meets the eye.

 

My review

From the witty title on the cover to the unexpected ending, this is a delightfully energetic, crisp book that keeps you thoroughly entertained.

Cleaner Lena is a very likeable, go-ahead kind of heroine. As a settled immigrant, still something of an outsider, she thus casts a sharper, more critical and occasionally merciless eye on her surroundings. She also comes across hints of discrimination, which adds authenticity. She deals tactfully and resourcefully with all and any obstacles she faces.

Lena’s cousin, the person whom Lena delegated to lock up the art gallery, becomes the prime suspect for a valuable painting’s disappearance. The gallery manager, who should have been the one to take responsibility for its security, seems only too relieved to have a scapegoat, especially a ‘foreign’ one. Everyone is quite happy to jump on board with him so Lena has her work cut out to find out the truth.

Despite the seriousness of a few issues touched up by having an expat heroine, there is plenty of humour, wit and quirky cleverness in this novel. The plot is swift-moving and well thought out, and our cast of characters is irresistibly fascinating. The book serves up everything you want from a cosy mystery, and a little more in terms of its fresh approach with this particular heroine.

Really excellent and enjoyable.

 

Purchase Link – amzn.to/2VWJ3ZD 

About the author

Elizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. An English Literature graduate from Edinburgh University, Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and two young children. A Clean Canvas is the second book in the Lena Szarka mystery series about a Hungarian cleaner who turns detective.

Social Media Links –

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @ElizabethEMundy

www.elizabethmundy.com

Please enter the giveaway!

Giveaway to Win a Winsor & Newton pocket sized Watercolour set and a signed copy of A Clean Canvas. 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/33c69494215/?

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A Little Hotel in Cornwall by Laura Briggs: sparkling summer fun

Happy publication day to Laura Briggs and her lovely, uplifting novel ‘A Little Hotel in Cornwall’.

A Little Hotel in Cornwall

Struggling American waitress and aspiring novelist Maisie Clark dreams of becoming a full-time writer — even though in real life she’s just lost her chance at an exclusive writer’s mentorship program that would give her novel its big break. Desperate, she decides to take a chance and ask her favourite writer, a celebrated but reclusive English novelist, to help her find a second chance.

When she receives the author’s reply in an envelope with a Cornish postmark, Maisie decides not to take the writer’s half-hearted ‘no’ for an answer. With nothing to lose, she takes off for the author’s last known location, a beautiful hotel on Cornwall’s western coast. But when the hotel mistakes her for the latest applicant for a maid’s position, Maisie finds herself given an opportunity too good to lose … and a chance for a summer adventure far bigger than she ever imagined.

Surrounded by breathtaking Cornwall and working in an elegant hotel, Maisie’s world becomes one of secret identities, quirky friends, and unintentional mishaps — and despite reminders of past relationship disasters, a certain handsome, charming local resident Sidney Daniels has her conflicted about her heart’s desires, too.

Will Maisie find the chance she’s been waiting for — and a possible new romance — in her perfect Cornish summer?

 

My review

This is a delightful book. Our heroine, Maisie, is desperate to become a novel and needs someone to mentor her. The most suitable person she can think of now resides in a hotel in Cornwall. So what does her determined young American lady do? Take a plane and track him down, of course! Throw in some mistaken identities, love interest and other distractions, and the result is a sparkling, interesting and distinctive novel that’s thoroughly entertaining and a real pleasure to read.

Maisie is a wonderful character, so genuine and committed. You could nearly say pushy, but because her heart is in the right place and she’s driven by enthusiasm rather than conceit or entitlement then you cheer her on in her endeavours to get what she wants.

The setting for most of the story in Cornwall is superb with so much detail and atmosphere. The story is intriguing and original and beautifully told. It’s a brilliant book!

Purchase Link: http://smarturl.it/alittlehotelbook1

 

About the author

Laura Briggs is the author of several chick lit and romance stories, including the Top 100 Amazon UK seller ‘A Wedding in Cornwall’. She has a fondness for vintage style dresses (especially ones with polka dots), and reads everything from Jane Austen to modern day mysteries. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family, caring for her pets, going to movies and plays, and trying new restaurants.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaperDollWrites

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/authorlaurabriggs/

 

 

 

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Justice Gone by N Lombardi Jr: so much to admire

Synopsis

A beaten homeless vet. Three cops gunned down. A multistate manhunt. The trial of the decade.

A new kind of legal thriller

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

 

My review

There is so much to admire in this book, everything from its clever format of essentially being three exciting stories in one, to the difficult issues it tackles, to the excellent and atmospheric writing.

N Lombardi Jr doesn’t hesitate to shock us in his writing, although never gratuitously so. He gives us a good shaking just  by presenting us with contemporary injustices and discriminations that are going on around us and that we’d normally prefer to ignore. The callous neglect of war veterans suffering from PTSD is the main subject under scrutiny, but police brutality, social intolerance and summary justice all get a big look in.

The two pertinent crimes in this novel – the beating to death of war vet Jay and then the shooting of three cops – occur early on, and the majority of the book deals with the aftermath of these awful events. We follow the flight of the chief suspect, Donald Darfield, and then his capture and trial. The latter might appear to be less than exciting, but trust me it isn’t. There’s a lot of tension and excitement during it, and throughout your blood pressure just keeps going up in response to the bigotry and deceit that crops up!

We meet some fascinating characters in the book, from Jay himself, whom we get to know from flashbacks to the past, to his comrade Donald, to the strong doctor, Tessa Thorpe, who counsels the troubled veterans, to the eccentric, controversial defence lawyer, Nathaniel. They’re all so unique, so human, so convincing.

This powerful, compelling book has a startling ending. That’s all I’ll say!

It’s the first in a series, and I can’t wait to read more by this excellent author. His imagery, characterisation and creation of scenes and settings are all amazing, and despite an overall impression of understatement, as in there’s no unnecessary sensationalism and everything is so carefully, methodically constructed,  this novel is one of the most impactful I’ve come across in a long time.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Justice-Gone-N-Lombardi-Jr/dp/1785358766

Amazon US

https://www.amazon.com/Justice-Gone-N-Lombardi-Jr/dp/1785358766

Barnes and Noble

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/justice-gone-n-lombardi-jr/1128875661?ean=9781785358760

Book Depository

https://www.bookdepository.com/Justice-Gone-N-Lombardi-Jr/9781785358760?ref=grid-view&qid=1544400889897&sr=1-1

Waterstones

https://www.waterstones.com/book/justice-gone/n-lombardi-jr/9781785358760

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/ww/en/ebook/justice-gone

About the author

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Social Media Links –

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6982373.N_Lombardi_Jr_

http://www.author-n-lombardi-jr.com/

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Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue by Samantha Henthorn

Edna and Genevieve Escape From Curmudgeon Avenue by Samantha Henthorn
• Paperback: 236 pages
• Publisher: Independently published (7 Feb. 2019)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 1790417325
• ISBN-13: 978-1790417322

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Edna-Genevieve-Escape-Curmudgeon-Avenue/dp/1790417325/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1553018869&sr=8-4&keywords=samantha+henthorn

BLURB
When Genevieve Dubois returned to Curmudgeon Avenue, this opened up the opportunity for Edna to realise her long held dream of escaping to France. But as Edna embraces all things European, Genevieve appears to shy away from her French roots.
Meanwhile, we return to Curmudgeon Avenue for the third time where the wind has blown in the truth about the tall, handsome stranger. Although Harold and Edith were relieved to discover that he is neither an elephant detective, nor a fraud investigator, Toonan had proved to be a bit of a disappointment. Matteo Dubois has been looking for his mother, Genevieve Dubois, and although he did not find her on Curmudgeon Avenue, you have probably guessed that he is about to cause a disturbance. Finally there is hope that the set of nincompoops that live here currently will move out, and leave me in peace!
This delightful comedy romance is the third book in the Curmudgeon Avenue will make you smile.

REVIEW
I haven’t read the preceding novels in the series, so it did take a little bit of working out as to who was who and the relationships between them, but it’s still an enjoyable read. More background info would just help get into the swing of things quicker.
Our lead characters, Edna and Genevieve, are a lively pair. Like all the people we meet in this madcap tumble they’re somewhat off-the-wall and quirky. They’re in France, and Genevieve immerses herself totally. Edna is less enthusiastic about the whole thing. Why they’re here becomes clearer as the story progresses. There are a few skeletons dancing in closets behind them.
Action is split between our duo in France, and England, where Harold, Edith, Wantha and Ricky are amongst the main dramatis personae. There’s comedy in their antics and machinations.
I found the novel a little rough round the edges in terms of presentation but the quirkiness suits the off-beat story and cast of characters. This cast includes the house in Curmudgeon Avenue itself, which doesn’t have much to say early on but takes on more importance as we read on.

All in all a lively, breathless and definitely unique story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samantha Henthorn was born in 1970something in Bury, England. She has had short stories and poetry published in magazines. Her books include the Curmudgeon Avenue series (The Terraced House Diaries and The Harold and Edith adventures). ‘1962’, ‘Quirky Tales to Make Your Day’ and ‘Piccalilly’

She has two cats, one dog, one gorgeous grown up daughter and one husband. When not reading or writing, she is listening to heavy metal and would be thrilled to bits if someone read her books.

Blog : samanthahenthornfindstherightwords.WordPress.com

Twitter: @SamanthaHfinds

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The Worth of a Penny by Jess B Moore: utterly enchanting

The Worth of a Penny

Sweetheart Penelope Davies is what her daddy calls gullible, right after he told her she was stupid and worthless. With her cheek red from being slapped by him, and her heart trampled by a worthless boyfriend, she packs up and follows her half-brother to Fox River, North Carolina, in need of a fresh start.

Dominic MacKenna is the youngest of five brothers, the friendly one with a killer smile and easy laugh. His brothers are all grown up, and one by one they’re flying the nest, leaving him out of sorts and unsure of his place. Who is he if not the youngest MacKenna?

Penny falls in with the MacKenna brothers, welcomed in as family, and offered the kind of love and support she never knew existed. With a new job and a lot of determination, she is finding out what she’s capable of. The last thing she needs now is to fall in love with the most notorious flirt in town.

Dominic falls for the sweet strong girl with a penchant for random facts and quirky homemade dresses. All he wants is to show Penny how wonderful she is, how smart and funny, and how desired and loved—even if he has to do it as her friend.

 

My review

I didn’t want this book to end! It’s a beautiful, enchanting story, with a lovely heroine. And just like Penny, the book is sweet but there’s a lot of strength beneath the surface in the form of determined characters and some tough issues.

The title is clever: a penny isn’t apparently worth much, and our Penny felt like that with her unforgiving family and first boyfriend. However, without pennies we’d never have pounds, and in the same way Penny gradually learns, thanks to the kind Dominic, that she is valuable, deserves to be cherished and has a lot to contribute.

The setting of Fox River is beautifully described and it quickly feels like home. We soon get to know all the characters, nice and not-so-nice. This is the third book in a series but we’re given all the information we need to enjoy this story to its fullest.

This is a novel of second chances handled in a unique and thoroughly enjoyable way. Be prepared to fun the full gamut of emotions from sadness and frustration to joy and satisfaction whilst in this author’s company. A lovely book absolutely to be recommended.

 

Purchase Link – mybook.to/theworthofapenny

 

Author biography

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jess B Moore is a writer of love stories. When she’s not writing, she’s busy mothering her talented and stubborn children, reading obscene numbers of books, and knitting scarves she’ll likely never finish.

Jess lives in small town North Carolina with her bluegrass obsessed family. She takes too many pictures of her cats, thinking the Internet loves them as much as she does. She is a firm believer of swapping stories over coffee or wine, and that there should always be dark chocolate involved.

Her novels combine her interests in family, music, and small towns into thoughtful tales of growing up and falling in love.

Social Media Links –
Website:
  https://jessbmoore.com
Facebook:
 https://www.facebook.com/authorjessb
Twitter
https://twitter.com/authorjessb
Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/authorjessb/

 

 

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One Last Summer by Victoria Connelly: touching and inspiring

One Last Summer

They have the whole summer ahead of them. Is it enough to rekindle the friendship they once shared?

Harriet Greenleaf dreams of spending the summer in a beautiful ancient priory on the Somerset coast with her two best friends—but her dream is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a chance to reconnect three lives that have drifted apart; on the other, she has a devastating secret to share that will change everything between them forever.

First to arrive is Audrey—the workaholic who’s heading for a heart attack unless she slows down and makes time for herself. Then Lisa, the happy-go-lucky flirt who’s always struggled to commit to anyone—or anything. Ever the optimist, can Harriet remind them of the joy in their lives and the importance of celebrating good friendship before it’s gone?

Through the highs and lows of a long, glorious summer, these three women will rediscover what it means to be there for each other—before they face the hardest of goodbyes.

 

My review

The theme of friends who have drifted reuniting for a special occasion of some kind is quite a common one in women’s literature but also an enduring one. Friendship is such a vital part of life, and there are so many variations on the theme that are possible it will never become stale or predictable.

In One Last Summer the friends concerned are Harrie, Audrey and Lisa. All three have assorted issues in their lives, but they plan to leave these behind when they get together for a holiday in the countryside at Harrie’s expense. It’s as though they’ve never been apart when they meet up again, as is the way with true friendships. Unintentionally all three women make some very important discoveries about themselves and each other, with a little outside help.

Given the circumstances surrounding Harrie, the book could easily have become mawkish. You’ll certainly be reaching for a tissue, or two, but you won’t be downhearted. This book is full of affirmation and celebration, promise and fulfillment. It’s very touching, sensitively written and inspiring. Perfect holiday reading.

Purchase Link

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Last-Summer-Victoria-Connelly-ebook/dp/B07G38S71K

US – https://www.amazon.com/One-Last-Summer-Victoria-Connelly-ebook/dp/B07G38S71K

 

About the author 

Victoria Connelly studied English literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens.

She is the author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.

Ms Connelly loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden, with either a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

Her website is www.victoriaconnelly.com, and readers can follow her on Twitter @VictoriaDarcy and on Instagram @VictoriaConnellyAuthor.

Social Media Links –

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/312085782631729/

Twitter: @VictoriaDarcy

Instagram: @VictoriaConnellyAuthor