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An Island Christmas by Helena Halme

On the windswept Scandinavian Åland Islands, the festive season is snowy and chilly—yet breathtakingly beautiful.

It’s time for Alicia to enjoy her first Christmas back on her beloved Islands with her family. There’ll be traditional dancing around the tree and sipping mulled wine in front of a cozy fire. But peace is broken by Alicia’s estranged husband, Liam, who springs an unwelcome and devastating surprise, while her ex-lover, Patrick, temps her with an altogether different kind of future. Alicia faces impossible choices to keep her family together.

With her world crashing around her, can Alicia create the idyllic Island Christmas she’s always dreamt about?

Meanwhile, Brit, Alicia’s best friend, returns to the Islands to lick her wounds after a particularly bloody break-up with an Italian chef. When she meets her new boss, the Captain of a Baltic cruise liner, sparks fly. Brit can’t help but fall quickly in love with Jukka, but when she discovers his murky past, she fears her heart is about to be broken yet again. Are the rumors about Jukka true, or just typical small island gossip?

Join this quirky Scandinavian island community for a Christmas you’ll never forget!

An Island Christmas is a sequel to Helena’s first novel set on Åland, The Island Affair, but it can also be read as a standalone book.

 

My review

I do enjoy this author’s atmospheric and complex novels. Always so much more to them that meets the eye at first glance.

‘An Island Christmas’ is the second in a series – you definitely hope it’s not the last! – but works perfectly well as a standalone.

The story centres on three strong women – Alicia, Brita and Frida. They all have some tough decisions to make concerning their futures. They can make changes and help themselves, or they can just drift on in less than ideal circumstances. They are all very likeable people, all flawed, all very convincing and ‘real’. You can’t help getting drawn into their lives.

The traditional Scandinavian setting is about as festive as it gets with snow, ice and wonderful food. But this isn’t a slushy, over-sentimentalised Christmas story, thank goodness. Just like no-one’s Christmas is ever completely perfect, unlike those we see in films or TV series, this seasonal novel has its gritty, rough-edged, messy side. That makes it all the more believable. There’s even a hint of menace.

Incredibly well written and enjoyable, do add this one to your Christmas reading list.

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Publisher: Newhurst Press (28 Nov. 2019)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A prize-winning author, Helena Halme writes contemporary fiction with a hint of both Nordic Noir and romance. She’s a former BBC journalist, bookseller and magazine editor. Originally from Finland where she gained an MSc in Marketing, she also holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and writes in English.
Helena acts as Nordic Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors and helps other writers publish and market their books.
Helena has published seven fiction titles, including The English Heart, a best-selling Nordic romance, which won an Awesome Indies badge on publication. The bittersweet 1980s love story between a Finnish student and a British Navy officer is now a series, including a prequel novella, The Young Heart, the sequels The Faithful HeartThe Good Heart and Helena’s latest title, The True Heart, book four in The Nordic Heart Series. Helena has also published a non-fiction title, Write Your Story: Turn Your Life into Fiction in 10 Easy Steps.

Helena is addicted to Nordic Noir and dances to Abba songs when nobody’s watching.

Website: http://www.helenahalme.com/
Twitter :
@helenahalme
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Facebook
Instagram
@helenahalme

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Eve’s Christmas by Julie Butterfield: festive franticness and fun!

 

Synopsis

Working for a department store where Christmas arrives in August, Eve prefers her own festivities to be low key with nothing more complicated than an oven ready turkey and frozen peas while she spends the day in her pyjamas. Unfortunately, this year her husband has invited his best friend to visit, the glamorous and sophisticated Abby, and Eve reluctantly decides that she needs to inject a little sparkle into their laid back and slightly shabby Christmas. So the celebrations are upgraded to include champagne and canapes along with homemade gravy and organic turkey and plans are made for a Christmas that looks as though it has emerged from the pages of a glossy magazine.
But even the best laid plans can go wrong and as Eve struggles with her mini Yorkshire puddings and an interfering cat, she is suddenly faced with an unexpected guest and an explosive secret that threatens to put her vision of a perfect Christmas in jeopardy.

My review

This is a delightful, funny novel but also acts as a cautionary tale about getting too would up about Christmas, and also the dangers of keeping up with the Joneses. It’s far better to be true to yourself and not put on an act. But that’s hard to stick to when the pressure’s on.

Eve is a fabulous character – warm, loving and loyal. Her daughter Alice is a lovely reminder that not all teens are moody and unhelpful!

There’s everything you expect from a family Christmas, that will never go as smoothly as hoped, and that’s even less likely when there’s an unexpected and generally unwelcome guest. This adds tension, misunderstandings and posturing. It becomes an emotional maelstrom!

The writing is deft and clever, and the novel is wonderfully entertaining and festive.

 Purchase Links

Amazon UK


Amazon US

Giveaway

Win a Paperback copy of Eve’s Christmas (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.

a Rafflecopter Giveaway

About the author

Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of ‘always wanted to write’ authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper – or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.
It has to be pointed out that her first novel, ‘Did I Mention I Won The Lottery’ is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband – even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him!

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Christmas in Chamonix by Sasha Wagstaff

Synopsis
When life goes downhill… head to the snow-capped Alps for roaring fires, apres-ski and festive romance.
Lily Jackson loves Christmas. She also loves her childhood friend Jamie, but when her plan to kick-start their romance goes drastically wrong and her job gets her down, Lily decides it’s time to make changes. A job opens up in snowy Chamonix and egged on by her best friend Imogen, Lily decides to go for it.
As Lily settles in with the eccentric Devereux family at their gorgeous boutique ski hotel, she starts to confront her past. But when she meets handsome ski instructor Luc, who hates Christmas, Lily might have taken on more than she can handle.
Can Lily make a new life – with or without skis? And can she get Luc to see how truly romantic Christmas can be?
A heart-warming, feel-good romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Carole Matthews and Tilly Tennant.

My review
This is a fabulously festive story with skiing, snowy mountains and delicious food. We have two strong, interesting and attractive lead characters in Lily and Luc. The setting in Chamonix is beautifully described. You can feel the chill in the air and smell the scents and hear the sounds of a busy resort.
There’s added depth to the novel with the fact that it’s more than romance. Lily faces real fears and learns to overcome them, something that is never easy. She has to deal with a huge disappointment too, but she’s courageous, resourceful and determined. She develops before our eyes as the story progresses.
There’s lots that fun in the novel. Lily loves Christmas, but Luc doesn’t so there’s some interesting tension there. Luc is another very rounded and deep character. He’s charming, patient and he too develops along the way.
The pace is steady and the plot captivating, tantalising and ultimately very satisfying.
This is a super Christmassy, uplifting and romantic book to while away the hours until Father Christmas comes down your chimney.

Purchase link

Author bio
Sasha Wagstaff learned foreign languages, and imagined she might eventually get a glamorous job speaking French. After climbing her way up the banking ladder, Sasha started idly mapping out the beginnings of a novel on an old laptop. When she realised her characters were more real to her than dividends and corporate actions ever could be, she left her job to become a writer. She also writes under the pseudonym of Ella Harper.

Social media links
twitter @canelo_co
@Ella__Harper
facebook.com/canelobooks/

 

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Snowflakes over Moondance Cottage by Rosie Green

When Jess Thornton’s dad was lost at sea, the family coped in different ways, alone in their grief. Now, her mum seems to be going off the rails and her sister, Isla, who moved to France, is now back and determined to get their old family home on the market. But the last thing Jess wants this Christmas is for renovations to start on the house. It’s sure to stir up all sorts of memories she’s desperate to avoid. And to make things worse, Isla appears to have hired the most obnoxious builder in the world to do the work. Jess could ignore the fact that women seem to be putty in his hands. But what she finds harder to ignore is the frisson she gets every time she squeezes past him in the mess that is now their beloved old home! Can the family finally start talking and find a way to move on from the past this Christmas?

My review

I am such a fan of this author! Her books are always beautifully written and uplifting, but not always plain sailing. There’s lots of emotional ups and downs – Rosie Green knows how to tug on our heartstrings!

This novel sees love, loss, friendship, family loyalty and tensions, and that’s just for starters, so combined with a versatile and interesting plot you never know what the next page will bring.

Jess and Isla are wonderful characters, very different and neither of them perfect, but they muddle through. Isla perhaps takes a little time to warm to, whereas Jess, with her heart on her sleeve, is someone we would like as a friend as soon as we meet her.

This book is easy and totally delightful to read. It has a festive background and setting and makes for a perfect read in the run-up to Christmas.

Purchase Links

UK –

US – https://www.amazon.com/Snowflakes-over-Moondance-Cottage-sparkling-ebook/dp/B07XGDZ4Z2

Author bio

Rosie 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 around life in a village cafe. The latest, ‘Bonfires & Hot Chocolate at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, is out now.

Watch out for ‘A Winter Wedding at the Little Duck Pond Cafe’, which will be published Christmas 2019.

Follow Rosie on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Rosie_Green1988

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The Case of the Reincarnated Client by Tarquin Hall

When a young woman comes forward saying she’s the reincarnation of Riya Kaur, a wife and mother who vanished during the bloody 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Vish Puri is dismissive. He’s busy enough dealing with an irate matrimonial client whose daughter is complaining about her groom’s thunderous snoring. Puri’s indomitable Mummy-ji however is adamant the client is genuine. How else could she so accurately describe under hypnosis Riya Kaur’s life and final hours?

Driven by a sense of duty – the original case was his late father’s – Puri manages to acquire the police file only to find that someone powerful has orchestrated a cover-up. Forced into an alliance with his mother that tests his beliefs and high blood pressure as never before, it’s only by delving into the past the help of his reincarnated client that Puri can hope to unlock the truth.

 

My review

I’m kicking myself that I’ve only now discovered this fabulous series. But better late than never!

The Case of the Reincarnated Client is the fifth novel featuring Vish Puri as its hero. Or rather anti-hero, since he’s an unassuming, kind man who much prefers the quiet life and really doesn’t want to be called on to do heroic acts. He is very much at the beck and call of Mummy-ji, who is actually the driving force behind this novel in that she insists that Vish takes this case on. Poor man, he has no choice!

The setting is modern-day Mumbai and the atmosphere is one of endless noise, colour and activity. The pace of life is frenetic, yet somehow it doesn’t sweep Vish along with it. He takes his time, especially over meals, and remains sedate, almost ponderous, but resolute.

Not only are we thoroughly entertained in this book but we learn some Indian history and get a revealing glimpse of its modern culture too.

All the characters we come across are fascinating, most of them borderline eccentric if not beyond, and they are all a joy to encounter. There’s lots of humour and quirkiness in the novel and it’s one that really gets under your skin and won’t give you any rest until you’ve finished it. You just have to know what unexpected thing is going to happen next!

An excellent book that I wholeheartedly recommend.

 

Purchase Links

UK –


US – https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0727888781

About the author

Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has previously lived in the USA, Pakistan, India, Kenya and Turkey. He now divides his time between the UK and India and is married to BBC reporter and presenter Anu Anand. He is the author of four previous Vish Puri mysteries and The Delhi Detective’s Handbook.

Social Media Links:

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Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman

Christmas and romance are in the air…

It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.

So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?

Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!

 

My review

I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this Christmassy treat from Lucy Coleman’s as I’ve loved all the other books by her that I’ve read. And I was right!

This is a charming and uplifting story that will get you feeling very festive. The theme of co-workers or friends pretending to relatives encountered over the holiday period to be in a relationship is one we’re familiar with but this author handles it in a very fresh and original way.

Cary and Leesa are both workaholics with emotional baggage that has made them close themselves off to an extent. They’ve poured their energy into their careers, but perhaps its time they gave priority to themselves.

The background of familiar, familial bickering and tension mixed in with the love that we get in the scenes with the relatives is very enjoyable, also warming and a wonderful reminded that although our families frequently drive us up the wall, we wouldn’t want to be without them. Not really!

Highly entertaining, this feel-good festive romcom will leave you with a smile on your face and a glow in your heart.

 

Purchase Link –


Author bio 

From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. She writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.

 

Social Media Links –

Website: https://linnbhalton.co.uk/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LucyColemanAuth

 

Giveaway to Win a Signed paperback copy of Snowflakes over Holly Cove and Christmas Pamper Pack. (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/33c69494305/

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A Forgiven Friend by Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape: fun amidst the chaos

A Forgiven Friend: Lies, Loss, and Love, But Always Friendship

Friendship will always come first.

There’s only one way out from rock bottom and that’s up, and Teri Meyer is finally crawling out from the worst time of her life – no thanks to her best friend Lee. But no matter, she’s finally found love – real love with a real man, a successful man, a man who accepts all her flaws. Teri’s never felt like this before, and yet it’s changing her in ways she doesn’t understand.

And there’s only one person who can help, one person who truly understands Teri.

It seems that no matter how hard Lee Harper tries, there’s a battle awaiting her at every turn these days, and she’s tired. And as if she needs the extra stress, Teri continues to create constant and unnecessary drama. But Lee’s the only one who really knows what’s going on under Teri’s hard, convoluted exterior, and that’s why she’s always been there for her.

But the question is: will Teri be there when Lee needs her most?

The brilliant and entertaining final book in the unique FRIENDS trilogy dishes out another dose of rib-tickling mayhem for our favourite thirty-something professional women.

 

My review

A Forgiven Friend is the third in a trilogy of novellas, but that said it works fine as a standalone. I suspect there may be added richness from knowing what’s come before, but I’m sure that after reading this book you’ll want to rush off and read the preceding two as quickly as possible. (These are A Falling Friend and A Forsaken Friend.)

The book is written by two lady authors who make a fantastic team. And we have two women as our heroines in the story, Lee and Teri. I hope that Sue and Susan get on better than their creations! Lee and Teri have a volatile relationship, at times almost childish in their vacillations from hate to love, blame and apologies, betrayal and loyalty. But as the title suggests, they truly love each other and will always forgive. There is also a deep maturity and sincerity to their friendship.

Lee and Teri are chalk and cheese. Teri is impulsive, frequently thoughtless and not the sort to think before she speaks. Lee is more considered, thoughtful and restrained. They are attracted and annoyed by the opposing qualities they see in their friend.

As mid-thirties heroines they have a bit of baggage and are embroiled in family dramas. Those of us of a similar vintage, or beyond, and situation will recognise so much of it! This aspect makes the characters very rounded and convincing.

There’s plenty of fun amidst the chaos in this novella, and so much to enjoy.

 

Purchase Links


Biographies: Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape

Sue Featherstone and Susan Pape are both former newspaper journalists with extensive experience of working for national and regional papers and magazines, and in public relations.

More recently they have worked in higher education, teaching journalism – Sue at Sheffield Hallam and Susan at Leeds Trinity University.

The pair, who have been friends for almost 30 years, wrote two successful journalism text books together – Newspaper Journalism: A Practical Introduction and Feature Writing: A Practical Introduction (both published by Sage), before deciding to turn their hands to fiction.

The first novel in their Friends series, A Falling Friend, was released in 2016. A Forsaken Friend followed two years later, and the final book in the trilogy, A Forgiven Friend, published on November 19.

Sue, who is married with two grown-up daughters, and the most ‘gorgeous granddaughter in the whole world’, loves reading, writing and Nordic walking in the beautiful countryside near her Yorkshire home.

Susan is married and lives in a village near Leeds, and, when not writing, loves walking and cycling in the Yorkshire Dales. She is also a member of a local ukulele orchestra.

They blog about books at https://bookloversbooklist.com/

Follow them on Twitter: @SueF_Writer and @wordfocus

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Christmas Kisses On Hollywell Hill by Jackie Ladbury: so much to enjoy!

How lovely to be taking part in the first day of this wonderful book’s blog tour 🙂

Synopsis

Christmas is coming and actress Kirsty Castille seems doomed to play the front part of Nag, the Christmas pantomime horse, when a surprise audition lands her the lead role as Maria in the Sound of Music.
Even better she bonds with a handsome chef over a piece of squid at her local supermarket, although sadly romance is the last thing on Jake Levy’s mind.

He has a Christmas deadline, an ex-wife to mourn and lots of emotional baggage to drag around. He certainly doesn’t have time for romance and even if he did he wouldn’t fall for someone like Kirsty who craves the limelight: been there, done that.

A misunderstanding leads Jake to offer Kirsty a job in his new restaurant and she takes it purely to convince him that she’s the girl of his dreams.

Her charm offensive begins to work but while he’s cooking up a storm she’s secretly sparkling under the spotlight – until her cover is busted.

The fallout is catastrophic, but as they say in Luvvie Land, the show must go on, even if Kirsty is terrified that she’s taken her last curtain call and ruined her chance for love.

Read on and immerse yourself in this delightful winter romance as the snow starts to fall and Christmas day becomes a magical reality.

 

My review
This novel is great fun with lots of lovely festive touches. It has you giggling at the absurdity of some of the situations that crop up, but they fit into the madcapness of the story. I mean, having to play the pantomime horse and meeting your true love at the fish counter? Somehow that’s exactly right for Kirsty.

Kirsty and Jake, the other lead role, are both extremely likeable. They both have baggage they’re dealing with, and on top of that Kirsty is permanently broke. But she’s rich in her personality, friendliness and vivacity. The pair of them are also both trying to build new careers which isn’t going to help make the course of true love run smoothly.

The pages of this book deliver a wonderful, tantalising will-they won’t-they tale that keeps us guessing and hoping for the best, right to the end. You may occasionally growl with frustration when either of our hero or heroine messes up what was looking a very promising moment! Jackie Ladbury enjoys teasing her readers as well as her characters!

Loads and loads to enjoy in ‘Christmas Kisses on Hollywell Hill’ in the shape of wit, festivities, delicious-sounding food, comic capers and sheer entertainment!

 

Purchase links

About the author
Jackie Ladbury writes heart-warming contemporary and historical women’s fiction that is always guaranteed a happy ever after. From spending many years as an air-stewardess and seeing that it really is love that makes the world go around, she determined to put the same sparkle and emotion into her stories. Her life is no longer as exotic (or chaotic) as it was in those heady days of flying as she now lives a quiet life in Hertfordshire with her family and two cats, spending her days making up stories and finding excuses not to go to the gym.
To find out more about Jackie Ladbury, check out these pages:

https://www.facebook.com/jackie.ladbury
https://jackieladbury.com

https://thewriteromantics.com/

 

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Ten Things My Husband Hated by Pauline Wiles: lively and original

Synopsis

Maggie Moone is happily divorced.
And with her talent for fixing things, she’s perfectly content with her mundane life in the sleepy English village of Saffron Sweeting. That is, until one humiliating March evening when she learns everyone else assumes she’d love to mend her broken marriage.
Determined to prove them wrong, Maggie and her friends concoct a list of ten ways to assert her independence and live large. But her mission to move on leads to unexpected encounters, and Maggie soon finds herself mixing business with pleasure. Is the attractive young Irishman just another item on her list, or is he something more?
Before long, unresolved issues from her past begin to clash, and Maggie is forced to wonder if antagonising her ex-husband was such a stellar idea.
No sooner does she begin to understand what’s important to her, than she stands to lose everything that truly matters.
This is the fourth in the collection of Saffron Sweeting romantic comedies, which can be read in any order. If you like gentle British humour and deliciously resilient heroines, you’ll love Ten Things My Husband Hated.

 

My review
This is a lively romcom set in a counry-village England where life moves at a slower pace than in the big cities and the sense of community is very much stronger. Almost too strong, perhaps, and certainly for Maggie at the start of the novel where everyone is talking about her and making assumptions that aren’t correct. Or are they?

Our heroine Maggie Moone is getting over a divorce. Slowly. Her ex, Colin has moved on easily but Maggie less so. Her friends take things in hand. Maggie has to make a list of the ten things that would have driven her husband to apoplexy if she’d done them when she was still his wife, and work her way through them. The idea that this will empower her and show her that’s she’s heaps better off without him.

It has to be said Maggie is in a bit of a sorry state when we first meet her. She’s passive and full of self-pity. She really enters into the spirit of the thing and as her campaign continues she grows stronger and more self-reliant and confident. Almost too self-reliant confident in that she teeters on the edge of total self-indulgence – and she risks losing something that has started to become very important to her.

The back-up characters in this story are well rounded, quirky and interesting. They all interact in believable and entertaining ways. Finn, the quietest of them but the most charming, is engaging from the first time we meet him.
The setting to the novel is beautifully created and we wallow in the gentle, authentic atmosphere of quiet East Anglia.

The plot is very original and the story is thoroughly entertaining from start to finish. It’s highly enjoyable and uplifting. A perfect read for any time of the year.

Purchase Link

Author bio
British by birth, Pauline is now a contented resident of California, although she admits to occasional yearnings for afternoon tea and historic homes.
Her debut novel, Saving Saffron Sweeting, reached the quarter final of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Three further books set in the same village are now available, along with a collection of short stories and Indie With Ease, a self-help guide for other self-published authors.
When not writing, Pauline can be found pondering how many miles she has to run to justify an extra piece of cake. She’s also fond of daydreaming about flying herself and a reader to London for tea.

Social media links
https://facebook.com/paulinewilesauthor

www.paulinewiles.com

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Frankie: the woman who saved millions from thalidomide by James Essinger and Sandra Koutzenko

Frankie: The Woman Who Saved Millions from Thalidomide

Thalidomide: patented in Germany as a non-toxic cure-all for sleeplessness and morning sickness. A wonder drug with no side-effects.

We know differently now.

Today, thalidomide is a byword for tragedy and drug reform – a sign of what happens when things aren’t done ‘the right way’. But when it was released in the 1950s, it was the best thing since penicillin – something that doctors were encouraged to prescribe to all of their patients. Nobody could anticipate what it actually did: induce sleeping, prevent morning sickness, and drastically harm unborn children.

But, whilst thalidomide rampaged and ravaged throughout most of the West, it never reached the United States. It landed on the desk of Dr Frances Kelsey, and there it stayed as she battled hierarchy, patriarchy, and the Establishment in an effort to prove that it was dangerous. Frankie is her story.

 

My review

This book will astonish you – and for many reasons.

What makes a particularly strong impression is the powerful yet non-sensational style in which it’s been written. It’s that very fact that makes the book more impactful. There are interviews with adults who were affected devastatingly in vitro by thalidomide, a detailed depiction of the general background to the thalidomide scandal as a whole – the way drug trials were conducted, the god-like status granted to doctors and the powerlessness of most women at the time – and a study and assessment of the long-term impact of the whole affair. The authors have clearly conducted a lot of research and used it to produce an informative, shocking and compelling book.

Frankie, the central figure of the book, emerges from this background as the book proceeds. She’s the lone voice in the wilderness for a long time, actively pressured by the drug company to stop holding things up. Her power, emanating from her position in the FDA and her unstinting devotion to doing what was the right thing, contrasts sharply with the role women generally played in the period, as mentioned earlier. She’s one of the pioneers in demonstrating that women are up to doing any task. Her courage and stance saved up to a million babies around the world from the destructive impact of thalidomide.

Dr Frances Kelsey’s story is inspiring and positive. It shows what one person can achieve, and that’s an important lesson to take out of the book. Stand up and be counted.

 

Purchase Links

https://www.thehistorypress.co.uk/publication/frankie/9780750991919/

https://www.amazon.com/Frankie-Woman-Saved-Millions-Thalidomide-ebook/dp/B07PQV547Y

Author Bio –

JAMES ESSINGER is the author of non-fiction books that focus on STEM subjects and personalities, including Charles and Ada (The History Press) and Ada’s Algorithm (Gibson Square), the latter of which has been optioned for a film. He lives in Canterbury.

 

 

SANDRA KOUTZENKO is a bilingual writer whose work spans a variety of categories and topics, ranging from French poetry to English non-fiction, focusing on human nature and the conflict between its potential for greatness and its propensity for destruction.

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter @TheHistoryPress

Instagram @TheHistoryPressUK

https://www.facebook.com/james.essinger  

https://twitter.com/jamesessinger