Posted on 2 Comments

Landing by Moonlight by Ciji Ware

Ciji Ware

on tour

March 2-13

with

Landing by Moonlight

 

Landing By Moonlight:
A Novel Of WWII

(Romantic thriller/Historical novel)

Release date: October 15, 2019
at Lion’s Paw Publishing

476 pages

Website | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS

Based on the lives of a small group of American women secret agents working for British intelligence parachuting into France to help the Resistance during WW II.

The year is 1942, and American secret agent Catherine Thornton has no idea whether she will be dropped behind enemy lines in an inflatable raft launched from a submarine or be flung through the moonlit sky from a low-flying British Halifax. Either way, the young embassy wife and erstwhile journalist knows there’s always the chance she’ll be picked off by German sharpshooters, although nothing in her imagination prepares her for the trial-by-fire to come.

Only she understands why she volunteered for such “unwomanly warfare” and the secret reasons she joined a handful of female American spies destined to risk her gilded life on French soil–yet former Vichy diplomat Henri Leblanc, code name Claude Foret, thinks he knows the answers.

As Catherine’s missions grow more harrowing each day, and she fears she’s fallen in love with a captured fellow agent, the German SS begin to close in on the world of Madame “Colette Durand” and her Résistance network embedded in coastal cities along the French Riviera—an exposure that could threaten the Allied victory itself.

And hanging in the air like a half-opened parachute is the life-or-death question: Who is the betrayer and who will be betrayed in this, their finest hour?

 

MY REVIEW

This book is thoroughly enjoyable for many reasons. The enjoyment encompasses plenty of breath-holding moments because our heroine walks on a knife edge in her role as secret agent. It’s hard for we readers to be as calmly confident as she always appears to be that things will go to plan, more or less. Catherine is determined, initially almost exuberant in her commitment to her role, but always professional. She loves life, has a sassy streak, but when push comes to shove she’s courageous, loyal and resourceful.

The author creates the wartime atmosphere brilliantly. Her fascination with history and particularly this pivotal time in the twentieth century is obvious. There are so many details lurking in the background adding richness but never becoming overwhelming, from mentions of clothes, food, transport and so on of the time. Most of all, the mentality of the period comes through – how people got through each day when truly horrific things could happen at any moment. How ordinary people were so brave, so heroic, which carries extra poignancy when read in contemporary Britain where certain politicians hide in fridges to avoid journalists, never mind armed enemies. But I digress a little…

This novel is exciting and engrossing. Every character we meet is convincing and rounded, every setting atmospheric, every event carefully choreographed and contributing to such a wonderfully crafted whole. You experience many different emotions as you read.

It’s a book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it and throws a new perspective on the wartime period.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Landing by Moonlight - Ciji Ware

Ciji Ware
is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
of twelve works of historical and contemporary fiction,
two of nonfiction,
and was short-listed for the Willa [Cather] Literary Award
for Historical Fiction in 2012.
A graduate of Harvard University in History,
she is an Emmy-award winning television producer,
a Dupont awardee for investigative journalism,
and an American Bar Association winner
of a Silver Gavel for her magazine work.
For eighteen years, she was a broadcaster and commentator for KABC Radio/TV in Los Angeles.
A recipient of Harvard’s prestigious Alumni Award in 2004,
Ware was the first woman graduate of the university
to serve as President of the Harvard Alumni Association, Worldwide.
Ware and her husband, Tony Cook, live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Follow the author on Facebook, Pinterest, and Amazon.
Visit her website

Buy the book:
paperback and ebook available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ibook/Apple, and Kobo.
***

You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blog participating in this tour.
Visit/Follow the participating blogs on Facebook/Twitter,
as listed in the entry form below, and win more entry points!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour
will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to all
5 winners will receive a copy of this book

***

CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ MORE REVIEWS
AND A GUEST-POST

Landing by Moonlight - Banner

 

Save

Posted on

Cover reveal: The Walls We Build by Jules Hayes

Three friends … 

 Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.

Two Secrets …

Shortly after Frank’s death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.

One Hidden Life … 

How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?

Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.

 

“Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.” #1 bestselling author, Nicola May

 

So here’s the cover:

Publication Date: 23rd March

Pre-order here:

 

About the author

Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.

Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.

Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.

 

Jules Hayes can be found at:

Website: jules-hayes.com

Twitter @JulesHayes6 – @JulesHayes6

Facebook Author Page: JulesHayesAuthor – www.facebook.com/JulesHayesAuthor

Instagram: JulesHayes6 – www.instagram.com/juleshayes6

Writing as JA Corrigan, Jules can be found at: Website: www.jacorrigan.com

Twitter: @juliannwriter – www.twitter.com/juliannwriter

Facebook Author Page: JA Corrigan – www.facebook.com/jacorrigan
Instagram: corriganjulieann www.instagram.com/corriganjulieann

Posted on 1 Comment

The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen by Cass Grafton and Ada Bright

When a time travelling Jane Austen gets stuck in modern-day Bath it’s up to avid Janeite Rose Wallace to save her… because she’s the only one who knows that Jane exists!

Rose Wallace’s world revolves around all things Austen, and with the annual festival in Bath – and the arrival of dishy archaeologist, Dr Aiden Trevellyan – just around the corner, all is well with the world…

But then a mysterious woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to the great author moves in upstairs, and things take a disastrous turn. Rose’s new neighbour is Jane Austen, whose time travel adventure has been sabotaged by a mischievous dog, trapping her in the twenty-first century.

Rose’s life is instantly changed – new home, new job, new friends – but she’s the only one who seems to have noticed! To right the world around her, she will have to do whatever it takes to help Jane get back home to write Rose’s beloved novels. Because a world without Mr Darcy? It’s not worth living in!

 

My review

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover but I totally disagree. One look at this book with its perky, bright and attractive design and its totally intriguing title and you know you’re going to enjoy every word.

As well as the time travel element, there’s mystery, history, romance and literary references in this very clever book. Jane Austen has got stuck in the future, and she copes with modern life with the straightforward, interested manner we’d expect from such a dauntless woman. Unless she can get back, her books won’t get written and our lives will all be the poorer for that. It’s untenable to think of there never being a Mr Darcy or Emma Watson!

As well as Jane, all the other principal characters are portrayed with great detail and enjoyment. They’re all fascinating and form delightful relationships. The setting in Bath with its festival is atmospheric and the plot is clever and cunning.

There isn’t a single thing not to enjoy in this imaginative, beautifully written novel.

 

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Particular-Charm-Miss-Jane-Austen-ebook/dp/B07P6VPMFZ

Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/Particular-Charm-Miss-Jane-Austen-ebook/dp/B07P6VPMFZ

Barnes & Noble (and Nook)

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-particular-charm-of-miss-jane-austen-ada-bright/1130732667?ean=9781788633697

Kobo

https://www.kobo.com/ch/en/ebook/the-particular-charm-of-miss-jane-austen-1

About the authors

Cass Grafton

A proud bookworm since childhood, Cass writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.

She has an over-active imagination, is prone to crying with happiness as much as she is at sadness, but when it comes to her writing she leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.

Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine, and enjoys them in any combination. She currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.

 

Ada Bright

Ada has lived all her life in Southern California, which makes her intolerant to any weather above or below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. She grew up much more fond of reading than sports or socializing and still tends to ignore everyone she loves, all her responsibilities and basic life needs when she’s in the middle of a book.

She is luckily married to a handsome and funny man who doesn’t mind that the laundry never gets put away and she has three amazing children. Ada spent over a decade as a photographer before dedicating herself to writing, though she still believes that life should be documented well and often.

There is nothing she loves more than a good, subtle love story whether it be in real life, tv, movie, theatre or book form… well, except cake. She also really loves cake.

 

Social media links

Our Blog: www.tabbycow.com

 

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/missyadabright

https://www.facebook.com/cassie.grafton

 

Twitter:

@CassGrafton

@missyadabright

 

Instagram:

 

@cassgraftonauthor

@adacakes

Posted on 1 Comment

A Crown In Time by Jennifer Macaire

A Crown in Time

In the far future, a convicted criminal is given a chance at redemption.

Her mission? To save the crown of France by convincing a young noble not to join the ill-fated Eighth Crusade.

But nothing goes as planned, and Isobel finds herself accompanying a hot-headed youth on his way to fight the infidel in Tunis: a battle Isobel knows is fated to be lost.

From the rainy villages of medieval France, to the scorching desert of Tunis – Isobel faces her destiny and tries to fulfil her duty, knowing she can never return to her time, knowing that a wrong move can doom the future, or doom her to be burned as a witch.

 

My review

This book is a fascinating and very successful mixture of sci-fi and historical fiction. Time travel is a theme that never grows old – for obvious reasons! – and the author uses it in an original and interesting way in this story.

Our unlikely by likeable heroine Isobel is hurled back in time and dumped unceremoniously in Medieval France. Her task of finding a certain Jean and persuading him not to fight in the next Crusade seems impossible, but she’s nothing if not determined. She is helped along the way by a variety of characters, some entirely fictional but others based on real people.

Both time periods are convincingly created, but I prefer the French setting. The author must have done a lot of research to conjure up such an atmosphere, sharing such details of the smells, food, clothes and so forth that you’d have encountered at that time.

I found the novel thoroughly absorbing and entertaining. As well as the excellent settings and characterisations, the plot is clever and interesting, the writing flowing and a delight to read and the whole experience is wonderful.

 

Purchase Links

https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-crown-in-time/jennifer-macaire//9781786157768

Amazon UK:  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZF4QWNP

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZF4QWNP

Amazon.com.auhttps://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07ZF4QWNP

 

About the author

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in France. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories.

 

Social media links 

Website https://authorjennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

Blog https://jennifermacaire.wordpress.com/

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

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

Twitter https://twitter.com/jennifermacaire?lang=en

Giveaway to Win a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate (Open INT)

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

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494334/

Posted on

Children of Fire by Paul CW Beatty

I’m delighted to be taking part today in the book birthday blitz for ‘Children of Fire’ by Paul CW Beatty. I have an extract from this gripping novel to share with you, so please read on!

Synopsis

Can Josiah solve the puzzle before more people die, or is he out of his depth?

In 1841, at the height of the industrial revolution in the North West of England, Josiah Ainscough returns from his travels and surprises everyone by joining the Stockport Police Force, rather than following his adopted father’s footsteps into the Methodist ministry.

While Josiah was abroad, five men died in an explosion at the Furness Vale Powder Mill. Was this an accident or did the Children of Fire, a local religious community, have a hand in it. As Josiah struggles to find his vocation, his investigation into the Children of Fire begins. But his enquiries are derailed by the horrific crucifixion of the community’s leader.

Now Josiah must race against time to solve the puzzle of the violence loose in the Furness Vale before more people die. This is complicated by his affections for Rachael, a leading member of the Children of Fire, and the vivacious Aideen Hayes, a visitor from Ireland.

Can Josiah put together the pieces of the puzzle, or is he out of his depth? Children of Fire won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Prize for 2017.

 

Extract

There are vicious and violent forces abroad in Furness Vale. This time they have visited the religious community the Children of Fire at the least expected time. They have expressed themselves in a sacrilegious and apparently senseless murder. A murder that is designed to be seen as a matter of revenge. How will Josiah Ainscough, undercover for Stockport Police Force, cope with this outrage.

Here he comes, climbing the path towards your hiding place, his lantern swinging as he strides forward. You laugh inside yourself as you consider how appropriate darkness is for treachery and how easily this trap has been sprung. All it took was a simply worded note:

Information about Powder Mill. Come to Pulpit Rock two hours after sunset.

You step out in front of him and level your pistol at his head. He sees your face in the lamplight and gasps before he is struck down from behind.

You drag him to the base of the cross. There is a large wooden beam waiting on the ground. You lay him on it and bind his wrists so that he is stretched, open armed, along its length.

Slowly, he wakes up as you are finishing. You step back and watch as he becomes conscious. He looks around in a daze and tries to get up but the weight of the beam pins him to the earth. He wrenches at the ropes on his arms, twisting and struggling. He sees you and stops.

‘Do you remember me?’ you ask.

‘It cannot be you. You are dead.’

‘It is simply by chance that I bear a likeness of a face of someone you destroyed. Oh, I’m sorry, not chance, you don’t believe in that do you? Providence would, in any case, be a more appropriate term.’

‘Perhaps you are right,’ he says. ‘Either way I know who you must be.’

‘And by your own creed you are duty bound to do what you can to confess and prove that confession by trying to put right, the wrong you have done.’

‘And I do confess. I did your family a terrible wrong but I cannot amend it. All I can do is ask your forgiveness.’

‘Oh I think you can do something more practical than that and it will be a significant confirmation of the depth of your repentance, for it will take you the rest of your life. It’s just that the rest of your life is going to be much shorter than you might have thought.’

You cut off his shirt so that he is naked to the waist. You pick up a hammer and a nail and, stooping next to his left-hand, you push the nail into the soft flesh of the upturned palm and the hammer it into the wood behind. It takes several blows. One goes astray and breaks two of his fingers but he does not give you the satisfaction of crying out in what must be excruciating pain. Blood wells up round the shaft of the nail and pools in the palm.

You move round to the right-hand. You twist the nail repeatedly into the palm until it goes through to the back. Then you take up the hammer. Still he is silent before you.

You stand up and put your foot across his throat. Then gradually you throw your weight forward so that he starts to choke. After a few seconds he is not simply gasping for breath but uttering strange guttural sounds. Only then do you release the pressure; he is wracked by coughing.

Eyebolts have been fixed through the beam and rigged to block and tackle attached to the cross. He is heaved up so that his arms take much of his weight, but his feet are still just touching the ground. There is a terrible involuntary groan of exhaled air as his lungs are forced forward and downwards. More fierce, deep coughing.

You take the crown you have prepared from green twigs of sloe gathered in the wood. Its thorns are long and when you ram it down on his head, trickles of blood flow start down his face like red water tracks on a wet windowpane, as they merge with beads of sweat on his skin.

His shoes are pulled off and the stockings cut away. You bind his ankles and come up close to him, so your mouth is by his ear. You say something only you and he can hear and when he reacts and convulses his body in rejection, you laugh. You slip a blade in between his ribs and guide it towards his heart. You are careful not to kill him outright.

Around his neck you place a placard on a cord. You dip a finger in blood from his face and write across it. Then he is lifted clear of the ground until the extra crossbeam is at the same height as the original.

There are only two things left to be done. His legs are pulled back and two nails are driven between his tendons and the ankle bones, to pull the feet onto the upright. In a final touch, you take a sledgehammer and break his thighs.

He will die sometime before dawn, drowned slowly in his own blood from the chest wound. When is unimportant.

 

Purchase Links

 

Author bio

Paul CW Beatty is an unusual combination of a novelist and a research scientist. Having worked for many years in medical research in the UK NHS and Universities, a few years ago he took an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University emerging with a distinction.

His latest novel, Children of Fire, is a Victorian murder mystery set in 1841 at the height of the industrial revolution. It won the Writing Magazine’s Best Novel Award in November 2017 and is published by The Book Guild Ltd.

Paul lives near Manchester in the northwest of England. Children of Fire is set against the hills of the Peak District as well as the canals and other industrial infrastructure of the Cottonopolis know as the City of Manchester.

 

Social Media Links – Twitter @cw_beatty

 

Posted on

Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade: charming and mysterious

 

A time for spilling secrets…

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child – has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…

In the past old uncertainties are resolved when an elderly woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.

Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

 

My review

Christmas at Ladywell is a quick and charming read. It’s part of a series but you don’t need to have read the preceding books to be able to fully enjoy this one.

It’s a dual-timeline story that focuses on the past and the present at Ladywell. In having to do some rather quick renovations, Freya, who inherited the house, makes some interesting discoveries about former residents and royal connections. We get to travel back in time to witness events and meet some of these people. There’s a wonderful atmosphere of mystery woven into the historical element of the story.

There’s mystery in the present day too. Just what is Patrick’s surprise for Freya, and Freya’s own secret?

This is an uplifting, comforting sort of story, perfect for Christmas.

 

Purchase Links

US – https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-at-Ladywell-Nicola-Slade-ebook/dp/B07YNKPCJW

Author bio

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.

She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

 

Social media links
Website:
www.nicolaslade.com

Blog: www.nicolaslade.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nicolasladeuk/

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

Pinterest: www.pinterest.co.uk/nicola8703

 

Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT)

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

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494301/

 

Posted on

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

Posted on

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

Posted on 1 Comment

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
https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768657.Isobel_Blackthorn
Twitter @IBlackthorn
https://www.instagram.com/isobelblackthorn/

Posted on

A Right Royal Face-Off by Simon Edge: a masterpiece!

A Right Royal Face-Off

It is 1777, and England’s second-greatest portrait artist, Thomas Gainsborough, has a thriving practice a stone’s thrown from London’s royal palaces, while the press talks up his rivalry with Sir Joshua Reynolds, the pedantic theoretician who is the top dog of British portraiture.

Fonder of the low life than high society, Gainsborough loathes pandering to grand sitters, but he changes his tune when he is commissioned to paint King George III and his large family. In their final, most bitter competition, who will be chosen as court painter, Tom or Sir Joshua?

Meanwhile, two and a half centuries later, a badly damaged painting turns up on a downmarket antiques TV show being filmed in Suffolk. Could the monstrosity really be, as its eccentric owner claims, a Gainsborough? If so, who is the sitter? And why does he have donkey’s ears?

Mixing ancient and modern as he did in his acclaimed debut The Hopkins Conundrum, Simon Edge takes aim at fakery and pretension in this highly original celebration of one of our greatest artists.

 

My review

This is a tremendously enjoyable dual-timeline story centred on a painting by Thomas Gainsborough. We jump from Georgian times where the artist is undertaking a particular commission, and the present day where we meet Gemma who’s working, not to her delight, on Britain’s Got Treasures. A painting turns up on the programme that causes quite a stir.

There’s plenty of action and humour in both time periods. The historical elements come over as well researched and clearly depicted, and also imaginatively embroidered. There’s no doubt the author’s writing puts life and relevancy into  the historical period and events he portrays. He’s equally good at contemporary settings and has a sharp, satiric eye for detail. He introduces us to a fine array of characters, modern and less so, and each one is fascinating.

Fact and fiction rub along very happily in this spirited novel. The whole book is energetic and lively, and it’s one you can’t put down. Absolutely to recommend.

 

Purchase Links

Readers can order the book from the Lightning Books website at 50% off (with free UK p&p) if you enter this code at checkout – BLOGTOURFACE

http://eye-books.com/books/a-right-royal-face-off

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Right-Royal-Face-Off-Entertainment-Gainsborough-ebook/dp/B07SZ1GXT4

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Right-Royal-Face-Off-Entertainment-Gainsborough-ebook/dp/B07SZ1GXT4

Author bio 

Simon Edge was born in Chester and read philosophy at Cambridge University.

He was editor of the pioneering London paper Capital Gay before becoming a gossip columnist on the Evening Standard and then a feature writer on the Daily Express, where he was also a theatre critic for many years.

He has an MA in Creative Writing from City University, London. His first novel, The Hopkins Conundrum, was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award. He lives in Suffolk.

Read more about Simon and his work at www.simon-edge.com.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @simonjedge

Instagram: @simonjedge

 

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of A Right Royal Face-Off (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/33c69494259/