#Review By Lou of A Mother’s Christmas Wish by Glenda Young @flaming_nora @HeadlineFiction @headlinepg @rararesources #ChristmasReads #Saga #FamilySaga #Christmas #BlogTour

A Mother’s Christmas Wish
By Glenda Young

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Feeling Christmassy and/or all hopeful yet? This could be the book for you. It isn’t often that I read sagas, but this caught my eye. Today I’m on the blog tour of A Mother’s Christmas Wish, thanks to Rachel Random Resources and the publisher – Headline. Discover the blurb and review below.

Blurb

A Mother’s Christmas Wish

‘I hope this Christmas is better than last year’s.’

Following a scandalous affair, wayward Emma Devaney is sent in disgrace from her home in Ireland to Ryhope, where she will live with her widowed aunt, Bessie Brogan, and help run her pub. Bessie is kind but firm, and at first Emma rebels against her lack of freedom. Struggling to fit in, she turns to the wrong person for comfort, and becomes pregnant.

Accepting she must embrace her new life for the sake of her baby, Emma pours her energy into making the pub thrive and helping heal the fractured relationship between Bessie and her daughters. She catches the attention of Robert, a gruff but sincere farmer, who means to win her heart.

As December approaches, thankful for the home and acceptance she’s found, Emma is determined to bring not just her family, but the whole Ryhope community, together to celebrate – and to make one very special mother’s Christmas dreams come true.

Review

Behold, December 1923, it was quite a year for Emma and her mother, Nuala. The year they left Ireland to start a new start. They head to Ryhope, after sending a letter to Nuala’s sister, Bessie. Emma is sent there to help her aunt with what seems a high-spirited , lively pub with all sorts of village life within. Emma is feisty and rebellious, sometimes I’ll-tempered coupled with rudeness, but that being said, she still has warmth and that mother’s wish grows within too. She is also absolutely determined to give the pub her best shot and make a go of things to ensure it thrives.

 Her aunt Bessie is however, a kindly soul with heart and warmth, providing hope for the pub’s future too as well as hope that family rifts that occurred, can be healed.

What transpires is a look into small village living where people grow reputation, there’s crime, romance and marriage, employment, poverty. Glenda Young shows it all in a multi-layered story that is well-researched about how some people lived at the time, social views and attitudes and what society was like, especially in small places. It, ultimately gives a great look into the 1920’s (but away from the Flapper’s life) with a bit of grit and a good dose of hope that culminates into an uplifting family saga. This is a book that would be great on anyone’s Christmas list.

As an added extra, did you know Glenda Young also writes cosy crime? There is an excerpt of her next cosy crime novel – Murder at the Seaview Hotel. It gets off to a great start, set in Scarborough and something for readers to also look forward to.

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#Review By Lou of In the Mood by MW Arnold @mick859 @WildRosePress #saga #mystery #blogtour #BrokenWings #WW2 @rararesources #histfic

In the Mood
By MW Arnold

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

In The Mood is another war time mystery for The Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club. It’s book 4 in the Broken Wings series, but can also be read as a stand alone. Thanks to the Wild Rose Press and M.W.Arnold for his review request and to Rachel’s Random Tours for adding me to the blog tour. See below for the blurb and review.

 

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Blurb

In February 1944, the girls of the Air Transport Auxiliary Mystery Club face the devastating personal loss of one of their own in a tragic crash. At the same time, another member is blackmailed, whilst honeymoon plans of a third are threatened by a puzzling mystery.

As they share each other’s joys and troubles, the friends find the comfort and strength to go on with their vital work and dangerous investigations in wartime England, even when few situations are what they seem to be.

Can a marriage broken by harsh words be saved, and will injuries suffered in the line of duty heal? These courageous women do battle on multiple fronts whilst maintaining dignity and friendship.

Review

Doris, Betty, Mary, Jane, Thelma and Penny are great characters to follow with their courage and friendships and lives that they lead. It may seem a lot of characters to get your head around, but it all gels really well together and isn’t as complicated as it sounds to get to know who is who.

There’s action near the start and trepidation and worry from the women as they hadn’t heard from one of them. The book becomes quickly engaging and even quicker paced than the previous book in the series.

There’s also a mystery involving a letter involving blackmail to investigate in the midst of their concerns.

It becomes an emotional rollercoaster and absolutely engrossing book. It shows how courageous the women were to be flying in the RAF and in general for both males and females to be within it at that time with certain things happening to planes. They have a tragedy on their hands and at the same time, makes me think of a tragedy in my own family, with a male member, not far off this period of time in the RAF, but was involved in both world wars and echoes this one in the book, a little bit.

Terry Banks and Lawrence are on the case of blackmail. Some of the conversations between them brings some humour to the proceedings. It’s also noble how much they care too. There’s quite a warmth amongst all the bad things that happen that will wrap around readers like a metaphorical cloak.

This is the second I have read in this series and it is certainly one for readers to look out for and become involved with the characters and their situations.

 

#Review By Lou of – Courage For The Cornish Girls By Betty Walker @AvonBooksUK @CornishGirls #Saga #HistoricalFiction #WW2

Courage For The Cornish Girls
By Betty Walker

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I have a review to share of war time set book – Courage For The Cornish Girls. Thanks to Avon Books for a copy and review invite. Discover more in the blurb and my thoughts in my review  below.

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Blurb

April 1942. Enemy gunfire on Penzance beach brings the Cornish Girls rushing to the rescue…

Yearning for adventure, Demelza dreams of one day joining the fire wardens. But before she can do so, gunfire during a trip to the beach provides her with an unexpected opportunity to get stuck in.

On hand to help the wounded beachgoers, Lily draws admiration with her nursing skills and is offered an exciting new position in the hospital in Penzance.

And swayed by her niece, Lily’s Aunt Violet agrees to take in three evacuees rescued on the beach, though they turn out to be more of a handful than she bargained for.

But even as the war rages around them, the biggest challenge facing each woman turns out to be one of the heart. Can the Cornish Girls help one another to open themselves up to love…?

Review

Set in 1942 in Cornwall, the bombs are dropping and war is marching ever onwards with its devastating consequences, but through the bleakness of this, life still continues through its challenges and glimmers of hope shine through here and there.

Life is on the up for these Cornish women!

Demelza, who wants ever so much to be a fire warden and works very hard to catch her dream and gets stuck into opportunities, no matter how unexpected, in an attempt to gain what she wants from life.

Lily is gaining all the attention in her nursing career, she is offered an exciting position in Penzance.

Violet doing her bit for the war effort by taking in refugees.

It’s a book that draws upon, to some extent, women just getting on with the job of attempting to do what they see is necessary to help others in the war effort, whilst also chasing their dreams, even though many challenges and potential obstacles  present themselves.
The three main characters are a heartwarming and determined set of women.

There isn’t only the obvious obstacles, such as the bombing that the women have to figure out how to work around, but also love and the obstacles of themselves, however, they try to face this too and open up to each other about this. It’s quite a multi-layered book of light, shade and darkness, yet on the whole, there is often something uplifting for readers to grasp onto and a sense of desire to cheer them on in the hope they get out of life, what they set out to do.

It’s a heartwarming book with a compelling storyline.

#Review By Lou of -Steel Girls On The Home Front By Michelle Rawlins @Mrawlins1974 @HQstories #Saga #WW2 #BlogTour

The Steel Girls
By Michelle Rawlins

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Steel Girls is uplifting escapism, even through hard and dangerous times of war, when it is set. Find out more in my blurb and  review below.

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Blurb

As the war rages on, can they be there for each other?

Spring 1940
As the war rages on, Vickers steelworks is busier than ever which is proving tough for Nancy as she juggles working long hours and looking after two young children, all while waiting for her husband to return home safely.

Betty is determined to roll up her sleeves and joins the Women’s Voluntary Service to keep busy and stop from fretting about her fiancé.

But Patty is left worrying about someone closer to home. Sweetheart Archie has been keeping a secret from her, and one that puts him in great danger. Will it threaten to pull them apart for good?

And with life at war tougher than ever, can the factory sisters rally together to find a way through?

Review

Set in Sheffield in 1940, war is afoot and the RAF are training up their pilots. It was interesting reading a bit about the RAF connections to the characters, since someone from my own family trained up people in the RAF in World War 2 and fought in the RAF in World War 1, always with that firm belief of coming back, as portrayed in the book.

Even though, war rages on and there is much trepidation and secrets that come to the forefront; there are elements, especially the friendship and the willingness to do what it takes to help, such as in the WVS (Women’s Voluntary  Service) that are heartwarmingly uplifting. It creates much escapism as the characters emerge further and their chatter about what their aspirations were before war broke out and how that enforced some change and also makes them think about whether to return to them when the war ends.

#BookReview By Lou Z-Rod – Chosen Wanderers – A Celtic Saga Of Warriors and Saints By Martin C. Haworth #MartinCHaworth @malcolmdownpub #HistoricalFiction #ScottishFiction #Fiction #ChristianFiction #Celts #Picts #Saga

Z-Rod – Chosen Wanderers
By Martin C. Haworth

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Z-Rod – The Chosen Wanderers is book 1 of a compelling epic saga series set in Scotland during the times of the Picts and Celts.
Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in my review. Then discover even more in the links to the websites and Facebook page, where you can find out more about the book and other activities such as hillwalks and retreats and more…
Thanks to the author – Martin C. Haworth for gifting me the book, published by publishing company – Malcolm Down.

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Blurb

Chosen Wanderers is the first book in the Z-Rod series: a gripping saga set in the upheavals of Pictish Scotland in the 6th century. At the initiation of two princes preparing one to rule the tribe, a mysterious power symbol, the Z-Rod, is tattooed on one, unleashing uncontrollable consequences.

Tribal power struggles are further intensified when two Irish saints arrive whose vibrant faith and daring spirit, preserving them through the Scottish wilds, demonstrates to capricious warlords and their powerful druids, an alternative worldview of reconciliation and hope.

Straddling these two worlds is a mysterious bard with prophetic abilities. His revelation has little relevance initially, but later becomes the lifeline to recover a seemingly lost destiny. What significance does the Z-Rod and ‘bearing fire to the north’ have on an exile, and how will anything be achieved amidst poverty and obscurity?

By turns epic and homely, spiritually searching and thoroughly adventurous, this story of great undoing and remaking propels us through multiple scenes and characters in a setting which is utterly convincing in its detail.

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Review

Z-Rod is set in Pictish Scotland in the 6th Century, as well as at the time of the Celts. The author describes Scotland (before it became Scotland as we know it today) in interesting detail in a short introduction. The fact it is set in Pictish times provides something different to historical fiction, the Picts (indigenous people north of the Forth-Clyde divide) and the Christians. The book moves at surprising pace. It sounds more heavy than it really is. It’s pretty succinct and the intrigue surrounding the Z-Rod itself adds to the compelling nature.

There are noblemen and lords within the book and the Z-rod tattooed on one, a symbol of power and authority. The story itself starts with the initiation and readers meet Taran, Oengus, Alpia and Talorgen, then later, Kessog. There’s an air of it being a great occassion with ritual and complexity, as, especially Taran discovers in the wilds of the Pictish north, where the south are a bit more tame and are also starting to dabble in Christianity.

There’s adventure into new lands by boat and faith of reaching destinations safely, there’s also the questioning of the different faiths that are presented within the Picts and the Christian stories as they learn a bit about each other, but not exactly accepting as there are percieved curses, which adds a bit of tension between the factions.

The book takes readers to different Lochs and the River Dee, where there is tribal action, raids and murder. Along the watery adventure, there is also a spot of romance and all isn’t as easy to attract a woman as it first seems… This adds to another dimension to the story and perhaps widens its appeal a bit further, but still with the depth of history by way of the people living in the 6th century, philosophical thought by way of a dream and theology by way of the religious aspects.

There appears to have been a lot of thorough research done right down to the detailing of the different names of places, lochs and the types of people that lived in this time, such as wise old women or witches. There’s a glossary at the back to translate the older words used within this otherwise fictional tale that is also about courage, attitudes, destinys, life.

There is also an excerpt of book 2 of Z-Rod to lure you into more of Taran’s life…

About The Author

Martin Haworth worked in community and church development with an Iron-age Filipino tribe, providing an in depth understanding of pagan belief practices. Under his own business, www.roamingscotland.com, he now helps others connect with Scotland’s landscapes and ancient history, and leads Celtic Christian retreats. This book has arisen from the fusion of these experiences and interests.

Social Media

Website: https://www.roamingscotland.com/blog   There is also a buy link within there that means 10% will go to support a relief project among the Mangyan tribes of the Philippines.  

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Z-Rod-Trilogy-101184882165861

Publisher Website: https://www.malcolmdown.co.uk/

#BookReview by Lou – What’s Mine And Yours by Naima Coster @zafatista @eturns_112 @TrapezeBooks #FamilySaga #ContemporaryFiction

What’s Mine And Yours
By Naima Costner

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Powerfully absorbing, moving and full of family ties, love and loss,  in many ways and much more. This is a better book than I expected and is one I recommend to everyone. Discover more in the blurb and my review below.
With thanks to Ellen Turner at Trapeze Books for gifting me a copy to review.

About the Author

Naima Coster is the author of two novels. Her debut, Halsey Street, was a finalist for the 2018 Kirkus Prize for Fiction and recommended as a must-read by People, Essence, Well-Read Black Girl, The Skimm, and the Brooklyn Public Library among others. Naima’s forthcoming novel, What’s Mine and Yours, will be published in March 2021.

Naima’s stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Kweli, The Paris Review Daily, The Cut, The Sunday Times, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. In 2020, she received the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” honor. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Whats Mine And Yours

Blurb

When a county initiative in the Piedmont of North Carolina forces the students at a mostly black public school on the east side to move across town to a nearly all-white high school on the west, the community rises in outrage. For two students, quiet and aloof Gee and headstrong Noelle, these divisions will extend far beyond their schooling. As their paths collide and overlap over the course of thirty years, their two seemingly disconnected families begin to form deeply knotted, messy ties that shape the trajectory of their lives.

On one side of the school integration debate is Jade, Gee’s steely, single, black mother, grieving for her murdered partner, and determined for her son to have the best chance at a better life. On the other, is Noelle’s enterprising mother, Lacey May, who refuses to see her half-Latina daughters as anything but white. The choices these mothers make will resound for years to come. And twenty years later, when Lacey’s daughters return home to visit her in hospital, they’re forced to confront the ways their parents’ decisions continue to affect the life they live and the people they love.

WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS is a sweeping, rich tapestry of familial bond and identity, and a sharp, poignant look at the ways race affects even the closest of relationships. With gorgeous prose, Naima Coster explores the unique organism that is every family: what breaks them apart and how they come back together.

Review

Whats Mine And YoursStarting from 1992 and spanning to 2020, this is an intergenerational fictional book with race and family in America at its heart. The families end up in North Carolina and a story that tells of family, loss, gun crime, romance, love, divorce, race and opportunity and lack of, ensues through the years that pass by with many characters. This isn’t just a book for Americans, this is a book for everyone in the world, no matter what race you are.
It would be identifiable to everyone.

It begins with Ray going to a bakery and what a delicious sounding bakery it is. He has fun plans for his son, Gee. This is quite a sad tale as everyone knows about the gun crime in the USA and this is what occurs. A family with their whole amazing plans that anyone on earth would want to be part of, broken because of a gun. The emotion is as heartbreaking as it gets, in the tenderness and the rawness of what it has done to this family, that is then forever haunted and left devastated.

There’s Lacey May and her family and she wants to get back into the workplace and finds it challenging and people show their attitudes that are at times negative, towards this by some employers who don’t realise she has had a good education. She has also got money problems and issues to deal with, with Robbie. She also her other daughter.

This is also a story of Noelle and Gee, growing up and trying to find their way in the world and discovering themselves as they age. It’s interesting to see Noelle’s attitude to the change in school system is very different to her mother’s and it being far removed from what one may expect, which is refreshing in the way some mother’s etc will recognise some of the attitude Lacey has in how she goes about doing certain things. The issues surrounding race is also not quite what one may assume either, when it comes to potential for romance.

It’s a book that delves right into the nucleus and the inner workings of families in a way that, whether they represent how your family is or not, will touch your heart and be relatable in one way or another, through the love and grief displayed as readers watch the families grow up through the years.

Buy Links

Amazon                       Waterstones                      Bookshop.org