#Review of Orphanage Girls Come Home By Mary Wood @Authormary @panmacmillan @RandomTTours #TheOrphanageGirlsComeHome

The Orphanage Girls Come Home
By Mary Wood

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Orphanage Girls Come Home has friendship amongst dark themes. Find out more in the blurb and what I thought in my review below.


London, 1910
When Amy is chosen to be a part of a programme to resettling displaced children in Canada, her life changes overnight. Her great sadness is having to say goodbye to Ruth and Ellen, the friends who became family to her during the dark days at the orphanage. As she steps on board the ship to Montreal, the promise of a new life lies ahead. But during the long crossing, Amy discovers a terrifying secret.

Canada, 1919
As the decades pass, Amy’s Canadian experience is far from the life she imagined. She always kept Ruth’s address to hand – longing to return to London and reunite with her dear friends. With the world at war, it seems an impossible dream . . .


Life has its challenges for Ruth, she has it tougher than most, even though she then tries to make a new life for herself.
The setting is Bethnal Green in the Edwardian era. The streets are dangerous! She comes across many people when she breaks away from the orphanage, meets some good people, but the police are on the hunt to return her from whence she came, meaning she needs to hide. She knows she needs to try and hold out until she is of a certain age when she can be left alone and all threat of a return to the orphanage has gone. Meanwhile, her friends are on a resettlement programme to start new lives in Montreal and the opportunity isn’t all that’s cracked up to be. You really feel for her, so far away from what she once knew and the friends she had made in Ruth and Ellen.

The Orphanage Girls Come Home isn’t all as sweet and nice as the title sounds. This streets and the orphanage itself has many dark corners within them. The book has some grit in its themes. There’s abuse and more that goes on throughout the book. Throughout the emotional grimness, however there are glimmers of hope as not all people are bad. There are some who care.

Time passes and it is 1919. The First World War is occurring and things change again. This brings a change in thoughts and some focus on Amy, one of Ruth’s friends from decades ago, and her experiences. It brings trepidation and hope that these, one time friends will be reunited. The question is how and when will that be possible and after such a long time, what that would be like, to see someone after such a long time and in a changing world… 

Wood paints the scenes vividly and pulls you into the streets and characters lives to enthrall and show strength through different, sometimes harrowing, life circumstances as well as adding warmth, without it being saccharin.



#Review of The Good Time Girls At War By Fiona Ford @Fionajourno @emblabooks #TheGoodTimeGirlsAtWar #HistoricalFiction

The Good Time Girls At War
By Fiona Ford

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Good Time Girls At War captures real spirit and emotion. Find out more in the blurb and then my review.


World War Two casts a dark shadow over the Hammersmith Palais de Danse, but the show must go on…

April 1940. Violet Millington, is ready to rediscover the joy of living. As she waltzes into the palais to begin her new life of lifting spirits in war swept London, and leave her family’s sorrow behind her, she soon discovers she is not the only one with something they’re running from. 

Violet quickly befriends gutsy American Nancy, the diamond of the dance hall, flame-haired Renee with her enviable foxtrot, and Temperance, who must overcome her bullies to achieve her dreams.

In the face of the Blitz, news of a Palais dance competition keeps the foursome’s spirits up. But as the contest draws near, a devastating chain of events is set in motion with life-changing consequences.

As the Good Time Girls face the music, can the ties of friendship, love and loyalty ensure they survive?

Perfect for fans of Rosie Clarke, Vicki Beeby and Rosie Goodwin.


Sometimes you get a book where you want to do extra digging, for example, for some reason, I saw the blurb and was intrigued to know whether Hammersmith Palais de Danse existed. It turns out it did, but my point is more that some books have that je-ne-sais-quoi quality that just piques the interest and this is one of those. Turns out it had a rich and varied history and this is what is depicted in the book. Fiona Ford is known for doing research and it turns out she doesn’t just do that well, she also manages to turn it into great fiction.

The book not only charts the varied times and challenges of the music hall, but also the highs and lows of her characters as they face uncertain times with war becoming stronger with the blitz now underway. There’s often something poetic in a way when both characters and something inanimate, in this case the Hammersmith Palais de Danse are facing challenges. Ford has captured this very well and in a way that is compelling and that makes you care.

The characters are strong and get on with the job at hand of trying to keep the Hammersmith Palais de Danse going when the men go off to war. There are, however blossoming friendships through the various turbulent times that war brings, both on the world and personally. It’s a moving book to really get stuck into.

#Review By Lou of A Secret Garden Affair By Erica James @TheEricaJames @HQstories #ASecretGardenAffair #RomFic #ContemporaryFic #HistoricalFic #Gardens

A Secret Garden Affair
By Erica James

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks to HQ for sending me A Secret Garden Affair and in exchange, I have an honest review of what is a very impressive sweeping family story with twists and turns in a rich, absorbing, well-researched book about human life and the natural world. Find the blurb and full review below, where you’ll discover which parts really captivated me and why I am highly recommend this book.



July 1981. As the country prepares to celebrate Prince Charles’ wedding to Lady Diana, Libby wants to be as far away from royal wedding fever as possible.Having caught her own fiancé in bed with her best friend just weeks before they were due to marry, she’s fled London for the comfort of the Suffolk countryside.At Larkspur House, with its magical garden created by renowned garden designer and one-time socialite Elfrida Ambrose, and its comfortingly familiar kitchen presided over by Libby’s great-aunt Bess, she hopes to find a way to put her life back together.But for lifelong friends Bess and Elfrida, Libby’s arrival has stirred up the ghosts of the past. And before they can help her rebuild her shattered future, they must confront their own unspoken secrets, lost loves, and tragedies…

From the Sunday Times bestselling author Erica James comes a captivating story that sweeps through sixty years of history, love, and family drama. 


This family tale, in the first instance, takes readers back to 1981 in Larkspur House, Suffolk. From the outset, this is authentic and catches attention. It is a book full of life, from nature to human. It is a well-researched, masterful book, full of surprises and of a highly compelling nature.

Libby is running away from London to Suffolk. Her revenge on her cheating fiancé, I must say, may be seen as brutal by some, but for me, I must say it is absolutely wonderfully done.
The attitudes of those surrounding Marcus are authentic too, but then, so is her anger. A couple of pages in and I was thinking how realistic and how wonderful this book is already. A bit more, and I was also very curious about the other characters.

Having left London and royal wedding excitement behind her, Libby, knowing she once had a replica of the ring to be worn by Princess Diana and to face a wedding, when she wasn’t having one herself anymore, she ends up at Larkspur House with its gorgeous, vibrant garden with its abundance of florals and herbs. It is a feast for the senses!
It shows Erica James’s passion for gardens, their history and the programmes made about them.

Larkspur House, is where Libby’s great aunt Bess and her lifelong friend Elfrida can be found. We learn about Elfrida and Bess when they were young, so we step further back in time to see Elfrida at 22 years old in the Côte d’ Azure. She is young and super confident that seems to be borne out of tragedies in her life.

One thing that also really struck me and excited me, because I know this history, is that Erica James talks about White Russians fleeing their country. It is a part of history we don’t hear of very much and it piqued my interest because it is a history that runs through some families ancestry today. This happened, before and after the Russian Revolution, those that were supporters of the Tsar felt there was no other option to do this. They fled from the persecution they were facing from the Red Army – those that wanted to overthrow the monarchy to become a republic, which, as we know, then  became a far left communist state. It’s an interesting road to learn how one country can be one thing and then another, but back to the book. We learn about the people she meets, including the intriguing  Count Nikolai Demidov. Then there is also about Bess at this time in Suffolk and also about her travels in 1923 too, as well as seeing her in 1934 and the relationships she forms throughout the years and the challenges world issues, such as world wars pose as well as how life is as they all age in the years to come. It also mentions some happy events such as the coronation of our now late Queen Elizabeth 11 after the sad passing of her father.

You can see, even in 1923 onwards,  the love of gardens exuding from the page and again, Erica James points out a moment in history, that is still felt today, in the form of Gertrude Jekyll (a woman who transformed many gardens and is still revered today as people are still inspired by her, including in gardens you can visit today. I’ve been to a few myself).

The entire book shows how complex life and get and how beautiful gardens can be and how everyone and everything has a history and a present and how things intertwine, like a garden path with some messy, bumpy bits in-between the rich beauty in the nature as you’re led along the twists and turns of emotion, travels, and poignancy of life, with some deep secrets that are felt and recalled for a lifetime.

I wholeheartedly recommend this emotional, beautiful, heartfelt, passionate book full of human and plant life, with a richly interwoven history.


#Review By Lou – New Neighbours of Coronation Close – Book 1 of a new series by Lizzie Lane – Happy Publication Day @baywriterallat1 @BoldwoodBooks #HistoricalSaga #FamilySaga

New Neighbours of Coronation Close
By Lizzie Lane

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Fans of Lizzie Lane will be delighted to know that today is the publication of book 1 of a brand new historical saga series introducing readers to the people who reside in Coronation Close, set in 1936. See the blurb below and then my review. Thanks first to Boldwood Books for the review copy.

The start of BRAND NEW SERIES from bestselling author of ‘The Tobacco Girls’ Jenny Crawford has resigned herself to a loveless marriage living hand to mouth with their two children. Like many others, husband Roy struggles to find work at the docks but a chance encounter turns the family’s fortunes around.Not only does he get regular work but they are also allocated a council house on Coronation Close on the outskirts of the city. Jenny and the children are overjoyed, this is the fresh start she could only ever dream of. But trouble feels never too far away. With Roy spending more time with Sir Oswald Molsey bullying black shirts, Jenny is left to her own devices and eager to fit in begins to make new friends.Thankful of peace, Jenny has her head turned firstly by an old love and then by her knight in shining armour.Does she allow herself to glimpse a chance of happiness?Whatever happens the consequences could be dire if Roy ever finds out. 

New Neighbours of Coronation Close is set in an interesting time in history. Set in 1936, the Molsey’s, in particular, Sir Oswald Molesy is making his mark and his views known (as is Hitler overseas, taking a firmer grip and making his views known ever more prominently); the monarchy is changing as a King is dead, which is where the book begins and the next in line is ascending onto the throne. It captures many moments of history, which puts events into context in amongst what was happening in the wider society. It’s pretty dark at times, as history shows us, but also hopeful as you root for a better life for Jenny.

Coronation Close is where Jenny Crawford and her husband Roy move to. It’s in the suburbs and secured because of Roy’s interest in politics, not just anyone’s politics, but he gets very close to Sir Oswald Mosley’s brand of politics. Life, just because they have a better council house now, is far from cosy. Roy has a temper on him and everything changed once he stuck a ring on her finger. There were money troubles as Roy and life around the docks, searching for work was difficult, prior to him meeting Sir Oswald Mosley. Roy becomes increasingly interested in him and spends vast amounts of time with him and seemingly changing their luck around; giving Jenny time to wonder if she can changer her life from one where she feels tied to the shackles of a loveless marriage to daring to set her sights to something happier.

It gives insight into a different period of time, when things were changing politically and yet domestically, whether you were an average person or monarchy, certain things were the same in certain attitudes and ways of having to be seen as doing what was considered the respectable thing to do above all else as there are consequences, no matter who you are and not always good ones. The question is, will Jenny, upon meeting an old lover, choose to change her life and do something considered radical for the times or will she remain with Roy? What of the monarch too?

It is certainly a book worth checking out.

#HappyNewYear #2023. Here are a number of #Fiction and #NonFiction Books in many genres I highly #Recommend from #2022 #BookRecommendations #BookReviews #BookWrap

I have reviewed many books in 2022 and what a privilege it has been too. Here are some that I highly recommend out of the many books I have reviewed in 2022. I also have included links to my full no spoiler reviews where you’ll also find the blurbs. The mix of crime fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, memoirs are in no particular order. Please also feel free to explore my blog for other great book reviews, author interviews and talks and theatre reviews.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures By Holly Hepburn – An antique shop, antiques, a mysterious puzzle box, a trip to Egypt, a mention of the Canarvon Family (think the real Downton Abbey), all wrapped up in a wonderful book full of splendid characters.
Holly Hepburn has a new book coming this year that I will also be reviewing.

Check out the blurb and my review in the link: The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures

Suicide Thursday By Will Carver explores this and the darker corners of society. It’s a compulsive read with intriguing characters – Mike, Jackie and Eli. Will Eli leave a hated job and get past writing chapter 1 of a novel? What is written in texts? Find out the answers to these and more in Suicide Thursday.

Link to blurb and review –Suicide Thursday

All About Evie By Matson Taylor is a humorous second book to the much talked about The Miseducation of Evie Epworth that was a Radio 2 book club pick. There’s much humour mixed with poignancy and sadness. Find out what happens at a sound check at Broadcasting House, her friend, Caroline and life’s mishaps and incidents. It’s highly engaging. Find the blurb and review in the link: All About Evie

Yes, I Killed Her By Harry Fisher s full of chilling suspense. The question isn’t who, but it is how. How did a murderer commit such a calculated crime. Is it as perfect as he thinks? Here is a link to the blurb and full review. Remember, I’m not going to disclose the answers to those questions. That’s for you to discover yourselves: Yes, I Killed Her

Verity Vanishes By A.B. Morgan is book 3 of The Quirk Files. The books can be read as part of the series or as standalone as the cases each complete by the end of the book. The Quirks are quirky private investigators.

There are secrets to uncover, including who was Verity, why has she vanished and why is a tv station so interested in this particular case? It’s intriguing with wit. See blurb and review in the link –Verity Vanishes

Touching, haunting and a darn good unputdownable read. It takes place between Glasgow and H.M. Polmont Prison in Central Scotland. It’s gripping getting to know about what revelations unfold in Ginger and Wendy’s personalities and what happens to them. It’s a book of obsession and friendship and more in this contemporary fictional book… Find out more in the link to the blurb and my full review: Ginger And Me

The Homes By J.B. Mylet is set in an orphanage village in Scotland. Follow the lives of Lesley, Jonesy and Eadie, all from their points of views. How safe is The Homes? Murder strikes and everything changes in this fast-paced, immersive page-turner. It’s fiction based on a true story. Find out more in the link: The Homes

Remember Me by Charity Norman is gripping and addictive as the layers build up to discover what has happened to Leah, who has disappeared.

The book also follows Felix, who has Alzheimer’s. It’s authentically and sensitively written. Discover the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the link: Remember Me

Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell is enthralling in both setting and the relationships between all the characters. Meet Lachlan, a chef in high demand and Peggy, a formidable, yet fun woman who puts up a credible argument as to why he should follow her to Cornwall to cook his amazing food. Also meet Amber, Lachlan, Rafaelle and Vee as you step into idyllic scenery. Is all well though? What would you make of the mysterious letter? Find out more in my link about this beautiful, compelling book that perfectly captures the lives of its characters, who are concealing truths. Should I Tell You

White Christmas on Winter Street has all the festive feel-good vibes you can want. Unearth the treasures in Corner House in Middledip. It’s a rather moving book as Heather returns to discover new friends and old. Find out more in the link: White Christmas on Winter Street

The Little Wartime Library By Kate Thompson is about a courageous librarian who took Bethnal Green Library underground during World War 2. It is fascinating and is fiction based on fact. Lots of research was done, including asking librarians, including me, many questions that then formed the basis of the central character. The Little Wartime Library

The Locked Away Life by Drew Davies is about 2 people who are seemingly poles apart. 1 is becoming practically a recluse and increasingly elderly, the other, much younger in need of a job, which is how they meet. Little do they know they need each other more than they thought they would. It’s a heartwarming story. Find out more in the link: The Locked AwayLife

Love Untold by Ruth Jones is uplifting, emotional and endearing, It crosses the generations from a teenager right up to a 90 year old. It’s well observed in all the complexities of life and interactions.
Discover more such as the blurb and my review in the link. Love Untold

The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre puts readers on an island. There’s a hen party set on a Scottish island. In some ways it’s a bit like And Then There We’re None by Agatha Christie, but there are also many differences.

There are frictions amongst the guests and things take a sinister turn. It’s a well-observed book in the way relationships are between the characters and what happens when people are on a remote island. Everyone has a secret and no one is safe. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review: The Cliff House

Cat Lady By Dawn O’Porter is very humorous but also very poignant and thought provoking. Within the book, wrapped in the cuteness of a cat, there is a great human story too and both together makes this quite different and compelling. There are 5 parts to Cat Lady – Mother, Career Woman, Animal, Wife, Cat Lady. Follow Mia and Tristan through the ups and downs of life. Mia is especially more than you would perhaps assume she is… Here is the link to the blurb and full review: Cat Lady

Thrown is a debut novel by Sara Cox. It’s heartwarming and uplifting at a pottery class. It’s about community pulling together and friendships forming. There are elements that may well tug at your heartstrings. Here is the link to the blurb and review: Thrown

The Cruise by Catherine Cooper takes place on the most luxurious cruise-liner. The type that would be a holiday of a lifetime. Something mysterious happens and it is compelling to travel around to try to fit together all the pieces to discover how they all fit together and some truths. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. The Cruise

Keeping A Christmas Promise By Jo Thomas is about 4 friends who have known each other for 25 years. Tragedy happens to one of them, meaning it is up to 3 of them to keep their bucketlist promise- to see the northern lights at Christmas. With themes of friendship, mortality and strength to carry on in the face of adversity and community, it’s an entertaining, heartwarming book. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. Keeping A Christmas Promise

The Echoes of Love By Jenny Ashcroft transports readers to the 1930’s to the 1940’s and then to 1970’s. It takes readers into the depths of love and war and how it reverberates years later. The book is set between Portsmouth in the UK and Crete. It is a story of war and love. A story unfolding at the BBC Broadcasting House. It is fascinating, poignant and beautifully written. Here is the link to my original review and the blurb. The Echoes of Love

Cooking the Book by various authors published by Hobeck Books also raised money for the Trussell Trust. It’s various short stories, each taking on a different sub-genres of crime fiction. Each also has a recipe you can create by each author. Here is the link to all the details Cooking The Books

The Language of Food is fiction based on fact. It takes reader into the life of a little known woman, by many, called Eliza Acton. She changed the course of cookery forever and when today’s cooks come across her, they are inspired by her story and style and have been influenced greatly by her. Annabel Abbs now opens up her life in this very interesting book. Here is the link to discover more: The Language of Food

Create Your Own Indoor Green by Joe Swift who is also an expert gardener on Gardeners World and various other programmes. The book is an easy step by step guide to indoor plants. It quite literally has everything you need to know, whether you’re getting started or already have indoor plants as there’s always more knowledge to be gained. There are handy hints and tips as well as growing and caring for them. I actually bought this for a friend after reviewing it and she is delighted. Find out the blurb and review in the link: Joe’s Create Your Own Indoor Green

Women Like Us By Amanda Prowse, is a memoir where she sheds light and insight into her life, which many women will be able to relate to or understand, perhaps more than they may first expect. It’s a highly interesting read.
Women Like Us

One Night on The Island introduces readers to Cleo. She works for the magazine – Women Today and has an unusual assignment to do. Directed by her boss, Ali, the assignment is to marry herself (or self-coupling or sologamy) on a remote island. She has a few reservations to say the least. It’s an entertaining story with lots of heart and warmth. One Night On the Island

Mothers and Daughters By Erica James is a compelling story of family life and revelations. Families can be more complex than what they may first appear to be in this sweeping family drama. Mothers and Daughters

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…
This mixes fact and fiction with Marion and the UK Royal Family in a fascinating way, about a woman not everyone knows much about. The Good Servant

Wolf Pack By Will Dean is a Scandi-Noir.

Tuva Moodyson has a case on her hands to solve with Thord and Chief Björn.
Elsa Nyberg is reported as being missing and chillingly, Rose Farm has quite the history of deadly things happening there, involving a family. It’s a gripping page-turner. Here is the link to the full review and blurb. Wolf Pack

The Empire By Michael Ball is exquisitely theatrical, after all, that is his background. It takes readers back in time to the glitz and glamour of 1922, where you’ll meet Jack Tredwell and a whole host of other cast. There are secrets and the future of the theatre itself is in jeopardy. It’s a page turner! Here’s my link to the blurb and rest of the review The Empire

#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.


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.


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.


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.