#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 . . .

Review

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.

 

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#AuthorInterview By Lou with Viv Fogel – #Author of Imperfect Beginnings @fly_press @VivWynant @kenyon_isabelle #Poetry #WritingCommunity #ReadingCommunity #BlogTour #ImperfectBeginnings

Today I am delighted to present to you my interview/Q&A session with author of Imperfect Beginnings – Viv Fogel. First, many thanks to Viv for agreeing to the interview/Q&A session on my blog and to Fly on the Wall Press for inviting me onto the blog tour.
Viv’s poems are evocative showing war, peace, family and are set in present times and past times. In my blog post today, discover the blurb and then what she has to say as she talks fascinatingly of her inspiration, a particular photo of artwork that features within the book, the importance of poetry, it’s shape and more, as well as where you can purchase the book.
Without further ado, let’s welcome Viv Fogel…

Imperfect Beginnings lays its poems out to rest on uncertain terrain. Visa paperwork deadlines hang in the air. New-borns, torn too early from their mother’s breast, learn to adapt to harsh guardianship.

Belonging and exile are mirrored in the stories of having to leave one’s birthmother―or motherland.

From narrative poems such as ‘My Father Sold Cigarettes To The Nazis’, Fogel takes us on a journey throughout history, spanning ancestry, wartime, adoption and peacetime, as life settles. Family, work, love and the natural world provide purpose, meaning and a sense of coming ‘home’.

  1. What or who inspired you to be a poet and how did this influence your own poetic style? 

    I started off writing and illustrating short stories – to create worlds and characters I could escape into, but then a cousin, (an English student) gave me my first book of illustrated poetry when I was about 16. I didn’t understand them all – but the musicality of the words, the rhythm and the form of the poems, their vibrancy excited me. Here was another kind of language and sound to the rather dreary way we studied poetry at school. (Soon after, aged 16, my first poem was published in Peace News). A year or so later a conversation with a ‘bohemian’ stranger on a plane to Paris, got me interested in ‘kinetic’ poetry, Corso, Ginsberg and the Beat Poets. Aged 18 it was the Liverpool Poets and the lyrics of Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell and later Ralph McTell. Music and poetry are inextricably linked for me.

2. The poems that seem to be set in modern times and then goes into the second world war, before returning to modern times, what inspired you to write it in this pattern for the arc of your storytelling, within your chosen themes? 

An interesting question: themes are not linear or chronological – patterns reoccur and weave in and out, back and forth. And I did have another way of ordering the sequences and sections in the collection, but because of time constraints, this is how it shaped itself.

 3. You have a photo of the Memorial installation ‘Shalekhet’ : fallen leaves at the Jewish Museum, Berlin and a poem beside it. How did you approach writing a poem that reflects the poignancy of the art installation? 

It took me completely by surprise – that’s how powerful the installation was for me. People were encouraged to walk over the floor of metallic mask- like faces – the ‘fallen leaves’ , – and I just could not bring myself to do that. Instead I sat and listened to them clanking, and the clattering sounds and echoes evoked deeply embodied ‘memories’ and images … 

 4. You mention certain people under the titles of some of the poetry, such as Itzaak Weinreich, 1903-1988, Your birth mother – Jennie and also your mother – Henriette and relatives you never met, what emotions did this evoke in you and did it affect how you wrote and what you wrote in those particular poems? 

Strangely no. Obviously there had been processed emotions long before I wrote the poems – but in order to write effectively I need to be able to dis-identify, and step back from those feelings in order to ‘see’ the bigger picture. Thomas Mann spoke about this in his novel Tonio Kröger – how if we are too emmeshed or lost in the emotions we cannot gain the perspective needed for the writing to be truly effective. But yes – there’s a history and a foundation of feeling-responses that inform these poems.

 5. Your poems are sometimes a sombre silence and sometimes noise and movements, even within the placement of the sentences, not always being linear in every poem, was this a conscious decision? 

Yes! The way a poem looks on the page, the spacing, lineation, even the punctuation is deliberate, which dictates the pace and tone of the reading, rather like musical notation. Obviously a poem written on A4 looks different when printed in a book-sized page.  

 6. How important and relevant is reading poetry in today’s society? 

Very! Poetry says things that cannot be said in any other way. It’s immediate and names what cannot always be named with prose or in journalism. The term ‘poetic licence’ exists for a reason. Poetry may not change the world, its politics or politicians – but it can sustain and give hope. Try reading at least one poem a day – to find that space and nourishment!

 
7. What do you hope readers will gain from your poetry and where can people purchase your book? 

I hope readers will be moved in some way by the poetry … if one poem touches one person or resonates – with empathy, or joy, or inspires them to write themselves, or to find their voice, that’s a wonderful benefit. And I really would like my poetry to be accessible to those who are not just poets and would not normally choose to read poetry.

You can purchase the book directly from Fly on the Wall Press online – or better still- order from your local book store, or even your library. And I would welcome any reviews on Goodreads, Waterstones or Amazon.

Many thanks Lou for asking me onto your blog.

To pre-order please go to: https://www.flyonthewallpress.co.uk/product-page/imperfect-beginnings-by-viv-fogel

#Review By Lou of One Moonlit Night By Rachel Hore @Rachelhore @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC @BookMinxSJV #OneMoonlitNight #BlogTour #WW2 #BookRecommendation #BookTwitter #Blogger

One Moonlit Night
By Rachel Hore

Rating: 5 out of 5.

one moonlit night, rachel hore

One Moonlit Night is a rich, beautiful novel set during the war that is easy to get immersed in with its romance, secrets and war… Follow down to the blurb and my full review below.
Firstly, thanks to publisher Simon and Schuster for inviting me to review on the blog tour.

one moonlit night, rachel hore

Blurb

One Moonlit NightThe unmissable new novel from the million-copy Sunday Times bestselling author of A Beautiful Spy

Loyalty and betrayal, hope and despair, One Moonlit Night tells the captivating story of a husband and wife separated by secrets as well as by war.

Accept it, he is dead.
No, it’s not true.
It is. Everyone thinks so except you.

Forced to leave their family home in London after it is bombed, Maddie and her two young daughters take refuge at Knyghton, the beautiful country house in Norfolk where Maddie’s husband Philip spent the summers of his childhood.

But Philip is gone, believed to have been killed in action in northern France. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Maddie refuses to give up hope that she and Philip will some day be reunited.

Arriving at Knyghton, Maddie feels closer to her missing husband, but she soon realises that there’s a reason Philip has never spoken to her about his past. Something happened at Knyghton one summer years before. Something that involved Philip, his cousin Lyle and a mysterious young woman named Flora.

Maddie’s curiosity turns to desperation as she tries to discover the truth, but no one will speak about what happened all those years ago, and no one will reassure her that Philip will ever return to Knyghton.
The extraordinarily powerful new novel from bestselling author Rachel Hore. 

Review

Having enjoyed A Beautiful Spy, it now gives me great pleasure in telling you how good and compelling One Moonlit Night is. It is an eloquently written book, set in the second world war, that has a whirlwind romance to get caught up in before war breaks out and the lovers, now man and wife – Maddie and Phillip are then separated because he has to fight. They built up a family with two daughters, whom he has no choice but to leave behind, as they then seek refuge. It is like that ultimate emotional romance that plays out as glee that two lovers are together in such a romantic fashion, and scenic areas are painted in the minds eye throughout, which all turns to sorrow and into page-turner.

As the war rages on there is tides of emotion as Phillip may or may not be alive. Everyone except from Maddie thinks he is dead. You really feel for Maddie in this situation. It also turns out that she didn’t really know her husband as well as she perhaps thought as there are so many secrets to be uncovered about events that happened years ago that he never talked about.  The complex mystery about the man whom she married starts when a folder belonging to Phillip is handed to her and realises there are certain things that she had no idea about. It means she has to go to Knyghton, in Norfolk, a place where Phillip spent summer-times in. As well as meeting members of his family and the Land Girls, there is also a photograpgh, that poses many questions and further deepens the mystery of secrets that swirls round and compounds in the book, along with love, loyalty and betrayal. There is much intrigue to be sought and many questions to be answered right up until a well thought out ending.

One Moonlit Night blog tour

#BookReview By Lou – The Bobby Girls War By Johanna Bell @JoBellAuthor @HodderBooks #BobbyGirlsSeries #WW1 #Saga #TeamBookEnds

The Bobby Girls War
By Johanna Bell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A series that makes you want to stay with from beginning and each new book that is published. The Bobby Girls War is the latest in the series. Even if this isn’t your normal genre or era to read, I highly recommend giving them a try as there’s so much to them at a fast-pace, and yet they are a good read to relax with in these increasingly colder days. Thanks to Hodder & Staughton for gifting me the book to review. Discover more in the blurb and then my review below.

Blurb

The Bobby Girls War coverCurl up with Book Four in the gorgeous Bobby Girls series now!

1916. Poppy is being transferred to an enormous new munitions complex in Gretna, on the Scottish border. Even though it means moving far away from her best friends Maggie and Annie, she is excited for the challenge.

As a member of the Women’s Police Service, it’s her job to maintain law and order so that the factory workers can safely carry out their vital war work. She soon makes friends, and even starts to open herself up to the possibility of love.

But then she sees something in the dead of night, and suddenly the dangers of the war are no longer far away on distant shores. With the enemy hot on her heels and no idea who to trust, can Poppy save herself – and avert disaster for her country?

 

Review

It is often a delight to read and review from The Bobby Girls series. These are books that are  great for curling up with in the wintry months to find out what the girls are up to next. This one concentrates more on Poppy Davis as she has moved away from being around, her now established, newest friends in London, England, to Gretna, Scotland. There is also still much enjoyment to catch up with her friends Maggie and Annie too, who are also very busy with the Foundling Hospital which is feeling the pressure of increasing intakes of “doorstep” abandoned babies, which Poppy also helps with before she leaves. Maggie and Annie are also busy with the WPS setting up places they can go too.

There are some changes with Alice in munitions and also a new Chief Constable – Chief Constable Jackson, who has a lot to catch up on of what has been happening, particularly in Holborn with continuing work to further reduce prostitutes around the area and abandoned babies.

 The book gives insight to the war through the soldiers and also from what it was like being home, as shown through an emotional, yet beautifully composed letter for Poppy. When Poppy does arrive in Scotland, there’s more to learn than she seems to initially thought from Grace as well as many dangers so many workers face each day, especially with explosive chemicals in the factories where one wrong move could be deadly, which adds some suspense, as does the possibility of a spy…. Once again, the writing is enthralling and as the chapters go on, you just want to know more. There’s more than meets the eye for Poppy to manage, who starts to have her doubts whether she can manage or not, even with Grace’s positivity. Nightshifts bring more dangers, more than she could ever know until there is a highly perilous position with not much time to waste! There are some gaspable moments to say the least and all is riveting.

The book is refreshing as it shows a different side to some males in the force who Poppy meets as it shows that they can (and many were) supportive. This book also shows the developing relationships between the different characters, including one from Christmas, which is so heartwarming. Even though there’s dangers and hardships, there is warmth and some really lovely moments and a bit of romance. She also hasn’t left her London friends completely behind either. It shows that distance doesn’t mean friendships end.

#Review by Lou Happy Paperback Publication Day To Fern Britton for Daughters of Cornwall @Fern_Britton #HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #DaughtersOfCornwall

Daughters of Cornwall
By Fern Britton
Rated: 5  Stars *****

Written by Louise – A reblog of Daughters of Cornwall, which I reviewed in 2020, now available in Paperback.

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Fern Britton’s 9th novel – Daughters of Cornwall. Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of eight Sunday Times bestselling novels. Her book is fascinating and just grabbed me from the minute I turned to the first page, right until the end. It’s a Must Read! Before you discover the blurb and review, I would like to thank blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the invite to review, Elizabeth Dawson – PR Director at Harper Collins for sending a PDF copy and also to her and Fern Britton for a most interesting and lovely, relaxed Zoom chat. I also thank Fern Britton and her publisher for inviting me to her Twitter book launch. I was excited to have the opportunity to review the book, but to have these extras, made it all even more special, as you will see, throughout my review and. That being said, the review is still not biased. I have rated it 5 stars because it is an absolutely brilliant, impressive book with a great story that unfolds, that is told well. I also love the cover to this book – see below, where you’ll also find the synopsis, review and a bit about the author and media links as well as extra bits, after the “about the author” section.

Daughers of Cornwall Cover

Blurb/Synopsis

1918

The Great War is over, and Clara Carter has boarded a train bound for Cornwall – to meet a family that would once have been hers. But they must never discover her secret.

1939

Hannah has always been curious about her mother’s mysterious past, but the outbreak of the Second World War casts everything in a new light. As the bombs begin to fall, Hannah and her brothers are determined to do their bit for the war effort –
whatever the cost.

2020

Caroline has spent years trying to uncover the lies buried in her family history. And once she arrives in Cornwall, the truth finally seems to be in reach. Except with storm clouds gathering on the horizon, Caroline soon learns that some secrets are best left hidden.

Daughers of Cornwall Cover

Review

Daughters of Cornwall is yet another wonderfully written book by Fern Britton, with characters you can understand their predicaments of and can empathise and sympathise with. Written with such sensitivity, candour and a little humour along the way; it is an all absorbing, page-turning, must read book.

Set between 1918 and the present day, this book feels incredibly authentic. The book flows from one age to the next very well. There’s certainly no room for confusion in this book as all the generations and the timelines are well connected.
It’s inspired by her grandmother, who was called Clara, whom is one of the characters in the book, which I think is a lovely thing for Fern Britton to do. 

The book starts with a toast that has been adopted by Scottish regiments everywhere, in memory of her great uncle, which is just lovely and very fitting to what comes next.
Fern, in a zoom chat, talked about a man who wrote to her, who turned out to be her grandmother’s son, her mother’s half-brother, making him Fern’s half-uncle, who was given a way. Just the sign of the times, when difficult decisions were made and children were given away because of the shame of the, then, illigitimacy, back then and just further shows that families can be complex. It was so interesting to hear. It inspired part of the story, which is also very fictionalised, but with threads of truth weaving in and out. This perhaps why the writing feels so heartfelt and authentic. The writing is brave and I am glad that it is a story that has been told, with its emotional plot and the nuances of her characters, that in turn, creates a desire to keep reading to discover what happens next as time progresses.

The prologue itself just drew me in from the start as it sets up the story of family bloodlines so well. It’s the way it is written that adds curiosity and intrigue, one of the marks of a skilled author. I get the feeling that Fern Britton has honed so many skills to write this masterful, authentic book, that spans between 1918 and the present day.

Family secrets from the past are uncovered as a well travelled case is mysteriously sent to Caroline in the present day, also containing the initials of her grandfather – Ernest H. Bolitho, who had died in Penang, Malyasia.

Part 1 introduces Clara in 1918, a month after the First World War ended, on her way from Kent to Cornwall on an interesting journey. Interesting because there are different attitudes presented by Clara and a passenger. She would rather not talk about the war, but he would. The needs and emotions are handled well and with great realism.

Clara and Bertie were very much in love, but Clara has secrets that she is all too willing to hold close to her chest and weaves truths with lies to reinvent and perhaps, protect, as she travels by train, alone, after the war to meet Bertie’s family, one she should have been firmly part of, hadn’t it been for such a tragic fate that so many people in the war faced.
What emerges is that Clara is a strong woman, with a lot to deal with as she hides her tears and also gets on with this stage in her life.  Readers will also see the endearing love between Bertie and Clara.

Attention to detail is astonishing, right down to meat paste sandwiches some of the fashions of the times and, and down to the advent of fashions/materials that are now so commonplace, such as denim/jeans. I’m suitably impressed! Overall, this is an impressively written book as real life and fiction is weaved seamlessly together to create this latest novel.

Fern talked a bit about on the Zoom meeting, how it was called the Great War because of course they thought that was the war to end all wars and not realising there could be another one. There are letters written between the two. The letters are well-written and feel authentic. I very much enjoyed talking to Fern Britton about them, she informed me  (and everyone involved) they were made up, but she did delve into the archives a bit. Clearly, thought has gone into creating the letters because they feel natural and I’ve seen (and possess) letters with some similar content and tone. There’s also some amusement injected in the letters about snakes and frogs, which she talked candidly about. Some letters, when time goes back a little and Bertie is out at war, are fast-paced and energised, almost cinematic.

There are lovely brief sections that go to Caroline in the present day and intelligently feels like you are with her, looking into all the discoveries she makes.

Fern Britton bravely talked about illigitmacy and secrets in her own family. It was fascinating to hear (she has also talked about this for bigger, more prominient media programmes/interviewers). There’s plenty of families, mine included that did things that are perfectly acceptable or understandable for present times, that perhaps weren’t seen as so back then and that, in my humble opinion, is okay and to me, it just interests me, not because I’m totally nosey you understand, it’s just that you learn, you accept and understand and care. 

Part 2 concentrates on Hannah in 1938/39. Hannah is protective of the family, which is then involved in the second world war, within the RAF. There’s also insight into this and also how Cornwall was affected. She also wants to find out more about her mother.

Fern Britton also has family who have been in the RAF during the world war, she divulged in the Zoom chat. It was interesting as so do I and it all turned into a lovely and interesting conversation about the way planes were and more…

Caroline, in the present (2020), gets to a point where it is time to tell her own daughter, Natalie to tell the truth about the family and the courage and strength they have had within and how they survived against the face of adversity.

The end of the book is thought-provoking and is also gently poetic as family lines continue.

I highly recommend this book. It is different from her other books. It shows that Fern Britton can write many topics very well and it’s a book that had me absorbed from the beginning to the end and I am sure many other readers will be too.

The Launch Party of this book was done incredibly well, given it was all done on Twitter.

Her launch party was so much fun. She shown people, virtually along a gorgous bay and read  passages of her book. She has narrated the audiobook. I can say that she is incredibly pleasant to listen to and the acting/reading skills are really good.

She also gave a shout out to the independent bookshops, which was thoughtful and shown a gorgeous one in Padstow, as well as a welcoming looking cafe, where she also informed us that she also has a male following who are also enjoying her books.

Comandeering a boat, she shown her sense of humour as she gave us a fun tour around the harbour.

All in all, it was all a real treat. The book is available now. I do highly recommend it and is one, readers can really get into and get to know the generations of a family, she has skillfully created.

About the Author

Fern IMG_20200602_164922Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of eight Sunday Times bestselling novels.

Born in London, into a theatrical family, Fern started her professional life as a stage manager. Theatre life was great fun but within three years, in 1980, she graduated to television and became a presenter on Westward Television. Here she achieved her ambition of living in Cornwall. Since then television has been her home. She spent 14 years as a journalist before presenting Ready, Steady, Cook for the BBC. This Morning for ITV came next where she won several awards and became a household name. Her interview programme Fern Britton Meets had guests including Tony Blair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dolly Parton and Cliff Richard. Fern presented The Big Allotment Challenge (BBC2), For What It’s Worth (BBC1), Culinary Genius with Gordon Ramsay (ITV)

Fern’s novels are all set in her beloved Cornwall. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won her legions of loyal readers. Fern was a judge for the Costa Book of the Year Award and a supporter of the Reading Agency, promoting literacy and reading.

Fern turned her talents to acting last year when she starred as Marie in Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning musical Calendar Girls.

Fern has twin sons, two daughters and lives in Cornwall in a house full of good food, wine, family, friends and gardening books. She has a motor cycle licence, an honorary doctorate for services to broadcasting and charity, and is a member of Mensa!

Author Links to click on:                 Website    Facebook      Twitter          

Fern IMG_20200602_164922

I credit Joanne Baird for sending me a screenshot from the Zoom Chat. Again, I thank Fern Britton for giving her time to do a Q&A session for bloggers (and for the nice, appreciated comment that was made about bloggers), of which there were 7 of us at this exclusive event (and then Elizabeth Dawson and Fern Britton, making 9), that was well and kindly organised by Elizabeth Dawson – PR Director at Harper Collins.

Go ahead and also see who else is on this blog tour and also check out the book, which is available to buy now!

Daughters of Cornwall BT Poster

#Review of the absorbingly authentic Daughters of Cornwall By Fern Britton @Fern_Britton #HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #RandomThingsTours #DaughtersOfCornwall

Daughters of Cornwall
By Fern Britton
Rated: 5  Stars *****

Written by Louise

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Fern Britton’s 9th novel – Daughters of Cornwall. Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of eight Sunday Times bestselling novels. Her book is fascinating and just grabbed me from the minute I turned to the first page, right until the end. It’s a Must Read! Before you discover the blurb and review, I would like to thank blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the invite to review, Elizabeth Dawson – PR Director at Harper Collins for sending a PDF copy and also to her and Fern Britton for a most interesting and lovely, relaxed Zoom chat. I also thank Fern Britton and her publisher for inviting me to her Twitter book launch. I was excited to have the opportunity to review the book, but to have these extras, made it all even more special, as you will see, throughout my review and. That being said, the review is still not biased. I have rated it 5 stars because it is an absolutely brilliant, impressive book with a great story that unfolds, that is told well. I also love the cover to this book – see below, where you’ll also find the synopsis, review and a bit about the author and media links as well as extra bits, after the “about the author” section.

Daughers of Cornwall Cover

Blurb/Synopsis

1918

The Great War is over, and Clara Carter has boarded a train bound for Cornwall – to meet a family that would once have been hers. But they must never discover her secret.

1939

Hannah has always been curious about her mother’s mysterious past, but the outbreak of the Second World War casts everything in a new light. As the bombs begin to fall, Hannah and her brothers are determined to do their bit for the war effort –
whatever the cost.

2020

Caroline has spent years trying to uncover the lies buried in her family history. And once she arrives in Cornwall, the truth finally seems to be in reach. Except with storm clouds gathering on the horizon, Caroline soon learns that some secrets are best left hidden.

Daughers of Cornwall Cover

Review

Daughters of Cornwall is yet another wonderfully written book by Fern Britton, with characters you can understand their predicaments of and can empathise and sympathise with. Written with such sensitivity, candour and a little humour along the way; it is an all absorbing, page-turning, must read book.

Set between 1918 and the present day, this book feels incredibly authentic. The book flows from one age to the next very well. There’s certainly no room for confusion in this book as all the generations and the timelines are well connected.
It’s inspired by her grandmother, who was called Clara, whom is one of the characters in the book, which I think is a lovely thing for Fern Britton to do. 

The book starts with a toast that has been adopted by Scottish regiments everywhere, in memory of her great uncle, which is just lovely and very fitting to what comes next.
Fern, in a zoom chat, talked about a man who wrote to her, who turned out to be her grandmother’s son, her mother’s half-brother, making him Fern’s half-uncle, who was given a way. Just the sign of the times, when difficult decisions were made and children were given away because of the shame of the, then, illigitimacy, back then and just further shows that families can be complex. It was so interesting to hear. It inspired part of the story, which is also very fictionalised, but with threads of truth weaving in and out. This perhaps why the writing feels so heartfelt and authentic. The writing is brave and I am glad that it is a story that has been told, with its emotional plot and the nuances of her characters, that in turn, creates a desire to keep reading to discover what happens next as time progresses.

The prologue itself just drew me in from the start as it sets up the story of family bloodlines so well. It’s the way it is written that adds curiosity and intrigue, one of the marks of a skilled author. I get the feeling that Fern Britton has honed so many skills to write this masterful, authentic book, that spans between 1918 and the present day.

Family secrets from the past are uncovered as a well travelled case is mysteriously sent to Caroline in the present day, also containing the initials of her grandfather – Ernest H. Bolitho, who had died in Penang, Malyasia.

Part 1 introduces Clara in 1918, a month after the First World War ended, on her way from Kent to Cornwall on an interesting journey. Interesting because there are different attitudes presented by Clara and a passenger. She would rather not talk about the war, but he would. The needs and emotions are handled well and with great realism.

Clara and Bertie were very much in love, but Clara has secrets that she is all too willing to hold close to her chest and weaves truths with lies to reinvent and perhaps, protect, as she travels by train, alone, after the war to meet Bertie’s family, one she should have been firmly part of, hadn’t it been for such a tragic fate that so many people in the war faced.
What emerges is that Clara is a strong woman, with a lot to deal with as she hides her tears and also gets on with this stage in her life.  Readers will also see the endearing love between Bertie and Clara.

Attention to detail is astonishing, right down to meat paste sandwiches some of the fashions of the times and, and down to the advent of fashions/materials that are now so commonplace, such as denim/jeans. I’m suitably impressed! Overall, this is an impressively written book as real life and fiction is weaved seamlessly together to create this latest novel.

Fern talked a bit about on the Zoom meeting, how it was called the Great War because of course they thought that was the war to end all wars and not realising there could be another one. There are letters written between the two. The letters are well-written and feel authentic. I very much enjoyed talking to Fern Britton about them, she informed me  (and everyone involved) they were made up, but she did delve into the archives a bit. Clearly, thought has gone into creating the letters because they feel natural and I’ve seen (and possess) letters with some similar content and tone. There’s also some amusement injected in the letters about snakes and frogs, which she talked candidly about. Some letters, when time goes back a little and Bertie is out at war, are fast-paced and energised, almost cinematic.

There are lovely brief sections that go to Caroline in the present day and intelligently feels like you are with her, looking into all the discoveries she makes.

Fern Britton bravely talked about illigitmacy and secrets in her own family. It was fascinating to hear (she has also talked about this for bigger, more prominient media programmes/interviewers). There’s plenty of families, mine included that did things that are perfectly acceptable or understandable for present times, that perhaps weren’t seen as so back then and that, in my humble opinion, is okay and to me, it just interests me, not because I’m totally nosey you understand, it’s just that you learn, you accept and understand and care. 

Part 2 concentrates on Hannah in 1938/39. Hannah is protective of the family, which is then involved in the second world war, within the RAF. There’s also insight into this and also how Cornwall was affected. She also wants to find out more about her mother.

Fern Britton also has family who have been in the RAF during the world war, she divulged in the Zoom chat. It was interesting as so do I and it all turned into a lovely and interesting conversation about the way planes were and more…

Caroline, in the present (2020), gets to a point where it is time to tell her own daughter, Natalie to tell the truth about the family and the courage and strength they have had within and how they survived against the face of adversity.

The end of the book is thought-provoking and is also gently poetic as family lines continue.

I highly recommend this book. It is different from her other books. It shows that Fern Britton can write many topics very well and it’s a book that had me absorbed from the beginning to the end and I am sure many other readers will be too.

The Launch Party of this book was done incredibly well, given it was all done on Twitter.

Her launch party was so much fun. She shown people, virtually along a gorgous bay and read  passages of her book. She has narrated the audiobook. I can say that she is incredibly pleasant to listen to and the acting/reading skills are really good.

She also gave a shout out to the independent bookshops, which was thoughtful and shown a gorgeous one in Padstow, as well as a welcoming looking cafe, where she also informed us that she also has a male following who are also enjoying her books.

Comandeering a boat, she shown her sense of humour as she gave us a fun tour around the harbour.

All in all, it was all a real treat. The book is available now. I do highly recommend it and is one, readers can really get into and get to know the generations of a family, she has skillfully created.

About the Author

Fern IMG_20200602_164922Fern Britton is the highly acclaimed author of eight Sunday Times bestselling novels.

Born in London, into a theatrical family, Fern started her professional life as a stage manager. Theatre life was great fun but within three years, in 1980, she graduated to television and became a presenter on Westward Television. Here she achieved her ambition of living in Cornwall. Since then television has been her home. She spent 14 years as a journalist before presenting Ready, Steady, Cook for the BBC. This Morning for ITV came next where she won several awards and became a household name. Her interview programme Fern Britton Meets had guests including Tony Blair, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dolly Parton and Cliff Richard. Fern presented The Big Allotment Challenge (BBC2), For What It’s Worth (BBC1), Culinary Genius with Gordon Ramsay (ITV)

Fern’s novels are all set in her beloved Cornwall. Her books are cherished for their warmth, wit and wisdom, and have won her legions of loyal readers. Fern was a judge for the Costa Book of the Year Award and a supporter of the Reading Agency, promoting literacy and reading.

Fern turned her talents to acting last year when she starred as Marie in Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning musical Calendar Girls.

Fern has twin sons, two daughters and lives in Cornwall in a house full of good food, wine, family, friends and gardening books. She has a motor cycle licence, an honorary doctorate for services to broadcasting and charity, and is a member of Mensa!

Author Links to click on:                 Website    Facebook      Twitter          

Fern IMG_20200602_164922

I credit Joanne Baird for sending me a screenshot from the Zoom Chat. Again, I thank Fern Britton for giving her time to do a Q&A session for bloggers (and for the nice, appreciated comment that was made about bloggers), of which there were 7 of us at this exclusive event (and then Elizabeth Dawson and Fern Britton, making 9), that was well and kindly organised by Elizabeth Dawson – PR Director at Harper Collins.

Go ahead and also see who else is on this blog tour and also check out the book, which is available to buy now!

 

Daughters of Cornwall BT Poster