#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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bobby Girls Secrets By Johanna Bell @JoBellAuthor @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity @TeamBookends #TheBobbyGirls #strictlysagagirls #WW1 #HistoricalFiction #bookreview #readingforpleasure #NewBook

I just thought I would write to let you know that The Bobby Girls Secrets by Johanna Bell, that I reviewed awhile ago now, is published today. If you haven’t already tried this wonderful series about the first volunteer police women during World War 1, then do take a look, you may be pleasantly surprised; even if this isn’t your usual genre. This is a sequel to The Bobby Girls. I have provided links to both books, which include my usual bit about the author, the blurb and my review.

Click Here for The Bobby Girls

Click Here for The Bobby Girls Secrets

 

 

The Bobby Girls Secrets by Johanna Bell @JoBellAuthor @HodderBooks @HodderPublicity @TeamBookends #TheBobbyGirls #strictlysagagirls #WW1 #HistoricalFiction #bookreview #readingforpleasure #NewBook

The Bobby Girls Secret
By Johanna Bell
Rated: 5 stars *****

 

This is a delightful sequel to The Bobby Girls. I’ve been looking forward to re-joining the volunteer policewomen and I am so pleased that I have the opportunity to and to review this excellently written and researched book that has wonderful characters and plot.

I thank Joahnna Bell for being in touch with her publishers to ask them to accept my request to review again and I thank her publisher Hodder and Stoughton for accepting my request to review this wonderful series of books. 

About the Author

Johanna Bell cut her teeth on local newspapers in Essex, eventually branching ut into magazine journalism, with stints as a features editor and then commissioning editor at Full House magazine. She now has sixteen years’ experience in print media. Her freelance life has seen her working on juicy real-life stories for women’s weekly magazine market, as well as hard-hitting news stories for national newspapers and prepping her case studies for TV interviews. When she’s not writing, Johanna can be found walking her dog with her husband or playing peek-a-boo with her daughter.

The Bobby Girls' Secrets

Blurb

As the Great War rages on, will the truth come out?

1915. Best friends Irene, Maggie and Annie are proud members of the newly renamed Women’s Police Service. While Britain’s men are away fighting in France, the girls are doing their bit by keeping the peace at home in London’s East End.

But out of the blue, Irene is given the opportunity to be stationed near an army barracks in Grantham, Lincolnshire. Having recently experienced some heartbreak and keen for the adventure, she decides to go. What could possibly go wrong?

It turns out, plenty. One of the other WPS girls takes an immediate dislike to her and makes her life a misery. On top of that, the man she thinks could be the answer to all her problems isn’t all he seems. And when she finds a psychologically disturbed deserter in hiding, she has a very difficult decision to make . . .

Can Irene overcome all these obstacles without Maggie and Annie by her side, and find true happiness at last?

Review

As soon a I read The Bobby Girls, I wanted to read The Bobby Girl’s Secrets. I must say I was not disappointed. After the first one, I just knew that the second one would be worth the wait. This set of girls have captured me and this is turning out to be one enthralling series, with very likeable characters and highly believable plots. This is down to the research that Johanna Bell has put in, and clearly she has a love of this time period. I love too, that even though there’s a lot going on in the women’s personal and work lives, there are strong bonds of friendship, something perhaps people can carry through into their own lives during and after challenging times.

We re-join Irene, Maggie and Annie in 1915 on Bethnal Green. The three women, in their 20s, who made it to join the Women Police Service (WPS) are now firm friends, despite such different backgrounds and having little in common. There is a great camaraderie about them as they look out for each other. Johanna Bell, ensures you really get to know these likeable characters and their personal lives, as well as their working ones and she does it in a way that you want to be involved with them. There’s heartache and hard-hitting issues, and yet it’s a lovely relaxed pace. The book deals with prostitution (nothing explicit), the consequences that war is having on the men and life in-between, such as how hard it is to deal with losing someone you have feelings for and yet not necessarily reciprocated.

Readers will travel to Grantham to see what new challenges are posed and there are some new characters to meet, such as, Mary, Ruby, Helen and Chief Inspector Boldwood. The issues of status are nicely shown and the differences in attitudes and acceptance of policemen and those who are women on the volunteer team, not to mention some tensions between those in Grantham and a Londoner who had an easier time than them. There’s the trials of things being different in London and the countryside. There’s also tensions between stall holders and soldiers, with the merchants giving the men a hard time. There’s also challenges of getting used to the imposed curfews,due to prostitution. It is interesting to read about the different attitudes and opinions on it, from the volunteer women’s police service point of view. It isn’t all work however as romance is in the air, but all is not all as it seems.

The book is very well researched and is very interesting about different attitudes of the time. Although there is less of the characters (apart from Irene) in the first book, this is still a very good read as Irene carries the story forward and it is interesting meeting new characters in a new location. I feel it also gives a wider perspective of what was happening at that time.

Just like in The Bobby Girls, there is a really interesting part in the last pages of the book, after the story has finished and after the acknowledgements, there are some brilliant photos of Grantham and the people depicted within this book.

You can Pre-Order now from bookshops (lots are open for business online, including independent bookshops) and Amazon. The published date is May 2020.

Look out for the third book in this delightful series – Christmas With The Bobby Girls.

Take care folks!

Elaine Everest, Deborah Burrows, Margaret Dickinson, Rosie Hendry, Evie Grace, Clare Harvey