#BookReview By Lou of The Good Servant By Fern Britton @Fern_Britton @LizDawsonPR @fictionpubteam @HarperCollinsUK #HistoricalFiction #BookRecommendation #BookTwt #TheGoodServant

The Good Servant
By Fern Britton

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Good Servant, a book that is fiction based on fact about an ordinary woman in Dunfermline, Scotland, whose life turned into the extraordinary, in this fascinating and engrossing book.
Thanks to Harper Collins for a review copy.
Find out more in the blurb and rest of my review below.

The Good Servant cover

Blurb

From the no.1 Sunday Times bestselling author comes the story of Marion Crawford, governess to the Queen – an ordinary woman living in an extraordinary time in 1932. Dunfermline, Scotland.

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…

1936. Windsor Castle.

At first this ordinary woman is in a new world, working as the governess to two young princesses, in a household she calls home but where everyone is at a distance. As the course of history changes, she finds herself companion to the future Queen, and indispensable to the Crown. And slowly their needs become her needs. Their lives become hers.

It’s then she meets George, and falls in love for the first time. Now Marion faces an impossible choice: her sense of duty or the love of her life.

Review

The Good Servant is fiction based on fact. It’s a fictionalised account of Marion Crawford’s life from before, during and after she an employee for the monarchy.
Marion is a young Scottish woman who becomes a governess to two princesses – Princess Margaret and the princess who became our present queen – Queen Elizabeth II. They were devoted to Marion Crawford and affectionately called her Crawfie. She was ambitious, but hadn’t planned to take her ability to teach to that end of the population; her original plan was to educate and be a child psychologist at  the other end of the scale – the underprivieged, until fate drew its hand and changed them quite unexpectedly and dramatically. She took them on a journey of what people who aren’t royalty, call normality.

It’s a fascinating story that is revealed and makes me want to look into Marion’s life more as I am sure many readers will after reading this rivetting book.

The book has an air of authenticity to it and Fern Britton has cleverly woven through the facts of an ordinary woman who suddenly has her life changed to the extraordinary and has to weigh up choices she hadn’t thought she had to face, with the consequences to choose which path she will go along and some of the mistakes made along the way.

There are twists as readers see what mistakes are made and motives uncovered, involving a certain man in her life.

This is a book I recommend as it is very interesting, about a woman I certainly was barely aware of and the writing coupled with the research makes it a very good read.

#Review by Lou of Blood Lines By Lin Le Versha @linleversha @HobeckBooks #TeamHobeck #CrimeFiction #BookRecommendation #BlogTour #BloodLines #Thriller #ReadingCommunity #Blogger

Blood Lines
By Lin Le Versha

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am on the blog tour for the compelling and thought-provoking crime fiction thriller – Blood Lines By Lin Le Versha, which I most certainly recommend. Thanks to Hobeck Books for inviting me onto the blog tour and for a copy of the book.
Discover more about it in the blurb and my review below.

Bloodlines cover

Blurb

Set within the mysterious beauty of coastal Suffolk, this gripping new crime series is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end when the final shocking twist is revealed. Lin Le Versha is not to be missed, the brilliant new talent on the British crime writing scene.

Eighteen year-old Darcy Woodard appears to have it all – intelligence, good looks and artistic gifts. His teachers adore him, as does former policewoman Steph Grant, who is now the receptionist at Darcy’s college.

But beneath the surface – all is not as it seems.

Darcy is convinced he doesn’t fit in with his peers and tries to ignore their online taunts.

There’s Darcy’s dysfunctional mother Esther who is trapped in a literary time warp.

Then there’s his sister Marianne, who Darcy desperately wants to protect from the dark forces that surround her.

Then tragedy rocks Darcy’s life when a drugs gang forces its way into his life and all the people he cares for.

What can Steph and her former boss DI Hale do to protect the local community? And can they really trust Darcy to help them defeat the county lines gang?

Blood Lines is the second thrilling book in the Steph Grant murder mystery series by the brilliant Lin Le Versha.

Review

Set in scenic surrounds with elegant Edwardian houses becomes a twisty, involving read as deep, dark crimes ensue that former police woman Steph Grant and DI Hale have to crack.

There are drugs around the college campus and online bullying, questioning the accountability of social media and its users. There is however, more to it than first meets the eye, which really sets the beautiful scenery at a juxtoposition of what is really going on.
It gets deeper when it is discovered there are drugs gangs, part of County Lines. It holds a lot of intrigue as Darcy gets caught up in it all as he wants somewhere to fit in. His his sister, Marianne wants to do is protect him. It’s compelling as the consequences unfold.

Esther and Mike’s story adds another layer to the book, adding even more to the family battling with  MND (Motor Neurone Disease). Esther is also stuck in a bit of a world of her own when it comes to literary works. Ingeniously, woven into their life story, classic literary references are plentiful.

It’s a fast-paced read, right up to an unexpected, intriguing ending.

All in all, I very much recommend this book.

 

#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 of The Shadow Child By Rachel Hancox #TheShadowChild #RachelHancox @centurybooksuk @PenguinUKBooks @RandomTTours #ContemporaryFiction #LiteraryFiction #readingcommunity #Readers #Bloggers #BookTwitter

The Shadow Child
By Rachel Hancox

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Shadow Graphic 1

The Shadow Child is a compelling, thought-provoking contemporary fiction/literary fictiondebut novel full of secrets and the ‘human condition’. Find out more in the blurb and my review and then a bit about the author. First, thanks to Random T. Tours for the invite onto the blog tour.

Blurb

Shadow Graphic 3Eighteen-year-old Emma has loving parents and a promising future ahead of her. So why, one morning, does she leave home without a trace?

Her parents, Cath and Jim, are devastated. They have no idea why Emma left, where she is –
or even whether she is still alive. A year later, Cath and Jim are still tormented by the
unanswered questions Emma left behind and clinging desperately to the hope of finding
her.

Meanwhile, tantalisingly close to home, Emma is also struggling with her new existence –
and with the trauma that shattered her life.

For all of them, reconciliation seems an impossible dream. Does the way forward lie in
facing up to the secrets of the past – secrets that have been hidden for years? Secrets that
have the power to heal them, or to destroy their family forever …

The Shadow Child is a book of hope and reconciliation, of coming to terms with trauma and
learning to love again. Most of all, it’s about how you can never quite escape from the
shadows of your past – especially when one of those shadows is a child …

Review

The prologue sweeps by fast, with its talk about shadows, that is written in a way that you would expect from a child, but knowing the blurb, it takes on a bit of an eerie slant, thereafter it is a bit of a slow-burn of curiosity that seeks to grasp you and succeeds. The family is fairly normal, Cath is a teacher and Jim is a newspaper photographer and was practically love at first sight. They then had 2 children, but one died and the other is now mysteriously missing, seemingly without a trace. The family, of what’s left, use many coping strategies to get through these dark days and you can feel the emotion and see the strength of character that they keep going, even though they feel guilt and bewilderment that their daughter went missing and despair and helplessness that they have no answers. They also cling hard onto hope so they keep going in life.

It’s interesting and, perhaps more powerful for it, the way that Emma (the missing child) has her own narrative to tell readers why she disappeared. It’s a good way to get into her psyche and infact all of the main characters have their own present story and backstory to tell about their lives.

Jim and Cath also have a cottage that they inherited, so take on tenants – Lara and Nick. Then all the characters become even more intrinisically linked and it becomes apparent that there are so many secrets being harboured in the pages, that keeps the book engaging, as well as the fact that there’s a need to discover how it could possibly all end and whether certain things will work out well or not.

There’s quite a philisophical bent at times, that creates for some rather elegant thought-provoking moments, through its sometimes nuanced approach and natural human thoughts. The book is essentially about relationships, how they interconnect to other people’s lives, the impacts secrets can have, the upbringing that occurs at childhood and how that feeds into adulthood. How to attempt to reshape life and cope with incredibly traumatic situations.
Overall it is quite a compelling, complex book about the twisting paths of life, loss and hope.

About the Author

RACHEL HANCOX read Medicine and Social and Political Science at Cambridge, qualified as a doctor three months after getting married, and has juggled her family, her career and a passion for writing ever since.
She worked in Paediatrics and Public Health for twenty years, writing short stories alongside NHS policy reports, and drafting novels during successive bouts of maternity leave. Rachel has five children, three dogs and a cat. She lives in Oxford with her husband and youngest children.

Shadow Child BT Poster

#BookReview By Lou of The Wedding Crasher By Abigail Mann @abigailmann @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK #romanticfiction #humour #book #bookblog #BookTwitter #fiction #TheWeddingCrasher #bookrecommendation #RomCom

The Wedding Crasher
By Abigail Mann

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Lonely Fajita and The Sister Surprise PB with text

Lots of humour, romance and a passion for photography is in store for the very entertaining Wedding Crasher by Abigail Mann. This is one of the funniest I have read of this author’s books, so far… Thanks to One Chapter/Harper Collins for inviting me to review. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review below…

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Blurb

The Wedding Crasher coverPoppy got married young. Too young in fact, and she put her dreams aside for love. Fast-forward eight years(ish) and now it’s time to reclaim her life and first love – photography.

What better way to celebrate her new-found freedom than a blissful week alone on an island with just her camera for company. Until her best friend has a catastrophe with the high-profile wedding she’s planning and begs Poppy to help. After all, she owes her.

Poppy doesn’t expect to recognise the groom as an old friend, nor for the bride to get cold feet but what’s a wedding without a little drama. And as the wedding week – yes, week – gets underway, Poppy might find happiness again, just not in the way she expected.

If you love Mhairi McFarlane, Marian Keyes and Beth O’Leary, you will love Abigail Mann.

Review

Let the countdown to the wedding begin…
The Wedding Crasher is entertaining from the start. Dare I say it, but this may be one of the most entertaining books from Abigail Mann. It is so enjoyable getting to know Poppy, Lola and Will. The humour all starts in a rather rocky dinghy and some witty chat and repartee.

Poppy it turns out, has a love of photography and teaches it in a school that is teetering on the edge with the eyes of Ofsted on them. Then there’s also the awkward relationship complications between Poppy and Josh. Poppy then ends up involved in taking photos for a wedding that is a week long, including all the build-up to it. It’s high profile and the very rich groom is certainly a kaleidoscope of personality and life. In saying that, Poppy has gumption and inner-strength, especially when it comes to her own relationship with Josh and how that is hitting the rocks.

There are islands – Orwell and the much more glamourous Loxby Island with its Art-Deco designed archticture to explore, with beautiful, idyllic backdrops. The book as whole is just so easy to be swept along by. 

There are also moments focused on the current debates around sport, but you really don’t have to be even remotely a sports fan to get enjoyment from this book as far, far from the dominant part of the book.

The comedic moments keep coming, which is impressive; even when there are serene moments of reflection and emotion, this isn’t lost sight of and put altogether, makes a great mixture for this book. 

#Review By Lou of After The Rain By Lucy Dillon @lucy_dillon @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #BookTwitter #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction #BookRecommendation #AfterTheRain #BlogTour

After The Rain
By Lucy Dillon

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Today I am excited to reveal my review of After The Rain By Lucy Dillon.
After The Rain is Out Now!
There’s more than meets the eye after the storm and the drama that ensues as it is more than just the weather that can be stormy.

Find out more in the blurb and my thoughts in my review and a bit about the author below…

Thanks, firstly  to Random Things Tours and Transworld Books/Penguin for inviting me to review as part of the blog tour.

After The Rain Cover

Blurb

After The Rain Cover 2After the storm it’s time for a fresh start . . .
First, the clouds…
Tara Hunter is a therapist on a mission to restore Longhampton’s community spirit after catastrophic flooding. But with her boyfriend AWOL, her family fragmented, and only a cat for company, Tara’s own life is crumbling.
Then the storm…
On top of everything, Tara’s father – last seen as he walked out on her when she was ten years old – is suddenly back, with a surprising offer that could change everything.
And after the rain…
Dr David Dalloway is Longhampton Wellness Centre’s new star counsellor. He’s charming, caring and has a knack for reading people’s minds – which is the last thing Tara needs right now. Will having David and her dad around make for a bigger storm on the horizon? Or is this Tara’s chance for a fresh start?

Review

After the Rain is insightful and leads readers into a therapist’s office, where readers meet Tara, and later, newcomer – David. The storm had an impact on the residents of Longhampton, but after the rain, there are surprises for them, especially Tara.

NLP and Hypnotherapy are some of the therapies that are what on offer by some of  the therapists. I found this striking as NLP and Hypnotherapy have become more known about over the years, especially with the rise in fame of the likes of Paul McKenna and now seems to be, as is people going to any sort of therapy, within books in a way it perhaps hasn’t before. What makes this one so interesting, is you get to know more about a therapist’s office and the lives of therapists that patients/clients won’t normally be privy to know.

Readers are privy to see therapist’s lives behind the scenes as it were, especially through Tara as she navigates her own career at the Wellness Centre, and her own issues, as despite her job, finds it easier to help her patients, than herself and she is better at giving advice, than following her own or receiving it, in Longhampton. It really shows this can be part of the human condition. 

New counsellor David is easy to be charmed by and it’s interesting to see how he and Tara get along. He is excellent at his work, really cares and is intuitive, even when it comes to colleagues, so he knows all isn’t always well with Tara and he wants her to open up, which she finds infuriatingly annoying, or rather that he can read her so well.
The interactions within the Wellness Centre between staff themselves and between them and their patients brings the book alive.

Keith, Tara’s father returns out of the blue to try to reconnect, after he left Tara and her brother, Toby and to help the town rebuild after the storm. The drama throughout is enthralling, within the family, as well as within the Wellness Centre.

With intertwining threads of family and patient/counsellor relationships intertwining as a community tries to piece itself back together physically and mentally, there is much poignancy as you see whether new starts can begin or not.
There’s care and compassion and a bit of humour and intrigue along the way. 

Ther e are a couple of parts with animals, I wasn’t sure about, but all in all my verdict is:
This is a book I very much recommend!

At the end of my copy is an extract of Unexpected Lesson’s In Love. There’s romance in New York and characters in the prologue you will want to know more about and where there lives go to after an event… Would I want to know more? Yes, absolutely!

About the Author

Lucy-Dillon-c-Tim-Bishop-new (1)Sunday Times bestselling author Lucy Dillon grew up in Cumbria and read English at
Cambridge, then read a lot of magazines as a press assistant in London, then read
other people’s manuscripts as a junior fiction editor. She now lives in a village outside
Hereford with a Border terrier, an otterhound and her husband.
Lucy won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Contemporary
Romantic Novel prize in 2015 for A HUNDRED PIECES OF ME, and
the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2010 for LOST DOGS AND
LONELY HEARTS. You can find her on Twitter (@lucy_dillon) and
Instagram (@lucydillonbooks).

After The Rain Blog Tour poster