#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.

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

A Mother’s Christmas Wish
By Glenda Young

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Blurb

A Mother’s Christmas Wish

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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#BookReview by Lou Hope In Liverpool @tracy_traynor @LoveBooksGroup #FamilySaga #HopeInLiverpool #Northerners #RiverMersey #BlogTour

Hope In Liverpool
By T.N. Traynor

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Emotionally charged with courage and hope is what Hope in Liverpool brings to readers eyes and imaginations. FInd out more in the blurb and review below.

Blurb 

Can an alliance of convenience heal two broken hearts?

Liverpool, 1958. Hope Bennett longs to feel safe and wanted. Loyal to an alcoholic mother who gambles away all her hard-earned wages, she’s devastated by the announcement her family is moving and she’s not to follow. But her despondent plan to fling herself off the ferry and succumb to the freezing River Mersey is interrupted by a handsome older man.

John Walker expects to live out the rest of his days drowning in grief, isolated and lonely after the loss of his childhood sweetheart.  When he spots a young woman in distress he is immediately drawn to help her.

Can the fragile dream of a better life out of the slums provide the security and companionship they both crave?

Hope in Liverpool is an emotional foray into historical women’s fiction. If you like compellingly complex characters, light humour woven through heart-wrenching drama, and gripping romantic overtones, then you’ll adore T N Traynor’s poignant story.

Review

Set in Liverpool 1958, Traynor has cut an emotional atmosphere for an involving family drama that unfolds. This could be an utterly depressing story, but Traynor has steered away from this just enough to make it hopeful instead.

Hope’s life is challenging to the max, from practically being abandoned and her mother being an alcoholic who fritters away her wages. Hope however shows courage and a certain amount of resilience through the bleakness and hardships. She also has a certain amount of courage as she allows some romance to enter her life, even though life still seems to have some fragilities within it, which, before romance, had an intention of suicide. This is written in sensitively and isn’t dwelled too much upon, but something some people may be able to relate to. By the end there is hope to be had and nicely shows that even through harrowing and bleak times there can be lightness. Readers can discover through the twists and turns of Hope’s life how that happens.

 

 

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

What’s Mine And Yours
By Naima Costner

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

About the Author

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

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

Whats Mine And Yours

Blurb

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Links

Amazon                       Waterstones                      Bookshop.org

 

#Review by Lou – The Post Office Girls by Poppy Cooper @Kirsten_Hesketh @hodderbooks #HistoricalFiction #WW1

The Post Office Girls
By Poppy Cooper

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Post Office Girls is full of characters you will want to get to know in a fascinating story that feels full of authenticity, with a Sunday period drama feel. Thanks to Hodder and Staughton for inviting me to review and for gifting the book.
Please follow through with the post to the blurb and my review.

Blurb

With the Great War raging, can they keep Britain going?

The Postoffice Girls cover1915. On Beth Healey’s eighteenth birthday, she hopes that she will be able to forget the ghastly war and celebrate. But that evening, her twin brother Ned announces that he has signed up to fight.

No longer able to stand working in her parents’ village shop while others are doing their bit, Beth applies to join the Army Post Office’s new Home Depot on the Regent’s Park, and is astounded to be accepted. She will be responsible for making sure that letters and parcels get through to the troops on the front line.

Beth is thrilled to be a crucial part of the war effort and soon makes friends with fellow post girls Milly and Nora, and meets the handsome James. But just as she begins to feel that her life has finally begun, everything starts falling apart, with devastating consequences for Beth and perhaps even the outcome of the war itself. Can Beth and her new friends keep it all together and find happiness at last?

The Post Office Girls is perfect for fans of Johanna Bell, Daisy Styles and Nancy Revell.

Review

The history that gave the inspiration behind this fictional story, which is the first in a brand new series, is truly fascinating. It’s worth reading the note by the author at the beginning of the book for this.

It’s Beth’s 18th birthday and its 1915 and has the formidable sounding Mrs McBride at the shop, where both of them work, on her case over butter. The scene with the tones of voices opens up magnificently.

It has the nostalgic air that you’d perhaps expect, but just manages not to be saccharine sweet. It does have a Sunday night, gentl-paced period drama feel about it, but doesn’t shy away from certain hard-hitting, home-truths about war here and there. It can be bit slow in places, but stay with it as a whole world opens up and it does become quite hard to put down.

The war is captured well, from those staying at home, in the rationing at the shop, a clever hint of people trying to, not quite bulk buy, but certainly buy a bit more than they need and not thinking of others and leaving enough of even flour to go around and the emotion of Beth from this, it’s like a subtle thought to people today, which I approve of; and Florence who had stepped out with Ralph, a footman from Maitland Hall who went out to fight and the worry about hearing from him and the excitement of letters when she does. It has a feel of authenticity and the scenes are picture perfect in Woodhampstead.

Beth later, travels to London as recruitment in Regent’s Park, where a mailing depot is set- up for army post, and encounters Sergeant Major Cunningham. The reactions of an 18 year old is captured well to the  Major, who had a very different life, as a postal worker before and all is new to Beth, who was a shopworker, now to work in the Home Depot, sorting through the mail coming in from soldiers.
You can feel her coil up a little and then ping into anger as she attempts to stand-up for herself. The empathy of soldiers at war and the letters that show signs of where they are and perhaps been whilst writing, further hits home to her. The details from an envelope and codes add interest and the interesting markings as each new chapter starts is too as are the letters between her brother Ned and her. She does however come across a gentler mannered man – Mr Blackford. Her achievement of getting an interview for the post hasn’t got the reaction she would have liked from her parents, different from today’s times, but very true of the times of the setting. 

There are a few twists that grab you further in, here and there and no more so than near the end, within the characters lives you will want to continue to get to know.

Readers of the book would do well to read the acknowledgements. It gives a fascinating insight into the research that was done for the book and some real-life photos of the women working in the Home-Depot.

#Review Wartime With The Cornish Girls by Betty Walker @AvonBooksUK #BookReview #FamilySaga #WartimeSaga

Wartime With The Cornish Girls
By Betty Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tense and atmospheric, with sinister moments of unease, this deals with the hardships of motherhood and a burgeoning romance that may be the start of a new life for Hazel, away from her home situation as she takes on a top secret job. It uplifting as well as being an all encompassing, excellent read. Find out more in the blurb and full review and where you can buy it.

I thank Avon Books for gifting me the book.

Blurb

Wartime With The Cornish Girls1941. The Blitz rages over London.
And even in Cornwall, the war is being fought…

When Violet loses her sister in the Blitz, she must take her nieces to safety in Cornwall. On the coast, she meets carefree chorus girl Eva, who is also running from the dangers of London.

But Porthcurno hides a secret military base, and soon Violet and Eva realise there’s a battle to fight in Cornwall, too.

Together with local Hazel, who works on the base, they must come together to help the war effort. But will their friendship be enough to keep them safe?

Wartime With The Cornish Girls

Review

Set in Dagenham, East London, readers first meet Violet and it has a sinister start with Violet, a cafe worker, being followed. It immediately sets an unease, with the way it is written. There is also Fred, who is vying for her attention. There is some dialect such as “meself”, which really places her. It’s not strong and is easy to figure out.

Betsy had married Ernst and it caused quite a stir and now feelings are bubbling to the surface again as he is a German. The story centres a good mix of characters from across the UK and an American.

The plot does move to Cornwall, somewhere near Porthcurno in the south, where there is a hidden army base. It is also where a stubborn teenage boy, Charlie lives there with his parents, Hazel and Bertie, who are married out of convenience. It also demonstrates how unhappy some of those marriages were. It doesn’t shy away from the hardships of motherhood and the challenges some people faced, shown through the eyes of Hazel. Charlie, being a teen also goes to show that even as the decades pass in real life, some things never change or evolve and parents and teachers will certainly be able to relate to his mannerisms and attitude.

The changing scenery when the war began is quite a feature as does the change in life and the meaning of signing an official secrets act as Hazel takes on a top secret job. There is a sense of urgency and upmost responsibility and beyond that spikes through the pages with these top secret job involving codes and so much more and the threat of what could happen if anyone divulges the secrets. It gives a harsh reality.

It’ll take readers on an interesting, windy path with a tense, serious atmosphere of duty and family as the war closes in and the realities emerge and are pretty hard-hitting, cut by the friendship of the women that smudges through, bringing a bit of light relief and a sense them being in it together.
It certainly isn’t a cosy book, but one of a believable plotline that doesn’t sugar-coat anything, and instead, shows anguish and the sacrifices people made, including in their daily lives and how they had a certain resilience and also got on with the job. There is also a touch of romance in the air as well as a bit of desperation for a different life, away from domestic violence, portrayed in Hazel, but also a panic that is captured so well, in what the consequences of the betrayal of her husband and what her son will say and do, which adds to the intensity that grows throughout.

The second book will be coming soon – Christmas With The Cornish Girls.

Wartime With The Cornish Girls

Purchase Links

Waterstones

Bookshop.org 

Amazon