#Review by Lou – Waiting To Begin by Amanda Prowse @MrsAmandaProwse @rararesources #ContemporaryFiction #BookReview

Waiting To Begin
By Amanda Prowse

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Waiting To Begin is an excellent book about families and relationships and how you can work life out in your teens and for there to be fundamental twists and turns from then, into adulthood. It is also even better than I thought it would be and so quick to become totally absorbed in.
Thanks to Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to review and to Amanda Prowse for gifting me a signed copy of the book. *My review is not influenced by this.
Discover the blurb and my review below and a bit about the author – Amanda Prowse.

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Blurb

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?

  1. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.
  2. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.

Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?

Waiting to Begin - Hi Res Book Cover

Review

Waiting To Begin is an apt title as the book goes from 1984 and jumps smoothly to 2021 and it is like Bessie’s life is waiting to begin in a way that is happy, in this emotional and pulls at the heartstrings. It is a beautifully written book about life in your teens and adulthood and relationships. It reels you in so much that it is practically impossible to put down. The main protagonist – Bessie is so easy to root for in both 1984 and 2021, no matter what life throws at her, whether its a bit of light humour or a hard time.

Bessie, in 1984 has dreams and ambitions at 16, nothing outlandish, just average, which is one of the reasons why this book is relatable. She wants to pass her exams and be an air-hostess. She likes music and hanging out with best friend – Michelle. Just as things are seeming bright and breezy, everything changes and what seems like a sunny outlook, turns as bleak as gathering storm clouds in grades, future prospects and friendships.

In 2021, she is married to Mario and is 37 years old. It is easy to will her on and to do well and find happiness in life, but those 1984 storm clouds are a bit more ferocious as life starts to tumble some more as even adult life presents its challenges and 1984 seems more than a lifetime away. One wrongly interpreted text to Mario one day, sends him into a rage and, as the reasoning for sending the text, which was perhaps ill-conceived, OTT reaction of Mario shows his true manner and more revelations tumble out about the state of their marriage, creates a sharp intake of breath. Loss, secrets and the complexities of relationships within marriages and wider families and friends and life is explored with aplomb within “Waiting To Begin”, with the twists and turns that life presents through the dark and light times and a great supporting cast that pull together a roundedness of this rich story of a not so easy life. It depicts well how life isn’t always like a straight line or as easy as getting from A to B and yet there is a sense of resillience that weaves through.

 It’s a book that I sailed through, captured in Bessie’s life and before I knew it, I had reached the end!

Purchase Linkhttp://bit.ly/WaitingToBegin_UK

About the Author

Amanda Prowse Jacket Shot Colour 6.9MB[2] (1)Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

 

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#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 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

#Review by Lou – A Ration Book Daughter by Jean Fullerton @JeanFullerton_ @rararesources @CorvusBooks #HistoricalFiction #FamilySaga

The Ration Book Daughter
By Jean Fullerton

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This book is charmingly written, showing the juxtopositions of love and war. It is a page-turner and shows great strength over adversity. Discover more in my blog and review. Then find puchase links and social media links below.

About the Author

Portrait_Jean-1022 RNA resized (1)Author Bio – Born and bred in East London Jean is a District Nurse by trade and has worked as a NHS manager and as a senior lecture in Health and Nursing Studies. She left her day job to become a full-time writer in 2015 and has never looked back.

In 2006 she won the Harry Bowling Prize and now has seventeen sagas published over three series with both Orion and Atlantic all of which are set in East London.

She is an experienced public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, plus for the past fifteen years she has sailed all over the world as an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships.

Blurb

ARBDaughter coverNot even the Blitz can shake a mother’s love.

Cathy was a happy, blushing bride when Britain went to war with Germany three years ago. But her youthful dreams were crushed by her violent husband Stanley’s involvement with the fascist black-shirts, and even when he’s conscripted to fight she knows it’s only a brief respite – divorce is not an option. Cathy, a true Brogan daughter, stays strong for her beloved little son Peter.

When a telegram arrives declaring that her husband is missing in action, Cathy can finally allow herself to hope – she only has to wait 6 months before she is legally a widow and can move on with her life. In the meantime, she has to keep Peter safe and fed. So she advertises for a lodger, and Sergeant Archie McIntosh of the Royal Engineers’ Bomb Disposal Squad turns up. He is kind, clever and thoughtful; their mutual attraction is instant. But with Stanley’s fate still unclear, and the Blitz raging on over London’s East End, will Cathy ever have the love she deserves?

ARBDaughter cover

Review

A Ration Book Daughter tells it how it was for some families and the soldiers in the middle of the times of the blitz. Although the book deals with the hardest of times of the war, it is easy to find some escapism within the book as the easy to follow plot is absorbing and has great characters within it. There are also some controversial characters too as one of them, even though declared a hero, is also accused by some people of loving the Nazis. This puts rather an intriguing spin on things.

Other main characters are Cathy and Vi who don’t always see eye-to-eye and have some heated exchanges.
There’s also Sergeant McIntosh of The Royal Engineer’s Bomb Disposal Squad, who is charming and who she gets to know very well indeed.

There are the hardships and darkness that war brings, but there are also glimmers of hope and bravery, that is unique to only the harshest of times. It tells things how they were and that gives the book strenghth and people’s learning a bit of strength and a bit of prodding in a sense, as they can see that no matter how bad things get, there are times that can actually be surprisingly uplifting.

This book shows love over adversity and strength of character in even the most troubling of times and when life and death hang in the balance. It shows that when there’s an enemy and also certain predjudices are around; that life goes on and nothing can stop the love of your child or romance from blossoming.

Purchase Links

Amazon    Bookshop.org

Social Media Links 

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/JeanFullerton_

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#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

#BookReview by Lou of A Family Reunion by Patricia Scanlan @patriciascanl18 @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC @RandomTTours #AFAmilyReunion

A Family Reunion
By Patricia Scanlan
Rated: 5 stars *****

A Family Reunion by Patricia Scanlan is highly charged as it unravels buried secrets, emotions, betrayals of some fiesty characters. It delves into both light and dark corners of life, religion, family, all the way to a very satisfying end.

Thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour to review and to the publisher- Simon & Schuster for a copy of A Family Reunion.

Meander down to find out more about the author, the blurb and my review.

 

About the Author

patricia-scanlan-21722763

Patricia Scanlan lives in Dublin. Her books, all number one bestsellers, have sold worldwide and been translated into many languages.

 

Blurb

A Family Reunion Cover (1)One explosive family reunion. A lifetime of secrets revealed.
When four feisty women from the same family, get together at a family reunion, anything can happen…
Marie-Claire, betrayed by her partner Marc plans her revenge to teach him a lesson he will never forget. She travels from Toronto, home to Ireland, to the house of the Four Winds, for her great aunt Reverend Mother Brigid’s eightieth birthday celebrations. It will be a long-awaited reunion for three generations of
family, bringing together her mother, Keelin and grandmother, Imelda – who have never quite got along.
And then all hell breaks loose.

Bitter, jealous Imelda makes a shocking revelation that forces them all to confront their pasts, admit mistakes, and face the truths that have shaped their lives. With four fierce, opinionated women in one family, will they ever be able to forgive the past and share a future?
And what of Marc?
It’s never too late to make amends…or is it?
Spanning generations and covering seismic shifts in the lives of women, A Family Reunion is a compelling,
thought-provoking, important and highly emotional novel from a trailblazing author in women’s fiction.

A Family Reunion Cover (1)

Review

A Family Reunion promises secrets right from the start, where there is a pertinent quote by George Orwell, and suddenly the curiosity builds from this single quote. Right from the prologue, an image is instantly painted from the descriptions and a timeline is established and is handled very smoothly – 1953, mid 80’s, 2017. There is Marie-Claire, Keelin, Reverand Mother Brigid and Imelda, heading up the main character list. Although it starts with Christmas Eve, even though it is now past Christmas, this is okay as it isn’t totally about Christmas and time does move on. This book is about life and how it isn’t always a bed of roses.

They all meet in Ireland for the birthday party, like one grand reunion and the scene is set for moving the story onwards and the whole family dynamics gets very interesting indeed. It isn’t all as cosy and jovial as one might expect as tensions rise and emotions that have been kept buried deep down bubble up to the surface and overspill. It also shows the characters as they grow as time moves onwards. It shows the trials and tribulations of betrayal (especially Marc with Marie-Claire), trying to grow-up and be indpendent in the face of parental views,(especially in Keelin’s life, where her dad has a whole covert operation planned that is at odds with his wife).

There’s huge twists and facts that each character has to face, sometimes shocking, sometimes also highly emotional. The characters are often strong and have a feisty part of their personalities.

The book also depicts both the positives and negatives of religion, including some atrocities, which means the points of view are balanced and rounded.

It’s a big book is just over 500 pages, but once started, it doesn’t feel so big as It becomes immersive and involving as the characters are richly developed as their pasts and life circumstances unfold. I felt that Patricia Scanlan has a good grasp of the different times and attitudes of the time and shows this well in character’s viewpoints. It is good that she didn’t shy away from anything, even though society has moved on a quite a lot since the earlier dates the book is set in. It gives it solid grounding, identity and authentic, which makes for a strong plot. There’s also some words of wisdom imparted here and there within the plot as it progresses. As the book concludes, it does so, leaving a very satisfied feeling.

A Family Reunion BT Poster (1)