#Bookreview by Lou When The Earth Stood Still by Kate Eastham @eastham_kate @bookouture #HistoricalFiction

When The Earth Stood Still
By Kate Eastham
Rated: 5 stars *****

A tremendous historical fiction book that fits in perfectly for these present times…
When The Earth Stood Still will show human strength, make you cry and a smile a bit too.
Follow onto the blurb and my review below that and find out where and how you can purchase such an emotionally driven book that yet shows glimmers of hope…
Firstly find out more about the author, blurb and then review and follow onto who else is on this tour…
Thanks to Sarah Hardy and the publishers – Bookouture for inviting me on this first day of the blog tour and for the book.

About the author

KATE (1)A change in circumstance meant Kate Eastham made the shift from a career in nursing to being a carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ and inspired by an in-depth study of the origins of nursing, she wrote her first novel at the kitchen table. Miss Nightingale’s Nurses was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series. With her passion for history, Kate aims to make visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past. Her current historical fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture.

https://twitter.com/eastham_kate

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Blurb

The nurses were putting in twelve-hour shifts now, day and night. Emily felt broken inside, dried out, not even capable of tears. They were short-staffed after a softly spoken Irish nurse, who’d only been with them for four days, had died from the deadly flu and two more had fallen ill. And more patients were coming in every hour, though the hospital beds were already full…

1918. Twenty-year-old Emily Burdon has been training as a nurse in London, learning on the job as she tends to patients from the crowded poorhouses that ring the hospital as well as wounded soldiers returning from the war. She pours her heart into her nursing while she waits for happier times – peace in Europe and the return of her childhood sweetheart Lewis from the Western Front.

But when the deadly Spanish Flu arrives in London on the heels of the war, Emily’s faith and courage are put to the test. All around her men and women in the prime of their lives are wasting away, and until a cure is found there is nothing for Emily and her colleagues to do except make them comfortable, treat them as best they can… and, eventually, ease the pain of their passing.

But then Lewis catches the deadly flu himself on his way back home, just as a new doctor is transferred to head up Emily’s ward. From the distant land of Prince Edward Island in Canada, Dr James Cantor is the first of a generations-old farming family to have left the island, and wartime London feels a long way away from the rugged beauty of his homeland. But despite their differences, he and Emily find common ground in their passion for helping patients and stopping the spread of the disease. But with life forever changed around her and Lewis’ future hanging by a thread, can Emily survive the most terrible epidemic in the history with her life – and heart – intact?

A heartbreaking historical novel based on true history – emotional and unforgettable. Perfect for fans of Jean Grainger, The Beantown Girls and Diney Costeloe.

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Review

The Spanish Flu was absolutely devastating as is Covid-19 today. It makes me think of what we are living today and how much worse it would be, living in the times of Spanish Flu (no technology and even less medical know-how and equipment). It’s a rather timely historical fiction book, that deals with such a subject matter well and takes it seriously and yet provides a gripping read with character’s lives you can care about, in particular Emily’s life.
It is an emotional read that tells a story relevant of that time and any time of a pandemic. It’s about having passion, perseverance and carrying on, even in the toughest times, even when a loved one is hit by it and you feel almost broken like Emily. It shows how lives change quite dramatically and it’s dealt with in a realistic manner, with a certain strength of character. There is wonderful strength of friendship and comaraderie amongst some of the staff too, that has tremendous care and compassion within it. There is the care of the patients and what is happening to the soldiers as well, who were in service. It’s a well plotted book that has heart and soul within it, even in the toughest of times that the characters are all living through.
This book, although set within historic times, serves well for people living today and shows how people can be in their manner. It also reminds people too of the Spanish Flu pandemic and gives hope too and that people do come through it and it was even tougher then, so it is thought-provoking for today’s generations and I come at this, having lost someone to Covid-19 and working in another keyworking sector.

Buy Link:

Amazon: https://bit.ly/2ZkWWn7

When the World Stood Still - Blog Tour Poster

The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn #Bookreview by Lou @franquinn @jessbarratt88 @simonschusteruk #HistoricalFiction

The Smallest Man
By Frances Quinn
Rated: 4 stars ****

Enchanting, refreshingly original with an uplifting quality, The Smallest Man is a great historical fiction book that eases readers through an amazing journey.

Thanks to Jess Barratt at Simon & Schuster for gifting me a proof copy for review.

The Smallest Man

Blurb

‘I want you to remember something, Nat. You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else. You show people that and you won’t go far wrong in life.’

A compelling story perfect for fans of The Doll FactoryThe Illumination of Ursula Flight and The Familiars.

My name is Nat Davy. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? There was a time when people up and down the land knew my name, though they only ever knew half the story.

The year of 1625, it was, when a single shilling changed my life. That shilling got me taken off to London, where they hid me in a pie, of all things, so I could be given as a gift to the new queen of England.

They called me the queen’s dwarf, but I was more than that. I was her friend, when she had no one else, and later on, when the people of England turned against their king, it was me who saved her life. When they turned the world upside down, I was there, right at the heart of it, and this is my story.

Inspired by a true story, and spanning two decades that changed England for ever, The Smallest Man is a heartwarming tale about being different, but not letting it hold you back. About being brave enough to take a chance, even if the odds aren’t good. And about how, when everything else is falling apart, true friendship holds people together.

The Smallest Man cover

Review

The cover is amazing! It takes you on a journey right there and then, with the inside leading you into the life of Nat Davy – The Smallest Man, which is based on a true story, although this a fictional novel, but there is a strong basis of truth to it.  The first page is just utterly inspired! The narrative of how it tells readers, almost accidentally (although obviously it is cleverly thought out), of a little nugget here and there of Nat’s early life just in where he is not going to start his story, but then it all begins in Oakham.

This isn’t your usual sort of story set in such historical times, this takes readers to the fair and not just any fair – to one featuring freak shows and a decision to be made about whether to sell Nat to it or not has to be made. This makes for some great reading and is so different from other historical fiction novels. There are of course characters to be found like a duke, a queen and a king, lords and more, which adds to the exquisitiveness; but then if that doesn’t capture you, there are also gallows and Catholic martyrs. There are also run-ins with Crofts and his gang of friends.

This isn’t some lavish period piece of a season of dancing, nor is it some romp through the bedcovers, this tells a whole different side to history, and more pertinently, within 1625 and still has a richness to the story and in its textures and scenery. It is through the eyes of The Smallest Man and how his life is and how he is different from other people and seen as a freak. There is a tender emotion within the book as well as a sense of surviving and accomplishing against the odds and also shows that no matter how unlikely a friendship is to be formed, there are possibilities that they can. This book has hope within it and is  which in turn adds  an uplifting quality it.

Going deeper into the royal family and what are essentially death threats changes the tone, but still in keeping with the book and moves this plucky, refreshingly written story onto killer plots and a different layer of intrigue.

The Author’s Note is also fascinating and sheds a bit of light on a man, who perhaps was more on the edges of history, but nonetheless interesting.

Some praise for the book:

I loved this book – a fascinating tale of extraordinary accomplishment, and a story about how anything is possible and how love has always been a beacon of hope’ Phillip Schofield

‘An enchanting tale about a small man with a big heart. Nat Davy is so charming that I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I loved it’ Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City

The finished copy has some lovely green sprayed edges to it

#Spotlight by Lou on #HistoricalFiction Book – A Sparrow Alone by Mim Eichmann @EichmannMim #TheWriteReads #BlogTour

Spotlight On – A Sparrow Alone
By Mim Eichmann

Today I am pleased to present a spotlight post highlighting the latest book by Mim Eichmann – A Sparrow Alone, which is a Historical Fiction book with many themes. Follow futher down to discover the elegant cover and the blurb. Find out more about the author and her website below too. Thank you to The Write Reads for inviting me to the blog tour to do this.

A Sparrow Alone by Mim Eichmann | Review

Blurb

A Sparrow Alone1890’s Colorado. Desperate following her mother’s sudden death, thirteen-year-old Hannah Owens apprentices as domestic help with a wealthy doctor’s family in Colorado Springs. When the doctor declares bankruptcy and abandons his family to finance his mistress Pearl DeVere’s brothel, however, Hannah is thrown into a vortex of gold mining bonanzas and busts, rampant prostitution, and the economic, political and cultural upheavals of the era. Two of Cripple Creek’s most colorful historic characters, Winfield Scott Stratton, eccentric owner of the richest gold mine in Cripple Creek, and Pearl DeVere, the beautiful madam of The Old Homestead, come to life as this old-fashioned, coming-of-age saga unfolds, the first of two historical fiction novels by debut author Mim Eichmann — a tribute to the women who set the stage for women’s rights.

About the Author

A Sparrow Alone Author picwww.MimEichmann.com 
Mim Eichmann has found that her creative journey has taken her down many exciting, interwoven pathways.  For well over two decades she was known primarily in the Chicago area as the artistic director and choreographer of Midwest Ballet Theatre and director of its home, Midwest Ballet Academy, bringing full-length professional ballet performances to thousands of dance lovers every year and was the recipient of many arts’ programming grants.   A desire to become involved again in the folk music world brought about the creation of her acoustic quartet Trillium, now in its 15th year, a folk band well known for its eclectic repertoire performing throughout the Midwest that has also released four cds.  She’s also written the lyrics and music for two award-winning original children’s cds, “Why Do Ducks Have Webby Toes?” and “Wander Down Beyond the Rainbow” and occasionally schedules concerts of her children’s music and movement programs.

Always captivated by the writings, diaries and journals of late 19th century women, as well as that era’s economic, social and political upheavals, Ms. Eichmann has now put pen to paper and the historical fiction novel she has been passionately researching, its rich synopsis gradually evolving over many years, has finally become a reality.  We hope you’ll enjoy “A Sparrow Alone” and its sequel, “Muskrat Ramble.”

My Top Book Choices of 2020 by Lou #2020Reads #AdultFiction #CrimeFiction #Fiction #Thrillers #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Uplit

My Top Book Choices of 2020
Various Authors

I have read and reviewed a huge amount of very good books. It has taken a lot of time and consideration to whittle them down to create the Top Book Choices List. All those that did not make this particular list, were incredibly close. I have added links so you can easily see what the books are about. The books are in no particular order. Look out for my top Adult Non-Fiction List and my top Children’s Fiction List, both are in separate posts.

Top Adult Fiction Books

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman Click Here for More Info

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor Click Here for More Info

Killing Rock by Robert Daws Click Here for More Info

Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton Click Here for More Info

What Lies Beneath by Adam Croft Click Here for More Info

Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris Click Here for More Info

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver Click Here for More Info

Us Three by Ruth Jones Click Here for More Info

Perfume Paradiso by Janey Jones Click Here for More Info

The Things I Want To Say but Can’t by Carla Christian Click Here for More Info

The House of Correction by Nicci French Click Here for More Info

Tell  Me How It Ends by Isabelle Grey Click Here for More Info

The Colours by Juliet Bates Click Here for More Info

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce Click Here for More Info

Letters From the Past by Erica James Click Here for More Info

One Step Behind by Lauren North Click Here for More Info

The Unravelling by Liz Treacher Click Here for More Info

Christmas With the Bobby Girls by Johanna Bell Click Here for More Info

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman Click Here for More Info

The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie Click Here for More Info

Butterflies by D.E. McCluskey Click Here for More Info

Contacts by Mark Watson Click Here for More Info

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley Click Here for More Info

The Guest List by Lucy Foley Click Here for More Info

Summer on A Sunny Island by Sue Moorcroft Click Here for More Info

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths Click Here for More Info

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley Click Here for More Info

Lion Heart by Ben Kane Click Here for More Info

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb Click Here for More Info

With Or Without You by Drew Davies Click Here for More Info

The Unravelling of Maria @fjcurlew #blogtour #saga

The Unravelling of Maria
By
Rated: 4 Stars ****

About the Author

Fiona Author profile picFiona worked as an international school teacher for fifteen years, predominantly in Eastern Europe. Seven of those years were spent in Estonia – a little country she fell in love with. She now lives in East Lothian, Scotland, where her days are spent walking her dog, Brockie the Springer, and writing.

The Unravelling Of Maria is her fourth novel.

Created with GIMP

Blurb

Lovers separated by the Iron Curtain.

Two women whose paths should never have crossed.

A remarkable journey that changes all of their lives.

Maria’s history is a lie. Washed up on the shores of Sweden in 1944, with no memory, she was forced to create her own. Nearly half a century later she still has no idea of her true identity.

Jaak fights for Estonia’s independence, refusing to accept the death of his fiancée Maarja, whose ship was sunk as she fled across the Baltic Sea to escape the Soviet invasion.

Angie knows exactly who she is. A drug addict. A waste of space. Life is just about getting by.

A chance meeting in Edinburgh’s Cancer Centre is the catalyst for something very different.

Sometimes all you need is someone who listens.

Review

The Unravelling of Maria is like a love letter in some ways to Estonia, but is more complex than this. It is set over different time periods and with multiple perspectives, so some concentration is a must. In saying that, it is elegantly written and holds interest. It is immersive as she touches on conflict and also some of the more salubrious sides of Edinburgh, away from the glam of the city within this saga of almost epic proportions.

The book delves in to the history of Estonia, which is fascinating and makes this book feel rather original in many ways. It isn’t overly heavy as there are so many universal themes throughout as well of humanity and identiy. Maria, Angie and Jaak are terrific characters who show bravery and show that sometimes people just need to be given a chance in life. The tension throughout is however immense at times with a huge intensity, but in someways this keeps that feeling of it having a hold on you, going. The descriptions are quite panoramic in quality, which really suits this style of book.

There is a humanity that appears through the book and it feels like it has been researched well and a great deal of care over it has been taken to take people through quite a journey through time and countries in a way that isn’t sensationalised, in the way that some pretty hard times and challenges that have to be faced are revealed.

Social Media/Website Links

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#Bookreview by Lou of #WorldWar2 #Fiction – An Angel’s Work by Kate Eastham @eastham_kate @bookouture @sarahhardy681

An Angel’s Work
By Kate Eastham
Rated: 5 stars *****

Set in the midst of the Second World War, this book shows resilience, duty and friendship within a fast-paced story that has a slight grittyness.
I am pleased to be kicking off the blog tour for An Angel’s Work by Kate Eastham.
Thanks to Sarah Hardy for inviting me to this blog tour for Kate Eastham and the publishing company – Bookouture.
Please follow down to the blurb and full review.

About the Author

KATEA change in circumstance meant Kate Eastham made the shift from a career in nursing to being a carer for her partner. Determined to make the most of this new role ‘working from home’ and inspired by an in-depth study of the origins of nursing, she wrote her first novel at the kitchen table. Miss Nightingale’s Nurses was published by Penguin in 2018, closely followed by three more in the series. With her passion for history, Kate aims to make visible the lives of ordinary yet extraordinary women from the past. Her current historical fiction is set during the World Wars and will be published by Bookouture.   
 
 

An Angel's Work cover

Blurb

Jo forced herself to look into the cot, but at first all she could see was grey dust from the explosion. Then, a tiny hand poked out through a layer of grit. In seconds she had the child scooped up and she could feel its little body warm against her own. She felt an almost painful surge of emotion welling up from the pit of her stomach. With tears pouring down her cheeks, she stood rocking and soothing the baby, knowing there was very little chance the child’s mother had survived.

England, 1941. After three nights of relentless bombing from German aircraft, trained nurse Jo Brooks is told to report to the basement theatre of Mill Road Hospital. She goes with a heavy heart, not wanting to leave behind her best friend Moira, who is desperately soothing new mothers on the maternity ward. As Jo arrives safely underground, the ward takes a direct hit.

Pulling herself from the rubble, Jo’s first priority must be her patients… but she can’t stop herself frantically searching for Moira. When Jo eventually finds her, buried beneath a foot of bricks and stone, Moira is barely clinging to life. Jo makes a solemn vow: she will do whatever it takes to help the allies win the war, even if it means sacrificing her own safety.

The opportunity to make good on her promise comes sooner than she expects – nurses are badly needed to evacuate wounded allies across enemy lines. It will be dangerous, heartbreaking work and her life will be at risk every moment, but Jo knows that the moment has come to prove herself at last…

A powerfully emotional wartime novel about friendship and love in the most terrible of circumstances. Perfect for fans of Diney Costeloe, Jean Grainger and Soraya M. Lane.

An Angel's Work cover

Review

The opening propels readers right at the heart of World War 2 in amongst the explosive action with Jo, a medic who is on her way to Normandy to nurse the troops back to health. It makes you sit up and pay attention to what becomes a compelling story along the front lines as it moves at a fast-pace with a real mix of danger, hope and sadness.

The balance between the injured troops and action draws readers in, but with nothing too graphic and gory as times gone-by are built giving snapshots of scenes as the story goes along, but at the same time, steers away from being too cosy and comfortable, in a very good way. Focus also changes to the maternity wards where also nothing is “sugar-coated” and it just adds another interesting element to the story being told and the challenges of giving birth during the war times and the height of the blitz. There is all sorts of emotions and the feeling of sheer busyness and getting on with the job and doing what is needed, throughout the book and an element of resilience that comes across to deal with all the patience in troubled circumstances. For a historical novel, this is quite a surprising page-turner and shows friendship and love, compassion and resilience through the severest adversity, which are pretty big topics to use and yet tell a story very adeptly and with slight grit here and there.

Take time to read the extraordinary “Letter From Kate” at the end of the story for an enhanced insight.

An Angels Work - Blog Tour Poster