#Bookreview by Lou of Love In Lockdown by Chloe James – Happy Publication Day @FionaWoodifield @ElliePilcher95 @AvonBooksUK #WomensFiction #Romance

Love In Lockdown
By Chloe James
Rated: 5 stars *****

Love In Lockdown shows so many displays of love through kindness, empathy, romance and much more. It is emotional but it is also uplifting about all of life, from human to nature during lockdown and how people connected and what occurred and how nature became the most vibrant it has ever been in decades. It has glimmers of humour, warmth and hope in what is a unique and surprisingly delightful read that everyone will be able to find something to connect and relate to in this book, which is the first of its kind to focus on relationships and community during the stress of the backdrop of Covid 19. It is far from depressing and instead leaves an unexpected warmth.

Thank you so much to Ellie Pilcher from Avon Books who sent me an invite to review.
Please do discover the blurb and full review below.

Love In Lockdown pic


What if you met the right person at the wrong time?

Lockdown is putting Sophia’s life on pause – just as she planned to put herself out there and meet someone. When the first clap for the keyworkers rings out around her courtyard, she’s moved to tears for all kinds of reasons.

Jack is used to living life to the fullest. He’s going stir-crazy after just days isolating. Until the night he hears a woman crying from the balcony under his. He strikes up a conversation with the stranger and puts a smile on her face.

Soon their balcony meetings are the highlight of Jack and Sophia’s days. But even as they grow closer together, they’re always kept apart.

Can they fall in love during a lockdown?

Perfect for fans of The Flatshare.
Love In Lockdown pic 2


This unique book reflects the times that we live in, but that doesn’t mean it is all doom and gloom; far from it! It is a book that is not now just universal because love is, but also because we are all in some form or another experiencing living with Covid 19. It is all relatable and yet, as much as Covid 19 is challenging and can be harrowing, this book is surprisingly uplifting as well, within a wonderfully written realism of a community coming together through the stressful times, and yet relationships are formed despite this. It is written well with so much acknowledged throughout, whilst telling a great story.

There is Erica who works as a midwife and Jenny who is having to self-isolate due to having underlying issues. Everything from the weather being gorgeously sunny to what was on TV to Zoom  to what happened in education to clapping for the NHS is included and more… In some ways this is a novel that may help people never to forget these moments and also will show generations to come what we are currently living through and have lived through, all in a fictionalised book that has so much reality. It is all moving and endearing. There is also the worry and emotion that runs through these moments and also a baby being born. It, quite originally, shows  the father and his emotions throughout the pregnancy and when the baby is born. He is a complex character with some secrets to behold and has some twists and turns in his life.

The loss of freedoms is pronounced and how humans had to adapt to living socially distanced and also virtually, but so is the vibrancy of nature that emerged in all its splendour, taking back its space.

It’s also a love story about meeting someone online during times of lockdown as the App, Hinge is discovered. There is some humour attached to this. There are also cakes and cocktails and all the social distancing on the balcony and courtyard as life changes and yet still goes on.

The book shows how connected people can be and it is interesting getting to know all the characters personalities and seeing some as “drama queens” and others showing kindness and empathy. It is in some ways thought-provoking without being heavy, as characters realise that priorities change a bit within their lives during the pandemic and for what to focus on afterwards and how relationships can change.

It is ultimately and meaningful, delightful book to read.

Write-up by Lou of Peter May and Ann Cleeves talk about their series and writing @BloodyScotland @authorpetermay @AnnCleeves #VirtualEvent #CrimeFiction

A Write-up of a talk by Peter May and Ann Cleeves


LOCKDOWN by Peter MayPeter May talked about Lockdown – a book about a pandemic he set in 2005 and dug it out and hadn’t thought it would actually get published and he discovered that some of it was parallel to what is happening now. He had tried to get it published before, but unfortunately or fortunately, depending on your point of view, it wasn’t back then. It certainly seems very apt for these times.




The Darkest Evening by Ann CleevesAnn Cleeves talked about The Darkest Evening and about the being so atmospheric and how snow changes a landscape. It’s set in a big house in Northumberland. She talked about class and the responsibilities to those who live in the cottages and about Vera’s past and her relationship to the people in the house. She says she always knew Vera was haunted by Hector and the “country-crimes” he was involved in and neglecting Vera.



Peter talked about place as in his first book written in Spain and became aware of another side to Andalucia.

Peter wrote a non-fiction book about the Hebrides and had lived there for a considerable time and says the islands now feel like “home” and says there’s that sense of homecoming that he wanted to convey. He was, for his book, sent lots of photos by photographer David Wilson. It sounds a beautiful book.

Ann Cleeves says she found writing about Shetland really challenging, more so that Peter. She says she loves Shetland, but didn’t enjoy doing the research at all and readers were warned that there may not be another like this, although sounds a good companion book.

They talked about how they keep track of characters and evolution of them.
Ann Cleeves says she knows Matthew quite well and isn’t a planner and plotter and writes like a reader. She always has to then write the next scene to find out more. For 20 years she didn’t make any commercial success, so wants it to be fun to write and discover.
Initially Vera wasn’t going to be a series, due to the publisher and then she ended writing more. There’s been a break because she wanted to concentrate on the Shetland series.

Peter has written 3 series and says the China Thriller series wasn’t intended for a series and got a 2 book deal and were a voyage of discovery. The Enzo series was more planned and were originally published in the States, but it took 6/7 years to finish it.

It was fascinating to hear her talk about having anorexia and another having down syndrome and also about how the young are not always good at communication and all the responsibility.
Peter wrote a character who was deaf and blind and talked about the research that went into it and how he found a book about it that seemed to of had a profound effect on him.

They talked about Murder and how it is a starting point and is important, but sounds like other things like the journey and the victims are also important and there’s a structure to work within to explore other characters.

They talked about how crime writing is maybe in a new “Golden-Age” and how so much more can be explored and written about and readers are also more open to writers from across the world with “Scandinoir” being popular. Crime Fiction can go into smaller, intricate details of crime fiction.

It can be watched on You Tube. Books are also available to buy.

LOCKDOWN by Peter MayThe Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves