#BookReview By Lou Three’s A Crowd By S.R. Booker @simonbooker @TeamBATC @simonschusterUK #ThreesACrowd #BlogTour

Three’s A Crowd
By S.R. Booker

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Three’s A Crowd is laugh out loud funny, not a phrase I use often and it may just be one of the rom-coms of the year! A phrase I don’t use lightly. It’s absolutely wonderfully entertaining from start to finish. It will make your heart sing with joy. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…
I first thank The publisher Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to review on the blog tour and for gifting a copy of the book.

Blurb

What happens when an estranged father and son unwittingly fall in love with the same woman? 


Out-of-work actor Harriet is recuperating from a crash-and-burn affair with Damian – aka ‘Cockweasel’ – and making ends meet as a barista when she meets two rather lovely men. Tom is a regular at the café, and seems like such a nice guy. Smooth-talking DJ Richard is older, but in great shape – a real silver fox.

Deciding to take a chance on both of them, Harriet doesn’t realise at first that she is actually dating father and son. Tom and Richard aren’t on speaking terms, and don’t share a last name – so how was she to know? By the time everyone finds out, both Tom and Richard are truly madly deeply in love with Harriet, and she’s faced with an impossible choice.

But as the battle for her affections intensifies, ‘Cockweasel’ makes an unexpected reappearance and begs her to give him another chance…

Review

Set in London, Three’s A Crowd is absolutely divine to read with such sublime writing.

Tom, Richard and Harriet are the main characters, with George popping in. The opening chapter has Tom posing a question. One that no doubt not many people would have even the slightest reason to consider. It certainly isn’t your usual every day one and as he ponders it, so does the reader, because suddenly it has to be done, even with slightly raised eyebrows at the audacity of what is going on…

There are 2 main guys and 1 woman and romance to be had…
Hilarious and also tender scenarios play out in an ordinary sounding cafe, but with an unusual set of circumstances, beginning with the question posed on the first page…
The sentence structures and the way the narrative is written also adds to the humour and also the honesty of certain situations, perhaps observed or perhaps researched. Either way, it is very enjoyable.

Tom is the son and he is not on speaking terms with his dad and is a cafe regular.
Harriet has had a few boyfriend issues and has terrific nicknames for them. works in a cafe and knows her regulars and is a professional actress. One who happens to have intrusive thoughts. She thinks with great honesty about how she is feeling, now, I don’t mean always of the dark nature, some are of the more romantic nature, just incredibly direct. There is absolutely no filter, no subtleness.
Richard, Tom’s dad has secrets about his wife going to Goa. He is also a radio DJ who reckons he should be in a higher position such as being on BBC Radio 2.

Harriet meets both Tom and Richard and hasn’t got a clue they belong to the same family and the two guys also haven’t a clue of the other one falling in love with her because they don’t communicate to each other.

There is so much that people will relate to in either part or all, right down to how men operate, allowing their partner/wife to book appointments etc. S.R. Booker, bravely, is so candid.

The plot is refreshing with incredibly funny with many laugh out loud moments. For an author who is more known for grittier, darker work in books and on tv, S.R. Booker has really pulled this work of contemporary romance with aplomb!

I did find myself rooting for Harriet and her complex mind, which Booksr portrays very well, but also very much enjoying the writing of Richard and Tom. George also pops into the book, adding a twist. There is a further one at the end, making it an excellent ending to such a great book.

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#Interview By Lou with Matson Taylor – author of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth and All About Evie @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #EvieEpworth #TheMiseducationOfEvieEpworth #AllAboutEvie #1960s #1970s

Interview with Author – Matson Taylor
Conducted By Louise Cannon (Lou)

Thanks very much to author of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth and All About Evie – Matson Taylor for agreeing to being interviewed. Within the interview , discover who inspires him to write and why he chose a particular timeline, his other job and what he is writing next and more…

 

 

 


The Miseducation of Evie Epworth was bestselling in both the Radio 2 Book Club and  Richard And Judy Book Club. 

Set in Yorkshire and London between the 1960’s and 1970’s. There is humour and poignancy to be had in both books. 

Matson Taylor and his creation of Evie Epworth hit the bookshelves and caused quite a stir with witty and charming writing in both books

So, without further ado, here is the interview:

1. What or who inspired you to write?

Many things! I’ve always been a reader and just about every book I’ve ever read has fed into me wanting to be a writer. I think reading Kate Atkinson’s books, in particular, drew me to writing – I love the way she writes – there’s a real sense of fun but at the same time every sentence is beautiful – tuned and balanced to perfection. I wanted to see if I could write a book that combines humour with moments of restrained lyricism just like Kate Atkinson’s. Other authors who inspire me and push me to write better include Virginia Woolf, Sue Townsend, Alan Bennett, and Sarah Winman.


2. The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is set in the 1960s and All About Evie, in the 1970s, what inspired this to be your timeline?

I’m a design historian and -like all historians- talk a lot about decades. I realised that quite a few of my students see decades as monolithic blocks of 10 years with everything staying the same until, on the 1st of January at the start of the next decade, everything changed. It’s not like this of course! Decades take a few years to ‘grow up’ – they need time to shake off the previous decade and develop a character of their own. So I thought I’d write a novel about the ‘coming of age’ of a decade and combine it with the coming of age of a young woman (Evie). I chose the 1960s because everyone feels like they know the 60s – we’re all children of the 60s and very aware of the all the music, fashion, films etc of the decade. And then in the second book I wanted to look at the the end of the 60s and the start of what comes next – and 1972 is really when the sixties ended! It’s the death of the idealism of the 1960s – quite a sad messy time… The new decade wasn’t quite sure where it wanted to go and it’s only really when the new generation came of age that the seventies arrived in all its glam, colourful, glittery glory.

3. The series could have gone either way – humorous as it is now or focusing on the more serious with Mrs Pym, was the humour and balance between the two intentional?

I wanted to write a funny book about serious things and combining the humour with emotional heft was always my intention for both books. I think books need both in order to make them balanced and enjoyable. I’ve had lots of wonderful compliments about how funny the books are but there’s also some pretty dark themes in there too: grief, death, guilt, the importance of liberalism and tolerance… People often tell me they laughed out loud AND cried when reading the books – and that’s just what I want!

4. All About Evie is still as humorous as the first, but shows a bit more fashion of the 1970s. How much did your job as a design historian at the V&A influence you in your writing of this?

It’s a huge influence. My job as a design historian has given me the tools to research material culture – when I started writing the first novel I was very confident writing about ’things’  (the fashion, food, interiors etc) because it’s my day job – I was much less confident about making up a story! The museum’s a great resource too – in fact, in the final chapter of the 1st book, Evie is wearing a Mary Quant dress – initially it was a generic 60s dress but, while I was writing, the V&A had a Mary Quant exhibition so Evie ended up wearing one of the 1962 dresses from the exhibition.

5. You’ve written about the 60s and 70s, so can readers expect more of Evie Epworth to be written, perhaps in the 80s and beyond?

Absolutely! I always planned the Evie story as a trilogy so there’s a final Evie book set in 1982. But before I get to that, I’m writing a stand-alone book (ie non Evie) – it’s set in the mid-to-late 70s in Rome and is the story of two broken people brought together by the universe to fix each other…
 

#CoverReveal plus blurb of Together Again By Milly Johnson @millyjohnson @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC @BookMinxSJV

Today it gives me great pleasure to reveal the wonderful cover and the blurb for Milly Johnson’s new book – Together, AgainThe book will be released in September 2022. For now, take a look at what it is about in the blurb below… I for one am looking forward to reading this book.

Together Again Milly Johnson cover

Sisters, Jolene, Marsha and Annis have convened at their childhood home the huge and beautiful Fox House following the death of their mother, the cold and impenetrable Eleanor Vamplew, to arrange the funeral and sell up. Born seven years apart, the women have never bonded and are more strangers than sisters.

Jolene, the eldest, is a successful romantic novelist who writes templates of beautiful relationships even though her marriage to the handsome and charming  Warren is a barren wasteland.

Marsha, the neglected middle child has put every bit of her energy into her work hoping money would plug up the massive gap in her life left by the man who broke her young heart, only to find it never has. And now he has been forced back into her life.

Annis is the renegade, who left home aged sixteen and never returned, not even for the death of their beloved father Julian, until now. It is therefore a surprise to all of them to discover that Eleanor recently changed her will to leave everything to the daughter she considered a wretched accident.

Together, Again is the story of truths uncovered and lies exposed, of secrets told – and kept. It is a novel about sister helping sister to heal from childhood scars, and of finding, in each other, the love they have all been deprived of. Together, Again is about vulnerability and strength, acceptance and family. 

#BookReview By Lou of All About Evie By Matson Taylor – Out Now! @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #EvieEpworth #1972 #AllAboutEvie #BookTwt #MustRead

All About Evie
By Matson Taylor

Rating: 5 out of 5.

All About Evie - Matson Taylor

All About Evie is uplifting, incredibly humorous, poignant and a must read for anyone’s tbr list!
This is the second installment from the author who brought us the wonderfully funny and poignant book – The MisEducation Of Evie Epworth 
Check out more in the blurb and then find out about the rest of my review below.
Thanks first to Matson Taylor for arranging a copy to be given to me to review and for 

Blurb

All About Evie CoverTen years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth, Evie is settled in London and working as a production assistant for the BBC. She has everything she ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving a Hornsea Pottery mug and Princess Anne, she finds herself having to rethink her future. What can she do? Is she too old to do it? And will it involve cork-soled sandals? 

As if this isn’t complicated enough, her disastrous love life leaves her worrying that she may be destined for eternal spinsterdom, concerned, as she is, that ‘even Paul had married Linda by the time he was 26’. Through it all, Evie is left wondering whether a 60s miseducation really is the best preparation to glide into womanhood and face the new challenges (strikes, power cuts, Edward Heath’s teeth) thrown up by the growing pains of the 70s.

With the help of friends, both old and new, she might just find a way through her messy 20s and finally discover who exactly she is meant to be…

Review

Evie is now 26 1/2 years old and now living in London, and if there’s something the author – Matson Taylor does well, it is uplifting opening paragraphs and then sustaining that throughout the rest of a book.

Readers – Get re-acquainted with Evie Epworth! This time, the year is 1972 and she is at work doing a sound check at Broadcasting House in the Women’s Hour studio for a special broadcast of Princess Anne doing an interview.
Her best friend is Caroline, who brought her to London as they’re like sisters. She needs that kind of loving after still having her sparkley career in the morning and it vanishing by the afternoon… Then there’s the matter of her love-life and time is moving on and lots of guys are being picked off the shelf and coupled up, as her internal clock is also ticking away. It has a very entertaining, humorous Bridget Jones vibe, right down to a certain list, that fits well and seems a nice nod to those books/films. It’s a vibe that not everyone pulls off well, but Taylor does in this series and yet keeping originality in the characters and narrative.

Nestled amongst the hilarity, there are moments of poignancy and sadness in family matters, but not deeply depressingly sad, it’s another side of grief and dealing with the deceased belongings, a tender, bittersweet moment that is realistically captured, before moving back to Evie working on a plan of action for her next stage in life (sort of).

There are interesting interludes throughout the book, much like there were in the first book – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth. This time it is like a bit of a tour around different parts of Scotland and Yorkshire, giving insights into what happened for a person to get to where they are now. It may not sound like this works on paper like this, but in the book it does and flows naturally. The fact there are interludes sort of reminds me of a style in a drama I used to watch. The interludes in this book add much depth and poignancy.

I am absolutely hooked on reading about Evie Epworth and I am sure others will be too. I can’t wait to see what Matson Taylor writes next!

I highly recommend this book.

 

#Review By Lou of The Slow Lane Walkers Club By Rosa Temple @RosaT_Author @BookMinxSJV @simonschusterUK @TeamBATC #BlogTour #FeelGoodFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Fiction

The Slow Lane Walkers Club
By Rosa Temple

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

 A book for those seeking the feel-good factor. It’s full of heart, soul and is picturesque for a wonderful summer read. Check out more in the blurb and my review below.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster – Books And The City for gifting me a copy of The Slow Walkers Club By Rosa Temple to review.

Walkers Club 3 pic

Blurb

Walkers Club 2 picDaniel isn’t used to living life in the slow lane. So when he finds himself unexpectedly jobless and back in his old Cornish hometown, he can’t sit still.

Hazel used to be adventurous too. But now widowed and in her eighties, she barely leaves the house. When she sees an advert for Daniel’s new walking club, she grabs at the chance of some excitement.

Daniel’s heart sinks when he sees that the only person who’s turned up for his walking club is the crazy old lady from two doors down. But what he doesn’t expect is to discover that Hazel is one of the most fascinating people he’s ever met . . .

A gorgeous, warm and uplifting story about friendship, community, adventure and the joy of walking.

Review

The sunshine yellow cover absolutely goes with this book. It’s bright and has a smiley feel-good factor.
I love walking, meeting people or just being amongst nature or good music streaming through the earphones and exploring, sometimes it’s serious stuff for charity. So, on that basis, The Slow Lane Walkers Club, I decided was worth a read as there’s so much about running etc, that I thought it nice someone talked about walking, so I jumped at the chance to read this book.
Even if walking isn’t your thing, there’s still so much enjoyment in this book.

Walkers Club 1 picMeet Daniel and Hazel on your “walk” through this book and step into an interesting, picturesque community in Cornwall.

Daniel is a fascinating character. He is relatable in that he can’t stay still and is coming up with new community ideas, this one being a walkers club. It’s easy to soak up the walking vibes.

I felt sorry for Daniel, after putting his heart into starting the walking club, albeit to pass the time until the house sells that his grandmother left behind (but readers know it would still benefit people for the greater good) and yet after his thoughtfulness, only one other person turns up – Hazel from two doors down, which, validly so, leaves him feeling so disheartened. At the same time, it’s easy to smile about Hazel because, even though she is in her 80’s, you can’t help be proud of her stepping out and giving it a go and continuing on to see what adventures life still has to give her, even though she is very slow. It shows younger folk, like me, that there’s still life when you hit 80’s, which is reassuring. She made me think of my gran in respect of walking, as she still went walking in a good chunk of her 80’s. It wasn’t what Daniel had expected nor planned, but then it turns into walking into unexpected self-discovery. Daniel discovers things about himself, as well as about Hazel and there’s much more about her than he could possibly have imagined, which, for the reader, makes her more interesting than previously thought and also knows quite a bit about Daniel’s gran.

The developing relationship between Hazel and Daniel is quite sweet and feels quite uplifting and if it wasn’t for the Walkers Club they would probably never have met like this, so it’s nice it champions such ventures, but also sets out some realities that some readers may find thought-provoking or inspiring. As I read, I had my fingers crossed that the club might pick up and gather more walkers. I kept wanting to know more and more about the two main characters and whether Daniel who really wanted to leave, pronto, would stay or go. Once started, it’s one that compels you to see if he can negotiate the obstacles and relationships he encounters in his life in Cornwall, which is so different in that it is slower than the previous chapter of his life he had been leading before. It was full of the sorts of adventures, his walking partner certainly couldn’t do now, in her 80’s; so the book poses interesting questions for the reader to keep stepping through Cornwall to come across answers as to how lives play out…

It’s a book full of warmth, care and lovely Cornish scenery to meander through at a relaxed walking pace that envelopes around you with feelgood endorphins and is a lovely, joyous summer read.

#BookReview By Lou of The Summer Fair By Heidi Swain @Heidi_Swain @simonschusterUK @harriett_col @BookMinxSJV #TeamBATC #FeelGoodFiction #ContemporaryFiction #RomanticFiction #TheSummerFair #BlogTour

The Summer Fair
By Heidi Swain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Summer Fair is a pleasure to read and it’s great to return to Nightengale Square with it’s charm, warmth, romance and challenges to overcome.
Check out more in the blurb and my thoughts in my review below.
Firstly, thanks to the publisher – Simon and Schuster for inviting me on the blog tour to review and for gifting me a book and a cake mix to bake (still to be baked but I think it may be a sweet bit of deliciousness. Time will tell. Pics will come on Twitter in all good time).
*Please note, that my review does not reflect these gifts, lovely as they are, my review remains based on the book alone and without bias.

The Summer Fair cover

Blurb

Join Sunday Times best seller Heidi Swain back in Nightingale Square for a sunshine and celebration filled summer….

Beth loves her job working in a care home, looking after its elderly residents, but she doesn’t love the cramped and dirty house-share she currently lives in. So, when she gets the opportunity to move to Nightingale Square, sharing a house with the lovely Eli, she jumps at the chance.

The community at Nightingale Square welcomes Beth with open arms, and when she needs help to organise a fundraiser for the care home they rally round. Then she discovers The Arches, a local creative arts centre, has closed and the venture to replace it needs their help, too—but this opens old wounds and past secrets for Beth.

Music was always an important part of her life, but now she has closed the door on all that. Will her friends at the care home and the people of Nightingale Square help her find a way to learn to love it once more?

Review

It is such a delight to return to the people in the Nightengale Square community and to meet some new people along the way.

There is warmth, community spirit from people who like to help when services closedown. There is also heartache, otherwise buried by enthusiasm that not everyone gets to see. The reader however does in this book as what was secreted away comes to light.

It sounds whimsically idyllic from the title, but this book has substance and depth when you get to know the people who have experiences and feelings like anyone in the real world and not just on the written page.

Beth works for the Edith Cavell Care Home and life has been tough, with her mum dying after a stroke. The book is so eloquently written from the beginning of reminisces of music that has now also died with her…. The readers are then taken on a journey into Nightengale Square, its residents, the workplaces and Beth’s life.

Beth is a popular carer at the home and loves her job, but behind all that is sorrow and denial of the things she loved before the death of her mum, realised even more when she goes with Harold to the community garden, but she does have a houseplant called Aretha, named after Aretha Franklin as it is strong. There is a point to this plant and its character that is clever in tying in with part of Beth’s personality, which shows thoughtfulness and writing with great creativity. 

Beth is house sharing with a few people and not altogether satisfied at this position that she has found herself in, but fortunes change as she has the opportunity to move to Nightengale Square, a place which is so idyllic that I am sure many readers can imagine living there, with its caring, supportive community and Winter Gardens, featured in a previous book, but mentioned in this. This time, instead of Winterfest, the community want to host a summer fair.

This is about community coming together to create something good and inclusive, with the backdrop of people’s personal lives and stuff they’ve kept to themselves for so long, but like for Beth, certain things have impact and open old memories, widening past wounds. It’s pure escapism and romance, all with a bit of grit, showing that not everything is always idyllic as it may first seem in everyone’s lives and tumultuous moments between people; that’s what gives it a good grounding and saves it being whimsical. It’s enjoyable from start to end with hearfelt warmth.

I highly recommend The Summer Fair for a gorgeous summer read, whether you’re on holiday or in your garden, soaking up the rays of the sun and the atmosphere of the book.

The Summer Fair Blog Tour (1)