#Article #Interview #Reviews By Lou -Celebrating the Work of Matson Taylor @matson_taylor_ @ScribnerUK @simonschusterUK #TheMiseducationOfEvieEpworth #AllAboutEvie

As part of my blog in 2023 until it reaches 5 years old in September, I will be celebrating an author or publisher every so often. I am beginning with Matson Taylor, a design historian and author with lots of wit and poignancy in his writing. He is also someone I’ve had the joy of doing Zoom with and interviewing. I have included links to previous reviews and an interview at the end of each section.

Matson Taylor burst onto the writing scene with his humorous, contemporary fiction book – The Miseducation of Evie Epworth to much praise, so much so that this debut novel had made it to the BBC Radio Book Club. His books caused quite a stir as they landed on bookshelves. He then followed up with All About Evie, again with more high praise, no mean feat I should think when authors often say that writing a second book is one of the hardest and you can only hope the first lot of readers stay with you and also builds too.
The books, set between parts of Yorkshire, London and parts of Scotland are brilliantly humorous and then catch you with poignancy as you lean about her teenage and adult life. All is well-researched and observed and fit into the eras well. So many people would be able to relate to the universal themes and to the fashions and music at the time, whether they lived through the eras or not and if not, there’s certainly plenty that people can learn from that may pique interest within the entertaining story-telling.

The Books and Interview


The Miseducation of Evie Epworth is set in 1962 and you first join her at 16 1/2. She has her music, literary and actor idols and she’s growing fast with philosophical musings about future jobs. She is also  learning lots from Mrs Pym; which is where the poignancy comes in. 
You can find out more about the book in my review, which also includes a blurb in the link: The Miseducation of Evie Epworth Review

 


All About Evie is about how her life is as an adult in 1972. The setting is between London, various parts of Yorkshire and Scotland. She had a job in London working for the BBC, which turns out disastrous, meaning she needs a different direction in life and even her love-life is poor. The situations she finds herself in brings much humour. Again, there’s poignancy with family matters.
You can find out more about the book in my review, which also includes a blurb in the link: All About Evie


The style and layout of writing is interesting in both books as the poignancy is written within what he calls Interludes. The humour is quick-witted and all of it is highly engaging with universal themes. Matson Taylor is a design historian and his passion comes across well as does his knowledge in the eras of which he writes. He also likes his writing to bring many emotions from happy to sad these two books do it with a plomb. He once said the Evie Epworth books will become a trilogy. You may need to wait because he’s another wonderful sounding book he is writing ahead of that. I once did an interview with Matson Taylor, Find out what he has to say about his books, his future plans in his writing career and how his career as a design historian aids his writing and much more in the link: Interview With Matson Taylor

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#BookReview By Lou of Escape to Darling Cove By Holly Hepburn @HollyH_Hepburn @BookMinxSJV @simonschusterUK #EscapeToDarlingCove this #winter it is a #Heartwarming #SeasideRetreat #ContemporaryFiction #romfic #BlogTour

Escape To Darling Cove
By Holly Hepburn

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Picturesque settings and a lovely writing style is, in part of what you get with Escape to Darling Cove. Thanks to Sara Jade Virtue aka BookMinx at Simon and Schuster, I have a review as part of the blog tour. Paddle down to discover the blurb and review as well as a glimpse of a cover that looks good to step into.

 

Eve has always lived on Ennisfarne, an idyllic island just off the coast of Northumberland and only accessible when tides are low. There she runs a bar overlooking Darling Cove, a heavenly horseshoe-shaped beach named after her seafaring ancestors, whose links to the Farne Islands stretch back centuries.Logan is a famous photographer desperate to evade the limelight after a difficult break-up. Renting a cottage from Eve, he chooses Ennisfarne in the hope of anonymity but is immediately spellbound by its natural beauty.The pair don’t get off to the best start, butting heads over Eve’s adorable but boisterous Chocolate Labrador. But when Logan’s true identity is revealed, Eve realises her new tenant isn’t quite the man she thought he was. Is it too late to start again or will Logan’s island escape be over almost before it’s begun?
The brand new novel from Holly Hepburn, author of Coming Home to Brightwater Bay, will whisk you away to a sublime seaside retreat you’ll never want to leave. 

Picture it now, stepping into a sandy cove at Ennisfarne, Northumberland with atmospheric views that even inspired the artist, Turner to pull out his paints and easel to recreate the scenes on canvas. Holly Hepburn has pulled out her writing instruments so you can paint the scenes in your imagination. It is like a painting in words. This is of course, not a book about that great landscape artist – Turner, he just happens to get a mention; rather it is about fictional characters Logan and Eve and their lives in this part of Northumberland.

Love and breaking up is never easy. Logan has gone to Ennisfarne because he’s just split from a one time love and to escape whatever the press may have to say about it. He’s a famous photographer. Breaking up is complicated when the lady who was in his life still appears to have feelings and there’s a lot to work out. Hepburn puts a great slant on this side of life and one that’s quite different as it isn’t one of all animosity in the beginning and how everything changes in an instant as his ex girlfriend, Suki suddenly has other ideas… Being famous in the public-eye, being in love and breaking up isn’t easy once everyone gets wind of it.

Eve Darling works in a bar and doesn’t initially have warm thoughts towards Logan Silk, although she sees him as good looking, she also notes he’s arrogant with what she would term as old-style attitudes. There is actually a great humour to be found in certain situations and her thoughts that hold quick-witted quips. How will it all end in what is a well written ending?

With its scenery that is a feast for the eyes, a plot and characters that makes compulsive reading, Escape To Darling Cove is another wonderful book from Holly Hepburn that will stay in your heart and mind. It’s a must read for fans of contemporary fiction.

#BookReview By Lou of Sunrise With The Silver SurfersBy Maddie Please @MaddiePlease1 @BoldwoodBooks #TheSilverSurfers is entertaining #Uplit with #Travel #Friendship #Romance in #ContemporaryFiction

Sunrise With The Silver Surfers
By Maddie Please 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You’re never too old to have some fun in the sun with sea and sand in this book that will appeal to both the retired and younger readers alike. It gives hope, elements of surprise and intrigue, whilst being uplifting and adventurous in the exciting travel plans. Discover more in the blurb and my thoughts below.

The brand new novel from the #1 bestselling author of The Old Ducks’ Club!

Newly single at sixty, Elin Anderson decides it’s finally time for an adventure of her own. With her marriage to tedious Tom now officially over, Elin plans to visit the family she hasn’t seen in years. First stop: Australia!

But going home is harder than Elin thought. Everywhere she turns Elin sees brightness and colour, which only makes her own life seem even more drab and beige. How has she let herself fade away?

Determined to have some fun, Elin reluctantly agrees to join The Silver Surfers – a group of seniors who travel the coast, only caring about their next big adventure. Because life’s too short to watch the ocean when you could be making waves…

There’s only one catch – her road trip companion, Kit Pascoe. Kit is a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word fun and makes it clear to Elin that this adventure will be subject to his own strict rules.

But with every new day, Elin slowly begins to rediscover who she really is. And she’s certain that rules are meant to be broken…aren’t they?

Perfect for fans of Judy Leigh and Dee Macdonald

Review

This is perfect for sweeping winter away and escaping to the sun. This is the first book I have read by Maddie Please and I rather enjoyed it. All that promise of fun travel on holidays that beckons and companionship makes this great to sit back and for awhile, let the sea within the book wash all your cares away and bring inspiration and a warm feeling like the sun beaming down on you.

Elin was living in what sounds like a kindly neighbourhood. Her marriage hasn’t survived intact, as some don’t when life changes into a new phase. There are also changes where she lives. We meet her at Heathrow Airport waiting for her flight to Australia, where she was born. Most of us people watch and that’s what she does, she’s also a bit introspective as she looks around at her fellow passengers. She also likes some of the more lavish lifestyle and goes to town in treating herself. You can feel the relief of the divorce and see she is ready for a new adventure. She isn’t alone when she touches down in Australia, she has Rowan, Maggie and Shane to meet up with.
Then she has Kit Pascoe to meet and contend with… her main travel companion. Will they warm to each other? Will he get into the spirit of things? Where will their explorations lead them? 

As her new big adventure begins, in many ways, she gets more than she and the group get more than they bargained for. Not everything is plain-sailing. There are just a few unexpected challenges to face to say the least. Some more complicated for Elin to work out than others, including her emotions and how she’s going to be in this phase of her life, what paths, personally, to take. Then there’s home in the UK, that one way or another, isn’t ever too far away, even when she is physically thousands of miles away. There are elements here and there that are reminiscent of Shirley Valentine, in a good way. There’s part of story within this that could go either way. There are elements of the book being a page turner as curiosity as to how it all turn out firmly bites.

It’s an adventure of a lifetime and one worth joining The Silver Surfers on. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.

Thanks to Boldwood Books for the review e-book copy to review from.

#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)

#BookReview By Lou of One Night On The Island By Josie Silver @JosieSilver_ @penguinrandom #PenguinGeneral @PenguinUKBooks @ella_horne #OneNightOnTheIsland #BookRecommendation #Romcom #RomanticFiction #UpliftingFiction

One Night On The Island
By Josie Silver

Rating: 5 out of 5.

From the author of One Day in December comes One Night on the Island. An absolutely outstanding rom-com that is sure to have you feeling good and having a right proper laugh as romance unfurls, leaving a positive sensation and one that feeling of having been thoroughly entertained…. It is enjoyable for the beginning. Thanks to Penguin General/Penguin Random House for inviting me to review and for gifting me a proof copy of the book. Discover more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…

Blurb

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE MAJOR BESTSELLER ONE DAY IN DECEMBER, COMES A NEW IRRESISTIBLE LOVE STORY

Cleo writes about love stories every day. She just isn’t living one of her own.

When the editor of her dating column asks her to marry herself on a remote Irish island – a sensational piece to mark Cleo’s thirtieth birthday – Cleo agrees. She’s alone but not lonely, right? She can handle a solo adventure.

Cleo arrives at her luxury cabin to find a tall, dark, stubborn American who insists it’s actually his. Mack refuses to leave, and Cleo won’t budge either. With a storm fast approaching, they reluctantly hunker down together. It’s just one night, after all . . .

But what if one night on the island is just the beginning?

Following Cleo and Mack through heartbreak, healing and the search for happiness, One Night on the Island is an uplifting and immensely moving love story for fans of The Holiday, Lucy Diamond and Jojo Moyes.

Review

One Night on the Island is billed to be for fans of The Holiday, which I found very exciting and immediately piqued my interest. I was not disappointed in what is pure warm escapism with great entertainment value radiating, cosily from it with the feel-good factor ramped up high, with a couple of deeper themes weaved in.

The characters and the humour and the premise is just so enjoyable. Even the chapter names are humorous. This book has the Feel-Good Factor right at its heart and so many giggley moments ensue. The writing is absolutely divine for slinking back and soaking it all up as romance unfurls and perfect escapsim ensues.

Cleo works for the magazine – Women Today has an unusual job to do. Directed by her boss, Ali, the assignment is to marry herself (or self-coupling or sologamy) on a remote island. She has a few reservations to say the least, not least that she is still interested in dating, and isn’t this something that celebs do? When she arrives on a remote island, she then has to share the stunning, totally remote, Otter Lodge with, who begins with, is a random American – Mack Sullivan, who is at every inch, impossible. He’s grumpy and yet good-looking. Josie Silver has the ingredients for this new romance and whisked them up to bring a lightness to touch and stirred them to create a certain depth, with themes of self-love and acceptance that cascade gently through the pages.

There’s show-biz (lots of name-dropping), adventure, romantic possibilities and new-life opportunities.
One Night On The Island is entertaining, fun and pure escapism!

#BookReview By Lou – The Impulse Purchase By Veronica Henry @veronica_henry @orionbooks @RandomTTours #TheImpulsePurchase #Fiction #FeelGoodFiction #UpliftingFiction #ContemporaryFiction #BlogTour #BookRecommendation

The Impulse Purchase
By Veronica Henry

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Impulse Graphic 5

The Impulse Purchase has the feel-good factor throughout and is a lovely escape. Find out more below…
Firstly, thanks to Orion Books and Veronica Henry for a copy of the book and for Random Things Tours for organising and inviting me to review on the blog tour.

I chose to read THE IMPULSE PURCHASE with my mum. The characters of Maggy, Cherry and Rose are inspiring multigenerational characters and the book got me thinking about the people I value in my life such as my mum, who has been through a lot and always will healthwise, since I was in my teens ( a little over 20 years ago), and I will now always be her unpaid carer, but without her in my life, I wouldn’t have become the strong, determined, resilient, independent woman I have and I wouldn’t have experienced so much or discovered so much (ie the arts, books and more…) without her. She also enabled to me to follow some dreams. She still continues to be a good mum and as still kept her sense of humour and love of going out with friends and family.
Find out more about The Impulse Purchase in the blurb and my thoughts in my review below…

Impulse Graphic 2

Blurb

The Impulse Purchase CoverWith this, Veronica’s 23rd novel, she introduces us to Cherry, Maggie and Rose – mother, daughter and granddaughter, each with their own hopes, dreams and even sorrows.

They have always been close, so when, in a moment of impulse, Cherry buys a gorgeous but
rundown pub in the village she grew up in, it soon becomes a family affair.
All three women uproot themselves and move to Rushbrook, deep in the heart of Somerset, to take over The Swan and restore it to its former glory. Cherry is at the helm, Maggie is in charge of the kitchen, and Rose tends the picturesque garden that leads down to the river.

Before long, the locals are delighted to find the beating heart of the village is back, bringing all kinds of surprises through the door. Could Cherry’s impulse purchase change all their lives – and bring everyone the happiness they’re searching for?

Impulse Graphic 1 (1)

Review

From the first pages, I have good feelings about this book, so immediately want to read on. The family has 3 main strong women within it: Cherry is the mother of Maggie and grandmother to 22 year old Rose.

Cherry is in the business of seeing properties that need renovating and flipping them into profit. She has long time partner – Mike, on the cusp of retirement.
Maggie is a successful PR woman, specialising in promoting food.
Rose is a student, also on the cusp of looking for a job as she tries to navigate life and her mental health issues and grief from losing her dad.

It starts with the organising of Mike’s retirement party as he got set to depart from his work at the university, and this is when readers first meet Cherry, who has an interesting and different outlook on such parties, but she wants it to be perfect for him. Things change however, when Anneka appears in his life…

There are many changes and challenges within the family; a family home up for sale, grief, new job, studies, moving onwards in the childcare chain. Within each challenge, there is also a certain amount of resilience, which is a joy to see. There are of course, chinks in their armour, but that’s what makes them human, but they keep trying to forge new paths ahead. It’s just what people need to be reading about today.

There’s an impulsive purchase, not a new dress or a book or anything like that. This impulse purchase is a pub called The Swan. It’s made when Cherry is selling her parents home and she recalls having many a happy time there. There’s a lot of work to be done, but nothing that this family cannot handle in what is a heartwarming story as they set off to work, calling in builders Cherry has worked with before and pulling together to do extensive work to revitalise the pub. It’s a joy to watch the idyllic scenery pass by and to see the family work together to create something great for the village.

Interweaved amongst the main family story are other characters, such as Chloe, where the pub gives her new hope in life and Winnie who the pub gives new work prospects to and a future in the pub’s kitchen.

There’s good food, cast of characters, wildlife and so much more. This book most definitely has the feel-good factor. It’s lovely to escape into and is joyous to read.

About the Author

Veronica Henry Author Pic

Veronica Henry has worked as a scriptwriter for The Archers, Heartbeat and Holby City amongst many others, before turning to fiction. She won the 2014 RNA Novel of the Year Award for A Night on the Orient Express and is a Sunday Times bestselling author of over twenty books.
Veronica lives with her family in a village in north Devon and can often be found cooking up the perfect seaside feast.