The Ghostly Father by Sue Barnard #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@AuthorSusanB) @ocelotpress @RaRaResources #BookBirthday #TheGhostlyFather

The Ghostly Father Red

Delighted to be taking part today in the blog blitz to celebrate the book birthday of The Ghostly Father by Sue Barnard. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to the author and publisher of the book for my  gifted copy, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you check out the details of how you can enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of the book further down the page.

The Ghostly Father

Was this what really happened to Romeo & Juliet?

Think you know the world’s most famous love story? Think again.What if the story of Romeo & Juliet really happened – but not quite in the way we’ve all been told?

This part-prequel, part-sequel to the original tale, told from the point of view of the Friar, tells how an ancient Italian manuscript reveals secrets and lies which have remained hidden for hundreds of years, and casts new doubts on the official story of Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers.

If you love the Romeo & Juliet story but are disappointed with the way it ended, this is the book for you.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about sequels and prequels and retellings of my favourite stories when they aren’t done by the original author and I tend to avoid them. I’m always slightly worried that they won’t be quite as good and might spoil the story or the characters from my most beloved books for me. This happened to me when I saw the film version of Staying On by Paul Scott, a book I adore but could not read for years afterwards and, as they say, once bitten, twice shy. As a result I haven’t watched the film versions of My Sister’s Keeper or The Time Traveller’s Wife, the recent TV adaptation of Anne of Green Gables or read any other versions of Pride & Prejudice, Rebecca or Wuthering Heights.

You must be wondering by now what possessed me to pick up a book that is both a sequel and a prequel to one of the most beloved and enduring stories of all time, Romeo & Juliet. I can only assume it was a lapse in concentration. Or maybe it was fate because, despite any reservations I might have, I absolutely LOVED this book.

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I know, I’m as shocked as you are. After all I have said, I could not be happier that I picked this book up. I was gripped on the story from start to finish, I adored everything about it and it left me with a really happy feeling that this story exists in tandem with Shakespeare’s version. It has enhanced, rather than tainted, my love of the story and I am in awe of the author’s imagination.

It always fascinates me the way people’s minds work and what different individuals take from different stories and it was interesting to see what Sue has chosen to focus on from the original tale. This book is written almost wholly from the perspective of the friar, who is a secondary, though important, character in the original story. She has given him and rich, full and pivotal story all of his own which is fully realised and detailed in this book beautifully.

The setting of historical Venice and Verona is perfectly captured, and the author spares no detail of the societal hierarchy, clothing, manners, social norms, speech – it all feels authentic and roots the reader deeply in the setting and brings it to life. I loved the way she interwove quotes from Shakespeare’s play in to the text, together with quotes from the Franciscan Orders services and prayers. Being prose rather than dialogue and scene directions, Sue is able to give the characters more depth and personality perhaps than is possible in a play and can flesh out their inner thoughts, actions and motivations so we get a deeper understanding of what might be driving them (not to diss the Bard in any way, of course!) Like I said, this is a great spin on the original tale that enhanced my enjoyment of it and made me look at it from another perspective. It’s one of my favourite books of the year so far.

If you are a fan of Romeo & Juliet, I’m sure you will enjoy this book very much and I recommend you give it a whirl. This is the second prequel/sequel that I have read recently and loved, the other being Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye & Becca Mascull. It might be time for me to address my prejudices in this regard.

The Ghostly Father is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning a signed copy of the book, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the Author

Sue Barnard Author

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet.  She was born in North Wales some time during the last millennium, but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester.  After graduating from Durham University she had a variety of office jobs before becoming a full-time parent.  If she had her way, the phrase “Non-Working Mother” would be banned from the English language.

Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck. 

Sue speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.  She is also very interested in family history.  Her own background is far stranger than any work of fiction; she would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.  

Connect with Sue:

Website: http://broad-thoughts-from-a-home.blogspot.com

Facebook: Sue Barnard Author

Twitter: @AuthorSusanB

Instagram: @suebarnardauthor

 

Hunter’s Chase by Val Penny #BlogBlitz #GuestPost (@valeriepenny) @crookedcatbooks @LoveBooksGroup #LoveBooksGroupTours #HuntersChase #EdinburghCrimeMysteries #TartanNoir

Hunter's Chase banner

Some of you may remember that I reviewed this excellent book, Hunter’s Chase, by Val Penny last summer and really enjoyed it, so I am delighted that Kelly Lacey from Love Books Group Tours has invited me to take part in this blog blitz today to celebrate the book being available both in paperback and ebook format. I have a great guest post from Val to share with you and also a link further down to my original review of the book.

Hunter's Chase book cover

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson knows there is a new supply of cocaine flooding his city, and he needs to find the source, but his attention is transferred to murder when a corpse is discovered in the grounds of a golf course.

Shortly after the post-mortem, Hunter witnesses a second murder, but that is not the end of the slaughter. With a young woman’s life also hanging in the balance, the last thing Hunter needs is a new man on his team: Detective Constable Tim Myerscough, the son of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable Sir Peter Myerscough.

Hunter’s perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

Guest Post by Val Penny

I am delighted to be visiting your blog today to chat about so many of the exciting events and opportunities 2018 offered me and my family.

            It was clear that 2018 would be an exciting one for our family, because my husband had learned last May that he had qualified, again, to represent his country in their International Fishing Team. This is his third Scottish Cap for his beloved fishing. We are all very proud of him.

            Imagine our happiness when our older daughter and her husband compounded our excitement by making us grandparents for the first time in April. Joy of joys! A beautiful baby girl. Of course, I have never seen a more beautiful baby nor one more fascinating. Time to get knitting.

            I also made a New Year Resolution this year. The first one I have made in many years, and it is one I have found very easy to keep. I resolved to read more books by authors with whose work I was not familiar. This has been a fabulous resolution. I have been thrilled by a historical romance, ‘Heart of Stone’ by John Jackson, spooked by the ghost story ‘Woman in Back’  by Susan Hill and intrigued by the mystery that is ‘The Silence’ by Katharine Johnson. The book that I have found most compelling book so far is the autobiography ‘Born a Crime’ by Trevor Noah. He is a South African comedian and presenter who grew up during the period of Apartheid. As the son of a black South African mother and a white Swiss father his tales of life as a child in his native country are fascinating.  This is the best resolution I have ever made.

            But the thrills of 2018 continued to roll in. My debut crime novel, the first in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series, was ‘Hunter’s Chase’. The book, set in Edinburgh was published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. I was excited and nervous about that, in equal measure. So, when my publishers confirmed that they were accepting the second book in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’, with a view to launching it on 09.09.2018, I really did not think things could be any better.

            I was wrong: in a good way, but I was wrong: things could and did get better when I was asked to lead a session on publicising your work at the prestigious Swanwick Writers’ Summer School in England in August. I have no doubt that the magic of Swanwick gave me the confidence to show ‘Hunter’s Chase’ to my publishers in the first place, so it will be a delight to be back.

            All in all, 2018 was an extraordinary year for me and my family.

            Believe it or not, 2019 looks like being even more exciting! The third book in my series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, Hunter’s Force, will be published by Crooked Cat Books on 03.03.2019 and I have been invited to Denver, Colorado to launch the book. It is my first international launch and I am thrilled. I hope the year ahead will be similarly exciting for you and all your readers.

Val, thank you so much for visiting my blog today, it was great to hear about your fantastic year in 2018 and I hope an equally great 2019 lies ahead.

If you would like to read my original review of Hunter’s Chase, you can find it here.

If you would like to get hold of a copy of this excellent book, you can find it here, where it is also available for free as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.

About the Author

Author pic Edinburgh

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballet dancer or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her first crime novel, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ set in Edinburgh, Scotland was published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. The sequel, ‘Hunter’s Revenge’ will be published on 09.09.2018.

Connect with Val:

Website: https://authorvalpenny.com

Facebook: Valerie Penny

Twitter: @valeriepenny

Instagram: @valerieepenny

Goodreads: Val Penny

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The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke #BookReview #BlogTour (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources #Giveaway #RachelsRandomResources #TheSecretToFallingInLove

The Secret to Falling In Love

I’m really happy to be taking part today in the book birthday blog blitz for The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke. Happy book birthday, Victoria! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources to inviting me to take part in the blitz and to the publisher for my gifted copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

There is a chance to enter a giveaway further down the post, so make sure you enter.

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Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta’s and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.

That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!

Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.

If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…

This was a really great, fun, light-hearted read for an idle moment where you don’t want anything too taxing but still want a novel with great plot and enticing writing.

The main character of Melissa seems not to take life too seriously, at least as far as anything outside of work is concerned, until she hits her mid-thirties and starts to worry about being left on the shelf. This feeling isn’t helped by a mother desperate to marry her off to the next available bachelor she happens across!

Cue a modern-day hunt for love via dating sites, Tinder, set ups by friends and chance encounters in coffee shops, whilst Melissa tries to discover the best way to find a partner in the twenty-first century. Her search is further hampered when she forced to go analogue for a whole month for a magazine article, and her man-hunting means are severely depleted. How did people find love in the dark ages?

Victoria’s writing style is very direct and down to earth, as is the main character, Melissa, and I fell in love with both of them. Melissa is a modern woman after my own heart, the person you’d love to have a friend, confident and sassy but not immune to romance or loneliness. I think a lot of us will recognise some part of themselves in Melissa, which really helps emotionally involve the reader in the book. I really loved watching her fumbling along, trying out different ways to find love, knowing as I do that you can’t find it, it finds you when the moment is right (I am an old romantic at heart!)

Add in to this the fact that this book is absolutely hilarious, and it will be a big hit with most readers. There were so many parts where I actually laughed out loud and The Irishman kept asking me what I was laughing at. Some of it was down to the scrapes that Melissa got herself in, some was just Victoria’s excellent turn of phrase, but this book really made me chuckle, so if you fancy something that is going to make you crack a smile, this is the book for you.

The setting is mostly metropolitan Manchester, so good for anyone who enjoys a book which acknowledges that there are cities outside the capital, but also in a remote area of Scotland. Both areas are brought clearly to life and are integral to the story.

Were there any negatives? I found one of the characters a little cartoonish and the ending felt a little rushed, but these are minor quibbles. I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was funny, honest, interesting and believable, with a big dollop of romance. If anyone is looking for the perfect read for Valentine’s Day, look no further, here it is. Start dropping hints to you other half now. Would go perfectly with some pink prosecco and a nice box of chocolates.

The Secret to Falling in Love is out now and you can get a copy here.

Giveaway

The Secret to Falling In Love Giveaway Prize

Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only) by clicking on the Rafflecopter link below:

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the Author

Victoria Cooke Image

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016

Connect with Victoria:

Facebook: Victoria Cooke Author

Twitter: @VictoriaCooke10

Instagram: @victoriacookewriter

Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@DredaMitchell) @Bloodhoundbook #SpareRoom #BloodhoundBooks

Dreda Say Mitchell - Spare Room_cover

Beautiful double room to let to single person

Lisa, a troubled young woman with a past, can’t believe her luck when she finds a beautiful room to rent in a large house. The live-in owners are a kind and welcoming couple. Everything is fine until she finds a suicide note hidden in her room. But when the couple insist this man didn’t exist and that Lisa is their first tenant, Lisa begins to doubt herself.

Compelled to undercover the secrets of the man who lived in the room before her, Lisa is alarmed when increasingly disturbing incidents start to happen. Someone doesn’t want Lisa to find out the truth.

As the four walls of this house and its secrets begin to close in on Lisa, she descends into a hellish hall of mirrors where she’s not sure what’s real and what’s not as she claws her way towards the truth…

Did this room already claim one victim?

Is it about to take another?

I am delighted to be taking part on day one of the blog blitz for Spare Room by Dreda Say Mitchell. My thanks to Emma Welton at Bloodhound Books for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I have wondered from time to time recently whether the trend of the ‘domestic noir’ psychological thriller might have run its course and there can’t possibly be anything fresh and new to come out of this genre – it has all been done to death (pun entirely intended!). Then you come across a book like this one and an awakened interest in this type of book is ignited by a novel with fantastic writing, breath-taking suspense and twists so devious that you couldn’t possibly have seen them coming.

This book is deeply creepy, from the extremely disturbing prologue until the unforeseeable denouement where the truth of everything is finally revealed. The main character is Lisa, a confused and tormented girl who finds herself renting a room in a house which hides a multitude of secrets and pain behind its innocent facade, and her already tenuous grasp on sanity is stretched to its limits by her search for the truth about the house’s past, and her own.

I found Lisa a believable and very sympathetic character who easily draws the reader into the heart of the story and carries them breathlessly along with her as she digs into the mystery. All of the characters are well drawn and individual, but absolutely none of them are what they seem to be. The author very deftly completes tiny pieces of the puzzle throughout the book to keep you guessing and then, every so often, throws in a bombshell that explodes every theory you thought you had and leaves you gasping and confused as you search for a new explanation for what is going on. This book has so many twists that you will meet yourself coming back and it will leave you in a complete spin.

The writing is fantastic, the author really creates an oppressive and dangerous atmosphere throughout the book; I found myself actually holding my breath in places and it is one of those books that had my racing to the end to get the puzzle finished. It did, perhaps, get a little crazy and outlandish towards the end, but it was all in the spirit and enjoyment of the story, and enjoy it I did. A huge thumbs up from me for this book, the first I have read by this author, and I will definitely be seeking out more of her writing.

Spare Room is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To read the rest of the reviews on the blitz, you can find the rest of the blogs taking part detailed on the poster below:

Spare Room Blog Blitz.jpg

About the Author

dreda say mitchell

Dreda Say Mitchell is an award-winning, bestselling crime writer, broadcaster, campaigner, and journalist. Since her sixth book she has been co-writing with Tony Mason. She is the author of eleven novels, with her debut awarded The CWA’s John Creasey Dagger. She has been a frequent guest on television and radio including Question Time, BBC Breakfast, Newsnight, Victoria Derbyshire, The Stephen Nolan Show, Front Row and Woman’s Hour and numerous others. She has presented Radio 4’s Open Book. Dreda was named one of Britain’s 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia. She was the 2011 chair of the Harrogate Crime Fiction Festival. Dreda and Tony’s work is currently in development for TV. She was born and raised in the East End of London where she continues to live.

Connect with Dreda:

Website: https://dredamitchell.com

Facebook: Dreda Say Mitchell

Twitter: @DredaMitchell

The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@nicolasladeuk) @crookedcatbooks @rararesources @RNATweets #Giveaway #RachelsRandomResources #TheConvalescentCorpse

the convalescent corpse

A delightful blog blitz to be taking part in today for an original and quirky book, The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author and publisher for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.

Please scroll down beneath the review to enter a lovely giveaway.

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A story of Family, Rationing and Inconvenient Corpses.

Life in 1918 has brought loss and grief and hardship to the three Fyttleton sisters. Helped only by their grandmother (a failed society belle and expert poacher) and hindered by a difficult suffragette mother, as well as an unruly chicken-stealing dog and a house full of paying-guests, they now have to deal with the worrying news that their late – and unlamented – father may not be dead after all. And on top of that, there’s a body in the ha-ha.

The blurb of this book gives you a truly delicious taste of what is in store in this cosy crime novel with a difference. Set during World War I, it centres around the lives of the three Fyttleton sisters who are doing their best to cope with life on the home front after the disappearance of their father who went down with the Lusitania, and the recent loss of their brother on the Western Front. Their mother is a famous, reclusive author who is neither use nor ornament as a parent, so they can only rely on each other and their ageing but sprightly grandmother, who is a minor aristocrat.

The narrator is the middle sister, Christabel, who is the stalwart holding the family together whilst scribbling stories on the side to make a few pennies. Christabel is a girl after my own heart and I identified with her immediately. There was a particular line in the book which really touched me as she talks about feeling old beyond her years because she always has to be the sensible one, which exactly describes my role in our family of four girls. Anyway, the girls become heavily involved when a convalescent home for wounded soldiers opens nearby as they take in their families as lodgers whilst they visit their wounded relatives and find themselves in the middle of a mystery linked to the home.

The mystery aspect of the story is interesting, if not a little confusing at times, but it was not the main draw of this book for me. What I really loved was the insight into what life was like for the families left behind in England to make ends meet while all the menfolk went off to war in Europe, many to never come back. This is not a period of history I usually choose to read about, as I find it harrowing and immensely depressing, but this is a book that covers it in a light but still truthful and meaningful way which I found very appealing and illuminating. A wartime novel for people who don’t like to read about war.

The other attractive thing about this book are the characters. The three sisters are all individual and different, with their own motivations and desires, but present a tight knit unit which, as one of four girls, I found realistic and heartwarming. The remainder of the family are charmingly eccentric and riveting. Add in a range of pets with personality and it is a household full of appeal. The surrounding village, the lodgers and the servicemen up at the home add further layers of interest and intrigue. For a gentle mystery, there is a lot going on in this book!

This book was a charming and pleasing surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed the gentle hours I spent between its pages and, once I was finished, I found the characters and story had wormed their way into my heart. The book leaves the door open for more stories featuring these fascinating folk and I sincerely hope that I will be able to find out what happens next to Christabel, Henry and the rest of the Fyttleton family.

The Convalescent Corpse is out now and you can get your copy here.

Giveaway

the convalescent corpse - giveaway prize

To win a paperback copy of Nicola’s book, The House At Ladywell, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

Rafflecopter

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To see some alternative reviews from my fellow bloggers on the tour, please see the details of the stops below:

the convalescent corpse full tour banner

About the Author

the convalescent corpse nickydiamondphotocropped

Nicola Slade lives in Hampshire where she writes historical and contemporary mysteries and women’s fiction. While her three children were growing up she wrote stories for children and for women’s magazines before her first novel, Scuba Dancing, was published in 2005. Among other jobs, Nicola has been an antiques dealer and a Brown Owl! She loves travelling and at one time, lived in Egypt for a year. The Convalescent Corpse is Nicola’s 9th novel. Nicola is also a member of a crime writers’ panel, The Deadly Dames 

Connect with Nicola:

Website: http://www.nicolaslade.com

Blog: https://nicolaslade.wordpress.com

Facebook: Nicola Slade

Twitter: @nicolasladeuk

Pinterest: Nicola Slade

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell #BookReview #BlogBlitz (@angelabritnell) @ChocLituk @RaRaResources #RaRaResources #ChristmasAtBlackCherryRetreat

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat

Delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz today for Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to Choc Lit for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas? 

When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.

But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?

I knew this was going to be a Christmas book with a difference when I picked it up, as it is not set in the UK, but in a remote town in Eastern Tennessee, not a standard setting for a Christmas novel. However, this book is actually not particularly a Christmas-centric story at all, given that it starts around Halloween and focuses on this, and Thanksgiving, rather than just Christmas. However, this does not stop it being a good book in any way.

We meet Fee just as she is arriving at the remote Black Cherry Retreat as Fall has taken hold in the mountains of Tennessee. Fee is running away from horrors in her past an is looking for solitude and isolation to try and heal herself. However, she is immediately drawn to Tom Chambers, a retired police officer who owns Black Cherry Retreat and who has reasons of his own for withdrawing to his remote cabin. The story then focuses on the development of the relationship between this two reluctant characters.

I really loved the setting of this book. It was somewhere very different and the author does a fantastic job of bringing the setting to vivid life with her descriptions. I defy anyone reading this book not to wish they could spend a month or two there with nothing for company but some books, a deer or two and a hunky Tennessean man! I really enjoyed the descriptions of the little town of Pine Ridge and the close knit community there, most of whom Tom is related to.

Which brings us neatly to the characters who are all delightful. I was very drawn to both Fee and Tom and fascinated by their burgeoning relationship, hampered as it was by their pasts. Fee, in particular, seems to be  a mass of contradictions and the author has done very well to develop a really interesting character in Fee. The subsidiary characters are a lovely bunch, particularly little Lulu, and added great charm to the story.

Although this book does not focus particularly heavily on Christmas as a theme, despite the title, it includes great descriptions of various holiday events which gives it a lovely, warm, festive feeling and I am sure anyone looking for a seasonal read will not be disappointed. It also includes a little mystery element, which was a nice sub-plot, and gave the book extra interest for me. All in all, a rewarding read. I could actually envisage this book making a great Hallmark movie, albeit one with a slightly deeper twist than some of the very twee, fluffy ones you see, so if that is the kind of thing you like, this will be right up your street.

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat is out now and is available here.

Please check out the reviews by the rest of the amazing bloggers taking part in the blitz. You can find their details on the poster below:

Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Angela RONA Award Pub Photo

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

Connect with Angela:

Website: http://www.angelabritnellromance.com

Facebook: Angela Britnell

Twitter: @angelabritnell

Instagram:@angelagolleybritnell

Divided We Stand (Division Bell Book 3) by Rachel McLean #BlogBlitz #BookReview (@rachelmcwrites) @RaRaResources #DivisionBell

RRR Divided We Stand blog tour announcement banner v2

I am so excited today to be taking part in the blog blitz for the final part of the Division Bell Trilogy by Rachel McLean, Divided We Stand. I have absolutely loved the first two parts of the series, A House Divided and Divide and Rule and you might like to read my reviews of these to see why I have been so effusive about the series so far. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for allowing me to finish off the journey by taking part in this blog tour and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Divided We Stand Ebook

Britain is a country under surveillance. Neighbours spy on neighbours. Schools enforce loyalty to the state. And children are encouraged to inform on their parents.

Disgraced MP Jennifer Sinclair has earned her freedom but returns home to find everything changed.

Rita Gurumurthy has been sent to a high security prison. When a sympathetic guard helps her escape she becomes a fugitive, forced to go into hiding.

To reunite her family and win freedom for her son and her friend, Jennifer must challenge her old colleague and rival, the new Prime Minister Catherine Moore.

Will Catherine listen to reason and remove the country from its yoke of fear and suspicion? Or will Jennifer have to reveal the secret only she knows about Catherine, and risk plunging the country into turmoil?

Jennifer has finally managed to get herself released from the British Values Centre and back to what is left of her family in the final part of this dystopian, political thriller but Britain is still in the grip of fear and suspicion and her son, Samir, threatened with deportation. It will take all her political manoeuvring to free him before it is too late. This is a trilogy that really needs to be read in order to understand it and get the most of it, but that is no hardship as it is so gripping, and this final instalment is no exception.

The story follows the three main women from Book Two, Jennifer, Meena and Rita, who have all managed to escape from the British Values Centre, but are still not safe in a country where everyone is under watch, the State has oppressive powers of arrest and neighbour informs on neighbour. They need to put behind them their past differences and work together against a political system which seems to have a stranglehold on the country, to secure a better future for them all.

After the incarceration drama of the last book, in this third instalment we are back to a tale of political machinations (sorry, I can’t let that phrase pass without a nod to Blackadder III: Dish and Dishonesty “One who has recently done sterling service, matching the political machinations of the evil Pitt. Good old Lord Baldrick!” Anyway, back to the review.) as Jennifer, now disgraced and without any parliamentary authority, has to take on her old friend, Catherine, who is now the Prime Minister and the person responsible to the current political climate of oppression. It is a battle of wits and power and had me gripped from start to finish. I don’t know whether this book was shorter than the others or it just felt that way as I raced through it but it was an exciting denouement.

Throughout, this trilogy has had an ominous ring of possibility about it, which has made it so thrilling and chilling at the same time. A dystopian vision that is not beyond the bounds of possibility and, on some bleak days, seems to be creeping slowly closer to becoming a reality. In these times of political upheaval and division in this country, these books are a sobering glimpse into what could be if we aren’t careful. I have not read any political fiction that I have found as gripping or well written since I read Michael Dobb’s House of Cards trilogy twenty years ago. I’ve enjoyed every minute of these books and can’t recommend them highly enough.

Divided We Stand is out now and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

A House Divided - rachel mclean

I’m Rachel McLean and I write thrillers and speculative fiction.

I’m told that the world wants upbeat, cheerful stories – well, I’m sorry but I can’t help. My stories have an uncanny habit of predicting future events (and not the good ones). They’re inspired by my work at the Environment Agency and the Labour Party and explore issues like climate change, Islamophobia, the refugee crisis and sexism in high places. All with a focus on how these impact individual people and families.

You can find out more about my writing, get access to deals and exclusive stories or become part of my advance reader team by joining my book club at rachelmclean.com/bookclub.

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Website: https://rachelmclean.com

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