Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd #BookReview #BlogTour (@williamjtodd) @damppebbles #GodlefesCuckoo #damppebblesblogtours

GODLEFES CUCKOO Front Final - L

Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded. Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth. An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man. If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd today. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles blog tours for including me on the tour and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is my first book by Bill Todd, although I believe it is the fifth full-length book featuring ex-soldier-turned-private-detective, Danny Lancaster. The fact I had not read the previous books in the series did not detract from my enjoyment of this book, although having knowledge of the previous books may have increased the depth of my understanding of events in this book, so you might want to read them in order. I would certainly like to go back and catch up with how Danny got to the place we find him at the beginning of Godlefe’s Cuckoo, which is missing, presumed dead by some.

I was drawn in to the novel very quickly by the historical opening scenes, which bed the book firmly in the setting of Brighton, and I have to say that the author shows great skill in bringing the location to life, from the wild areas of uninhabited coastline to the gritty back streets and local pubs, as well as the bits familiar to tourists. I really enjoyed the fact that the sea and the coast play an important part in this book, which makes the coastal setting very relevant, rather than just an aside. This is a novel where sense of place is important.

There are a lot of characters introduced very quickly at the start of the book and it was a little dizzying and hard to keep up with to begin with, especially for someone who has not read the previous books and is not familiar with the characters which are recurring from the previous volumes. They all have separate storylines, and it is quite hard to fathom for the first third of the book how they could possibly tie together, although all does become clear as the book progresses. Therefore, the book requires a degree of concentration to follow, which is not necessarily a criticism. I like a book which is mentally challenging, but this is not a book that can be read on ‘coast’ mode.

There are a lot of very interesting and diverse characters in the story, and I particularly like the fact that this male author had created a cast of strong, independent and varied women, with not a female stereotype in sight.  I grew particularly fond of Wanda throughout the book, but all of the characters bring something to the story and have a range of complex motivations. The Russian element were the weakest in the book as far as character development went, and I did feel that it parts they were in danger of tipping in to ‘typical of the type’ villains and I would have liked them to have had more depth to be honest, but it is a minor quibble that may well be peculiar to me. You will have to be your own judge.

The book is a little different in development to a standardly plotted book, because the main character, Danny, features very little be begin with in person and is mostly referenced by other characters in his absence, so there is not much time for those of us coming fresh to the series to develop a sense of who he is or a direct relationship with him. However, this would obviously be different for people who had read the previous stories and, I have to say, once he did appear and start taking centre stage, I found him a fascinating and compelling character with a strong personality, which definitely made me want to read more about him.

The plot clipped along at a brisk pace and contained enough excitement, action and mystery to keep me turning the pages without wanting to put it down. I am not sure how realistic it is, as a plot as my knowledge of international criminal activity is minimal, but it was easy enough to buy in to it to a degree to allow me to enjoy the book. I have to say, I think a particular strength in this book is the author’s use of convincing dialogue. It certainly moved the book along nicely and sounds natural, which is not an easy thing to achieve, and it impressed me enough to stand out as a positive attribute.

Somewhat out of my usual reading tastes, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely go back and check out the earlier Danny Lancaster stories when I get chance. Highly recommended.

Godlefe’s Cuckoo is out now and you can get a copy here.

Please do check out the rest of the reviews on the tour on the dates listed below:

GodlefesCuckoo

About the Author

2018-09-25 15.28.30-2

I’m a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. Love a good wilderness. I received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.

I’ve written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. I’ve also written three short factual military histories. I live to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Connect with Bill:

Website: http://www.billtodd.co.uk

Facebook: Bill Todd

Twitter: @williamjtodd

Instagram: @billtodd_writer

dpbt 2

A Winter Beneath The Stars by Jo Thomas #BookReview #BlogTour (@jo_thomas01) @headlinepg @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Christmas #AWinterBeneathTheStars

Winter Beneath The Stars Cover

On a courier trip to Tallfors, deep in Swedish Lapland, everything is going to plan. Halley has her bag, with two precious wedding rings inside for delivery… until she doesn’t.

The only way to save the wedding is to team up with mysterious reindeer herder Bjorn, the one person who can lead her across the snowy tundra to be reunited with her bag.

On a journey of a lifetime beneath the stars, with only the reindeer and a bad-tempered stranger for company beside the fire, Halley realises that she will need to confront her past heartaches in order to letthe warmth of love in once more…

I am so delighted today to be taking my turn on the blog tour for A Winter Beneath The Stars by fellow RNA Member and somewhat of a personal hero of mine, Jo Thomas. My huge thanks for Anne Cater for giving me one of the coveted places on this tour and to Headline for my copy of the book, which I have renewed honestly and impartially.

I absolutely love books that take me away to foreign climes while I am sat at home in my chair, so I can indulge my passion for travel mentally while I’m not actually travelling myself. For this reason, Jo Thomas has become one of my favourite authors in recent years and I was very excited to see what she would do with a winter book. Having read it, I can say with certainty that it did not disappoint me.

This book follows the story of Halley, who travel for a living delivering valuable items overseas, and how she comes to be stuck in Swedish Lapland with a gruff reindeer herder. That’s all I’m going to say about the plot, you’ll need to read the book to find out how she ends up in this predicament. Suffice it to say, a series of mishaps and some suspended disbelief is the order of the day.

Jo brings the setting of Swedish Lapland vividly to life. Her descriptions are beautiful and so evocative that you can smell the trees, feel the bite of the wind on your cheeks, hear the click of the reindeers’ ankles (I never knew they did that, but now I can imagine what it sounds like), taste the wild mushroom soup, see the sparkling sprinkle of stars across the winter sky. Her writing is a feast for every sense that transports you directly to the heart of the setting. What I particularly love about this book is that she captures the real place, not just the tourist side, and explores the life of the indigenous population that have lived on the land for centuries. It is this kind of detail and insight that makes me want to read and I think it is unusual to find that level of care about authenticity in a romance novel, which is why I love Jo’s book so much. I would absolutely love to have Jo on the blog to talk about her research for the book, I know it will be a fascinating tale which is touched on in the acknowledgements. Not that I’m hinting or anything!

Now I’ve waxed lyrical about the setting, which is the huge strength of this book, let’s talk about the plot. It has everything you could want in a book of this kind. Romance, humour, emotional revelations, exploration of love and loss and grief and how, as human beings, we navigate these emotions. All of this is done so warmly and wisely, with such honesty and empathy that you can’t fail to be moved by the experience of reading it. To be honest, I guessed quite early on what the situation was between Halley and her husband but that did not detract from my enjoyment of the story at all and I had total understanding of where she was coming from and her reactions. It took me a couple of chapters to warm to her, but once I did, I was firmly on her side and going through the wringer with her every step of the way – the elation and despair which the author so cleverly draws out with her writing.

Bjorn took a little more fathoming, but I warmed to him over the course of the book, and I am sure the author has paced his character development deliberately so that the reader’s feelings towards him develop in much the way Halley’s do. She has thrown them together in the most extraordinary of circumstances and my favourite part of the story was watching Halley find her feet and her confidence in dealing with experiences totally outside of her comfort zone. This story is as much about Halley finding herself as anything else and this gives the story a real depth and poignancy that raise it above the standard of the every day romantic novel.

There are plenty of light-hearted moments provided by secondary characters, particularly Lars whom I loved, and the novel is beautifully balanced in this regard. Actually, it is just beautiful and once you’ve read it, you’ll want to rush out and buy the rest of Jo’s books to try and maintain the feelings her writing will evoke in you. She writes the way I aspire to write, if I only I were this skilful.

A Winter Beneath The Stars is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

Please do make sure you check out some of the other reviews of this book by my fantastic fellow bloggers by following the tour:

Winter Beneath The Stars Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Jo Thomas Author Picture

Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013, Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Connect with Jo:

Website: https://jothomasauthor.com

Facebook: Jo Thomas Author

Twitter: @jo_thomas01

Random ThingsTours FB Header

The City of Second Chances by Jane Lacey-Crane #BookReview #BlogTour (@JaneLaceyCrane) @Aria_Fiction @RNATweets #PublicationDay #NetGalley #TheCityOfSecondChances

51HnHbj9sBL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_

She’s already met The One, it was just that Mr Right came along at the wrong time….

Evie Grant is forty-five years old, a widow, and single mum of two children about to leave the nest. Suddenly alone in the family home, Evie realizes she hates her job, hardly goes out and hasn’t had a date since who knows when…

So it feels like fate when the opportunity arises for a girls trip to New York City. Staying with her sister on the Upper East Side, Evie is enchanted by a snow-covered city consumed by preparing for Christmas. Bobble hat firmly on, Evie is walking through the city one day when she bumps into Daniel Roberts, Hollywood heartthrob and one-time boyfriend of hers.

It’s now or never for Evie – but she open her heart to the possibility of a new beginnings and true happiness once again….?

Funny, real and wonderfully romantic, this is the perfect feel-good read to keep you warm this winter!

Today is Publication Day for The City of Second Chances by my fellow RNA member, Jane Lacey-Crane so I want to say happy publication day to Jane. I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour on Publication Day and I want to thank Victoria Joss at Aria for inviting me to take part and for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. I apologise profusely for posting my review so late in the day, I have been tied up unavoidably, but I am hoping both Jane and Victoria will forgive me once they read it.

Where do I start? This book has made me feel so many things that my emotions are still swirling and I’m still sifting through them in my head but I’ll do my best to sort them in to some semblance of a coherent review. Suffice it to say, this book has absolutely blown me away by how much I love it. It has everything I love in a good book and, not only are all the elements there, they are delivered so perfectly; with so much warmth and charm and sincerity and sheer honesty that it has wriggled under my skin and settled there.

The book is the story of Evie, widowed mum of two who has lost the love of her life and is now facing an empty nest as her children reach adulthood and leave home. She has to face what she is going to do with the rest of her life, and that question currently has no clear answer. The main part of what I loved about this book was Evie and how much I could relate to her. From the very beginning, I felt like I knew her. she could be me, or one of my friends. She is my age, and I was totally on board with what she is going through. Her feelings leapt off the page in their authenticity and wrapped themselves around my heart. I was living the story with her from page one, and that doesn’t happen all that often in a book, where you are actually carried in to the story to live it with the main character, but when it does it is magical.

Aside from Evie, all of the other characters in this book were so well drawn and real that they just enhanced the feeling of being in a real person’s life. Evie’s sister and her friend, Rachel, were also people that I felt I recognised and I loved the dynamic between them. The storyline with Olivia was an interesting twist and, although it did not go the way I thought, I understood why the author did what she did with it and it was absolutely correct for the story. Daniel was a romantic lead that anyone would fall in love with, and the relationship between he and Evie was everything you could wish for. It put me through a whole wringer of emotions throughout the story and the plot was not at all predictable, I just loved it. The whole book is perfectly balanced with regard to the emotional rollercoaster.

This book has difficult elements included in it, and the author tackles them bravely and head on. Plots like this only work if you don’t shy away from the topic – if you are going to tackle them, you need to commit to it, and Jane really does that, I feel. This is not a light and fluffy romance, and I love that about it. The settings are also perfect. New York at Christmas, always appealing and the author really brings the city to life. It is festive enough to bring a pleasing warmth to your cockles, but not so twee that it makes your teeth ache, perfectly balanced – the salted caramel of Christmas novels.

I was lucky enough to spend some time with Jane at the RNA conference back in July and the thing that struck me most about this book was that I could very clearly hear her voice throughout. This is definitively her book, her voice, it couldn’t have been written by anyone else and I really felt that this was her putting herself honestly on the page. This is a massive leap forward from her first book, you can feel the confidence flowing through the pages. This is an author who has hit her stride and is powering forward. The honesty pulses off the page and pulls the reader in to experience the story with her. This is what confident writing looks like.

As you may have gathered, I adored this book. I’ve just ordered a paperback copy to add to my library. It is for the discovery stories like this that I read and I could not be happier for Jane at what she has achieved with this novel.

Please go and buy a copy, I promise you won’t regret it. You can get it here.

If you would like to get some other perspectives on the novel, please check out the rest of the tour:

NhbeEhrg

About the Author

dY9xf8OA

Born in London, Jane’s writing career began in cable TV, writing true crime documentaries. More recently, Jane has contributed to an anthology of short stories and written two weekly crime serials. When she’s not writing, Jane loves to read good books, binge watch TV boxsets and drink tea. And wine. 

Connect with Jane:

Facebook: Jane Lacey-Crane
Twitter: @JaneLaceyCrane

Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin by Helen J Rolfe #BookReview #BlogTour (@HJRolfe) @RaRaResources @RNATweets #RaRaResources #Christmas #LittleLogCabin #NewYorkEverAfter

Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin

We have a total switch of mood for my third review of the day and I’m delighted to be finishing off with something Christmassy by joining the tour for Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin by fellow RNA member, Helen J Rolfe. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for asking me to take part in the tour and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Christmas miracles for amazon and websites etc

Do you believe in Christmas Miracles?

Holly is looking for a change and even though not everyone agrees with her career choices, she’s determined there’s more to this life than the long hours she works as an editor in New York City. What she doesn’t expect is to meet Mitch, a recluse who’s hiding more than she realises.

Mitch does all he can to avoid human contact, spending his days in the little log cabin out in the woods behind Inglenook Falls where he owns a Christmas tree farm, so when Holly falls into his life, he’s not sure how to react. All he knows is that something needs to change if he ever wants to get his life back on track.

Along with friends Cleo and Darcy, Holly is determined to bring joy back to Mitch’s life, but will he appreciate their interference? And when a business proposition throws everything up in the air, will it do more harm than good and ruin lives forever?

Both Holly and Mitch must learn that on the surface people aren’t always what they seem…but if you dig a little deeper, they can take you by surprise.

Curl up this Christmas for plenty of snowflakes, roaring log fires, a marriage proposal, unlikely friendships and second chances as we return to the much-loved characters in the New York Ever After series.

This is the first book in this series that I have read, although I understand it is number 4 and some of the characters are reappearing from previous books. However, this book can easily be read as a standalone novel without losing any enjoyment, and enjoy it I certainly did.

After two fairly harrowing books which I have reviewed earlier today, I am happy to be talking about a festive read – and this book screams Christmas like a giant mug of cinnamon-laced mug of creamy chocolate with a huge dollop of cream on top. Add some marshmallows? Well why not, you can’t cram too much Christmas spirit in to a book for me and this one has it in shedloads. Just look at the title and the cover, it says it all!

From a sparkling New York to the festive cheer of a close knit little town, Yuletide warmth is spread across the pages like a cosy blanket and I revelled in every minute of it. I just loved the community feel of Inglenook Falls – and who can resist a ramshackle log cabin in the woods, complete with mysterious hunky man?

I really warmed to the characters in this book. I followed Holly’s journey with interest as she takes a step back from her hectic life and rediscovers herself in the quaint little town. However, Mitch was the more interesting character for me as we slowly discover why is is so reclusive and how he is brought out of himself as he unfurls in the warmth of Helen’s friendship. I really enjoyed the developing relationship dynamics between the two of them.

This is a story about friendship, first impressions and taking a leap of faith to make that change in life and it is written with such warmth and tenderness that it is impossible not to fall in love with the story and the characters. This is the perfect Christmas read and I enjoyed every page.

Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin is available now and you can get a copy here.

To check out the rest of the posts on the tour, visit the blogs detailed below:

Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin Full Tour Banner

About the Author

Author Photograph Helen Rolfe (4)

Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending. 

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Connect with Helen:

Website: http://www.helenjrolfe.com

Facebook: Helen J Rolfe Writer

Twitter: @hjrolfe

Instagram: @helen_j_rolfe

Keep Her Close by Erik Therme #BookReview #BlogTour (@ErikTherme) @Bookouture #NetGalley #KeepHerClose

Keep-Her-Close-Kindle

Someone took your daughter. And nobody believes you…


Then:
Three-year-old Ally was found alone in a parking lot.
She was barefoot and dressed only in a yellow sundress. In the middle of winter.
What kind of person would abandon their daughter?


Now:
Fifteen years later and Ally has a new family.
But her real father has sent her a letter.


And now Ally is missing. 

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for Keep Her Close by Erik Therme. My thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture for inviting me on to the tour and for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is my first book by Erik Therme but it definitely won’t be the last after reading this one. As soon as I read the deeply affecting and disturbing prologue, I was totally hooked and raced through the rest of the book faster than Shergar won the Grand National. I could not put the book down and, even once I had finished it, my head was still reeling with thoughts and questions. Only the best kind of thriller can get you that involved that you can’t forget it even once you’ve finished it.

The main protagonist is Ally, a young girl apparently abandoned as a small child and since adopted by Dan and Holly who have brought her up as their daughter. She is contacted by a man who claims to be her birth father and wanting to meet her before he dies, and this is where the trouble starts. Ally is at that metamorphic stage in life – on the cusp of adulthood and about to take her first tentative steps towards independence and eager to assert her autonomy but still retaining the innocence and naiveté of youth, which puts her in a dangerous and vulnerable position that unscrupulous individuals can take advantage of and she finds herself in the hands of someone very unpleasant indeed.

Ally’s adoptive parents obviously love her very much and are distraught by her disappearance. They have split up and it is obvious as we go through the book that they are different people and have very different ways of dealing with what has happened. Dan, her dad, in particular, is a volatile individual and he has quite extreme reactions to Ally’s disappearance which are sometimes hard to fathom and frustrate the reader, but as a parent most of us can imagine how we would react if we were put in the same position.

Most of the characters in this book are rather ambiguous and have very mixed motives for their behaviour, which are revealed over time. None of them are what they seem to be at the beginning, and are all multi-layered and this is the main thing which keeps the reader turning the pages and turning the pages to see where it is going. Nothing is what it seems and the answers to the puzzle are far from obvious. I thought I had worked out was happening, only to be proved completely wrong and totally taken by surprise at the end. The plot has more twists and turns than a Rubik’s cube and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

A fascinating, tightly-plotted, fast-paced psychological thriller with a cast of complex and diverse characters and a less-than-obvious ending. What’s not to love?

Keep Her Close is out now and you can get your copy here.

To follow the rest of the blog tour, check out the blog tour poster below:

Keep-Her-Close-Blog-Tour

About the Author

Erik Therme (author photo)

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his seventeen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

Connect with Erik:

Website: https://eriktherme.com

Facebook: Erik Therme

Twitter: @ErikTherme

Goodreads: Erik Therme

One Law For The Rest Of Us by Peter Murphy #BookReview #BlogTour @noexitpress @annecater #RandomThingsTours #OneLawForTheRestOfUs

one law cover

When Audrey Marshall sends her daughter Emily to the religious boarding school where she herself was educated a generation before, memories return – memories of a culture of child sexual abuse presided over by a highly-regarded priest. Audrey turns to barrister Ben Schroeder in search of justice for Emily and herself. But there are powerful men involved, men determined to protect themselves at all costs. Will they succeed? Is there indeed one law for the rich and powerful, and one law for…?

I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today for One Law For The Rest Of Us, the latest Ben Schroeder legal thriller by Peter Murphy. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I absolutely love legal thrillers and I am always on the look out for new authors so, when I found out that this was the sixth book in the series following criminal law barrister Ben Schroeder, I was surprised that I had not come across Peter Murphy’s work before. However, although this is the sixth book featuring this character, it works completely as a stand alone and I did not feel that I was missing anything from the plot by not having read the previous five books.

The novel follows the case of Audrey Marshall upon, who finding out her daughter has been abused at the boarding school she herself attended a generation before, she is flooded with memories of her own experiences at the school thirty years before and sets out to seek justice for both of them. However, she is thwarted at every turn as it becomes apparent that powerful people have very good reasons to stop her story ever seeing the light of day.

This is a UK-set legal thriller and deals with the ins and outs of trying to prosecute a case through the UK courts. Fans of John Grisham who are looking for his style of legal thriller where lawyers are forever breaking the law and getting involved in car chases and gun battles won’t find that here. The UK legal system is far more reserved and refined and British barristers a much more genteel and old-fashioned breed who wouldn’t consider doing anything so vulgar that would set their powdered wigs askew. That is not to say, however, that the book lacks thrills and suspense because it does not. The action and tensions is more cerebral in nature, though, as it takes the form of pitfalls and frustrations by trying to pursue justice through the courts.

Frustration is, indeed, the main driver of this book. By the end, I was almost screaming, my nerves twanging with tensions as Audrey and her daughter are thwarted at every turn by people high up in the executive who have vested interests in stopping their case succeeding. The fact that this is all too likely and plausible, makes it even more maddening, and you will be glued to the page, willing her lawyers to find a way through the maze of obstacles erected against them to get justice for the family. If you like a properly argued legal thriller, you will love this book but your nerves will be tested.

The plot, although clearly fiction, does have echoes of recent scandals in this country and may be triggering for some readers. It does give a good insight into the workings of the English justice system, and how it is not a perfect system for delivering justice. The author has a legal background, so it able to make the writing feel very authentic, although there is obviously poetic licence taken for the sake of the plot.

The book is populated by an intriguing mix of characters, it is very well written and easy to read and is not too filled with jargon, so will be appealing to non-lawyers. I think it is an excellent addition to the genre and I will definitely be going back to check out the other titles in the series by this author. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys legal dramas.

One Law For The Rest Of Us will be published on 13 December and you can pre-order a copy here.

To read more reviews of this book, please follow the blog tour as detailed on the poster:

One Law For the Rest of us Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Peter Murphy Author Pic

Peter Murphy graduated from Cambridge University and spent a career in the law, as an advocate, teacher, and judge. He has worked both in England and the United States, and served for several years as counsel at the Yugoslavian War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. He has written seven novels: two political thrillers about the US presidency, Removal and Test of Resolve; five historical/ legal thrillers featuring Ben Schroeder, A Higher Duty, A Matter For The Jury, And Is There Honey Still For Tea?, The Heirs of Owain Glyndwr and Calling Down the Storm. He is also the author of Walden of Bermondsey and Judge Walden: Back in Session and Judge Walden: Call The Next Case, which is due to be published in 2019.

Peter Murphy will be appearing on BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Cambridge, BBC Radio West Midlands, BBC Radio Newcastle and BBC radio Manchester this summer as part of promotion for his Walden of Bermondsey series.

Connect with Peter:

Website: http://www.petermurphyauthor.co.uk

Random ThingsTours FB Header

Staying On by C.M. Taylor #BookReview #BlogTour (@CMTaylorStory) @Duckbooks @annecater #Giveaway #StayingOn

staying on low res

A geriatric coming-of-age story …

Retired expat, Tony Metcalfe, is going through a three-quarter-life crisis. Viva España, his bar in a mountain village beyond Spain s Costa Blanca, is failing. Tony started the bar for the English post-war babies who retired early on good pensions – the por favors, as the Spanish call them – flocking to the dream of wine, rest and sun around the pool. But now their retirement paradise is shadowed by Brexit: the pound has fallen, pensions are frozen and the property crash happened long ago.

Tony wants to move back to enjoy the remainder of his life in his childhood home, but his tenacious wife Laney wants to stay in the happy valley and forget about England and the dark, unresolved feelings it provokes in their marriage. Sod it – he couldn t go home even if he tried; nobody would buy an ailing bar during a recession.

But Tony s luck is about to change when his son Nick arrives for a surprise visit with his self-possessed wife, Jo, and their son. With the extra help, Tony thinks things are on the up, but Jo has brought along more baggage than just their family s suitcases.

Staying On is a compelling story of little and greater family secrets come to light and what it means to find home, wherever you are.

I am happy to be taking part in the blog tour today for Staying On by C. M. Taylor. I originally reviewed this book at the end of July and enjoyed it very much so my thanks go to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to share it with you again as part of the tour. If you would like to win a copy of the book, please just leave a brief comment on the post and I will pick a winner at random to receive the book.

When I was offered the chance to read this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The blurb and some of the other information I was given gave me the impression that it might be more political commentary on the influence of Brexit on the ex-pat community in Spain than anything else, but this was not the case. This book is a beautiful, deeply moving portrayal of a family whose current problems are largely caused by issues in their past that they are afraid to confront and what happens when they are forced to address them by outside influences.

I really loved the book, it affected me very deeply. The issues explored of family relationships and tensions and how people can be pushed apart by a failure to communicate, are ones that we can all relate to to a greater or lesser degree and we can all feel great empathy for these characters. They are all so well written and truthful that it is impossible not to be drawn in to their story and be compelled to find out what becomes of them over the arc of the book.

The main characters are Tony and Laney Metcalfe, living the ex-pat dream in a small hillside village inland from the coast of Costa Blanca, running a small, struggling bar and moving in a circle of other ex-pats in an enclave which has been developed for the incoming immigrants. They have not really integrated into the local Spanish community and, as the effects of the 2008 financial crash and the looming threat of Brexit cause a trickle of their community to sell up and return to Britain, they find their world is shifting and becoming unsettled. The arrival of their son, Nick and his wife Jo, who seems intent on stirring things up, lead to seismic shifts in the status quo that force Tony and Laney to face issues in their marriage that have been buried for years leading to startling revelations and events.

Tony and Laney are recognisable as ordinary working class Brits who have, in their thousands, sold up and retired for their dream life in the Spanish sun, only to find it is not so dreamy after all. But of course, like all of us, they are not ordinary at all, but have extraordinary relationships and dynamics that are unique to each of us and drive us to behave the way we do, in a way that is invisible to the outside world, creating pressures and tensions and motivations that are mysterious to outsiders. The author does an amazing job of revealing these individual foibles in a way that is completely believable and compelling.

The setting was beautifully created and peopled with a fascinating cast of characters, there is some fantastic use of language and imagery that I savoured throughout, but it is the gently drawn and played out family drama which is at the heart of this story and which will draw you through the book to the very last page. It is soft and melancholy and totally true and I just fell in love with this book and the every day, unimportant but totally enthralling drama between its pages. This is a book about my life and your life and the life of everyone who is both unimportant but vital in the world, people who don’t do startling things or things that have newsworthy impact on anyone else, but who are central to the worlds of those around them and I wish there were more books like this in the world.

Staying On is out now and you can buy a copy here.

To see what other bloggers make of the book, make sure you follow the rest of the tour:

Staying On Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

C M Taylor

C M Taylor lives in Oxford, lectures at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies and is a freelance editor of fiction. He is the author of Premiership Psycho and Group of Death, two-thirds of a satirical trilogy described as ‘Brilliant’ by The Sun, and ‘Horribly entertaining’ by The Mirror.

Connect with the author:

Twitter: @CMTaylorStory

Instagram: @cmtaylor

Goodreads: C. M. Taylor

Random ThingsTours FB Header