Blog Tour: An Island of Secrets by Eva Glyn

An Island of Secrets

I am thrilled to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour for An Island of Secrets by Eva Glyn today. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to the publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

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That was then…

Seventy-five years ago, British SOE spy Guy Barclay was forced to leave behind the woman he loved in war-ravaged Yugoslavia.

…This is now

As ninety-three-year-old Guy’s days draw to a close, he asks his granddaughter, Leo Holmes, to go looking for answers. Given that her marriage has imploded and her City job is on the verge of killing her, Leo agrees and rents a house on the island of Vis, where her grandfather was stationed in the Second World War.

But as Leo’s search takes her down unexpected roads – and into the path of a gorgeous local, Andrej Pintaric – she begins to wonder if this journey down memory lane might yield unexpected results for more than just her beloved grandfather…

I’ll make an admission here. I signed up for the blog tour for this book without reading the book’s blurb because I have loved Eva Glyn’s previous work. I was kind of dismayed when I did get round to looking at what the book was about because, as a general rule, I don’t read novels set in times of modern warfare. It is just a genre I don’t particularly enjoy. However, a promise is a promise, so I decided to give it a go.

Lo and behold, I actually really enjoyed this book. It is set at a time and place during the Second World War that I am not familiar with at all and I found it absolutely fascinating from a historical perspective. I’d never heard anything about wartime activities of the British in, what was then, Yugoslavia and the precursor to the rise of Tito and communism in that country. Despite my lack of enthusiasm about modern conflict-set books, I do love to learn new information, so this previously unfamiliar aspect of the Second World War pulled me in and piqued my interest. It is clear that the author has done a lot of research about the location and what went on there during this period and this really brought the history to life.

Another reason that the book held my interest was that the focus was not primarily on the conflict, but on the relationship between Guy and Ivka and the war was the backdrop for that. Don’t get me wrong, the war is central to the story because their love story only unfolds the way it does because of the situation they find themselves in, but the focus on these intimate, personal experiences of war and how they affected the lives of those involved forever, changing the course of their futures, is what made it absorbing for me. The author has drawn beautiful, sympathetic characters in this book and their story was intensely moving and emotional. It would be a stunted heart that couldn’t feel the pain that war has caused these people by the end.

There are some quite disturbing events described in the book and the author does not shy away from telling the reader the truth about the horror of war, and not just the atrocities committed by the enemy. I was very shocked at one of the story threads running through the book, never having heard anything about such things happening before, and I think one of the best things about novels such as this is keeping the memories of these atrocities alive and trying to make sure they never happen again. Given the threats that women are still facing every single day across the world at the moment, even in supposedly progressive nations, these things are important. I am feeling especially sensitive to media around these topics at the moment, so I found reading this book quite painful and anger-inducing, but these are emotions that are necessary to overcome complacency and apathy and remind ourselves that we need to keep fighting against these things.

This sounds like the book might be a heavy read, but it really isn’t. The writing is engaging, the location setting vivid and immersive and the historical detail fascinating. If a book like this can engage and impress a war-phobic reader like me, fans of the genre are going to love it.

An Island of Secrets is out now in ebook and will be published in paperback on 26 May and you can buy a copy here.

Please do make sure you follow this magnificent tour:

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About the Author

An Island Of Secrets - Eva Glyn on her travels (1)

Eva Glyn writes escapist relationship-driven fiction with a kernel of truth at its heart. She loves to travel and finds inspiration in beautiful places and the stories they hide.

Her last holiday before lockdown was a trip to Croatia, and the country’s haunting histories and gorgeous scenery have proved fertile ground, driven by her friendship with a tour guide she met there. His wartime story provided the inspiration for The Olive Grove and his help in creating a realistic portrayal of Croatian life had proved invaluable. Her second novel set in the country, a dual timeline looking back to World War 2, will be published in the spring of 2022, also by One More Chapter.

Eva lives in Cornwall, although she considers herself Welsh, and has been lucky enough to have been married to the love of her life for twenty-five years. She also writes as Jane Cable.

Connect with Eva:

Facebook: Eva Glyn

Twitter: @JaneCable

Instagram: @janecable

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RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Suzanne Fortin

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Another fantastic author nominated in this year’s Romantic Novel Awards has agreed to chat to me on the blog tonight. Her novel, All That We Have Lost, was nominated in the Jackie Collins Award for Romantic Thrillers category and went on to win. It’s… Suzanne Fortin.

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Sue, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thank you so much for inviting me, it’s lovely to be here. Mine’s a Bacardi and coke – I’m such an 80s girl. 

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

Probably to my local village pub, sitting near the open fire and having a bar meal of some description. Not very rock n roll, I know.

Well, since in front of the fire in my local is one of my favourite places, I’m not going to argue with you! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Wow, what a question! Let’s see … I think I’d ask Rik Mayall, who I hope would be equally hilarious and outrageous as he always appeared. My other guest would be someone like Sophia Loren, although I’m not sure what she’d make of Rik! 

I loved Rik Mayall so much. I rewatched The New Statesman recently and it genius and also scarily realistic now! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

So, at the moment, I’m very much juggling different projects. I have two books, both historical dual-timelines, which are at different stages of the editing process and I’m expecting edits to come in from those any time now. I’ve got an idea for a new historical book which I’m running by my agent and editor and I’m also working on a short story for readers. I’m planning on using the short story as a giveaway for existing and new sign ups to my newsletter.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

The proudest moment was when one of my books went to Number 1 in the whole of the UK Amazon chart and Number 3 in the whole of the US Amazon chart. It was a bit overwhelming at the time but when I look back, I’m really proud of that achievement.  The biggest challenge has been then trying to keep everything in perspective with the books that followed and not to get hung up on whether the next book is as good, sells as many copies, gets as many reviews etc. 

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I used to have a list of things I wanted to achieve pinned by the side of my computer, but over the years, my goals have changed and I don’t have that list anymore. I used to want to be a Sunday Times Bestseller and, I guess, to a degree, that still remains a dream. However, I have different types of things I want to achieve and, at the moment, that is to have a good work/life balance. 

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

I have a new book coming out in July called Beyond A Broken Sky. I really enjoyed writing this one. I can’t wait to be able to share the story. It’s another historical dual-timeline where we meet Rhoda Sullivan who is restoring a stained-glass window of a church which has an unusual backstory and a mystery to be solved. The mystery dates back to wartime England and Italian POWs in Somerset.

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I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

My favourite place is France. We have a cottage in Southern Brittany and love to go over there as often as possible. It’s in a very rural and quiet location but not too far to travel for every day needs. We went to Australia a few years ago and I’d love to go back there and explore different parts of the country.

I’d love to go to Australia but I think I might have to wait until the kids leave home now and go for six weeks to see it all, maybe tag New Zealand on too. I think I may only persuade my OH to fly that far once! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

Oh, what to say … erm … I can tap dance. I haven’t tapped for a long time but I learnt as an adult and loved every minute of it. I would like to go back to it one day.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

I feel this is an impossible question to answer! I read Omerta by Mario Puzo years ago and loved it but equally I thoroughly enjoyed Plan B by Emily Barr. Sorry, that’s two which is cheating.

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The perfect couple. The perfect French farmhouse. Plan A is the perfect life. But then there’s Plan B…

Emma adores living in Brighton, but she loves Matt more. When he suggests they buy the perfect farmhouse in the South of France, she reluctantly agrees, even though he continues commuting to London while she looks after their daughter and the builders. But France is not the idyll he promised, and when she discovers the true reason he spends half his time in London the foundations on which she’s built her life start to crumble…

That Emily Barr book sounds so good. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

I am the world’s worst drinker. I only have two glasses of alcohol as I can’t handle any more, it just makes me go to sleep. My cure to any kind of hangover is definitely sleep.

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Going for a long walk in the countryside or along the beach. I live on the south coast of England, so I’m lucky to have both things very close by. There would also have to be a Sunday roast involved and a few hours reading.

Thank you for a lovely chat over a drink – a perfect way to spend the evening.

Thank you Sue, it’s been an absolute joy to chat to you this evening.

Suzanne’s RONA Award-winning novel, All That We Have Lost, is out now in all formats and you can buy your copy here.

All That We Have Lost

Papa always told us that to be brave doesn’t mean you have no fear.
It just means you can move forwards in spite of that fear.

2019. When Imogen Wren‘s husband dies, she must realise their dream of moving to France on her own. She finds a beautiful abandoned chateau and starts to rebuild her life among its ruins. But she soon notices that the locals won’t come near. A dark web of secrets surrounds the house, and it all seems to centre on the war…

1944. Since the moment German troops stepped foot in her village, the sole aim of Simone Varon‘s life has been to avoid them. Until one soldier begins leaving medicine bottles for her sick brother, and she gets to know the man behind the uniform. Then the Resistance comes calling, and she must choose between love and duty – with devastating consequences that will echo through the decades.

As Imogen restores the chateau, she’s determined to uncover the truth – and set to rest the ghosts of the past.

Suzanne Fortin writes historical fiction, predominantly dual timeline and set in France. Her books feature courageous women in extraordinary circumstances with love and family at the heart of all the stories.

Suzanne also writes mystery and suspense as Sue Fortin where she is a USA Today bestseller and Amazon UK #1 and Amazon US #3 bestseller. She has sold over a million copies of her books and been translated into multiple languages.

Connect with Sue:

Website: https://suefortin.com

Facebook: Sue Fortin Author

Twitter: @suefortin1

Instagram: @suefortinauthor

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RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Liz Fenwick

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Tonight’s blog guest in my ongoing celebration of the 2022 Romantic Novel Awards is the queen of the  contemporary Cornish novel and winner of this year’s Popular Romantic Fiction Award for her book, The River Between Us. It’s… Liz Fenwick.

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Hello, lovely Liz! Thank you so much for agreeing to chat to me this evening and massive congratulations on winning the award this year for Popular Romantic Fiction. First things first, what are you drinking?

I’m drinking a G&T made with Tarquin’s Cornish Gin!

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out? 

I’m researching my next book…so it would have to the American Bar at the Savoy.

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If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

The first would be Maeve Binchy as I love her work and the second would be Tom Hiddleston so I could just listen to him speak!!

You are a woman after my own heart. Maeve Binchy is one of my favourite authors and I spend WAY too much time watching TikToks of Tom Hiddleston dancing! So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m editing my next book, The Impossible Shore, which is out in October. It’s about the secret flotillas that operated out of the Helford River during WW2. I’ve always known that this happened but it has been wonderful to dig deep into the research and to write a fully historical novel.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Up until winning the Romantic Novelists’ Association Popular Romantic Fiction Award (still pinching myself- such an honour to be chosen by blogger, librarians and booksellers) it was being short listed for the Winston Graham historical fiction award for The Returning Tide.

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Two sisters and one betrayal that will carry across generations . . .

In wartime Cornwall, 1943, a story between two sisters begins – the story of Adele and Amelia, and the heart-breaking betrayal that will divide them forever. Decades later, the efforts of one reckless act still echo – but how long will it be until their past returns?

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I’d love to make it onto the Sunday Times best seller list!

What have you planned that you are really excited about?

For my sixtieth birthday next year we have booked a night on the Orient Express! It’s wildly expensive but it is something I have longed to do. I’m already working on what to wear!!

I’m so jealous! I used to be a travel consultant and this has always been one of my dream trips. I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

When I lived in Dubai we took a family holiday to Jordan and saw Petra and the Dead Sea. It was a wonderful trip. On my bucket list is Prague and Granada and hopefully I’ll make it there soon!

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I was once a runner up in the Rose of Tralee contest held just outside Boston, MA.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

Have you read This is How We Are Human by Louise Beech? I loved this book…not always and easy read but it made me a better human.

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Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.

Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy … she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.

Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.

When these three lives collide – intertwine in unexpected ways – everything changes. For everyone.

This is languishing on my TBR, I must get to it soon as I love Louise’s writing. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Failsafe…be the designated driver!! If I’m hung over…Berroca, a good breakfast plus two paracetamol!

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Reading and long walks!

Thanks for joining me this evening, Liz, it has been a huge pleasure and congratulations again on your win.

Liz’s RONA award-winning novel, The River Between Us, is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.

Liz Fenwick, Popular Romantic Fiction, Romantic Novel Awards 2022, The River Between Us BOOK COVER

A forgotten house and a secret hidden for a century…

Following the breakdown of her marriage, Theo has bought a tumbledown cottage on the banks of the river Tamar which divides Cornwall and Devon. The peace and tranquillity of Boatman’s Cottage, nestled by the water, is just what she needs to heal.

Yet soon after her arrival, Theo discovers a stash of hidden letters tied with a ribbon, untouched for more than a century. The letters – sent from the battlefields of France during WW1 – tell of a young servant from the nearby manor house, Abbotswood, and his love for a woman he was destined to lose.

As she begins to bring Boatman’s Cottage and its gardens back to life, Theo pieces together a story of star-crossed lovers played out against the river, while finding her own new path to happiness.

Novelist, wife, mother of three, slave to two cats and dreamer-turned-doer, Liz Fenwick is an award-winning author of eight novels that have been published in fourteen languages, and has been dubbed ‘The Queen of the Contemporary Cornish Novel,’ by the Guardian. She was born in Massachusetts but is now based in Cornwall, where she spends her days writing, looking at the view from her study and plot walking – if not found procrastinating on Twitter.

Website: http://lizfenwick.com/

Facebook: Liz Fenwick Author

Twitter: @liz_fenwick

Instagram: @liz_fenwick

TikTok: lizfenwickauthor

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Book Review: The Hawk Legacy by Andrew Langley

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All families have secrets… but Jax’s family may hold the clues to a lost fortune.

Disabled veteran Jack ‘Jax’ Brett is a broken man after leaving the army. A clue left by his late grandfather gives him new purpose – uncovering long-lost family links to an ancestor who fought in the Jacobite Rising of 1745 and whose experience of war was similar to his own. Digging deeper into his family’s military past reveals a trail to a stolen gold hoard. Somewhere around a remote Scottish loch, a fortune in Jacobite gold waits for Jax to find it.

Jax embarks on a journey that takes him from the glens of the Highlands to the glittering shores of the Caribbean. In recovering ancient gold, he might fulfil his family’s legacy. But Jax is not alone. Others are hunting for the treasure… and danger lurks in the shadows.

Inspired by true events and based on years of research, The Hawk Legacy is a gripping adventure that brings to life Scotland’s turbulent history.

I am very grateful to the author for his request that I review this book, and for providing me with a copy for this purpose. I have reviewed the book honestly and impartially as usual.

This book is not a genre I read very often. I’m not even sure what to call it – historical action adventure? A dash of romance thrown in? Anyway, I always like to pick up books that force me out of my reading comfort zone, it is one of the great joys of book blogging, and this was another of those occasions when I was glad I’d been pushed towards a book I would never have normally come across.

This is a dual timeline novel, partly set in the present day where Jax Brett is recovering from injury and his traumatic experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan. In the past, we are drawn to the Scottish Highlands at the height of the Jacobite Rebellion, a period of history that has fascinated me since my parents dragged me all over Scotland as a child. It is a place where the history seeps from every mountain, every stone and in to your very bones and you can’t help but want to know more. I can completely understand why the author was drawn to writing about this period of history.

The book was a little slow to get going for me, and didn’t draw me in immediately. It took me a while to feel a connection to Jax and be invested in his story. Some of this could be because I am so used to read historical/dual timeline fiction written by women and from a female perspective. This book definitely has a different feel, focusing on the male perspective, and I guess it is a little harder for me to put myself in the protagonist’s shoes. However, once he reached Scotland and started investigating his family history, the book came alive and I was fully invested in the story.

You can tell that this is where Andrew’s passion in the story lies. His love of Scotland, and interest in the history of the Jacobite era and the Highland Clearances that followed is palpable. It beats on the page like a pulse, the past becomes even more vivid than the present and the suffering of these people is so real, he, and as a result we, are going through it with them. As someone who has visited the battlefield at Culloden and has heard the screams echoing down through the centuries and across that desolate place, I got the same feeling reading the historical sections of this book, the writing is so powerful.

Even though I have read a lot of Scottish history, there were still many things I learnt from reading this novel and it made me curious to learn more about some aspects, particularly the transportation of Scottish rebels as slaves to the New World. It is clear that Andrew has done a huge amount of research for this novel, but he uses it carefully to inform his writing, not drag it down, it is really well balanced.

This is an entertaining, informative and moving story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Different to what I would usually pick up, with a markedly masculine spin, it still has enough of everything to appeal to almost everyone, but particularly to anyone interested in this period of Scottish history. I can highly recommend it to history buffs looking for something a little bit different.

The Hawk Legacy is out now in both Kindle and ebook formats, and is included with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. You can get your copy here.

About the Author

Andrew Langley author headshot

After graduating with honours in physics and astrophysics, Andrew Langley was destined to work in industry. But life had other plans. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, Andrew reinvented his career as his health deteriorated. With a determination to enjoy each change in direction, he’s been a gambling consultant, TV producer, wildlife photographer and professional magician. These varied experiences have taken Andrew from locations as diverse as the casinos of Las Vegas to the remote wilderness of the Arctic Circle. Andrew now creates his new adventures on paper. The Hawk Legacy is his fourth novel. He is a member of The Magic Circle, National Union of Journalists and Equity.

Connect with Andrew:

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

Facebook: The Hawk Legacy

Twitter: @mirroronthesoul

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Friday Night Drinks with… Andrew Langley

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Taking a break from my celebration of all things romance to chat to an author local to me who has joined me for my regular Friday Night Drinks slot. Please welcome to the blog, Doncaster writer… Andrew Langley.

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Andrew, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

It’s great to be here Julie, and thanks for having me. As the son of a Scottish father, I am having a wee dram of my favourite Scotch whisky. Back in the day, when I was teething as a baby, my parents would dip my dummy in whisky to ease the pain. So, you could say, I developed a taste to the strong stuff from a young age! I don’t think this would be the chosen cure for teething in the modern era, but it worked for me.

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

In real life, we’d be heading to a Chinese restaurant for a slap up meal and wine. Our family treat when I was growing up was a Chinese takeaway every Saturday night. It seemed such a luxury thing at the time, and the distinctive flavours always remind me of my early years in the North East.

I wonder if we favour the same Doncaster Chinese restaurant! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

I’m a huge David Bowie fan, and have followed him since the early seventies – he would be my first pick. Over the years, I’ve seen him in concert many times, and I have fond memories of each performance. He was such a creative guy, who seemed to live life on his own terms, and I’d love to get a chance to chat with him.

I’d also invite Diana Gabaldon, the author of the global phenomena that is the Outlander series. I love her approach to writing about Scotland and Scottish history, and she was a major inspiration behind my latest novel The Hawk Legacy. I wanted to capture how she’d brought the Jacobite era to life, and it would be great to swap ideas about writing historical fiction.

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

My career has been a reflection of my health. Around the time I turned thirty, I went blind in my left eye. The vision gradually returned, but years later, I was formally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The ongoing deterioration in my mobility meant I had to quit my current day job as a photojournalist and wildlife cameraman. I simply couldn’t carry the kit, or hold it steady any more. As I’d written for newspapers, magazines and contributed to a couple of non-fiction books as a photojournalist, I thought I’d have a go at writing full length fiction. It’s a sedentary job and I can fit the hours around whatever my health is doing on a particular day.

My first attempts were a series of three thrillers set in Whitby, the North York Moors, and Scotland all featuring the same characters. Then I thought I’d have a go at a historical thriller/adventure exploring my favourite historical period – the Jacobite Revolution in Scotland. Hence, the idea for The Hawk Legacy was born, and I based the story on real events from the period. I’d known since my teens of the mystery of a missing gold hoard buried in the Highlands by the Jacobites after the Battle of Culloden, and I thought it would be a great background for a story. A treasure quest over three centuries – surely it could be a good tale to tell. The finished novel was picked up by Vanguard Press and published in January this year.

I’ve outlined a potential sequel to this, and I’m also working on two other novels at the moment. One is a coming of age tale for the over fifties, and the other is a crime story set in the North East.

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing/blogging and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment was holding the finished version of my first novel in hand, and then doing a book signing at the local Waterstones. The staff and everyone who showed up were so nice to me, it was a real privilege to be there.

The biggest challenge I face, along with most authors at the start of their career, is getting your book noticed. Thousands of books are published a month and bookshops only have limited shelf space. Why should they stock yours over a famous name who is on their fifth bestseller? A reader needs to trust that they will be entertained after they’ve handed over their hard earned cash for a book. It is human nature to go for an author you’ve read before, rather than a relatively unknown one. I hope, as my publishing catalogue grows, readers will enjoy my stories and keep coming back for more.

What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I think every author wants to see their books gracing the bestseller lists, but only a small handful get there. For me, I’d love to see my stories on television or film. As my background is in media and TV, it would be like my career has come full circle.

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

I love writing. Creating new worlds, and inventing interesting characters that drive the story. What really excites me is the stage in a novel when the characters you’ve made up start talking to you. No, I haven’t gone mad, this genuinely happens to me every time. I’ll be writing a scene, and a character voice will pop up in my head saying, “I wouldn’t do that,” or “You’ve got that wrong.” Even though I plot all the twists and turns in my novel right at the beginning, a developing character can throw in a curve ball at the last moment. It’s wonderful, and has changed the plotted ending of a couple of my stories already.

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

My favourite place is the Scottish Highlands. The mystery of the landscape, the history – everything really. Weirdly, I feel at peace and at home there. In the future, I’d like to travel to Iceland and see more of Scandinavia. I’ve been lucky enough to work in the Arctic Circle, and it was fantastic (but very, very, cold).

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I’ve had a couple of jobs photographing members of the royal family. After appropriate vetting before the event, I was then summoned for a detailed brief by the people who look after security on the day. This still didn’t stop two non-uniformed officers sandwiching me and my camera gear and escorting me to the side whilst I was attempting to take photographs. They appeared from nowhere, like ninjas in a smart suit with a suspicious bulge under the jacket where their firearms were hidden. After a brief moment of terror and a short interview, they let me go. But the experience left me in awe of the royal protection professionals who have the capability of blending into the background unseen.

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

This is a controversial choice, but the book that got me hooked on thrillers as a teenager was Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. The morals are outdated by modern standards, but the pace of the writing and the exotic locations really fired my imagination. From the opening line, the reader is drawn into a seedy world of danger and intrigue. More up-to-date, I’d say anything by Lee Child. He is another writer who really captures the imagination, and I love the Jack Reacher series.

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Le Chiffre is a businessman with expensive tastes, and SMERSH’s chief operative in France. But as his dissolute lifestyle threatens to ruin him, his only hope is to risk his paymasters’ money at the card table.

James Bond, the finest gambler in the service, has a deadly new mission: to outplay Le Chiffre and shatter his Soviet cell.

Amidst the opulence of Casino Royale, the two men face each other for a game with the highest stakes of all.

So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

Try not to mix drinks, and down at least a pint of water before heading to bed. If this fails, arm yourself with a greasy fry-up for breakfast, followed by your painkiller of choice. And by painkiller, I don’t mean another alcoholic drink …

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

It’s the time of the evening to kick off the shoes, light a fire and read by the soft illumination of a flickering flame. Then another final dram, before heading for a beautiful sleep. Thanks for having me, it’s been wonderful to spend this time with you. 

Thanks for joining me this evening, Andrew, it’s been lovely chatting to you.

Andrew’s latest novel, The Hawk Legacy, is available now in both ebook and paperback formats and you can buy a copy here. The Hawk Legacy is available as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription. 

The Hawk Legacy by Andrew Langley

Two soldiers. Three centuries apart. One buried treasure.

All families have secrets, but Jax’s clan ancestors may hold the clues to a lost Jacobite fortune.

Join an epic treasure quest spanning three centuries and two very different version of Scotland, in a story of murder, rebellion, love and family loyalty.

After graduating with honours in physics and astrophysics, Andrew Langley was destined to work in industry. But life had other plans. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, Andrew reinvented his career as his health deteriorated. With a determination to enjoy each change in direction, he’s been a gambling consultant, TV producer, wildlife photographer and professional magician. These varied experiences have taken Andrew from locations as diverse as the casinos of Las Vegas to the remote wilderness of the Arctic Circle. Andrew now creates his new adventures on paper. The Hawk Legacy is his fourth novel. He is a member of The Magic Circle, National Union of Journalists and Equity.

Connect with Andrew:

Website: www.andrewlangley.co.uk

Facebook: The Hawk Legacy

Twitter: @mirroronthesoul

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Blog Tour: The Forgotten Maid by Jane Cable

The Forgotten Maid

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for the latest book by one of my favourite RNA authors, Jane Cable. The book is The Forgotten Maid, a dual timeline novel set in picturesque Cornwall. 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 digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

The Forgotten Maid final cover

Two centuries apart, two lonely women seek a place to call home…

Cornwall, England, 2015

Nomadic project manager Anna Pritchard has arrived in the village of Porthnevek to oversee the construction of a trendy new glamping site. But with many members of the local community strongly opposed to the development, she quickly finds herself ostracised and isolated.

Seeking to ease her loneliness, Anna begins volunteering at a nearby National Trust house in Trelissick, once owned by the aristocratic Daniell family. In her new role, Anna soon feels her attachment to both Porthnevek and Trelissick deepening. And as she spends more and more time steeped in local history, it seems that the past and the present are beginning to collide…

Belgium, 1815

After losing her brother in the Battle of Waterloo, French army seamstress Thérèse Ruguel is taken to London by war artist Thomas Chalmers, becoming his reluctant muse. But with Thomas’s mother unhappy with the arrangement, Thérèse is soon sent to Cornwall as a lady’s maid to Elizabeth Daniell, a kindly relative of the Chalmers family.

Able to speak only a little English — and with the other servants suspicious of her — Thérèse feels lost and alienated. And when she discovers her brother may still be alive, she must decide whether to continue with her new life in England, or brave the dangerous journey back to her homeland…

What became of Thérèse? Can Anna unearth the ghosts of the past?

And has Anna finally found where she belongs…?

This book promises everything I love in a book. Gorgeous Cornish setting? Check. Dual timeline? Check. Exploring a fascinating period of history? Check. I went into it full of anticipation and I can tell you, the book fulfilled its promise in every respect.

The main protagonist is Anna, a rootless young woman who moves from project site to project site around the country with nowhere to call home and some unspecified trouble in her recent past that she can’t quite shake. When she arrives in Porthnevek, she is drawn to the wild beauty of the place, as well as its rich history, but is shocked at the hostility of the locals. She manages to carve out a little community for herself nevertheless, but becomes intrigued by one historical figure in particular.

Back in the Regency period, another young woman is feeling displaced, this time by war and loss, and is equally foreign and friendless in Cornwall. However, she has a saviour in her kind mistress and begins to settle into a new life, until her past also comes back to haunt her.

The parallels in the lives of Anna and Therese are subtly drawn but compelling, and I was equally entranced by the lives of these very different but connected women, separated by two hundred years of history. I had never really given any thought to what might happen to women affected by war in the 1800s, so Therese’s plight but an interesting and fresh spin on the Regency aspect of the story. We still get to read about all of the fabulous balls and social events that form the backbone of Regency novels, but the focus here in more on what happens below stairs and behind closed doors for women who have even fewer options than the monied classes. It is a sobering lesson in how far feminism has come in 200 years.

The detail of the effects of industrialisation on Cornwall, and the vast differences in benefits for the owners and the workers was also woven into the story beautifully and was enlightening. I personally love a book that I feel is teaching me something I didn’t know whilst I am reading it, and Jane has clearly done a lot of research for this book so it feels historically accurate. At the same time, you are not bombarded with historical fact, the balance the author has achieved is perfect.

This is also true in the division of the story between Anna and Therese. I liked the fact that the story switched between the timeline in chunks, rather than chapter to chapter. It allows the reader to develop and maintain a connection to each woman, rather than flitting between the two constantly, which can sometimes interrupt the establishment of relationship between the reader and the characters. I really felt immersed in each story and time period when I was reading those chapters. This was a book in which I did feel like I completely lost myself, and the read flew by very quickly, always the sign that I am engrossed in the tale the author is telling.

If I had any minor complaints they would be, firstly, that Anna is way too fickle with her affections, despite the fact that Jane was trying to persuade us she was exercising caution, and I wasn’t 100% buying it, particularly the first time. Also, I felt the storyline involving her family was not really committed to fully and should either have been developed more fully, or omitted altogether. These are me looking for things to criticise though, they did not detract in any meaningful way from my enjoyment of this book.

If you enjoy a dual timeline novel, and would be interested in a novel exploring the Regency period with a different spin, this is the book for you. It whisked me away and kept me entertained throughout, and I was left very satisfied with the whole reading experience. That’s a pretty good investment of 99p, if you ask me,

The Forgotten Maid is a beautiful time-shift romance set in Cornwall between the Regency era and the modern day. It is the first book in the Cornish Echoes Dual Timeline Mystery series and for a limited time is only 99p. You can buy a copy here.

Make sure you check out the rest of the tour:

The Forgotten Maid Full Tour Banner

About the Author

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Jane Cable writes romance with a twist for Sapere Books, and The Forgotten Maid her first novel set in her adopted county of Cornwall. She is lucky enough to have been married to the love of her life for more than twenty-five years, and loves spending time outdoors, preferably close to the sea on the wild and rugged north Cornwall coast.

She also writes emotional women’s fiction as Eva Glyn, published by One More Chapter.

Connect with Jane:

Website: http://janecable.com

Facebook: Jane Cable

Twitter: @JaneCable

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