Tempted by….Random Things Through My Letterbox: Bitter by Francesca Jakobi @fjakobi @wmbooks @annecater #bookbloggers #bloggerlove #readingrecommendations #booklove #Bitter

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“It’s 1969, and while the summer of love lingers in London, Gilda is consumed by the mistakes of her past. She walked out on her beloved son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he’ll never forgive her.

When Reuben marries a petite blonde gentile, Gilda takes it as the ultimate rejection. Her cold, distant son seems transformed by love – a love she’s craved his entire adult life. What does his new wife have that she doesn’t? And how far will she go to find out? It’s an obsession that will bring shocking truths about the past to light . . .

Bitter is a beautiful and devastating novel about the decisions that define our lives, the fragility of love and the bond between mother and son.”

Today’s book which has made its way on to my teetering TBR courtesy of a recommendation by a fellow book blogger is Bitter by Francesca Jakobi which I bought after reading this review by Anne Cater who blogs at Random Things Through My Letterbox.

Anne needs no introduction to most of you, she is the doyenne of book blogging, a highly respected blog tour organiser and general all-round head cheerleader for book promotion. I would find it hard to believe that there is anyone reading this who hasn’t read Anne’s blog but, if not, head over there straight away and check it out. Her reviews are always honest and well-balanced and insightful so, when she raves about a book as much as she did this one, I know it is something I need to read.

The premise of the book really grabbed me, a woman who walks out on her young child. As a mother, I can never understand how any woman could do this, so I’ll be fascinated to see what the protagonist’s motivations are and how their reunion pans out. I’m really drawn to books with flawed central characters, as most of us are in real life, and how the writer manages to make a reader care about someone who has done something deemed by society as so unnatural. Anne waxed so lyrical about the depth, subtlety and beauty of this book that it sounds like a compelling read and I’m looking forward to getting in to it.

Please do go and check out Anne’s original review of the book and if you then feel like it might be something you would enjoy, you can buy a copy here.

The Promise of Tomorrow by AnneMarie Brear #BlogTour #Spotlight (@annemariebrear) @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #ThePromiseOfTomorrow

The Promise of Tomorrow

Due to reading pressures and the start of NaNoWriMo, this is another book that I haven’t had chance to read yet, but I wanted to shine a spotlight on it today as it sounds like a great read for lovers of historical fiction. I have had the good fortune to meet AnneMarie, as she is a fellow member of the RNA, and I am delighted to be sharing details of her latest book with you.

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“Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads. 
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs. 
However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe. Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists. 
Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.

 
Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?”

If you would like to read some reviews of the book, to further whet your appetite, make sure you check out the posts of the other bloggers on the tour detailed on the poster below. And if you would like to get your hands on the book, you can buy a copy here.

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About the Author

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Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are travelling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.

Connect with AnneMarie:

Website: http://www.annemariebrear.com

Facebook: AnneMarie Brear

Twitter: @annemariebrear

Blog: https://annemariebrear.blogspot.com

Finding Rose by Julie Ryan #BlogTour #Spotlight (@julieryan18) @RaRaResources #Giveaway #RachelsRandomResources #FindingRose

Finding Rose

I’m delighted to be shining the spotlight today on this very unique book, Finding Rose by Julie Ryan. Unfortunately, time constraints have meant that I have not been able to fit in reading this yet, but it has been firmly added to my TBR and I’m looking forward to getting to it soon. Let me share the details with you so you can see why it has piqued my interest. There is also a great giveaway below.

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“When three sisters, Ginny, Sally and Molly are brought together at their father’s hospital bed, they are forced to confront not only the prospect of a future without him but also the secrets of the past that have kept them apart.

Their father, Eddie Matthews, drugged up on morphine, seems to be rambling but could he in fact be reliving previous lives as a Tudor monk and as a soldier on the Front in WW1. Struggling to speak he reveals that he has a secret and urges his daughters to ‘Find Rose’. Can the sisters put aside their differences to fulfil his last wish?”

To read some fabulous reviews by my fellow bloggers, check out the tour dates on the poster below:

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If you would like to pick up a copy of Finding Rose for yourself, you can find it here.

Giveaway

To win a £10 Amazon Voucher, simply click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link 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.

About the Author

Julie was born and brought up in a mining village near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. She graduated with a BA (hons) in French Language and Literature from Hull University. Since then she has lived and worked as a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language in France, Greece, Poland and Thailand. She now lives in rural Gloucestershire with her husband, son and a rescue cat. She is so passionate about books that her collection is now threatening to outgrow her house, much to her husband’s annoyance, as she can’t bear to get rid of any! They have been attempting to renovate their home for the last ten years.

She is the author of the Greek Island Mystery series, Jenna’s Journey, Sophia’s Secret and Pandora’s Prophecy, each of which can be read as a standalone. Her latest book, Finding Rose, is a new departure for her as it is set against the backdrop of WW1 and has a strong link to the Tudor Court.

Connect with Julie:

Facebook: Julie Ryan Author

Twitter: @julieryan18

Pinterest: Julie Ryan

Goodreads: Julie Ryan

Bone Lines by Stephanie Bretherton #BookReview #BlogTour #PublicationDay (@BrethertonWords) @Unbounders @annecater #BoneLines #RandomThingsTours

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“A young woman walks alone through a barren landscape in a time before history, a time of cataclysmic natural change. She is cold, hungry and with child but not without hope or resources. A skilful hunter, she draws on her intuitive understanding of how to stay alive… and knows that she must survive.

In present-day London, geneticist Dr Eloise Kluft wrestles with an ancient conundrum as she unravels the secrets of a momentous archaeological find. She is working at the forefront of contemporary science but is caught in the lonely time-lock of her own emotional past.

Bone Lines is the story of two women, separated by millennia yet bound by the web of life.  A tale of love and survival – of courage and the quest for wisdom – it explores the nature of our species and asks what lies at the heart of being human.

Although partly set during a crucial era of human history 74,000 years ago, Bones Lines is very much a book for our times. Dealing with themes from genetics, climate change and migration to the yearning for meaning and the clash between faith and reason, it also paints an intimate portrait of who we are as a species. The book tackles some of the big questions but requires no special knowledge of any of the subjects to enjoy.

Alternating between ancient and modern timelines, the story unfolds through the experiences of two unique characters:  One is a shaman, the sole surviving adult of her tribe who is braving a hazardous journey of migration, the other a dedicated scientist living a comfortable if troubled existence in London, who is on her own mission of discovery. 

The two are connected not only by a set of archaic remains but by a sense of destiny – and their desire to shape it. Both are pioneers, women of passion, grit and determination, although their day to day lives could not be more different. One lives moment by moment, drawing on every scrap of courage and ingenuity to keep herself and her infant daughter alive, while the other is absorbed by work, imagination and regret. Each is isolated and facing her own mortal dangers and heart-rending decisions, but each is inspired by the power of the life force and driven by love.”

Today I’m very excited to be on the blog tour for this very different book. I love the way that the books Unbound are producing via their unique publishing model are pushing the boundaries of what is available for us to read and this book is no exception. My thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for my place on the tour and the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. And a happy Publication Day to Stephanie Bretherton for her debut novel, I hope you have the day you always dreamed you would when your first book was published.

This book is a fascinating study of science, philosophy, religion, gender, morality, history, all bound up in the fascinating story of two women living 74,000 years apart. It is the story of Eloise, a scientist in the present day who is presented with the bones of a prehistoric woman to study, and of ‘Sarah’ that prehistoric woman, battling for survival and to protect her child in an extreme environment. As Eloise studies the skeleton and tries to learn all she can about the woman they belonged to, she is also finding out about herself, and about all of us and how we got to where we are now, what we have found and what we may have lost along the way.

This book presents the reader with so much to think about, so much to contemplate and leaves them with more questions than it does answers, which is a marvellous gift for us to be given. Eloise is a thoroughly modern woman, dealing with dilemmas facing many professional women in the modern day, especially in traditionally male-dominated sectors. She is confronted with the decisions and sacrifices she has made to get where she is, whether they have been worth it and what her contribution as a person and as a woman means for her. She is tussling with so many conflicts – personal, philosophical, moral, religious – some of these she attempts to work out by writing letters to Darwin which could seem a bit gimmicky when described so baldly but actually it worked really well within the context of the book to help set out and work through some of the issues Eloise is faced with.

Alongside Eloise’s story in the present day, we are alternately following the story of Sarah, battling with a hostile climate 74,000 years ago. For me, her story was perhaps the more compelling part of the book as we contemplate what she had to go through to survive back then and what was driving her to do the things she did. Some of them are things that have been lost to us in the modern day, buried under the external support we now have in our every day lives, that innate instinct to survive, listening to our gift as it tells us what we need to do to survive. Sarah relies heavily on something within herself telling her what to do, and it is this inbred, internal voice that compels her to leave her tribe and head away to where she believes at the very core of herself she will be safe. Is this something genetic? Is is something that has carried down through the generations by those who listened to it and as a result, survived to pass on their genes down the generations to the modern day? Is this something we could all still tap in to if we let ourselves and stop over-thinking everything? This is something I have contemplated  myself previously and this book has just given me even more food for thought. Some of the things are motives that still drive us today – self-preservation, bloody mindedness, the desire to protect our offspring and, therefore, our genetic legacy, and … love. There are perhaps more parallels between Eloise and Sarah than there are differences.

This book requires focus, attention and thought to get the most from it but it is one that is really worth the effort. It is not dry and dull, despite the complex issues addressed, but a really fascinating treatise on our origins and the  evolution of our species from then to now, how we got here, what our ancestors needed to do to survive, what they passed down to us, and the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of that history and what people are doing to explain it, to get to the truth of where we come from and how those origins have influenced who we have become. A very ambitious and intelligent book, meticulously researched, that the writer has pulled off beautifully and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Bone Lines is published today and you can get your copy by following this link.

To follow the rest of the blog tour, check out the fabulous blogs listed below:

Bone Lines Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

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Who do you think you are? A daunting question for the debut author… but also one to inspire a genre-fluid novel based on the writer’s fascination for what makes humanity tick. Born in Hong Kong to expats from Liverpool (and something of a nomad ever since) Stephanie is now based in London, but manages her sanity by escaping to any kind of coast

Before returning to her first love of creative writing, Stephanie spent much of her youth pursuing alternative forms of storytelling, from stage to screen and media to marketing. For the past fifteen years Stephanie has run her own communications and copywriting company specialised in design, architecture and building. In the meantime an enduring love affair with words and the world of fiction has led her down many a wormhole on the written page, even if the day job confined such adventures to the weekends.

Drawn to what connects rather than separates, Stephanie is intrigued by the spaces between absolutes and opposites, between science and spirituality, nature and culture. This lifelong curiosity has been channelled most recently into her debut novel, Bone Lines. When not bothering Siri with note-taking for her next books and short stories, Stephanie can be found pottering about with poetry, or working out what worries/amuses her most in an opinion piece or an unwise social media post. Although, if she had more sense or opportunity she would be beachcombing, sailing, meditating or making a well-disguised cameo in the screen version of one of her stories. (Wishful thinking sometimes has its rewards?)

Connect with Stephanie:

Website: http://stephaniebretherton.com

Facebook: Stephanie Bretherton

Twitter: @BrethertonWords

Instagram: @brethertonwords2

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Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott #BookReview #BlogTour (@nikola_scott) @headlinepg @annecater #SummerOfSecrets #RandomThingsTours

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I am so delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott. I have been longing to share my thoughts on this book for a while and today is the day, so pull up a chair and get comfy so we can begin. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on to the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly.

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“August 1939

At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives…

Today

Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything…”

Before we launch in to the review of the book, let’s just take a moment to admire this stunning cover, shall we? It’s so striking and enticing, who wouldn’t want to pick up this book and dive in? Full marks to the cover designer for doing a fabulous job. I have an ARC copy with a plain blue cover but I think I am going to have to replace it with a published copy so this beautiful design can grace my shelves.

This is a dual timeline narrative, set partly in 1939 just before the outbreak of the Second World War and in the present day.

In 1939, Maddie feel cocooned in the isolated estate at Summerhill, spending her days sketching and waiting for her sister Georgina to return from a trip to Europe. But when Georgina does come back, she brings with her a group of friends who disrupt the status quo at Summerhill and Maddie’s peace of mind. She is also haunted by past events and secrets that eventually have to come out.

In the present day, Chloe has the perfect life which is just about to be rounded off when she finds out she is pregnant. But all is not what it seems to the outside world and Chloe begins to realise that her relationship is not perfect and she is in danger of losing herself. Circumstances conspire to bring these two women together to form a friendship which reveals parallels between their lives that help them both.

I really loved this book. I am a sucker for a dual timeline narrative and this one is done beautifully. The stories weave together seamlessly and are so cleverly aligned it is a joy to read. I was equally entranced by both timelines so there was no sense of rushing through one chapter to get back to the other timeline. I loved the way they came together and the friendship that grew between the two women in the modern day was lovely. In fact, all the relationships in this book were wonderfully drawn and really captivating, the author has a real skill for this.

The book has a leisurely pace which allowed me to really become engrossed and revel in the wonderful descriptions and all the small details that brought the time periods and settings to life but at the same time there was enough going on and plenty of clues, and small revelations to keep the pages turning to the end of the book. This is a novel that it was truly and enjoyable experience to read. It was a real treat and I immersed myself in the experience totally.

Definitely a book I would highly recommend to fans of this type of novel and one I personally will return to in the future.

Summer of Secrets is hot off the press and you can buy a copy here.

To follow the rest of the blog tour for the book, make sure you check out the blogs listed below:

Summer of Secrets Blog Tour Poster

About the Author

Nikola Scott Author pic

Nikola Scott was born and raised in Germany and studied at university there. Having been obsessed with books from a young age, Nikola moved to New York City after her Master’s degree to begin her first job in book publishing, a career in which she could fully indulge her love of fiction!

She spent ten years working in publishing in New York and then in London, editing other people’s books, before she decided to take the leap into becoming a full-time writer herself.

She now lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two sons.

MY MOTHER’S SHADOW was published in 2017 to wonderful reviews. Her new novel SUMMER OF SECRETS is coming in September 2018.

Connect with Nikola:

Website: https://nikolascott.com

Facebook: Nikola Scott Author

Twitter: @nikola_scott

Instagram: @nikolascottauthor

Goodreads: Nikola Scott

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The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod #BookReview #BlogTour (@MacLeodMhairead) @ThunderPointLtd @LoveBooksGroup #TheFalseMen #LoveBooksGroupTours

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“North Uist, Outer Hebrides, 1848

Jess MacKay has led a privileged life as the daughter of a local landowner, sheltered from the harsher aspects of life. Courted by the eligible Patrick Cooper, the Laird’s new commissioner, Jess’s future is mapped out, until Lachlan Macdonald arrives on North Uist, amid rumours of forced evictions on islands just to the south.

As the uncompromising brutality of the Clearances reaches the islands, and Jess sees her friends ripped from their homes, she must decide where her heart, and her loyalties, truly lie.

Set against the evocative backdrop of the Hebrides and inspired by a true story, The False Men is a compelling tale of love in a turbulent past that resonates with the upheavals of the modern world.”

Delighted to be taking part today in the blog tour for The False Men by Mhairead MacLeod. My thanks to Kelly Lacey at Love Books Group Tours for my place of the tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

I spent most of my holidays as a child in Scotland and it has left me with an abiding love of the country and a fascination with its history, which is colourful and brutal, so I was very excited to read this book which is set against the backdrop of probably the most shameful part of Scottish history, the Highland Clearances. If anyone is not familiar with the atrocities committed against the farmers and crofters of the Highlands and Islands at this time, this book will give you a compelling insight into what went on.

The heroine of the book is Jess, the privileged daughter of the factor on North Uist, an island of the west coast of Scotland. The factors were gentlemen appointed by the Laird to manage their estates in a particular area and collect rents from his tenants. Although Jess is the factor’s daughter, she is very friendly with her maid, Catherine, and Catherine’s family who are crofters so, when the Clearances come to North Uist, she is in a unique position to see the situation from both sides and is horrified by what is happening. She tries to intervene, putting her on the wrong side of the society which she is part of.

Jess is a wonderful character to carry this book. Brave and opinionated, she is very much a woman ahead of her time, which sets her against the norms of the day and puts her at odds with her friends and family which makes for great tension and conflict in the book. From our enlightened position 170 years into the future, our sympathies are entirely with Jess as she rages at the injustices being done to her fellow man and her own weak and powerless position as a woman, and basically a chattel, at that time.

The author brings the history and landscape of Scotland during this period vividly to life with beautiful descriptions and we are transported right to the heart of the islands and Highlands and the struggle and conflict. The book is absolutely riveting and had my pulse racing and my heart in my mouth and kept me reading late into the night. I could not help but become emotionally involved in the story and feel everything that Jess was going through. As a living history lesson, this book is masterful. The author makes the speech of the time sound authentic without being a pastiche which is very hard to do.

I loved the author’s style of writing and voice, with the right amount of description to bring the book to life but no so much that slowed the pace. The history lesson is given in a subtle and insidious way without feeling dry and lecturing, it is extremely skilfully done and this book is a great picture of this part of history which will hold anyone who has the slightest interest in learning about Scotland’s past and a policy of brutality against people which changed the face of Scotland forever and continues to have ramifications for the country to the present.

I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an intelligent but gripping read.

The False Men is out now and you can purchase a copy here.

Follow the rest of the bloggers on the tour:

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About the Author

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Mhairead MacLeod was born in Inverness, Scotland and spent her early childhood on the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

She now lives in Brisbane, Australia where she worked as an ethics lawyer, investigator and university lecturer. She holds Masters degrees in both Law and in Creative Writing.

An earlier draft of The False Men was short-listed for a HarperCollins Varuna Award for Manuscript Development and also won a Hachette Manuscript Development Award.

Connect with Mhairead:

Website: https://www.mhaireadmacleod.com

Facebook: Mhairead MacLeod

Twitter: @MacleodMhairead

Instagram: @mhairead_macleod_author

The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall #BlogTour #BookReview (@VickieCornwall) @ChocLituk @RaRaResources #TheDaughterOfRiverValley

The Daughter of River Valley

Today is my turn on the blog tour for The Daughter of River Valley by Victoria Cornwall. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour and to the publishers for my copy of the book.

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“Beth Jago appears to have the idyllic life, she has a trade to earn a living and a cottage of her own in Cornwall’s beautiful River Valley. Yet appearances can be deceptive …

Beth has a secret. Since inheriting her isolated cottage she has been receiving threats, so when she finds a man in her home she acts on her instincts. One frying pan to the head and she has robbed the handsome stranger of his memory and almost killed him.

Brought together by unknown circumstances, and fearful he may die, she reluctantly nurses the intruder back to health. Yet can she trust the man with no name who has entered her life, or is he as dangerous as his nightmares suggest? As they learn to trust one another, the outside threats worsen. Are they linked to the man with no past? Or is the real danger still outside waiting … and watching them both?”

I only jumped on this blog tour at the last minute when a space suddenly became free as this is not normally a genre that I read much. However, I’m really glad I did because I absolutely adored this book to a degree that really surprised me for something outside my normal genre comfort zone.

I was in love with the heroine, Beth, from the opening scene and if you read the book you’ll understand why. Anyone who is prepared to act that way when living alone in an isolated valley and faced with an unknown male intruder is a woman worthy of finding out more about, especially given the time she was living in when women were expected to be meek and subservient, In fact, one of my favourite things about the book was the strong line of historical accuracy running through the book, one of which is the role of women in society in the mid-1800s and what happens to women who refuse to fit into the role that the times and customs dictated at that time.

Joss was another character that was easy to warm to and the developing relationship between he and Beth was one that I was rooting for from early in the book. He will have fans of Poldark swooning with his swarthy good looks and gentlemanly nature, with just the right whiff of mystery and intrigue surrounding him by virtue of his amnesia and unknown identity.

The setting of the book is really well drawn and appealing; I could very clearly envisage the beautiful River Valley and its position on the wild Cornish coast and I understood why Beth did not want to leave it. There were also lots of well drawn and intriguing characters fleshing out the book and it felt like an authentic and well-rounded community that was portrayed.

Aside from the focus on the plight of unmarried young women in this period, there is also a thread of commentary on the divide between rich and poor at this time and also the ambitions of the middle classes who are looking to better themselves by education and endeavour rather than just money but also the impossibility of this path for people who could not afford to educate their children to improve their chances. The theme of social injustice was really interesting and elevates this book beyond just a historical romance.

This book was an enchanting mix of historical commentary, interesting characters, compelling mystery and a dash of romance that held me from first page to last and I enjoyed every minute of it. The author is a very accomplished writer and I intend to hunt out more of her work.

The Daughter of River Valley is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to follow the rest of the blog tour, the details are below:

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About the Author

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Victoria Cornwall can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels.

Victoria’s writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and her debut novel reached the final for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.

Victoria likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Connect with Victoria:

Website: https://victoriacornwall.com

Facebook: Victoria Cornwall Author

Twitter: @VickieCornwall

Instagram: @victoria_cornwallx

Goodreads: Victoria Cornwall