Broken Dolls by Sarah Flint #BookReview #BlogTour (@SarahFlint19) @aria_fiction @HoZ_Books #BrokenDolls #NetGalley

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“A baby lies abandoned amongst the rubbish; her tiny face as white as alabaster, her body as stiff as a miniature doll.

A young prostitute lies beaten, her figure lying like a mannequin on the frozen concrete, her blood spilt, her life ebbing away.

As DC ‘Charlie’ Stafford and her boss DI Hunter struggle to identify the victim from the violator their hunt brings them to the crack houses of Lambeth, littered with damaged people, their lives scarred by tragedy and violence, most broken beyond repair.
As further lives hang in the balance Charlie must enpower the weak to speak out against those who seek to cause harm.

But can a broken doll ever truly be mended; or will the wounds of the past, fashion the events of the future?”

Delighted to be finally taking my turn on the tour for Broken Dolls by Sarah Flint. My thanks to Melanie at Head of Zeus for inviting me to be on the tour.

This is the fourth book in the DC Charlie Stafford series but the first one I have read. It worked fine as a standalone book but there were a few aspects about her history and relationships that I may have appreciated more if I had read her previous books first. However, this did not detract from the power of the story.

And powerful it is. The opening scenes of this book are harrowing and hit you like a punch in the face, which pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the book. The author does not hold back on the imagery and some readers may find the opening events a little hard to stomach and upsetting. This is not a crime book for the faint of heart or easily squeamish but if you like your books gritty and in your face, you will be gripped from the start as I was. I read this book in a single four-hour sitting without taking a break, i could not put it down.

There are fascinating and well drawn characters on both sides of the legal divide, some likeable and some despicable but all rounded and believable and some of them are morally ambiguous, which is always interesting to read. The main character on the police side is DC Charlie Stafford, a young detective constable who is strong and feisty but also compassionate. I really liked her and thought she was a great character to carry the story, rather than someone further up the hierarchy. Being on the lowest rung of the CID ladder, she was right at the heart and on the ground of the investigation, so we could see every development of the investigation which allowed for our full immersion in the story.

There are two other central characters telling the story. Caz, a very young prostitute who is caught up in the midst of a series of deaths in the community of working girls in Streatham and ‘The Punter’ a shadowy character whose darker thoughts and acts are peppered throughout the book. There are two separate investigations in the book which may or not be related and you have to concentrate to work out the strands of each. The stories give a fascinating insight into the world of prostitution, pimps, drugs and sex trafficking and, as previously mentioned, is not the most comfortable of reads but it is gripping.

The pace of the book is fast and furious and the plot twisty enough and with sufficient surprises to keep the reader hooked from page to page. The writing felt very authentic as to tone and language which allowed for a very smooth read. I would hesitate to say I enjoyed the book, given the harrowing subject matter, but it definitely held my interest and was a compulsive read and I would definitely look for more by this author. I love finding new authors with a back catalogue to explore and would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark, pacy crime novels. Not for the delicate or squeamish.

Broken Dolls is out now and you can buy a copy here.

My thanks to NetGalley, Aria Fiction and Head of Zeus for my copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

If you would like to see what other bloggers thought of the book, you can follow the tour below:

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About the Author

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With a Metropolitan Police career spanning 35 years Sarah has spent her adulthood surrounded by victims, criminals and police officers. She continues to work and lives in London with her partner and has three older daughters.

Connect with Sarah:

Facebook: Sarah Flint Books

Twitter: @SarahFlint19

Goodreads: Sarah Flint

All The Hidden Truths by Claire Askew #BookReview (@OneNightStanzas) @HodderBooks @NetGalley #AllTheHiddenTruths #NetGalley

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“This is a fact: Ryan Summers walked into Three Rivers College and killed thirteen women, then himself.

But no one can say why.

The question is one that cries out to be answered – by Ryan’s mother, Moira; by Ishbel, the mother of Abigail, the first victim; and by DI Helen Birch, put in charge of the case on her first day at her new job. But as the tabloids and the media swarm, as the families’ secrets come out, as the world searches for someone to blame… the truth seems to vanish.”

I’m stunned that this is a debut. I’m not at all surprised that it has been nominated for, and won, prizes. I loved everything about this book, the writing, the characters – it is so accomplished that the author has shot straight on to my list of writers that I will be eagerly awaiting more from.

The subject matter of this book is topical but not easy to tackle and the author was very brave to do it, especially as a debut, but she does it with such compassion and consideration and with such a careful balance that she has pulled it off perfectly. The main reason why it works is that it is told from the perspective of three people on every side of the tragedy – the mother of the shooter, the mother of the first victim and the police officer in charge of the case. These different perspectives make us sit and think about the tragedy from every angle and in ways we perhaps don’t think about these tragedies. It is very easy, following these shootings, to consider and empathise with the victims and they families, but the ramifications are much wider and the victims go beyond the families of the murdered children; this book reminds us of that.

The characters in this book are as complex as the issues they are struggling with. The author carefully balances things so that everything is not clearly black and white. The victims are not painted as angels and the shooter not as pure evil because we all know that life is much more complicated and nuanced than that. This is what makes the book so compelling. We all want things to be clear cut, but they aren’t and what makes these shootings so terrifying is that they are often carried out by seemingly ordinary people who displayed no outward violent tendencies beforehand and there is no obvious motives. And to their families who loved them it is especially difficult to accept that their children were capable of doing what they did. These are complicated issue that are hard and unpleasant to face but facing them is necessary to tackle the problem.

The setting of the book is Edinburgh, which I think makes it more immediately relevant for those of us the the UK who sees these things happening at arms’ length in the US where we have no direct connection. It has been a long time since we had a mass shooting in a school in this country thankfully so we may feel that we are immune from the constant fear and horror that regularly hits communities in the States. However, with a spate of gun violence in London over the past few months, this issue is one that is becoming more and more relevant here and we should not be complacent about it. The Edinburgh of the book is not the side the tourists see, but is the every day side with ordinary people going about their ordinary lives, which makes the extraordinary events even more shocking.

This is a book that will make you think. About what motivates someone to commit this type of atrocity and can we ever really know. Is there a way to spot and stop these people before they do what they do, and if not, how far can blame extend beyond the actual perpetrator. About the effects this has on the victims’ families, the wider community, the police and how these people react and can be helped afterwards. And about how we, as onlookers, get our news and how the press report these things. One of the reporters in this book is the most loathsome character I have read in a long time, partly because his actions are believable and, if the portrayal is in any way accurate, we have some very hard questions to ask ourselves about what kind of people we have become if we are willing to tolerate this behaviour.

This is a must-read book, which raises a lot of difficult questions to which there are no simple answers but they are questions that we need to ask ourselves. I know I will return to this book again, and recommend it to my friends as a worthwhile read. I can’t give it a better endorsement than to say that, after reading the ARC, I have gone out and bought it in hardback to add to my shelf.

All The Hidden Truths is out today and you can buy a copy here.

My thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

About the Author

Claire Askew is a poet, novelist and the current Writer in Residence at the University of Edinburgh. Her debut novel in progress was the winner of the 2016 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and longlisted for the 2014 Peggy Chapman-Andrews (Bridport) Novel Award. Claire holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and has won a variety of accolades for her work, including the Jessie Kesson Fellowship and a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award.

Her debut poetry collection, This changes things, was published by Bloodaxe in 2016 and shortlisted for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award and a Saltire First Book Award. In 2016 Claire was selected as a Scottish Book Trust Reading Champion, and she works as the Scotland tutor for women’s writing initiatives Write Like A Grrrl! and #GrrrlCon.

Connect with Claire:

Twitter: @OneNightStanzas

The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway by Rhys Thomas #BookReview #PublicationDay (@rhysthomashello) @headlinepg @NetGalley #TheUnlikelyHeroicsOfSamHolloway #NetGalley

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“This is no ordinary love story and Sam is no typical hero…but he is a hero.

Sam Holloway has survived the worst that life can throw at you. But he’s not really living. His meticulous routines keep everything nice and safe – with just one exception…

Three nights a week, Sam dons his superhero costume and patrols the streets. It makes him feel invincible – but his unlikely heroics are getting him into some sticky, and increasingly dangerous, situations.

Then a girl comes into his life, and his ordered world is thrown into chaos … and now Sam needs to decide whether he can be brave enough to finally take off the mask.

Both hilarious and heart-warming, this is a story about love, loneliness, grief, and the life-changing power of kindness.”

It is publication day for this book, so happy Publication Day, Rhys, and thank you for the opportunity to read your book.

When one of the lines in the book you are reading is ‘Tonight was handkerchief-ironing night.’, you know you are not reading about an ordinary man, and the titular character in The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway is very far from ordinary. Even when he was a child, Sam was not ordinary. He was one of the socially awkward, uninspiring, wallpaper kids at school – too unattractive and uncool to be popular, but not different enough to be a stand-out in that way either. He always had few friends and was lonely and the passing of years and the occurrence of The Event have only exacerbated the problem.

Sam is an incredibly lonely, lost and unhappy person and it has been a long time since I have felt so acutely the simple pain of living from day to day for any character in a novel. The author does an amazing job of painting Sam and his desperate attempts to manage his life in the face of the gaping voids in his existence in such a way that the small slights and disappointments of his every day existence slice through you in exactly the same way as they do through him. He tries so hard to be a good person in a world where nobody cares, he is so unimportant, and it is excruciating to read.

Sam has managed to find a way to get through every day by way of an extremely ordered and routine life and he is unprepared for anything the upsets this routine. He mostly hides away in his house with his comics and movies, only venturing out occasionally with his very few friends who are as much misfits as he is, the only reason he believes they became friends. And on three nights a week, Sam dons a costume and mask and goes out onto the dark streets of his home town to fight crimes as The Phantasm. Then a girl comes into his life and threatens to turn everything upside down.

The plot sounds outlandish but the book is written in such a way that it is completely understandable as to why Sam is doing what he does and my heart broke for him all the way through because his pain and loneliness and feelings of impotence leapt off the page and made me totally sympathise with his actions. Any one who has ever struggled with any kind of anxiety or depression will recognise the need to try and impose some kind of control over their world, and also find means of escape. This passage particularly resonated with me – “He’d never read them all, but it didn’t matter. Just the sheer volume of stories made him feel safe.” He is talking about his collection of comic books but I feel exactly the same way about my huge library and my compulsive book buying. A lot of people will recognise elements of themselves in Sam if they really think about it.

All the way through the book I was willing things to work out for Sam but truly feeling that they wouldn’t, mostly because he isn’t even sure he wants them to, he is so afraid of stepping out of the comfortable cocoon he has hid himself in and he has a huge capacity for self-sabotage. There are even times where I disliked him slightly, because he acts in a way that is cruel, but it is all done through self-protection and fear. He is a really complex character and I was totally invested in the story from beginning to end, despite how uncomfortable I found parts of it to read.

I really enjoyed the chapters which were written as The Phantasm and the author does it very cleverly in a comic book style, it was easy to follow when he was in character and when he wasn’t.

This book is entertaining, heart-breakingly sad but ultimately uplifting and is one of then most worthwhile books I have read this year. They have described it as hilarious, I didn’t find it so, although it was amusing in places, but what it I did find it to be was a beautiful, moving and very truthful portrayal of loss, loneliness, awkwardness, second chances and the redeeming power of love, friendship and the kindness of people who refuse to give up on you, no matter what. It will stay with me for a long while.

The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway is out today and you can buy a copy here.

My thanks to NetGalley and Headline for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

About the Author

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Hi, I’m Rhys and it’s nice to meet you. I’m a writer from Wales and have to date published three novels. My most recent is The Unlikely Heroics of Sam Holloway – a story about a boy called Sam, his superhero alter ego The Phantasm, and a girl called Sarah.

My other two books are The Suicide Club, which is a coming of age story set in 2004, and On The Third Day, an apocalyptic adventure story that imagines a disease that dissolves hope – a kind of old school,  Old Testament kind of apocalypse that exists beyond science.

I live in a city called Cardiff with my partner Amy (who is a much more successful writer than I am) and my three cats, Henry, Sheldon and Aniseed.

In the day time I work at Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, helping the incredible researchers there get the word out about what they’re doing. They inspire me every single day.

Connect with Rhys:

Facebook: Rhys Thomas

Twitter: @rhysthomashello

Goodreads: Rhys Thomas

The Little Cornish Kitchen by Jane Linfoot #BlogTour #BookReview (@JaneLinfoot) @HarperImpulse @RaRaResources #Giveaway #TheLittleCornishKitchen #NetGalley

The Little Cornish Kitchen

Hurrah! It’s finally my turn on the blog tour for The Little Cornish Kitchen by one of my favourite authors and fellow RNA member, Jane Linfoot. I was so excited to be invited on to the blog tour for this gorgeous looking summer book so my thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel Random’s Resources for the opportunity. There is a fabulous giveaway further down the post to enter to win unicorns – yes, really! – so make sure you scroll down to that.

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“It’s time to come home to Cornwall

With an exciting new life in Paris, Clemmie Hamilton isn’t looking forward to heading home to the picturesque but sleepy village of St Aidan, Cornwall. However, when she discovers that the cosy apartment by the sea, which her grandmother left to her, is under threat from neighbour and property developer, Charlie Hobson, Clemmie realises she can’t abandon her home in its time of need.

With her childhood friends encouraging her, Clemmie decides to turn the apartment into ‘The Little Cornish Kitchen’ – a boutique pop up pudding club raising money for the repairs to the building in an effort to stop Charlie once and for all. But when Charlie and his easy charm won’t seem to go away, everything soon becomes even messier than the state of Clemmie’s Cornish kitchen…”

I just love the cover of this book, it looks like the perfect summery beach read and anyone who picks up this book because of the cover will not be disappointed by the contents, which are equally sweet and sunny.

I am a huge fan of Jane’s Little Wedding Shop books and anyone who has read those will be delighted to find themselves back in the quaint Cornish seaside town of St. Aidan. More delighted than Clemmie, who comes back to St. Aidan reluctantly to sort out a legacy from her grandmother as quickly as she can so she can return to her nomadic, rootless lifestyle that currently has her working as a PA in Paris. Unfortunately for Clemmie, things do not go as smoothly as planned and she finds herself drawn back into a life in St. Aidan in a way she had never envisaged.

Clemmie is the perfect heroine to carry the book. She is very likeable, being warm and friendly but also hapless and disorganised in a way that makes her very human, and with enough hang ups and baggage from her past that prevents her settling down in one place and with one man to make an interesting plot for a book of this sort. However, before you start to think ‘same old, same old’, let me tell you that this book has a really interesting twist on the laboured, seaside cafe trope as well as having a real charm that elevates it above the herd for me, and that is down to the beauty of the writing.

The setting of Cornwall is not new but Jane manages to imbue this book with a real feeling of community and warmth that brings the setting alive. Her descriptions of the views and the beach and the Surf Shack took me right back to the very happy trips I have taken to Newquay, right down to the smells and sounds of the coast that made me fall in love with the place, and I was suddenly desperate to get back there. The enchantment of Laura’s flat in Seaspray Cottage played a huge part in this and I think the author did a great job of portraying the setting and how it reflected Laura’s personality; I could really see it in my mind’s eye.

The idea of using a pop up restaurant as the theme to put a spin on the oft-used setting of a cafe was inspired and gave scope for some great, humourous set pieces as Clemmie tries to cram a lot of people into her tiny flat without letting the neighbour know what she is doing. Throw in a cat, a large dog and a wobbly balcony and you are all set for some laugh out loud moments.

The real heart of this book, through, is the characters and they are all superbly drawn and appealing as well as being interesting and believable. I loved all of Clemmie’s friends and felt real affection for the little group of ‘mermaids’ (especially Sophie who, I am afraid to say really reminded me of … me!). I felt they were a good representation of what female friendship can be and they brought the book to life and in to my heart. The male characters are also well drawn but it is the women that make this book what it is, a very bewitching, warm and feel good summer read. I highly recommend it.

The Little Cornish Kitchen is out now and you can buy a copy here.

Giveaway

Giveaway Prize

To win a signed copy of The Little Cornish Kitchen, Mermaid Notebook and Sugar Unicorns, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494114/?

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

To follow the rest of the blog tour for this lovely book, see the dates below:

The Little Cornish Kitchen Full Tour Banner

About the Author

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Jane Linfoot is a best selling author, who lives in a muddy cottage, up a steep hill in Derbyshire, with her family, their pets, and an astonishing number of spiders. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s happy she can walk to a supermarket. 

Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea, and wrote her first book by accident, while working as an architect, and renovating country houses. While she loves to write feelgood books that let readers escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to (occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating their own story lines. 

Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a tandem.

Her latest books include a series of stand alone novels, based around a seaside wedding shop in Cornwall. Cupcakes and Confetti – The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Sequins and Snowflakes – Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop, and Bunting and Bouquets – Summer at the Little Wedding Shop, and most recently, The Little Cornish Kitchen. These are all published by Harper Impulse,  an imprint of Harper Collins.

Connect with Jane:

Facebook: Jane Linfoot

Twitter: @janelinfoot

Instagram: @janelinfoot

Pinterest: @janelinfoot

My Very Italian Holiday by Sue Roberts #BlogTour #BlogBlitz #BookReview (@SueRobertsautho) @Bookouture #MyVeryItalianHoliday @NetGalley

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“A beautiful guesthouse, a fresh start and a hunky Italian. Does it sound too good to be true?

When Gina arrives in Lake Como, thousands of miles away from her life in the Lake District, she wonders if she’s bitten off more than she can chew. Working for Fabio, running his lakeside hotel, seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After her world was tragically turned upside down, breaking her heart in the process, she was in desperate need of a fresh start. Plus, it didn’t hurt that Fabio was easy on the eyes…

But it’s not all picturesque mountains, pizza and prosecco. The crumbling guesthouse that Fabio has inherited from his family needs some serious TLC. Is she up to the challenge?

As Gina and Fabio work in close quarters, sparks start to fly. But Fabio has a secret he is scared to share, and Gina has her past to come to terms with. Does her heart belong back home or is a life in the sun – with a very handsome Italian – just the change of scenery she needs?”

When I picked this book up, from the cover I assumed it was going to be a light, summery read but actually, it is not the usual beach read. The first half of the book is set in the Lake District and it does not move to Italy until fifty percent of the way through. The sojourn in Italy is then very brief before the action moves back to the Lake District so, if you are looking for a book set mostly in Italy, this is not the one for you.

That being said, there is a lot to enjoy in this book. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the  Lake District, they really brought the place alive and took me back to holidays I have spent there. The main character, Gina, is a warm and likeable person with a sad past and it was easy to get drawn in to her story. I really liked the relationship that she has with her sister, Hannah. With three sisters of my own that I am very close to, I felt their relationship was very realistically portrayed. In fact, her whole family and friendship group were well drawn and interesting and gave a very warm and supportive back drop to Gina’s life. I really enjoyed the wonderful community set out in the book in Gina’s lakeside town.

When Fabio appears, I could see why Gina was drawn to him and the parts of the book set in Italy were beautifully described and make you want to travel there immediately. However, as pointed out in the opening paragraph, this is a short part of the book, and also the visit takes place in January rather than the summer so it might be a little different to what the reader is expecting from the cover and blurb, but I don’t think that matters too much. The premise behind the book is interesting, I really liked the idea of Gina travelling to Italy to help decorate Fabio’s hotel and the setting is wonderfully described. Gina’s trip with Fabio in to Milan was my favourite part of the book and the author does a wonderful job of portraying this beautiful city in the book.

However, there were a couple of points in the book that rankled slightly. I wasn’t 100% convinced by Gina’s reaction to her brief conversation with Fabio’s sister, or his sister’s motivations. I think this probably needed to be expanded more to be authentic but I understand this is a supposed to be a sweet summer read so that may not be too much of an issue for readers. The thing that really got my goat, although this may be the pedantic travel agent part of me, is the glaring geographical inaccuracies in the Italian section of the book which made me think no one who read this book before publication had looked at a map. I found them very distracting. So here is a plea to all authors, when you are setting a book in foreign climes, please check that the things you are having happen are geographically possible!

There is much to enjoy in this book. I like Sue Roberts voice, I think she is very good at building characters and relationships, and there is a real life and atmosphere in her descriptions of places. It’s a shame that there were a couple of points that let it down for me but I am sure that many readers will enjoy this book for what it is.

My Very Italian Holiday is out now and you can buy a copy here.

My thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

If you would like to see what other bloggers think of the book, check out the other blogs taking part in the blitz below:

My Very Italian Holiday – Blog Tour

About the Author

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I live in Lancashire with my long term partner Derek and have had a lifelong love of writing, encouraged by winning a school writing competition at the age of 11.

I always assumed that ‘one day’ I would write a book, always having a busy household and a job, the idea remained firmly on the back burner but never forgotten.

The inspiration for my first novel came to me on a holiday to a Greek village. My daughters had left home and suddenly the time had come to write that book!

Connect with Sue:
Facebook: Sue Roberts

Murder on the Marshes by Clare Chase #BookReview #PublicationDay (@ClareChase) @bookouture #MurderOnTheMarshes #NetGalley

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“As the sun rises, a wealthy young woman – Samantha Seabrook – is found drowned in the ornamental fountain of a deserted Cambridge courtyard, the only clue – an antique silver chain wound tightly around her throat. 

It’s Tara Thorpe’s job to discover what happened to Miss Seabrook – but the case becomes personal when she learns that Samantha had been receiving death threats… rather like the one that landed on Tara’s doorstep the night the woman died.

Together with Detective Inspector Garstin Blake, Tara tracks the killer to the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of the city. But there’s something Tara can’t quite admit to Blake about her past – and it could make all the difference to whether they live… or die.”

I have always been intrigued by books set in the exclusive university cities of Oxford and Cambridge, especially detective books, and especially ones that provide a glimpse into the exclusive and archaic world of the elite universities that most of us never get to see. My love was initially sparked by the brilliant novel Gaudy Night by Dorothy L. Sayers and prevailed through my abiding devotion to the great Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter. I think I have found another fabulous series to add to my favourites if this book is anything to go by.

Murder on the Marshes is the first in a new crime series set in Cambridge and I absolutely loved this book. I have read it cover to cover in less than a day and I cannot wait to get my sticky mitts on the second book.

The central character in the book is Tara Thorpe, a journalist working for a sensationalist online paper. When a successful, young, glamorous and attention-seeking professor from the university is found murdered on college grounds, Tara is tasked with getting the in-depth story. She has an added interest in finding out who might have killed Samantha Seabrook, as it seems the same killer may have Tara in his sights.

This book grabbed me by the throat from the opening chapter and refused to let go until the very end. It has absolutely everything connoisseurs of the classic crime novel could want and I am seriously excited to have discovered this great new writer. The story was a fantastic puzzle, filled with twists, turns, red herrings, esoteric clues, dubious characters, tensions, rivalries, all set against the beautiful backdrop of Cambridge and the menacing emptiness of the surrounding Cambridgeshire fens. The author uses the setting and landscape to great effect in the book and it really ramped up the atmosphere. I loved the way she made the flat emptiness of the fens feel claustrophobic, as this is something I have felt myself when visiting that area.

As well as having a great setting and plot, the characters in this book are most appealing and really make the book the compelling read it is. Tara Thorpe, who has a difficult and unresolved past, is very likeable and is a great character to carry the series. I was really involved in her family history and her moral dilemmas and personal struggles and enjoyed the way that the author has left certain issues open to be developed and resolved in future books while at the same time giving this novel a satisfying conclusion, it is very neatly balanced. DI Garstin Blake is also a complex and interesting character and a nice foil for Tara and I really hope that we see more of him in future books and that their relationship develops further.

I have nothing negative to say about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it, it was an accomplished crime novel and I really look forward to reading the next one.

Murder on the Marshes is published today and you can purchase a copy here. The second book in the series Death on the River will be published on 17 October and I will be reviewing it on the blog on October 19. You can preorder a copy here.

My thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

About the Author

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Clare Chase writes mysteries set in her home city of Cambridge and is fascinated by the location’s contrasts and contradictions. She’s worked in diverse settings – from the 800-year-old University to one of the local prisons – and lived everywhere from the house of a Lord to a slug-infested flat. The terrace she now occupies presents a good happy medium.

As well as writing, Clare loves family time, art and architecture, cooking, and of course, reading other people’s books. She lives with her husband and teenage children, and currently works at the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Connect with Clare:

Website: https://clarechase.com

Facebook: Clare Chase Author

Twitter: @ClareChase_

Instagram: Clare Chase Author

Goodreads: Clare Chase

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:

The Daughter of River Valley Full Banner

About the Author

Victoria Cornwall. Profile Picture JPG

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