Friday Night Drinks with… Anne Armistead

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Tonight’s Friday Night Drinks is running a little late, sorry for that! However, I am delighted to be welcoming to a decadently late night in the bar, author…. Anne Armistead.

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Anne, sorry for the late hour of our meeting, I appreciate you still joining me. First things first, what are you drinking?

Gin and Tonic with a lime twist, of course.

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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?

We would be going to Flicks on the Green in Peachtree Corners Town Center near my home, to enjoy this week’s movie while enjoying a picnic dinner and drinks we’d pick up from the Lazy Dog Restaurant in the Town square.

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?

Definitely, Ernest Hemingway and Katherine Hepburn!

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?

Personally, at the moment I am planning a wonderful baby shower for my daughter, who is due in August!

Professionally, I am finishing the end of my time travel story THE CAROUSEL TRAVELER. I am an old movie buff and enjoy silent movies. I have become interested in Alice Guy, a female Parisian silent film director whose legacy had been lost throughout the past decades and is now becoming re-established. In researching Alice, I learned quite a bit about the start of the film industry in Paris at the turn of the last Century. I watched the many pieces of original film available on youtube, etc., from the Paris Exhibition of 1900. Wishing I could go back in time to this event, I decided that I could, by writing a time travel romance in which my protagonist, Mirabelle, does just that. I hope to complete this manuscript within the next month and start submitting it for publication. I think readers will be totally engaged with Mirabelle’s adventures in 1900 Paris, one of which is assisting Alice Guy filming one of her movies!

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

My proudest moment is when my first story came out in print. It was a children’s story for Highlights Magazine written under my legal name Sandra Havriluk called “The Sign of the Cat.” The story was based on my dad’s experience of growing up during the Depression and his grandmother with whom he lived never turning away any “hobo” who knocked on the door for food. You can google the name of the story and find it on the internet because Highlights (who retains the rights) has released it for use in elementary testing materials!

My biggest challenge as a writer has been focusing on writing novel-length manuscripts and believing I can get to “The End” and have a story that doesn’t lose track of itself!

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 would love to see one of my romances adapted by Hallmark!

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

Professionally, I am excited to be attending (virtually) the Historical Novel Society Conference in July, as well as submitting my edited Christmas story requested by Wild Rose Press!

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Personally, I am excited to become a first-time grandmother in August! My youngest daughter is having a baby boy! 

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 I have traveled is so difficult to choose because I have something “favourite” about everywhere I’ve been! If I have to narrow it down, I would say because I am a Greek mythology nut and one who loves the gorgeous blue sea, it would have to be Greece. 

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At the top of my bucket list is doing the tour through Salzburg, Austria based on “The Sound of Music,” biking and singing Do-Re-Mi!

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

I graduated as an English lit major but did not want to teach high school English right out of college (though I did become an English teacher and taught for 25 years after I had my two daughters!).

 Back at this time, the local phone companies were all part of AT&T (“Ma Bell’) and they were looking to hire women college graduates into management in their newly formed IT department (like I said, it was the Dark Ages). I applied, passed the test which was on syllogisms (I knew how to solve them because I had taken philosophy courses). Southern Bell in Atlanta, Georgia, hired me and trained me to be a programmer. I wrote code for four years before I escaped into project management!

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’?

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George is a MUST READ. Float on the Seine with Monsieur Perdu on his bookstore barge while he journeys to heal his human soul, and you will heal yours as well.

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On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a ‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust – until now. The arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour in his eccentric apartment building on Rue Montagnard inspires Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

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?

To avoid that dreaded hangover, I would have started drinking on a full stomach, preferably from eating pizza and would be spacing out cocktails with mocktails!

It I ended up hungover, I turn again to food – plain toast and a tall glass of juice!

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

My perfect weekend now that it is summer is to float for hours under the hot summer sun in my backyard pool while reading a book from my TBR pile.  

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Thank you so much for joining me, i have had a lovely evening.

Anne’s latest book is Withe Kisses from Cecile, co-authored with Jan Agnello and you can buy a copy here.

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Visiting Paris to find out more about her great-grandmother’s World-War-I-era pen pal Cécile, a forlorn Maggie, reeling from discovering her husband’s infidelity, learns of devastating one-hundred-year-old secrets involving loss and forgiveness. Revelations about her family’s past challenge Maggie’s decision to face her future alone.

Ruth Mitchell’s failed reconciliation with her unfaithful husband leaves her heartbroken–and pregnant. She accepts her family’s invitation to Paris to pay homage to Cécile, whose World War One era pen pal letters to Maggie’s great-grandmother Ruth are cherished family mementoes. Through reading Cécile’s letters and learning about Ruth’s tragic past, will Maggie find the strength to forgive and love again?

In the year 1919 following World War One, Ruth and Cécile begin corresponding through an American-French pen pal program. Cécile is fighting against consumption, a life-threatening illness. Ruth is hiding the truth about a tragic death that has torn her family apart. She draws strength to face what fate brings from her pen pal’s inspiring letters, each signed With Kisses from Cécile.

Anne Armistead writes love stories, set in the past and present. She earned her English literature degree from the University of Georgia and her MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. Anne is a member of the Atlanta Writers Club and the Historical Novel Society.

Her debut historical romance novel is  DANGEROUS CONJURINGS (Soul Mate Publishing, April 2018). 

WITH KISSES FROM CÉCILE, co-authored with Jan Agnello, is her second historical fiction (Storyology Design and Publication, September 2019). It was awarded the 2020 Georgia Independent Author of the Year Award in historical fiction and the Silver Award from Literary Titan.

​Anne recently signed with The Wild Rose Press, who will publish her contemporary romance story A CHRISTMAS CANNOLI KISS as part of their digital Sweetheart Line Christmas eseries. 

Anne’s writing-in-progress is a time travel romance entitled THE CAROUSEL TRAVELER. She is seeking representation for its publication.

You can keep up with Anne and her doings on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Desert Island Children’s Books: Five Run Away Together by Enid Blyton

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For my fifth choice of a childhood favourite novel to accompany me to my desert island, I’ve had to bring at least one book from my favourite series. I was addicted to Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series when I was young, reading them all multiple times, but it was the third book in the series, Five Run Away Together, that was my absolute favourite and the one I would snatch from a burning building.

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Summer holidays again, at Kirrin Cottage – and the Five are together again! Could anything possibly be better? And when the children become aware of some mysterious signals from a boat at sea, excitement and curiosity descends! The children suspect it’s smugglers, but then they hear a child scream…

During Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin’s absence (following an unexpected illness), the children are left under supervision of the new cook—Mrs Stick and her son Edgar, and as a result of their spiteful and unpleasant ways, the five run away to Kirrin Island, and find themselves in the middle of a breath-taking adventure!

This is the first time I have revisited one of my Desert Island Books and haven’t loved it as much as I did when I first read it. I think this is probably a reflection of the fact that The Famous Five are a product of their time, and that time is long past. The world is unrecognisable from the one Enid Blyton was writing about, and the whole story just seems totally improbable. Plus, I’m now looking at these children through the eyes of a mother, who finds them insufferable, rather than a child who is envious of their adventures!

It was always a strange idea that four children aged mid-teens and under would be allowed to just disappear off for weeks on end, roaming the countryside, chasing criminals that have evaded the police with their wily ways, but prove no match for the fabulous Famous Five, and then the police fall over themselves in gratitude. What a self-satisfied and annoying bunch of ‘prigs’ they are, why did I love them so much that my copies are battered to death?

Well, because I never saw any of this when I was a pre-teen myself, I just envied the freedom and excitement and adventure. This book is the epitome of all that – the Five take off for their own private island, with a castle, a wreck and a cave, no one cares, and they foil a kidnapping so cleverly and smugly that I now just want to look them all in the dungeon in which they imprison Edgar and throw away the key. When I was 11, I desperately wanted to go and live in that cave with them for a week, eat sardines and drink ‘lashings of ginger beer’ (which I don’t think I’ve ever tasted to this day.)

I wonder why other books from my childhood have stood the test of time, despite being set in equally alien worlds to mine, and this one hasn’t. I am no longer surprised that my children can’t relate to these favourites from my childhood as they have others, I no longer can either. I’ll still hang on to them for sentimental reasons though, because no series fed in to my love of reading the way the Famous Five novels did, they are a major foundation stone of where I am today.

You can buy a copy of Five Run Away Together for yourself here.

About the Author

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Enid Blyton is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time. Her books have sold over 500 million copies and have been translated into other languages more often than any other children’s author.

Enid Blyton adored writing for children. She wrote over 700 books and about 2,000 short stories. The Famous Five books, now 75 years old, are her most popular. She is also the author of other favourites including The Secret Seven, The Magic Faraway Tree, Malory Towers and Noddy.

Born in London in 1897, Enid lived much of her life in Buckinghamshire and loved dogs, gardening and the countryside. She was very knowledgeable about trees, flowers, birds and animals. Dorset – where some of the Famous Five’s adventures are set – was a favourite place of hers too.

Enid Blyton’s stories are read and loved by millions of children (and grown-ups) all over the world.

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Romancing The Romance Authors with… Jean Fullerton

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I am very excited today to be discussing romance writing with RNA stalwart, doyenne of the East End saga and all-round fabulous lady, Jean Fullerton.

Tell me a bit about the type of books you write and where you are in your publishing journey.

Well, firstly thank you for asking me to be a guest on your blog, Julie. I write family sagas and all seventeen of them are set in the overcrowded and impoverished streets surrounding the London Docks in the East End, where I come from.

Why romance?

I’ve devoured historical romance ever since I was a teenager so when I started writing there was no question that I would write anything other than historical romance. 

What inspires your stories?

All sorts of things but mainly the vibrant working-class area where I was born and raised and my large and boisterous East End family.  

Who are your favourite romance authors, past and/or present?

Although Katherine by Anya Seton is as old as I am, it and she are still my favourite book and author. I also like her books the Winthrop Woman, Avalon and Green Darkness. I like historical romance which is accurate, so I also read Elizabeth Chadwick and Nicola Cornick but as long as it’s a good story I’m happy to read it.    

If you had to pick one romance novel for me to read, which one would you recommend?

I’m afraid it would have to be Katherine by Anya Seton as it was the book that started me on this incredible journey. The prose is somewhat old-fashioned, but the story is cracking and so romantic. 

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Katherine comes to the court of Edward III at the age of fifteen. The naïve convent-educated orphan of a penniless knight is dazzled by the jousts and the entertainments of court.

Nevertheless, Katherine is beautiful, and she turns the head of the King’s favourite son, John of Gaunt. But he is married, and she is soon to be betrothed.

A few years later their paths cross again and this time their passion for each other cannot be denied or suppressed. Katherine becomes the prince’s mistress, and discovers an extraordinary world of power, pleasure and passion.

Which romantic hero or heroine would you choose to spend your perfect romantic weekend with? Where would you go and what would you do?

Well firstly as I am the heroine in all my books it’s only the hero we have to worry about. I’d take Patrick Nolan from my Nolan Family Victorian series, who looks remarkably like Aidan Turner.  We’d go to a castle somewhere, but I couldn’t possibly tell you what we’d do as my husband might read this blog.  

What is your favourite thing about being a member of the RNA? What do you think you have gained from membership?

Oh, where do I start? Firstly, as an unpublished author it gave me access to the world of publishing, which I had no knowledge of. It helped me hone my craft via the wonderful New Writers’ Scheme. It’s given me a great deal of fun at the meetings and conferences but without a doubt the greatest thing it’s given me is wonderful writer friends.  

What one piece of advice or tip would you give to new writers starting out in the romance genre?

Set yourself a daily or weekly target and get the words down. Don’t worry if they aren’t quite right you can always go back and fix that. Learn your craft. Writing an 80000 + word book is not easy so stick at it.

Tell us about your most recent novel.

My latest novel A Ration Book Daughter is the fifth in my WW2 Ration Book series but can be read as a standalone novel. You can buy a copy here, along with the previous books in the series.

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In the darkest days of the Blitz, love is more important than ever.

Cathy Brogan was a happy, blushing bride when Britain went to war with Germany three years ago. But her youthful dreams were crushed by her violent husband Stanley’s involvement with the fascist black-shirts, and even when he’s conscripted to fight she knows it’s only a brief respite – divorce is not an option. Cathy, a true Brogan daughter, stays strong for her beloved little son Peter.

When a telegram arrives declaring that her husband is missing in action, Cathy can finally allow herself to hope – she only has to wait 6 months before she is legally a widow and can move on with her life. In the meantime, she has to keep Peter safe and fed. So she advertises for a lodger, and Sergeant Archie McIntosh of the Royal Engineers’ Bomb Disposal Squad turns up. He is kind, clever and thoughtful; their mutual attraction is instant. But with Stanley’s fate still unclear, and the Blitz raging on over London’s East End, will Cathy ever have the love she deserves? 

Where can readers find out more about you and your East End books.

On my website which has them all listed, and if readers subscribe to my monthly newsletter not only do they receive a free short story but also have a chance to win advance copies of my books and other prizes.

About the Author

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Born and bred in East London Jean was a District Nurse by trade, serving for five years as NHS manager with responsibility for six community clinics and 200+ staff and finished her twenty-five-year nursing career as a senior lecture in Health and Nursing Studies in a London University.

She joined the NWS 2003 and became a full member in 2006 after winning the Harry Bowling Prize. She had published seventeen sagas over three series, all set in East London and has books with both Orion and Atlantic.

An experiences public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, Jean has been an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships for the past fifteen years.

A Ration Book Daughter out now in supermarkets, bookshops, Kindle and audio.  

Connect with Jean:

Website: http://jeanfullerton.com/

Facebook: Jean Fullerton

Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_

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Friday Night Drinks with… Todd Wassel

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Friday has come round again, so it is time for another celebratory drink and chat with an interesting author. Tonight I am delighted to be sharing Friday Night Drinks with… Todd Wassel.

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Todd, thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Coffee. It might be evening for you but it is Saturday morning 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?

To a cool little container bar on the banks of the Mekong in Vientiane, Laos. It is called LaoDi and it is run by a Japanese and Lao that have their own Rhum factory that they use to mix with Japanese liqueurs. 

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 Buddha and Janis Joplin. 

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?

Beside my 9-5 job trying to save the world and help people, I’m in the middle of writing a 3 book memoir series. I’m on book two now and I want it to lead to more happiness, doing what I love, and telling others about it. 

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

The first time someone commented on a blog piece I wrote, and I realized that I had something to say. My biggest challenge was believing that I had something to say and finishing my first book. 9 years of thinking about before I was finally able to get it out into the world. 

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 earn a decent income from having adventures, writing about them, and having enough people read them that it just keeps going. 

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

In a few years I plan to buy an old Japanese farmhouse and spend a few years moving it, and renovating it. 

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?

After 45 countries and 21 years living abroad that is a really difficult question! I’d say hiking into Machu Picchu was on my bucket list and deserves to be near the top. Bhutan is at the top of my current list. That and hiking the 100 highest peaks in Japan. 

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

I was born in San Diego California, while my Dad was going to Top Gun as a navy pilot. Yes, the place is real. From there we moved every three years of my life as I followed along. My day job was for a long time working in conflict and war zones with Non-profits. Despite all of that, I considered myself to be timid and not adventurous 😊

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’m actually a Fantasy nerd at heart. I’d say the Brandon Sanderson Stormlight series. A great new take on the genre. 

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Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilisation alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soil-less ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter.

It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armour that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them.

One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable.

Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity.

Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

The result of more than ten years of planning, writing, and world-building, The Way of Kings is but the opening movement of The Stormlight Archive, a bold masterpiece in the making.

Speak again the ancient oaths:

Life before death.
Strength before weakness.
Journey before Destination.

And return to men the Shards they once bore.

The Knights Radiant must stand again.

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?

Sleep as long as possible, and have a beer to even things out around 11 am. 

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

Spending the day rock climbing or hiking and then the evening on a porch with a BBQ, a beer and a view

Thank you for joining me this evening (or morning in your case), Todd, it has been a fascinating chat.

Todd Wassel is the author of Walking in Circles: Finding Happiness in Lost Japan and you can buy a copy here. The book is available for free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

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Far from the lights of Tokyo. A 1,200 year old pilgrimage. A life changed forever.

Guided by a wandering ascetic hiding from the Freemasons; naked Yakuza; a scam artist pilgrim; and a vengeful monk, Walking in Circles is a fun, inspirational travel memoir set in a Japan few outsiders ever get to see.

Award-winning writer Todd Wassel draws on over twenty years in Japan to retell his epic journey through the contradictions of a contemporary yet traditional Japan while trying to overcome the barriers to happiness modern life throws up.

Over half a decade after first landing in Japan Todd is lost, unable to go home, or move forward. Convinced there is more to life, he risks everything to return to the one place he found answers years before: the ancient Shikoku Henro pilgrimage. Walking the 750-mile henro path, sleeping outside each night, Todd is armed with only a Japanese map and the people he meets along the way.

Todd Wassel is an international development professional, author and traveler. He has worked across Asia and Europe for the past 20 years as an English teacher in Japan, a human rights advocate in Sri Lanka, a conflict management specialist in Timor-Leste and Kosovo, and has worked in and traveled to over 40 countries. He has worked for the United Nations, small local NGOs, for the US government, and is currently the Country Representative for the Asia Foundation in Laos. Todd won the People’s Choice Award in the Southeast Asia Travel Writing Competition and has been featured in Lonely Planet, the Diplomat and ABC Australia.

Todd has hiked into Machu Pichu, watched the sun rise from the top of Mount Fuji, dived the reefs of the Maldives, honeymooned in Bosnia and Herzegovina, danced for three days at weddings in India, hiked from Montenegro to Albania, through Kosovo and into Macedonia, and walked the 900-mile pilgrimage to the 88 temples of Shikoku Japan, twice (the topic of his new book). He likes adventures and strong coffee.

Fluent in Japanese, Todd has a B.A from Colgate University in Asian Studies and Comparative Religion as well as a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher school at Tufts University. Todd met his wife Kaoru during a security crisis on the tiny half island of Timor-Leste and they have been traveling the world together ever since.

They currently live with their two children, Kaito and Sana, in Laos along the banks of the Mekong.

Connect with Todd via his website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Desert Island Books with… Annemarie Rawson

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Today’s shipwreck victim, marooned on a desert island with only five books, one luxury item and their own thoughts for company (how terrifying an idea is that?!) is author, Annemarie Rawson. Let’s see what tomes she has chosen to stave off certain madness, shall we?

Book One – Red Notice by Bill Browder

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In November 2009, the young lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was beaten to death by eight police officers in a freezing cell in a Moscow prison. His crime? Testifying against Russian officials who were involved in a conspiracy to steal $230 million of taxes.

Red Notice is a searing exposé of the whitewash of this imprisonment and murder. The killing hasn’t been investigated. It hasn’t been punished. Bill Browder is still campaigning for justice for his late lawyer and friend. This is his explosive journey from the heady world of finance in New York and London in the 1990s, through battles with ruthless oligarchs in turbulent post-Soviet Union Moscow, to the shadowy heart of the Kremlin.

With fraud, bribery, corruption and torture exposed at every turn, Red Notice is a shocking political roller-coaster.

A real-life political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his dangerous mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. This was a huge insight into Russia and one man’s battle for the truth. I’ve only read it once but I think I would find something fascinating and informative which each subsequent read.

Book Two – The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher

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Artist’s daughter Penelope Keeling can look back on a full and varied life: a Bohemian childhood in London and Cornwall, an unhappy wartime marriage, and the one man she truly loved. She has brought up three children – and learned to accept them as they are.

Yet she is far too energetic and independent to settle sweetly into pensioned-off old-age. And when she discovers that her most treasured possession, her father’s painting, The Shell Seekers, is now worth a small fortune, it is Penelope who must make the decisions that will determine whether her family can continue to survive as a family, or be split apart.

The Shell Seekers is one of the many family sagas written by Rosamunde Pilcher and set between London and Cornwall and often around or during WWII. The books are so well written that you feel as if you know each person and have been transported to the cliffs and villages of Cornwall.  The stories are great escapism to a bygone era and reading them all again will help me forget I’m stranded on a desert island!

Book Three – Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

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When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.

Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott – once his assistant, now a partner in the agency – set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.

And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been – Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much more tricky than that . . .

Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling) has written a series of books of Strike, who runs his own detective agency and takes on Robin, who started out as his receptionist/PA. The books follow a series of investigations but intertwine these with Strike and Robin’s private lives and their simmering interest in each other. Lethal White is just one of these books.

Book Four – Becoming by Michelle Obama

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In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her — from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it — in her own words and on her own terms.

Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations — and whose story inspires us to do the same.

It was fascinating to learn about Michelle’s life from an average American childhood through to being the wife of the President of the United States and what she brought to that ‘job’. I felt I got to know Michelle, such was her storytelling skill. I’d take it with my to the desert island as I’m sure I’d learn a lot more on each re-reading of it.

Book Five – Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce

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London, 1941. Amid the falling bombs Emmeline Lake dreams of becoming a fearless Lady War Correspondent. Unfortunately, Emmy instead finds herself employed as a typist for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt at Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs Bird refuses to read, let alone answer, letters containing any form of Unpleasantness, and definitely not those from the lovelorn, grief-stricken or morally conflicted.

But the thought of these desperate women waiting for an answer at this most desperate of times becomes impossible for Emmy to ignore. She decides she simply must help and secretly starts to write back – after all, what harm could that possibly do?

This is a delighted little read about a young woman who hopes to be a War Correspondent, takes on a job but the job turns out to be typist to the fierce and renowned advice columnist, Henrietta Bird. Emmy is disappointed, but gamely bucks up and buckles down.

Mrs Bird is very clear: Any letters containing Unpleasantness—must go straight in the bin. But when Emmy reads poignant letters from women who are lonely, may have Gone Too Far with the wrong men and found themselves in trouble, or who can’t bear to let their children be evacuated, she is unable to resist responding – under Mrs Bird’s name! 

It’s an uplifting story, one set during a terrible time in London where bombs are falling but Emmy is making a difference to the reader’s lives. There is hope! And hopefully I’d still have hope, while stranded on a desert island.

My luxury item

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Mascara! Which I’d wear every day, just in case I got rescued that day and I wouldn’t be caught looking like Miss Piggy, without her false eyelashes  as mine are very fair!

About the Author

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Annemarie is a New Zealander who collects new ‘best friends’ wherever she goes. In her 50’s she and her husband, Steve, packed up the house, rented it out, kissed her family and friends goodbye and moved 12,000 km to South West France to work as estate managers for several private families — swapping corporate, city life for animal husbandry and the French countryside.

Annemarie loves people, animals, travelling, interior design and creating delicious food to welcome people into her home and at her table.

After a stint back in New Zealand, Annemarie decided (at 60) it was time for another adventure and did exactly the same thing, packing up the house but this time moving to London. Two and a half years later they have explored more of London than some Londoners and have bounced around the UK and parts of Europe, capturing it all in photos and blogs.

Annemarie is the author of My French Platter, a book about her time in France. A second book, My French Platter Replenished, is due later this year with a third planned for publication in 2022. You can buy a copy of My French Platter here.

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When Annemarie and her husband, Steve, leave their life in New Zealand to manage a 15th-century farmhouse in France, they have no idea they’ll end up homeless. No idea they’ll need to live in filth, rely on dilapidated equipment and deal with a belligerent boss. Will the mouth-watering food she creates, the wonderful people they meet and the glorious French countryside help them salvage their dreams of life abroad or will they need to rethink their future?

Connect with Annemarie:

Website: https://www.annemarierawson.com/

Facebook: Annemarie Rawson

Instagram: @latelifeadventures

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Book Review: The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance by Lucy Morris #BookReview

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A challenging wife

For a warrior Viking

When Thorstein Bergson rescues a beautiful woman from a storm-tossed long-ship he little expects to broker a powerful marriage alliance with her. This high-status ice queen is not the comfortable wife this warrior chief is seeking. But maybe the bitter-sweet pain in Gyda’s eyes hides another woman beneath? The one he tasted that first night when she’d kissed him with such pent-up longing…?

The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance is published today and is Lucy Morris’s debut novel for Harlequin Mills and Boon in their Historical line. Many thanks to Lucy for offering me a copy of the book for the purposes of review. I have reviewed it honestly and impartially as always.

I can’t recall ever reading a book featuring Vikings that wasn’t a children’s book or non-fiction. I have definitely never read a Viking romance before, but it is a genre I have been missing out on if Lucy’s debut is anything to go by.

Gyda is sailing to a new life in England, escaping a past that wasn’t happy for reasons that are gradually revealed through the book. her ship is wrecked off the coast near Viking chief Thorstein’s settlement, and he rescues her from the storm-tossed waters. Through a series of subsequent events, they end up being tied together in a marriage alliance, but can they forge a romance from marriage of mutual convenience?

This is the driving thrust of the novel but so much more is explored throughout the story. It’s about the powerlessness felt by women in these times, who were valued by men only for the status and alliances they could bring, and the children they could bear. About the way people make assumptions about people based on first impressions, and how they can remain fixed if we don’t take the time to dig below the surface and find out what makes people behave as they do. How misunderstandings so easily arise if people don’t talk. And what true love and passion look like.

Despite being set in a time that is so distant and alien, the author has created characters that are very relatable to the reader, and attractive to read about. Thorstein is a man who would make any woman’s knees weak, never mind Gyda, and Gyda seems like the perfect woman, beautiful and feisty. The chemistry coming off the page between them was palpable from the beginning, and I was sold on the relationship from chapter one.

Being from Yorkshire, and having visited the sites in York that celebrate its Viking history, I was also gripped by the way Lucy brought the world of Jorvik to life with all of the senses (especially the smells. Anyone who has visited the Jorvik Viking Centre will remember the smell!). There was so much to enjoy in this book, beyond the fiery romance, I absolutely loved it.

The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance is out now in paperback and ebook formats and you can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Lucy Morris lives in Essex, UK, with her husband, two young children and two cats. She has a massively sweet tooth and loves gin, bubbly and Irn-Bru. She’s a member of the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association and is delighted to begin her publishing journey with Harlequin Historical in 2021 with her first release ‘The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance’.

She adores writing strong, passionate women and the brave, honourable men who fall in love with them. Weaving her fascination with the dark age of medieval Europe with her compulsion to give her characters a happily ever after. But only after they’ve had an adventure along the way.

Connect with Lucy:

Website: https://lucymorrisromance.com/

Facebook: Lucy Morris Author

Twitter: @LMorris_Author

Instagram: @lucymorris.author

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Friday Night Drinks with… James Morgan-Jones

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Last Friday of the month, and a bank holiday to boot. What more excuse could be needed for a celebration, and joining me for Friday Night Drinks tonight, I have author… James Morgan-Jones.

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

Red vino, definitely. It doesn’t have to be expensive; just something good quality.

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?

Well, I’m up for the theatre. I’m longing to go again. I’d fancy a good play, but as it’s your night out, if you fancied a musical, that would be fine. After the show, we could go for a guzzly slap-up – maybe the Ivy in Covent Garden.

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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?

As we’re having a theatrical night out, I’d choose the late lamented (and outrageous) grande dame of theatre, Coral Browne, along with Alan Bennett, whose play ‘An Englishman Abroad’ was based on her memoir. They’d be an inexhaustible fund of hilarious and very risqué theatrical anecdotes and I imagine the evening would be riotous. We’d have to be on our toes – they both had/have a rapier wit.

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’ve just put together a second volume of short stories and am currently finishing off a play. Then it’s back to my ‘big’ project – the Glasswater Quintet, a series of inter-connected novels. Four are already published, so the next – entitled The Ice Chandelier – will be the last. It all started when I was doing an MA in Creative Writing at Trinity St David’s university here in Wales. The first part of the first novel – On the Edge of Wild Water – comprised my dissertation for the course. It grew from there. The sequence takes an anti-clockwise trajectory, starting in the 2000s, then going back to the 1970s, then the beginning of WW2. The fourth novel comes forward again to the 1990s. The last will take the sequence full circle (and then some), set just a few years after the events depicted in the first novel. The books are connected by place and character and are maybe best described as psychological thrillers with a supernatural slant. They also have a strong historical dimension. And they’re emotional, atmospheric and dramatic.

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

The third novel of the Glasswater Quintet – The Stone Forest – has a long opening section set in a community on the Thames marshes in the 1930s. This community actually existed, but of course, does so no longer. I had only imagination to rely on, plus some photographs and a few recollections of an archivist who had lived there as a child. It was quite daunting, as it’s very important that it should be effective, and I had no idea if I could pull it off. I think now that I did succeed – as an imaginative recreation, on its own terms, it really does work and I’m proud of it.

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

Truly? – I honestly think that if my work were both widely recognized and enjoyed for its quality, then I’d be happy. Of course, money and awards would be nice.

What do you have planned that you are really excited about?

The play I’m currently writing. I went to drama school in London and started off as an actor, so being able to add a play to my CV gives me great pleasure and a sense of achievement.

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?

I once had an Italian friend who lived in Milan and we travelled by train to Venice. It really is the most extraordinary place, and in those days, wasn’t horribly crowded. Now I believe it’s virtually impossible to move there, even in winter. It’s a pity. Venice is truly unique. I love Italy generally, actually. What I’d really love would be to undertake a ‘Grand Tour’ of the whole country, as the Victorians used to do. By train. The Italian trains are much better than ours.

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

I have a silicon disc under my right eye as a result of a car accident. How fascinating is that?

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’d steer you towards Beryl Bainbridge. She was a very quirky writer, and is one of my favourites. In her later career, she turned to fictional recreations of famous historical events and was immensely successful. She was shortlisted five times for the Booker prize and never won. She was actually referred to as ‘the Booker bridesmaid’. It’s rumoured that her failure to win sprang from the prejudice/bias of some members of the Booker juries. Beryl didn’t wear ‘the right tie’ – ie, she hadn’t come through any of the educational establishments or professions that the literary establishment considered requisite. She started off as an actress in repertory and never went to university. I think it rather pissed them off that she was able to do what she did without it. Shamefaced, they awarded her a posthumous prize, which was voted for by her fans among the reading public. They chose her great novel ‘Master Georgie’. But for my money, if you haven’t read it, I’d recommend Every Man for Himself. Much has been written/filmed/recorded/discussed about the sinking of the Titanic; but for me, nothing has brought me so close to the feel of that time, and to so authentic a sense of the great tragedy that was the Titanic’s maiden voyage. There’s a terrific apprehension of not only the ship, but of an entire era, sailing towards catastrophe. Like all Beryl’s books it’s quite short, but it’s a fantastic achievement.

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For the four fraught, mysterious days of her doomed maiden voyage in 1912, the Titanic sails towards New York, glittering with luxury, freighted with millionaires and hopefuls. In her labyrinthine passageways the last, secret hours of a small group of passengers are played out, their fate sealed in prose of startling, sublime beauty, as Beryl Bainbridge’s haunting masterpiece moves inexorably to its known and terrible end.

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?

Do you know – and I apologise in advance if this sounds sanctimonious – but I don’t really get hangovers. I’ve been ill once or twice quite soon after over-indulging in alcohol, but that’s invariably been because I haven’t eaten properly beforehand. Even then, though, I didn’t really have a hangover the following morning.

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

By the sea. As we’ve been in the West End, I suppose it would have to be somewhere accessible from London. Perhaps the Essex coast. I was born and brought up in Essex and I have a nostalgic fondness for those places. Maybe Walton-on-the-Naze. I set a short story there, loosely based on childhood experiences, in my volume The Wheel and Other Stories.

Thank you for joining me tonight, James, I have thoroughly enjoyed our chat.

James’s latest book is Eye of the Rushes, the fourth book in the Glasswater Quintet series, following On The Edge of Wild Water, The Glass Citadel and The Stone Forest. You can buy a copy here.

James Morgan-Jones was born and brought up on the Essex/London borders. His mother was Welsh and his father from the East End. He trained as a professional actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and worked for several years in the theatre. After a serious accident he retrained as a feline behaviourist and now lives in West Wales. He began writing seriously after gaining an MA with Distinction from Trinity Saint David University in Carmarthen. He then embarked on The Glasswater Quintet, a series of supernatural/psychological novels, linked by character and place but set in different decades, from the 1940s onwards. The first book in the series, On the Edge of Wild Water, was published by Wordcatcher in the summer of 2017. This was followed by the second in the quintet, The Glass Citadel, later that year, as well as a short story collection, The Wheel and Other Stories. The third novel, The Stone Forest, was published in November 2018, followed by the fourth – Eye of the Rushes – in 2020. In the autumn of 2019 James’s first collection of poetry, Living Places, Passing Lives, was published by Wordcatcher. 

You can connect further with James via his website, Facebook and Twitter.

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The Fiction Cafe Book Club Reading Challenge 2021: The Nesting by C. J. Cooke #BookReview

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A house stands alone in the woods.

Deep in the forests of Norway, Lexi finds a fresh start with Tom and his two young daughters, working as their new nanny.

The darkness creeps closer.

But Lexi is telling lies, and she’s not the only one. This family has a history – and this place has a past. Something was destroyed to build this house, and in the dark, dark woods, a menacing presence lurks.

Lexi must protect the children in her care – but protect them from what?

Challenge number 9 was ‘Read a book that is on the TBR of a Fiction Cafe Member.’ As The Nesting by C. J. Cooke was on the TBR of Charlene Mattson, and also on my NetGalley shelf, it seemed like the obvious choice. Two birds, one stone and all that. I actually listened to the audiobook, narrated by Aysha Kala, which is a great option if you are considering it. The narration was excellent.

This book is a really interesting mix of gothic fairytale, environmental parable and exploration of depression. It is dreamy and ethereal and dark and scary, and surreal all at the same time. The threads are so tightly and cleverly woven together by the author that, even by the end, you won’t be quite sure what is real and what has been a dream.

The book is told through the voices of a number of people. Troubled Lexi, running from her demons and her problems, finds herself hiding out in Norway, pretending to be someone she isn’t in an effort to find a life better than the one she has been living. Tom, battling the forces of nature in a remote Norwegian forest to balance building his beloved wife’s dream holiday home with protecting this unspoilt wilderness. And Aurelia, feeling isolated in the aftermath of her second daughter’s birth and haunted by the ghosts of the Norwegian forest. Each of them experiences supernatural events in the dark, Norwegian forest and the remote fjord, but which are real, and which are products of troubled minds.

The dive into Norwegian folklore and stories was the part that most drew me to this book, because anything along those lines fascinates me. I loved the way that the author wove them in to the narrative of the novel, and used them to make commentary on the impact of human beings on the planet and its non-human inhabitants without being preachy. It was also a clever way to explore why we are drawn to stories of darkness to explain things that we are afraid to confront inside ourselves.

Aside from these themes, this is just a cracking good story that is a compelling read. What is actually happening out there in the Norwegian forest? What is Aurelia really experiencing, and what is just a result of the problems that can afflict women after child birth that can go unnoticed and unrecognised by those around her? Is Lexi’s past going to come back to haunt her? Is Tom everything he seems to be? I was eager every time to get back to listening to the book, and it made some mundane chores seem a lot less arduous, I was so engrossed.

The Nesting is a great book for anyone who loves the gothic and the mythic, but also for anyone interested in the human brain and the things it can do for us when we are thrown off balance. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and will definitely be recommending it to a few friends.

The Nesting is out now in all formats and you can buy it here.

About the Author

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C J Cooke (Carolyn Jess-Cooke) lives in Glasgow with her husband and four children. C J Cooke’s works have been published in 23 languages and have won many awards. She holds a PhD in Literature from the Queen’s University of Belfast and is currently Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, where she researches creative writing interventions for mental health. Two of her books are currently optioned for film.

Connect with Carolyn:

Website: https://carolynjesscooke.com/

Facebook: C J Cooke Books

Twitter: @CJessCooke

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Book Review: The Castaways by Lucy Clarke #BookReview

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A SECRET BEACH.
A HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME.
WISH YOU WERE HERE?

THINK AGAIN…

It should be like any other holiday.

Beautiful beaches.
Golden sunsets.
Nothing for miles.

You’ll never want to leave.
Until you can’t…

This is one of those books you want to pick up when you have a delicious stretch of uninterrupted reading time ahead and you want to really lose yourself in a book that is going to transport you to another time and place and keep you glued to the page. Don’t pick this book up if you only have little snippets of reading time because, believe me, once you get into this book, you won’t want to put it down.

The book is told from the alternating viewpoints of two sisters, Lori and Erin, and two timelines. Lori, in the then, and Erin, in the now. The main driver of the book is the mystery of what happened to the plane and the people who were on it, but it also explores family dynamics, survivor guilt and what priorities in life drive us to do the things we do. This elevates it beyond a simple thriller to a much more interesting and thought-provoking read.

The author’s imagining of how it would be to be involved in a terrifying accident that leaves you stranded in a remote place with people who are strangers, the descent into barbarism and self-interest, how suspicion and paranoia develop, and what the removal of the comforts and trappings of society reveals about our basest needs and desires, feels real and frightening. You will find yourself stranded on that isolated island with them, going through all the things they are feeling. It really is an immersive read in this respect and it felt like the author had taken herself to that place while she was writing, it came across as authentic (as far as someone who has never been marooned can judge anyway!)

On the other hand, being inside the mind of family, back home in safety and a ‘normal’ life is not much more comfortable. The grappling with not knowing what has happened to your loved one, feelings of guilt at not having been with them and constantly tortured by the last things you said to each other before they disappeared. How the lives of survivors can be destroyed as much as the missing, despite the fact that they seems to be carrying on as normal on the surface. It is a fascinating delve into how the ripples of disasters spread far beyond the people involved and echo down the years, especially where there are no answers as to what happened.

The way the author slowly reveals the details of what happened to both the reader and the family members left behind keeps the tension elevated and the reader eager to turn the pages. The book did not end at all how I expected, and I was fully satisfied with how the book panned out by the time I closed the back cover on the story. I feel like the author has crafted a very taut, well-plotted, fully imagined thriller with characters that remain true to themselves to the end. An extremely rewarding read.

The Castaways is out now in hardback, ebook and audiobook formats and will be published in paperback on 8 July. You can buy a copy here.

About the Author

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Lucy Clarke is the bestselling author of six psychological thrillers – THE SEA SISTERS, A SINGLE BREATH, THE BLUE/NO ESCAPE, LAST SEEN, YOU LET ME IN and THE CASTAWAYS. Her debut novel was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick, and her books have been sold in over 20 territories.

Lucy is a passionate traveller and fresh air enthusiast. She’s married to a professional windsurfer and, together with their two young children, they spend their winters travelling and their summers at home on the south coast of England. Lucy writes from a beach hut.

Connect with Lucy:

Website: http://www.lucy-clarke.com/

Facebook: Lucy Clarke Author

Twitter: @lucyclarkebooks

Instagram: @lucyclarke_author

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The Fiction Cafe Book Club Reading Challenge 2021: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett #BookReview

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The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ story lines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

I am so behind with the reading and reviews for this challenge but I am determined to catch up! So today I am reviewing the book I chose for the eighth category in the challenge, ‘Read a book by a BAME author’ and the book I have chosen is one of the top books from 2020, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

(For those with very eagle eyes, I have missed out category seven, I know. I had to stop reading the book I chose for that category part way through because of the demands of blog tour books and haven’t had chance to go back to it yet. It’s coming soon, I promise!)

This book is an eye-opening exploration of what it meant to grow up in the segregated south of the US in the 1950s and the practice of ‘passing,’ where light-skinned people of colour would pass themselves off as white to avoid the stigma and hardship inflicted on their community. The lengths that people would go to, the sacrifices they were prepared to make, and the consequences of these decisions that echo down the generations are all addressed in this novel with tenderness, understanding and compassion in a book that is beautiful and illuminating but deeply melancholy to read.

Desiree and Stella Vignes are identical twins growing up in the small Southern town of Mallard, where being a light-skinned person of colour is revered and those with darker-skin are shunned. Both sisters leave the town for New Orleans, but then their paths diverge. Desiree later returns to Mallard with her daughter, who has very dark skin, whilst Stella lives as a white woman, having to hide her real self from everyone around her, including her own daughter. However, order is disrupted and secrets come to light when the cousins unexpectedly meet.

This book examines in detail the idea of transformation. Aside from Stella, there are other characters in the book who start off as one thing and, through determination and force of will, morph and mould themselves into something different, all for different reasons. The author looks at how these metamorphoses are viewed by the people around them, and how being true to yourself, your identity, ambitions and desires, can alienate you from the people you love. Are these sacrifices worth it? Which course has made the person happiest in the end? What does it mean to really be true to oneself? How does it feel to hate the body you were born in? To be persecuted for merely being who you are?

The author’s writing is absolutely stunning, and I thought she explored every facet of the story and the themes with real care and deep thought, which provoked the same reaction in me, as the reader. The book is s slow, gentle but demanding read, not one which is full of action and startling event. It is entirely character-focused, which I loved but I know does not appeal to everyone. The themes addressed are complex, sometime controversial and make for an uneasy emotional reaction. It was a book that left me examining my thoughts and feelings on the issues for a long while afterwards, and I know it is a book that will linger in the back of my mind for a long while, and one I will probably return to soon. I listened to it as an audiobook – the narrator did a great job – and I fully intend to return to it again in physical format to see if there is more I can get from it.

I understand fully why this book has been the hit it has and why it was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize For Fiction. A memorable and accomplished novel that really rewards and provoked the reader.

The Vanishing Half is out now in all formats and you can find your copy here or at all good book shops.

About the Author

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Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan. Her debut novel The Mothers was a New York Times bestseller, and her second novel The Vanishing Half was an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. She is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and in 2021, she was chosen as one of Time’s Next 100 Influential People. Her essays have been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.

Connect with Brit:

Website: https://britbennett.com/

Facebook: Brit Bennett Writes

Twitter: @britrbennett

Instagram: @britrbennett

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