The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke #BookReview #BlogTour (@VictoriaCooke10) @HQDigitalUK @RaRaResources #Giveaway #RachelsRandomResources #TheSecretToFallingInLove

The Secret to Falling In Love

I’m really happy to be taking part today in the book birthday blog blitz for The Secret to Falling in Love by Victoria Cooke. Happy book birthday, Victoria! My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources to inviting me to take part in the blitz and to the publisher for my gifted copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

There is a chance to enter a giveaway further down the post, so make sure you enter.

TheSecretToFallingInLove_V2 copy

Lifestyle journalist and thirty-something singleton Melissa hashtags, insta’s and snapchats her supposedly fabulous life on every social media platform there is.

That is until she wakes up on her birthday, another year older and still alone, wondering if for all her internet dates, love really can be found online? The challenge: go technology free for a whole month!

Forced to confront the reality of her life without its perfect filters, Melissa knows she needs to make some changes. But when she bumps into not one, but two gorgeous men, without the use of an app, she believes there could be hope for love offline.

If only there was a way to choose the right guy for her…

This was a really great, fun, light-hearted read for an idle moment where you don’t want anything too taxing but still want a novel with great plot and enticing writing.

The main character of Melissa seems not to take life too seriously, at least as far as anything outside of work is concerned, until she hits her mid-thirties and starts to worry about being left on the shelf. This feeling isn’t helped by a mother desperate to marry her off to the next available bachelor she happens across!

Cue a modern-day hunt for love via dating sites, Tinder, set ups by friends and chance encounters in coffee shops, whilst Melissa tries to discover the best way to find a partner in the twenty-first century. Her search is further hampered when she forced to go analogue for a whole month for a magazine article, and her man-hunting means are severely depleted. How did people find love in the dark ages?

Victoria’s writing style is very direct and down to earth, as is the main character, Melissa, and I fell in love with both of them. Melissa is a modern woman after my own heart, the person you’d love to have a friend, confident and sassy but not immune to romance or loneliness. I think a lot of us will recognise some part of themselves in Melissa, which really helps emotionally involve the reader in the book. I really loved watching her fumbling along, trying out different ways to find love, knowing as I do that you can’t find it, it finds you when the moment is right (I am an old romantic at heart!)

Add in to this the fact that this book is absolutely hilarious, and it will be a big hit with most readers. There were so many parts where I actually laughed out loud and The Irishman kept asking me what I was laughing at. Some of it was down to the scrapes that Melissa got herself in, some was just Victoria’s excellent turn of phrase, but this book really made me chuckle, so if you fancy something that is going to make you crack a smile, this is the book for you.

The setting is mostly metropolitan Manchester, so good for anyone who enjoys a book which acknowledges that there are cities outside the capital, but also in a remote area of Scotland. Both areas are brought clearly to life and are integral to the story.

Were there any negatives? I found one of the characters a little cartoonish and the ending felt a little rushed, but these are minor quibbles. I really enjoyed this book from start to finish. It was funny, honest, interesting and believable, with a big dollop of romance. If anyone is looking for the perfect read for Valentine’s Day, look no further, here it is. Start dropping hints to you other half now. Would go perfectly with some pink prosecco and a nice box of chocolates.

The Secret to Falling in Love is out now and you can get a copy here.


The Secret to Falling In Love Giveaway Prize

Win an ARC of The Secret to Falling in Love and a box of Belgian Truffles (UK Only) by clicking on the Rafflecopter link below:


*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

About the Author

Victoria Cooke Image

Victoria Cooke grew up in the city of Manchester before crossing the Pennines in pursuit of a career in education. She now lives in Huddersfield with her husband and two young daughters and when she’s not at home writing by the fire with a cup of coffee in hand, she loves working out in the gym and travelling. Victoria was first published at the tender age of eight by her classroom teacher who saw potential in a six-page story about an invisible man. Since then she’s always had a passion for reading and writing, undertaking several writers’ courses before completing her first novel, ‘The Secret to Falling in Love,’ in 2016

Connect with Victoria:

Facebook: Victoria Cooke Author

Twitter: @VictoriaCooke10

Instagram: @victoriacookewriter

Friday Night Drinks with….Jo Furniss @Jo_Furniss @AmazonPub #FridayNightDrinks #PricePromotion #KindlePromo


Tonight we have a change to our advertised guest, and I am delighted to welcome to the blog the author of one of my Top Ten Books of 2018Jo Furniss. 


Welcome, Jo. Thank you for joining me for drinks this evening, a little earlier than expected! First things first, what are you drinking?

Day or night, I do enjoy a nice cup of tea. But as it’s a special occasion, being here on your blog, I’m going to have a Bloody Mary with plenty of spice. Thanks.

The one cocktail that I can’t stomach, although The Irishman loves them. I’ll have a mojito, I think. 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’d nip to Singapore on my own private Concorde, and I’d take you to an outdoor eatery called Gluttons Bay, where we’d combine cheap local street food with a Michelin-star view of the city. Drinks-wise, we’d switch to Tiger beer or a fresh coconut.


That would be amazing, I have always wanted to go to Singapore, but haven’t made it there yet. 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?

That would be Roald Dahl because I think he’d be a bit of a rogue. And Margaret Atwood because, you know, hero!

That would be a great combo, I’m sure they both would have a lot of wonderful stories. So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

I’m currently writing my third novel, which has no title yet. That’s freaking me out a bit, the lack of title! But I do have a first draft. This novel is another domestic thriller. It tells the story of a young American journalist, Rose, who moves to the UK to live with her British husband in the village where he grew up. She’s never visited Dylan’s homeland before, and she soon discovers that both Dylan and his family are unpopular – pariahs, even – and ostracized from the local community. When a body is found in the grounds of his family home, fingers point at Dylan, and Rose has to use her investigative skills to unearth his secrets. 

I started writing this book last year, shortly after I moved back to the UK after 15 years abroad. So it’s about those links with home, relationships with people in your past, and how much we change – really, deeply change – over the years. 

That sounds really interesting. Your books have each been so different, so far. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Once upon a time, I would have said that my biggest challenge was writing my first novel, All The Little Children. But, now, I feel that this third novel is my biggest challenge yet. On a practical level, I’m writing to deadline for the first time. And there’s more to prove, more to lose. The pressure is on!

My proudest moment, for sure, was seeing that first novel in print and online. It went to #1 in the US Kindle Store and became one of the biggest-selling Kindle titles of 2017. Most importantly, it reached so many readers and I love that human connection.

All The Little Children Cover

You forgot to include being in my Top Ten Books of 2018 as one of your proudest moments, LOL. 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!

Well, it would be nice to win awards and plaudits and top the best-seller charts and have Netflix adaptations and all the hoop-la… but mainly I’d just like to write a novel that I’m really proud of, with characters that stick in the reader’s mind as though they’d met in real life.

Well, you already achieved that for me. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

I’m excited about this third novel – the One With No Title (which makes it sound like an episode of Friends). I’m at the stage where I’m fleshing out the characters, bringing them off the page, and that’s my favourite part of the writing process.

On the side, I’m also hoping to write a story for my son. A couple of years ago, I wrote one for my daughter and had it printed into a book, just for her. So now I owe him one! I’ve recently dreamed up a story so now I need to write it. It’s fun to write something without worrying whether it’s good enough to be published – it’s just between me and my kids.

That is such a lovely thing to do! 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?

Top of bucket list is the Galapagos Islands. I will get there eventually. I’ve been lucky enough to live on three different continents and I’ve traveled a lot for work and pleasure, so I have many favourite places that hold wonderful memories. If I could click my fingers right now and teleport, I would be snorkeling alongside my kids somewhere in Indonesia where the sea is so shallow and warm, you have to get out to cool down! Generally speaking, I like being warm.


Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

I was once arrested on suspicion of spying.

Okay, that is a story that needs further development if we ever meet in real life! 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’?

Only one?! That’s hard. I recently read the auto-biography of one of the UK’s top forensic pathologists – Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd – and it was a great insight into the science and art of the autopsy. We often read about the post mortem examination in books, but here’s the real thing!


This would not be my usual taste in books, even non-fiction, but I will add it to my TBR. 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?

Eat carbs before drinking. Alternate alcohol and water. And if you end up with a hangover despite this excellent advice, then call in a favour and get someone else to look after your kids for the day. Kids plus hangover equals hell.

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

We’d go to lunch with a load of inspiring writers. Or just read their books on the flight back from Singapore.

Jo, thank you so much for being on the blog tonight, it has been lovely to talk to you and find out more about you and I can’t wait to read The Book With No Title when it comes out.

You can find my review of Jo’s debut novel, All The Little Children, here. Anyone who enjoyed Bird Box will like this book. This book was an international best-seller and one of my Top Ten Books of 2018. Jo’s latest novel is called The Trailing Spouse – a domestic thriller set in the hothouse expat world of Singapore.


Amanda Bonham moved halfway around the world to be with the man she loves. Although expat life in Singapore can be difficult, Edward Bonham is a dream husband and a doting father to his teenage daughter, Josie.

But when their maid dies in an apparent suicide—and Amanda discovers the woman was pregnant and hiding a stash of drugs prescribed to Edward—she can’t help but wonder if her perfect husband has a fatal flaw. And if he can’t resist temptation under their own roof, what does he get up to when he travels?

Camille Kemble also has questions for Edward. Recently returned to Singapore, Camille is determined to resolve a family mystery. Amid a jumble of faded childhood memories, she keeps seeing Edward’s handsome face. And she wants to know why.

For one woman, the search for answers threatens everything she has. For another, it’s the key to all she lost. Both will follow his trail of secrets into the darkness to find the truth.

You can get a copy of The Trailing Spouse here and it is currently available on a Kindle promo deal of £1 in the UK and $2 in Australia until 14 February.

After spending a decade as a broadcast journalist for the BBC, Jo Furniss gave up the glamour of night shifts to become a freelance writer and serial expatriate. Originally from the UK, she lived in Switzerland and Cameroon, and currently resides with her family in Singapore.

As a journalist, Jo has worked for numerous online outlets and magazines, including Monocle, The Economist, Business Traveller, Expat Living (Singapore) and Swiss News. Jo has also edited books for a Nobel Laureate and the Palace of the Sultan of Brunei. She has a Distinction in MA Professional Writing from Falmouth University. In 2015 she founded—an online literary magazine for writers in Singapore.

If you would like to find out more about Jo and her writing, connect with her on social media:


Facebook: Jo Furniss Author

Twitter: @Jo_Furniss

Instagram: @jofurnissauthor

Please come back to the blog next Friday when I will be having drinks with author, Graeme Cumming.

Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman #BookReview #BlogTour (@LucyColemanAuth) @Aria_Fiction @RaRaResources #RachelsRandomResources #Giveaway #SummerOnTheItalianLakes #NetGalley

The Writing Retreat on the Italian Lake

It is my turn on the tour today for this lovely summery-looking novel by Lucy Coleman, Summer on the Italian Lakes. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for offering me a place on the tour and for Aria Fiction for my complimentary copy of the book via NetGalley, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

Make sure you scroll down below the review to enter the wonderful giveaway.

Lakes yellow

Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping – and steamy – love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling… Not only does she have writer’s block, but she’s a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.

So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer’s retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda – owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson – could this be just the thing to fire up Brie’s writing – and romantic – mojo?

Brie’s sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer’s very own happy-ever-after…

Don’t you just want to dive in to this gorgeous scene? I know I do, I can feel the sunshine beaming out from cover and lifting the winter chill.

This is another lovely, warm book from Lucy Coleman, who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. This time we are following author, Brianna Middleton, as she takes up the mantle of writing tutor on a summer retreat in the Italian Lakes, whilst considering her own writing path and lack of romantic life – since the heroines in her books have way more going on in the relationship department that she has. Will meeting handsome fellow author, Arran Jamieson kickstart her romantic mojo in more ways than one?

Lucy always writes really likeable and relatable protagonists and Brianna is no exception. She is shown from the beginning of the book to be an intelligent, ambitious but possible lonely, and definitely lost, woman that you can’t possibly help but feel for. She is very open and honest with the struggles she is having, and we start off with a clear picture of what is wrong in her life and that something definitely needs to change.

Cue a fortuitous opening at a writing retreat in a villa on the shores of Lake Garda run by military historian and author, Arran Jamieson, who has problems of his own. They share an agent, who is hoping that her two clients may be able to help each other out.

The author does a great job of portraying a beautiful, lakeside setting that will draw the reader right in to the heart of Lake Garda and its environs, touching every sense with her vivid descriptions and making you wish you were there as you discover the area through Brianna’s eyes. It is the perfect read for a chilly winter weekend and I could practically feel my levels of Vitamin D rising as I read and long to book an Italian escape of my own as soon as possible.

As a writer, I also found the insight into the whole writing process that the author depicts absolutely fascinating and it brought me even closer to the character. I don’t know how much of what is described actually reflects Lucy’s own process – I’m guessing quite a lot as it would be hard to describe someone else’s writing routine so vividly – but to get a glimpse in to how other authors might work is intriguing and inspiring (although some activities I’m assuming are pure imagination and NOT part of Lucy’s daily writing routine, or maybe they are!) Anyway, I think authors and wannabe authors will really find this book has an added dimension of interest for them.

The romantic arc develops rather rapidly, it did quite take my breath away how fast it moved, but this is such a heart-warming, fun, sunshine-y, positive read that it would be positively churlish to put forward any real criticism of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish – setting, characters, plot and themed. I can’t see that anyone who enjoys this type of book will not like it. Highly recommended.

Summer on the Italian Lakes is out now and you can buy a copy here.


Writing Retreat Prize

For your chance to win a chocolate dipping set, click on the Raffleopter link below:


*Terms and Conditions –UK entries only.  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 Rachel’s Random Resources reserves 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 Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

To follow the rest of the tour, please check out the marvellous blogs as detailed on the poster below:

Summer on the Italian Lakes Full Tour Banner

About the Author


From interior designer to author, Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing, or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love and relationships.


Facebook: Linn B Halton Author

Twitter: @LucyColemanAuth and @linnbhalton



Bones In The Nest by Helen Cadbury #BookReview @TheFictionCafe #FictionCafeBookClub #FictionCafeReadingChallenge2019 #amreading #bookbloggers #challenges


The Chasebridge Killer is out; racial tension is rising and the mutilated body of a young Muslim man is found in the stairwell of a tower block in Doncaster. As he gets drawn into the case, Sean Denton’s family life and his police job become dangerously entwined. Meanwhile a young woman is trying to piece her life back together, but someone is out there; someone who will never let her forget what she’s done.

This is the second book I have chosen in the 2019 Reading Challenge for my online book club, The Fiction Cafe Book Club.  You can find details of what the challenge entails in this post. The second category is ‘A book set in the town in which you were born,‘ which in my case is Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

This is the second of the Sean Denton books I have read. I read the first, To Catch A Rabbit, which won a couple of awards, last year and enjoyed it and, in my opinion, this one is even better.

Sean Denton has now graduated from Police Community Support Officer to full police constable now, which gives him, and consequently the reader, a more central role in the investigation this time around. This investigation also centres around racial tensions, whether a person deserves a second chance after committing a horrendous crime, and a possible honour killing, so the topics are very current and relevant, even though this book is now a couple of years old. The author has also continued the aspects I really enjoyed from the first book, namely Sean’s family, work and romantic relationships, and the inclusion of these give him a real humanity which allows the reader to get close to him and become invested in his journey.

It is novel and interesting to have a very rooky investigator at the centre of a book of this nature, and there are certain aspects of his junior position that provide interesting plot points in the story, as he has to assert himself and find his place when manipulated by the hierarchy. He is a very warm, honest and likeable character that you can’t help but want to succeed. He also has certain disadvantages and divided loyalties to overcome – there is a lot going on in the book.

Although not a Doncaster native, the author did live in York and obviously knows and likes the Yorkshire folk and has a great grasp of the region. Although the main setting of the book, the Chasebridge estate, is fictional, there are a lot of allusions to real life areas of Doncaster and the town is depicted fairly and accurately but warmly and kindly in the book. I felt well disposed towards the author and her depiction of my birthplace having read it, despite it being rife with crime!

This book was a great read, pacy and entertaining with an enjoyable, gripping plot and interesting characters. I am looking forward to reading the third book in the series and think it is a great shame that we have lost an author who was clearly talented.

You can get a copy of Bones in the Nest by Helen Cadbury, here, along with the first book in the Sean Denton series, To Catch A Rabbit and book three, published posthumously, Race To The Kill.

About the Author


Helen Cadbury was a British crime fiction author, poet and playwright, whose debut novel, To Catch a Rabbit, won the Northern Crime Award, was an Amazon Rising Star, and was chosen as one of the Yorkshire Post’s top novels, since the millennium, to reflect the region. It introduces Sean Denton, a young Police Community Support Officer, uncovering the murky truth behind the death of a trafficked young woman and the disappearance of a local man.

Her second novel, Bones in the Nest, follows Sean Denton back to the Chasebridge Estate, where racial tensions are rising and the notorious Chasebridge Killer has just been released from prison.

Before writing fiction Helen was an actor and teacher, including spending five years teaching in prisons. Sadly, Helen died in 2017 aged 52 after a battle with breast cancer.

Tempted by….Avalinah’s Books: Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Bali Kaur Jaswal @AvalinahsBooks @HarperCollinsUK #EroticStoriesForPunjabiWidows #bookbloggers #amreading #readingrecommendations


Every woman has a secret life…

When Nikki takes a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the women of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, she’s shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals.

Yet to her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty – these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. But as they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the illicit nature of the class may place them all in danger.

East meets west and tradition clashes with modernity in a thought-provoking cross-cultural novel that might make you look again at the women in your life…

Today’s Tempted by… is this risqué sounding book, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows by Bali Kaur Jaswal, as recommended by Evelina in this post on her blog, Avalinah’s Books. Look at the cover! Take in the title! Why would you need any further incentive to buy the book than those two things? But, it was also the Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick for March 2018, so now you definitely want to read it, right?

No? Am I the only person in the room with a giant girl crush on Reese Witherspoon?


Okay, so you need another reason to buy this book. Well read Evelina’s review, because she sells the book brilliantly. Her review is so in depth, prising out all the themes and issues and attractions of the book, without giving away any spoilers. I tell you, writing a review with this much detailed insight that is spoiler-free is a skill, nay a talent, and this is a masterclass in how to do it.

I love the sound of this book because it covers so many issues that fascinate me – what it means to be a woman, community, diversity, family relationships and finding a sense of self in a world that often makes no sense. From this review, it also sounds like it does it brilliantly, thoughtfully but with a sense of comedy. I’m sold, I don’t know about you.

If you have never stumbled across Evelina’s blog before, you absolutely must check it out. This review is a great example of the fantastic content you can expect. There is such a great mix of book reviews and topical discussion posts and her personality and passion for what she is discussing shines through in every post. I love her very individual and chatty tone of reviewing that makes her posts stand out; you know instantly who is writing them. Seriously, take a look, you’ll love her.

If you have been inspired to pick up a copy of Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows yourself, you can buy a copy here.

The Suspect by Fiona Barton #BookReview #BlogTour (@figbarton) @TransworldBooks @ThomasssHill @PenguinRHUK @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TheSuspect


When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.

Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…

I have been very excited for this tour so it has felt like it has been a long time coming but the day has finally arrived when it is my turn on the blog tour for The Suspect by Fiona Barton. Huge thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for offering me a place and to the author and publisher for my gifted copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.

This is the first book I have read by Fiona Barton, although I have had a copy of The Widow sat on my TBR for an embarrassingly long time (like most things on my TBR). Why have I waited so long to pick one up, I am now asking myself? This was the most enthralling, exciting and heart-stopping book I have read in a long while.

The story of two young girls going missing whilst travelling has to be every parent’s worst nightmare so, as a mother myself, I was immediately in the shoes of the parents of the missing girls; feeling their pain and confusion and riding that rollercoaster with them. However, things begin to get very interesting when a second parent-child relationship is thrown in to muddy the mix. It is difficult to say more without throwing in spoilers, so you are going to have to trust me on this – if you are a parent, this book is going to may you feel tense all the way through.

The structure of the book is interesting, told as it is from the viewpoints of one of the missing girls, her mother, the chief detective on the case and a reporter who is following the investigation very closely. The narrative jumps between these viewpoints very quickly but not in a specific order, so you have to pay close attention to begin with but the different points of view are clearly labelled and you soon get familiar with the different voices and find it easy to follow. This method of telling the story is a very effective way of revealing different plot points at relevant stages, but also giving the reader different windows on to the investigation. I really enjoyed it.

The book is set in two locations – in the UK where the missing girls’ parents are suffering their agonies and the UK police are investigating, and in Thailand where the girls have gone missing, which adds an extra level of interest to the story for readers who like to read books set in overseas locations (as I do) and the Thailand portion is very well portrayed and authentic. I really enjoyed the contrast between the way the investigation was carried out in Thailand and in the UK. The flow between the two locations was seamless and you would think that the author was equally familiar with both locations. I need to get some research tips from Fiona Barton for my own writing.

This book is full of, excuse my French, WTF moments, as all good thrillers are. There are a number of unexpected things that happen, and that happen at really startling times. I honestly raced through this book in a day because I could not put it down, and my heart was racing at points, as if I were personally living the story. The ending, for me, raised some interesting moral and personal questions, and I would be interested to see how this affects some of the main characters going forwards, if they are included in any of the author’s future books.

All in all, this is a slick, intelligent and gripping psychological thriller that covers some interesting personal and moral questions. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this genre, in fact I already told my sister to read it.

The Suspect is out now and you can buy a copy here.

If you would like to see what my fellow bloggers made of the book, please follow the tour as detailed below:


About the Author


Fiona Barton’s debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in thirty-five countries and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Born inCambridge, Fiona currently lives in south-west France.

Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the DailyTelegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.

While working as a journalist, Fiona reported on many high-profile criminal casesand she developed a fascination with watching those involved, their body language and verbal tics. Fiona interviewed people at the heart of these crimes, from the guilty to their families, as well as those on the periphery, and found it wasthose just outside the spotlight who interested her most . . .

Connect with Fiona:


Facebook: Fiona Barton Author

Twitter: @figbarton

Friday Night Drinks with….Elaine Everest @ElaineEverest @RNATweets @panmacmillan @peterjamesuk #FridayNightDrinks


Tonight, I am delighted to be having Friday Night Drinks with author and fellow member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association….Elaine Everest.


Elaine, thank you so much for taking the time to join me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

Thank you for inviting me for drinks, Julie. A glass of Prosecco would go down a treat!

Dry January is finally over, so joining you in a glass of Prosecco would seem the perfect way to celebrate. Cheers! 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?

It would be delightful to meet in real life. After careful thought, I’d take you along to one of the writing classes I run. My novel writing students at The Write Place in Hextable, Kent would love to meet you. We often celebrate publishing successes with cake and bubbly so with luck you could celebrate with us. The writers also like to meet real life bloggers so there would be a list of questions for you to answer!

That sounds great, I love meeting other writers. 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?

Being selfish I would like to invite along Winston Churchill to quiz him about WW2 as he does pop up in my books occasionally as my characters are extremely pro Churchill. The second person would have to be a writer, and who better than crime writer Peter James. I’m hooked on his books and we share the same publisher although he is oblivious to my existence!

Interesting choices! Maybe Peter will see this, who knows? So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. What have you got going on? How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

At the moment I am writing about Woolworths once again. This time we leave the war years behind and visit 1947 and 1948. I’m busy researching what went on at that time in history and how it would affect my characters. 

Sounds like fun but a lot of work. I have always been immensely in awe of people who write detailed historical fiction and all the research that entails. I have an idea for a dual timeline plot for a future book but the idea is a little intimidating, I have to admit. What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

My proudest moment has been when readers contact me to say how much they love my stories and to share their own experiences of working in Woolworths. Ten years after this iconic store closed it is still thought of with fondness. My biggest challenge has been not to disappoint my readers and to make sure I don’t fabricate what went on at that time. Whether it is worldwide events, local news, or Woolies itself I must stay true to the time and the people – no pressure!

Rather you than me, I know how critical we readers can be if we spot incorrect details. (I almost threw a book last year after the writer twisted a fundamental point of UK law, only the fact of it being on my Kindle stopped me!) 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!

My goodness what a question! I’d like to be taken seriously as an author of historical fiction. So often saga writers are not taken as seriously as writers of other genres. Also, we have this tag of being ‘romantic writers’ with a pink and frothy image. Many of my friends in the writing world will agree that sagas and romance are seen on every supermarket shelf and are often found in the best seller charts so it is time to take us all seriously! So if I may I’d like to share my wish with my fellow writers if that is okay?

Of course, I agree that romance writers and saga writers do not seem to get the respect they deserve, given how popular those genres are. What are you currently working on that you are really excited about?

As mentioned earlier, I’ve rolled up my sleeves to get stuck into Wedding Bells at Woolworths (a working title) as it has to be filed with my publisher, Pan Macmillan, in mid April. However, the first book in my new series about the women who worked as Nippies in the Joe Lyons teashops on the Kent coast will be published on May 2nd. The Teashop Girls is already available for pre order and has the most fabulous cover, thanks to the designers at Pan Macmillan – such a great team to work with. Already I have ideas for book two in the series and beginning to feel excited about taking Rose, Lily an Katie into 1941…

As for further book ideas – there are so many that I need more hours in the day.


It is early 1940 and World War Two has already taken a hold on the country. Rose Neville works as a Lyon’s Teashop Nippy on the Kent coast alongside her childhood friends, the ambitious Lily and Katie, whose fiancé is about to be posted overseas in the navy. As war creates havoc in Europe, Rose relies on the close friendship of her friends and her family.

When Capt. Benjamin Hargreaves walks into her life, Rose is immediately drawn to him. But as Lyon’s forbids courting between staff and customers, she tries to put the handsome officer out of her mind.

In increasingly dark and dangerous times, Rose fears there may not be time to waste. But is the dashing captain what he seems?

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’m one of those people who has always owned dogs – many dogs – and along with my husband we have exhibited, bred and been involved in the dog world since way back when… When we’ve had at least half a dozen Old English Sheepdogs in the house, holidays and travel is spent going to dog shows and staying in cottages in the UK where we have enjoyed many lovely holidays. However, having just the one dog at the moment – Henry is a Polish Lowland Sheepdog – and as I hit a ‘special’ birthday at Christmas, I will soon be striking something off my bucket list. Many many years ago, when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I went to Switzerland on a school trip. It has always been my dream to return so we are doing that this coming summer. We will be travelling by train from St Pancras station on a tour that will take in many places that I want to show my husband. Henry will be going into kennels – sshh, he thinks it is a luxury holiday home for precious pooches!


That sounds wonderful, I hope you enjoy the trip and that Henry is happy in his luxury dog hotel! Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself that people might not know about you.

My goodness I’m such a blabbermouth that I’ve told most of my secrets. Hmm I used to be a Brown Owl and run a Brownie pack in Erith, Kent – very much as one of my characters does in the Woolworths series. When I married in 1972 as an innocent eighteen year old (with a mortgage), all the Brownies arrived and stood to attention as we left the church. Not a major secret but a happy memory!

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 like to take you back to my childhood year when my parents took us to Ramsgate for two weeks each year – before we graduated to the Isle of Wight. I would accompany my mum to the second hand bookshop where we would spend hours rummaging for hidden gems. This is where I discovered Little Women and to this day can recall the delight of finding a character in that book to identify with. Yes, I wanted to be Jo and write all day and create magical characters. Mum died when I was seventeen but I do hope she knows that this child’s dream came true.  


This is one of my all-time favourite books and I, too, dreamed of being Jo March and writing in my garret, wrapped in a shawl and eating russet apples. So lovely that your dream has come true (minus garret, I assume). 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?

A large cup of tea and a bacon sandwich! I’m not sure if it does cure a hangover but at least I can enjoy the experiment. 

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

I’d make a trip to M&S to purchase some of their yummy pre cooked food and then spend the rest of the weekend reading, eating and watching old movies on television. My husband can walk Henry!

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Julie and cheers! xx

No, thank you for agreeing to come on, I have enjoyed our chat immensely and I hope we can do it for real at an RNA event this year…I will seek you out and pick your brains about historical research! 

Elaine’s Woolworths series, including the latest, A Gift from Woolworths, are out now and you can get a copy here. Elaine’s new book, The Teashop Girls will be published on 2 May and you can pre-order it here.


As the war moves into 1945 the lives of the women of Woolworths continue. When store manager, Betty Billington, announces she is expecting Douglas’s baby her future life is about to change more than she expects.

Freda has fallen in love with the handsome Scottish engineer but will it end happily?

Maisie loves being a mother and also caring for her two nieces although she still has her own dreams. When her brother appears on the scene he brings unexpected danger to the family.

Meanwhile Sarah dreams of her husband’s return and a cottage with roses around the door but Woolworths beckons.

Will our girls sail into times of peace, or will they experience more heartache and sorrow? With a wedding on the horizon, surely only happiness lies ahead – or does it?

Elaine Everest, author of Bestselling novels The Woolworths Girls, The Butlins Girls, Christmas at Woolworths, and Wartime at Woolworths was born and brought up in North West Kent, where many of her books are set. She has been a freelance writer for twenty years and has written widely for women’s magazines and national newspapers, with both short stories and features. Her non-fiction books for dog owners have been very popular and led to broadcasting on radio about our four legged friends. Elaine has been heard discussing many topics on radio from canine subjects to living with a husband under her feet when redundancy looms.

When she isn’t writing, Elaine runs The Write Place creative writing school at The Howard Venue in Hextable, Kent and has a long list of published students. 

Elaine lives with her husband, Michael, and their Polish Lowland Sheepdog, Henry, in Swanley, Kent and is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Crime Writers Association, The Society of Women Writers & Journalists and The Society of Authors.

To find out more about Elaine and her books, join her on social media:

Facebook: Elaine Everest Author

Twitter: @ElaineEverest

Next week, I will be drinking with one of my favourite book bloggers, Jo Park, of Over The Rainbow Book Blog, so make sure you join us.