#BlogTour Little Brown Dog by Paula S. Owen

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Little Brown Dog by Paula S. Owen

About the Author

Paula is something of an accidental novelist. A scientist, with a PhD in climate chemistry, she has spent her career writing, educating, campaigning and fretting about the state of our planet. Her late foray into fiction was down to a serendipitous encounter with an amateur historian at Battersea Arts Centre. The incredulous, but true, story he told, and the themes it portrays, stole her heart and became an obsession. Hence Little Brown Dog was conceived. Paula is Welsh born and bred and now lives in London with her partner and a menagerie of rescue animals. Follow @paulasowen, Visit littlebrowndog.london

About the book

One nameless stray. Two fearless young women. A heroic fight for justice. – It’s 1903, and Britain is desperate for change, but widespread calls for social and gender reform flounder against entrenched misogyny. Navigating this world are best friends Lena Hageby and Eliza Blackwood – two thoroughly modern young women determined to live life on their own terms.

Rumours abound of barbaric experiments taking place within London’s medical schools, and when the women covertly witness a shockingly brutal procedure performed on a semi-conscious dog, they resolve to take down the perpetrator – renowned physiologist Dr William Bayling.

In their fight for justice, the women are drawn into an increasingly vicious ‘David and Goliath’ battle with an all-powerful male medical establishment who will stop at nothing to protect the status quo. But how much are the women prepared to risk? Their friendship, their loves, their freedom, even their lives?

Based on extraordinary true events that shook Edwardian society, Little Brown Dog is a tale simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming. Although a century has passed, it remains a strikingly modern parable of female bravery in speaking truth to power

Review

Lena and Eliza find themselves taking on the machine that is the male dominated society when they try and change the brutal mistreatment of animals in the name of medical science. What seems to them to be a normal reaction to an atrocity, brings forth unlevelled abuse and hatred, and ultimately consequences neither of them are expecting.

I thought was a fascinating story. Kudos to the author for retrieving it from the dusty archives of history, and paying homage to the people brave enough to fight for both regulations and some humanity when it comes to research, vivisection and experiments. Given the vast amount of political changes and fights for independence, and a voice for women, taking place – I suppose it is no wonder that the fate of animals and the statue of the little brown dog have faded into obscurity over the last century.

Owen makes an excellent point about crossing boundaries with animals when it comes to experiments, pain and torture, all in the name of research. If you are willing to do it to a living and breathing being, then you’re not far from crossing the boundary when it comes to the human species. If history has taught us anything, then it is that those lines get blurry really quick, both in the name of research for the greater humanity and personal gain.

Personally I found it rather interesting how much skin in the game the power players and string pullers still have when it comes to said statue. It’s almost as if losing certain battles over a century ago is still a matter of contention for this patriarchal society, which is still seeped in misogyny.

Buy Little Brown Dog at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Honno Welsh Women’s Press pub date 15 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Love Life by Nancy Peach

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Love Life by Nancy Peach.

About the Author

Nancy Peach is a writer of commercial women’s fiction, a mother of three, and an owner of various ridiculous-looking pets including a dog who unexpectedly grew to be the size of a small horse. She is a practicing doctor working for both the NHS and a national cancer charity, and has been writing (in a terribly British, embarrassed, secretive sort of way) for as long as she can remember. 

Nancy has been longlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020 and shortlisted for the Harper Collins / Gransnet competition 2019. Her debut Love Life is published by One More Chapter at HarperCollins. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and is represented by Tanera Simons at Darley-Anderson’ You can find her on Twitter at @Mumhasdementia on Instagram @nancy.peach and Facebook NancyPeach.Writer  

About the book

Dr Alice Carter is no starry-eyed Jane Austen heroine. After all, if your dad left without a backward glance and you found your last boyfriend in bed with another guy, you wouldn’t believe in romance either. And the voices in Alice’s head – you know, the ones that tell you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough – well, these voices are very loud. Very loud indeed. Especially when the proud and disagreeable son of one of her patients starts challenging her every decision.

Edward Russell might have a big job and a posh voice, but Alice is determined not to let him get to her, especially if she can get her inner monologue to stop with the endless self-sabotage. And Edward, it turns out, may be less of a prat than he first appears; he’s certainly handy in a crisis.

In the real world, where gentlemanlike manners and out-of-the-blue declarations of love are a story-book fantasy, it’s up to Alice to decide whose voice to listen to … and how to make her own heard.

Review

Alice is more than unlucky in love – more like a walking train wreck. At least her career is running smoothly, well until someone from the past returns, but unfortunately he doesn’t remember what happened between them. The two of them try to navigate professional and private relationships at the same time with little success

It’s often an emotional read, due to nature of the Alice’s work and the way Edward and Alice are connected, but perhaps more so because Alice is relatable. She is also very lucky have Jane in her ear – just saying.

What I really enjoyed about this concept was the angel and devil on your shoulder element, and as if that wasn’t enough to entertain the reader the author takes it one step further. With an homage to the world of literature, the grand dame of unrequited passion, love and complicated relationships – our angel with words of wisdom is Jane Austen herself. 

To counter the sensible, the prim and the proper is the devil himself – a tv talk show host. A man who revels in the salacious gossip, the misery, failure and misfortune of others. If whilst writing this a certain host of a popular now cancelled show was in mind, then I can only congratulate on the comparison, for he is indeed a pompous, egotistical man who believes himself to be better than others. He would indeed sneer and jeer from the sidelines.

The two figures narrate the life of our lovely doctor, and often influence her actions and words, as she finds herself in constant conversation with the image of her hopes and dreams, and simultaneously the image of her failure and self-doubt. It’s an incredibly clever plot and a delightful read.

Buy Love Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎One More Chapter pub date 16 Sept. 2021. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Chateau by Catherine Cooper

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Chateau by Catherine Cooper. The twisty new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalet

About the Author

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines, specialising in travel. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives in France with her husband and two teenage children.

Her debut thriller The Chalet was a top five Sunday Times bestseller and spent three weeks in the Kindle top 100. The Chateau is her second novel. 

Follow @catherinecooper on Twitter, Visit catherinecooper.net

About the book

A glamorous chateau – Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.

A couple on the brink – The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.

A secret that is bound to come out… Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.

Review

A new life under the slightly shabby interior and slightly pompous exterior of the chateau, what’s not to envy? And yet Nick and Aura have their reasons for leaving a perfect life behind, so when death comes calling they think it’s just bad luck on their part. Why would it be anything other than that?

The hook of this plot is the incident, which is vaguely referred to throughout and the details are drip fed to the readers as we get deeper into the story. It creates this kind of two-tiered experience of the characters. The before and after versions of Nick and Aura – you may find them pleasantly agreeable at first without the extra information, but the vision of the two is slowly corrupted bit by bit. 

That’s part of the draw and the fact the read has almost early 20th century life of the privileged expat about it at times. One does like to buy oneself a chateau  – purely for entertainment purposes don’t you know, right darling?

Without giving too much away about this dark domestic thriller, I think Cooper actually tackles a really valid and current topic within the darkness of the plot. How the actions of one can set a sequence of events in motion, which could have been avoided and yet ultimately ego and misinformation drive a decision towards tragedy.

Buy The Chateau at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins | pub date 2nd September 2021 | PBO Ebook AUDIO. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy by Faye Brann

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy by Faye Brann. Winner of the 2020 Comedy Women in Print Prize.

About the Author

Faye grew up in Essex before running away to drama school. She worked in the West End as a stage carpenter but decided to get a ‘proper job’, for reasons which are still unclear but may have been influenced by Rachel from Friends. After a decade working her way to the heady heights of middle management, Faye met her husband and moved to Dubai where she ditched corporate life for good in favour of having a baby, performing improvised comedy, and gaining an MA from Falmouth University. 

Now back in London with her family, Faye divides her time between performing in musicals with her local theatre company and working as a freelance copyeditor, but her real passion is for writing novels about (and for) kick-ass middle aged women. Her first novel, Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy, won the Comedy Women in Print Unpublished Prize in 2020. Keep in touch with Faye on Instagram and Twitter @writerfaye

About the book 

Vicky Turnbull has never regretted giving up her career for family life in the suburbs. And apart from being outstandingly good at paintball, no one would ever know that in a past life she was an undercover spy and has been trained to kill a man with her bare hands. Not even her husband, and certainly not the other mums at the school gate.

But beneath the school runs and bake sales, Vicky had never quite said goodbye to the past. So, when a newcomer on the PTA sets alarms bells ringing and MI5 comes calling, she’s determined to prove that despite her expanding waistline and love of pink gin, she’s still every bit the cold-eyed special operative. When the assignment gets uncomfortably close to home, Vicky must decide if she has got what the job takes after all, and if home is really where her heart is…

Review

Nothing unusual about the way Vicky plays paintball – I play that way, just saying. To her fellow players, friends and other parents, well they find her James Bond goes loco with a gun and a bit of paint routine quite entertaining.

Little do they know that the mother of three children and the loving wife, well she has an interesting past. The secret squirrel kind of past. She’s a wee bit bored now though, so a part-time job might help to alleviate the boredom or perhaps she should respond to her persistent ex-employers.

I think it goes without saying that this should absolutely be developed into a cosy crime TV series or a hardcore brutal one even. The cosy option would lend itself more to the comedy of the plot though. Planning the school summer fair in the morning and stopping terrorists in their tracks during the afternoon school session, sounds like great fun.

Brann writes the kind of plot that teeters on this curious wishful scenario, which is the reality in Vicky’s case. She is the kind of powerful, and yet down-to-earth kind of character everyone likes to read and experience.

Buy Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins | pub date 2nd September 2021 | PBO Ebook AUDIO. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Take a Moment by Nina Kaye

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Take a Moment by Nina Kaye.

About the Author

Nina Kaye is a contemporary romance author who writes warm, witty and uplifting reads with a deeper edge. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and much adored side-kick, James. In addition to writing, Nina enjoys swimming, gin and karaoke (preferably all enjoyed together in a sunny, seaside destination). Nina has previously published The Gin Lover’s Guide to Dating and has also been a contender for the RNA Joan Hessayson Award. 

Follow @NinaKayeAuthor on Twitter, Visit ninakaye.co.uk

About the book

Life is better lived in the moment – Meet Alex. She has a wonderful fiancé, a job she thrives in, and a best friend she’s known since childhood. Life’s not perfect, but it’s pretty fantastic. Until a shock diagnosis suddenly throws everything off course.

But Alex has never been one to back down from a fight. Now single and unemployed, she packs up and moves from her Glasgow hometown to vibrant Birmingham for a fresh start. In a new job, in a new city, she’s learning all over again what’s important in life.

Friendship, fun and even romance lie just around the corner – but can Alex get out of her own way and learn to just take a moment, and live? A stunning, uplifting romance for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Jo Watson.

Review

Alex is looking forward to marrying the man she loves, her career is on the rise and life is good. Then fate deals her a difficult hand, which makes her question everything and everyone. In turn she sees sides of her family and loved ones she is completely unprepared for and she feels she has to do something drastic to take back control of her life.

I thought this was an interesting way to shine a light on our reactions to certain illnesses and/or disabilities, especially if we are the ones looking in from the outside. This is exactly how discrimination forms, builds and becomes a wave, which ultimately makes the person being discriminated against become even more isolated.

I guess the real core of the story, aside from the rebuilding and coming to terms with a debilitating illness, and finding both friends and loved ones who are there for them regardless – is how much the reactions of the world around them influences their wellbeing, mental health and health in general.

It’s a heartfelt read, one I think many will be able to connect with and perhaps even see a side of the story they were unaware of. Good intentions sometimes hide the truth of the matter.

Buy Take a Moment at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Canelo Escape pub date 9 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com

#BlogTour Wolf Tones by J.J. Marsh

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Wolf Tones by J.J. Marsh.

About the Author

As an English teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, I’ve lived and worked all over Europe. Now I’m a full-time author, publisher and audiobook narrator. My crime novels in the Beatrice Stubbs Series have become international bestsellers.

Psychological dramas Odd Numbers (shortlisted for the 2021 Bookbrunch Selfies Prize) and Wolf Tones dig deep into the world of emotional dependence. The Run and Hide Thrillers chase a hunted woman around the world.

I live in Switzerland with my husband and dog, taking advantage of the landscape, languages, Prosecco and cheese. Follow @JJMarsh1 on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit @jjmarshauthor.com

About the book

You escaped the past. Here comes the present. Fifteen years ago, Rolf was destined for the gutter. His luck has changed. Now a cellist with the Salzburg City Orchestra, he has his dream job and dizzying prospects. All because of her. Smart, sexy, well connected and crazy about him, Leonor is his fantasy woman. She made him and he’ll never forget it. Neither will she.

She chooses Rolf’s diet, his friends, his decisions and career path. She knows best. When does a champion turn controller?

While he submits to domination at home, he struggles at work. The maestro is determined to break down and rebuild his new cellist. Clash after clash shatter Rolf’s confidence until he doubts everything about himself. Then a rumour reaches his ear. Has he misjudged his new friends? Is something more sinister pulling the orchestra’s strings?

Regardless of the drama behind the scenes, the show must go on. It’s the only way to escape his past. A classic artist, Rolf presents the best side of himself, hiding the pain of imperfection. A strategy with devastating results.

Review

Rolf is about to embark upon a dream come true when he manages to get a position with the Salzburg City Orchestra. He relocates to Salzburg with his strongest supporter and his lover, Leonor. His confidence takes a beating when he finds it difficult to adjust and little does he know that is just the beginning of his problems.

In general it left me feeling as if there were areas left to be explored and some potential holes to fill in. How did the two of them meet, what are their backstories, has one been drawn to the other for a specific reason? Why does Leonor seem so invested in Rolf’s life and success – to the point of obsessive even?

The sexual element seemed to just be tossed in for the sake of it – I felt as if it came out of blue. Saying that there was definitely an undertone of lack of consent and a convenient forgetting of safe word, ergo physical and sexual abuse hidden under the category of sexual exploration. In general Rolf appears to be an insecure man who likes to dominate, and yet somehow as the story progresses the lines between victim and perpetrator start to get blurry.

Some of the questions help to form an idea of what is simmering at the core of their relationship, whilst on the outside everything would seem to appear very normal for a couple in love and interested in each other. It wasn’t particularly clear where certain boundaries were crossed by either one or who is guilty of the most malignant attitude – however there is a clear winner towards the end.

It’s a piece that could do with a polish, more clarity and more depth. There were plenty of good ideas and subplots the author dipped into though.

Buy Wolf Tones at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Prewett Bielmann Ltd; pub date 5 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour London Clay by Tom Chivers

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour London Clay: Journeys in the Deep City by Tom Chivers

About the Author

Tom Chivers is a poet and publisher. He is the author of two pamphlets and two full collections of poetry to date, and is the director of the independent press Penned in the Margins. 

In 2008 he was the Bishopsgate Institute’s first writer in residence, and has appeared widely at events and made a number of contributions to radio, including presenting a 30min documentary for Radio 4. He has collaborated with the climate arts organisation Cape Farewell and conducts immersive walking tours of London. Chivers is currently an Associate Artist of the National Centre for Writing. Follow @thisisyogic on Twitter, Visit thisisyogic.com

About the book

Part personal memoir, part lyrical meditation, London Clay takes us deep in to the nooks and crannies of a forgotten city: a hidden landscape long buried underneath the sprawling metropolis. Armed with just his tattered Streetfinder map, author Tom Chivers follows concealed pathways and explores lost islands, to uncover the geological mysteries that burst up through the pavement and bubble to the surface of our streets.

From Roman ruins to a submerged playhouse, abandoned Tube stations to ancient riverbeds, marshes and woodlands, this network of journeys combined to produce a compelling interrogation of London’s past. London Clay examines landscape and our connection to place, celebrates urban edge lands: in-between spaces where the natural world and the city mingle, and where ghosts of the deep past can be felt as a buzzing in the skull. It is also a personal account of growing up in London, and of overcoming loss through the layered stories of the capital.

Written in rich and vivid prose, London Clay will inspire readers to think about what lies beneath their feet, and by doing so reveal new ways of looking at the city.

Review

Chivers, perhaps inadvertently, hits on something that is sliding into mythical status – childhood curiosity and exploration of surroundings. The children of the 21st century are so captivated by the world of gadgetry and online presence, that they do not venture outside with the same recklessness and hunger for geo knowledge as previous generations. Go boldly where no person has gone before or you think no one has gone before.

I think it’s hard for many to imagine historical footprints in real time, especially under own foot. The concept of others existing, breathing and surviving in the same place or area, whereas when faced in real time with a cultural and historical relic or area of significance you can actually behold, wander around and see – it’s an entirely different experience.

This book brings back those feelings of excitement at discovering forgotten buildings, ruins, tunnels, bunkers and just in general the thought of people treading the same path during different centuries. It is very much a book of echoes of energy, shadows of experiences, memories and knowledge gained through oral and written historical narratives.

The prose is an interesting balance between experience and lyrical description. The combination results in a visual journey as you walk along beside him, feel his energy – as if you are the silent observer. The voyeur of time, travel, space and presence.

I wonder if decades or centuries from now others will experience the same hunger for pyscho-geology and the energies that have gone before them and perhaps still linger in an attempt to connect.

Buy London Clay at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Doubleday; pub date 9th Sep 2021 – Hardback £20. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Secret Keeper’s Daughter by Samantha King

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Secret Keeper’s Daughter by Samantha King.

About the Author

Samantha King writes psychological suspense novels and lives in west London with her husband and two young children. Follow @SamKingBooks on Twitter

About the book

Holly Mayhew has the perfect family set-up. But when her seven-year-old daughter, Marley, begins to act strangely, refusing to speak and rushing off to hide in her room, she knows something isn’t right.

Desperate to understand why Marley has become so withdrawn, Holly creates a worry box, where Marley posts her thoughts each day.

At first, the messages seem innocent. But when Holly finds a note saying secrets make me sad, she begins to question everyone entrusted with her care… Including her family. Once the truth is out… there’s no going back.

Review

Holly is increasingly concerned about her young daughter Marley. She seems fearful, worried and has secrets. Secrets she is being asked to keep by the people who are supposed to keep her safe.

The stigma of mental health is firmly embedded in the read. Once you admit to having any kind of ill health or MH issue it will always be the go-to thing people think of when it comes handing out blame or used as an excuse for any kind of behaviour deemed unusual. Holly finds herself being gas-lit by both her husband and her sister.

Is she paranoid or is there something nefarious going on? It’s not as if she hasn’t already lived through being the scapegoat and called a liar by her family – it’s not a stretch to imagine being boxed into a similar situation again. Is her husband a threat to her child or herself? Is her sister part of some grand conspiracy?

It’s certainly an ambitious dark domestic thriller, a story of family secrets and about being stereotyped by the world and the people around you. It’s not paranoia if they are really out to get you, right? perception is absolutely everything in this story.

Buy The Secret Keeper’s Daughter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ HQ Digital pub date 10 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb. Three cities. Two sisters. One chance to correct the past.

About the Authors

Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Young & Brave, A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from The Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. 

In 2017, she published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s novel, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, hit the Irish Times bestseller list for five consecutive weeks. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages and is published in twenty-one countries worldwide. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. Join Hazel’s Book Club Newsletter Follow @HazelGaynor on Twitter, Visit hazelgaynor.com,

Heather Webb is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of The Next Ship Home, Rodin’s Lover, Becoming Josephine, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, as well as two novels co-written with Hazel, Last Christmas in Paris , which won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award, and Meet Me in Monaco, a finalist in the 2020 RNA Awards as well as the 2019 Digital Book World Fiction awards. 

To date, Heather’s works have been translated into fifteen languages worldwide. She is also passionate about helping writers find their voice as a professional freelance editor, speaker, and adjunct in the MFA in Writing program at Drexeul University. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty bunny. Join Heather’s newsletter Follow @msheatherwebb on Twitter, Visit heatherwebbauthor.com

About the book

Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have reunited for the third time with another unforgettable historical novel following their award-winning bestseller Meet Me in Monaco. In Three Words for Goodbye, estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers take a journey across Europe inspired by Nellie Bly, one of the first investigative journalists, who set out to circumnavigate the globe in less than eighty days. This inspired co-written novel is already earning top praise from Kristin Harmel, who said: “I loved being swept away to 1930s Paris, Venice and Vienna” while Gill Paul compares the novel to “reclining in a comfortable beach chair with warm sun on your skin and a glass of champagne at your elbow.”

New York, 1937: When estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers learn their grandmother is dying, they agree to fulfil her last wish: to travel across Europe—together. They are to deliver three letters, in which Violet will say goodbye to those she hasn’t seen since traveling to Europe forty years earlier; a journey inspired by famed reporter, Nellie Bly.

Clara, ever-dutiful, sees the trip as an inconvenient detour before her wedding to millionaire Charles Hancock, but it’s also a chance to embrace her love of art. Budding journalist Madeleine relishes the opportunity to develop her ambitions to report on the growing threat of Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s control in Italy.

Constantly at odds with each other as they explore the luxurious Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and the sights of Paris and Venice, Clara and Madeleine wonder if they can fulfil Violet’s wish, until a shocking truth about their family brings them closer together. But as they reach Vienna to deliver the final letter, old grudges threaten their reconciliation again. As political tensions rise, and Europe feels increasingly volatile, the pair are glad to head home on the Hindenburg, where fate will play its hand in the final stage of their journey.

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Kate Quinn, Gaynor and Webb have written a meticulously researched narrative filled with colourful scenes of Europe and a stunning sense of the period. This unstoppable historical fiction author duo will have readers enthralled as the sisters explore the luxurious Queen Mary and ride the long-haul rail to take in the sights of Paris and Venice.

Review

Violet is coming to the end of a very privileged and content life, but it is also one full of secrets. The kind of secrets that could make the wonderful family façade she has built crumble to dust. Instead Violet hopes that her granddaughters will retrace her steps and plead forgiveness in her stead.

From the exceptional majesty of a ship the Queen Mary, the mystery of the Orient Express, the history making cities on the way to the amazing feat of engineering that was the Hindenburg. Each step pulls the fighting sisters closer together, as they uncover the secrets Violet left for them to discover, and in doing so build a new relationship with each other.

Gaynor and Webb capture the beauty of the adventure and possibilities of the pre World War 2 era seen through the eyes of two young women willing to embrace each new experience. The message and words of Nellie Bly are echoed in these pages and mirrored via Clara and Madeleine.

It’s a dynamic family saga, and yet also historical fiction, whilst the relationship between two sisters serves as the platform to deliver a compelling and often quite emotional story. This author duo knows how to pull readers in with characters they can relate to and moments in history that cement the story.

Buy Three Words for Goodbye at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: William Morrow; pub date 2nd September 2021 / Paperback / £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Heron’s Cry by Ann Cleeves. Award winning author of the Vera and Shetland series, Ann Cleeves, returns with the second in her new Two Rivers series set in North Devon featuring Detective Matthew Venn.

About the Author

Ann Cleeves is the author of over thirty critically acclaimed novels and is translated into as many languages. She is the creator of popular detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez who can be found on television in ITV’s Vera and BBC One’s Shetland. The TV series and the books they are based on have become international sensations, capturing the minds of millions worldwide. Sunday Times number 1 bestseller, THE LONG CALL, was the first in Ann’s Two Rivers series set in Devon, and is now in production for an ITV drama.

Ann moved to North Devon when she was 11 years old. Before then the family lived in a tiny village, and as the headmaster’s daughter she always felt like the outsider at school. But in Barnstaple, Ann found a real home. She made life-long friends and fell in love with the beautiful North Devon coast, which still has a very special place in her heart. She worked as a probation officer, librarian, bird observatory cook and auxiliary coastguard before she embarked on her career as an author.

Ann’s been awarded the highest accolade in crime writing, the 2017 CWA Diamond Dagger, and is a member of ‘Murder Squad’, working with other British northern writers to promote crime fiction. A passionate champion for libraries, she was a national libraries Day Ambassador in 2016. Her new ‘Reading Coaches’ project, providing support for health and wellbeing in communities, launches in the North East this summer. Ann lives in North Tyneside near where the Vera books are set. Find her on twitter @AnnCleeves, Visit anncleeves.com

About the book

North Devon is enjoying a rare hot summer with tourists flocking to its coastline. Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder – Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed.

His daughter Eve is a glassblower, and the murder weapon is a shard of one of her broken vases. Dr Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved though to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband.

Then another body is found – killed in a similar way. It’s not long since Matthew’s returned to North Devon with Jonathan, after 20 years estranged from his deeply religious family, now he finds himself treading carefully through the lies that fester at the heart of his community and a case that is dangerously close to home . . .

Review

One of Venn’s team inadvertently becomes drawn into a case, due to being as drunk as a skunk and unable to provide assistance to a man who a short time late turns up dead. What did Dr Yeo want to tell her, what could he possibly have known that was worth being killed for.

A connection is created between Venn and the crimes – the burden of guilt. How it is processed, how it serves to enrage and feed negative emotions, and the scars it can leave behind. Also trying to navigate crime, whilst creating a balancing act between professionalism and friendship.

The Two Rivers series is approached in a slightly different way to the Shetland and Vera series in a sense that Cleeves straps a motor on the back of each character and lets them drive and herd the crime element of the read. The aforementioned other series are crime driven with strong leads. It perhaps lacks the usual writing finesse of previous novels, but I think that’s probably because of the attention given to the more diverse characters in this series.

I can’t wait to see this in TV format, and can only hope the author has a hand in casting. It’s a slow burner of a series, but well worth it. Cleeves always delivers an excellent crime read.

Buy The Heron’s Cry at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher Pan Macmillan: Published 2nd September 2021, priced £20.00 H/B. Buy at Amazon com.