#BlogTour Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave by Ryan Holiday

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave by Ryan Holiday. Courage is Calling will be the first in his highly anticipated four book series on the four Stoic virtues.

About the Author

Ryan Holiday is one of the world’s foremost writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. His books, including The Obstacle Is the Way, Ego Is the Enemy, The Daily Stoic, and the #1 New York Times bestseller Stillness Is the Key have sold millions of copies and been translated into over 40 languages. He lives outside Austin, Texas, with his wife and two boys… and cows and donkeys and goats. Follow @RyanHoliday on Twitter, Visit ryanholiday.net

About the book

Fortune favours the bold. All great leaders of history have known this, and were successful because of the risks they dared to take. But today so many of us are paralysed by fear. 

Drawing on ancient Stoic wisdom and examples across history and around the world, Ryan Holiday shows why courage is so important, and how to cultivate it in our own lives. Courage is not simply physical bravery but also doing the right thing and standing up for what you believe; it’s creativity, generosity and perseverance. And it is the only way to live an extraordinary, fulfilled and effective life. 

Everything in life begins with courage. This book will equip you with the bravery to begin.

Review

The hardcopy of this book is small, compact and beautiful. The kind of book a bookworm collects, so the fact this is the first in a series of four is great news. Courage, Temperance, Justice and Wisdom. Beginning with Courage.

In a time and era where being courageous enough to swim against the current and not toe the line, especially when it usually means the possible loss of status, means and power – it’s not to be lightly dismissed. In a time where we have a term for people who fear to get involved when a crime is committed in front of them, the brave should be acknowledged and not pitied for the consequences of involvement.

Having spent many years talking philosophy, albeit many decades ago when I was younger and less cynical about life and the meaning of it, I group philosophers into certain groups. You have the bog standard historical figures you studied at school or uni, the academics who teach and debate, those who enjoy the thought process regardless of academic status, and the ones who distort the essence of philosophy for fame and financial gain. Sam Harris is one of the last.

Holiday takes the stoic virtue of courage and evaluates it from every angle, both historically and in our present situations. How do we react to acts of courage or treat the person who dares to act with boldness, whilst others don’t? Which emotions does it awaken in us, why do we differentiate when it comes to the why, when and where?

I really enjoyed this. It’s a riveting and engaging read, but it is also food for thought and conversation. In fact I need to think about who I can buy it for in order to discuss the content. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Buy Courage is Calling at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Profile Books; pub date 28 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Gloria by Katherine Shaw

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Gloria by Katherine Shaw.

About the Author

Katherine Shaw is a multi-genre writer and self-confessed nerd from Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, spending most of her time dreaming up new characters or playing D&D. She has a passion for telling the stories of underdogs who must rise up to defeat the hardships they have been dealt in life, often with a focus on female protagonists. She is currently working on her debut novel Gloria, a contemporary domestic thriller launching in September this year, alongside several short story projects that are in the works. You can find out more at her website katherineshawwrites.com, and she is always happy to chat on Twitter @katheroonyOn Instagramon Facebook.

About the book

For all intents and purposes, Gloria Harrison has the perfect life: a rich husband, a beautiful home, and all the free time she needs to work on her art. And yet, she is deeply unhappy. Initially resigned to be pushed around by her snobbish, manipulative husband, Greg, she discovers a shocking truth about him she simply cannot ignore, and has to get out.

As Gloria’s world unravels around her, she has to team up with friends new and old to escape not only her husband’s clutches, but also the country, even if that means giving up everything. 

Gloria must rediscover who she used to be and realise her true worth to finally free herself from Greg’s stranglehold forever, or risk losing the person she holds most dear in the world – her daughter.

Review

Aside from certain sub-plots, the most poignant one becomes clear quite early on in the book. The toxic nature of Gloria’s relationship with Greg. Her entire life – each and every decision and moment is influenced by her husband. Is she allowed to breathe? I don’t know, let’s ask Greg. He certainly has an opinion about the way she spends her days, the clothes she wears and how she moves forward in life.

When Gloria is given an opportunity to follow her heart in regards to her art and creativity. Initially she is overjoyed until Greg puts a ‘realistic’ perspective on her potential and whether anyone would be interested in anything she creates. The pattern of behaviour between the two of them is a flourishing flowerbed for the plot that evolves from this initial encounter with the characters.

The multiple threads are all good storylines, the combination is perhaps to the detriment of all of them. Perhaps make one a focus, especially when it comes the genre jumping. Not that you cant go from dark domestic thriller into something more speculative with an adjacent sideline of fluttering of romance. You can, but each individual great idea doesn’t come to fruition completely. It will be interesting to see where Shaw goes from here.

Buy Gloria at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher‏: ‎Arteminion Books pub date 8 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon comBarnes and NobleAppleKobo

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#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 The Spanish House by Cherry Radford

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Spanish House by Cherry Radford.

About the Author

Cherry Radford has been a keyboard player in a band, piano teacher at the Royal Ballet School and a post-doctoral scientist at London’s Moorfield’s Eye Hospital. She began her first novel in a coffee break at a scientific conference. She writes uplifting novels about identity, renewal and finding soulmate romance when you least expect it. 

Having inherited a love of Spain and its culture from her half-Spanish mother, all her novels have a Spanish connection or setting. The Spanish House is the first of three stories set in the starkly beautiful and unspoilt Cabo de Gata region of coastal Andalusia where she now lives. Se is married to a musician and has two sons. Follow @CherryRad on Twitter, Visit cherryradford.com

About the book

One bizarre to-do list to earn her inheritance. One Spanish summer. One huge family secret. Juliana makes a modest living as an ‘ethnic’ TV/film extra – even though the only connections with her Spanish heritage are her cacti, Spanish classes, and some confused memories of a Spanish mother she hasn’t seen since she was seven.

When her beloved Uncle Arturo offers her the chance to discover her roots while housesitting his coastal home in a quiet corner of Andalusia, Juliana can’t believe her luck. Especially when he reveals that the house will be hers if she fulfills ten life-enhancing ‘Conditions’ within 90 days.

Redecoration of the house and a visit to the old film studio where her mother used to sew costumes seem ridiculously simple tasks for such a wonderful reward. But little does Juliana realize that there are family secrets and inherited rivalries awaiting her in sunny Spain, and the condition that she has to ‘get on with the neighbors’ – who include a ruggedly handsome but moody artist – may be harder than she thinks.

Review

Used to being little more than an extra on a movie set and a footnote in her own life, Juliana jumps at the strange proposal her uncle sends her. The opportunity to connect with her mother’s Spanish roots, whilst doing a little refurbishment on her uncle’s house. A house that could belong to her one day, but only if she fulfills a long list of very peculiar conditions.

The chance to retrace the steps of the mother who suddenly abandoned her is enough of a draw, and the feeling of being at ‘home’ in Spain is what ultimately seals the deal. What she doesn’t expect is to have her life and expectations completely turned upside down.

This reminded me of The Summer House in Santorini by Parks/Gale in a sense that both authors have the ability to draw the reader into their surroundings with such clarity and reality. It’s a gift to be able to convey the emotional connection someone has with a country or specific place with such accuracy. Clearly the only downside is the fact many readers, including myself, find themselves wanting to travel, live-in and experiences these places.

It’s the perfect escapism read. It’s a feel good read with plenty of laughter – the goat needs its own spin-off – and filled with family secrets. What’s not to like? Oh, and what a wonderfully perfect ending.

Buy The Spanish House at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Aria; pub date 12 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Clothes… and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Clothes…and Other Things that Matter by Alexandra Shulman

About the Author

Alexandra Shulman is a journalist, consultant and commentator. She was Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue from 1992–2017, the magazine’s longest serving editor. She has been Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery and The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and is an honorary fellow of the University of the Arts. She won 2017 Periodical Publisher’s Association Editor’s Editor Award and The Drapers Award 2017 for Outstanding Contribution to Fashion. 

She is Vice President of The London Library and was awarded the CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours List. She has a weekly column in the Mail on Sunday, is a contributor to other national newspapers and has written two novels: Can We Still Be Friends? (2012) and The Parrots (2015). Inside Vogue: The Diary of My 100th Year was published by Fig Tree in October 2016 and sold more than 30,000 copies in hardback and paperback (Nielsen TCM). Alexandra was featured in a three-part primetime BBC series on Vogue’s centenary year in 2016. Follow @AShulman2 on Twitter, 

About the book 

In Clothes… and other things that matter, Alexandra Shulman delves into her own life to look at the emotions, ambitions, expectations and meanings behind the way we dress. From the bra to the bikini, the trench coat to trainers, the slip dress to the suit, she explores their meaning in women’s lives and how our wardrobes intersect with the larger world – the career ladder, motherhood, romance, sexual identity, ambition, failure, body image and celebrity.

By turns funny, refreshingly self-deprecating and often very moving, this startlingly honest memoir from the ex-Editor of British Vogue will encourage women of all ages to consider what their own clothes mean to them, the life they live in them and the stories they tell. Shulman explores the person our clothes allow us to be – and sometimes the person they turn us into.

Review

Not sure how many other bookworms do this, but I often think about who I am going to recommend a book to, both during and after the read. For the majority of books it’s not hard, and I love it when I can introduce someone to a genre or author they might not have ever considered reading. I think this book is more than just a lifetime of experiences or a history of fashion viewed through a leader and influencer in the world of clothes and fashion.

You can feel the awe, emotions and pride Shulman feels when she speaks about certain combinations, outfits, pieces and also accessories, such as bags and jewellery. Then she connects the aforementioned with our sense of self, being, our presence and statement to the world.

It made me think about my own relationship with clothes, which if I am quite honest has been two things – a way to define my individuality and my reluctance to conform to the norm and fashion trends has been a way to cement that over the decades.

At times I thought Shulman never really loosens the reins or lets the public facade slip to reveal the true person behind the incredible lifetime of experiences, which is why it’s a little dry in places and less of a memoir and more of an homage to the beauty of fashion items and accessories. Definitely a memorable read.

Buy Clothes… and Other Things that Matter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Octopus Books – Cassell, pub date 10 June 2021 | £9.99 | Paperback. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Not a Happy Family by Shari Lapena. 

‘The new unputdownable thriller from the ‘queen of the one-sit read’ and multi-million-copy bestselling author of The Couple Next Door. Her most original and twisty book to date. When an elderly couple are found murdered, could their children be responsible?’

About the Author

Shari Lapena worked as a lawyer and as an English teacher before writing fiction. Her debut thriller, The Couple Next Door, was a global bestseller, the bestselling fiction title in the UK in 2017 and has been optioned for television. Her thrillers A Stranger in the House, An Unwanted Guest, Someone We Know and The End of Her were all Sunday Times and New York Times bestsellers. Follow @sharilapena on Twitter, Visit sharilapena.com

About the book

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets – even the dead. In the quiet, wealthy enclave of Brecken Hill, an older couple is brutally murdered hours after a tense Easter dinner with their three adult children. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their vindictive father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did someone snap after that dreadful evening? Or did another person appear later that night with the worst of intentions? That must be what happened. After all, if one of the family were capable of something as gruesome as this, you’d know. Wouldn’t you?

Review

When a wealthy couple is viciously murdered their immediate family members fall under suspicion, especially the adult children they had dinner with a few hours before their death. Far from being an example of close loving relationships, the family is a snake pit of envy, desperation and a lack of genuine positive interaction.

The general vibe, both dysfunctional and malevolent, reminded me a lot of what family can disintegrate into. It’s this realistic imagery of often contentious relationships between siblings and parents that gives this read an extra bit of spice, and the ending is exactly right and on par with the malicious intent that runs through the story.

Lapena always gives readers an uncomfortable window seat into human nature. It’s not always pleasant or morally correct, but it is an honest representation of what we are capable of and the way some of us conduct ourselves. When you combine that thought with the general idea of family the majority tends to have, then it’s will be no wonder if this raises some eyebrows.

It’s a delightfully dark and menacing domestic thriller, and the author gives the story the ending this family absolutely deserves.

Buy Not a Happy Family at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Transworld Digital pub date 27 July 2021 – Bantam Press; pub date 5th August 2021 / Hardback / £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour No Honour by Awais Khan

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour No Honour by Awais Khan. 

‘A powerful, poignant and captivating story of love, family, and a battle for change, which travels from the depths of rural Pakistan, to the dangerous streets of overpopulated Lahore’

About the Author

Awais Khan is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Durham University, and studied creative writing with Faber Academy. His debut novel, In the Company of Strangers, was published to much critical acclaim, and he now regularly appears on TV and radio. Awais also teaches a popular online creative writing course to aspiring writers around the world. He lives in Lahore and is currently working on his third novel. Follow @AwaisKhanAuthor on Twitter.

About the book

In sixteen-year-old Abida’s small Pakistani village, there are age-old rules to live by, and her family’s honour to protect. And, yet, her spirit is defiant and she yearns to make a home with the man she loves.

When the unthinkable happens, Abida faces the same fate as other young girls who have chosen unacceptable alliances – certain, public death. Fired by a fierce determination to resist everything she knows to be wrong about the society into which she was born, and aided by her devoted father, Jamil, who puts his own life on the line to help her, she escapes to Lahore – only to disappear.

Jamil goes to Lahore in search of Abida – a city where the prejudices that dominate their village take on a new and horrifying form – and father and daughter are caught in a world from which they may never escape.

Review

The honour killing of a young girl in her village seems so far from relevant to Abida. She is a teenager in love with no sense of impending danger for herself or her family when the inevitable happens and the truth of her situation becomes common knowledge. The wrath of the men who see themselves as judge and jury, but only when it comes to opposite gender, and how they can keep them submissive.

One of the interesting themes in this story was the topic of violence against women and how it is perceived as a tool to keep them obedient. Jamil has been taught not to treat the women in his life this way, however as the story progresses the use of violence and the treatment of his wife and daughter are part of a self-fulfilling prophecy – until he has to make a choice between life or death.

There is no doubt this is a powerful story and behind the fictional characters there is a hard truth that needs to be heard, indeed it needs to travel around the world. The oppression of women by certain cultures, societies, countries and religions is relevant topic of our day and age. It’s unacceptable and deplorable that girls and women are still living in the dark ages, being controlled by archaic rules made by and for men.

Honour killings are also part of Western crime statistics. Too many young girls and women are being murdered by their own family members for imagined infractions on the ‘honour’ of their family. There is no place for vigilante enforcement of medieval rules in the 21st century. There should be zero tolerance for any person involved in said crimes.

The power these cruel perpetrators wield over families and communities is cult-like and anyone who orders the rape, torture and murder of a child, girl or woman in the name of simple human mistakes or choices – is a murderer and someone who shouldn’t be held in high esteem.

Although I really enjoyed the story, part of me would have liked to have seen Khan take the brutal honesty of the first chapter and run with it – with less of a fictional element. Some things shouldn’t be sugarcoated to save the sensibilities of the privileged. Great read.

Buy No Honour at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; Pub date 19 August 2021 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Orenda Books.

#BlogTour Love at Café Lompar by Anna and Jacqui Burns

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Love at Café Lompar by Anna and Jacqui Burns

About the Author

Jacqui and Anna Burns are a mother and daughter writing team. Anna, a doctor and trainee psychiatrist, and Jacqui, an English teacher, visited Montenegro in 2019 and were captivated by its beauty. Living over two-hundred miles apart, they wrote Love at Café Lompar by writing alternate chapters and emailing them to each other, keeping each other’s spirits up through lockdown and fulfilling a life-long dream. This is the first novel for both of them and they are working on a sequel, reluctant to leave the Lompar family they have grown to love. Follow @burns1jacqui on Twitter

About the book

Can a journey that begins in betrayal ever end in joy? Grace believed she had the ideal marriage, but after Dan dies, she finds proof he had another family. Kat can’t admit that her father was less than perfect. Mother and daughter go to Montenegro to find out the truth.

But when they track down Rosa and her son, while Grace is heartbroken, Kat can’t help being thrilled to have a brother. Kat starts helping out ‘just for a few days’ at Rosa’s restaurant, the Café Lompar. Soon both women are torn between their old and new lives, facing impossible choices.

Review

Do you ever really know someone 100% or know all their secrets? The answer to that is no. There is always some element, secret or part of us that we keep hidden from those closest to us. Not opening up completely is one thing, keeping an entire second family hidden away in another country is another thing entirely.

The sudden death of her beloved husband is hard enough to cope with, but finding out that he has another woman and child is enough to break an already grieving heart. A second family, a lifetime of lies and fake moments. Grace finds it hard to reconcile the image of her family she has with the reality she is now presented with. Her daughter Kat however is excited by the prospect of meeting her sibling.

The Burns duo give readers the perfect heartbreaking conundrum. Do you let the disappointment you have with the person who betrayed you overshadow your life and possible future relationships? Or do you make the best of an uncomfortable situation?

I felt as if the authors hit upon an important aspect of Patchwork families and what defines the word family. It’s also about picking up the pieces of the fallout caused by people who play fast and loose with the emotions and trust of their loved ones. It’s an evenly paced lovely read.

Buy Love at Café Lompar at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Honno Welsh Women’s Press pub date 15 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour After the Rain by Natália Gomes

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour After the Rain by Natália Gomes.

About the Author

Natália Gomes has an MLitt in Scottish Literature & Creative Writing and an MEd in Education. Inspired by her experiences as a special education coordinator in a public school district in the US, Natália started writing fiction with a focus on mental health among young adults. Her debut novel Dear Charlie is endorsed by Amnesty International and was longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.

Natália currently lives in Scotland with her chocolate labrador Charlie, and is completing a PhD in English Studies. Follow @nd_gomes on Twitter, on Instagram

About the book

‘We’re alive. So let’s start living.’ – Two strangers – Jack was sporty and outgoing. Alice was bookish and introverted. Their lives were on completely different paths.

One life-changing tragedy – That is before the day they were in the wrong place at the wrong time: before the day their lives were torn apart in a bombing.

A hopeful new friendship – Struggling to cope with their new worlds, their unlikely new friendship helps them find hope. But can they help each other rebuild their lives and start again?

Review

Jack and Alice become part of each others lives and forever entwined when they are both part of the same tragedy. It’s an event that changes both of them. Having to come to terms with the trauma, the pain and the guilt is a completely different journey for Alice and Jack.

The What If factor plays a role for the two of them. If they had gone their individual paths a few seconds earlier or one of them had gone in a different direction. What doesn’t really occur to either of them is that any of these alternatives could also have equalled death.

It’s not really about the two of them saving each other, although in a way they do that from time to time. It’s really about recognising that there is a way forward for each of them individually, but only after they have recognised what they need to heal, cope and move on.

Kudos to Gomes for keeping it simple and not feeling the need to add to the scenario, for not making this into another YA love goes into the night romcom. No really – it would have spoilt the whole premise. Grief, fear and survivor’s guilt should remain at the core of this story from start to finish. They do, which is why it is a good read.

Buy After the Rain at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎HQ Young Adult pub date 8 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Keeper of Songs by Fiona Mountain

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Keeper of Songs by Fiona Mountain.

About the Author

Fiona grew up in Sheffield worked for the BBC for ten years, in the press office for Radio 1. She has written five novels, which have been published around the world. Her debut, Isabella, was shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award. It was followed with Pale as the Dead and Bloodline, which feature ‘ancestor detective’, Natasha Blake. Bloodline is the winner of the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award from the Mystery Writers of America. She lives in the Cotswolds with her family.

Follow @FionaMountain on Twitter, Visit fionamountain.com

About the book 

1967:  Enigmatic young folk singer Molly Marrison disappears on the cusp of fame.

2002:  Silva is working as a housemaid at Chatsworth when her father suddenly dies, leaving her with one instruction – find Molly.  

The only clue is a haunting song, centuries old, that Molly recorded before she vanished. The only person who can help Silva fulfil her father’s dying wish is song collector, Robbie Nightingale.  They were teenage sweethearts, but Silva’s not spoken to Robbie for decades. If they try to find Molly, what else will they discover? For Molly is not the only girl to have disappeared.  Silva’s mother, Sukey, vanished when Silva was a child, leaving her with scars that Robbie once tried to heal.  

A modern day Downton Abbey set at Chatsworth House, England’s most famous stately home. The Keeper of Songs is inspired by the work of Mercury Music Nominated folk singer and song collector, Sam Lee and by Bella Hardy’s song ‘Henry & Clara,’ which is based on real events – the murder of ‘The Runaway Lovers’ in the Winnats Pass in the Peak District.

Review

The dual timeline and stories of Molly and Silva are told individually at first and yet slowly become intertwined to become one. The first Silva becomes aware of Molly is when her father utters his last words, then it is just a question of finding out who Molly is, where she is and why is she the last person Silva’s father thought of.

At the very core of this story is one of the oldest traditions to pass information and history along – the tradition of oral history through the medium of folk songs. The modern day folk singers are the conduits for the men and women of the past, of their voices and experiences, they keep the songs and pass them on to the next generation, hence the keeper of songs.

Mountain combines history, factual events and the rich tradition of folklore and the truths of history. The difference is the folk song is usually told by the working men and women, the people whose voices aren’t heard or written in history books. If this book awakens an interest in the subject then I can only recommend tracing the extraordinary roots of these songs – some of them are quite surprising.

It’s a beautiful read that manages to combine multiple genres at the same time. The dual timeline lends itself to a modern and historical story, then a mystery and the magical realism of folk song is woven into the story to create a captivating read.

Buy The Keeper of Songs at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎SnowGlobe Books pub date 2nd July 2021- Paperback Original. Buy at Amazon com.