#BlogTour Do No Harm by L.V. Hay

It’s my turn on the BlogTour for Do No Harm by L.V. Hay. This author is known for her out of the box sneaky plots, which means no matter how innocent the character may appear to be – they might just be a secret psychopath executing a nefarious plan.

About the Author

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. Her critically acclaimed debut thriller The Other Twin was published in 2017. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

Follow @LucyVHayAuthor  and @Orendabooks on Twitter Visit lucyvhayauthor.com

Buy Do No Harm

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About the book

If I can’t have you … nobody can.

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong…

Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives…

Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, with a killer twist that you will never see coming.

Review

I know that Hay has a devious mind, so I can’t help but instinctively look at everyone as if they are a suspect, and I mean everyone. This author is known for her out of the box sneaky plots, which means no matter how innocent the character may appear to be – they might just be a secret psychopath executing a nefarious plan. No one is free from suspicion, not even Denny. Yeh, I know he is only six years old.

Hay has created a monster – the sceptical reader.

Lily has found love with Sebastian, a man who loves her and her young son. The only thorn in her side is her manipulative ex-husband Maxwell. No matter where she looks he is always there lurking in the shadows, then again so is her new mother-in-law. Perhaps Lily is just scarred and a little tainted from her time with her controlling ex.

The plot surrounding the ex-husband is timely, because the UK has finally introduced new laws that make controlling and coercive behaviour illegal. At times Lily’s behaviour may seem exaggerated and overly sensitive, but if you have ever experienced a controlling partner then you will know where she is coming from. Control is the most important aspect of this type of abusive relationship, and having children with an abusive partner means a lifelong game of manipulative control, even if both of you have new partners.

When Denny starts to exhibit signs of emotional distress, and a series of volatile incidents suggest that Maxwell is trying to create a wedge between the new couple and his son. That’s when things start to get dangerous.

Hay does not disappoint with the devious twist at the end. As expected it is completely messed up and a wee bit wicked. I enjoy the fact she doesn’t feel the need to present the perfect or happy ending. The truth comes way out of left field and the worst part is that a part of it remains hidden in the shadows, jut waiting for a new chance to pounce. Hay enjoys misleading her readers and leading them up the garden path, the result is always a captivating read.

Buy Do No Harm at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Read my review of The Other Twin by L.V. Hay

Publisher: Orenda Books (orendabooks.co.uk)

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#BlogTour The Blood of the Red Rose by P.J. Gray

Today it is my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Blood of the Red Rose by P.J. Gray. It is a detailed and well researched story which combines historical facts with fictional characters to create an engrossing read.About the Author

Philippa was born in Chichester and developed a passion for history whilst growing up in Cyprus and then North Yorkshire. She began writing when she was at junior school, winning the school prize for English, and wrote and illustrated her own stories which she read to her long-suffering friends. She started her first novel, Blood of the Red Rose, when her elder daughter was a baby and finally completed it twenty-eight years later. Philippa has two daughters, four grandchildren and a grand-cat and now lives in Cyprus with Paul, her husband of twenty-five years, three dogs and four cats.

Visit Facebook/BloodoftheRedRose

Buy Blood of the Red Rose

About the book

Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, finds himself exiled in France when Warwick the Kingmaker puts Edward IV on the throne of England. Desperate to return the throne to the rightful King Henry VI, Beaufort finds himself caught between Henry’s bitter wife Marguerite of Anjou and the French ‘Spider’ King Louis until Edward and Warwick fall out in spectacular style and, at Louis’ urging, Warwick becomes their unlikely ally. Set on the rich stage of the Wars of the Roses, this is a tale of intrigue, love and war that can only end in tragedy.

Review

Whilst Warwick’s relationship with his illegitimate daughter Kate is loving and caring, it doesn’t gel with the way he uses his other children to create political bridges and liaisons. In fact the way he barters with Anne and Isobel, or rather their worth as brides, is a more accurate representation of the way men viewed and treated women at that time in history. Although it is moving and more sentimental from a storyline perspective, keeping in mind that Kate is a fictional addiction to the historical events, it is probably more likely that Warwick would have used her in the same way as her half-sisters.

Another interesting aspect of the book was the way the author portrayed Margaret of Anjou. Known in history as a strong woman with a fierce sense of loyalty to her own cause and a ruthless approach to achieving or retrieving what she believed to be rightfully owing to her family.

In this book we see the bitter, vindictive and disappointed woman. Her reaction is interesting considering the rumours that either Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset, or James Butler, 5th Earl of Ormond, were possibly the real biological father of her son, Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales. There is however no evidence to support these rumours and Henry VI acknowledged  him as his son and heir.

Despite the machinations going on around them Kate and Beau are drawn into a passionate affair with possibly disastrous implications for a young girl who has a less than solid standing in life.

Gray has combined historical facts with fictional characters and scenarios. It’s so realistic and sails so close to true events that I had to double-check some of them were actually fictional events and characters. What she does exceptionally well is capture the intrigue and the lack of certainty during that era. The war between the houses of Lancaster and York determined the path of British history and the royal lineage. A time of betrayal, destruction and lack of trust, whilst grown men and women played their own game of thrones.

In the midst of the intrigue a mutual attraction leads to an ill-fated affair which ends tragically and leaves one of them in a precarious position. It’s a detailed venture into a era full of conflict and disruption with a doomed mutual attraction featured in the midst of it all.

Buy Blood of the Red Rose at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Clink Street Publishing, Release Date: 14th August 2018

Follow @Authoright on Twitter

Follow the rest of the BlogTour:

Monday 13th August Between the Pages Book Club

Tuesday 14th August Portable Magic

Thursday 16th August Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog

Friday 17th August Love Books Group

Saturday 18th August Cupcake Mumma

Monday 20th August Jazzy Book Reviews

Tuesday 21st August Celticlady’s Reviews

Wednesday 22nd August Jennifer C Wilson

Thursday 23rd August Blue Striped Square

Saturday 25th August Yet Another Blogging Mummy!!!

Sunday 26th August Donna’s Book Blog

#BlogTour Condemned and Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife by Bree Wolf

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Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Condemned and Admired; The Earls’ Cunning Wife by Bree Wolf. Don’t miss the fantastic Q&A with Bree Wolf, a short excerpt from the book, and don’t forget to enter the Giveaway to win a copy of Condemned and Admired & the tie-in novella Trapped & Liberated – The Privateer’s Bold Beloved.

Giveaway question: Have you ever fallen for a stranger? (Leave your answer in the comments to enter the giveaway!)

profile_picture_01About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Bree Wolf has always been a language enthusiast (though not a grammarian!) and is rarely found without a book in her hand or her fingers glued to a keyboard. Trying to find her way, she has taught English as a second language, traveled abroad and worked at a translation agency as well as a law firm in Ireland. She also spent loooong years obtaining a BA in English and Education and a MA in Specialized Translation while wishing she could simply be a writer. Although there is nothing simple about being a writer, her dreams have finally come true.

“A big thanks to my fairy godmother!”

Currently, Bree has found her new home in the historical romance genre, writing Regency novels and novellas. Enjoying the mix of fact and fiction, she occasionally feels like a puppet master (or mistress? Although that sounds weird!), forcing her characters into ever-new situations that will put their strength, their beliefs, their love to the test, hoping that in the end they will triumph and get the happily-ever-after we are all looking for.

If you’re an avid reader, sign up for Bree’s newsletter at www.breewolf.com as she has the tendency to simply give books away. Find out about freebies, giveaways as well as occasional advance reader copies and read before the book is even on the shelves!

Follow @BreeWolf_Author on Twitter Connect with Bree on Facebook Visit breewolf.com

Follow the Facebook event: BlogTour – Condemned and Admired

Buy Condemned and Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife

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About the book

A French privateer’s daughter. A marquess’s son.

And a chance encounter on the high seas.

Twelve years ago, Lady Silcox fled England with her six-year-old daughter Violet to spare her the life she herself had been forced into: an arranged marriage to an older man.

Today, Violet Winters is a grown woman sailing the seas on her French stepfather’s privateer, dreaming of commandeering a ship of her own. However, when she stumbles upon a betrothal announcement of the man she was set to marry, Violet cannot help but feel honour-bound to protect the woman who had been forced to take her place.

Fortune smiles on Violet and delivers an English lord into her hands – and with him the chance to return to England unrecognised.

Oliver Cornell, Earl of Cullingwood, is trapped in a life he abhors. Not seen as a son, but merely an heir, he dreams of sailing the seas, the epitome of freedom.

By sheer happenstance, Oliver ends up on a merchant vessel, which is promptly boarded by a French privateer. On board the Chevalier Noir, Oliver meets the captain’s daughter, a woman unlike any other he has ever met. Utterly fascinated by the adventurous gleam in her eyes, he does not hesitate to offer his assistance when Violet finds herself in need of a guide to London’s upper society.

Revelling in his first taste of adventure, Oliver poses as her husband…only to realise before long that posing as her husband will not be good enough.

Can a privateer’s daughter and a marquess’s son ever have a happily-ever-after? Or is their love doomed to fail?

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Q&A with Bree Wolf

Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call ‘Breaking the Ice.’

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms want to know) Violet by Lauren Royal. Love her novels. Oddly, I read Lily first. Don’t know why. Will start on Rose next.

The last movie you watched that left a mark in your heart, soul, wallet? Room. Such deep emotions. Oh, I went through at least one box of tissues. Possibly more.

Are you more of a Game of Thrones or Outlander kind of gal? Outlander. Definitely Outlander.

What do you like to do when you want to relax? Read. Did you truly expect a different answer?

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet?Can’t say. Do fictional characters count? I’d love to sit down to dinner with my novel characters. That would be something!

Something you treat yourself to, now and again? (Cream éclairs totally count) Mint chocolate chip ice-cream. I’m all about chocolate.

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about Condemned and Admired.

I think readers enjoy your books, because you give them romance, conflict and strong characters in nostalgic settings with characters who fight against the archaic patriarchal rules of society. Why do you think they enjoy them so much? Rebelling against set rules is part of life, part of growing up. We all know these moments, have lived through them, and someone fighting for what they believe in, for what they believe is right and just echoes within us like nothing else. No matter how different our lives are, these emotions we all share.

Where do you get your inspiration for your plots, storylines and characters? From every book or movie that comes my way. Sometimes simply a glimpse out the window. Or from a stunningly insightful thing my four-year-old says. Anything. Everything. My home is littered with notebooks. Sometimes I jump out of bed in the middle of the night to write a thought down before it slips my mind.

You portray your female leads as strong independent women, who look out for each other and aren’t afraid of demanding the respect they deserve. Do you think readers need to see women with these traits reflected more often in literature and books? Regency romance provides a beautiful, fairy-tale like setting, and yet, I doubt that today’s women would truly want to live in that time. Life for women was fairly restricted back then, proving how far we’ve come with regard to equality. Still, women (as well as men) are often stuck in stereotypical roles even today, and I believe it is important to encourage people to be themselves and demand respect for who they are and not who others wish they would be. Literature helps inspire people to see that.

You combine the seductive pull of love and attraction with strong themes of independence and discovery of self. Romance meets the modern woman. How important do you think it is for today’s books to reflect a woman who makes her own choices? I think it’s paramount. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with leading a “stereotypical” life…as long as it is your choice. We should always have the right to choose and exercise it. There is nothing more important than discovering who we are and staying true to ourselves. How else will we ever be happy?

One of the other topics I loved in Condemned and Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife was what family really means. Blood and genetics aren’t as important as loyalty, support and the love of a person who behaves like family or are they? What do you think? Yes, again, I believe it is our own choice who is family and who is not. Why should we allow genetics to dictate who to love? After all, in historical romance, the love two people find in each other is what touches us the most. It’s about the opportunity to find new family. Someone we didn’t previously know. Someone who might always have been missing from our lives.  Why should that not extend to the rest of our family? Why not also a sister? Or a mother? Why should there be any limitations?

Playing into that is Violet’s relationship with her stepfather. She considers the man who raised her to be her father, as opposed to the man she has a biological connection with. In an era where family systems and dynamics have been redefined, and patchwork family is becoming more common than the nuclear family, do you think it is important to reflect these new structures in your stories? I think family has many faces and should not be defined beyond “people who love each other and wish to share their lives”. Family is what we want it to be. It’s our choice. We make it. We define it. It’s our freedom. At least, it should be.

Violet feels responsible for the young girl taking her place in the arranged marriage, hence her return to England. The thought-process behind this storyline echoes the guilt an abused woman feels about the next in line if she manages to escape controlling clutches, was this intentional – the emphasis on the strong sisterhood between women and the need to support each other? Yes, it was. Today, we’re often so focused on our own lives that sometimes we don’t even see when another needs our help – even someone who is not a friend. Someone we might never have met before. If we see another’s need for aid, should we not respond to it? No matter who that someone is?

What’s next in the Love’s Second Chance series? Well, book 11 brings back Lord Ashwood, whom we’ve met first in book 5 as Sebastian Campbell’s childhood friend and who made a short appearance in book 9, Condemned & Admired. He often appears rather cold-hearted and calculated. That, however, is simply because he has a specific deficiency when it comes to human interaction that he feels ashamed of and tries to hide behind a detached exterior. Of course, his new wife will eventually see through his pretences and challenge him to be himself.

Still, before book 11, there will be another tie-in novella, which tells the story of Violet’s parents, of how they met on the beach below Silcox Manor one fateful night and of how Violet found her new family in France. Since the love story of Violet’s parents was such a constant presence in Condemned & Admired, I felt I needed to tell it through their own eyes.

Thank you for answering all of my questions!

bree1Review

This is book 9 in the Love’s Second Chance series. It’s a story about a young woman fighting against old dinosaur rules. The type of rules that say women are goods to be bartered with and sold to the highest bidder, women are to be seen and not heard, and they certainly aren’t allowed to have any say in their own life.

The only reason Violet is free to live the life of a sailing vagabond and potentially as the master of her own ship, is because her mother found the strength to leave her abusive and controlling father. In doing so her mother finds a man to love and a father figure her daughter can look up to.

Violet is happy with her life and the freedom she enjoys, however there is a part of her that feels guilty about the young woman who has to stand in her stead. The poor unfortunate soul, who has to marry the man she was betrothed to. She decides to try and save her, and to try and find some closure with the past she left behind.

Wolf writes about strong women, women who try to change and most definitely break the patriarchal rules of society. A small shimmer of empowerment in an era where women are possessions and treated like second-class citizens. She combines the sweet breathlessness of love, without the raunchiness of a bodice ripper, with social injustice and the oppression of women.

The author gives us strong female characters who fight for equality and their right to make their own choices. Showing the reader that although we are still confronted with the same oppression and systemic abuse, we have come a long way since the days when women had no rights at all. I guess the message is that we should never stop trying to achieve equality and always empower girls and women to find their own path.

It is a regency romance with a modern breath of fresh air.

Buy Condemned and Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Barnes & Noble Kobo iTunes

Buy Condemned and Admired: The Earl’s Cunning Wife at Amazon com

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Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway to to win a copy of Condemned and Admired & the tie-in novella Trapped & Liberated – The Privateer’s Bold Beloved.

Giveaway question: Have you ever fallen for a stranger? (Leave your answer in the comments to enter the giveaway!)

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Read an Excerpt Of Condemned and Admired:

As the ships were slowly being pulled toward one another, Oliver turned his gaze to the privateer and his crew. Two dark-haired men stood side by side, their expressions stern, their eyes sharp as they observed the merchant vessel’s crew with equal frankness. Both men were tall with broad shoulders and a pronounced chin, their resemblance suggesting a familial relation. Perhaps father and son as one looked about twenty years older than the other. The older man, Oliver assumed, was the captain of the ship.

On the side of the ship, Oliver could make out the vessel’s name: Chevalier Noir, the Black Knight. Oliver nodded, thinking it a fitting match for the dark-haired man with the sharp eyes.

Murmurs went through the sailors around him, and Oliver abandoned his observations, trying to catch what they were saying.

“That one’s a woman.”

“Are you daft? Women don’t sail.”

“I’m telling you, it’s a woman.”

“You must be losing your eyesight.”

Craning his neck, Oliver let his gaze sweep over the privateer’s crew, his pulse hammering at the thought of a woman on board. Had she been kidnapped? Was she a prisoner? Possibly an English prisoner?

When Oliver finally saw her, his heart seemed to stop, and his breath caught in his throat. Not because of her beautiful face or the figure she struck standing at the bow a sword in her hand and a pistol strapped to her hip. Nor was it the golden tendrils dancing in the wind or her stunningly blue eyes with a spark of violet in them.

No, it was the calm serenity that rested in her eyes. Here was someone–a woman no less–who knew exactly where she belonged, where her place in this world was. There was no doubt. No question. No hesitation.

How had she ended up on that ship? For she was clearly not a prisoner, but a member of the crew. Was she the captain’s wife? Never had he heard of a captain allowing his wife on board? Much less allowing her to carry a weapon?

Still, here she was, far away from the restrictions her gender placed on her. How had she freed herself? Oliver wondered, envy burning in his chest as he watched her.

Standing tall–proud!–she kept her gaze firmly on the group of sailors around him, her hair whipping in the wind as though she could not wait to charge and board their ship. Although it was tied in the back, her curls seemed wild, dancing around her face, doing little to soften her sharp features and the steely look in her eyes. Like the dark-haired captain, she wore well-fitting breeches, a white shirt peeking out from under her dark tailcoat as well as leather boots, allowing her to move as she pleased.

Never in his life had Oliver seen a woman more beautiful.

A shudder went through the planks under his feet as the two ships finally collided, and Oliver’s gaze was ripped from the vision standing at the bow.

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#BlogTour Spaghetti Head by Sarah Tyley

Today it is my turn on the BlogTour for Spaghetti Head by Sarah Tyley. Don’t be fooled by the title, which suggests a fun and light-hearted read, it is in fact an intriguing mixture of futuristic and post-apocalyptic fiction with an emphasis on mental health, human rights and the oppression of the human race

About the Author

I grew up on a dairy farm in Somerset and had a lovely childhood running around outside, spending alot of time surrounded by cows. I would have to be biased towards Friesians, but really any cow will do – I love them all.

I have written a diary since I was twelve, and some years ago I thought to myself ‘hey, that must mean I’m a writer’ – and so I embarked on short stories. I never quite got the hang of those so moved on to trying a novel.

I currently live in France splitting my time between my gardening business, writing, and playing tennis. I love Roger Federer almost as much as I love cows

About the book

Journalist Nell Greene is intelligent, beautiful and quirky – but a failure at relationships, thanks to her untrusting and disruptive inner voice. She has received The Award, and refusing to help repopulate the earth can seriously complicate your life: it is time for Nell to change. In a world where greed, war, and an environmental disaster have massively reduced the population, survivors have introduced a new system of governance – led by women but delivered by robots, and designed to promote peace and remove opportunities for abuse of power. Or at least that was the intention… Will Nell overcome the challenges of life in a post-apocalyptic world to find happiness, or will the System win? Spaghetti Head is Sarah Tyley’s debut novel that addresses issues of modern womanhood, environmental devastation and the impact of technological advances on our freedom, relationships and mental health.

Review

Spaghetti Head is an intriguing mixture of futuristic and post-apocalyptic fiction with an emphasis on mental health, human rights and the oppression of the human race, in particular when it comes to the reproduction process. Women and men who conceive are more valuable than those who can’t reproduce.

The story takes place a long time after a natural disaster almost completely eradicates the human race. Now the earth is run by computer programmes, although they have ‘supposedly’ been programmed by humans. The focus is on the main character Nell, a woman with a successful career, but she is emotionally crippled by her paranoia and self-doubt. The System intervenes in her life to tell her it’s time to do her female duty and have a child, which means leaving her career to raise one or being forced into a new assignment or ‘life’ altogether.

My two favourite aspects of this premise are Cyd and Alice. Alice is the companion/pet bot who seems to be a lot more clued in than Nell the majority of the time. Cyd lives inside the spaghetti maze inside Nell’s head. Cyd is what Freud would call a very conscious Id of Nell’s personality. Cyd is like the inner voice who influences and convinces Nell, even if it is to her detriment. In reverse it is Nell who determines how Cyd acts, looks and speaks. This was an exceptionally innovative way to explain and show the thought process going on inside Nell.

This is a fascinating way to present a mental health problem. The strands or threads of spaghetti represent the emotional turmoil inside Nell’s mind, and depending on how curled they are how straight they are determines how ill, paranoid or distressed Nell is.

I know the title has specific meaning to the author, and indeed the spaghetti threads are an important part of the premise and story, but I personally think the title of Spaghetti Head doesn’t do the book any favours. It certainly doesn’t do any justice to the extremely clever premise and content, and both the cover and title may create misconceptions about what type of story it is, which means potential readers or buyers may not be interested because it suggests a different type of read. They say never judge a book by its cover (or title), and in this case it’s true because this story is innovative and complex.

It’s a combination of speculative, futuristic, post-apocalyptic and evolutionary fiction mixed with aspects of artificial intelligence, which evolves into autonomous intelligence. There are echoes of The Handmaids Tale when it comes to the empowerment of women and their reproduction systems, and their value in regards to said reproduction. Viewed as resources, as opposed to valued members of society.

It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but this a really interesting read and definitely one I will be recommending.

Buy Spaghetti Head at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

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#BlogTour The Secret Legacy by Sara Alexander

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Secret Legacy by Sara Alexander. It is is a wonderfully written tale of love, passion, desire and most of all of sacrifice.

About the Author

Sara Alexander graduated from Hampstead School in London and went on to attend the University of Bristol, graduating with a BA hons. in Theatre, Film & TV. She followed on to complete her postgraduate diploma in acting from Drama Studio London. She has worked extensively in the theatre, film and television industries, including roles in much loved productions such as Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Dr. Who and Franco Zeffirelli’s Sparrow. Her first novel is Under a Sardinian Sky, The Secret Legacy is her second.

Follow @AuthorSaraAlex @HQStories on Twitter Visit saraalexander.net

Buy The Secret Legacy

About the book

Do our secrets make us who we are?

Santina is spending her final days at her home, Villa San Vito, in the beautiful Italian town of Positano. As she decides the fate of the magnificent eighteenth century palazzo she must confront the choices that led her here.

In 1949, hoping to escape poverty, young Santina becomes housekeeper to a distinguished British major and his creative, impulsive wife, Adeline.

When they move to Positano, Santina joins them, raising their daughter as Adeline’s mental health declines. With each passing year, Santina becomes more deeply entwined with the family, trying to navigate her complicated feelings for a man who is much more than an employer―while hiding secrets that could shatter the only home she knows . . .

Review

I think Santina has mixed feelings about motherhood, perhaps because her own relationship with her mother was cut short. She finds herself bonded to the child she takes care of, and yet has no problem severing ties when she feels it is the right thing to do. That has nothing to do with the depth of her feelings and possibly more about the fact her own familial ties were dramatically cut short when she was child.

Known as the orphan child from the mountain, and considered by many to be the poor scum of the earth. This cloud of her birth and heritage follows her throughout the book among her own people, and is certainly a reason she keeps a distance from a certain suitor at times. Becoming part of his family would also mean always being treated as if they had ‘saved’ her in some way.

Santina jumps at the chance to leave her home and country to try to discover more of the world and herself. It is almost ironic that her travels go full circle and she ends up in the same place she started from. She becomes the live-in cook, maid and subsequently also the nanny to a British couple. The mother of the child becomes ill soon after the birth of her daughter, and so begins a story of many decades of suppressed desire and a love that develops over time. The type of love society finds outrageous and scandalous.

This is a story we find a lot in history, of a woman who keeps her secrets until the grave. A woman who sacrifices everything to ensure her loved ones are safe and kept away from any hint of a scandal. Her ultimate sacrifice is exactly that, a sacrifice, and I wonder if it is her way of putting her own guilt to rest for loving and being the mother to a child who isn’t her own.

The writing soothes and laps over the reader like the salty waves licking over your feet, as you wander along the beach with warmth of the sun on your face. It’s melodic and hypnotic, written and to be read at a steady pace. Savouring the beauty of the words and the imagery they project.

The Secret Legacy is a wonderfully written tale of love, passion, desire and most of all of sacrifice. Alexander brings us drama, heartache and a suitcase full of unrequited desire and simmering passion, and yet does so in such a subtle way the reader feels the beauty of the tale instead of the pain of the characters. It’s a beautiful read.

Buy The Secret Legacy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQStories, Harper Collins Uk

#BlogTour The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

I am thrilled to take part in the BlogTour for The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden to celebrate the paperback release of the second book in The Winternight Trilogy.

This is one of my favourite series and both the first book, The Bear and the Nightingale, and the second, The Girl in the Tower, are at the top of my list of favourite reads. Katherine Arden deserves to be at the top of award lists, because she is a very talented writer.

‘Inspired by Russian fairy-tales and folklore, this is the second book in a stunning literary trilogy. It is the perfect blend of historical fiction and magical realism.’

About the Author

Katherine Arden has studied Russian in Moscow, taught at a school in the French Alps, and worked on a farm in Hawaii. Born in Austin, Texas, she currently lives in Vermont. She is the author of the critically acclaimed The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower.

Follow @arden_katherine @EburyPublishing on Twitter #TheWintertrilogy Visit katherinearden.com

Buy The Girl in the Tower

About the book

The magical adventure begun in The Bear and the Nightingale continues as brave Vasya, now a young woman, is forced to choose between marriage or life in a convent and instead flees her home—but soon finds herself called upon to help defend the city of Moscow when it comes under siege.

Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life in a tower, cut off from the vast world she longs to explore. So instead she chooses adventure, disguising herself as a boy and riding her horse into the woods. When a battle with some bandits who have been terrorizing the countryside earns her the admiration of the Grand Prince of Moscow, she must carefully guard the secret of her gender to remain in his good graces—even as she realizes his kingdom is under threat from mysterious forces only she will be able to stop.

Review

I adore this series. Arden is an incredible writer and possesses the ability to recreate the feeling of an old Russian master with the flair of a nouveau writer.

The author combines the magic and essence of Russian folktales with the creativity of high fantasy, and lets the reader experience the darkness of old tales told in front of fires, and the power of ancient myths.

At the end of the first part of the trilogy, The Bear and the Nightingale, we left Vasya grieving for her father and protected by Morozko. In this second part she decides she wants to travel the world, to discover things beyond her village. Thanks to the new local priest everyone thinks she is a witch, which means she is a pariah and in danger.

So begins her venture into a world of rules, fear and cruelty. One Morozko would rather she didn’t experience at all, even if she has been gifted with a magical stallion, who will protect her. He struggles with his emotions towards Vasja and the inevitability of their separation.

In both books the author has made a point of shedding a light on the inequality between men and women, and how it impacts those who are deemed to be less equal than others. Part of Vasja’s drive to be free is connected to the limitations she experiences as a woman. The title is very apt in that sense. There is no freedom, but plenty of restrictions, and any deviation from the rules can ruin a reputation.

Once again Arden balances the mystical with exceptional storytelling and leaves the reader with the feeling of reading a Russian classic. It feels timeless and ancient.

I am really looking forward to The Winter of the Witch, the third part of this trilogy. Katherine Arden has proven herself to be a writer and storyteller of great skill, and I wager that her Winternight trilogy will soon receive the recognition it truly deserves.

Buy The Girl in the Tower (The Winternight Trilogy #2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1)

Pre-order The Winter of the Witch (The Winternight Trilogy #3) on Amazon com or Amazon UK

Read the review of The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1)

#BlogTour The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss

Today it is my absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss. It’s a slow burning read that lets the reader become almost comfortable and complacent in the exotic aura of the surroundings.

About the Author

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 http://www.SWAGlit.com—an online literary magazine for writers in Singapore.

All the Little Children is Jo’s debut novel and she is working on a second domestic thriller to be released in 2018.

Buy The Trailing Spouse

About the book

Do you really want to know the truth?

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.

Review

The paths and stories of two women collide in this thriller. The common denominator between Amanda and Camille is Amanda’s husband Edward. The man Amanda knows as a loving single parent and supposedly caring husband appears to be hiding a double-life. Is he hiding a more sinister side to his personality or is Amanda just paranoid, because their live-in maid took her life in the most horrific manner.

Camille is trying to solve the disappearance of her parents, which happened over a decade ago. She uses the death of the maid to connect with the man she thinks she remembers in relation to her parents. Does he have any answers for her or is he just another dead end?

One of the elements I enjoyed in this story was the situation of ex-pats (expatriate – a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than their native country) and their dependants. It takes one to know one, so some of the situations and dialogues had me nodding along the way. I know a lot of ex-pats who don’t realise why it is important to integrate in their country of residence, as opposed to pretending they are still part of some ‘jewel in the crown’ and living in their little Britain away from home.

Although I will say that there are behaviours and attitudes more specific to certain countries, especially Asia. There is almost an inbred sense of colonialism, an attitude of superiority and of first class human beings living among the inferior. That attitude speaks to the way the ex-pats treat the natives who work for them, often treated no better than slaves or unwilling captives.

Furniss presents a slow burning read that lets the reader become almost comfortable and complacent in the exotic aura of the surroundings, despite the crispy white starched collar feel of the characters. The truth lurks in the background and is easy to ascertain if you read between the lines. If you don’t then it will probably bite you in the butt while you are looking in the wrong direction.

It’s more of a subtle read, like the salt on your margarita glass, you don’t taste the salt until you have tasted the sugary sweet of the drink. A thriller, I agree, and yet it is so much more than that.

Buy The Trailing Spouse at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Pub. date: 14 August 2018