#BlogTour The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

It’s Publication Day today and my turn on the BlogTour The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves.

About the Author

Abbie Greaves studied at Cambridge University before working in a literary agency for a number of years.

She was inspired to write her first novel, The Silent Treatment, after reading a newspaper article about a boy in Japan who had never seen his parents speak to one another before. It will be published in April 2020.

Abbie lives in Edinburgh with her boyfriend and is hard at work on her follow-up novel, The Ends of the Earth.

Follow @AbbieGreaves1 on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit abbiegreaves.comBuy The Silent Treatment

About the book

A lifetime of love. Six months of silence. One last chance.

Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months. For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.

Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet, but it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.

Is this where their story ends? Or is it where it begins?

With characters that will capture your heart, The Silent Treatment celebrates the phenomenal power of love and the importance of leaving nothing unsaid.

Review

The story begins with a tragic decision and the realisation that it might be too late to say the things that need to be said. The things Maggie and Frank should have said, but were swallowed in their months of silent treatment, and didn’t.

I can’t decide whether the silence or the dismantling of the marriage and relationship was more fascinating. The silence between the two of them could have ultimately lead to the choice Maggie made. Much like isolation experiments with monkeys have shown, humans can crumble under the pressure of isolation techniques such as not having any verbal interaction with the only other person who lives in your home – the person who loves you the most.

It seems as if the crumbling is due to a lack of communication and hiding important moments in their lives from each other, which creates an atmosphere of tension and a lack of trust. The reason why they do it is irrelevant because it becomes cause and effect. Or is it irrelevant? Does the reason or person at the core of the secrets automatically solidify the love the two have for each other because they are the same.

It’s a contemporary read for all ages – a marriage stripped down to the bones. Heartache, lies, fear and grief are ground into the essence of this story to create a fascinating tale of loyalty, companionship and love.

This is a story with incredible depth. I think what I enjoyed about it the most was the simplicity of it and the basic structure. Proof that to write a captivating story you don’t need more than two characters and a great storyline. This would make a great play by the way. Very – Barefoot in the Park. Hopefully this is the first of many.

Buy The Silent Treatment at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Cornerstone Digital; pub date 2 April 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain

Today it’s my turn and also the end of the fantastic BlogTour The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain.

About the Author

Sairish Hussain was born and brought up in Bradford, West Yorkshire. She studied English Language and Literature at the University of Huddersfield and progressed onto an MA in Creative Writing. Sairish completed her PhD in 2019 after being awarded the university’s Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship. The Family Tree is her debut novel and she is now writing her second book.

Follow @sairish_hussain on Twitter, on Amazonon GoodreadsBuy The Family Tree

About the book

Amjad never imagined he’d be a single father. But, when tragedy strikes, he must step up for his two children – while his world falls apart.

Saahil dreams of providing for his dad and little sister. But his life is about to take an unexpected turn.

The baby of the family, Zahra, is shielded from the worst the world has to offer. But, as she grows up, she wonders if she can rely on anyone but herself.

There’s no such thing as an easy journey. But when life sends the family in different directions, will they take their own paths – or find their way back to each other?

Emotional and real, The Family Tree is the story of one ordinary family – and how it’s the extraordinary moments that define us all.

Review

This story moves through the decades as Amjad and his two young children come to terms with the death of his wife, their mother. As Saahil’s life is destroyed by another tragedy and then as Zahra faces her own difficulties as a young woman.

At the very core this is a story about family. About their love for each other and how their culture defines, cultivates and both strengthens or weakens it. How family relationships change when they are put under immense pressure or go through a traumatic experience.

Hussain doesn’t stop there though – she uses this story of family to broach topics that are at the very heart of societies that struggle with multicultural identities.

Privilege, specifically white privilege, can’t be changed if those with privilege are unable to comprehend what their privilege entails or what it means in the grand scheme of life. I often see comments saying that it isn’t the job of minorities or non-whites to teach white people what privilege means. My answer to that is – you can’t expect them to acknowledge something they aren’t even aware of, because they don’t have to deal with oppression, racism or discrimination on a daily basis.

They have no clue what it’s like to not even make the shortlisting pile because the colour of their skin is too dark, their name sounds too foreign, their religion or race conjures up stereotypical tropes. To be the token person that a company needs to have to show they are diverse.

The author blends these issues that define the professional lives of both Zahra and Saahil into the story, as they also struggle to survive the anger and misconceptions of the trauma that keeps them apart.

It hit the right emotional tone for me. It has the frank and honest feel of a family in the midst of a struggle. It hurts at times, it brings tears to the eyes and it also makes you smile. It’s a contemporary cultural read about family.

Buy The Family Tree at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Published by HQ: pub date 20th February 2020, Hardback £12.99 – Available in ebook and Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

#PaperbackPublicationDay for The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

It’s Happy Paperback Publication Day for The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary and to celebrate Quercus Books are giving you the chance to win a copy of The Flatshare with its brilliantly quirky new cover!

To win a copy just leave a comment underneath this post!

About Beth O’Leary

Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.

You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

Follow @OLearyBeth @QuercusBooks on Twitter, on Instagramon Goodreads, Visit theflatshare.co.ukBuy The FlatShare

Review

This book surprised me. It has the kind of charm that makes it memorable. The main character, Tiffy, is a kind of anti-Eleanor Oliphant and yet at the same time in a way a part of her is an Eleanor. This book has the same kind of quaint je ne sais quoi. An indescribable element which draws readers in.

Tiffy is looking for a place to live and Leon is looking for a flat mate. Neither of them have a lot of choice, which is how they end up coming up with a strange living arrangement. Sharing the same bed, but never at the same time – sounds like a really bizarre way to share a living space.

Leon’s girlfriend, yes he has a girlfriend, just has one rule. Never the twain shall meet. Tiffy and Leon must never be in the flat at the same time.

This is how the most entertaining part of the story evolves, as the two of them inadvertently become involved in each others lives and build a friendship without ever meeting each other. The fine lines of friendship are woven through communication, common concerns and an instantaneous emotional connection.

The other aspect of this book is how Tiffy slowly comes to the realisation that her relationship with her ex might have been anything but perfect. It’s interesting, albeit perhaps not what friends would do, how they are all invested in Tiffy making the connections herself. She isn’t swayed or convinced by anyone, she just starts to see events, actions and remarks in a different light.

The flashbacks she experiences are the beginning of an epiphany. Instead of remembering the loving boyfriend she suddenly feels different emotions. Fear, apprehension and the feeling of being manipulated. Is this because she wants to hate him for leaving her and for cheating? Or is there something more nefarious going on?

It’s a witty contemporary rom-com with endearing characters and a compelling plot. O’Leary brings humour, emotional turmoil and intense relationships to the table, she also weaves more serious topics into the story.

How easy it is to be controlled and abused without realising it and how some people can suck the life out of their partners with their sheer selfishness. Simultaneously it’s also about the fragile bridges of love and romance that can be built over distance and time without any physical interaction at all. It’s a really lovely read.

Buy The Flat Share on Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Quercus; pub date 18 April 2019. Buy at Amazon comat Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson

It’s Publication Day for The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson and also my turn on the BlogTour.

About the Author

Lynn Johnson was born in the Staffordshire Potteries and went to school in Burslem, where the novel is set. She left school with no qualifications and got a job as a dental nurse (and lasted a day), a nursery assistant, and a library assistant before her ambition grew and she enrolled at the Elms Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent and obtained six O’levels. She obtained a Diploma in Management Studies and a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University while working full-time.

Most of her working life was spent in Local Government in England and Scotland, and ultimately became a Human Resources Manager with a large county council.

She started to write after taking early retirement and moving to the north of Scotland with her husband where she did relief work in the famous Orkney Library and Archives, and voluntary work with Orkney’s Learning Link. Voluntary work with Cats Protection resulted in them sharing their home with six cats.

She joined Stromness Writing Group and, three months after moving to Orkney, wrote a short story which would become the Prologue to The Girl From the Workhouse.

About the book

Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope

Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.

Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.

Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?

An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.

Review

When her parents are unable to feed themselves and their children they end up being sent to the workhouse, well everyone except Mabel. Ginnie is thrust into a world without the daily love and care of her parents, but one could argue that her memories are slightly nostalgic.

Ginnie finds a new family in the Haddon Workhouse, which isn’t defined by blood or complicated relationships. It’s all about support, truth and being there for each other. They understand what it’s like to be abandoned by parents, to be delegated to the lowest tier in society.

The reader follows Ginnie as she learns to comprehend the difference between what you see and experience in a person, and what is hidden behind the exterior. She remembers and experiences her sister Mabel as someone who found it easy to forget Ginnie exists, that is until she needs a skivvy in her home.

It takes a little growing up to differentiate between face value and the face people put on for others. Perhaps Mabel isn’t the cold-hearted fish she appears to be. Everyone keeps a part of themselves secret, especially if they do it so they can protect themselves and their emotions. However Sam has always been consistent in his behaviour towards her and their friendship.

It’s a coming-of-age story and one of a budding romance. Johnson has a Cookson flair, perhaps with a little less heartbreak and topographical tinge, but she does capture the heart and soul of her characters.

Buy The Girl from the Workhouse at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Hera, pub date 18 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon comKobo.

#BlogBlitz Mile Marker 139 by Cynthia Hilston

Today it’s the Blog Blitz for Mile Marker 139 by Cynthia Hilston.

About the Author

Cynthia Hilston is a thirty-something-year-old stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she finally stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Visit her website at www.cynthiahilston.com for more information.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Follow @cynthiahilston on Twitter, on InstagramGoodreadson Facebook, Visit cynthiahilston.com,  Buy Mile Marker 139

About the book

At mile marker 139 along the Ohio Turnpike, a mysterious woman named Shelley Parkinson arrives at 3:14 at the rest area every night. She sits outside at one of the picnic tables, her fragile hands clutching one cigarette after another. Troubled people swirl around her, battling their own sorrows.

Gruff old janitor Mike Popkins works third shift at the facility and has been lost since his wife died, cutting himself off from his only son and going through the motions of his job. Idealistic young Sarah Wilcox whips up drinks at the happening new coffee shop at the rest stop, but her mind whips of dreams of traveling the world and living the life her late grandpa did as he drank a coffee on all corners of the globe. Heartbroken middle-aged trucker Russ Jacobs would rather spend long hours on the road than fall in love again. They all befriend Shelley. Each one desires something different, but none of them know why she haunts the rest area.

Unexpected death, disease, and accidents force Mike, Sarah, and Russ to make hard decisions to move forward, ripping them from their pasts. Can these three motley friends find healing in their own lives and help a woman who says she doesn’t need anyone, even as her brokenness spills onto them?

Review

It’s quite common for people to be drawn to beauty spots. They share an appreciation for these places. Is it really a stretch to think they could also be drawn to places that conjure up a more morose association or sense of despondency. Perhaps also being able to perceive someone who is lost or in need, and in doing so also reflect on their own problems.

The lives of Mike, Sarah, and Russ intersect with a strange forlorn figure. A woman who sits in the same place come rain, sun, snow or high winds, whilst repeating certain numbers to herself. One by one they are drawn to this strange women who doesn’t seem to care about herself or her surroundings. She just is.

It’s a contemporary read – a contemplative read about despair and the need for human interaction.

Hilston creates this micro-cosmos inside a bigger picture, and in a way the world or rather humankind is structured with small connected worlds. Worlds made up of emotions, be they painful or joyful ones. People looking for comfort, connection, support and kindness. It seems like such a simple thing, but in a world full of people who are for the majority quite disconnected from themselves and each other kindness is no longer a natural reaction.

I think one of the more poignant aspects of the read is Hilston making a point about loneliness. Feeling lonely doesn’t automatically equate to being alone. You can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely. Sometimes you just need someone to reach out and care, and take note that you are there.

Buy Mile Marker 139 at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Pub date 13 Dec 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of Rocks and Flowers in a Box and A Laughing Matter of Pain by Cynthia Hilston.

#PublicationDayPush The Single Best Thing by Elaine Spires

Today it’s Publication Day Push for The Single Best Thing by Elaine Spires.About the Author

Elaine Spires is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter and actress. Extensive travelling and a background in education and tourism perfected Elaine’s keen eye for the quirky characteristics of people, captivating the humorous observations she now affectionately shares with the readers of her novels. Elaine has written two books of short stories, two novellas and seven novels, four of which form the Singles Series – Singles’ Holiday, Singles and Spice, Single All The Way and Singles At Sea.  Her latest book, Singles, Set and Match is the fifth and final book in the series.

Her play Stanley Grimshaw Has Left The Building is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, London in May 2019.  Her short film Only the Lonely, co-written with Veronique Christie and featuring Anna Calder Marshall is currently being in shown in film festivals worldwide and she is currently working on a full length feature film script. Only the Lonely won the Groucho Club Short Film Festival 2019!  Elaine recently returned to UK after living in Antigua W.I. She lives in East London.

Follow @ElaineSWriter on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram, on Amazon, Visit elainespires.co.uk, Buy The Single Best Thing

About the book

Almost four years have passed since Melv followed Eve back to England refusing to throw away their long awaited chance of lasting love and happiness. Much has happened in that time. No longer a tour manager for Travel Together, Eve is enjoying unexpected success in her new career. Has she forgiven him for hurting her so deeply? Was her love for him simply enough? And what about her own dark secret?

Provoking smiles and tears this glimpse into Eve’s future brings the Singles’ Series to its final conclusion.

Review

In this final part of the Single series, which should probably be read in order to get the full gist of the characters and the story,  the reader gets to see what the future holds for Eve.

She finally works up the courage to put pen to paper and ultimately finds her way to becoming a published author. The heartache, confusion and pain are channelled into the written word. Eve evolves as a person, which may have come a little late in the day, but the results speak for themselves.

It’s a contemporary read about love, relationships and the kind of secrets that destroy lives. I like the way Spires doesn’t lay the blame on one person. Even if Eve doesn’t want to acknowledge it at first, part of her realises that some of the blame can also be laid at her door.

I’m not quite sure where real life begins and ends, but it certainly seemed as if the author built Eve’s experiences as a budding author from many of her own. Although wandering from present into the past wasn’t a new storyline for this series – this time it didn’t gel as well. Possibly because the information on blogtours, hosts, bloggers and helpful authors is based on fact and real people – with a little moment of displeasure re a certain review. For me it took away from the rest of the story.

This book brings the Single series and indeed the story of Eve to a conclusion. Will she finally be able to resign herself to the fact the past is over and done, which means she can forgive herself for her own choices and life altering decisions. You shouldn’t spend the present focusing on the past, because that will define your future.

Buy The Single Best Thing at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Singles, Set & Match by Elaine Spires.

#BlogTour The Secret Letter by Kerry Barrett

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Secret Letter by Kerry Barrett.

About the Author

Kerry has always loved books, words, writing and reading. She was a very bookish child and read all the time. She remembers challenging herself to read all the Famous Five books by her seventh birthday – but she doesn’t remember if she succeeded!

From growing up on a diet of Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfeild, and Sweet Valley High, she moved on to Jackie Collins and her all-time favourite Jilly Cooper. She studied English Literature and Language at the University of Birmingham, then after university, she trained as a journalist and worked on various newspapers and magazines as a writer and editor. In her spare time, she wrote and rewrote what would eventually become her first novel, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, which was published in 2013.

Kerry now divides her time between writing her own novels and editing other people’s. She loves editing as much as writing and she thinks being an editor helps improve her writing, while being a writer makes her a better editor.

Kerry is from Edinburgh originally, but now she lives in South London with her husband and two sons.

Follow @kerrybean73 and @HQDigitalUK on Twitter,  on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit kerrybarrett.co.ukBuy The Secret Letter

About the book

I signed the letter with a flourish. I wouldn’t send it. There was no need. But I wanted to keep it somewhere safe, somewhere I could find it if I ever needed to remember why I’d done what I’d done. The fight goes on, I told myself. The fight goes on…

London, 1910. Twenty-one-year-old Esther Watkins would do anything for the Suffragette cause. Imprisoned, force-fed and beaten, she is determined to fight for what she believes is right – no matter what it costs her. With new love Joseph by her side, will she get the better future she dreams of?

Kent, 2019. With her marriage in tatters, school teacher Lizzie Armstrong moves to sleepy Elm Heath for a fresh start, and her pupils and the community soon steal her heart. So when the school is threatened with closure Lizzie knows she has to fight, and she looks to the school’s founder for inspiration.

What makes Esther, born and bred in London, a proud Suffragette, suddenly leave the city and escape to Elm Heath? And when Lizzie uncovers Esther’s heartbreaking secret, could it give her the strength she needs to save not just the school, but her new beginning too?

Review

Esther is brave and so are her fellow Suffragettes, but fighting to have a voice comes with a price. Prison, police brutality and being shunned by family, friends and colleagues are just a few things that come to mind. Having to find new homes and employment were no easy feat in 1910. Luckily Esther finds other like-minded women to support her.

When she falls in love she doesn’t expect that relationship to define the rest of her life and the choices she makes, but in a way it does. Those choices are also the beginning of the story Lizzie becomes wrapped up in.

In 2019 Lizzie is recovering from betrayal, heartbreak and adjustments in her career. A bit of a pariah in educational circles she finds her way to a school in Elm Heath, which is in as much need of assistance as indeed she is. There she discovers Esther and the will to fight for what is right.

It’s a double time-line contemporary read and simultaneously also historical fiction.

Barrett shows us women’s empowerment and what that looks like in our day and age, and for women in the past. In the 21st century it’s easy to forget the struggle of the women who came before us. The courageous women who had to endure pain, humiliation, violations and imprisonment for decades, so we can cast a vote just as easily as the opposite gender. The fact it isn’t part of our conscious thought process it perhaps why so many throw away their heavily fought for right to vote away at each given opportunity.

The Suffragettes would be appalled at the way many throw away the opportunity to have a political voice, but perhaps more so because of how hard they fought for it. Of course one could argue that choosing not to vote is also part of democracy.

This story is all about collaboration, even when it stretches over decades, and acknowledging that sometimes we fight not only for ourselves, but also future generations.

Buy The Secret Letter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ – HQ Digital; pub date 6 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Hidden Women by Kerry Barrett.