#Blogtour The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde illustrated by Philippe Jullian

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde illustrated by Philippe Jullian.

‘The complete collection, first published in 1952 with exquisite illustrations by the celebrated artist Philippe Jullian, republished in a beautiful giftable edition.’  

About the Author

Born in Dublin in 1854, Oscar Wilde was an Irish wit, playwright and poet best remembered for his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and his social comedies including The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). He published two volumes of beloved fairy tales. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1884 he married Constance Lloyd, and his two sons were born in 1885 and 1886. Wilde died in Paris in 1900.

About the book

For nearly 150 years, the classic fairy stories of Oscar Wilde have been cherished by readers of all ages. Rediscover all nine of the stories first published in The Happy Prince and other stories (1888) and A House of Pomegranates (1891) in this beautiful new edition of Duckworth’s exquisite 1952 complete collection, featuring intricate illustrations by the celebrated twentieth-century artist and aesthete Phillippe Jullian, and an afterword by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland.


I’ve read Wilde’s fairy stories before, quite often actually. Personally, I think they are exquisite, although Dorian Gray tends to get more attention overall, these are such memorable and often emotional stories. They are drawn from the ingrained folklore and stories Oscar grew up with. This is the 1952 edition republished, it contains beautiful illustrations by Philippe Jullian.

There is an afterword – a critical note – written by Wilde’s son Vyvyan Holland, which gives insight into the inspiration behind these fairy stories. It might have made more sense to put it in the front, however this way you experience the story and draw your own conclusions. Either way it’s a fascinating insight.

It’s evident in these stories how deeply Wilde was able to connect with the emotions of his fellow humans, especially with those they like to keep hidden away from the world. He lays bare the vulnerability, the harsh truth and just how disconnected we can all be from each other, ergo capable of hurting each other and creating wounds that never quite heal.

It’s gorgeous edition, one I wouldn’t hesitate to buy for others. Side note – I just love The Happy Prince.

Buy The Complete Fairy Stories of Oscar Wilde at Amazon Uk or Buy via Duckworth Books.

#BlogTour The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen by Julia Parry

‘A rare blend of literary biography and family memoir centred around a secret love affair between Elizabeth Bowen and the author’s grandfather.’

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen by Julia Parry.

About the Author

Julia Parry was brought up in West Africa and educated at St Andrews and Oxford. She teaches English literature and has worked as a writer and photographer for a variety of publications and charities. She lives in London and Madrid. This is her first book.

About the book

A sudden death in the family delivers Julia a box of love letters. Dusty with age, they reveal an illicit affair between the celebrated twentieth-century Irish novelist Elizabeth Bowen and Humphry House – Julia’s grandfather. So begins an intriguing quest to discover and understand this affair, one with profound repercussions for Julia’s family, not least for her grandmother, Madeline. This is a book about how stories are told in real life, in fiction and in families.

Inspired by Bowen’s own obsession with place and memory, Julia travels to all the locations in the letters – from Kolkata to Cambridge and from Ireland to Texas. The reader is taken from the rarefied air of Oxford in the 1930s, to the Anglo-Irish Big House, to the last days of Empire in India and on into the Second World War.

The fascinating unpublished correspondence, a wealth of family photographs, and a celebrated supporting cast that includes Isaiah Berlin and Virginia Woolf add further richness to this unique work. 


This is a semi-biographical homage to Elizabeth Bowen, the Anglo-Irish novelist and short story writer. A woman who had a long-term affair with Humphry House – Julia’s grandfather. The book is a way of examining the past, the love triangle that emerged over the years and putting the truth out there to combat the misconceptions. Her journey begins when an uncle shows her love letters between House and Bowen. What I would call a legacy of correspondence.

I could quote parts of this book over and over again, both the words of the author and those of Elizabeth Bowen. The author has a particularly acute insight into the role of each individual and their perceptions of each other and how they and the situation was perceived by others.

One of the moments that resonated with me the most was the way Madeline managed to eradicate and diminish her own voice by destroying her correspondence, thereby making herself a character in history as defined, described and as perceived by Bowen and House. It silences her in history and she becomes, like many other women in history, a footnote to the experiences of those who are written into history or leave evidence of themselves behind for future generations.

I was of two minds after reading this, whether the adulation the author has for Bowen’s talent supersedes the role of her grandmother in the story. Indeed what would Madeline have said about this book after doing her utmost to change or steer the narrative of the love triangle in the book by Glendinning.

I’m already thinking about who I can buy a copy of this book for. I was absolutely mesmerised by the way Parry made this non-fictional read into a smorgasbord of literary delight. The way the words of Bowen, the letters of family and friends become intertwined with those of the author to create a masterpiece in its own right. A delight to read.

The Shadowy Third: Love, Letters, and Elizabeth Bowen at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publication date: 25 February 2021 – £16.99 Hardback. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

#BlogTour Children of the Valley by Castle Freeman

Today it’s the last day and my turn on the BlogTour Children of the Valley by Castle Freeman.

About the Author

Castle Freeman is the author of seven novels, including the critically acclaimed Go With Me, which has been made into a film starring Anthony Hopkins, as well as two short-story collections. He has lived in rural Vermont since 1975.

Follow on Amazonon GoodreadsBuy Children of the Valley

About the book

Sheriff Lucian Wing goes to the aid of a pair of young runaways, Duncan and Pamela, who have fled to his backwoods county jurisdiction in Vermont. The girl’s powerful stepfather New York has set a smoothly menacing lawyer and well-armed thugs on their trail.

At the same time Wing must deal with his wayward wife’s chronic infidelity; the snobbery of Pamela’s cosmopolitan mother; the dubious assistance of a demented World War Two enthusiast – and the climactic, chaotic onset of a prodigious specimen of the local wildlife. Amidst it all, can Wing bring Duncan and Pamela to safety?


This is the third in the Lucian Wing series and can absolutely be read as a standalone novel, although I would recommend reading the others just for the read.

Lucian is sheriff in a backwoods rural community. The sort of place that tends to be filled to the brim with the kind of people others find odd, eccentric and and downright peculiar. He balances cross agency ambitions with the very special brand of loyalty rural life brings with it, and with a fiery relationship courtesy of his wife.

Lucian finds his feathers ruffled when a bigwig rocks up asking him to find a missing teenager for a rich client – her stepfather. Sounds simple enough, but all isn’t what it seems to be when the sheriff takes a closer look and the bigwigs idea of ‘finding’ doesn’t gel with his.

Can I just say that Big John deserves his own series, perhaps following his life as a hardened criminal with the talents of a particularly determined, elusive and ruthless Houdini. Between Big J and Wingate this cosy rural crime moves into its own comedy niche.

It’s an unusual blend of Fargoism meets rural and cosy crime with an often acerbic dialogue and wit. I laughed out loud quite a few times. It just has these moments of unexpected hilarity. One of Freeman’s strengths is his ability to give the characters depth with minimal world and character building.

I enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by or recommend Freeman.

Buy Children of the Valley at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Farrago; 10 Dec. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. HiveBookshop orgWaterstones.

Buy All That I Have ( Lucian Wing #1) and Old Number Five (Lucian Wing #2) by Castle Freeman.

#BlogTour Cherry Slice by Jennifer Stone

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Cherry Slice (Cherry PI Mystery #1) by Jennifer Stone.

About the Author

Jennifer Stone was born in Essex and spent her formative years living within its borders and enjoying the delights of the multiple night clubs and alcopop-swigging opportunities available. After a stint in North Wales acquiring a degree and a further spell in Leeds, training to be a teacher, she returned to the south of England to teach English in a variety of schools. She is currently head of English at a boarding school in Suffolk and has just completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime at UEA. She lives with her wife and their small son.

Follow on Goodreads,  Buy Cherry Slice 

About the book

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of 3 million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it – didn’t they?

Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan Love… but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knickerless in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop and tries to forget all about Expose.

But when Kenny Thorpe’s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns the case inside out, Cherry realises it’s down to her to expose the real killer.


This is the first book in the Cherry PI series.

Cherry Hinton isn’t exactly the kind of polished, pretty and perfect character or person you might expect. Her life is mired in scandal, due to an unfortunate experience with the world of reality television.

After accidentally blowing up her life with the help of the media, Cherry has resigned herself to baking for a living instead of being a journalist. When the sister of a murder victim asks for her help she is reluctant to agree to help, but she really can’t help herself or her gut instinct for the truth.

I really disliked the way Cherry Hinton was treated, and the way she just wouldn’t stick up for herself, but that is a different matter entirely. It is a book full of sexism, misogyny and the systemic mistreatment of women in a patriarchal society.

Assumptions are made about her character, which is maligned by the press, her family, her so-called friends and the world in general. Scantily clad woman equals someone of loose morals of course. Loose morals equals a woman willing to do anything for any man or man-child. It’s so sad and simultaneously frustrating.

It’s a murder mystery series with the kind of character who more or less stumbles through her investigations. Stone gives readers a character they want to cheer on and they want her to fight back against all her critics. Somehow the murder becomes almost insignificant in comparison to Cherry getting her jive back.

Buy Cherry Slice (Cherry PI Mystery #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Farrago; pub date 2 April 2020 – Paperback £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.