#Blogtour The Attic Child by Lola Jaye

It is absolutely a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Attic Child by Lola Jaye. It’s a fantastic read.

About the Author

Lola Jaye is an author and registered psychotherapist. She was born and raised in London and has lived in Nigeria and the United States. She has a degree in Psychology and a Masters in Psychotherapy and Counselling. She has contributed to the sequel to the bestseller Lean In, penned by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and has also written for the Huffington Post, CNN, Essence, HuffPost and the BBC.

She is a member of the Black Writers’ Guild and the author of five previous novels. The Attic Child is her first epic historical novel. Follow @LolaJaye on Twitter

About the book

Two children separated by almost a century, bound by a secret…

1907: Twelve-year-old Celestine spends most of his time locked in an attic room of a large house by the sea. Taken from his homeland and treated as an unpaid servant, he dreams of his family in Africa even if, as the years pass, he struggles to remember his mother’s face, and sometimes his real name. 

Almost a century later, Lowra, a young orphan girl born into wealth and privilege, will find herself banished to the same attic. Lying under the floorboards of the room is an old porcelain doll, an unusual beaded claw necklace and, most curiously, a sentence etched on the wall behind an old cupboard, written in an unidentifiable language. Artefacts that will offer her a strange kind of comfort, and lead her to believe that she was not the first child to be imprisoned there . . . 

Review

I’m not sure there is any right way to review this in regards to the white privilege I acknowledge and access, and the frame of reference through which I experienced this read. White guilt is unwanted and white saviourism is a concept created only to sooth the conscience of deep seated roots of colonialism, and the waves of destruction it has caused.

I found the story of Dikembe incredibly sad, and the actions of the man who bought him as a show pony exemplar, are just despicable. It’s hard to fathom how people could disassociate themselves with the concept of humanity in other races, believing themselves superior and virtuous, whilst treating others like commodities. 

Equally I was moved by Lowra’s story, but on a different level. The voice of neglect and abuse is one to be heard and remembered. The connection between the two characters is a shared experience of being invisible, forgotten and never good enough. It’s that bond and force of nature, the strength of endurance, that creates a strong legacy from the past, present and into the future.

This is definitely going on my best reads of the year list. I loved it. I can’t wait to read more by Jaye – what an incredible writer. The way history, white privilege and colonialism is woven silently into the plot. There is no placard with a silent scream of anger, disappointment, sorrow or pain. There is only fact, fate, truth and acknowledgement of guilt. 

This is only one voice of many silent ones, faction and hard reality melded with a creative flair to create this compelling story of displacement, abuse, racism and identity. An excellent read.

Buy The Attic Child at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Pan MacMillan 28th April 2022 | Hardback – £14.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Pan MacMillan.

#BlogTour The Homecoming by Anna Enquist

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Homecoming by Anna Enquist, translated by Eileen Stevens.

About the Author

Anna Enquist studied piano at the academy of music in The Hague and psychology at Leiden University. She is the author of the novels The Masterpiece; The Secret, winner of the 1997 Dutch Book of the Year awarded by the public; The Ice Carriers; Counterpoint; Quartet; and the international bestseller The Homecoming, which received the Prix du Livre Corderie Royale-Hermione for its French translation. 

Anna is also the author of A Leap, a collection of dramatic monologues, as well as numerous poetry collections, including Soldiers’ Songs, for which she was awarded the C. Buddingh’ Prize; A New Goodbye; and Hunting Scenes, winner of the Lucy B. and C.W. van der Hoogt Prize.

About the Translator – Eileen Stevens

Eileen Stevens earned her MA in linguistics with a specialization in translation from the University of Amsterdam. Her many Dutch-to-English translation credits include Connie Palmen’s Your Story, My Story; Karin Schacknat’s In and Out of Fashion; Vera Mertens’s The Concentration Camp; and Ineke van Doorn’s Singing from the Inside Out. She has also translated numerous essays on classical music and the arts. A New Jersey native, Eileen spent twenty-five years working as a professional violinist in a Dutch orchestra and has lived in Amsterdam since 1990.

About the book

After twelve years of marriage to English explorer James Cook, Elizabeth has yet to spend an entire year with her husband. In their house by the Thames, she moves to the rhythms of her life as a society wife, but there is so much more to her than meets the eye. She has the strength to manage the house and garden, raise their children, and face unbearable sorrow alone.

As she prepares for another homecoming, Elizabeth looks forward to James’s triumphant return and the work she will undertake reading and editing his voluminous journals. But will the private life she’s been leading in his absence distract her from her role in aid of her husband’s grand ambitions? Can James find the compassion to support her as their family faces unimaginable loss, or must she endure life alone as he sails off toward another adventure?

An intimate and sharply observed novel, The Homecoming is as revelatory as James Cook’s exploration of distant frontiers and as richly rewarding as Elizabeth’s love for her family. With courage and strength, through recollection and imagination, author Anna Enquist brilliantly narrates Elizabeth’s compelling record of her life, painting a psychological portrait of an independent woman ahead of her time.

Review

It’s always fascinating to read about the women behind important historical figures. The people who remain anonymous, invisible and because of that they disappear into the folds of history books and archives. The importance of their roles is underrated and often never told. Putting that into perspective, who doesn’t know about James Cook, and who in turn knows anything about his wife Elizabeth.

We meet Elizabeth as she is preparing for her husband to return to her once again. Not unlike modern military wives, she is the glue that holds the family and home together, awaiting the man who is little more than a distant love. They have spent little time together for the duration of their marriage – his endeavours, tasks and adventures always come first.

She carries the weight of grief alone, the unusual existence of being the wife of an early version of a celebrity. It’s no wonder that the two of them have little common ground when he finally and reluctantly returns home. The feet they itcheth to be waterborne once more.

The subtle combination of historical fact, imagined dialogue, actual excerpts of letters and journals with a smidgen of faction thrown in to compliment the tale. It’s also a lovely homage to the woman behind the man.

I always appreciate a good translation, which when done well leaves no lasting impression of having been translated, and captures the true essence, the nuances and voice of the author. Kudos to Stevens for that, and to Enquist for the fascinating read.

Buy The Homecoming at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher Amazon Crossing, pub date 1st April 2022 | Paperback: £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi.

About the Author

Nadia Hashimi was raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970’s, before the Soviet invasion.  In 2002, Nadia made her forst trip to Afghanistan with her parents. She is a pediatrician, and lives with her family in the Washington, D.C, suburbs. She is the author of three books for adults, as well as the middle grade novels One Half from the East and the Sky at Our Feet. Follow @NadiaHashimi on Twitter, Visit her online at nadiahashimibooks.com

About the book

Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan’s thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sardar Daoud, Afghanistan’s progressive president, and Sitara’s beloved father, his right-hand man. But the ten-year-old Sitara’s world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara’s entire family. Only she survives. 

Smuggled out of the palace by a guard named Shair, Sitara finds her way to the home of a female American diplomat, who adopts her and raises her in America. In her new country, Sitara takes on a new name—Aryana Shepherd—and throws herself into her studies, eventually becoming a renowned surgeon.

New York, 2008: Thirty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Aryana’s world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room—a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana’s fury and desire for answers—and, perhaps, revenge.

Review

Sitara’s world is destroyed when he affluent family falls prey to the political machinations of a brutal and lethal coup. She doesn’t necessarily see her escape and subsequent life as fortunate, as she finds it difficult to put the horrors she experienced to bed. The sounds, images and emotions that have dimmed and become quieter as her drive pushes her to success in her new life, are suddenly awakened when she encounters a pivotal person from her past.

I really enjoyed the read, Hashimi has a knack of fusing fact and fiction, so the reader isn’t quite sure where the two meet or separate. It gives the historical inspiration behind the story more validity and I think it also leaves a bigger imprint because of it. That in itself is quite important with historical fiction, when readers encounter history they perhaps haven’t encountered in their life or educational, cultural background.

In a time and era of such discourse and division, and with many more countries becoming melting pots of diversity, due to immigration, refugees and mass migration – it’s paramount that we all understand the history of those around us. It gives context, especially in regards to culture and indeed often the trauma they have experienced and bring with them.

It’s a fascinating story of betrayal, trauma, pain and also one about closure. About dealing with the past and acknowledging that no action in the present or the future will change the past, which means learning to accept to gain some semblance of peace. I really enjoyed both the story and the writing.

Buy Sparks Like Stars at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎William Morrow pub date 2 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

BlogTour The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina Ruști

 It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina Ruști.  Translated from the Romanian language by James Christian Brown.

About the Author

Doina Ruști  is one of Romania’s most successful writers of historical and speculative fiction. Known for the originality of her novels, Ruști is the recipient of many major Romanian awards, and her books have been translated into multiple languages, including Chinese and German to date. Ruști is known for exploring aspects of fantasy and the supernatural, as well as tackling darker themes such as political corruption. 

She says, “I live in Bucharest, the happiest city in the world, even its name says it (The City of Joy). In all my novels I write about Bucharest. If this city didn’t exist, maybe I wouldn’t be a writer.”

Follow @doinarusti on Twitter, Visit doinarusti.ro

About the Translator – James Christian Brown

‘I am originally from Scotland but have lived in Romania since 1993. I teach in the English Department of the University of Bucharest and translate Romanian books into English. My first book-length translation from Romanian to English was The Păltiniş Diary by Gabriel Liiceanu (2000). More recently I have translated Răzvan Petrescu’s collection of short stories Small Changes in Attitude (2011), the play Mihaela, The Tiger of Our Town by Gianina Cărbunariu (2016), the volume of philosophical talks About the World We Live In by Alexandru Dragomir (2017), and Doina Ruști’s novel The Book of Perilous Dishes (Neem Tree Press, 2022)’

About the book

Bucharest, 1798. – A slave-cook lives in Bucharest, sought after by everyone. His sublime cooking satisfies even the sophisticated tastes of the Prince, who lays claim to him, whisking him off to the Palace. However, no one knows that the cook has in his possession a witch’s recipe book, the Book of Perilous Dishes.

His food can bring about damaging sincerity, forgetfulness, the gift of prediction, or hysterical laughter. And the rightful owner of this book is fourteen-year-old Pâtca, an adolescent initiated in the occult arts. Pâtca comes to Bucharest, to her uncle Cuviosu Zăval, to recover this book, but she finds him dead, murdered, and the Book of Perilous Dishes has disappeared without a trace. All that Zăval has left her is a strange map…

Review

I am eternally grateful for translators who are at the top of their game and able to recreate a foreign language book, so readers from other countries can enjoy brilliant stories that would otherwise remain just beyond our grasp. In this case the translator has in-depth knowledge of language, history and the geographical areas, which absolutely helps to do this story by Ruști justice.

The book starts with an introduction by the translator, which includes the historical context and also why he made certain choices when it came to translating or not translating certain words. At the end of the book there is also the added bonus of a glossary and pronunciation guide.

Pâtca has been preparing for the day when she has to run to save her life – that day has come, it’s time to become who she was always intended to be. She is trained to evoke powers, she is a staunch proud carrier of a special bloodline. A bloodline that determines paths of power, time, space and air.

Her escape and story becomes linked with a man who has become a myth in itself, a cook who creates dishes with intent. Pâtca seeks out her uncle in search of the book containing these dishes, but the book is gone and she is drawn into the rings reverberating from the use of recipes that call upon more than just aptitude and taste.

It’s an intriguing combination of historical fiction and magical realism. It’s on of those books that keeps on giving, worth more than one read – and I don’t say that often. An incredibly intricate read narrated by the young Pâtca, who always seems to be in the midst of confusion, whilst simultaneously being convinced and driven by her birthright. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more by Ruști.

Buy The Book of Perilous Dishes at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other reason. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Neem Tree Press.

#BlogTour The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

‘From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes an unforgettable story inspired by the true events of a BBC-sponsored wartime cooking competition.’ It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan.

About the Author

Jennifer Ryan is the author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. Originally from Kent and then London, she was previously a non-fiction book editor. Follow @JenniferiRyan on Twitter

About the book

Two years into the Second World War, and German U-boats are frequently disrupting Britain’s supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio programme called The Kitchen Front launches a new cooking contest – and the grand prize is a job as the programme’s first-ever female co-host.

For young widow Audrey, winning the competition could be a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. However, her estranged sister, Gwendoline, is equally set on success even if her own kitchen maid, Nell, is competing against her. And then there is Zelda, a London-trained chef desperate to succeed in a male-dominated profession – and harbouring a secret that will change everything . . .

Review

This story is fiction woven with facts, based loosely on programmes the BBC actually had during wartime and times of rationing. In an attempt to teach people how to create meals from less a cooking competition is started and includes four very different women who are determined to win. One of those women is the young mother and recently widowed Audrey.

Winning would mean being able to take care of her already vulnerable children, and you would think that her family would line up to be her biggest supporter, well everyone except for her sister who also has her mind set on winning. What follows is a healthy, funny and often emotional race to the finishing line.

The book is filled with the connection to food, the love of the one thing that brings all people together. My parents are ration babies and my father in particular has many stories to tell, and he is also capable of whipping up a meal out of anything at all. The most basic of ingredients with a tenfold ways of creating nourishing food.

The story is filled with the spirit of sisterhood and friendship, even though it takes a while to get there for some. The trauma of the times they live in call for extraordinary measures, and I think a lot of those have never really left certain countries. Stories are passed on, as are memories, and more importantly those ways and attempts to unify, comfort and support have been passed on also.

It’s contemporary read, despite the fact it is historical fiction. The important elements of humanity, friendship and even the more nuanced aspects of rivalry and competitions, all of these things resonate now as they did then. 

Ryan writes a jolly good yarn, one readers can connect with, whilst drawing parallels and feasting on memories and nostalgia. A Home Fires vibe, mixing the staunch upper lip and iron will to survive and persevere with the devastation of loss, change and new beginnings. It’s a read I think many will enjoy.

Buy The Kitchen Front at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Pan; 3 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Review The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

‘The Christie Affair is a stunning novel which reimagines the unexplained eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in 1926 that captivated the world.’

About the Author

Nina de Gramont lives with her husband and daughter in coastal North Carolina, where she teaches Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Her interest in writing about Agatha Christie began in 2015 when she first learned about the famous author’s eleven-day disappearance. Christie’s refusal to ever speak about this episode particularly intrigued Nina, who loves the fact that someone who unravelled mysteries for a living managed to keep her own intact. The Christie Affair is her fourth novel.

Follow @NinadeGramont on Twitter, Visit ninadegramont.com

About the book

In 1926, Agatha Christie disappeared for 11 days. Only I know the truth of her disappearance. I’m no Hercule Poirot. I’m her husband’s mistress. – Agatha Christie’s world is one of glamorous society parties, country house weekends, and growing literary fame.

Nan O’Dea’s world is something very different. Her attempts to escape a tough London upbringing during the Great War led to a life in Ireland marred by a hidden tragedy. After fighting her way back to England, she’s set her sights on Agatha. Because Agatha Christie has something Nan wants. And it’s not just her husband.

Despite their differences, the two women will become the most unlikely of allies. And during the mysterious eleven days that Agatha goes missing, they will unravel a dark secret that only Nan holds the key to.

Review

Nan is a character everyone will love to hate, but they should perhaps admire her with equal passion. She envelopes the entirety of this plot in her web and consumes everyone in her path, she is also a wonderful narrator I might add. She has set her sights on Agatha’s husband, the life she lives and perhaps even more.

When Agatha, yes the Agatha Christie, disappears in the aftermath of some emotional turmoil, the entire country is searching for her. Is she missing, dead or has she been kidnapped? Has the treacherous husband got something to do with it or Nan perhaps?

What is Nan up to in the background, does she have access to information we aren’t privy to? It’s an excellently spun web of lies, desires, memories and ultimately one of secrets and hidden truths.

My only complaint about this book is that it is fiction. That it is a story born from the mind of a creative just based on the factual event – the eleven-day disappearance of Agatha Christie in the 1920s. Part of me wishes it actually happened, it’s a great scenario and well executed.

It’s also nice wee homage to the Queen of Mystery Crime, although she may not have been amused by the drama of her life becoming the scene of a mystery and a crime, however I think readers will certainly appreciate the irony.

Buy The Christie Affair at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Mantle pub date 20 Jan. 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy at WaterstonesAt Pan MacMillan.

#BlogTour The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs.

About the Author

Annabel Abbs is the rising star of biographical historical novels. She grew up in Bristol, Sussex and Wales before studying English Literature at the University of East Anglia. Her debut novel The Joyce Girl won the Impress Prize and was a Guardian Reader’s Pick and her second novel Frieda: The Original Lady Chatterley was a Times 2018 Book of the Year. 

She regularly appears on national and regional media, with recent appearances on Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and Sky News, and is popular on the literary festival circuit. She was longlisted for the Bath Novel Award, the Caledonia Novel Award and the Waverton GoodRead Award. Annabel lives in London with her husband and four children.

Abbs’s third novel, The Language of Food, the story of Eliza Acton, Britain’s first domestic goddess, publishes in the UK in February 2022 and is currently being translated into 14 languages.

Follow @annabelabbs on Twitter, Visit annabelabbs.com

“When I inherited a collection of antiquarian cookery books I suspected a story might be lurking in one of them. Researching and writing the story of Britain’s first domestic goddess has been a wonderful culinary adventure.” – Annabel Abbs

About the book

Eliza Acton is a poet who’s never boiled an egg. But she’s about to break the mould of traditional cookbooks. And change the course of cookery writing forever.

England 1835. Eliza Acton is a poet who dreams of seeing her words in print. But when she takes a new manuscript to a publisher, she’s told that ‘poetry is not the business of a lady.’ Instead, she’s asked to write a cookery book.

Eliza is horrified but her financial situation leaves her no choice. Although she’s never cooked before, she is determined to learn and to discover, if she can, the poetry in recipe writing. To assist her, she hires seventeen-year-old Ann Kirby, the daughter of local paupers. Over the next ten years, Eliza and Ann change the course of cookery writing forever.

Told in alternate voices by the award-winning author of The Joyce Girl, The Language of Food is the most thought-provoking and compelling historical novel you’ll read this year. Abbs explores the enduring struggle for female freedom, the complexities of friendship, the creativity and quiet joy of cooking and the poetry of food, while bringing Eliza Acton out of the archives and back into the public eye.

Review

As soon as I read the book of cookery every household should own I was thinking to myself – no matter what this says there is nothing better than Mrs Beeton. As the story unfolds and the author melds fact with fiction, well I ended up coming away with a completely different view.

I taught myself to bake, cook and take care of my household. I was given Mrs Beeton many decades ago, because her books contain the food of folk and are written with a common sense approach. Accuracy, simplicity and instant comprehension for a novice. My father taught me how to make the best Yorkshire puddings and pancakes, based on a less is more working kitchen and indeed working class kitchen. You can make something out of anything, and it should fill the stomach, satisfy the senses and doesn’t need to break the bank or win a food fashion competition.

As a young mother at the start of my twenties, I began writing down recipes that I used the most, that pleased the recipients, and it includes the evidence of labour whilst creating the perfect choc chip cookie or shortbread for instance.

The aforementioned is probably why this book resonated with me. I understand how food is its own communicator and de-stressor. My own handwritten volume of three plus decades is evidence of that. The way the author draws from the power of food as it becomes an equalizer, a communicator and in this historical setting also an opportunity for independence in a society where women are always the second class citizen – it’s a riveting and visceral journey of the senses.

I loved the way Abbs approached this, the way the main characters are both examples of their class status, whilst simultaneously being bonded by their commonalities. The story becomes it’s own documentation of historical events, despite the fictional aspect.

Buy The Language of Food at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Simon & Schuster UK, pub date 3 Feb. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour A Wartime Secret by Helen Yendall

 Happy Publication Day to A Wartime Secret by Helen Yendall and it’s also a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour.

About the Author

Helen Yendall: ‘I’m a writer and creative writing tutor, based in the Cotswolds . I was Warwick Poet Laureate from 2006-7. I’ve had dozens of short stories published in a variety of magazines, including Best, Take A Break, The People’s Friend and Woman’s Weekly. I won The People’s Friend serial writing competition in 2015. I am a member of the RNA and I now write female-focussed WW2 novels.’ Follow @HelenYendall on Twitter

About the book

‘Look after Violet!’ her mother called, as she was bundled into the back of the car. Then she was gone.

When Maggie’s new job takes her from bombed-out London to grand Snowden Hall in the Cotswolds she’s apprehensive but determined to do her bit for the war effort. She’s also keeping a secret, one she knows would turn opinion against her. Her mother is German: Maggie is related to the enemy.

Then her evacuee sister sends her a worrying letter, missing the code they agreed Violet would use to confirm everything was well, and Maggie’s heart sinks. Violet is miles away; how can she get to her in the middle of a war? Worse, her mother, arrested for her nationality, is now missing, and Maggie has no idea where she is.

As a secret project at Snowden Hall risks revealing Maggie’s German side, she becomes even more determined to protect her family. Can she find a way to get to her sister? And will she ever find out where her mother has been taken?

Review

Still coming to terms with life without her mother, Maggie is finding it increasingly difficult to deal with her father. He thinks only of himself and not about how his actions and decisions may impact his family. It makes living and surviving in war-torn London so much more difficult than it already is.

When an opportunity presents itself, one her father disapproves of, but gives her the opportunity to find herself and discover friendship, love and conviction – her path becomes one she determines herself from this point forward. Maggie learns valuable lessons about judging a book by its cover, that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and that small acts of kindness leave large ripples in time.

There’s nothing like a war to divide people and make them suspicious of anyone who has even a hint of the enemy about them. Maggie has to hide one side of her parentage, being half-German isn’t something you just throw out there into the conversation, when they are perceived as the essence of evil and the reason so many men have lost their lives, both in the Great War and during the ongoing one.

Yendall captures the essence of the time and her characters within said period of time. It’s historical fiction with a wink of humour, whilst laying bare the trauma of the war and the indestructible will to survive that was a paramount ingredient of the people in that situation.

It’s the kind of read that pulls at the heartstrings, and yet sees the light and joy in the small interactions and gestures. A riveting and enjoyable read.

Buy A Wartime Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎HQ Digital pub date 14 Jan. 2022. Buy at Amazon comAt Harper Collins.

#BlogTour The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton.

About the Author

Meg Waite Clayton is a New York Times bestselling author of six novels, most recently Beautiful Exiles. Her previous novels include the Langum Prize–honored The Race for Paris; The Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction (now the PEN/Bellwether); and The Wednesday Sisters, one of Entertainment Weekly’s 25 Essential Best Friend Novels of all time. 

She has also written for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes, and public radio, often on the subject of the particular challenges women face. Follow @MegWClayton on Twitter, Visit megwaiteclayton.com

About the book

The New York Times bestselling author of The Last Train to London revisits the dark early days of the German occupation in France in this haunting novel—a love story and a tale of high-stakes danger and incomparable courage—about a young American heiress who helps artists hunted by the Nazis escape from war-torn Europe.

Wealthy, beautiful Naneé was born with a spirit of adventure that transcends her Midwestern roots. For her, learning to fly is freedom. When German tanks roll across the border and into Paris, this woman with an adorable dog and a generous heart joins the resistance. Known as the Postmistress because she delivers information to those in hiding, Naneé uses her charms and skill to house the hunted and deliver them to safety.

Inspired by the real life Chicago heiress Mary Jayne Gold, who worked with American journalist Varian Fry to smuggle artists and intellectuals out of France, Meg Waite Clayton has fashioned a sweeping tale of romance and danger, set in a world aflame with personal and political passion. The Postmistress of Paris is the haunting story of an indomitable woman whose strength, bravery, and love is a beacon of hope in a time of terror.

Review

Naneé is woman who loves being one with the air and nature, and yet simultaneously also enjoys the way others embrace and then express the way they perceive life. As the evil ideology of the Nazi regime slowly encroaches upon her life and the lives of those around her, she makes a choice. She becomes part of the solution and part of the resistance.

A story born from an inspirational story leading into and during World War 2. The author takes that inspiration and creates an emotional, caring story around it. It’s not just about love, it’s about endurance and being willing to go that extra mile under extreme circumstances for the people you love or in this case people who are stuck in the eye of a deadly storm. The courage of individuals sometimes leaves the smallest footprint, but makes the most lasting and important impression.

It’s historical fiction with plenty of amusing and endearing moments, whilst giving the historical importance of this period in time due diligence. It also opens the door into less often discussed events during this period, especially in regards to the attitude and position towards the creative arts and their creators. 

Buy The Postmistress of Paris at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Harper pub date 30 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon com. At Harper Collins.

#BlogTour Babes in the Wood by Mark Stay

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Babes in the Wood by Mark Stay – this is the second book in the Witches of Woodville trilogy.

About the Author

Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at markstaywrites.com. Follow @markstay  on Twitter. 

About the book

July, 1940 – In a quiet village in rural Kent, a magical mystery leads to murder . . . Woodville has returned to ‘normal’ after the departure of the Crow Folk. The villagers put out fires from aircraft shot down in the Battle of Britain, and Faye Bright discovers that magic can be just as dangerous as any weapon.

The arrival of a trio of Jewish children fleeing the Nazis brings the fight for Europe to the village. When their guardian is found dead, Faye must play nanny to the terrified children while gathering clues to uncover a dark magic that threatens to change the course of the war. And she must do it quickly – the children have seen too much and someone wants them silenced for good.

Review

This is the second book in the Witches of Woodville trilogy. Set in World War 2, the story follows Faye Bright, as she walks through life on a tightrope of magic and brutal reality.

Faye and Bertie are still getting used to being a prisoner to the restrictions of a world at war, including bus windows with special netting to keep people from being pierced by shards of glass in the eventuality of a bomb being dropped in their vicinity.

They more or less stumble upon the enemy in the middle of their village, well at least the majority of the villagers feel that way. Faye knows they are just scared, traumatised refugees who have been torn from their families in an attempt to save at least one member of a targeted family.

Whilst protecting them Faye must once again fight against a deep dark magic that has one goal – to change the course of the war to the detriment of many innocent people. It’s paramount that the darkness be stopped in its tracks.

This is a series I would recommend to both YA readers and also middle grade readers. The darkness tries to envelope the light It deals with traumatic and sensitive topics by melding history, fiction and magical realism to create a fierce main character and a compelling read.

Buy Babes in the Wood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Simon and Schuster Uk; pub date 28 October 2021 | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.