#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.


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.

The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve

This is the second book in the Leo Stanhope series, and if you haven’t read the first one yet, The House on Half Moon Street, then please do, because you are missing out on a great book.

Leo gets called to identify the body of a woman who has been buried in the midst of a burrow of rooms and hallways that harbour a group of anarchists. His first instinct is to lie and his second one is to worry about who wasn’t found with the corpse.

Leo and Rosie end up as a sleuthing duo again in this story, although their relationship is quite rocky. Leo finds it difficult to forgive Rosie for what happened to Leo in that room. They need to have clarification on why Leo feels so betrayed. Not that it was her fault that they ended up there, but perhaps it has more to do with seeing his vulnerable side and being a witness to the worst thing that could possibly happen to Leo or Rosie. She has seen his shame, but then wasn’t she the one who opened that door?

The premise is absolutely refreshing. Reeve wants the reader to understand the limitations for transgender people in this particular era, which can’t really be compared to those in the 21st century. Although, to be completely fair there are still plenty of countries with laws comparable to those in the dark ages.

It’s historical crime fiction with a compelling main character. Reeve has a natural flair for crime and for telling a story. This isn’t a writer who has decided to throw in a transgender character to shake a genre up or be in vogue. He has created a main character with longevity and potential, and it certainly wouldn’t work if he wasn’t such a talented scribe. Luckily he is, which hopefully means we will be hearing a lot more from Reeve in the future.

Buy The Anarchists’ Club (Leo Stanhope 2) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Raven Books; pub date 2 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve.

Follow Alex Reeves @storyjoy or @BloomsburyRaven onTwitter

The House on Half Moon Street by Alex Reeve

I really enjoyed this intriguing crime mystery, perhaps because the main character is trying to live their best life, despite the many obstacles in their way.

Charlotte takes the brave step into independence and severs the ties between herself and her family in an attempt to live how she wants and love whom she wants. That life is being Leo, because for all intent and purposes he is a man waiting to walk free from the physical constraints of his female body. Free to love. Free to partake in the pleasures of a physical and sexual relationship. And this is where the story becomes a tale of crime, murder, unrequited passion and jealousy.

What Reeve captures really well is the inequality of gender in that particular time period, although to be fair some things haven’t changed much. He describes the privilege Leo enjoys as a man and then the oppression Charlotte has to endure in equal measures as a woman.

Although in our day and age it is considered more politically correct to assign the correct personal pronoun to Leo, I believe to do the story justice one has to speak of both Charlotte as a woman and Leo as the man Charlotte lives as and is on the inside. It’s important to acknowledge the difficulty, struggle and opposition Charlotte experiences because of her brave choice to live as the man she knows herself to be on the inside. The other side of the coin is the constant fear Leo lives with, because he fears he will be discovered. It would mean prison.

I’m a little disappointed this has been put under the genre of erotic transgender fiction on at least one major retailer. First of all any eroticism is only hinted at and secondly it means a lot of potential readers may not even consider reading this really well-written historical crime fiction story. It’s a cracking read.

I sincerely hope this is the first of many Leo Stanhope books and I’m looking forward to the second in the series, The Anarchist’s Club, in May.

Buy The House on Half Moon Street (Leo Stanhope #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Raven Books; pub date Dec. 2018

Preorder/Buy The Anarchist’s Club (Leo Stanhope #2) at Amazon Uk (pub date 2 May 2019)

Read my review of The Anarchists’ Club by Alex Reeve.

Follow Alex Reeves @storyjoy or @BloomsburyRaven onTwitter

#PublicationDayPush The Disgraceful Lord Gray by Virginia Heath

Happy Publication Day to The Disgraceful Lord Gray by Virginia Heath. It’s romance with a fun and humorous vibe. A light-hearted read for the moments when the heart needs pleasure instead of worry, fright or pain.

Enter the Giveaway below – to Win 3 x e-copies of The Disgraceful Lord Gray (Open Internationally)About the Author

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Fortunately, the lovely people at Harlequin Mills & Boon took pity on her and decided to publish her romances, but it still takes her forever to fall asleep.

Buy The Disgraceful Lord Gray

About the book

A spy on a mission…Until he meets this heiress!

Miss Theodora Cranford’s learned to keep her impetuous nature locked away. She won’t be deceived by another man who can’t see past her fortune. She wants an honourable, sensible sort – not a self-assured scoundrel like her new neighbour, Lord Gray. Although she’s sure there’s more to him than meets the eye… But after that first captivating kiss, she’s certainly left wanting more!


I think we all know who the real star of this book is, the disgraceful and unapologetic Trefor. He sets the tone for the light-hearted and amusing vibe of the story. The main characters and the furry ball of slipper-napping trouble all have a sense of mischief about them, which garners the occasional grin and laugh.

The disgraced Lord Gray is actually on a mission to find a ruthless smuggler and has narrowed the suspects down to two people living in a specific rural area.  During his assignment he gets distracted by a fiery haired heiress, who pretends to be prim and proper, but has the heart of a thrill-seeking wench.

Two souls collide when they meet, except for Gray, Thea is a no-go because of the mission he is on, and he has a dubious past, which means she should stay away from him. The two embark upon a seductive and playful game of tethered desire. Going a step further each time and crossing small boundaries, as they play with fire.

I would actually recommend this to a reader, who perhaps isn’t inclined to pick up a frock-twister, bodice-ripper, highland romp or sweet romance. It’s a lovely way to introduce new readers to the genre, possibly because Heath pulls off the love, seduction and lust without taking herself or the characters too seriously.

They feel real and the reader can be invested in their lives, but they can laugh at them in equal measures. Not a feat everyone can pull off, because a lot of romances become too bogged down in devastating plot-lines, cliffhangers or over-the-top scenes.

It’s romance with a fun and humorous vibe. A light-hearted read for the moments when the heart needs pleasure instead of worry, fright or pain.

Buy The Disgraceful Lord Gray at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Mills & Boon Historical; pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway – to Win 3 x e-copies of The Disgraceful Lord Gray (Open Internationally)

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*