#BlogTour The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Secret Letters by Taryn Leigh.

About the Author

Taryn Leigh is a South African Author, who spent her childhood with her nose buried in books. Her love for reading transpired into her ambition to become an Author.

Taryn Leigh’s first book, Perfect Imperfections, is available in Paperback, eBook and AudioBook. She lives in Pretoria with her husband and son.

Follow @tarynleighbook on Twitteron Facebook@tarynleighbooks on Instagram, on Goodreadson Amazon,Visit tarynleighauthor.comBuy The Secret Letters

About the book

Rachel, saved from an attack twelve years before by a faceless stranger, never got to thank him, never knew his name.Despite the devastation she chose to rise above it to help others from their pain by becoming a psychologist…. Her only issue now is that she’s an expert at fixing everyone else’s problems, and blind to her own.

After a long relationship with her boyfriend Will starts to go south, she turns to her best friend Amelia for guidance.Suddenly her world is turned upside down when tragedy strikes and she’s left with no one to comfort her but Will’s rude older brother Ruari.

Paralyzed by fear, she struggles to take grip of her life, until the day when anonymous letters begin to appear from the stranger who saved her twelve years before.

Review

Rachel is a difficult one to pin down. Giving her past experiences it’s sort of a given that the reader feels empathy for her – is it though? I found her very up and down. At times she was very needy and unable to put herself in the place of other people, and at other times she closes herself off completely. Both of these types of reactions can be drawn directly from her past trauma.

She has trust issues, feels fearful and paranoid then suddenly overly elated and in control. This zig-zag of emotions might be the reason she doesn’t really take note of the slow demise of her relationship.

Leigh has a great structure and premise in place, but it does need tightening up from a dialogue, language and editing perspective. Less time on detailed superfluous moments and when the various threads intersect perhaps a better build-up rather than scenes inserted to keep certain storylines on track.

Let’s also just take a moment to ponder about the man who follows her and sends her letters. It’s a very fine line between creepy and keeping someone safe. Carrying a torch or stalking – it really depends on how the person receiving the attention feels about their behaviour. One person’s romantic is another person’s predator.

I am glad the author takes a moment to not only thank the person who inspired the story or the idea of survival and overcoming horrendous trauma, but also the fact she did so with her blessing. Stories like Alshandra’s belong to the victim. In the same breath Leigh gives readers a stark reminder how many of us have similar stories to tell or not.

Leigh has taken that trauma and created a domestic thriller with the vibe of a discovery of self story. A story of surviving and overcoming trauma that resonates throughout the rest of a victim and their life.

Buy The Secret Letters at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Kingsley Publishers; pub date 9 Aug. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Borrowed Boy by Deborah Klée

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Borrowed Boy by Deborah Klée.

About the Author

Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.

Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.

The Borrowed Boy, her debut, was shortlisted for the Deviant Minds Award 2019. Just Bea, her second novel will be published in 2021.

Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.

About the book

A borrowed boy, a borrowed name and living on borrowed time.

What do you put on a bucket list when you haven’t done anything with your life? No interesting job, no lovers, no family, no friends. Believing she has only weeks left to live, Angie Winkle vows to make the most of every minute.

Going back to Jaywick Sands, is top of her bucket list. Experiencing life as a grandmother is not, but the universe has other plans and when four-year-old Danny is separated from his mum on the tube, Angie goes to his rescue. She tries to return him to his mum but things do not go exactly as planned and the two of them embark on a life-changing journey.

Set in Jaywick Sands, once an idyllic Essex holiday village in the 70s, but now a shantytown of displaced Londoners, this is a story about hidden communities and our need to belong.

Review

It’s a nightmare scenario – a small child being accidentally separated from a parent in the underground or tube. Child on the train, parent on the platform watching helplessly as said child disappears. If you’re lucky your child will also stumble upon someone like Angie, who only has good intentions. At least she starts off with good ones. Bringing Danny back to his mother soon morphs into let’s keep him for a while and replicate my great childhood memories with him.

Certain things made me wonder about Nikoleta’s actions at the very beginning. No matter what she says or how the storyteller interprets her actions, there seems to be an element of subconscious warning going on under the surface. Does her physical reaction betray her subconscious thoughts? Does she know there is more to the story?

Angie takes the borrowed boy on a trip that changes both of their lives. She finds herself caring for the poor boy, whilst Danny is glad to be with someone who really cares about him.

Although it starts out with the vibe of a psychological thriller set in a modern urban crime scenario, it eventually takes on more of a Women’s Fiction feel. Being faced with death makes Angie reflect on the past and how her past has determined much of her future. A life she feels hasn’t been lived to the fullest. Missed experiences and deep regrets. Her time with Danny has opened her eyes to the most painful memories and why she feels so lonely.

I enjoyed the read, however at times I did feel as if it were two reads in one. The more brutal storyline that could have wandered into a vicious despicable crime scenario, and the story of Angie discovering a life worth living for. Klée is clearly capable of delivering both.

Buy The Borrowed Boy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Sherman House; pub date 1 Aug. 2020. Buy the eBook from Apple, Barnes & Noble, Angus & Robertson, 24 Symbols. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogBlitz #Audiobook Wombat and Jones – The Great Banana Mystery by Arran Francis

Today it’s my turn on the BlogBlitz for the Audiobook Wombat and Jones – The Great Banana Mystery by Arran Francis.

About the Author 

Arran Francis is the creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio and has worked as an audiobook producer on behalf of MacMillan Audio, Audible and Harper Collins. He launched Wombat and Jones Audio in 2019 with the aim of writing children’s novels to be released exclusively in audiobook format.

The audiobooks for the Daisy May’s Daydream Parade and Wombat & Jones series were released last summer with further books in the series and standalone titles being scheduled for publication in 2020.

Follow @wombatandjones on Twitteron Goodreadson Facebookon Instagram, Buy Wombat and Jones – The Great Banana Mystery

About the book

Wombat and Jones are excited to attend the famous Boris Beaker’s banana bread baking class and like many other friends in town they can’t wait to get to work on making scrumptious banana bread. However, there’s just one problem — before class gets underway, Boris discovers that all of the bananas have gone missing!

Boris Beaker and his disappointed students know there is no chance they can make banana bread without this key ingredient, but Wombat isn’t willing to give up that easily. Putting her investigative skills to the test, she gets help from her trusty sidekick — Furlock Jones — and together they attempt to solve The Great Banana Mystery.

Written by author Arran Francis, creator of multiple series for BBC’s CBeebies Radio, Wombat & Jones: The Great Banana Mystery is a funny tale about friendship, problem-solving, and teamwork. Simple mistakes and jumping to conclusions can happen after all, but Wombat & Jones try their best to put it right and learn from them.

Review

The famous sleuth Wombat and his sidekick Furlock are on the case when all the bananas go missing. bananas that are desperately needed for the baking class run by Boris Beaker. No bananas means no banana bread! It’s a difficult job looking for elusive yellow fruit, but someone has to do it.

I have said this before and I can’t say it enough – audiobooks really are a forgotten art of storytelling. They make me think of the way tales, folklore and legends were passed on throughout history. Audiobooks give listeners the opportunity to experience stories without having to read and it also conjures up a whole new world of imagination.

Experiencing sounds, noises, different voices without the all encompassing visual aids stories usually come with, is something I highly recommend for children. Learning to take a moment and enjoy is something I think society has lost in general.

It’s a shame that the children who listen to this audiobook won’t really be able to appreciate the tongue-in-cheek humour when it comes to the character names. Wombat and Furlock Jones, Boris Beaker – I love it. Although I have to say Wombat is clearly the one in charge when it comes to the investigations or mystery, despite him being the Watson to the Sherlock – Furlock. And Boris Beaker just happens to be a duck with a German accent. Luckily the narration absolutely matches the humour the author has infused this story with.

Buy Wombat and Jones – The Great Banana Mystery  or go to Goodreads. It can be streamed or borrowed from libraries too.

Read my review of Daisy May’s Daydream Parade: Treasure Island Adventure by Arran Francis.

#BlogTour A Good Match for the Major by Josie Bonham

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour A Good Match for the Major by Josie Bonham.

About the Author

Josie lives in the English midlands, surrounded by towns full of history such as Evesham, Stratford-Upon- Avon, Warwick and Worcester. Which is perhaps why her favourite reads are historical. Out of all the periods to choose from the Regency Era stirs her imagination the most. The true Regency lasted from 1811 until 1820 but dates as wide as 1789 to 1837 have been included in the extended Regency period. For Josie the true flavour of this period emerges after the iniquitous hair powder tax of 1795, unsurprisingly, scuppered the fashion for hair powder almost overnight.

Josie has always dabbled in stories but it took the combined efforts of her sister and eldest niece to set her on the path to writing novels. Her Regency romances, with a dash of adventure and intrigue, are the result.

About the book

Pride meets prejudice – can love blossom?

Beautiful young widow, Lady Eliza Wyndham, is determined never to remarry after a disastrous first marriage. The undeniable attraction that fizzes between her and Major Nathaniel Overton terrifies her. She rejects his advances.

With his pride badly dented, Nat vows to forget Eliza until he finds her in danger from an old adversary of his army days. His protective instincts are stirred and he steps back into her life, but will Eliza be prepared to accept his help.

Review

When Nat and Eliza crash into each other neither of them expects to find someone who can help to heal wounds and give each other what they want the most. Instead it’s a case of Eliza being irritated and strangely aroused in equal measures and for Nat it’s being attracted to the most annoying young woman.

But there is no such thing as plain sailing in the world of love, especially not when that world is structured by strict societal rules that prohibit a blossoming relationship. A relationship Eliza is reluctant to entertain. Personally I wouldn’t spend that much time trying to convince someone who is so opposed to being loved by me. Nat gets a rough deal.

It’s a sweet and tender story of love and helping Eliza to trust in her own emotions and in a man again. Nat gives her time, space and understanding. There is plenty of tension and build-up, a sensual game of lovers to be.

Bonham gives her readers a regency read that reminded me of the bodice rippers of the 80s, but with more of a gentle touch when it comes to the culmination of desires. It’s an age old tale of love, apparent opposites who find each other irresistible and have no intention of admitting it to each other.

I think it’s a perfect read for readers who love romance and even more when it falls under the category of Regency Romance.

#BlogTour The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Graff

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Graff.

About the Author

Ben Graff is a writer, journalist and Corporate Affairs professional. He is a regular contributor to Chess and Authors Publish. He is not a grandmaster but did draw with one once.

About the book

‘I only feel truly alive when the chess clock is ticking and the patterns on the squares in front of me are dancing in my head. Very little else gives me the same feeling. Nothing else, that does not involve a flame.’

Tennessee Greenbecker is bravely optimistic as he sets out to claim what he sees as rightfully his – the title of world chess champion. But who is he really? Is he destined to be remembered as chess champion or fire-starter? Either way, might this finally be his moment?

Review

Given the very public meltdown of a very rich celebrity at the moment and the way people are divided about the interpretation of his words and actions – I find this an interesting parallel. Is it the ramblings of a man suffering from mental health issues or is it just a man and his particular view of the world and the place he holds in it. A view that is considered bizarre and unacceptable because it doesn’t align with the norm.

Are our own views not guided and driven by society, those who raise us and govern us. What happens to rebels, misfits and rejects? Are they not wrapped up and labeled with a sign saying crazy for all to see and sneer at?

With that in mind Tennessee deserves a more detailed assessment and not just a brush off, which his brother does in such a monumentally worldly way. You don’t live your life the way I expect, ergo end result disappointment and judgement.

What or who is Tennessee Greenbecker? The unacknowledged chess champion or a pyromaniac, perhaps a combination of both – the chess player with a penchant for starting fires.

I like the way Graff thinks and writes. For me this is a venture into literary fiction, but without the pomposity of the attempt to be said genre. The narration by Tennessee is nothing short of highly entertaining – I choose not to see it as internal dialogue of a deluded man, but rather the words of a man consumed by his own world. Not the lonely, often dangerous and erratic man. The genius, the expert, the misunderstood – may his name be remembered throughout history.

Buy The Greenbecker Gambit at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: The Conrad Press; pub date 16 April 2020. Buy at Chess and Bridge Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Dead Tell Lies by J.F. Kirwan

Today it’s my turn on the Blogtour The Dead Tell Lies by J.F. Kirwan.

About the Author

J. F. Kirwan is an insomniac who writes thrillers in the dead of night. He is also a psychologist, and has drawn upon this expertise, including being taught by a professor who examined serial killers for Scotland Yard, to pen the crime/mystery/thriller The Dead Tell Lies for Bloodhound Books. He wanted to shed light not only on the darkness of serial killers, but of those who track them down, who must inevitably step inside the serial killer’s worldview, and may not come out clean afterwards.

He is also the author of the Nadia Laksheva thriller series for HarperCollins (66 Metres, 37 Hours and 88 North). His favourite authors include Lee Child, David Baldacci and Jo Nesbo. He is married, and has a daughter and a new grandson, and lives between Paris and London.

Follow @kirwanjf on Twitteron Amazonon Facebook, on Goodreads, Visit jfkirwan.comBuy The Dead Tell Lies

About the book

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder. But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

Review

The problem with being a successful hunter of serial killers is that you could become a bit of a challenge to them, perhaps that is why they get the scent for well-known criminal psychologist Greg Adams. Whilst he bathes in the glory of catching another monster his wife is meeting her death at the hands of a monster he wasn’t watching out for.

A year later and his inability to bring his wife’s killer to justice is destroying his mind and his life. Bit by bit the guilt is eating away at him. Should he stay or should he go – should he live or die?

It reminded me of Wire in the Blood and 100 Code. The emphasis is on thinking like a serial killer to not only understand them, but also try to predict their every move. The trouble with that is the unpredictability factor, especially when it comes to this plot.

Kirwan delivers a brutal and often violent read or a hint of violence. His main character often teeters on the brink of a deep dark abyss, which is an interesting parallel to draw. When you spend your life trying to heal and comprehend the most depraved in society it’s probably only a question of time until some of it wanders into the psyche of even the most sane and professional person.

Buy The Dead Tell Lies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bloodhound Books; pub date 15 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Rose’s Choice by Chrissie Bradshaw

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Rose’s Choice by Chrissie Bradshaw.

About the Author

Chrissie, 2016 winner of the Romantic Novelist’s Elizabeth Goudge writing trophy, is a seasoned tea drinker and a tenacious trainer of her welsh terrier, Oscar. She has always loved match-making a book to a reader. Writing the kind of book she loves to read takes this a step further.

She has written two contemporary sagas, A Jarful of Moondreams, a contemporary story about family relationships, secrets and how dreams can come true, and The Barn of Buried Dreams, a contemporary story about two sisters who are struggling after the death of their mother. Rose’s Choice is her first historical saga and is set where Chrissie lives in Northumberland. When she is not writing or reading, you will find Chrissie walking Oscar on the beautiful Northumbrian coastline, travelling or spending time with her family and friends.

Follow @ChrissieBeee on Twitteron Amazonon Facebookon Instagram, Visit chrissiebradshaw.comBuy Rose’s Choice

About the book

Rationing, bombing, disease and pit disasters are part of Rose Kelly’s World War 2 childhood. When the spirited coalminer’s daughter discovers a family secret, she makes a choice that overshadows her teenage years. Rose tries to make the most of post-war opportunities but family tragedy pulls her back to a life in the colliery rows. She relinquishes her bright future for domestic duties because her family comes first. Will family ties get in the way of her dreams?

Review

Rose lives the life of a working class girl. Families are always only one step away from death, disaster and being homeless. Her childhood is made tenfold difficult by wartime restrictions, fears and invisible diseases that kill those around her.

The Strangling Angel of Children – diphtheria. Given the pandemic we are going through at the moment this is a relevant walk through history and perhaps also because in a time where conspiracy theories are at the forefront this story should remind us how many lives have been saved by vaccinations.

Rose is torn between duty and personal achievements, which isn’t an easy place to be. Those feelings are difficult enough to deal with, but being privy to a secret is what ultimately determines her choices in life.

Although her dreams become something Rose has to put to the side in order to help her family it is also a completely normal thing in that era for working class people. Feeding family, clothing family and keeping a roof over their head – it is all more important than personal dreams and possible careers.

Bradshaw gives this historical read a Cookson vibe, but perhaps with more of a modern attitude. We will persevere, despite the sorrow and loss. It makes you wonder how much people can endure before they break, although one could argue that the those on the bottom rung are used to defying the odds.

It’s a story that has its heart-wrenching moments, but also uplifting ones and characters full of determination.

Buy Rose’s Choice (The Colliery Rows Book 1) at Amazon Uk. Publisher: Vallum Publishing,; pub date 17 July 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Space Academy by Hannah Hopkins.

About the Author

 In 2017, Hannah Hopkins released a self-published novel entitled ‘The Split’; the story of four teenagers navigating life after Earth as they journey through space to a new planet. Two years later, the book was picked up by ‘The Conrad Press’ and re-vamped as ‘Space Academy,’ with a new cover, new title and new additions to the story. ‘Space Academy’ was released in 2020, kickstarting Hannah’s career as a writer.

Hannah is currently busy writing a historical fiction novel with a feminist twist. She spends the rest of her time working at a University and caring for her two young children in the UK.

Follow Hannah Hopkins on Facebookon Instagram, on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit hannahhopkinsauthor.co.ukBuy Space Academy

About the book

It’s the year 2100. Earth is dying. A young woman, Elsie, has risked everything to get her newborn son, Will, aboard ‘The Mayflower’ – a spaceship that will transport a select number of people to a new planet they can call home. Elsie’s luck takes a turn when she discovers the captain of ‘The Mayflower’ is an old friend. He allows her to board with her son, giving them a place on the luxurious Floor One, where they live amongst the most honoured of ‘The Mayflower’s’ passengers.

Thirteen years later, and Will is ready to start school at Space Academy, an institute specialising in subjects such as Alien Studies, Technology, and Rocket Control. While a pupil there, Will starts to uncover secrets about his father’s death, becoming wrapped in a mystery that he and his friends must solve if they are to have any hope of saving humanity from the threat that lies in wait.

Review

Will has plenty of questions about is father and his death. He throws a mention in here and there to get his mother to finally fill him in on the details. What is worth staying so tight lipped about? What is his mother hiding?

I thought the historical parallels were interesting – naming the ship The Mayflower and having only the chosen be part of the saved race. Humankind is on its way to reboot, rebuild and live in space. The handpicked crop of people, which is quite elitist and also no different from life before the catastrophic changes. So much for save the world and its inhabitants.

The Mayflower has echoes of the Titanic on her maiden voyage, whereby the worth of human is dictated by which floor they live on. First floor is the elite and the further down you get the less money your parents have in their pocket.

It’s a YA sci-fi dystopian read with a space mystery vibe. Will and his teenage gang of friends are navigating the space boarding school experience, which includes the same kind of opportunistic bullies, hierarchies and distinctions of class remaining firmly in place, despite the end of the world. You would think the human race would change just a bit to suit the new circumstances instead of carrying on with the same destructive patterns and habits.

Where did the alien animals come from and how do they know they are animals, as opposed to the actual species of alien. Seems a wee bit colonialist to presume humans are the only species out there in the great open space. There are plenty of unanswered questions and a lot of ideas left with a bare frame and lack of substance. Just minor hiccups in an otherwise pacy read.

Buy Space Academy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: The Conrad Press; pub date 4 May 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour A Sunset in Sydney by Sandy Barker

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour A Sunset in Sydney by Sandy Barker.

About the Author

Sandy Barker is an Australian writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list and a cheeky sense of humour. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover and a coffee snob.

Many of Sandy’s travel adventures have found homes in her writing, including her debut novel, a contemporary romance set in Greece, which was inspired by her true-life love story.

Follow @sandybarker on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon Amazonon Goodreads,Visit sandybarker.comBuy A Sunset in Sydney

About the book

How far would you go in the name of love? Sarah Parsons has a choice ahead of her. After the trip of a lifetime she’s somehow returned home with TWO handsome men wanting to whisk her away into the sunset.

Pulled in two directions across the globe, it’s making life trickier than it sounds. Her gorgeous American, Josh, wants to meet Sarah in Hawaii for a holiday to remember. Meanwhile silver fox, James, plans to wine and dine her in London. It’s a lot to handle for this Aussie girl, who had totally sworn off men!

Join Sarah after her adventure in One Summer in Santorini, for the heart-warming and uplifting third novel in The Holiday Romance series.

Review

I’m going to say it right off the bat – Sarah is far too hard on herself when it comes to age, especially her age in relation to her partners. The level of insecurity is almost obsessive and screws with her head and the way she interacts with both men. Oh my god I am too old, oh my god I am too young. Seriously, just let yourself have some fun without making it all about birth certificates, generation gaps and expectations of youth or maturity.

Sarah is finding herself again after quite some disappointment. Her love life or budding relationships have become slightly complicated in a sense that she finds herself drawn to two men. Josh, who lets her be herself without any thought of restrictions. Freedom and being carefree, enjoying the small moments in life. Being with James is more about appreciating the finer things in life and there is an expectation of behaviour, of adulthood and of a certain lifestyle.

It’s all about finding the path that is right for you when it comes to love. Money, lifestyle, freedom and choice – what is more important to Sarah, a woman torn between two different experiences of love.

I have to be honest, I found Sarah quite selfish as a character. There didn’t seem to be any consideration for either man – it was all about her all the time. Don’t get me wrong. Have your cake and eat it, as much cake as you want, but be aware of the cake you are devouring.

I enjoyed the way Barker gave her main character the freedom to experience without the limitations of society, family or friends. No judgement, which often goes hand in hand with female characters. It’s very much a story of new beginnings and self-discovery.

Buy A Sunset in Sydney at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: One More Chapter; pub date 3 July 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at WaterstonesAt KoboAt Google Play.

#BlogTour Empire’s Reckoning by Marian L. Thorpe

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Empire’s Reckoning by Marian L. Thorpe.

About the Author

Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer. Author of the medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy and the companion novella Oraiáphon, described as ‘historical fiction of another world’, Marian also has published short stories and poetry. Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings. Empire’s Reckoning is the first of a planned trilogy, Empire’s Reprise.

About the book

How many secrets does your family have? For 13 years, Sorley has taught music alongside the man he loves, war and betrayal nearly forgotten. But behind their calm and ordered life, there are hidden truths. When a young girl’s question demands an answer, does he break the most important oath he has ever sworn by lying – or tell the truth, risking the destruction of both his family and a fragile political alliance?

Empire’s Reckoning asks if love – of country, of an individual, of family – can be enough to leave behind the expectations of history and culture, and to chart a way to peace.

Review

The world of Empire’s Legacy continues with the Empire’s Reckoning, with Sorley as the narrator. This time there is an emphasis on relationships and reflection on the past, decisions that determined choices and having to live with the consequences of them. It’s very much a character driven read, as opposed to the more action driven previous series.

Gwenna, daughter of Cillian and Lena, has questions about her parents – perhaps one parent in particular. As she is confronted with their role in the history she is being taught it raises a lot of questions, especially because her peers are throwing out accusations and insults. It’s time she learnt more about the path her loved ones laid in order for her to be who she is and to be able to live her life.

This is a continuation of the Empire’s Legacy series and I couldn’t help feel as if there was this presumption of prior knowledge on the part of the author in regards to the reader. There was an element of the character thinks it (referring to a lot of things vaguely) and the reader has no clue what memory, historical event, secret or common knowledge they may be talking about. Also, the vocabulary glossary should be at the front as should the family trees perhaps.

Aside from that Thorpe clearly has drive and vision when it comes to her intricate world-building. History, politics, languages and cultural references – everything is drawn into this fantasy fiction. It is definitely one that profits from knowing or having read the entirety of the previous books and novella from the prior series.

Buy Empire’s Reckoning at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Arboretum Press; pub date 30 May 2020. Buy at Amazon com.