#BlogTour The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan.

About the Author

Mark Sullivan is the acclaimed author of eighteen novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Private series, which he writes with James Patterson. Mark has received numerous awards for his writing, including the WHSmith Fresh Talent Award, and his works have been named a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. 

He grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in English before working as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. Upon his return to the United States, he earned a graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and began a career in investigative journalism. An avid skier and adventurer, he lives with his wife in Bozeman, Montana, where he remains grateful for the miracle of every moment.

Follow @MarkSullivanBks on Twitter, Visit marksullivanbooks.com

About the book

From the author of the #1 bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a new historical novel inspired by one family’s incredible story of daring, survival, and triumph.

In late March 1944, as Stalin’s forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear’s intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves—murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect “pure-blood” Germans?

The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin’s horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land with the wolves they despise to escape the Soviets and go in search of freedom.

Caught between two warring forces and overcoming horrific trials to pursue their hope of immigrating to the West, the Martels’ story is a brutal, complex, and ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family’s incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized.


Stuck between two bad situations it’s only common sense that a family pick the lesser evil to try and save themselves, even if that lesser one was destined to become the face of the worst crimes of the 20th century, and that support was offered to the Martel family because they counted as pure-blood Germans.

The family flees the approaching Russian army, and the inevitable fates that await them. Emil and Adeline become separated, their paths define them individually and in Emil’s case completely transforms him. They have to find the strength on their own knowing they will probably never see each other again.

I found it both fascinating and heartwarming the way the sons looked with such an intensity for the reason for the transformation of Emil. Seeing the historical evidence of the horrors he went through wasn’t enough to explain why he would be one man going in and another coming out. Knowing that his endurance and the emotional change in him was driven by proof of goodness in humanity in the form of a person, is perhaps easier to accept because then they know he wasn’t alone.

Much like the story of Pino Lella the story of the Martel family is one that has been sucked up and swallowed by the passing of time. Stories like this aren’t even footnotes in history, often because the greater events tend to be narrated and written, as opposed to the fates of individuals and their families. In this specific scenario a lot of the historical events surrounding WW2 and the Holocaust fade into the background, which doesn’t mean they are of less historical importance, it’s because the severity of the atrocities tend to overshadow everything else. It’s directly linked to the efficiency, the mass planning and execution with which the Nazi regime perpetrated the crimes.

The history and tales of what is referred to as Schwarzmeerdeutsche, a regional group of ethnic Germans who fall under the description of Russlanddeutsche – ethnic Germans who migrated and settled in Russia, are more likely to remain in obscurity because of their ethnicity. In fact it’s a common denominator regardless of where Germans end up and have migrated to and from. The Nazi regime has relegated all Germans to this – a status of less important than, due to their ethnicity.

Sullivan writes beautifully and absolutely does due diligence when researching and trying to give closure to the Martel family, and bringing all the woven threads to a close. It’s a story, historical fiction inspired by facts and truth.

Buy The Last Green Valley at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Lake Union Publishing pub date 4 May 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Cut From the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain edited by Sabeena Akhtar

It’s my turn on the Blogtour Cut From the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain edited by Sabeena Akhtar

About the Authors

Sabeena is a writer, editor and the Festival Coordinator of Bare Lit, the UK’s principal festival celebrating remarkable writers in the diaspora. She is also the co-founder of the Primadonna Festival which spotlights the work of women writers, and of Bare Lit Kids. She will be available for events around publication, and can be found tweeting at @pocobookreader

Essays by:

Dirty Melanin, Precious Melanin: Bilal was Black by Negla Abdalla, Arabic Speaking: Liberal Racism and Translating by Fatima Ahdash, Smile and Introduction by Sabeena Akhtar, Youth in the Time of Madrassahs by Mariam Ansar, Grenfell by Shaista Aziz in conversation with Zahra Adams, A Cartography of Motherhood by Suma Din, Covid 19 and Recalibrating my Ramadhan Reality by Khadijah Elshayyal, The Quest for Modesty in the Digital Age by Ruqaiya Haris, So Can I Talk  to Guys Now? by Fatha Hassan, Ticking the Intelligence Box by Raisa Hassan; Riot, Write, Rest: On Writing as a Muslimah by Sumaya Kassim, Growing into Hajib by Rumana Lasker Dawood, I am Not an Answer I am the Question by Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan, Hidden by Asha Mohamed, The Gift of Second-Sight by Sofia Rehman, The Global Revolution of Hijab by Yvonne Ridley,  4,091 Miles away from Home by Aisha Rimi, Racial Perceptions by Khadijah Rotimi, On Therapy by Sophie Williams and Waiting to Exhale by Hodan Ysuf.

About the book

Do you wear that at home? Where are you really from? Does he make you wear that? Do you support acts of terror? Do you believe in ‘British values’? Can I see your hair? Do you have equality? Are you hot in that? Can you be a feminist? Why don’t you just take it off? Do you wear that in the shower? Are you oppressed?

Whether it’s awkward questions, radical commentators sensationalising their existence, non-Muslims and non-hijabis making assumptions, men speaking on their behalf, or tired stereotypes being perpetuated by the same old faces: hijabis are tired. Cut from the Same Cloth? seeks to tip the balance back in their favour, with the space to offer honest insight into the issues that really affect their lives.

Here, twenty-one middle and working class contributors of all ages and races look beyond the tired tropes, exploring the breadth of their experiences and spirituality. It’s time we, as a society, stopped the hijab-splaining and listened to the people who know.


Wow. Where to start? First of all this book and other books that give voice to underrepresented demographics in the book world and in general, should be mandatory reading in an educational setting. 

Not just for girls, because the assumption will be of course that these women speak to be heard by other women or girls, but also boys and men. The boys and men, due to their preordained path in white colonial patriarchal societies, which will be one that teaches misogyny, oppression and systemic racism as the norm. The girls and women also because of the aforementioned, but also for their chance to read words that aren’t cemented in the cynicism of Western feminism, gender oppressive regimes and patronising systems that hold them back instead of catapulting them forward.

And I say that fully aware of my white privilege and that the above words can be spoken, written and debated freely at any time, due to said privilege. Also knowing – let there be no misunderstanding about the following – that the contributors do not need my approval, my acknowledgement of their powerful words or indeed need me to tell the world how eye-opening their essays are.

Indeed my biggest problem with this book is that each essay is deserving of its own review and similarly each author deserving of equal accolades.

It’s a book that has many passages I highlighted, so many quotes I would gladly use and refer back to. In an ideal world the opportunity to hear these women speak in person, talk to each other and to their readers would be an extremely fascinating learning experience.

We are cut from the same cloth, however depending on our skin colour and circumstances that cloth is not treated with the same care when washed, not styled with the same equality or opportunity, and not perceived, embraced or acknowledged in the same way. That’s a fact the majority still doesn’t comprehend or the privilege that comes with the same lack of comprehension.

These essays and this book are a sharp sword of intellect, wielded by women who shouldn’t have to work ten times as hard to be heard. Your words do not fall on deaf ears.

Buy Cut From the Same Cloth? Muslim Women on Life in Britain at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Unbound pub date 27 May 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Matilda Windsor is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Matilda Windsor is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin.

About the Author

Anne Goodwin grew up in the non-touristy part of Cumbria, where this novel is set. When she went to university ninety miles away, no-one could understand her accent. After nine years of studying, her first post on qualifying as a clinical psychologist was in a long-stay psychiatric hospital in the process of closing.

Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, was published in 2017. Her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity, was published in November 2018. Subscribers to her newsletter can download a free e-book of prize-winning short stories.

Follow @Annecdotist on Twitter,  on Facebook, Visit Anne’s linktr.ee, her Youtube channel and annegoodwin.weebly.com

About the book

In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect. Henry was only a boy when he waved goodbye to his glamorous grown-up sister; approaching sixty, his life is still on hold as he awaits her return. As a high-society hostess renowned for her recitals, Matty’s burden weighs heavily upon her, but she bears it with fortitude and grace.

Janice, a young social worker, wants to set the world to rights, but she needs to tackle challenges closer to home. A brother and sister separated by decades of deceit. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

In this, her third novel, Anne Goodwin has drawn on the language and landscapes of her native Cumbria and on the culture of long-stay psychiatric hospitals where she began her clinical psychology career. Find out more on Matilda Windsor’s webpage


Matilda is a grande dame of drama, an woman with connections and also one who has lived for many decades behind the closed doors of a facility for the mentally ill. A small number of them are long-term residents., which means they fall to the side of the facility they live.

Henry is a man who lives in the past and wants to find the sister who disappeared when he was a young child. He doesn’t understand why she didn’t keep her promise to come back to him. Others in his small orbit tell him to get on with his own life and forget all about the woman who never returned.

This is tragic, perhaps more so because it’s fiction with root in facts and reality. Although the story of Matilda is set in the early 20th century, what she experiences is a crime that has been committed against women and girls for many centuries. 

Lack of understanding at the biological functions of the female body and the possibly ensuing psychological and physical medical conditions, would result in them being deemed mentally unstable and retired to a hospital or lunatic asylum. If you wanted rid of your pesky wife then having them declared insane and locked away was a frequent solution. Any person of either gender who didn’t conform to the norm or was classed as what we would now term as having additional needs would suffer similar fates. The patriarchal society used the powerlessness of the opposite gender to commit legal crimes against them.

Imagine spending half a century locked away for essentially being a victim and speaking your truth. In a place that eventually turns you into the unstable liability everyone says you are. Imagine being forgotten in an uncaring system with loopholes bigger than Swiss cheese.

It’s an intricately drawn picture of a tragic family story. A series of mishaps shows the vast nature of surroundings, despite the fact it also speaks to the six degrees of separation that exists between us all. From what I can gather this might just be the start of Miss Windsor’s story. I’m not sure how I feel about that, because this is an excellent standalone read, and you can’t spoil the integrity or experience of that, so a sequel will be interesting.

Buy Matilda Windsor is Coming Home at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Inspired Quill pub date 29 May 2021. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Inspired Quill

#BlogTour Diving for Pearls by Jamie O’Connell

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Diving for Pearls by Jamie O’Connell.

About the Author

Jamie O’Connell has had short stories highly commended by the Costa Short Story Award and the Irish Book Award Short Story of the Year. He has been longlisted for BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines Short Story Competition and shortlisted for the Maeve Binchy Travel Award and the Sky Arts Futures Fund. He has an MFA and MA in Creative Writing from University College Dublin. He has worked for Penguin Random House, Gill Books and O’Brien Press. Diving for Pearls is his first novel.

Follow @jamieoconnell on Twitter, Visit blackwaterwriting.com

About the book

A young woman’s body floats in the Dubai marina. Her death alters the fates of six people, each one striving for a better life in an unforgiving city…

A young Irish man comes to stay with his sister, keen to erase his troubled past in the heat of the Dubai sun. A Russian sex worker has outsmarted the system so far – but will her luck run out? A Pakistani taxi driver dreams of a future for his daughters. An Emirate man hides the truth about who he really is. An Ethiopian maid tries to carve out a path of her own. From every corner of the globe, Dubai has made promises to them all. Promises of gilded opportunities and bright new horizons, the chance to forget the past and protect long-held secrets. 

But Dubai breaks its promises, with deadly consequences. In a city of mirages, how do you find your way out?O’Connell expertly weaves a delicate web of intertwining stories, combining dark wit, and devastating emotional truth as fates collide and lives are shattered.


What Diving for Pearls most definitely isn’t is a crime novel. It’s a contemporary read, a bit like a fractured tandem plot – equally weighted stories constructed around a slip of a narrative. The actual catalyst event, which is the death of the young local girl, becomes entirely inconsequential to all the surrounding stories and yet is the reason for all of them. 

Without Hiyam there is no story or connecting thread, and yet she is the least important aspect of the read. I have to admit letting go of the not knowing was a bit of a task, but then I also think that was the point. The lack of closure is synonymous with the lack of power, voice and control all of the characters have in common in relation to where they are and who they are.

A symbol of cultures dividing and simultaneously the acknowledgement that the East will not bend and the West must be submissive to their rules with the West and others bending until breaking point. I often wonder about the Westerners who like to play loose and fast at their own peril overseas – diving for those pearls, they are pandered to until it no longer suits the narrative. 

This is also evident in the stories of Lydia, Siobhan and Aasim. All three of them recognise the danger of being an outsider and being trapped in the claws of a regime that appears to be the picture of opulence, modern society and the face of the future. The truth is its the dark ages hidden behind a layer of gold, diamonds and a fantastical mirage.

It’s literary fiction, a snake devouring its own tail, a beginning without an end.

Buy Diving for Pearls at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Doubleday Uk; pub date 3rd June 2021 | Trade Paperback | £13.99. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour #WartimeClassics Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes, it’s another novel in the Wartime Classics series by the Imperial War Museum. Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhodes will be on sale 20th May 2021; cost £8.99. It is published by IWM and can be pre-ordered at their online shop here: https://shop.iwm.org.uk/wartime-classics

In May 2021, IWM will publish two more novels in their Wartime Classics Series which was launched in September 2019 to great acclaim, bringing the total number of novels in the series to ten. Each has been brought back into print to enable a new generation of readers to hear stories of those who experienced conflict first hand.

IWM Senior Curator, Alan Jeffreys, has written an introduction to each book that provides context and the wider historical background. He says, ‘researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

About the Author

Anthony Rhodes (1916 – 2004) served with the British Army in France during the so-called ‘Phoney War’ and was evacuated from Dunkirk in May 1940. In the latter part of the war he was sent to Canada as a camouflage officer and was invalided out of the Army in 1947 having served for 12 years.

After the conflict he enjoyed a long academic and literary career and wrote on various subjects, including the 1956 Hungarian Revolution for the Daily Telegraph and well-regarded histories of the Vatican. 

About the book

First published in 1942, Sword of Bone is a lightly fictionalised memoir based on Anthony Rhodes’ own experiences during the Second World War – firstly during the so-called ‘Phoney War’ from 1939 – 40, followed by the terror of the evacuation of Dunkirk. Shortly after war was declared, he was sent to France serving with the British Army where his days were filled with billeting, friendships and administration – the minutiae of Army life. 

Apart from a visit to the Maginot Line, the conflict seems a distant prospect. It is only in the Spring of 1940 that the true situation becomes clear – the Belgian, British armies and some French divisions are ‘now crowded into a small pocket in the North of France’. The men are ordered to retreat to the coast and the beaches of Dunkirk where they face a desperate and frightening wait for evacuation.

The ‘miracle’ of Dunkirk was a brilliantly improvised naval operation that extracted more than 338,000 men from the Dunkirk beaches and brought them safely back to England. Some 850 vessels, including channel steamers and fishing boats, took part in this, Operation ‘Dynamo’. The final pages of the novel outline Rhodes’ experiences of the chaos of the evacuation where the scenes are depicted in vivid and terrifying detail.


I think what Rhodes does really well and in a very subtle way is create the actual comparison between the Phoney war and the complacent attitude, and the horrific reality when the war started in earnest. A day in life gives a Kodak moment of life for men who created bonds, friendships, but were unaware of what was heading their way.

Around 850 vessels took part in Operation Dynamo and managed to extract more than 338000 men. I agree with Alan Jeffreys that the whole idea of the evacuation, and the way civilians and military men came together in such a brave way, was quintessentially British.

Rhodes not only pinpoints the way the men experienced those days, but also how it happened. The strategic importance of the troops being funneled into a small vulnerable area and why the Germans were determined to achieve their objective. He also shines a light on the bravery of those people who would not be deterred by danger, trauma and even military orders. Returning over and over again to save men trapped in a no win and almost certain death situation.

More importantly the silent desperation of the men on the beach being ordered to queue up and wait their turn – very British – and the occasional disruptions. All of this sounds so normal and indeed Rhodes describes it with an almost unnatural calm, which I guess you can when you’re writing it and are no longer in the moment. The truth is they were under constant attack and seeing their fellow comrades be killed.

Rhodes has a writing voice with a certain calmness and factual element to it, which lends itself to understanding and envisaging everything without the emotional layer, however one does wonder whether it’s because he managed to take a step back from the trauma he also must have endured.

Buy Sword of Bone at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in Paperback 20th May 2021 – £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

On the Imperial war Museum – IWM

IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the story of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.

Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences across our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different perspectives, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.

IWM’s five branches which attract over 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM London, which will open extensive new Second World War and The Holocaust Galleries in autumn 2021; IWM North, housed in an iconic award-winning building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxford, a world renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters below Whitehall; and the Second World War cruiser HMS Belfast.

#BlogTour Vanished by James Delargy

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Vanished by James Delargy.

About the Author

James Delargy was born and raised in Ireland and lived in South Africa, Australia and Scotland, before ending up in semirural England where he now lives. He incorporates this diverse knowledge of towns, cities, landscape and culture picked up on his travels into his writing. His first novel, 55, was published in 2019 and has been sold to 21 territories to date. Vanished is his second novel. Find him on Twitter: @jdelargyauthor, Visit jamesdelargy.com

About the book

The Kane family, Lorcan, Naiyana and their young son, are desperate to move their young family far away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life in Perth. The abandoned town of Kallayee, an abandoned mining town in the Great Victoria Desert, seems like the perfect getaway: no one has lived there for decades. It will be peaceful. Quiet. Secure.

But life in Kallayee isn’t quite as straightforward as they hope. Lights flicker at night. There are noises in the earth, mysterious shadows and tracks in the dust as if their presence is breathing new life back into the long-dead town. Lorcan and Naiyana refuse to leave. No one can talk sense into them. And now, no one can talk to them at all. They’ve simply vanished.


A young family has vanished. One day they were there and the next day everyone is more or less acting as if they were never there at all. Given where they were living it’s perhaps not that much of a surprise. A ghost town that inspires fear, caution and paranoia. Who knows what evil forces are lurking in the dark, dusty corners. Has that evil swallowed them up?

Emmaline, who is unapologetically herself at all times, is determined to find out what happened to the small family. As the reader is narrated by Lorcan, Naiyana and the police, the idyllic picture of a family rebuilding their lives after a hard time starts to crumble with frightening velocity.

Both Lorcan and Naiyana have burnt their bridges and are on the run or hiding from people who are looking for vengeance. Unfortunately Lorcan thinks squatting in a ghost town is a brilliant idea for his family, which includes a young son. Really?

It reminded me of Jane Harper and Scrubland by Chris Hammer, and to a certain extent Mystery Road. A very distinctive voice and style that makes the surroundings, and the ensuing atmosphere, part of the character ensemble. 

It is a bit drawn out in the middle and given the excellent characters, especially Emmaline, there are some missed opportunities perhaps, however I really enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to pick up another book by this author. It’s a great crime read.

Buy Vanished at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Publishing 15th April 2021 | Hardback | £14.99. Buy at Hive.

#BlogTour Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton.

About the Author

Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois now living between London and Lake Como, Italy. An advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family.

In 2006, after the birth of her daughter, Jennifer suffered a life-threatening postpartum cardiomyopathy, and soon after, her Italian grandmother died. This tumultuous year began a 14-year journey to capture the stories of her female Italian ancestors and develop them into a historical/biographical fiction novel. In 2012, she moved with her family to Milan, Italy. Later, she moved to London where she has held leadership positions with companies including Revlon and Tory Burch.

Under the Light of the Italian Moon is her first novel, based on the lives of her Italian grandmother and great grandmothers during the rise of fascism and World War II.

Follow @boldwomanwrites on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit boldwomanwriting.comBuy Under the Light of the Italian Moon

About the book

Set in Fonzaso, Italy between two wars, Under the Light of the Italian Moon tells the story of Nina Argenta, the daughter of the town’s strong-willed midwife. Nina seeks to define her own destiny but when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave. When she falls for childhood friend, Pietro Pante, during his brief visit from America, she has to find a way to be with the man she loves.

Pietro and Nina begin a long-distance relationship that continues as Mussolini forces political tensions to rise and his fascists throw the country into chaos. When Hitler’s Nazis occupy and terrorise their town, Nina struggles to survive and her dreams of a life with Pietro are threatened by an enemy she must face alone…


Nina Argenta doesn’t realise that she lives in the shadow of her impressive mother and actually has become the mother to the family her mother tends to abandon, even if it is to help others and their babies. Being the local midwife means having a lot of people rely on you day after day. It also means having to neglect your own loved ones at times.

Perhaps that is why one of Nina’s brothers has decided to go forth and travel – to settle somewhere else in the world. even Adelasia realises that somehow it must mean she has failed him in some way. The fact her children have been raised to find their own independence doesn’t occur to her. Even Nina eventually pushes forth from the ties that bind her to find her own path.

It’s a captivating family saga and historical fiction, a story that the author connects viscerally with the moon. The surroundings, the emotions, the people and the trials they endure. They are all influenced by the ever watchful presence above them, which sometimes reminds us of its subconscious sway and at other times of its silent power.

Anton does an excellent job of taking the reader back through the generations of strong women who defined her family and their paths. It is meticulously researched and ends on the perfect note of reverence and nostalgia.

Buy Under the Light of the Italian Moon at Amazon Uk or Gooreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers pub date March 8, 2021. Buy at Amazon comHive.Waterstones.

#BlogTour There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross

It’s my turn on the BlogTour There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David R. Ross. 

About the Author

David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas and The Man Who Loved Islands. David lives in Ayrshire.

Follow @dfr10 @Orendabooks on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon,Visit davidfross.co.ukBuy There’s Only One Danny Garvey

About the book

Danny Garvey was a sixteen-year old footballing prodigy. Professional clubs clamoured to sign him, and a glittering future beckoned. And yet, his early promise remained unfulfilled, and Danny is back home in the tiny village of Barshaw to manage the struggling junior team he once played for. What’s more, he’s hiding a secret about a tragic night, thirteen years earlier, that changed the course of several lives. There’s only one Danny Garvey, they once chanted … and that’s the problem.

A story of irrational hopes and fevered dreams – of unstoppable passion and unflinching commitment in the face of defeat – There’s Only One Danny Garvey is, above all, an unforgettable tale about finding hope and redemption in the most unexpected of places.


I think one of the most frequent comments you will read in the reviews for this book will be about the fact the majority of readers who aren’t into football or have no prior knowledge of the subject, still found this a captivating read, despite all of the football. I would include myself in that group.

In between the running narrative of Danny’s talent, and the use of said talent to escape the trauma and uncomfortable truths of his childhood and dysfunctional family, is an unsolved mystery that lingers over the town and the main character. Danny is forever connected with the disappearance of a young child – an experience that defines him.

The author gives this an authentic brash feel. The emotional tension is used like a sharp pointy weapon, which is poked intermittently at the main character in order to show his instability. Behind the eyes of the golden boy lurks the uncertainty of past trauma and struggle to understand why he always returns to the people who hurt him.

Without giving anything away the ending is nothing short of evil genius and indicative of the chaos, pain and turbulence throughout the read. It speaks more to what is actually going on inside Danny’s head than any other previous situation. It’s certainly an ambitious and unusual read.

Buy There’s Only One Danny Garvey at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books pub date 21 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop org. Waterstones.

#BlogTour Trobairitz The Storyteller by Celia Micklefield

Today it’s my turn and the last day on the BlogTour Trobairitz The Storyteller by Celia Micklefield.

About the Author

‘After living in Languedoc for nine years I returned to Norfolk where I live surrounded by beautiful countryside and wildlife. I’m ageing faster than I used, but I’ve still got ambitions.

My website is celiamicklefield.com where I write about reading, writing, living with CRPS and other things that take my fancy. Come and visit – the door is always open.

I’m on Twitter @cmicklefield. I have a Celia Micklefield Author page on FaceBookBuy Trobairitz The Storyteller

About the book

Trobairitz were female troubadours of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. They brought news and sang songs about love, tradition and the role of women in society.

Feisty truck driver, Weed, a twenty first century Trobairitz never gives personal details to other drivers. She avoids the intimacy of real friendship. 

Instead, she entertains the truckers by telling the story of ex-courtesan, seventy-six year old Catherine Joubert and the mysterious hold she has over young mayor, Henri-Claude Noilly and his grandfather.

Weed’s themes are those of the original Trobairitz but these are the very subjects causing problems in her own life.


Weed is a woman in a so-called man’s job, which is why she finds it hard to get recognition and respect. Friendship is hard to come by when you are dismissed because of your gender. Those problems are easily forgotten when she finally manages to make a connection here and there.

The weaver of tales, the wanderer who brings news and stories from afar and across the land. Most people believe there were only male Troubadours, but there were also women who wove stories and they are known as the Trobairitz.

The way the author spins the web of words and slowly draws the listener in, whilst giving us the more modern narrative of the read at the same time, was really interesting. As the story moves on – the how, why and craft of weaving a story is explained throughout the story of Weed. Her life, her problems, her doubts and her thoughts are used as the thread that binds.

It’s a beautifully crafted and yet also a complex story – more contemporary literary fiction than anything else. I found it fascinating how the voice of the narrative changed as we are taken from present to fiction, despite the fact it was always the same person. You can feel the change, the buzz in the air and know the audience is leaning in to listen.

It’s an intriguing concept of truth and fiction, of connection and rejection, and ultimately one that speaks to the magic and mysteries of verbal storytelling.

Buy Trobairitz The Storyteller at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; pub date 23 Nov. 2014 Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Red/Black by Rachel Atherton-Charvat

Today it’s my turn and the last day on the BlogTour Red/Black by Rachel Atherton-Charvat.

About the Author

Rachel Atherton-Charvat is originally from Norfolk and later moved to Gloucestershire. 

She is married to a serving Army Officer and is currently accompanying him on an overseas posting in Turkey. She has previously worked as a history teacher and a photographer, exhibiting her work in the UK, USA and Cyprus. Red/Black is her debut novel.

Follow on GoodreadsBuy Red/Black

About the book

Sarah Hughes. Wife, mother, secret gambler. – Her life is one of stability and security. Settled in Cheltenham, married for over twenty years, lovely children but her inner trauma of losing a child in a car accident in which she was driving is reopened when her husband accepts a full-time posting to a military camp in Germany. Upon arriving in Germany, her underlying depression returns and she starts gambling online. The isolated posting and pressures of army life exacerbates her struggle and exposes the frailties of her marriage. The stakes rise as her gambling escalates and she starts to realise her husband is not all she believed…  

Red/ Black is a carefully constructed story that deals with very modern themes of mental health and gambling.


Sarah is a wife, a mother and a woman on the brink of self-destruction. Her grief is like a PTSD that simmers in the background and is awakened now and again. Certain triggers cause flashbacks and a fall into depression. Her husband is less inclined to understand what she is going through, because his attitude is get over it – it was a long time ago.

Can you ever really get over the death of a child though, especially when you are consumed with a misplaced sense of guilt. Sarah sinks slowly into a dark mood, which is only alleviated by a game of luck here and there. Her personal struggles lay the weaknesses in her marriage bare and she discovers that her husband is no longer the man she thought he was.

The author gives an in depth insight into the vicious cycle of gambling. I think people get a certain image in their head when they hear the word gambler. Not necessarily the loving mother, the dutiful housewife or the grieving mother.

The pull of being convinced that the odds are in your favour, despite the fact you know it is merely a game of chance. Seeking a way to still the inner torment, the grief she carries with her every day. Every minute is a distraction from the real distress.

The story lacks depth and emotional draw from character to the reader – nothing that can’t be honed as an author though. Kudos for the epilogue it gives a particularly interesting insight into the draw of gambling.

Buy Red/Black at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Matador; pub date 11 Aug. 2020. At HiveAt Bookshop.orgAt Waterstones.