Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Travel

The Museum of Broken Promises Elizabeth Buchan 4* #Review @elizabethbuchan @CorvusBooks #LiteraryFiction #Romance #Secrets #Loss #Love #BookReview #Prague #Paris #HistoricalFiction #Grief #Betrayal

The stunning new novel from bestselling Elizabeth Buchan. The Museum of Broken Promises is a beautiful, evocative love story and heart-breaking journey into a long-buried past.
_________

Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated – a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby’s shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display.

Prague, 1985Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until that is, she meets a young dissident musician. Her love for him will have terrible and unforeseen consequences.

It is only years later, having created the museum, that Laure can finally face up to her past and celebrate the passionate love which has directed her life.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Corvus via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is the story of Laure and ‘The Museum of Broken Promises’, born out of her life experiences, as a young woman in communist Czechoslovakia, and Berlin, after the fall of the wall. The prologue gives you a taste of what is to come and introduces the historical element that underscores the story.

‘The Museum of Broken Promises’ is a place where people can deposit items that represent grief, loss or broken promises in their lives. The idea behind it is uplifting, and the book uses timeslip to see if Laure’s contributions to the museum, have a positive effect on her life.

The story moves between Laure’s life in the past and present, introducing a variety of characters, whom she comes into contact with as a naive, young woman, and a stronger older woman. Like all literary fiction, part of the enjoyment is in the beauty of the prose. The characters are often superficial because their function is to contribute to the concept of the museum.

This story needs concentration and time, to get the best from it, but if you have a few hours to spare, it will repay the investment of both.

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery

Dressed to Kill Kathleen Delaney 4* #Review #AMaryMcGillCanineMysteryBook @severnhouse @kdkoppang #CozyMystery #USA #AmateurSleuth #SmallTown #BookReview

Mary McGill and her cocker spaniel Millie get the fright of their lives on Halloween when they hear gunshots coming from the bank and the robber, dressed in a clown costume, points his gun at them before fleeing the scene. Mary is horrified when she discovers Police Chief Dan Dunham has been shot in the shoulder and a woman has been killed. Why would the clown shoot an ordinary citizen?
Mary soon learns that the victim is Victoria Witherspoon, a local woman who owned a sewing shop and must have recognised the clown costume – because she made it herself. With Dan in hospital and unable to investigate, can Mary and Millie unmask the savage killer clown before he strikes again? 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Severn House Publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts

An engaging cozy mystery, set in a small town. This is the fourth book in the series, but the mystery is standalone. Mary McGill and her dog are amateur sleuths with a notable success rate, there are plenty of small-town values and ethos in this story, which will appeal to those who like this genre. The mystery is well-written, with plenty of suspects, and false leads, and all the loose ends are neatly tied up at the story’s conclusion.

Mary is a likeable detective, who uses her local contacts and knowledge to solve the crimes. The animals are important characters and give this story, a wider appeal.

If you enjoy North American small town cozy mystery, this is a perfect read.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Historical Romance, Romance, Saga, Victorian Romance

The Christmas Wedding Dilly Court 4*#Review @DillyCourt @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #Christmas #Wedding #HistoricalFiction #saga #TheVillageSecrets #BookReview #VictorianRomance

Holding the letter in trembling hands, Daisy’s future crumbled before her – the words engraved on her heart forever.

The village of Little Creek, the long winter of 1867

The first flakes of snow are falling when Daisy Marshall, secretly engaged to her master’s son, finds herself jilted at the altar.

Heartbroken, Daisy flees to the small village of Little Creek, nestled on the coast of Essex. There she is warmly welcomed – but the village is poverty-stricken, suffering under a cruel Lord of the manor. And when cholera hits, the villagers are truly in dire straits.

Determined to help, Daisy makes new friends in earnest doctor Nicholas and dashing smuggler Jay – but also dangerous new enemies, who threaten to destroy everything she’s built. Can Daisy save the village and find happiness in time for Christmas?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A well researched historical saga, of family drama, mystery, poverty and romance. The social divide apparent in Victorian England is explored here.

Daisy, a governess lives in no man’s land, somewhere between upstairs and downstairs. In love with the heir to the household, she hopes her position will be confirmed, but he lets her down, and she returns home, heartbroken and unemployed. Moving to a small Essex village with her family, she feels at home, but the cruelty of the ruling classes blights the villagers’ lives who live in fear, poverty and squalor.

Daisy finds friendship and a warm community, but evil lurks and threatens the life she builds. This is a detailed, passionate tale of Victorian life, which draws you in, as the descriptive writing and authentic characters bring this era of change to life.

A festive start, to what promises to be a riveting series for romantic saga devotees.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

The Christmas Holiday Sophie Claire 5* #Review @HodderBooks @SClaireWriter #Romance #Festive #Rural #Village #Provence #grief #secondchance #BookReview #Holiday

Can a trip away lead you home?

After a bad break-up, eternal optimist Evie Miller has moved to the small village of Willowbrook to finally pursue her dream of opening a craft shop. Unfortunately, with money worries and an ex-boyfriend determined to track her down, her fresh start isn’t going entirely to plan.

Jake Hartwood is also looking to escape his past. Haunted by the loss of his wife, he’s determined not to get close to anyone again – and the last thing he wants is to be celebrating this December.

Hoping to avoid the festivities, Evie and Jake arrange to escape Christmas together as friends in Provence. But will the magic of the season change things between them?

And what happens if one of them starts to feel something more?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Evie is an optimist, despite the lack of support from her parents, the tragedy she has suffered, and the abusive relationship she is still trying to escape. Jake has lost the love of his life and finds going on without her difficult. The village of Willowbrook gives Evie a chance of a new independent life, and Jake the chance to hide away until he feels strong enough to carry on. The only problem is Christmas, which brings back painful memories for both.

Evie and Jake’s relationship has a less than auspicious start, but a friendship builds out of their mutual suffering, and escaping together for Christmas offers a solution to both their problems, but is friendship what they want? Or is a holiday romance inevitable?

Heartwarming romance and emotional conflict with a festive twist, set in a lovely English village, and fabulous Provence. The intensity of grief and loss is explored during Christmastime, sensitively, whilst keeping a positive, uplifting ethos. The characters are believable and individual and the settings bring the story to life. A lovely wintery story is written in an easy to read style by a consummate storyteller,

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Romance, Travel

A Springtime to Remember Lucy Coleman 5*#Review @LucyColemanAuth @BoldwoodBooks #BoldwoodBloggers #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #France #FamilyDrama #Secrets #Relationships

#ASpringtimetoRemember

Let Lucy Coleman transport you to glorious, sun-drenched France, for the perfect feel-good read. Paris and the Palace of Versailles have always meant a lot to TV producer Lexie. Her grandma Viv spent a year there, but her adventures and memories were never discussed, and Lexie has long wondered why they were a family secret.

When work presents the perfect excuse to spend Springtime in Versailles, Lexie delves into Viv’s old diaries and scrapbooks, and with the help of handsome interpreter Ronan, she is soon learning more about the characters that tend to the magnificent gardens, now and in the past.

In amongst the beauty and splendour of the French countryside, a story of lost love, rivalry and tragedy unfold. Can Lexie and Ronan right the wrongs of the past, and will France play its tricks on them both before Lexie has to go home? Will this truly be a Springtime to Remember…?

Amazon UK Paperback eBook

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Beautifully descriptive, this story portrays the ambience of France so well, the author’s love of the Palace of Versailles, is apparent, and this translates easily into Lexie’s first impressions and total enchantment with this iconic French location.

This story has a slow-burning romance with oodles of simmering passion, a family drama and mystery, which intertwines serendipitously with Lexie and Ronan’s budding romance. The characters are believable and easy to root for, and the historical input gives the story realistic depth and added interest.

This story is full of charm and emotion and allows the reader the chance to explore the mysteries of France and Lexie’s family. A lovely way to escape the depths of an English winter, to the romance and warmth of France. from the comfort of your armchair.

#LucyColeman

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

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Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Historical Romance, Romance, Victorian Romance

Miss Lottie’s Christmas Protector Sophia James 4* #Review @MillsandBoon @sophiajamesnz #SecretsofaVictorianHousehold #Romance #VictorianRomance #HistoricalFiction #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonHistorical

A Christmas mission

…with the scarred and brooding gentleman!

Part of Secrets of a Victorian Household: Working in her family’s charity foundation for destitute women, caring but impulsive Miss Lottie Fairclough is desperately trying to find a missing woman. She’s roped in family acquaintance Mr Jasper King to help her, equally impressed and annoyed when he rescues her from perilous danger! As she gets to know the injured entrepreneur, it seems he needs her just as much…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A Victorian romance set in the poorer side of London,with an intelligent,improverished heroine, and a tortured, socially sensitive hero.

The historical detail brings the Victorian era alive. The characters are authentic and complex,and the romance between Lottie and Jasper is slow burning,rife with conflicts and ultimately passionate.

An emotional Victorian romance,which highlights poverty,vice and the Victorian’s attitude to women.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Romance

The Christmas Party Karen Swan 4*#Review @KarenSwan1 @panmacmillan #Party #Festive #Romance #BookReview #Family #Drama #Secrets #Ireland #Castle

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible – made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past? 

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A contemporary, complex family drama set in a wonderfully atmospheric Ireland. A tale of three sisters, who life has driven apart, despite their closeness in growing up. The untimely death of their father has profound effect on all of them. Not just in terms of grief, but the enforced change in lifestyle, due to financial straits, and the gradual unraveling of the secrets they hide.

This is a slow paced emotional story. The three woman are hard to empathise, but they are believable and relatable. The world building is detailed and may not appeal. Seasonal rather than festive, the Christmas Party is used to draw the story to a dramatic conclusion.

Deep and often dark, this is a story of legacy,love and life.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Romance, Travel

A Wedding in December Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #Romance #Festive #Christmas #Aspen #Wedding #Family #Secrets #Drama #Relationships #BookReview

#AWeddingInDecember

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding.

First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A Christmas wedding is so romantic, but Rosie’s family are worried. Is Rosie rushing into a relationship impulsively as usual? Katie, the older sister believes so, and heads to Colorado to stop the wedding. Her own life is complicated, and maybe she is too conflicted to examine her motives too closely? Maggie’s girls’ are her life, she wants them to be happy, but can she conquer her fears to be at her daughter’s side? Marriage is a touchy subject for her and Nick, their father, but only Rosie’s happiness matters now.

This is a festive, family drama, played out against the snowy wonderland of Aspen, Colorado. Told from Maggie, Rosie and Katie’s point of view. The secrets are exposed and the hurts laid bare in this emotional story full of angst, love and tears.

There are many conflicts both internal and external to be overcome by all the family’s members, but the magic of Christmas, familial love and a touch of laughter and romance make anything possible in this lovely festive tale.

An enchanting festive story of family, laughter, love and secrets.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Romance

Unwrapping The Innocent’s Secret Caitlin Crew 3* #Review @megancrane @MillsandBoon #Romance #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonModern #festive

Self-made billionaire Pascal Furlani prides himself on his rigid emotional control. So it infuriates him beyond measure that he can’t forget the forbidden passion he once shared with breathtakingly innocent Cecilia Reginald. This Christmas, he’s determined to shake off those memories…until they shockingly come face-to-face! Seeing Cecilia again blindsides Pascal, while their still-searing chemistry electrifies him. But her six-year-old secret? Will change their lives forever…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

There are parts of this romantic story that I like, and others that are less convincing.

What I like are the characters. A courageous woman who puts her child first, whatever the cost to herself. A tormented billionaire, with so much emotional baggage, his whole life is about overcoming his past, and getting back at his birth father. This is good for his career, and bank balance, but leaves him an emotionally barren man.

The concept of the secret heir is less believable and that makes what follows less enjoyable. The ending is lovely and gives the story a lovely festive, hopeful twist.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Parenting and Famlies

Leo and the Lightning Dragons Gill White 5* #Review #illustrator Gilli B @leolightdragons @FledglingPress @LoveBooksGroup @LoveBooksTours #Lovebooksgrouptours #kidlit #innerstrength #ChildrensBooks #PictureBook #BlogTour #BookReview #Charity

#LeoandtheLightningDragons

Everybody in the kingdom is supporting the brave knight Leo in his battle against his fearsome dragons. They try lots of different things to help him defeat them but eventually Leo realises that the most important thing to do is to believe in himself. This beautifully illustrated book with a poignant and uplifting rhyming story encourages children to persevere and find strength in the face of adversity, even when it seems that nothing is working. Written by Gill White for her son Leo who suffers from Ohtahara Syndrome, an extremely rare form of epilepsy, and beautifully illustrated by Fife artist Gilli B, this story has been positively received by parents of children with complex needs, by care workers and medical staff and by parents of healthy young children who love the book simply as an adventure story. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to CHAS (Children’s Hospices across Scotland).  

Amazon UK

#LoveBooksGroupTours

I received a copy of this book from author and Fledgling Press in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an inspirational book, created by a mother for her son, who has to fight his internal dragons every day. It’s hard to read this book without tears falling, the struggle is hard, for such a small child, but as often happens, Leo is stronger than anyone believed he would be.

This story has relevance for children facing illness, but will also appeal to children as a storybook, with a powerful message about the support of others, but ultimately, the will to win is internal and within the individual.

The illustrations are colourful and reflect the text well. Despite, the poignancy, the book’s ethos is positive and uplifting, and speaks of a child’s courage to overcome illness, with their own positive outlook and the support of family.

There are some ways to reinforce the sensory aspect of the book at the end of the story. which make the story interactive and interesting.

#LeoandtheLightningDragons