Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Songbird (A Novel of the Tudor Court) 4* #Review Karen Heenan @karen_heenan @A4APublishing @rararesources #HistoricalFiction #Tudor #HenryV111 #Musician #BlogTour #BookReview

Bess has the voice of an angel, or so Henry VIII declares when he buys her from her father as a member of the music, the Royal company of minstrels. Bess grows up within the decadent Tudor Court navigating the ever-changing tide of royals and courtiers. Friends come and go as cracked voices, politics, heartbreak, and death loom over even the lowliest of musicians. Tom, her first and dearest friend is her only constant but as Bess becomes too comfortable at court, she may find that constancy has its limits.

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

My Thoughts…

The court of Henry VIII, is a popular subject for historical fiction, the glamour, intrigue and romance of the era, warring with the disregard for life and treachery. ‘Songbird’, as the title suggests focuses on the court musicians, an essential part of the royal Tudor court. Bess’s voice, spotted by the King leads to her Father’s sale of her to the monarch. This abhorrent action, not uncommon in the sixteenth century, means that young Bess is left alone in a place unsuited to an innocent. This story charts her life, the alliance she forges and her friendship that blossoms into something more with Tom, a fellow musician, as they both try to survive the turbulent life at court. The dangerously decadent, political nature of the Royal court means no one is safe, not even the girl with the golden voice.

The historical detail enlivens the plot and the characters are authentically written. A clever mix of actual historical characters and events are interwoven with the author’s fictional creations. Against a vivid tapestry of Tudor life, Bess comes of age. Sadly, her life is angst-ridden, and her love life full of conflict.

The book flows well and is easy to read. Bess is portrayed in a believable way, her naivety and youth evident in the earlier parts of the story. Emotion and danger colour every action of the characters in the story.

An original perspective on a popular historical theme, which brings the Tudor times to life through the life of a young talented girl.

Karen Heenan

Karen Heenan was born and raised in Philadelphia. She fell in love with books and stories before she learned to read, and has wanted to write for nearly as long. After far too many years in a cubicle, she set herself free to follow her dreams – which include gardening, sewing, travelling and, of course, lots of writing. She lives in Lansdowne, PA, not far from Philadelphia, with two cats and a very patient husband.​

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Literary Fiction, New Books, Travel

We Are Animals Tim Ewins 4* #Review @EwinsTim @EyeAndLightning @rararesources #humour #fiction #BlogTour #BookReview LiteraryFiction #LightningBooks #Friendship #Goa #Loss #Love #travel #Serendipity #multigenerational

A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.

Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and, indeed, his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.

Jan has not. In his long search, he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.

His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…

Will…

Not…

Leave.

But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?

Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heartwarming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).

For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.

Amazon UK (Only 99p for a limited time)

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

My Thoughts…

The imagery in this book is clever and enhances the everyday occurrences, making them something special. The description of the beach and its users seen through Manjan’s eyes is the first example of this. The people and the cow, all have an opinion and a purpose, as they share events from their lives. The animals’ actions and thoughts mirror the people throughout the book.

Manjan’s story is poignant and serendipitous. The author makes many of his astute observations through the man who has spent much of his life waiting. There is a balance of humour and sadness, which lets the reader appreciate the emotion and comical aspects of the story. Retrospectively, you learn how Jan ends up the beach in Goa. The people he meets along the way are diverse, and all add to his life journey. The characters are well written, they are authentic and relatable, and make this character-driven tale interesting.

Even if like me, you haven’t visited the places in the book, or didn’t live through the late twentieth century, which I did. the immersive story lets you experience each place and time, through its animal and human characters, and vivid imagery.

The hopeful ending encompasses the quirky nature of the story, whilst achieving a sense of completeness.

Tim Ewins

Tim Ewins has enjoyed an eight-year stand-up career alongside his accidental career in finance.

He has previously written for DNA Mumbai, had two short stories highly commended and published in Michael Terence Short Story Anthologies, and enjoyed a very brief acting stint (he’s in the film Bronson, somewhere in the background). He lives with his wife, son and dog in Bristol. We Are Animals is his first novel.

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