Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.
But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?
A heartfelt story of life, death, friendship and family.
I received a copy of this audiobook from One More Chapter (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started to listen to this story. Eudora Honeysett is an older woman who is ready to die. The artwork on the cover is so bright and cheerful, so I continued to listen. The story unfolds into a delightfully, gentle, poignant story about finding friendship and family in later life.
Eudora is eccentric, opinionated and sad until she meets a young girl Rose and Stanley, a good-hearted widower and their friends and family. They see something worth saving in Eudora. Eudora’s current life experiences are increasingly positive, but flashback chapters show a life full of betrayal, loss and sacrifice.
Excellent narration makes the characters vibrant, especially Eudora. Her introspection and dialogue are witty, making her memorable.
This is a lovely story with relatable characters and events.
Retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi, travels to England to escape one tragic death, when he comes face-to-face with another. When the body of a teenager is found on a Sussex beach, Giuseppe is drawn to the case – a case with no witnesses, and a case about which no one is prepared to talk.
National news reports of a missing 12-year-old in Manchester spark fear across the nation. The phrase “stranger-danger” filters into public consciousness. Local reporter, Christina Rossi, already has concerns about her local community. Families are not as close-knit as they first appear.
As the sea mist drifts in and darkness descends, can Giuseppe and Christina discover the truth and prevent another tragedy?
Crossing the Line is the perfect listen for everyone who loves Agatha Christie style twists and turns, with a Mediterranean flavor. Imagine the charismatic Italian police series, Montalbano, combined with those TV favorites set in the 1960s – Endeavour, George Gently, and Call the Midwife.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This audiobook is the first in the Guiseppe Bianchi mystery’s featuring an Italian ex-detective on a semi-permanent retirement in mid-1960s England. Set in Sussex like the author’s previous mystery series, this atmospheric story rich in period details unfolds at a gentle pace in keeping with 1960s England.
Guiseppe has regrets and secrets. They don’t affect his investigation skills which he puts to good use solving a particularly poignant case. The investigation is poignant and with a culture of silence and misinformation.
The narrator is easy to listen to and professional. This story works well in audiobook format and has a conclusion with a satisfying twist.
Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of the 1960s. Researching all aspects of family life back then formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. Isabella rediscovered her love of writing fiction during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing and since then she has gone on to publish six novels, three novellas and two short story collections.
Her latest novel, Crossing the Line, is the first of a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.
Her first Sussex Crime Mystery series features young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. As well as three novels, there are three novellas in the series, which explore some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.
Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.
Scandal hit party girl Lucy Conway needs to leave London fast, so she packs her bags and escapes to the sleepy village of Cranbridge to take care of her beloved Uncle Frank.
But the country village isn’t quite as idyllic as she remembers. To make matters worse, her Uncle’s pride and joy, The Cranbridge Times, is close to going out of business.
Editor-at-Large Tom Addison is having a crisis of confidence and needs help if the newspaper is going to survive.
With time on her hands, can Lucy work some magic and together save the family newspaper? Over a long, hot summer, friendships are made and hearts begin to heal. And, with the help of a stray dog, perhaps Lucy and Tom can find their very own new beginning…
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has an engaging setting with realistically flawed characters. The protagonists are at a low point in their life but want to find happiness again. The Riverside Lane series focuses on female protagonists who need positive change in their lives and hope to find it in Cranbridge. The village needs rejuvenation, but there is an intrinsic community spirit that is attractive to newcomers. Lucy is the latest incomer someone who wants a quiet life and is happy to look after her uncle who she loves to find it.
Village life is under threat, and the newspaper is failing. Lucy has the skills to help, but she is low on self-esteem. This is a story of self-realisation, helping others and finding your true life path. The story is gently paced and is character-led. The simple plot satisfyingly showcases character development.
This is a heartwarming and uplifting read with humour, poignancy and romance.
Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and the first title will be published in July 2020.
Extract from The Village of Lost and Found – Alison Sherlock
‘What on earth were you thinking?’
Lucy Conway glanced around the hospital ward and was not surprised to see the other male patients staring across at them after the shouting they had just heard.
She looked back at Uncle Frank, who was sitting up in bed looking extremely agitated. ‘Could you please stop yelling and take it easy,’ she whispered to him. ‘Otherwise you’re going to have another episode or whatever it was.’
Frank Conway slumped back against the pillows, his face paling once more as his anger faded. ‘I’m fine,’ he told her with a wave of his hand. ‘And it wasn’t an episode. The tests will confirm that. I just tripped over my own feet and I’ll be back home tomorrow hopefully. So it’s nothing for you to worry about.’
‘Great,’ drawled Lucy, rolling her eyes. ‘Maybe we can go out for a ten-mile run later if you’re not too busy.’
He gave a grunt of humour in reply before following her gaze to where his heavily swollen foot was resting on top of the covers, covered in bruises. He had fallen badly earlier that day. ‘It’s only a small bone fracture,’ he said. But his sixty-seven-year-old face was etched with pain.
Lucy glanced at the drip which was attached to his arm and felt a pang of fear. She didn’t know what she’d do if she ever lost Uncle Frank. He was her rock and the only member of the family that seemed to genuinely care about her these days.
Lucy sat down on the edge of the bed and sighed. ‘I shouldn’t have said anything,’ she said, feeling cross with herself that she had upset him when he was already in hospital.
Frank looked at her, his hazel eyes softening. ‘You’re my favourite niece. We talk nearly every day. You tell me everything, so why should today be any different?’
‘Because you’re in hospital today,’ she said, reaching out to take his hand and hold it tightly in hers. ‘By the way, I’m your only niece.’
He smiled at her. ‘You’re still my favourite though.’
They were both silent for a moment as Lucy relished the strength she drew from the hand squeezing hers. Her fingers touched the gold band on his third finger. Uncle Frank still wore his wedding ring, five years after losing his beloved wife. The loss of her Aunt Jane still weighed heavily on both of them. What they would have given to have her calming, comforting nature with them that afternoon. Lucy missed her more than ever in that moment.
‘Jamie Watkins,’ murmured Frank, with a small shake of his head.
‘Don’t upset yourself,’ said Lucy with a grimace. ‘He’s not worth it.’
‘He’s awful,’ said Frank, looking dismayed. ‘What were you even doing going out with someone like that?’
Lucy rolled her eyes. ‘Trying and failing to please my parents, as per usual.’ She had spent all of her thirty years attempting to achieve something that might be a kind of accomplishment in her parents’ eyes. Unfortunately being headline news in the tabloids wasn’t quite what they had in mind.
Uncle Frank squeezed her hand again. ‘I guess they were hoping that your days of being in the news were long over.’
‘So was I,’ said Lucy, grabbing the newspaper which had been lying on Uncle Frank’s lap.