After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?
When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?
Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?
I received a copy of this book from Lake Union Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is a poignant dual timeline story, a family saga from occupied France in the 1940s to the present day. The prologue gives clues about the story’s secrets and the heartbreaking discoveries to follow.
Two sisters Morane and Gwen, find their relationship strained when their beloved grandmother Rozenn bequeaths her house to Gwen. Morane has already suffered, and now she feels rejected by her grandmother. A chance discovery leads Morane on a quest to find out about Rozenn’s life in occupied France, which has surprising consequences.
The dual storylines are well written, both full of vivid characters and emotion. The historical timeline is particularly engaging, as it conveys the horrors and stark choices of life in occupied France. The familial relationships are relatable, and the plot twists keep the reader engaged.
This is a family saga of betrayal, forgiveness, love and sacrifice with a satisfying conclusion.
Eliza Graham’s novels have been long-listed for the UK’s Richard & Judy Summer Book Club in the UK, and short-listed for World Book Day’s ‘Hidden Gem’ competition. She has also been nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.
Her books have been bestsellers both in Europe and the US.
She is fascinated by the world of the 1930s and 1940s: the Second World War and its immediate aftermath and the trickle-down effect on future generations. Consequently she’s made trips to visit bunkers in Brittany, decoy harbours in Cornwall, wartime radio studios in Bedfordshire and cemeteries in Szczecin, Poland. And those are the less obscure research trips.
It was probably inevitable that Eliza would pursue a life of writing. She spent biology lessons reading Jean Plaidy novels behind the textbooks, sitting at the back of the classroom. In English and history lessons she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth. During school holidays she visited the public library multiple times a day.
Eliza lives in an ancient village in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. Not far from her house there is a large perforated sarsen stone that can apparently summon King Alfred if you blow into it correctly. Eliza has never managed to summon him. Her interests still mainly revolve around reading, but she also enjoys walking in the downland country around her home and travelling around the world to research her novels.
Emme starts dating a popular high school student who happens to be from a famous political family. It seems like everyone at school either wants to be Brendon Agretti or date him. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon’s world and it doesn’t help that his picture-perfect ex seems determined to get back into his life, along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend dumped her and her whole world is off kilter with her grandparents’ health issues. Life suddenly seems easier pushing Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you’re dating the it guy.
Extract from Dating the It Guy – Krysten Lindsay Hager
In this scene, Brendon is trying to help Emme retrieve her paper and she’s overthinking about everything and realizing that he’s so much sweeter and more considerate than other guys at their school. Oh, and that intuition thing with the basketball player happened to me back in the day!
While I tried not to drool, Brendon put the computer in “safe mode” and was able to save my paper to a drive. He started up his laptop for me, and I leaned over him while he explained how to use it. The side of his ear and neck were hot. I never knew anyone could have such amazing ears. People take things like ears for granted when it comes to the cuteness factor.
“Did you get all that?” he asked.
I had no idea what he was referring to, but I nodded. Why couldn’t I keep my head around this guy? It wasn’t like I had grown up in a convent or something and this was the first guy I had ever seen. I never had trouble talking to guys before, so why was I thrown by him? Well, other than the fact he was amazingly hot and nice. Nice. I didn’t even believe in the myth of the “nice guy,” but Brendon seemed to be one. I had noticed last year that even when his friends would make fun of people in the hallways at school, he never did. And who else would have come over to try and fix my computer and bring along his laptop in case I needed it? Okay, I needed to focus. After all, my grandmother always warned me about falling into the whole “knight on a white horse” thing. She said women did not need rescuing and I could take care of myself, and with the exception of this laptop thing, I could. So why did I act stupid around him?
“I think it’s a virus.”
“Huh?” I glanced up.
“I think you have a virus,” he said. “You should probably take it in and have it checked out. Wish I could fix it, but what can I say? I’m not that smart.”
A guy who admitted he couldn’t fix something? Grandma didn’t warn me about that happening. In fact, she wouldn’t believe such a thing existed.
“Well, thanks for trying and getting my paper off there. I can use my mom’s computer if you want your laptop back. I hope I didn’t infect you…” Ugh, why couldn’t I just be normal for two seconds? “I mean, I put this drive in your computer—”
“I have tons of virus blockers and stuff on there. It should be fine. Are you sure you don’t need it anymore?” he said. “How’s your paper coming?”
I shrugged. “It’s coming. Thanks again for coming over. I thought I was going to have to throw holy water on it to—” Shut up, shut up, shut up, you little weirdo. “I mean, thanks for coming over. See ya tomorrow.”
As soon as he left, Mom came into the room to ask if my computer was fixed.
“No, but my friend was able to get my paper for me. I guess I have a virus.”
“So your friend was able to get it for you,” she said, smirking. “How interesting you called a guy to help you.”
“What? Oh, because only guys know about computers. That is so sexist, mother.”
“I meant because you got ready like you were going to the prom,” she said. “I can’t remember the last time I saw you wearing makeup just to do your homework.”
I rolled my eyes and told her I had to get going on my homework. She made smooching noises as she got her laptop for me. It would be nice to have a mother who didn’t have the social skills of a six-year-old. Before I got back to work, I decided to light some candles. It was Tuesday, so I lit my pink cotton candy scented soy candle to draw love. Grandma was the one who had told me how different candle colors meant different things and which days you should light which candle. I wondered if the pink candle thing actually worked. It had never done anything for me before, but what if this time was different? Chances were nothing would ever happen with Brendon and me, but what if he was my soul mate? Stranger things had happened. Like the time I had a dream years ago about a player throwing up during basketball finals. I mentioned it to my dad, who’d seen me predict stuff before, so he bet on the game with some of his friends. Well, I was right about the guy having the flu, but he still played, and his team won. Dad wasn’t happy. Grandma told him that’s what he got for trying to “abuse my gift for profit.” However, my “gift” wasn’t helping me figure out how to talk to Brendon. Okay, forget talk, I wanted him to fall for me.
I sat back on my bed. I couldn’t think of one other person who would have dropped everything to come over to help someone they barely knew. It had to mean something, right? I had a weird feeling he and I were supposed to be more than just partners in class.
I tried to picture what it would be like to date Brendon and imagined him taking me to a restaurant on the water. One of those places that put up Christmas lights year-round so everything’s all romantic and sparkly. It would be private and dark, so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting sauce on my chin or trying to use my knife and fork. I was convinced back in the day I had missed the lesson on how to properly use silverware. Maybe I was sick that day like I was the day when everybody learned how to tell time, which meant for the rest of my life, I had to pretend I couldn’t see my watch clearly whenever someone asked what time it was As I sat there, I wondered if he believed in love at first sight and the whole soulmate/kindred spirit thing. Then I wondered if he had any feelings for me at all.
Krysten Lindsay Hager writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, frenemies, crushes, fame, first loves, and values. She is the author of True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Next Door to a Star, Landry in Like, Competing with the Star, Dating the It Guy, Can Dreams Come True, and In Over Her Head: Lights, Camera, Anxiety . True Colors won the Readers Favorite award for best preteen book as well as the Dayton Book Expo Bestseller Award for children/teens. Best Friends…Forever won the Readers’ Favorite Silver Medal. Competing with the Star is a Readers’ Favorite Book Award Finalist. Landry in Like is a Literary Classics Gold Medal recipient.
Krysten’s work has been featured in USA Today, The Flint Journal, the Grand Haven Tribune, the Beavercreek Current, the Bellbrook Times, Springfield News-Sun, Grand Blanc View, Dayton Daily News and on the talk show Living Dayton.
Joshua Ashburton hasn’t seen his brother for years and heads straight to his London townhouse. A ball is underway filled with the cream of society, including one Lady Elizabeth Hummingford. Captivated by her vitality and sparkle, he’s shocked to learn she’s all but engaged to his brother! It’s a loveless, convenient match, but how can Josh persuade her she’s chosen the wrong brother when he’s set to return abroad?
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Two brothers separated after the death of their parents meet again in adulthood. Beth has to marry Leo for the sake of her family. When she meets his brother Joshua, she wonders if she can go through with it. Joshua knows Beth must marry for money, but he can’t quell his attraction to her. He doesn’t want to hurt his brother, but surely he deserves to marry for love?
This is a romance full of passion and unexpected emotion. Beth and Joshua are lovely characters who deserve happiness together. Leo is harder to get to know, but a chance meeting with Annabelle Beth’s sister reveals his good qualities.
This is a conflicted but ultimately happy romance with a mysterious twist at the end.
Eleanor Buchanan broke off her engagement to Jace Zagorakis a year ago. She discovered he only wanted to marry her to gain control of her family’s luxury Greek hotel – on their wedding day! Now the devastatingly handsome tycoon is back with a second proposal…
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This passionate romantic story has echoes Greek tragedy. Jace is driven to revenge his father’s death after Eleanor’s grandfather’s betrayal. Eleanor discovers Jace’s plans and runs, but one year on, her hotel is on the brink of bankruptcy, and Jace is the only way out.
There is undeniable chemistry between innocent Eleanor and Jace, which she thought was love. As they get to know each other, their growing emotional commitment deepens into love. Eleanor is a strong woman who values family and loyalty, something she shares with Jace. She understands his motives, and when he shares his past, she forgives him. Jace is a sexy but troubled man driven by revenge. His attraction and admiration of Eleanor let him learn to trust and realise he deserves to be happy.
This is a lovely sensual romance with likeable characters.
Malie Pukui doesn’t believe in happy ever after. After a tragedy caused her to flee her family and friends in Devon she found a fresh start in Hawaii. Here, working at a surf school, she can give back to those in need and try to overcome the greatest loss in her life.
Moved around foster homes throughout his childhood, Todd Masters has worked hard to be able to offer a brighter future to young disadvantaged children. Now he has his own charitable foundation working with a surf school in Hawaii, a job he loves, but he still can’t put his past behind him.
When Malie rescues Todd from the sea a spark ignites between them, and the two wounded souls find a common ground. But amidst the surf, sunsets and sizzling kisses, can Malie let go of her past and risk something she’d locked away forever… her heart.
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Malie’s story, set in sunny Hawaii, is the second book in the Meet Me series. It’s easy to imagine the setting from the vivid description and sensory imagery. Malie’s life seems idyllic, and on a superficial level, it is, but deep down, Malie is suffering from grief and guilt and needs space away from her devastated parents to survive. Todd is outwardly successful with a caring heart, but his difficult early life means personal relationships are problematic and best avoided.
A growing friendship with chemistry and humour draws the couple closer to love, but their internal conflicts are many and make trust difficult for them both. Contemporary issues highlighted knowledgeably and positively makes this more than a conflicted and glamorous romance.
The enduring and strong friendship group surrounding Malie keeps her grounded and moving forward, knowing they want her happiness. This book moves on convincingly from the first story set in London and anticipates the next Meet Me book.
This is an engaging, romantic story with a contemporary focus and a perfect, escapist setting.
As steward to the Earl of Borwyn, Erik Ward had only admired sheltered noblewoman Linota Leofric from afar – until he has to escort her on a dangerous journey. When she’s kidnapped, he rescues the courageous beauty, revelling in finally having her in his arms. But Erik has a secret plan to reunite his family – now he’s forced to choose between that and his growing feelings for Linota…
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This story happens at more or less the same time as the previous book in the series but with two different protagonists giving the reader another medieval adventure in the House of Leofric series.
Erik finds his loyalties impossibly challenged his social standing makes a marriage with Linota unlikely, especially when he betrays her and his friend. Set in turbulent, unforgiving times, where women have no say in their futures. Erik and Linota’s romance is conflicted. Erik is easy to empathise with, and you want him to find happiness. Linota matures as the story progresses.
The final book in the House of Leofric has good character development, powerful dilemmas and gentle romance.
Ella Matthews lives and works in beautiful South Wales. When not thinking about handsome heroes she can be found walking along the coast with her husband and their two children (probably still thinking about heroes but at least pretending to be interested in everyone else).
The Spirit of the Horse is about following dreams, finding your truth and how much stronger joy can be when we learn to interconnect with all that is.
‘Masterful, uplifting and insightful, this book has left an indelible stamp on my heart.’ Justin Featherstone MC ‘
When Pam follows her dream to a farmhouse with five acres in northern France, she is able to live alongside her horses for the first time. Here, in the heart of nature, deeper insights are revealed into the healing connection between horse and human and the incredible power of presence to transform. Might it be that learning to honour and communicate with another species helps us to reframe the way we perceive each other, as well as how we might see ourselves?
I received a copy of this book from Blackbird in return for an honest review.
I haven’t read The Spell of the Horse, the book this is a sequel to, but this book reads well without having done so, although it did make me keen to read the book that came first. This book hard to define but is very readable, with messages that everyone can take away and think about.
As a memoir, it is engaging and honest. It has depth, Pam’s experience working with her ‘herd’ to help her clients to work out their anxieties, future choices and problems, is emotional, fascinating and thought-provoking.
It’s compelling to explore the spiritual connection between humans and horses through case studies and Pam’s insights. This is a poignant and powerful book.
Pam Billinge is a therapist, coach and author who specialises in embodied horse-led learning.
This unique approach relies entirely on the emergent relational process between horse and human. At her bases in the UK and in France, Pam supports people of all nationalities, ages and walks of life with their personal and professional development.
Through her workshops and her writing Pam wishes to share the healing wisdom of horses whilst advancing the cause of this sometimes much-misunderstood species. She hopes also through her work to reconnect us with the natural world from which we are too often separated.
Don’t miss the next exciting installment in the Nosey Parker series.
A film company is coming to the Cornish village of Penstowan, and the whole village turn up to be cast as extras, even Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker. Determined to join in with the fun and ignore any dramas, Jodie is going to make the most of this time with her mum and daughter and of the potential to see their name in lights… or really small writing on the credits page.
But right on cue, the company’s caterer is sabotaged and Jodie must step up. As other small accidents begin to happen, it becomes clear that the filming is being sabotaged. With actors behaving out of character and the house literally being brought down, breaking a leg is the least of their worries.
Can Jodie save the day once again, or will it be their final curtain call?
The third book in the Jodie ‘Nosey’ Parker cosy mystery series. Can be read as a standalone. A humorous cosy mystery with a British female sleuth in a small village. Includes one of Jodie’s Tried and Tested Recipes! Written in British English. Mild profanity and peril.
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This series is so easy to read, full of humour, family antics, murder-mystery and romance.
Set at a film location close to the village. All the villagers want to be extras. The plot is full of mysterious twists which need Josie’s intuition and investigative skills. There are lots of humorous moments and some serious ones too.
There are plenty of romantic possibilities in this story, but the plot keeps you guessing and turning the pages. Whilst this story has a fabulous finale that is worthy of the film world. I am hoping that there will be more books in this engaging cosy mystery series.
Fiona Leitch is a writer with a chequered past. She’s written for football and motoring magazines, DJ’ed at illegal raves and is a stalwart of the low budget TV commercial, even appearing as the Australasian face of a cleaning product called ‘Sod Off’. After living in London and Cornwall she’s finally settled in sunny New Zealand, where she enjoys scaring her cats by trying out dialogue on them. She spends her days dreaming of retiring to a crumbling Venetian palazzo, walking on the windswept beaches of West Auckland, and writing funny, flawed but awesome female characters. Her debut novel and first in the Bella Tyson series, ‘Dead in Venice’, was published by Audible as one of their Crime Grant finalists. Fiona is represented by Lina Langlee at the North Literary Agency.
Escape to the countryside with a heart-warming new novel from Katie Ginger, author of Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage.
Amelia loves her life in Paris. But with the surprise inheritance of her childhood home, Meadow Farmhouse, she has no choice but to return to the small village of Meadowbank to restore her great-aunt’s old farmhouse. However returning to Meadowbank means she has to confront her past, including old flame Adam.
When Amelia discovers a locket hidden in the farmhouse, containing the picture of a mysterious World War Two soldier, she starts to uncover the secrets of her great-aunt’s past and is drawn further into village life. Shocked by the warm welcome from the villagers and her own surprising feelings for first love Adam, Amelia is suddenly confused as to where she truly belongs.
Can Amelia finally confront her own past and find where her heart truly calls home?
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
All old houses have secrets, and Meadow Farmhouse is no different. When Amelia returns to her childhood home to sort out her unexpected inheritance, she finds a clue to her great-aunt’s past. Her childhood was not a happy one, but back at the place where she grew up, she is determined to evaluate her life and finding out why Vera seemed incapable of love is a part of this. Solving the mystery of Vera’s past adds depth to this story.
Amelia’s journey of self-discovery catalysed by returning home to Meadow Farm is an emotional one. Adam, her first love, is still in the village. The rekindling of their friendship, and the sparks of something more, add a believable touch of romance.
The villagers are an interesting mix of characters that populate a quintessential English village. They add gossip, humour and vibrancy to the story and make it authentic. Gentle pacing reflects village life.
This is an engaging story that immerses you in the details of village life and life choices, perfect escapist reading.
KATIE GINGER lives by the sea in the south-east of England, and apart from holidays to very hot places where you can sit by a pool and drink cocktails as big as your head, she wouldn’t really want to be anywhere else. The Secrets of Meadow Farmhouse is her seventh novel. She is also the author of theSwallowtail Bayseries – Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay, Summer Strawberries at Swallowtail Bay and Winter Wishes at Swallowtail Bay, Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage and the Seafront series – The Little Theatre on the Seafront, shortlisted for the Katie Fforde Debut Novel of the Year award, and Summer Season on the Seafront.
When she’s not writing, Katie spends her time with her husband and two kids, and their dogs: Wotsit, the King Charles spaniel, and Skips, the three-legged rescue dog. (And yes, they are both named after crisps!)
A country torn apart by war. Two love stories divided by decades. One chance to discover the truth…
Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past.
As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain’s civil war – when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart.
But can Isabella trust the man she’s fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed…?
Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love.
I received a copy of this book from the Orion via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This dual timeline novel explores two tragic and turbulent times in Spanish history through the eyes of the people who lived through them. Two love stories echo the other in many ways. Family, love, loss and forgiveness are predominant themes in this politically astute story.
The setting and time periods are the ones that affected Spain and drew the attention and interference of the wider world. This is an emotional story, the political struggles, in both of the timelines, were personal to the people living through them, and the writing reflects this.
Believable and vibrant characters give life to familial relationships and friendships. It’s immersive and insightful, evoking all the reader’s senses, so they feel part of it.
The poignant but positive ending is a perfect conclusion.
I have a degree in modern history and I’m fascinated with events from the first half of the 20th century, which is the time period my historical fiction is set.
My work has been longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition, and shortlisted in the prestigious Bridport Short Story Competition.
I live in Berkshire, UK with my partner, daughter and dog. Before writing stories, I was a physiotherapist.
Jules Hayes is a pseudonym for JA Corrigan who writes contemporary thrillers. Falling Suns by JA Corrigan (Headline Accent) was published in 2016.