Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Mystery, Romance

Summer at the Chateau Jennifer Bohnet 5*#Review @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks #Secrets #Friendship #Life #Family #Brittany #Chateau #BookReview #BlogTour #Secrets @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #mystery #Relationships #SummerattheChateau

Every end has a new beginning… All NEW from bestselling author Jennifer Bohnet.


When Pixie Sampson’s husband tragically dies, she inherits the beautiful Château Quiltuin in Brittany, Northern France.

But unbeknown to her, she also inherits a mysterious lodger, Justine Martin and her 4-year-old son Ferdie. 

Heartbroken and with her adventurous Mum, Gwen in tow, they travel to France to put the Château on the market but are soon drawn into a quest to seek the Château’s secrets.

Who is Juliette? Why is she living at the Château? How did she know her husband?

Over the Summer months, the Château fills with family and laughter and secrets are discovered and old wounds begin to heal.

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

My Thoughts…

The setting, in a chateau in France, guarantees my escape from rainy England, but this book has so much more to give me. It’s a multi-generational family story of loss and secrets leading to ultimately uplifting forgiveness and healing.

Pixie and her mother travel to the chateau to give Pixie respite from the shock of her loss. She doesn’t realise her emotional rollercoaster is just beginning. A heartfelt story with gentle humour to lighten the mood and a multi-layered plot that hides a myriad of secrets. Each revelation has an emotional impact as the fallout is explored in a way that allows character development. The result is an engaging family drama with relatable female protagonists and a well-plotted mystery.

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 14 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

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Extract from Summer at the Chateau – Jennifer Bohnet

Pixie Sampson’s thoughts were all over the place as she lay in bed at nine o’clock on the Wednesday morning after the funeral, trying to summon the energy to get up and face the world. 

She’d spent the three weeks since her husband Frank’s death in a kind of stupor, more dead than alive herself. Married for thirty-five years, the shock of Frank’s accident had thrown all the known certainties of her life up in the air, leaving her struggling to accept the inevitable changes his death had brought. Becoming a widow at fifty-nine because of some teenage joy-driver had never featured in her life plan. 

Widow. How she disliked that word. But she had no option other than to accept it. To, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ as the faded poster pinned to the kitchen wall of her grandparents’ Devonshire home had urged her as she was growing up. She’d learnt that lesson well. So well in fact, her friends called her stoical in the face of a crisis, which made her smile. If they only knew how hard she had to work to keep showing that face to the world. To keep the pretence up. 

Her name, Pixie, alone had given her more opportunities than she wanted to learn stoicism in the face of torment. Why her mother had thought it a good idea to christen her daughter with such a childish name was beyond her. Her twin brother had rebelled against his name, Augustus, which he’d shortened to Gus by the time he arrived at secondary school and proceeded to thump any boy who dared to call him anything else. All her mother had ever said when Pixie complained bitterly about her name and ask ‘why’ was, ‘You were so tiny when you were born, you looked like you’d jumped out of one of the illustrations from the Flower Fairy books.’ 

‘But you could have given me a sensible proper name to fall back on and call me Pixie as a nickname.’ 

Gwen had just smiled at her. ‘Didn’t want to,’ and had wafted away to her pottery studio in the garden, to make and paint more Devonshire gnomes and pixies that the tourists seemingly couldn’t get enough of. 

Pixie sighed. She wished Gus and his family hadn’t re-located to Wales a few years ago, she missed them all so much, especially her godchildren, Charlie and Annabelle. At least her mother still lived reasonably close. 

Five years ago, Gwen had finally been persuaded by the twins to move from her isolated house on Dartmoor and live nearer Pixie and Frank. Protesting loudly, she’d finally decided on a cottage down near the coast in the South Hams, situated on the outskirts of a large village with lots of amenities like a doctor, supermarket, bank, cafe, post office, et cetera, all within walking distance. 

It had taken just six months for Gwen to become a part of the community: she’d joined the WI, was welcomed into the church choir, went OldTyme Dancing once a week and had even started to paint again. She told people that moving to the village was one of the best decisions she’d ever made, never mentioning how anti the move she’d been when Pixie and Gus had first suggested it. 

Eighty-four next birthday, she was still as irrepressible and independent as ever, but Pixie had sensed her mother was beginning to struggle with certain things. Not that Gwen would ever admit it. Maybe the time was coming when another move was needed? Not to a home, Gwen had made the twins promise years ago that they would never put her ‘out to pasture’ as she put it. With her brother and his wife living with their family too far away in Carmarthenshire, Pixie knew helping Gwen would be her responsibility, which, loving her mother as she did, was something she willingly accepted. Would daily visits be enough or should she invite Gwen to live with her now that she was a widow? 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Travel

The Hunting Season Tom Benjamin 4*#Review @Tombenjaminsays @LittleBrownUK #Constable #CrimeFiction #Italy #Bologna #Mystery #PrivateDetective @RandomTTours #TheHuntingSeason

Death stalks the hills of Bologna…

It’s truffle season and in the hills around Bologna the hunt is on for the legendary Boscuri White, the golden nugget of Italian gastronomy. But when an American truffle ‘supertaster’ goes missing, English detective Daniel Leicester discovers not all truffles are created equal. Did the missing supertaster bite off more than he could chew?

As he goes on the hunt for Ryan Lee, Daniel discovers the secrets behind ‘Food City’, from the immigrant kitchen staff to the full scale of a multi-million Euro business. After a key witness is found dead at the foot of one of Bologna’s famous towers, the stakes could not be higher. Daniel teams up with a glamorous TV reporter, but the deeper he goes into the disappearance of the supertaster the darker things become. Murder is once again on the menu, but this time Daniel himself stands accused. And the only way he can clear his name is by finding Ryan Lee…

Discover Bologna through the eyes of English detective Daniel Leicester as he walks the shadowy porticoes in search of the truth and, perhaps, even gets a little nearer to solving the mystery of Italy itself.

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I received a copy of this book from Little Brown Books – Constable and the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is best described as a literary mystery with its evocative settings and lyrical writing.

Private detective Daniel Leicester is hired to find a missing truffle taster by his parents. The story details the importance of the truffle economy to this area of Italy and explores the possibilities for crime with its unregulated nature. Investigations are hampered by the terrain and the lack of information about the missing man’s plans. An unexpected death intensifies the search and put Daniel in a precarious position.

The cast of characters are well-crafted, the detective team are diverse, and there is a believable team dynamic. Told from Daniel’s viewpoint, the reader gains insight into the Italian customs and settings and astute observations on possible suspects. Cultural and historical references and sensory imagery make this an inclusive reading experience.

The mystery is well-plotted with twists and satisfying conclusion, but it’s the atmospheric quality of this story that resonates.

Tom Benjamin

Tom Benjamin grew up in London and began his working life as a reporter before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He went on to work in international aid and public health, developing Britain’s first national programme against alcohol abuse and heading up drugs awareness campaign FRANK. He now lives in Bologna, Italy

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Read my review of A Quiet Death in Italy