Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Motivational, New Books, Romance

Finding Summer Happiness Chris Penhall 4*#Review @ChrisPenhall @RubyFiction @ChocLituk @rararesources #Summer #SecondChance #Escape #Friendship #Community #Romance #uplit

You won’t find happiness without breaking a few eggs…

Miriam Ryan was the MD of a successful events and catering company, but these days even the thought of chopping an onion sends her stress levels sky rocketing. A retreat to the Welsh village of her childhood holidays seems to offer the escape she’s craving – just peace, quiet, no people, a generous supply of ready meals… did she mention no people?
Enter a cheery pub landlord, a lovesick letting agent, a grumpy astronomer with a fridge raiding habit – not to mention a surprise supper club that requires the chopping of many onions – and Miriam realises her escape has turned into exactly what she was trying to get away from, but could that be just the thing she needs to allow a little bit of summer happiness into her life?

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I received a copy of this book from Ruby Fiction in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A gentle, humorous story that explores life’s pressures and how taking a trip, even if it is not what you expected, can give you a better perspective. Miriam finds running her successful company is damaging her health. Her escape is not what she expects. However, it helps her to come to terms with her past and present life.

The setting is well-described and integral to Miriam’s life changes. Believable characters add emotion and vibrancy to the story. There is a good mix of humour and poignancy with uplifting friendship, romance and self-realisation.

This is a lovely escapist summer read.

Chris Penhall

Chris Penhall won the 2019 Choc-Lit Search for a Star competition, sponsored by Your Cat Magazine, for her debut novel, The House That Alice Built. The sequel, New Beginnings at the Little House in the Sun was published in August 2020. Her short story, Lily McKee’s Seven Days of Christmas appears in Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction’s Cosy Christmas Treats anthology.

Her new novel, Finding Summer Happiness, which is set in Pembrokeshire in South West Wales was published in May 2021.

Chris is an author and freelance radio producer for BBC Local Radio.
She also has her own podcast – The Talking to My Friends About Book Podcast in which she chats to her friends about books. Good title!

Born in Neath in South Wales, she has also lived in London and in Portugal, which is where The House That Alice Built is set. It was whilst living in Cascais near Lisbon that she began to dabble in writing fiction, but it was many years later that she was confident enough to start writing her first novel, and many years after that she finally finished it!

A lover of books, music and cats, she is also an enthusiastic salsa dancer, a keen cook, and loves to travel. She is never happier than when she is gazing at the sea.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Political Thriller, Romance, Saga, Travel

Soul Sisters Lesley Lokko 4* #Review @panmacmillan #LesleyLokko @RandomTTours #SoulSisters #HistoricalFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Sisters #Politics #SouthAfrica #Family #Friendship #Secrets #BlogTour #BookReview

Two women raised as sisters. Bound by a secret that could tear them apart . . .

Since childhood, Jen and South African-born Kemi have lived like sisters in the McFadden family home in Edinburgh, brought together by a shared family history which stretches back generations. The ties that bind them are strong and complicated.

Solam Rhoyi is from South Africa’s black political elite. Handsome and charismatic, he meets both Kemi and Jen on a trip to London and sweeps them off their feet. Kemi, captivated by Solam and wanting to discover more about her past, travels to South Africa for the first time. Jen, seeking an escape from her father’s overbearing presence, decides to go with her.

In Johannesburg, it becomes clear that Solam is looking for the perfect wife to facilitate his soaring political ambitions. And as the real story behind Jen and Kemi’s connection threatens to emerge, Solam’s choice will have devastating consequences for them both…

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

My Thoughts…

This is a compelling and complex, mainly historical saga that spans continents and cultures. At its core is the sisterly bond between two women who grew up together despite having different birthplaces, cultural identities and families. The story begins in Southern Rhodesia in 1921 and concludes in 2010 in Cape Town. Short chapters and parts propel the reader through family history and political change until we reach the time when the sisterly bond is tested and family secrets revealed.

Well researched historical details and realistically crafted characters make this an absorbing read. It does move through time quickly, but the story’s focus is on the sisters and how their bond is tested. Solam is a pivotal character who represents South Africa’s changing political climate. His political ambition makes him manipulative and ruthless, especially in his interactions with the soul sisters.

This book takes the reader on an emotional journey filled with betrayal, love and secrets. It explores culture, family, identity and political change with rich sensory imagery and believable characters that bring the story to vibrant life.

Lesley Lokko

Lesley Lokko is a Ghanaian-Scottish architect, academic and novelist, formerly Dean of Architecture at City College of New York, who has lived and worked on four continents. Lesley’s bestselling novels include Soul Sisters, Sundowners, Rich Girl, Poor Girl and A Private Affair. Her novels have been translated into sixteen languages and are captivating stories about powerful people, exploring themes of racial and cultural identity.