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.

Amazon UK

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, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Humour, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Italy Ever After Leonie Mack 4*#Review @LeonieMAuthor @BoldwoodBooks #Extract #boldwoodbloggers #BlogTour @rararesources #RomCom #Romance #Summer #Family #SecondChance #Italy #holidayromance #MondayBlogs #ItalyEverAfter

Escape to the sun and head off to Italy, with the wonderfully warm and ever-so-page-turning Leonie Mack!

TV journalist Lou feels battered and bruised after her divorce from Phil, the father of her daughter Edie. Her confidence and sense of fun have steadily been drained away, and she isn’t sure who she is any more.

When the opportunity arises to accompany Edie on a music camp in Italy for a month in the summer, Lou jumps at the chance for new adventures, new horizons and new friends. The hazy warmth of the summer sun, shining brightly over the stunning Lake Garda, slowly brings Lou back to life. 

Nick Romano, Edie’s music teacher, loves being home in Italy, but coaching his students for their concert in Milan, is bringing back difficult memories. His blossoming friendship with Lou is the perfect distraction, although a summer fling would be easier to conduct without the scrutiny of his mother Greta, not to mention the interference of his extended Italian family.

As the summer passes, full of sunshine and breath-taking scenery, gelato and delicious feasts, Lou and Nick get ever closer. But as the time for farewell creeps up on them, will they be able to say goodbye and leave their memories behind in the Italian sun, or can a summer romance last a lifetime?

Leonie Mack is back with a sizzling, sun-baked love story.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

I love romance set in Italy, and as this one is set around Lake Garda, somewhere I’ve visited, I couldn’t resist it.

Just about to be divorced Lou, is still reeling from the fallout, we meet her ex in the opening chapters, and he is not likeable. Her confidence is low despite her career in front of the TV cameras, and it’s clear she is a kind and loving woman who doesn’t value herself. Her latest meeting with Mr (Nick) Romano right after her latest confrontation with the ex is unsettling for them both and makes her wonder whether helping out on the school music camp in Italy is sensible.

The chemistry sizzling between Lou and Nick gets hotter in beautiful Lake Garda, and there are lots of nearly moments that are romantic. The conflicts to their possible relationship are both internal and external, but they are good for each other, and you want them to find happiness together.

The musical setting adds authenticity to the story and is integral to Nick’s backstory. The balance of humour, poignancy and romance is good, and the ending is romantic and uplifting.

Leonie Mack

Leonie Mack is a debut novelist whose first book My Christmas Number One was published by Boldwood in September 2020. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!

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Extract from Italy Ever After – Leonie Mack

Damn him. Phil was winning this game. His look was tolerant. His eyes were warm, even vaguely fond. Lou was losing. Her jaw was clenched so hard she felt like a petulant child with braces. She smoothed her hand down her tailored skirt. Confronting him in her work clothes was supposed to remind her she could deal with him like an adult. But really, she wanted to run home and change into her sweats, as she usually did after her shift. 

‘She’s eleven, Lou. This is her last summer before secondary school. Can’t you let up a little?’ 

He was the voice of reason, too? Phil never raised his voice because he never needed to. He was the kind of man who spoke and it was done. He was attractive, too – even now at forty-four – which meant he’d never had to stay single for long. She couldn’t blame the woman who’d become his girlfriend only a few months after their separation – except that she could blame her and she would. It was the right of a nearly officially ex-wife, right? 

‘All Edie wants to do is play music. Elite tuition and orchestra rehearsals is her idea of paradise. I’m not forcing her to do anything.’ 

His lips twitched. ‘And a few weeks in the Italian sunshine is your idea of a nice free holiday?’ 

Strike one. She would have been satisfied to hear him behaving like the juvenile ex-husband, except that he was an expert at pressing her overdeveloped sense of her own inadequacy button. 

‘It’s not a holiday for me. I’m going as a chaperone and I have to pay my own way. The only reason I’ve volunteered is because Edie is one of the youngest kids going. Most of the parents are looking forward to the three weeks of childcare before the competition’ 

‘You can always send her to us. You know that. You don’t have to martyr yourself.’ 

Lou choked on his sympathy, wishing he would do the same. She took a deep breath. She should have accepted by now that Phil’s wiring where she was concerned would never change. 

‘Can we get back to the point? Edie wants to go and it’s a unique opportunity. This youth music festival only happens every four years. She’ll get to play in an orchestra under a professional conductor and participate in a competition.’ 

Phil held up a hand. ‘I did read the information you emailed me. But I fail to see why our eleven-year-old has to participate in a very expensive competition. You’ve already forced my hand with the school choice. I’d say you’re pretty low on credit with me at the moment.’ 

Lou recoiled. She needed ‘credit’ to get Phil to consider her opinion about their daughter? How was an ex-wife supposed to earn credit? Not only was she forced to serenely ignore the practical difficulties of having day-to-day responsibility for their daughter alone, but Phil still required her to manage him to make sure they did their best by Edie. Good God, it was miserable. 

Phil looked at her with his unflappably perfect haircut and warm eyes with their distinguished crinkles that on her would be called crow’s feet. It was clear why she’d thrown herself at him twelve years ago when she’d been a young and stupid graduate with too little understanding of the world’s faults – and far too little contraception. What was less clear was how she was supposed to deal with him now. 

‘You know how much she loves playing the violin.’ 

‘I know, she does little else.’ 

Edie practised especially diligently at Phil’s because it meant less time with the obsequious girlfriend. 

‘I’m still not sure I want to encourage her obsession.’ 

‘Then you’ll be happy to know the camp takes that into account. Although they rehearse every day, there’s also time dedicated to outdoor activities and confidence-building. I think we can both agree that it would be good for Edie to have some confidence outside her musical talent.’ 

The faintest glint in his eye was the only clue that he was feeling the pressure. But Phil never backed off. Instead, he calmly went on the offensive. ‘So, you plan to make Edie do a high ropes course while you sit in the sun at Sirmione sipping an Aperol Spritz?’ 

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

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow Jessica Redland 5* #Review @JessicaRedland @BoldwoodBooks #BlogTour @rararesources#Friendship #UpLit #Secrets #FamilyDrama #MentalHealth #Relationships #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

Every family has its secrets, and at Hedgehog Hollow there is no exception…


It was always Samantha’s dream to run her beautiful rescue centre, Hedgehog Hollow, full-time. But just as her wish comes true, she becomes a victim of her own kindness when she finds herself with a house full of guests – all with their own problems and secrets – looking to her for support.

When her self-absorbed cousin, Chloe, unexpectedly turns up at the farm – swiftly handing over her baby to Samantha to care for – trouble is definitely brewing. Especially as Chloe won’t tell anyone why she’s left her husband, James…

As Samantha juggles new hedgehog arrivals, family dramas and her own health challenges, it soon becomes clear that she needs to start putting herself first for once. Little does she know that life-changing secrets from the past are about to unravel and turn their lives upside down…

Return to glorious Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a heartwarming, emotional but uplifting story of family, friendship and moving on from the past.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has a serious focus and is full of family drama, which has emotional and physical consequences for lovely Samantha. Hedgehog Hollow is full of hedgehog residents, and Samantha’s house is full of humans who need emotional support from her. The story is a dual viewpoint of Samantha and her cousin Chloe. If you’ve read previous books in this series, you’ll know Chloe is not particularly likeable. This book explores her story and past secrets, which shed light on her attitude and motivations.

This is an emotional story, and it immerses the reader in the characters’ lives. Chloe’s insights make her more understandable, but she is still not my favourite person. Samantha is everyone’s friend, and whilst this is admirable, you want her to take care of herself too.

This is another absorbing instalment of life at Hedgehog Hollow with characters you are invested in and an enticing mix of humour, poignancy and romance.

Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Extract from Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – Jessica Redland

Chapter 1 

Samantha 

I sat on Thomas’s bench with a mug of tea in one hand, the other hand stroking Misty-Blue’s warm belly as she lay sprawled across my lap. 

‘Listen to that,’ I said to her, cocking my head to one side. ‘Isn’t it so peaceful?’ The only sounds were the chirp of birds, the buzz of insects and Misty-Blue’s gentle purrs. 

‘No babies crying for once,’ I added, not that I really minded. Archie and Lottie were adorable. Their parents, Paul and Beth, were also great house guests. They couldn’t have done more to help with the cooking and cleaning despite Beth still recovering from a near-fatal fall down the stairs at her flat and Paul, Josh’s dad, having Hodgkin lymphoma – a type of blood cancer. 

Closing my eyes, I tilted my head back towards the sun. It was a bright, warm Sunday in the middle of June, so Paul and Beth had taken advantage of the gorgeous weather and driven Archie and Lottie to the coast. Josh – owner of Alderson & Son Veterinary Practice – had been called out to a goat emergency an hour ago so I was on my own at Hedgehog Hollow, enjoying a rare and precious moment of tranquillity. 

After a few minutes, I opened my eyes and sipped contentedly on my tea. My heart fluttered as the diamonds on my engagement ring sparkled in the sun. We hadn’t made any plans for when we’d marry yet. It didn’t feel right to set the date until Paul had been through the next round of chemotherapy later this month and we were, of course, still hoping a stem cell donor would be found. 

Everyone had been thrilled at the announcement of our engagement. We’d invited our closest family for afternoon tea last Sunday so we could share the news. After that I’d called my best friend Hannah, who excitedly squealed down the phone. 

I tried my cousin Chloe next but she didn’t answer. Loyalty towards her after years of close friendship meant it didn’t feel right for her mum – my Auntie Louise – to hear first so I held off phoning her, trying Chloe repeatedly over the next few days but without success. On Thursday, fed up that messages to get in touch urgently had seemingly been ignored, I phoned Auntie Louise, who was also delighted. Then I texted Chloe: 

* To Chloe 

Josh asked me to marry him! I’m so excited. I’ve been trying to get hold of you all week as I ideally didn’t want to tell you my big news by text but you haven’t responded to my messages and I’m worried. I hope you’re okay. HOT TIP! There’s a woman on a farm in Huggleswick who is always here for you. You know where she is if you ever need her xxx 

So far, she hadn’t responded and I was determined not to let it dampen my excitement. If Chloe had decided to have an epic strop, I wasn’t going to bend over backwards this time. I’d waved the white flag plenty of times and now it was her move. 

I’d also sent a quick text to Mum: 

* To Mum 

I hope all’s well with you. Just letting you know that Josh asked me to marry him and I said yes. Not planning to set a date yet. Sam x 

She hadn’t responded but I hadn’t expected her to, although I had hoped she might, even if it was just one word: ‘congratulations’. I wasn’t going to let her dampen my excitement, either. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Life’s A Beach Portia MacIntosh 5*#Review @PortiaMacIntosh @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #RomCom #BookReview #BlogTour #LifesABeach

Sun, sea and inescapable exes…
Peach is excited to hear that her sister, Di, is getting married. Of course, she would have preferred her little sister to be engaged to someone she’s known longer than a week – and the fact that his name is Charles doesn’t bode well – but who is she to judge?! Afterall, her own love life is non-existent, and who doesn’t love a destination wedding…?

Whisked away to the gorgeous Italian coast, Peach assumes her role as chief bridesmaid and, despite her reservations about the groom, she tries to ensure everything goes to plan.

But weddings are never straightforward affairs… throw in some unexpected guests in the form of ex-boyfriends and one night stands, and soon enough there is more drama than a reality tv show.

Can Peach keep the show on the road, or might she end up in a whirlwind romance of her own…?

Escape to the stunning Italian coast with bestseller Portia MacIntosh.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Penelope’s world is a non-stop rollercoaster of fun, misunderstandings and romance in a glamorous Italian island setting. Told from Penelope’s viewpoint, the reader experiences her self-deprecating humour and innermost emotions, which makes her easy to empathise with and like. Relatable characters enhance a plot that is full of secrets and twists.

It’s a perfect beach read addictive but lighthearted. Perfect for those of us who like our romance full of conflict, fun and passion.

Portia MacIntosh

Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 16 novels, including The Plus One Pact and My Great Ex-Scape. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real-life experiences.

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Extract from Life’s A Beach – Portia Mackintosh

Your wedding day is easily supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life – but if you want to make absolutely sure it is, you can always spend £2,500 on a horse-drawn Cinderella-style carriage. 

‘It’s top of the range,’ the hotel wedding coordinator assures me. ‘It’s a gorgeous ivory fairy-tale pumpkin carriage, with a stunning white upholstery interior – it even has a little crown on top. It’s always in incredibly high demand.’ 

‘It sounds beautiful,’ I reply. 

‘If you do decide to have your wedding here, we can make arrangements to suit your big day – whether you want picking up from home, taking to the church, or here if you would prefer one of our non-religious ceremonies, which I highly recommend. Churches can be so drab. Of course, there is an additional cost per mile, but we can get down to things like that later. Shall we head inside?’ 

Annette is the wedding coordinator at The Chadwick Hotel in York. We’re currently standing outside the five-star hotel, admiring the Grade II-listed building from the gravel pathway that leads up to it. 

It’s a gorgeously warm sunny day. The kind where you can comfortably get away with wearing a strappy sundress, but not quite hot enough to leave you looking a mess – a few degrees hotter than this and my long, straight blonde hair would be half frizzy, half stuck to the sides of my face hair instead. Today is just perfect though, so it’s sundresses, sandals, straight hair and smear-free make-up. 

‘Yes,’ I reply excitedly. ‘Let’s do it.’ 

‘So, the hotel has actually been open for more than a century. As you can see, it boasts an ornate terracotta façade, typical of high Victorian architecture, and the stone cupola makes for a stunning backdrop for outside photos.’ 

I smile and nod because, if I’m being honest, I have no idea what any of that means. It is a gorgeous old building though, surrounded by large gardens full of flowers, huge ponds with grand fountains at their heart, and trees in all directions. It’s hard to believe we’re so close to the city, and impossible not to get carried away, thinking about pulling up in front of the huge doors, having my photo taken with my dad, and then coming back out here after tying the knot to take gigabytes worth of photos with my future husband and everyone we love. 

‘Beautiful,’ I say simply. There’s just no other word for it. 

Once inside the large lobby, Annette picks up a wedding pack that’s waiting for me at reception, before leading me past the grand wooden staircase that sits in the centre of the room. I marvel at the spectacular light that hangs at the centre of the atrium, a large double drum chandelier suspended high above, captivating me so powerfully I nearly bump into a hotel employee coming the other way. 

‘Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry,’ I blurt. ‘I was mesmerised.’ 

‘No worries,’ he says with a laugh. 

Annette laughs gently. 

‘You’d be surprised how often that happens,’ she reassures me. ‘Come, let me show you the function room.’ 

‘The function room’ sounds like a rather bland concept. Well, many places have a function room, from restaurants to town halls, so the only real expectation I have is space for tables. But this function room surely deserves a grander title, because it is everything. It’s maybe three times the height of a regular room, with enormous arch-shaped windows that flood the place with the most beautiful natural light. 

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

Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff Della Galton 5*#Review @DellaGalton @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #Family #UpLit #Romance #Dating #RealityTV #Dreams #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers

There’s someone out there for everyone… you just need to know where to look…

All NEW from bestselling author Della Galton.

Unlucky in love Poppy Allen is the producer of a brand-new TV show, ‘Date for a Day’ – think ‘Take Me Out’ meets ‘It’s a Knockout’!

Lovelorn contestants must perform a series of seaside challenges to win the hand of the starring lady and a ‘Date for a Day’.

Left heartbroken when Stephen, her childhood sweetheart eloped with her best friend on her hen night – Poppy has no plans to risk her own heart again. Besides, she’s far too busy filming contestants against the backdrop of the beautiful Bluebell Cliff Hotel and the stunning Jurassic Dorset coastline.

However, when sabotage on set threatens to stop shooting, Poppy discovers soulmates can be found in the most unexpected places…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set on the Dorset coast, this book focuses on Poppy, a film producer and a pilot for a reality TV dating show. This is topical contemporary fiction, and whilst I am not a fan of reality TV, going behind the scenes with Poppy and her film crew makes this absorbing reading.

Poppy is career orientated after being practically jilted at the altar. She has a supportive family who we discover lots about and good work friends, particularly Dave, her camera director. At the heart of this story is a lovely gentle friends-to-lovers romance that is heartwarming. There is also plenty of family drama which adds to the story and shows what a loving and loyal person Poppy is. The filming of the pilot of the Dating reality show is interesting full of humour and conflict, which adds authenticity to the story. The setting at Bluebell cliff brings cameos from some well-known characters and a wonderfully described setting.

This is a lovely, uplifting story, with family drama, glamour and romance.

Extract from Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff – Della Galton

Poppy Allen took a gulp of the fresh, brine-scented air and shielded her eyes against the winter sunshine as she looked out across the strip of pale sand. It was warm for February and the sea was flat and calm. She wasn’t the only one making the most of the stunning early-morning weather. Out in the bay, a small boat towed a waterskier in a black wetsuit past Old Harry Rocks. He bounced across the navy sea and Poppy could hear the distant drone of the boat’s engine beneath the mewling cries of the gulls. 

Her ankle boots sank into the powdery sand as she twirled slowly around. Wow, this was a beautiful location to film. In her mind’s eye, she saw a pair of chestnut horses cantering in slow motion through the surf into a sunset that painted the sky pink and gold and turned the sea all around into a mirror of rose-tinted glass. 

Which way was west? She checked her smartphone. Oh God, it was perfect. The sun would set over Brownsea Island. They might be able to use this very stretch of beach for that part of her show. 

People raved about Dorset’s beaches. Bournemouth drew the crowds, but, in her opinion, Studland Beach was better. It was wilder, with no neat prom and no pier. Just a backdrop of sand dunes dotted with scrubby grass that stretched away into the distance. It was so much more romantic than its staid sister, Bournemouth, certainly for what she had in mind. 

Date for a Day, a new kind of dating show, was Poppy’s brainchild. Billed as a cross between Take Me Out and It’s a Knockout, it involved seven contestants participating in challenges to win the attention of the picker. Netflix had commissioned a pilot that would be shown in the autumn. Poppy was determined to make it a hit. Being a producer was all she’d ever wanted to do and she was passionate about her work. 

Poppy turned back towards the chain ferry, which was docking again. It came from Sandbanks three times an hour and the crossing took four minutes. From her flat on Poole Quay, it was quicker to come by ferry. The alternative was a very scenic forty-minute drive (on a good day) through Wareham and the Isle of Purbeck. 

The ferry disgorged a handful of cars from the 9 a.m. crossing. She had got the one before. She never slept much past dawn anyway. Dave would probably be on this one. It had been tricky to get him to agree to such an early start, especially as he was – technically – working for nothing today. This was a pre-recce excursion, prior to bringing in her full crew. She could have done it by herself, but she wanted a sounding board and Dave had agreed to keep her company after she’d caught him in a weak moment last week following a shoot. 

She’d known Dave Blackwell for a lot longer than he’d been her preferred director of photography – they had worked for other production companies together before she’d set up her own, Beauty Spot Productions, eighteen months ago, and they’d become good friends. There was no one she trusted more to help her bring her dream to life. 

Poppy felt a prickle of excitement run down her back as she looked around her. It might be too busy to film here, but there were other more secluded, even more beautiful, beaches in this bay. 

She glanced back towards the National Trust car park and saw Dave’s old black Mercedes pulling in and parking beside her metallic-silver Jeep Renegade. Too impatient to wait, she set off to meet him. 

Della Galton

Della Galton is the author of many books, including Ice and a Slice.  She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine.  She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.

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Read my review of Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff

Read my review of Moonlight Over Studland Bay

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Extract, Gangland Crime, ganglit, Suspense

Amber Heather Burnside 5* #Review #WorkingGirls #Extract @heatherbwriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #ganglit #CrimeFiction #Amber #BlogTour #BookReview

NOBODY TO CALL

With a mother unfit for purpose and a brother who despises her, working girl Amber can rely on no one but herself – until the meanest pimp in Manchester, Kevin Pike, offers her his protection. Unfortunately, this attracts the fury of Cora, a prostitute no one wants to get on the wrong side of…

NOWHERE TO HIDE

When Cora is found strangled to death, the late-night city streets feel increasingly exposed with a killer on the loose. And as Amber grows closer to Kevin, she realises his security comes at a price she might not be willing to pay…

NOTHING TO LOSE

Amber is frozen in fear, knowing one wrong move will risk her life. But then she discovers a horrifying secret that forces her to choose: stay or run?

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus – Aria and Aries via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Book four in The Working Girls series is a haunting and tragic story.

All the books in this series are a unique mix of gritty and poignant, but as Amber is a victim of child abuse and child sexual abuse, this is difficult to read and hard to forget. Sensitively written with a focus on the emotional damage abuse causes, this book focuses on the victims.

The dual timeline story moves from the early 1990s when Amy is a little girl through to her teenage years and closer to the present day when Amber is a working girl. The plot is fast-paced as Amy’s life gradually becomes Amber’s. The characters, some new, and a few familiar faces are relatable, and after a climactic conclusion, there is a positive ending.

This is an edgy and poignant series that explores urban crime in Manchester.

Heather Burnside spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels.

After taking a career break to raise two children Heather enrolled on a creative writing course. Heather now works full-time on her novels from her home in Manchester, which she shares with her two grown-up children.

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Read my reviews of The Mark, Ruby and Crystal

Extract from Amber – Heather Burnside

APRIL 1993

Amy wanted to run through the rooms just one more time. She loved their home in Cheadle. It was big and cosy with a garden that went all the way round. Her grandparents said that was because it was detached, and it was in a good area too. She’d spent many happy hours in the playroom with her friends or in the sprawling back garden on the swing, slide and climbing frame.

She was going to miss it, but her mother had promised her that the house they were moving to was also very nice. It wasn’t as big as this one and they would only have room for the swing in the garden but nevertheless her mother was going to make sure that it was just as cosy.

She had also told Amy and Nathan that their friends could come and visit them in the new house, and that they’d probably make new friends too. Amy enjoyed playing with her friends and knew that she was going to miss them, but she felt better knowing that they would be welcome anytime.

At the top of the stairs she turned and walked into her old bedroom, clutching her favourite teddy bear, Barney. Her bedroom was at the back of the house and overlooked the garden with its neat lawns and pretty flowers. Amy caught a glimpse of the slide and the climbing frame that would be left behind, and she felt sad. But she tried not to cry, knowing she had promised her mother she would be a brave girl when they had to leave their nice home.

‘Come on, Barney,’ she said, addressing her teddy bear. ‘Don’t cry. We’ve got to be brave for Mummy. The men have put my bed in the van, and I’ll tuck you up nice and warm in it when we get to the new house.’

The garden was now devoid of the picturesque planters that her mother had lovingly nurtured. They were inside the big van that was parked outside the front of their house. Many of their belongings were also inside and as Amy walked through the empty bedrooms, she could hear the echo of her footsteps.

Next, she walked into her mother’s bedroom and looked out of the window at the men who were busy carrying boxes from the kitchen. She spotted her friend, Maisie, with her mother, hovering at the edge of the garden, and Amy let out an excited squeal. She ran down the stairs, eager to see Maisie one last time before she had to leave.

‘Maisie,’ she shouted enthusiastically as she sped out of the front door, dodging one of the men who was carrying a box full of kitchen utensils. ‘We’re going to our new house today.’

Maisie smiled. ‘I know. My mummy told me. She said we can come to see you off.’

Amy held up her teddy bear. ‘Barney’s coming too. He’s really happy.’ She held up her teddy bear and addressed him. ‘Aren’t you, Barney?’ She moved his head to indicate a nod.

‘What other toys are you taking?’ asked Maisie and for a few minutes they chatted animatedly until Amy’s mother, Loretta, drew their attention. ‘Come on, Amy. It’s time to go.’

‘Aw, Mummy,’ complained Amy. ‘Can I stay for a bit longer? Can Maisie come and play in the garden for a bit? The slide and climbing frame are still there.’

‘No, Amy,’ said her mother. ‘The men are finished now. We need to go.

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

Summer in Andalucia Lucy Coleman 5*#Review @LucyColemanauth @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #SummerinAndalucia #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #BookTour #Romance #Friendship #Andalucia #Spain #uplit #Food #journalist #history #chef

Lainey Summers feels blessed to have her dream job writing for a renowned foodie magazine. And the day she goes to interview chef Rick Oliver at his new restaurant—Aleatory—in London’s popular Piccadilly, is the start of an unexpected journey.

When Rick is offered the opportunity to jet off to a monastery in Andalucía, to film a cookery competition for Spanish TV, Lainey goes too, to cover the story.

Spending a month filming in the stunning Spanish countryside, soaking up the sights, sounds, smells and of course the cuisine, Lainey and Rick start to enjoy each other’s company. But their time together flies by too quickly, and before they know it, Rick and Lainey have to face going their separate ways.

With both their worlds shifting beneath them, the call of Andalucia and the call of happiness grows ever stronger. But with everything at stake, will they be able to take the chance of a happy-ever-after…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a sun-baked, life-affirming, total escape to beautiful Andalucia.  

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts

A chance to eat fantastic food and travel to lovely locations Lainey’s job as a food writer is idyllic. Meeting celebrity chef Rick at his fashionable restaurant is a memorable experience and not just for the food. The chance to work with Rick in Andalucia is a dream job she can’t resist even if she risks getting her heartbroken again.

This story is full of vivid sensory imagery that immerses the reader in the Andalucian culture and history. The characters are relatable, and Lainey is easy to like. Instilled with emotion and romance, Lainey and Rick are the perfect forbidden couple.

There are many thought-provoking ideas woven into the narrative. Such as standing up for your beliefs, living your best life and the importance of family and friends.

This is an enjoyable and heartwarming read.

Lucy Coleman

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Summer in Provence and Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

Corfu Capers Joy Skye #Extract #BookPromo #Corfu #GreekIslands @JoySkye4 @rararesources #CorfuCapers

Five people, three secrets, one planned proposal. What could possibly go wrong?

A holiday in a luxury villa on Corfu sounds like the answer to all their prayers but it will change their lives forever. A week in paradise might not be long enough…

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Extract from Corfu Caper – Joy Skye

As the week progresses, tensions mount and not even a perfect day at sea can hold back the inevitable:

‘This is bliss’ Linda said to her friend as they dozed contentedly on the sun deck at the front of the boat, reddening in the strong July sun despite the layers of sun cream. Her eyes were closed and she was feeling drowsy, the sound of the water gently licking the side of the boat making her completely relaxed and unable to move to apply some more factor 50 even though she knew she should.

‘I could do this every day, that’s for sure’ Charlotte replied, smiling up at the sky and adjusting her hat to provide more shade to her face which was beaded with perspiration.

She sat up to accept yet another glass of cold white wine from Manolis, her elbow knocking the book she’d carelessly abandoned on the side, into the water in the process. Without a word the boy dived in after it, retrieving it before it had time to start sinking and held it aloft for her to take and then agilely clambered, dripping, back on board.

‘Thank you so much, I was getting to the good bit!’ Charlotte said, laying the book out in the sun to dry and rewarding him with a brilliant smile.  The young man flushed and was thinking about how to respond when Marc walked up to call them for lunch. Charlotte’s attention was at once laser-focused on Marc and she leapt up to follow him, brushing past Manolis without another thought.

They all seated themselves around the table after collecting plates and cutlery, eagerly anticipating the feast that, by the smells they’d been enduring for the last hour, was going to be incredible.

The food started coming thick and fast, huge slabs of fresh bread, Greek salad with salty feta and juicy tomatoes from the captains garden, spicy tzatziki with enough garlic to blow your head off and grilled Saganaki drenched in fresh lemon juice. They all greedily started to load up their plates, exclaiming in delight with every mouthful, each new taste a revelation.

The captain walked through bearing a large platter and, with a flourish, placed it on the table in front of them. ‘Here you are, the best-mixed seafood plate you will find in Greece’ he announced proudly.

Five pairs of eyes looked down at the magnificent platter, two of which were horrified.

Laden with octopus, shrimps, oysters and small fish and decorated with lemon slices and fresh parsley, it was splendid, so it was unfortunate that it was due to become the cause of an almighty explosion.

‘What the hell is this?!’ demanded Linda, glaring at Kate, her face infused with anger. Scott jumped up holding out his hands, trying to calm her down.

‘I’m sure Ma has ordered something else for you’ he said, glancing at Kate and hoping for reassurance.

Kate paled. ‘I’m sorry, Linda, I didn’t think. I’m sure the lovely Captain can fix you something else up.’

Captain Yiannis, who didn’t understand what the problem was but realised he was expected to produce something else said, ‘I am sorry madam Kate, I have onboard only what you ordered.’

‘I can’t believe that you’ve done this again’ spluttered Linda, slamming a fist on the table. ‘Three years on and you’re still pulling this shit, treating me as if I don’t exist!’

With that she pushed the platter away from her, causing a deluge of food-laden plates and cutlery on the other side of the table to hit the deck with a resounding crash, stood up and stormed off back to the front of the boat.

‘Well,’ Charlotte said, whilst wiping at the debris that had landed on her lap, managing to smear more of it than clean it. ‘That’s not good’. Manolis instantly ran up with a roll of kitchen paper for her, standing by, unsure of what else to do while she tried to clean herself up, dabbing at the oily salad dressing running down her legs and picking bits of tomato and cucumber off her shorts.

Kate looked at Scott in trepidation, ‘I’m sorry, Scotty, I didn’t mean to upset her, I only wanted you to have your favourite foods and make today perfect for you’. Scott shook his head in despair, his face a picture of wretchedness as his eyes darted between the catastrophe that had been lunch and the direction Linda had gone.

‘Ma, I know you always have my best interests at the forefront of everything that you do, but you know what would make this day perfect for me? Linda being happy. That’s all I want, the girl I love with me and both of us having a perfect day. The sooner you get that into your head and start paying attention to her needs the better.’ And with that, he valiantly followed in Linda’s angry footsteps. Charlotte, looking up from where she was knelt, helping Manolis clean up the ruins of the meal on the floor said to Kate,

‘Ms D, you really have put your foot in it this time. Once she has calmed her down I think you’d better go and apologise to her big time. She’s madder than a wet hen!’

‘I’m sure she will be fine’ said Kate, smiling and pushing her chin out. ‘After tomorrow everything will be perfect’. Kate felt bad for upsetting the girl yet again, but she knew Linda would be ecstatic tomorrow when Scott asked her to be his wife – why wouldn’t she? – And then all this nonsense would be forgotten.

Joy Skye

Joy lives on the seductive island of Corfu with her four dogs and an embarrassing number of cats.

Her many years working in the tourist industry on this sunny isle and her love of all things literary inspired her first novel Corfu Capers which recently hit the #1 spot in Parenting and Family humour much to her delight.

She loves to cook, dance and drink wine, usually at the same time, and is currently working on book number two, due to be released later this year.

She also loves to travel, absolutely anywhere, and is looking forward to jumping on a plane!

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

Summer Kisses at Mermaid Point Sarah Bennett 5*#Review @BoldwoodBooks @Sarahlou_writes @rararesources #mystery #romance #family #coastal #community #boldwoodbloggers #MondayBlogs #BlogTour #BookReview #Extract

Laurie Morgan runs a café in the small seaside community of Mermaids Point, named after the beauties rumoured to live in the waters a few miles off the top of the point. When a hazy image is posted online of what appears to be a mermaid, the café and the village are soon full to bursting with curious sightseers. 

The most eye-catching of the new arrivals is handsome author, Jake Smith, who has rented a cottage for the summer while he works on his new book. Or so he says. In fact, he is a journalist, burned out and disillusioned with life, whose editor has sent him on a crack-pot hunt for mermaids…

Jake quickly finds himself drawn to village life, and to the gorgeous woman who runs the local café. But he soon suspects there’s trouble lurking beneath the idyllic façade, and when it looks like Laurie’s family might be involved, Jake faces a difficult choice. Pursue the truth, or protect the woman he’s beginning to fall in love with…

Warm, escapist, feel-good and altogether brilliant story-telling from bestselling author Sarah Bennett.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This first book in the Mermaid Point trilogy focuses on Laurie and Jake. It explores family, community and the power of social media. The romance is gentle but conflicted, both have emotional issues, and Jake is not what he seems.

The family drama element is pivotal, and it’s interesting to meet Laurie’s family. There is humour, much of it self-deprecating but also poignancy. The problems faced by the coastal town are pertinent and add to the story’s authenticity.

Believable characters, humour, mystery, and romance make this an enjoyable read.

Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett is the bestselling author of several romantic fiction trilogies including those set in Butterfly Cove and Lavender Bay. Born and raised in a military family she is happily married to her own Officer and when not reading or writing enjoys sailing the high seas. The first book in her new Mermaids Point trilogy for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2021.

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Extract from Summer Kisses at Mermaids Point – Sarah Bennett.

Laurie Morgan surveyed the mostly empty tables on the opposite side of the counter. Barbara Mitchell and her best friend, Kitty Duke, were at their usual spot in the corner, knitting tiny hats for a charity which donated them to premature baby units around the country, but other than them she’d had nobody in since the breakfast rush. Turning her gaze to the raindrops streaking the plate-glass window of her café, Laurie squinted through the rivulets of water. She could just about make out the view beyond the window. With the clouds so thick and low, it was all but impossible to distinguish where the sky met the sea turning everything into a wall of miserable grey. What a difference a day makes

This time yesterday she’d barely been able to hear herself think over the hubbub of conversation, teacups rattling on saucers and forks scraping on plates, thanks to a visiting WI coach trip. They’d all but eaten her out of that day’s baking, and she’d had to hastily defrost a couple of emergency Victoria sponges to make sure her lunchtime regulars had something to go with their sandwiches. It wasn’t only her cake stock which had taken a beating; one look at the queue snaking halfway around the café from the visitors’ bathroom had her scrambling for her phone to send an SOS text to her brother, Nick, begging him to do an emergency run to the corner shop to replenish her dwindling supply of toilet paper. Of course, he’d found the whole thing hilarious and insisted on making a big entrance through the front door like some white knight come to save the day, rather than sneaking in through the back entrance and leaving them in the stock room, which also served the gift shop their parents ran next door. 

A ripple of laughter from the corner table drew Laurie’s attention from the gloomy weather. She watched Barbara and Kitty for a few minutes, full of admiration for the way their needles flashed back and forth without hesitation. Neither woman spared much more than the odd glance to their knitting as they chatted. Her nan had tried to teach Laurie to knit as a child but, as with all the other crafty type activities she’d tried over the years, she’d found it impossible to get to grips with. Being the only left-hander in the family hadn’t helped as everything they tried to show her felt awkward and clumsy. Even now, at just shy of twenty-three, she had to concentrate when using her knife and fork or she would find herself pulling things apart with the fork in her naturally dominant left hand. Thankfully, when it came to cooking and baking it didn’t matter which hand she held a knife with and she’d spent many happy hours at her nan’s knee learning the basics and discovering a true passion. It had been a gamble on her parents’ part when she’d come to them with the idea of converting one end of their sprawling seafront shop into a café, but they’d decided it was one worth taking. If they hadn’t, it would’ve left Laurie facing the prospect of leaving Mermaids Point to seek employment in one of the bigger towns and cities. Having grown up a stone’s throw from the ever-changing tides of the Atlantic Ocean, the prospect of moving in land had filled her with dread. 

She’d always been drawn to the sea. Whatever the season, there was beauty to be found. From the balmy summer days when the shiny white triangles of pleasure boat sails dotted the gentle waves, to the roiling majesty of a winter storm in full tumult when even the hardiest of the local fishermen kept their boats secured in the sheltered bay. Even on a filthy day like today she’d rather be out than in. Her eyes roamed the café once more. If business didn’t pick up after lunch, maybe she’d flick the closed sign over, tug on a hat, turn up her collar and snatch a few moments of peace on the wet sands of the beach. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Who Do You Trust? Kirsty Ferguson 4*#Review @kfergusonauthor @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #boldwoodbloggers #domestic #noir PsychologicalThriller #suspense #Trust #grief #love

A perfect sunny day, a family celebration, a heart-stopping hour that changes everything…

Dana has all she ever wanted – a husband she loves, her four-year-old daughter Kelsey who is the apple of her eye, and another baby on the way to complete her perfect family.


But then the worst fear that Dana has, comes true, and everything she thought she knew, she now starts to doubt. As her world comes crashing around her, who can Dana trust?  


Her husband Logan who seems to be getting worryingly close to Dana’s best friend Pippa?
Her new friend Melanie who has a sinister habit of turning up in the strangest places?


Her parents and her sister, who Dana knows are keeping a terrible secret from her?


Matt, who says he’s Dana’s friend, but sometimes she’s not so sure?
Or will Dana discover that it’s a dangerous mistake to trust anyone…

Join Kirsty Ferguson on this heart-stopping, plot-twisting, roller coaster read.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

A twisty domestic noir where a tragic event leaves the main protagonist (Dana) vulnerable. Devastated, she doesn’t feel supported by her family and friends. This story explores the darker side of human nature when faced with unexpected tragedy. Most of the characters are unsympathetic, and it’s hard to empathise with them.

Dana is portrayed as an unreliable protagonist, but is she? Her grief and lack of emotional support push her to seek solace from people who have suffered similarly. This introduces new characters, increasing the story’s intensity and builds suspense. The writing is immersive told from Dana’s viewpoint and other characters’ perspectives. Many of the unlikeable characters appear superficial.

The final twists are chilling and dramatic.

Who Do You Trust? – Kirsty Ferguson – Extract

The dark-haired woman sat in the passenger seat of the old station wagon drumming her fingers along the arm rest. Dana was slightly annoyed with her husband, Logan, for making them late. She glanced in the back seat at their four-year-old daughter, Kelsey, who had fallen asleep, mouth open, summer sunlight streaming in on her pretty face. They were driving out to Dana’s parents’ property on the other side of town and they were running behind schedule. Looking out of the window at the bush bordering either side of the road, the sun glinting off the barbed-wire fences, Dana was reminded of her idyllic childhood. The rolled-down window allowed the sounds of the bush, trees groaning together, birds cawing overhead, the scent of the earth, to permeate the car. 

Logan drove down the rutted driveway towards the house, pulling up in a cloud of dust. Dana followed him as he took a still-sleeping Kelsey from the back seat and carried her into the spare bedroom. She watched as her husband laid her on the bed gently. Dana then kissed Kelsey’s forehead softly and left the door ajar so she could hear if she called out. 

Logan considered his job done and didn’t help Dana unpack the car, leaving her to carry in the camp chair, the salads and Kelsey’s bag. All Logan cared about was getting his cooler full of beer into the back yard where his brother-in-law, James, was already setting up his chair. He had positioned himself downwind of the BBQ where Dana’s father, Robert, was grilling hamburgers, sausages and onions for lunch, while her mother, Mischa, cut and buttered rolls, putting them in a colourful bowl on the wooden table that sat under the shade of the veranda. 

‘Hi, Mum, Dad,’ Dana said as she hurried through the front door, giving them a kiss in turn, then hugging her mum awkwardly with one arm, a potato salad wedged under her other arm. 

‘Let me take that for you before you drop it,’ her mum said, grasping the purple container and putting it on the table. Things were still strained between Dana and her mother, but Dana viewed the BBQ as a chance to repair, to heal the wounds she carried. Logan was supposed to be an emotional support to her today, but it looked as if he was going to be no help as he was already getting drunk with James. 

‘You’re late, love. Lunch is nearly ready. Thought you’d gotten lost,’ her mum said, pointedly looking at the table already covered with food. 

‘Sorry, Mum, someone just had to finish watching the game.’ She threw her husband an exasperated look. They’d argued for half an hour before they’d even left the house. She knew Logan loved her, Dana had never doubted his love, not one bit, and he was a great father, but sometimes she wanted to wring his neck. Dana had wanted to leave on time to arrive before her mum and dad sat down to eat. 

‘It’s OK, you’re here now and that’s all that matters. Have you said hello to your sister yet?’ her mum asked, striving for casual and failing. She looked at Dana through her lowered lashes, not able to meet her daughter’s penetrating gaze. Dana knew how hard this was for her mum, knowing the part she had played in their bitter argument, but Dana was ready to try and work through it with her. 

Kirsty Ferguson

Kirsty Ferguson is an Australian crime writer whose domestic noir stories centre around strong women and dark topical themes. Kirsty enjoys photography, visiting haunted buildings and spending time with her son. Her first book for Boldwood was Never Ever Tell published in June 2020.

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