Wife to heart surgeon and control freak, Tom, and mother to four adolescent children, Rosie feels taken for granted as she juggles family life and her work as a teacher. She longs for a change of life.
When she hits a teenage boy with her car, her life explodes into uncharted territory. Theboy is Robbie – and Rosie discovers he is part of a terrible secret that Tom has kept for seventeen years. Then Rosie is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Rosie leaves home and begins the fight for her life. Meanwhile, Tom is forced to learn what it means to be a husband and father. He struggles to keep his family together and strives to get his wife back.
Anne Stormont was born in Scotland and although she has travelled all over the world – including a teaching exchange to South Africa, four trips to Australia and several visits to the Middle East – it’s where she still lives.
She began making up stories as a child in order to entertain her four wee sisters. But as an adult, being busy with motherhood and working as a teacher, it took a long time and a mortality wake-up call for her to get that first book written.
She’s a compulsive crossworder, yoga practitioner, avid reader, keen walker and enthusiastic gardener. She can be a bit of a subversive old bat, but she tries to maintain a kind heart. She also loves tea, penguins and being with her grandchildren.
Change of Life was her first novel and she has since published three more. Her books are all set in Scotland and are contemporary romances where the main characters may be slightly older but are not necessarily wiser.
You can find out more about Anne and her books at her Website
‘A lifetime of endings, a million goodbyes. None of them right. It’s funny what you remember when you’ve got nothing else to think about. All those things you should’ve said while you had the chance. You never learned, did you? You never, ever learned.’
Belle has a habit of losing things. Her friends. Her lovers. Her mind.
Everything ends eventually, or at least that’s what life has taught her. But what if everything she lost came back again? What if she got a chance to finally have her say? To face her past. To put things right.
Second chances aren’t easy when memories are all you have. So, when Belle invites the nightmares of her past back in, is she willing to deal with the consequences? Because maybe, just maybe, this time she’s getting what she deserves.
Carla Christian lives in the Lake District in the North of England. A busy working mum of two teenagers, she has a passion for writing, art and travel, and these interests have been a part of her for as long as she can remember.
Constantly inspired by both the good and the bad in the world around her, she spends much of her time creating in one way or another; be it painting canvases for the blank walls of her new home, sketching pictures to capture memories of the many travel adventures she’s been lucky enough to go on, baking fantastical cakes with her daughter, or writing endless beginnings to a million unfinished stories.
The Things I Want To Say But Can’t is her first novel.
Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she left home, and her broken heart, far behind her. But now tragedy calls her back, where she must finally come face to face with ex-boyfriend Charlie, and best friend Sophie. Only now will she be able to confront her past—and reconcile her future.
Sophie seems to have everything. Married to Charlie, with a wonderful daughter and a successful career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. A secret that ripped through their town and destroyed her friendship with Nora. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it.
But first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites and old feelings resurface. As the forces that once tore them apart begin to re-emerge, both Nora and Sophie must accept that true love is something worth fighting for.
From the author of Our Kind of Cruelty comes an enthralling, irresistible novel of psychological suspense about three women and the destructive power of buried secrets.
When Nancy Hennessy is murdered, she leaves behind two best friends, an adoring husband and daughter, and a secret lover whose identity she took to the grave. Nancy was gorgeous, wealthy, and cherished by those who knew her—from the outside, her life was perfect. But as the investigation into her death flounders and her friends Eleanor and Mary wrestle with their grief, dark details surface that reveal how little they knew their friend, each other, and maybe even themselves.
A gripping, immersive novel about impossible expectations and secrets that fester and become lethal, Imperfect Women unfolds through the perspectives of three fascinating women. Their enduring, complex friendship is the knot the listener must untangle to answer the question Who killed Nancy?
Imperfect Women explores guilt and retribution, love and betrayal, and the compromises we make that alter our lives irrevocably.
I received a copy of this audiobook from Orion Publishing UK and Hachette Audio UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is a story about three women who met at college and have kept in contact. Eleanor, Mary and Nancy are different personalities, but their bond is strong. When Nancy dies the guilt, lies and secrets emerge, as Eleanor and Mary try to find out who killed Nancy.
Told from the women’s viewpoints in differing timelines, it is introspective, and audio is the perfect media for this. The mystery of who killed Nancy is the underlying theme, but the emphasis is on the lies and secrets the women keep and how these affect them.
The narration is professional and brings the characters and stories to life. Initially, some of the voices irritate, but as the story progresses, you get used to them.
The story is dark and poignant, but the women are believable and relatable and easy to empathise. The slow pacing intensifies the emotion and suspense in this contemporary insight into relationships.
One sunny day in July, someone took three-month-old Alicia Owen from her pram outside a supermarket. Her mother, Marie, was inside. No one saw who took Alicia. And no one could find her.
They silenced her cry…
Fifteen years later, a teenager on a construction site sees a tiny hand in the ground. When the police investigate, they find a baby buried and preserved in concrete. Could it be Alicia?
But the truth will always out.
When Alicia disappeared, the papers accused Marie of detachment and neglect. The Owens never got over the grief of their child’s disappearance and divorced not long after. By reopening the case, DC Beth Chamberlain must reopen old wounds. But the killer may be closer than anyone ever suspected…
The latest crime thriller featuring Family Liaison Officer DC Beth Chamberlain, Hush Little Baby is tightly plotted, fraught with tension and impossible to put down.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story is emotional and poignant because it involves the death of a baby. The author captures the familial guilt and heartbreak in this story as Beth Chamberlain investigates the cold case. The third in the series, there are mentions of previous crimes and so reading the first two books is advised.
Beth Chamberlain is a believable character. Caring and dedicated, she gives the story authenticity. The dynamic in the police team is well-written and the depth, and pacing of the investigation realistically portrayed.
The compelling plot and engaging, though not always likeable characters immerse the reader into this dark world.
Extract from Hush Little Baby Jane Isaac
The detective chief inspector tapped the screen. ‘In the description given at the time, Alicia’s mother said the child was wearing a towelling vest and a nappy. The contents of her changing bag, also taken with her, included a cream shawl, similar to the one this child was wrapped in. The burial site, if we can call it that, is less than two miles from the Owens’ home at the time, and not far from where Alicia went missing.’
‘Could it have been as long as fifteen years?’ Nick asked.
‘They can’t be completely sure before they run tests, but potentially, yes.’
‘So, we think it is her?’
‘From what we’ve uncovered so far, it seems likely. Pete’s been out to see the farmer who owns the land.’
DC Pete Winston approached the front of the room. He was a tall man, with short dark hair and soft brown eyes. The buttons on his shirt gaped slightly over an overhanging paunch. ‘The land was owned by the Moreton family before it was sold for development,’ he said. ‘Old man Moreton must be in his seventies now. He ran the farm with his only son, it had been in their family over a hundred years. He claims he had no idea how the body came to be on his land.’ Pete lifted a hand and circled an area on the map, indicating the location of the farm and the land attached to it. A purple-headed pin close to the edge marked the area where the remains were found.
‘Moreton was quite clear that this particular field—’ Pete tapped the crime scene twice ‘—has been used solely for crops for the last thirty years. It’s several acres away from the farmhouse and not overlooked. There are no bridle ways or walkways that run through, or close by, and it was edged with high hawthorn hedging along the roadside, until recently when the developers cut it back.’
‘How did they access the field?’ Nick asked.
‘Through a locked gate at the bottom of the road.’
‘So, he’s saying nobody else had access apart from farm workers?’
‘Not legitimately. He did admit there were a few breaks in the hedging back in the day, caused by badgers and other animals, where someone may have climbed through.’
Nick’s face crumpled. ‘Surely the farmer or a labourer working the land would have noticed something freshly buried, or that the soil was disturbed.’
‘Yeah, I mentioned that. Moreton wasn’t convinced.’ Pete glanced down and sifted through his notebook until he found what he was looking for. ‘This was one field in a farm of over 700 acres. They combine crop and cattle. The work is constant. They harvest, cultivate and sow the crops. Often fields aren’t touched for months in between. If the block was buried at the right time, the soil could have had plenty of weeks or months to settle afterwards.’
Beth narrowed her eyes. Once again, it indicated a level of knowledge and planning. To know when the seeds would be sown. Although it would have been cumbersome to transport a concrete lump that size into the field. The killer would have had to dig quite a hole to conceal it. ‘How far does their machinery penetrate the soil?’ she asked.
Pete shot Beth a knowing smile. ‘Down to a maximum of thirty centimetres.’
Which meant if the block was buried deeper than thirty centimetres it could have sat there for years, undisturbed. Beth gave an appreciative nod. ‘What about the builder working the digger this morning?’ she asked. ‘How come they didn’t notice they’d hit the concrete block? Especially if they were working through soil.’
‘They’d been breaking up the foundations of a dilapidated barn nearby. Some of the remains were mixed in with the soil in that part of the field. They probably didn’t give it a second thought.’ Pete snapped his notebook shut. ‘The farmer’s putting together a list of labourers he’s used. They’d know the area, be aware it was remote.’
Freeman thanked Pete and sunk his hands deep in his pockets. ‘As I said, if this is Alicia, the quickest way to confirm identity would be through a DNA check against her parents. Depending on how busy the labs are, we’d hopefully know within two to three days.’
‘I’ve already taken a sample from the mother,’ Beth said. ‘It was couriered to the lab this afternoon.’
Jane Isaac is married to a serving detective and they live in rural Northamptonshire UK with their daughter, and dog, Bollo. Jane loves to hear from readers and writers.
Sign up to her book club at http://eepurl.com/1a2uT for book recommendations and details of new releases, events and giveaways.
Belinda Marshall’s idyllic teenage life in Brittany, France, fell apart when her parents dramatically separated and her mother took her back to England. Fast forward thirty-five years when Belinda’s world is once again turned upside down. It’s the week before Christmas and Belinda’s employer ‘surprises’ her by asking for her help to rejuvenate their latest investment, a run-down campsite in Brittany. Memories and anxieties that had lain dormant for years suddenly begin to resurface. As secrets from a lost life threaten to overwhelm her, there is a realisation that maybe she wasn’t told the whole truth by her mother all those years ago.
Can Belinda reconcile her emotions and find happiness once more in the place she so loved and called home?
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Belinda has a career she enjoys and excels at but renovating a camping park in Brittany for her employers is not what she wants. Brittany has painful family memories for Belinda, and now she has to confront them. The campsite is a disaster and the antagonistic manager Alain, ramps up the conflict.
The French setting is well-described and lets the reader experience life in Brittany. Friendships, gentle romance and family dramas are all carefully woven into this plot. It’s easy to get lost in this story, and the characters and their lives resonate.
This is a lovely read for a Summer afternoon full of friendship, love and poignancy.
Extract from A French Affair – Jennifer Bohnet
It was late afternoon on the last Friday before Christmas and Belinda Marshall, roving manager and chief troubleshooter for the Milton chain of Devonshire-based hotels had just been given some bombshell news from Nigel and Molly Milton, her employers. She’d been wondering why she’d been called into the inner sanctum so late in the day. Now she knew.
‘You’ve bought a new business in France? We’re finally expanding into Europe? That’s great news. I know you had a couple of holidays in France this year, but I thought they were just that – holidays for you both. You didn’t mention you were even looking at places,’ Belinda said, leaning against the filing cabinet as she accepted the champagne Nigel had insisted on pouring. ‘Cheers.’
‘It came up unexpectedly,’ Molly said. ‘In truth it’s all been a bit impulsive.’
‘Anyway, we both know the place and we’re thrilled with it,’ Nigel interrupted. ‘Molly can’t wait to spend time there when it’s all been rejuvenated. Bit run-down at the moment. Which is where you come in, of course.’
Belinda sipped her champagne before saying, ‘So come on, you two, put me out of my misery. Where is our new hotel? Which particular part of France? Biarritz? St-Tropez? Paris?’
Nigel laughed. ‘I know we run a successful company, Belinda, but prices for places like that are way out of our league. No, Camping dans La Fôret is in—’
‘Hang on – did you just say, Camping dans La Fôret?’ Alarm bells began to ring in Belinda’s head. ‘That’s a funny name for a hotel.’
‘It’s not a hotel. It’s a boutique campsite in Brittany, Northern France. Finistère, to be precise. Huge potential, but we’re going to need your expertise to drag it into the twenty-first century. Bring it up to standard so that more people can enjoy the Milton Hotel experience,’ Molly said.
Belinda looked from Nigel to Molly and back at Nigel again, stunned. ‘But we’re in the hotel business not camping, not even glamping.’ It had taken her three years of studying and hard work to be awarded her 2.1 in Hotel Hospitality Management. Not once had running a campsite, even a boutique one, ever crossed her path. Let alone one in Brittany.
‘Camping has just become our business,’ Nigel said. ‘It’s all the hospitality business. All about people. Making sure guests enjoy the experience of staying in a Milton hotel – and now a campsite. No difference really.’
‘But Finistère – isn’t it always raining there? Who in their right mind would want to camp in the damp? Morbihan maybe, but not Finistère. Not surprised it’s run-down.’
‘Don’t exaggerate. It’s an urban myth it’s always raining there,’ Nigel said. ‘And with global warming and the movement of the jet stream, the weather is improving there every year. It could soon be The Breton Riviera!’
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.
Held captive by her tyrannical Sultan father, Princess Zorahaida lives an isolated life. A tournament is held and Jasim ibn Ismail, a handsome knight in arms, claims his prize: Zorahaida’s hand in marriage! Political reasons must be driving his offer – he’s certainly not offering love. Should Zorahaida grasp the tantalising taste of freedom marrying the impulsive knight would gift her…?
This is the story of two women. One old, one young. One looking for new adventures. One looking for a purpose. Both needing a friend.
And this is how, along with two little girls in need of a family, a gorgeous stranger, and a scruffy dog, they bring the whole community together every Saturday morning for love, laughter and a little bit of running…(well, power walking).
Some people come into your life when you need them the most.
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter and the Author in return for an honest review.
There’s something for everyone in this heartwarming story of ordinary people looking for friendship, love and purpose without even realising its missing from their lives. Clare and Ash meet or more accurately collide by chance. There’s chemistry amidst the anger and the pride, but where will it lead?
Clare is career-focused. A possible partnership keeps her single-minded. She fails to notice her failing health and the problems in her sister’s life until they unexpectedly make a change in her life inevitable.
Hilda is lonely but wants to bring the community together. When the three unlikely friends meet everything starts to come together in the form of a Saturday morning park run.
This original story has a motivational ethos with believably flawed and relatable characters. The group dynamics are authentic and insightful. This is an emotional story that takes the reader on a journey. Fun, friendship, poignant moments and self-realisation are all explored through the characters with a satisfying life-affirming conclusion.
Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches, sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.
She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes series.
Between them, the two Js have written fourteen novels, The Saturday Morning Park Run being the latest.
During and after the Second World War, 200,000 Poles were given leave to remain in the UK as thanks for their help during the conflict – this book is a fictional account of just one of those families. Set during the 1960s and 1970s, The Black Madonna of Derby traces the story of the Baran family living in a provincial town in England. Their seemingly ordinary existence hides secrets of past betrayal, madness, and tragedy.
The story focuses on three generations: the elderly grandmother whose proud Polish patriotism hides dark events from the past that affect the present, the mother whose tries to meld her past life in war-torn Poland and Germany with her new life in England and the granddaughter who lives a double life culturally and linguistically – Polish at home and English outside.
The swinging sixties in London is vividly recreated, as is the hardship of life under communism in the Poland of that time. This book is unique in that there are no other novels dealing with the story of second generation Poles in the UK. It is a story that deserves to be told, a story of a group of people who have had little attention in the literature. Listen to what they have to say.
I received a copy of this audiobook from the author in return for an honest review.
This is a fascinating story about a Polish family living in Derby during the 196os and 1970s. The family came to England after WW2. Behind the facade of an ordinary family hides the horrors they’ve faced, their secrets and tragedies. It’s an extraordinary story.
The characters are authentic and relatable. The story draws the reader into the characters’ lives, and you care what happens to them. The insights into the 1960s and 1970s in England and Poland are interesting and vividly portrayed.
The clear professional narration brings the story to life.
The daughter of a Polish father and English mother, Joanna Czechowska was born in Derby and studied history at University College London. She now works as a journalist. The Black Madonna of Derby, published in Polish under the title Goodbye Polsko, is her first novel.
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I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
What’s your definition of a perfect beach read? Addictive, emotional, humorous and romantic? This story is all of these things with an intelligent pacy plot and believable, relatable characters.
January and Gus are successful writers, they met at college but were not friends, now they are both experiencing difficulty writing their next book. January is grieving her father’s death and the revelations that followed. Gus carries emotional damage from his childhood. Their first encounter is humorous but bordering on disastrous, but things improve, and they make a bet to write in each other’s genre with life-changing results.
The story explores genre and prejudices about female writers. It’s also an emotional journey of self-discovery for our couple with angst, fun, romance and tears.