Growing up together around Winston Churchill’s estate in Westerham, Kent, Frank, Florence and Hilda are inseparable. But as WW2 casts its menacing shadow, friendships between the three grow complex, and Frank – now employed as Churchill’s bricklayer – makes choices that will haunt him beyond the grave, impacting his grandson’s life too.
Two Secrets …
Shortly after Frank’s death in 2002 Florence writes to Richard, Frank’s grandson, hinting at the darkness hidden within his family. On investigation, disturbing secrets come to light, including a pivotal encounter between Frank and Churchill during the war and the existence of a mysterious relative in a psychiatric hospital.
One Hidden Life …
How much more does Florence dare reveal about Frank – and herself – and is Richard ready to hear?
Set against the stunning backdrop of Chartwell, Churchill’s country home, comes a tragic story of misguided honour, thwarted love and redemption, reverberating through three generations and nine decades.
For readers of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore, Katherine Webb, Lucinda Riley and Juliet West.
“Passion, intrigue and family secrets drive this complex wartime relationship drama. A page turner. I loved it.” #1 bestselling author, Nicola May
Jules Hayes lives in Berkshire with her husband, daughter and a dog. She has a degree in modern history and holds a particular interest in events and characters from the early 20th century. As a former physiotherapist and trainer – old habits die hard – when not writing Jules likes to run. She also loves to watch films, read good novels and is a voracious consumer of non-fiction too, particularly biographies.
Jules is currently working on her second historical novel, another dual timeline story.
Jules also writes contemporary thriller and speculative fiction as JA Corrigan.
Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four and rent a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Ginny Taylor is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she meets her downstairs neighbour…
Cassie Frost was once a beloved actress, but after a recent mishap, she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job – but can she be persuaded to work for the prickly woman who lives below her floorboards?
Ginny and Cassie are two very different women, but they have more in common than they’d care to imagine (or admit). And when their worlds collide, they realise that sometimes – just sometimes – bad neighbours become good friends…
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.
An excellent multi-generational look at friendship, romance, career, self-esteem, self-realisation, seen from 30 something, Ginny’s point of view. The writing style is contemporary, referencing current events and issues. It’s easy to read and focuses on the lives of Ginny and Cassie, who is in her fifties and experiencing the sharper end of being a media star.
It takes a while for us to meet Cassie, and to begin I wondered where the title ‘The Neighbours’, related to the story. When the two do meet, both women are experiencing all-time lows in their lives, and consequently are lashing out. Any kind of friendship seems unlikely, but Cassie needs someone to promote her positively and Ginny needs a job, so they start there, and out of a professional need, a worthwhile. mutually beneficial friendship grows.
Ginny is lovely but flawed, and meeting Cassie forces her to look at herself, and see how she can achieve her life goals. The relentless, unforgiving nature of modern life is explored, with its consistent toll on mental health, and self-worth. Like many good friendships, the two women are different in many ways, and this draws them together because they both have something positive to offer the other.
Humorous and poignant, this is a relevant story about life in the twenty-first century and the importance of friends, who care about you, and not your career or financial status.
A moving and heartwarming love story perfect for fans of Me Before You and One Day in December… Leila’s charm bracelet tells a story of love, a story of loss, a story of hope. This is the story of her … and the story of Jake. When Leila Jones loses her precious charm bracelet and a stranger finds it, she has to tell the story of how she got the charms to prove she’s the owner. Each and everyone is a precious memory of her life with Jake. So Leila starts at the beginning, recounting the charms and experiences that have led her to the present. A present she never could have expected when she met Jake nearly twenty years ago…
A self-confessed reading addict, Ella Allbright writes commercial women’s fiction set in her beautiful home county of Dorset. Her first novel in this genre, The Charm Bracelet will be published in August 2020 by One More Chapter, an imprint of HarperCollins, and she’s currently hard at work on her next book. Ella is represented by agent Hattie Grünewald at The Blair Partnership, who represents J.K. Rowling.
Ella also writes as Nikki Moore, the author of the popular #LoveLondon romance series. A number of the novellas featured in the Top 100 short story charts on Kobo and the Top 20 in the Amazon UK bestsellers Holiday chart, and in 2018 the collection was released in Italy. Her first published work was the short story A Night to Remember in the best selling Mills & Boon / RNA anthology Truly, Madly, Deeply. Her debut romance Crazy, Undercover, Love was shortlisted for the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2015. When not writing or reading, she can be found working in her HR day job, walking the family’s cute beagle puppy or watching a Netflix series!
Five thousand miles from her ex, Lisa is living with her decision to call it quits and leave both AJ and Alabama behind. She believes she’s finally ready to put her broken heart back together and move forward with her life as a single woman. But when she meets a seemingly too-good-to-be-true doctor, she feels both unsure of herself and guilty for moving on so quickly from her engagement to AJ. Lisa finds herself at a crossroads, does she give up all hope of ever reconciling with AJ and take a chance on love again with someone new? Or is her heart destined to be forever entwined with the married man she met on the internet?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The third book in ‘The Lisa Millar series’ keeps the faith, it is emotional, fast-paced, and full of life’s lows and highs. Lisa is tired of being the ‘other woman’, after her loss, she is broken, and compromise is not on her agenda. At this point, knowing she loves AJ, and he loves her, is not enough, she needs them to be together. without obstacles, mental or physical.
Like all the books in this series, this is a page-turner, it seems Lisa is moving on, but aren’t soulmates meant to be together? Even though I am not in the intended audience group for this story, I appreciate its portrayal of what it’s like to be young and in love. The possibilities, the seemingly insurmountable lows, and the feeling that on some level, you are invincible, whatever life throws at you.
There is lots of interactive dialogue, which is part of this author’s style, drama and love. The conclusion leaves you feeling that whatever went before, this was always how it was supposed to end.
Lasairiona McMaster grew up dreaming of an exciting life abroad, and, after graduating from Queens University, Belfast, that is exactly what she did – with her then-boyfriend, now husband of almost ten years. Having recently repatriated to Northern Ireland after a decade abroad spanned over two countries (seven and a half years in America and eighteen months in India), she now finds herself ‘home’, with itchy feet and dreams of her next expatriation. With a penchant for both travelling, and writing, she started a blog during her first relocation to Houston, Texas and, since repatriating to Northern Ireland, has decided to do as everyone has been telling her to do for years, and finally pen a book (or two) and get published while she tries to adjust to the people and place she left ten years ago, where nothing looks the same as it did when she left.
From the moment she met him, Ella Peterson had questions. As always, though, she’s too shy to ask.
Older and sexy as hell, mysterious Adam Brook soon sweeps sheltered Ella off her feet; but is he as perfect as he appears to be, or is there more to him than he’s telling her?
Ella’s world has already turned upside down after moving from England to rural Kansas. She and her sisters were hoping for a more secure future, but instead find that life can be tough when jobs are scarce and the stakes often higher than anticipated.
When events spiral out of Ella’s control, she learns the person she needs to rely on most is herself and her instincts on who to trust in the future.
It’s just that her instincts are screaming at her to trust Adam; it’s what he tells her that makes that a problem.
Julia is an avid reader of all things romance, and she has read hundreds of books across a variety of sub-genres and began writing her own novels in 2018. Four books are currently in various stages of editing and completion, the first of which is finished and will be on sale in spring 2020.
Julia has always been passionate about languages and fiction and has a degree in Languages And Trade and an A-Level in English Literature. When Julia is not writing or editing her own novels, she usually has her nose in books by other authors and is otherwise kept busy caring for her family, going to the gym and carrying out her day job. Julia lives on the South Coast of England with her two children, husband and cats.
Roses of Marrakech is a breath-taking romantic fiction, set between 1944 and 2016. The story follows 36-year-old primary school teacher, Ivy Fielding, who suffers from a lack of self-esteem due to a facial birthmark. Her great-aunt Rose, who has always been her main source of emotional support, has just died, leaving her a bequest as well as her Lavenham cottage to Ivy and her mother. Ivy discovers tragedies in her family’s past while reading her late great-aunt’s diary, and this inspires her to fulfil a childhood dream and she jets off to Marrakech for the summer holidays.
Set against the backdrop of wartime Suffolk and the present-day spice-scented souks of Morocco, Ivy follows a trail of discovery that will change her life and those around her, forever.
But when uncomfortable secrets of the past begin to surface, can she find the courage to confront them, or is it easier to walk away?
I received a copy of this book from The Book Guild in return for an honest review.
Dual timeline novels are particularly popular at the moment, especially where the historical timeline features one of the two world wars.
This story follows Ivy as she takes the trip of a lifetime to Marrakech in Morrocco in 2016, and Rose her recently deceased great-aunt who was a young woman during World War Two.
Ivy’s life to date has been defined by a permanent birthmark on her face. Rose always supported the often bullied girl, and her death forces Ivy to re-evaluate her life.
Finding Rose’s diaries and the hardship, poignancy and romance contained there, makes Ivy take the holiday she’s never been brave enough to take.
In Marrakech, she finds many things out about herself, and how her self-portrayal. affects how others respond to her. She finds romance and regains a little of her self-esteem. Family secrets that emerge challenge her new confidence and courage.
Wonderfully atmospheric, the time in Marrakech is vividly described and gives the book added depth and interest. The historical timeline is predictably sad and full of lost chances. The pacing of the book is a little slow in parts, but as a whole, this is a charmingly heartwarming story of past secrets, loss and self-realisation.
Rachel gained a BA (Hons) in French/English at Liverpool Hope University and an MA in Modern Languages Research at Lancaster University before training to be a journalist. She now lives in Lancaster and teaches French in a primary school. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was a child and coming runner up in a Sunday Express story competition gave her the confidence to write her first novel, Roses of Marrakech.
Whenever I go on holiday, I always take my notebook with me. Visiting Morocco and Lavenham a few years ago, I made notes of my impressions of the places I visited and began writing the book when I returned”, comments Rachel. “In the book, Ivy’s struggles with coming to terms with her birthmark are based on my own experiences with cerebral palsy, whilst the characters, Violet and Eleanor are based on my great-aunts who both died of TB in the late 1920s”.
A heart-warming tale of discovering all you never wanted is exactly what you needed.
Orphaned as a baby and raised by indifferent relatives, much of Anna Redding’s happiness as a child came from the long summer holidays spent with an elderly family friend, Aunt Meg, in the quaint village of Polkerran.
With Aunt Meg’s passing, Anna is drawn back to the West Country, relocating to the Cornish cove where she was once so happy. Filled with memories, she hopes to perhaps open a B&B—and perhaps cross paths with Alex Tremayne again, a local boy she used to have a major crush on and who only had to walk past Anna to make her heart flutter.
Settling into her new life, and enjoying her work for the older, reclusive and—to be honest—often exasperating Oliver Seymour, Anna is delighted when Alex reappears in Polkerran and sweeps her off her feet.
The stars are finally aligned, but just as Anna thinks all she’s ever wished for is within reach, a shock discovery brings everything under threat, and she finds herself living a dream that isn’t hers.
Can Anna rescue the new life she has made for herself and, when the testing moment comes, who will be there to hold her hand?
The Cottage in a Cornish Cove is the first in an uplifting series of romances from Cass Grafton. Get to know the locals, wallow in the quaintness of Polkerran and fall in love with romance all over again.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Anna is a character who is easy to like. Her less than idyllic childhood made bearable by the summers she spent in Cornwall, with her surrogate aunt. Careerwise she’s successful, but her romantic relationships don’t live up to the romantic novels she loved to escape into. An unexpected bequest has her leaving her old life behind, including her career, friends and mercenary boyfriend. She hopes to recapture the happiness she knew during the Summer’s in the Cornish cove.
This story is like a warm hug, it makes you sigh, as you snuggle down and get swept away, into a world full of coasts, comfort and community. As the story progresses, you realise that not all the unscrupulous individuals live in the big cities, and Anna’s naivety in judging people, risks her new life almost before it has begun.
The characters and the plot draw you in, I found myself, offering Anna advice on who to trust, so the story is certainly authentic and engaging. The pacing is gentle, and the historical inferences and parallels, add depth to the story.
There is a mystery to solve, as Anna finds out who she is, and who her friends are. Her character development is good, and in the end, she realises that even though she has people to rely on, she is strong enough to succeed alone.
The romance is sweet but powerful, and you are left with a lovely warmth, even though you regret saying goodbye to Anna and her friends.
An avid bookworm since childhood, Cass Grafton writes the sort of stories she loves to read – heart-warming, character-driven and strong on location. Having moved around extensively and lived in three countries, she finds places inspiring and the setting of her novels often becomes as much a part of the story as her characters.
She leans heavily towards the upbeat and insists on a happy ever after. As one of her favourite authors, Jane Austen, once wrote, ‘Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’.
Cass loves travelling, words, cats and wine but never in the same glass. She has two grown-up children and currently splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband and imaginary cats, and England, where she lives with her characters.
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