Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Noir, Romance, Travel

The Good Wife Eleanor Porter 4*#Review @Elporterauthor @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources #HistFic #HistoricalFiction #TheGoodWife #MondayBlogs #Elizabethan #England

Where will her loyalty lead her?

Once accused of witchcraft Martha Spicer is now free from the shadow of the gallows and lives a safe and happy life with her husband, Jacob. But when Jacob heads north to accompany his master, he warns Martha to keep her healing gifts a secret, to keep herself safe, to be a good wife.

Martha loves Jacob but without him there to protect her, she soon comes under the suspicious eye of the wicked Steward Boult, who’s heard of her talent and forces her to attend to him. If she refuses, he promises to destroy the good life she has built for herself with Jacob.

Desperate and alone, Martha faces a terrible decision: stay and be beholden to Boult or journey north to find Jacob who is reported to have been killed.. The road ahead is filled with danger, but also the promise of a brighter future. And where her gifts once threatened to be her downfall, might they now be the very thing that sets Martha free…?

The brilliant follow-up to Eleanor Porter’s first novel of love, betrayal, superstition and fear in Elizabethan England. A story of female courage, ingenuity and determination.

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I received copies of these books from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for honest reviews.

My Thoughts…

The Good Wife is the sequel to The Wheelwright’s Daughter but readable as a standalone. Martha is married to Jacob and happy. He is her world, but it starts to crumble when he follows his master north. Jacob is worried about leaving Martha, who attracts attention for her healing skills. She is intelligent and wise in natural healing but naive when facing the world’s evils. When Jacob doesn’t return, her world implodes. Forced to flee her long journey is one of danger and self-discovery. She matures with each encounter and every problem she faces.

The historical details make the journey atmospheric and immersive. The characters are vibrant, with intriguing relationship dynamics. I love the understanding she has with her horse. The evil she faces is difficult to read but necessary to the story. There are many poignant and tragic moments, but ultimately the journey is a positive experience for Martha.

Eleanor Porter

Eleanor Porter has lectured at Universities in England and Hong Kong and her poetry and short fiction has been published in magazines. The Wheelwright’s Daughter was her first novel.


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My Review of The Wheelwright’s Daugther – Eleanor Porter

This story is set in Elizabethan England in the late sixteenth century when religious persecution was rife and witchhunts common. Martha is a young woman raised by her grandmother and father. Educated, intelligent with independent ways that make the villagers’ distrustful of her. After her grandmother’s death, there is no one to protect Martha from her father’s drinking, and she is vulnerable to the dangerous, pious priest and the villagers’ superstitions.

Martha experiences coming of age in a dangerous world with little sympathetic support and much superstition. The story is claustrophobic and immersive, as the reader experiences the danger, superstitions and treachery of this historical period from Martha’s point of view.

Authentic, often unlikeable characters draw the reader into this story. Martha is easy to empathise with, and you want her to survive.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Saga

The Mother’s Day Club Rosie Hendry 5*#Review @hendry_rosie @BooksSphere @LittleBrownUK #WW2 #Norfolk #Evacuees #Mothers #WomeninWar #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #HomeFront #TheMothersDayClub

Meet the women on the home front . . .

1939. When the residents of Great Plumstead offer to open up their homes to evacuees from London, they’re preparing to care for children. So when a train carrying expectant mothers pulls into the station, the town must come together to accommodate their unexpected new arrivals . . .

Sisters Prue and Thea welcome the mothers with open arms, while others fear their peaceful community will be disrupted. But all pregnant Marianne seeks is a fresh start for herself and her unborn child. Though she knows that is only possible as long as her new neighbours don’t discover the truth about her situation.

The women of Great Plumstead, old and new, are fighting their own battles on the home front. Can the community come together in a time of need to do their bit for the war effort?

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

My Thoughts…

It’s lovely to read a story about an element of WW2 that I haven’t come across in my reading, so this book has many original aspects which are refreshing. The story set in Norfolk focuses on the changes brought about by the declaration of war in 1939 in a small Norfolk village. Engaging and informative, it’s told from three viewpoints. Thea, a free spirit of independent means. Prue, a born organiser with a kind heart who is married to someone who doesn’t deserve her and Marrianne, a pregnant evacuee from London who has a secret she must keep.

The well-paced plot immerses the reader into this home front world brought to life by the vividly portrayed characters. There’s conflict, community spirit, heartbreak as the story unfolds. It is the first in a historical saga and makes me want to read the next instalment.

This story has all the drama, emotion and poignancy of a historical saga but with quicker pacing making it the perfect read.

Rosie Hendry

Rosie Hendry lives by the sea in Norfolk with her husband and children. A former teacher and research scientist, she’s always loving reading and writing. She started off writing short stories for magazines, her stories gradually becoming longer as her children grew bigger.

Listening to her father’s tales of life during the Second World War sparked Rosie’s interest in this period and she’s especially intrigued by how women’s lives changed during the war years. She loves researching further, searching out gems of real life events which inspire her writing.

When she’s not working, Rosie enjoys walking along the beach, reading and is grateful for the fact that her husband is a much better cook than her.


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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books

An Ordinary Life Amanda Prowse 5*#Review @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub #LakeUnionPress #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #WW2 #Love #Loss #AnOrdinaryLife #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a tale of love, loss—and one last extraordinary dance.

Christmas Eve, 2019. Ninety-four-year-old Molly lies in her hospital bed. A stroke and a fall may have broken her body—but her mind is alive with memories.

London, 1940s. Molly is a bright young woman, determined to help the war effort and keep her head up despite it all. Life becomes brighter when she meets and falls in love with a man who makes her forget everything with one dance. But then war forces her to make an unforgettable sacrifice, and when she’s brought to her knees by a daring undercover mission with the French Resistance, only her sister knows the secret weighing heavily on Molly’s heart.

Now, lying in her hospital bed, Molly can’t escape the memories of what she lost all those years ago. But she is not as alone as she thinks.

Will she be able to find peace—and finally understand that what seemed to be an ordinary life was anything but?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Love and loss affect Molly’s life from an early age. She’s kept a secret for many years. Molly’s engaging life story shows her courage in the face of adversity. The characters are vivid, and the historical details add to the authenticity. The relationships are believable and are what make this story so addictive.

This is an emotional story that keeps you turning the pages.


Praise for Amanda Prowse:

‘A powerful and emotional work of fiction’ – Piers Morgan
‘Deeply moving and emotional, Amanda Prowse handles her explosive subjects with delicate skill’ – Daily Mail
‘Uplifting and positive, but you will still need a box of tissues’ – Hello!
‘A gut-wrenching and absolutely brilliant read’ – The Irish Sun
‘You’ll fall in love with this…’ – Cosmopolitan
‘Deeply moving and eye opening. Powerful and emotional drama that packs a real punch.’ – Heat
‘Magical’ – Now magazine

Amanda Prowse

Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty six novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.

A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.

Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…

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Posted in Book Review, Crime, Murder Mystery, Mystery

The Jigsaw Man Nadine Matheson 4*#Review @NadineMatheson @HQStories #CrimeFiction #Detective #BlogTour #BookReview #TheJigsawMan #MondayBlogs

There’s a serial killer on the loose. When bodies start washing up along the banks of the River Thames, DI Henley fears it is the work of Peter Olivier, the notorious Jigsaw Killer. But it can’t be him; Olivier is already behind bars, and Henley was the one who put him there.  

The race is on before more bodies are found. She’d hoped she’d never have to see his face again, but Henley knows Olivier might be the best chance they have at stopping the copycat killer. But when Olivier learns of the new murders, helping Henley is the last thing on his mind… 

 Will it take a killer to catch the killer? Now all bets are off, and the race is on to catch the killer before the body count rises. But who will get there first – Henley, or the Jigsaw Killer? 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a compelling crime novel with a driven detective, and a menacing, unpredictable serial killer. The violent crimes are impactful, but there is more to this story. This is the first book featuring DI Henley, but she’s a woman with a violent past. Being assigned to this crime brings back shattering memories and puts her in the auspices of her nemesis, a convicted serial killer.

There is an enticing balance of action and introspection, which makes this addictive reading. The shock of violent crime and the methodical nature of police investigations are well portrayed. Detailed backstories slow the pace but are essential to understand the main characters’ motivations.

The detectives are likeable and relatable, the plot twisty and the crimes definitely noir.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

The Dream That Held Us Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang 4*#Review @rhiannonjtsang #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #TheDreamThatHeldUs #histfic #Romance #LiteraryFiction

“The Dream That Held US took me on an exquisite exploration if a love that crosses boundaries of time and culture.”

 Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

“Deeply imbued with a certain wistfulness and haunting sense of loss brought out by the end of a glorious summer… Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang’s latest novel is a sensitive and skilful exploration of love, longing, and whether life sometimes relents to give us second chances.” Osama Siddique – author of Snuffing Out the Moon

“This book carries a universal message about love and finding your way in the world. I loved it.” Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

Another stunning Anglo-Indian love story from the author of The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017.

October 1985, Ash Misra leaves a blood-stained Delhi for Oxford University. Haunted by a terrible secret, he just wants to forget. Music and fresh violence bring him to fellow student and amateur violinist, Isabella Angus, but duty and the burden of history keep them apart. A quarter of a century later against the background of the global ­financial crisis, Sir Peter Roberts, former Master of Woodstock College, receives a letter from Ash for Isabella. They are no longer young but they had made a tryst with destiny; old terrors and suppressed desires return.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is an engaging story of first love betrayal and self-realisation. Isa and Ash fell in love at Oxford in the 1980s, but Ash left to return to India where his life was preordained. Reeling from his departure Isa becomes a successful artist but feels that she is going through the motions keeping her real self hidden from the world. She has boys she loves, but her marriage is distant and pedestrian and at odds with her true self. A reunion at the university forces her to think about her first love, and when they meet again the chemistry is there but can you go back, and would you want to?

The romance is gentle, but the self-realisation is deeply painful, yet ultimately positive. This is an interesting story with powerful characters and fascinating detail about different cultures and time periods.

Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang is a British author whose work focuses on cultural and historical fault lines and has strong international themes.  Rhiannon was born and grew up in Yorkshire and has studied, lived and worked in Europe and Asia.  She read Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese.  Rhiannon lives in a former farmhouse in rural England with her family.

Novels

The Woman Who Lost China, Open Books 2013

The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017

Short Story Anthology

Hong Kong Noir, Akashic Books 2019

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Family Drama, Mystery, Noir, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

Dark Memories Liz Mistry 5*#Review @LizMistryAuthor @HQStories @rararesources #CrimeFiction #DSNikkiParekh #Detective #BlogTour #BookReview #noir #psychological #suspense #DarkMemories

Three letters. Three murders. The clock is ticking…When the body of a homeless woman is found under Bradford’s railway arches, DS Nikki Parekh and her trusty partner DC Sajid Malik are on the case.

With little evidence, it’s impossible to make a breakthrough, and when Nikki receives a newspaper clipping taunting her about her lack of progress in catching the killer, she wonders if she has a personal link to the case.

When another seemingly unrelated body is discovered, Nikki receives another note. Someone is clearly trying to send her clues… but who?

And then a third body is found.

This time on Nikki’s old street, opposite the house she used to live in as a child. And there’s another message… underneath the victim’s body.

With nothing but the notes to connect the murders, Nikki must revisit the traumatic events of her childhood to work out her connection to the investigation.

But some memories are best left forgotten, and it’s going to take all Nikki’s inner strength to catch the killer…

Before they strike again.

The heart-stopping and totally addictive new crime thriller from Liz Mistry will keep you reading long into the night! 

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a gritty, noir crime series which immerses the reader in a dangerous urban world. D.S. Nikki Parekh is believable and easy to like. The distinction between personal and professional events is an important theme. The characters are relatable and vibrant and bring the twisty plot to life.

This is a poignant story highlighting the future damage of abuse and social deprivation for people. The setting is authentically urban and vividly described. Despite disturbing issues, there is a balance of good and evil which makes this absorbing reading.

Liz Mistry

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp. 

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Review, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Find You First Linwood Barclay 5*#Review @linwood_barclay @HQStories #BloggerDay #BookReview #suspense #mystery #thriller #CrimeFiction #FindYouFirst

Tech billionaire Miles has more money than he can ever spend, and everything he could dream of – except time. Now facing a terminal illness, Miles knows he must seize every minute to put his life in order. And that means taking a long hard look at his past.  

Somewhere out there, Miles has children. And they might be about to inherit both the good and bad from him – possibly his fortune, or possibly something more sinister. So Miles decides to track down his missing children.  

But a vicious killer is one step ahead of him. One by one, people are vanishing. Not just disappearing, every trace of them is wiped. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an immersive, intense and intricate psychological suspense. Miles, a successful app developer, discovers he has a degenerative inherited condition. Time is running out he wants to find his possible children, warn them and let them share in his wealth. There are numerous conflicts to this aim, but some surmounted with money, but why are his heirs disappearing?

This story has multiple characters, and points of view, which gives the reader an omnipotent view of events but no not every point of view is trustworthy, and this story has plenty of false leads. The suspense builds throughout, and the ending delivers shocks and surprises. The answers are in the story but well disguised by clever plotting, and fast pace. It’s a story that draws on contemporary themes and resonates.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Mystery, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Faking It Portia MacIntosh 5*#Review @PortiaMacIntosh @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #RomCom #BookReview #BlogTour #FakingIt

The perfect house, the perfect husband and the perfect life… or is she just faking it?


Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster for Ella. Growing up as the ‘less successful’ identical twin to her ‘perfectly successful’ sister, Emma, has left her feeling isolated, inadequate and let’s face it.. a little bitter.

When Emma unexpectedly reaches out to Ella in a time of need, Ella suddenly finds herself with the opportunity to fill in for her sister and experience how the other half live.

But as Ella navigates the world of gossiping mothers, rebellious teens and trying to play the model housewife (not to mention avoiding the temptation of attractive men at the school gates…) will she discover that all is not always as it seems on the other side?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This author has the talent to take everyday characters and scenarios, drawing out the humour, poignancy, and romance in them. Faking It is the perfect example of this. Ella and Emma are identical twins but with different lives and luck. When Ella’s life implodes, and her sister unexpectedly reaches out to her, she grabs the opportunity to live her sister’s life for a while.

This is a lovely combination of hilarity and poignancy as Ella realises that things aren’t always what they seem and what she truly wants in her life. The characters are relatable, but avoid being stereotypically and the plot has a few unexpected twists as it unfolds.

This story is packed with vibrant characters and vivid events, cleverly written to create a heartwarming and uplifting escapist read.

Portia MacIntosh

Portia MacIntosh is a bestselling romantic comedy author of 12 novels, including It’s Not You, It’s Them and Honeymoon For One. Previously a music journalist, Portia writes hilarious stories, drawing on her real life experiences.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Guest post, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour, Mystery, New Books

Just Bea Deborah Klee #GuestPost @DeborahKlee @rararesources #homeless #uplit #selfdiscovery #mystery #BlogTour

Sometimes you have to stop trying to be like everyone else and just be yourself.

Bea Stevens and Ryan O Marley are in danger of falling through the cracks of their own lives; the only difference between them is that Bea doesn’t know it yet.

When her world is shaken like a snow-globe, Bea has to do what she does best; adapt. Homeless man Ryan is the key to unlocking the mystery of her friend Declan’s disappearance but can she and Ryan trust one another enough to work together? 

As the pieces of her life settle in new and unexpected places, like the first fall of snow, Bea must make a choice: does she try to salvage who she was or embrace who she might become?

Just Bea takes the reader on a heart-warming journey from the glamour of a West End store to the harsh reality of life on the streets and reminds us all that home really is where the heart is.

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Just Bea -Homelessness Guest Post Deborah Klee

I was inspired to write Just Bea as there were two occasions when women I knew said that they were tempted to offer a temporary home to a homeless man. The first was a single woman whose two children had left home for university. She came across a young man, a similar age to her absent son, who was living in a tent. It was winter and her heart went out to him. She seriously considered offering him a home rent free, until her children talked her out of it as they didn’t want their mother putting herself at risk.

Several years later a gentle, caring woman who lived in my village told me about a homeless man who had been sleeping rough in our neighbourhood. This was an unusual occurrence in our little community. This woman befriended the man, buying him food and giving him books to read. As she came to know him better, she was tempted to offer him a room in her house. Again, friends and family advised her not to do so as they felt it was unsafe.

I can understand how a compassionate woman might be persuaded to invite a homeless man into her home. Bea Stevens, the protagonist in my story has more reason than most: Ryan, the homeless man, is known and trusted by her friend Declan, Bea has had too much to drink at the office party and so her judgement is impaired, she spilt hot chocolate over Ryan’s sleeping bag, and it is snowing heavily.

‘Why don’t you sleep in my spare bedroom tonight?’ Bea blurted out and immediately regretted it. She didn’t know anything about him. But he was a close friend of Declan, and she owed it to Declan. It was too cold for Ryan to sleep outside.

            Ryan looked as though he too was surprised by her suggestion. ‘Because you’re a single girl. A slightly inebriated single girl. I’ve got a little sister, about your age. I would be telling her not to let a strange man into her home on any account – no matter what the circumstances.’

            But he’s not a stranger, Bea thought, and then she decided if Declan trusted him, then so could she. ‘Please. It would make me feel better about spilling hot chocolate on your sleeping bag. I could pop it in my washing machine and it’ll be dry by the morning.’

            ‘I’m not sure. This’ll be the booze a talking. You’ll wake up, forget you invited me in, and scream blue murder.’

            They looked at each other, each weighing up the risks. The snow whirled in the light of a street lamp and Ryan pulled his jacket closer around him. ‘I’d better be off. This isn’t going to let up.’

            ‘That settles it,’ Bea said. ‘Come inside before we both freeze to death.’

One day when I was walking across London Bridge on my way to work, I noticed a young Mediterranean looking man huddled in a blanket. I looked closely at his face and imagined him as a tour guide, a gondolier on a Venice canal, anything but a homeless man. He could have been anything. Anyone. He mattered. At that time, I was too shy to talk to him. Further along the bridge I noticed a woman ask another homeless man whether he would like a tea or coffee. I chased after the woman and asked her whether her offer was welcomed by homeless people or refused. She assured me that it was always appreciated. From that day on, I have always offered to buy a drink and sometimes food for the people I meet who are living on the street. It has also helped me in my research. One man told me that by listening to him I had given him all that he needed.

Everyone who becomes homeless has a story. It is easy to fall through the gaps as Bea and Ryan discovered in Just Bea.

Deborah Klee

Deborah has worked as an occupational therapist, a health service manager, a freelance journalist, and management consultant in health and social care.

Her protagonists are often people who exist on the edges of society. Despite the very real, but dark, subject matter her stories are uplifting, combining pathos with humour. They are about self-discovery and the power of friendships and community.

Just Bea is her second novel. Her debut The Borrowed Boy was published last year.

Deborah lives on the Essex coast. When she is not writing she combines her love of baking with trying to burn off the extra calories.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery, Mystery

To the Dark Chris Nickson 4*#Review A Simon Westow Mystery @ChrisNickson2 @SevernHouse #TotheDark #historical #crimefiction #mystery @RandomTTours

Winter is about to take a chilling twist…

Thief-taker Simon Westow is drawn into a deadly puzzle when the melting snow reveals a dark secret in this gripping historical mystery, perfect for fans of Anne Perry and Charles Finch.

Leeds, 1822. The city is in the grip of winter, but the chill deepens for thief-taker Simon Westow and his young assistant, Jane, when the body of Laurence Poole, a petty local thief, emerges from the melting snow by the river at Flay Cross Mill.

A coded notebook found in Laurence’s room mentions Charlie Harker, the most notorious fence in Leeds who’s now running for his life, and the mysterious words: To the dark. What was Laurence hiding that caused his death? Simon’s hunt for the truth pits him against some dangerous, powerful enemies who’ll happily kill him in a heartbeat – if they can.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This historical crime mystery is atmospheric, menacing and realistic. It brings the crime-filled streets of nineteenth-century Leeds vividly to life. The third book in the series it provides adequate character backstory and relationship dynamics to make it readable as a standalone. The characters are shady even the protagonists have pasts and secrets. The story has many twists.

Seamlessly woven historical details immerse the reader in the place and time of this enjoyable story.

Chris Nickson

Chris Nickson has published 28 novels, all historical crime, most of them set in Leeds, whose people and history are his passion. The Richard Nottingham series began things, taking place in the 1730s, followed by the Tom Harper novels, which begin in 1890 and have now moved to the 20th century. Between them, Lottie Armstrong, Urban Raven and Dan Markham cover Leeds from the 1920s to the 1950s.

The three books featuring thief-taker Simon Westow explore a changing Leeds, growing rapidly in the 1820s as industry – the factories and mills and belching chimneys – comes to dominate the town. The Hocus Girl, the second in the series, received starred reviews from Kirkus, which called it a “tour de force,” and Publishers Weekly, which declared “historical mysteries don’t get much better than this.’

Chris grew up in Leeds, but lived in the US for many years, making his living as a music journalist. He still reviews occasional releases, but his focus these days is fiction.