Posted in Blog Blitz, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Motivational

Billy Tapper Zillionaire Gary Finnan #BookBlitz @GaryFinnan @LoveBooksGroup #HistFic #LoveBooksTours #1950s #1960s #BillyTapperZillionaire

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This colourful novel of adventure, family, and courage shows young Billy McTaggart coming of age as a tapper in a British railyard during the bitter years following World War II. Bullied for his small stature but endowed with a sharp mind, the fierce ambition of his sweetheart Meg, and the love of his Mam, Billy navigates a rapidly changing world where steam engines give way to rock and roll, Elvis, and the Beatles. Everything changes for Billy in one breathtaking moment when he uncovers an amazing secret hidden inside a rail car. Romance, loss, pain, and elation follow his path up and out of England’s rigid class system. Through it all, Billy maintains his generous spirit and sense of what is right. Billy Tapper Zillionaire captures the humanity of simple relationships for an accidental bystander to history growing up in the 1950s and 60s.

Amazon UK

Born in Scotland and raised in Zimbabwe and South Africa, Gary Finnan splits his time between Sonoma Wine country in California and his farm in Aiken South Carolina, along with his wife Eva and two daughters. Gary is an award-winning inspirational author.

Posted in Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Saga

The Orphan’s Gift Renita D’Silva 5*#Review @RenitaDSilva @bookouture #saga #India #historicalfiction #histfic #LiteraryFiction #BookReview #TheOrphansGift

She allows herself to kiss her perfect child just once. She wraps the baby in her last gift: a hand-knitted cardigan, embroidered with a water lily pattern. ‘You’re better off without me,’ she whispers and although every step breaks her heart, she walks away.

1910, India. Young and curious Alice, with her spun-gold hair, grows up in her family’s sprawling compound with parents as remote as England, the cold country she has never seen. It is Raju, son of a servant, with whom she shares her secrets. Together, their love grows like roses – but leaves deep thorns. Because when they get too close, Alice’s father drags them apart, sending Raju far away and banishing Alice to England…

1944. Intelligent and kind Janaki is raised in an orphanage in India. The nuns love to tell the story: Janaki’s arrival stopped the independence riots outside the gates, as the men on both sides gazed at the starry-eyed little girl left in a beautiful hand-knitted cardigan. Janaki longs for her real mother, the woman who was forced to abandon her, wrapped in a precious gift…

Now old enough to be a grandmother and living alone in India, Alice watches children play under the tamarind trees, haunted by the terrible mistake she made fifty years ago. It’s just an ordinary afternoon, until a young girl with familiar eyes appears with a photograph and Alice must make a choice. Will she spend the rest of her life consumed by dreams of the past, or can she admit her mistakes and choose love and light at last?

A stunning and heartbreaking novel about how a forbidden love can echo through the generations. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This author always delivers an emotional story. The lyrical writing style is pleasurable to read. The vivid characters and imagery are evocative of the setting. Told from Alice and Janaki’s viewpoints the story set in India and England encompasses a turbulent time in the two country’s histories. Loss, love, manipulation and prejudice form the intricate embroidery of this story. The characters draw you into their worlds the ripple of effect resonates from carelessly made decisions.

If you are looking for a book that is vibrant yet poignant and full of sensory imagery, this is for you.

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

The Rebel Heiress and the Knight Melissa Oliver 4*#Review @melissaoauthor @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #HistoricalRomance @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads

She must marry the knight


By order of the king!Widow Eleanor of Tallany Castle knows her people are broken by the taxes demanded by King John. So when she’s ordered to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to the king, she’s furious—even if he is handsome! As gallant Hugh begins to heal the scars of Eleanor’s abusive first marriage, she’s even more determined to keep her secret: she is the outlaw the king wants to send to the gallows!

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

My Thoughts…

Reminiscent of Robin Hood this is a passionate tale of courage deceit and love. Eleanor likes being a widow her husband’s death allowed her to determine her own life, but now the King’s decreed she is to be married. Hugh never looked for marriage or a place to call home, but it seems he now has both. Too bad that his bride hates him, but there’s passion simmering under the hateful looks, so maybe they have a chance for happiness together?

A plot full of historical detail and intrigue with likeable well-developed characters make this an absorbing read.

Growing up in Richmond- Upon-Thames, Melissa Oliver used to walk past the old Mills and Boon offices as a teen, and wistfully sigh that one day her dream of writing for them will come true. Amazingly, after all these years, it finally has…& now she can bring all those stories out onto the pages of her books. Melissa lives in south-west London with her gorgeous husband and equally gorgeous daughters, who share her passion for castles, palaces and all things historical.

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Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, International Thriller, Thriller, Travel

The Sacred Spoils Will Adams 4*#Review @canelo_co The Rossi & Nero Thrillers #Archaeology #Thriller #International #Italy #Mystery #BookReview #WillAdams

To the victor go the spoils…

Historian Carmen Nero, in southern Italy to help a friend search for ancient riches, is caught up in the murderous schemes of the Calabrian Mafia.

Cesco Rossi, a quick-witted conman on the run from a brutal group of neo-Nazis, is about to be confronted by his tragic past.

Israeli Professor Zara Gold is on a mission to find Judaism’s most sacred relic.

For the tomb of Alaric I, the Visigoth king who sacked and looted Rome of its most fabulous treasures, is on the point of being revealed. And who knows what secrets may lie within?

The race to uncover history’s greatest lost fortune has begun…

An astounding and twisting mystery 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This book is a fusion of international thriller and historical puzzle. Set predominately in Italy this is intriguing and fast-paced. The story is full of historical detail, which sets the scene for the mystery con man Rossi and historian Nero needs to unravel.

The action is adrenaline-pumping and violent, aptly illustrating the people chasing Rossi and Nero. Sub-plots converge as the menace intensifies. Rossi and Nero are an unlikely partnership, but they need each other to survive. The mystery’s complexities complement the action sequences drawing the reader into the story.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Murder Mystery

The Vanished Bride Bella Ellis 5*#Review @brontemysteries @rowancoleman @HodderBooks #BronteSistersMystery #bronte200 #HistFic #Mystery #Detectives #MurderMystery #Haworth #TheVanishedBride #BookReview

Yorkshire, 1845, and dark rumours are spreading across the moors. Everything indicates that Mrs Elizabeth Chester of Chester Grange has been brutally murdered in her home – but nobody can find her body.

As the dark murmurs reach Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë, the sisters are horrified, yet intrigued. Before they know it, the siblings become embroiled in the quest to find the vanished bride, sparking their imaginations but placing their lives at great peril . . .

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The author’s love of the Bronte Sisters, permeates every word, of this historical mystery. It portrays the sisters, as complex, relatable characters determined to use their intellect, whatever Victorian society thinks. The bond between the sisters and their brother is believable and poignant.

The plot echoes the Bronte writings, with strong female characters, mystery elements and paranormal twists. The authentic dialogue helps the reader visualise the people, places and events.

This is an educational, engaging read.

Posted in Book Review, Crime, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery

This Lovely City Louise Hare 4*#Review @LouRHare @HQStories #London #histfic #literary #Mystery #Social #BookReview #1950s #MondayBlogs #mondaythoughts #ThisLovelyCity

The drinks are flowing.
The music is playing.
But the party can’t last.

With the Blitz over and London reeling from war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Fresh off the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home – and it’s alive with possibility. Until, one morning, he makes a terrible discovery.

As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And, before long, the newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart.

Atmospheric, poignant and compelling, Louise Hare’s debut shows that new arrivals have always been the prime suspects. But, also, that there is always hope.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This atmospheric and insightful story set in London in the 1950s captures the ethos of post-war Britain still in the grasp of rationing. Lawrie is a young man drawn to England with promises of a better life. The welcome banner in the skies above the Windrush proves to be a cynical publicity stunt. The reality? Prejudice, poor housing and no jobs.

Lawrie’s secures work as a postman and works as a musician in a Soho club when he can. He has a girlfriend and a future until he offers a helping hand, and his life changes forever.

This is a well-written story with events and characters that resonate.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Regency Romance

Wicked By Design Katy Moran 5*#Review #KatyMoran @HoZ_Books #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #AlternativeHistory #NineteenthCentury #Cornwall #Russia #BookReview

1819.

CORNWALL.
Four women sit in the candlelit drawing-room at Nansmornow, an ancient Cornish manor house. The air is thick with unspoken suspicion and secret malice. As Hester Lamorna pours tea for her three guests, she has no idea one of them is about to rock her new marriage to its very foundations.

ST PETERSBURG.
Half a world away, Hester’s impossible and charmismatic husband, Jack ‘Crow’ Crowlas, will be caught up in a chess game of sexual manipulation, played out across the sumptuous ballrooms of St Petersburg. All Hester and Crow hold most dear will be tested to the limit and beyond: their love for each other and their child, and for Crow, the loyalty of his only brother.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in the early nineteenth century in an alternative historical world where Napolean, not Wellington triumphed at Waterloo. This story is an engaging mix of betrayal, intrigue, passion and politics.

Jack Crow is Lord Lamorna of Cornwall, a man who flaunts convention and lives close to the wire. Haunted by his past actions, his fight for justice and his passions, he is reminiscent of Poldark. Hester, Lady Lamorna is independently minded but loyal and in love with her husband. Her spirit and vulnerability make her a similar character to Poldark’s Demelza.

Engaging and easy to empathise the main protagonists’ complexity and flaws make them relatable. Vivid Cornish and Russian settings with an alternative historical twist give this story its uniqueness. Well-written believable characters and cleverly plotted intrigue and passion, all make this story an addictive, exciting read.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Travel

The Sea Gate Jane Johnson 5*#Review @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Family #Drama #BookReview #BlogTour #Mystery #Romance #Suspense #WW2 #Relationships #Secrets

One house, two women, a lifetime of secrets…

Following the death of her mother, Becky begins the sad task of sorting through her empty flat. Starting with the letters piling up on the doormat, she finds an envelope post-marked from Cornwall. In it is a letter that will change her life forever. A desperate plea from her mother’s elderly cousin, Olivia, to help save her beloved home.

Becky arrives at Chynalls to find the beautiful old house crumbling into the ground, and Olivia stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her home is made habitable.

Though daunted by the enormity of the task, Becky sets to work. But as she peels back the layers of paint, plaster and grime, she uncovers secrets buried for more than seventy years. Secrets from a time when Olivia was young, the Second World War was raging, and danger and romance lurked round every corner…

The Sea Gate is a sweeping, spellbinding novel about the lives of two very different women, and the secrets that bind them together.

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

My Thoughts…

Life in the contemporary world seems tawdry and insignificant in the wake of the secrets and tribulations faced by young Olivia in WW2. This dual timeline story follows Rebecca in the present day as she attempts to make Oliva’s crumbling but magnificent old house habitable for her.

The secrets Rebecca discovers gives an authentic insight into WW2 society and issues of abuse and racism. There is forbidden love, intriguing mystery and a lovely multigenerational relationship between Rebecca and Olivia. The setting is dramatic and complements the revelations perfectly.

Gently paced this atmospheric story engages and holds the reader, as they lose themselves in another time.

Jane Johnson is a British novelist and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb and Dean Koontz and was for many years publisher of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Married to a Berber chef she met while researching The Tenth Gift, she lives in Cornwall and Morocco.

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Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, International Thriller, Mystery, Romance, Travel

Island Of Secrets Rachel Rhys 4*#Review @MsTamarCohen @TransworldBooks #Cuba #Havana #1957 #Mystery #Political #Secrets #lies #HistFic #FamilyDrama #RandomThingsTours @annecater

Say, wouldn’t it be a gas if all of us here are pretending to be something we’re not?’

1957: Iris Bailey is bored to death of working in the typing pool and living with her parents in Hemel Hampstead. A gifted portraitist with a talent for sketching guests at parties, she dreams of becoming an artist. So she can’t believe her luck when wealthy socialite Nell Hardman invites her to Havana to draw at the glittering wedding of her Hollywood director father.

Iris is thrilled to escape to a faraway city by the sea. But she soon realizes that the cocktails, tropical scents and azure skies mask a darker reality. As Cuba teeters on the edge of revolution and Iris’s heart melts for troubled photographer Joe, she discovers that someone in the charismatic Hardman family is hiding a terrible secret. Can she uncover the ugly truth behind the glamour and the dazzle before all their lives are torn apart?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Random House UK, Transworld Publishers – Black Swan in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story captures the thirst for glamour and the diminished role of women that epitomises the 1950s. Intelligent but naive Iris inwardly rails against her life but feels ill-equipped to alter its path. A talented portraitist who works in a typing pool marriage is the only way out. Meeting socialite Nell is unexpected. Nell’s surprise invitation means Iris can escape for a while.

Clever use of visual imagery brings pre-revolution Cuba to life. Lies, mystery, politics and secrets are interweaved into this glitzy yet tawdry story. Some characters have more depth than others, but all make up a cast of players that give insight into the final months of Havana before the revolution.

Iris’ character development is significant as she experiences the facets of humanity and the turmoil of a country on the precipes of political change.

Rachel Rhys

Rachel Rhys is the pen-name of a much-loved psychological suspense author. She is the author of the Richard and Judy bookclub pick, Dangerous Crossing and the bestselling A Fatal Inheritance. Rachel Rhys lives in North London with her family.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Travel

The Secret of the Chateau Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @KathMcGurl @HQDigitalUK @rararesources #RachelsRandomResources #Timeslip #HistFic #ContemporaryFiction #TuesdayThoughts #Mystery

Everything is about to change…

1789. Pierre and Catherine Aubert, the Comte and Comtesse de Verais, have fled the palace of Versailles for their château, deep in the French Alps. But as revolution spreads through the country, even hidden away the Auberts will not be safe forever. Soon they must make a terrible decision in order to protect themselves, and their children, from harm.

​Present day. When Lu’s mother dies leaving her heartbroken, the chance to move to a château in the south of France with her husband and best friends seems an opportunity for a new beginning. But Lu can’t resist digging into their new home’s history, and when she stumbles across the unexplained disappearance of Catherine Aubert, the château begins to reveal its secrets – and a mystery unsolved for centuries is uncovered…

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

My Thoughts…

Exciting historical fiction fuses with a making a new start contemporary story in an absorbing page-turning read.

The contemporary story seen from Lu ‘s point of view follows the adventures of five friends in their late fifties who decide to sell up and move to France. Believably crafted easy to like characters and a vividly described setting make this contemporary French adventure full of humour and poignancy.

Full of vivid imagery and colourful characters the historical story set in the late eighteenth century has a menacing atmosphere. The dangers faced by the count and his family realistic.

The past and present merge when Lu investigates what happened to the Chateau’s previous aristocratic inhabitants.

Both stories are engaging and their connections easy to follow in this historical timeslip mystery.

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives in Bournemouth with her husband. She has two sons who have both now left home. She always wanted to write, and for many years was waiting until she had the time. Eventually she came to the bitter realisation that no one would pay her for a year off work to write a book, so she sat down and started to write one anyway. Since then she has published several novels with HQ and self-published another. She has also sold dozens of short stories to women’s magazines, and written three How To books for writers. After a long career in the IT industry she became a full time writer in 2019. When she’s not writing, she’s often out running, slowly.

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