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

Rome for the Summer Lynne Shelby 5*#Review @LynneB1 @AccentPress #Romance #writers #artists #histfic #arthistory #Italy #Rome #SummerRead #RomefortheSummer #love #secrets #lies #trust #Relationships #travel #Friendships @rararesources #BookReview #BlogTour

Kate Harper has always loved the painting that has hung in her parents’ dining room for years, never suspecting that it is worth a fortune. When her art dealer boyfriend cheats her family out of the proceeds of the painting’s sale, she is left devastated and alone.

Kate discovers that two hundred years ago, the girl in the painting, Charlotte Browne, ran off to Rome with the artist who painted her portrait, but her eventual fate is unknown.

Hoping to uncover the mystery of what happened to Charlotte, Kate seizes the chance of a summer job in Rome, where she strikes up a friendship with artist Jamie Taylor.

As they explore the city and start to piece together the surprising secrets of Charlotte’s life, Kate finds herself wondering if summer in Rome can mend a broken heart…

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I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

If you enjoy your romance with an art historical twist, this lovely story set mainly in Rome provides the perfect escape. Kate decides to take a summer job in Rome when her boyfriend proves untrustworthy. Working at a historical house previously home to nineteenth-century English artists and writers is an excellent way to heal and try to solve a mystery.

I enjoyed the gentle romance between Kate and Jamie and the incredible sense of place this story has. The historical mystery revealed through journal entries adds authenticity and interest to the contemporary novel. The author brings Rome in the summer to vibrant life, and the art history and historical detail make this an engaging read.

I loved the romantic conclusion too.

Lynne Shelby

Lynne Shelby writes contemporary women’s fiction and romance. Her debut novel, French Kissing (re-released in e-book as Meet Me In Paris), won the Accent Press and Woman magazine Writing Competition, and her fifth novel, Love On Location, was shortlisted for a Romantic Novelists’Association Award – the Jane Wenham-Jones Award for Romantic Comedy.

When not writing or reading, Lynne can usually be found at the theatre or exploring a foreign city with her writer’s notebook, camera and sketchbook in hand. She lives in London with her husband and has three adult children who live nearby.

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Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Folk Tales, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Parenting and Famlies

The White Hare Jane Johnson 4*#Review @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books @AriaFiction #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Family #love #loss #folklore #BookReview #Mystery #Romance #Secrets #forgiveness #TheWhiteHare #nature #supernatural #preorder

In a valley steeped in legend lies an abandoned house where Edens may be lost, found and remade…

The White Valley in the far west of Cornwall cuts deeply through bluebell woods down to the sea. The house above the beach has lain neglected since the war. It comes with a reputation, which is why Mila and her mother Magda acquire it so cheaply in the fateful summer of 1954.

Magda plans to restore the house to its former glory: the venue for glittering parties, where the rich and celebrated gathered for bracing walks by day and sumptuous cocktails by night. Mila’s ambitions, meanwhile, are much less grand; she dreams of creating a safe haven for herself, and happy home for her little girl, Janey.

The White Valley comes with a long, eventful history, laced with tall tales. Locals say that a white hare may be seen running through the woods there; to some, she’s an ill omen, to others a blessing. Feeling fragile and broken-hearted, Mila is in need of as many blessings as she can get. But will this place provide the fresh start she so desperately needs?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

A historical, mystical tale set in Cornwall in 1954 explores Cornish folklore, the natural world and human relationships. The author creates an atmospheric ethos that is a primary motivator in the story. After a scandalous relationship implodes, Mila moves to a gothic-style house with her mother and young daughter. The locals are wary of incomers, and the house has a dark history. Mila wonders if she has made a mistake.

I love the mystical quality of the tale and how Mila gradual realises her worth through meeting some of the valley’s unusual inhabitants. The gentle pacing allows the reader to appreciate the sensory imagery and secrets within the lyrical writing.

It’s a story of acceptance, renewal and love.

Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Romance, Saga

The Good Servant Fern Britton 5*#Review @Fern_Britton @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #secrets #TheGoodServant #histfic #royals #duty #saga

The story of Marion Crawford, governess to the Queen – an ordinary woman living in an extraordinary time.

1932. Dunfermline, Scotland.

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…

1936. Windsor Castle.

At first, this ordinary woman is in a new world, working as the governess to two young princesses, in a household she calls home but where everyone is at a distance. As the course of history changes, she finds herself, a companion, to the future Queen, and indispensable to the Crown. And slowly their needs become her needs. Their lives become hers.

It’s then she meets George and falls in love for the first time. Now Marion faces an impossible choice: her sense of duty or the love of her life.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The Good Servant is a story with a royal flavour, particularly topical in England in June. It hints at a possible scandal in its prologue. The reader realises that this is going to be an emotional journey, and it is. Marion Crawford is an intelligent young woman who wants to make a difference. Fate draws her into a world of privilege but as a servant.

I love the detailed characterisation that draws on historical figures and embellishes their lives with lyrical fictional storytelling. The reader learns about events and people from every viewpoint making this an engaging read. I enjoyed the historical details and the rich imagery in this poignant and well-written story.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Parenting and Famlies, Saga, Travel

A Mother’s Heart Carmel Harrington 5*#Review @HappyMrsH @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #IrishFiction #LiteraryFiction #FamilyDrama #saga #relationships #love #grief #secrets #parenting #Ireland #NewZealand #AMothersHeart

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

While Rachel Butler likes her life in a pretty Dublin coastal village, her heart lies in Hawke’s Bay, where she grew up. Visiting for the first time since tragedy tore her family apart, she and her stepchildren fall for its beauty and outdoor lifestyle.

Malahide, Ireland

As Rachel picks up the threads of her life as a single parent, she can’t shake off the memories of her loving family in New Zealand – and her dream house, the villa on the bay. But it’s time to move forwards with their life in Ireland, close to the children’s grandparents, amid the familiar surroundings they all know well.

Until the children’s grandmother, still grieving, starts to interfere, questioning Rachel’s position as stepmother.

Until Rachel’s attempts to strengthen the family she loves so dearly backfires, pitting everyone against each other.

And until her late husband’s parents mend the rift that has existed as long as she’s been married – bringing with them an explosive secret . . .

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Rachel loses the man she loves but still has his children, who she loves dearly. Thankful that he had the foresight to make her an adoptive parent, she faces life without him. Born in New Zealand, she has a close relationship with her family, who adore the children. The children’s biological mother’s parents are not happy with things, and this story explores the conflict, emotion and love of Rachel’s determination to achieve the best family for her children.

Each believably flawed vibrant character enriches the story that shows how grief manifests itself differently and how this affects family relationships. Lyrical writing evokes the settings and adds depth to this character-driven story.

It is a heartwarming, poignant story with strong female characters. Rachel is a lovely woman who places the children’s welfare at the heart of everything she does, making this incredibly engaging to read.

Posted in Book Review, Espionage - Spy - Thriller, Historical Fiction, New Books, Political Thriller

Yesterday’s Spy Tom Bradby 5*#Review @tombradby @TransworldBooks #spy #1950s #1930s #espionage #politicalthriller #secrets #YesterdaysSpy #bookreview #publicationday

Nothing good ever comes from a midnight phone call, especially from Downing Street. For washed-up spy Harry Tower, it is the worst news at the worst possible time. His son, Sean, has gone missing in troubled Iran after writing an exposé about government corruption.

Their relationship has never recovered since Harry’s wife’s suicide, for which Sean holds his father responsible. And Harry, with his career on the verge of disintegration, needs to find him and put things right.

When Harry arrives in Tehran, he finds a city on the cusp of revolution. Foreign powers are jockeying for influence, money and, most importantly, oil. The CIA are conspiring to undermine the government with an impending coup, and there are dark mutterings about opium smuggling. But the reasons for Sean’s disappearance may be even more sinister than Harry first suspected.

Before long, he is on the run – not only from a faceless enemy but from his own past. Which will catch up with him first?

Yesterday’s Spy is Tom Bradby at his very best, delivering a cunning espionage novel rich in intrigue and history that will keep you guessing until the final pages.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Set in 1950s Iran, this is a complex political thriller. Retired spy Harry is searching for his journalist son at a time of political unrest. The plot is multilayered, and the historical details are fascinating, making this an original and intriguing story. As Harry considers his life, the story visits the 1930s, and the reader gets to know him, his wife and his previous role.

It immerses the reader in the characters and the story with a tangible sense of danger and a plot full of action, emotion, and intriguing mystery.

Posted in Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Romance

The Storm Girl Kathleen McGurl 5*#Review @KathMcGurl @HQStories @rararesources #Timeslip #HistFic #ContemporaryFiction #Adventure #Mystery #Family #Secrets #Betrayal #Loss #friendship #romance #BlogTour #BookReview #TheStormGirl #Mudeford

A heartbreaking choice. A secret kept for centuries.

1784. When Esther Harris’s father hurts his back, she takes over his role of helping smugglers hide contraband in the secret cellar in their pub. But when the free traders’ ships are trapped in the harbour, a battle between the smugglers and the revenue officers leads to murder and betrayal – and Esther is forced to choose between the love of her life and protecting her family…

Present day. Fresh from her divorce, Millie Galton moves into a former inn overlooking the harbour in Mudeford and plans to create her dream home. When a chance discovery behind an old fireplace reveals the house’s secret history as a haven for smugglers and the devastating story of its former residents, could the mystery of disappearance from centuries ago finally be solved?

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I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher.

My Thoughts…

In a dual timeline story set in Mudeford near Christchurch in Dorset, divorced, Millie moves into an old historic former Inn needing renovation; as the work progresses, the house begins to give up its secrets. In 1784 Ester lives and works in the Inn at Mudeford. She and many townsfolk are involved in smuggling. The sense of betrayal and danger immerses the reader in the historical part of this story. Historical details vibrantly bring 1784 Mudeford to life. The Inn is the link between the past and present, and the two interwoven timelines create an engaging story full of adventure, mystery and romance.

I love the clever plotting that links the two time periods, the believable characters and the mystery to be solved.

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe but her home is Mudeford, where this novel is set.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, New Books, Saga

A Ration Book Victory Jean Fullerton 5*#Review @AtlanticBooks @CorvusBooks @JeanFullerton_ #HistoricalRomance #WW2 #EastEnd #London #1944 #Secrets #Lies #BlogTour #saga #Family #Friendship #Rationing #HistFic #RationBookSeries @rararesources #BookReview #Giveaway #ARationBookVictory

Jean Fullerton, the RNA-shortlisted queen of the East End, returns with the final nostalgic and heart-warming story of the Brogan family.

In the final days of the war, only love will pull her through . . .

Queenie Brogan wasn’t always an East End matriarch. Many years ago, before she married Fergus, she was Philomena Dooley, a daughter of Irish Travellers, planning to wed her childhood sweetheart, Patrick Mahone. But when tragedy struck and Patrick’s narrow-minded sister, Nora, intervened, the lovers were torn apart.

Fate can be cruel, and when Queenie arrives in London she finds that Patrick Mahon is her parish priest and that the love she had tried to suppress flares again in her heart.


But now in the final months of WW2, Queenie discovers Father Mahon is dying and must face losing him forever. Can she finally tell him the secret she has kept for over fifty years or will Nora once again come between them?

And if Queenie does decide to finally tell Patrick, could the truth destroy the Brogan family?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The final chapter in the ration book series is predominately set in 1944 and explores the approaching end of WW2 and how it affects the Brogan family. The main focus is on Queenie, the matriarch who has a touching romance and tragic loss in her early life. Queenie’s viewpoint alternates between her early years in Ireland in the late nineteenth century and her present life in the East End of London in 1944.

Queenie’s story poignantly told shows how she became the woman she is, particularly her strength of character and love of her family. Billy also has a storyline that gives him defining character development.

I love the family dynamic, the flawed characters that give the story its humour and heartache and the wonderfully described setting that comes to life on every page.

Jean Fullerton

Born and bred in East London Jean is a District Nurse by trade and has worked as an NHS manager and as a senior lecturer in Health and Nursing Studies. She left her day job to become a full-time writer in 2015 and has never looked back.

In 2006 she won the Harry Bowling Prize and now has seventeen sagas published over three series all of which are set in East London.

She is an experienced public speaker with hundreds of WI and women’s club talks under her belt, plus for the past fifteen years, she has sailed all over the world as an enrichment speaker and writing workshop leader on cruise ships.

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Giveaway to Win one of 6 signed copies of A Ration Book Victory (Open to UK Only)

Click on this link to enter the giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the giveaway link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for the despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Paranormal, Romance

The Belladonna Maze Sinéad Crowley 5* #Review @SCrowleyAuthor @SineadCrowley @HoZ_Books #literaryfiction #dualtimeline #gothic #fantasy #mystery #romance #histfic #TheBelladonnaMaze #IrishFiction #supernatural #BookReview

An old house can hold many secrets. Hollowpark in the west of Ireland certainly does. At the heart of the gardens is an intricate maze, named after a deadly poison, Belladonna. If you know the way through, it’s magical, a hiding place and playground like no other. If you don’t, it’s a place of fear and sinister riddles, where a young girl once went missing and was never seen again.

Grace comes to Hollowpark as a nanny for young Skye FitzMahon. Soon the mysterious past of Hollowpark has seduced her. Who is the woman she sometimes glimpses in an upstairs window? Or the apparition who keeps showing up unexpectedly, pleading, ‘Find me.’ And how can she fight her growing attraction to Skye’s father?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Beginning with a telling incident in The Belladonna Maze in 1825, this story alternates between the nineteenth century and 2007. It is an absorbing medley of literary fiction with gothic and supernatural elements.

Lyrical and full of vibrant characters and vivid imagery, the story weaves its magic on the reader, immersing them in the maze and its secrets. It reads like a contemporary fairytale, and the reader is never sure what is fact and what is fantasy. Belladonna is known for its hallucinatory effects.

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

Miss Aldridge Regrets Louise Hare 4*#Review @LouRHare @HQStories #murdermystery #histfic #BookReview #BlogTour #London #socialhistory #political #AtlanticCrossing #NewYork #1930s #1936 #crimefiction #historicalcrimefiction #MissAldridgeRegrets

London, 1936

Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn’t worked out. Instead, she’s stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho and her married lover has just left her. She has nothing to look forward to until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York. 
 
After a murder at the club, the timing couldn’t be better and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. Until death follows her onto the ship and she realises that her greatest performance has already begun.

Because someone is making manoeuvres behind the scenes, and there’s only one thing on their mind…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Set in the classic age of murder mystery, the Atlantic crossing aboard a luxury liner provides the setting for a locked room mystery. The murder mystery is only one aspect of this multilayered novel that explores the social history of the time evocatively, mainly centring on class, politics, and race.

Lena’s career has not developed despite her obvious talent and tenacity. London in 1936 is rife with prejudice and extreme politics making Lena’s position precarious. An offer of a role in New York comes at the right time. Possibly implicated in a murder leaving town seems the best option for Lena. Life on the luxury liner is not what she imagined as beneath the glamour, danger, deceit, and depravity simmer, waiting to destroy her.

I like how the social-historical issues explored give this story a literary fiction feel. Interwoven with the well-written classical murder mystery, it has depth and originality that resonates.

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

The Secrets of Summer House Rachel Burton 5*Review @RachelBWriter @AriaFiction #TheSecretsofSummerHouse @HoZ_Books #family #secrets #relationships #loss #mothersanddaughters #mentalhealth #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview

The secrets of Summer House are about to come out at last…

1976. Rushing out of the University Library, undergraduate Alice Kenzie bumps straight into PhD student Tristan Somers. There begins a whirlwind romance, and Alice falls pregnant and gives birth to a baby girl. Then Tristan is killed in a car accident. Unable to cope, Alice takes her baby to Summer House, Tristan’s family home in Suffolk, leaves her there and disappears.

2018. Olivia Somers has always been told that her mother died in the same accident as her father. But when she finds a bundle of old letters in Summer House, everything she ever believed about her mother is called into question. Can she find her – and even more importantly, forgive her?

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I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus- Aria via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Atmospheric, emotional and full of well-crafted characters, this dual timeline novel grips the reader from the first page and immerses them in the two hot summers of 1976 and 2018. Both stories are intriguing, and they give the reader insight into both women’s emotions and lives. There is an underlying mystery that weaves itself around the house, an immersive setting in both timelines.

Character-driven this story explores familial relationships and mental health issues and the differences in acceptance, attitudes and expectations in 1976 and 2018. There are many poignant scenes in both Alice’s and Olivia’s lives. Olivia’s quandary over whether to look for her mother and her feelings towards her are particularly emotional.

The passion and romance shine through in each woman’s life, as do the tragic events. I enjoyed the characters’ authenticity and the details and sensory imagery that bring this story to life.

Rachel Burton

Rachel Burton has been making up stories for as long as she can remember and always dreamed of being a writer until life somehow got in the way. After reading for a degree in Classics and another in English Literature she accidentally fell into a career in law, but eventually managed to write her first book on her lunch breaks. Now she writes from a small bedroom looking out over hydrangeas, lavender bushes and rambling roses, in a little house in Yorkshire that she shares with her husband and their three cats. She loves words, Shakespeare, tea, The Beatles, dresses with pockets and very tall romantic heroes (not necessarily in that order).

Find her on Instagram as @RachelBWriter or follow her blog at rachelburtonwrites.com.

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