Photographer Gianna is done with men. Retreating to her villa on the shore of Lake Como… she is stunned to find gorgeous Dario renting her house! When Dario is mistaken for her long-gone fiancé, they realise a fake engagement could solve problems for them both. Pretending to be in love should be easy, but what happens when very real feelings start to grow?
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A lovely romantic story where the couple’s slow-burn attraction deepens into an emotional commitment. The fake engagement trope is well-written with plenty of internal conflicts. The family interference which affects the couple is believable and adds additional external conflicts for their happy ever after.
Gianna and Dario are easy to like you empathise with their problems, which are convincingly written. Tito, the dog, is an engaging character who initiates their first encounter and proves to be a redoubtable matchmaker.
This is a gentle romantic story full of emotion and humour.
With its sweeping sandy beaches and rolling emerald hills, the island of St. Morwenna is an idyllic escape. But behind the perfectly pruned primroses and neighborly smiles a killer lies in wait…
When librarian Jemima Jago is offered the opportunity to catalogue Cornwall’s largest collection of antique shipwreck records it is a dream come true. The only problem? The collection is housed on the island of St. Morwenna, the childhood home she left years ago and vowed never to return to.
Shortly after Jem arrives back in town, island busybody and notorious grump Edith Reddy is found dead, with duct tape clamped over her mouth and nose. Jem, caught seemingly red-handed at the scene of the crime, mistakenly becomes the police’s number one suspect. The handsome Sergeant Hackman in particular can’t seem to leave Jem alone…
Jem must take matters into her own hands if she wants to clear her name. Snooping around Edith’s once-grand home, she is struck by the mess before her. The bedroom is completely ransacked and in the living room all the photographs have been removed from their frames. Was Edith’s death simply a break-in gone wrong, or is there more to the mystery that the police are missing?
Jem has a sharp eye for a clue and she soon realizes that many of the island’s eccentric residents had reason for wanting Edith out of the way. Could Declan, the curious café owner, or Bart, the fishy ferryman have killed Edith? Jem won’t rest until she uncovers the truth, but doing so will put her right in the killer’s line of sight…
A totally charming cozy mystery from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emma Jameson. Brimming with intrigue and warm humor,
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is a likeable murder mystery set on a fictional island in the Scilly Isles. Jemima Jago is a complex and flawed character who carries emotional damage from her previous time on the island where she now finds herself. Now a respectable librarian, she is hired to catalogue a library of rare local artefacts donated by a childhood friend still living on the island. Emotionally she is wary of returning, but the job is too good to surpass.
Her meeting with the nemesis who made her teenage years so difficult is not what she expected, but she still ends up looking guilty. Determined to face her past demons and clear her name, she becomes an amateur sleuth in a bid to find the culprit.
This is an intriguing murder mystery with an edgy main protagonist who appears to revert to her teenage persona when she encounters people from her past. She is likeable once you appreciate why she is so prickly. New friendships and possible romantic entanglements add authenticity and depth to this story. The islanders are quirky characters. There are numerous suspects, twists and a satisfying and suspenseful resolution.
When Izzie Dean’s beloved nan, Molly Blackshaw, passes away, Izzie returns to the Blackpool bungalow where she grew up, to say goodbye once and for all. When Izzie’s homecoming reunites her with her first love, Justin Swift, every emotion that Izzie has repressed since the day he broke her heart comes rushing to the surface. But then an unexpected discovery changes everything.
Between the pages of the battered secret diary Molly kept during WWII, Izzie discovers a story of love, heartbreak, and the incomparable hardship of life in a world at war. Reading her grandmother’s words soon puts her own story into perspective, and suddenly Izzie realises that the only thing holding her back from happiness, might be herself. Now she just has to convince Justin that they deserve a second chance at forever…
Lancashire born, I moved to Bedfordshire in the late seventies, married and started a family. I’m a past Hon Sec of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, have been a member since 1993 when I joined their New Writers’ Scheme as a probationer. That came about after winning a week’s historical writing course on the strength of the first chapter of my third Poldark-era romance. The tutor on the last day loved the story and handed me details of the Romantic Novelists’ Association – she said I absolutely must join as they would be able to help me towards publication.
Some four years later my first published book, Dark Canvas, won the RNA’s New Writer’s Award in 1997, the sixth, Illusions, won the RNA’s Romance Prize in 2003.
After working in the local library service for 18 years, during library cut-backs I took the leap to become self-employed as a writer and worked on releasing my backlist as eBooks for Kindle.
Most recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with amazing Charlotte Ledger when she pulled me from the writing wilderness and have now signed a three-book deal with One More Chapter.
There’s someone out there for everyone… you just need to know where to look…
All NEW from bestselling author Della Galton.
Unlucky in love Poppy Allen is the producer of a brand-new TV show, ‘Date for a Day’ – think ‘Take Me Out’ meets ‘It’s a Knockout’!
Lovelorn contestants must perform a series of seaside challenges to win the hand of the starring lady and a ‘Date for a Day’.
Left heartbroken when Stephen, her childhood sweetheart eloped with her best friend on her hen night – Poppy has no plans to risk her own heart again. Besides, she’s far too busy filming contestants against the backdrop of the beautiful Bluebell Cliff Hotel and the stunning Jurassic Dorset coastline.
However, when sabotage on set threatens to stop shooting, Poppy discovers soulmates can be found in the most unexpected places…
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set on the Dorset coast, this book focuses on Poppy, a film producer and a pilot for a reality TV dating show. This is topical contemporary fiction, and whilst I am not a fan of reality TV, going behind the scenes with Poppy and her film crew makes this absorbing reading.
Poppy is career orientated after being practically jilted at the altar. She has a supportive family who we discover lots about and good work friends, particularly Dave, her camera director. At the heart of this story is a lovely gentle friends-to-lovers romance that is heartwarming. There is also plenty of family drama which adds to the story and shows what a loving and loyal person Poppy is. The filming of the pilot of the Dating reality show is interesting full of humour and conflict, which adds authenticity to the story. The setting at Bluebell cliff brings cameos from some well-known characters and a wonderfully described setting.
This is a lovely, uplifting story, with family drama, glamour and romance.
Extract from Shooting Stars Over Bluebell Cliff – Della Galton
Poppy Allen took a gulp of the fresh, brine-scented air and shielded her eyes against the winter sunshine as she looked out across the strip of pale sand. It was warm for February and the sea was flat and calm. She wasn’t the only one making the most of the stunning early-morning weather. Out in the bay, a small boat towed a waterskier in a black wetsuit past Old Harry Rocks. He bounced across the navy sea and Poppy could hear the distant drone of the boat’s engine beneath the mewling cries of the gulls.
Her ankle boots sank into the powdery sand as she twirled slowly around. Wow, this was a beautiful location to film. In her mind’s eye, she saw a pair of chestnut horses cantering in slow motion through the surf into a sunset that painted the sky pink and gold and turned the sea all around into a mirror of rose-tinted glass.
Which way was west? She checked her smartphone. Oh God, it was perfect. The sun would set over Brownsea Island. They might be able to use this very stretch of beach for that part of her show.
People raved about Dorset’s beaches. Bournemouth drew the crowds, but, in her opinion, Studland Beach was better. It was wilder, with no neat prom and no pier. Just a backdrop of sand dunes dotted with scrubby grass that stretched away into the distance. It was so much more romantic than its staid sister, Bournemouth, certainly for what she had in mind.
Date for a Day, a new kind of dating show, was Poppy’s brainchild. Billed as a cross between Take Me Out and It’s a Knockout, it involved seven contestants participating in challenges to win the attention of the picker. Netflix had commissioned a pilot that would be shown in the autumn. Poppy was determined to make it a hit. Being a producer was all she’d ever wanted to do and she was passionate about her work.
Poppy turned back towards the chain ferry, which was docking again. It came from Sandbanks three times an hour and the crossing took four minutes. From her flat on Poole Quay, it was quicker to come by ferry. The alternative was a very scenic forty-minute drive (on a good day) through Wareham and the Isle of Purbeck.
The ferry disgorged a handful of cars from the 9 a.m. crossing. She had got the one before. She never slept much past dawn anyway. Dave would probably be on this one. It had been tricky to get him to agree to such an early start, especially as he was – technically – working for nothing today. This was a pre-recce excursion, prior to bringing in her full crew. She could have done it by herself, but she wanted a sounding board and Dave had agreed to keep her company after she’d caught him in a weak moment last week following a shoot.
She’d known Dave Blackwell for a lot longer than he’d been her preferred director of photography – they had worked for other production companies together before she’d set up her own, Beauty Spot Productions, eighteen months ago, and they’d become good friends. There was no one she trusted more to help her bring her dream to life.
Poppy felt a prickle of excitement run down her back as she looked around her. It might be too busy to film here, but there were other more secluded, even more beautiful, beaches in this bay.
She glanced back towards the National Trust car park and saw Dave’s old black Mercedes pulling in and parking beside her metallic-silver Jeep Renegade. Too impatient to wait, she set off to meet him.
Della Galton is the author of many books, including Ice and a Slice. She writes short stories, teaches writing groups and is Agony Aunt for Writers Forum Magazine. She lives in Dorset. Della’s new fiction series launched with Sunshine Over Bluebell Cliff in May 2020.
Vet Molly has always been career driven and focused on caring for her animals, but when she meets a gorgeous Mystery Man at a conference and their connection is off the charts, well, one night off work won’t hurt anyone…except the next morning he’s vanished and all Molly knows about him is his first name.
Three months later, back in Love Heart Lane, everyone loves the story of Molly’s amazing one-night stand. It’s so unlike her! But when Mystery Man turns up walking his dog through Primrose Park and their night together seems to mean nothing to him, Molly needs her friends and neighbours more than ever. And especially when she’s left with the most unexpected of surprises…
I received a copy of this book from One More Chapter and the author in return for an honest review.
Molly, the vet, is the focus for this story, set in and about the lovely village of Heartcross and the iconic Primose Park, where characters often meet. Even though it’s the sixth book in this lovely uplifting series, it reads well as a standalone. Each book focuses on a previously unexplored main protagonist.
Career-driven Molly has an uncharacteristic and unforgettable one night with Cam, who disappears afterwards without a word. They meet again in the park, but it’s not the dramatic reconciliation Molly wishes for.
This story is full of heartache and surprises. Molly needs to solve the mystery surrounding Cam. Contemporary issues are interwoven into the more lighthearted storylines, which give this story an authenticity that makes it enjoyable.
Christie Barlow is the number one international bestselling author of fifteen romantic comedies including the iconic Love Heart Lane Series, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Kitty’s Countryside Dream. She lives in a ramshackle cottage in a quaint village in the heart of Staffordshire with her four children and two dogs.
Her writing career has come as a lovely surprise when Christie decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. Christie’s dream was to become a writer and the book she wrote to prove a point went on to become a #1 international bestseller in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
When Christie isn’t writing she co-presents The Book Show on Radio Northwich, enjoys playing the piano, is a keen gardener and loves to paint and upcycle furniture.
Christie is an ambassador for the @ZuriProject alongside Patron of the charity, Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel. They raise money and awareness for communities in Uganda.
Christie loves to hear from her readers and you can get in touch via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Janey’s life becomes more disaster movie than romcom when the ruthless Becca steams in to manage Cheney House. Her job as head gardener in peril and her self-confidence in tatters, Janey must fight back. Finding an ally in Will, who’s more Clark Kent than Superman, it’s up to them to save the day while owner Clare is away having her Shirley Valentine moment. It doesn’t help that everyone is in love with the wrong people!
Why can’t people love the one who loves them back?
Will Cheney House survive – and will Janey ever get her When Harry Met Sally happy ending?
Find out in this warm-hearted romance from the author of the best-selling Millie Vanilla’s Cupcake Café, full of Gregory Peck look-a-likes, snowdrops, cake, and a cocker spaniel called Camilla.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Such a lovely uplifting read with a likeable and relatable main protagonist who really brings the story to life. Janey is the head gardener who loves her job and being at one with nature, she has a secret passion for a fellow worker, but it goes unrequited. The arrival of a new manager causes friction and heartache for Janey mitigated only by the numbers guy who has hidden depths.
This well-plotted story is set in a vibrant location with quirky characters and lots of information about plants. The romance is gentle, the humour delightful, and the conflict and drama make this addictive reading.
Georgia Hill writes warm-hearted and up-lifting contemporary and timeslip romances about love, the power and joy in being an eccentric oldie and finding yourself and your community. There’s always a dog. It’s usually a naughty spaniel of which, unfortunately, she has had much experience. Her books are firmly rooted in small seaside towns similar to the one she lives in and she loves history especially when it insists on rearing up and battering at the present.
As a child she had an invisible friend called Gonky who lived on the third stair from the bottom. As an adult her invisible friends inhabit her head and refuse to leave until she commits them to paper. Readers of her books can escape into a warm bath of words and, no matter what challenges her characters face they will, ultimately, have a happy ending.
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is atmospheric psychological suspense that explores friendship, relationships, and secrets. The Wild Girls, four friends who grew up together, all different personalities but a close-knit friendship group until the night they weren’t. Two years later and no one is in contact. A surprise invitation to celebrate a birthday in Botswana brings back memories, some good, others troubling, but will they go? Of course, they do and find themselves in a hostile environment which quickly turns toxic.
The suspense building is good, but not enough is made of the Botswanan location. Told in three parts from multiview points some first-person, others third-person. The secrets are gradually revealed as the events of their estrangement become clear. The three women are unreliable protagonists and hard to empathise with. The story is well-plotted, and the final chapters are particularly twisty and impactful.
Dot’s life has become a bit stuck. The big dreams she once had are beginning to fade away as she works each day in the Baker Street Lost Property office. Until one day someone enters her life and unlocks a new determination inside her. After all, everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Maybe now it’s Dot’s turn to be found…
Twelve years ago her life veered off course, and the guilt over what happened still haunts her. Before then she was living in Paris, forging an exciting career; now her time is spent visiting her mother’s care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.
But when elderly Mr Appleby arrives in search of his late wife’s purse, his grief stirs something in Dot. Determined to help, she sets off on a mission – one that could start to heal Dot’s own loss and let her find where she belongs once more…
I received a copy of this book from Transworld Digital via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A poignant and ultimately uplifting exploration of family, forgiveness, loss and memories. This gently paced story focuses on Dot, a young woman seemingly sidelined by life, but why? She is easy to empathise with, as she stumbles through life, with her keen insight, self-deprecating humour and sense of guilt.
The workings of a busy lost property office are vividly given life in this story, as every lost item has a history and is a cause of humour or sadness seen through Dot’s eyes. The structure and writing style are conducive to easy reading and immerse the reader in the characters and plot.
Contemporary issues concerning family, loss and mental health are woven into this lovely story, which follows Dot’s emotional journey of self-realisation to its positive conclusion and the realisation that some things are meant to be left behind.
Helen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction.
As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.
Lost Property is her first novel.
A note from Helen:
“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property, Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’
I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe, a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic, portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound.Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and linger there, if only for a moment.”
When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, she turns to her aunties for help. Their meddling set her up on the date so they kind of owe her.
Although hiding this goddamn dead body is going to be harder than they thought, especially when her family’s wedding business has THE biggest wedding of the year happening right now.
It turns out the wedding venue just happens to be managed by Meddy’s ex, aka the one who got away. It’s the worst time to see him again, or…is it? Can Meddy finally find love and make her overbearing family happy?
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story is a multigenerational delight, full of humorous incidents and vibrant characters. It has a little of everything culture, drama, fun, murder mystery and romance. The family curse means Meddy feels she can’t leave her mother and aunties, as their husbands and sons have, but this has consequences for Meddy, which become clear as the story progresses.
This story is a journey of self-realisation for Meddy, who has changed the course of life for her female relatives. It also explores the concept of family and the willingness to do anything for a loved one. The visual writing style makes the comic and dramatic events easy to visualise and therefore more engaging. The dialogue is key to the enjoyment in a novel that is the perfect escape.
Your daughter is missing. Did someone close to you take her?
Seven-year-old Beatrice has gone missing. Her mother Claire’s whole world has been turned upside down in just one moment and she can’t stop shaking. She’s desperate to find her precious daughter, but nothing about the day she disappeared makes sense…
The mother-in-law: Jill was meant to be looking after Beatrice. She says she didn’t take her eyes off the little girl but her version of events doesn’t add up… Claire has never got on with her, so why should she trust her now?
The husband: He should have been with their only child. Instead, he changed the plans without telling Claire. She didn’t think there were any secrets between them, but maybe she was wrong?
The first wife: Laurel has always been jealous of Claire’s family. Has her husband’s ex-wife taken her daughter?
Which one of them is lying? And who really knows where Beatrice is?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley in return for an honest review..
This is a compelling read. The author’s ability to take a traumatic incident and weave an ethos of menace and suspense is what makes her stories so addictive. Told from multi viewpoints, the reader gains insight into the two unreliable protagonists and the unknown antagonist.
The family unit is scrutinised, and the devastation a missing child causes is convincingly written. The believably written relationship dynamics immerse the reader into the characters’ traumatised world. The story keeps its secrets well, and although I did work out the antagonist, the author still has the final word.