Summer is on the horizon, and the people of Porthmellow are eagerly awaiting the annual food festival. At least, most of them are…
For Sam Lovell, organising the summer festival in her hometown is one of the highlights of her year. It’s not always smooth sailing, but she loves to see Porthmellow’s harbour packed with happy visitors, and being on the committee has provided a much-needed distraction from the drama in her family life (and the distinct lack of it in her love life).
When their star guest pulls out with only a few weeks to go, everyone’s delighted when a London chef who grew up locally steps in at the last minute. But Gabe Matthias is the last person Sam was expecting to see, and his return to Porthmellow will change her quiet coastal life forever.
Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The author’s love of Cornwall and all things Cornish is evident in this story. The characters of Porthmellow harbour are authentic, and all have a story to tell and secrets to keep.
Sam loves the food festival, it gives her a focus away from the family drama and helps promote the harbour town she loves. Sam and Gabe have history and working in close proximity threaten more than the festival.
Lots of characters and a taste of their stories make this a complex but interesting book. You know that you will meet them again as the series progresses.
At its heart, this is a story of community, the inherent closeness that means everyone takes an interest in each other’s life, sometimes this is intrusive, sometimes comical but nearly always well meant and important for the harbour to survive.
A charming story full of heart, secrets and love, looking forward to the next one.
Kenzie Fox is ready to sell her stake in a rum distillery until she discovers the buyer is Antonio Navedo, the arrogant stranger she’s just shared a steamy night with. Furious, she changes her mind and proposes a sexy wager instead: if she can turn the business around, she gets the distillery. If she fails he gets her shares – and anything he wants in the bedroom…including her heart
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
‘Take Me On’ is more erotica than erotic romance, a series of explicit, risque liaisons linked together with a plot featuring a woman who believes ‘it’s possible to turn round any business opportunity, even if you have no knowledge of the basics of the business.
It’s not a bad read, the chemistry between Antonio and Kenzie is hot, but I like there to be a love story too. The romance and the emotional involvement seems to be more of an add on here, than an intrinsic part of the book.
Drake Faulkner would have given anything to marry Kenzie Porter, but his Army buddy best friend Sam got there first. Drake’s avoided Kenzie in the years since Sam was killed in action—he doesn’t trust himself around her. But when she turns up begging for a job at his hotel, Drake struggles to resist temptation. Their powerful chemistry feels risky, but that only makes it harder to stay away…
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The perfect story, if you like your romance hot, your female protagonist realistic, and your male protagonist, sexy but tortured.
Kenzie is a fighter, not through choice, but to ensure she builds a future for her sister Tilly, after their parents’ death. Losing her husband is one more hurt to come to terms with, and she does, but now she needs a chance to shine, and only Drake, her dead husband’s best friend can provide the opportunity, but will he?
Kenzie is Drake’s weakness and always has been. He lost out to his best friend and has hidden his feelings ever since, even when his friend died and she needed him. Now she wants his help, but can he take the risk?
The characters are believable, complex and easy to like and they have a shared history, but this proves problematic when platonic feelings give way to passion. The attraction is mutual and sensual demonstrated by the explicit love scenes, but can they have a future together, amongst the guilt, and fear?
The pacing is fast and mirrors the incendiary attraction between Kenzie and Drake, but this story has depth, emotion and heartbreaking romance. What more do you need from your romantic fiction?
Lifelong romance addict JC Harroway lives in New Zealand. Writing feeds her very real obsession with happy endings and the endorphin rush they create. Website
They thought they were friends for life – until one summer, everything changed . . .
Linston End on the Norfolk Broads has been the holiday home to three families for many years. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together.
But widower Alastair has been faced with a few of life’s surprises recently. Now, he is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all. For some, it feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning . . .
I received a copy of this book from Orion Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
When you look at a group of friends what do you see? The answer is you only see what they want you to. Rather like a swan in the water, the surface may seem smooth and easy going, but underneath the water, there is a furious paddling of feet, and turmoil, hidden from the casual observer.
‘ Swallowtail Summer’ is like this, three friends who have known each other since they were young, spend holidays together at a beautiful house in Norfolk, later they include their wives and eventually for some of them their offspring, but then someone dies and the following year even though they know it will be different they are unprepared for how different.
The beginning of the story introduces the characters; shows how they interact with each other and reveals some of their motivations. Even though this is a lot to assimilate and is slow-paced, it’s worth persevering, as it makes the rest of the book easier to follow. Allowing you to appreciate the complex characters and their diversity and secrets.
It is interesting to see how the characters interact, and how the group dynamics remain largely unchanged until Orla dies. This life event forces the group to change. The story’s essence is, will the friendships and family relations survive the need to change?
All of the characters are realistically flawed and many are not likeable, but this doesn’t detract from the story, just makes it more realistic. One of their favourite holiday activities is to search for Swallowtail butterflies. Their elusive quality equates to the finiteness of happiness, love and youth. It makes the story an interesting, but poignant read, with a lovely Summertime, feel.
When Isabella Jenkins is unceremoniously fired from her fancy London job, she escapes to Tuscany. A few weeks hiding amongst rolling hills and grape vines at Villa Limoncello sounds exactly like the distraction she needs.
But Italy holds emotional memories for Izzy and with a hapless handyman, a matchmaking village matriarch and a gorgeous – if infuriating – local chef named Luca Castelotti, her quiet Italian getaway turns into an unending cacophony of chaos.
Suddenly Izzie finds herself on a mission to pull off the wedding of the century and maybe get her life in order in the process. If only Luca’s gorgeous smile wasn’t such a powerful distraction…
Guest Post -Daisy James-Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello
First of all, a huge thank you for
having me as a guest on your blog. It’s great to be here to tell you about my
brand-new book Wedding Bells at Villa Limoncello.
Anyone who has read one of my books
will know that I love writing stories with a strong sense of place and Villa
Limoncello series is no exception. I spent an amazing few days in Tuscany last
year and loved it so much I just knew I had to write a story that was set
I had a fabulous time researching the
area around Florence; the art, the history, the culture, the traditions, the
scenic towns and villages, the vineyards, but mainly the cuisine! Italy is
famous for its fabulous pizzas and pasta dishes, and its amazing wine – think
prosecco and Chianti – but it’s also well-known for its delicious desserts from
tiramisu to cannoli, from panforte to the many flavours of gelato – blue cheese
and walnut flavour anyone?
In Wedding bells at Villa Limoncello,
Izzie is asked to organise a film shoot at a care-worn villa in the Tuscan
hills where she meets Luca who is a chef at the local trattoria. This gave me
the chance to investigate the recipes particular to the area, as well as the
passion with which Italians approach every aspect of their food – after all,
Italy is where the ‘slow-food’ movement started as a reaction to the creeping
invasion of ‘fast food’. I even read about one family who hadn’t spoken to
their neighbours for twenty years because they put parsley in their minestrone
– there’s passion for you!
As Luca bakes up a storm in the
story, I couldn’t include a culinary scene without having taste-tested the
recipes myself, so I set about having a go at some of the many desserts that
Italy, and especially Tuscany, is famous for. My attempt at ice cream – apricot
and amaretto flavour with crushed biscotti went down very well even though it
didn’t set properly. I then moved on the baking a batch of ricciarelli which are oval-shaped biscuits made with almonds and
dusted in icing sugar – absolutely delicious.
However, my favourite recipe has to
be limoncello tiramisu. It was the perfect dessert for a summer barbeque and
I’ve made it many times because it is so easy to make – no baking required!
Here’s Izzie’s recipe:
Izzie’s Limoncello Tiramisu
100g caster sugar
Zest & juice of 3 lemons
500ml double cream
10g icing sugar
100g lemon curd
200g sponge fingers
Place the caster sugar, water and the zest and juice of two lemons into a small pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add half the limoncello and simmer until syrupy. Set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone until smooth, then add the double cream, the remaining limoncello, the zest and juice of the remaining lemon and the lemon curd and stir together.
Carefully soak the sponge fingers with the syrup and placed in the base of a ceramic dish, or individual glass dessert dishes, then spoon over a generous helping of the cream mixture and repeat, finishing off with a sprinkle of finely grated lemon zest and a dusting of finely grated milk chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours. Serve with home-made limoncello cocktails.
I received a copy of this book from Canelo in return for an honest review.
A lovely sad heroine, who is unable to come to terms with losing her twin, a cast of authentic Italians and a Summery, vivid setting, combine to make this romcom a must-read summer book.
Izzy is an interior designer, but after the untimely loss of her twin, she is full of guilt, grief and greyness. This reflects in all aspects of her life. When fate intervenes with an opportunity to stage a fake wedding in Tuscany, she decides to live a little and grasp the opportunity to put some colour and zest back in her drab life.
I loved that each chapter began with a little phrase and a colour, it set the scene and chartered Izzy’s moods perfectly. The plot is simple and the pacing gently, both fitting in with a lighthearted, but sometimes poignant romantic comedy, set in a place full of colour and visual imagery.
The balance of comedy and romance is perfect, and the setting is full of sunshine, it makes you feel warmer and happier with every chapter. With the added bonus of lovely food and more complications than you could ever imagine, this book would make a great film. I look forward to the next in the series of the #TuscanTrilogy.
Daisy James is a Yorkshire girl transplanted to the northeast of England. She loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. When not scribbling away in her summerhouse, she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something pink and fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.
Primrose Farm is Rachel’s very own slice of heaven. Come rain or shine there’s always a pot of tea brewing by the Aga, the delicious aroma of freshly baked puddings, and a chorus of happy memories drifting through the kitchen.
But the farm is in a spot of trouble. As the daffodils spring, Rachel must plant the seeds of change if she wants to keep the farm afloat, and it’s all resting on a crazy plan. She’ll need one family cookbook, her Mum Jill’s baking magic – and a reason to avoid her distractingly gorgeous neighbour, Tom . . .
Swapping their wellies for aprons, can Rachel and Jill bake their way into a brighter future? The proof will be in the pudding!
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’, is a lovely mix of family drama, friendship, romance and humour, with a sprinkling of poignant life experiences that may have you reaching for the tissues.
Not surprisingly, it is full of delicious puddings, as Rachel and her mother strive to find a way of keeping the family farm. There is an empowering, female family dynamic, spanning four generations, which withstands the heartache and tragedy the Swinton women have to face.
The story’s romance grows from an interesting take on the ‘boy next door’ trope. Tom, the attractive farmer at the neighbouring farm is always there to help out, Rachel grew up with him, so he can only ever be a friend, can’t he? The romance is sweet but embroiled in conflict. Is it worth losing their longstanding friendship for a chance of something deeper but riskier?
The Swinton women are easy to like, and all have a strength of character born out of adversity and familial love. They are believable and are written so that you can visualise them and become invested in their future happiness.
The authentic setting in a North Northumberland farming community is another attractive aspect of this book, I love this area and the descriptions and ethos of the community recounted in this story, make it an even more enjoyable read.
Written in addictive, short chapters that get you hooked, each has a title that includes a pudding or cake, which gives the story an added appeal but also makes you reach for the cake tin.
There is a clever connection between the puddings and the emotion of the story. Warm, soft Brownies equating to a warm, empathic friend. Sweet Sticky Toffee Pudding, synonymous with a comforting, conversation with your family.
The perfect holiday read, ‘Rachel’s Pudding Pantry’, delivers a well-paced story about family, friends, loyalty and love, against a background of community, hard work, heartbreak, and heartwarming romance, as the Swinton women learn how to adapt to change, to secure their family legacy.
Q&A with Caroline Roberts – Rachel’s Pudding Pantry
Is there a specific place or moment that inspired you to create The Pudding Pantry?
I think the initial spark was when I saw an image in a
magazine of a lovely stone barn that had been converted into beautiful cottages
in Northumberland, and I also knew of tearooms and farm shops that have been
created in old farm buildings in the area. I was interested in the idea of diversification
in farming, and the need for Rachel and her family to take this step to give
Primrose Farm a future. It was lovely to imagine how The Pudding Pantry would
look once finished, and what a cosy, welcoming place it would become, full of
scrumptious bakes and cakes.
What did you most enjoy about writing this novel (apart from sampling some delicious puddings of course!)?
The romance! How can I not mention the gorgeous next-door farmer, Tom? There is even a rather wonderful, Poldark-style chest-bearing moment that takes Rachel rather by surprise. We see the relationship grow between Rachel and Tom, despite age differences and being farming neighbours, and it’s lovely how that romance unfolds between them, I enjoyed writing that.
And what were some of your absolute favourite puddings that you sampled along the way?
It’s been such hard research, hah, but somebody had to do it!! Sticky toffee pudding is up there as one of my all-time favourites, and I do love a pavlova with summer fruits, the raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake I adapted myself and was very pleased with the result, Susan Green’s Ginger Pudding is a delight, and you obviously can’t beat some gorgeous apple crumble – I like mine with a little warming spice and cream.
We love seeing photos of your gorgeous dog Jarvis on twitter! Does he help or hinder your writing routine?
Hah, at the moment he is still only nine months old, so I
have to admit when I need to settle quietly to write at home, he just wants to
play and is a bit of hindrance, bless him. But when we are out and about on our
walks together, I do get inspired by the landscapes and changing seasons around
me. Both Jarvis and my last dog, Meg, who are cocker spaniels, inspire my
doggie characters – being Alfie, the spaniel, in the Chocolate Shop books and now
Moss, the wonderful border collie, in Rachel’s Pudding Pantry.
And has your writing routine changed over the course of your career?
I’ve had to become more focussed with my writing; having
written seven books in four years. So, I have my own writing room – in the
small bedroom. I also have a proper chair and desk now, rather than writing in
the conservatory or at the kitchen table as my back was beginning to feel it.
But I can write anywhere if need be, as I still write my first draft of each
scene longhand then type it up later. If inspiration strikes, I can often be
found up at 3am jotting down notes or even whole lines of dialogue that just
appear in my head in the middle of the night – strange but true!
What would you most like for readers to take away from Rachel’s Pudding Pantry?
I’d like my readers to be able to escape for a while into
Rachel’s world, with a heart-warming read that feels like a hug in a book.
Rachel’s Pudding Pantry, like your previous novels, is so joyful and warm. However, it does still tackle some serious issues. How do you balance writing about things like grief without taking away from the uplifting nature of your stories?
I want my books to reflect real life with all its trials and
tribulations, which I know can be so very hard at times, so I’m not afraid to
explore the impact of grief and loss. However, I am a very optimistic person
and I strongly believe in the power of love, family, and friendship, to help us
heal and in being kind to ourselves too. That’s where the journey of the story
and our lives take us, and I want readers to feel there is always hope.
Caroline Roberts lives in the wonderful Northumberland countryside with her husband and credits the sandy beaches, castles and rolling hills around her as inspiration for her writing. She enjoys writing about relationships; stories of love, loss and family, which explore how beautiful and sometimes complex love can be. A slice of cake, glass of bubbly and a cup of tea would make her day – preferably served with friends! She believes in striving for your dreams, which led her to a publishing deal after many years of writing.
When bestselling romance author Chloe Piper’s marriage implodes a week before Christmas, she flees her cheating ex and the village gossips for the solitude of the newly built Sunny Meadow Farm and the company of her hapless dog, Ronnie.
But Chloe is soon pushed out of her comfort zone. Because with a lively development building crew – headed up by charmingAlex – and a larger-than-life neighbour determined to make Chloe’s love life her pet project, Chloe finds herself in a whole new world of chaos…
Faith drained her glass and released a lengthy contented
sigh. The log burner was still glowing orange, and shadows danced across the
floor where Ronnie now lay asleep.
‘You made the right decision to
leave Appletree and start again,’ said Faith, holding onto the stem of her
glass and eyeing it as if it might magically refill itself. ‘This house is much
nicer than your old one and William’s a complete tosser.’
Chloe didn’t respond. She was mellow
thanks to the champagne and reality was replacing the excitement of moving. It
felt strange being in a house without the memorabilia she’d been used to having
around her – the funny animal sculptures she and William had bought together
from a local artist, the teapot collection she’d started, the paintings and photographs
on their walls she’d looked at every day for the last ten years. It was gone.
The smell of the old place, the familiar creaks she’d become accustomed to: the
birds that nested every year under their guttering, the crackle of the fire in
their large open fireplace and the way she’d sink into the cushions on their
old settee were now memories and she had yet to make new ones to replace them.
It would take time. William was also memory now – a bittersweet memory.
‘It won’t last,’ Faith continued,
referring to William’s relationship with Lilly, the Swedish bombshell who was
now part of her soon-to-be ex-husband’s life. Chloe knew her friend was trying
to be supportive but she didn’t want to discuss William’s latest girlfriend.
Whether it lasted or not was irrelevant – the fact was he’d cheated on her and
not just the once. Before Lilly, there’d been others and poor dumb Chloe had
been too stupid to realise. She threw Faith a smile and pushed herself into a
‘Wine?’ she said.
Faith waved her glass in response.
Chloe caught sight of her reflection
in the large windows as she walked through to the kitchen. She ought to draw
the curtains but there was no one to overlook the house, and by the door, she
halted. There was no light pollution at all. The sky was never as inky black as
this in Appletree. There’d always been pavements illuminated by street lights
or light from people’s homes leaking into the manicured front gardens, or car
headlights strobing up and down the road. This was darkness like she’d never
experienced before and yet it wasn’t dark. As her eyes grew accustomed to it,
she saw the sky was dotted with thousands… no, millions of pinpricks of lights
from stars, and the sudden realisation took her breath away. This was
magnificent. Faith shouted out. ‘Oy, where’s that wine? You haven’t gone in
search of the sexy carpenter, have you?’ She followed her comment with a hearty
She turned from the door, catching again a glimpse of her face – pale, heart-shaped and framed with long dark brown hair – a face that had aged ten years in the last ten months. She’d never been what anyone would call pretty but she’d looked well and now-now she just looked drained. William had sucked all the joy from her, little by little at first and then towards the end, in huge amounts. If it hadn’t been for the success of her novel and Faith’s friendship, she’d have gone under. She turned away and grabbed the chilled wine from the fridge door, reached for a corkscrew in the top drawer and smiled: she’d gone to the drawer automatically, instinctively as if she’d lived here far longer than a few hours. She took it as a sign that she’d be fine and yanking the cork from the bottle she raised it victoriously towards the lounge.
‘You want a fresh glass?’
‘Damn right I do… fetch those ones
that look like fish bowls.’
Chloe grinned. Faith was already semi-drunk and would soon be demanding they opened the karaoke app on her mobile and had a sing-along. And why not? The house would probably enjoy it.
I received a copy of this book from Canelo via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A charming romantic comedy, with a sensitive and serious look at social anxiety disorder and its disabling effects. Christmas looms dark and dangerous for Chloe, whose husband has recently left her. A successful debut author, who suffers from anxiety, Chloe is horrified when she is identified as the author CJ Knight, and can no longer find the anonymity she needs in her village. Moving to a new development in rural Staffordshire appeals but is it too remote? Will she master her writer’s block? Can she survive Christmas with only Ronnie the dog for company?
The characters in the new development and those she meets in the singles club are complex, with their own emotional baggage but believable, there are no stereotypes here, only reflections of the people you may encounter in your daily life. The story charts Chloe’s battle against her anxiety, her courage as she learns to trust others and her emotional journey to rebuild her self-esteem through writing her second book.
There are lots of conflicts, as the genre demands, both internal and external, and many hilarious moments, especially involving Ronnie the dog. The story is gently paced and as Chloe is a likeable character you want her to find true happiness, and learn to live her life fully. There are elements in this story that many readers will relate to, which make this more than just a lighthearted love story.
A clever balance of romance, laughs and poignancy make this an enjoyable read.
As a child, Carol Wyer was always moving and relied on humour to fit in at new schools. A funny short story won her popularity, planting the seed of becoming a writer. Her career spans dry cleaning, running a language teaching company, and boxercise coaching. Now writing full-time, Carol has several books published and journalism in many magazines.
Carol won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015), and can sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth.
India, 1926: English Margaret arrives with her new husband Suraj at his family home, set amidst beautiful rolling hills, the air filled with the soft scent of spices and hibiscus flowers. Margaret is unwelcome, homesick and lonely, but her maid Archana, a young woman from an impoverished family, reminds her of her long-lost sister, a tiny glimpse of home in a faraway place.
As Margaret and Archana spend more time together, an unexpected friendship blooms. But in British India the divide between rich and poor, English and Indian, is wide, and the clash between Margaret’s modern views and the weight of tradition on Archana will lead to devastating results…
England, 2000:Emma is at a crossroads. She has discovered the lie at the heart of her relationship, and she worries over the right choice to make for herself and her beloved daughter. When her grandmother gives her a mysterious painting, and asks her to take a message of forgiveness to an old friend in India, Emma is relieved to have some time and space to make a decision about her future. But as she fulfils her grandmother’s wish, a secret kept for over seventy years is finally revealed – the story of a day spent painting by a stream full of water lilies, where a betrayal tore three lives apart forever…
Will the weight of her grandmother’s regrets push Emma towards a mistake that will stay with her forever, or give her the courage she needs to make the right choice?
I received a copy of this book from bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
‘The Girl in the Painting’ and all of this author’s books are always thought provoking, rich in literary and visual imagery, full of historical detail, and unashamedly emotional. They are a true escapist read, written for the pleasure of writing, and this love and dedication comes across in every word.
The plot is divided between the early twentieth century, particularly the 1920s in England and India, and the end of the twentieth century when Margaret, at the end of her life, asks her grandaughter, Emma, also at a crossroads in her life to seek out an old friend and right a wrong.
The historical plot moves between England from Margaret’s perspective and India from Archana’s perspective, the stories seem so divergent, there are common threads, but it’s only in the late 1920s, when the two women’s lives become inextricably joined.
The story highlights the culturial differences from a unique point of view and allows the reader to better understand , what from a westen perspective may seem unthinkable. The similarites in the outlook and empowerment of women is also explored in this story. At the time when English women were campaigning for equality. They were in many ways as powerless to determine their own destiny, as the women in India at that time. The importance of sisters in their lives, is another thing Margaret and Archana have in common.
The characters are relatable and easy to empathise, you feel their pain and guilt and want them to find some solace. All three women and those who touch their lives are changed by heartbreak.
The historical detail gives the story depth and vivacity, whether it be in India or England, where Margaret tastes life with ‘The Bloomsbury Group, artists and writers who care little for social conventions and eptiomise the 1920s in England.
‘The Girl in the Painting’ is an emotional, evocative , escapist journey for everyone who likes to lose themselves in a story..
An elderly resident of an inner-city tower block is brutally attacked and left for dead. Her neighbours, a pregnant alcoholic, a vulnerable youth, a failed actress and a cameraman with a dark secret, are thrown together in their search for answers. Misfits and loners, they are forced to confront uncomfortable realities about themselves and each other, as their investigation leads them towards the shocking finale.
I received a copy of this book from Blackbird Books in return for an honest review.
A chilling act of violence on a defenceless person is the starting point for ‘The Lonely Hearts Crime Club. The setting is a sixties style tower block, mainly used for social housing, The residents all have a story, revealed as the book progresses.
All the characters except one know the victim, they all feel threatened in some respect by what happened. Out of adversity comes a camaraderie that is realistic and poignant. Complex, recognisable, but not stereotypical characters are the driving force of this story. We learn their stories in a format reminiscent of ‘talking heads’ and the angst, heartbreak and ultimately self-realisation is enthralling.
The mystery of what happened at Shenstone tower is well-written, all the characters in the story could be guilty. There is a clever twist almost halfway through, which makes you believe that someone else may have the answers to the mystery.
Ella, Ethan, Birdie and Willian are the unlikely sleuths, but they want to find the attacker and driven by Ella, they try to piece together who the attacker is and the motives behind the crime.
The main characters’vulnerability draws them to each other, they find strength in shared mutual experience, and although heartbreakingly vulnerable alone, together they are strong and effective.
The clues are subtle but meaningful and gradually the mystery resolves in a believable, satisfying way.
A powerful, poignant story. The ending is so sad, but something hopeful emerges for the majority of ‘The Lonely Hearts Crime Club’ members.
Tanya Bullock is a college lecturer, writer and award-winning filmmaker. She lives in the UK with her husband and two young children. She has a passion for foreign culture and languages (inherited from her French mother) and, in her youth, travelled extensively throughout Australia, America, Asia and Europe. As a filmmaker, she has gained local recognition, including funding and regional television broadcast, through ITV’s First Cut scheme, two nominations for a Royal Television Society Midlands Award, and, in 2010, a Royal Television Society Award in the category of best promotional film. On maternity leave in 2011 and in need of a creative outlet, Tanya began to write That Special Someone, the story of a mother’s quest to help her learning-disabled daughter find love. It was a finalist for The People’s Book Prize and The Beryl Bainbridge First Time Author Award 2016. Her second novel, Homecoming, a love story with an unexpected twist, was published in 2016. The Lonely Hearts Crime Club is Tanya’s third novel. A psychological thriller with a shocking finale, it will be published in the spring of 2019. All of Tanya’s novels are published by Blackbird Digital Books.
Big-hearted, hilarious and exuberantly life-affirming, The Rosie Result is a story of overcoming life’s obstacles with a little love and a lot of overthinking.
Meet Don Tillman, the genetics professor with a scientific approach to everything. But he’s facing a set of human dilemmas tougher than the trickiest of equations.
Right now he is in professional hot water after a lecture goes viral for all the wrong reasons; his wife of 4,380 days, Rosie, is about to lose the research job she loves; and – the most serious problem of all – their eleven-year-old son, Hudson, is struggling at school. He’s a smart kid, but socially awkward and not fitting in.
Fortunately, Don’s had a lifetime’s experience of not fitting in. And he’s going to share the solutions with Hudson.
He’ll need the help of old friends and new, lock horns with the education system, and face some big questions about himself. As well as opening the world’s best cocktail bar.
I missed out on the first two books in this trilogy, and although I enjoyed the reading ‘The Rosie Result’, I felt I missed out on some of the character development of Don and Rosie, that reading the previous books would give me. In terms of the story, it does read well as a standalone, as this focuses on the problems Hudson, Don’s son is having with his school life.
The book explores being on the autism spectrum, and what this means to the individual, their family, friends and the society they are part of. The tone of the book is lighthearted and many of the family’s experiences are recounted in a humorous way.
The author explores some important topical issues relating to Autism, such as the benefit of an autism diagnosis and the pros and cons of being labelled, and crucially whether autistic children’s behaviour needs to be modified, or should society accommodate them, without the need to conform?
The characters are believable and the issues discussed are handled sensitively and in a readable way. You quickly become invested in the family and want them to have a hopeful, satisfying future.
In summary, even if you haven’t read the other books in the series this is a worthwhile read, I enjoyed it, but if you can read the whole series do. The ending is well-written and realistic, whilst giving an optimistic outlook on the family’s future.