Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Mystery, Romance, Travel

Aegean Sun: The Kafenion Stephanie Wood #BookPromo @stephaniewooduk @rararesources #AegeanSun #GreekIslands

The Kafenion has much more to offer than just coffee and cake!

The Kafenion is undergoing its regular seasonal change from traditional coffee shop and local hangout to summertime hotspot for the massive influx of tourists who visit the Greek island each year.

The furniture has been updated, the new signs for more specific coffee types have been installed, the basic cookies have been replaced with a tempting range of cakes and desserts and a fresh coat of paint has added an optimistic glow to the place, which always attracts the many visitors who are looking for a treat.

Jane has been working on the island for a few years and finds a job in the kafenion for her friend Helen, who is hoping for some fun and romance during the summer.

Xenon and Kyriakos both make regular deliveries of fresh produce to the kafenion and they find other reasons to want to visit when Jane and Helen are around, but are they both interested in the same girl?

Georgina discovers the kafenion while searching for information from her mother’s past, but does Pericles have all the answers or will he just cause more confusion?

Visit the kafenion during a Greek summer season to see how the staff and their regulars navigate their way through complex working and romantic relationships.
This is the eleventh book of standalone reads in the Aegean Sun series.

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Stephanie Wood

Stephanie Wood writes contemporary fiction in the form of novels, novellas and short stories and you can find the running order of her titles on the ‘look inside’ of any book.

She published the AEGEAN SUN series of books as a fly-on-the-wall vision of life in a Greek resort during the summer season, using her extensive experience as a holiday rep to bring some unusual incidents to life on the page. The series began as an exploration of the various ways in which tourists make the most of their holidays and how they interact with the locals while they are visiting. The later books in the series have taken a closer look at the locals themselves and show how their lives and relationships are sometimes changed by the regular influx of seasonal visitors.

The CHRISTMAS ON THE CLOSE series is set in a British suburban cul-de-sac over the festive period and visits each house individually to discover how the neighbours who live there celebrate the season in their own special way.

Stephanie lives in Lancashire where, apart from reading and writing, she loves gardening and cycling and is a huge fan of the soaps Emmerdale and Neighbours. If you would like to sign up to her newsletter list (with around four messages per year) you can do so on the contact page of her website and, as a thank you, will receive the free short story THE ZIA SUNSET EXCURSION.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Holiday Romance, Medical Romance, New Books, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Staying Out For The Summer Mandy Baggot 4* #Review #GuestPost @mandybaggot @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Corfu #Greece #Summer #StayingOutForTheSummer

After a summer of staying in, it’s time to let your hair down and escape to Greece!

For Lucie Burrows, it’s time to embrace Greek life and put the past behind her! Having spent the summer of 2020 battling a global health crisis, Lucie Burrows is looking forward to a summer out of lockdown.

When best friend, Gavin, finds them the perfect Greek escape Lucie finally starts to think this summer might just go without a hitch.But after a landslide puts the village into a local lockdown, Lucie is thrown together with Michalis Andino, the super sexy village doctor. It’s not quite the holiday she had planned, but things could certainly be worse.

As Lucie relaxes into the Greek way of life, she begins to wonder whether this lockdown might just end in a new life, a new love…

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

My Thoughts…

This is a lovely laugh out loud romantic comedy set mainly in Corfu. There are many humorous moments and countless romantic encounters. Set in a post-Covid19 world, it acknowledges the courage of key workers and the effect on our everyday lives of the pandemic.

There is so much to enjoy in this story. Passionate romance, vibrant characters and the vivid setting make this story full of drama, humour and poignancy, come alive, letting the reader escape to the sunshine. There was one aspect I didn’t enjoy, and that was the setting in the butcher’s shop and the associated humour. I have strong beliefs about animals, so this element was tough to read for me. Overall this is an engaging story.

Escaping it, but not ignoring it!

 Why I wrote about the pandemic in my latest rom com…

Let me say this first, my brand-new book – Staying Out for the Summer – is all the summer escapist fiction you’ve come to expect from me! There’s a gorgeous Greek hero, a heroine and a best friend that you will be rooting for, plus all the sun, sea and sizzling flavours of Greece wrapped up in the pages too! But does it mention the worldwide pandemic we’re still going through? Yes, it does!

When I started writing this book it was July 2020, we were out of restrictions and I was in the middle of spending six weeks at my house in Corfu, Greece. I certainly thought, by the time this book was published, the pandemic would be completely behind us and if there were any restrictions still in place they would be minimal. How wrong was I? I don’t know how many times I had to make edits to what was happening in the book with regard to rules of six, all the tiers and Christmas arrangements. However, even after all that, I don’t feel I was wrong to write about Coronavirus and have it as the backdrop to this story.

I always write about topical subjects in my books with references to pop culture and I like to have a big touch of reality amid the fiction. My characters discuss things that are going on in the world, what TV shows they’re watching or music their listening to, it’s all very current and relatable. I chose to write about the pandemic because we have all been through it together. It has touched everyone. Yes, we might have had very different experiences of it, but we have all had to stay home and face limited lives and some of us have been ill with the virus or sadly lost people that we love to it. The hero in Staying Out for the Summer – Michalis – is a Greek doctor who specialises in the lungs and my heroine – Lucie – is an NHS nurse who has been working tirelessly trying to save as many lives as she can. This book and their stories is my tribute to the medical staff around the globe and all the keyworkers who have risked their lives doing all those things we take for granted to keep the world going.

I know a lot of other writers have decided to avoid writing about Covid-19 in their books because they feel readers are looking to get away from all that. I understand that completely and, as I said straight off, my book is going to take you to Greece for all the fun in the sun and so much more. But, for me, I felt if I didn’t acknowledge that this has happened in our lives it would be like sweeping under the carpet all the sacrifices people have made over the past year. Whatever we feel about it, no matter how dreadful it has been – and continues to be – I don’t think we should pretend it didn’t happen. I want people to read this book and feel. It’s really a salute to all the good that happened during the hardest times and a testament to our strength and resilience. It’s also a big nod to the fact that brighter times are coming. We just have to hang in there!

So, grab a cool drink, snuggle up and let me transport you to Corfu where the weather is beautiful, and the hot Greek doctor is ready to see you now…

Mandy Bagott

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

Summer in Andalucia Lucy Coleman 5*#Review @LucyColemanauth @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #SummerinAndalucia #boldwoodbloggers #BookReview #BookTour #Romance #Friendship #Andalucia #Spain #uplit #Food #journalist #history #chef

Lainey Summers feels blessed to have her dream job writing for a renowned foodie magazine. And the day she goes to interview chef Rick Oliver at his new restaurant—Aleatory—in London’s popular Piccadilly, is the start of an unexpected journey.

When Rick is offered the opportunity to jet off to a monastery in Andalucía, to film a cookery competition for Spanish TV, Lainey goes too, to cover the story.

Spending a month filming in the stunning Spanish countryside, soaking up the sights, sounds, smells and of course the cuisine, Lainey and Rick start to enjoy each other’s company. But their time together flies by too quickly, and before they know it, Rick and Lainey have to face going their separate ways.

With both their worlds shifting beneath them, the call of Andalucia and the call of happiness grows ever stronger. But with everything at stake, will they be able to take the chance of a happy-ever-after…

Let Lucy Coleman whisk you off on a sun-baked, life-affirming, total escape to beautiful Andalucia.  

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

My Thoughts

A chance to eat fantastic food and travel to lovely locations Lainey’s job as a food writer is idyllic. Meeting celebrity chef Rick at his fashionable restaurant is a memorable experience and not just for the food. The chance to work with Rick in Andalucia is a dream job she can’t resist even if she risks getting her heartbroken again.

This story is full of vivid sensory imagery that immerses the reader in the Andalucian culture and history. The characters are relatable, and Lainey is easy to like. Instilled with emotion and romance, Lainey and Rick are the perfect forbidden couple.

There are many thought-provoking ideas woven into the narrative. Such as standing up for your beliefs, living your best life and the importance of family and friends.

This is an enjoyable and heartwarming read.

Lucy Coleman

Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Summer in Provence and Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

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Posted in Blog Blitz, Contemporary Fiction, Extract, Family Drama, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

Corfu Capers Joy Skye #Extract #BookPromo #Corfu #GreekIslands @JoySkye4 @rararesources #CorfuCapers

Five people, three secrets, one planned proposal. What could possibly go wrong?

A holiday in a luxury villa on Corfu sounds like the answer to all their prayers but it will change their lives forever. A week in paradise might not be long enough…

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Extract from Corfu Caper – Joy Skye

As the week progresses, tensions mount and not even a perfect day at sea can hold back the inevitable:

‘This is bliss’ Linda said to her friend as they dozed contentedly on the sun deck at the front of the boat, reddening in the strong July sun despite the layers of sun cream. Her eyes were closed and she was feeling drowsy, the sound of the water gently licking the side of the boat making her completely relaxed and unable to move to apply some more factor 50 even though she knew she should.

‘I could do this every day, that’s for sure’ Charlotte replied, smiling up at the sky and adjusting her hat to provide more shade to her face which was beaded with perspiration.

She sat up to accept yet another glass of cold white wine from Manolis, her elbow knocking the book she’d carelessly abandoned on the side, into the water in the process. Without a word the boy dived in after it, retrieving it before it had time to start sinking and held it aloft for her to take and then agilely clambered, dripping, back on board.

‘Thank you so much, I was getting to the good bit!’ Charlotte said, laying the book out in the sun to dry and rewarding him with a brilliant smile.  The young man flushed and was thinking about how to respond when Marc walked up to call them for lunch. Charlotte’s attention was at once laser-focused on Marc and she leapt up to follow him, brushing past Manolis without another thought.

They all seated themselves around the table after collecting plates and cutlery, eagerly anticipating the feast that, by the smells they’d been enduring for the last hour, was going to be incredible.

The food started coming thick and fast, huge slabs of fresh bread, Greek salad with salty feta and juicy tomatoes from the captains garden, spicy tzatziki with enough garlic to blow your head off and grilled Saganaki drenched in fresh lemon juice. They all greedily started to load up their plates, exclaiming in delight with every mouthful, each new taste a revelation.

The captain walked through bearing a large platter and, with a flourish, placed it on the table in front of them. ‘Here you are, the best-mixed seafood plate you will find in Greece’ he announced proudly.

Five pairs of eyes looked down at the magnificent platter, two of which were horrified.

Laden with octopus, shrimps, oysters and small fish and decorated with lemon slices and fresh parsley, it was splendid, so it was unfortunate that it was due to become the cause of an almighty explosion.

‘What the hell is this?!’ demanded Linda, glaring at Kate, her face infused with anger. Scott jumped up holding out his hands, trying to calm her down.

‘I’m sure Ma has ordered something else for you’ he said, glancing at Kate and hoping for reassurance.

Kate paled. ‘I’m sorry, Linda, I didn’t think. I’m sure the lovely Captain can fix you something else up.’

Captain Yiannis, who didn’t understand what the problem was but realised he was expected to produce something else said, ‘I am sorry madam Kate, I have onboard only what you ordered.’

‘I can’t believe that you’ve done this again’ spluttered Linda, slamming a fist on the table. ‘Three years on and you’re still pulling this shit, treating me as if I don’t exist!’

With that she pushed the platter away from her, causing a deluge of food-laden plates and cutlery on the other side of the table to hit the deck with a resounding crash, stood up and stormed off back to the front of the boat.

‘Well,’ Charlotte said, whilst wiping at the debris that had landed on her lap, managing to smear more of it than clean it. ‘That’s not good’. Manolis instantly ran up with a roll of kitchen paper for her, standing by, unsure of what else to do while she tried to clean herself up, dabbing at the oily salad dressing running down her legs and picking bits of tomato and cucumber off her shorts.

Kate looked at Scott in trepidation, ‘I’m sorry, Scotty, I didn’t mean to upset her, I only wanted you to have your favourite foods and make today perfect for you’. Scott shook his head in despair, his face a picture of wretchedness as his eyes darted between the catastrophe that had been lunch and the direction Linda had gone.

‘Ma, I know you always have my best interests at the forefront of everything that you do, but you know what would make this day perfect for me? Linda being happy. That’s all I want, the girl I love with me and both of us having a perfect day. The sooner you get that into your head and start paying attention to her needs the better.’ And with that, he valiantly followed in Linda’s angry footsteps. Charlotte, looking up from where she was knelt, helping Manolis clean up the ruins of the meal on the floor said to Kate,

‘Ms D, you really have put your foot in it this time. Once she has calmed her down I think you’d better go and apologise to her big time. She’s madder than a wet hen!’

‘I’m sure she will be fine’ said Kate, smiling and pushing her chin out. ‘After tomorrow everything will be perfect’. Kate felt bad for upsetting the girl yet again, but she knew Linda would be ecstatic tomorrow when Scott asked her to be his wife – why wouldn’t she? – And then all this nonsense would be forgotten.

Joy Skye

Joy lives on the seductive island of Corfu with her four dogs and an embarrassing number of cats.

Her many years working in the tourist industry on this sunny isle and her love of all things literary inspired her first novel Corfu Capers which recently hit the #1 spot in Parenting and Family humour much to her delight.

She loves to cook, dance and drink wine, usually at the same time, and is currently working on book number two, due to be released later this year.

She also loves to travel, absolutely anywhere, and is looking forward to jumping on a plane!

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

You Let Me Go Eliza Graham 4*#Review @eliza_graham @AmazonPub #HistFic #contemporary #family #saga #WW2 #France #Legacy #LakeUnionPublishing #BlogBlitz #BookReview @rararesources #MondayBlogs

After her beloved grandmother Rozenn’s death, Morane is heartbroken to learn that her sister is the sole inheritor of the family home in Cornwall—while she herself has been written out of the will. With both her business and her relationship with her sister on the rocks, Morane becomes consumed by one question: what made Rozenn turn her back on her?

When she finds an old letter linking her grandmother to Brittany under German occupation, Morane escapes on the trail of her family’s past. In the coastal village where Rozenn lived in 1941, she uncovers a web of shameful secrets that haunted Rozenn to the end of her days. Was it to protect those she loved that a desperate Rozenn made a heartbreaking decision and changed the course of all their lives forever?

Morane goes in search of the truth but the truth can be painful. Can she make her peace with the past and repair her relationship with her sister?

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

My Thoughts…

This is a poignant dual timeline story, a family saga from occupied France in the 1940s to the present day. The prologue gives clues about the story’s secrets and the heartbreaking discoveries to follow.

Two sisters Morane and Gwen, find their relationship strained when their beloved grandmother Rozenn bequeaths her house to Gwen. Morane has already suffered, and now she feels rejected by her grandmother. A chance discovery leads Morane on a quest to find out about Rozenn’s life in occupied France, which has surprising consequences.

The dual storylines are well written, both full of vivid characters and emotion. The historical timeline is particularly engaging, as it conveys the horrors and stark choices of life in occupied France. The familial relationships are relatable, and the plot twists keep the reader engaged.

This is a family saga of betrayal, forgiveness, love and sacrifice with a satisfying conclusion.

Eliza Graham

Eliza Graham’s novels have been long-listed for the UK’s Richard & Judy Summer Book Club in the UK, and short-listed for World Book Day’s ‘Hidden Gem’ competition. She has also been nominated for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction.

Her books have been bestsellers both in Europe and the US.

She is fascinated by the world of the 1930s and 1940s: the Second World War and its immediate aftermath and the trickle-down effect on future generations. Consequently she’s made trips to visit bunkers in Brittany, decoy harbours in Cornwall, wartime radio studios in Bedfordshire and cemeteries in Szczecin, Poland. And those are the less obscure research trips.

It was probably inevitable that Eliza would pursue a life of writing. She spent biology lessons reading Jean Plaidy novels behind the textbooks, sitting at the back of the classroom. In English and history lessons she sat right at the front, hanging on to every word. At home she read books while getting dressed and cleaning her teeth. During school holidays she visited the public library multiple times a day.

Eliza lives in an ancient village in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. Not far from her house there is a large perforated sarsen stone that can apparently summon King Alfred if you blow into it correctly. Eliza has never managed to summon him. Her interests still mainly revolve around reading, but she also enjoys walking in the downland country around her home and travelling around the world to research her novels.

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Posted in Book Review, New Books, Romance, Travel

The Greek Wedding She Never Had Chantelle Shaw 4*#Review @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #MillsandBoonInsiders #MillsandBoonModern #HarlequinPresents #Romance #Revenge #Forgiveness #Greece #InnocentSummerBrides #BookReview #TheGreekWeddingSheNeverHad

Eleanor Buchanan broke off her engagement to Jace Zagorakis a year ago. She discovered he only wanted to marry her to gain control of her family’s luxury Greek hotel – on their wedding day! Now the devastatingly handsome tycoon is back with a second proposal…

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

My Thoughts…

This passionate romantic story has echoes Greek tragedy. Jace is driven to revenge his father’s death after Eleanor’s grandfather’s betrayal. Eleanor discovers Jace’s plans and runs, but one year on, her hotel is on the brink of bankruptcy, and Jace is the only way out.

There is undeniable chemistry between innocent Eleanor and Jace, which she thought was love. As they get to know each other, their growing emotional commitment deepens into love. Eleanor is a strong woman who values family and loyalty, something she shares with Jace. She understands his motives, and when he shares his past, she forgives him. Jace is a sexy but troubled man driven by revenge. His attraction and admiration of Eleanor let him learn to trust and realise he deserves to be happy.

This is a lovely sensual romance with likeable characters.

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

The Spanish Girl Jules Hayes 5*#Review @JulesHayes6 @books_dash #SpanishCivilWar #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #Family #Love #secrets #Romance #Friendship #TheSpanishGirl #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources

A country torn apart by war.
Two love stories divided by decades.
One chance to discover the truth… 

Feisty journalist Isabella has never known the truth about her family. Escaping from a dangerous assignment in the turbulent Basque country, she finds her world turned upside down, firstly by her irresistible attraction to the mysterious Rafael, and then by a new clue to her own past. 

As she begins to unravel the tangled story of her identity, Isabella uncovers a story of passion, betrayal and loss that reaches back to the dark days of Spain’s civil war – when a passionate Spanish girl risked everything for her country, and for the young British rebel who captured her heart. 

But can Isabella trust the man she’s fallen in love with? Or are some wartime secrets better left undisturbed…? 

Heartbreaking, gripping historical fiction about the tragedy of war, and the redemption of love.

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

My Thoughts…

This dual timeline novel explores two tragic and turbulent times in Spanish history through the eyes of the people who lived through them. Two love stories echo the other in many ways. Family, love, loss and forgiveness are predominant themes in this politically astute story.

The setting and time periods are the ones that affected Spain and drew the attention and interference of the wider world. This is an emotional story, the political struggles, in both of the timelines, were personal to the people living through them, and the writing reflects this.

Believable and vibrant characters give life to familial relationships and friendships. It’s immersive and insightful, evoking all the reader’s senses, so they feel part of it.

The poignant but positive ending is a perfect conclusion.

Jules Hayes

I have a degree in modern history and I’m fascinated with events from the first half of the 20th century, which is the time period my historical fiction is set.

My work has been longlisted in the Mslexia Novel Competition, and shortlisted in the prestigious Bridport Short Story Competition.

I live in Berkshire, UK with my partner, daughter and dog. Before writing stories, I was a physiotherapist.

Jules Hayes is a pseudonym for JA Corrigan who writes contemporary thrillers. Falling Suns by JA Corrigan (Headline Accent) was published in 2016.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Travel

The Greek Heart Kate Frost 4* #Review @katefrostauthor @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #GreekIslands #Travel #SelfDiscovery #Friendship #Romance #TheGreekHeart

A broken heart, an island escape, a boy from the past. Will Lottie’s search lead to love?

When a special anniversary takes Lottie on a journey to find the little boy she once knew, it’s a chance to put heartache behind her.

Lottie’s search takes her to Greece and a family who have known about her for decades. A warm welcome gives her some much-needed time out and the chance to reflect. Yet an emotional revelation and two handsome but complicated brothers make her question her past decisions. 

Learning to love herself and be content on her own is the first step. But will Lottie be able to follow her heart and find lasting happiness?

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

My Thoughts…

Lottie’s emotional journey takes her to the Greek Islands to look for someone she once knew and to repair her shattered self-worth. This is a book with vivid descriptions that brings the places Lottie visits to life. Character-driven, it focuses on Lottie’s travels, the people she meets and how she rebuilds her life. It’s a poignant read but uplifting with a lovely conclusion.

The writing is descriptive, and the characters relatable you empathise with Lottie and want her to be happy. If you are looking to escape from wintery England, this book will immerse you in the Greek Islands and a lovely positive story.

Kate Frost

Kate Frost is the author of character-driven women’s fiction (The Butterfly Storm series and Beneath the Apple Blossom), romantic escape novels (The Baobab Beach Retreat, A Starlit Summer, The Greek Heart and The Amsterdam Affair), and Time Shifters, a time travel adventure trilogy for children. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, where she also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates.

Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, young son, and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Frodo. She feels very lucky to spend her days writing, but when she’s not working on a novel, she’s the Director of Storytale Festival, a new city-wide children’s book festival that she co-founded in Bristol in 2019 with the ethos of making books accessible to all and encouraging children and teens to read, write and be creative. 

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

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

Where will her loyalty lead her?

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

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts…

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

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

Eleanor Porter

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


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My Review of The Wheelwright’s Daugther – Eleanor Porter

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

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

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

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Guest post, New Books, Romance, Travel

The Night We Met @zoefolbigg 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Romance #PublicationDay #serendipity #guestpost #TheNightWeMet #BlogTour #BookReview

The Story…

 As a man holds his wife’s frail hand, he recounts a journey like no other…

Daniel and Olivia are destined to be together. At least, Daniel thinks this the night he sees Olivia across a sea of people. As he backpacks through Australia, Daniel and Liv continue to cross paths, yet never speak. Until one night, Liv joins Daniel for a drink. And that night everything changes.

Back in London, stuck in a monotonous routine, Daniel finds himself daydreaming of the woman with green eyes and fiery hair. Armed with only a name he begins a hunt to find her. With every passing moment, Daniel’s hopes begin to disappear. What if it wasn’t meant to be?

But then fate steps in, and Daniel and Olivia’s story can truly begin…

This is a tale of serendipity, missed chances and the power of love.

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

My Thoughts…

If you think for a moment I’m sure you can remember making a connection with a stranger and wondering what would happen if you’d taken it further? Daniel and Olivia’s love story grows from a series of encounters at different times and time zones. These culminate in one night where they realise they should be together. The story could end there, happily, but it doesn’t. Olivia begs Daniel to write their story for their daughters.

This is an emotional journey full of serendipitous moments. The locational settings across the world, are rich with vivid imagery that immerses the reader in the time and place. The characters and the familial dynamic is relatable, and at times heartbreaking.

This is an undeniably, sad story, but there are lots of happy moments and powerful relationships, that resonate. The poignant ending contains elements of positivity about the family’s survival and future happiness.

Guest post by Zoë Folbigg – The Night We Met

It all started with a glance out of the window, on a bus in Australia. I was 18 and backpacking with my friend Jo, and as our Greyhound overtook another Greyhound up the East Coast highway, I looked out of the window and saw a guy looking back at me from the bus we were overtaking. It was a face I had already seen in three hostels in Australia, at the central Post Office in Christchurch, and on a flight from Fiji to Auckland. The coincidences were getting crazy. We’d never spoken, but gave each other a smile and a look of recognition. A little wave that said a friendly “hi”. These coincidences were spooky – so when we got to our destination and bumped into him again, in our hostel kitchen in Cairns, we decided to go for a drink.

He was friendly and had a sweet face. His name was Robert and he was from Holland. He, Jo and I went for a beer, chatted, talked about our travels and laughed about the coincidences, and then we never saw him again – he was heading back to Europe the next day.

There was no romance or thunderbolt moment – but the coincidences of seeing him in the strangest of places on the other side of the world stuck with me and I remembered that feeling of serendipity – we were meant to chat and go for that drink – when I fell for a handsome stranger on my daily commute; I remembered him when I was writing my debut novel, The Note, and I remembered him when I was writing The Night We Met.

Because that feeling of sliding doors and missed opportunities; of coincidences and excitement in exciting places, has always stayed with me, more than ever as I wrote the story of Daniel and Olivia, who meet on the other side of the world, and keep bumping into each other in the strangest of places.

Daniel and Olivia are destined to be together, and I hope that feeling comes through the book: that the universe conspires for things to happen to us and some things are meant to be, whether it’s for one friendly evening or a lifetime of love. And I think we’re more open to them than ever when we’re travelling, with our eyes are open, seeing the world. I hope when the world opens up and we can travel again, people can find inspiration, friendship – or perhaps the love of their life – on their next adventure.

Zoë Folbigg

Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons.

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