Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, New Adult Romance, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Homecoming Luan Golding 4*#Review @HQStories @LuanGoldie #FamilyDrama #LiteraryFiction #Friendship #Relationships #Love #BookReview #Homecoming

For years Yvonne has tried to keep her demons buried and focus on moving forward. But her guilt is always with her and weighs heavily on her heart.

Kiama has had to grow up without a mother, and while there is so much he remembers about her, there is still plenty he doesn’t know. And there’s only one person who can fill in the gaps.

Lewis wants nothing more than to keep Kiama, his son, safe, but the thought of Kiama dredging up the past worries Lewis deeply. And Lewis doesn’t know if he’s ready to let the only woman he’s ever loved back into his life.

When Kiama seeks Yvonne out and asks her to come with him to Kenya, the place that holds the answers to his questions, she knows she can’t refuse. And this one act sets in motion an unravelling of the past that no one is ready for.

Moving between London and Kenya, and spanning almost two decades, Homecoming is a profound story of love, family and friendship. It’s about coming to terms with your past, and about what happens when we finally share our truths.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a poignant story about culture, family, friendships and love. Yvonne and Emma became friends at university, their cultures and family lives differed, but their friendship was strong until Lewis. There is a love triangle at the centre of this story, but only two people are aware they are in it. Yvonne’s life, marred by her guilt over Emma and her loss of the two people she loved most in life, agrees to a journey to Kenya with Kiama Emma’s son.

The story moves between the early days of their friendship to the present day. A tragic event alters everyone’s lives. Believable characters, relatable relationships and well-described setting make this an absorbing read. Parenting, culture, race and social class underpin the narrative in a way that resonates. There are many poignant moments in this story, but ultimately it is positive and uplifting.

Read my review of Nightingale Point

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?

Amazon UK Amazon

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 Blog Tour, Book Review, Memoir, Motivational, Non-Fiction

The Spirit of the Horse Pam Billinge 5*#Review @pam_billinge @Blackbird_Bks #BlogTour #BookReview #memoir #Motivational #nonfiction #Horses #Love #Life

Sequel to The Spell of the Horse.

The Spirit of the Horse is about following dreams, finding your truth and how much stronger joy can be when we learn to interconnect with all that is.

‘Masterful, uplifting and insightful, this book has left an indelible stamp on my heart.’ Justin Featherstone MC

When Pam follows her dream to a farmhouse with five acres in northern France, she is able to live alongside her horses for the first time. Here, in the heart of nature, deeper insights are revealed into the healing connection between horse and human and the incredible power of presence to transform. Might it be that learning to honour and communicate with another species helps us to reframe the way we perceive each other, as well as how we might see ourselves?

Paperback (£9.99) available to order from Waterstones

and all good bookshops and the usual online platforms.

Ebook (£3.99) Amazon UK iBooks

 [US]Kobo

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

My Thoughts…

I haven’t read The Spell of the Horse, the book this is a sequel to, but this book reads well without having done so, although it did make me keen to read the book that came first. This book hard to define but is very readable, with messages that everyone can take away and think about.

As a memoir, it is engaging and honest. It has depth, Pam’s experience working with her ‘herd’ to help her clients to work out their anxieties, future choices and problems, is emotional, fascinating and thought-provoking.

It’s compelling to explore the spiritual connection between humans and horses through case studies and Pam’s insights. This is a poignant and powerful book.

Pan Billinge – Photo Credit Sabine Coe Photography

Pam Billinge is a therapist, coach and author who specialises in embodied horse-led learning.

This unique approach relies entirely on the emergent relational process between horse and human. At her bases in the UK and in France, Pam supports people of all nationalities, ages and walks of life with their personal and professional development.

Through her workshops and her writing Pam wishes to share the healing wisdom of horses whilst advancing the cause of this
sometimes much-misunderstood species. She hopes also
through her work to reconnect us with the natural world from which we are too often separated.

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

Home on Folly Farm Jane Lovering 5* #Review @janelovering @BoldwoodBooks #Extract #familydrama #love #life #farming #friendship #romance #sisters #secrets @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers #HomeonFollyFarm

Escape the rat race by heading to the Yorkshire Moors in Jane Lovering’s funny, warm and magical new novel.

Needing an escape, Dora swapped city living for life as a shepherdess on her grandad’s Yorkshire farm. More than a decade later Dora is still there, now farming the fifty acres and caring for the one hundred rare sheep by herself. She never hears the call of the city, but instead relishes the peace and simplicity of life on the Moors.

When Dora’s glamorous but quarrelsome sister Cass, her teenage nephew Thor and his handsome tutor Nat, turn up for an unexpected and unreasonably long stay, life on the farm is thrown into chaos. Cass brings with her unwelcome memories from the past, and of someone who once stole Dora’s heart. 

Dora takes refuge in the comforting routine of the farm, the sheep never allowing her too much time to dwell. But, as the seasons change, the snow starts to melt, and as lambs begin to fill the fields, Dora can’t keep hiding in the hills. Because even though she’s trying, Dora can’t run away from a love that never really let her go…

Let Jane Lovering whisk you away to the beauty and serenity of the Yorkshire Moors, far away from the noise of the city.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story appears simple, but the plot has depth with its character development and insightful exploration of contemporary issues. There are moments of drama, humour and poignancy which resonate. Dora is likeable, and Cass hard to like. By the end, it’s clear that Dora and Cass are both victims of their upbringing and naive life choices. This is a lovely story with interesting characters and a delightful setting.

Jane Lovering is the bestselling and award-winning romantic comedy writer who won the RNA Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with Please Don’t Stop the Music. She lives in Yorkshire and has a cat and a bonkers terrier, as well as five children who have now left home.  Her first title for Boldwood will be published in September 2020.

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Extract from Home on Folly Farm-Jane Lovering

There are some people whose voices go straight through you, even if you are horizontal with your face in a bucket and your arm in a sheep. My sister’s voice was one of them. 

‘What the hell are you doing?’ 

Yep. Like a steel toecap through slurry. 

I hadn’t heard her arrive. The jump it caused me made the ewe struggle against the pressure of my hand. ‘I’m laying lino,’ I said. ‘Obviously.’ I stretched my fingers to their furthest extent, felt the ewe strain with another contraction, and then pushed gently. The lamb’s head popped down into the birth canal. 

I would not show how surprised I was to see my sister; I would not

‘Yeah, but does it have to be here?’ 

I hadn’t been expecting to see Cass for – ooh, another five years at least, if ever. I suspected there was probably a warning email sitting in my inbox from our mother who, although she could be a little bit distant, wasn’t actively hostile, so she would have tried to prepare me. But I’d been so busy. 

I had to work on not gritting my teeth too visibly as I gradually stood up away from the sheep, watched the lamb slither out onto the straw bed of the pen and sneeze, while I tried to think of something to say. 

‘Where would you suggest?’ I asked. ‘Benidorm?’ 

The ewe reached around and began to lick her lamb clean. Job done. I wiped my arm with the handful of straw that I realised I was clutching as though it were a stand-in for my sister’s neck. 

‘Well, surely, the vet does that sort of thing?’ Just on the edge of vision I could see Cassandra sitting down on a bale of hay, carefully folding her long legs up into a yoga pose, calculated to make me look even more graceless in my practical but unglamorous farming wellingtons and amniotic-stained jeans. ‘I thought you were going out with the vet, anyway – would he not do you mates’ rates? And your arm is disgusting. Don’t you have hot water and a towel? Like in James Herriot?’ 

I sighed and climbed up and out over the metal hurdles that formed the lambing pen. ‘No. And, yes, I was going out with Chris, but we split up six months ago. I did tell you I was having my heart broken, but you were probably, I dunno, getting a bikini wax or something.’ 

Cass tossed her hair, which she did more often than a dog groomer having a good clear out. 

‘A bikini wax is more painful than heartbreak,’ my sister said firmly. ‘And more frequent. Heartbreak you don’t get every eight weeks from a perma-tanned sadist with acrylic nails.’ 

I thought about Elvie, who ran the local riding stables and who had, so I’d found out, been keeping Chris entertained, on and off, for much of the past couple of years. ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ 

‘Not that you’d know, anyway,’ Cass finished, looking me over as though she could see my pubic hair creeping its way up out through the waistband of my jeans and attempting to coat my torso. 

‘There’s not much time for that sort of thing,’ I replied tartly. ‘What with the rare-sheep breeding and all, it’s surprising I can find time to fit in my massage sessions and the weekly blow-dry.’ 

My hair was currently scraped into a ponytail and had hay tangled in it, so I didn’t think the usual sarcasm alert was necessary, but I hadn’t considered Cass. 

‘You should sue.’ She looked me over again. ‘I hope they aren’t charging you for that updo.’ Then she looked at her own hands. ‘I get a discount,’ she said smugly. ‘They stamp this little card for you, and every ten visits you get a free gel polish.’ 

I took a deep breath. She was as out of place in the creaky old stone barn as I would be – well, getting a gel polish. ‘Why are you here, Cass? I wasn’t expecting you. Did you bring Hawthorn?’ 

‘He’s my son, of course I brought him – what did you think I’d do with him?’ 

I was tempted to say I would have expected her to have dumped him on Mum and Dad, much as she’d done on many occasions since he was born, but I didn’t say it. There wasn’t the time for an argument; I had eighty-five recently-lambed ewes to feed.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Non-Fiction, Parenting and Famlies

What the World Needs Now – Bees! Cheryl Rosebush 5* #Review @cherylrosebush @freshly_press @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours Illustrator Zuzana Svobodova #KidLit #ChildrensBooks #Ecology #SaveThePlanet #BookTour #BookReview #WhatTheWorldNeedsNowBees

Inside the sprawling forests of Ontario, Canada lives a friendly black bear named Melly. One of Melly’s favourite things to do is EAT! And many of the delicious fruits she snacks on wouldn’t grow without the help of some very important little forest creatures.
What the World Needs Now: Bees! explores the vital role busy, busy bees play in helping plants to grow the food people and animals love to eat.

What the World Needs Now is an environmental children’s book series for ages 4-8 that aims to connect the world’s youngest book lovers to the importance of nature, and our place in it.

Each book in the series follows a friendly animal through its habitat, helping kids learn about one thing the world needs now, be it more trees or bees or less plastic, to maintain a healthy planet.

The series is designed to help parents and educators lay the foundation for future learning on the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. But for our littlest kids, the connection starts at a much simpler point: their first job is to fall in love with nature – because you don’t protect what you don’t love. 

The books support engaging with our kids on how we can better respect and care for the only planet we have.  

Environmental Kids

Read my review of Book 1 – What The World Needs Now – Trees!

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

My Thoughts…

Book two in this environmental series aimed at young children features bees. The book emphasises bees importance to pollination, and ultimately food production, using engaging animals, vivid illustrations with text that’s easy to understand.

The series aims to make children love the natural world and become invested in its protection. Melly, a bear in Ontario, Canada, shows how essential bees are for her to eat. Children are encouraged to see how far away they are from Melly by drawing on a bright map. There’s information on different bee types and an activity page too.

The book makes it’s point succinctly, in a way young children will understand. It provides information for further discussion with young children about their world.

Cheryl Rosebush

I was born and raised in Southern Ontario, Canada in the cities of Burlington and St. Catharines. Long before the internet and mobile phones (now I’m aging myself!), my childhood was spent in forests and parks, on bike rides, and playing hide and seek until the streetlights came on. My family did comical Griswold-style road trips in wood-paneled station wagons. We spent summers swimming in friends’ backyards. These are my very fortunate roots.

I knew from an early age that my destiny would take me far from Southern Ontario. I graduated high school and moved to Montreal to study international politics at McGill University. The subject fascinated me, but as graduation approached, I realized I didn’t know what I wanted to do with a degree in international politics. I didn’t want to become a lawyer. I didn’t want to become a politician or civil servant. The media industry, on the other hand, intrigued me. 

The West Coast of Canada also intrigued me. So, after graduating McGill, I packed up again, moved to Vancouver and took the first media job I could get at a local Top 40 radio station (Z.95.3) in Vancouver. Best job. Great bosses. I learned so much. But after a couple of years there, the winds of change came calling again. 

September 11, 2001. In a heartbeat, Z95.3 went from playing Britney Spears to reporting up-to-the-minute information on the local, national and international fallout of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. In that moment, I knew I had found my calling. I wanted to do something that was needed on a good day, and needed even more on a bad day. I wanted to become a full-time journalist. 

So, I packed my bags again (a running theme in my life), and moved to Ottawa, Ontario to do my Masters of Journalism. Another incredible two years culminated in me getting a research internship with the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) in London, England. That position helped me land back in Montreal for a second chapter there as local news reporter for the CBC. While I was there, I wore just about every hat you could in CBC’s radio and TV newsrooms. Depending on the day, I was a researcher, producer, reporter, or online writer. I even filled in for the weather reports every once in a while.

Website

Posted in Audiobook Review, Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Inspiration, Motivational

Growing Season Seni Glaister 5*#Review @SeniGlaister @HQStories Narrator Kristin Atherton #HarperCollinsAudioUK #Audiobook #BlogTour #Review #loss #selfrealisation #uplit #nature #life #love #GrowingSeason

Danny is riddled with anxiety. But he wants to be strong for his wife Sam. She’s been through so much already. If only he had someone to talk to.

Sam is facing a very different future to the one she expected. She’s ready to move on, yet other people won’t let her. If only she had someone to talk to.

Their new neighbour Diana is hiding from her past. She wanted a new life. Now she’s got it she feels angry and alone. If only she had someone to talk to.

Each of them is hiding their pain. Each of them needs to heal. But only when they learn to let each other in will they finally be able to grow.

I received an audiobook from HQ (Harper Collins Audio UK) via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This character-driven story features a multi-generational friendship. Told from three viewpoints Diana, Sam and Danny, it is a detailed emotional story that explores finding your true self, fitting in, honesty and loss.

It’s introspective and works well as an audiobook. The narrator is clear and engaging, voicing the characters believably and distinctly. The gentle pace enables the listener to know each character well, and the humour, insight and poignancy, make it an emotional read.

The parallels with nature that affects the characters’ lives are well crafted and make this an engaging, thought-provoking story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Childrens Books, Fantasy, Parenting and Famlies

My Brother/Sister is a Monster Natalie Reeves Billing 5*#Review @BillingReeves #Illustrator Lisa Williams @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #kidlit #ChildrensBooks #Siblings #MonstrousMe #WorldBookDay2021 #MyBrotherisaMonster #MySisterisaMonster

The Monstrous Me collection are split perspective books looking at situations from other points of view, helping children develop a sense of balance, roundedness and wellbeing. Readers can literally and figuratively, turn the story on its head, and look at the very same situations from different angles. In this book, ‘My Brother is a Monster/My Sister is a Monster’ two siblings are convinced the other is a monster. But, are they really? When we look at the story from the other side, we see a very different story.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is the third book in the entertaining and educational Monstrous Me series. It explores how brothers and sisters see each other. It’s easy to read and understand. Bright, humorous illustrations make it appealing to young children too. The book explores everyday events where siblings may not understand each other, encouraging understanding of others behaviour and points of view. The final pages end with a positive message.

My Brother is a Monster. one book, two stories with humorous text and vivid and vibrant illustrations.

Natalie Reeves Billing


Natalie Reeves Billing is a Liverpool lass with a dark sense of humour, which often spills onto the page. She loves to write spooky, fantastical stories for young audiences, and dabbles in poetry, contemporary fiction.
Natalie spent most of her early career in the music industry as a performer and professional songwriter. This lead, almost inevitably, to storytelling.


Natalie is an Arvon Foundation friend and is a student of the Golden Egg Academy. She is mentored under the Lloyds Bank SSE program, with her Bubs Literacy project. She is published in several anthologies with her poetry and flash fiction, including the Writing on the Wall, Read Now, Write Now, and is involved in several collaborations with fellow writers across poetry, song, and scriptwriting.
This is the third book in her Monstrous Me collection.

Connect with Natalie on Twitter

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Memoir, Non-Fiction

When Harry Met Minnie Martha Teichner 4*#Review #Biography #Memoir @Octopus_Books #MarthaTeichner #WhenHarryMetMinnie #NewYork #Friendship #Loss #Serendipity #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours

I decided to write this book, because I didn’t want to stop living the story of what happened when Harry met Minnie. I didn’t want to forget any of it, even the sad parts. This story of unexpected friendship, of love, was a wonderful gift, and in the end, it made me and Minnie happy.

Martha Teichner, CBS Sunday Morning News correspondent and multi-award-winner.

There’s a special camaraderie among early-morning dog walkers. In this special space and time, a chance encounter with an old acquaintance changed Martha Teichner’s world. As fate would have it, her friend knew someone who was dying of cancer, from exposure to toxins after 9/11, and desperate to find a home for her dog, Harry. He was a Bull Terrier, the same breed as Martha’s dear Minnie. Martha agrees to meet Harry and his owner Carol. What begins as a transaction involving a dog becomes a deep and meaningful friendship between two women with complicated lives and a love of Bull Terriers in common.

Through the heartbreak and grief of Carol’s illness, the bond that develops changed Martha’s life, Carol’s life, Minnie’s life, Harry’s life.As it changed Carol’s death as well.
Loneliness as a topic is becoming more and more prominent – especially in these uncertain times. This book explores what can happen when we take the time to talk to those around us.

This is a memoir of love and loss, of being in the right place at the right time, and of the mysterious ways a beloved pet can bring people together.

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

My Thoughts…

Emotional, honest and well written, this story is about pet friends, serendipitous meetings and the power of love. This book is full of interesting facts about New York, television journalism and design. With some lovely images in the centre of the book that poignantly illustrate the text.

Harry Met Minnie is lovely if a little sad to read. Those who share their lives with dogs will relate to the humour and poignancy of this book. The characters, both dog, and human are easy to like drawing the reader into their lives.

I enjoyed reading this biography/memoir.

Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for “CBS Sunday Morning”
since December 1993. Since joining CBS News in 1977, Teichner has earned multiple national awards for her original reporting, including 11 Emmy Awards, an Alfred I. duPont Award and five James Beard Foundation Awards.

Martha has reported on some of the largest national and international stories of
this era, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the run-up to the war in Iraq, the death of Princess Diana and the life and death of Nelson Mandela. She’s interviewed world leaders and other newsmakers, including then-first lady Hillary Clinton.

Now based in New York, Teichner spent more than a dozen years as a foreign correspondent covering major international news. Teichner was twice assigned to the CBS News London bureau (1980-1984, 1989-1994), covering the Northern Ireland hunger strikes, the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, and was one of only a handful of female war correspondents.

Teichner covered the Lebanon War, the 1st Intifada in 1988 in Israel and the West Bank, embedded with the US First Armored Division in the Persian Gulf War, covered the conflicts associated with the collapse of Yugoslavia (Slovenia,
Croatia and Bosnia) and spent three years in South Africa during the last years of apartheid. She reported on the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe and the Romanian revolution. Teichner also spent several weeks in the Bolivian jungle covering undercover operations with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.

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

Under the Light of the Italian Moon Jennifer Anton 5* #Review @boldwomanwrites @AmsterdamPB #HistFic #Italy #WW2 #Women @RandomTTours. #Love #Family #underthelightoftheitalianmoon

A promise keeps them apart until WWII threatens to destroy their love forever

Fonzaso Italy, between two wars 

Nina Argenta doesn’t want the traditional life of a rural Italian woman. The daughter of a strong-willed midwife, she is determined to define her own destiny. But when her brother emigrates to America, she promises her mother to never leave.

When childhood friend Pietro Pante briefly returns to their mountain town, passion between them ignites while Mussolini forces political tensions to rise. Just as their romance deepens, Pietro must leave again for work in the coal mines of America. Nina is torn between joining him and her commitment to Italy and her mother.

As Mussolini’s fascists throw the country into chaos and Hitler’s Nazis terrorise their town, each day becomes a struggle to survive greater atrocities. A future with Pietro seems impossible when they lose contact and Nina’s dreams of a life together are threatened by Nazi occupation and an enemy she must face alone…

A gripping historical fiction novel, based on a true story and heartbreaking real events.

Spanning over two decades, Under the Light of the Italian Moon is an epic, emotional and triumphant tale of one woman’s incredible resilience during the rise of fascism and Italy’s collapse into WWII.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Inspired by the author’s family history, this story focuses on the community of Fonzaso in Northern Italy. It spans two world wars, political extremes and working in America. It celebrates the important role of courageous women during this time of atrocity and deprivation.

Vividly portrayed characters draw the reader into the women’s world. Highlighting their courage, ingenuity, losses and sacrifices, as they keep their community viable, families fed, and the vulnerable protected.

An epic love story sits at its centre, which is gentle, enduring and passionate. The immersive writing engages, and likeable protagonists ensure the reader’s empathy.

Jennifer Anton

Jennifer Anton is an American/Italian dual citizen born in Joliet, Illinois now living between London and Lake Como, Italy. An advocate for women’s rights and equality, she hopes to rescue women’s stories from history, starting with her Italian family.

In 2006, after the birth of her daughter, Jennifer suffered a life-threatening postpartum cardiomyopathy, and soon after, her Italian grandmother died. This tumultuous year began a 14-year journey to capture the stories of her female Italian ancestors and develop them into a historical/biographical fiction novel. In 2012, she moved with her family to Milan, Italy. Later, she moved to London where she has
held leadership positions with companies including Revlon and Tory Burch.

Under the Light of the Italian Moon is her first novel, based on the lives of her Italian
grandmother and great grandmothers during the rise of fascism and World War II

Posted in Biography, Blog Tour, Book Review, Extract, Historical Non Fiction, Non-Fiction

Jane Austen’s Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd. Zoe Wheddon 4*#Review @ZoeWheddon @penswordbooks #nonfiction #Biography #JaneAusten #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #JaneAustensBestFriend

All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane’s private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane’s world, we uncover the life changing force of their friendship. Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages we will relive their shared interests, the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats. This book offers a behind the scenes tour of the shared lives of a fascinating pair and the chance to deepen our own bonds in ‘love and friendship’ with them both.

Amazon UK Amazon Waterstones Pen and Sword

I received an digital ARC of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a well-researched biography of Martha Lloyd, a close friend and confidante of Jane Austen. It’s informative yet lively writing style brings characters and events to vibrant life. The book explores Martha’s life and highlights their friendship at pivotal times. Chapters on their first meeting, her influence on Jane’s early writing career, their forays into romance, and their love of fashion all illuminate their friendship in an engagingly vivid way.

The author’s depth of knowledge and respect for the writer is evident and makes this an enjoyable read for all.

Jane Austen’s Best Friend – Extract – Zoe Wheddon

It is so true that all of us who love Jane Austen would love to have been one of her actual friends. This extract goes right to the heart of the book – it focuses on the reason why we so want to read it – to get closer to Jane and to stop and pause for a moment to soak in all the wonder of what it would have been like to have been her very best friend. It is also a lovely moment to pause and reflect on the overwhelming gratitude we feel as her fans that she did indeed have such a friend, to love and cherish her as we would all do if we only had the chance.

Martha Lloyd occupied a sure and steady place centre stage in Jane Austen’s heart from a young age, and Jane held on tightly to her friendship throughout her journey towards a literary career and beyond, even to the very end of her life. Although heartbreakingly they would become sisters, in the legal sense, only posthumously, Jane often referred to Martha in the most familial of terms and felt as though she had been blessed with a treasure, another who occupied the same precious place in her heart and mind as her blood family.

Zoe Wheddon

‘A native of Jane Austen’s beloved county of Hampshire, Zoe Wheddon, lives in a village on the outskirts of the touwn that she and her husband Matt grew up in, with three grown up children and a cat called Leia.

She co-presents the popular podcast What Would Jane Do and writes articles and book reviews on matters relating to friendship, self-compassion and personal development on her blog. When not researching or writing her next book, Zoe can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in her kitchen.’

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