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

Green Hands Barbara Whitton 5*#Review @I_W_M #BarbaraWhitton @RandomTTours #WW2 #WomensLandArmy #LandGirls #1940s #Britain #BlogTour #BookReview #GreenHands @angelamarymar #wartimeclassics #WartimeBritain

I received a copy of this book from The Imperial War Museums in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This story is an authentic representation of what life in the Women’s Land Army (WLA) was like for many. The land girls worked on the land and maintain the food supply chain for Britain at War. They endured relentless work and ridicule until their vital contribution to the war effort was recognised.

This story prefaced by an introduction from the Imperial War museum which provides salient historical, and social details. Historical details of farming in the war years provides the backdrop for a lovely story of acceptance, friendship, romance, and humour.

Told from Bee’s point of view, the story shows how three young girls coped or didn’t with life in the land army. The author employs sensual imagery allowing the reader to imagine the characters, events and setting.

There are some important social differences in this book, compared to contemporary society. Women were doing men’s work and seen as filling in. After the war, many women didn’t remain in the workforce especially in the farming industry.

The book highlights the importance of working as a community and the hardships faced by the land girls and the country as a whole from rationing. It shows another often overlooked contribution to women in the workforce in the 1940s. It provides a dramatic representation of historical facts through relatable characters and events.

MARGARET HAZEL WATSON (writing under the pseudonym Barbara Whitton) was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1921. She was educated at the Church High Girls School in Newcastle, and later sent to St Leonards School in St Andrews. Due to study Art in Paris, her training was curtailed by the outbreak of the Second World War.

Having volunteered for the Women’s Land Army (WLA) in 1939, she worked as a Land Girl for around a year before moving to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) and later joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) as a driver, where she remained for the duration of the war. Her novel Green Hands is a fictionalised account of her time spent as a Land Girl, detailing the back-breaking hard work and intensity of her experience with good humour and an enchanting lightness of touch. During her time with the ATS she met her husband Pat Chitty and they were married in 1941. After the war, she wrote a number of accounts of her wartime experience and retained an interest in art, literature and horticulture throughout her life. She died in 2016.

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Posted in Book Review

Coming Home to Island House – Erica James – 5* Review

It’s the summer of 1939, and after touring an unsettled Europe to promote her latest book, Romily Temple returns home to Island House and the love of her life, the charismatic Jack Devereux. 

But when Jack falls ill, his estranged family are called home and given seven days to find a way to bury their resentments and come together. 

With war now declared, each member of the family is reluctantly forced to accept their new stepmother and confront their own shortcomings. But can the habits of a lifetime be changed in one week? And can Romily, a woman who thrives on adventure, cope with the life that has been so unexpectedly thrust upon her?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Vivid characters and locations bring this family saga to life at an iconic time in the 20th-century. Set in 1939 and 1940, Britain at war is the setting for a dysfunctional family brought together by the death of their estranged father.

Romily marries Jack, an older man, soulmates they live the perfect life although Jack regrets his distant relationship with his children. Irreparably changed by grief after the death of his first wife, Jack distanced himself emotionally from his children. Their memories of him are of a strict disciplinarian, judgemental and never to be pleased.

Romily fulfils her husband’s dying wish to try an unite his family, providing the story with conflict, laughter, poignancy and romance as she weaves her magic amongst Jack’s emotionally damaged children. The character development and depth of connections forged with family members make this an absorbing read. The images of war and life in Britain are well-researched and give the story and enthralling authenticity.

The gently paced plot has many dramatic twists that add to the angst Romily faces. The characters are well-drawn and individual, there are many stories within this book, which are concluded well but with enough loose ends to make the reader want to know what happens next in their lives.

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

Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: The Secrets of Castle Du Reve – Hannah Emery

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Historical Blurb

In the quaint, seaside town of Silenshore a legacy of secrets is about to be revealed…

Growing up in the imposing Castle du Rêve during 1940s wartime, young Evelyn longs for a life outside the castle walls. She dreams of attending glamorous parties, gracing the silver screen and being swept off her feet by a dashing, debonair beau. But innocent Evelyn is unaware that her bid for freedom from the oppressive castle will change the course of more than just her life…

In the early Sixties, sweet, intelligent Victoria meets the man of her dreams! Yet the expression of their love comes with consequences. In the shadow of the mysterious castle, is their relationship doomed from the start?

In the present day, Isobel has just learned she’s pregnant. An unexpected challenge she can only hope she’s up to. Except living in the father of her child’s family home, beneath the eyes of the castle, all is not as it seems… Soon secrets that have been hidden for decades threaten to change the lives of Isobel’s new family irrevocably.

Three women’s lives tangled together in a web of secrets, scandal and deceit, as the legacy of Castle du Rêve is finally discovered…

 

Historical Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon

Historical My Review

 

This book has three stories carefully interwoven; revealing the secrets and legacy of The CASTLE DU RÊVE. Each of the women introduced have unique, poignant and often sad lives. The Castle and the life it once represented, connects them all. What make this story intriguing are the subtle, less obvious similarities in their lives, which resonate with the reader and make the characters believable and memorable.

Evelyn’s story starts in 1939, when the castle becomes home to evacuees from London. New friendships and an unlikely discovery change the course of her life. The aftermath of WW2 and a fatalistic meeting seal Evelyn’s fate. Evelyn’s life is vivid and tragic, especially when seen through the eyes of Victoria the second woman in this saga.

Victoria’s story is particularly poignant; she is a victim of circumstance and the suffocating moral code the‘Swinging Sixties’ rebelled against. Her innocence and misplaced trust make Victoria’s the saddest story. Although a victim of circumstance her optimistic outlook remains.

Isobel is a contemporary woman and even though she succumbs to an age old condition, the way she and those around her deal with it makes her life full of hope and promise.
This is a well written women’s fiction story both contemporary and historical, with an interesting twist.

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

Secrets of Castle du ReveThe Secrets of Castle Du Rêve: A thrilling saga of three women’s lives tangled together in a web of secrets by Hannah Emery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Hannah Emery

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Posted in Author Guest Post, New Books

Guest Post: The Secrets of CASTLE DU RÊVE – Hannah Emery

Today I have author Hannah Emery as a guest on my blog.

She reveals some of the secrets behind her exciting new story;

‘The Secrets of CASTLE DU RÊVE’, published by Harper Impulse.

Secrets of Castle du Reve

 

Historical Blurb

In the quaint, seaside town of Silenshore a legacy of secrets is about to be revealed…

Growing up in the imposing Castle du Rêve during 1940s wartime, young Evelyn longs for a life outside the castle walls. She dreams of attending glamorous parties, gracing the silver screen and being swept off her feet by a dashing, debonair beau. But innocent Evelyn is unaware that her bid for freedom from the oppressive castle will change the course of more than just her life…

In the early Sixties, sweet, intelligent Victoria meets the man of her dreams! Yet the expression of their love comes with consequences. In the shadow of the mysterious castle, is their relationship doomed from the start?

In the present day, Isobel has just learned she’s pregnant. An unexpected challenge she can only hope she’s up to. Except living in the father of her child’s family home, beneath the eyes of the castle, all is not as it seems… Soon secrets that have been hidden for decades threaten to change the lives of Isobel’s new family irrevocably.

Three women’s lives tangled together in a web of secrets, scandal and deceit, as the legacy of Castle du Rêve is finally discovered…

 

Historical Buy Links

Amazon UK

Amazon

Mother and Baby Homes

A few years ago, when I was starting to think about ideas for The Secrets of Castle du Reve, I came across an article on homes for unmarried mothers. I’d heard about the homes before that, but reading about individual women who’d been forced to go away to have their babies in secret, sometimes not even telling their families because of the scandal that it would cause, really touched me. Soon after I read the article, I saw an episode of Long Lost Family that outlined the case of a woman who had been sent to a mother and baby home in the 1960s when she was seventeen. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and about how different life is now.

Motherhood was particularly significant to me at that point because my first daughter was about two years old then and I was feeling stunned by how powerful and intense it all was. I already knew that motherhood would be an important part of my book. The idea of having to hide a pregnancy, and the different ways relationships have been seen throughout the last hundred years or so added a whole new dimension to my plot. It took ages to decide on how to include something about mother and baby homes. I wrote so many different scenes, and even had some poor characters that didn’t make it into the first draft.

I didn’t know much at all about the homes before I started writing the book, so I read a lot of accounts of women who’d been forced to go away to have their babies, and I stared quite endlessly at pictures of the places they’d stayed in, imagining what it must have been like for them. I read about the types of lives the women had before they’d become pregnant, and the stark contrast of their times in the homes. Once I’d done my research, I enjoyed placing Isobel in 2010 alongside Victoria in the 1960s. Both women fall in love quite quickly and have such different experiences, mainly because of how much things have changed for women in a relatively short amount of time.

The clichéd writing advice that people always seem to share is: write about what you know. But I like writing about things that I don’t know. I love learning about times that have passed and bringing them back to life. For me, that’s what curling up with a book is all about.

 Thanks for revealing some of the secrets behind your story Hannah. I certainly agree that its much more fun to write about things that are new to you because the research is such an  important part of the writing process. I am currently reading  this intriguing story and I’ll be reviewing it here later this week.

e176263a92251467e5ea7882edf4e3dcAuthor Bio -1

 I have written stories for as long as I can remember. I love writing about how fragile the present is and how so much of it depends on chance events that took place years ago. I studied English at the University of Chester, and I know work in a College where I mentor degree students. The most important things in my life are my family, my friends, books, baking on a Saturday afternoon, getting glammed up to go out for champagne and dinner and having cosy weekends away. I live in Blackpool with my husband and our two little girls

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Posted in Book Review

4* Review : The Studio Kill – Charles Fleming

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Blurb -2John McClellan, head of security for Continental Pictures. An ex-cop for the LAPD, he spends his days and nights hushing up the sexual peccadilloes of actors and studio honchos, not to mention their rampant use of drugs and booze. Now our hero has his hands full with a Red-baiting Congressman who want to bring the studio down, the murder of a famous director’s wife, a columnist who will do anything for his next big story, and a sexy girl screenwriter who might be the love of his life—or the death of him.

Buy Links -2Amazon UK

Amazon

My Review -1

The Studio KillThis book is a step back in time to the golden age of Hollywood, a time where political correctness was an unheard of concept. This book is full of the prejudice and discrimination of the time but it is essential to draw the reader into the Noir world of the 1940’s. This is an atmospheric, realistic thriller with characters who mirror the players in Hollywood and Washington at the time.
The character of John McClellan, the head of studio security is easy to identify with as he calmly fixes the various scandals the film stars’ embroil themselves in. The story has plenty of twists with vivid dialogue and characters to hold your interest. The secondary characters are well written and believable, notably the ambitious journalist and the ruthless moving moguls. There is even a sprinkle of romance, an essential ingredient of a 1940’s film.
There is an unpleasant scene in a slaughter house which upset me; I understand why it was included but it was too graphic for me.
If you fancy something different, with a definite air of authenticity then this is for you.
I received a copy of this book from Asahina & Wallace Publishing via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Studio Kill by Charles Fleming

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Studio Kill by Charles Fleming

Charles Fleming

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