Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Saga

Nettie’s Secret – Dilly Court – 4* #Review @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam @DillyCourt #Historical Romance #Saga #Victorian #TuesdayBookBlog

As the wind whipped around her, dragging strands of hair from beneath her bonnet and tugging at her skirt, Nettie left behind the only home she’d ever known…

London, 1875. Taking one last look around her little room in Covent Garden, Nettie Carroll couldn’t believe she wouldn’t even be able to say goodbye to her friends. Her father had trusted the wrong man, and now they would have to go on the run. Once again.

Amazon UK

Waterstones

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is the first Dilly Court romantic saga I’ve read, and I enjoyed it.

Set in Victorian England and Europe, it follows the adventures of Nettie and her father, as they flee from the law, in the wake of an art forgery scandal. The plot is gently paced with hardships, romance and mystery, all intertwined to create, an easy to read historical adventure. The historical setting is well- researched and enriches the plot with different lifestyles and cultures and iconic cities and countryside.

The characters are authentically written. Netties’ father is a particularly irritating man. Netties is courageous, intuitive and loyal. You want her to find a happy life, after the constant stress of looking after her father.

This is quite a lengthy read, but it is easy to pick up the story again if life interferes with your reading time.

Posted in Book Review

Coming Home 5*Review Fern Britton

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When the only place you want to be is home…

When Ella’s beloved grandmother dies, she comes back to the beautiful Cornish coast to heal her heart. There she finds her home again and discovers a new life, and new love… But she also opens a treasure trove of secrets.

Sennen left Cornwall a young single mum but unable to cope. She left her children, her family and part of her. She’s spent the years hiding from her past, hiding from herself.
Now it’s time to come back. To Cornwall. To face her mistakes. To pray for forgiveness. To hope for a future with her daughter.

 

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

‘Coming Home’ is the pain and secrets of three generations of women intricately woven into a beautiful, emotional tapestry of, atonement, forgiveness, love and sacrifice.  Believable, complex, flawed characters struggle to come to terms with their past losses and mistakes. 

The story revolves around  Sennen who at seventeen leaves her two young children in her parents’ care and runs away. Years later after the death of her mother  Adela, Sennen returns, wanting to atone and receive forgiveness from the children she left behind. Ella returns to Cornwall to rebuild her life after her grandmother’s death. She was the only mother she ever knew and learning to live without her is hard, Kit her boyfriend is the rock she needs to lean on, and their deepening romance provides a thread of hope in a sad story full of lost opportunity and misunderstanding.

The cleverly layered plot reveals that Sennen’s actions are not as selfish as they first appear, having two children at such a young age, stems from her insecurity and lack of guidance from her bohemian parents, they love her, but they don’t guide her.Naive, she lacks perspective and makes impulsive decisions without considering the consequences for herself and those she loves. 

With timeslips back to the courtship of Sennen’s parents, Bill and Adela and Sennen’s life after she leaves home, the conflict she faces from her son Henry, her guilt and the reasons why she has left it so long to return to her children are easier to understand.

The pacing makes this story easy to read and the characters draw you into their lives. There is a thought-provoking twist in this gentle story that illustrates that there are always two points of view and sometimes forgiveness and making a new start is the only way to heal.

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

 

 

Posted in Book Review

Best Friends Carys Jones: Blog Tour – Extract and 4* Review

Four friends, a terrible secret, and one week to stay alive…

Grace doesn’t have a family. That was taken away one dreadful day when she was just six, and her twin brother Peter was killed. Instead, she has her best friends and flatmates – Jasper, Franklin and Aaron – and nothing can tear them apart.

Living in London, and trying desperately to make a living, the four friends are rapidly running out of money and hope. So, when they find a discarded suitcase in a skip, they can’t believe their eyes when its contents seem to answer all their prayers.

But then there is a knock on their door, and a very disgruntled thug with revenge on his mind gives them one week to return his belongings, or they will pay with their lives. Soon the fractures in their friendships begin to show, and when one of them ends up fighting for his life, the stakes are raised even higher.

Will any of them get to the end of the week alive, or will the best of friends become the deadliest of enemies…

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2mKlVg0

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2DMGC34

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iBooks: https://apple.co/2rk5pZN

Extract

Fifteen Years Later

It was raining. The streets of London were awash with water. It gathered in rivers beneath the kerb and dripped down from gutters. Grace stepped out of the tube station and smiled as the first wet drops splashed against her. She walked boldly down the street, head held high, savouring the sensation as the rain soaked through her thin trench coat and began to damply settle against her skin.

She moved as her name suggested – with poise and elegance. With the measured steps of a prowling cat, she wove her way through the congested street, dipping beneath low hanging umbrellas and skirting around the larger puddles. Grace was like the water; fluid with her motions and able to fit through the smallest gap. Her body was slight and lithe and when she walked her feet were always turned out, the tell-tale mark of a dancer.

To Grace the rain was glorious. She laughed to herself as she tilted her head up to meet the pewter sky above.

God’s tears.

That’s what her mother believed rain to be. And whenever the sky darkened she’d pluck the twins from their beloved swing set in the local park and hurry them back to their cramped flat. It was a sin to get wet.

“The sorrow,” she’d lament as she closed the curtains and turned up the heating, “you can’t let God’s tears and sorrow touch you else it’ll sink in.”

As she moved further away from the station, the bodies swarming along the street thinned and Grace was able to stretch out her arms. The rain washed against her, purifying and icy. Her hair that was held in a tidy bun became sodden, the tan shade of her coat darkened. Still, Grace dawdled, stretching out every step on her way back to her flat. She was never in a rush, especially when it rained.

“You’ll catch your death acting like that,” a stern-faced woman with a northern accent commented as she scurried past, shielded beneath her Radley umbrella. Grace wanted to laugh in the woman’s face. It was people who brought death, not water. But it wasn’t the stranger’s urge for caution, but her Manchester twang that made Grace begin to hurry home. She had once spoken with a similar cadence, but during her years spent at a prestigious ballet school, she’d learned to phase it out, adopting a more clipped, formal accent.

She didn’t need another reminder of home. Nor had she wanted to give the rest of the girls in her class another reason to see her as an outcast. Grace was already strange in their eyes. They came from homes with front doors, back gardens, places where parents came in pairs.

Up ahead a battered blue door flung open, and a handsome dark-haired guy burst out. He headed directly for Grace, extending his arms which made his long wool coat fan out behind him like a cloak.

“Jesus Christ,” he exclaimed as he reached her. “What have I told you about your damn rain fetish? Now get your ass inside.”

“I don’t have a fetish, Franklin,” Grace assured him as she followed him into the small communal hallway which led up to their two bedroom flat.

“Yes, you bloody do,” Franklin feverishly shook off the minuscule cluster of raindrops which had landed on him during his short time outside. He behaved like the dark clouds lingering over London were releasing acid rather than water. “Whenever it rains I find you swanning around outside like you think you’re Kate Bush. Now get in, hurry.”

“I am hurrying.” Grace ascended a steep staircase, made a sharp right turn and found her front door. It was of bare, unvarnished wood. She gently kicked the base, and it opened without protest. Franklin followed her inside and paused to secure the many deadbolts on the inner side of the door.

 My Thoughts…

Believable characters that are easy to empathise. A realistic, plot and a vibrant easy to imagine setting all make Best Friends worth reading. The pacing is perfect, and the internal and external conflict balance is good.

Four young adults share a small flat and face a constant battle of paying the rent without sacrificing their dreams. They are drawn together because of they are all artists, an actor, dancer, musician and writer. They all have something missing in their family lives, ranging from being different to their siblings to suffering years of unthinkable abuse as a child.  They are family, but this bond is tested when something they thought would be their salvation turns sour.

The friendship is tested to breaking point, but each of them face up to their fears and, finds something worthwhile from the traumatic two weeks they experience.  For me, the plot isn’t as exciting as the blurb suggested, but the character development and the conflict within the group make it worth reading.

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

Carys Jones loves nothing more than to write and create stories which ignite the reader’s imagination. Based in Shropshire, England, Carys lives with her husband, two guinea pigs and her adored canine companion Rollo.

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