Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

The 12 Christmases of You & Me Jennifer Joyce 5*#Review @Writer_Jenn @rararesources #Festive #SecondChance #romcom #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview

What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?

Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?

When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?

The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.

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

My Thoughts…

The idea of Christmas past, present and future is used here as a festive twist to explore coming of age, friendship and love from Maisie’s point of view. The story begins in the present, and the humour and connection between Maisie and Lily are engaging. Maisie realistically revisits past Christmases. She learns from her mistakes and omissions and subtly alters her future.

This is a story about growing up and changing friendships with a magical festive twist. The characters are relatable and engender emotions in the reader. The story is heartwarming and humorous.

Jennifer Joyce

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. She’s been scribbling down bits of stories for as long as she can remember, graduating from a pen to a typewriter and then an electronic typewriter. And she felt like the bee’s knees typing on THAT. She now writes her books on a laptop (which has a proper delete button and everything).

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance, Travel

The Christmas Swap Sandy Barker 5*#Review @sandybarker @0neMoreChapter_ #Festive #Christmas #Holiday #Friendship #Women #Romance #Family @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads

Christmas is coming and best friends Chloe, Jules, and Lucy are needing change… so swapping homes for the holidays could be the perfect present for all of them!

Australian Chloe spends her Christmas in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England. She is totally star-struck when she discovers who lives across the road.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules’s loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend her Christmas on a beach with Chloe’s friends in Melbourne, finding that time away is just what she needed.

The only thing better than one Christmas romance is three.

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

My Thoughts…

Three women, friends since they met on holiday as young girls are all living good lives, but when it comes to Christmas they all feel it’s time to shake things up a little. Chole, Jules and Lucy agree that a house swap at Christmas will meet their needs and what follows is festive, fun and full of romance.

The characters are relatable and the plot peppered with Christmas activities and memories,
vivid locations and love. There are three romances, all different, but equally believable and heartwarming.

If I had to pick a favourite it would be Lucy and Will, she’s introverted and doesn’t realise how lovely she is, and Will does. The glamour of Archer and Chloe’s romance is good to read. Jules and Matt’s relationship is less romantic than the other two, but it’s realistic and has its moments. The three stories bound together by the three women and Christmas make this an engaging festive read.

Sandy Barker

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Humour, Romance

One Family Christmas Bella Osborne 5*#Review @osborne_bella @AvonBooksUK #Festive #Christmas #Family #drama #humour #Secrets @rararesources #OneFamilyChristmas

A big family. A whole lot of secrets. A Christmas to remember…

This year, Lottie is hosting one last big family Christmas at the home she grew up in – just like her Nana would have wanted.

But when her relatives descend on the old manor house, Lottie gets more than she bargained for. Every family has its secrets, but in this family, everybody has one!

So, between cooking a Christmas dinner, keeping tensions at bay and a stray dog out of mischief, she has plenty on her plate and not just misshapen sausage rolls and a frozen turkey. And then her first love shows up – nine years after he walked out of her life.

Can Lottie make their last family Christmas one to remember… for the right reasons?

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

My Thoughts…

It’s always fun when one of your favourite authors writes a festive book, and this one has laughter, love and life in abundance. Lottie wants to have a perfect family Christmas for her lovely Nana Rose, but the reality isn’t quite as rosy as the dream. Like many families, Lottie’s family has its eccentric members and secrets, but when they all in the same house, its a recipe for mayhem.

Lottie’s inability to cook is one obstacle and the emerging secrets from her family is another, but this makes for a fun read with touches of poignancy and romance that is likely to have you recalling past family Christmases. Every character adds to the story, especially the animals and you are left with a smile on your face when you reach the last page, lovely.

Bella Osborne

Bella has been jotting down stories as far back as she can remember but decided that 2013 would be the year that she finished a full length novel. Since then she’s written six best selling romantic comedies and she’s been shortlisted three times for the RNA Contemporary Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

Bella’s stories are about friendship, love and coping with what life throws at you. She lives in The Midlands, UK with her husband, daughter and a cat who thinks she’s a dog. When not writing Bella is usually eating custard creams and planning holidays.

For more about Bella, visit her website at www.bellaosborne.com or follow her on social media.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Guest post, Romance

The Winter We Met Samantha Tonge #GuestPost @SamTongeWriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #festive #Family #Friends #Romance #Christmas #CareHomes #Party #Toys #BlogTour #publicationday #TheWinterWeMet

When charming, mysterious, Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.

As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her Grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. With the help of Nik, and her best friend Oliver, Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen! But time is running out and Oliver isn’t the only one who has suspicions about charismatic Nik’s intentions.

Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?

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Guest Post – Samantha Tonge – The Randomness of Life

Have you ever thought about the randomness of life? Sometimes, the way things happen by chance, scares me a little! It’s strange to think that if I’d got my first choice of university (bad interview – long story!) I’d never have met my husband, never have had my children. And when my two started their degrees I thought how strange it was that probably the closest group of friends they would develop for life was going to be determined by an administrator allotting them to a particular room in  a particular halls of residence.

Life is random and that’s why we shouldn’t beat ourselves up if things don’t always go to plan. In fact, the unexpected nature of our existence is, in my opinion, what makes it so exciting. I think back to my student days… I was never going to get married nor have kids, and I was focused on learning languages, translating, nothing to do with being an author. However for many different reasons, my life went down a different path – and who knows where I will be a decade or two from now.

That randomness is what I wanted to capture in The Winter We Met, by  lead character Jess sitting in the wrong seat on an aeroplane and by doing so meeting Nik,  a man who was going to change her life in ways she could never have expected.

Travelling is a great opportunity for chance encounters. I remember aupairing in the south of France when I was nineteen. One day I travelled on a bus to meet a friend. I sat next to a young Frenchman, an artist, and we chatted and laughed all the way. As we parted, both of us knowing we would never meet again, he reached into his bag and gave me a silver pocket watch to remember him by. I still have it today. And for several months afterwards he would send me a postcard with a watercolour he’d paint onto the front.

Then a couple of years later, I had a job in London and commuted every morning. I’d sit on the train reading a French magazine to improve my language skills. Often I’d catch the eye of a particular guy with lovely freckles and a great smile. Eventually we got talking – he’d assumed I was French. And that gave rising to another friendship forming and, under different circumstances, could have easily led to a romance.

Several of my books have been inspired by chance encounters. One Summer In Rome has a blind main character and he was inspired by an incredible woman I met and chatted to on a train, who couldn’t see – she travelled the country alone, with her job, training visually impaired people to use special technology.

Chance encounters, life’s randomness, it’s a wonderful thing because when things are going really badly, when you’re in one of life’s ruts, don’t ever forget that there is always the possibility that something totally unexpected will pull you out of it – and that could be just around the corner.

Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.

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Read my review of The Winter We Met here

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

The Winter We Met Samantha Tonge 5*#Review @SamTongeWriter @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #festive #multigenerational #Family #Friends #Romance #Christmas #CareHome #Party #Toys #BlogTour #BookReview #publicationday #TheWinterWeMet

When charming, mysterious, Nik sits next to Jess on a plane home from a Christmas toy trade fair, she never could have imagined the impact he’d have on her life. As they touch down in London, Jess is hesitant to let Nik walk away, and before she knows it, she’s invited him to visit.

As the two take in the delights of the toy store where she works, Jess gets an upsetting phone call. Willow Court, her Grandmother’s care home, is to close before Christmas. With the help of Nik, and her best friend Oliver, Jess is determined to find the perfect new home for her Gran – and throw the best Christmas party Willow Court has ever seen! But time is running out and Oliver isn’t the only one who has suspicions about charismatic Nik’s intentions.

Will a chance encounter on an aeroplane bring love to Jess’s life or is this Christmas miracle too good to be true?

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

My Thoughts…

This author always manages to capture the spirit of Christmas in her festive stories. They are fun and often romantic, but they have a deeper, more serious message too.

This story focuses on toy shops and care homes and their residents. It’s about family, friends, having fun and gets across the message that you don’t stop dreaming, feeling and hoping just because you’re getting older and your body and mind are diminishing.

Jess meets Nik on a flight back from a toy fair, they get along and when they land he visits the toy shop where she works. Nik appears to be a kind man, willing to help others, and Jess starts to fall in love with him. Is everything as it appears or is she missing something important?

The characters all bring something to this story. Trying to help them as they lose their security brings Jess and her friends closer to the residents and workers and all have interesting stories to tell. The dynamics of the relationship between friends and family are believable.

The romance is gentle, and a little mysterious for Jess but the ending is realistic and satisfying.

Samantha Tonge

Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.

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If you want to read Samantha Tonge’s Guest Post on The Randomness of Life. Click here

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Historical Romance, Romance, Saga, Victorian Romance

The Christmas Wedding Dilly Court 4*#Review @DillyCourt @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #Christmas #Wedding #HistoricalFiction #saga #TheVillageSecrets #BookReview #VictorianRomance

Holding the letter in trembling hands, Daisy’s future crumbled before her – the words engraved on her heart forever.

The village of Little Creek, the long winter of 1867

The first flakes of snow are falling when Daisy Marshall, secretly engaged to her master’s son, finds herself jilted at the altar.

Heartbroken, Daisy flees to the small village of Little Creek, nestled on the coast of Essex. There she is warmly welcomed – but the village is poverty-stricken, suffering under a cruel Lord of the manor. And when cholera hits, the villagers are truly in dire straits.

Determined to help, Daisy makes new friends in earnest doctor Nicholas and dashing smuggler Jay – but also dangerous new enemies, who threaten to destroy everything she’s built. Can Daisy save the village and find happiness in time for Christmas?

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

My Thoughts…

A well researched historical saga, of family drama, mystery, poverty and romance. The social divide apparent in Victorian England is explored here.

Daisy, a governess lives in no man’s land, somewhere between upstairs and downstairs. In love with the heir to the household, she hopes her position will be confirmed, but he lets her down, and she returns home, heartbroken and unemployed. Moving to a small Essex village with her family, she feels at home, but the cruelty of the ruling classes blights the villagers’ lives who live in fear, poverty and squalor.

Daisy finds friendship and a warm community, but evil lurks and threatens the life she builds. This is a detailed, passionate tale of Victorian life, which draws you in, as the descriptive writing and authentic characters bring this era of change to life.

A festive start, to what promises to be a riveting series for romantic saga devotees.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Holiday Romance, Romance, Travel

The Christmas Holiday Sophie Claire 5* #Review @HodderBooks @SClaireWriter #Romance #Festive #Rural #Village #Provence #grief #secondchance #BookReview #Holiday

Can a trip away lead you home?

After a bad break-up, eternal optimist Evie Miller has moved to the small village of Willowbrook to finally pursue her dream of opening a craft shop. Unfortunately, with money worries and an ex-boyfriend determined to track her down, her fresh start isn’t going entirely to plan.

Jake Hartwood is also looking to escape his past. Haunted by the loss of his wife, he’s determined not to get close to anyone again – and the last thing he wants is to be celebrating this December.

Hoping to avoid the festivities, Evie and Jake arrange to escape Christmas together as friends in Provence. But will the magic of the season change things between them?

And what happens if one of them starts to feel something more?

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I received a copy of this book from Hodder and Stoughton via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

Evie is an optimist, despite the lack of support from her parents, the tragedy she has suffered, and the abusive relationship she is still trying to escape. Jake has lost the love of his life and finds going on without her difficult. The village of Willowbrook gives Evie a chance of a new independent life, and Jake the chance to hide away until he feels strong enough to carry on. The only problem is Christmas, which brings back painful memories for both.

Evie and Jake’s relationship has a less than auspicious start, but a friendship builds out of their mutual suffering, and escaping together for Christmas offers a solution to both their problems, but is friendship what they want? Or is a holiday romance inevitable?

Heartwarming romance and emotional conflict with a festive twist, set in a lovely English village, and fabulous Provence. The intensity of grief and loss is explored during Christmastime, sensitively, whilst keeping a positive, uplifting ethos. The characters are believable and individual and the settings bring the story to life. A lovely wintery story is written in an easy to read style by a consummate storyteller,

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Romance

The Christmas Party Karen Swan 4*#Review @KarenSwan1 @panmacmillan #Party #Festive #Romance #BookReview #Family #Drama #Secrets #Ireland #Castle

When Declan Lorne, the last remaining knight in Ireland, dies suddenly, an ancient title passes with him. But his estate on Ireland’s rugged south-west coast is left to his three daughters. The two eldest, Ottie and Pip, inherit in line with expectations, but to everyone’s surprise – and dismay – it is the errant baby of the family, Willow, who gets the castle.

Why her? Something unknown – something terrible – made her turn her back on her family three years earlier, escaping to Dublin and vowing never to return. So when Willow quickly announces she is selling up, her revenge seems sweet and the once-close sisters are pushed to breaking point: in desperation, Pip risks everything to secure her own future, and Ottie makes a decision that will ruin lives. It’s each woman for herself.

Before moving in, Connor Shaye, the prospective new owner, negotiates throwing a lavish party at the castle just days before Christmas – his hello, their goodbye. But as their secrets begin to catch up with them, Ottie, Willow and Pip are forced to ask themselves which is harder: stepping into the future, or letting go of the past? 

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

My Thoughts…

A contemporary, complex family drama set in a wonderfully atmospheric Ireland. A tale of three sisters, who life has driven apart, despite their closeness in growing up. The untimely death of their father has profound effect on all of them. Not just in terms of grief, but the enforced change in lifestyle, due to financial straits, and the gradual unraveling of the secrets they hide.

This is a slow paced emotional story. The three woman are hard to empathise, but they are believable and relatable. The world building is detailed and may not appeal. Seasonal rather than festive, the Christmas Party is used to draw the story to a dramatic conclusion.

Deep and often dark, this is a story of legacy,love and life.

Posted in Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Romance, Travel

A Wedding in December Sarah Morgan 5*#Review @SarahMorgan_ @HQStories #Romance #Festive #Christmas #Aspen #Wedding #Family #Secrets #Drama #Relationships #BookReview

#AWeddingInDecember

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding.

First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret about their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister Katie is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself. If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiance but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived – how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget.

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

My Thoughts…

A Christmas wedding is so romantic, but Rosie’s family are worried. Is Rosie rushing into a relationship impulsively as usual? Katie, the older sister believes so, and heads to Colorado to stop the wedding. Her own life is complicated, and maybe she is too conflicted to examine her motives too closely? Maggie’s girls’ are her life, she wants them to be happy, but can she conquer her fears to be at her daughter’s side? Marriage is a touchy subject for her and Nick, their father, but only Rosie’s happiness matters now.

This is a festive, family drama, played out against the snowy wonderland of Aspen, Colorado. Told from Maggie, Rosie and Katie’s point of view. The secrets are exposed and the hurts laid bare in this emotional story full of angst, love and tears.

There are many conflicts both internal and external to be overcome by all the family’s members, but the magic of Christmas, familial love and a touch of laughter and romance make anything possible in this lovely festive tale.

An enchanting festive story of family, laughter, love and secrets.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Mystery, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Bluebell’s Christmas Magic Marie Laval 5*#Review @ChocLituk @MarieLaval1 @rararesources #Romance #festive #Cumbria #Cleaning #Secrets #Romantic Suspense #Mystery #BlogTour #BookReview #BookBloggers #Giveaway

#BluebellsChristmasMagic

A flick of a feather duster and a sprinkle of Christmas magic
Cassie Bell is used to mess. Her cleaning business, Bluebell Cleaning, is well known in the Cumbrian village of Red Moss. However, now it’s almost Christmas and Cassie has a slightly messier situation to deal with than she’s used to.

She’s been hired to help Stefan Lambert, an injured army helicopter pilot who’s staying at the local Belthorn Manor whilst he recovers. Stefan resents Cassie’s interference and is definitely not looking for Christmas cheer. But Cassie prides herself on sparkling surfaces – so, can she bring some festive sparkle to Stefan’s life too?

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

My Thoughts…

A charming Christmas romance, with a cast of interesting characters, some lovely, others are not, a mystery and a something unquantifiably mystical.

Cassie is an optimistic, happy woman, who works hard and goes out of her way to make others feel happier. Meeting Stefan is unexpected and he appears unmoved by her kindness. Hurt at first, until she realises his physical injuries are just the tip of the iceberg, and his emotional damage is far more severe.

A historical family drama seems to reflect Stefan and Cassie’s situation. There are a few paranormal interludes and a lovely gentle romance all weaved intricately into this lovely festive tale.

It’s hard to put into words the magic of this story, but it keeps you reading, and when it ends, although the conclusion is perfect, you are sad it’s finished.

Giveaway to Win a small canvas purse and a thick notebook (Open to UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the link above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

#MarieLaval

Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher and in her spare time, she loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes. She writes both historical and contemporary romance. Her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global Ebook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance), and best-selling Little Pink Taxi was her debut romantic comedy novel with Choc Lit. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

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