Posted in Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, New Books, Romance, Saga

The Good Servant Fern Britton 5*#Review @Fern_Britton @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #secrets #TheGoodServant #histfic #royals #duty #saga

The story of Marion Crawford, governess to the Queen – an ordinary woman living in an extraordinary time.

1932. Dunfermline, Scotland.

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…

1936. Windsor Castle.

At first, this ordinary woman is in a new world, working as the governess to two young princesses, in a household she calls home but where everyone is at a distance. As the course of history changes, she finds herself, a companion, to the future Queen, and indispensable to the Crown. And slowly their needs become her needs. Their lives become hers.

It’s then she meets George and falls in love for the first time. Now Marion faces an impossible choice: her sense of duty or the love of her life.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

The Good Servant is a story with a royal flavour, particularly topical in England in June. It hints at a possible scandal in its prologue. The reader realises that this is going to be an emotional journey, and it is. Marion Crawford is an intelligent young woman who wants to make a difference. Fate draws her into a world of privilege but as a servant.

I love the detailed characterisation that draws on historical figures and embellishes their lives with lyrical fictional storytelling. The reader learns about events and people from every viewpoint making this an engaging read. I enjoyed the historical details and the rich imagery in this poignant and well-written story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Revenge Fiction, Friendship, Suspense

Guilty Women Melanie Blake 5*#Review @MelanieBlakeUK @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours#BlogTour #BookReview #SoapOpera #Thriller #Guilt #Relationships #Friendship #Revenge #suspense #GuiltyWomen

Can they get away with MURDER? On a beautiful island off the English coast, four TV actresses gather. Their fifth member is missing – and only they know why she was killed. As the secret between them threatens to come out, tensions on set run high. The women are determined that the show must go on – whatever the cost. But one of them is on the edge of telling the truth – and no soap opera in the world could survive this scandal… All of the women have something to hide – but the question is, are they ALL GUILTY?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Continuing from book one, Ruthless Women, Guilty Women has the eighties ‘blockbuster’ vibes with a contemporary twist. The female characters are ruthless, but you can see why they must be when you meet the men. The strong friendship bond between the main protagonists makes this so readable. The plot is full of action, shocks and surprises and keeps you turning the pages. The characters are vibrant and flawed, but they make you care about them, and you are intrigued to know what next? Are they guilty?

Melanie Blake

MELANIE BLAKE is the bestselling author of Ruthless Women, which became a Number 4 Sunday Times hardback bestseller and an ebook bestseller in 2021, selling over 150,000 copies. Guilty Women is her second novel about the cast of Falcon Bay, and her first with HarperFiction. Growing up in a working-class household with severe dyslexia, Melanie has her own Rags to Riches story, just like that of her characters – at 15 she was told by her school career advisors that her decision to work at a record shop was ‘a clear example that she wouldn’t go far in her career’. They were wrong. By 19 she was working at the BBC’s iconic Top of the Pops show and by 26 she had built a reputation as one of the UK’s leading music and entertainment managers. She also created her own acting agency from scratch which became the most successful independent boutique agency in the UK. Melanie still represents a high-profile stable of actresses, but is also now enjoying success in her own right as a author, playwright and producer. #GuiltyWomen | @MelanieBlakeUK

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, New Books, Romance

The Promise Emma Heatherington 5*#Review @emmalou13 @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #Family #Romance #IrishFiction #Friendship #Love #relationships #loss #life #serendipity #BookReview #BlogTour #ThePromise

Some bonds can never be broken

One terrible moment changes everything for teenagers Kate and David. Brought together during the darkest of times, a spark of hope is ignited between them – a hand held in the darkness, a promise whispered. Neither of them will ever forget those moments.

It’s another ten years before they meet once more, and their lives are now so different. The promise they made to each other on that fateful day still binds them, but now they have so much more to lose.

Have they missed their one chance at happiness?

The only way they will ever know is to risk everything to be together. Is that too high a price to pay for love…?

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This author writes about emotion and heartbreak in such an engaging way. The reader is immersed in the characters’ troubled lives, hoping they find the happiness they deserve. This story has these qualities the plot deepens with historical detail and experience of Ireland in the late 1990s. The story is relatable and thought-provoking. It explores Kate and David’s developing relationship from devastation and loss in an insightful and uplifting way. A believable and vividly brought to life setting makes the story memorable.

Emma Heatherington

Emma Heatherington has penned more than thirty educational short films, plays and musicals as well as eleven novels, two of which were written under the pseudonym Emma Louise Jordan.

Emma’s novel, The Legacy of Lucy Harte, was an eBook bestseller in both the UK and US.

She lives in her native Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, with her partner Jim McKee and their children Jordyn, Jade, Dualta, Adam and Sonny James.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Fiction, New Books

Daughters of War Dinah Jefferies 5*#Review @DinahJefferies @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #France #Sisters #WW2 #DaughterofWar #MondayBlogs

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The first book in this historical fiction trilogy set in WW2 is an emotional and sensory delight. Cleverly created characters draw the reader into their tumultuous lives in occupied France. The story focuses on three sisters living in an idyllic setting in Dordogne, France, which is blighted by enemy occupation and the ravages of war. Hélène, the eldest, a nurse and surrogate mother to the younger women. Elise, the rebel whose courage leads to impulsive acts that may have far-reaching repercussions and Florence, the youngest, a dichotomy of practicality and dreamer.

The beautifully described setting is evocative of the place and time. Intricate world-building and historical details bring the characters and setting to authentic and vibrant life. The plot reflects the dangers and deprivations of war in an immersive way. Empathy is the reader’s paramount emotion, as the sisters and the community try to maintain hope and humanity in dire circumstances. Emotive and thought-provoking, it resonates.

Dinah Jefferies
Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Suspense, Family Drama, Murder Mystery, Mystery, New Books, Noir, Psychological Suspense, Suspense, Travel

The Chateau Catherine Cooper 4*#Review @catherinecooper @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #TheChateau #France #CrimeFiction #domestic #noir #psychological #suspense #MurderMystery #Relationships #Secrets #BookReview

They thought it was perfect. They were wrong…

A glamorous chateau

Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.

A couple on the brink

The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.

A secret that is bound to come out…

Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in a glamorous region of France renowned for its Chateaux, this is a twisty and menacing fusion of murder mystery and psychological suspense. Aura and Nick are living the French dream but can their relationship survive their past? The ex-pat community are welcoming, but not everyone wishes them well. The book begins with a party that ends tragically. The reader is taken back to the time preceding the party and Aura and Nick’s first few weeks. The main protagonists’ Aura and Nick, both give their viewpoints at different times. Neither are easy to like, and both are unreliable.

The chateau is a work in progress with a menacing ethos that the children pick up on. Pertinent additional points of view are injected into the story to add intrigue. Well-plotted twists and timely reveals are balanced with misdirections, multiple suspects and unreliable narrators, making the ending climactic.

Catherine Cooper

Catherine Cooper is a journalist specialising in travel, hotels, and skiing who writes regularly for the Telegraph and the Guardian among others. She lives near the Pyrenees in the South of France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Travel

The Chalet Catherine Cooper 4*#Review @catherinecooper @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #TheChalet #FrenchAlps #CrimeFiction #Revenge #Secrets #BlogTour #BookReview

French Alps, 1998

Two young men ski into a blizzard… but only one returns.

20 years later…

Four people connected to the missing man find themselves in that same resort. Each has a secret. Two may have blood on their hands. One is a killer-in-waiting.

Someone knows what really happened that day.And somebody will pay

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Set in La Madiere France, this story evokes the ski resort ethos to create a believable setting with the author using sensory imagery well to create a claustrophobic atmosphere with a hint of menace. Multi-points of view highlight significant events and character motivations in this dual timeline story.

Set in 1998 and 2020 the story focuses on two groups of skiers’ stay in La Madiere. They have little in common in terms of age and financial status, but something sinister connects them. In 1998, a skiing trip ended tragedically for four young people. In 2020, The Chalet’s occupants lives unravel with the discovery of a body.

As dangerous secrets emerge, someone is seeking revenge creating a menacing ethos amongst the group of self-serving individuals in the Chalet. This an atmospheric story which makes a simple plot effective. The characters are hard to empathise, and whilst the outcome is guessable, it is relatable and resonates.

Catherine Cooper

Catherine Cooper is a journalist specialising in travel, hotels, and skiing who writes regularly for the Telegraph and the Guardian among others. She lives near the Pyrenees in the South of France with her husband and two teenage children, and is a keen skier. The Chalet is her debut novel. www.catherinecooperauthor.com

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