Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Romance, Suspense

The Rose Code Kate Quinn 5*#Review @KateQuinnAuthor @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #TheRoseCode #BlogTour #BookReview @RandomTTours #HistFic #WW2 #1940 #1947 #RoyalWedding #HistoricalFiction #Friendship

1940

Three very different women answer the call to mysterious country estate Bletchley Park, where the best minds in Britain train to break German military codes.

Vivacious debutante Osla is the girl who has everything—beauty, wealth, and the dashing Prince Philip of Greece sending her roses—but she burns to prove herself as more than a society girl, and puts her fluent German to use as a translator of decoded enemy secrets.

Imperious self-made Mab, product of east-end London poverty, works the legendary codebreaking machines as she conceals old wounds and looks for a socially advantageous husband.

Awkward local girl Beth, whose shyness conceals a brilliant facility with puzzles beneath her shy exterior.

1947

As the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip whips post-war Britain into a fever, three friends-turned-enemies are reunited by a mysterious encrypted letter–the key to which lies buried in the long-ago betrayal that destroyed their friendship and left one of them confined to an asylum.

A mysterious traitor has emerged from the shadows of their Bletchley Park past, and now Osla, Mab, and Beth must resurrect their old alliance and crack one last code together…

As the nation prepares for the royal wedding they must race against the clock to save one of their own.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a fascinating historical novel showcasing the crucial work carried out by the analysts, code breakers and translators at Bletchley Park during WW2. Detailed and well researched, it tells the story of three women inspired by historical figures. There are cameo appearances from famous wartime figures in the novel too, which adds authenticity.

Dual timeline it moves, between 1940 and 1947 weeks before the Royal Wedding. One of the characters has a connection to the Royals. The three women, once best of friends, had an irretrievable falling out and now are estranged. This is a lengthy novel, but there is a lot to unravel and reveal to the reader. The historical detail makes this an immersive read.

The women are drawn together by a desperate plea for help from one of them to solve one last code. The characters are flawed and relatable you get to know them well and empathise with them. The race to solve the code is suspenseful and draws on the past and the women’s connections.

This is an enjoyable, epic read which shines a light on one of the most secretive and vital areas of the second world war.

Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice.

A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga, and two books in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple
languages.

She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia

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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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Domestic Thriller, Family Drama, Friendship

Forgive Me Susan Lewis 5*#Review @susanlewisbooks @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #RestorativeJustice #Crime #Domestic Suspense #Forgiveness #Family #Friendship #BlogTour #BookReview #ForgiveMe

I can’t forgive myself. Not after what I did. Could you?


This is Claudia Winters’s last chance for a fresh start. Changing her name and leaving her old life behind, she has fled to the small town of Kesterly with her mother and daughter. Here, she hopes they can be safe for the first time in years.

But the past can’t stay hidden forever. And even as Claudia makes new friends and builds a new life, she can’t help feeling it’s all about to catch up with her… Until one disastrous night changes everything forever.

Tense, emotional and gripping, Susan Lewis’s latest novel is a spellbinding story of love, family, and the price of forgiveness. 

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a contemporary emotional story focusing on crime, domestic abuse, family and forgiveness. From the beginning, you aware that someone is seeking forgiveness, but alongside this runs the story of three women, a mother, daughter and grandmother who are seeking a new start. The connection, if any between the two stories, is not immediately apparent.

The characters, especially the female protagonists, are well written. The familial relationship is powerful. This is a story of forgiveness, healing and love. It demonstrates the importance of these in all relationships in a way that resonates.

Despite his actions, the antagonist draws reluctant empathy from the reader, which increases, as the story progresses. Not all the characters are likeable, but they are authentic and play their part, in this family drama with a moral dilemma.

This story is addictive and hard to put down. The protagonists are admirable and human.

Susan Lewis

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later and Home Truths and My Lies, Your Lies. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Literary Fiction, Romance

When the Music Stops Joe Heap 5*#Review @Joe_Heap_ @harperfiction @HarperCollinsUK #literaryfiction #music #love #life #loss #uplit #serendipity #BookReview #BlogTour #WhentheMusicStops @RandomTTours @fictionpubteam @flisssity

This is the story of Ella.
And Robert.
And of all the things they should have said, but never did.

‘What have you been up to?’
I shrug, ‘Just existing, I guess.’
‘Looks like more than just existing.’
Robert gestures at the baby, the lifeboat, the ocean.
‘All right, not existing. Surviving.’
He laughs, not unkindly. ‘Sounds grim.’
‘It wasn’t so bad, really. But I wish you’d been there.’

Ella has known Robert all her life.

Through seven key moments and seven key people their journey intertwines.
 
From the streets of Glasgow during WW2 to the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of London in the 60s and beyond, this is a story of love and near misses.

Of those who come in to our lives and leave it too soon.

And of those who stay with you forever…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is a beautifully written story of life, love, loss and serendipity. Music and the number seven define the parameters of this story which explores Ella’s life and her lifelong love of Robert. The writing is lyrical, as Ella revisits her past at seven pivotal times and introduces seven characters who left their emotional mark on her life.

The flashbacks are vivid and written with historical details and insight. They immerse the reader into the story and make it believable. Throughout, Ella is authentic and flawed. Her mistakes are a reflection of her humanity, and they make you consider your life and choices. The love story is gentle and tragic, but this is real love, and it’s ending is worthy of the angst.

I read this in a day and enjoyed it for its originality, realism and supernatural twist.

Joe Heap

Joe Heap was born in 1986 and grew up in Bradford, the son of two teachers.

His debut novel The Rules of Seeing won Best Debut at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards in 2019 and was shortlisted for the Books Are My Bag Reader Awards.

Joe lives in London with his girlfriend, their two sons and a cat who wishes they would get out of the house more often.

A note from Joe:
At a summer season in Ramsgate, 1959, two ice skaters held a party. My grandfather, a Glaswegian saxophonist who would rather have gone to the pub, was convinced by a comedian on the same bill to come along. My grandmother, another one of the ice skaters, sat down next to him and spilt her drink in his lap. Though she has since denied it, her first words of note to him were ‘Oh no, not another Scot.’

Nobody could have guessed how much would spin off that moment, myself and this book included.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Literary Fiction, Suspense

Blurred Lines Hannah Begbie 4*#Review @hannahbegbie @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #Paperback #BookReview #BlogTour @RandomTTours #BlurredLines #domestic #suspense #women #FridayReads

She spoke out. I stayed silent. What would you do?

When Becky walks in on her boss with a woman who isn’t his wife, she’s horrified, but says nothing. She owes Matthew too much.

But when the same woman accuses him of rape, Becky is trapped in a nightmare. Was what she saw rape – or is Matthew, her trusted mentor, telling the truth? Becky must try to ignore her own traumatic past and its terrible hold on her.

As Becky attempts to untangle these blurred lines, she risks everything, even her home and family, to find the truth…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Becky faces a traumatic moral dilemma Told from Becky’s point of view, her past affecting her present emotions and reactions. This story uses contemporary issues and weaves them into an intricate plot. An unreliable protagonist means the reader doesn’t know who to believe, wherever their empathy lies.
This is an immersive story. It includes the reader, what do they think? Not everything is what it seems, and this story illustrates this well.

Blurred lines is an absorbing, emotional read.

Hannah Begbie

Hannah Begbie studied Art History at Cambridge University. She went on to become a talent agent, representing BAFTA and Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning writers and comedians for fifteen years. She also enrolled in The Novel Studio course at City University, winning that year’s new writing prize. The book she developed there became her debut novel, MOTHER, which later went on to win the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers from the RNA. She lives in north London with her husband and their two sons.

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

The Bird in the Bamboo Cage Hazel Gaynor 4*#Review @HazelGaynor @HarperFiction #HistoricalFiction #WW2 #China #ForgottenHeroes @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #TheBirdintheBambooCage

Published August 20 in Hardback

China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.

Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.

Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Stores inspired by true-life events are always engaging. This book tells of the courage, hardship and strength of schoolchildren and their teachers who became prisoners of war in China during WW2. This historical fiction is well researched, from the recorded war events to the human experience.

This is an emotional, character-driven story told from Elspeth, teacher and Nancy, a school child’s viewpoints. It explores the atrocities, depravations and inhumanity of war. The darkness balanced by the children and their teachers’ courage, friendship and fortitude.

This book delivers a rich reading experience with intimate portrayals of relatable characters and vivid sensory imagery.

Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today, and Irish Times, bestselling author of historical fiction, including her debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown award. She is published in thirteen languages and nineteen countries. Hazel is co-founder of creative writing
events, The Inspiration Project, and currently lives in Ireland with her family, though originally from Yorkshire.