Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, New Books

Sharpe’s Skirmish Bernard Cornwell @BernardCornwell @booksonthehill  @lovebookstours  @igbooktours #SharpesSkirmish #dyslexiafriendlyfiction

Books on the Hill

It is the summer of 1812, and Richard Sharpe, newly recovered from the wound he received in the fighting at Salamanca, is given an easy duty; to guard a Commissary Officer posted to an obscure Spanish fort where there are some captured French muskets to repair. 

But unknown to the British, the French are planning a lightning raid across the River Tormes, and they reckon the obscure Spanish fort, which guards an ancient bridge across the river, will be lightly guarded. Sharpe is in for a fight.

Bernard Cornwell OBE is a global bestselling historical fiction author of more than 50 novels. His Napoleonic Wars series following Richard Sharpe was made into much-loved TV series starring Sean Bean. More recently, the BBC adapted his Last Kingdom series, set in King Alfred’s Anglo-Saxon kingdom.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

This format of the ever-popular Sharpe adventures is dyslexia-friendly adult historical fiction. The background, font, spacing and length of this book make it accessible. The story captures the essence of the enigmatic Sharpe and his adventures in the Napoleonic wars. I like this series, but if you are a new reader, this provides an enticing introduction to the characters and their stories.

Dyslexic-friendly fiction for adults by BOTH Press

Following their successful “Open Dyslexia” Kickstarter in 2021, which led to publishing eight dyslexia-friendly fiction titles, BOTH Press is launching on June 7th 2022, their second Kickstarter “Open Dyslexia: the sequel” with more high-profile authors than ever before, lasting 30 days and finishing on the July 4th 2022

The Kickstarter aims to publish eight more titles of high-quality fiction from bestselling authors: including household names such as Bernard Cornwell and Peter James. 

The line-up includes many front-list authors such as Gareth Powell, J.M Alvey(aka Juliet Mckenna), Scott Oden, Snorri Krisjanason, and James Bennett.

Peter James will also be doing an introduction for the 2022 collection.  

There are very few initiatives for reading for pleasure for adults. The eight titles BOTH Press has already published are the only readily available dyslexia-friendly fiction for adults in the UK and can be found in libraries and any bookshop. The scale of accessibility is not nearly enough, as around 10% of the UK population deal with some form of dyslexia.

Despite Jay Blades’s (the Presenter of ‘Repair Shop’) unique telling of his learning to read in the documentary ‘Learning To Read At 51’, which the BBC recently aired, there are still few or no resources for adult dyslexia. A glance at Adult dyslexics charity websites and reading charity websites indicates there are few resources on reading fiction for pleasure for adults with dyslexia.

“It is frustrating that we now have children’s books in dyslexia-friendly formats. As adults, we apparently do not require books in the same form.”

Dyslexic blogger Suzy Taylor who writes for Dyslexia Scotland

There needs to be a choice for people to read for pleasure, where there are books designed to be friendly to them and are not dumbed down, are high quality and enjoyable fiction, which people can chat and socialise about with friends and family.

 “This book shop is doing incredible things and helping people to fall in love with reading again” [and] “I love the fact and the thought that has gone through on these [titles] with the spacing, the font, with the colour of the paper and the way that the book just flows.”

Darren Clarke, the director of Succeed with Dyslexia.

BOTH Press has had many heart-warming responses about how the books have impacted their lives. 

“Many individuals who have told us their stories do not want to be mentioned due to fear of stigma about their struggle to read. For example, a man in his 50s in Scotland had not read a book since he was a child. His partner found us and bought him one of our titles. He read it. Then called us up to order another. He was so happy to actually read. In fact, the partner wrote us a letter explaining how much of a difference it is making and then ordered the four more for a Christmas present.” 

Dr Alistair Sims

BOTH aim to raise £16,000 to publish eight titles. Though looking to the future, they will need more than £20,000 a year to keep publishing eight titles regularly. All funds go toward the book production/ life cycle to make them readily available. The bookshop Books on the Hill and their manager Alistair Sims, who created BOTH Press, receive no profits from the project.  

Further information

Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Folk Tales, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Parenting and Famlies

The White Hare Jane Johnson 4*#Review @JaneJohnsonBakr @HoZ_Books @AriaFiction #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Family #love #loss #folklore #BookReview #Mystery #Romance #Secrets #forgiveness #TheWhiteHare #nature #supernatural #preorder

In a valley steeped in legend lies an abandoned house where Edens may be lost, found and remade…

The White Valley in the far west of Cornwall cuts deeply through bluebell woods down to the sea. The house above the beach has lain neglected since the war. It comes with a reputation, which is why Mila and her mother Magda acquire it so cheaply in the fateful summer of 1954.

Magda plans to restore the house to its former glory: the venue for glittering parties, where the rich and celebrated gathered for bracing walks by day and sumptuous cocktails by night. Mila’s ambitions, meanwhile, are much less grand; she dreams of creating a safe haven for herself, and happy home for her little girl, Janey.

The White Valley comes with a long, eventful history, laced with tall tales. Locals say that a white hare may be seen running through the woods there; to some, she’s an ill omen, to others a blessing. Feeling fragile and broken-hearted, Mila is in need of as many blessings as she can get. But will this place provide the fresh start she so desperately needs?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

A historical, mystical tale set in Cornwall in 1954 explores Cornish folklore, the natural world and human relationships. The author creates an atmospheric ethos that is a primary motivator in the story. After a scandalous relationship implodes, Mila moves to a gothic-style house with her mother and young daughter. The locals are wary of incomers, and the house has a dark history. Mila wonders if she has made a mistake.

I love the mystical quality of the tale and how Mila gradual realises her worth through meeting some of the valley’s unusual inhabitants. The gentle pacing allows the reader to appreciate the sensory imagery and secrets within the lyrical writing.

It’s a story of acceptance, renewal and love.

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 Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Mystery, New Books, Paranormal, Romance

The Belladonna Maze Sinéad Crowley 5* #Review @SCrowleyAuthor @SineadCrowley @HoZ_Books #literaryfiction #dualtimeline #gothic #fantasy #mystery #romance #histfic #TheBelladonnaMaze #IrishFiction #supernatural #BookReview

An old house can hold many secrets. Hollowpark in the west of Ireland certainly does. At the heart of the gardens is an intricate maze, named after a deadly poison, Belladonna. If you know the way through, it’s magical, a hiding place and playground like no other. If you don’t, it’s a place of fear and sinister riddles, where a young girl once went missing and was never seen again.

Grace comes to Hollowpark as a nanny for young Skye FitzMahon. Soon the mysterious past of Hollowpark has seduced her. Who is the woman she sometimes glimpses in an upstairs window? Or the apparition who keeps showing up unexpectedly, pleading, ‘Find me.’ And how can she fight her growing attraction to Skye’s father?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

Beginning with a telling incident in The Belladonna Maze in 1825, this story alternates between the nineteenth century and 2007. It is an absorbing medley of literary fiction with gothic and supernatural elements.

Lyrical and full of vibrant characters and vivid imagery, the story weaves its magic on the reader, immersing them in the maze and its secrets. It reads like a contemporary fairytale, and the reader is never sure what is fact and what is fantasy. Belladonna is known for its hallucinatory effects.

Posted in Book Review, Historical Romance, New Books, Victorian Romance

A Dance To Save The Debutante Eva Shepherd 5*#Review @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks #millsandbooninsiders #millsandboonhistorical #harlequinhistorical #historicalromance #evashepherd #victorianromance #histfic #BookReview #ADanceToSaveTheDebutante

A jaded rake

And an innocent debutante…

Seeing Miss Sophia Cooper being rebuffed by a reprobate Duke, Lord Ethan Rosemont does the gentlemanly thing and dances with her himself. He discovers she’s no damsel in distress, but an intelligent woman who’s had enough of the marriage mart. It would be all too easy to give in to the desire fizzing between them – but only if this rake is willing to save her reputation – by marrying her himself…

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

My Thoughts…

A Dance To Save The Debutante’ is an enjoyable romance between a naive but intelligent debutante and a kind-hearted rake. The story gives an insight into Victorian society’s attitude towards women. Sophia and Ethan’s chemistry and unlikely friendship develop into a gentle and engaging romance full of conflicts and soul searching before their happy ending. The two main characters develop satisfyingly. With touches of forbidden passion and fairytale romance, this is a lovely escapist read.

Posted in Audiobook Review, Book Review, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, New Books, Regency Romance, Romance

The People’s Princess Flora Harding 5*#Review #Audiobook #Review #Narrator Julie Teal #ThePeoplesPrincess #HistFic #HistoricalFiction

Step behind the palace doors in this gripping historical novel that is a must read for fans of The Crown and Princess Diana!

Buckingham Palace, 1981

Her engagement to Prince Charles is a dream come true for Lady Diana Spencer but marrying the heir to the throne is not all that it seems. Alone and bored in the palace, she resents the stuffy courtiers who are intent on instructing her about her new role as Princess of Wales…

But when she discovers a diary written in the 1800s by Princess Charlotte of Wales, a young woman born into a gilded cage so like herself, Diana is drawn into the story of Charlotte’s reckless love affairs and fraught relationship with her father, the Prince Regent.

As she reads the diary, Diana can see many parallels with her own life and future as Princess of Wales.

The story allows a behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in the palace, the tensions in Diana’s relationship with the royal family during the engagement, and the wedding itself.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Thoughts…

The People’s Princess is a dual timeline historical fiction audiobook inspired by Diana and Charlotte, Princesses of Wales. The narrator makes the characters authentic and easy to visualise. The listener quickly develops empathy with Charlotte and Diana.

Charlotte’s viewpoint stems from a personal journal found by a historian and given to the fictional Diana character before her wedding. The book portrays the Regency period as severe rather than romantic for Princess Charlotte. Diana’s story reflects the public perception of the time before her marriage that later emerged through the media. Her story is one of coming of age, disillusionment and poignancy. Parallels between the two teased out in this historical fiction make it compelling listening.

I enjoyed the creative sensory imagery that brought Regency England and London in 1981 vividly to life, immersing the listener in the two different worlds. It is an emotional story with believably flawed characters and pertinent historical details that make this is an engaging audiobook.

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

The Kitchen Front Jennifer Ryan 4* #Review @JenniferiRyan @panmacmillan #TheKitchenFront #WW2 #WomeninWar #TheHomeFront #BBC @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #HistFic #Friendship #HistoricalFiction #MondayBlogs

Amazon UK

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

btr

My Thoughts…

Set in England during WW2, The Kitchen Front is the story of four women’s attempts to win a cookery competition run by BBC radio. It is based on an actual historical radio programme and evokes rationing and the consequent fallout in an authentic way. The women are all affected by the war in different ways, and all want to win, but a gradual sisterhood develops that is heartwarming and poignant.

There are recipes and historical details that vividly portray how it was on the Home Front, and the characters are believably flawed and genuine. The author’s excellent use of sensory imagery immerses the reader into the place and time and makes this an absorbing reading experience.

Jennifer Ryan

Jennifer Ryan is the author of the Chilbury Ladies Choir. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. Originally from Kent and then London, she was previously a non-fiction book editor.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, New Books

A Laird for the Governess Catherine Tinley 5* #Review @CatherineTinley @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #BlogTour #BookReview #MillsandBoonHistorical #Hebrides #HarlequinHistorical #HistoricalFiction #ALairdfortheGoverness #HistoricalRomance

A penniless governess

And the dour Laird of Ardmore

Lydia Farnham must travel to a remote Scottish island to work for widower Alasdair MacDonald, who doesn’t trust her or her unconventional teaching methods! Yet as his daughter flourishes, so, too, does the intense connection between Lydia and Alasdair. Only she should know better than to fall for the handsome laird when it could leave her without a job, or a home…

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

My Thoughts…

The first book in the Lairds of the Isles series is an insightful romantic tale that highlights the plight of women in early nineteenth-century society through its engaging storytelling and complex characters.

Lydia’s life as a governess is unpredictable and unsafe due to various evil men. The chance to escape to a remote destination instantly appeals, but everything is different, even the language. She wonders how safe she will be on the remote isle with the uncompromising Laird.

The attraction is instant and unwelcome for both of them, but as they get to know each other in the close-knit castle community, they form a tentative friendship. Lydia and Alasdair’s bond strengthened through Laird’s daughter, a lovely character, and tragic events.

The gentle romance and sense of community make this an engaging and uplifting romantic read.

Catherine Tinley

Catherine Tinley is an award-winning author of historical romance. She writes witty, heartwarming Regency love stories for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Her first book, Waltzing with the Earl, won the Rita Award for Best Historical Romance 2018, while Rags-to-Riches Wife won the RoNA Award for Best Historical Romance 2021. She has loved reading and writing since childhood and has a particular fondness for love, romance, and happy endings. After a career encompassing speech & language therapy, Sure Start, maternity campaigning and being President of a charity, she now manages a maternity hospital. She lives in Ireland with her husband, children, cats, and dog. 

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Giveaway to Win Two signed copies of :A Laird for the Governess(1 x UK/Ireland Winner, 1 INT Winner)



*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the giveaway 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 the despatch or delivery of the prize.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, New Books, Saga

The Cornish Captive Nicola Pryce 5*#Review @NPryce_Author @CorvusBooks #BlogTour #BookReview @rararesources #secrets #lies #friendship #historicalromance #HistoricalFiction #Saga #histfic #Cornwall #1800s #TheCornishCaptive

The sixth novel in a stunning series set in eighteenth-century Cornwall, perfect for fans of Bridgerton

Cornwall, 1800.
Imprisoned on false pretences, Madeleine Pelligrew, former mistress of Pendenning Hall, has spent the last 14 years shuttled between increasingly destitute and decrepit madhouses. When a strange man appears out of the blue to release her, she can’t quite believe that her freedom comes without a price. Hiding her identity, Madeleine determines to discover the truth about what happened all those years ago.


Unsure who to trust and alone in the world, Madeleine strikes a tentative friendship with a French prisoner on parole, Captain Pierre de la Croix. But as she learns more about the reasons behind her imprisonment, and about those who schemed to hide her away for so long, she starts to wonder if Pierre is in fact the man he says he is. As Madeleine’s past collides with her present, can she find the strength to follow her heart, no matter the personal cost?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Corvus Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I was drawn in from the first page of this authentic historical fiction set in 1800 Cornwall. There are lots of characters, but if, like me, this is your first time reading a book in the Cornish Saga, a comprehensive list of characters is at the beginning of the book.

Full of historical detail and cleverly crafted characters, this is a compelling romantic saga of one woman’s captivity, liberation and quest for justice. The vivid sensory imagery brings the setting to life. The story shows how few rights women had in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and how vulnerable they were to abuse and loss of liberty.

Friendship, mystery and poignancy make this an engaging and, at times, heartbreaking story to read. Gentle romance riven with conflict, lies and secrets makes you empathise with Madeleine and Pierre.

The ending is climactic and satisfying.

Nicola Pryce trained as a nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. She has always loved literature and completed an Open University degree in Humanities. She is a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset. Together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Gothic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, New Books

The Marquess of Yew Park House Lotte R. James #GentlemenofMystery 4*#Review @lottejamesbooks @MillsandBoon @HarlequinBooks @rararesources #HistoricalRomance #Gothic #HistoricalFiction #histfic #BlogTour #BookReview #TheMarquessofYewParkHouse

A brooding marquess

And a mysterious widow

On the outside, Henry Spencer, Marquess of Clairborne, has it all: title, fortune and dashing good looks. Inside he’s haunted by nightmares. Seeking sanctuary at his Scottish estate, his peace is disturbed by a new tenant, widow Genevieve de l’Omont. Her beauty and spirit lead to a growing desire that distracts him from his troubles, but as he unravels a mystery from his past, he discovers Genevieve has secrets of her own…

Books2Read

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

My Thoughts…

There is a Gothic feel to this historical romance. Henry, the Marquess, seeks solace in a remote estate from his troubled past. Genevieve enjoys the anonymity the remote area provides after escaping her past. They both seek peace and privacy, and Genevieve values her hard-fought independence. She unsettles his solitude, and there is an attraction they cannot ignore.

Their relationship is conflicted, and the emotional barriers are high, making a happy ever after remote until they learn to trust. I like the Gothic style of this story, with a haunted hero. The characters are complex and easy to empathise with, and the romance is gentle.

 

Lotte R. James

Lotte James trained as an actor and theatre director but spent most of her life working day jobs crunching numbers whilst dreaming up stories of love and adventure. She’s thrilled to finally be writing those stories, and when she’s not scribbling on tiny pieces of paper, she can usually be found wandering the countryside for inspiration or nestling with coffee and a book.

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