A forbidden love affair. A long-buried secret. A journey that will change everything.
Morocco, 1984. High in the Atlas Mountains, Hanane’s love for Irishman Gus is forbidden. Forced to flee her home with the man she loves, Hanane is certain she’s running towards her destiny. But she has made a decision that will haunt her family for years to come.
London, 2009. When Addy discovers a mysterious letter in her late father’s belongings, she journeys to Morocco in search of answers. But instead, she finds secrets – and is quickly pulled into a world that she doesn’t understand.
And when history starts to repeat itself, it seems her journey might just change the person she is forever
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Addy has survived illness and when her estranged father dies, she finds old photographs, one of which contains a happy image of her father Gus, and a woman she doesn’t know, The back of the photo is dated 1984 Morocco.
She sets off on a journey of discovery, hoping to get to know her father better. She falls in love with Morocco but finds more questions than answers and risks repeating history.
The setting for this story is beautifully described. The vivid images immerse the reader, in the culture and ethos of Morocco. I like the timeslip story best, but unfortunately, the plot doesn’t allow this to be explored to its full potential. Whilst this faithfully represents what Addy discovers, from a reader’s point of view it would have been preferable to spend more time in 1984.
The characters whilst complex and interesting are hard to empathise in most cases. The pacing is a little slow and there is perhaps too much emphasis on the setting rather than the characterisation and plot.
An interesting read of forbidden love in a different culture.
Charlie Maddison loves being an architect in London, but when she finds out her boyfriend, Dominic, is actually married, she runs back to the beautiful countryside of Westenbury and her parents.
Charlie’s sister Daisy, a landscape gardener, is
also back home in desperate need of company and some fun. Their
great-grandmother, Madge – now in her early nineties – reveals she has a house,
Holly Close Farm, mysteriously abandoned over sixty years ago, and persuades
the girls to project manage its renovation.
As work gets underway, the sisters start
uncovering their family’s history, and the dark secrets that are hidden at the
A heart-breaking tale of wartime romance, jealousy and betrayal slowly emerge, but with a moral at its end: true love can withstand any obstacle, and, before long, Charlie dares to believe in love again too…
I received a copy of this book from Aria Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Romantic love is often considered something you can only have when you’re young. Can you imagine your grandmother or great-grandmother falling in love, or do you just see the wrinkles, hear the repetitive stories and remember her forgetfulness?
Charlie reeling from a romantic betrayal finds that her great-grandmother Madge has kept so many secrets in her long life, including finding her true love, and the web of betrayal, deceit and secrets that this event spun.
Madge offers Charlie and her sister Daisy a chance to shine when they seem to be failing at life. Accepting the challenge takes the sisters on a journey of self -discovery and the revelation of Madge’s colourful past.
Told in dual timelines, which makes the story doubly interesting, you see parallels and differences between the two generations of women. There is a lovely balance of humour and poignancy. The romance is sweet and the story inspiring.
Literary agents – do writers today need one? – Guest Post-Julie Houston
When I started out on the long – and often winding – road to becoming a published writer, I’d no idea what the role of a literary agent actually was, never mind about how to go about getting one. I just knew that, according to all the self-help handbooks that I bought and loaned from the public library, I had to have one. This was about seven years ago when it was drummed into all new writers that agents were akin to St Peter at the gates of heaven. They held the key to whether you were going to be allowed in to get anywhere near the God-like publisher.
not going to go into how one should go about achieving that status of being an
‘agented writer’ – countless detailed words of advice and articles have been
written on the subject – but I thought I would share with you my own particular
I’d written a book. It started off with the title ‘Harriet Westmoreland does it with class’ (Harriet is a teacher)
became ‘Living La Dolce Vite’ (her
husband spends a lot of time in Italy) then became ‘Compulsive Granite Disorder’ (Harriet, like me, has a bit of a
compulsion for cleaning her granite when stressed) and eventually ended up as ‘Goodness Grace and Me.’ The manuscript
went off to a string of agents. And came back. In those days, agents would
often write little notes as to what they thought, and why it wasn’t for them,
along with the rejection slip. I may be wrong, but these days, when online
submissions to agents are de rigueur, I’m not sure that happens any more. And
then came the glorious, magical week when, like a number 9 bus, three agents,
all interested in my book, came along at once.
based in London, was originally from Yorkshire and was up for the weekend to
see her mum. Could we meet? We most certainly could! And we did, the following
Saturday, for coffee and a chat at Salts Mill near Bingley. By the time I left,
floating back to the carpark on air, I had signed on the dotted line with Anne
Williams of KHLA Literary Agency based in Bristol and London. I had an agent, a literary agent.
She did warn me that my particular genre – we both disliked and eschewed the handle Chick lit, preferring the more grown-up Romantic Comedy/Women’s Fiction – was not faring too well at that point in time, being overshadowed by the rush for psychological thrillers, and had even printed out an article from The Guardian to that effect.
beauty of having Anne has an agent has been that she was formerly a
commissioning editor for one of the big publishing houses. She had, in effect,
been on the other side as it were and, as such, very much knew what editors
were looking for and the pitfalls involved in getting there. Within a few
weeks, my baby had come back to me tracked in red and, once I’d worked out how
tracking actually worked (terrifying to begin with when you’re convinced you’re
going to lose all that red work and have to admit it to this new agent) and taken
my first tentative steps to adding my own tracking in a garish purple alongside
hers, we were on our way.
My agent worked tirelessly to get Goodness, Grace and Me a place with a major publishing house. I was astonished at how few there actually were – this was at the time when even Penguin was amalgamating with Random House – and eventually we made the decision to go it alone. It was a good decision: the book went to #1 in Humour and #64 overall. With the follow-up novels, The One Saving Grace, Looking For Lucy and An Off-Piste Christmas we signed up with White Glove, a publishing division of Amazon for agented-only authors, which would not have been available to me without her. This was a great move: White Glove promoted my books, particularly in Australia, where the first two achieved #1 Humour, and Looking For Lucy went to the top of the charts going to #1 overall.
then came the offer from Aria. I wrote A
Village Affair and Anne brokered a three-book deal with Sarah, one of the
lovely commissioning editors at Aria, to include Coming Home to HollyClose
Farm and, my work in progress, Sing
Me a Secret. While Aria do take un-agented submissions, having my agent at
my side along the way has been wonderful. She’s a professional, knows all about
contracts and the like and still works with me, tirelessly, with that damned
red tracking, telling me off if I’ve written something that might come back to
bite me, but also giving praise if something particularly meets with her
the best thing about my agent is that, after seven years, I consider her a
friend. She’ll meet up with me for coffee or lunch when I’m down in London, has
been over for supper at my house when she’s been back in Yorkshire and always
gets back to me straight away if I email with some thorny question about
publication or needing advice about where my work in progress is heading.
many, successful, published authors go it alone without an agent What I would
say is, if you do find an agent interested in working with you and offer to take
you on to their books, go for it.
road to publication is so much more comfortable with that agent by your side to
hold your hand and share in your success.
peered closely at the woman, scrutinising her features for clues as to who she
Harriet,’ the woman smiled a little nervously. ‘Lydia’s granddaughter.’
Lydia? My sister, Lydia?’ Madge seemed puzzled.
Mum said. ‘You’re Keturah’s daughter?’ She turned to Madge. ‘It’s one of
Keturah’s daughters, Granny. You know. Gosh, Harriet, I’ve not seen you for
years.’ She paused. ‘It must have been at Aunt Lydia’s funeral, what, ten years
and I exchanged looks. Blimey, how many more grannies and aunties were there?
They seemed to be coming out of the woodwork at an amazing rate. I was totally
lost as to who they all were.
been dead twelve years now,’ Harriet said, reaching for the bundle of baby from
the younger woman as it began to make snuffling noises.
great-aunt Lydia was your Granny Madge’s older sister,’ Mum explained, pulling
up a chair for Harriet and the baby. ‘She was quite a bit older than you wasn’t
yes, much older. There were five of us: Lydia was the eldest and I was the
youngest. There was a good twelve years between us. By the time I was eight or
nine, Lydia was newly married and living over towards Colnefirth.’
trying to work out how we’re all related,’ I said, smiling at the younger
woman, who was looking as perplexed as I felt.
sorry, how rude of me.’ Harriet laughed. ‘This is my daughter, Liberty… Libby.’
you girls and Liberty must be eighth cousins loads of times removed then.
Sorry, can’t work it all out,’ Mum smiled. ‘I was never very good at maths.’
vaguely related. Probably best if we leave it at that.’ Liberty grinned at
Daisy and Me. ‘Oh, and this is Lysander.’ She took the baby back from her
mother and pointed him proudly in our direction.
Golly, that’s a good strong noble name,’ I said. ‘What’s that song we used to
sing at school? Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules; Of Hector and Lysander
diddle um tum diddle iddle um…Sorry, can’t remember the
old chap who, up until then, had been nodding peacefully in his armchair in the
far corner of the residents’ lounge, suddenly shot out of his chair, saluted
Granny, shouted, ‘Damn good soldiers. Bless ’em all,’ and then, just as
suddenly, sat back down and began to snore loudly.
old fool,’ Granny Madge tutted again. ‘I tell you, they’re all mad in here. I
need to get out before I become as crackers as they are. I’m sure it must be
Julie Houston is the author of THE ONE SAVING GRACE, GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a Kindle top 100 general bestsellers and a Kindle #1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate. TwitterFacebook
Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.
So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course, Fixie never intends to call in the favour.
That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.
Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.
Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?
I received a copy of this book from Random House UK- Transworld Publishing – Bantam Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is my first Sophie Kinsella novel and what a treat it is. I was smiling as soon as I met Fixie. The characters are vividly depicted, they jump off the page.
The story’s a curious mix of family drama and serendipitous romance. Fixie’s siblings are so irritating, but maybe all the fault doesn’t lie with them. Fixie’s obsessively helpful nature makes it easier for them to let her do everything.
The plot is easy to follow, not too many surprises here for the reader, but many for Fixie, as she embarks on a journey of self-realisation.
The romance is gentle and riddled with conflict, but there’s a satisfying ending. If you like to see ordinary people and situations made extraordinarily, this book will be a perfect read.
Nova is 32 years old and she is about to see the world for the very first time.
Jillian Safinova, Nova to her friends, can do many things. She can speak five languages. She can always find a silver lining. And she can even tell when someone is lying just from the sound of their voice.
But there’s one thing Nova can’t do. She can’t see.
When her brother convinces her to have an operation that will restore her sight, Nova wakes up to a world she no longer understands. Until she meets Kate.
As Kate comes into focus, her past threatens to throw them into a different kind of darkness. Can they each learn to see the world in a different … and open their eyes to the lives they could have been living all along?
An original plot with authentic characters provides the essential ingredients for an excellent, poignant and thought-provoking story.
The book’s two main characters, the enigmatic Nova and long-suffering Kate lead separate lives. Two unconnected events lead to a serendipitous, life-altering meeting between the two women.
There is a chance of a bright future or a tragic end for the women, depending on how they interpret what is possible. The multi-layered plot explores the ‘rules of seeing’ as Nova learns to accept her new sight. Kate’s injury, also makes her look at things differently but is she brave enough to make a change?
A tender love story, the horror of domestic abuse and a menacing evil that threatens their new life are all experienced by Nova and Kate, which makes their story absorbing and courageous and definitely worth seeing through to the end.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The scent of pine fills the crisp air as local villagers select their perfect tree. Picking the tree is the easy bit, creating a perfect Christmas is a bit trickier . . .
Nina has the most magical job in the world, matching customers with their perfect Christmas tree. Working at Christmas Tree Farm is always fun and full of laughter, but the weight of past tragedy bears down on her. Her admirer is a great distraction, but is he the right man for her? Holly is just trying to be a normal teenager, having to deal with the mean girls in her class. But then the most handsome boy at school takes an interest in her. Have all her Christmases come at once? Angie is trying to bring her family together and save her broken marriage. It’s not something she can force, but it’s the only gift she craves. Will her Christmas wish come true? It’s the season of goodwill, and at Christmas Tree Farm anything could happen . . .
I wait at the end of the Costa counter, clutching a spoon in my hand, watching the barista put together my hazelnut latte. All morning I’ve been dreaming of this latte. It’s my treat for working part-time in the chemist and wearing this awful nylon uniform, which clings to my woollen tights.
‘Hazelnut latte!’ The barista shouts past me as if he can’t see me waiting by the countertop. I step forward and receive the warm offering, eager to scoop the cream from the top as I walk home.
‘Holly!’ screams a group of teenage girls from the seated area. I turn around and instantly regret reacting to their outburst. Six smirking faces, with smudged eye-liner and overpainted mouths, creepily smirk back. ‘Come and join us!’ hollers Paris, one of the mean girls from school. A cackle of laughter bursts from the other five as they try to hide behind each other.
Head down, I dash towards the exit, my blonde ponytail swinging with each step.
They’re about as funny as chlamydia, as my best friend, Demi, would say.
Once I make it to Long Street, I stare fixedly ahead and walk past the remainder of the coffee shop’s large window where I can undo the lid on my latte to scoop and walk. Scoop and enjoy. Scoop and relax. Scoop and forget.
‘Holly!’ a male voice calls from behind me. ‘Wait!’
I continue to stride along Atherstone’s busy street. No one in this world can make me stop and stand, giving those six bitches something to watch or even record on their phones to post on social media. As soon as I reach the safe frontage of the chip shop next door, I stop and turn.
It’s Alfie Woodward. My stomach flips, and I nearly drop my latte. I quickly plunge my spoon into my coat pocket; it feels babyish to be scooping cream when it’s Alfie. Every girl in year eleven, no, scrap that, every girl in our school wants to be friends with Alfie Woodward. He’s the ‘darling of the ladies’, as my mum would put it. And, get me, Alfie Woodward, from the back row in chemistry class, actually knows my name. Not a reaction that the mean girls would have intended for me.
‘Hi. I didn’t think you’d heard me,’ he says, zipping up his jacket as he nears. His dark hair is shorter than in yesterday’s chemistry class – obviously, that has been his Saturday morning task.
‘Sorry… I… well.’ I shrug, looking up into his smiling face. What am I supposed to call the name-hollering in Costa?
‘I was inside with Jordan and Tom. I heard them catcalling you. Anyway, ignore them… I was wondering if you were going to the youth club on Tuesday night? I go most weeks. Your mate Demi goes sometimes, but you’re never there!’
I shrug. What can I say? Err nope, because the mean girls go every week? Or how about, yeah, sure, I’ll turn up, get verbally abused for two hours and return home to cry… sure, save me a seat, and I’ll see you at seven on Tuesday?
‘There are others that attend, not just those witches,’ he adds as if he can read my thoughts. ‘I could call round for you if you want?’
Alfie Woodward calling for me!
I blush. I see his blue eyes swirl and scan my features, taking in the subtle change in my pale complexion. Holly Turner, for once in your goddamned life play it cool.
‘Well?’ A tiny smile frames his top row of perfect teeth.
I purse my lips together to hide the metal train tracks that I begged my parents for, but now wish I’d never had. Right now, I’d much prefer my unsightly teeth buckle.
I give the smallest nod, having lost the ability to communicate in English. In fact, if Alfie stands before me for very much longer, with his new haircut, smart zipped jacket and white trainers, there is a chance I may abandon control of my grip and lose this latte to the pavement.
‘OK. I’ll drop round just before seven on Tuesday.’
Brain now is the time to function, be it a simple OK. Please don’t let me down, not right now.
‘Thanks, Alfie, that’d be nice of you. See you.’ I turn about quickly. It seems rude, but I can’t face him any longer. My smile is going to burst forth, and I’m about to do the geekiest grin ever witnessed on Atherstone’s Long Street.
‘OK, see you in school,’ he calls, as I head towards home.
‘Yeah, first thing in chemistry.’
‘No, you’ve got history first, then geography…’
I attempt a nonchalant wave. Demi is not going to believe this.
Erin Green – Guest post.
Five delights of being an author
Meeting and chatting with readers is definitely my number one delight since my debut was published. I am amazed that within days of a book being published readers and bloggers have finished reading and are wanting more. Their questions range from specifics details about a certain character through to enquiring about my current writing project. I love the way readers are unsure about interrupting your conversation to ask questions but within minutes are chatting away like an old-school friend. I’m delighted when they’ve fallen in love with a particular male character and surprised to hear their reasons for liking him. Some readers have taken some convincing that each hero isn’t based on an actual male in real life.
Spending my time plotting and writing new books – my philosophy in life is to live, love and laugh so, it’s essential to me that these three elements are woven into my narrative. It isn’t my intention to bring a tear to the eye of my readers, but it has happened to many while reading my first three books. I always feel slightly guilty when I’m told, but really it is the best review I can ever receive.
Research has taken on a surprising new role in my life. I can literally spend hours searching through records, business directories and historical maps at my local library – which allows me to recreate specific locations and settings. On numerous occasions, I have found myself distracted by a sudden find which takes my muse in a new direction – it’s a light bulb moment when the surprise find links neatly into the narrative. I have learnt so much about topics that I’d previously known nothing about from Christmas tree species, steam trains, genetics and urban myths – which is a hidden benefit.
Being asked to sign books with quirky messages of love and appreciation. I’m always thrilled to sign books purely because I waited so long. I always panic that I’ll spell their name incorrectly and ruin their book so end up spelling and repeating even the easiest spellings to ensure I get it right. It is bound to happen at some time, and I know I’ll feel gutted and probably write a mini-apology alongside my signature.
Seeing a new book cover for the first time is indescribable. You spend the morning awaiting an email from your publishers, but on arrival, you are frozen with fear and can’t open it. Seriously, how ridiculous is that! Thankfully for me, once I’ve opened the email, I’ve fallen in love with all three of my book covers and raced about showing anyone who is interested. Later, when the book cover appears on Amazon, it suddenly becomes very real, and my countdown begins to publication day.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without a Christmas tree, and this lovely, festive tale set on a Christmas tree farm follows the lives of three woman, as they try to find happiness.
Nina’s story is the most poignant. Instantly likeable you struggle to understand why she is so unhappy but once revealed, you want her story to end happily. Holly is about to experience her first love, something we can all remember, even though some of us will have to think back. Her story is gentle and romantic. Angie is trying to reclaim lost love; sometimes you have to lose something to appreciate it.
All the stories are separate yet linked by others in the story, the setting provides festive magic and reading this lets you remember some of the best and worst things about this iconic time of year.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Erin was born and raised in Warwickshire, where she resides with her husband. She writes contemporary novels focusing on love, life and laughter. An ideal day for Erin involves writing, people watching and copious amounts of tea. Erin was delighted to be awarded The Katie Fforde Bursary in 2017 and previously, Love Stories ‘New Talent Award’ in 2015. Twitter Facebook
Louisa Reeve, the daughter of a successful British gem trader, and her husband Elliot, a charming, thrill-seeking businessman, seem like the couple who have it all. Except what they long for more than anything: a child.
While Louisa struggles with miscarriages, Elliot is increasingly absent, spending much of his time at a nearby cinnamon plantation, overlooking the Indian ocean. After his sudden death, Louisa is left alone to solve the mystery he left behind.
Revisiting the plantation at Cinnamon Hills, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn towards the owner Leo, a rugged outdoors man with a chequered past. The plantation casts a spell, but all is not as it seems. And when Elliot’s shocking betrayal is revealed, Louisa has only Leo to turn to . . .
‘The Tea Planter’s Wife‘ is the first Dinah Jefferies novel I read and I love its atmosphere, poignancy and vivid characterisation. ‘The Sapphire Widow’ also takes place in 1930s Ceylon and has all of these qualities.
Louise born in Ceylon to a prosperous gemstone merchant loses her mother at an early age but now feels she lives a charmed life, with Elliot, her successful, maverick husband. Louise regrets the loss of her children to miscarriage and stillbirth and Elliot’s mysterious and frequent disappearances, but she doesn’t realise the true extent of his deceit until a tragic accident occurs.
Louise is a strong character but the revelations that follow her husband’s death make her wonder if anything in her marriage was true and threaten her willingness to risk her heart again. Louise shows great compassion by helping people whose very existence has caused her harm. It is this selfless behaviour that endears. Thankfully her forgiving nature and good works provide the tools for her broken heart and self-esteem to heal.
Leo, the cinnamon plantation owner is the antithesis of Elliot, self-reliant, serious and loyal, he has secrets in his past but Louise comes to realise it is present actions, not past ones that are important.
The cameo appearance of Gwen from ‘The Tea Planter’s Wife’ gives the story authenticity and provides Louise with the necessary support to rebuild her life, from someone who has suffered great loss.
The plot has twists and mysteries, which are not too hard to work out but it is the characters and setting that make this story memorable, especially Louise.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK Viking via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Gigi and Tess aren’t the most obvious of friends. Gigi is a grandmother, Tess is pregnant for the first time. But when they meet, each one is coping with their own secret sadness. Tess is writing letters to her unborn baby with no one else to turn to, and Gigi has reached breaking point in her marriage. Little do they know how much they will come to mean to one another as both of their lives are turned upside-down.
Their story is about love in all its forms: the love between a mother and her unborn child, between a grandmother and her granddaughter, between spouses and between friends. Tess and Gigi will find what they need most in the place they least expect, and learn to understand the future by unlocking the past . . .
Believable, humorous and poignant ‘Letters to Iris’ is a beautifully written life study of three women and their families.
Tess and Iris are granddaughter and grandma, and they have such a strong bond that transcends Iris’s dementia. Grace or Gigi as everyone but her father-in-law knows her comes into Tess’s life serendipitously. They meet when Tess needs someone impartial and caring who knows the traumas associated with losing a loved one to dementia but as you read on you find even more serendipity in their meeting.
A story about everyday life and its momentous occurrences. The characters work well because they are realistic, full of flaws, indecision, selflessness and fear. Love is the overriding theme in this story, what happens when you’re not brave enough to grab it and the pain it can give you when it ends but the message is hopeful, and the story’s cyclic pattern makes the ending happy if tinged with sadness.
There is frustration, laughter, poignancy and tragedy but love is the mainstay of this lovely story which is sure to touch your heart.
I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK – Michael Joseph via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
When it comes to the trials and triumphs of becoming a grown-up, journalist and former Sunday Times dating columnist Dolly Alderton has seen and tried it all. In her memoir, she vividly recounts falling in love, wrestling with self-sabotage, finding a job, throwing a socially disastrous Rod-Stewart themed house party, getting drunk, getting dumped, realising that Ivan from the corner shop is the only man you’ve ever been able to rely on, and finding that that your mates are always there at the end of every messy night out. It’s a book about bad dates, good friends and – above all else – about recognising that you and you alone are enough.
Glittering with wit and insight, heart and humour, Dolly Alderton’s powerful début weave together personal stories, satirical observations, a series of lists, recipes, and other vignettes that will strike a chord of recognition with women of every age – while making you laugh until you fall over. Everything I Know About Love is about the struggles of early adulthood in all its grubby, hopeful uncertainty.
‘Everything I Know About Love’, is a memoir written by a woman in her late twenties, while the writing quality is excellent, am I showing my age? (definitely a 20th-century woman). Aren’t memoirs usually written by people in the autumn of their years?
This book encompasses the central themes of the 21st-century: a fascination with all things celebrity and reality. Parties, drugs, sex, friendship are its mainstays, retold in a charmingly entertaining way. What I didn’t like is the casual reference to ‘Class A’ drugs as if they are nothing out of the ordinary, something everyone does. Drugs were a feature of life when I was in my teens and twenties, but they weren’t socially acceptable as they are now.
The fast pacing holds the reader’s interest, and the life events recounted, read like a novel. If you are looking for a snapshot of life for young women of a particular social class in the 21st-century, this is a great example.
I received a copy of this book from Fig Tree Penguin Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
An unforgettable and heart-wrenching story of love, betrayal and family secrets. In colonial India, a young woman finds herself faced with an impossible choice, the consequences of which will echo through the generations…
1928. In British-ruled India, headstrong Sita longs to choose her own path, but her only destiny is a good marriage. After a chance meeting with a Crown Prince leads to a match, her family’s status seems secured, and she moves into the palace, where peacocks fill the gardens and tapestries adorn the walls. But royal life is far from simple, and her failure to provide an heir makes her position fragile. Soon Sita is on the brink of losing everything, and the only way to save herself could mean betraying her oldest friend…
2000. When Priya’s marriage ends in heartbreak, she flees home to India and the palace where her grandmother, Sita, once reigned as Queen. But as grandmother and granddaughter grow closer, Priya has questions. Why is Sita so reluctant to accept that her royal status ended with Independence? And who is the mysterious woman who waits patiently at the palace gates day after day? Soon Priya uncovers a secret Sita has kept for years – and which will change the shape of her life forever…
A breathtaking journey through India from British rule to Independence and beyond; a world of green hills, cardamom-scented air, and gold thread glinting in the sun, brought to life.
An evocative, emotional encounter with India from the mid-1920s to the millennium, tracing the lives of three women through their hopes, loves, lies and secrets. Sita and Mary become friends both finding something in the other that they like and admire, but even at the beginning of their childhood friendship, lies and secrets are evident. A tragic event changes the course of both their lives but fate brings them back together as young women. One suffers the ultimate betrayal, and the other carries a guilty secret that blights her entire life. The women’s lives are full of complex relationships, and the three stories are enthralling, where they intertwine the emotion intensifies, demonstrating their ambition, independent spirit and tenacity. A beautifully written, thought-provoking story. Set mainly in India, the setting is atmospheric and imaginable through the vividly descriptive prose. Historically the book is set in a pivotal time for India and its people, which provides an opportunity for some and takes away privilege from others, in its wake. A story of childhood dreams, and adult realities and the fine line between good and evil, a lovely way to while away a few hours. I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
When Kitty Clayton flees her wedding with no money, no bank card and no phone, her life seems worryingly futureless. All she knows is, she’d rather sleep on the streets than go back home to cheating Ethan.
After picking her up hitch-hiking, widowed children’s author Jack Duffy takes Kitty under his wing, looking out for her until she gets back on her feet. And it’s not long before the two grow close…
But with Jack struggling to recover from the guilt he feels over his wife’s death and Kitty refusing to face up to the problems she’s running away from at home, will the two ever manage to share a happily ever after?
If you are looking for a romantic read that will make you both laugh and cry then ‘Runaway Bride’, is for you. Kitty leaves her wedding after witnessing the ultimate betrayal, running her only option. Jack rescues anything that needs it. Usually, it’s of the four-legged variety, but he makes an exception for Kitty.
Serendipitous circumstances draw Jack and Kitty together, and even though they have only known each other for a short time, proximity and mutual need bring them closer in every sense.
Self-discovery is the central theme of this gentle story, both Jack and Kitty have lessons to learn before they can experience their live’s fully. Jack needs to forgive himself and shed the guilt he feels over his wife’s death. Kitty needs to rebuild her self-esteem after years of being put down by mother and her cheating husband. These are painful lessons to learn, and at times you wonder whether they are they both too damaged to learn to love again?
A lovely tale which showcases a kaleidoscope of emotions, with lots of poignancy and humour, a real feel-good read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.