Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance

A Country Dilemma Sasha Morgan 5* Review @Aria_Fiction @SashaMorgan_ #Romance #Village #Rural #Relationships #SecondChance #BlogTour #BookReview

For Christie Newbury, moving to the Cotswolds as the new owner of The Templar, a quaint countryside inn, was supposed to be a dream come true. But then her husband drops a bombshell that turns her life upside down.

Architect Daniel James has just one month to find the perfect home. When his search takes him to the village of Treweham, his instant attraction to the Templar’s beautiful – and newly single–owner is a distraction he can’t afford.

Christie needs an expert’s eye. Daniel needs a place to stay. It’s only a business deal – but it has never been more tempting to mix business with pleasure…

Welcome back to Treweham, a village of scandal and secrets.

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

My Thoughts…

I’ve enjoyed the first two books in this series, and ‘A Country Dilemma’, is a fitting ending to the trilogy. In many ways, this is my favourite book, perhaps because I am familiar with many of the characters, yet still, get to enjoy a new story, with new characters too. The story is standalone, and you are given the necessary backstory to enjoy it, but it’s such a good series, for those who like country life, with all its peculiarities. Treat yourself, and read all three books.

The main focus of this story is Christie the new owner of The Templar, and Daniel, a soon to be single dad who wants a good place to bring up his daughter. The attraction is instant, but the conflicts are many, and there is much angst and a veritable roller-coaster of emotions before the resolution.

The style of this story is a fusion of romance and bonkbuster romance. The romance is sensual, rather than gentle, but it fits with the contemporary storyline, and works well, especially for those, like me, who enjoy Zara Stonely, Fiona Walker and Jilly Cooper books.

Believable, complex characters, who fit the setting, without becoming stereotypical. A picturesque, recognisable, rural setting. Coupled with a simple, but effective plot, make this an enjoyable, escapist read, written in an easy to read style full of visual imagery.

Writing a series – Guest Post by Sasha Morgan

The beauty of writing a series is that you can really allow your characters to grow and develop.  You’ve more scope, without the boundaries of just a single novel.  Very often ideas spring from one story, which can nicely lead into the sequel, and so on.

I think it’s good to have some form of continuity.  When picking up a book from a sequel, it’s like reacquainting yourself with old friends and re-connecting.  Familiar places, events and characters give a sense of reassurance and help the reader settle into a pleasing read; because if you liked the first story, then chances are you’ll also enjoy the ones that follow.

I think it’s important though for each book to also read as a stand-alone in its own right.  As sequels aren’t always read in the right order, it could prove rather confusing and a touch disorientating if the story was relying on the reader to have read the previous books.  Very often readers aren’t even aware that a certain book is in fact part of a sequel, as reviews have proved.

It’s crucial to pitch the right amount of background knowledge.  Enough to fill in the reader, but not appear too repetitive.  Also, this enables the reader to want to read all the books in the series – they’ve grown attached to the characters and want to discover their own storylines.

The only downfall in writing a series is having to say goodbye to the characters when you’ve finally completed writing it.  I’ve just finished the last, ‘A Country Dilemma’ is the final book in the Treweham Hall series.  I’ll so miss Tobias Cavendish-Blake and the goings-on at Treweham Hall, not to mention slipping into The Templar for a glass of fizz and spying on the locals.  They’ve become real to me!

I’ve just started a new book, this time set in rural Lancashire where I’m from.  Hopefully, this will be the bedrock for a whole new series.

Sasha Morgan

Sasha lives in a rural, coastal village in Lancashire with her husband and Labrador dog. She has always written stories from a very young age and finds her fictional world so much more exciting than the real one

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Read my reviews of the other books in the series:

A Country Scandal (Formerly Scandal), A Country Rivalry

Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Murder Mystery, Mystery

Mystery on Hidden Lane Clare Chase 4*#Review @bookouture @ClareChase_ #MurderMystery #cozymystery #Suffolk #Village #Writer #amateursleuth

Meet Eve Mallow: an American far from home, a professional busybody… and an amateur detective?

Seasoned obituary writer Eve Mallow has a new assignment: to tell the life story of famed musician Bernard Fitzpatrick. A chance to spend a few days in the sweet little village of Saxford St Peter, walking the country lanes with her beloved dachshund Gus and meeting new people sounds like a dream. But it turns out that Bernard’s life was much less interesting than his death. On the day she arrives, news breaks that the charismatic cellist was the victim of a grisly murder. Could this quaint English village be hiding a dark secret?

As Eve starts to interview Bernard’s friends and colleagues, she finds that he’d ruffled a few feathers. In fact, from the keepers of the Cross Keys Inn to his own staff at High House, there’s barely a person in town who doesn’t have some reason to hate him… is one of the friendly villagers a cold-blooded killer?

Eve hoped Saxford St Peter would be the perfect escape from her busy city life. But there is darkness even in the most sunlit of settings. And when a second body is found, Eve becomes certain that one of the people she’s met must be the murderer. She has never done any detective work before… but is there something in her notes that can crack the case?

An unputdownable page-turner

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The essence of a good British murder mystery is an intelligent amateur sleuth. Good observational skills, an unassuming manner, which encourages confidences and an unbridled fearlessness, to confront, potentially dangerous people, and situations head-on. Writer Eve Mallow has these qualities.

Eve Mallow writes obituaries. An American, living in London, she is divorced, and her twins are now grown-up. She takes a job writing an obituary for a famous cellist and visits the Suffolk village where he lives to find out more about him.

Observant, she soon realises that this is not a straightforward death. Finding out her subject was murdered, draws her further into his previous life, to find the truth. She quickly endears herself to the villagers and begins to uncover some surprising revelations.

The setting is perfect for a murder mystery, unspoilt, picturesque, remote, with many unobserved places, perfect for committing murder. The cast of characters is complex, eccentric, and flawed. They are the sort you may find in any English village, which makes them relatable. The plot has twists and misinformation. and many suspects. The first victim had many unpalatable traits and so there is a veritable queue of people who may want him out of the way.

Eve is relentless in her investigation and willing to put herself at risk, unsurprisingly she solves the case. There is lots of scope in this series, both in terms of the protagonist and the setting, and I look forward to reading the next book.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall Alison Sherlock 4*#Review @Aria_Fiction @AlisonSherlock #BlogTour #GuestPost #BookReview #TheWillowTreeHallSeries #MoonLightKissesatWillowTreeHall #RomCom #Romance #humour #rural #heartwarming #SecondChances

Lily Harper is an events organiser, but her neat, ordered world has just exploded. First she lost her job, then she lost her fiancé. Her five-year plan is looking increasingly shaky.

Lost and lonely, Lily heads home to her childhood village, and accepts the position of live-in housekeeper at the grand but welcoming Willow Tree Hall. It’s not exactly her dream job – Lily is more used to arranging parties than pantries – but at least she’s working.

Her first task is to arrange the Willow Tree Hall summer fete. Lily is in her element, writing to-do lists and organising bunting and baking – until her old flame Jack Carter turns up in the village. Lily hasn’t seen Jack in over ten years, when he sped off on his motorbike, taking with him the pieces of her broken heart.

Lily vowed she would never forgive him. But as Willow Tree Hall weaves its magic, Lily finds she might just give Jack a second chance after all…

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#BlogTour #Aria

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

My Thoughts…

Book 4, and the final one in the Willow Tree Hall series can be read as a standalone as Lily and Jack’s story is the focus. There are some familiar faces, for those of us who have read previous books in the series. and it’s good to reacquaint with those and see how their lives have moved on.

Lily and Jack, both have emotional baggage from their past to come to terms with, both individually and together. Their connection gives the story its slow-building sweet romance, with plenty of angst and anger to overcome.

The perilous state of the hall and the need to secure its future remains a perennial problem. Jack’s a catalyst in this, but friendship proves stronger than financial reward and makes you like him even more.

The authentically crafted, complex characters, and the delightful rural setting make this a lovely escapist story, perfect to read when you need a little me time.

Guest Post – Alison Sherlock – The Willow Tree hall Series – Inspiration

Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall is the last book in my Willow Tree Hall series. All of my previous books had been standalone but the idea for this series is to discover the lives and loves of those who live at Willow Tree Hall throughout all four books.

The idea for Willow Tree Hall actually came from watching Downton Abbey! I watched the programme and wondered what it would be like to live in a grand stately home in the present day. As I researched the subject, I realised that many of our country estates had fallen into disrepair due to the high running costs. And thus became the ‘eureka’ moment that began the plot for Book 1 in the series, Love Begins At Willow Tree Hall.

The renovation and transformation of Willow Tree Hall continue with Summer Secrets at Willow Tree Hall, A Winter Wedding at Willow Tree Hall and finally with Moonlight Kisses at Willow Tree Hall, although you don’t need to read them in any particular order.

I was a tiny bit worried about writing a series but it’s actually been great fun to write as I loved having the chance to catch up with my characters each time I began a new book.

This time, the story concentrates on Lily who is the head gardener’s grandaughter. Lily has been living in London so when she is forced to head back to the local village, it’s all a bit of a shock for her!

The hero is Jack, Lily’s very first love and cause of some major heartbreak in her past. They haven’t seen each other for almost a decade and so Lily has a huge shock when, as her new role of housekeeper, they bump into each other at Willow Tree Hall!

But it’s not just Lily and Jack who need to find their happy ever after. This time, the whole of Willow Tree Hall itself is in danger …

In fact, I am heartbroken to be leaving the Harris family and all their friends behind with this last book. Will I be able to leave the village of Cranley and Willow Tree Hall behind me forever? Never say never is my motto!

#AlisonSherlock

Alison Sherlock enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Alison lives in Surrey with her husband and a daft golden retriever. Twitter Facebook

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship, Guest post, Saga

The Place We Call Home Faith Hogan 5*#Review @GerHogan @Aria_Fiction #FamilyDrama #Secrets #SmallTown #BlogTour #GuestPost #Lies #Irish #Fiction #Rural #saga #coastal #Ireland #Friendship #PublicationDay

#APlaceWeCallHome

Welcome to Ballycove, the home of Corrigan Mills…

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Irish countryside the famed mills have created the finest wool in all of Ireland. Run by the seemingly perfect Corrigan family, but every family has its secrets, and how the mills came to be the Corrigan’s is one of them…

Miranda and her husband were never meant to own the mills until one fateful day catapults them into a life they never thought they’d lead.

Ada has forever lived her life in her sister’s shadow. Wanting only to please her mother and take her place as the new leader of the mill, Ada might just have to take a look at what her heart really wants.

Callie has a flourishing international career as a top designer and a man who loves her dearly, she appears to have it all. When a secret is revealed and she’s unceremoniously turfed out of the design world, Callie might just get what’s she’s been yearning for. The chance to go home.

Simon has always wanted more. More money, more fame, more notoriety. The problem child. Simon has made more enemies than friends over the years, and when one of his latest schemes falls foul he’ll have to return to the people who always believe in him.

Ballycove isn’t just a town in the Irish countryside. It isn’t just the base of the famous mills. It’s a place to call home.

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#BlogTour

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

My Thoughts…

A family saga set in Western Ireland. The setting is vivid and provides the perfect ethos for this story. Family secrets, love, lies, hardship, loss, and after much angst and drama, the light at the end of the tunnel, make this a poignant but ultimately satisfying story. This immersive read draws the reader into a quintessentially Irish way of life, with a solid plot, that showcases the spectrum of human emotions. Authentic, complex characters and a chance to escape into another world.

This is a story to be savoured, the pace is gentle and you get to know the characters well, both in the past and present. Not all of them are likeable, but this is a reflection of life, so you wouldn’t expect them to be.

The mill is the lifeblood of the community, a character on its own. It witnesses so much, over the years, and is the source of happiness, sadness, poverty and riches. The details of its running and historical significance give the book depth and make the story more believable.

A flowing family saga of life, love and lies, beautifully told.

Guest Post – Faith Hogan

Welcome to Ballycove….

I’m so delighted to visit Jane’s lovely blog today and to tell you about my new book – THE PLACE WE CALL HOME. If you’ve read my other books, you’ll know by now that I write uplifting stories, about friendship, family, secrets, lies and sometimes, there’s a little romance thrown in!

This time we visit Ballycove – it’s a village that appeared fleetingly in an earlier book – The Girl I Used To Know. I wanted to create a place that represented the best of the place I call home. I live in the west of Ireland – in a little town that sits on one of the richest salmon rivers in Europe. Just over half a dozen miles away, the Atlantic Ocean breathes up its icy air on flawless beaches and you can walk for miles without meeting a soul. On the other hand, if you’re feeling more social you can ramble with the dog through the nearby Beleek woods where everyone has time to say hello.

Ten miles in the opposite direction, there’s a small town called Foxford. It is a fairly typical little town in the west of Ireland, with the River Moy flowing through it, plenty of hills to walk across and local shops and restaurants that serve great food and offer Irish hospitality at its best. At the bottom of the town, sits the Foxford Wollen Mills. The Corrigan Mills are loosely based around these world-famous mills.

Image Credit Geraldine Hogan

There are a number of differences, however – unlike the Foxford Mills which were built by a pioneering nun in response to the poverty she saw at the time; the Ballycove mills are a family-owned business.

And it is from this family business that the tension in the novel arises…

Still a young woman, Miranda Corrigan has found herself at the helm of the biggest employer in her locality – except that it looks like the mills will have to close. She must juggle raising her three children alone and saving the mills – it’s no wonder then that when the time approaches to hand them on she does so reluctantly since there appear to be no safe hands available to pass them onto.

The problem is that her children don’t agree and the divisions that are setting in between them all look as if they may never heal.

Until David Blair arrives in town and reader, I will not say she married him, but he proves to be the wild card that may just blow the whole family apart – or could he be the person who manages to bring them all together?

You’ll have to read it to find out for yourself…

#Faith Hogan

Faith lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and two very fussy cats. She has a Hons Degree in English Literature and Psychology, has worked as a fashion model and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.

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Posted in Book Review, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Historical Crime Fiction, Murder Mystery

Murder at the Dolphin Hotel Helena Dixon 5*#Review #AMissUnderhayMystery @NellDixon @bookouture #cozymystery #MurderMystery #Devon #Dartmouth #1930s #MurderattheDolphinHotel #MondayBlogs

A room with a view… to murder

June 1933. Independent young Kitty Underhay has been left in charge of her family’s hotel, The Dolphin, on the tranquil English coast. She’s expecting her days at the bustling resort to be filled with comfortable chatter with chambermaids as they polish the mahogany desks and glittering candelabras of the elegant foyer. Everything must be perfect for the arrival of a glamorous jazz singer from Chicago and a masked ball that will be the cultural highlight of the season.

But when several rooms are broken into and searched, including Kitty’s own, she quickly realises that something out of the ordinary is afoot at the hotel. Soon rumours are flying in the cozy town that someone is on the hunt for a stolen ruby. A ruby that Kitty’s mother may well have possessed when she herself went missing during the Great War. And when the break-ins are followed by a series of attacks and murders, including of the town’s former mayoress, it seems the perpetrator will stop at nothing to find it.

Aided by ex-army captain Matthew Bryant, the Dolphin’s new security officer, Kitty is determined to decipher this mystery and preserve not only the reputation of her hotel but also the lives of her guests. Is there a cold-blooded killer under her own roof? And what connects the missing jewel to the mystery from Kitty’s own past?

A classic page-turning murder mystery! 

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

My Thoughts…

This murder mystery has a lovely sense of place and time. Dartmouth, Devon is a picturesque setting, and particularly atmospheric during the post-war period. The hotel is well described and easy to visualise, as are the cast of characters. The connection with Kitty’s past that this first mystery, in the series has, gives the story added depth and draws the reader into Kitty’s world.

Kitty is a complex, courageous character, who is easy to like. Her intelligence tempered by an innate naivety makes her the perfect heroine for this type of historical cozy mystery. Matt her partner in amateur sleuthing, has a complex and poignant past, which makes him an enigmatic puzzle, Kitty is eager to solve.

The mystery unwinds with many twists, suspects and murders. The relationship between Kitty and Matt strengthens, in part due to proximity and mutual neediness. You want them to overcome their emotional barriers and let their relationship develop.

The suspense develops well as the story progresses reaching a crescendo when Kitty’s natural curiosity leads her into danger. The ending is exciting and in keeping with the historical period. Part of the mystery remains unsolved, presumably to be revealed as the series progresses.

An easy to read a historical murder mystery, written in a cozy mystery style, which immerses you in the 1930s Devon, with authentic, complex characters and an engaging plot.

Posted in Book Review, Romance, Romantic Comedy

The Wedding Planner – Eve Devon – 5* #Review @HarperImpulse @EveDevon #Romance #RomCom #WhispersWood

Wedding bells are ringing and gossip is spiralling in Whispers Wood…

Single mum Gloria Pavey has a bad habit of saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. Determined to make a positive change she can’t say no when her best friend, Emma, asks her to take on the role of her wedding planner. The only problem? Gloria’s co-planner – best man Seth Knightley.

Gloria is on a self-imposed man ban but pulling together the most beautiful wedding Whispers Wood has ever seen alongside gorgeous Seth is pushing her to her limits. As every interaction increases the tension between them Gloria finds herself wondering…could the happy ever after she never thought she’d have, be in her future after all?

Amazon UK


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

My Thoughts…

Planning a wedding is stressful. Planning a close friends’ wedding is crazy, especially if you’re still recovering from a very public divorce, and your wedding planner partner is another divorcee, who seems intent on challenging every word you utter, determined to convince you there can be a ‘Happily Ever After’, and oh yes, he’s definitely not what you need in your eye-line when you’re on a man ban.

This is a comical, quirky, romantic story, something you expect from the Whispers Wood series featuring Gloria and Seth as they set out to plan Emma and Jake’s wedding. The chemistry between Gloria and Seth is spot on, both are sworn off love, both trying to prove something to those they care about and both attracted to the other, although they feverishly deny this, even to themselves.

The cast of characters, (which for readers, new to the series are described in a glossary), make this village come to life. All, have a role to play, and I particularly like the role of Old Man Issac as a therapist, who would have thought?

Great characters, a lovely snapshot of village life, with both a sense of community and the tendency to gossip and interfere in each other’s lives. It is great that Gloria and Seth get their chance of a happily ever after, despite their cynicism and flaws.

Posted in Book Review

Poppy’s Place in the Sun – Lorraine Wilson – 4* Review

Sometimes you need to lose yourself to find your way home…

With only her trusty dogs Peanut, Treacle and Pickwick by her side, Poppy Kirkbride could be forgiven for having doubts about her move to a quiet village in rural France. But as the sun shines down on her ramshackle new home, Poppy knows she’s made the right decision. A lick of paint, and some TLC and her rustic farmhouse will be the perfect holiday retreat – Poppy’s dream come true.

Poppy is welcomed by her fellow villagers, except for brooding local vet Leo Dubois, who makes it clear Poppy isn’t welcome in his village – or his life! Leo might be gorgeous, but Poppy won’t be told what to do by an arrogant Frenchman – no matter how kind and gentle he is to her dogs!

Determined to stay, Poppy tries to understand the enigmatic Frenchman better. But as the two get closer, Poppy sees another side to Leo – a man with heartbreak of his own. Falling in love with Leo is easy, but can he ever return Poppy’s love? And what would this mean for her dream life and place in the sun?

Amazon UK

Amazon

My Thoughts…

Poppy is a likeable, independent character who makes her dreams reality when she moves to France. Things don’t go to plan, and she finds herself alone in a French village she knows little about, in a property that requires renovation and with a neighbour who makes no secret of the fact he wants her gone. Not the most auspicious of starts but Poppy is determined to succeed and sharing her journey with its ups and downs is a pleasurable read.

Well researched and with a precise local knowledge you learn about village life in France and its history in entertaining conversational bites, the detail is there but cleverly interwoven into the story without inhibiting the pace or the character development.

The book’s stars are the animals, the loveable dogs and quirky donkeys, they have individual personalities which bring them to life, and they provide many of the story’s comic and tender moments.

Another favourite character is Joanna who Poppy helps even though she is running from something. We learn Joanna’s secrets, but she is worthy of her own story and happy ever after too.

Romance is a major theme, and Leo and Poppy have a tempestuous relationship, which is often passionate with realistic, sensual love scenes that underpin the couples emotional development. The ending is believable and happy and makes a satisfying conclusion.

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