When Jinnie Cooper is dumped by her fiancé, and exiled to a job in an antiques shop in a sleepy Scottish village, little does she know a battered old lamp is about to shake up her life.
Genie Dhassim grants wishes. But he also wants a few of his own to come true. Letting him explore the outside world proves nerve-wracking as Dhassim has an uncanny knack of putting his pointy-slippered foot in it.
As Jinnie grows closer to her employer Sam, Dhassim discovers his time on earth is running out.
Can both Jinnie and Dhassim find true happiness? Or are those wishes that cannot be granted?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Everyone needs a little magic in their life and Jinnie more than most. Losing her job and her lover, left her broke and heartbroken and having to move to a village on the outskirts of the city she loves. This story is character-driven. All the characters are believable and relatable and add to the story’s ambience. Then there’s the gene, who makes her life unpredictable but helps her start to live again.
Humour, poignant moments and romance characterise this lovely story, which isheartwarming and magical. The perfect escape from life’s troubles.
Audrey Davis is a Scottish-born former journalist, now resident in Switzerland. Her newspaper career saw her cover events in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, as well as working for a London-based movie magazine writing reviews and carrying out interviews.
She self-published her debut romantic comedy novel A Clean Sweep in June 2017, following an online Open University course in Writing Fiction.
Audrey followed up with a short, darker prequel A Clean Break before beginning work on a rom-com novella trilogy with a ghostly twist – The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Again, reviews across the board were excellent, and it was combined into a standalone novel in November 2018.
A Wish For Jinnie is her third standalone novel.
Apart from writing, Audrey enjoys travel and spends a lot of time in Edinburgh. She is an avid cook, watcher of scary movies and reluctant gym-goer.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
In this gritty, gripping Scottish crime thriller, DCI Hanlon is driven and on the edge, as she battles addictive anger issues. An enforced break on the Isle of Jura, one of the Western Isles, finds her embroiled in a series of grisly crimes.
Hanlon and politically correct are at opposite ends of the spectrum, She’s arrogant and hard. Character traits that get her in trouble with her bosses at the Met. Told predominately from her point of view, this story is insightful. The plot is simple, with enough possible suspects and twists to keep it interesting. I did guess the major twist, but it’s a good story, with a memorable detective, with scope for more cases.
Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.
Scotland, 1940: War rages across Europe, but Invermoray House is at peace. Until the night of Constance’s twenty-first birthday, when she’s the only person to see a Spitfire crash into the loch. Constance has been longing for adventure – but when she promises to keep the pilot hidden, what will it cost her?
2020: Kate arrives in the Highlands to turn Invermoray into a luxury bed-and-breakfast, only to find that the estate is more troubled than she’d imagined. But when Kate discovers the house has a murky history, with Constance McLay’s name struck from its records, she knows she can’t leave until the mystery is solved…
How will one promise change the fate of two women, decades apart?
Not having read the author’s debut novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I needn’t have worried.
This is engaging and easy to read. Full of drama, poignancy, risk and romance. Drawn into both stories from their first chapters, this timeslip novel has believable, easy to like characters, authentic historical detail, a beautiful setting, in a timeless story of forbidden love and desperate times.
There are secrets in both timelines and plots twist. I did work out the tragic historical twist but knowing, just increased the dramatic irony and suspense.
If you’re looking for a story to sweep you away to a different place and time, this is it.
The intrepid librarian Shona McMonagle, erstwhile Marcia Blaine Academy prefect and an accomplished linguist and martial artist, finds herself in an isolated French mountain village, Sans-Soleil, which has no sunlight because of its topography. It’s reeling from a spate of unexplained deaths, and Shona has once again travelled back in time to help out.
Forging an uneasy alliance with newly widowed Madeleine, Shona is soon drawn into a full-blown vampire hunt, involving several notable villagers, the world-renowned soprano Mary Garden – and even Count Dracula himself. Will Shona solve the mystery, secure justice for the murder victims and make it through a deathly denouement in the hall of mirrors to return to present-day Morningside Library?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Shona McMonagle is an enigmatic and decidedly quirky character, which is just as well, because ‘Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace’, is a strange tale. It takes a little getting into, especially if this is your first encounter with the talented librarian, a former prefect of Miss Blaine’s academy, and now intrepid time traveller. The adventure is standalone but would be more immersive if you were familiar with the character, and the reasons for time travel. Read the first book if you can. before embarking on this.
Set in the ominous-sounding French village Sans-Soleil, Shona has to extricate herself from a coffin and a room full of mirrors before finding out, where she is. The first people she meets are frankly strange, and she soon finds typical of the village. The story is a complex blend of history, historical characters and mind-blowing fiction, and it works. To enjoy this you have to accept the intricate world-building and immerse yourself in the adventure, and acerbic very witty humour, both verbal and visual.
The plot is absorbing, full of historical facts and historical characters, who are cleverly blended with the fictional ones. Shona is certain of her capabilities, and she is undoubtedly intelligent and well-educated, the perfect advertisement for Miss Blaine’s academy, However, she is not the most intuitive of amateur sleuth’s and there are many examples of dramatic irony in this story. The reader knows more than the protagonist, or at least understands, what they are reading. This makes for many humorous moments.
Shona’s thought processes and dialogue with her fellow characters are witty and enjoyable. The distinctly Scottish humour can be appreciated wherever you hail from.
The story is well-paced and written with visual imagery, that lets the reader enjoy the period and setting, as well as the relentless adventure.
If you enjoy an original, unique reading experience, this is something you should read.
Olga Wojtas is an unconventional – and very witty – writer of postmodern crime fiction whose surrealist humour has been compared to the likes of PG Wodehouse, Jasper Fforde and the Marx Brothers. Her debut novel, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar, has been published in the UK and US to great critical acclaim – being longlisted for the inaugural Comedy Women in Print Prize 2019, shortlisted for a CrimeFest Award, and named as one of the best mysteries and thrillers of the year by Kirkus. A journalist for more than 30 years, Olga was Scottish editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement before she began adding creative writing to her portfolio. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2015 and has had numerous short stories and several novellas published. Olga lives in Edinburgh, where she once attended James Gillespie’s High School – the model for Marcia Blaine School for Girls, which appears in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the novel that inspired the Miss Blaine’s Prefect series.
In the sleepy town of Lost Maidens Loch, people sometimes disappear…
Down a quiet lane in town sits a little shop full of oddities you’d probably miss if you weren’t looking for it. This is Love’s Curiosities Inc., and its owner, Temerity Love, is sought by experts all over the world for her rare and magical gift: the ability to find lost things and learn their stories.
When Lost Maidens’ pretty local school teacher is found murdered by a poisoned cup of tea, a strange antique hand mirror is discovered nearby. Temerity – with the help of witchy sister Tilda, their cats Scylla and Charybdis and the lovingly eccentric local townspeople – is determined to divine the story behind the mirror and its part in Miss Molly Bayliss’ untimely death.
If only grumpy out-of-towner Angus Harley of Lost Maidens Police wasn’t on the scene. Temerity can’t solve the crime without him, but he’s distracting, and in more ways than one. Can this unconventional duo solve the most mysterious murder ever to blight Lost Maidens Loch before the killer strikes again?
I received a copy of this book from Bookouture via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has all the ingredients for a perfect escape. Cozy mystery, with a touch of magic, and vividly created characters and setting. Set in a small town in the Scottish Highlands, the loch has a mystical significance, well understood by psychic Temerity, and her herbalist sister Tilda. Temerity’s gift manifested when her first love died tragically at the Loch, something she feels inherently guilty for. Both women feel tied to the small town and they are intrinsic to its wellbeing.
The villagers accept the women, although gossip has it that they are witches, with their two seemingly lazy cats and an opinionated parrot. Temerity’s give for psychometry, has proved useful to the police in the past, but the new officer in the town isn’t convinced. Maybe he’s worried about his secrets?
There is so much in this first book to absorb the reader and capture their interest. The setting is authentic and described so well that you can visualise it. The mystical ethos, and legend that surrounds it add to its appeal. The protagonists are complex characters full of flaws and hidden layers. Some of which, are revealed in this book. Some are hinted at, to be revealed later in the series? The small-town dynamic works, the sense of community and gossip is evident. The cast of characters colourful and mostly easy to like.
The magical, witchy element is the icing on the cake, not too far-fetched, but outer-worldly enough to appeal. The cozy mystery is cleverly plotted, with lots of suspects, a dastardly murder, and plenty of clues and misinformation, to engage those who enjoy this.
A brilliant start to what promises to be an enchanting series, with wide appeal because we all need a little magic in our lives.
When the supposed suicide of
famous Scottish football coach Harry Nugent hits the headlines, the tabloids
are filled with tributes to a charitable pillar of the community that gave so
much back to sport and to those less fortunate.
But something isn’t right.
Normally celebrities are queuing up to claim to have had a very special
relationship with the deceased, but investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil is
getting the distinct impression that people are trying to distance themselves
Oonagh’s investigation leads her to uncover a heartbreakingly haunting cover-up that chills her to the core… and places her in mortal danger from those willing to protect their sadistic and dark secrets at any cost…
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The third in the series of the investigative journalist, Oonagh O’Neil, novels, once again tackles a heinous crime that is currently topical. The grisly death of a high-profile football coach opens a dark and powerful web of lies and secrets that exist in plain sight, yet no one appears to care.
The appeal of this story is its authenticity and topicality. There is no gratuitous description in this story, but the themes are dark and hard to read about. The story follows Oonagh’s investigation into the football coach’s death, and what lies behind it. It leads her into some dark places, with frightened victims, and powerful culprits, who will stop at nothing to save themselves.
Oonagh is a clever and tenacious investigator, who uses her contacts ruthlessly, and her personal experiences to get to the truth. Her flaws and overuse of alcohol, make her relatable, and real, Given what she sees and experiences in the course of her investigations, it isn’t surprising she needs to forget sometimes.
The language and behaviour give the novel’s setting authenticity and the plot is cleverly twisted and layered with menace and suspense. The ending ties up the investigation well and concludes this disturbingly poignant story convincingly.
Author Interview -Theresa Talbot – The Quiet Ones
– Theresa Talbot
What are the inspirations behind your Oonagh O’Neil series, and this story in particular?
All three of my Oonagh O’Neil books have been inspired by real-life events. As a journalist, I’m particularly interested in those crimes committed in plain sight – institutionalised crimes and injustices where often no-one will ever be convicted. The Lost Children was the first in the series and came about after research I was doing on the Magdalene Intuition – for those readers unfamiliar with the Magdalenes, there’s a wealth of information online. But they effectively were asylums to house so-called ‘fallen women’. I’d discovered there had been one in Glasgow and once I started digging, I was hooked and formed a crime novel around the circumstances surrounding its closure. Keeping Her Silent was inspired by the tainted blood scandal – again a google search will lead you down a wormhole which will shock you. I interviewed one of the victims and the story was the perfect backdrop for a crime novel. This latest, The Quiet Ones, came about after a chance meeting with a Glasgow Taxi driver who had been instrumental in the conviction of a football coach who had been abusing boys in his care. There’s nothing graphic in the novel – we all know how horrific such cases are – rather the story focuses on how a public figure can evade justice for so long. We only have to look at the likes of Jimmy Saville & Jeffrey Epstein to know that this is sadly a reality.
How did you create your Oonagh O’ Neil, investigative journalist character? Is she based on someone you know, an imaginative creation, or a little of both?
I’ve grown so fond of Oonagh. Given my background (I’m a freelance journalist with BBC Scotland) it was easy for me to create the character. She’s not based on me, but some people recognise certain traits and characteristics. I wanted to make her a real, flesh and blood character. She’s flawed, she gets things wrong, she’s a bit of a mess at times – but she has integrity and always fights for the underdog. Professionally she’s top of her game – personally, she’s a train-wreck. Too often we shy away from flawed female characters – but they exist in real life, and should exist on the page too. I named her after Charlie Chaplin’s last wife – the love of his life. He’s a hero of mine, so I stole her name and changed the spelling.
How do you make your characters believable?
I teach creative writing workshops and this is my favourite topic. Characters have to be allowed to have flaws and make mistakes. Also, they need to be on a journey, developing as the storyline progresses. How they deal with conflict is crucial – what’s their motivation? What’s the story BEHIND their motivation? And finally, give them a voice. Each character has to have a unique way of speaking. Read the dialogue aloud. Does it drive the story forward, does it fit with the character’s motivation? All of this will help shape your characters. I know some of the advice suggests know everything about your character – birthday, favourite colour, child-hood pet etc… I make it up as I go along.. but I know what drives Oonagh. I know what makes her tick. I know why she doesn’t suffer fools gladly, I know why she drinks too much and pushes the self-destruct button now and again. She has dark hair – I put that in the first novel, but other than that it doesn’t really matter what she looks like. The reader can decide that – that’s a personal thing between the reader and the character – it’s really none of my business.
When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?
For my first book, the character and the plot became intertwined very quickly. Initially, I suppose it was the seed of an idea surrounding a riot that closed the Magdalene asylum in Glasgow – then I had a female journalist investigate the story behind it. But the end story is nothing like what I imagined it to be. Now it’s the character – Once I had Oonagh as a fully formed character I had to find stories for her to investigate.
What made you decide to become a writer, and why does this genre appeal to you?
I’ve wanted to be a writer since my late teens. I came from a family of storytellers, and I love listening to stories and reading of course. As a journalist, I’ve written every day of my professional life for the past 25 years so moving into fiction was the best stage for me. Crime genre was I suppose the obvious one – most journalists turn to crime eventually!
What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?
I love crime books, especially Scottish crime fiction – but they have to have well-developed characters and gripping storylines and be devoid of sexualised violence. I know sexual violence exists, but I abhor when violence is sexualised. I also love black humour, slice of life and uplit. Anne Tyler is an old favourite that I need to revisit. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is simply wonderful, and anything by George Orwell. I recently read Anne Griffin ‘When All Is Said.’ It’s her debut novel and beautifully written. I think my taste can be described as eclectic.
What are you currently writing?
I’m mortified to say I started three new books in one month – despite advice from other author friends not to! I still embarked on this utter madness until I realised I had to narrow it down. The other 2 have been put on ice for now, and I’m working on a standalone about a woman who was involved in a terrible accident and suffers from the most horrific survivor’s guilt. By the time you read this, I may have ditched that idea and resurrected the other 2 from the drawer!
Theresa Talbot is a freelance writer, journalist and radio presenter, perhaps best known as the voice of Traffic and Travel on BBC Radio Scotland and as the host of The Beechgrove Potting Shed. Prior to working with the BBC, she was with Radio Clyde and the AA Roadwatch team. Theresa worked in various roles before entering the media as an assistant in children’s homes, a Pepsi Challenge girl and a library assistant. She ended up at the BBC because of an eavesdropped conversation on a no.66 bus in Glasgow. Her passions include rescuing chickens, gardening, music and yoga. TwitterFacebook
A family ripped asunder. A terrible secret lurks in a thrilling novel of love, grief, and mystery.
Patrick thought his grandfather, John, died before he was born. In later life, he finds out that it wasn’t true. For the first five years of Patrick’s life, they stayed in the same small village. So why were they kept apart?
Patrick wishes to search the past to find the reason – but only if he can be united with his young daughter first. And that means bringing her home to Scotland. It means journeying to France to take her away from the care of her mother, Patrick’s ex-wife.
In 1915, with the war raging in Europe, John is a young man working on the family farm. Not yet old enough to enlist but aware of its looming threat, he meets Catherine. But his attempts at courtship end suddenly when an accident rips his life apart.
Told in alternate chapters, set, mainly, in South-West Scotland, this is the dramatic story of Patrick, interwoven with John’s traumatic life.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Two men, in two time periods, both battle against their demons and life’s injustices. Patrick and John are related, and Patrick is on a quest to explore the mystery surrounding his grandfather.
Patrick is confused and unhappy, his marriage to a younger woman ends badly, and he loses contact with his daughter. His plan to reunite with her is the focus of his story. His need to find out what happened to his Grandfather equates to his need to find parallels and assume some control in his own life.
John’ story is set in Scotland during the early twentieth century. The setting and historical details of this time period are interesting and bring John’s character to life. His story is poignant. The ominous presence of World War 1, is another claustrophobic element in this part of the story.
The stories are well written and the mystery is carefully revealed, in a plot that has many twists. The male characters are complex and realistic. The female characters are much more simply drawn, perhaps because they are seen from John and Patrick’s point of view, and they both lack an intrinsic understanding of what motivates them?
A deep, and sometimes dark story of two men’s lives, with a good mystery to solve and an overriding theme of sadness and loss.
Guest Post – RR Gall – Two Tides To Turn
How Stressed Are you?
The candle is wicked. The man is rugged.
The dignitary is present to present the present to the present champion. It is
the timekeeper’s job to record the latest record.
This has been bothering me for a while now
– the lack of guidance. And I take my hat off to anyone trying to come to grips
with the rather tricky, awkward language of English. It must be extremely
difficult when given no direction on where to stress certain words. In some
ways, it is amazing how this language has become so prevalent. At the moment, more
people speak it than any other – approximately 2 billion – with native speakers
by far in the minority.
A quick scan through other languages shows
that many have steady rules on where the emphasis should be. In Spanish, unless
indicated by an accent, the stress is on the penultimate syllable if the word
ends in a vowel, or if there is a vowel followed by the letter ‘s’ or ‘n’. If
not, the stress will be on the last syllable.
In Italian, again if there is no
direction, the stress tends to be on the penultimate syllable.
And in Greek, it appears they take no
chances, shovelling on more accents than coal on the Flying Scotsman, but with
the rule that only the last three syllables are ripe, and can be picked, for stressing.
In English, we are left to fend for
One bright aspect though, I hope I’m right
in saying, is that our lack of rules makes English ideally suited for cryptic
crosswords. Such crosswords do exist in other languages, but only in a handful
of them – German, Hebrew, Italian, Hindi, and a few others.
Back to the start then. How did you get on
with the sentences?
The candle has a wick. The candle is
wicked(1) (one syllable, pronounce like tricked).
The man has a rug (or toupee, hairpiece).
The man is rugged(1) (like hugged).
(Are there any rugged(2) men who are
rugged(1)? Perhaps not – or maybe is a matter of taste. I’ll leave you to come
to a conclusion on that.)
Is beloved always a (3) or can it go to (2)?
What about crooked and aged? You might be able to come up with a few of your
own. If you do, I wouldn’t mind hearing them as I am preparing a more extensive
Wait a minute! Oh, no. Just as I was about
to pat myself on the back with my new aid to indicate pronunciation, up steps the
next sentence, and my method falls flat on its face, no use to anyone. Why didn’t
I just write: the dignitary is here to hand over the gift to the current
champion? It would have saved any confusion. Never mind.
But don’t get me started on some other baffling
In 1875, the Punch Magazine highlighted the number of different ways the letters ‘ough’ could be said in English with this sentence: “A rough-coated, dough-faced ploughman strode, coughing and hiccoughing, thoughtfully through the streets of Scarborough.”
So am I stressed about all this? A little.
And I’ll say again, to anyone taking on my native language, I doff my hat to those
learning or learned – now is that ‘learned’ with a (1) or a (2)?
RR Gall lives in Scotland and is the author of: The Case of the Pig in the Evening Suit, The Case of Colourful Clothes and Kilts, The Case of the Hermit’s Guest Bedroom Two Tides To Turn, A Different Place to Die, Only the Living Can Die.
I received a copy of this book from Aria – Head of Zeus Books in return for an honest review.
I love stories that have an element of serendipity, and this story of four people, seemingly unconnected, is an engaging read. It follows Caro, Cammy, Lila and Bernadette through 24 hours just before Christmas. Some of the characters feature in other books, so if you are a fan of this author, like me, you may recognise them.
The day is divided into time slots, and each of the four main protagonists has a chapter within. As the story progresses, the reader realises they are connected, and eventually so do they. All of the main characters are complex and realistic. Some have more flaws than others, but they are all relatable, and most are easy to empathise.
The plot is cleverly written, it all fits together and the coincidences are realistic. Coupled with the beautifully written characters, the emotion and poignancy of the story make this is a page-turner that you won’t easily, put down.
The ending is satisfying, it fits, and everyone gets the outcome they deserve.
Guest Post –Christmas Blog – Shari Low – One Day In Winter
Confession time! I’m one of those people who has a Countdown To Christmas clock and I check it regularly. Please don’t judge me. I know that I’m supposed to harrumph in disapproval at the frivolity and commercialisation of the festive season, but the truth is I love every flashing-elf-hat, neon-reindeer-on-my-roof, pass-me-a-red-hankie-because-I’m-going-to-watch-It’s-A-Wonderful-Life moment of it.
I embrace the tat and naffness of the season because I absolutely believe that there is no day that isn’t made better by a Santa snow globe.
On the first of December, I break out my favourite Christmas sweatshirt – the one that announces in large letters that I’m a Gangsta Wrapper.
I know the names of all the reindeers: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph, Argos, Visa and Mastercard.
And now that my two little yuletide thespians have flown the nest (one who delivered a memorable performance as the third sheep from the left, and the other who had a starring role as that well known Biblical character, Humph the Camel), the younger members of my extended family know that I’m a shoo-in for a ticket and some enthusiastic audience participation if they invite me to their nativity play.
But my very favourite pastime during the season of goodwill? Deck the halls with big blooming piles of Christmas novels.
When I decided to write my first December-time book, One Day In Winter, I knew that I wanted to write stories that came together like a big pile of surprises under a tree.
The novel follows four characters over the course of a 24 hour period on the Friday before Christmas. Caro sets off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father has been based on a lifetime of lies. Lila decides to tell her lover’s wife of their secret affair. Cammy is on the way to pick up the ring for a proposal to the woman he loves. And Bernadette vows to walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years. As the hours’ pass, their lives intertwine and connections are revealed, with lots of shocks, twists and dramas along the way.
When it first came out in ebook, One Day In Winter was a number one bestseller, so I’m thrilled that it’s now being released in a glossy, shiny, gorgeous paperback.
I hope readers will love it because it makes them laugh, cry and captivates them from beginning to end.
And the extra little gift that the book delivers?
After the last page is turned, it makes the perfect stand for that Santa snow globe.
One Day In Winter is published by Aria in ebook and paperback.
Extract From One Day In Winter – Shari Low
When Gran and Granda
passed away, their house had been left jointly to Mum and her sister, Auntie
Pearl. When Auntie Pearl married and moved out, they’d worked out a rental
agreement and Mum had stayed behind, living on her own until she’d met Jack
Anderson at college, got pregnant, married him and he’d carried her over the
threshold into the home she’d already lived in for twenty-two years.
Not that Caro could
ever remember him being there full-time. He probably was for the first few
years, but then he’d capitalised on the oil boom, and ever since then he’d been
gone more than he’d been home. Some months he’d be home for a few days,
sometimes two weeks, rarely more. She’d never felt neglected or that she was
losing out in any way. It was what she’d always been used to and, as Mum always
said, just one of the sacrifices they had to make because Dad had a Very
The payback for the
sacrifice? A couple of years ago, just as her parents should have been starting
to contemplate cruises and bucket lists for their early retirement, Jack
Anderson had walked out of the door to go to his Very Important Job and he’d
never come back.
Caro felt the familiar
inner rage start to build now and she squashed it back down. He’d left them a
week before her thirtieth birthday, so she was old enough to process her
parents splitting up by some mutual consent. Yet she couldn’t. Because it
wasn’t mutual and he’d bolted when her mother had needed him most, walked out
to a new life and he hadn’t looked back.
For a long time, Caro
didn’t understand why.
Only now, did she
realise that on the Importance scale, the job was up there with his Very
She still didn’t
believe it to be true.
She must be wrong.
Yet, here she was,
sitting on a train, on a cold December morning, on her way to Glasgow.
She pulled her iPad
out of her satchel, logged on to the train’s Wi-Fi, then flicked on to the
Facebook page she’d looked at a thousand times in the last few weeks.
It was one of those
coincidental flukes that had taken her to it in the first place.
It had been late at
night, and she’d been sitting beside her mum’s bed in the hospital, feeling
like she’d been battered by the storm that was raging outside. She shouldn’t
even have been there because it was outside of visiting time, but the nurses
overlooked her presence because her mum was in a private room at the end of a
corridor, and they made exceptions when it came to patients at this stage in
their lives. Yvonne’s eyes were closed, her body still, but Caro wanted to
stay, whether Yvonne knew she was there or not. It was the first night of the
October school holiday, so she didn’t have to get up early to be the
responsible Miss Anderson for a class of eleven-year-olds the next morning.
Instead, she could
just be Caro, sitting there passing the time catching up with Facebook. She
only dipped in and out of it every few weeks, caught up with a Carpool Karaoke,
the launch of a new book, or maybe a movie trailer.
A promotional link
appeared for the new Simple Minds tour, twenty dates around the country, yet
another band riding the nostalgic affection for the eighties and nineties.
Before she could stop
it, the opening bars of Jim Kerr’s voice belting out ‘Don’t You Forget About
Me’ flooded her head and she felt the bite of a sharp-toothed memory. Her dad
had been a big fan, their music playing alongside Oasis and Blur on his CD
player when he was home or in the car on the few mornings he was around to take
her to school, and that had been his favourite song.
The irony in the title didn’t escape her. Don’t You Forget About Me. If only she could forget he ever existed, then she wouldn’t have to deal with the soul-sucking fury that he wasn’t here.
Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter, A Life Without You, The
Story Of Our Life, With Or Without You, Another Day In Winter and her
latest release, This Is Me.
And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift.
Part of The Lochmore Legacy: a Scottish castle through the ages! Rory Lochmore had expected to wage battle, to claim land and finally secure his standing within his clan… Instead, he won a wife. A McCrieff wife. Their convenient marriage could unite the two long-feuding clans forever. But can a political alliance give way to a passion strong enough to stand the secrets of the past?
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
The last in ‘The Lochmore Legacy’ series, takes us back to 1293 and the beginning of the Lochmore Legacy. Ailsa and Rory have a marriage of convenience, but although they marry for the good of their clans, their attraction and friendship grow.
This book is full of danger and intrigue, and a slow-burning passionate romance. The historical detail gives depth to the story and the authentic characters bring it to life. Ailsa and Rory are good characters, and you want to them to overcome the deceit and treachery.
The secrets discovered, in the first book in the series, are revealed here. The epilogue, written by the author of the first book ties everything together in a poignant satisfying way.
Nicole is the author of Harlequin’s #LoversandLegends series and co-author of the #LochmoreLegacy series. Currently, she lives in Seattle and can be reached via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. If you don’t hear from her, she’s eating Haribos and drinking copious amounts of tea while frantically trying to find a happily ever after. InstagramFacebookTwitter
Giveaway to Win 5 x copies of Secrets of a Highland Warrior (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. 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 despatch or delivery of the prize.
Scotland, 1950s Walter MacMillan is bewitched by the clever, glamorous Jean Thompson and can’t believe his luck when she agrees to marry him. Neither can she, for Walter represents a steady and loving man who can perhaps quiet the demons inside her. Yet their home on remote Loch Doon soon becomes a prison for Jean and neither a young family nor Walter’s care can seem to save her.
Many years later, Walter is with his adult children and adored grandchildren on the shores of Loch Doon where the family has been holidaying for two generations. But the shadows of the past stretch over them and will turn all their lives upside down on one fateful weekend.
The House by the Loch is the story of a family in all its loving complexity and the way it can, and must, remake itself endlessly in order to make peace with the past.
I received a copy of this book from John Murray Press – Two Roads via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Walter witnesses a tragedy as a young boy at the side of the loch, close to his home. It haunts him, throughout his life, even though he could do nothing to stop it. Years later, his family gather at the loch, and once again it is the scene of a tragic event, this time personal, and he wonders if it is his fault and if his family will ever recover.
The setting is beautiful, yet unforgiving, an addiction for Walter, that threatens everything he holds dear.
A multi-generational story, Walter recalls his younger days, his marriage to Jean and their lives at the loch. Addiction and mental health issues irrevocably alter the family, and their effects resonate across the generations. The story’s ethos is predominately sad, but at its conclusion, there is a reckoning, a chance for redemption and a way forward for those left.
The characters are flawed, and therefore believable. Some are self-destructive, but whether the root cause is from nature or nurture, or both is part of what this story explores. The plot is complex, hiding its secrets until the end, The story is engaging and draws you into the family, how they interact and what it means to keep a family together.
Forgiveness, justice and understanding are all important themes. The emotional journey, the characters travel is poignant and often filled with a sense of hopelessness. Ultimately, it is the courage, love and tenacity of the family members, that gets them through the darkness, to survive and make the family stronger.