Love is in the air on the sun kissed sands of the Cornish coast, where the sea sparkles and romance sizzles on golden beaches. This stunning new novel by Holly Martin, bestselling author of Ice Creams at Emerald Cove, is guaranteed to steal your heart this summer.
Lyra Thomas has dreamed of living on Jewel Island ever since she first visited its breathtaking shores. And now her dream has come true – she has her own little cottage and a brand new job. But when Lyra sets out for a bike ride to explore her new home, a mishap has her crash-landing at the feet of the very handsome Nix Sanchez.
A true gentleman, Nix comes to Lyra’s rescue. His face is so familiar and yet they are strangers. But the more they talk, Lyra feels as though she has known Nix forever. What follows is the most magical night of Lyra’s life… until the spell is broken when the next morning she finds Nix has gone.
Feeling foolish Lyra vows to be more careful with her heart from now on. She’ll pretend Nix never existed. But destiny has other ideas and in a perfect twist of fate Lyra will discover that Nix Sanchez is impossible to forget…
Escape to sundrenched Jewel Island this summer where love, laughter and the thrill of adventure await. This gorgeous, romantic, feel-good read is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell and Sue Moorcroft.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Jewel Island is an idyllic setting for book 4 in the series. Lyra and Nix feature in this story, which also includes cameos from characters in the previous books. Lyra finds trusting others difficult. Nix has secrets too. Their meeting is chaotic and comical, but embarrassment and laughter soon turn to passion and intimate revelations as their unexpected attraction unfolds. Life and its conflicts intervene and send the couple on a romantic adventure full of conflicts, humour and misunderstanding.
This engaging story immerses the reader in life on Jewel Island and its iconic hotel with relatable characters, fun, and lots of romance. It’s addictive and uplifting reading and the perfect book for a summer afternoon.
From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: what would you risk for a shot at happiness?
1984. Bessie is a confident sixteen-year-old girl with the world at her feet, dreaming of what life will bring and what she’ll bring to this life. Then everything comes crashing down. Her bright and trusting smile is lost, banished by shame—and a secret she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life.
2021. The last thirty-seven years have not been easy for Bess. At fifty-three she is visibly weary, and her marriage to Mario is in tatters. Watching her son in newlywed bliss—the hope, the trust, the joy—Bess knows it is time to face her own demons, and try to save her relationship. But she’ll have to throw off the burden of shame if she is to honour that sixteen-year-old girl whose dreams lie frozen in time.
Can Bess face her past, finally come clean to Mario, and claim the love she has longed to fully experience all these years?
I received a copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Bessie wanted to be an air hostess, she wanted to experience love, and all life, had to offer, but on her sixteenth birthday, her dreams started to crumble. This is an emotional and poignant coming of age story. It reflects on how your younger life can shape your future. The ethos of growing up in the 1980s, a time of change, is evocatively written. Bessie’s choices less, and her naivety greater, than for young women, in the twenty-first century.
Bessie, at fifty-three, is at a crossroads in her life. Her children are happy with their lives and independent of her. Her marriage is more a habit than a partnership, and her dreams, remain unfulfilled. This is a journey of self-realisation for Bessie. She has to reveal her darkest secret and forgive her younger self.
This story is immersive and memorable, with experiences many can relate to.
Amanda Prowse is an International Bestselling author whose twenty seven novels and seven novellas have been published in dozens of languages around the world. Published by Lake Union, Amanda is the most prolific writer of bestselling contemporary fiction in the UK today; her titles also consistently score the highest online review approval ratings across several genres. Her books, including the chart topping No.1 titles ‘What Have I Done?’, ‘Perfect Daughter’, ‘My Husband’s Wife’, ‘The Girl in the Corner’, ‘The Things I Know’ and ‘The Day She Came Back’ have sold millions of copies across the globe.
A popular TV and radio personality, Amanda is a regular panellist on Channel 5’s ‘The Jeremy Vine Show’ and numerous daytime ITV programmes. She also makes countless guest appearances on BBC national independent Radio stations including LBC and Talk FM, where she is well known for her insightful observations and her infectious humour. Described by the Daily Mail as ‘The queen of family drama’ Amanda’s novel, ‘A Mother’s Story’ won the coveted Sainsbury’s eBook of the year Award while ‘Perfect Daughter’ was selected as a World Book Night title in 2016.
Amanda’s ambition is to create stories that keep people from turning the bedside lamp off at night, great characters that ensure you take every step with them and tales that fill your head so you can’t possibly read another book until the memory fades…
I received a copy of this book from HQ in return for an honest review.
This is an atmospheric and lyrical story of love, loss and familial relationships. Written in dual timelines, 2019 and the early twentieth century during WW1 and its tragic aftermath. The Cornish setting is wonderfully described and gives the story its mystical and timeless qualities.
The characters are diverse and relatable, and the different relationships are full of emotion. The plot is layered and beautifully woven together to allow the reader some precious moments of escapism.
Guest Post: Top Five…Cornish Restaurants – Liz Fenwick
I love food. Some days I wish I didn’t but I do. I’m lucky that Cornwall produces some of the best and that local restaurants have so much fabulous produce to work with which makes choosing my top five restaurants hard so I’ve called in the family for their input.
New Yard Restaurant (and New Yard Pantry) at Trelowarren – they’ve just received a green Michelin star and they have earned it. The restaurant adapted through the pandemic and now operates in a slightly different way. It is a set menu which different every night and it is an adventure. I have been delightfully surprised at the combinations and new foods I’ve been introduced to. When booking make sure they know of any food allergies so they can adapt your meal. And the attached New Yard Pantry produces great small plates plus pizzas for lunch, and their cakes….
Porthminster Beach Café…for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Great food and superb setting. My mouth is watering thinking about the salt and pepper squid…
Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow…I’ve been lucky enough to eat there twice. Superb.
The Square in Porthleven…again local foods brilliantly served.
The Mussel Shoal in Porthleven (note: on the quay side in the open and a very small kitchen so there can be no rush. Food is only served from 12:30 to 18:30)
Liz Fenwick – I was born in Massachusetts and after nine international moves – the final one lasting eight years in Dubai- I now live in Cornwall and London with my husband and a cat. I made my first trip to Cornwall in 1989, bought my home there seven years later. My heart is forever in Cornwall, creating new stories.
Artist Abigail Carey has always dreamed of a life in the country and, when Winfield Hall comes up at auction, she’s desperate to make the place her home. The only trouble is that businessman, Edward Townsend, has exactly the same idea.
With its position high on the Sussex Downs, Winfield is a stunning house, but it hasn’t been a home for a long time and there’s a lot of work to do to restore it to its former glory. It’s going to take a lot of time and money, so Edward and Abi decide to take a risk and share the house, each living in their own wing.
But can these two strangers agree on a vision that suits them both? And will free-spirited Abi ever get the rather reserved Edward to reveal the secret he’s been hiding for so long?
The House in the Clouds is the first novel in a brand new trilogy from the bestselling author of The Rose Girls and The Book Lovers series.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest reveiw.
As the first book in a trilogy, this book has detailed world-building. The two main characters are diverse from the outset sharing only their love of Winfield Hall, an old run-down mansion full of potential but with lots to do to make it habitable. Edward is a slightly mysterious, solemn character, he’s harder to empathise with than Abi, who is open and kind, but both have secrets that define them.
Gentle pacing and an interesting plot immerse the reader in Abi and Edward’s stories. There is the possibility of friendship and romance, but the road is liable to be an emotional rollercoaster for these two. The plot is engaging and original and leaves the reader wanting to know more.
Victoria Connelly lives in a 500-year old thatched cottage in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, The Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in Germany. Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.
The intensity of this twisty psychological suspense builds with every page turn. Then the secrets begin to unfold, and you can’t stop reading. You have to know, what next?
Told mainly from Beth and Tom’s viewpoints, this story gives the reader insight into the main players, but you’re never sure if they are truthful, and the mystery deepens. A well-written plot makes it easy to read. Beth is so shocked by the police investigation into her husband it’s hard not to empathise with her.
The suspense builds believably and relentlessly. With each revelation, another question is raised. The ending draws all the plot strands together with some notable twists that resonate.
Leigh Fletcher: happily married stepmum to two gorgeous boys goes missing on Monday. Her husband Mark says he knows nothing of her whereabouts. She simply went to work and just never came home. Their family is shattered.
Kai Janssen: married to wealthy Dutch businessman, Daan, vanishes the same week. Kai left their luxurious penthouse and glamourous world without a backward glance. She seemingly evaporated into thin air. Daan is distraught.
DC Clements knows that people disappear all the time – far too frequently. Most run away from things, some run towards, others are taken but find their way back. A sad few never return. These two women are from very different worlds, their disappearances are unlikely to be connected. And yet, at a gut level, the DC believes they are.
How could these women walk away from their families, husbands and homes willingly? Clements is determined to unearth the truth, no matter how shocking and devastating it may be.
I received a copy of this book from HQ Stories in return for an honest review.
Compelling yet easy to read, this is addictive psychological suspense. There are elements of police procedural and a twisty mystery to solve. The character dynamics are relatable, and contemporary issues of raising teenagers, misogyny at work and missing persons are highlighted.
The story focuses on two missing persons, Leigh married to Mark with two sons, and Kai, who is married to Daan. Detailed characterisation and relationship dynamics in the early chapters make the shocks and twists impactful. The reader is invested in the characters even though not all are likeable.
The story is passionate, poignant, and often menacing, but it is always addictive reading. Whilst the ending may not be a total surprise if you follow the clues, it remains sinister, suspenseful, and ultimately shocking.
Get swept into a summer of sunshine, soul-searching, and shameless matchmaking with this delightfully big-hearted road-trip adventure!
Kathleen is eighty years old. After she has a run-in with an intruder, her daughter wants her to move in to a residential home. But she’s not having any of it. What she craves—what she needs—is adventure.
Liza is drowning under the daily stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday, making Liza long for a solo summer of her own.
Martha is having a quarter-life crisis. Unemployed, unloved and uninspired, she just can’t get her life together. But she knows something has to change.
When Martha sees Kathleen’s advertisement for a driver and companion to share an epic road trip across America with, she decides this job might be the answer to her prayers. She’s not the world’s best driver, but anything has to be better than living with her parents. And traveling with a stranger? No problem. Anyway, how much trouble can one eighty-year-old woman be?
As these women embark on the journey of a lifetime, they all discover it’s never too late to start over.
I received a copy of this book from HQ via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The Summer Seekers encapsulates a Summer road trip, a marriage in trouble and three women at different life stages, all in need of emotional support. This multi-generational story is humorous, poignant and romantic as it explores friendship, marriage and mothers and daughter relationships.
Kathleen loves her rambling Cornish cottage close to the beach packed with a lifetime of memories. Liza is the lynchpin of her family, weighed down with her catastrophising and keeping her family’s life stress-free. Kathleen and Liza are emotionally estranged but still care deeply for each other. Martha, unconnected with the women, facilitates Kathleen’s latest adventure despite Liza’s misgivings and her own anxiety.
Martha and Kathleen take a road trip on Route 66. Liza reconnects with her true self in her Cornish childhood home. This is not a travelogue, but there are some good descriptions of places visited.
Gentle romance, relatable characters, and an uplifting conclusion. An addictive Summer read.
The #1 bestseller is back with an uplifting, escapist read that will brighten the gloomiest day!
A warm, sun-baked terrace.
The rustle of verdant green vines.
The sun slowly dipping behind the Umbrian mountains.
And the chink of wine glasses as the first cork of the evening is popped…
Welcome to Italy. A place that holds the answer to Zia-Lucia Costa Chalmers’ many questions. Not least, how she ended up with such a mouthful of a name.
When Zia discovers that her mother wasn’t who she thought she was, she realises the time has come to search out the Italian family she’s never known.
However, as she delves into the secrets of her past, she doesn’t bargain on having to think about her future too. But with local vineyard owner, Piero, living next door, Zia knows she has a serious distraction who may prove difficult to ignore…
This summer, join Zia as she sets out to uncover her past. But can she find the future she’s always dreamed of along the way?
I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set in a picturesque Italian setting, this intriguing family mystery has drama, romance and secrets. Zia no longer has any close family and wants to discover her roots. Her friendship with Ursula sustains her, but Ursula has her own relationship problems. Then there’s Piero, an attractive neighbour, who is torn between family loyalty, and self-preservation.
A multilayered plot keeps the reader engaged and subject to a myriad of emotions. The characters are as vibrant as the vivid setting, not everyone is likeable, but all add to the story’s ambience and authenticity.
This is a detailed and well-paced story. It allows the reader to immerse themselves in the characters’ lives and the Italian ethos. If you want to escape from reality or even the rainy weather, this is the perfect solution.
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has reached the #1 spot on Kindle UK. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Published by HarperCollins in the UK, US and Canada and by other publishers around the world.
Every family has its secrets, and at Hedgehog Hollow there is no exception…
It was always Samantha’s dream to run her beautiful rescue centre, Hedgehog Hollow, full-time. But just as her wish comes true, she becomes a victim of her own kindness when she finds herself with a house full of guests – all with their own problems and secrets – looking to her for support.
When her self-absorbed cousin, Chloe, unexpectedly turns up at the farm – swiftly handing over her baby to Samantha to care for – trouble is definitely brewing. Especially as Chloe won’t tell anyone why she’s left her husband, James…
As Samantha juggles new hedgehog arrivals, family dramas and her own health challenges, it soon becomes clear that she needs to start putting herself first for once. Little does she know that life-changing secrets from the past are about to unravel and turn their lives upside down…
Return to glorious Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a heartwarming, emotional but uplifting story of family, friendship and moving on from the past.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This story has a serious focus and is full of family drama, which has emotional and physical consequences for lovely Samantha. Hedgehog Hollow is full of hedgehog residents, and Samantha’s house is full of humans who need emotional support from her. The story is a dual viewpoint of Samantha and her cousin Chloe. If you’ve read previous books in this series, you’ll know Chloe is not particularly likeable. This book explores her story and past secrets, which shed light on her attitude and motivations.
This is an emotional story, and it immerses the reader in the characters’ lives. Chloe’s insights make her more understandable, but she is still not my favourite person. Samantha is everyone’s friend, and whilst this is admirable, you want her to take care of herself too.
This is another absorbing instalment of life at Hedgehog Hollow with characters you are invested in and an enticing mix of humour, poignancy and romance.
Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.
Extract from Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – Jessica Redland
I sat on Thomas’s bench with a mug of tea in one hand, the other hand stroking Misty-Blue’s warm belly as she lay sprawled across my lap.
‘Listen to that,’ I said to her, cocking my head to one side. ‘Isn’t it so peaceful?’ The only sounds were the chirp of birds, the buzz of insects and Misty-Blue’s gentle purrs.
‘No babies crying for once,’ I added, not that I really minded. Archie and Lottie were adorable. Their parents, Paul and Beth, were also great house guests. They couldn’t have done more to help with the cooking and cleaning despite Beth still recovering from a near-fatal fall down the stairs at her flat and Paul, Josh’s dad, having Hodgkin lymphoma – a type of blood cancer.
Closing my eyes, I tilted my head back towards the sun. It was a bright, warm Sunday in the middle of June, so Paul and Beth had taken advantage of the gorgeous weather and driven Archie and Lottie to the coast. Josh – owner of Alderson & Son Veterinary Practice – had been called out to a goat emergency an hour ago so I was on my own at Hedgehog Hollow, enjoying a rare and precious moment of tranquillity.
After a few minutes, I opened my eyes and sipped contentedly on my tea. My heart fluttered as the diamonds on my engagement ring sparkled in the sun. We hadn’t made any plans for when we’d marry yet. It didn’t feel right to set the date until Paul had been through the next round of chemotherapy later this month and we were, of course, still hoping a stem cell donor would be found.
Everyone had been thrilled at the announcement of our engagement. We’d invited our closest family for afternoon tea last Sunday so we could share the news. After that I’d called my best friend Hannah, who excitedly squealed down the phone.
I tried my cousin Chloe next but she didn’t answer. Loyalty towards her after years of close friendship meant it didn’t feel right for her mum – my Auntie Louise – to hear first so I held off phoning her, trying Chloe repeatedly over the next few days but without success. On Thursday, fed up that messages to get in touch urgently had seemingly been ignored, I phoned Auntie Louise, who was also delighted. Then I texted Chloe:
* To Chloe
Josh asked me to marry him! I’m so excited. I’ve been trying to get hold of you all week as I ideally didn’t want to tell you my big news by text but you haven’t responded to my messages and I’m worried. I hope you’re okay. HOT TIP! There’s a woman on a farm in Huggleswick who is always here for you. You know where she is if you ever need her xxx
So far, she hadn’t responded and I was determined not to let it dampen my excitement. If Chloe had decided to have an epic strop, I wasn’t going to bend over backwards this time. I’d waved the white flag plenty of times and now it was her move.
I’d also sent a quick text to Mum:
* To Mum
I hope all’s well with you. Just letting you know that Josh asked me to marry him and I said yes. Not planning to set a date yet. Sam x
She hadn’t responded but I hadn’t expected her to, although I had hoped she might, even if it was just one word: ‘congratulations’. I wasn’t going to let her dampen my excitement, either.
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.
This is a lovely heartwarming story set on the west coast of Ireland. It explores female relationships and the importance of living life to the full. The setting is an immense part of this story giving the women space to breathe and think. The relationship dynamics are relatable, and the author explores topical issues in an enlightened way.
Character-driven, it immerses the reader in the main protagonists’ lives, which is an emotional experience. Family drama, heartbreaking decisions and romance are interwoven into this literary puzzle, and despite the shocks and tears, it leaves you feeling uplifted.
Guest Post:The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club – Inspiration- Faith Hogan
It’s been a funny old year, I mean to quote those wonderful words, it’s been the best of times, it’s been the worst of times, certainly, it’s been an extraordinary fifteen months on this side of the pond and although I haven’t travelled to the UK since 2019 – that sounds much too long ago – this has been a year like no other in every part of the world.
Apart from the terrible tragedies that have moved each of us, even if they did not touch our lives directly, there has been such a complete upheaval of life as we’ve known it and sometimes, it feels as if we may never fully return to what went before as normal.
At the end of it all, I’ve found a much renewed love of the book that uplift my spirits. It’s been an essential part of my lockdown armoury. Losing myself in the words of favourite writers who can help me escape the worries that might otherwise have dragged me down further and let-s face it, the nightly news was as much as any of us needed to drift into the tragedies of life.
So, I’ve been reading lots of unashamedly uplifting, happy books. I think it’s helped me to see the positives of having been locked down in a way that has balanced out all the losses. And there have been many positives. While less air travel has meant travel is curbed, I’m also very aware that the environment has managed to get some much needed breathing space. It’s given us great family time – now we’re playing scrabble and regularly sitting down to watch TV programmes together that I’d never have watched otherwise. And it’s given us time to think; perhaps savouring the little things that we’d rushed about so much for before and missed out on the simple joy of them. Things like family meals, long phone calls with friends – when once a text flown off seemed to be as much as we could manage. And then, there have been so many who’ve had the opportunity to work from home and in some cases think of re-locating and maybe taking life off hold.
Yes, it’s been the best of times and the worst of times.
But the one thing I’m sure of, is that a good uplifting book is one of those things that has really come up trumps throughout, a little like scrabble and strangely, The Grand Tour – yep ,in the Hogan House we’re on a binge!
I wrote The Ladies Midnight Swimming Club the year before we’d even heard of Covid 19. I’d written it purely for the joy of telling a story that would uplift my own spirits and so far it seems to have had the same impact on readers who’ve picked it up.
It’s unashamedly feel good, gentle and ultimately heartening, you may cry at certain parts, but you will laugh much more and I hope, as you pick up the threads of Lucy, Jo and Elizabeth’s lives, you will feel you are on a journey with old friends – people you’ll root for, people you’ll be sad to say goodbye to at the end. Because, we all want a happy ending, don’t we and there’s nothing that we could want more than a happy ending for the people we love!
And, as we near the end of this extraordinary year, perhaps we’ve all learned something we hadn’t expected – happiness can be found in the most unexpected places and if we’re wise, we’ll grab it when we can. And happiness is the one thing that we can feel, no matter if we are living in the best of times or indeed, the worst of times…
So, go on, choose your own kind of happy today, jump in with the Ladies Midnight Swimming Club, I promise, you’ll feel better once you’ve dived in there….
Faith Hogan is an Irish award-winning and bestselling author of five contemporary fiction novels. Her books have featured as Book Club Favorites, Net Galley Hot Reads and Summer Must Reads. She writes grown up women’s fiction which is unashamedly uplifting, feel good and inspiring.
She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a very busy Labrador named Penny. She’s a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger – except of course when it is raining!