Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Festive Read, Romance, Travel

All About Us Tom Ellen 4*#Review @TomEllen7 @HQStories #TimeTravel #Romance #December #Winter #Festive #SecondChances #BlogTour #BookReview #AllAboutUs #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation #Paperback

If you could turn back the clock, would you choose a different life?

Ben’s always loved the month of December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old friend Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

Two loves. Two lives. One destiny…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The festive season crystallises memories good and bad for most people and Christmas 2020 proves to be a memorable one for Ben. At a low point in his life, he has a serendipitous meeting with a man who gives him a watch and food for thought. What follows, defies belief but at such a magical time of year, anything is possible, right?

Ben, his wife Daff, best friend Harv and Alice the what-if lover are all well-described, relatable characters in this engaging story. The festive twist comes from the December time frame and the contemporary interpretation of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.

This story focuses on the turning points of Ben’s life when he makes life-changing decisions. Given the opportunity, should he change them? Revisiting the past forces Ben to see things differently, not everything is as he remembers it, and this is important for his future actions.

There’s a new adult romance, coming of age, loss, love and magical time travel in this reflective story.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, New Adult Romance, Romance

Coming Back to You Lily Haden 4*#Review @hwoods_creative @rararesources #NewAdultRomance #comingofage #FirstLove #SecondChance #Life #Friendship #Soulmates #serendipity #BookReview #BlogTour

Some loves last for just a short time, but ours lasted a lifetime.

From the moment that Emma met Ryan, she knew he was the one for her, but he leaves her heartbroken when he betrays her and disappears from her life, only to return and shatter her heart for a second time.

We were never meant to be, we just happened against the odds.

It feels like fate when life throws them back together as adults, but Emma has moved on now and she can’t throw everything away for the man who left her heartbroken twice.

Emma is living a charmed life with a beautiful family and her art career beginning to take off, but she can’t help feeling like her heart is pulling her back to her first love.

I keep on coming back to you.

One chance encounter with Ryan, so unexpected that it feels like it was written in the stars, throws them back together and she can’t deny the connection between them is stronger than ever. Emma learns that Ryan has been keeping a secret from her, and she has to decide whether to turn away from him forever or keep fighting for their love against all odds.

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All 2020 royalties from this book will be going to Huntington’s Disease Association (https://www.hda.org.uk/)

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

My Thoughts…

First love and second chances told in a believable, engaging way. Emma meets Ryan when she is young and impressionable. A jealous friend and a family drama split the couple apart. Ryan is always there, in her peripheral memory, her soulmate but is he?

The story is full of ordinary life events with a cast of memorable characters. Strong friendships and serendipity characterise this heartwarming story. The final twists are heartbreaking and a surprise. The ending is realistic and makes the best of cruel circumstances.

Lily Haden

Lily Hayden writes chick lit with a kick.

Modern day women want modern day heroines and Lily’s characters want sizzling romance, rewarding careers and equal partnerships, but like all of us, they face many challenges and it isn’t always easy.

A mother to four children, Lily graduated with a degree in Business in her hometown in South Wales and enjoyed a successful career in Financial Services before fulfilling a lifelong ambition to write books.

Her debut novel Butterflies, a heartwarming alternative to the traditional boy-meets-girl story, was released in 2018, reaching readers all over the world and she is the author of five books, including a Young Adult Dystopian novel Project Terra under the alias SJ Woods (because who doesn’t love a bit of action and defeating bad guys every now and again).

Follow Lily on social media for the latest releases, promotions and occasional photos of her dogs.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Romance

Someday in Paris Olivia Lara 5* #Review @olilara_writes @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction #GuestPost #Romance #Serendipity #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #soulmates #Love #BookReview #BlogTour @rararesources #SomedayInParis

Finding the one is only the beginning…

1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. But both know their lives will never be the same.

1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognise each other – but the way they feel is so familiar…

Over the course of thirty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?

‘It’s about dreams and taking chances. Missed opportunities and mistakes. Loss and sacrifice. But above all, it is about love. The kind of love that survives time, distance… even death. The kind of love I wish for you.’

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My Journey to Publication

In May 2020, Someday in Paris, my debut novel was published. I am still incredibly excited, three months later and find reasons to celebrate every single week— getting amazing reviews from readers and bloggers around the world, seeing my book becoming an international bestseller on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books and Kobo, getting lovely messages from people everywhere, telling me how much they loved the story and how it moved them and sometimes even impacted them. Am I still sometimes pinching myself that I am now a published author? Constantly!

But how did I get to this point? Definitely not overnight. The road to publication, at least for me, was a rollercoaster that officially took five years and unofficially about nine.

Timeline

I wrote partial manuscripts between 2011 and 2015 (I shelved all of them)

I wrote the first book in 2015 (Someday in Paris)

I edited the first book all through 2016

I started the second book in 2017

I got an agent in 2017

It didn’t work out (long story)

I finished the second book in 2018

I got a new agent in the summer of 2018

I edited the first book for the next six months

We went on submission in the Spring of 2019

I wrote a third book in 2019

I signed a 2-book publishing deal in the summer of 2019

Edited the first book some more

Published my first book in the summer of 2020

I wrote a fourth book in 2020

And voila. Here we are.

So what does this all mean?

I think it means…keep at it and it will happen. I could’ve given up countless times between 2011 and 2019. Countless! The journey to publication for almost all new writers is a sum of rejections, silence, waiting, editing, editing again, writing, writing some more, hoping, trying and trying again. Ups and downs and downs and ups. It was the same for me. When I was at my lowest point in this journey (where my younger self would’ve probably just moved on), I stomped my feet, dried my tears, made myself a strong cup of coffee, opened my laptop and kept at it. Was it worth it? Oh, you bet! Knowing my story is out there for people to read, is worth it. Knowing there will be more to come…so worth it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s next?

My second book will be published next year. And yes, it is a love story, but that’s all I’m going to say for now (except for the fact that I’m super excited to share it with readers everywhere and I hope they will love it as much as I do). I’m also working on my next book. It is a story that’s been with me for quite a while and I feel I’ve let it ‘simmer’ long enough. I’m loving every minute I get to spend with the characters and taking my time with their story, because I know I will be missing them once I type ‘the end’.

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

My Thoughts…

A magical romantic tale. Full of love, pain serendipity and tragedy. Fate and faith are instrumental in this gently paced tale. It’s perfect escapism to give flight to your belief in magic and romance. Told from two viewpoints its character-driven, but the setting is vital and almost a character too.

Leave your weary cynicism behind and get lost in this timeless love story.

Olivia Lara

OLIVIA LARA was born and raised in Bucharest in a family of book lovers and storytellers. Since university she has worked as a journalist and marketer in Romania, France and the United States. She is currently a marketing executive in San Francisco and lives in the Bay Area with her husband, young daughter and four cats. Someday in Paris is her first novel.

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Goodreads Giveaway For eBook copy of Someday in Paris – Olivia Lara

Open to US only

Format:

Kindle book

Availability: 50 copies available.

GIVEAWAY LISTED BY

Head of Zeus

Giveaway dates: Sep 07 – Oct 05, 2020

Countries available: U.S.

Posted in Cover Reveal, Romance, Travel

The Night We Met @zoefolbigg #CoverReveal @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Romance #Preorder #Feb21

The Story…

 As a man holds his wife’s frail hand, he recounts a journey like no other…

Daniel and Olivia are destined to be together. At least, Daniel thinks this the night he sees Olivia across a sea of people. As he backpacks through Australia, Daniel and Liv continue to cross paths, yet never speak. Until one night, Liv joins Daniel for a drink. And that night everything changes.

Back in London, stuck in a monotonous routine, Daniel finds himself daydreaming of the woman with green eyes and fiery hair. Armed with only a name he begins a hunt to find her. With every passing moment, Daniel’s hopes begin to disappear. What if it wasn’t meant to be?

But then fate steps in, and Daniel and Olivia’s story can truly begin…

This is a tale of serendipity, missed chances and the power of love.

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Zoë Folbigg is a magazine journalist and digital editor, starting at Cosmopolitan in 2001 and since freelancing for titles including Glamour, Fabulous, Daily Mail, Healthy, LOOK, Top Santé, Mother & Baby, ELLE, Sunday Times Style, and Style.com. In 2008 she had a weekly column in Fabulous magazine documenting her year-long round-the-world trip with ‘Train Man’ – a man she had met on her daily commute. She since married Train Man and lives in Hertfordshire with him and their two young sons.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

A Perfect Paris Christmas Mandy Baggot 5*#Review @mandybaggot @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #Festive #Romance #Friendship #Christmas #Paris #BlogTour #BookReview #FridayReads #SecondChances #Serendipity

United in grief. Pushed apart by tragedy.

 Keeley Andrews knows more than anyone that you only live once. So when she receives an invitation to spend two weeks in Paris, all expenses paid, she jumps at the chance.

Ethan Bouchard has had the worst eighteen months of his life. He’s ready to give up on everything, including his hotel chain. So when he meets Keeley, it simply isn’t the right time.

As Keeley and Ethan continue to bump into each other on the romantic Parisian streets, they can’t help but wonder whether this is fate telling them to let go of the past and leap into the future…

Head to Paris this Christmas and fall in love under the lights of the Eiffel Tower with best-selling author, Mandy Baggot.

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

My Thoughts

This is no ordinary festive romance, but it fills you with emotion and goodwill. I love serendipitous romance, and this is what we have here, but it’s only a fraction of the story which explores, loss, living life to the full, and friendship against a festive Paris setting.

Sensitively told and well-researched this story takes Keely to Paris for a life-changing meeting. It’s an emotional read with many characters whose stories are intricately woven together into a lovely festive story.

This is a must-read for the festive season.

Mandy Baggot

Mandy Baggot is an international bestselling and award-winning romance writer. The winner of the Innovation in Romantic Fiction award at the UK’s Festival of Romance, her romantic comedy novel, One Wish in Manhattan, was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Comedy Novel of the Year award in 2016. Mandy’s books have so far been translated into German, Italian, Czech and Hungarian. Mandy loves the Greek island of Corfu, white wine, country music and handbags. Also a singer, she has taken part in ITV1’s Who Dares Sings and The X-Factor. Mandy is a member of the Society of Authors and lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Romance, Romance

Someday in Paris Olivia Lara 5* #Review @olilara_writes @HoZ_Books @Aria_Fiction #Romance #Serendipity #Historical #soulmates #Love #BookReview #BlogTour #SomedayInParis

Finding the one is only the beginning…

1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. But both know their lives will never be the same.

1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognise each other – but the way they feel is so familiar…

Over the course of thirty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?

‘It’s about dreams and taking chances. Missed opportunities and mistakes. Loss and sacrifice. But above all, it is about love. The kind of love that survives time, distance… even death. The kind of love I wish for you.’

Amazon UK Kobo Google Play

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

My Thoughts…

A magical romantic tale. Full of love, pain serendipity and tragedy. Fate and faith are instrumental in this gently paced tale. It’s perfect escapism to give flight to your belief in magic and romance. Told from two viewpoints its character-driven, but the setting is vital and almost a character too.

Leave your weary cynicism behind and get lost in this timeless love story.

Olivia Lara

Olivia’s love for words started as a child when she spent all her summer vacations watching her grandfather, who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania, edit hundreds of books. She is a former investigative journalist for a newspaper and a television network in Romania, now a Marketing Director in Silicon Valley – in between she lived in Paris where her love for the Alsace region was born

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy, Travel

Never Saw You Coming Hayley Doyle 4* #Review @HayleyDWrites @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #BookReview #Romance #Liverpool #Dubai #NeverSawYouComing #PublicationDay #RomCom #fate

Some people go looking for love. Others crash right into it.

Zara Khoury believes in love – so much so that she flies from Dubai to Liverpool to be with a man she barely knows. It’s a risk, but she’s certain that uprooting her life for Nick is the new start she needs.

Jim Glover is stuck. Since his Dad died, he’s put his dreams aside and stayed at home in Liverpool to care for his mum. Trapped in a dead-end job, he’s going nowhere – that is, until he gets a phone call that just might change his life..

Zara and Jim aren’t supposed to meet. But then fate steps in, and when their worlds – and cars! – collide, the real journey begins…

A gorgeous tale about taking risks and living life to the full.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Zara is a true romantic, she is prepared to follow her heart, and does so, as she travels from Dubai to Liverpool. Jim’s life is put on hold when his father dies, but when his luck changes, will his life improve too? Jim and Zara ‘s paths should never cross, but they do, and the results are life-changing.

Both of these characters are easy to like, and when their dreams implode, easy to empathise too. The story flows well, with a cast of captivating characters and interesting settings. Friendship, family drama, humour and romance, make this an engaging read. What makes this special is the unpredictability of it, as fate plays cupid. The life journey is full of conflict, as dreams crash and reality sets in, but there is a plan and eventually, it gives everyone the result they deserve.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Guest post, Parenting and Famlies, Romance

Starting Over At Acorn Cottage Kate Forster 5* #Review @kateforster @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #GuestPost #UpLit #Friendship #Romance #DomesticAbuse #StartingOver #Lies #Secrets #Serendipity #VillageLife #Bereavement #Forgiveness

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

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

My Thoughts…

A story about gentle souls reeling from the harsher aspects of life, being drawn to a village whose life is ebbing away. The story is told from multi-point of view and explores how friendship love and a little bit of magic can transform lives and places.

Bereavement, domestic abuse and forgiveness are the story’s major themes. The horror of them sensitively portrayed. As is, the power of good friends, love and sharing dark secrets with someone you trust.

Even though the subject matter is dark, there is plenty of light in this story. Delightful characters, you want to succeed and a special older lady Tassie who is distinctly mystical. The conflicts are real and angst-ridden, but so is the love and understanding that overcomes them.

This is an engaging, heartwarming, story with characters that resonate.

When your dreams come trueGuest Post – Kate Forster

When I was a child I had a book called Lavinia’s Cottage by John S. Goodall. It was a pop-up book and it was my go-to book when I felt unwell or things in my small life felt too complicated. It was written for the illustrator’s granddaughter when she was four, the story, told entirely in pictures, was about a little girl who lived in a country cottage, with her grandmother. Because Lavinia is almost well from the measles, two of her friends and a grandmother visit Lavinia and her mother at their cottage. Lavinia spots them as they walk up and pops out of bed to show them all the wonderful things in the attic. There is a cupboard filled with old toys, and a rocking horse and at the end of the visit we know everyone has a grand time.

This is the front cover.

A close up of a sign

Description automatically generated
Lavinia’s Cottage – John S. Goodall

When I was an adult, I wrote a book about a woman who is hurt and betrayed and who buys a pink cottage that needs to be fixed and healed, just like her heart. I forgot about Lavinia’s Cottage until I saw the beautiful cover and it all came flooding back.

I had made my dream come true, just like Clara, the heroine of my new book.

This book was restorative to write. It is book about looking for a simpler life, about letting the ghosts of the past lead you to your true place of belonging, so they can find their peace and you can find your own inner calm. My pink cottage fantasy finally came true.

Buying a thatched cottage in the country may not be the usual cure for a broken heart. But after Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been sneaking around behind her back, packing her bags and leaving everything in London behind feels like it’s the only way forward.

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

Kate Forster

Kate Forster lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, two children and dogs and can be found nursing a laptop, surrounded by magazines and talking on the phone, usually all at once. She is an avid follower of fashion, fame and all things pop culture and is also an excellent dinner party guest who always brings gossip and champagne.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Friendship, Humour, Literary Fiction, New Books, Travel

We Are Animals Tim Ewins 4* #Review @EwinsTim @EyeAndLightning @rararesources #humour #fiction #BlogTour #BookReview LiteraryFiction #LightningBooks #Friendship #Goa #Loss #Love #travel #Serendipity #multigenerational

A cow looks out to sea, dreaming of a life that involves grass.

Jan is also looking out to sea. He’s in Goa, dreaming of the passport-thief who stole his heart (and, indeed, his passport) forty-six years ago. Back then, fate kept bringing them together, but lately it seems to have given up.

Jan has not. In his long search, he has accidentally held a whole town at imaginary gunpoint in Soviet Russia, stalked the proprietors of an international illegal lamp-trafficking scam and done his very best to avoid any kind of work involving the packing of fish. Now he thinks if he just waits, if he just does nothing at all, maybe fate will find it easier to reunite them.

His story spans fifty-four years, ten countries, two imperfect criminals (and one rather perfect one), twenty-two different animals and an annoying teenager who just…

Will…

Not…

Leave.

But maybe an annoying teenager is exactly what Jan needs to help him find the missing thief?

Featuring a menagerie of creatures, each with its own story to tell, We Are Animals is a quirky, heartwarming tale of lost love, unlikely friendships and the certainty of fate (or lack thereof).

For the first time in her life the cow noticed the sun setting, and it was glorious.

Amazon UK (Only 99p for a limited time)

Amazon


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

My Thoughts…

The imagery in this book is clever and enhances the everyday occurrences, making them something special. The description of the beach and its users seen through Manjan’s eyes is the first example of this. The people and the cow, all have an opinion and a purpose, as they share events from their lives. The animals’ actions and thoughts mirror the people throughout the book.

Manjan’s story is poignant and serendipitous. The author makes many of his astute observations through the man who has spent much of his life waiting. There is a balance of humour and sadness, which lets the reader appreciate the emotion and comical aspects of the story. Retrospectively, you learn how Jan ends up the beach in Goa. The people he meets along the way are diverse, and all add to his life journey. The characters are well written, they are authentic and relatable, and make this character-driven tale interesting.

Even if like me, you haven’t visited the places in the book, or didn’t live through the late twentieth century, which I did. the immersive story lets you experience each place and time, through its animal and human characters, and vivid imagery.

The hopeful ending encompasses the quirky nature of the story, whilst achieving a sense of completeness.

Tim Ewins

Tim Ewins has enjoyed an eight-year stand-up career alongside his accidental career in finance.

He has previously written for DNA Mumbai, had two short stories highly commended and published in Michael Terence Short Story Anthologies, and enjoyed a very brief acting stint (he’s in the film Bronson, somewhere in the background). He lives with his wife, son and dog in Bristol. We Are Animals is his first novel.

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Posted in Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Romance

Rewrite The Stars Emma Heatherington 5*#Review @emmalou13 @HarperFiction @fictionpubteam #Family#Drama #Romance #MentalHealth #relationships #life #serendipity #BookReview

It’s never too late to say I love you…

From the moment they meet one December day there’s something between Charlotte Taylor and her brother’s best friend, Tom Farley. But Tom’s already taken and Charlie has to let him go…

It’s another five years before their paths cross again only a secret from the past forces Charlie to make a choice. She promises herself she’ll never look back…

The years pass and Charlie moves on with her life but she can never forget Tom. He’s always there whispering ‘What if?’.

Can Charlie leave the life she has built for one last chance with Tom?  Or is the one that got away not really the one at all…?

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK- Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A heartwarming, serendipitous story, about Charlotte’s life and loves. At twenty-two, she meets the one, but there’s someone else in Tom’s life, and the love remains unrequited. The story continues with chance meetings, but life events force them apart.

Music is a recurrent theme in this story, reflecting life events and changes in emotions.

The romance is chequered, but Charlotte faces family tragedies and difficult decisions that shape her as a person. The impact of mental health issues on families is explored with sensitivity. The idea that our lives could be different if we’d made another choice is also a theme of this emotional story. As Charlotte matures and changes, as life events occur.

There is a strong sense of place in this story that grounds it, adds interest and give it authenticity.
The characters are realistic and draw you into their world.

The ending is plausible and positive.