Oliver Foxley is an acclaimed movie star and global heartthrob. But under the glare of the spotlight his ‘perfect’ life – and marriage -is slowly starting to crumble.
Cara Penhaligon is a struggling young Cornish artist and widowed mother of two children. Life has been unbearably harsh to Cara, but meeting Oliver might just give her a second chance at the happiness she deserves. As each begins to heal the other, the pieces of Oliver’s frustrating jigsaw puzzle effortlessly fall into place. But as the Cornish summer draws to a close, Oliver faces the toughest of choices, and no one emerges quite as they were at the start.
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This story is so much more than the holiday romance the title suggests. The cove is a special place, aesthetically beautiful but with a tightly knit community looking out for one another. Not all of the inhabitants were born there, but they all recognise its importance.
Oliver is a famous actor, but like most people, he has both a public and private face. He battles endogenous depression, so at odds with his extrovert persona as an actor. His wife fiercely protects his image and their family but doesn’t understand this side of him. Cara is a working artist, whose talent knows no bounds but is restricted by her need to be there for her young family since the untimely death of her young husband.
The storytelling in this book is first class, instantly drawing you into the cove’s community, visualising the coastal setting and wanting to know more about the people who live there. The intricate plot reveals Cara and Oliver’s stories until serendipity draws them together. Internal conflict is paramount in this story but interspersed with mystery, suspense and romance. The characters are well written and believable, and more than one is a little sinister.
The final chapters are heartrending and poignant and maintain Cara and Oliver’s authenticity.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Kate Ryder has worked in a number of industries including publishing, mainly as a proof-reader/copy editor and writer for a national newspaper, magazines and publishing houses. A member of the New Writers Scheme with the Romantic Novelists Association, in 2013 she published her debut novel, ‘The Forgotten Promise’, a timeslip romance and mysterious ghost story, which was shortlisted for Choc Lit’s 2016 “Search for a Star” and also honoured with a Chill with a Book “Book of the Month” Award. Kate lives in a renovated 200-year-old sawmill in the beautiful Tamar Valley with her husband and a collection of animals.
Tabitha Thomas gave up on a happy family life with Michael her absent, high-flying husband long ago. Instead, she concentrated her energies on their daughter, Rosie, and her career as a head teacher at a local primary school. However, trouble looms on the horizon…
While Rosie struggles with the most important exams of her life, Tabitha’s eco-warrior mother is protesting outside the school gates to save some trees from the bulldozer. And best friend, Clodagh, a top TV news broadcaster, is self-soothing with Baileys, as she’s edged out of a job by an ambitious flame-haired weathergirl. Finally, with the return of an old flame and a political expose to deal with, Tabitha is forced to confront a decision she made a long time ago and face the life-changing consequences she has lived with ever since.
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A lovely story with warm, believable characters who demonstrate the true meaning of family, friendship and community. There is a reassuring continuity in this story which focuses on a mother and her daughter but encompasses both of their grandmothers too.
Tabitha is a pillar of the community, a primary school headmistress in the village she grew up. Her daughter Rosie is studying for a pinnacle exam and her mother Nora is still an activist despite her advancing years. Tabitha suffered a tragic loss in her early twenties which changed the course of her life when someone from her past returns is this a good thing or bad? Tabitha’s marriage is not happy but convenient she has Rosie her purpose for marriage, but everything else is missing.
Red’s return ruffles her calm life, but they only have past memories, not future ones. There is a liberal amount of serendipity in this story which gives it special magic and makes it enjoyable escapism reading. The plot is simple, and there is a sinister antagonist who threatens the community. There are lots of complex characters who bring the village to life and a touch of romance.
A story of everyday people touched with a little of life’s magic.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Sian was born in Ireland, is an RTÉ radio producer and lives in the seaside suburb of Dalkey, Dublin with her seven nearly-eight-year-old daughter, Ruby.
A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.
Three women. A whole world of judgement.
Tara, Cam and Stella are very different women. Yet in a society that sets the agenda, there’s something about being a woman that ties invisible bonds between us.
When one extraordinary event rockets Tara to online infamy, their three worlds collide in ways, they could never imagine – and they discover that one woman’s catastrophe might just be another’s inspiration.
Through friendship and conflict, difference and likeness, they’ll learn to find their own voices.
Because sometimes it’s OK not to follow the herd.
I often shy away from books that everyone loves, not that I’m afraid to offer a dissenting opinion. It’s just that some high profile books are successful because of celebrity rather than skill. Thankfully, this isn’t the case here.
‘The Cows’ ‘Don’t Follow the Herd’ is a sizeable read, but it maintains its momentum to the end, with a stunning twist and a satisfying, hopeful ending.
Told through the exploits and daily lives of three women.
Cam is the cuckoo in her family’s nest. She goes her own way successfully and is happy with who she is. Her family love her but don’t understand her, and this makes for some humorous and poignant episodes in her life as a lifestyle blogger.
Tara works successfully in TV and continually battles against sexist remarks at work. A single mum, she wants to be a positive role model for her daughter, but her life goes awry after a freak chain of events with dire consequences for Tara and her family.
Stella is a ticking time bomb, and this threatens her mental health, it hard to imagine how you would deal with what she faces and even though her story is extreme, it is feasible, given her circumstances.
The women’s stories showcase elements of life in contemporary society. The power of the internet, the fallout of being brave enough to voice your opinion in the public forum and the importance of having someone in your corner no matter what happens.
Although the three women are of a similar age, other age groups opinions and experiences feature in their lives. Powerful, vividly drawn characters, complement a decent plot, they are ‘larger than life’, but they aren’t cliched.
The story is addictive, easy reading, it has points to make, but they don’t detract from the story’s fluency. I empathised with the three women and their families and wanted to know what happened to them. I put myself in the women’s lives and wondered how I would react.
The Cows is an enjoyable, thought-provoking read.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
When it comes to men, if physiotherapist Caitlin Sutherland didn’t have bad luck, she would have no luck at all. To help cope, Caitlin starts blogging in her spare time, about the types of men she meets and the bad dates she goes on.
While on duty during the annual Wines to Whales bicycle race, a gorgeous, sweaty cyclist walks in and sets her hormones dancing. But he is Don Cavallo; one of the four Cavallo brothers — hotel tycoons, famous as much for their business skills as for the number of beauties regularly seen on their arms.
Don Cavallo has his own issues with the other sex. He has yet to find one who is interested in him and not in his money or hotels. But when this sexy physio puts her hands on his back she not only touches his body, but also his heart.
They’ve both been burned before, but neither of them can stop themselves from playing with fire.
I love stories about sisters and this is the first in a series of stories that explores the Sutherland sisters’ encounters with the gorgeous Cavallo brothers. Set in South Africa and The Seychelles, it’s a story about trust, serendipitous meetings and seeing beyond the outward facade, to the person beneath.
The dry humour and romance of this story makes it an easy read but it is Caitlin and Don the unlikely lovers who keep you turning the pages. You want them to be together. Sensual tension sparks, whenever they are in close proximity making for some sizzling scenes.
If you are a fan of well crafted characters and hot romance where the ordinary world meets celebrity you will enjoy this and the best thing is there are three more books in this series.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Life isn’t all love and cupcakes …
Katie has had her fair share of bad luck, but when she finally realises her dream of opening a bakery it seems things can only get better.
But the reality of running a business hits Katie hard and whilst her partner, Steve, tries to help she begins to sense that the situation is driving them further apart. Could Katie be set to lose her relationship and her dream job?
Then, one winter’s day, a man walks into her shop – and, in the space of that moment, the course of Katie’s life is changed.
But nobody finds happiness in the blink of an eye. Sometimes it takes two Christmases, three birthdays and a whole lot of cake to get there …
One of the best things about reading fiction for me is the chance to experience another world, walk in someone else’s shoes for a while. Sometimes this is romantic experience, sometimes it is angst ridden, with this author’s stories by the time you reach the end you always have that ‘feel good’ feeling that sets you up for the day ahead.
Katie and Adam are wonderful characters, not perfect but willing to go the extra mile for people they care about, even if it means putting their wants and needs on hold. Serendipity plays an important role in this story and if we’re honest most of us acknowledge our own lives are touched in similar ways at certain times.
Grace is at the end of her life but she still puts her grandson Adam first. She worries that he only living half a life and hopes to remain on earth long enough to help him. She, as do the other characters in this flowing, poignant story, has lessons to learn.
Self belief and discovery are important themes of this story, whether you believe in soul mates or a life beyond our human existence, this story is worth reading.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A man is walking down a country lane. A woman, cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog. On that moment, their future hinges. There are three possible outcomes, three small decisions that could determine the rest of their life.
Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge when their paths first cross in 1958. And then there is David, Eva’s then-lover, an ambitious actor who loves Eva deeply. The Versions of Us follows the three different courses their lives could take following this first meeting. Lives filled with love, betrayal, ambition but through it all is a deep connection that endures whatever fate might throw at them.
The Versions of Us explores the idea that there are moments when our lives might have turned out differently, the tiny factors or decisions that could determine our fate, and the precarious nature of the foundations upon which we build our lives. It is also a story about the nature of love and how it grows, changes and evolves as we go through the vagaries of life.
Three stories, separate, yet cleverly intertwined at significant times for Eva and Jim. One ordinary occurrence causes a serendipitous meeting, or almost meeting and what happens as a result of this.
Easy to read, the three stories allow Eva and Jim’s characters to develop in differing scenarios. Each story shares the same support cast of players but they take on different significance. Although Eva and Jim’s lives are different in each story they touch at some point.
The story starts when Eva and Jim are nineteen and dips into each succeeding decade until 2014. The research into distinctive events and trends of each time period is evident and enriches the story. Similarly the references to the art, literature and media of each decade are pertinent and give the stories a realistic, diary like quality.
It’s easy to understand what motivates Eva’s decisions, throughout the book, she is a perfect women’s fiction heroine and whichever version of her you’re reading you feel her happiness and sadness and want her to succeed. Jim is not such a strong character but though I didn’t always understand his choices, I did empathise with him.
The general tone of all stories is dark, there is a tendency to focus on the sadness and the tragedy and a little more attention to happy events would have made for a lighter read. The versions of the story share a poignant ending, which imprints the characters and their possible lives on the reader, after the last page is turned.
I received a copy of this book from Orion Publishing Group W&N via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars