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Archiwum - Wrzesień, 2015

Blog Tour: Q&A with Julie Wassmer

30 wrz

I am delighted to day to have Julie Wassmer as a guest on my blog. Julie is the author of the „Whitstable Pearl Mystery” series, and the second book, „Murder on Sea„, is out tomorrow, published by Little, Brown (it hasn’t arrived yet to me, arrrrgh, I’m stalking my postie, I think she’s already scared of me). I read, reviewed and totally enjoyed the first book introducing us to Peral, „The Whitstable Peral Mystery”, and you can read my review here.

Today I have a brilliant Q&A with Julie herself – read her fantastic, thoughtful answers below! Enjoy!

 

1- Hello Julie, can you please tell us few words about you?

Certainly. I’m a former TV drama writer and I contributed to the series, EastEnders, for almost twenty years before writing my autobiography, More Than Just Coincidence, in 2010 (
http://www.amazon.co.uk/More-Than-Just-Coincidence-Story/dp/0007354312
). This focused on how I came to be reunited, by an extraordinary quirk of fate, with my daughter who had been adopted as a baby when I was a teenager in the east end of  London. I now live in Whitstable, the setting for my crime novels.

 

2. What inspired you to write „Whitstable Pearl Mysteries” series?

I moved to Whitstable sixteen years ago and I love the town and its community. I also love crime fiction, the sea – and food! It was only a matter of time before I would combine all these „loves” in a murder mystery, featuring my heroine, Pearl Nolan, who owns a seafood restaurant but also runs a detective agency in her home town in Whitstable.

 

3. How do you research your books? (hoping to hear about some crazy chases in a police car :) )

Well, I think I’m very lucky to be in touch with a retired police superintendent and I give heartfelt thanks to him in the Acknowledgements section of my books as he is able to advise me on many of the police procedural details that I would otherwise only be able to imagine. What I find particularly valuable from his experience is his professional guidance on whether something  might be credible – or totally impossible. For example, DCI McGuire is actually  excluded from the police investigation into the first murder in Murder-on-Sea because he was actually present when the victim was poisoned, therefore he would be considered a witness to that event, and unable to conduct the investigation. Having discovered this, I was able to work out another way for him to work with Pearl on this case – and often these obstacles can make a writer think more creatively about plot, rather than taking the obvious route. For the sake of research, I find myself doing a  lot of things I wouldn’t normally do, like wandering along deserted sections of the beach at midnight, when there’s a full moon, just to check what can be seen from Pearl’s point of view. Pearl might do that kind of thing in the books, but in real life, I usually take my husband along!  The crazy car chase is yet to come….

 

4. What is in Pearl that makes you write about her again?

I think it’s because I admire her: she’s the woman I aspire to be. She’s brave, beautiful, kind – but no pushover – and she’s trying to realise an old dream now that her son, Charlie, is living independently of her. I want her to succeed in this, perhaps because it reflects my own long held ambition to write professionally. I was 39 before I did so, the same age as Pearl when she starts up her detective agency. I also want her to get together with DCI Mike McGuire but, so far, there have always been obstacles in the way….

 

5. What do Pearl has in store for us this time? Can you please tell us shortly about „Murder – on – Sea”?

Yes, Murder-on-Sea is set during the prelude to Christmas with the cold north easterly wind blowing in off the sea in Whitstable  – a total contrast to the summery setting of Book 1 – The Whitstable Pearl Mystery! Pearl has plans for a relaxing family Christmas with her son, Charlie, but poison pen Christmas cards begin circulating around town and though Pearl manages to resist taking on the case of finding the culprit, she’s suddenly thrown into investigating a murder case when her accountant is poisoned at a fundraising event. With the clock ticking on the countdown to Christmas, further murders take place and Pearl also finds herself once more thrown together with attractive DCI Mike McGuire…

 

6. Were you already familiar with how private detectives work?

Only on TV. Over the years I’ve been a fan of detective series like Poirot, Midsomer Murders and, in particular, Columbo – probably my favourite detective series of all time. But Columbo, and Inspector Barnaby from Midsomer, were police detectives not private eyes and so I did some research about how one would start up a private detective agency and found it was a surprisingly easy thing to do. It’s rather liberating to be writing about a private detective as they all their own  style and can choose their cases but DCI McGuire is always present in the Whitstable Pearl Mysteries to follow the police procedural side so, hopefully, readers can enjoy both approaches.

 

7. Would you compare yourself to Pearl?

Pearl and I share some traits in common: she’s a „people person” as am I and  we share  a talent for placing people by their accents; a good ear for dialogue and a memory for the content of conversations – all of which come in very handy when you are sleuthing – but I’ll never be as brave as she is and as I say, in many ways, she really is the woman I aspire to be.

 

8. How do you plan your writing? How carefully did you plan this novel in advance?

I’m not great planner at all! Like Pearl, I always trust my instincts (another similarity between us) and once I’ve decided who the victim and the murderer are, I have great fun, simply telling the story. This may be a reaction to my time spent writing TV drama where we would often have to come up with detailed plans and scene breakdowns of what were about to write – but I love the freedom of writing novels and allowing my characters to tell their own story. I go where they lead me.

 

9. Have you always wanted to write novels?

Yes, always – even as a small child. I have always been captivated by storytelling and while I longed to write a novel, I got somewhat side-tracked by my TV work and in spite of writing opening chapters for several books they remained  unfinished – until the Whitstable Pearl Mystery.

 

10. Who is your favourite author and what books would you recommend to us right now?

That’s a difficult question as I have many favourite authors and often for different reasons, and at different times. For crime, I still love the Agatha Christie novels that I enjoyed as a teenager but I also enjoy re-reading the novels of Raymond Chandler for the quality of his writing. I also love the sense of place created by Donna Leon in her Commissario Brunetti novels, based in Venice. There is another American writer whose style of crime writing I really enjoy, Stephen Dobyns. I find his books about the private eye, Charlie Bradshaw, a real joy. For characterisation and storytelling, I still recommend Dickens – his books have everything: comedy, pathos, tragedy, wit and a great love of people.  For me they are timeless.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Julie Wassmer is a television drama writer who contributed for almost twenty years to the popular BBC series EastEnders.

She published her autobiography More Than Just Coincidence in 2010, in which she describes finding her long-lost daughter after an astonishing twist of fate. It was voted Mumsnet book of the year.

The Whitstable Pearl Mystery is the first in her series of crime novels, involving multi-tasking private detective-come-restauranteur, Pearl Nolan.

Julie lives in Whitstable and is well known for her environmental campaigning.

 

FOR MORE FEATURES AND REVIEWS FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

 

 
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Blog Tour: A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson / Book Review

30 wrz

A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson

 

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Publishing Date: 24th September 2015

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The gift of a lifetime?

Anna Browne is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life. Her day job as a receptionist in bustling London isn’t exactly her dream, yet she has everything she wants. But someone thinks Anna Browne deserves more . . .

When a parcel addressed to Anna Browne arrives, she has no idea who has sent it. Inside she finds a beautiful gift – one that is designed to be seen. And so begins a series of incredible deliveries, each one bringing Anna further out of the shadows and encouraging her to become the woman she was destined to be. As Anna grows in confidence, others begin to notice her – and her life starts to change.

But who is sending the mysterious gifts, and why?

Rating: 4/5

 

I will be very honest with you, I started reading „A Parcel for Anna Browne” with my heart in my mouth, as my relationship with Miranda Dickinson is a very rocky one – the bookish relationship, of course! There was a great hype on Twitter about this book, but it doesn’t always mean that the book is good, right? But this time it truly lived up to my expectations, starting with this incredibly beautiful, blue cover and ending with this very unique, original and really well described and considered plot.

You know what I so liked in this book? That it was full of potential, and the author made use of it! There is not a single thread left open, Ms Dickinson has described all possibilities leaving no place for understatements or questions. I often found myself really marvelling at the fact that I couldn’t say anything against it, that I can’t say: Aha! Anna could do this and this, Anna could feel this and this, Anna could say this and this – no way! Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, is incredibly neatly and tightly wrapped up. Yes, sometimes it’s better to leave some space open, to let a question or two stay without an answer, but it just sat with this story.

I had some problems with Anna, of course I had. She was a nice girl, full of life and optimism, easy going and down to earth, but I often couldn’t follow her way of thinking, especially when it came to the young men that were so attracted to her – everything was good when they did or said just like she thought is OK, but one word out of order, one false movement and she was immediately offended and they must have run after her to apologise. Although, well, on the other hand, maybe it is a right way to treat guys, haha. No, she was sometimes too childish and too naive for my liking and yet Anna could be so funny when she wanted, and she was a clever cookie, who – when she found the courage – had really great ideas.
The descriptions of the News – room and Anna’s colleagues were great, and Miranda Dickinson has truly gave each character their own personality and made them feel like real people. They are over – reacting, overly curious and verrry talkative people and no – one could have secrets in their company. It was palpable through the pages that they felt good in their own company and they cared about each other, especially the people at the reception. They were a meddling bunch, but they truly wanted only good for each other. There were moments that I though, well, that’s right, Mr. Ted, you’re a little too far – fetched and you are going too far, but in fact they all were interesting, colourful group of people that added a lot of humour and lightness to the story.

Some of the chapters are told from different people’s point of views, such as Anna colleagues or the courier, and at first they may seem so insignificant, but in fact they are really important to the story. Mostly of course it’s told from Anna’s POV, but from time to time there happens a chapter or two told from another person’s perspective, which gives us a great and detailed insight into how other people were seeing Anna and the thing with the parcels – and it just hit me really hard to see how they are perceiving Anna, as a lovely, beautiful person, while Anna herself has seen herself in a totally different way.

Somewhere in the middle of the book I though: yes! I know who is sending the parcels, and speeded through the story to see if I was right. In the meantime few times I lost faith in my own theory, but in the end I always came back to it (I was thinking about a long lost member of the family), and when it turned out that no, this time I wasn’t right I wasn’t surprised or disappointed, because well, it also suited the story, and I could see why this particular person sent the parcel and why they have done this.

I loved the concept of this story. It was so simple and yet so complicated, because well, it could also end in a wrong way, right? You could be so disappointed with the presents or the person who was sending them, and it could spoil the whole book. But in my opinion Miranda Dickinson has found the best way out and ended this story in a really good way. I loved the moments when Anna was receiving her parcels and couldn’t wait for her to open them, and I think that the presents were so thought through and really personal and original. What was a little sad was the fact that Anna truly needed those parcel to gain confidence, that she needed anything at all for this. On the other hand, when we take into consideration her past and her growing up with this exceptional mother, it’s no wonder that she was shy and closed, so it was really great to see her leaving her comfort zones.

What was also really well done was the fact that yes, Anna spent a lot of time wondering who’s sending her the parcels, but it doesn’t overwhelm the whole story – you know what I mean? You know how some authors spoil revealing of the secrets by keeping them too long as secrets or just mentioning them at every opportunity, but Miranda Dickinson has managed to arouse my curiosity and even though the person is revealed at the end of the story, waiting for it didn’t make me tired or bored.

It was a relatively slow starter, this story, and it took some time for me to got into it, and then I found it to drag on a little and, to be honest, I have skipped some passages, as I couldn’t wait to get to the point. But other than that, there was enough surprises and dramas to kept me interested, and I was desperate to know who is sending the parcels and what’s going to happen with Anna and Ben – if there is anything going to happen with those two birds.

Altogether, it is a very optimistic, heart – warming read with a spark of magic to it, but who of us doesn’t need some kind of fairy – tale in their lives? I do, and this is why I enjoyed this story, maybe not as much as I was hoping, but still, I truly liked it. It was sweet and charming and written with a lot of compassion and you can find there a perfect mix of friendship, romance and family troubles. It is a book about finding your real self, about believing in other people. A story featuring an ordinary girl and showing how much magic a little of self – confidence can bring. The parcels that Anna gets change so much in her life, her relationships and friendships, and affect not only her but those surrounding her. What I also loved in this story, was its message, and one of the most important ones is, I think, that each of us deserves to feel special. It is a brilliant read if you are in a need of cheering up and if you are feeling a little low.

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A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody / Book Review

29 wrz

A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody

 

Publisher: Piatkus

Publishing Date: 1st October 2015

Series: Kate Shackleton #7

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Crime, Mystery

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

A murder most foul
When the landlord of a Yorkshire tavern is killed in plain sight, Freda Simonson, the only witness to the crime, becomes plagued with guilt, believing the wrong man has been convicted. Following her death, it seems that the truth will never be uncovered in the peaceful village of Langcliffe . . .
A village of secrets
But it just so happens that Freda’s nephew is courting the renowned amateur sleuth Kate Shackleton, who decides to holiday in Langcliffe with her indomitable teenage niece, Harriet. When Harriet strikes up a friendship with a local girl whose young brother is missing, the search leads Kate to uncover another suspicious death, not to mention an illicit affair.
The case of a lifetime
As the present mysteries merge with the past’s mistakes, Kate is thrust into the secrets that Freda left behind and realises that this courageous woman has entrusted her with solving a murder from beyond the grave. It soon becomes clear to her that nothing in Langcliffe is quite as it appears, and with a murderer on the loose and an ever-growing roster of suspects, this isn’t the holiday Kate was expecting . . .

Rating: 5/5

 

„A Death in the Dales” is the second book by Frances Brody that I have read, and one that I eagerly awaited – I totally fell in love with Kate Shackleton and with her adventures, and what a joy it is to read a book about private investigator that doesn’t have any modern devices, such as internet, mobiles and other fancy helping things, and the only thing she can rely on is her own brain and logical thinking – it so refreshing.
Even though „A Death in the Dales” is a part of the mystery series featuring the above mentioned Kate (and also, for good measure, the ex – policeman, Jim Sykes and Kate’s housekeeper, Mrs Sugden), this book can be read and enjoyed as a stand – alone novel.

I have a feeling that there is a great successor growing just under Kate’s wings, her niece Harriet, whom the author introduces to us in this book. Harriet is young and has thirst for knowledge, and she by all means wants to be Kate’s assistant. Harriet is like her aunt, outruns the times she’s living in, they’re both intelligent and clever, and I totally adored the ways they conducted their investigations. Kate is, as always, discreet and knows no limits in her investigations, and even though she’s on holidays this time, her work comes first. And as usual, when Kate starts to investigate one thing, she soon finds herself involved in many other different matters, that starts to roll like a little snowball, to finally turn into a real avalanche. But no matter how much I like Kate, the story really gained a real speed when Jim Sykes and Mrs Sugden arrive to the little town Langcliffe and take matters in their hands as well – they are the best addiction to the story, I think it wouldn’t be the same without them.

Investigations, you may ask? Yes, investigations, plural, because where Kate is, there are many mysteries to solve. I don’t want to give anything away because I don’t want to spoil your reading – and you MUST read this book! It’s elegant, clever, it has style and even though it takes part between the two wars, it reads like a modern story – but believe me, there is not a single second flat in this book, and it still feels like reading a book set in 1920′s – the vocabulary, the way the characters behave and talk, their clothes, it was so spot on and felt so realistic. One mystery carries the next, but yet the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed with the plethora of information or puzzles.

There is such a feeling of peacefulness to this story. Of course, as it’s a cosy crime, there is murder and many other things that I didn’t expect, but it is told with style, in a gentle way, without unnecessary drama or pumping up the atmosphere. About the things I didn’t expect – it is really incredible how much the author squeezed between the covers of this book, and even though the events and situations were unexpected for me, they suit the story and fit in the plot wonderfully.

There are plenty of characters in this story, but they are very distinctive and I didn’t have any problems to know who is who and why. Each of the characters has their own story, and we have not only murder and a sentence of an innocent person, but we have children looking for brothers and sisters, mysterious death of a healthy man, farmers living secluded with their own secrets, love letters stolen and a little town that – this time – doesn’t know all the secrets! Perhaps it is so because they didn’t have internet in those times and people kept themselves to themselves. But back to the characters – they were all so significant to the plot, and their stories intertwined and made a brilliant, hooking book that I’ve read in two days – I couldn’t put it down. The author pays attention to all of the characters, and even if they are the background ones, I still had a feeling that I know them and that I can understand their actions.

There was also so much love to the details in the story, and I had a feeling that every single word is this of the utmost significance. The author puts a lot of effort to explain everything and to write things in such a way that we don’t feel confused, but yet she adds a mystery here and there and, in fact, we truly don’t know what we can expect and how it’s going to end, which I, personally, was loving. I wasn’t even trying to guess who’s the real murderer because I was sure that I’m going to be wrong, and so I let the author to take me with her on this brilliant journey, together with Kate and Harriet. Yes, I had a feeling that some of the threads were left open, such as Harriet plotting something with Suzannah, I had a feeling they are for some mischief or to investigate on their own, but this, in fact, didn’t spoilt the whole reading.

I have truly enjoyed this book, it has totally fulfilled my expectations. It felt so different, so fresh and so clever, a story written with a lot of subtlety and gentleness, and also with a great dose of humour. Even though the plot was complex and the author was adding new mysteries on the way, it was still a very neat, logical read, and the characters were brilliant representatives of this age. It was truly wonderfully pieced together and I really can’t wait for more Kate’s adventures.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 5/5

 

Blog Tour: Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin / eBook Review

28 wrz

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

 

Publisher: Bookouture

Publishing Date: 25th September 2015

Series: White Cliff Bay #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…

Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down.

Spend the perfect Christmas in White Cliff Bay this year. Snowflakes on Silver Cove coming very soon.

Rating: 5/5

 

I love Holly Martin and her stories, it’s probably not a secret, and I always wait impatiently for her new releases. This time Holly is spoiling us, as soon after „Christmas at Lilac Cottage” we can expect a second book in the White Cliff Bay series, „Snowflakes on Silver Cove”. This is the best news ever, really, as I could read Holly’s novels again and again. They are always full of sparks, humour, gentle moments, with characters to die for – and „Christmas at Lilac Cottage” was not exception! You may not be sure of many things, but you can be sure of one: that Holly always delivers. What always brings tears to my eyes are Holly’s dedications – she never forgets about us, bloggers, and she always says her thank you in such beautiful words, and it always makes me feel sentimental. Really, really appreciated Holly!

I think everything about Holly’s writing and stories was already told, also by yours, truly :) Holly can write incredibly romantic, but modern stories that go straight to my heart, stories that leave me satisfied and content. I don’t know how she does it, really, that I fell in love with all of her books, without exceptions. You know, when I read a new novel by one of my favourite authors I am usually scared if this time the author is going to deliver, if they are going to fulfil my expectations, but to be honest, when starting Holly’s new book, I’m not scared about this, because I am sure it is going to be her next cracker.

However, this time I have one „but”. Here I had a feeling that I „have been there, have seen this”. The setting of this little town, the sweet, cosy cottage, the job Penny had – carving in ice – even the characters – the main ones, and the supporting ones, the villagers – this all was like a repetition of „Beneath the Moon and the Stars” – can you remember? I have nothing against it, because it was a nice story, but I’d expect something more, something fresh from Holly. She has proved to be a brilliant author whose imagination knows no limits, so I truly expected more from this novel. I adored it, there is no discussion to it, please do not take me wrong, I just felt that I’ve already read this story before.
The story telling was, as usual, brilliant, warm and hooking, and the plot, even though not the most surprising, was fast paced, nevertheless I missed this unexpected twists and turns that are Holly’s brand already, and this incredible humour – it was a funny story, and it was full of this characteristic, belly – aching – laughing moments, but on the whole I wanted more of them – Holly got me used to have them on almost every single page, and in „Christmas at Lilac Cottage” those moments were seldom – apart of few of them, when I was literally snorting and laughing out loud, usually they involved Penny and Daisy and sex, it was a normal story kept on the same level.
But that’s just me. Don’t pay any attention :) And other than that, I absolutely loved this story and I still think it deserves those 5 stars! I totally adored how the chapters were divided between Penny and Henry, and they were telling us their both point of views and thoughts on the same situation – it was mostly hilarious, and Holly brilliantly captured the differences in male and female’s thinking – you know, men are from Mars, women are from Venus. Loved it!

The storytelling was exceptional, and so Holly – characteristic. Holly has this talent to over – exaggerate a little, to add a little drama here and there, and yet the story doesn’t feel too pushed, or too forced, it’s not over the top. She also always brings the places to life, with her incredibly rich descriptions – they are really so vivid that I have no problems to picture it all in my mind. I have felt truly festive, reading about the snow falling over the place, decorating the Christmas tree, and could feel the warmth of the fire burning. Also, there is always this lovely, brilliant sense of community between Holly’s characters, and it was the same in White Cliff Bay, with all the characters jumping to help when necessary (well, of course not always to help. Sometimes to meddle and complicate things, too).

What’s more, Holly’s characters are exceptional. To tell that they feel like real people would be an understatement, really – they ARE real people, with all their flaws and imperfections, problems and moods and jumping to conclusions. I had a feeling that any time they’re going to pop out of the pages and give me the biggest hug in the world. Penny was like a whirlwind of warm emotions and love, and it was impossible not to feel her excitement or sadness through the pages. She was so bouncy, bubbly and full of life and I hated to see her hurt. At the beginning Henry seemed to be a grumpy person but deep, deep inside he was sooo lovely, and no wonder Penny was attracted to him – I was as well! Holly is also the Queen of sparks flying between the characters, she can write the tension and chemistry in such a good way and make it feel so realistic, and it was the same here, and this „will they/won’t they” made it even more genuine.

So yes, Holly can make it happen – make you forget about the whole world and your duties and responsibilities. This story was full of action and events, there was not a single second flat, because Holly manages to squeeze a lot between the covers of this book: single parenthood, starting in a new place, coming to terms with a horrible past, learning to trust other people, and this all was told with so much empathy and with understanding, without judging. And I felt so comfortable with Penny and Henry. The story just flowed so well and was full to the brim with this wonderful, Holly – like, feel – good factor. „Christmas at Lilac Cottage” is really sweet, charming, sparkling with snow festive read, but I am sure reading it in summer would be as enjoyable as in winter. I highly recommend this heart – warming, lovely story!

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Weekly Wrap Up #64

27 wrz

Hi guys! How are you all doing? I had a wonderful week, books – wise, as you can see below – yes, the first Christmas books are coming, and also there are plenty on NetGalley with the magic word „Christmas” in the title. Plenty. And what about this longer day that we are all mentioning so often? Hello? Anybody?

BOOKS THAT I READ LAST WEEK:

„Rainy Day Sisters” by Kate Hewitt – reviewed

„Just Like Rebecca” by Tilly Tennant – reviewed

„A Parcel for Anna Browne” by Miranda Dickinson – to be reviewed on 30th September

 

 

  Am reading right now:

„A Death in the Dales” by Frances Brody

„One Wish in Manhattan” by Mandy Baggot

 

 I REVIEWED THIS WEEK:

High Tide by Veronica Henry 3/5

Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt 5/5

A Question of Betrayal by Zoë Miller 5/5

Just Like Rebecca by Tilly Tennat 4/5

Being a part of a Blog Tour for Zoë  Miller’s new novel, „A Question of Betrayal”, I had a pleasure to run a Q&A with the author, that you can read here.

 

BOOKS I RECEIVED THIS WEEK:

PAPERBACKS:

Barbara Delinsky „Blueprints”

Mike Bullen „Trust”

Beth Moran „I Hope You Dance”

Jonathan Harvey „The Secrets We Keep”

Sarah Morgan „Christmas Ever After”

KINDLE

Daisy James „The Runaway Bride”

Julia Williams „Make a Christmas Wish”

Darcie Boleyn „Wish Upon a Christmas Cake”

 

 
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Just Like Rebecca by Tilly Tennant / eBook Review

25 wrz

Just Like Rebecca by Tilly Tennant

 

Publisher: Lawsome Books

Publishing Date: 12th August 2015

Series: Mishaps in Millrise #2

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book: Kindle 

 

 

 Synopsis:

Mishaps in Millrise – a four-(novella)-part romantic spin-off from Mishaps and Mistletoe

Part 2 – Just Like Rebecca

Phoebe’s new role at work is keeping her busier than ever. Just as she’s finding her feet, however, new boss, Dixon, lands a bombshell: Hendry’s toy store is in dire financial straits and it’s up to him and Phoebe to save it. This isn’t exactly what she signed up for and she’s going to need all the help she can get. So it’s a pity that the only help she has comes in the form of Midnight, her purple-haired colleague who wouldn’t know an employee rule-book if it slapped her in the face…

At home, Jack’s brother, Archie, and their mum, Carol, seem determined to make Phoebe’s life hell, however hard she tries. And now Jack seems to have a new rival too: Adam Hendry, slick heir to the Hendry’s empire, who is making it very clear he’d like to involve Phoebe in a hostile takeover. Just how far will he go to get what he wants?

Rating: 4/5

 

„Just Like Rebecca” is a second instalment in „Mishaps in Millrise” series, and it picks up directly where the first part ended. I had no idea how much joy reading this second part is going to bring me, and how much I, in fact, missed Phoebe, Jack and little Maria. I am myself surprised with it :)

As much as the first part was more an introduction to the series, here I had a feeling that the tempo slowed down a little and the plot concentrated more on Phoebe and Jack’s relationship, that on the surface looks so great, but in fact there are a lot of problems in store for them, and that it’s preparing us for a very significant cliff – hanger. But even though the pace was peaceful, this short story was filled to the brim with things happening, and there was not a single second flat. Moreover, everything was so meticulously described, all the feelings, all the emotions, it is incredible how eloquent, and yet down – to – earth and approachable the writing style was, and how Tilly Tennant can write about things that we take for granted, but she puts them in the most adequate words – brilliant!

It is really great how the author managed to squeeze so much action and events between the covers of this short story. We have not only Phoebe and Jack and them getting to know each other’s parents (how did it go, I can hear you ask? Well, you must read for yourself, but it was not so easy – peasy), but also the thing with Archie livens up and is he going to cause more troubles than he’s worth? And also, the toy shop where Phoebe works is in financial troubles and it’s of course up to her to save the day – again. And the only thing Phoebe wants is some quality time with Jack.

I must admit, I didn’t warm so much to Jack in the first part of the series, and right now he did nothing that would change my mind about him. He’s not the easiest person to like, no? I hated how he didn’t want to hear what Phoebe has to say about Archie, how he always cut her from all the information, and how he wasn’t on her side after Phoebe met his parents. This all having in mind how much Phoebe and Maria are in love with each other, and how great Phoebe is with this little person! I’m really not sure what to think about him, and my gut feeling is telling me that there are more troubles to come, and I am really curious how he’s going to behave. It just seems to me that it’s only Phoebe investing in this relationship, that only she’s trying and giving, and Jack just lets her do this, while he just sits and watches.
A real ray of sunshine is Maria this time, although I also really like Phoebe, but Maria is a real star of the story this time. She was like a real five year old, she was not too exaggerated, not too forced in the way she talked and behaved, and I truly liked it. But also Midnight is her old self, just like we got to know her, adding some lightness and humour.

Tilly’s writing is only getting better and better! I have already mentioned all the detailed descriptions, and she can really write about things that we ourselves can’t find words for. There are many funny moments in the book, that truly put a smile on my face, but also Tilly writes about some more important issues, in a delightful, easy and not too overwhelming way. It’s still light – hearted, of course, only this time it’s a little more serious, but still it suits the tone of the story perfectly. I am looking forward to the next part in the series.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 4/5

 

Blog Tour: Q&A with Zoë Miller

24 wrz

Today I am absolutely thrilled to be able to welcome Zoë Miller to the blog! Zoë’s last novel, „A Question of Betrayal”, was published last week and I have truly loved it – you can read my review here. Thank you so much Zoë for answering the questions in such a lovely way, and thank you Joanna for making it possible to happen!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Zoë Miller!

 

1. Hello Zoë, can you please tell us few words about you?

 First of all, thanks for having me on your blog! Writing has always been my passion since I was young. As a child, I loved reading so much that it inspired me to write.  I scribbled away wherever and whenever I could, and now, years later, I’m delighted to be published by Hachette Books Ireland and I combine writing with the day job and my (very supportive) family. A Question of Betrayal is my seventh book to be published by Hachette, and the excitement of holding the finished book in your hands never diminishes.

 

 2. Can you please tell us shortly about your new book, „A Question of Betrayal”?

 Carrie Cassidy is the main character in A Question of Betrayal.  As the book opens, Carrie is in a bad place. She hasn’t come to terms with her parents’ death and it’s affecting her in many ways. She works in the offices of a glitzy fashion group, but she’s not happy in her job. Her engagement to the lovely Mark has fallen through. Then she is told that her mother betrayed her father in the early days of their marriage. Unravelling what happened takes Carrie on a journey that forces her to face her fears and brings her to the attention of someone who doesn’t want her meddling in the past…

 

3. What inspired you to write „A Question of Betrayal”?

 Reading a newspaper article on holidays sparked ideas for this book, although the story led me down quite a different path than I had first planned! Both my parents have passed away by now and I was interested in writing around that theme. It can be far more difficult than you’d think to come to terms with what is unfortunately a natural and inevitable progression in life. But life does go on, even if it has changed. I was also inspired to write about the power of music to heal and soothe. Life would be incredibly dull without it.

 

 4. How does your research look like?

 I find the Internet invaluable when it comes to research, although for particular life and death details / procedures, it’s essential to talk to someone in the know – as I discovered to my alarm when writing a previous book. (I had to change the story line and rewrite large chunks when I found out that a crucial detail on which the story hinged was incorrect). For A Question of Betrayal, I was lucky enough to have already visited Lucerne in Switzerland, and I took out my photographs to refresh my memory when I was writing those scenes.

 

5. How much of you is in your main characters and how much of your characters is in you?

 My characters are entirely made up, they are not based on anyone else, either real or fictional, including me! Having said that, aspects of yourself, and characteristics you subliminally soak up from your family and friends sometimes – unintentionally – steal across the page. The funny thing I find is that after I have completed a book I sometimes see people in the supermarket or shopping centres that are just how I would have pictured a particular character.

 

 6. How did the title got chosen?

 The title was chosen during a discussion between me and my editor. I didn’t have a working title – it went straight from Book 7 to A Question of Betrayal.

 

7. What do you want people to take away from „A Question of Betrayal”?

 I hope readers find the book an entertaining escapist read that whisks them away from everyday life, an emotional, page-turning experience, characters they can identify with who stay with them after they’ve closed the book – in other words, everything I find enjoyable about reading.   

 

 8. Was it hard to write books about secrets? Does it involve more work, more plotting?

 I love writing books about secrets and intrigue! There are so many complex layers to A Question of Betrayal, including old secrets, that it took lots of plotting and planning to make sure it was watertight and all held together. The help of my editor and copy editor was invaluable as objective pairs of eyes to help ensure the story flowed and was understood.

 

 9. Your books are about families and secrets they keep. Did you find inspiration in your previous writing or do you start each new book with  „carte blanche”?

 Each book is a new beginning. I also try to make each book an improvement on the previous one in terms of the reading experience.  Writing my previous books has taught me not to panic too much if I hit difficult spots during the long process of getting120K words down on paper – it will come together!

 

10. How do you plan your writing? How carefully did you plan this novel in advance?

 I always have an outline plan and I develop a story arc for each character. I know where they are at the beginning of the book, and I have a good idea of where they’ll be by the end. (Mostly!) I don’t always know the nitty gritty of how they’ll get there, I find I get ideas in the middle of the writing process itself and the story can evolve in unexpected ways. Before I began to write A Question of Betrayal I spent at least two months fleshing out the characters, getting to know them in my head, and planning the various turning points.

 

11. Have you always wanted to write novels?

 Absolutely yes!

 

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zoë Miller writes contemporary fiction laced with intrigue and drama. She is published by Hachette Books Ireland and her latest book, A Question of Betrayal, is now out in paperback. When Zoë’s not escaping into her writing world, she juggles her time between her family and the day job. Find out more at www.zoemillerauthor.com, Facebook/zoemillerauthor, or follow Zoë on Twitter @zoemillerauthor.

 

A Question of Betrayal: Ever since the deaths of her adored parents, Carrie Cassidy has avoided risk and commitment, fearful of bringing something precious into her life only to lose it again. So now she finds herself working in yet another uninteresting job, and the love of her life, who wanted more than she could give, has left her. Will she ever move on?
Then, a mysterious woman visits Carrie and reveals a secret that forces her to delve into her mother’s past. As Carrie learns more about the woman she thought she knew, she finds herself looking at her own life and wondering if she’s living it the way her mother would have wanted her to. Meanwhile there is someone watching Carrie who would rather the past stay buried . . .

A Question of Betrayal is available in all good bookshops or online here 

 

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Blog Tour

 

Blog Tour: A Question of Betrayal by Zoë Miller /Book Review

24 wrz

A Question of Betrayal by Zoë Miller

 

Publisher: Hachette Ireland

Publishing Date: 17th Spetember 2015

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

On a windswept beach in County Cork, a woman rescues a young man from the sea. A gifted musician, Luis Meyer’s life has fallen apart and he’s determined to end it all, until an angel of mercy pulls him from the water. . . More than 30 years later, Carrie Cassidy is lost following the deaths of her adored parents, John and Sylvie, in a tragic accident.  She’s flitting from one job to another, unable to move forward, unable to forget the past. She can’t even commit to Mark, the love of her life, who has now moved on. And then, one day, she receives a visit from a mysterious woman, with a revelation about her mother that sends Carrie reeling. . . As she delves into Sylvie’s life during that fateful summer of 1980, Carrie finds a woman struggling to come to terms with her choices, a newlywed who, it seems, was head over heels in love with another man. Determined to find out the truth about her mother, Carrie will have to confront painful, possibly dangerous truths—and the only person who can help her is the one she’s hurt the most.

Rating: 5/5

 

„A Question of Betrayal” is my second Zoë Miller’s book. I’ve read and absolutely enjoyed „A Husband’s Confession”, and I remember how much I liked the way this book was written, how the secrets were revealed, and that it was about family and relationships – just what I like most! Since then I’ve been following all the info about Zoë’s new release and couldn’t wait for this book to arrive on my doorstep.

What absolutely took me by surprise was the way the plot developed. I don’t want to tell what exactly has surprised me so much because I don’t want to spoil the book for you, so let’s just say the sudden change in the focus on the characters was so very unexpected for me. Yes, I must admit, I was surprised and a little confused at the beginning, but in the end it was a great turn, absolutely not expected, and in the long term I really appreciate how the author did this. It is a complex story, but it’s very clearly written and I didn’t have any problems to follow its course, even when the narration changed and jumped to the 1980 and back to the present – no confusion here, everything was clear.
And what’s more, the plot is constructed in my favourite way! It’s so layered, we can say that the book follows two different threads, two different stories: the first one about Carrie, and the second, slowly developing, about Luis, Beth and Carrie’s mother, Sylvie. This, what at the beginning seems to be totally different thing, slowly turns out to be connected, the stories intertwine and make for a very gripping read with a very satisfying finish.

The same as in the previous book, Zoë Miller has incredibly well portrayed her characters. She gave them personality, complexity and soul and made them like real people – nice, friendly, or totally unlikeable. At the beginning I really didn’t know what to do with our Carrie, I couldn’t understand her completely. She has pushed almost all the people away from her, she was afraid to commit, and I didn’t like the way she has treated Mark, first her boyfriend, and then her ex – boyfriend. Yes, in the long term, perhaps she was afraid to commit because she was scared to lose the next beloved person, as she has lost her parents in this tragic accident, but she was an adult, it happened some time ago, and truly, it was not a reason to push him away in such a way? She has also undermined herself, telling Mark deserves better, and I wasn’t sure where does it come from, this conviction that she’s not good enough. But slowly, as we get to know Carrie and her history, her past, I found myself warming to her and understanding her – not support maybe, but understand.
The loveliest person in the book was, I think, Mark, Carrie’s ex – boyfriend. There was so much hope, strength in him, and I truly fell for him, and I was really angry with Carrie sometimes, with the way she has treated him, as he didn’t deserve it. I was as confused as he was when Carrie has broken up with him, I can’t say I didn’t see it coming because it was already fait accompli, but nevertheless the reasons she has listed just didn’t sound true. And when we are already talking about male characters in the book, Luis was one of the most significant ones there, but I can’t say I liked him as much as Mark. Well, of course, we can’t compare them, they were two different people but Mark sounded to me so genuine and honest, while Luis, with his wisdom and good advices was a little too perfect.

Zoë Miller has truly exceeded here with writing her characters. Some of them might have only been mentioned, might have been only short on the scenes, like Maria, Luis’s wife, but they all were so realistic and three – dimensional. There was something magic in them, and I quickly found myself very hooked with their lives and their past. And I feel like I even know Carrie’s parents, even though they are dead – and the last scene, THE SCENE… It had me in tears. In tears. It was beautiful and so poignant. Just like the whole book.

„A Question of Betrayal” is such a clever book, full of twists, turns and secrets, but the number of them doesn’t overwhelm the reader, not at all. It is so cleverly plotted and really, hats off to the author for making it not too difficult to follow story, with all the twists. She’s not afraid of adding more and more mystery and totally changing the flow of the story, and I incredibly adored it, as I didn’t know what to expect next. Really, when you think that you know everything, that you know what’s going to happen, the author then throws you off the course, and then you just stop thinking and predicting. It is a brilliant feeling! Also, the fact that the characters are not this what we are thinking, until they also take us totally by surprise and we get to know the truth – what can be better?

I must be honest with you, I was truly for giving this book 3 or 4 stars at the beginning, with its relatively slow start, and a main character that I couldn’t connect to, and storyline that seemed so usual. But then it happened – the characters developed incredibly, the author thrown a bomb or two on our not expecting this heads, and there were more dark secrets in this story than we usually get in a book, and secrets that we’re not able to predict or connect the dots between them, and this all written with amazing feeling – and so, without further ado, I am sure that this novel deserves those big, fat 5 stars. Highly recommended!

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Blog Tour: Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt / eBook Review

23 wrz

Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt

 

Publisher: NAL/Signet

Publishing Date: 4th August 2015

Series: Hartley – by – the – Sea #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 Synopsis:

The USA Today bestselling author presents a heartfelt novel about two sisters struggling toward new lives and loves.

Welcome to Hartley-by-the-Sea in England’s beautiful Lake District, where two sisters who meet as strangers find small miracles tucked into the corners of every day….

When Lucy Bagshaw’s life in Boston falls apart, thanks to a scathing editorial written by her famous artist mother, she accepts her half sister Juliet’s invitation to stay with her in a charming seaside village in northern England. Lucy is expecting quaint cottages and cream teas, but instead finds that her sister is an aloof host, the weather is wet, windy, and cold, and her new boss, Alex Kincaid, is a disapproving widower who only hired her as a favor to Juliet.

Despite the invitation she offered, Juliet is startled by the way Lucy catapults into her orderly life. As Juliet faces her own struggles with both her distant mother and her desire for a child, her sister’s irrepressible optimism begins to take hold. With the help of quirky villagers, these hesitant rainy day sisters begin to forge a new understanding…and find in each other the love of family that makes all the difference.

Rating: 5/5

 

„Rainy Day Sisters” is the first in the Hartley by the Sea series, and also my first book by Kate Hewitt. I really didn’t know what to expect when I requested this book, I just had a feeling it may be a good read, and as it turned out, I was absolutely right – I have truly adored this story. It had me hooked from start to the end and I immensely enjoyed it. It was not a life – changing book, the plot might have not been the most original one, and yet on the whole it was incredibly refreshing story with some really great characters.

The story is told from Lucy and Juliet’s points of view, and the chapters alternates between those two. They couldn’t be more different, those two half – sisters. Where Lucy is open, Juliet seems so very closed in her shell, where Lucy is willing to forgive, Juliet is tough, where Lucy is funny and warm, Juliet seems to be stern and cold, where Lucy is surrounded by friends and doesn’t have any problems with making contacts, Juliet, who’s been living in the village for ten years, doesn’t really have any friends and prefers to spend her time walking her two rescue dogs – alone. Really, they are polar opposites. And yet, I truly liked both sisters, even Juliet, because we quickly learn what happened in both their lives, and then gradually learn about Juliet’s sad life. I absolutely loved how the author made Juliet to come out of her comfort zone, even though till almost the end it was not sure that she’s going to change. I also liked how we hear each sister’s view on the same situation. So it’s in fact no wonder that at the beginning the sisters are to a very rocky start, and I liked how the author described this all – well, you can’t so quickly forget all your problems, grudges and regrets, and I adored how Lucy never gave up on Juliet, and how Juliet started to warm to her half – sister. Also, the more the two start to co – exist, rather then live under one roof, the more secrets are being unveiled, more inaccuracies are cleared, but also more problems are to come – of course!
The author has truly made a brilliant job in the aspect of characters’ development. As much as Lucy seemed to be the more open one, she also had her demons. She’s just come to Hartley by the Sea in Lake District from Boston to make a fresh start, and it takes some time for us to learn what happened there. I didn’t envy Lucy – in Boston there was a mother who betrayed her trust, and in the UK there was her half – sister, much older, whom she in fact didn’t know at all, they didn’t have anything in common – the reunion is going to be difficult and hard, no? But this was Lucy for you, grabbing the bull by the horns. And it looks like Lucy’s coming to Lake District was the thing that both of them needed to let the past go, but is this possible at all?
The mother of the two women seems to be a causer of most of the problems, and she’s the one who has hurt her daughters so much. Neither Juliet, nor Lucy, make a secret that Fiona was not the model mother, and the more we get to know the relationship they had with Fiona, the more we see that they, in fact, have a perfect reason to despise their mother.

This is not only a story about overcoming past, but it is also full of different twists and turns and various sub plots, and yet everything is clear and orderly here, and I never felt confused. There is also not a single flat second in this story, and the author concentrates not only on a broken family relationship, but also she gives us some romance here as well, and I loved those sub plots as well. Those were not the most important threads to the whole book, as it’s mostly about sisterhood, but nevertheless Kate Hewitt has managed to made them also significant, and truly entertaining and different to each other! Adding this romance aspect, and especially the two men involved, was a real breath of fresh air. They both were as different as Lucy and Juliet themselves, but they were both brilliant, and both were also carrying their sorrows: one of them was widowed with two young daughters, the other one was the lonely caregiver of his father with the dementia. Those sub plots were not overwhelming, but very significant to the story, and I truly enjoyed how they were written. The villagers, and also the school – life were a real joy to read as well, Especially the scenes at school, there were so many of them, and mostly they were funny, especially when they involved Lucy starting working there, but also the author has very gently emphasized different problems of the students and their parents.

I am not so sure if I’d myself like to live in those parts of Cumbria that the author has described, yet there was something nostalgic and beautiful in this place, even if it was almost all the time cold and so rainy. The scenery was so beautifully described, and all the sheep on the moors were adorable. Even in the rain!

The author explores the mother/daughter and sisters relationship in this book, but not only – she also concentrates on different dynamics of the families in this little town, and they truly add a lot to this story. She also hints that forgiveness is not always easy, and that there are issues and things that we can’t forget and forgive, even if those things happened among the family members – that blood is not always thicker than water. And she wrote it brilliantly, all the feelings were coming so true and honest, the tension and misunderstanding between the half – sisters were genuine and palpable through the pages, and this story has just felt so true to life. Kate Hewitt has managed to fill the pages to the brim brilliantly describing the relationship between two sisters that, in fact, didn’t know each other, with different family dynamics, friendship, forgiveness, new beginnings and second chances, and this all was really wonderfully explored, with a lot of depth.

„Rainy Day Sisters” is a brilliant start to the series and I can’t wait to read the next instalments. It truly awoke my curiosity, and I’d love to see what’s going to happen next, and who’s going to be in the centre of attention in the next book. This story has just drawn me in and I didn’t want to leave the village and the characters. Lovely enjoyable read, full of secrets, feelings and emotions – highly recommended.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kate Hewitt is the author of over 40 novels of women’s fiction and romance. She loves telling an emotional story in a variety of genres, and has been nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award twice. An American ex-pat, she lives in the Cotswolds of England with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can follow her adventures in village life on her blog, http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk.


 

High Tide by Veronica Henry / Book Review

22 wrz

High Tide by Veronica Henry

 

Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 24th September 2015

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A gorgeous novel of secrets, hopes, heartache and dreams, set in Pennfleet, home of THE LONG WEEKEND, by the author of THE BEACH HUT.

Pennfleet might be a small town, but there’s never a dull moment in its narrow winding streets …

Kate has only planned a flying visit to clear out the family home after the death of her mother. When she finds an anonymous letter, she is drawn back into her own past.

Single dad Sam is juggling his deli and two lively teenagers, so romance is the last thing on his mind. Then Cupid fires an unexpected arrow – but what will his children think?

Nathan Fisher is happy with his lot, running picnic cruises up and down the river, but kissing the widow of the richest man in Pennfleet has disastrous consequences.

Vanessa knows what she has done is unseemly for a widow, but it’s the most fun she’s had for years. Must she always be on her best behaviour?

As autumn draws in and the nights grow longer, there are sure to be fireworks in this gloriously engaging novel from Veronica Henry, author of A Night on the Orient Express.

Rating: 3/5

 

It may sound unbelievable, but „The High Tide” is my first Veronica Henry’s book, even though I was for a longer time desperate to read her novels. So almost as soon as I got my copy of her newest book I started to read it, full of expectations, as I’ve heard so many good things about this author and her novels.

One of the elements that is an indicator of a good book is writing style, and this of Veronica Henry’s is one of the best. It is eloquent, elegant and full of confidence, and it was just a real joy to be able to dive into the story. The way the story is told (even if the story itself didn’t hook me) is truly a piece of mastery and I will be for sure quickly checking other Veronica’s books. It was easy to follow and even though I was eventually struggling to really care what’s going to happen, it truly did flow well.

Also, the setting of the book was picturesque, and I could understand why the characters have so quickly fell in love with Pennfleet. But as much as I adored this town, I have missed this feeling of community that always makes such places unique – it was just a town, a charming town indeed, but the characters lived for themselves. But other than that, I’d love to live there, especially having in mind this lovely Sam’s cafe. And even the funeral home was one of sorts.

But. This book is a very slow starter. It, in fact, never speeds up. There are no twists nor turns in this story. To be honest, for most of the time it kept me truly confused, because I was all the time waiting for any sudden, unexpected turn, for a surprise dropped on our heads, and I have never lived to see one. Truly, I felt that there could be four books made out of this one, as we had four main characters. The only thing that they had in common was the place they were living in, a small town Pennfleet, as their paths have never actually crossed. We had two funerals at the beginning, and they seemed so important, and I was waiting for a link, for something that would connect them, and nothing came. Yes, of course, you could ask, why should something connect them, the situations, the characters, and you might be right, but on the other hand, why having four characters that lead their own separate lives and put them in one story? I just had a feeling that the stories of all of them were under – developed. Yes, we got a really good background, some of their history, so we truly knew them all, but those stories led to nowhere. I just found it a bit slow.
I also had a feeling that a real life, a real cracker, was going to start after the final „THE END” words (a sequel, perhaps? Oh yes, wishful thinking :) ). Of course it doesn’t mean that the characters were not likeable, oh no, each of them had their own personality, each of them were very different, and it was great, it brought so much variety to the story, and they truly felt like normal people – they WERE, in fact, normal people, people who had their own demons, tragic and sad past, but also people who were not afraid to take the bull by the horns and try again, and for this I applauded them with all my heart. The story jumps between the characters, and this way we got the chance to get to know them more and more, and – mostly – like them more and more, and keep our fingers crossed for them. We have Kate, who’s now living and making career in New York, now in Pennfleet for her mother’s funeral. Kate starts to think what’s important in her life – her demanding career, or maybe her own happiness? Because she feels so good back at home, with her old friends…! What is she going to do?
Sam, a widower with two brilliant teenagers, who are trying to find him a new girlfriend. I truly adored his children, they were bright and not at all sulky or moody! After his wife’s death Sam decided it’s time for a new step in his family life, moved to Pennfleet and started his own cafe – and Sam was also great, I truly liked his way as a father, and there was a brilliant bond between him and his children.
Vanessa is a new widow, and she, in fact, only now discovers what real life is. Her marriage was not bad, oh no, it’s just that she and her husband were more a marriage of convenience and they mostly passed each other, led two different lives. Now Vanessa has a chance to see what real love is – but is it decent? What will other people say? Or maybe, is it important if it’s decent and what will other people say?
There is also Nathan, born and raised in Pennfleet, now living with his grandfather and working at a local undertaker, but also – and I loved this idea – running picnics on his fishing boat! Down to earth and lovely, Nathan usually doesn’t rebel, but when he does, it doesn’t end good – for him. They all try to deal with all the obstacles and drama that life throws at them, and they truly do it in a very realistic way, and I kept my fingers crossed for them. Yes, I didn’t connect with them as much as I’d like, but nevertheless, it didn’t stop me from keeping my fingers crossed for them. Not rooting – because to be honest I didn’t care as much about them, I just wished them all the best.

It is a very lovely written story about family, relationships, love and grief. It shows life how it is, without exaggerating, overdoing, without colouring it, but also showing that there can always be a second chance, that there is nothing holding us against moving on. It’s a truly light – hearted book, full of hope, and I am really happy to be able to read it as a first novel by Veronica Henry – I will be for sure checking her other stories.

 
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Napisane w kategorii 2015 Releases, Rating 3/5