Monday, 15 April 2019

The Feud by Amanda James

Matthew Trevelyar leaves his job in London to return to his Cornish roots in the village of St Agnes. After losing his wife to leukaemia, he wants to make a fresh start. 
His new life is going well until Matt returns to his cottage to discover a grim warning on his doorstop. The message is clear – Leave now and go back to London.
Not wanting to give up his new life, Matt eventually discovers that there has been a 200-year-old feud between his family, the Trevelyars, and another local family, the Penhallows.
When Matt learns that one of his ancestors burned down a barn belonging to the Penhallows, and that there were tragic consequences, he understands why his family name is mud. But why is Matt paying for the sins of his ancestors now? And is there more to the feud than meets the eye?

When widower Matt Treveleyar leaves London for a teaching post at the village school in the Cornish village of St Agnes he doesn't realize he is walking into a whole lot of trouble.
Outside his rented cottage is a badger's head on a pole together with a nasty message telling him to go back to London. Matt decides he won't be scared into leaving. This was the village where his grandparents and their parents were born and where his roots are and he wants to belong here.

What Matt doesn't know is that there is an age old feud between his family and the Penhallows and one of them is out for revenge. In the village he bumps into Lavender Penhallow and is immediately besotted with her but is he putting himself in more danger with her friendship, is she involved in the battle to make him leave? Can he trust her?

The opening chapter of this book is dramatic. It gripped me straightaway and demanded my attention. I could imagine it being the opening scene from a film it was so descriptive.
I loved the village and all the supporting characters. Most were lovely and helpful to Matt, only a few were so crazy they needed to be locked up. The tension throughout the book about what was going to be the outcome for the lovely Matt kept me from my housework and not want to put this book down. And Matt was lovely, who would want to do him harm?
This book had everything you need for a good read, suspense, witchcraft, romance, revenge and it was written by Amanda James who never fails to tell a good story.

The Feud is published today in paperback or kindle download (99p) Amazon

Saturday, 6 April 2019

We Must Be Brave by Frances Liardet

December, 1940. As German bombs fall on Southampton, the city’s residents flee to the surrounding villages. In Upton village, amid the chaos, newly-married Ellen Parr finds a girl sleeping, unclaimed at the back of an empty bus. Five-year-old Pamela, it seems, is entirely alone.
Ellen has always believed she does not want children, but when she takes Pamela into her home the child cracks open the past Ellen thought she had escaped and the future she had dreamed for herself. As the war rages on, love grows where it was least expected, surprising them all. But with the end of the fighting comes the realization that Pamela was never theirs to keep…

It's been a while since I cried my eyes out on reading a book. I cried near the middle and I think I cried all the way  through the last few chapters, real sobbing! 
I did have a little problem maybe half way through the book when I though it got a bit lost in descriptions of things that weren't relevant but skimming through those pages rectified that. It may just have been me wanting to get back to the story. 
I really loved this story ; a story of love between a woman and a child,a man and woman and between friends. The kind of love that lasts for a lifetime even if the person you love is not at your side. 
The book begins in 1940 with the child Pamela being found on the bus by Ellen. The bus is full of people who are escaping from the bombing in Southampton. In the confusion no one knows where Pamela's mother is. It was thought she was on another bus but everyone is so upset about the homes  they left behind that Pamela's problem is somewhat forgotten.
Ellen decides to take Pamela until someone claims her. She already has the evacuees all boys who are also from Southampton so a girl is a welcome guest. Ellen's husband Selwyn tries to find foster parent for the little girl and this enrages Ellen as she has fallen for Pamela and loves her already and wants to care for her which is exactly what her husband was afraid of.
We go back to the 1930's and Ellen's childhood. A heartbreaking riches to rags story, so sad that she would never have survived if not for the kindness of a few people.
The supporting cast in the book all had their place in Ellen's life. I Particularly liked Selwyn and William. I don't want to give any more of the story away as I feel it would spoil the  book for you.
Out now for kindle (7.99) Here  which I think is expensive and in hardback. Maybe see if the library has a copy.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook

1943: The world is at war, and the villagers of Tyneham are being asked to make one more sacrifice: to give their homes over to the British army. But on the eve of their departure, a terrible act will cause three of them to disappear forever.
2018: Melissa had hoped a break on the coast of Dorset would rekindle her stagnant relationship, but despite the idyllic scenery, it’s pushing her and Liam to the brink. When Melissa discovers a strange photograph of a woman who once lived in the forgotten local village of Tyneham, she becomes determined to find out more about her story. But Tyneham hides a terrible secret, and Melissa’s search for the truth will change her life in ways she never imagined possible.

Tyneham,a village that was evacuated in 1943 after being requisitioned by the army. All the residents had to move to other areas in the hope of returning after the war was over.
I found this a sad part of the book. Over 200 people uprooting their lives and neighbours being separated. They did it for the war effort not knowing that the army didn't even want their homes only the land round about for training. They also didn't know that they would never return. 

In 2017 Melissa is on holiday in Dorset when it all goes wrong and she has to find ways of occupying herself. She sees a notice that says that nearby Tyneham village is to be opened to the public for the first time. With nothing else to do Melissa decides to visit it.  She meets Guy who is a TV celebrity and historian, his grandmother Anna was one of the residents evacuated from the village. Together they become interested in the history of the place and when Melissa sees a photo of Lady Veronica and her husband she is disturbed to notice how unhappy and frightened Veronica looks and is determined to find out why.

Both timelines held really good stories for me. I liked the interaction between Melissa and Guy and the fact that she didn't know he was a celebrity so wasn't in awe of him. The story in 1943 and of Anna and Veronica had me on the edge of my seat and biting my nails.

I would have liked to have have known more about what happened to the other residents of the village,where were they moved to? What kind of lives did they have? But maybe this is a subject for another book in the future. 
A book that held my interest and I enjoyed both timelines. 

Monday, 1 April 2019

Her Best Friend's Secret by Anna Mansell

Four teenage friends all go their separate ways in life. Twenty years later two of them bump into each other and decide to contact the others for a reunion. All four of them have misgivings about meeting up, will it still be the same? Have they all changed too much?
When they do meet up we learn that there are a few secrets floating around that the women don't know whether to keep to themselves or share.

I really enjoyed this story of friendship and how even after twenty years apart it can still be revived. I liked how strong the women became when they had the support of each other.
Published today. I haven't read this author before but I'll definitely be having a look at her other books.

Out in paperback or kindle download Here

Friday, 1 March 2019

The Mum Who Got a Her Life Back by Fiona Gibson

When her 18-year-old twins leave for university, single mum Nadia’s life changes in ways she never expected: her Glasgow flat feels suddenly huge, laundry doesn’t take up half her week, and she no longer has to buy ‘the Big Milk’. After almost two decades of putting everyone else first, Nadia is finally taking care of herself. And with a budding romance with new boyfriend Jack, She’s never felt more alive.
That is, until her son Alfie drops out of university, and Nadia finds her empty nest is empty no more. With a heartbroken teenager to contend with, Nadia has to ask herself: is it ever possible for a mother to get her own life back? And can Jack and Nadia’s relationship survive having a sulky teenager around?

It's publication day for really nice rom- com story by Fiona Gibson. Nadia is getting her life back after her teenage twins leave home for university. She has a new man in her life and all is going well until her son lands back on her doorstep again. 
I understood how Nadia felt as when my daughter left home she kept coming back again and again, Usually just as I had redecorated her room to my liking.
Alfie is an annoying teenager. Leaving everything on the floor,not clearing up after himself and being a vegan, to name but a few things. Nadia is feeling annoyed that her space and time with new boyfriend Jack is being invaded so she over compensates by paying a fortune for vegan food for Alfie and running after him like she would a toddler.
Alfie eventually lets her down in a big way and causes a rift between her and Jack. Nadia seems just to accept this and I was surprised that she let Alfie off so easily.
I loved the relationship between Jack and Iain, a volunteer at the charity shop Jack manages. Iain made me think of a young Roy Cropper from Coronation Street.
I enjoyed this book especially as it is set in Glasgow. It's maybe doesn't have as many laugh out loud moments as some of the author's previous books but still has moments to make you smile and some tender ones too.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

The Missing Sister by Dinah Jeffries

Belle Hatton has embarked upon an exciting new life far from home: a glamorous job as a nightclub singer in 1930s Burma, with a host of sophisticated new friends and admirers. But Belle is haunted by a mystery from the past - a 25 year old newspaper clipping found in her parents' belongings after their death, saying that the Hattons were leaving Rangoon after the disappearance of their baby daughter, Elvira. 
Belle is desperate to find out what happened to the sister she never knew she had - but when she starts asking questions, she is confronted with unsettling rumours, malicious gossip, and outright threats. Oliver, an attractive, easy-going American journalist, promises to help her, but an anonymous note tells her not to trust those closest to her. . . 
Belle survives riots, intruders, and bomb attacks - but nothing will stop her in her mission to uncover the truth. Can she trust her growing feelings for Oliver? Is her sister really dead? And could there be a chance Belle might find her?

Dinah Jeffries once again whisks us off to the other side of the world and another time.
In this book we are in Burma both in 1921 where we hear Diana's story and in 1936 where we hear Belle's.

Belle's father has died and she is travelling to Burma to take up a job singing in a hotel.
She also has another reason for choosing Burma. It is the place where her parents lived and where she has just found out her sister mysteriously disappeared when she was three weeks old. Her mother Diana was blamed partly because she had post natal depression and was acting strange. Her parents moved back to England soon after. 
Belle didn't receive much attention from her mother as a child then one day her mother was gone and a few years later her father told her Diana had passed away.
Diana's story is heartbreaking. Losing her baby takes over her life and no one understood about post natal depression. Her husband is only sympathetic for a limited time then Diana has to face the consequences of what he decides for her.

Once Belle begins her quest to find out what happened to her sister various people appear to want to help her but she doesn't know who to trust. Are they helping or are they trying to prevent her from finding out the truth.
This was definitely a page turner. There seems to be danger for Belle at every corner.

I was swept up with the descriptions of Rangoon and Mandalay. The markets, the crowded streets and the feeling of unease as Belle walked them.
Belle seemed quite naive at first but gradually she became a strong woman who would stop at nothing to find out the truth. She had choices to make. Did she trust Oliver or Edward. Both seem willing to help but as she is warned off the one she is falling for, does she follow her heart or her head? 
I always enjoy a Dinah Jefferies book and this one lives up to my expectations. A really good read.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Coming Home to Holly Close Farm by Julie Houston

Charlie Maddison loves being an architect in London, but when she finds out her boyfriend, Dominic, is actually married, she runs back to the beautiful countryside of Westenbury and her parents. Charlie's sister Daisy, a landscape gardener, is also back home in desperate need of company and some fun. 
Their great-grandmother, Madge – now in her early nineties – reveals she has a house, Holly Close Farm, mysteriously abandoned over sixty years ago, and persuades the girls to project manage its renovation. 
As work gets underway, the sisters start uncovering their family's history, and the dark secrets that are hidden at the Farm. A heart-breaking tale of wartime romance, jealousy and betrayal slowly emerges, but with a moral at its end: true love can withstand any obstacle, and, before long, Charlie dares to believe in love again too...

When Charlie returns from work to her boyfriend's apartment in London where she lives she is met by another woman and finds out in the most embarrassing way possible that both her life in London and her job are over.
Reluctantly she returns to her parents house in Midhope,Yorkshire where she finds both her sister Daisy and her father's mother Viviane in residence. 
Although this is the last place Charlie wants to be I could feel the love of her family surrounding her like a cosy blanket and thought that was exactly what she needed.

 Charlie's mum was mostly brought up by her grandmother Madge while her own mother was off doing her own thing ( which she still is). Madge at the age of 94 is now in a care home after a fall but expects to be returning to her own house soon.

Through another family member, Charlie, Daisy and the rest of the family discover that Madge has another house,one she has not seen for sixty years and has kept a secret from everyone.

We go back to wartime Britain and hear Madge's story of the love of her life and how she came to acquire the property, Holly Close Farm.

The story set in present day is full of laughs and funny situations as you get to expect from a book written by Julie Houston. The wartime story is a little different from her usual but proves that Julie is a versatile and emotional writer. 
I loved the wartime story. I held my breath when things seemed to go so wrong for Madge and wanted so much for a happy ending. 

The love within this family shone through the whole book. When the girls spoke about their childhood and the things they got up to. The love they had for their great grandmother as the tried to make life better for her.

Unknown to them their mum secretly loves having the house with only her husband there so she doesn't have to cook and can indulge in her pottery hobby. 

A really good read and yes,I cried at the ending. Always a sign for me of a good story.

Sorry no links working but out for kindle on Amazon and on sale  in paperback. 

The Feud by Amanda James

Matthew Trevelyar leaves his job in London to return to his Cornish roots in the village of St Agnes. After losing his wife to leukae...