Friday, 19 October 2018

The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul

With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia's imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.

Fifty-five years later . . .
Val rushes to her father's side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: 'I didn't want to kill her.' As she unravels the secrets behind her mother's disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world's greatest mysteries.

Gill Paul is one of my favourite writers. Her books sweep you off your feet and transport you to a time in history you are glad you didn't have lived through.
This is the second book where the subject is one of the lost daughters of the Russian Royal Family who were executed in 1918. I have always been fascinated by the story that one of the daughters,  Anastacia may have escaped, many women have claimed to be her , a film was made, but none have been proven.
In her last book, The Secret Wife, Gill Paul wrote about Titania and what if she had escaped, what happened to her?

In this book she explores the question what if Maria escaped? She was a very friendly girl especially with the guards and a few of them liked her very much.
These two books although fiction are not without the realms of possibility. As we know how difficult it was for the guards to think about killing the young woman and children they had grown fond of .
 It is said that the remains of the bodies of the royal family were covered in acid so nothing was left. The only body identified was that of Tsar Nicholas 11.
I believe that if any of the family had survived they would have stayed in hiding as they would surely have been made to disappear if discovered by the authorities.

This story tugged at my heartstrings. I never realised how much the Russian people suffered during the rule of Stalin. Neighbours telling tales on each other and children being forced to spy on their parents. Countless arrests were made in the middle of the night and no one felt safe in bed.
The Second World War brought more hardship and thousands of people died. Maria had such a hard life especially after the privileged life she led before. I admired everything about her. 
This part of the story was quite a tense and harrowing read. Danger was around every corner and people became insular as no one could be trusted.

The second part of the story is set in Australia in the 1970’s. Val’s boorish Russian father dies leaving behind stories untold, especially about what happened to Val’s Chinese mother all those years ago. Val has to handle her brutal husband first before she can get to her father's possessions. The law and her husband’s old friend’s network is against her but Val gets strength from her young daughter, friends  and the thought of maybe finding her own mother again.

This book is just brilliant. It provoked every emotion in me and kept me glued until the end...and what an ending ! 
At the end of the book is a historical afterward by Gill Paul. I really appreciated this as I was uninterested in history at school probably down to the way it was taught. Gill makes it all so interesting. I know her stories are fiction built around true events but there's always a part of me that thinks….this just might be true!

Out in paperback and kindle is only 99p
( sorry blogger won't do links) 

Monday, 10 September 2018

The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

What must Estella sacrifice to make her mark?

1940: Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.

2015: Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother's work - one of the world's leading designers of ready-to-wear. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother's past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets - and the sacrifices made for love.

Estella is forced to flee Paris as the Germans invade. Her mother Jeane stays behind but gives her daughter her blessing to leave. Estella promises to return as soon as it's safe.
Working as a seamstress Estella finds a job in the garment district,she also copies patterns for high couture dresses for other companies. 
In 2015 Estella's granddaughter Fabienne is called to her bedside just before she passes away. As Fabienne goes through her grandmother's possessions we learn what a heartbreaking life Estella had and how ordinary people like her and those connected to her helped the war effort.
There are many surprises in this story and I shed a few tears. I liked the duel storyline and the way the story of Estella was revealed. 
Another author I've just found and I need to read more of her books. 
No links(sorry) . Kindle download is out now £1.99 and paperback will be published on Oct 4th.

Her Name Was Rose by Claire Allan

Her name was Rose. You watched her die. And her death has created a vacancy. 

When Emily lets a stranger step out in front of her, she never imagines that split second will change her life. But after Emily watches a car plough into the young mother – killing her instantly – she finds herself unable to move on.

And then she makes a decision she can never take back.

Because Rose had everything Emily had ever dreamed of. A beautiful, loving family, a great job and a stunning home. And now Rose’s husband misses his wife, and their son needs a mother. Why couldn’t Emily fill that space?

But as Emily is about to discover, no one’s life is perfect … and not everything is as it seems.

Emily,who is still recovering from rejection and obsessive behaviour witnesses a fatal accident. The victim, Rose becomes the focus of Emily's attention and as she becomes more obsessed she finds it easy to slip into the space Rose left behind.

Of course all is not as it seems and as Emily steps into Roses's shoes at work and at home she may just be wishing she had stayed in her own shoes.

I really enjoyed this book,wondering where it would go and how far Emily would push things before someone found out what she was doing. Emily is a flawed character looking for love and acceptance,she just goes about it the wrong way.

This is the first book I have read by this author but her other books sound good too. 

My links are not working but this book is out in paperback and kindle download is 99p. 

Friday, 7 September 2018

Summer of Secrets by Nikola Scott

August 1939
At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives...
Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband's devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she's drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything...

A duel storyline linked by the character of Maddy. In 1939 two young sisters orphaned by the death of their father are sent to live in Summerlea estate with their aunt. When older sister Georgina returns from Europe bringing her party going upper-class friends with her, Maddy is not impressed as she wanted Georgina to herself.
I found it took me a while to get into this part of the story. Georgina's friends didn't interest me and nor did Victor who I thought from the beginning was obnoxious. I did eventually get hooked on the story when Maddy started telling it to Chloe.
I immediately loved the present day story and every fibre of my being hoped for Chloe to stand up to her husband Aiden. Chloe was a strong woman who was being torn down by him. 
Chloe is a photographer and although Aiden has told her to take no more jobs on she can't resist t when she's asked to take photos of Madeleine who with her sister wrote and illustrated children's books. 
As revelations from 1939 become clear Maddy and Chloe become closer and Chloe tries to escape from the nightmare she is trapped in.
I loved this story once I got into the 1939 part and I felt sad when it ended.
This is the author's second book and this would definitely make me want to read her first one.

Out for kindle £1.99 or paperback HERE

The House Across the Street by Lesley Pearse

Twenty-three year old Katy Speed is fascinated by the house across the street. The woman who lives there, Gloria, is the most glamorous neighbour on the avenue, owning a fashionable dress shop in Bexhill-on-Sea. But who is the woman who arrives in the black car most Saturdays while Gloria is at work? Sometimes she brings women to the house, other times they have children.
Hilda, Katy's mother, disapproves of Gloria. She wonders if these mysterious visitors have just been released from prison. Is Gloria secretly bringing criminals, or worse, into the heart of the community?
Then one night, the house burns down. In the wreckage, the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found. Katy is sure the unexplained visitors must be responsible until her father is arrested and charged with murder. Have the police arrested the correct person? Are the rest of the street safe? Can Katy find the truth before it's too late?

Katy is devastated when her father is arrested, accused of starting a fire in the house across the street which killed the mysterious Gloria and her daughter who was visiting her. Worst of all Katy's mother seems to believe the police and is not standing by her husband. 

Katy decides to go ahead with her plans to move to London with her friend Jilly as she can't stand the thought of staying at home with her cold, unloving mother now that her father is in prison and her brother at university. The girls stay with Jilly's aunt and uncle until they can find a flat and Katy finds a new job. 

Katy starts to investigate the life of Gloria hoping to find something to clear her father's name. 
This was when Katy started to annoy me and also get herself into trouble as she starts to think she knows best and goes against everyone's advice.

There is a good back story to this as we find out what Gloria was really doing in the house across the street.

A fast-paced book that you won't be able to put down until the last page has been read.

Out for kindle, paperback and hardback HERE although I do think the kindle edition is pricey. Maybe go for the paperback in a suipermarket.

Monday, 3 September 2018

One Day in December by Josie Silver,plus a guest post by the author.

Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist. After all, life isn't a scene from the movies, is it?
But then, through a misted-up bus window one snowy December day, she sees a man who she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away. 
Laurie thinks she'll never see the boy from the bus again. But at their Christmas party a year later, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.
Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?
Following Laurie, Sarah and Jack through ten years of love, heartbreak and friendship, One Day in December is a joyous, heart-warming and immensely moving love story that you'll want to escape into forever, for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Diamond and Nicholas Sparks.

Be still my beating heart! Love at first sight! 
When Laurie sees the boy at the bus stop while she's a passenger on the top deck of the bus she falls in love. Unfortunately the bus moves off before he can get on it and the moment passes. 
Laurie tells her best friend and flat mate Sarah all about him and they spend weeks trying to find him.
A year later Sarah introduces the love of her life " the one" to Laurie and she is broken hearted to discover he is the boy from the bus.
The course of true love never runs smooth and Laurie has to forget Jack as Sarah is in love with him so she has to get on with her life just having him as a friend no matter how much it hurts.
I loved this story. Laurie was such a lovely character but then so was Sarah. So while I wanted Laurie to find Jack again I also wanted Sarah to be happy. 
Laurie and Sarah have such a strong bond they are like sisters. A bond that only loving the same man could break.
There's such a lot of twists and turns in this story and I often thought there was no way for Jack and Sarah to ever be together. We never know what fate has in store for us next and where it will take us.
I could see this as a Christmas film.
And that's all I'm giving away. A lovely heartwarming story of love and friendship ......and fate! 

I'm so pleased to be today's stop on the blog tour for Josie Silver's debut novel. I hope to hear a lot more of this author.
Out for kindle 99p HERE and published in paperback in October.

And now a guest post by the author.

Where I write - Josie Silver

We've recently moved house, so my office is best described as a work in progress. It's not exactly a room; it's more of a big square landing outside my bedroom, probably the world's shortest commute! I've lots of lovely plans for it in the long-term, but for now I have a pretty desk my sister painted for me, and a retro leather chair my brother gave me a few birthday's ago. You can usually find me there with a coffee on the go, surrounded by post it notes and to-do lists.
There's a window to one side looking out over the garden - I like to have a view for variety. 
I don't always write at my desk, though, I tend to move around the house depending on what I'm working on, and also on the weather. If it's a sunny day I like to work outside, and in the winter it's not unusual for me to take my laptop back to bed and work from there! 
I have a comfortable chair and footstool that used to be in my office in the old house; it's now next to an open fireplace in one of the downstairs rooms, hopefully a warm spot for the cold days ahead.
We have two cats - Theo, a Russian blue and Elsa who's Bengal. Most days they'll make an appearance wherever I am, especially if there is a fire or a warm blanket around too. 
My husband has grand plans to build me a writing shed at the bottom of the garden. It's been something we've talked about idly for some years now, and the new place does have the perfect spot for it in one corner. It's become a shed of mythical proportions over the years - a cross between the Weasley's burrow from Harry Potter and a tiny fairytale house with stained windows and an upstairs sleeping platform! My husband is pretty handy so I have to say I have high expectations. For now though, my landing office will do me nicely - working from home is a privilege I don't take for granted, I really love it. 

Thank you Josie sounds like a lovely place to write but get your hubby onto that writing shed!

Josie had sent me photos of her writing space but unfortunatly both my ipad and computer don't want to copy them. Sorry Josie.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

One Thousand Stars and You by Isabelle Broom

One spark will illuminate both their lives
Alice is settling down. It might not be the adventurous life she once imagined, but more than anything she wants to make everyone happy - her steady boyfriend, her over-protective mother - even if it means a little part of her will always feel stifled.
Max is shaking things up. After a devastating injury, he is determined to prove himself. To find the man beyond the disability, to escape his smothering family and go on an adventure.
A trip to Sri Lanka is Alice's last hurrah - her chance to throw herself into the heat, chaos and colour of a place thousands of miles from home.
It's also the moment she meets Max.
Alice doesn't know it yet, but her whole life is about to change.
Max doesn't know it yet, but he's the one who's going to change it.

Alice and her two friends are celebrating their 30 th birthdays with a trip to Sri Lanka which they always said they would do. For Alice, it's her last taste of freedom before settling down with her boyfriend. 
An accident when she was young left Alice with a facial scar and stopped her tomboy and adventurous ways. Her mother became so overprotective after that and made Alice scared to do anything. Richard, her boyfriend is every bit as bad and they don't seem suited.
Max is an amputee after an incident while in the army in Afghanistan. He wants to prove he can do as much as anyone else to the point where he hides his pain. 
Yes, it's a love story, but it's a beautiful one. It's the story of a young woman finally loving life and believing in herself for the for the first time since her accident. And the story of a young man accepting who he is.
Travelling around Sri Lanka, staying in huts, going on safari, all provided a background of excitement to the story.
And....a lovely ending.
Published today! 
Find it here!

The Lost Daughter by Gill Paul

1918 With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia's imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daug...