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. 

Monday, 11 February 2019

The Man I Fell in Love With by Kate Field







Sometimes we find happiness where we least expect it…
After twenty years of contented marriage, no one is more surprised than Mary Black when her husband announces he’s leaving her… for another man.
For the sake of the children, Mary has no choice but to pick herself up and start again. She hosts family meals that include Leo and his new partner. She copes with the kids wanting to spend less time with her and more time with their ‘fun’ dads. But one thing she can’t quite ignore is Leo’s gorgeous brother, who has just come back to town.




Mary finds out at a party that her husband, Leo is gay and is leaving her,in fact he has only been waiting until the children are old enough to do so. After twenty years of marriage I expected a more explosive reaction from Mary,but no,she is like a sheep to the slaughterhouse.
Mary takes  all that Leo throws at her, and  it's a lot. She accepts his partner immediately with hardly any questions asked.
This actually put me off the book at first as it made me so annoyed. I couldn't see anyone reacting or not reacting to a life changing episode like this in real life.
However after Leo's brother arrived on the scene I started to really enjoy the story. Mary's mother in law was also lovely and very supportive to her.
When you find out near the end of the book the past history of Mary,Leo and some other people I suspect it will make you as annoyed as it made me.
I loved the story but still can't forgive Mary for not standing up for herself more and trying to keep everyone happy.

Sorry,no links but £2.99 for kindle on Amazon and also out in paperback.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Sister's Secret by Jennie Felton











Can she hide the truth to protect those she loves?
The Sykes family have lived at Fairley Terrace since their youngest daughter, Rowan, was born. Fiercely clever, Rowan finds it difficult to fit in with the other village children, so when her beloved older sister, Laurel, takes a new job and moves back home, Rowan is overjoyed. 
Laurel is happy to be with her family - even if she's keeping the real reason for her return to herself. It seems like she's destined to keep repeating the mistakes of her past when it comes to matters of the heart. 
The two sisters are each longing for excitement and a fresh start, and when familiar faces return to Fairley Terrace, along with an enigmatic new resident, it looks like they might get their wish. But their harmony is about to be shattered by a mysterious stranger who threatens to expose a long-kept secret - and is prepared to stop at nothing to wreak revenge on the family.





The Sister's Secret mainly focuses on Laurel  who has moved back to the family home in Fairley Terrace to begin a new job at a local hospital. While her young sister Rowan is delighted to have her back, her sour faced mother Minty seems to have some misgivings. The news that a her neighbour's daughter, Maggie Donavon is returning from America with her husband and children doesn't make Minty any happier as Maggie is just not her sort.
There are many different stories running through this book Some brought tears,some suspense and some made me smile. 
This is the fifth and final book in The Families of Fairley Terrace series. Jennie Felton has brought us up to date by bringing some of the characters from the other books into this one and re- uniting us with them. This was a welcome surprise and makes me want to read the other books all over again.

What I love about these books is that the author lifts a curtain to the past and we step into the 1900's and experience a part of the social history of our country.
Jennie Felton's female characters are always strong women who eventually rise above brutish bullies and evil men.
The research that goes into these books is impeccable. The descriptions, the sights and sounds of the village play in my head like a movie.
Each book in the series can be read alone as they are not follow- ups : Although characters from previous books are mentioned.
If you haven't read any read what a treat you will have starting at book one and keep on reading until book five.
If you enjoy Katie Flynn, Josephine Cox or Catherine Cookston  then you'll love this one. 

Blogger is playing up and won't allow me to post any links. The Sister's Secret is for sale on Amazon and for kindle download and also in Tesco,Asda and bookstores.

Friday, 1 February 2019

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper







Stephanie and Jamie are meant to be. The problem is they're both with other people...

Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has. 

Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?

When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything...



When Jamie and Stephanie meet they realize they have met their souls mates, the person they are meant to be with. The only problem is that Jamie is married and loves his wife and Stephanie is engaged. We follow them over the next ten years as their lives move on but their connection to each other remains the same.

I can't believe I was on the side of the cheaters in this book,but I was. Jamie and Stephanie are very likable characters and their passion for each other is felt through the words of the author.

I didn't know which way the story would end as one year led into another and I thought time had to run out for the lovers.

A book which drew me inside the story and made me not want to put it down until the last page. I even shed a few tears.

This is Roxie Cooper's second book and is completely different from her first book ( which I loved). 

I think she's done so well with this book and look forward to the next one.

 

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

In a large house in London’s fashionable Chelsea, a baby is awake in her cot. Well-fed and cared for, she is happily waiting for s...