The Mothers of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries / Blog Tour

Hi guys, happy Wednesday and welcome to my stop on Nadine Dorries blog tour. The Mothers of Lovely Lane is my first book by this author but for sure not the last – Nadine has incredible way with words and has created a beautiful, poignant novel and I am already looking forward to reading other books in this series. If you’re looking for a captivating historical fiction that you can lose yourself in, than The Mothers of Lovely Lane may be the perfect book for you!

The Mothers of Lovely Lane by Nadine Dorries



34862490Publisher: Head of Zeus

Publishing Date: 15th June 2017

Series: Lovely Lane #3

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 464

Genre:  Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 18.03.2018)

 

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of The Angels of Lovely Lane, The Four Streets and Ruby Flynn.

Noleen Delaney is one of an army of night cleaners at St Angelus hospital in Liverpool. Since her husband was injured in the war, she has supported her five children. With help from her eldest, Bryan – a porter’s lad – the family just about gets by.

When Finn, her youngest, passes the eleven plus exam, Noleen feels faint. Allowing Finn to attend the grammar will stretch her purse too far.

When Bryan steps in to help, the results rock the St Angelus community. As the nurses of Lovely Lane near their final exams, Noleen will find herself tested, and her heart broken. Just how far can a mother’s love stretch?

Rating: four-stars





The Mothers of Lovely Lane is a third book in The Lovely Lane series, but it was new to me. I haven’t read the two previous books and, as usually, when starting reading series not in the right order I was somehow anxious but now I can absolutely positively state that this book can be read as a stand – alone. Sure, there are some flashbacks and glimpses into the past but it didn’t make the story in any way confusing.

What made it confusing however, and I must add it right at the beginning, was the incredibly huge number of the characters and the way the story was told itself. I must admit that I almost gave up on identifying who is who, to whom they belong and what is their story as there were so many of them. And also, with it being a rather long book, the fact that sometimes we needed two or three chapters to come to an event that was mentioned as happening right now, it just made me feel the whole story was dragging on and honestly, there were moments that I was losing my patience and interest and I wanted to bang on the table and shout hurry up, please, let’s something happen, I want that ward to be opened eventually! But that’s just me. And actually I don’t have more things to whine about, so let’s start gushing now, right?

The story is set in a gritty area of Liverpool and mostly revolves around St. Angelus hospital, a place where people come for help when they are sick and injured, and it also links all the characters in this story: our main characters but also the doctors, other nurses and the St. Angelus mafia. Among the many characters we have Dessie, helping other families who have suffered in the war or who have lost beloved ones. There are Biddy and Elsie, those so much needed characters, the busybodies who knows everything about everyone but whose presence lightens the situations so often, and Noleen, who works as a cleaner then to go home to take care about her husband injured in the war and their children. She was an incredible character and I think that every heart will go to her, as she did her utmost to keep the family alive. This feeling of community spirit, of friendship and of sharing this something special that only people who were victims to wars can share is overwhelming and is so easily brought to life by the author. The characters were all hard working, yet they were the people who wore their hearts on their sleeves and supported each other in this incredible, non – egoistical way.

The author has incredible way with words. She is able to effortlessly transport you into the fictional word of her characters. She vividly shows the harsh reality of post – war times but she also creates world full of hope and balances it with beautiful, poignant moments. There is a lot of friendship, drama, heartbreak, compassion and love, about family bonds and relationships, about the determination to not only survive but also to help. It shows the true sense of being a part of community. It was so heart – breaking to see that all of the characters in this book were somehow touched by the war, that they all were victims to drama and that they were not spared any tragedy. They truly experienced a lot in their lives and I admired this side of them, because they were people who really have seen and experienced a lot in their lives and had something to tell. They have depth to them, they have complex personalities and distinctive voices.

Altogether, The Mothers of Lovely Lane was moving, lovely historical fiction about changes – and, as we know, changes can be good or not, and this story gives us a wide view without judging. It was about strength and determination and written in absolutely beautiful, vivid way. Nadine Dorries may be a new author to me but I will be looking to read more of her books. In the meantime, I can only recommend this epic historical novel to you.


FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR FOR MORE REVIEWS & EXTRACTS!

mothers-of-lovely-lane-blog-tour-1_2

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

 

32708427Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 1st June 2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: Mystery & Thriller,, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

There’s trouble in paradise. . .

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy. It should be paradise, but it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?

Rating: four-stars

Tina Seskis is a new author to me, although I’ve of course heard about her novels before – however, The Honeymoon is my first read by this author. And judging by the feelings it caused in me, I’ll sooner rather than later treat myself to Ms Seskis’s whole backlist, as this book was truly something different, something refreshing and unexpected.
This review may come as raw and not well organized but it is because I live in fear that I’m going to let something slip and spoil the reading for you, and this I would never forgive myself. It isn’t easy to tell you then why this book was so special and so please, just do trust me when I say that this novel is going to entice you and will probably put you off planning a holidays to the Maldives. Joking. Nothing will put me off. Or, maybe…?

In The Honeymoon we follow Jemma, freshly married and on her honeymoon in Maldives. Sadly, the holidays doesn’t turn out to be such relaxing and full of love as you could expect – Jemma’s husband has gone missing. We are then introduced to other characters, Jamie and Dan and get to know that Jemma has past with both of them. The story is told mostly from Jemma’s point of view, and we quickly start to doubt in her, she’s a truly unreliable narrator and she knows how to mess with our minds. It’s only much later that the other characters’ points of view are being used – however, I think they don’t explain much. Jemma’s story is told jumping between the past and the present and we get a chance to learn about her life, her background, her history and what happened in the lead – up to the honeymoon. Jemma was not the most likeable person, to be honest. She seemed really not to know what it is she wants from her life, she behaved as if everything and everyone should dance to her tune. She was frustrating, and I really couldn’t warm to her. She was spoilt and behaved like the worst sort of princess and truly, those feelings of dislike made you feel uncertain and you start to wonder what really happened, IF something really happened, and if it’s truth that Jemma doesn’t remember the night that her husband disappeared. Does she have anything to hide? Or the other characters are the ones that hide something? Because all the other characters felt also so very untrustworthy, guys, to be honest, but it only made the reading even more exciting and suspicious. But altogether, the author has brilliantly described her characters.

There is not any of this overwhelming tension in this novel but you still have a feeling that any time something can happen but you have no idea what – and I had many assumptions but, of course, I was far, far away from the truth. You know, you can often see books being advertised having incredible twist but you can see this twists coming almost immediately. This time, however, this twist was unexpected, unforeseen, and so shocking that I really didn’t know what to do with it. I loved what the author has done when writing about Jemma’s husband missing. I can bet anything that you’ve also assumed who her husband is – in fact, I skim – read the first part of the book once more, just to make sure that I haven’t missed anything – it was so brilliantly done!
The only thing that bothered me a little was the fact that the book was relatively slow, there was not a lot happening and just too often it felt a little bit to repetitive. Yes, I do understand that for this kind of a story the pace was actually right but it was the repetitiveness that slowed it down even more.

The descriptions of the little Maldivian island were so incredibly vivid, so easily brought to life and it was so easy to imagine the heat of the place, to feel the hot sun on your skin. However, even though it was a real paradise, there was a claustrophobic feeling to it – maybe because it was so isolated? Or maybe because Jemma felt this way?

It is slow burning and the author brilliantly builds the tension, right from the very first page and she keeps us guessing to the very end – it doesn’t happen often and the more I enjoyed the book. It sucks you in and you can’t help but start thinking why did Jemma’s husband disappeared – and there were plenty of possible scenarios, and it was brilliant to discover them and be kept in uncertainty.
The whole story is split into four parts, with the chapters jumping between past and present. It is full of surprises, red – herrings and dead – ends. Addictive and haunting, a novel about regrets, secrets, mistakes and misunderstanding. As usually, I had my own suspicions, but they changed so often and of course I was wrong. Yes, I guessed who but only when it was revealed to us, so this and the circumstances were like a bolt out of the blue and it made my stomach somersault – and I am sure it’s going to stay with me for a long, long time to come.

So this book, guys. Seriously. It had me hooked and it had me race through the pages because I desperately wanted to know what’s going on and what’s going to happen. This claustrophobic feeling was overwhelming, because just imagine – one small island and SOMETHING has happened there, right? I mean, Jemma’s husband must be somewhere, no? Then the end. So controversial and to be honest I am still not sure what to think about it, but it MADE me think, and wonder, and consider. I can bet anything that nobody will work this end out. I am not sure if there were any clues leading to this end, to be honest, or if the author so masterfully has pulled wool over my eyes. It was so clever and so tricky. A story about obsession and revenge, resentment and jealousy, about messy relationships and family dynamics. The author has created a great psychological thriller that kept me on my tenterhooks till the end. Shocking and thought provoking – recommended from me!

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

 

33148474Publisher: Doubleday

Publishing Date: 2nd May  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 368

Genre: Mystery, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller and global phenomenon The Girl on the Train returns with Into the Water, her addictive new novel of psychological suspense.

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

Rating: four-stars

So guys. Confession time. I haven’t read “The Girl on the Train”. So there. Must be probably the last person in the world, right? However, I of course have heard tones about this book. I even have it on my never ending TBR pile and one day I am absolutely certain that I’m going to get to read it. Nevertheless, as soon as I spotted that Paula Hawkin’s dreaded second novel is to be released soon, I just knew that I have to read it. I didn’t need to read the synopsis, I just knew I. Want. To. Read. It. And maybe it’s better that it is my first book by this author as I’m not going to make any comparisons to the hugely talked about debut novel.

There are relatively many characters in this book. Each chapter is devoted to a different character. Some of them are more significant, some not so much and actually it always took me some time to think twice who the person is and what’s their story, especially when it was one of the more background characters. It was a little difficult, especially at the beginning, to focus with so many distinct points of view. But then I also started to enjoy this way of telling the story, as it really gave us a chance to get to know each of the characters, to see what makes them tick. The characters were not easy to like, but I’m starting to learn that with this kind of a book you don’t have to like them – all they need to be is to be believable, and it was absolutely the case here. With the great number of them it quickly turned out that there are many suspects and they all are going to bring many twists and turns, which only kept me glued to the pages. Each of them may play a part in the mysterious deaths of the women of the town.

The author has very vividly described the little town Beckford, I personally had a feeling that it is a gloom, grim place where the river played first fiddle. It was such a claustrophobic place, to be honest, and I was in awe how well the author has captured this atmosphere. This dark, forbidding water, named “The Drowning Pool”, was a place full of history, secrets, mysteries and a place where the witches were supposed to be sent swimming in the seventeenth century. It was not my most favourite place, however I could see its spell and could understand why Nel was so obsessed with it and the stories surrounding it, and why she wanted to unravel the mysteries.

The pace of the story was rather on the slow side but I think we can’t expect from this kind of a book to be quick. It often hinted at witchcraft and witches but it really did work here and it had me hooked, and it was also heart – breaking, guys. The author has built a tense atmosphere in this story, with characters hearing voices and creaking floorboards in the night. There are many threads in this novel, it is truly multi – layered, and the author does a great job mind – boggling and messing with you. Thousand times I was sure that I know who was the assassin and thousand times I was wrong. At the end, all of the layers are unpeeled to present us with a very satisfying, no – questions – opened finale. Well, almost no questions, because I’d have one or two about one or two of the characters. The sleepy town witnesses many scandalous turns of events and the author in a very skilled way builds the tensions and through the multiply points of view makes the things even more complicated and complex. The characters are connected, their paths cross and their relationships are strained, strong and weird. In my opinion it requires a lot of skill to achieve a satisfying conclusion with such complicated narrative with so many perspectives, and even though knowing who is who took me some time, I didn’t feel confused and with every new revelation you could see the proverbial light – bulb going on over my head, and all the elements of the puzzle were slowly falling into the right places.

I can only guess how hard it was for the author to sit and write the next book, keeping in mind the success of her debut novel. as I have already mentioned, I haven’t read this book, but “Into the Water” has put Ms Hawkins on my list of the authors not to be missed. In my opinion, this novel was a very clever, complex read. I wouldn’t say it’s a thriller, it is more a psychological mystery. The way the story was built, with the author throwing so many things at the reader, more and more and more of them, and complicate them to the point where you don’t know what to expect next, really did work here. I desperately wanted to know what’s going to happen, and which secrets are still to be revealed. There are some things that you can see coming but there are also many other that just hit you on the head and knocking your socks off. I really liked it, I was hooked and I will be recommending “Into the Water” to all of my friends.

 

c-rfi1ixcamnrgp

The Hourglass by Tracy Rees / Blog Tour

Hi guys, are you all having a great and sunny Bank Holiday?

Today I am especially THRILLED as I am kicking – off  Tracy Rees’s blog tour, celebrating her newest release, “The Hourglass”. I adore Tracy and her books, I am probably one of the hugest fans of her writing and am always impatiently waiting for new book from this author. This time Tracy Rees has something different for us but – as always – the novel is full of brilliantly drawn characters and the most beautiful setting. “The Hourglass” is out this Thursday and if you haven’t pre – ordered your copy yet, then wait no longer! It’s a hooking, multi – layered read that I am sure you’re going to enjoy!

The Hourglass by Tracy Rees

 

34136539Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 4th May  2017

Source:  Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 544

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘Tracy Rees is the most outstanding new voice in historical fiction’ Lucinda Riley. The powerful third novel from the author of the Richard and Judy bestseller Amy Snow.

  1. Sensible Nora has always taken success for granted, until suddenly her life begins to fall apart. Troubled by anxiety and nightmares, she finds herself drawn to the sweeping beaches of Tenby, a place she’s only been once before. Together with a local girl she rents a beautiful townhouse and slowly begins to settle in to her new life. But Tenby hides a secret, and Nora will soon discover that this little town by the sea has the power to heal even the most painful memories.
  2. Teenager Chloe visits Tenby every summer. She stays with relatives, and spends the long, IDYLLIC days on the beach. Every year is the same, until she meets a glamorous older boy and is instantly smitten. But on the night of their first date, Chloe comes to a realisation, the aftermath of which could haunt her forever.

The Hourglass is a moving novel about reinvention and reconciliation; about finding love even after it seems too late, about family and the healing power of a magical place by the sea.

Rating: four-stars

After two strictly historical fiction novels, Tracy Rees is trying her hand at more modern, present fiction. I must admit, “Hourglass” was not my most favourite book by this author, “Amy Snow” is still the top of my favourite reads ever, but this new release has tons of charm, is a beautiful story and I think that the author has passed this acid test with flying colours, delivering a time slip book full of feelings, emotions and relationships.
Yes, I admit, I was expecting something different, as Tracy Rees got me used to her brilliant, rich historical stories, so perhaps this is why I was a little bit confused at the beginning, but soon I started to feel very comfortable with the story and its flaw. It is a little on the slow side, this book, and compared to a very long introduction and the slow development the end seems a little too rushed and too short, and it bothered me a little, as I think this story needed a few more sparkles in the middle. It took me some time to find the connection, the tie – in, to see what all the characters have in common and what is the story that bonds them together, so maybe this is why I couldn’t get into the book for some time, looking for the clues and wondering why.

I appreciate that the chapters about Chloe and her summers are short, because how much can you write about Tenby Teens Dance and everybody admiring Chloe and her beauty and her problems with her cousin. What I so adored in those chapters was the way the feelings between Chloe and Llew were developing, without them seeing it for themselves, without them knowing or realising. It was so young and fresh and honest, however it was not at all obvious what’s going to happen with them, and I liked this small element of this mystery.

I appreciate the fact that Tracy Rees tried something different but, as much as I adored this book, I think that the previous novels by the author were better and I’d love if the next book by her were again deeply historical fiction. I am not saying that there was something wrong with “The Hourglass” – because there wasn’t, it was a beautiful story about redemption, finding love when we’re not looking for it or lost hope that we’re going to find it, about family bonds and I enjoyed every single minute spent in the company of Nora, Chloe and Jasmine. As always, the writing was beautiful, so full of feelings. The rich descriptions were vivid and drawing you in. The descriptions of the 1950’s summers, the clothes, make – ups and people’s personalities were a real joy, so vivid they were and the author brought all those elements so easily to life, and the excitement about going to the dance was so easy to grasp through the pages. I think that Chloe story was much more colourful than this of Nora, to be honest, and I couldn’t wait to see what more in store there is for her. For me Chloe was a very spirited young girl. She knew when and where to be lovely and brave and she knew when she’s able to show a little fire. There was a passion in her and she wore her heart on her sleeve. In comparison, Nora seemed a little pale, to be honest, and it took me some time to warm to her, to get into her and to understand her, but when it finally happened I truly fell for her and kept everything crossed for her. Nora underwent a transformation – at the beginning she was a uptight, closed in herself woman who seemed to have problems with everything and everyone, having anxiety problems, but slowly she started to come out of her shell and she proved she can be spontaneous, and I liked it very much. However I have never warmed to her completely, I had a feeling she has built a barrier around her that I couldn’t bypass. But – I loved to see how she was slowly regaining confidence, how she was finding her peace and her own feet.
There is a steady group of characters in “The Hourglass”, not too many and not too less. Some of them are very well described and portrayed and some of them, even though they are relatively significant characters, like for example Chloe’s cousin – well, I had a feeling that I am not able to get to know her as much as I’d like, that she’s holding back, that there is more to her but I still can’t say what it was. The little town of Tenby, where most of the story takes place is like a character of its own. Both Nora and Chloe quickly fall under its spell, the town has a great impact of them and all the best and worst things in their lives happen in Tenby.

There were too many moments, for my liking, when the story seemed to either drag on or stay in place, and there were too many repetitions of the same situations. There were not many twists and turns in this book, it was kept on a very steady level, so maybe this is why that when a twist appeared here or there eventually, they took me really by surprise, especially the one with Chloe. I was expecting something, however the things didn’t fall into place so completely, or maybe I was not careful enough, I don’t know.

Altogether, “The Hourglass” was an absorbing story about some women’s journey to find truth and their second chances. It was written in a beautiful, engaging way, full of emotions, the setting was gorgeous and effortlessly brought to life, and I could understand Chloe and Nora’s love to the place. Tracy Rees’s writing style is so incredibly warm and inviting and she can for certain create a very realistic fictional world, so that you feel like a part of the characters’ life and I really love this feeling. The author proves that with every new release she’s going from strength to strength and when picking up her novel you are going to receive a beautiful story with strong characters and well developed plot – and it is the same with “The Hourglass”. Highly recommended!

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

The Hourglass Blog Tour Poster

The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett

The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square by Lilly Bartlett

 

32934019Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 7th April  2017

Source:  Received from the author in return for an honest review, thank you!

Number of pages: 219

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

A heartwarming, cosy romance from Sunday Times bestselling author Michele Gorman, now writing as Lilly Bartlett

When Emma’s boyfriend Daniel pops the question with a ring the size of a small country, she suddenly realises just how different they are. She’s the Eastenders to his Made in Chelsea. She wants a low-key wedding with close friends and family in Uncle Colin’s pub, while Daniel’s mother is expecting a society do that their high-brow guests won’t forget!

How on earth can Emma put together a celebration fit for Lords and Ladies on a shoestring budget? Not to mention the fact her cross-dressing Uncle Barbara wants to be a bridesmaid, her best mate Kelly can’t stand Daniel’s best friend Cressida, and her dad is too proud to accept any help from Daniel’s family towards the costs.

There’s three months to go until the big day. Will Emma’s happy-ever-after end in disaster?

Rating: four-stars

Lately there was a lot of buzz about a new author, Lilly Bartlett, on Twitter, and there was this puzzle solving competition run by HarperImpulse who, actually, is Lilly Bartlett. I didn’t guess, of course, but seeing that it is, in fact, Michele Gorman, made me feel very desperate to read this book. Moreover, this title and the cover of this novel are so good – feeling and I would read this book no matter what. And, as it turned out, “The Big Little Wedding in Carlton Square” was a cute, romantic comedy to immediately lift your spirits and make you laugh and feel better.

This is a story about two different world, to be honest, and how well they can work together. The opposites attract, right? I loved to see that after the initial awkwardness Emma and Daniel’s parents found common ground and that the differences in their lives were mostly amusing for them and how much they enjoyed each other’s lives. The wedding dress shopping was of course a brilliant experience for me, less for Emma, I think, as she needed to organize two trips, for example. Also, I loved how laid – back Daniel’s family was about Emma’s extended family in the person of Uncle Barbara – he was absolutely brilliant! Actually, all the characters in this story are so colourful and quirky. They were just jumping out off the pages, so realistic they all felt. This East/West London divide was brilliant, and the difference in life – styles couldn’t be better captured.

I found the beginning a little confusing. I had a feeling there was no introduction, we were immediately thrown into the heart of the story and when mostly it works, here I was a little bit confused and it took me a moment to get my head around and start to feel at home, following Emma and Daniel’s wedding preparation. That Emma didn’t know that her fiancé Daniel not only has posh accent but comes from a very privileged family was this tad unbelievable for me and made me feel a little lukewarm. There were moments that Emma annoyed me incredibly and I just couldn’t get this whole “me”, “alone”, “I’ll do/organize it” thing. It was as if she didn’t trust anybody and felt she’d do everything better. On the other hand, I was very impressed with Daniel’s mother. She wanted to help so badly but was, of course, always refused, and she took it all in such a laid – back way, and it was brilliant. But – it was great to see how inventive and creative Emma and her friends are, especially now, in the times when you just need to click your fingers and have everything delivered to your doors.

This was a lovely, easy story, so light to read that you will be able to devour it in one sitting. Seeing this whole weeding come together was so heart-warming, guys, especially seeing how many people were engaged in organizing this event. This book clearly shows that it is not important HOW, but with whom, that those are people that count and when you are with people you love, everything is going to be perfect. But even with this message in it, it is not a cheesy read, oh no, it is clever, humorous and quirky read, full of bubbly characters and feel – good factor with the right amount of other important issues, such as accepting people as they are, illness and dealing with it.

Find Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt / Blog Tour + Giveaway

Hi there, and happy Thursday. A new day, a new blog tour  and today, guys, I have a review AND a giveaway for you. Hope you sit comfortably – enjoy!

find-me-at-willoughby-close-tour-banner

Find Me at Willoughby Close by Kate Hewitt

 

34113446Publisher: Tule Publishing

Publishing Date: 14th March  2017

Series: Willoughby Close #3 (find my review of part 1 here and part 2 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 399

Genre: Romance, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Willoughby Close… a charming cluster of cozy cottages, each with a story to tell and a happy ending to deliver…

Harriet Lang had the perfect life, so she’s left reeling when everything is taken from her in one fell swoop. Suddenly, Harriet learns her beautiful farmhouse in the Cotswolds is double-mortgaged, her husband Richard’s been unceremoniously fired—and he’s become a little too close to his young, sexy assistant.

Harriet moves into Willoughby Close with her three children, trying to hold her head up high. With the help of her neighbor and newfound friend Ellie Matthews, Harriet starts to rebuild her life–but dipping a toe in the dating pool feels strange and meanwhile her children are struggling in different ways. She wonders if starting over is really possible…

Then Willoughby Close begins to weave its healing magic on both her and her children, and Harriet begins to see a way forward. But when Richard reappears in her life, wanting to make amends, Harriet must make the painful decision about how much of the past can be forgiven—and what kind of future she is fighting for.

Rating: four-stars

“Find Me at Willoughby Close” is the third and – in my opinion – the best yet part in the Willoughby Close series. Each part introduces us to new characters, so of course you can read the books as stand – alones, however all of the characters were usually already mentioned, and it was also the case with our Harriet Lang. The picture of Harriet that the author has painted was not so optimistic though, she was this kind of yummy – mummy driving a four by four, belonging to those who usually blank you out at the school gates, spoiling her three children with electric devices and ponies. You could think she has the perfect life, right? Well, as it turns out, sort of.

The author, in a very accessible and interesting way, showed in her story how it is to fall, put yourself together and start again. How to learn that money – even if important in our lives – are not everything. I found it really interesting to watch how Harriet’s family was starting to learn actually from the beginning, was given a chance to see that they’re going to survive, that down – sizing doesn’t mean the end of the world, even though it was not the most easier thing for them. I could imagine – you’re used to living in luxury and comfort and then suddenly you had to take a pass on literally all of the things that you took for granted, and it was especially difficult for the children.

Kate Hewitt’s writing style is lovely – it’s engaging, and this time the story was flowing effortlessly. She has written the characters in a brilliant way and I quickly warmed to them all and even though in the previous parts Harriet could appear inaccessible and arrogant, in this novel it was explained why she was like this and I think it was because she so quickly rearranged her train of thoughts and behaviour that made me keep everything crossed for her. It was not easy for her, there were some ups and downs, putting emphasis on downs here, and even when she had her weaker moments, she wasn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves. Yes, there were moments that I wanted to shake her very hard, as well, the way to finding what she really wants was rather bumpy, and she was mostly so negative, but nevertheless, she was a likeable character. The other characters fade a little in Harriet’s shadow, as the book was really centred around her, and I had a feeling we weren’t given a huge chance to get to know them properly. There are Harriet’s children and I think it’s Mallory that gets the most mentions, and the picture painted of her was not the most optimistic one and I can only hope that she’s smart enough. I was not sure what to think about Richard, to be honest. I could for sure see why he didn’t tell Harriet that they’re in troubles. He seemed backboneless to me, and I was happy that in the end Harriet showed him that they can be happy in a different way.

This story is about learning a lesson or two. It took Harriet some time but she eventually realized that money changed everything in her life, and also that it changed her. She stopped seeing what’s important in her life – she thought it’s popularity, pony club, yummy mummies meetings but then she realized that it’s something very different. A lovely novel about finding yourself again, about adjusting, about finding answers. There are lies, deceits, money and troubles in this novel, a read that I really enjoyed. The sexy vet may be misleading, as there is not a lot of romance in this story, as it is more of a personal development, but it worked for me. Already looking forward to the next part in the series!

GIVEAWAY!

The giveaway for this tour is 1 paperback copy of Meet Me at Willoughby Close, good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR:

find-me-at-willoughby-close-schedule-graphic

The Reading Group: April by Della Parker + Guest Post

Hi guys. Today I am finally reviewing the fifth part of  “The Reading Group” series by Della Parker and as a special treat I have a guest post from the author on one of the inspirations behind the series. It’s brilliant, so make sure to read it!

The Reading Group by Della Parker

 

32919832Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 30th March  2017

Series: The Reading Group #5 (read my review of #1,2 and 3 here)

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review!

Number of pages: 93

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

‘Brims with laughs, love, family and friendship. You will love this heartwarming read!’ Trisha Ashley. Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley and Holly Martin.

Serena, the ambitious young Headmistress of Poppins Private School, has just begun reading Jane Eyre alongside her friends in the Reading Group. She would never admit it out loud, but she’s half hoping that reality might once again echo fiction. Will she perhaps meet her own Mr Rochester?

That doesn’t stop her from being slightly alarmed when her secretary arranges an appointment with one Mr Winchester, the handsome father of a troubled pupil in the midst of a messy divorce. But when the line between work and pleasure begins to blur, and troubles in her own family come to a head, Serena is left wondering if being a romantic heroine is all it’s cracked up to be…

Meet the Reading Group: five women in the seaside village of Little Sanderton come together every month to share their love of reading. No topic is off-limits: books, family, love and loss . . . and don’t forget the glass of red!

Rating: 4/5

“The Reading Group: April” is probably my favourite part of the series right now. I enjoyed it immensely and I think that with every part the characters feel much more developed, complex and the story is this little better than the previous one. In April it is Serena’s story and she’s chosen “Jane Eyre” for the Reading Group, so you can immediately ask – is she going to find her Mr Rochester?

Serena was close to my heart as we both are teachers and I could see that she’s maybe not over – passionate about her job but that she really likes it and that she has heart for her students and her job. I immediately liked her, she was strong – minded but also vulnerable and the way she coped with her life after her husband’s death was just so uplifting, giving hope that it really can be better sometime.

This lovely short story squeezes between the pages many, many issues. It is about family dynamics and feeling unappreciated and under – valued by your own family, it’s about mental health and children being made victims of parents’ misunderstandings. It’s about finding what you want to do with your life and finding peace with grief. Again, I truly liked how the author took elements of “Jane Eyre” and adapted for “Reading Group”. There were moments that the story dragged on a bit and there were moments that some of the events felt too rushed but altogether this novella had the right pace and the right amount of events happening. Altogether, it was a lovely, light quick read that don’t forget about the importance of friendship. Recommended!

GUEST POST:

One of the Inspirations behind the Reading Group

 By Della Parker

I really enjoy writing about friendship.  It’s a theme that runs through many of my books.  In the Reading Group series the focus is on female friendship. I have some amazing female friends. Some of them have been in my life for over forty years and some are newer, but they are all very important to me.  Although I don’t ever transport real people lock, stock and barrel into fiction I do use elements of them and I do write about the issues that affect them.

            Serena, the Main Character of April is a lady who struggles because she doesn’t fit into her family – she has always felt that she is not quite good enough.  I have one or two friends who feel like this – in fact it’s surprisingly common.

            And of course if your family aren’t supportive it makes friendship massively important.

            The Reading Group is about a group of friends who meet to discuss a classic novel each month and discover that – spookily – one of their lives mirrors the plot.

            In April they are reading Jane Eyre and Serena, who’s headmistress of Poppins Private School, is half hoping that reality will echo fiction, as it has before, and she will meet her own Mr Rochester.

This doesn’t stop her from being slightly alarmed when her secretary arranges an appointment with Mr Winchester, the father of a troubled pupil.

It would appear that Mr Winchester has an ex wife who is also rather troubled (or possibly completely deranged!). To add to the drama there is turbulence (as there usually is) in Serena’s own family too. Serena begins to wonder if being a romantic heroine is all it’s cracked up to be…