Things Can Only Get Better by David M. Barnett / Blog Tour

Things Can Only Get Better by David M. Barnett

 

Publisher: Trapeze 46019524

Publishing Date: 14th November 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: General Fiction (Adults)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

*FROM THE INTERNATIONALLY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF CALLING MAJOR TOM*

For elderly churchwarden Arthur Calderbank, there’s no place like home. His home just so happens to be a graveyard.

He keeps himself to himself, gets on with his job, and visits his wife everyday for a chat. When one day he finds someone else has been to see his wife – and has left flowers on her grave – he is determined to solve the mystery of who and why. He receives unlikely help from a group of teenage girls as he tries to solve the mystery, and soon learns that there is more to life than his little graveyard.

Set during the 1990s, Things Can Only Get Better is an uplifting story about the power of a little kindness, friendship and community for readers who enjoy Sue Townsend Ruth Hogan and Joanna Cannon.

Rating: five-stars

 

“Things Can Only Get Better” is a story about a group of truly unlikely friends who found each other rather accidentally. Arthur is a pensioner whose wife, Molly, died seven years ago but he still didn’t let her go and ended up living in the old chapel in the middle of the cemetery, becoming its caretaker and being not too far away from the love of his life. Arthur is very protective of the cemetery and is not happy with the neighbourhood children who dare to use it as a short – cut, or – even worse – a hung – out. In the meantime, someone has been leaving flowers on Molly’s grave on her birthday for the past few years and Arthur is determined to find who it is. But with this happening in the night and his deteriorating health, the teenagers promise him to help to catch the mysterious visitor. A unique bond is formed between Arthur and the kids and soon they find themselves in a few different battles – together.

You can’t help yourself but immediately fell for the characters. My heart went to Arthur and I was desperate to know what has happened to him to be leading such a solitary life, and then to the kids, seeing them growing up, their determination and their blossoming friendship. The author has breathed fresh air and life into them, and into the book, showing us a much bigger picture, showing that each story has different sides. You’ll end up willing the characters to succeed. Each of the four teenagers has their own story that is incredibly captivating and I loved how much focus they brought back into Arthur’s life. Their difficulties in fitting with the “cools” at school was so authentic and brutally honest. The way the kids were portrayed was heart – breaking, especially the way they were perceived by their school – mates, neighbours and other members of society They were all outcasts at their school because they didn’t fit the “description”, they found the courage to be different and have dreams, and hence they were judged by their teachers who didn’t believe they have a chance for a better future (and if you hear already at school that the only thing you can do is work as a secretary or at the factory, well, it’s not too promising and optimistic, right?), judged by their parent’s choices of life and really, it seems that nobody sees/doesn’t want to see their potential – except for Arthur.

When I started reading this book, I immediately fell in love with it. There was this “something” that made it feel so outstanding and special, the characters were like living and breathing people, and the story was heart – breaking and also humorous, and the more you read, the more you fell in love with it. However, I must admit, that somewhere around the middle, it lost its impact a little and started to drag on a bit, but it was still a compelling, addictive read.

Mostly the novel is about social inequality and about stereotyping and determination, about grabbing life by its horns and squeezing it like lemon. It also touches upon bullying, homelessness, mental illness, loneliness and other social issues with a great sensitivity, so I wouldn’t be afraid to give this book to my teenage child should I have one, as it deals with those issues, and with all the plotlines, in a brilliant, wise – but not too wise, you know what I mean? Not too patronising, not too I know everything better – way.

“Things Can Only Get Better” made me cry, laugh, made me angry but also filled me with hope with its warm glow. Ultimately, even though there is a lot of pain, disappointment and problems under the surface and the characters have to deal with many challenges, there is humour and moments of joy and it has the wonderful feel – good factor to it. It’s deeply moving and very close to life, a brilliant read that I highly recommend.

 

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The Guardian of Lies by Kate Furnivall / Blog Tour

The Guardian of Lies by Kate Furnivall

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 46635448._sy475_

Publishing Date: 31st October 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adults), Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Discover a brilliant story of love, danger, courage and betrayal, from the internationally bestselling author of The Survivors.
1953, the South of France. The fragile peace between the West and Soviet Russia hangs on a knife edge. And one family has been torn apart by secrets and conflicting allegiances.

Eloïse Caussade is a courageous young Frenchwoman, raised on a bull farm near Arles in the Camargue. She idolises her older brother, André, and when he leaves to become an Intelligence Officer working for the CIA in Paris to help protect France, she soon follows him. Having exchanged the strict confines of her father’s farm for a life of freedom in Paris, her world comes alive.

But everything changes when André is injured – a direct result of Eloise’s actions. Unable to work, André returns to his father’s farm, but Eloïse’s sense of guilt and responsibility for his injuries sets her on the trail of the person who attempted to kill him.

Eloïse finds her hometown in a state of unrest and conflict. Those who are angry at the construction of the American airbase nearby, with its lethal nuclear armaments, confront those who support it, and anger flares into violence, stirred up by Soviet agents. Throughout all this unrest, Eloïse is still relentlessly hunting down the man who betrayed her brother and his country, and she is learning to look at those she loves and at herself with different eyes. She no longer knows who she can trust. Who is working for Soviet Intelligence and who is not? And what side do her own family lie on?

Rating: five-stars

 

Eloïse was born in rural France and grew up on her father’s bull farm, together with her two brothers. She loves the farm, but as soon as she can, she follows the footsteps of her older brother Andre and flees to Paris. She finds a job in the detective agency, as she’s fascinated by Andre’s – the brother she so idolises – job as a CIA Intelligence Officer. We get to know them both right in the opening scene that feels like a scene from James Bond film, a thrilling car chase in which Andre is injured. As she was driving, Eloïse is filled with guilt and decides to find out who has tried to kill her bother, and why. Summoned home, she doesn’t give up on her chase after the truth, but she also realises that the danger may be much closer home than she thinks.

I have immediately became absorbed in the story and the characters’ lives – but it hasn’t surprised me, as I wasn’t expecting anything different from Kate Furnivall’s book! As usual with her books, the characters felt like living and breathing people, and her leading female characters – in this case Eloïse – are strong – minded and brave. Eloïse was capable and determined, however I didn’t warm to her immediately. As much as I appreciated the fact that she’s so determined, she was also much too naive in my eyes and I had a feeling that she’s like the wind, moving in different directions, depending on what she was said. She also behaved too amateurish for my liking, lacked in skills that you’d need as an actual spy. She was too trusty, especially at the beginning, but then she started to have doubts, and she felt more mature. Nevertheless, she was so real with her emotions and feelings of guilt, fear and uncertainty, she wanted the best for all and to find peace. In her hurry and willingness to help, she often makes mistakes, and also tends to do the very opposite of what is said she should do, and really, more than once I was expecting the things to turn out not so rosy for her, and once I really thought that this is it for Eloïse. But altogether, the more I read, the more she grew on me, and I truly admired her determination and the fact that nobody and nothing could dishearten her to find the truth.
The relationships between the characters in this book are so well written! They were not easy, they were not straightforward, they were often thought – provoking but the loyalty Eloïse felt towards her family was lovely to see, even if sometimes this family didn’t show as much concern for Eloïse as she for them.

I always admire Kate Furnivall’s skills to create a brilliant, engaging and complex plot, no matter what period of times her novels are set in. This time she takes us to the mid century France involved in the Cold War. I admit, it is not a period of time that I know much about, so the more interesting it was for me and I have learnt more about post – war France that I could hope for. The loyalties of the French, that were split between America, and the communist Soviet Union, and the tension and unrest it has provoked, provided an interesting and engaging background and she creates a perfect sense of time and place.

Mostly the author has played real mind – games with me and I was like Eloïse, not knowing who was telling the truth and who was telling lies, who was the good and who was the bad one, who wants to help Eloïse and who wants to see the back of her, and how does her family fit into all of those situations. It made my head spinning but it was enthralling and very entertaining.

“The Guardian of Lies” was meticulously researched, vividly written in a way that awakens all your senses while living the story through along with the characters, and brilliantly crafted novel from one of my favourite authors. She has – again – provided us with engaging and complex plot and multi – faceted characters, bringing them all to life and effortlessly transporting the readers into the setting of her novel. It was a fast – paced, unique, compelling and addictive story about love and betrayal, courage and subterfuge, making you feel as if you had your heart in your mouth. Highly recommended!

 

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The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis / Blog Tour

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

 

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton 45242737._sy475_

Publishing Date: 7th November 2019

Series: Brontë Sisters Mystery #1

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adults), Mystery, Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 14.05.2020)

 

 

Synopsis:

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters–the Brontë sisters–learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines–it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

Rating: four-stars

 

I loved the idea in “The Vanished Bride”, bringing the Brontë sisters and their works back to life. They become a setting of this mystery, in which a young woman, mother and stepmother, simply vanishes from her room in Chester Grange estate, leaving behind so much blood that not many hope for her to be alive.
Emily, Charlotte and Anne are spending summer in their father’s house. And they are bored. So when they hear that a young wife has disappeared, under gruesome circumstances, they decide to solve the mystery, becoming “Lady Detectors”, especially as Matilda French, an old friend, works as a governess in Chester Grange, so they not only wish to comfort her but they are, let’s be honest, curious. And so they set out to visit their friend, also determined to help to find the truth.

The story takes place before the Brontës wrote their classic works and it was such a clever idea – we know that they’re going to be immortal in their works but they didn’t know it yet, and don’t you think that much of this mystery hints at the novels that they have written? The author described them as curious, if not nosy, clever, different and bold personalities. The Brontë sisters work well as Lady Detectors – how charming is it? – pursuing the truth in this case of menace and deception, and they all prove themselves very adept, even though each of them has different fortes. Emily is bold, straightforward and all action. Anne is charming but also thoughtful and methodical and Charlotte is a bit sceptic but in her element when dealing with people. They simply come to life with their actions, their sibling banter but also reality and honesty to each other. They take it in turns to tell the story, which was a great and interesting idea, as it gave a chance to see different points of view and appreciate their own strengths.
Maybe I am not a devoted fan of the Brontës, but even I am intrigued by the lives of the sisters and it was lovely to be in their world for a while. The author has so well captured their personalities – even though I can’t be sure if that was all right, but oh my, it’s historical fiction, right – writing about their conflicts, joys, past and closeness to each other.

I have to admit, it was not too easy for me to get into this book, and I think it was probably because of the writing style. It was lovely – please, don’t get me wrong, it was lyrical, almost poetic, and it was so easy to imagine the bleak isolated house and the moors – but it was also very adequate to the times the book was set in, and so the syntax, the way the words and phrases were arranged was very Brontë – like but not so easy to read.

The mystery was really, really well plotted and executed, it was intriguing and kept me hooked, and well, yes, with my own detective skills I haven’t figured this all out, but I’m OK with it, as it’s always nice to have a surprise ending, right? Sure, now I can see that there were hints and clues leading up to the ending but I was probably too immersed in reading to spot them then.

Bella Ellis has delivered a unique and atmospheric story, effortlessly and quickly transporting the readers to Victorian England, meticulously researched and capturing the essence of the times, place and characters. This book had essentially all that you need to say that it’s a great read. The characters felt real and realistic, the plot was complex and clever, the pace was just right, unfolding well, there was enough humour to brighten the reading, there was mystery, intrigue and atmospheric setting. It was engaging and embedded in truth, brilliantly interweaving the fictional elements and fantastic descriptions of some truly macabre incidents and jaw dropping moments. The story also deals with some important and uncomfortable issues that women of those times were forced to face. Their lives have been controlled by their fathers and husbands which often ended in domestic abuse, but also infant mortality and, altogether, lack of help and lack of status of women in the society back in the days. An engaging, interesting story and I’m already looking forward to reading the next books in this series. Truly recommended!

 

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The Ex – Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty / Blog Tour

The Ex – Girlfriend by Nicola Moriarty

 

Publisher: Penguin 43805738._sy475_

Publishing Date: 31st October 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adults), Mystery

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

SHE WANTS HIM BACK. SHE WANTS YOU GONE.

Luke is the one. After everything she’s been through, Georgia knows she deserves someone like him, to make her feel loved. Safe.

The only problem is his ex-girlfriend. Luke says Cadence is having trouble accepting their break-up, but Georgia thinks there’s more to the story. She has the feeling someone is watching her.

So when everything starts to go wrong at work, at home, in her old friendships and her happy new relationship with Luke, Georgia starts to feel afraid.

It’s becoming clear Cadence wants what she has. But how far will she go to get it?

Rating: four-stars

 

When Georgia meets Luke in a bar, after being stood up by her Tinder date, she is immediately attracted to him. He’s charming, handsome, funny and caring. she feels he is “The One” and she won’t let his stalking, psycho ex to spoil this new relationship. Or will she? The problem may be bigger than she thinks, as Luke and Cadence are still sharing one flat. Moreover, Cadence starts stalking Georgia, leaving aggressive notes on her car, sending her messages. She feels like she’s being followed. So Luke, on the premise that it’s going to soothe the situation with his ex, moves together with Georgia. Except it doesn’t happen, and things just seem to be getting worse.

It is really hard to review “The Ex – Girlfriend” without giving anything away and so I must be careful in what I’m saying. The characters were incredibly engaging and I quickly found myself immersed in their lives, keeping my fingers crossed or wanting to shake them. There came a moment when I really wasn’t sure whom can I trust. I had my own suspicions but nevertheless, the author has played great mind – games with me and I couldn’t be sure anything. However, and I’m not sure if it was done on purpose, then came the first great hint and I was sure I KNOW – the thing I only didn’t know was – why.
There were moments that Georgia didn’t feel like Georgia and it surprised me, as I thought that I already know her as a balanced, believable character – however, when I found out there was a reason why she was like this, the puzzles finally found their right places. Nevertheless, she was incredibly down to earth and real, our Georgia, she only wanted a relationship, a normal relationship, and you can’t help but simply fell for her and her wish, and when she meets Luke you want them to succeed, because everything seems so perfect.
I was truly thankful for Cadence’s point of view. It often happens that we are given only one side of the story but this time the author has thought about everything, giving her perspective. Ms Moriarty has brilliantly demonstrated how easy it is to be manipulated, especially when – just like those two women – you trust unconditionally. However, she also gave her characters strong spines and it was a great rollercoaster journey, seeing them realising what’s happening.

As much as I liked the heart – felt subplot of Georgia’s favourite patient, I think this book could easily do without it. Also, even though the story was fast – paced, there were moments that it slowed down, especially when the author introduced us to the whole stalking – issue, and I urged the book to speed up, to shake things up, to take action eventually. There was much talking of doing things but not much happened really.

“The Ex – Girlfriend” was a fast – paced, twisted story that had me glued to the pages and I’ve read it over a weekend. Yes, the plot could feel a bit predictable but there were still questions that needed to be answered and it was done in an engaging, complex way. There was the feeling throughout the story that something is going to happen but you’re not sure what and when. It was a tense and captivating tale about love and revenge, yet it was easy to read, even though the author touches upon heavier issues, such as stalking, mental illness, depression, but presenting them with sensitivity and empathy. So far I’ve read three books by Nicola Moriarty and I think this is her best yet – truly recommended!

 

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The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain / Blog Tour

The Christmas Wish List by Heidi Swain

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 47135375._sy475_

Publishing Date: 3rd October 2019

Series: Wynbridge #7

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

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

Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

Synopsis:

***The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!***

After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .

Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.

As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?

The Christmas Wish List is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.

Rating: four-stars

 

“The Christmas Wish List” introduces us to Hattie, who has just lost her beloved job in a hotel. To say that her world is turned upside down would be an understatement, she’s devastated. However, her boyfriend Jonathan announces that it’s a perfect timing, as he’s just been offered his dream job in Abu Dhabi and wants Hattie to come with him. Before the move though, Hattie decides to spend her last Christmas with her friend Dolly in Wynbridge, even though she’s not so full of the festive cheer. But with lots of festive activities, Hattie volunteering at school, mince pies and a helpful and friendly handyman Beamish will Hattie’s festive spirit reawaken? 

No matter what season, Heidi Swain can brilliantly and precisely capture the atmosphere, and so this time she takes us back to Wynbridge in winter, close to Christmas, and really, reading the book made me start my own Christmas countdown. It’s already full of festive spirit and I can’t wait to decorate my own house.  

Basically, I liked our Hattie very, very much. I think that I didn’t like the previous version of her, the Jonathan’s girlfriend version, and I adored to watch her starting to relax and enjoy her life, and hated how she changed as soon as Jonathan was nearby. I was actually waiting for something really bad happening when he was around, I had a feeling that was telling me that there is much more to him hidden under the mask of the lovely, handsome and generous man.                                                                                                     And this time – hallelujah! – I also enjoyed Dolly. You know me and how I feel about the older, wiser characters, right, so I am always scared that when such a character enters the pages of the book, it’s going to spoil the whole reading experience for me. However, Dolly was absolutely adorable. Yes, she was older, and yes, she was wise, but she was not too overwhelming with this wisdom, and the way she tried to show Hattie the right way was subtle and gentle.                                                                                                                    And Beamish. Anytime, anywhere. I mean, anytime is he allowed to turn up on my doorstep. Swoon.  

Heidi Swain’s writing style is developing and getting better with every book and the storyline in this novel was really well – structured. Yes, there were moments that I felt it dragged on a bit, and some things happened very conveniently for the plot to go on, but altogether I enjoyed every single word. The author brings the characters and the setting to life through her lovely, colourful and vivid descriptions and it’s so easy to lose yourself in reading. 

This book was full of not so obvious romance, searching for happiness, finding out what you want to do in life and with whom. It was about friendship, forgiveness, and standing on your own two feet. It was full of warmth, perfect read to curl up with a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows on top. There was the right amount of festive cheer, it was a bit predictable but also adorable, the characters were lovely and the setting gorgeous – what more do you need from a book? Exactly – so simply make sure that it is on your wish – list! Highly recommended!

 

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Coming Home to Winter Island by Jo Thomas / Blog Tour

Coming Home to Winter Island by Jo Thomas

 

Publisher: Headline 513xdmsnetl._sx323_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 12th December 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

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

 Buy the Book:  Kindle (available now) | Paperback (out on 12.12.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Wrap up warm and prepare to explore the breath-taking beauty of a remote Scottish island and an old house waiting to unlock enchanting family secrets.

Fans of Jill Mansell and Milly Johnson will love this irresistible new winter novel from Jo Thomas.

Do you need to find out where you’ve come from before you can know what the future holds?

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover.

But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met.

City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor.

But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

There’s an unexpected guest in the house and he’s not planning on going anywhere any time soon …

Rating:  four-stars

 

In “Coming Home to Winter Island” we are introduced to Ruby, who is about to get her big break in music business when her voice suddenly disappears. Having arranged a therapeutic break in Tenerife, she gets a mysterious phone call that changes her plans and finds her travelling to a remote Scottish Island to deal with some issues regarding Hector, the grandfather she has never met before. What is going to happen when you put yourself into a mix of remote island, an unknown grandfather, a sitting tenant that is set on disrupting your plans, and gin?

This novel was atmospheric, touching and also light – hearted. There were moments that I would have liked it to be more demanding because some things happened very conventionally and felt a bit too forced for my liking but still, it didn’t spoil the reading at all. I’m also not sure why but it felt a bit different to Jo’s previous books, I can’t put my finger on it, can’t explain why I felt like this, although of course this book had all the things that I was expecting from Thomas’s book. She has – again – easily transported me into characters’ worlds with the gorgeous descriptions and storylines.

 The author touches upon many different issues, such like dementia, local community, family bonds to name only a few, and wonderfully ties them all together, creating a colourful, immersing story. There was never a single moment flat but also the story didn’t feel too full or overwhelming. The descriptions of the Island, and also of some of the past Christmases and all the memories added tons of feelings and emotions and were beautifully interwoven and written in a gentle, subtle way. And I loved the chase after the gin recipe, it was brilliant, I couldn’t wait to get to know all of the ingredients – I had my own favorite for the last ingredient, although it turned out that I was wrong. Oh well.

Ruby’s story was warm and uplifting. It was touching to see her getting to know her grandfather and learn about her family. She was the kind of character that you really quickly fell for, seeing how much she has to deal with, seeing her struggling between what she thinks would be best for a man that she truly doesn’t know, and her consciousness. Throughout the story Ruby grows so much, develops, reassesses her life and what it is she wants to do, and it includes also her relationship with a boyfriend who, to be honest, was awfully controlling and egoistic, seeing Ruby probably as a ticket to a better life and fortune. Then she’s confronted with a huge house that has for sure seen better days, grandfather with dementia and Lachlan, the sitting tenant who refuses to move out. The characters were really well developed, had depth to them and I kept everything crossed for them.

I so liked the interaction and banter between Ruby and Lachlan. They often don’t agree on things and butt heads but deep deep inside Hector’s safety is their main concern. Hector’s subplot was so moving, and as much as I understood Ruby, I was still surprised to see how much time it took her to realise what’s really good for him. The visit in the Home was really heart – breaking.

 “Coming Home to Winter Island” was full of feel – good factor, brilliant characters, wonderful setting and full of surprises. Jo Thomas didn’t disappoint, delivering another book that feels like a warm hug and is going to be a perfect read for a wintry evening. Highly recommended!

 

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The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne / Blog Tour

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne

 

Publisher: Headline Review 48142997._sy475_

Publishing Date: 17th October 2019

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

Number of pages: 288

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 16.04.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The funny, uplifting second novel from Olivia Beirne for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Katie Marsh, Zoë Folbigg and Marian Keyes.

What would you do if you received a love letter that wasn’t meant for you?

Bea used to feel confident, outgoing and fun, but she’s not sure where that person went.

Over the last few months, she’s found herself becoming reclusive and withdrawn. And despite living with her two best friends, she’s never felt lonelier. To make things worse, she’s become so dependent on her daily routine, she’s started to slip out of everyone else’s.

But when a mysterious battered envelope covered in stars lands on her doormat, Bea wonders if she could find the courage to open it.

It isn’t addressed to her, but it could be… if you squinted…

Rating:   four-stars

 

Bea Smyth works for a local newspaper writing adverts, even though she really wants to write something more important. She lives in a house that she shares with her two best friends, Emma and Priya. She lives her days according to lists and plans, which, of course, leaves little room for anything new and spontaneous. While Emma and Priya have interesting social lives that they share with girlfriend and boyfriend, Bea is quite the opposite – rather withdrawn and happy on her own but constantly worrying that she’s not good enough and feeling that it’s much easier just to agree with everyone than to put herself above others’ needs. One day a letter addressed to “B” arrives. Even though it’s not directed to her, Bea replies that she never intends to sent but it’s somehow posted to Nathan – and so Bea’s double life begins, life that is going to push her into uncomfortable situations but also brings her joy and new people.

I absolutely adored the way the author has written Bea. She felt so real and true to life, with all her angst and uncertainty, and seeing her being pushed out of her comfort zones made me want to give her a standing ovation. She simply feels like a real person, sitting next to you, chatting with you and it’s impossible not to like her. She is quite timid and hates confrontations, but it sounds quite well – known, no? And I wasn’t blaming Bea for being the way she was, because I could see where she was coming from, I was blaming people surrounding her for being so pushy and taking advantage of her. I couldn’t stand Priya who was supposed to be a friend but was so self – absorbed and selfish, expecting Bea to drop everything to be there for her when she needed her but not giving a second thought for Bea’s needs.  

The unexpected letter was for Bea like a lifebelt. I really liked that she followed her instincts, and I admired her for this, knowing how much it must have cost her. The characters she has met forced life into her and, a bit unintentionally, showed her there is world outside, that there is much more to life. She almost immediately fell in love with the nursing home and the three remaining people there, Nina, Gus and Sylvie, and the carer Jakub. Why only three people, I hear you asking. Well, because the home was supposed to be closing in the New Year and other residents have already found different accommodations. At first Bea only sensed a story that she could sell to her boss Duncan but it quickly turned into a real friendship, into much more for Bea, into a thing that she started to care about so much.

 I only had the feeling that the “accidental love letters” were, I don’t know, an afterthought? I was thinking they’re going to be a prominent part of the book, and I thought this part of the story is going to probably be light – hearted and funny, while it turned out that actually they added much more seriousness to the story. They were poignant and actually this what arose from those letters was much more serious in tone. Nevertheless, I was hoping for more when it comes to the letters, and for something different, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t like them, oh no. And it wouldn’t be possible for Bea to change, to find herself without them, so it’s a win – win situation. 

There was quite a number of threads to follow but they were all so very well written and they kept me alerted all the time. I also adored the way the author has captured Bea’s feelings and emotions, her anxiety, getting straight to the core of it, putting into words for us how it really feels. The scenes where Bea was calling her mum, leaving a message and asking to call her back soon made me realised what has happened and broke my heart. She was so lost, felt so alone, her roommates wanted to move out and on and now she was also supposed to lose the new friends from nursing home, where she felt needed, comfortable.

Altogether, it was a fairly light and warm read with a deeper side to it. An uplifting, funny and moving story, very well written, bringing the characters to life, a gentle, charming tale about life altogether, relationships, hope and coming out of your shell. Truly recommended!

 

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