Relight My Fire by Joanna Bolouri / #BookNews

Hello again you lovely people. I usually don’t post any book news, or cover reveals etc but there are some authors that I happily and gladly make an exception. And Joanna Bolouri is one of those people. Since her debut novel I’ve been stalking her almost daily to hear news on new releases and I loved all of her books. Here is the proof (ie. my reviews):

The List

I Followed the Rules

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


And now, guys. Please behave. But Joanna Bolouri is soon, very soon, as in May 2018, back! With a brand new novel *drum rolls please*  she’s for sure going to relight my fire!

Relight-My-Fire_Twitter-card_v1 (3)


The Girl Before by JP Delaney / #BlogTour + Guest Post

Hi guys, and happy Saturday. I was supposed to post my entry yesterday and I am so, so sorry for not doing it but I’ve spent unexpected three hours at the doctor with my daughter and I wasn’t able to think about anything other. APOLOGIES! It doesn’t usually happen and I feel really, really bad.

“The Girl Before” by JP Delaney was published in hardcover last year and this year sees the publication of the paperback. I read this book last year and let me tell you this, guys, it was one of the best books – absolutely unique, intriguing and captivating. Today I also have something very special for you – have you ever wondered how the application form to test your suitability look like? Ha, I thought so – me too! Scroll down for the guest post!

The Girl Before by JP Delaney



untitledPublisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 25th January 2018

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback



Enter the world of One Folgate Street and discover perfection . . . but can you pay the price?

For all fans of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl comes this spellbinding Hitchcockian thriller which takes psychological suspense to the next level

Jane stumbles on the rental opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to live in a beautiful ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect, on condition she abides by a long list of exacting rules. After moving in, she discovers that a previous tenant, Emma, met a mysterious death there – and starts to wonder if her own story will be a re-run of the girl before. As twist after twist catches the reader off guard, Emma’s past and Jane’s present become inexorably entwined in this tense, page-turning portrayal of psychological obsession.

Following in the footsteps of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, The Girl Before is being brought to the big screen. The film is set to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard.

Rating: five-stars

When choosing a book to read I often follow my gut feeling, especially when it comes to the authors that I don’t know – although JP Delaney is a pen name for a best – selling author, and when reading “The Girl Before” I was looking for any hallmarks but I didn’t guess the real name – and when spotting this book I just had a feeling that this could be THE read. And well, yes, it turned out that I should trust my gut feeling as the book was totally engrossing and kept me glued to the pages. “The Girl Before” was a provocative, incredibly smart story about controlling and manipulations, making reader to ask who is reliable there and whom shall we trust.

Now. “The Girl Before”. We can start debating who the hell would go and live voluntarily in a house with 200 stipulations including no pets (no way), no children, no cushions, no curtains, no personal things on the floor, no books (hello?). And yet they signed on the dotted line. The house itself is an example of minimalism and the latest and best home technology, adjusting itself to the weather, temperature and probably the mood of the inhabitants. Originally designed by Edward Monkton as his family home but there was an accident on the site when his wife and his young son died. Also, he is the one who, after interviewing the prospective renters, is to decide if they’re going to live there or not. Weird, no? Who in their right mind would go for something like this? I wouldn’t, and I don’t want to go into this debate, but I thought that it is a brilliant and unique idea and premise for a book. For me the book sounded unique, not like others books that I read, and the only thing that didn’t work so good for me was the end, that sounded too Disney-like and somehow didn’t sit with the book. However, this is probably the only thing that I’m going to criticise. There were maybe some things that made me feel uncomfortable, just like building the house on the grave or some scenes with abuse – both human and animal – but nothing that would make me cringe.

The story alternates between Emma (Then) and Jane (Now), and the chapters were short and dynamic and it also made the story flow and reading much quicker. It was also the writing that makes this book so outstanding. It is sparse, but it is incredibly hooking and just beautiful – we can say just like the house! It just feels like the house, to be honest, white and with no barriers or unnecessary things and beautiful in its frugality. The way the stories of Emma and Jane mirrored made me feel a little claustrophobic and insecure, to be honest, it brought a lot of tension and changed my perspective more than once.
I loved how the story was divided between the two points of view. Both of them were in the first person but I’ve never had a problem to see who’s speaking. Duh, the chapters did have titles with the name of the characters! I also liked the way both stories were interwoven and how quickly and effortlessly they picked up when the other has just finished. Really, as the chapters flip back and forth the similarities between the women and their lives started to feel suspicious and somehow creepy, and it was obvious that eventually I’ll start to suspect Edward as well.

I think the characters there are not created to be liked by the readers. Their decisions didn’t help to warm to them, and it is not that I had problems with the characters but I did think that both the women, Emma and Jane, were incredibly naive. There were thousands of warning bells that they chose to ignore and the way they meekly agreed to be controlled by both house and Edward was remarkable and odd. I mean, allowing a man to control your diet and exercise? No, thank you. It was even more surprising that they were like lambs because they were both relatively troubled women and they should know better.
The house on One Folgate was like a living and breathing character itself, to be honest. I really started to believe that the house is trying to destroy the ones it doesn’t approve of, that it controls the lives. It was truly extraordinary how the author managed to create this special, claustrophobic atmosphere of this place.

It is not a book that is destined to make you scared or look over your shoulder. It is a book that is destined to make you feel tension and suspense, keep you in the dark and play with your mind. It is a slow burner, this novel, but with this kind of book it shouldn’t be different – well, you can’t expect the biggest twist to be explained on the first pages, right. No, you’re expecting it to grow slowly in tension, to change tracks, to pull wool over your eyes, and “The Girl Before” just does it. However, as the circle of suspects was very limited in the novel, the end didn’t come as such a BIG surprise, although the last quarter of the story truly meddled with my mind and made me change my opinion about some characters.

Because of the slow pace it takes some time for the book to really pick up, and it happens when Jane discovers that someone died in the house before, and it also takes time for Emma to start to feel afraid. However, even with it taking time, for me it was engaging, interesting and unusual read. The way the story developed was very masterfully and skilfully plotted and organized and I absolutely admired this feeling of dread that the author smuggled onto the pages.

This is a story about secrets, lies and appearances that can often be deceiving. It is one huge rollercoaster ride full of ups and downs and there was something very special in it and I didn’t want to put it down. It is an engrossing mystery, even if the characters are not too likeable – but they don’t have to be in this kind of story. It is good enough that they are multi – layered, they are very complex and I think that no matter what, we never know if they’re telling the truth or if they’re hiding something. It was a thought – provoking, addictive and a clever read, multi – layered with many surprises and I highly recommend “The Girl Before” to you.


On applying to live at One Folgate Street:

The Girl Before is a book about a house, One Folgate Street. I’ve always loved books with houses at their core, from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca to Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day. This particular house is unusual because it’s been built by a minimalist architect, and in order to rent it you have to sign up to over 200 rules – everything from ‘no curtains’ to ‘no pets’ – and complete a questionnaire designed to test your suitability.

The first question in the application is ‘Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life’, which may be fair enough for a minimalist house.But as the questions go on they get more and more unusual and penetrating – things like: “Would you sacrifice yourself to save ten innocent strangers?’ and ‘What about a thousand innocent strangers?’

Many of the questions are drawn from clinical tools designed to measure things like obsessive perfectionism and moral relativism. You can take the questionnaire yourself, and see how your answers compare with other readers’ – go to

and click on ‘Continue Application’ (you’ll need to enter an email address.)




The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans / #BlogTour

Hi guys, and happy Friday! Yesterday I came back from my (well deserved, even if I say so myself) holidays and today I am already back to blogging with my stop on Matalie Meg Evans’s blog tour. I love good historical fiction and this author is really at the top of my favourite authors list, and really, I can only recommend her novels! Here is my review of her newest release, “The Wardrobe Mistress”.

The Wardrobe Mistress by Natalie Meg Evans


35652772Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 10th August 2017

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

Number of pages: 448

Genre:   Historical Fiction, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback






From the award-winning author of The Dress Thief comes a love story set in the glittering world of London theatre. Perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathleen Tessaro.

War has been over more than a year but rationing and shortages persist. The worst winter in two-hundred years is just around the corner. London desperately needs an injection of cheer and colour, and the glamorous Farren Theatre Company intends to provide it.

Young war widow, Vanessa Kingcourt, has just been hired as wardrobe mistress at the notorious old theatre the Farren in London. Working backstage at the Farren is a lifelong ambition, and she’s looking to re-find the sense of purpose that war work gave her. But when Vanessa becomes romantically entangled with the Farren’s married owner – the enigmatic Alistair Redenhall – Vanessa’s career, and her very happiness, are put on the line.

Rating: three-stars

Natalie Meg Evans is on the top list of my favourite historical fiction authors, so I was incredibly excited to see she’s about to publish her fourth novel, “The Wardrobe Mistress”. The book went with me on my holidays and I was incredibly excited to start reading it – I adored Ms Evans’s books in the past, and this one was also sounding very promising.

The author sticks with her favourite historical period as the story takes us to the post – war London. The book consists of four parts and follows the story of Vanessa Kingcourt. It also ventures to a world of theatre, and as I love stories about theatres, I truly had high expectations here. So Vanessa – she was a wireless operator during the war, and now she wants to reconnect with her family, and especially her father who has left the family on his daughter’s sixth birthday. But life, as usual, has other ideas and there is no reconnection to be. However, there is the other meeting, with a captain Alastair Redenhall, that takes Vanessa on a very different, adventurous journey. Alastair has inherited a theatre from his godfather, and he truly never has expected such inheritance – well, he was a captain, and taking on a theatre was a totally new role for him.

But oh boy. This book gave me a headache. There was a mystery, but it was tangled in many other events and characters and it just felt very slow and I sometimes had a feeling that very little is happening and it took my whole willpower to continue reading – fortunately, as then, later on, the pace gained some tempo. There were twists and turns that I would never have expected to come but somehow, and it annoys me very, very much as I can’t put my finger on why, I just couldn’t connect with the story and it didn’t wow me as much as I hoped it would. I also couldn’t warm to the characters – maybe because there were so many of them, and really, I had a feeling that the plot jumps between them and situations and I just couldn’t find myself captured, just couldn’t get into the depth of the book. The characters felt too one – dimensional to me and I think that Fern was one of the most outstanding in this novel – she was clever and even though she was playing games, those were intelligent games. Alistair was blowing hot and cold and yes, I get it, he was a sea man thrown suddenly and unexpectedly into totally different entourage and eventually, in the end, I started to warm to him. Vanessa was a great leading character and here I had no problems to like her from the very beginning. She had a mind of her own and, as it usually happens, she was way ahead of her times in the way she was thinking. She has never gave up, and I really appreciated her for this. But altogether, for me, I couldn’t start to trust them completely, there was something holding me back, and I was asking myself if their motivations are honest.

As I have already mentioned, there were some twists and turns in this story, but it was all happening so very slowly, to finally come to a dramatic end. But somehow all the good things just happened too late and couldn’t save the book for me. However, the author, as always, has perfectly chosen the setting and the descriptions of the theatre, of how the costumes, the plays were prepared, were brilliant, full of details and very, very vivid.

Altogether, I am very sad to say that “The Wardrobe Mistress” was not my favourite read by Natalie Meg Evans, I think that her previous books are better, faster and more captivating, however I am not saying that this novel is bad! Oh no, it has its moments, and the writing style is beautiful, full of vividness and I am sure that it’s going to steal pieces of the author’s fans’ hearts. I am already looking forward to Ms Evans next book.



Little Boy Found by LK Fox/ #BlogTour

Little Boy Found by LK Fox

34877168Publisher: Quercus

Publishing Date: 6th June 2017

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

Number of pages: 27o

Genre:  Mystery, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle



The thriller with the twists you’ll never see coming! Perfect for fans of The Girl in the Ice and The Missing Ones.

When He Found His Little Boy, Nick Thought The Nightmare Was Over. . . It Was Only The Beginning.

One rainy morning, just after Nick drops off his young son Gabriel outside the crowded school gates, he has a minor collision with another car. The driver won’t surrender his insurance details, so Nick photographs the licence plate. When he gets home, he enlarges the shot on his phone and spots something odd about the picture-Gabriel in the back seat, being driven away by a stranger. Nick needs to know what happened to his boy, but losing Gabriel turns out to be far less terrible than the shock of finding him. Now, to discover the truth, he must relive the nightmare all over again…Be warned, this is not another missing child story: what happened to Nick and his son is far more shocking.

Rating: three-stars

I was totally taken by the blurb of “Little Boy Found”, and let’s be honest, the cover is also incredibly eye – catching and heart – breaking at the same time. I haven’t read any books by LK Fox who is, in fact, Christopher Fowler, but maybe this is why I so wanted to read this novel, and I started it as soon as it landed on my kindle, with great expectations, hoping for a story that will blow me away.

But guys, you know, it is complicated. This book has it all that a good psychological thriller needs but somehow, it just didn’t work for me. It made me lukewarm, I was not as engaged and to be honest, the most acclaimed twists didn’t blow me away and I didn’t feel the tension as much as I’d like to. I felt confused at the beginning, with the characters appearing in the story and it seemed they have nothing in common, that they are random people, and I was wondering where this book is going to take us. Told through the perspectives of Nick and Ella, it eventually slowly starts to unwind and we learn about the connections between the characters. And the ending didn’t sit with me. I think that if it ended a few pages earlier, it would be much better for the whole story – but it’s just my opinion.
Yes, I did want to find out what has happened and discovering the truth truly broke my heart. There were some twists in this story but sooner rather than later I found myself guessing their outcome. Yes, I kept reading, out of stubbornness and hoping that something really huge is coming, but the story stayed on the same steady level. You know, it bothers me a little, the fact that I can’t put my finger on what was it that didn’t sit with me so much.

So please, do not get me wrong. It was brilliantly written and it had tons of potential and I am incredibly sad that it didn’t work for me as much as I was hoping for. Nevertheless, I still do think this book is worth reading as it shows a really different perspective on the “child missing” concept to other books. So yes, I am truly torn about this novel but even with my reservations I think it is worth recommending – it is dark, it is different to all other thrillers and mysteries and it is interesting, and I hope you’re going to find it captivating.



I’ll Eat When I’m Dead by Barbara Bourland / Blog Tour + Extract

Hi guys, and happy Monday! We are starting into a new week with a brand new blog tour for you – today I have an extract from Barbara Bourland’s shiny new novel “I’ll Eat When I’m Dead”. The title sounds so, so intriguing, don’t you think? So if you want to see what the author has in store for us, put your feet high and read an extract from chapter 1 – and enjoy!


Every weekday morning, as the sun rose above Sixth Avenue,

a peerless crop of women—frames poised, behavior polished,

networks connected, and bodies generally buffed to a high

sheen—were herded by the cattle prod of their own ambition to

one particular building. They streamed as if by magic from all over

Manhattan and Brooklyn, through streets and subways teeming

with sweaty crowds and heavy traffic, to work at Cooper House,

the only remaining major magazine publisher in New York.

Some, like Bess Bonner, a twenty-eight-year-old associate editor

at RAGE Fashion Book, arrived earlier than others. Though her

colleagues frequently staggered in around noon after long nights

spent drinking fistfuls of sponsored celebrity vodka in yet another

chartered barge or pop-up school bus, never Bess, who took

pride in being punctual. Monday through Friday she stuck to

the same routine: First, she walked her bike, a large Dutch commuter,

through the West Village streets to pick up her coffee at

Joe. Second, she stood on the sidewalk and drank half the cup, no

matter the weather; finally, she took diligent mental notes on the

outfits of pedestrians who were, like her, freshly pressed to meet

the promise of the day.

One Monday in July, in attire that was stylish but functional

 (trousers clipped back with midnight-blue leather bands, her buttery

navy kid-leather backpack stuffed in an orange milk crate

affixed firmly to the back with neon cable ties, and a waterproof

oilcloth bag that held an emergency poncho tucked beneath her

seat), Bess drank her coffee, took her notes, and hopped on her

bike, pedaling toward Cooper. After a few minutes of glorious,

uninterrupted speed through Chelsea, a rush of adrenaline kicked

in, and she smiled; that final mile of her morning commute both

boosted her mood and set the tone for the long day ahead, working

at the magazine she’d worshipped her entire life.

Today, that work meant sorting bracelets into velvet trays.

She hung a left on Thirty-Ninth Street, crossed Broadway, and

pulled smoothly into the Cooper garage. Gina, the usual attendant,

took her bicycle and wheeled it into the rectangle of her personal

parking spot, a privilege for full-time employees, as Bess took off

her helmet and shook out her tangled mess of dark blonde curls.

Shouldering her backpack, she walked up to the aluminum post

outside the service elevator and waved her phone in front of it. A

large blinking F appeared briefly on a previously invisible screen.

Ten seconds later, the F disappeared and the post became a mere

metal column once more.

Bess walked into the elevator and examined herself in its mirrored

walls. Not too bad, she thought, looking down at her electricblue

Pappagallo flats for rips, tears, or smudges, smoothing her

ankle-length silk tuxedo trousers, and tucking her deliberately

threadbare men’s white V-neck into the side of the waistband.

Her jewelry today was simple and bright: a stack of rose-gold

pyramid-stud bracelets from Hermès covered one wrist, and a pair

of dangling yellow-gold earrings—from the Egyptian section of

the gift shop at the Met, purchased long ago with her fifth-grade

allowance—hung casually from her ears.



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



‘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!


The Hourglass Blog Tour Poster

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



‘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!


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…