Back after 2 weeks away to a lovely little book pile of review copies and competition wins. Maybe I should go away more often!
The Weekends of You and Me by Fiona Walker. A NetGalley arc with thanks to Nicola for creating the temptation in the first place.
Can your final fling become your Happy Ever After?
When Jo Coulson finds herself single again in her late thirties, she finally resigns her membership to Last of the Hopeless Romantics, fully intending to tackle midlife and motherhood alone. First, she plans one legendary last fling…
In walks Harry Inchbold, and the connection is electric. Passionate, unpredictable and messily divorced, Harry is the perfect antidote to cosy coupledom. Known as The Sinner, drama follows him around with a clapper board.
Harry’s favourite holiday hideaway in the wilds of South Shropshire puts the mud and fun into the perfect dirty weekend. But at the cottage Harry reveals a very different side, melting Jo’s resolve. What better combination to face an uncertain future than two cynics who have learned from their mistakes?Together they make a pact; ‘same time next year’; they can promise no more than that.
Through life’s most stressful decade, Harry and Jo return to the Shropshire hills for one weekend each year to rediscover passion and make peace. As career, family and home crises all threaten to bring them unstuck, the cottage is their glue. Here, different rules apply: the day to day world is not allowed to intrude.With Harry and Jo, however, it’s only a matter of time before rules get broken. As real life gets increasingly complicated, can they keep renewing their promise?
The Tea Planter’s Daughter and The Tea Planter’s Bride by Janet MacLeod Trotter. Another two via NetGalley to coincide with the re-branding of the the covers. Thanks Janet for alerting me and I’ll fit the in my schedule as soon as I can.
Description – Tea Planter’s Daughter
Lush, green, fragrant: the Indian hills of Assam are full of promise. But eighteen-year-old Clarissa Belhaven is full of worry. The family tea plantation is suffering, and so is her father, still grieving over the untimely death of his wife, while Clarissa’s fragile sister, Olive, needs love and resourceful care.
Beautiful and headstrong, Clarissa soon attracts the attention of young, brash Wesley Robson, a rival tea planter. Yet before his intentions become fully clear, tragedy befalls the Belhavens and the sisters are wrenched from their beloved tea garden to the industrial streets of Tyneside.
A world away from the only home she has ever known, Clarissa must start again. Using all her means, she must endure not only poverty but jealousy and betrayal too. Will the reappearance of Wesley give her the link to her old life that she so desperately craves? Or will a fast-changing world and the advent of war extinguish hope forever?
Description – Tea Planter’s Bride
When Sophie is suddenly orphaned at the age of six, she is taken from her parents’ tea plantation, the only home she has ever known, to be raised halfway across the world in Scotland.
As the years pass and her exotic childhood becomes a distant memory, adventurous Sophie finds refuge in her friendship with her kind, shy cousin, Tilly. It is no surprise when the girls follow each other to India to embark on new adventures, new lives and new loves.
But the reality of 1920s India is far removed from their dream: the jungles are too humid and the breathtaking tea gardens too remote. And amongst the stifling beauty, intrigue abounds; while Sophie struggles with affairs of the heart, Tilly, alone in a difficult world, delves into the mystery of Sophie’s parents’ deaths. As the past begins to darken their friendship, will long-held secrets shatter everything they’ve ever striven for?
Last Dance in Havanna by Rosanna Ley. I signed up to join the Quercus Summer promo but sadly this paperback arrived too late for me to meet their ongoing book release schedule. Never mind, it’s not like I’ll be running out of books anytime soon 🙂
Cuba, 1958. Elisa is only sixteen years old when she meets Duardo and she knows he’s the love of her life from the moment they first dance the rumba together in downtown Havana. But Duardo is a rebel, determined to fight in Castro’s army, and Elisa is forced to leave behind her homeland and rebuild her life in distant England. But how can she stop longing for the warmth of Havana, when the music of the rumba still calls to her?
England, 2012. Grace has a troubled relationship with her father, whom she blames for her beloved mother’s untimely death. And this year more than ever she could do with a shoulderto cry on – Grace’s career is in flux, she isn’t sure she wants the baby her husband is so desperate to have and, worst of all, she’s begun to develop feelings for their best friend Theo. Theo is a Cuban born magician but even he can’t make Grace’s problems disappear. Is the passion Grace feels for Theo enough to risk her family’s happiness?
Blackwater by James Henry. A hardback review copy courtesy of Real Readers
January 1983, Colchester CID
A new year brings new resolutions for Detective Inspector Nicholas Lowry. With one eye on his approaching fortieth birthday, he has given up his two greatest vices: smoking, and the police boxing team. As a result, the largest remaining threat to his health is now his junior colleague’s reckless driving.
If Detective Constable Daniel Kenton’s orange sports convertible is symbolic of his fast track through the ranks, then his accompanying swagger, foppish hairstyle and university education only augment his uniqueness in the department. Yet regardless of this, it is not DC Kenton who is turning station heads.
WPC Jane Gabriel is the newest police recruit in Britain’s oldest recorded town. Despite a familial tie to top brass, Gabriel’s striking beauty and profound youth have landed her with two obstacles: a young male colleague who gives her too much attention, and an older one who acts like she’s not there.
January 1983, Blackwater Estuary
A new year brings a new danger to the Essex shoreline. An illicit shipment, bound for Colchester – 100 kilograms of powder that will frantically accelerate tensions in the historic town, and leave its own murderous trace.
Lowry, Kenton and Gabriel must now develop a tolerance to one another, and show their own substance, to save Britain’s oldest settlement from a new, unsettling enemy.
When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.
But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?
As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel begins to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:
‘You will be dead by Christmas.’
Rowan Hill means many things to many people, but to Ellie Hesketh it represents new beginnings. Putting her life back together after a break-up is going to take time, but the crumbling country estate—as much in need of TLC as she is—seems the perfect place to do it.
But Ellie is not the only person for whom Rowan Hill is a refuge. There’s Will, damaged and complicated, whose secrets almost nobody knows. And Finn, his brother, who’s finally decided to stop running from his own past. As Ellie is drawn further into saving the estate, she can’t help but try saving the brothers too—and she’s sure she knows just how to go about it. The trouble is, she’s been accused of meddling before…
By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this story of friendship, forgiveness and unexpected romance reveals the lies we tell to hide dark secrets—and what can happen when we let in a little light.
For four long years, journalist Morgan Vine has campaigned for the release of her childhood sweetheart Danny Kilcannon – convicted, on dubious evidence, of murdering his 14 year-old stepdaughter.
When a key witness recants, Danny is released from prison. With nowhere else to go, he relies on single mum Morgan and her teenage daughter, Lissa.
But then Lissa goes missing.
With her own child now at risk, Morgan must re-think all she knows about her old flame – ‘the one that got away’. As the media storm around the mysterious disappearance intensifies and shocking revelations emerge, she is forced to confront the ultimate question: who can we trust…?
Follow You Home by Mark Edwards. Not sure why I got this but Amazon assured me I’d met some promo requirement.
It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime, a final adventure before settling down. But after a perfect start, an encounter with a young couple on a night train forces Daniel and Laura to cut their dream trip short and flee home.
Back in London, Daniel and Laura vow never to talk about what happened that night. But as they try to fit into their old lives again, they realise they are in terrible danger—and that their nightmare is just beginning…
Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places …
Living in a small village like Hibberton, it’s expected that your neighbours help you in a time of need. But when Andrea Kelly’s house burns down, taking all her earthly possessions with it, it’s the distant and aloof Doctor David Adams – the person she would least expect – who opens his door not just to her, but to her three kids and slightly dotty elderly mother as well.
Andrea needs all the help she can get, dealing with aftermath of the fire and in the suspicious absence of her husband, Jonathan. But, as she gets to know David and his troubled son, Jake, she begins to realise that maybe they need her help as much as she needs theirs …
The View from the Corner Shop by Kathleen Hey. Kindle bargain at 99p. Have been waiting for this to drop in price after spotting it weeks ago. Taken from the Mass Observation diaries of a Yorkshire shop assistant.
Kathleen Hey spent the war years helping her sister and brother-in-law run a grocery shop in the Yorkshire town of Dewsbury. From July 1941 to July 1946 she kept a diary for the Mass-Observation project, recording the thoughts and concerns of the people who used the shop. What makes Kathleen’s account such a vivid and compelling read is the immediacy of her writing. People were pulling together on the surface (‘Bert has painted the V-sign on the shop door…’, she writes) but there are plenty of tensions underneath. The shortage of food and the extreme difficulty of obtaining it is a constant thread, which dominates conversation in the town, more so even than the danger of bombardment and the war itself.
Sometimes events take a comic turn. A lack of onions provokes outrage among her customers, and Kathleen writes, ‘I believe they think we have secret onion orgies at night and use them all up.’ The Brooke Bond tea rep complains that tea need not be rationed at all if supply ships were not filled with ‘useless goods’ such as Corn Flakes, and there is a long-running saga about the non-arrival of Smedley’s peas.
Among the chorus of voices she brings us, Kathleen herself shines through as a strong and engaging woman who refuses to give in to doubts or misery and who maintains her keen sense of humour even under the most trying conditions.A vibrant addition to our records of the Second World War, the power of her diary lies in its juxtaposition of the everyday and the extraordinary, the homely and the universal, small town life and the wartime upheavals of a nation.
Silver Rain by Jan Ruth. Bargain at 99p
Al is the black sheep of his family, Kate, the good shepherd of hers. Can black and white become silver, or just a dark and dangerous grey?
Alastair Black has revealed a secret to his wife in a last ditch attempt to save his marriage. A return to his childhood family home at Chathill Farm is his only respite, although he is far from welcomed back by brother George.
Kate, recently widowed and increasingly put upon by daughter, sister and mother, feels her life is over at fifty. Until she meets Alastair. He’s everything she isn’t, but he’s a troubled soul, a sad clown of a man with a shady past. When his famous mother leaves an unexpected inheritance, Kate is caught up in the unravelling of his life as Al comes to terms with who he really is.
Is Alastair Black her true soulmate, or should Sleeping Beauty lie?
Lifesaving for Beginners by Ciara Geraghty. Another 99p bargain
Kat Kavanagh is not in love. She has lots of friends, an ordinary job, and she never ever thinks about her past. This is Kat’s story. None of it is true. Milo McIntyre loves his mam, the peanut-butter-and-banana muffins at the Funky Banana cafe, and the lifesaving class he does after school. He never thinks about his future, until the day it changes forever. This is Milo’s story. All of it is true. And then there is the other story. The one with a twist of fate which somehow brings together a boy from Brighton and a woman in Dublin, and uncovers the truth once and for all. This is the story that’s just about to begin . . .
In 17th-century Persia, a 14-year-old woman believes she will be married within the year. But when her beloved father dies, she and her mother find themselves alone and without a dowry. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to sell the brilliant turquoise rug the young woman has woven to pay for their journey to Isfahan, where they will work as servants for her uncle, a rich rug designer in the court of the legendary Shah Abbas the Great. Despite her lowly station, the young woman blossoms as a brilliant designer of carpets, a rarity in a craft dominated by men. But while her talent flourishes, her prospects for a happy marriage grow dim. Forced into a secret marriage to a wealthy man, the young woman finds herself faced with a daunting decision: forsake her own dignity, or risk everything she has in an effort to create a new life.
The Judge’s Wife by Ann O’Loughlin. Pre-order bargain at 98p
Can a love last forever?
When Emma returns to Dublin to put her estranged father’s affairs in order, she begins to piece together the story of his life and that of Grace, the mother she never knew. She knows her father as the judge – as stern and distant at home as he was in the courtroom. But as she goes through his personal effects, Emma begins to find clues about her mother that shock her profoundly.
A tale of enduring love and scandal that begins in 1950s Dublin and unravels across decades and continents, digging up long-buried family secrets along the way, The Judge’s Wife asks whether love really can last forever.
Nice Work (If You Can Get It) by Celia Imrie. 99p from Amazon
Somewhere on the French Riviera, tucked between glitzy Monte Carlo and Cannes’ red-carpets, lies the sleepy town of Bellevue-Sur-Mer. Sheltered from the glittering melee, it is home to many an expat – although it
hasn’t proved as peaceful as expected. Now an enterprising band of retirees has resolved to show it’s never too late to start afresh, and open a restaurant.
Snapping up a local property and throwing themselves into preparations, Theresa, Carol, William and Benjamin’s plans are proceeding unnervingly well. But when Theresa encounters a mysterious intruder, she begins to wonder what secrets the building is concealing.
Meanwhile Sally, an actress who fled the stage to live in quiet anonymity, has decided not to be involved. She’s far too busy anyway, shepherding around a gaggle of A-listers including a suave Russian with a super-yacht and a penchant for her company.
As the razzmatazz of Cannes Film Festival penetrates Bellevue-Sur-Mer, its inhabitants become entangled in a complex pattern of love triangles and conflicting business interests, and something starts to feel distinctly oeuf. Finding themselves knee-deep in suspicion and skulduggery, the restaurateurs realise they can no longer tell who’s nasty … and who’s nice.
Charity Shop buys