contemporary fiction · cover reveal · romantic comedy

Cover Reveal – The Only Exception

The Only Exception (Love in the Comptons 2)

Lucinda Green knows something is missing from her life. But what? Her catering business is enjoying modest success and she loves her cosy house, even if she does have to share it with her irritating ex-fiancé.
Whatever’s making her unsettled and edgy, Lucinda’s certain that a lack of romance isn’t the problem. How could it be when she doesn’t believe in true love?
But Lucinda’s beliefs are shaken by a series of electric encounters with Alex Fraser, a newly-notorious actor who gradually proves himself to be infuriatingly funny and smart, as well as handsome.
Not that any of that matters. Because Lucinda doesn’t believe in all that ‘The One’ nonsense. That’s the rule.
But doesn’t every rule have an exception?

This uplifting grumpy-meets-sunshine romance is perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Phillipa Ashley and Milly Johnson.

Pre-order Link – getbook.at/TheOnlyException
Publication Date: 7th June

Author Bio

Claire Huston lives in Warwickshire with her husband and two children.

She writes uplifting modern love stories about characters who are meant for each other but sometimes need a little help to realise it.

A keen amateur baker, she enjoys making cakes, biscuits and brownies almost as much as eating them. You can find recipes for over a hundred sweet treats at clairehuston.co.uk. This is also where she talks about and reviews books.

Social Media Links: https://linktr.ee/clairehuston_author

As always,

book review · contemporary fiction · Contemporary Romance · family · relationships · women's fiction

Book Review – The Switch

Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
Maybe it’s time for The Switch…

Ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, Leena escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Newly single and about to turn eighty, Eileen would like a second chance at love. But her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen… So Leena proposes a solution: a two-month swap. Eileen can live in London and look for love, and Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire.

But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the annoyingly perfect – and distractingly handsome – local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. Back in London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?

My Review

I can honestly say I didn’t expect to love this book quite so much. I mean, how funny, sad, heartbreaking and heartwarming can one story be? The Switch made me laugh out loud and also brought a tear or two to my eyes.
The premise is a family – grandmother – mother -(grand)daughter – all still grieving for the loss of Carla and not knowing how to help each other through their grief. By switching lives, grandmother, Eileen, and granddaughter, Leena might just understand each other and themselves better, and the “a change is as good as a rest” theory might help Leena understand her mother, Marian’s decision when it came to letting Carla go.

You’d think from that premise, this story might be heavy-going … but the remaining characters enable Eileen and Leena to throw themselves into their “new” lives and in so doing become the best version of themselves as well as bringing the respective communities together. The story, while focused on Eileen and Leena, also touches on loneliness, domestic abuse, cheating partners, all of which is balanced by the funnier side of online dating for the over 70s, Neighbourhood Watch meetings, and the ultimate village rivalry for the May Fayre.
It’s a story that delivers new friendships, rekindles old friendships and that promises new starts, because you’re never too old or too young to be the better version of yourself.

Praise for The Switch:

Another life-affirming joy‘ HEAT MAGAZINE

Warmwitty, and a cast of characters I wish I was friends with – I truly loved it!‘ LAURA JANE WILLIAMS

I am blown away. I didn’t think Beth could top The Flatshare but she has. It sparkles with wit, warmth and compassion. It deserves to be huge!‘ GILLIAN McALLISTER

Heartwarming and uplifting. Everyone should have an Eileen in their life!’ HEIDI SWAIN

‘Eileen Cotton proves you don’t have to be in your thirties to be Bridget JonesA triumph of a second novel!’ ANSTEY HARRIS

Bursting with warmth and humour’ LOUISE O’NEILL

I loved it! A total joy to read. Such a breath of fresh air‘ LIBBY PAGE

‘It’s an absolute joy from beginning to end’ MIKE GAYLE

I just loved The SwitchWhat a beautiful story with such memorable charactersI have been well and truly Eileened! It’s an absolute triumph!‘ EMMA COOPER

‘Beth O’Leary has absolutely smashed it out of the park with The SwitchBrilliantwarmfunnyfull of heartCompletely loved it!‘ RICHARD ROPER

About the author

Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.
You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

contemporary fiction · cover reveal · family · relationships

Cover Reveal – Just One Day

Just One Day – Spring

Mum-of-three Louisa thought she only had her never-ending to-do list to worry about, but the arrival of a ghost from the recent past puts her in an untenable position. Can she navigate the difficult situation she’s in without their friendship becoming common knowledge or will it cause long-term damage to her marriage?

When a family member begins to suspect there’s more to her relationship with the new sous-chef than meets the eye, Louisa needs to think on her feet or she’ll dig herself into a deeper hole. But the cost of keeping her secret, not only from her husband, comes at a high price, one which tugs at her conscience.

With everyday niggles already causing a further rift between Louisa and husband Ronnie, will she manage to keep her family on track whilst her life spirals out of control? And when tragedy strikes, will Ronnie step up when she needs him most?

books2read.com/u/4XDkre

For fans of Fiona Gibson, Holly Martin and Jill Mansell.

Pre-order Link – books2read.com/u/4XDkre

Publication Date: 17th May 2022

Author Bio

Susan Buchanan lives in Scotland with her husband, their two young children and a crazy Labrador called Benji. She has been reading since the age of four and had to get an adult library pass early as she had read the entire children’s section by the age of ten. 

Susan writes contemporary fiction, often set in Scotland, usually featuring travel, food or Christmas. When not working, writing, or caring for her two delightful cherubs, Susan loves reading (obviously), the theatre, quiz shows and eating out – not necessarily in that order!

Social Media Links

Website – www.susanbuchananauthor.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Susan_Buchanan 

Facebook – www.facebook.com/susan.buchanan.author

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/AuthorSusanBuchanan/

As always,

blog tour · book review · contemporary fiction · dual timeline · historical fiction · WWII

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – The Bookseller’s Secret

The Bookseller’s Secret
A Novel of Nancy Mitford and WWII
Michelle Gable

From New York Times bestselling author Michelle Gable comes a dual-narrative set at the famed Heywood Hill Bookshop in London about a struggling American writer on the hunt for a rumoured lost manuscript written by the iconic Nancy Mitford—bookseller, spy, author, and aristocrat—during World War II.

“Gable’s witty narrative effortlessly moves between two time periods and is enriched with cameos by historical figures and authentic, memorable characters. Historical fiction fans will be riveted from the first page.” —Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.

Eager for distraction and desperate for income, Nancy jumps at the chance to manage the Heywood Hill bookshop while the owner is away at war. Between the shop’s brisk business and the literary salons she hosts for her eccentric friends, Nancy’s life seems on the upswing. But when a mysterious French officer insists that she has a story to tell, Nancy must decide if picking up the pen again and revealing all is worth the price she might be forced to pay.

Eighty years later, Heywood Hill is abuzz with the hunt for a lost wartime manuscript written by Nancy Mitford. For one woman desperately in need of a change, the search will reveal not only a new side to Nancy, but an even more surprising link between the past and present…

Purchase link: Amazon UK

About the Author

MICHELLE GABLE is the New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment, I’ll See You in Paris, The Book of Summer, and The Summer I Met Jack. She attended The College of William & Mary, where she
majored in accounting, and spent twenty years working in finance before becoming a
full-time writer. She grew up in San Diego and lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, with her husband and two daughters. Find her at michellegable.com or on Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, @MGableWriter.

My Review

How could a story about a bookseller and wartime spy not appeal? I’ll admit to a vague knowledge of the Mitford family, and was keen to read more about Nancy. The concept of author Katie Cabot searching for Nancy’s lost manuscript seemed like a novel way to combine the dual timelines in a cohesive whole.

So, it’s 1942 and aristocrat Nancy Mitford needs to come up with another bestselling novel to maintain her lifestyle since her estrangement from her husband. But ideas are thin on the ground and she grows more and more uncertain of recreating her earlier success. To make ends meet, she starts work at the Heywood Hill bookshop on a temporary basis. Hoping to find inspiration in between customers, Nancy finally decides to write a memoir.

It is this that draws Katie to the bookshop some eighty years later. Similarly, Katie is struggling to write her next novel too. Like-minded women, decades apart, Nancy and Katie have more in common than being writers. Both have a vast array of friends who make up for their disinterested families, and these friends are pushy and demanding, though they wrap it up as encouragement.

For me, the story took a while to hook me. As much as the the story appealed in theory, it didn’t quite grab my attention from the outset. That may be due to it being heavily dialogue-driven, it lacked depth and was a tad too “conversational” to keep me interested. Given that I hadn’t really connected with the characters, their conversations didn’t help me like them any better.

Fortunately, the second half – and, in particular, the final chapters – turned things around for me as more details of Nancy’s fascinating life was revealed. I began to understand Katie’s interest in Nancy and the so-called “missing years” that would fill in the precious gaps of a lifetime of rare and exceptional experiences.

Combining historical fiction with a contemporary storyline is a tough ask. For me, the historical elements were stronger and tighter, but I did enjoy the concept of telling some of Nancy’s story through Katie’s discoveries. Based on this, I’m keen to read more by this author as well as Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love.

As always,

Thanks for reading

Amazon Reviewer Name
blog tour · contemporary fiction · Giveaways · women's fiction

Blog Tour – Where Are We Tomorrow?

wherearewetomorrowBT copy

Welcome to the blog tour for award-winning novel, Where Are We Tomorrow by Tavi Taylor Black! Read on for more info and a chance to win a $25 Amazon e-Gift Card!

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Where We Are Tomorrow

Publication Date: May 31st, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Publisher: TouchPoint Press

Alex Evans, a thirty-six year old touring electrician, discovers through an accidental pregnancy and then the pain of miscarriage that she truly wants a family. But to attempt another pregnancy, she’ll have to change both her career and her relationship; her partner Connor, ten years her senior, isn’t prepared to become a father again.

When Alex is implicated in an accident involving the female pop star she works for, she and three other women on tour rent a house together in Tuscany. While the tour regroups, confessions are made, secrets are spilled: the guitar tech conceals a forbidden love, the production assistant’s ambition knows no limits, and the personal assistant battles mental issues.

Through arguments and accidents, combating drug use and religion, the women help each other look back on the choices they’ve made, eventually buoying each other, offering up strength to face tough decisions ahead.

TRIGGER WARNING: MISCARRIAGE/ ADDICTION/ GRIEF

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Excerpt

Inside the concrete arena, programmed lights whirred and spun in rhythm; eleven thousand fans watched, mesmerized, as vibrant magenta and violet beams sliced through midnight black. On stage, the band regurgitated the same set as the night before, and the night before that. They’d performed the set in Mexico City and Guadalajara. As far south as Santiago and Lima. The road crew for Sadie Estrada’s Home Remedy tour knew each dip in volume, each drop in the beat. They knew exactly, down to the second, how much time it required to step outside and suck down a Marlboro. These time-zone travelers planned bathroom breaks by the songs’ measures; no one missed a cue to mute the stage mics, to hand out room-temp bottled water for set breaks, to pull up house lights.

Behind heavy velvet curtains, separated from the frenzied pace of the show, Alex unscrewed the cover of a moving light to expose the core: circuit boards and capacitors, motors connected to color wheels. Deep bass, feedback, and the fevered pitch of collective voices penetrated the curtain, the familiar, almost comforting reverberations of life on the road. Alex continued her diagnosis, removing the light harness as a mother removes a soiled diaper— routinely, with a touch of tenderness. While she located and replaced the broken part, she kept an ear to the music, alert to the final measure of the set, ready to repack her multi-wheeled toolbox, move on to the next city, set up again.

Alex ran the light through all its functions, testing and retesting once she’d replaced the gobo wheel. The body of the light panned and tilted, working fine. A small victory.

“Sure you know what you’re doing, little lady?” Alex turned at the familiar voice of the tour’s production manager.

“Funny,” she said. “Very original. For that, you get to help me put it away.” Alex waited for another barb, one about her not being able to lift the seventy pounds by herself, but Joe simply helped her flip and crate the unit, a harder task for him at 5’2” than it was for Alex, a good five inches taller.

The arena crackled in anticipation of the show’s climax. Thousands of voices swelled and surged, a unified congregation. The body of the moving light settled into the carved Styrofoam, and Alex tucked its tail inside the handle. As she slammed the case shut, Joe’s laminate got caught inside the box, and he was jerked down by the lanyard around his neck. He freed the latches and yanked it clear, smoothing the wrinkles from the photo of his two young children, a wallet-sized clipping he’d taped behind his backstage pass. Joe caught Alex eyeing the photo.

“When are you gonna give in and pop out a few yourself?” Joe asked.

Alex breathed slowly, letting a brief sadness settle into her body, though her face wore a practiced, blank expression. She gestured into the smothering dark, into the roar of the crowd and sweat-filled air. “And give up all this?”

Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | B&N

About the Author

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Tavi Black lives on an island near Seattle where she designs sets for the ballet, works as the tour manager for a musical mantra group, and has founded an anti-domestic violence non-profit organization. Before earning an MFA from Lesley University, Tavi spent 14 years touring with rock bands. Several of Tavi’s short stories have been shortlisted for prizes, including Aesthetica Magazine’s Competition, and the Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose.

Tavi Taylor Black | Instagram | Kirkus Reviews | Indie Reader

Giveaway: Click the link below for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

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Blog Tour Organized By:

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book blitz · contemporary fiction · humour · literary fiction

Book Blitz – Everyday Magic

EverdayMagic2

Great news! If you pre-order a copy of Everyday Magic by Charlie Laidlaw, you will receive a signed edition! But you have to order before May 26th!

Everyday Magic Front cover FINALEveryday Magic

Expected Publication Date: May 26th, 2021

Genre: Literary fiction/ Contemporary Fiction/ Humour

Publisher: Ringwood Publishing

Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it. She’s married to someone who may, or may not, be in New York on business and, to make things worse, the family’s deaf cat has been run over by an electric car.

But something has been changing in Carole’s mind. She’s decided to revisit places that hold special significance for her. She wants to better understand herself, and whether the person she is now is simply an older version of the person she once was.

Instead, she’s taken on an unlikely journey to confront her past, present and future.

Everyday Magic is an uplifting book filled with humour and poignancy, and reminds us that, while our pasts make us who we are, we can always change the course of our futures.

Pre-Order HERE!

About the Author

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Charlie Laidlaw lives in East Lothian, one of the main settings for Everyday Magic. He has four other published novels: Being Alert!, The Space Between Time, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead and Love Potions and Other Calamities. Previously a journalist and defence intelligence analyst, Charlie now teaches Creative Writing in addition to his writing career.

Charlie Laidlaw | Facebook | Twitter

 

Book Blitz Organized By:

R&R Book Tours

blog tour · book review · contemporary fiction · interaction · mystery

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Tipping Point

Tipping Point

The sun … the ocean … the farmhouse … the scammer… the police… the 3-legged dog?

George and Ellen have retired to sunny Mallorca. Social butterfly Ellen is itching to make yacht-owning friends while George’s heart is set on a secluded farmhouse in the country. In fact, now that they’re no longer living busy London lives, they’re beginning to realise they have very different ideas of happiness.

Private investigator Salva specialises in cases of adultery. That’s why it’s particularly embarrassing that he didn’t realise his long-term girlfriend has been cheating on him. He has no time to nurse a broken heart, since his family are the victims of a property scam they urgently need him to solve.

Robyn Chase is giving talks on her self-help book, No More Toxic Relationships – 7 Years, 7 Lessons. She’s finding it awkward being a relationship guru when her own boyfriend is avoiding her.

The sun is shining in Mallorca and everything looks beautiful. But the residents of one particular apartment block are about to discover it all might be too good to be true.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Tipping-Point-Emily-Benet-ebook/dp/B0887FVYR9

US – https://www.amazon.com/Tipping-Point-Emily-Benet-ebook/dp/B0887FVYR9

 

Author Bio

Emily Benet is a journalist, award-winning blogger and author of contemporary fiction.

Her books include the blog-to-book Shop Girl Diaries, Wattpad hit Spray Painted Bananas and social media romcom #PleaseRetweet.

She lives in Mallorca with her husband and daughter and the sunny island is the setting for her latest novels The Hen Party and Tipping Point. She writes regularly for the luxury lifestyle magazine abcMallorca.

Social Media Links 

www.facebook.com/EmilyBenetAuthor

www.instagram.com/emilybenetauthor

https://twitter.com/EmilyBenet

My Review

This was a fascinating read, a truly circular plot that connected the inhabitants of an apartment block in more ways than you might possibly imagine.

Salva is a private investigator, wondering if his business will ever be as successful as he’d like it to be. He’s also feeling a tad sorry for himself after his girlfriend of six years recently left him. While he’s in this state of despondency, his family descend on him from Madrid. They had originally booked a farmhouse/villa for their holiday but the booking now seems to be nothing but a scam. Can Salva sort it out for them? Find the scammer and get his apartment back.

Ellen & George are renting an apartment in the same block while looking for a place to buy. George wants to purchase a place inland, where his money goes further and they can live off the land and fully integrate into Spanish life. Ellen yearns to be by the coast, joining the yachting set and having a whale of a time with the expat community. When George is sorely tempted by a remote farmhouse, Ellen fears becoming a hermit and dying or boredom. When a local surveyor offers to do a survey on the place, Ellen hopes he’ll find the place is falling to bits. The fact that the surveyor is a huge flirt and owns a boat soon sees her drooling over a different lifestyle, possibly without George.

The final main resident of the apartment block is Robyn, author of a hugely successful book about relationships. Is she the guru who can help mend Salva’s broken heart, or give Ellen and George hope for a future together. Well, of course, all is not as it seems. Robyn has her own secrets, as well as a relationship that has seen better days.

The story is told from their perspectives, and the interconnectivity of the three stories is hugely satisfying. How they connect is very clever and revealed in a drip-drip manner, making it a great mystery yet also an insight into the different lifestyles of the residents of a single apartment block.

It reminded me of living in Granada, when the landlady would pop in with vats of olive oil, the residents would gather at the postboxes and on the stairways to chat, or they’d be talking across balconies. The noise and vibrancy of those days came flooding back 🙂

A most enjoyable story.

For more news and reviews:

As always,

blog tour · book review · contemporary fiction · crime · police procedural · thriller

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Broken Silence

Broken Silence

When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…

On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.

Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.

Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.

With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.

But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…

Purchase Links

E book https://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Silence-absolutely-gripping-thriller-ebook/dp/B083Z3ZZ61

Paperback https://www.amazon.co.uk/Liz-Mistry-2-3/dp/0008358370

Author Bio 

Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.

Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.

In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.

Social Media Links 

FB https://www.facebook.com/LizMistrybooks/

Twitter @LizMistryAuthor

Website: https://www.lizmistry.com/

My Review

This is a real find! As my first book by Liz Mistry, I know I’ll be reading much more of her work from here on.

DS Felicity Springer leaves the conference centre feeling wiped-out, as though she’d drunk too much when she’s convinces she hadn’t but can barely remember what happened at all. To avoid the likelihood of being stopped by police on her way home she takes the back roads. the weather is awful but she makes out a hand sticking out of the rear light on the van in front of her and, ever the policewoman, decides to pursue. Still not feeling great, she puts in a call to the police but then drops her phone …

The police are alerted to Springer’s call, and when she doesn’t reply they race to track her vehicle …only to find it empty apart from her bag and some blood.

Nikki Parekh and her colleague Saj Malik are charged with finding her, a daunting task given that Nikki and Felicity aren’t exactly bosom buddies. But Springer’s disappearance is not the only crime occurring in Bradford over the coming days. Bodies are found in remote locations, fires break out throughout the city and the emergency services are overwhelmed. It appears there’s a new Mister Big in town and he intends to make his mark.

This is a gritty novel that had me enthralled from the outset. It covers contemporary themes such as homophobia, sexism, racism and the story revolves around modern-day slavery. It’s compelling and utterly addictive. 

Highly recommended! Readers who enjoy fast-paced stories with intriguing and interesting characters will enjoy this tense slice of reality. An amazing story. 

For more news and reviews, check out these blogs: 

As always,

 

book review · contemporary fiction · women's fiction

Book Review – The Day She Came Back

The Day She Came Back

Amanda Prowse

The Blurb

From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: how do you forgive the family that lied to you, and love the mum you never had?

When her loving, free-spirited grandmother Primrose passes away, Victoria is bereft, yet resilient—she has survived tragedy before. But even her strength is tested when a mysterious woman attends Prim’s funeral and claims to be the mother Victoria thought was dead.

As the two women get to know each other and Victoria begins to learn more about her past, it becomes clear that her beloved grandmother had been keeping life-changing secrets from her. Desperate for answers, she still struggles to trust anyone to tell her the truth.

To live a full and happy life, Victoria knows she must not only uncover the truth, but find a way to forgive her family. But after so many years, is trusting them even possible?
 

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About the author:

Amanda Prowse was a management consultant for ten years before realising that she was born to write.

Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their two teenage sons.

 

My Review

This is the first book I’ve read by Amanda Prowse, though I’ve seen her a lot on TV and always liked the sound of her stories. In person (on TV, I mean) , she has the ability to draw people in and captivate them with her account of  even the most mundane thing, so I had high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed.

The Day She Came Back tells the story of Victoria (about to turn 19), her grandmother, Prim (who raised her), and Sarah, the mother Victoria never knew. 

Victoria’s world falls apart when her grandmother passes, but with the help of her best friend, Daksha, she plans Prim’s funeral and the ensuing wake, only to meet a familiar-looking woman in the grounds of Rosebank (the home bequeathed to her by Prim) when she escapes for some fresh air.

The woman, Sarah, claims she is Victoria’s mother, and the story takes off in a whirlwind of sorrow, anger, pain, but above all, love, as the secrets of the past are revealed. The author never overwhelms the story with unnecessary detail; instead she sprinkles snippets of information about them as the story unfolds, enabling the reader to get a slow, but complete impression of their personalities. Sarah, who now lives in Oslo, shares letters between her and Prim with Victoria, so her daughter can a contemporaneous account of how things turned out the way they did. Through the letters, you see the pain, sadness, anger, frustration, and love that  kept Prim and Sarah, and ultimately Victoria, apart. 

But, Victoria has questions, lots and lots of them, and decides to visit Sarah in Oslo. It is the start of a beautiful relationship for  them both, and paves the way for Victoria’s “happy ever after”.

It’s a quick read, as once you’re drawn in, you cannot stop reading. Stunning locations, believable people, and a bucketful of emotion. Highly recommended to fans of intense women fiction where family is at the heart off the story. 

As always, 

 

 

blog tour · book review · contemporary fiction · literary fiction

Blog Tour ‘n’ Book Review – Surviving Me

Surviving Me

Deceit has a certain allure when your life doesn’t match up to the ideal of what it means to be a modern man.

Tom’s lost his job and now he’s been labelled ‘spermless’. He doesn’t exactly feel like a modern man, although his double life helps. Yet when his secret identity threatens to unravel, he starts to lose the plot and comes perilously close to the edge.

All the while Adam has his own duplicity, albeit for very different reasons, reasons which will blow the family’s future out of the water.

If they can’t be honest with themselves, and everyone else, then things are going to get a whole lot more complicated.

This book tackles hard issues such as male depression, dysfunctional families and degenerative diseases in an honest, life-affirming and often humorous way. It focuses particularly on the challenges of being male in today’s world and explores how our silence on these big issues can help push men to the brink.



Purchase Links

https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/48660416-surviving-me

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

https://www.amazon.com/Surviving-Me-Jo-Johnson/dp/1789650615

 

Author Bio

I’m very excited that my debut novel ‘Surviving Me’ is due to be published on the 14 November. The novel is about male minds and what pushes a regular man to the edge. The novel combines all the themes I can write about with authenticity.

I qualified as a clinical psychologist in 1992 and initially worked with people with learning disabilities before moving into the field of neurology in 1996. I worked in the NHS until 2008 when i left to write and explore new projects.

I now work as an independent clinical psychologist in West Sussex.

Jo speaks and writes for several national neurology charities including Headway and the MS Trust. Client and family related publications include, “Talking to your kids about MS”, “My mum makes the best cakes” and “Shrinking the Smirch”. 

In the last few years Jo has been offering psychological intervention using the acceptance and commitment therapeutic model (ACT) which is the most up to date version of CBT. She is now using THE ACT model in a range of organisations such as the police to help employees protect their minds in order to avoid symptoms of stress and work related burnout.


Social Media Links 

https://en-gb.facebook.com/shrinkingthesmirch/

Giveaway to Win two signed copies of Surviving Me & five Surviving Me fridge magnets (Open INT)

1st Prize – 2 winners each winning a signed copy of Surviving Me

5 Runners Up – each winning a Surviving Me Fridge Magnet

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

RAFFLECOPTER LINK

My Review

5/5 stars

This has been probably one of the most engaging books I’ve read this year.  The reason: it’s very real, believable, and features topics that we just don’t talk enough about. I loved it!

Written primarily from the male viewpoint of Tom, with occasional chapters headed up by his wife, Siri, the story eases us into their everyday life. Siri wants a baby, but it’s not happening which starts to create tensions. So when Tom loses his job, he’s wary of telling Siri, and hopes to find a new one quickly and then break the news.

But the new job doesn’t happen, and Tom’s insecurities mount. Rather than face up to the truth, he continues his regular routine, pretending to go to work, and with each passing day it becomes harder to tell her. 

What does he do then, when he’s pretending to be at work? He drives around, not too far because fuel costs money, but eventually stops off at a café in a small village where he can be anonymous while applying for jobs on his laptop. Here there are no expectations, no judgements to be made. 

But this is no ordinary café, or rather the owner and the regulars are not so easily duped. While keeping their distance, they notice him …and his visits become more frequent and longer lasting. He finds himself intrigued by them too, especially a young girl, Lydia, who sits alone by the window, lost in her own world.

At home, Siri is still fretting about not conceiving, so both of them visit the doctors for tests. When Tom finds out he is infertile, this is another blow to his confidence … and another secret to keep for as long as he can. Already feeling pretty worthless, knowing he can’t give Siri the one thing she wants tips him over the edge. His own personal depression is not helped by other worries about his brother-in-law’s odd behaviour. In all, everything seems to be going wrong. 

You’ll have to read for yourself what happens next – you won’t be disappointed. There are moments of sadness, poignancy, hope and despair, but above all, there’s a sense of love, togetherness, and community.  

I don’t have any personal experience of depression, but there is a genuine sense of vulnerability in many of the characters. They are real people, with real flaws and issues, and a very real British approach to such issues – i.e. say nothing and it’ll all go away! Asking for help seems so hard, but absolutely nothing to be worried about or ashamed of.

I don’t want to give the impression that this story is a hard or a heavy read; it’s not. It flows effortlessly and will scoop you up for the ride. Emotions are laid bare, but that means humour and hope rise to the surface and will make you smile. I particularly appreciated the author writing much of this from a male perspective given that suicide is such a major problem among younger men. It’s easy to see how life can become too much, and by not talking about it, the future seems too bleak. Kudos to the author for tackling this head on and with such clarity. 

The ending is possibly one of the greatest twists I’ve read in recent months. Delivered with great subtlety but with the power of a sledgehammer! Fabulous, and I hope it leads to a sequel.

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