My Review of Her Mother’s Secret: The Summer of ’69 by Jan Baynham #TuesdayBookBlog

Her Mother's Secret: The Summer of '69 by [Jan Baynham]

Book Description:

It’s 1969 and free-spirited artist Elin Morgan has left Wales for a sun-drenched Greek island. As she makes new friends and enjoys the laidback lifestyle, she writes all about it in her diary. But Elin’s carefree summer of love doesn’t last long, and her island experience ultimately leaves her with a shocking secret …
Twenty-two years later, Elin’s daughter Alexandra has inherited the diary and is reeling from its revelations. The discovery compels Alexandra to make her own journey to the same island, following in her mother’s footsteps. Once there, she sets about uncovering what really happened to Elin in that summer of ’69.

My Review:

I looked forward to reading this debut novel by Jan Baynham for quite a while and I wasn’t disappointed. The author has an easy writing style that I really like, I love the story, which has a brilliant dramatic opening and, unusual for me, I read the book in one fairly long session.

Her Mother’s Secret is set against the background of the Greek island of Péfka during completely different eras; 1969 and 2011 .These two time frames are linked by the two main characters,  Alexandra and her mother, Elin and are connected through time, by the diary that Alexandra has found after her mother’s death.

 I don’t like giving spoilers in my reviews; I try to explain what I like about a book.

Both Elin and  Alexandra are complex and well-rounded characters, and very much of their time. And, although they are never together in any scenes in the novel, the love they had for each other is threaded throughout Her Mother’s Secret.  But there is one big difference in the two; Elin Morgan is following her dreams by becoming an art student at a summer painting school, run by a famous artist, on Péfka. Alexandra, still grieving, is on the island seeking answers to the disclosures in her mother’s diary

 And the author has ensured that the reader becomes engrossed in these characters by intertwining their stories with a cast of believable minor characters and the detailed and redolent descriptions of the Greek island, the harbour, the art school The portrayal of all the settings give an evocative sense of place.

 The book moves at a good pace with a number of twists and turns that sometimes took me by surprise and sometimes gave me a feeling of ‘Ah-ha!; my suspicions, picked up through the foreshadowing the author has slipped into the story, coming to fruition is always satisfying to a reader.  

There are many themes running through Her Mother’s Secret: of love, relationships, mystery, crime, secrets and friendships, all woven to give a good balance of romance with a believable darker side of life.

All in all, Her Mother’s Secret is a novel I would recommend to any reader who enjoys a story that is grounded in the Romance genre but reveals itself to be so much more.

About the author:

Jan Baynham

After retiring from a career in teaching and advisory education, Jan joined a small writing group in a local library where she wrote her first piece of fiction. From then on, she was hooked!

She soon went on to take a writing course at the local university and began to submit stories for publication to a wider audience. In October 2019, her first collection of short stories, ‘Smashing the Mask and Other Stories’ was published.

Following a novel writing course, Jan began to write her first full length novel. She loves being able to explore characters in greater depth and delve into their stories. She writes about family secrets and the bond between mothers and daughters. Partly set in the last year of the 60s, ‘Her Mother’s Secret’, takes you to sun-drenched Greece, her favourite holiday destination.

Originally from mid-Wales, Jan lives in Cardiff with her husband.

To find out more about Jan, she may be contacted on:
Twitter – @JanBaynham https://twitter.com/JanBaynham
Facebook – Jan Baynham Writer https://www.facebook.com/JanBayLit
Blog – http://www.janbaynham.blogspot.co.uk

Tenby Arts Festival 2016: Day Three: Monday 26th September.

Tenby Arts Festival 2016: Day One: Saturday 24th

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Brass Ensemble

To announce the opening of the festival with a swing, a brass ensemble will perform a medley of popular musical numbers.

Outside St Mary’s Church
High Street

11am

Free


 

Book Fair                               11998866_10152946036952132_7601875809175322308_n

For the fifth year running the Book Fair is the popular opening event in Church House for the Tenby Arts Festival. We will have twenty-eight authors and two publishers for all to chat with, who are either Welsh based or have set their books in Wal12049533_502977976546241_4653897117982364739_nes. There will be three competitions this time: an adults short story competition, one for teenagers and one for children. Details to be announced separately in May through the media.
Talks, books, relaxing music, refreshments; a morning of friendly chatter and discussion – a great morning for all.

Here is what a visitor said of last year’s fair (see picture):

“This weekend I’ve attended the Book Fair at the Tenby Arts Festival. Having seen the busy London Book Fair last year and on the other end of the spectrum some deserted halls with only two tables and four attendees elsewhere, I was pleasantly surprised to find a good vibe and a great buzz in a busy hall with lots of mingling and literary delights.”

Church House
11am – 3pm

Free


 

Sand Circles

Marc Treanor

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The essence of all you see, only exists because of a very profound order of certain repeating mathematical formulas that create the foundation of all matter, from atoms to galaxies. Sacred Geometry is the ancient science that explores and explains the energy patterns that create and unify all things, and reveals the precise way that the energy of Creation organises itself. On every scale, every natural pattern of growth or movement conforms inevitably to one or more of these geometric shapes. The strands of our DNA, the cornea of our eye, snow flakes, pine cones, flower petals, diamond crystals, the branching of trees, the path of lightning, a nautilus shell, the star we spin around, the galaxy we spiral within, and all life forms as we know them emerge out of timeless geometric codes. Sacred Geometry may very well provide the answers that you have been looking for.  (http://www.maya48.com/)

The patterns Marc creates on the beaches are all inspired by sacred geometry. The idea of ‘sacredness’ transpires from the  realisation that these patterns appear everywhere from the very small, the quantum field or the microcosm, to the very large, the cosmic realms or the macrocosm.

North Beach

Free

 

Jack Harris                          Jack Harris

Jack Harris writes and performs literate, compassionate songs, about subjects as disparate as Caribbean drinking festivals, the colour of a potato flower and the lives of great poets like Sylvia Plath and Elizabeth Bishop.
These have won him considerable acclaim. The Telegraph voted his album ‘The Flame and the Pelican’ #5 in their top 10 Roots/Folk albums of 2012. Q magazine praised his ‘unique lyrical mind’, and Maverick UK awarded the record its full 10/10 rating.
Jack is happiest when playing live. He has brought his music to a loyal, ever-growing audience, at festivals, venues and skating rinks across the world. On occasion he has opened for some of Folk’s biggest names, including Anais Mitchell, Cara Dillon and Dick Gaughan. His live show is a riveting mix of song craft and theatrical story-telling, delivered with warm voice, dry humour and nimble, string-picking fingers. Come on out and see.

Church House
8.00pm

£10

 


 

Cantemus

The Messiah

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Under the baton of Welsh National Opera chorus master, Alexander Martin, singers from all over Pembrokeshire and beyond, choir members or not will rehearse and perform Handel’s Messiah  in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary’s Church.

Born in London, Alexander Martin studied Music at St John’s College, Cambridge, and the piano at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1992 he was appointed répétiteur at the Opéra National de Lyon in France under Kent Nagano. From 1995 to 1998 Alexander spent four seasons in Germany as répétiteur at the Opera, and répétiteur and conductor at the Hesse State Opera in Wiesbaden, before returning to live in France to pursue a freelance career. He has worked as guest conductor, assistant and coach for Lyon, Marseille, Avignon, le Capitole Toulouse, l’Opéra National du Rhin (Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia), La Monnaie, le Grand Théâtre Geneva, as well as for Aix-en-Provence, Glyndebourne, and Montepulciano Festivals. Alexander also worked closely with Philippe Jordan Britten’s Peter Grimes and The Turn of the Screw (Graz), and collaborated with René Jacobs in Rome for Tancredi. Following three seasons as Chorus Master in Bern (where he also conducted Cendrillon and Dave Maric’s Ghosts), Alexander worked as Chorus Master at the Opéra National de Bordeaux from 2010-2014. During this time he also worked in Bayreuth with Philippe Jordan on Parsifal (2012). He became Chorus Master at WNO at the start of this season.

The choir will be accompanied by Jeff Howard, organist.

Jeffrey Howard was born in Cardiff and studied at the University of Wales College, Cardiff, and the Royal Academy of Music, specializing in organ performance and church music. Since graduating, he has pursued a freelance career as organist, pianist, singer, coach and conductor. He has accompanied leading international singers including Bryn Terfel, Sir Willard White, and, Rebecca Evans.

Jeff has performed throughout the United Kingdom and Europe including the Wigmore Hall, The Goethe Institute, Brussels, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, and has worked with orchestras such as The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Royal Philharmonic. He made his Royal Albert Hall debut in 2002 as soloist in Shostakovitch’s second piano concerto. Recent performance include performed Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto at St. David’s Hall, Cardiff with the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra and a recital with Bryn Terfel at Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Jeff frequently provides arrangements for the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, S4C and various solo artists. He is accompanist, singer and arranger for Only Men Aloud!, winners of the BBC competition ‘Last Choir Standing’ who recently won a Classical Brit Award for their second album on the Universal label. Jeff is also involved in cabaret and music theatre having worked with names such as Michael Ball, David Owen Jones, Peter Karrie, and more informally, Dame Shirley Bassey!

For the past 18 years, Jeffrey has held a post as vocal coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and at Welsh National Opera and Welsh National Youth Opera.

For those wishing to join the choir there will be rehearsal before the performance during the day. There will be a charge of £10 for those taking part and in addition a refundable deposit for copies of the music/text.

St. Mary’s Church

Rehearsals will be at 3pm – 5.30pm
Performance 6.30pm – 8pm

Tickets £8 


 

 


 

Enquiries to: tenbyartsfestival@yahoo.co.uk

                                    TheLostGirlTourBanner 1                        

                                                                 THE LOST GIRL

                                                                   BY LIZ HARRIS

The Lost Girl (Choc Lit) (The Heart of the West Book 3) by [Harris, Liz]

                                                                   

                                                   What if you were trapped between two cultures?

Life is tough in 1870s Wyoming. But it’s tougher still when you’re a girl who looks Chinese but speaks like an American.

Orphaned as a baby and taken in by an American family, Charity Walker knows this only too well.  The mounting tensions between the new Chinese immigrants and the locals in the mining town of Carter see her shunned by both communities.

When Charity’s one friend, Joe, leaves town, she finds herself isolated. However, in his absence, a new friendship with the only other Chinese girl in Carter makes her feel like she finally belongs somewhere.

But, for a lost girl like Charity, finding a place to call home was never going to be that easy …

Genre: Historical Romantic Fiction

Heart of the West: Book 3

Release Date: 8th August 2016

Publisher: Choc Lit

BUY LINKS

AMAZON UK

AMAZON US

 photo of author

ABOUT LIZ HARRIS

Liz Harris lives south of Oxford. Her debut novel was THE ROAD BACK (US Coffee Time & Romance Book of 2012), followed by A BARGAIN STRUCK (shortlisted for the RoNA Historical 2013), EVIE UNDERCOVER, THE ART OF DECEPTION and A WESTERN HEART. All of her novels, which are published by Choc Lit, have been shortlisted in their categories in the Festival of Romantic Fiction. In addition, Liz has had several short stories published in anthologies. Her interests are theatre, travelling, reading, cinema and cryptic crosswords.

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

WEBSITE

GOODREADS

  TheLostGirlTourBanner 1

GIVEAWAY

1 COPY OF THE BOOK (ebook)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4be03017180/?

Tenby Book Fair: 24th September 2016

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Events

Events to be held at the 2016 Tenby Book Fair, 24th September

Revised
Some talks, readings, Q&A sessions will be held in an adjoining room at the fair. Numbers will be limited, so it is advisable to reserve a place in advance. There is no charge.
  1. 11:00    Cambria Publishing Co-operative will be giving a talk and taking questions about the services and assistance they offer to independent authors.
  2. 11:30    Poet Kathy Miles will be giving a reading of some of her work.
  3. 12:00    Firefly Press will be talking about publishing children’s books and what they look for in submissions.
  4. 12:30    Prizes for the short story competitions will be presented in the main hall – no booking necessary.
  5. 1:30      Colin Parsons, children’s writer, talks about his popular work
  6. 2:00      Honno Welsh Women’s Press will be talking about their work, publishing contemporary novelists, anthologies and classics, and discussing what they look for in submissions.
  7. 2:30      Matt Johnson, thriller writer and ex-policeman, talks about his work and experiences.
  8. 2:55      Main hall (no booking required): raffle prizes.

 

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Being Anne: The Tenby Book Fair on 24th September.

Our grateful thanks to Anne for featuring us on her page today. I’ve copied the interview below but here’s the link to Anne’s site:

https://beingannereading.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/feature-tenby-book-fair-on-24th.html?showComment=1470127579350#c8502712530969313920

Feature: The Tenby Book Fair on 24th September

 

I’ve been seeing a lot of mentions recently of the forthcoming Tenby Book Fair. Judith Barrow is running a series of interviews on her excellent blog with some of the authors who are attending. Taking place on 24th September this year, the event has its own website, and is featured on the Tenby Arts Festival website as its first event. 

I’m delighted that the organisers – Judith Barrow, Thorne Moore and Alex Martin – agreed to join me on Being Anne to tell us more about it…

L-R; Alex, Judith and Thorne

Judith, Thorne and Alex, welcome to Being Anne. I already know you all as novelists, but would you like to introduce yourselves?

Judith: Thank you Anne, we’re so pleased to be here. My name is Judith Barrow; I was born and brought up in a small village on the edge of the Pennine moors in Yorkshire but moved in 1978 to live in Pembrokeshire, West Wales. I had the first of my trilogy, Pattern of Shadows, published in 2010, the sequel, Changing Patterns, in 2013 and the last, Living in the Shadows in 2015. All by Honno. I’m now writing the prequel.

Thorne: My name is Thorne Moore. I was born in Luton but now live on the edge of a village in North Pembrokeshire. I write “domestic noir” crime mysteries and I have had three novels published by Honno: A Time For Silence (2012),Motherlove (2015) and The Unravelling (2016). I am currently working on another novel set in Pembrokeshire.

Alex: My name is Alex Martin. I live on the Gower Peninsula, in south Wales and also spend a lot of time in France, which I also love. I have written The Katherine Wheel Series, currently 3 books, Daffodils, Peace Lily and Speedwell with a fourth planned next year. They are based around WW1 and the social changes it evoked. My first book is based in France on my own grape-picking experience in the 1980’s. The Twisted Vine is more of a mystery story. I hope to publish The Rose Trail, a time slip ghost story, later this year.

Ah, I had the pleasure of reviewing Thorne’s The Unravelling this week – and yours are nearly at the top of my pile, Judith! Mmm, rather like the look of Alex’s too…

But we’re not here to talk about your books. We’re talking about the Tenby Book Fair that takes place on 24th September. How did you get involved in the organisation?

Judith:  I had the idea of holding a Book Fair five years ago and approached the Tenby Arts Festival Committee to see if there was any room in the programme for me. Initially there wasn’t and I decided to hold the Book Fair in the local library. Then they found me a two hour slot; the first event of the Festival, always held in St Mary’s Church House. Since then Thorne and Alex have worked alongside me at the subsequent Book Fairs. And we’ve been given more time.

Thorne: I joined up, enthusiastically, after attending Judith’s second fair. It was wonderful to find an outlet where authors could get together and meet the public. I’m delighted it’s beginning to feel like a permanent fixture.

Alex: I met Judith through Twitter, strangely enough! And had just published my first book, I was thrilled to attend my first book fair as an author and meet other kindred spirits. I’ve loved being involved in subsequent Book Fairs at Tenby and deepening my friendship with both Thorne and Judith has been a delight.

A little like herding cats though, maybe? What have been the particular challenges?

Judith: For me, at first, it was the sheer amount of work, time and effort it took to arrange; the publicity; getting the word out about the event, finding authors, making sure the authors were happy with their placings in the room. All sorts of little problems. It was a great relief when Thorne and Alex offered their help with future Book Fairs. I made the mistake of offering the public a choice of two free second hand books at the first Book Fair for every one of bought, author-signed new book. The idea didn’t work, either for the public or the authors.  A couple of years ago we also gave the authors the chance to give a talk about their work while the Book Fair was going on.  People who would have come into the event walked away, reluctant to interrupt. We also had a couple of authors who were, shall we say, a little long-winded and the audience became very restless.

Thorne: I think we’re getting the hang of it now. Coming up with creative ideas for the publicity has been good fun. 

Alex: I was in charge of the music and learned just how much classical music swells and ebbs in volume – sometimes downing out constructive conversation so was constantly twiddling knobs behind the stage. We’ve learned a lot too about the flow of customer traffic through the doors and how to manage it. It’s been fascinating but the footfall last year confirmed we’re ironing out the glitches nicely. 

I know this is the fifth Tenby Book Fair – how many publishers and authors will be involved this year?

Judith: We have twenty-five authors and three publishers; two traditional and one a cooperative.

Thorne: Yes, we are just about at capacity in Church House, but it’s great to have such a wide range, covering all genres, from children’s books to thrillers and biographies. The presence of publishers is a new thing this year, as we want the fair to be about books from everyone’s point of view – readers and would-be authors. 

Alex: The increasing size and popularity of the Tenby Book Fair makes the hard work very worthwhile and is increasingly satisfying. 

And what can people expect on the day?

Judith: Besides the authors signing their books and chatting about their work, we have a few talks by authors, a poetry reading and the publishers will be talking about themselves and the kind of submissions they are looking for. The cooperative publishers will be talking about the services they offer. We’ll have a separate room for these talks etc.

I notice there are a few competitions too…

Judith: Three competitions in all. A little bit of advertising here:

Children’s Competition
For entrants aged 7 – 12, an essay (one page) entitled: My Favourite Character.

Write about a character in a book that you like. Is he or she clever? Brave? Funny? Or just get to do all the things you’d like to do.

Include your name and age on the sheet and a way of contacting you – it can be your address, or your school, or a phone number – so we can tell you if you’ve won.



Hand your entry in to any library in Pembrokeshire, or post it to:
Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

Send it by August 13th, 2016



Collections of books are very generously being donated as prizes by Firefly Press.
 A winner and a runner-up will be chosen from each of two age groups: 7-9 and 10-12. Prizes will be presented at the Book Fair in St Mary’s Church House.

 

Young Adult Flash Fiction Competition
For entrants aged 12 – 18, a 100 word Creepy Tale.

You could write “A Creepy Tale,” about ghosts, vampires, zombies, the supernatural or anything that might give you the shivers. But can you write it in 100 words or less? That’s the challenge in this competition. A full story, in 100 words or less.



Include your name, age and contact details (address, phone number or email address) with the entry, and post it to: Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX OR paste it into the body of an email to thornemoore@btinternet.com with “Flash Fiction” in the subject line. 


The closing date is August 13th 2016. 


First Prize £15 book token. 2 runners-up: £5 book token. 
Prizes sponsored by Cambria Publishing Co-operative

Short Story Competition
For entrants 18 and over: a short story, “The Bag Lady.”

Entry Fee £3. Send cheque, made payable to “Tenby Book Fair” with your entry, or pay on-line, via PayPal (link on Tenby Book Fair website).

Write a short story of 2000 words or less, entitled “The Bag Lady”. How you interpret the title is up to you.

Include name and preferred contact details (address, phone number or email address) and post to: Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX  or send as a Word or Rich Text Format document, attached to an email to:thornemoore@btinternet.com including “Short Story” in the subject line.

Closing date: 13th August 2016.


First Prize £25 Second prize £10 Third Prize £5.
The prizes are donated by Cambria Publishing Co-operative

All three winning stories will be published on the Tenby Book Fair website and on http://showboat.tv/

People particularly mention the good vibe and great buzz of previous years – that must be something you’re proud of…


Judith: We all are, I think. We delegate the work between us. I find the authors mainly, keep in touch with them all, let them know how we’re progressing and interview them for the website. Thorne works on the leaflets, posters and website and Alex manages the press and other publicity. On the day we set up and generally share anything that crops up. It’s a friendly and hugely satisfying partnership.

Alex: I can second that. Although commitments mean I can’t attend on the actual day this year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being involved in the preparation.

Tenby was where I spent my childhood holidays – I had no idea it had such a thriving arts scene, or the popular Arts Festival that the book fair is part of. Where does the Book Fair audience come from? Mainly local people, or visitors?

Judith: The Tenby Arts Festival in September has been going for a long time. They mainly cover all forms of music; choirs, soloists, instrumental. They hold talks on local history and artists and have an open mic poetry session. Various things like that. They also have a children’s sandcastle competition. And, of course the Book Fair. There are also a few musical events, film-showings in a local hotel and there are always events happening at the local Tenby Museum in the summer months. We have a lot of local visitors who come to our book fair and have it marked in their diaries, but we also have many visitors from round the country, visiting Tenby for the Arts Festival.

I’m a little out of touch with the Welsh book scene too, although I do (of course) know about the wonderfulHonno Welsh Women’s Press. Tell me a little more about the publishers involved in the fair.

Judith: There are two other publishers besides Honno Welsh Women’s Press at this year’s Book Fair. Firefly is a press for children’s and young adults’ books, which started up in 2013 and is already winning awards. Cambria is a publishing co-operative, offering a range of services and help for those preferring to go it alone.

And some of the more well-known authors?

Judith: We have such a range and many of them are well-known within their own genres, like Sally Spedding, author of seriously chilling thrillers, or Colin Parsons, the children’s writer. Phil Carradice has written over fifty books. Others are new arrivals on the scene, but sure to be rising stars, like Matt Johnson, whose first novel, Wicked Game, is already soaring.

Other than the moment when the doors close on a perfect day, what are you particularly looking forward to on the day?

Judith: Meeting the authors. Some of them have been coming to the Book Fairs from the beginning and are old friends. Meeting new faces and potential friends. The buzz when people start to come in. Watching the faces of readers as they interact with the authors. It’s a great atmosphere. And seeing the video and photos of the Book Fair, taken by  http://showboat.tv/, friends of ours who always film the Book Fairs.

Alex: I shall be there in spirit with only my books to represent me, but will be willing everyone on and am confident it will be more popular than ever.

And you’ll be doing it again, next year…?  

Judith: Ah, well… next year will be different for us. The Book Fair will be part of a new venture. A group of us, including Thorne and Alex, will be forming the TenbyLitFest in June for three days 16th – 18th, and the book fair will be held on the Saturday (17th), in a larger venue, with even more authors attending. There will be a host of other events, including aMeet the Publishers day, poetry readings, plays, literary trails, children’s events etc. The motto is Everything about Words.

Alex: A new challenge will be very exciting. It’s a good feeling to bring writers, publishers but most importantly, readers together to discuss books.

It sounds like a wonderful day, ladies – and I hope it will be in every way. I’m gutted I can’t be there this year, but the dates for next year’s TenbyLitFest are already in my diary… see you there!

Presenting the Authors at the Tenby Book Fair 24th September 2016

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl 

 I’m almost finished interviewing them all now.

In the next few weeks I’ll be showcasing the three publishers who will be with us: http://honno.co.uk/, http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/ and http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/

And I’ll be sharing a post from the brilliant http://showboat.tv/ Who always video and share our Tenby Book Fair.

So far here are the wonderful authors. Please feel free to check them and their great books out: Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO , Julie McGowan:http://bit.ly/29CHNa9 , John Nicholl: http://bit.ly/29NtdtX  ,Tony Riches:  http://bit.ly/29y3a8k:  ,Wendy White: http://bit.ly/29TMCpY  ,Angela Fish:http://bit.ly/2a5qY2U  David Thorpe: http://bit.ly/2a9uG0V . , and Eloise William: http://bit.ly/2aoZk1k And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq 

Panorama

 I would also like to say,Thanks, Thank You, Message, Grateful

to everyone who has shared our interviews so far and spread the word. 

And don’t forget, there is still time to write a masterpiece for our short story competitions:

 http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/p/competitions.html

And for all our visitors, here’s how to find us:

 http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/p/where-to-find-us.html

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TAF vs

Tenby Book Fair – Authors and Short Story Competitions

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far (there are more to come!!) I’ve cross-examined interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood:http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO ,Alys Einion:  http://bit.ly/29l5izl  and Julie McGowan: http://bit.ly/29CHNa9  And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

 And then we have the competitions: Besides the prizes, the winners of all three will be posted on both the Tenby Book Fair website:  http://tenbybookfair.blogspot.co.uk/   and on the Showboat website: http://www.showboat-tv.com/

competitions

The 2016 Tenby Book Fair will be offering three competitions this year.

Children’s Competition.

For entrants aged 7 – 12, an essay (one page) entitled: My Favourite Character.

Write about a character in a book that you like. Is he or she clever? Brave? Funny? Or just get to do all the things you’d like to do.

Include your name and age on the sheet and a way of contacting you – it can be your address, or your school, or a phone number – so we can tell you if you’ve won.

Hand your entry in to any library in Pembrokeshire, or post it to:

Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

Send it by August 13th, 2016

Collections of books are very generously being donated as prizes by Firefly Press.
A winner and a runner-up will be chosen from each of two age groups: 7-9 and 10-12

Prizes will be presented at the Book Fair in St Mary’s Church House
on Saturday, September 24th, 2016

Young Adult Flash Fiction Competition

For entrants aged 12 – 18, a 100 word Creepy Tale.

You could write “A Creepy Tale,” about ghosts, vampires, zombies, the supernatural or anything that might give you the shivers. But can you write it in 100 words or less? That’s the challenge in this competition. A full story, in 100 words or less.

Include your name, age and contact details (address, phone number or email address) with the entry, and post it to:

Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

OR paste it into the body of an email to:

Put “Flash Fiction” in the subject line

The closing date is August 13th 2016

First Prize £15 book token. 2 runners-up: £5 book token.

Short Story Competition

For entrants 18 and over: a short story, “The Bag Lady.”

Entry Fee £3 Send cheque, made payable to “Tenby Book Fair” with your entry, or pay on-line, via PayPal,
Write a short story of 2000 words or less, entitled “The Bag Lady.” How you interpret the title is up to you.

Include name and preferred contact details (address, phone number or email address) and post to:

Tenby Book Fair, Saddleworth House, Carmarthen Road, Kilgetty, SA68 0XX

or send as a Word or Rich Text Format document, attached to an email to:

Include “Short Story” in the subject line.

Today With Julie McGowan

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G , Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  ,Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl , Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq    Juliet Greenwood: http://bit.ly/29jylrM , Nigel Williams: http://bit.ly/29racfO   and Alys Einion:  http://bit.ly/29l5izl And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

 

Today I’m really pleased to introduce Julie McGowan; a truly prolific author.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Hi Julie, Good to see you here today to chat about your writing

 Hi Judith, pleased to be here… and happy to share.

Right, tell me, please, why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?  If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

My two novels set in Wales are both historical fiction set in the first half of the twentieth century. It’s a period of time that has always fascinated me, particularly how people lived through two world wars and still manage to do all the normal things like fall in love and get married etc.

The Mountains Between

Just One More Summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also write contemporary fiction, not set in Wales, and switch between the two as the mood takes me.

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I read from an early age – not much on the telly then! Also, I was involved in amateur dramatics through our chapel from childhood and that inspired me to weave stories.

How long have you been writing?

Over 20 years

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Novels, commercial short stories for women’s magazines, features for national publications, pantomimes, sketches for adults and children, songs.

What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?

I think it widens people’s horizons and enables them to experience situations and places that they may never come across in their lives. I think this is particularly important for children, and get quite cross when publishers etc think children’s books should only reflect the lives children lead. Very pleased J. K. Rowling ignored that!

How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life path?

‘Don’t Pass Me By’ includes some scathing reflections on the narrowness there used to be in some Welsh village chapels. I’m a practising Christian, but firmly believe that everyone should be allowed to follow their own spiritual path and not be weighed down by church dogma from any faith.

Don't Pass Me By

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

I wanted to remind people that the movement of evacuee children during WW2 didn’t always have the  happy ending we like to glorify when these times are looked back on with rather rose-coloured glasses. I also wanted to show the difference between how children were treated then, and how our helicopter-parenting style today can be overprotective. I think I’ve achieved both objectives.

Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

My research was rather solitary, but after the book was published I was contacted by a lady in her 80s who wanted to share her harrowing experience of being an evacuee. Her story was more amazing than anything I’d written! But the message she wanted to give me was that she wasn’t destroyed by her experience and that life can turn around – she was just brilliant.

What are some of the references that you used while researching this book?

I read books about first hand accounts of evacuees from South Wales, and used the internet, particularly the BBC history website.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

Portraying elements of child sexual abuse that makes the reader understand the emotional turmoil the child is going through whilst not making the actual abuse too graphic.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Feeling I’d succeeded with the hardest parts as outlined above!

What inspires you?

Listening to ‘ordinary’ people talking about their lives

How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

By not being scared to take chances and change direction – which could be construed as blind optimism!

Who are some of your favourite authors that you feel were influential in your work?  What impact have they had on your writing?

The much under-rated, in my view, Monica Dickens, and Elizabeth Jane Howard, both of whom succeeded in building wonderful stories around everyday people and multi-stranded novels. They helped me to look at the subtleties of human behaviour and made me want to express those subtleties in short, often oblique descriptions or sentences.

What did you find most useful in learning to write?  What was least useful or most destructive?

Most useful was writing a weekly column for a local paper which had to have a strict word count, so I learned how to edit my work and make it ‘less is more’. Least useful were some of the rejections from agents rather than publishers, who seemed to enjoy a critical put-down rather than a polite ‘no thanks’.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer?  How does that affect your writing?

Part time, which occasionally makes it difficult to get back under the skin of a character.

What are some day jobs that you have held?  If any of them impacted your writing, share an example.

Nurse, health visitor, school matron, town clerk, actress, theatre-in-education director to name but a few. Health visiting in particular I think increased my empathy and understanding of family dilemmas and I think has helped me to describe characters’ emotions.

How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

I think there is a place for eBooks but they will never replace the feel of a print book in one’s hands and the anticipation of turning to that first page… Alternative publishing, when done well, can challenge conventional publishing, as long as it’s well edited.

What process did you go through to get your book published?

I had already had two books produced by the same publisher, so this book was already agreed. For my first book I went through the usual tortuous process of trying to find an agent or publisher and in the end worked my way through the list of publishers who would accept unsolicited manuscripts.

What makes your book stand out from the crowd?

It’s a page-turning story, with a number of characters that resonate with the readers, and has a strong emotional content, set in a turbulent time, but in a beautiful place.

How do you find or make time to write?

I try to carefully portion out my week to include writing time amongst my other commitments, but it often goes wrong!

Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?  Summarise your writing process.

I have a story and main characters in my head, and know how I want it to begin and end. Then I write, and often change the flow of the story as other characters work their way in, but the main plot ends the way I envisaged.

What are some ways in which you promote your work?  Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?

I do numerous book signings, talks, writing classes, book fairs and festivals. They do take up some time but are invaluable for meeting people and getting my name known – and often give me ideas for new characters!

What do you like to read in your free time?

Predominantly novels but of no particular genre – whatever intrigues me.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’ve just finished my latest novel so am doing a final edit.

What do your plans for future projects include?

One of my books has been published in Germany, so my publisher is trying to get rights sold in other European countries. I may start another novel after the summer, once this year’s panto has been written, which has to be ready by September.

And my favourite for dealing with popular authors who’ve already done a lot of interviews: What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

Question: Who is your favourite character in ‘Don’t Pass Me By’

Answer: It has to be Arfur, the young lad from the East End who finds it so hard to settle in a small Welsh village, and is so determinedly loyal to his good-time Mum, even in the face of all the evidence that she has deserted him. Once I’d got his character established I wanted to take  him home with me!

 

Find Julie here:http://amzn.to/29s1o9u

 

Today With Juliet Greenwood

Introducing the authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of weeks. 

So far I’ve interrogated interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg , Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr , Sally Spedding: http://bit.ly/1VNRQci, Wendy Steele: http://bit.ly/1PMoF8i ,Kathy MIles:  http://bit.ly/1twN3Bg , Carol Lovekin:http://bit.ly/1Y2z6HT, Colin R Parsons: http://bit.ly/1tvBc5G and Lisa Shambrook: http://bit.ly/28NMI5v:  and Alex Martin:  http://bit.ly/28VLsQG ,  Judith Arnopp:  http://bit.ly/290cJMl  and Sharon Tregenza: http://bit.ly/29frGPq  And thanks to Thorne Moore for interviewing me: http://bit.ly/1VTvqGq  Over the next week or two I’ll be introducing the rest of the authors. I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance and who will be giving short talks and may be able to give advice to would-be authors: http://honno.co.uk/ , http://www.fireflypress.co.uk/   and  http://www.cambriapublishing.org.uk/ ,

There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

Today I’m chatting with the lovely author Juliet Greenwood, fellow Honno author and friend who writes the most wonderful books,

 Juliet and hat small

 

Welcome, Juliet. Great to see you here today. and love the hat by the way

 Why, thank you Judith, and it’s good to be here.

So, let’s get going, tell me … why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?

I am published by Honno Press, and write historical novels, mainly set in the Victorian/Edwardian eras, which move between Cornwall, Wales and London. There is always a big house and a mystery to be solved, and plenty of drama along the way, so they are along the lines of Kate Morton and Rachel Hore.

I’ve chosen to write in this genre as I’m fascinated by the lives of women in those periods, especially the way things were changing, and the battles for the independence we take for granted today. So much of women’s lives have been forgotten, particularly how active they were, and how many campaigns they fought and won, despite having no legal existence for most of this period.

My first book ‘Eden’s Garden’ was a time-shift, with a mystery set between contemporary and Victorian times. I really enjoyed the challenge of writing a time-shift, so I’m hoping to be working on another timeshift mystery soon. I enjoy the challenge of moving between two times.

eden's_garden_cover:Layout 1

Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing/etc. come from?

I was a bookworm as a child, who loved stories. My mum loved reading, so she always inspired me to try new things. She encouraged me to absorb the classics, which gave me a great background. It started a lifelong love affair with reading and writing!

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured if your book? .

I started researching ‘The White Camellia’, to be published by Honno this September, thinking that the background would be that of the suffragettes, but I soon came across the far less well-known suffrage movement, which was a revelation.

 

white camellia

The suffrage movement included both men and women who fought alongside each other for over fifty years for every citizen over the age of 21 to have the vote. Although a small number of men had the vote at the start of the campaign, this wasn’t achieved for either men or women until 1928. The women and men of the suffrage movement used democratic tactics, civil disobedience and persuasion. It also fought for equal employment rights for men and women, and won endless battles to give women legal rights, including to keep their earnings and property, and to keep their children in the case of divorce.

Although they didn’t resort to violence, they were brave and resourceful, especially when you consider that at the beginning of their campaign women had no legal existence at all. I think what I found most fascinating about the suffrage movement was that it showed women taking on those in power on their own terms and out-manoeuvring and outwitting them at every turn, using rational arguments (and a bit of clever publicity) to achieve many of the freedoms we take for granted today.

What is the biggest thing that people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn’t so?

I think the biggest misconception about the genre is that it’s always rich women floating around in nice houses, solving a bit of a mystery and probably finding a few pearls and Mr Darcy along the way. The greatest misconception about the struggle for the vote is that it was always violent – and that it was only about the women. In fact, most men in Victorian times also did not have the vote, and it was only the last few years when the violence erupted – and that was only after parliament, thanks to the work of the suffrage movement, had twice voted for women to have the vote.

I find that setting a story in the past can also be a way of exploring dilemmas that are universal and we still experience today. I feel the past can give more distance, so can give more freedom to explore experiences. As well as the role of women in politics, one of the main threads of the story in ‘The White Camellia’ is a character who takes the perfect revenge, with the most terrible and unexpected consequences – and that’s a story that could take place at any time.

What inspires you?

Primarily the untold stories of women. The more I learn, the clearer it becomes that so much of women’s achievements and experiences have not been told. Before I researched ‘We That are Left, I had no idea women worked on the front line in the First World War, often under fire, and were even given medals, as well as working as spies behind enemy lines. Although it’s now changing, too often women are still seen as passive victims, trailing behind their men, rather than being incredibly resourceful and resilient and worthy of taking centre stage. A love story is important – but there is so much more to women’s lives as well, including huge moral dilemmas, a need to live a fulfilled life, and the deep human need for self-determination.

 

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How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

Working hard, always reading, writing and learning – and never giving up! I’ve also tried to find jobs that allow me time and head space to write, which means I’ve never followed a conventional career path. It’s felt a bit scary at times, but I love what I do, and so it definitely feels it’s been worth it.

Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?

I’m a part-time writer at the moment. I earn most of my living as an academic proofreader. I work freelance to try and organise my life to do as much writing as possible. I enjoy the work, and it’s taught me to be precise in the use of language, and it’s definitely extended my vocabulary. The downside is never having enough time to write the next book while editing and doing publicity. It can be very frustrating at times, but I also feel it’s given me the freedom to develop as a writer.

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

There are some excellent books on the subject of the suffrage movement, these are some of the best introductions:

Margaret Forster                                               Significant sisters

Lucinda Hawksley                                           March Women, March

Melanie Phillips                                                The Ascent of Woman

How do you find or make time to write?

I get up about six each morning (weekends included!) to get my ‘day’ job done, which frees up as much of the day as possible. I try to have a set time for writing, but being freelance with strict deadlines that doesn’t always work. I walk my dog for a couple of hours each day, which I use as thinking time (just as valuable as writing time). I try to be strict about not spending too much time on social media (I have a room in the house that is a wifi free zone). I also try not to get sucked into series on TV (the Great British Bake Off and Sewing Bee don’t count!) and watch as little as possible, (except when I’m very tired and just want to switch off after a long day proofreading and writing, when I don’t want to see another word in front of me, and hanging out the brain to dry on the secret life of kittens just hits the spot). My friends know that I’ve sacrificed housework, except on a strictly necessary basis (like when expecting a plumber), and love me all the same.

MEDIA LINKS

 ‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014

The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014

The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014

Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014

Amazon Kindle #4 May 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/That-Are-Left-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/190678499X

 

‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012

Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014

Amazon Kindle #5 June 2014

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Edens-Garden-Juliet-Greenwood/dp/1906784353

 

Website:          http://www.julietgreenwood.co.uk/

Blog:                 http://julietgreenwoodauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/juliet.greenwood

Twitter:            https://twitter.com/julietgreenwood

 

 

 

 

My Review of The Flower Seller by Ellie Holmes for #RBRT

tjhe flower seller

 I received this book from the author as as a member of #RBRT in return for a fair review.

I gave The Flower Seller 4 * out of 5 *

The Blurb: (Oh, does it reveal far too much!!)

An impressive début novel from Ellie Holmes, The Flower Seller is an engaging and romantic tale of love, deceit, betrayal and hope.

Jessie Martin believes that when it comes to love there are three types of people: the skimmers, the bottom dwellers and the ones who dive for pearls. Jessie is a pearl diver. She had thought her husband William was a pearl diver too. But when William leaves her for a much younger woman, it’s not just Jessie’s heart that is broken, her ability to trust is shattered too. All Jessie wanted was a love she could believe in. Was that so much to ask? Loyalty it seems has gone out of fashion.

Refusing to retire from the battlefield of life, Jessie resolves to put her heartache behind her. She doesn’t want to be that woman who was too scared to love again. There has to be another pearl diver out there; all she has to do is find him.

Urged on by her sassy best friend, Anne and her daughter Hannah, Jessie makes three New Year’s resolutions: get a divorce, get a promotion, get a life. Enthusiastically embracing her new start, Jessie sets about making all her resolutions come true.

When fate brings handsome flower seller Owen Phillips into her life, will Jessie have the courage of her convictions? Can she take her heart in her hands and give it away again? Hope springs eternal they say but a bruised heart needs to time to heal. Will Owen have the patience to understand? Will Jessie be brave enough to take that leap of faith?

By the time summer holds her firmly in it’s warm embrace, Jessie’s monochrome world of heartache has been transformed into one full of colour, romance and love.

Jessie can hardly believe her luck. Can Owen really be the one?

All things seem possible and even husband William’s attempts to bully Jessie into a less than fair divorce settlement don’t have the power to upset her as they once might have. Supported by Owen, Jessie stands her ground. Putting William’s deceit and betrayal firmly in the rear view mirror of her life, Jessie is full of hope for the future. Perhaps loyalty and true love haven’t gone out of fashion after all.

When autumn’s burnished hues colour the world around her, Jessie looks forward to cosy nights by log fires with her handsome flower seller. But is Owen really the pearl diver Jessie had hoped for? Or is Jessie’s fragile trust about to be shattered all over again?
The Flower Seller is an engaging and page-turning read full of love, deceit, betrayal and hope.

This romantic tale follows Jessie from the depths of winter, to the excitement of spring through a hot and passionate summer to the turmoil and drama of a stormy autumn.
As a second winter approaches and her world is once more turned upside down, will Jessie ever find a love she can believe in with a man she can trust?

My Review:

When I read the blurb  I thought the would be an easy romance to read. It was, but it isn’t only a romance; there are many twists to this story and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ellie Holmes has a lovely writing style that blends in the romance of the book with the darker side of the characters

All the characters  were well drawn into believable  rounded characters.

The story is told mostly from the perspective of Jessie Martin, the protagonist, in first person point of view. There are other perspectives; William, sometimes the omniscient narrator but these often came into the middle of the point of view of the protagonist (what an author friend of mine call ” Head Hopping”)  and it interrupted the flow of the narrative.

The dialogue is well written and easily differentiates the characters.

There are some wonderful descriptions of the settings which give a real sense of place of the market town of Abbeyleigh and the  close-knit community. And the dynamics of the lawyers’ firm that Jessie works for, and the cut and thrust of the business was interestin to read

The plot is almost given away by the blurb. I would have much preferred to have known less to begin with.

I have to say I found the title a bit…er… twee, Considering the content.

And I’m sorry but it really think that blurb is too long and actually doesn’t do the book any favours. Needs to be more ambiguous,

And the types of people? !the  skimmers, the bottom dwellers and the ones who dive for pearls.”? this classification would have put me off if I was a reader casually looking for a Romance to read.  But, there again, this  is probably just me.

Ultimately I have to say again, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to readers who like Romance with a touch of darkness to it.

Buying Links:

Amazon.co.uk:

http://amzn.to/1UfteDz

 Amazon.com:

http://amzn.to/22w8k9H

My Review of Bittersweet Flight by Anne L Harvey #RBRT

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I gave Bittersweet Flight 4* out of 5*

Reviewed  as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team #RBRT

The Blurb:

 It’s 1956 and Sally Simcox is a girl in trouble, at a time when having an illegitimate child is considered shameful. The father, Nick Roberts, had offered to marry her but, knowing he was in love with someone else, she’d told him she’d had a miscarriage.

Sally has fled to the anonymity of Blackpool, not knowing what she’s going to do there or how she will cope with her situation. On the day of her arrival in Blackpool, she meets a young RAF serviceman. He seems familiar and it isn’t long before Sally realises that he’s the last person she needs to meet for he is Nick’s younger brother, Phil. And he has no idea who she is. Yet it seems that their paths are destined to cross.

And for Joyce Roberts, trouble is brewing in the form of Sally’s brother, Jud.

My Review:

Before I begin my review I would like to say I wonder if the Blurb gives away too much of the story?

I enjoyed reading Anne Harvey’s Bittersweet Flight;  the  sequel to her début novel A Suitable Young Man. The story follows Sally Simcox as she leaves her home town of Horwich in Lancashire to move to Blackpool.

Although it can be read as a stand-alone book I would recommend reading A Suitable Young Man first.

Set in a decade I have studied and loved Bittersweet Flight begins in 1956. It is obvious from the descriptions of both the Northern industrial town and the seaside resort that the author has researched both the places and the era. There is a great sense of place throughout the story. 

Told from an omniscient narrator’s point of view we meet all the characters from the first novel and are introduced to some new ones. All add to the plot which moves smoothly and steadily throughout most of the novel. although there is an unexpected revelation towards the end which adds another layer to the book.

The reader gains more insight to Sally in Bittersweet Flight; I think she is actually portrayed as a more rounded  character in this novel as she struggles to regain control of her life. The introduction of  Phil Roberts adds a complication but I liked the way the author introduced the character and linked him to the protagonist’s back-story.

On the whole the dialogue is good and easy to follow and can be identified with each character. Although occasionally stilted it’s not enough to detract from the enjoyment of the book.

There is the minor plot-line threaded throughout the main plot, of Joyce Roberts and her secret boyfriend, Dave. Through this minor storyline we learn more of the life the protagonist has left behind and the correlation with her present situation.

Anne Harvey has a writing style that is very readable. I have no hesitation to recommending  Bittersweet Flight to any reader who enjoys a family saga

Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/26NNohJ

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1SItZJ4

 

My Review of Silent Sentry by Theresa Rizzo for #RBRT

silent sentry

I gave Silent Sentry 5* out 0f 5 *

The Blurb:

Dr. Joe Scarfili runs. He’s a runner. It’s how he copes with emotional pain. When his wife was murdered, he ran from violent Detroit to insular Grosse Pointe. He ran from his smothering, caring family to long hours in the operating room. But when he falls for Gianna, another run could cost him everything. Nurse and entrepreneur Gianna Donnatelli is on the verge of making her dreams come true. Her company is poised to go public with a product guaranteed to revolutionize medical care and at the same time help revitalize Detroit, only she’s attacked, stalked, and flattened by an explosion. Then the danger escalates. With Gianna’s life at stake, Joe can’t run. Despite the fact that he has no police or tech experience… Despite the fact that Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed… Despite the fact that Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons… This time, Joe will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. And Gianna protects those she loves just as fiercely. Together they’ll fight to save each other and their love… Or die trying.

To say I enjoyed Silent Sentry is an understatement. Normally a slow reader anyway, I savoured each and every aspect of this novel. Theresa Rizzo’s writing style is outstanding; her ability to put together a series of complex plot-lines, populate the story with fascinating characters, place them against such  brilliantly described diverse settings as  run down, inner city Detroit and the rich trappings of  Grosse Point, is exceptional.

The impeccable research is obvious on each and every page: from medical knowledge to comprehensive expertise in the IT field, the intrigues of the Italian and Russian Mafia,  to the machinations of business and families; each layer builds the world her characters live and work in.

And what characters! They leap off the page. Joe and Gianna  are rounded characters, each  with flaws and strengths, honesty and deceits.  Portrayed  with depths  that is revealed in both their spoken and internal dialogue, the reader is shown how they think and why they act as they do. Yet, every now and again I was taken by surprise by the direction that they suddenly move in. And the supporting secondary characters are equally well portrayed, given characteristics, personalities and habits that bring them to life.  There is humour in the description of some (take Aunt Rosie for example), a sinister element in others. But don’t be taken in; sometimes what is written about one or the other of these secondary  characters turns out to be a ploy; what we read is not what we initially understood. And that’s just one aspect of what makes this such a good read.

And just look at that cover! Say no more.

There were only two things that occasionally brought me out of a suspension of disbelief. I’m used to there being double spaces between time-shifts and flashbacks. In the edition I read this novel, there were none. But that might have been down to the  formatting, so I’ll leave that there. The other problem for me, and this is a personal one probably. I do enjoy reading novels that are told by an omniscient narrator such as this is. I really enjoy those where chapters are devoted just to one character’s point of view. Those are my favourite. But I also read and enjoy a roving omniscient narrator, if it’s consistent throughout the story. In Silent Sentry however, the bulk of particular chapters is following one ( or even two) perspective when , all at once, another character’s short viewpoint pops in. As I say, this is a purely personal preference- but it did distract me.

For me Silent Sentry  crosses different genres: crime, thriller, mystery, romance. And it works perfectly. This is one book I would thoroughly recommend.

I reviewed this book as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team: #RBRT

Links:

Amazon. co.uk

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Amazon.com:

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My review of Go Small or Go Home by Heather Wardell #RBRT

I reviewed Rising From the Ashes for Rosie's Book Review Team

I gave Go Small or Go Home by Heather Wardell 4*out of 5

The book blurb”

“Massage therapist Tess Grayson has long dreamed of turning her hobby of building intricate miniature dioramas into an art career. She’s finally ready to grab for that tiny brass ring, but her potential new massage client shakes her resolve. Forrest Williams had finally healed from the car accident that killed his fiancée, but a new injury now threatens his professional hockey career. Even allowing for everything he’s suffered, the depth of the emotional and physical pain Tess senses in Forrest at their first meeting shocks her, and she puts aside her artistic aspirations for two months to help him recover.When Forrest shows Tess’s dioramas to his mother, who owns a top Toronto art gallery, she agrees to sell Tess’s work but her rules and restrictions stifle Tess’s creativity. Giving up the career of her dreams is unthinkable, but losing the freedom and joy she’d always found in her art is unbearable, and Tess can’t seem to find a way to have both at once.”

I enjoyed Go Small or Go Home; it’s the first time I’ve read a true Romance.  It was a quick read but no less enjoyable for that; Heather Wardell has a writing style that flows, is easy and fun to read. The story immediately engaged me from the start and I soon connected with the main characters, Tess and Forrest. The author portrays each them as having ambitions with strong outward appearances; strong – minded, yet also vulnerable; each has their own frailties, their weaknesses. And the way they are shown to be gradually drawn together worked for me.

We learn much of the story through the first person point of view from Tess,  It works well; we learn of her ambitions, her determination to succeed in them, the way, despite her resistance, she falls in love with Forrest.

Both the dialogue and the internal dialogue is believable and differentiates all the characters. Indeed I would say this is one of the author’s strengths.

The main plotline is threaded through by the sub plot and is well balanced; it’s a love story as well as a life story. And I was glad there was only a skimming over of the background setting of the story; that of the ice hockey. I think I might have quickly lost interest if there had been any ‘information dumping’ of the ins and outs of the game.

The descriptions of the settings provide a good sense of place and an authentic background to the story.

The whole of the book has a steady pace. I was surprised by the denouement; the open ending f

I was pleased there was an epilogue. I like an epilogue (much as I like a prologue) I feel it takes me beyond the perimeters of the  story; that there is more to reveal. It’s an added layer. The last line (without giving any spoilers, I hope) “I had all the time in the world.”, said it all . Hopefully we will hear more from these characters.

Buuy copies here

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Amazon.com:http://amzn.to/1PVor8b

My Review of A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey

A Suitable Young Man

 I gave A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey 4 out of 5*

I really enjoyed  A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey; it’s my kind of book. It’s a story reflective of its times, well written and filled with good rounded characters.

Here’s the book blurb:

A nostalgic tale of friendship, family, love, loyalty and loss, set in a Lancashire mill town in the new Elizabethan era of the mid-1950s. One dark December night, Kathy Armstrong is rescued from two thugs by Nick Roberts, whom she’d known as a schoolgirl. But Nick is a Teddy boy, hell-bent on having a good time in the pubs and dance halls of the era. Shortly after, she meets accountant John Talbot at a party and is captivated by his middle-class charm. To the background of the new rock and roll, a mounting crisis over the Suez Canal, family and personal crises, Kathy struggles with a wayward attraction to Nick and her incubating love for John. But which one is ‘The Suitable Young Man?’

It is obvious the Anne L Harvey has researched the era scrupulously; the setting of each scene is evocative and brought alive by the compelling writing style of this author. The reader is taken into each diverse tableau: the towns, the interior of the houses, the dance halls, the work places.

And the characters fit right in. The descriptions of them bring them truly to life; they are well drawn, believable and rounded. There is a strong build-up of their backgrounds throughout which demonstrates their familial differences and adds to the reality of the times; of the‘still-held beliefs of class differences in the nineteen fifties.

The dialogue, both spoken and internal, are convincing and diverse; even without the attributes I could immediately tell who was speaking..

The two storylines of Nick and Kathy run both parallel and interwoven. I enjoyed following each throughout the novel.

I had only two problems with A Suitable Young Man: I thought it was a little predictable sometimes in its plotline (I can’t say any more about this because I don’t want to spoil it for future readers).

My other problem was actually about the excellent research carried out by the author. As I’ve said earlier, the research is meticulous and provides such a great sense of place. But in parts I felt there were too many facts crammed in what I would call, ‘authorial information dumps’, which took me out of the story. Don’t get me wrong, they are often brilliant additions to set the scenes but sometimes there were just too many details there for me.  But that might be just the way I read.

But there is no doubt this is a good read, written with style and conviction. I look forward to reading more from this author and would thoroughly recommend A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey.

This book was read by me as one of Rosie Amber’s Review Team and was given to me by the author through #RBRT in exchange for a fair review.

To buy a copy:

 Amazon.co.uk: 

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Amazon.com

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