Saturday, 28 September 2019

The Slaughter Man
Cassandra Parkin
It's my turn on the Blog Tour for The Slaughter Man and I have an extract for you today (Chapter One), as unfortunately, I ran out of time to review, but hope to be able to bring that to you soon.

She’s at her sister’s funeral, and she knows she’s dreaming because the heads of all the people there have been replaced with the heads of birds. 
At the front of the church, the vicar’s surplice is made soft and welcoming by her enormous pillowy breasts. When this day happened for real, Willow had briefly laid her head against them, in that first naked moment when the vicar turned her soft sad gaze towards her and said, I’m so sorry about your sister, and her words turned a key inside Willow’s chest and the grief she’d vowed to hold onto tumbled out like coins, splashing and crashing in bright sharp tinkles onto their laps. Now, the slick green head of a mallard turns its open beak towards her and she glimpses the tongue, flat and disturbingly human-looking. She wonders why Reverend Kate wears the head of a male duck. Perhaps it’s the sardonic commentary of her unconscious on the customs and practices of the church. She can see its beak stretching and relaxing with the rhythm of its speech, but she can’t hear a word. The church is entirely silent.
In the pew three rows behind her, a cluster of students from college – the college that used to be theirs and is now, unbearably and irrevocably, only hers – sit glossy and silent. Girls and boys alike wear speckled starling-heads, their sharp jabbing beaks turned downwards as a mark of respect, and not because they’re looking at their phones. Beside her, her mother’s body shudders with tears, but above her shoulders the raven’s head remains expressionless and silent. In real life, her mother had reached down and taken Willow’s hand and stroked her fingers and whispered, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry, over and over and over, senseless and endless, until Willow’s fingers were tingling and sore. Perhaps the bird-heads are masks. Perhaps the people wearing them are trapped inside, their whole worlds reduced to the simple need to breathe. Willow wants to reach up and touch her own face, see if she too has been forced to wear one, but her hands are too heavy to lift, and so she sits and waits for what she knows must surely come.
When this happened for real, Laurel was carried into church in a white coffin with a satin finish and fiddly gold handles. Willow had looked at the coffin and thought in disgust, How can you possibly have picked that one? She wouldn’t want that one, she’d want a black one, we both would. God, if you pick one like that for me… and then the horror of her thoughts crowded in so fast that she could hardly breathe for guilt. She was imagining her parents picking out her own coffin. She was dreaming of her own ending, of going down into the darkness to join Laurel. She was imagining death as an escape.
A change in the light tells her that the men are coming in with Laurel. There’s no coffin tonight. Instead her sister rides still and flat on the shoulders of four men. Three walk with the strength and synchronicity of professional undertakers, and wear the steady gaze and long, wise beaks of ibises. The fourth, his red-topped woodpecker head incongruous and gaudy, is her father. He holds tight to Laurel’s ankle, buckling at the knees occasionally as he forces himself to perform this last duty. Willow wonders if he’ll fall, and if Laurel will fold and crumple as she falls with him, or if she’ll be stiff and rigid, like a plank of wood. 
The procession lacks dignity, the ibises unbalanced by their fourth companion, his head and suit mismatched, his pace out of step with theirs. Willow had wanted him to be with her and her mother, and she was fairly sure her mother wanted the same thing, but her father had insisted. Just as on the day of the funeral, he’s so stricken with grief he can hardly walk. Just as on the day of the funeral, Willow thinks how much better it would have been if her father had been in the pew with them. 
Then she glimpses her sister’s head, which is also her own head, sees the face they’ve both been wearing and looking into since before they came into the world, and wonders in panic, Is it me they’re burying today, or is it her? Which of us is still alive and which of us is dead? What if I’m not Willow at all, what if I’m Laurel and I don’t know it? What if she thinks she’s me? What happens then? 
The three ibises and her woodpecker father reach the front of the church and lay Laurel down on the altar. It’s been swept clean of crosses and candlesticks, and covered in a sheet of thick blue-tinged plastic that blurs the gold thread embroidery of the altar cloth beneath. The ibises step back and melt away. She will not see them again. This is the first sign.
Wake up, Willow thinks. Wake up. This is your last chance. Do it. Do it now. Right now. Wake up. Wake up! And she’s not sure if she’s talking to her twin, or herself.
She knows what’s coming next because she’s had this dream before. The congregation, each wearing their bird-heads, stand, slowly and effortfully as if they’re wading through water. She doesn’t want to join them, but this is a dream, and she’s given no choice. She wants to hold her mother’s hand, but her mother is just ahead of her now, second in the long chain of people that’s forming up behind her father, whose bright streak of red feathers glow like a beacon in the spray of sunlight, shooting through the window to splash across Laurel’s closed, silent face. This is the second sign.
Wake up, Willow thinks. This is a dream. You don’t need to stay here. Wake up and get out of here. None of this happened. You don’t need to be here. It’s only a dream. She closes her eyes, fierce and tight. When she reopens them, she can feel the rustling that comes from the excited agitation of the thousands of tiny feathers, covering the bird-heads of the congregation. They’ve begun to clack their beaks in anticipation. This is the third sign.
The minister stands behind the altar, behind Laurel’s body, and raises her hands in blessing. Her father, the first in the queue – the head of the family, she supposes – mounts the three shallow steps to the altar, raises his hands for a moment in imitation of the minister, then bends from the waist and plunges his head down, down, down, into the soft cold belly of his daughter. When he turns his face to the waiting congregation, his beak and feathers are covered in blood.
No, Willow thinks. This isn’t what happened. I won’t let this be what happens. This is a dream. I won’t let it happen.
Her mother next, stepping up to the altar with quick steps, soaring on a wave of air created by the swift eager movements of those who wait behind, as if instead of clapping their hands, the congregation are urging Willow’s mother onwards by moving their arms like wings. The gesture of blessing. The dip. The pause. Her mother’s face, birdy and bloody. 
Willow should take her place at the altar now, but she’s not wearing a bird-head. The vicar bundles her over to one side, a swift kind gesture that nonetheless has the seeds of exasperation in it, as if Willow is a small child refusing to leave her offering at the Harvest Festival, or clutching stubbornly to her small silver coin for the collection plate. Helpless and sick, Willow tries not to look as one by one, the congregation take their turn at the sacred feast, each bird in its turn, the raptors and the seedeaters and the water-birds, the ones who hunt and the ones who strip the carcasses and the ones who live on honey and nectar, each dipping their faces and raising them again, eager but not impatient, knowing there’ll be enough for everyone.
Stop, she thinks. She wants to scream her thought aloud, but her throat and mouth are stopped by a mighty weight that she doesn’t dare try to push aside. In this dream, she’s always voiceless. Her inability to speak is increasingly leaching out into her real life.
Don’t ask them to stop, the vicar tells her. There’s still no sound, just the kindly angling of her mallard head towards Willow’s face, and words that unspool in her mind. This is Death. We are all Death, every one of us, and we all need to eat. Would you rather they ate you instead? That could happen very easily. They’ll probably find it hard to tell the difference between you and your sister. After all, you’re the same, aren’t you? You’re the same. Separating you from each other, that’s going against Nature. And then her gaze turns over Willow’s shoulder, and Willow has the sense that beneath the mallard-head, the vicar is smiling. Ah, look who’s here. He’s come to call for you after all. It must be because you’re an identical twin.
And standing in the doorway of the church, Willow sees the most terrible bird of all, man-sized and man-shaped and dressed in black, with its blue-black head smoothly feathered and a thick stabbing beak like a crow and bright pitiless eyes that see everything, everything, the firm young flesh of her body and the strong marrowy bones beneath, the bright leap of blood in her veins and the glistening throb of her heart. The Death Bird sees all of these things, and then he looks inside her head and sees her thoughts, and she knows she invited him here. She’s wished for him to come for her, and now she can’t send him away again. 
There are words tumbling in her throat – I didn’t mean it, I don’t want to die – but they won’t be enough to set her free. Words only have power when they’re spoken and she can’t speak now. Her voice is locked away for ever, and she’s going down to join her sister in the darkness, and the congregation will eat her body and she’ll never see daylight again. The Death Bird holds out a long pale hand. All the flesh and feathers have fallen from his head; now he is wearing a bird-skull.
He’s come for you, says Laurel from the altar, and this is new, because usually in this dream Laurel is voiceless, too. She doesn’t dare to look because she doesn’t want to see what the congregation has done to her, but still it’s Laurel’s voice, the voice which is also hers. When they were little and recorded themselves performing plays or reading stories, they would sometimes be unable to tell which of them had spoken which words, who had taken one part and who the other. He’s come for you. You have to go with him when he comes for you. That’s what happened to me. Now it’s your turn.
But Mum and Dad, Willow thought helplessly.
But I miss you, Laurel pleaded. And you miss me too. Don’t you? That’s why he’s here. Because you miss me. We belong together. Please don’t go out of here and leave me behind. I can’t bear it.
If she could speak, she could set herself free. She could tell him No, and send him away. But she can’t speak. She can’t even hear herself think over Laurel’s pleading voice, and she isn’t even sure that she wants to be rescued, because after all, Laurel’s right. They belong together, and their sudden cleaving into separateness has made a wrong place in her soul that will never, ever heal. The thought of the long years stretching out before her, the long barren decades of life where she’ll walk alone into the world with an empty place beside her, seems like too much to bear.
I’m going to die in my sleep, she thinks. My heart’s going to stop.
And then in the place between two heartbeats, the place between life and death, she tells herself, successfully this time, Wake up! 
She wakes, sweating with fright, tangled in sour-smelling sheets, warmed only by the damp place between her legs where she’s wet herself in the utter terror of her dream.
You’re disgusting, she thinks wearily, and climbs out of the bed so she can take the sheets off. 
She pads as quietly as she can down the corridor to the top of the stairs, cautious even though she knows her parents won’t wake. She spies on them just as they spy on her, all of them secretly watching each other for signs of illness or weakness, and she knows this is one of the rare-but-increasing nights when they’ve both taken sleeping tablets. They must finally have begun to trust that Willow won’t die in her sleep because they weren’t awake to watch over her. Or perhaps they’re giving in to the inevitable truth that, if they don’t begin to look after themselves in some rudimentary way, they’ll die too. Despite the pain they would all (if they ever dared speak about it) describe as unbearable, they all still want to live. The shame of wanting to survive makes it hard for them to look at each other. 
Downstairs in the utility room, she fills the washing machine with sheets and pyjamas, then switches it on. Back upstairs, there’s a damp patch on the mattress.
Newly clad in fresh pyjamas, she considers her options. If she puts clean sheets on a wet mattress, it will soak into them and she’ll have to change them again in the morning. If she turns the mattress over, will it dry in the dusty gloom beneath the bed? Or will it simply fester and degrade into ammonia, making her room and everything in it stink? She could sleep on the floor. Perhaps that’s what she deserves. But she knows she has another place to go.
She stands for a few moments at the threshold, her fingers tracing out the shape of the name on the door. Do you still want those names on your doors? their mother had asked a few months before Laurel’s death. She’d been on one of her periodic decluttering missions, when comforting piles of detritus were swept out from corners and banished, and no possession, no matter how sentimental, was safe from her assessing gaze. Yes, they’d answered simultaneously, and when their mother tried to persuade them – You’re going to be eighteen next birthday, do you really want your names on your doors still? Really? – their father had come to their rescue. Come on, let them keep their doorplates if they want to. What harm does it do? And now, perhaps, no one would ever dare to change them.
Knowing that she’s trespassing, she creeps inside. The bed is still made up, the litter of clothes on the floor mundane and comforting. When she presses her face into the pillow, she can smell the shampoo she and Laurel both used each morning, taking it in turns for the first use of the shower. This ought to be a terrible place, a place she can hardly bear to enter, but the bed welcomes her, the shapes in the darkness feel familiar, everything feels familiar, the duvet folds over her like an old friend. She closes her eyes, knowing she’s reached a safe haven.
On the edge of sleep, she realises something terrible. This room she’s in now feels familiar because it’s her room, which she stumbled out of not two hours ago, her body seeking out the comfort of her sister’s place, her mind wandering through the border country between waking and sleeping. It is Laurel’s bed she’s left wet and unmade. Laurel’s pyjamas, taken from Laurel’s drawers, that she’s fumbled her way into. And this is not the first time. When her mother and father wake in the morning, it will be to the discovery that their surviving daughter has once again left her own bed and crawled into the space that should be sacred, marking her territory like a badly behaved cat before slinking away. She’s losing the boundaries between herself and her dead twin. The shock sends her out of the bed and over to the mirror where she can gaze at the face looking back at her.
My bed, she thinks. My room. I’m in my room. This is my room. This is my mirror. This is my face in the mirror. I’m Willow. 
She tries to say the words out loud. If she can say her own name, here in the dark where no one will hear her, she’ll know she’s all right. It’s very hard to get the words out, but after a short fierce effort, she succeeds.
“I’m Willow,” she says to her reflection, and is startled by how hoarse she sounds. It sounds as if she’s been screaming into her pillow for hours and hours, the way she sounded the first week after Laurel died. As if she hasn’t been able to speak at all now for several days, not at school, not on the bus, not to her parents, not even when her mother begged her to say something, to just try, please, sweetie, just try, you’re safe, nothing bad will happen, you can talk to us, and she tried and tried to force the words out, but they wouldn’t come. Then her mother had wept, loudly and helplessly, all the while repeating I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m being so stupid, I’m sorry, and Willow had wondered if things might be better if she was dead too. 
“I’m Willow,” she repeats, trying to make her voice softer and more human. “I’m Willow. I’m Willow. My name is Willow. And I’m still alive.”
She sounds as if her head has been replaced by a bird-head, ready for her to take her place in the church and join the congregation.
When I wake up I’ll be able to speak again, she thinks. Things will be better in the morning. I’m not Laurel. I’m Willow. I’m not dead. I’m alive. I’m taking my A-levels next summer. College starts tomorrow, and I’m going. Tomorrow, I’ll do better.
The face that stares back at her looks as if it doesn’t believe her.

About the Author
Cassandra Parkin grew up in Hull, and now lives in East Yorkshire. Her short story collection, New World Fairy Tales (Salt Publishing, 2011), won the 2011 Scott Prize for Short Stories. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.
The Summer We All Ran Away (Legend Press, 2013) was Cassandra's debut novel and nominated for the Amazon Rising Stars 2014.

Legend Press have also published The Beach Hut (2015), Lily's House (2016) and The Winter's Child (2017. Cassandra's fifth novel is due to be published in 2018.

Visit Cassandra at or on Twitter @cassandrajaneuk

Monday, 23 September 2019

Christmas Child
Carol Rivers

I am thrilled to be kicking off the Blog Tour for Christmas Child by Carol Rivers. As many of you know, I am a saga lover and Carol is one of my favourite authors and has become a real pal to me, especially recently, offering love and support at a very difficult time.

You can read my review of this fabulous novel below, which I feel, could be read at any time of the year, it's not just for Christmas!

Christmas Child
The 2019 Victorian romance from the Sunday Times bestselling author.
A perfect Dickensian saga for Christmas.
Christmas Day, London 1880. Snow falls … a dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie O’Reilly as their own, but the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by an unscrupulous bishop. The heart-breaking outcome turns Ettie’s life upside down and Christmas will never mean the same again.
Will Ettie ever find her friend Michael Wilson whose secret holds the key to their past? Will Ettie keep her innocence and survive the traumatic events that are about to erupt?

Colleen O'Reilly will do anything she can to make sure her baby survives, so when she goes into labour on Christmas Eve, she heads to where she knows her baby will be brought up and looked after when she's gone, the convent.

After giving birth, Colleen passes away and the baby is found outside a convent. She is taken under the wing of Sister Patrick and the other nuns there and is fed and nurtured and leads a very happy and contented life until she is 14 and the Bishop orders the convent to be closed down.

Ettie is distraught at having to leave her beloved home and the people she has grown to love, not least Michael, another foundling who she has grown very fond of.

Ettie is sent to a grocers shop, but after a while she is told she is to be sent to be a nurse maid to a couple by the name of Lucas and Clara Benjamin who own the local tobacconist establishment.

Lucas is beside himself with worry over his wife's strange behaviour and when he finds out she is opium dependent, he decides to take her to France to cure her of her demons and leaves Ettie in charge of the tobacconists at Ettie's request.

For a woman to run such an establishment in those days was almost unheard of, so when she is left to her own devices, it doesn't take long before the local villains and swindlers find out that a young woman running such a business on her own is easy picking.

Meanwhile, Terence the local butcher sees Ettie as the daughter he never had and keeps a watchful eye over her. 

Circumstances force Ettie to leave the tobacconists and rather than ask Terence for help, she becomes homeless and jobless. Therefore, the only place for Ettie to go is the workhouse.

After spending several months in the workhouse and living in fear of the Governor, Ettie finds a new position for a while, but this is also short lived and she ends up on the streets for a second time. 

The streets of London are no place for a young woman to be on her own and Ettie faces danger at every turn. Will she be safe enough to turn her life around? or will she end her life the same way as her mother did? and will she ever see Michael again?

This is another fabulously written and thoroughly researched novel by this author and one that I would totally recommend to any saga lover. If you haven't read any of Carol Rivers' novels yet, I would thoroughly recommend them, you will not be disappointed.

Thank you to the wonderful Carol Rivers for her kind love and support and also to Rachel at Rachel's Random Resources for allowing me to kick off this fabulous blog tour.

About the Author

Author Bio – “Were there’s muck there’s money!” If my family had a royal crest I’m sure those are the words that would have been hewn into the stone above it.
Mum and Dad were both East Enders who were born on the famous or should I say the then infamous Isle of Dogs. They were costermongers selling fruit, veg and anything else that would stand still long enough!

Their family were immigrants who travelled to the UK from Ireland and France, while others emigrated to America.

As a child I would listen to the adults spinning their colourful stories, as my cousins and I drank pop under the table.

I know the seeds of all my stories come from those far off times that feel like only yesterday. So I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all my family and ancestors wherever you are now … UK, Ireland, France or America, as you’ve handed down to me the magic and love of story telling.

Carol xx

Social Media Links –

Purchase Links  UK  - US -

One winner will win the following signed books
“Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm”
“Molly’s Christmas Orphans”
“A Wartime Christmas”
“A Sister’s Shame”
“Eve of the Isle”
*Terms and Conditions –UK 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 be 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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Runaway Daughter
Joanna Rees

I must apologise for getting my dates mixed up with this blog tour, so a few days later than planned, I have an extract for you from The Runaway Daughter by Joanna Rees. I am currently reading this and will review as soon as I have finished.

1) Inventing Miss Casey
The shrill whistle woke her. For a second she didn’t move, feeling the rattle of the steam train jolting her as she remembered her midnight flight across the moonlit field. How she’d spotted the stationary train impatiently puffing silvery clouds into the night air, how she’d managed to prize open the wooden carriage door with her shaking fingers and how she’d curled up in a tiny space behind the industrial cargo and packing boxes from the mill. How the exhaustion and terror had transported her to blackness.
Now her legs were stiff and her cheek was sore from where she’d been leaning against the cold metal machinery. And she was cold. So very cold. Her teeth chattered as she shivered in the icy air. She had that same fluttering feeling she’d had when she’d fallen asleep, as if the fear were darting around inside her, like the birds in her mother’s aviary.
How long since they’d last stopped? How far till she was far enough away?
Would she ever be far enough away?
She thought of the drama that was bound to be unfolding by now. She imagined her parents’ drawn faces when they discovered Clement’s body in the stable . . . her mother’s muffled scream.
Would they even be thinking of their daughter? Would they have noticed her absence yet? Probably not, she thought bitterly. Her mother had always been a muddled, ethereal presence – prone to lengthy bouts of illness, and concerned only with her birds and her absolute insistence on quiet. Her father, on the other hand, had always been as tempestuous as her mother had been timid, and he’d made it perfectly clear that Anna, like her mother, had always been an irritation to him. Lower down on his pecking order than the dogs. 
Perhaps, though, her parents had drawn the correct conclusion straight away. Helped, no doubt, by Mark, the stablehand. He’d never liked her and she had no doubt that he’d readily describe how he’d seen her running for her life. And if he had, then the police were bound to have been called. Perhaps they were already chasing her . . . 
Again, she fought down the fluttering fear. She’d got away, hadn’t she? She’d escaped.

Friday, 23 August 2019

A Respectable Woman
Susanna Bavin
This is the second book I have read by this fabulous author, the first one being The Deserter's Daughter and what a fabulous book that was! I am ploughing my way through Susanna's books and A Respectable Woman is another great read and here is my review:-

Nell is married to Stan and has a beautiful little boy. Life is hard, but she is trying to make the best of being a wife and mother and trying to keep the wolf from the door. A midwife knocks on her door asking for Mrs Hibbert, she first thinks there is some kind of mistake, or maybe it is an omen that she will have another baby soon! Nell can't stop thinking that this is some kind of mistake and then finds out about Stan's double life and that he is married to someone else as well and she is having a baby!

Nell wastes no time in picking up her son and gathering up the few belongings she has and runs away to start a new life. She lodges with a lovely husband and wife (Mr & Mrs Brent) who end up looking after her and her children (the midwife must have been an omen after all!) while she goes to work in a factory as a machinist.

Just as things start to tick along nicely, Nell is given the news that she is to be made homeless as Leonie Brents' husband has died and her daughter Hilda and her son in law Edmund are moving in.

Meanwhile Jim Franks has come back from the war and rather than go back to his life as a proper gent and his job as a  Solicitor, much to the embarrassment of his family, he starts a window cleaning business and aims to help people in distress. Along comes Nell looking for somewhere to live and Jim finds any excuse to be near her and to help her in any way he can.

Of course, things do not run smoothly and Nell finds herself in all sorts of bother with Stan and the conniving Edmund, but Nell has to look out for her children and she will do what she has to do to make sure they have a decent upbringing.

Another fabulous read by this author and I really cannot wait to read more from her. I have the next one waiting to come with me on my next holiday!

Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Liberty Girls
Fiona Ford

I read Christmas at Liberty's at the end of last year and I loved it so much that I couldn't wait until the next instalment came out so that I could find out more about the girls who work on the shop floor of one of London's most famous department stores during the second world war.
This is one of my holiday reads from last month and I loved it so much, it only took me a couple of days to read it!


This book mainly focuses on Alice Milwood who is married to a soldier but he is missing in action and she  has no idea whether he is dead or alive. Alice is left to bring up her young son on her own whilst trying to hold down her job at Liberty's.

Of course, things don't run smoothly when Alice goes back to work and she has a new supervisor by the name of Beatrice Claremount, who is certainly not going to give her an easy ride.

Alice has the help of her dearest friends Rose, who is still coming to terms with being blinded after drinking illegal hooch, Mary and landlady Dot, who are all around to help her bring up her little boy, whilst Alice is hoping against hope that her dear husband will be brought back to her safe and sound.

These characters are certainly getting under my skin and I really cannot wait until the next book arrives as I am enjoying reading this series so much and would encourage anyone who is remotely interested in WWII/family sagas, to give these books a read.

The author certainly did her research as the attention to detail in this book is second to none.

Thank you to the lovely author Fiona Ford, who has been so very supportive to me over the past six months, often sending lovely messages of comfort and support during a very difficult time for me and for that, I am truly grateful.

To order a copy of The Liberty Girls on Amazon click here


Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Ike and Kay
James MacManus

As soon as I read the blurb about this book, I knew I had to read it. I do love a WWII book, but as this one is based on true events that to be honest, I didn't know much about, I wanted to give it a go to broaden my horizons so to speak! You can read my review below, but as soon as I finished this book, I had a "google" about Dwight (Ike)Eisenhower and Kay Summersby!

When war breaks out, Kay "does her bit" and becomes a driver. Little did she know that the next person she will be responsible for looking after behind the wheel is none other than American General Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower.

Something immediately clicks between the couple, but they keep things strictly professional for as long as they can, but Ike is drawing her closer and closer and as much as Kay tries to keep things strictly business like, when she gets Ike a puppy for his birthday, she draws all sorts of unwanted attention to herself!

Ike also has a wife, Mamie,  back home in Washington and word gets back to her that things are not strictly platonic between the two and she is desperate for her husband to go back home, the sooner the better.

When Ike is posted to Africa, Kay is one of the first members of staff he wants by his side, but as she has to travel separately, she is sent on a ship and is nearly sunk by the Germans. This nearly tips Ike over the edge and he cannot hide his feelings from Kay any longer.

I'm not going to go too much into detail about their relationship as I feel you really need to read the book to find out about their feelings for one another and all the obstacles that were put in their way, but I can honestly say, that whilst reading this novel, I could see it on the big screen. It was a fabulous read, thoroughly researched and so interesting.

As with all love stories, things don't run smoothly, but I'm not going to tell you if there was a happy ending or not. You will just have to get a copy and read it yourself!

Thank you so much to Duckworth (Prelude Books) for getting in touch and asking me to be a part of the tour. I am so glad to have read this book and it has really left an impression on me. So much so, that I have googled both Ike and Kay and tried to find out more about them!

A thoroughly enjoyable read that I would not hesitate to recommend to historical/saga readers and true romantics!

Author Bio

James MacManus is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. After studying at St Andrews University he began his career in journalism at the Daily Express in Manchester. Joining The Guardian in 1972, he later became Paris, and then Africa and Middle East Correspondent. He is the author of several novels including On the Broken Shore, Black Venus, Sleep in Peace Tonight and Midnight in Berlin. James MacManus has three children and lives in Dulwich, London.

To order a copy of the book on Amazon click here 

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Home Truths
Susan Lewis

Guest Review
Julie Williams
Thank you so much to Harper Fiction for asking me to be on another blog tour for Susan Lewis and also a huge thank you to Julie Williams who very happily reviewed this book for me!

Another powerful heart-wrenching story from Susan Lewis which I found very thought provoking.

In this book the plight of homelessness, vulnerable people and county lines are forefront and many characters in this story suffer while experiencing these awful situations they find themselves in. 

Angie, the central character, shows through her story just how the lives of families are destroyed and no one is spared young or old. Circumstances that arise in this book can affect anyone and at times made for a sad read but although Angie has plenty of her own problems, she struggled through offering hope and support to others.

I enjoyed this story with its current topics and was shocked how those most vulnerable are often let down by our Government and the system who we think are put in place to help them.

My thanks to Net Galley for the ARC these are my own views of Home Truths by Susan Lewis and to Julie for allowing me to guest review on her blog.

About the Author

Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. Following periods of living in Los Angeles and the South of France, she currently lives in Gloucestershire with her husband James, stepsons Michael and Luke, and mischievous dogs Coco and Lulu.
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