Sunday, 17 June 2018

The Mum Who'd Had Enough
Fiona Gibson
Blog Tour

I love Fiona Gibson's books and so am delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for The Mum Who'd Had Enough (what a fabulous title!). I have an extract for you today, so sit back with a cuppa (or something stronger if you prefer!) and enjoy.....

The trouble with being left a note like that is that you need time to figure out what the hell’s going on. Ideally, you also want access to the person who wrote it to see if they really meant it, or just lost their mind temporarily.
I mean, my record collection! Is it Springsteen that’s tipped her over the edge? One too many playings of Born to Run? I need to know as a matter of urgency, but it seems that Sinead’s phone is turned off.
The other trouble with this whole list business is that real life must continue, which means putting on a great show of everything being normal. It’s 7.46 on a bleary Thursday morning, and our son must still go to school, even if he does have a selfish incompetent father, and I need to go to work – plus, obviously, track down my wife.
While Flynn showers, I try to keep calm and not overreact, and only call her mobile eleven times.
Hi, you’ve reached Sinead. Please leave your number and I’ll call you right back … 
Such a warm, cheery voice, husky with a soft Yorkshire lilt; the voice of a woman who has always embraced life, who has reams of friends – from childhood and her art school days, and even more through being Flynn’s mum. Everyone knows her as being supremely capable, great fun, delightful company and, of course, a fantastic mother. We’d have had more babies – a whole gang – if we’d managed to conceive after having Flynn, but it only happened once. Sinead miscarried at ten weeks, when Flynn was three, and after that it just didn’t happen at all. We’re not really into ‘signs’, the two of us, but we consoled ourselves that this was probably nature’s way of urging us to count our blessings and focus fully on our son. So we didn’t go down the IVF route. Our friend Abby did, and she reckons the stress and disappointment killed off her marriage. Plus, with Flynn’s condition, Sinead and I spent enough time in clinics and hospitals as it was.
I hear Flynn emerging from the bathroom. Once he’s back in his room, I dive in, turn on the shower and take another look at the list, as apparently I hadn’t quite got to the end.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Hidden Bones
Nicola Ford

It's my turn today to host the Blog Tour for The Hidden Bones by Nicola Ford. This sounds a fabulous read, so another one that is going to be bumped up my TBR pile! Meanwhile, I have an extract for you which is in fact, Chapter Two and I have included a link for you to read the Prologue and Chapter One. Enjoy....

Extract - Chapter Two

‘Take a look!’ Muir stabbed his finger at the sheet of A4.
David glanced down at the paper lying on his head of department’s desk without speaking.
‘Well what?’ To everyone except Muir himself and the vice-chancellor, the bald-headed Glaswegian was known as the Runt. He was renowned for both his complete disregard for anyone or anything other than his own future prospects and his apparent obliviousness to the universal detestation with which he was regarded by other members of the department. The VC had parachuted him into the chair of archaeology over the tops of the heads of several better qualified candidates – David included. But it wasn’t personal jealousy that was fuelling the Runt’s ire this morning. Today’s topic of conversation was David himself.
‘Don’t play games with me, Barbrook. You won’t like the consequences.’
‘Is that supposed to be a threat?’
‘I don’t need to make threats.’ He gesticulated at the sheet of paper that lay between them. ‘The figures speak for themselves.’
Muir seemed to have acquired his management style from old Jimmy Cagney films. It was all David could do to stifle his urge to laugh. Normally he wouldn’t even try, but something in the Runt’s demeanour this morning told him he’d be wise to suppress his natural inclinations. He picked up the paper and made a show of examining it. In reality, he was only too well aware of the contents of the departmental email. It demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had brought in significantly less research funding than any of his colleagues in the department.
‘Well! Don’t you have anything to say? You might be determined to spend your entire academic career in the gutter, but I’m damned if I’m going to let you drag the rest of us into it with you. I won’t have it.’ 
David replaced the email on the desk and settled himself into the sleek leather chair that Muir reserved for favoured guests. He could see that his choice of seat hadn’t improved the Scotsman’s humour. ‘Look, can we drop the amateur dramatics?’
‘How dare you—’
Before he could finish his sentence, David raised his hand. Starting from his chin and working its way upwards across his balding pate, Muir’s face flushed a vibrant shade of pink. For a moment, David thought the Scot was going to have some sort of seizure. ‘I could sit here and listen to you outlining my manifold failings, but frankly I’m tired of playing that scene. So why don’t I save us both the pain of enduring unnecessary time in one another’s presence. There is absolutely nothing wrong with my academic credentials; my submissions for the last research assessment exercise scored higher than anyone else in the department. I’m not some simple-minded dullard. I know the game has changed. Research scores are only a means to an end. We both know that the bottom line is cash.’
Muir made no effort to contain his sarcasm. ‘Well, glory be – he’s seen the light. Now what exactly do you propose to do about it?’
David was well aware that from the moment Muir had set foot in the department he’d viewed him as nothing more than an irritating tick whom he had every intention of crushing underfoot. But thus
far he’d failed to do so. And David had every intention of ensuring he remained firmly embedded under the Runt’s skin.
His adversary leant back in his chair, arms folded, drumming the fingers of his left hand against his right forearm, anticipating victory. It was clear from the Scot’s face that he had absolutely no idea what was coming.
‘I have British Heritage project funding to the tune of half a million pounds.’
‘Pull the other one, Barbrook. You haven’t managed to pull together a viable funding application in the whole of the three years I’ve been here.’
‘Well, I have now.’
‘And exactly what is this fictional funding for?’
‘To analyse and publish the Hungerbourne archive.’
Muir’s mouth broke into a self-congratulatory smile. His target was within range. ‘You’re a fantasist, Barbrook. The Hungerbourne archive went up in smoke – in much the same way that I intend to see that your academic career does, unless you can provide me with some genuine evidence that you’re pulling your weight in my department.’ 
David reached into the bag that he had placed by his chair. He extracted its contents and slapped them down on Muir’s desk. Before the Runt had a chance to respond, David turned the hardback notebook through one hundred and eighty degrees so that the Scot could read the fading black ink on its tattered cover.
Muir glanced down. There was no mistaking the words on its label, but they clearly weren’t what he was expecting. Hungerbourne Barrow Cemetery Excavation Diary 1973. G. Hart.
Muir opened the book and began leafing through it. He looked up, his eyes boring into David’s. ‘Where did you get this?’
‘Hungerbourne Manor – along with . . .’
‘Why didn’t I know about this?’
Muir knew full well what the answer was. David didn’t dignify it with a response. If he’d told the Runt that he’d found the Hungerbourne archive, he would have insisted he head up the project himself.
David picked up the notebook and, placing it carefully back in his bag, turned to leave.
As he opened the door, Muir said, ‘Make no mistake, Barbrook. One more fuck-up, just one, and it will be the last thing you do in this department.’
David closed the door behind him without a backward glance.

If you want to read the Prologue/Chapter One then click on the link below:-

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Her Mother's Secret
Rosanna Ley
Blog Tour

For many years Colette has avoided returning to her homeland - the magical island of Belle-Île-en-Mer in Southern Brittany - afraid to confront the painful memories she left behind. She is living on the Cornish coast when she hears about her mother Thea's failing health and realises that the time has come for her to go home. But can Colette ever forgive Thea for what she has done?
Despite Colette's wariness, romantic Belle-Île still fascinates her. She takes on the running of her mother's flower shop and makes friends with Élodie from the Old Lighthouse where Thea once worked as a nanny and with the enigmatic Étienne who shares Colette's mixed feelings about the island. As Thea opens up to her for the first time, Colette finds herself softening and being drawn back into the landscape of her past. But can Belle-Île also be a part of her future?
The ghosts of that past still linger. What happened all those years ago and how did it cause the rift between mother and daughter? It becomes clear that the beauty of Belle-Île hides a devastating family secret - one that Colette is determined to unravel at any cost.

It's my turn on the Blog Tour for Her Mother's Secret by Rosanna Ley. This is the first novel I have read by this author, but have interacted with her on Twitter and Facebook and she is lovely! She also lives in my favourite part of the world, Bridport in Dorset! I would like to say thank you to Anne Cater and Quercus books for sending me a copy of the book and you can find my review of this lovely book below.

Colette has received a letter to say that her mother, Thea, has Leukaemia and that she must return home to the island of Belle-Île-en-Mer before it's too late. It isn't an easy decision for Colette to make as she and her mother have been estranged for many years and she has her fiancé Mark to think about. How will he react to her just upping sticks and returning home indefinitely to help her mother and to keep the little florist shop going that her mother built up from scratch?

Colette's mother Thea knows she doesn't have very long left and wants to make amends not only with Colette, but with Élodie and Jacques, the children she looked after until a bitter disagreement with their mother Mathilde and Thea is sent away disgraced and wondering what she is going to do with the rest of her life.

Meanwhile as Colette is returning to the island to see her mother, Etienne is also back on the island to finalise things following the death of his own mother. He too is finding it difficult being back and memories of his childhood almost prove too much for him. Will a chance meeting with Colette, who is going through similar feelings as him, be able to convince him to stay a while and see what Belle-Île-en-Mer can offer?

Obviously by the title of the book, you can imagine there are secrets and ghosts that Colette has to deal with when she returns to care for her mother, but I thought I had worked out what the "secret" was, but even I didn't seem that one coming!!

This is the first book I have read by Rosanna Ley, but with her exquisite detail, I will definitely be reading more from her. This is quite a long book, but justified in my opinion as the precision to detail is amazing and the amount of research it must have taken about the location, certainly shines out in this story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would certainly recommend this book. A great summer read!

Tuesday, 5 June 2018


The Shrouded Path
Sarah Ward

I am absolutely delighted to be able to show you the cover for the eagerly awaited next instalment of the DC Childs series, The Shrouded Path by the fabulous author Sarah Ward. Although this is about the one detective, I think that all of the books can be read as stand alones. I have loved all of these books, but by looking at this cover, I think this is going to be a corker!! You will have to wait until September for publication, but I just wanted to wet your appetite as to what to expect! I can't wait!

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Chloe Esposito

Today, it's my stop on the Blog Tour for MAD by Chloe Esposito and below I have an extract for you.


DISCLAIMER here’s something you should know before we go any further: my heart is in the wrong place. So is my stom- ach, my liver and my spleen. All my internal organs are

on the opposite side, in exactly the place where they shouldn’t be. I’m back to front: a freak of nature. Seven billion people on this planet have their hearts on the left. Mine’s on the right. You don’t think that’s a sign?
My sister’s heart is in the right place. Elizabeth is per- fect, through and through. I am a mirror image of my twin, her dark side, her shadow. She is right and I am wrong. She’s right-handed; I am left. In Italian, the word for ‘left’ is ‘sinistra’. I am the sinister sister. Beth is an angel and so what am I? Hold that thought . . .

The funny thing is that to look at us, you can’t tell the differ- ence. On the surface, we’re identical twins, but peel back the skin and you’ll get the shock of your life; watch in awe as my guts spill out all mixed up and topsy-turvy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s not a pretty sight.

We’re monozygotic, if you want to know; Beth’s zygote split in two and I materialized. It happened at the very earliest stage of development, when her zygote was no more than a cluster of cells. Mum had been pregnant for just a few days and then – poof – out of nowhere, I show up, cuckoo-like. Beth had to share her nice, cosy amniotic bath and Mum’s home-cooked placenta.

It was pretty crowded in that uterus; there wasn’t a lot of room for the two of us and our umbilical cords. Beth’s got tan- gled around her neck and then knotted pretty badly. It was
touch and go for a while. I don’t know how that happened. It had nothing to do with me. 

Scientists think identical twins are completely random. We’re still a mystery; no one knows how or why I occurred. Some call it luck, coincidence or chance. But nature doesn’t like random. God doesn’t just play dice. I came here for a reason; I know I did. I just don’t know what that reason is yet. The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square
Heidi Swain

I'm delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for Heidi Swain's new book Sunshine and Sweet Pease in Nightingale Square. I have met Heidi a couple of times and she is a lovely lady and lives in a fabulous part of Norfolk that I can't wait to visit! Today, I have an extract for you so sit back and enjoy an extract. By the way, I love the title!


'Are you sure you’re all right, Kate?’ David asked as our
honeymoon flight finally touched down and I twisted in my
seat to catch my first glimpse of an Italian sunrise. ‘I know
she said something to you.’
‘Honestly,’ I said, shaking my head and dismissing the harsh
words my mother had used to warn me that my marriage
would last six months, if I was lucky. ‘I’m fine. It’s nothing.’
‘But you were late to the church,’ David persisted in spite
of my reassurance. ‘Very late.’
‘I’ve already told you,’ I laughed, reaching for his hand and
kissing it. ‘That was down to Dad dithering about. He was
more nervous than I was.’
David nodded.
‘Did you think she’d finally got to me?’ I asked, halfjokingly.
‘I hope you didn’t think she’d made me change
‘The thought did enter my head as the seconds began to
tick by,’ he admitted with a boyish grin.
‘Then you’re more deluded than she is,’ I tutted. ‘I love
you, David and no amount of mithering from my mother
could ever change that.’
It was true. I loved the man in the seat next to me body
and soul. I had from the very first moment I laid eyes on
him. Yes, he had a dubious relationship history but I knew he
wasn’t the same person any more. Unfortunately, my mother
didn’t share my belief, but had she paid half as much attention
to the impeccable present as she did to the promiscuous past,
she would have seen for herself just how well- suited we were.
David hadn’t so much as looked at another woman since
our relationship had turned from casual to serious and sitting
on that flight, poised to explore Rome, Venice and beyond,
I could see both my marriage and my career comfortingly
stretching out ahead of me. David and I were to be partners
both in our lives and our work in the antiques trade. Granted
we had each chosen to make sacrifices to make our relationship
work, but we were both equally determined to make a
success of it all.
‘She still doesn’t know you like I do,’ I said consolingly,
‘but she will. In time.’
David didn’t look convinced.
‘I just wish I could make her see how much I love you,
Mrs Kate Harper.’ He burst out, more serious all of a sudden,
‘I just want her to understand that I would never hurt you,
that this old leopard really has changed his spots.’
‘Hey,’ I cut in, feeling giddy at the sound of my married
name, ‘less of the old, thank you very much! There aren’t
that many years between us.’
David was not to be distracted from making his heartfelt
‘No,’ he said, ‘I mean this, Kate. You’re the best thing
that’s ever happened to me. You’ve been a breath of fresh air
since the first moment I clapped eyes on you and I would
never, ever do, or say, anything that would hurt you or
make you doubt me. I don’t care what anyone else thinks of
us, all I need to know is that you trust me with every bit of
your heart.’
I closed my eyes as he tenderly cupped my face in his hands
and brushed his lips lightly against mine. I had never felt so
happy, so loved and cherished. I held tight to that moment
and locked it away for safekeeping.
‘I trust you,’ I whispered, looking deep into his eyes.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

The Street Orphans
Mary Wood

Today, it's my turn on the Blog Tour for the wonderful Mary Wood's new novel, The Street Orphans. I have to admit that this is the first book I have read from this author, but as a saga lover, I'm sure it certainly won't be my last! Please find my review below.

Thank you so much to the author for letting me be a part of this fabulous tour.


Born with a club foot in a remote village in the Pennines, Ruth is feared and ridiculed by her superstitious neighbours who see her affliction as a sign of witchcraft. When her father is killed in an accident and her family evicted from their cottage, she hopes to leave her old life behind, to start afresh in the Blackburn cotton mills. But tragedy strikes once again, setting in motion a chain of events that will unravel her family’s lives.

Their fate is in the hands of the Earl of Harrogate, and his betrothed, Lady Katrina. But more sinister is the scheming Marcia, Lady Katrina’s jealous sister. Impossible dreams beset Ruth from the moment she meets the Earl. Dreams that lead her to hope that he will save her from the terrible fate that awaits those accused of witchcraft. Dreams that one day her destiny and the Earl’s will be entwined.

When Ruth's father is tragically killed, the family are turfed out of their home within a day of his death and with nowhere else to go, the family decide to up sticks and move to Blackburn to try and make a new life for themselves in the cotton mills. A tragedy along the way involving a horse and carriage ends with the death of Ruth's mother and the Earl of Harrogate's arrogant, bully of a brother. Never did Ruth or her siblings know that what happened that day, will come back to haunt them all in more ways than they could ever imagine.

The Earl of Harrogate is married to Lady Katrina, but the only person he has on his mind is Ruth. When he tries to help Ruth and her siblings to make a better life for themselves, he doesn't take into account Lady Katrina's scheming sister Marcia, who will do whatever it takes to get the Earl to herself!

There are twists and turns at every corner in this historical saga. It's not secret that I love a saga and this one didn't disappoint! 

In traditional saga style, there are some uncomfortable topics that the author writes about, but I have no doubt that these were the terrible things that women had to endure during those times. 

This was a great story of good over bad, love over hate, rich and poor - everything you need for a really good historical saga!! 

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read my first book by this author and as I said before, this will certainly not be my last! 

About the Author

Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary's family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.

Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter - a place that Mary calls, 'her writing retreat'.

After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 - 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels

Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn't until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.

Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.

When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening.

One of her favourite past times is interacting with her readers on her Facebook page.
And on her web page:
She is also on Twitter: @Authormary

To order a copy of the book from Amazon click here

Thursday, 10 May 2018


I have an absolutely gorgeous cover reveal for you today. It's the 5th instalment in the Families of Fairley Terrace Sagas and it is being published later this year in hardback/ebook/audio (6th September) and for the paperback, you will have to wait a bit longer, January 2019, published by Headline. I am a little bit behind with my TBR pile and I still have book 4 to read, but it's up there on my pile and I hope to review for you soon! If you love family sagas as much as I do, you must read this series. You will be gripped from the very first page!

To pre-order this from Amazon click here


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Gravity Well
Melanie Joosten

I always feel very privileged when I am ask to open a Blog Tour and today I am delighted to be kicking off the tour for Gravity Well. I have a prologue for you and by just reading that, it sounds like it's going to be a great read! Wishing the author the best of luck with this book.

The flyscreen door bangs shut as you thump down the steps to the garage. You haul up the roller door, the dust coming alive in the sunlight. The campervan is faded, a memory of itself; the stickers on the bumper describe things people used to care about: Keep Australia Beautiful. Be Safe, Be Sure. Give a Damn, Vote Democrat. 

Squeezing into the narrow space between the wall of the garage and the van, you ease the driver’s door open and pull yourself into the seat. The vinyl is cool against your bare legs, but there’s an old beach towel handy to sit on; the seat will burn hot if the van is parked in the sun for a few hours. You don’t expect the battery to start, but when you turn the key, the engine coughs into service. Releasing the handbrake, you put the van in reverse. Throwing your left arm over the jump seat, you grab the passenger headrest and look back at the driveway. After the dark of the garage the bright sun flares, and you clench your eyes shut, put your foot to the floor. The van leaps backwards, you don’t want it to stall. Give it some more petrol and push out into the day. 

And then everything stops. 

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Fear
C.L. Taylor

I am absolutely delighted to be a part of the huge Blog Tour for C.L. Taylor's latest psychological thriller The Fear. I have read all of this author's books and I count her as one of my favourite authors. Her books seem to get better and better and I devoured this one in just over a day (a record for me!!). I have always had a soft spot for Cally's first thriller The Accident, but I think this may have pipped it to the post!! I have even recommended this book whilst browsing around Waterstone's when people have been looking at the cover!! If you haven't read this, or any other of C.L. Taylor's novels, then I can only say, why not!! they are gripping, a bit dark and on more than one occasion, I found myself holding my breath!! Oh, and I actually gasped out loud when reading the last page.........


Why is it when you read a fabulous book, it's always so hard to review it?! I have enjoyed all of C.L. Taylor's previous books and before I read this one I had seen a lot of people saying this one is her best yet, so obviously I had to read it as soon as I could to see what all the fuss was about!

Lou Wandsworth has tried so hard to forget her past, but sometimes unfinished business makes the past come back and haunt you. As a 15 year old, Lou fell in love with Mike who was twice her age. They elope to France where Lou dreams of endless days of holding hands and happy ever afters, but the reality is far from that. Mike becomes aggressive, possessive and almost takes on another personality, leaving Lou frightened and desperate to escape.

Now, aged 32, Lou is moving back to her childhood home to sort out her late father's estate and to her horror, she discovers Mike with a young girl at a garden centre and all the past comes crashing back around her ears.

Chloe Meadows is falling into the same trap as Lou did all those years ago. Can Lou get to Chloe and help her away from Mike's clutches before it's too late?.....

There have been many gripping psychological thrillers in the past where reviewers have said that they were on the edge of their seat, but in this case, I really was! I often found myself holding my breath and having to take a couple of minutes to take everything in!

The author deals with some difficult issues in this book very sensitively and the research that obviously went into it shows as it is expertly written and you feel Lou's fear, pain, her highs and lows and when you see what is happening to Chloe you just want to shout at her "NO"!!!

C.L. Taylor is just getting better and better with every book. I always had a soft spot for The Accident as it was her first book and also The Lie was the first Blog Tour and book event I ever went to as a book blogger!

I have recommended this book countless times and have even recommended it in Waterstones once! Well done Cally on yet another fantastic read. People often mention a twist when reading psychological thrillers and I can honestly say that the last chapter and page made me gasp out loud! One of my favourite books of the year for sure and one that I feel I could read again and again.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Tapestry of War
Jane Mackenzie

It's the final leg of the Blog Tour for Tapestry of War and today I have an extract from Chapter Two for you. You can also read Chapter One on the Allison & Busby website (link below).

In Alexandria, Fran finds her life turned upside down as Rommel’s forces advance on the idyllic shores of Egypt. In place of the luxury and stability that she is used to, she finds herself having to deal with loss, heartache and political uncertainty.

Meanwhile, on the Firth of Clyde, Catriona works day in, day out nursing injured servicemen. As the war rages on, the two women’s lives become entwined – bringing love and friendship to both.


That evening they had been due to attend a garden party given by the city’s most distinguished Englishman to welcome new naval personnel to Alexandria. The party, though, had been put back until the following afternoon, because the air raids had become so much more frequent recently, and it was becoming difficult to do anything out of doors in the evening. Blackouts meant you couldn’t open up the house to the outside, and the few tiny candles allowed made gardens gloomy places after dark.
Instead, therefore, the Trevillians invited their nearest neighbours for cocktails, and for a couple of hours they sat outside under the light of the stars, and watched the light display created by yet another evening of raids. Bombs never fell out here among the villas of the wealthy. The Germans concentrated their fire around the Western Harbour, where the navy had its ships. Houses downtown had taken bad hits, but here you could sleep in your own bed, and the noise of the raids was more bothersome than threatening.
The noise meant you had to speak up, but Fran was happy just to sit back and watch, letting her parents and the Eatons talk amongst themselves. She was both weary and restless at the same time. Her experience of this morning was too raw in her mind for her to take much from an evening among middle-aged people she’d known all her life, chatting about the relentlessly familiar just as she’d heard them do for years.
And yet she wouldn’t have had the energy this evening to seek out any of her own friends, and there were precious few of her own age group left in Alexandria anyway. It suited her mood to sit back on a cane chair with a glass
in her hand and nothing required of her. She swilled her gin lightly, letting the ice clink against the glass, and listened with half an ear.
‘The war has destroyed international markets for Egyptian cotton,’ Bill Eaton was complaining. ‘There’s nothing to trade any more, and we’ll soon be closing the stock exchange for lack of business.’
Fran raised a private eyebrow, unseen in the gloom. Her father had a small smile on his face, and she waited to see what he would reply.
‘Are you worried that we’ll all be ruined for the want of a few cotton futures, Bill?’
Bill Eaton almost harrumphed. ‘Ruined no, but things aren’t what they were.’
‘No,’ Alan Trevillian replied. ‘The economy is struggling, but the British have bought up all the cotton from the last harvest. We’ll survive.’
‘At rock-bottom prices!’ Bill Eaton protested. ‘They say old Minton has lost everything.’
Alan Trevillian looked sceptical. ‘I rather doubt that. Minton will have taken the bulk of his fortune out of the country. It’s the small cotton farmers who are really suffering.’
Bill Eaton merely grunted. Egyptian peasants weren’t his concern. Fran looked across at her father, catching his eye, and he winked at her. She grinned over her glass. Her father was on good terms with his neighbours, but he was on a different plane to them, and to so many of the narrow Brits here. He was a far-thinking man with a generous view of the world, and a wry eye always open to its absurdities, and she loved him.
He was approaching fifty years old, but might have passed for ten years younger, with just a hint of grey touching his dark hair, and not an inch of spare flesh on his lean frame. He could be Italian, Fran thought, with his brown eyes and skin, and he had passed the same colouring on to her. It fitted very well in this cosmopolitan city, where the mix of French, Italian, Greek, Arab and Jew had created a unique commercial hub found nowhere else in the world.
And Alan Trevillian, brought up here in Egypt, the son of an eminent irrigation engineer, lived Alexandrian life to the full. He spoke four languages, drank endless cups of Turkish coffee over business each morning in the cafes by the stock exchange, and had an impressive network of friends and contacts across all of the city’s communities. The wealthiest financiers respected him, and those who worked for him held him in high regard. But above all he loved Egypt, loved it and cared about it and all of its people.
In contrast, Fran’s mother Barbara was more typically English in style, fair and neatly elegant in a restrained style, holding herself at a slight distance from the more exotic ladies of Alexandria, in their make-up and Paris fashions. She supported her husband loyally, but had built her own life among the British women of Alexandria. Since the desert war had begun, sending floods of helplessly injured soldiers to the city’s straining hospital, Barbara and her friends had manned kitchens, run clubs, and held weekly events for servicemen in their homes, in a very British demonstration of unity.
She was the calmest, most unfretful of parents on the outside. Standards of behaviour had to be maintained, but only insolence had brought down severe penalties when Fran and her brother Michael were growing up. Michael was the apple of Barbara Trevillian’s eye, the one who could get away with almost anything, and now that he was in the desert army, Fran occasionally glimpsed the worry that hid behind her mother’s British sangfroid. But never a word was spoken except to wonder mildly whether he had enough socks, and to regret that he was missing their cook’s most prized dishes.
As they drank their cocktails that evening, Fran studied them all and thought how individual was the life that Egypt offered them. The bombing raid came to an end and they sat on for a while, allowing themselves some brighter lamps as more drinks were served. The evening air was balmy after the heat of the day, and a pleasurable breeze circled around them. Their servant Mustafa set out freshly prepared snacks on a low table between them, hot chicken on skewers, roasted almonds, and little plates of cinnamon-spiced pasta. He moved almost silently between them, and an easy hush settled on the company.
Soon the Eatons would head home, and Fran would seek her bed. She hoped that there would be no more air raids that night. Sometimes they had none, other times two or three, and there was no rhythm to them, except that they had got so much worse since the Germans had overrun Greece, and now had their planes stationed on Crete, just a couple of hundred miles away in the Mediterranean. Alexandria was the Allies’ Naval HQ, a natural target, and things were unlikely to get any better.
Her father would not be on the yacht patrol again for at least a couple of weeks, and tonight he would sleep. Fran hoped that she would sleep too, but above all she hoped that her young French boy was sleeping in his hospital bed, that the Free French who had poured such anger on their countrymen had now been moved on from Alexandria, and that everyone else was safely under curfew on their ships. The night felt peaceful now, and Fran hoped that the same brief calm could give them all a full night’s rest.

You can find Chapter One from this novel over on Allison & Busby website:-

Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Girl Who Got Revenge
Marnie Riches

I'm delighted to once again be hosting a Blog Tour for the fabulous Marnie Riches, George McKenzie series. This is book 5 in the series and I love these books! Today I have an extract, but I hope to have a copy soon so that I can review for you. So sit back and enjoy an extract from the latest installment of the George McKenzie series.


‘How can you explain this?’ Van den Bergen asked, pushing the stapled sheaf of printouts across the table towards Abadi.
In the interview room, which had already taken on the cabbagey fug of Marie, George was seated at the very end of the bolted-down, battered table, observing this unassuming middle-aged doctor. Abadi wore conservative slacks, a V-neck jumper over a crisp white shirt, open at the collar, and had stubble that attested to a long day in the surgery. His hair was starting to thin, though George was certain he must dye it black, since there was no grey to be seen. It was the only obvious sign of vanity in an otherwise unobtrusive-looking, diminutive man whose accent barely hinted at his Middle Eastern origins. Was it possible that this guy was a serial murderer of elderly patients?
Abadi took his tortoiseshell glasses from the case on the table with trembling hands. Pushed them up his nose and started to leaf through the papers. ‘I don’t know what these documents are. Why are you showing them to me? Lawyers?’ He examined the headed paper, clearly seeing but not reading in his barely concealed panic.
This doesn’t look like some hardened criminal or con man to me, George thought. But she knew better than that as a criminologist – especially given some of the cases she had helped Van den Bergen to solve. The worst predators were almost always the least obvious and most intelligent of suspects. She opened up a stapler and started to run her finger over the chunks of staples so that they formed an unbroken phalanx. Watching. Half-thinking about Rivka Zemel’s adulation of the Force of Five. Wondering how it had all panned out and knowing that four of the men, at least, had made it to old, old bones. Had Dr Saif Abadi deliberately composed the ending of their fascinating and epic stories?
Marie rotated the pearls in her ears, fixing the suspect with her stark blue eyes. ‘You know exactly what these are, Dr Abadi, because they’ve been read out to you by the solicitors who drafted them, haven’t they?’ Her voice was small but retained a certain steel to it. Though Marie didn’t look like much, George knew she was far from a pushover.
Abadi shifted in his seat. Swallowed hard. ‘Have I?’
‘Stop flirting, Dr Abadi,’ Van den Bergen said. ‘This interview tore me away from some very important health-maintenance involving a bowl of blueberries and ten millilitres of Gaviscon. Now, my detective here has asked you about these legal documents. Why don’t you explain to us all how you came to be named in the wills of Brechtus Bruin, Kaars Verhagen and Arnold van Blanken.’
George considered the hundreds of prison inmates she’d interviewed as part of her academic research; the women she’d been banged up with as a girl when she’d fallen foul of the law, thanks to an almighty administrative cock-up and one ailing detective. Most of them either denied, denied, denied or wore their crimes like an extravagant tattoo to be feared and revered. As Abadi wiped the sheen of sweat from his upper lip and blinked hard behind the thick lenses of those glasses, she wondered which kind he would be if he turned out to be guilty. A denier or a boaster.

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