Tuesday, 26 September 2023

 The Playground


S D Robertson


Review by Julie Williams

I really enjoyed this psychological suspense book that held my attention throughout. This author explores family relationships and their bonds, especially those between parents and their children.

Beth is the main character and mother to teenager Ethan and young Daisy. Beth is having a tough time as her husband Rory recently cheated on her, which she cannot forgive him so is having to adapt to being a single parent. 

Beth also suffers with anxiety and stress due to a phobia of playgrounds, so this means she cannot take her children to play on the swings or slides, which makes her feel guilty. This fear stems from a traumatic tragedy that she witnessed in her local playground as a child.

When Billy enters her life, Beth lets him into her family and is grateful for his support and companionship. Billy is determined to win over all their trust but all is not as it appears.

My thanks to Net Galley and publishers Bookouture for the advanced digital copy of this exciting story that is a real page turner with lots of twists and surprises.

Saturday, 9 September 2023

The Life I Stole

 The Life I stole


Nikola Scott


Review by Julie Williams


It's 1953. Memories of the war are beginning to fade.

Young Queen Elizabeth has just ascended to the throne. Isobel McIntyre is a doctor-in-training at a London teaching hospital. It's not easy being a woman working in medicine. And Isobel carries the additional burden of a shocking secret . . .

One night three years ago, Isobel took the chance to walk into another woman's life. By the time she understood the implications, it was too late to turn back. Now the secret she's been hiding for so long threatens everything - her career, new-found friendships, and a love affair that promises the kind of joy Isobel thought was only for others.

Love and happiness can't thrive in a world of lies. But does Isobel have the courage to tell the truth, whatever the consequences?


The Life I Stole is a super story of two friends, Isobel McIntyre and Agnes Crawford. They come from very different backgrounds yet their friendship is solid. 

When tragedy strikes, Agnes takes on her friends’ identity changing her life completely. Lies grow day by day as she tries to maintain her secret and fit in and she fears that lasting love can never be found.

Set in the early 1950’s in the infant years of the National Health Service, this story also tells of the struggles female medical students had to endure as they entered a predominantly male environment.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it held my attention throughout with its interesting characters and captivating storyline.

Thursday, 31 August 2023

One Moment


Becky Hunter


The day Scarlett dies should have been one of the most important of her life. It doesn't feel fair that she'll never have the chance to fulfil her dreams - all because she stopped to help a stranger. And now, she's still ... here - wherever here is - watching the ripple effect of her death on those she loved the most.
Evie cannot contemplate her life without Scarlett, and she certainly cannot forgive Nate, the man she blames for her best friend's death. But Nate keeps popping up when she least expects him to, catapulting Evie's life in directions she'd never let herself imagine possible.
If you could go back, knowing everything that happens after, everything that happens because of one choice you made, would you change the course of history or would you do it all again?


Evie and Scarlett are the best of friends, but when Scarlett is killed on her way to work, Evie is grief stricken and doesn't know how she will ever get over her friends death. 

Scarlett tries to be a good samaritan and goes to help when she sees a man get knocked off his bike, but it's while she is helping him that she herself is hit and is fatally injured. 

Scarlett realises straight away that she is dead. She cannot communicate with Evie, but she can see how she is struggling with everyday things. Evie has MS and is not only trying to come to terms with Scarlett's untimely death, but also how to deal with her diagnosis. 

When Evie finds out that it was a man called Nate who Scarlett was helping when she was killed, she finds it so hard to forgive him, but he himself is tormented by the incident and then Evie and Nate find comfort in each other over the coming months. 

When I read the blurb of this book, I just knew it was going to be a page turner. I have read several books where one of the main characters is dead and I just love how the author writes from their perspective. Scarlett was not only sad seeing Evie having to deal with her grief, but she was also devastated that she would not be around to fulfil her own  ambitions in life. 

This was a fantastic read that I finished in just a couple of days. I didn't realise at first that this was the author's debut and I really hope it isn't too long before she writes another one. I will definitely be reading it!

About the Author

Becky Hunter worked for many years in London in the publishing industry, before taking a career break in Mozambique, where she volunteered with horses and decided to give writing a go. She now works as a freelance book publicist. One Moment is her debut novel

Monday, 21 August 2023

 The Low Road


Katharine Quarmby

Norfolk, 1813. In the quiet Waveney Valley, the body of a woman – Mary Tyrell – is staked through the heart after her death by suicide. She had been under arrest for the suspected murder of her newborn child. Mary leaves behind a young daughter, Hannah, who is later sent away to the Refuge for the Destitute in London, where she will be trained for a life of domestic service.

It is at the Refuge that Hannah meets Annie Simpkins, a fellow resident, and together they forge a friendship that deepens into passionate love. But the strength of this bond is put to the test when the girls are caught stealing from the Refuge's laundry, and they are sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay, setting them on separate paths that may never cross again.

Drawing on real events, The Low Road is a gripping, atmospheric tale that brings to life the forgotten voices of the past – convicts, servants, the rural poor – as well as a moving evocation of love that blossomed in the face of prejudice and ill fortune.


There are some books that you just know you are going to love and this was one of them. When I read the blurb and saw that it was based in Harleston, Norfolk, I knew I had to read it as I have visited there several times and heard lots of stories about local customs and even witchcraft!

Hannah is the illegitimate child of Mary Tyrell. They live on a farm and help milk the cows and are cared for by the farmer and his wife. 

When Mary gets pregnant again and gives birth in secret, Hannah helps deliver the baby and rocks her to sleep in her cradle. When Hannah wakes up the next day the baby is dead and so Mary tells her she must get rid of it. Hannah carefully bundles the baby up and puts her in a nearby river, hoping that she won't be found. 

The baby is found a few days later and Mary is accused of it's murder and thinking of no other way out, she commits suicide, leaving Hannah to be sent to a Refuge. Poor Hannah has to endure the heartbreak of her Mother being ridiculed in public after her death, because suicide was thought of as a crime in the 1800's.

It is in the Refuge that she meets Annie Simpkins. They become firm friends which then turns to love, but when the girls are caught stealing clothes from the laundry, they are put on trial and their punishment is that they will be transported to Botany Bay. 

I read three quarters of this book in one day, I just could not put it down. I needed to find out what happened to Hannah and Annie! 

The book was very well researched by the author and as I have visited the area in Norfolk where it is based, I have heard a lot of stories of folklore and witches, so this interested me from page one. 

Thank you so much to Unbounders for sending me a copy for an honest review. I absolutely loved this book and can't believe it is this author's first novel. I really hope she writes more (and soon!) as I for one, will look forward to reading it!

Tuesday, 15 August 2023

All Good Things by Amanda Prowse

All Good Things
Amanda Prowse

Review by Julie Williams

Lake Union 15/08/23

All Good Things is Amanda Prowse’s latest fabulous novel that I really enjoyed.

This is a family drama that delves into the lives of two families. The Kelleways, who outwardly appear perfect in every way and their neighbours, the Harrops, who just muddle through life enduring whatever is thrown at them. 

There are no main characters in this story as each family member has a prominent role and I found this refreshing and interesting. Each person has something to unravel, be it dishonesty, pain or love. The individual chapters are told by the person. 
Secrets unfold and shock the naivety of the characters as their pretence is unravelled. Ignorance is bliss for some but profoundly hurtful for others.  

I have no hesitation in awarding 5 stars to this delightful story that held my attention throughout.

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

A Daughter's Gift


Mollie Walton


 North Yorkshire, September 1940.

It's a year since war was first announced and the dangers are becoming all too real for Rosina Calvert-Lazenby and her courageous daughters. When Raven Hall is requisitioned by the army, Rosina must do all she can to protect her family home from the rowdy troops. After Rosina's burgeoning relationship with young sergeant Harry is interrupted as he's posted abroad, the arrival of an older officer who takes a keen interest in her could also spell trouble...

Meanwhile, Rosina's fearless second daughter, twenty-year-old Evelyn Calvert-Lazenby, decides to join the Auxiliary Fire Service. Determined to help with the Blitz effort in London, she faces extreme danger. Two kind professional firemen, the Bailey brothers, take her under their wing to help protect and guide her. But with the bombings getting worse, there can be no guarantees...

Who will be safe? How can Rosina protect all those she loves? And is love still possible with such high stakes?


This is the second instalment of the series, the first one being A Mother's War and I think this series is going to get better and better. This book concentrates of Rosina and her daughter Evelyn (Evvy).

Rosina is still holding fort at Raven Hall and is so upset to receive news that the Army will be taking over the hall for their use and leaving only a few rooms for Rosina and her daughters and staff to use. The officer in charge is Allan Vaughan who at first is very stuffy and unapproachable, but over time, his demeanour softens and Rosina sees a new side to him, if she can get past his secretary first!

Evvy joins the Auxiliary Fire Service in London and is soon whizzing around town on a motorbike assisting her fellow firefighters and her Station Officer Lewis Bailey, who she holds in high regard, but there is also his brother Sam, who is sweet on Evvy and she is rather fond of him too!

The writing is so good and gives you a real insight in to what it really was like during the blitz.

Again, this book has been thoroughly researched and is a real page turner. This series is getting better and better. The characters are great and each book leaves you wanting more! I really can't wait for number 3.

Tuesday, 2 May 2023

 One Last Letter from Greece


Emma Cowell

Devastated by her mother’s death, Sophie longs to get away from an empty house full of memories and a life that hasn’t quite turned out as she had imagined.

So when a chance discovery among her mother’s belongings hints at a past Sophie knows nothing of, she jumps at the opportunity for escape and a chance to heal. The magical, idyllic Greek town of Methoni awaits…

But Sophie—determined to uncover her mother’s secrets—is about to discover so much more. Among the tranquil waters and cosy tavernas, Methoni’s locals offer Sophie the answers she craves, along with unexpected romance and, if she’ll take it, a chance at her own happiness…

Will walking in her mother’s footsteps help Sophie discover who she was meant to be all along…?


I saved my copy of this book for when I went on my very first cruise, which just so happened to be to the Greek islands and Turkey!

Sophie is grieving for the loss of her dear mother, who was an artist in Greece when she was younger. She is also coming to terms with ending an abusive relationship and so makes the decision to go to Greece to find out more about her mother's past and also to locate a painting which she knows her mother painted, but has been missing for years. 

Once she arrives in Greece, it isn't long before she meets the gorgeous Theo, who could very easily distract her from the reason she went to Greece in the first place, but will her feelings get in the way of her finding the missing painting?

I loved this debut by Emma Cowell and this was a real page turner. Very well researched and made me feel that I was right there in Greece with Sophie!

Can't wait to read the second novel by this author!