Monday 30 October 2017

Last Seen
Lucy Clarke

Guest Review
Julie Williams

Harper Collins
5 Stars

A story of family and friendships that breakdown when two children go out to play on the beach one day but only one returns.

Set on an English beach I loved the beach hut community on The Sandbank where they all know each other or so they think!

The tragedy of Isla’s son Marley, missing presumed drowned shakes them all to the core and when seven years later Sarah’s son Jacob disappears, that fateful day resurfaces along with many unanswered questions.  As the days pass with no news of Jacob suspicions are rife, are the two mysterious incidents linked?

What a fabulous book this is with its never ending twists and turns. I was gripped from the beginning and suspected everyone. I found myself searching for hidden clues but as the story unravels I was shocked by the revelations.

This novel addresses Mother and child bonds which become threatened when hidden secrets and lies are uncovered. Friendships are broken beyond repair; you are certainly in for a treat with this read.

Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC, this is my honest opinion of Last Seen.

Saturday 28 October 2017

Paul Finch

I'm extremely privileged to have a Guest Post from the author Paul Finch today as part of the Blog Tour for his new book Shadows. I was lucky enough to meet Paul last year and he is such a lovely man (and very funny!). I have to hold my hands up and admit that I haven't read any of his books yet, but in my defence, it is only because my husband pinches them from me before I can read them!! Maybe I should get him to do a review!! Enjoy the Guest Post from Paul Finch and the rest of the Blog Tour for Shadows.


One question I’m often asked about my writing, and yet which is still one of the hardest to answer, is – how do I get into ‘the Zone’?

What I guess this means is, when I wake up in the morning in our – now that the kids have left – fairly quiet family home, head downstairs to have breakfast with my wife, Cathy, before she departs for her office up the road, and then re-ascend to my own office at the top of the stairs, how do I make the sudden switch from that very suburban, very sedate lifestyle into the dark, hard-hitting world of cops like Heck and Lucy Clayburn, who invariably are pursuing psychopaths in the most woe-begotten corners of the deep urban sprawl?

If I’ve made it sound difficult, I don’t apologise for that. I’d like to be able to say there is a tried and tested method, but that would be a lie. 

A lot of the time, we writers, particularly those of us who follow the darker path, have simply got to root it out of our imagination, to forget our safe everyday lives and drag our mental selves kicking and screaming into Hells of our own creation.

Perhaps this is partly what they mean when they say there is a thin line between creativity and madness. 

It’s also the case, of course, that most of us were not born into tranquil lifestyles and only became writers after doing real jobs. I, for example, was originally a cop and a journalist. I think it’s fair to say that probably everyone on the planet has experienced some darkness in their lives, and it’s a nice thought that, in later years, when/if you’ve managed to get over it, whatever residue left is available for you to plunder and profit from (if you can face doing that).

But if that doesn’t always work for me, I have other processes.

First of all, as an author I’m never really off-duty. Wherever I am, day or night, whether I’m lying in bed, reading a book, watching television, swimming, hiking, working out at the gym, or even relaxing at a social gathering, listening to friends talk, I’m on the alert for inspiration; literally anything – an offhand idea, a stray thought, an inane piece of chit-chat – that I might use to get the productive juices flowing.

I suppose the result of this is that I’m never completely out of the so-called Zone, always half-embroiled in the turbulent worlds of my fictional heroes and heroines. 

But there are other things I do as well.

People who follow the twice-a-month chop philosophy that I post on my blog, will probably know by now that I often dictate my first drafts, usually whilst walking my dogs and blabbing endlessly into a Dictaphone. But there are occasions when getting out there onto the roads or into the countryside also helps me to brainstorm rather than simply write. In this regard, living in the
Northwest of England has its advantages, because we have infamously terrible weather; for all but a couple of months in summer – and sometimes even then – grim, grey skies arch overhead, it is cold, wet, misty and desolate. But walking out in those inclement conditions can be very useful, especially if you’re looking to put yourself into a Zone where doom and gloom reign.

Similarly, a lot of my books and stories tend to focus on blighted places, be they run-down corners of town, urban wastelands, or wintry woods where the leafless fingers of skeletal trees rattle on the broken, mossy relics of ruined industrial architecture.

Devil’s Bridge, for example, is ten minutes’ walk from my house, and a notoriously eerie, allegedly haunted railway bridge, comprising rotted masonry overhead and dripping blackness under the arches below. Then there is Grendel’s Pond, a flash or lodge as we used to call them, an area of colliery subsidence where the surface of the land has sunk into the derelict abysses below, the resulting sinkhole now filled to the brim with yellowish, noxious water. If the legend that calls it bottomless is a tall tale, you can be sure of one thing: it is deep and deadly. 

Oh yes. If you’re looking to invoke an atmosphere of menace and dread, you can’t do better than wander around shunned places like this, preferbly on dark and stormy days. 

Okay, maybe this isn’t particularly helpful, because I know that not everyone reading this and wanting to write a scary book is likely to have access to Devil’s Bridge or Grendel’s Pond. But you won’t have to look too hard to find places like that; more than likely, there’ll be somewhere in your own neighbourhood – some abandoned, neglected spot, where if evil legends aren’t already circulating, you can easily supply some of your own.  

Of course, not everyone wants to go out in the rain, or expose themselves to potential real-life danger by straying off the beaten track to explore ruins and darkness. For those of you who’d rather get into the Zone from the comfort of your own armchair, I have another method.

Use music.

Construct yourself a dedicated play-list for each and every mood you are looking to invoke. For example, whenever I’m writing Heck or Lucy Clayburn, there are three main atmospheres I seek. 

First of all, perhaps most obviously because these are thrillers, I want my readers to know that we are dealing with the criminal underworld. So, I’ve put together a several-hours-long playlist of themes and incidental music from classic movies and TV shows where the emphasis is on crime. This may not work for everyone, but if I’m writing about cops striking sparks off each other in bustling urban police stations, or chasing hoodlums through the neon-lit chaos of the city centre, it helps to put me right there. 

Secondly, it’s a big thing in my novels to create suspense and fear. I like my guys to be on edge near enough all the time – and by that, I mean my readers as well as my characters. There are no run-of-the-mill crimes in my books, no banal loser-idiot villains. The opposition is never less than terrifying, the situations as disturbing as possible. So, I’m often looking for horror themes as
well (and I don’t just go for the big, brash, over-the-top ones here; where the fear-factor lurks, subtle is always good).

The third tone I’m often looking for is that of the hero (which can be particuarly challenging given the placid lifestyle I these days lead). For this, I delve into the annals of rock. Hard rock primarily, as it tends to have more oomph about it. But anything will do so long as it can rouse the human spirit and provide a blue touch-paper to attitudes of fearlessness and defiance, but also to deep and genuine emotion, because all our heroes have to be lovers as well as fighters – they simply must, or they’ll have no human depth.

I reiterate that these methods are my own, and that they work well for me. But there’s no guarantee that they’ll work for everyone else. I suppose that like everything in writing, there are some advantages you simply must acquire for yourself by whatever means you have.

Paul Finch, 2017

Friday 27 October 2017

How Not to Fall in Love, Actually
Catherine Bennetto

Guest Review
Julie Williams

Simon & Schuster

I must start off this review of How Not to fall in Love, Actually by saying what a fun read this is.

Emma George’s life is chaotic to say the least and contributing to this is her ‘head in the clouds’ boyfriend Ned. When Emma discovers that she is pregnant, she makes a brave decision to leave Ned and start a new life for herself. Joe, a drunken stranger, turns up on her doorstep one night and ends up staying not only as her lodger but also as a reliable dependable friend.

I did find that at times Emma could be a bit ‘woe is me’ but never the less I thought this novel entertaining and fun packed with plenty of laugh out loud moments to brighten my day. 

Wednesday 25 October 2017

The Winter's Child
Cassandra Parkin
Imogen Harris
Legend Publishing

What a gorgeous cover this is and certainly gets you in the mood for the Winter/Christmas period that is fast approaching! Today, I have a Q&A with the author, so sit back and enjoy my turn on the Blog Tour for The Winter's Child by Cassandra Parkin.


Hi. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer some questions on my blog about your writing. 

Firstly, please could you tell readers a little about yourself?
I’m a Yorkshire-based writer with Cornish roots and a passion for fairy-tales. I grew up between the city of Hull at the mouth of the Humber, and the town of Falmouth on the South coast of Cornwall – so one way or another, I’ve always lived close to water, and rivers and oceans always find their way into my books. I currently live in the East Riding with my husband, two children and two cats.

When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve written fiction all my life, but it took me a very long time to admit that I wanted to do it professionally, or even to believe I might have a chance. So I wrote in secret instead, occasionally showing close friends or family.
Then I wrote a collection of short stories for a group of much-beloved friends in America, as Christmas presents. Each short story was set in modern-day America, written for adults but based on their favourite fairy-tale. Then in the New Year they all ganged up on me and said I had to try and get it published. So to stop the nagging, I entered a competition for unpublished short story collections. I had no expectations of getting anywhere, but to my absolute astonishment, New World Fairy Tales won. I remember finding out while I was unpacking yoghurts in the kitchen. I burst into tears and called my mother. I think the moral of this particular fairy-tale is, always listen to your friends because they do, in fact, know best

What did you do as a job before becoming a writer?
I went to university, did a degree in English Literature, got a job in the marketing department of a big Consumer Goods company, and spent a very long time trying to pretend I fitted in. I used to write short stories in the backs of my notebooks (boring meetings were especially good for this) and novels on my computer during my lunch-break. I did this for about fifteen years. Meanwhile, everyone who knew me was saying, “You want to be a writer. You want to be a writer. You need to stop working on marketing and become a writer” and because I’m an idiot and slow on the uptake, I just completely ignored them.

How do you carry out the research for your novels?
Wherever I can, I like to go to the places my novels are set. Place is really important to me, and although I rarely name the locations in my novel, they’re always based on somewhere I’ve known and loved. I’m naturally a bit of a magpie, and I tend to collect snippets of ideas – bits of dialogue, images that stay with me, ideas that I want to explore – and then dip into the collection when I start writing. Some things come in useful very quickly; others I’ve been carrying around in my head for years.

Which aspects of your writing do you find easiest and most difficult?
When I start a new project, I always know the beginning, and I always know the ending. The middle is a vast unknown wasteland where it’s perpetually twilight and I can never see more than a few feet in front of me. If I could give aspiring writers one piece of advice, it’s this: if you get about four chapters in and it suddenly all gets difficult, that’s a good sign. Keep going. The middle part is always the toughest.

What are your writing routines and where do you do most of your writing?
Given a totally free choice, I like to write in the mornings, preferably at my dining table and in my pyjamas. I have a sort of tray-table thingie that turns my dining table into a standing desk – better for my back, my blood-pressure, everything really – and as soon as the kids are out the door and on the school bus, my working day can start. That said, when I’m working on a first draft, my target is 2,000 words a day, every day – so I write whenever and wherever I can to get this done. Also, if the cats have brought in something dreadful that I have to look at, like a dead mouse or a poor terrified frog or something, then all work must cease until it’s been properly dealt with. 

When you're not writing, what do you like to read?
I always have at least three books on the go – a book I loved as a child, a book I’ve loved as an adult, and a book someone’s recommended to me. Right now I’m reading the Tove Jansson edition of Alice In Wonderland, Donna Tartt’s Secret History and Lee Harrison’s The Bastard Wonderland.

How important do you think social media is to authors in today's society?
Overall I think it’s a huge gift. Like all gifts, it’s important to use it wisely – time is always the scarcest resource for any writer, and it’s easy to get sucked into a Twitter black hole or fritter away the afternoon on Facebook – but overall, it’s like magic to me. How else could a reader instantly tell hundreds or even thousands of people across the world that they loved a book they’ve read? And how else could a writer instantly thank them for sharing their thoughts?

Could you tell the readers a bit about your latest book?
Five years ago, Susannah Harper's son Joel went missing without trace. Bereft of her son and then of her husband, Susannah tries to accept that she may never know for certain what has happened to her lost loved ones. She has rebuilt her life around a simple selfless mission: to help others who, like her, must learn to live without hope.
But then, on the last night of Hull Fair, a fortune-teller makes an eerie prediction. She tells her that this Christmas Eve, Joel will finally come back to her.
As her carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, Susannah is drawn into a world of psychics and charlatans, half-truths and hauntings, friendships and betrayals, forcing her to confront the buried truths of her family's past, where nothing and no one are quite as they seem.

Which of your characters would you most like to be and why?
I’d be Jen, from my third novel Lily’s House. She’s very brave and strong, and I would love to be more like her.

Thank you so much for your time in answering my questions.

Sunday 22 October 2017

Hiding In Plain Sight
By Susan Lewis

Guest Review
Julie Williams

Century /Penguin Random House

I found this another fabulous book written by Susan Lewis that tackles some difficult topical subjects, as well as delving into a complex Mother /Daughter relationship. I was hooked with the plot from the start and found it a good read. 

Andee Lawrence, ex-detective, couldn’t find her sister Penny who disappeared at the age of just 14 years old but then neither could her father who also worked in the police force. Obviously a missing child has a huge impact on all the family not knowing if they are dead or alive so much so that their father died leaving Andee and her mother Maureen to continue with their lives always waiting and wondering. 

Fast forward 30 years and Andee is in France renovating a beautiful villa when she is approached by a silver Mercedes car and a woman in the back seat who utter the words ‘Remember Me?’ before driving off. Could this be Penny?

Andee and her family’s life are about to change forever.

Andee and Maureen are lovely caring characters who tenaciously reach out to Penny offering unconditional love,  but Penny with her warped outlook on life is truly different and it soon becomes apparent just how damaged she is due to her previous life. 

Thank you to Louise Page for the gorgeous hardback copy and to Julie for allowing me to guest review on her blog.

Friday 20 October 2017

The Darkness Within
Lisa Stone

Guest review
Julie Williams

Published By Avon 13/07/2017

I am a huge fan of Cathy Glass who writes under the name of Lisa Stone for this book.

Jacob Wilson a Reverends son, is in need of a heart transplant and when that all important phone call comes his family and girlfriend Eloise are delighted.  The operation appears to go well but his recovery is not what they expect as their hopes of Jacob returning to his former placid good guy life come to an abrupt end when he takes on the temperance and characteristics of the donor Shane.

We are introduced to Shane at the beginning of this book and discover just what an evil nasty piece of work he is. Jacob’s mother Elizabeth is beside herself so she  decides to do some research on the internet and discovers the fascinating subject of Cellular Memory in transplants and although there isn’t overwhelming proof that this even exists, she is certain that this is what is responsible for turning her son into a drug taking, abusive dangerous young man.

I got into this story quickly and found the subject of a heart transplant interesting but I was a little disappointed with the rushed ending.

I am still glad that I read this book and would recommend it to others.  I give it a 4 Star rating.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

A Vicarage Christmas
Kate Hewitt
Blog Tour


Series: The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Bk 1
Genre: Women’s fiction/romance
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Publisher: Tule Publishing

Welcome to Thornthwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings happen and surprises are in store for the four Holley sisters…
Anna Holley, the third of four sisters, has always felt a little bit forgotten. A family tragedy when she was a child had her retreating deep into shyness, and social anxiety kept her on the fringes of the cozy, chaotic bustle of the busy vicarage.
When she finished school Anna left for Manchester and tried to avoid coming back home and the well-meaning nosiness being a Holley sister in a small village like Thornthwaite meant… but when her father says he has an important announcement to make, she’s drawn back home for the happy chaos of a vicarage Christmas. 
Avoiding her sisters’ bossy questions, Anna heads out to the local pub one night, and meets a handsome stranger nursing a pint. Somehow, unburdened by expectations, Simon seems like the perfect person to spill all her secrets to—including a hopeless, long-held crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Confident she’ll never see him again, Anna returns home… only to discover the next day that Simon is actually her father’s new curate! 
Anna is beyond mortified, but Simon won’t let her retreat into her usual shyness—and for once Anna is forced to confront the past, and all the fears and feelings she’d tried so long to hide. But with his
own heartache that needs to heal, can Simon help Anna to make this the most magical Christmas either of them have known?




Kate Hewitt is the author of over 60 novels of women’s fiction and romance. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling an emotionally compelling story. An American ex-pat, she now lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five children.

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Tuesday 17 October 2017

Bad Sister
Sam Carrington

Guest review
Julie Williams

Avon – kindle 05/10/17 PB 14/12/17

This is the second book written by Sam Carrington and equally enjoyable. This psychological thriller has many twists right up to the end that kept me alert and eager to discover the link between Psychologist Connie Summers, the body of an ex criminal and her client Stephanie.

Unscrambling family secrets whilst helping investigating officer D I Lindsay Wade, brings both fear and pain into her life and it is this that gives Connie the understanding of just how difficult life is for Stephanie and her son while in witness protection. 

I particularly enjoyed the developing relationship between Connie and Lindsay and the bond they both shared by the end of the book. 

This novel has a good plot which covers lies, fear, blackmail and coincidences amongst others that make for an interesting and intense read.

My thanks to NetGalley for the ARC this is my own opinion.

Saturday 14 October 2017

Christmas at the Gin Shack
Catherine Miller

Welcome in the festive season with love, laughter and the perfect G&T in Christmas at the Gin Shack – the most uplifting holiday read of 2017!

Gingle bells, gingle bells, gingle all the way…

Olive Turner might have lived through eighty-four Christmases, but she’ll never get bored of her favourite time of year. And this one’s set to be extra-special. It’s the Gin Shack’s first Christmas – and there’s a gin-themed weekend and a cocktail competition on the cards!

But, beneath the dazzle of fairy lights and the delicious scent of mince-pies, Olive smells a rat. From trespassers in her beloved beach hut to a very unfunny joke played on her friends, it seems that someone is missing a dose of good cheer.

Olive knows she’s getting on a bit – but is she really imagining that someone in the little seaside town is out to steal Christmas? More importantly, can she create the perfect gin cocktail before Christmas Eve – in time to save the day? 

Purchase on Amazon UK | Amazon US | Kobo

Author Bio

When Catherine Miller became a mum to twins, she decided her hands weren't full enough so wrote a novel with every spare moment she managed to find. By the time the twins were two, Catherine had a two-book deal with HQDigital UK. There is a possibility she has aged remarkably in that time. Her debut novel, Waiting For You, came out in March 2016. She is now the author of four books and hopes there will be many more now her twins have started school. Either that, or she’ll conduct more gin research on Olive’s behalf.

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Friday 13 October 2017

Fatal Masquerade
Vivian Conroy

It's my turn today on the Fatal Masquerade BLOG TOUR. I have a guest post by the author for you.

Meet the cast for this masked ball adventure ...

Lady Alkmene - used to grand parties, but still impressed with her hostess's efforts: Chinese lanterns everywhere, boats on the waterways, flower arrangements full of priceless orchids and birds of paradise. A night of lighthearted fun seems guaranteed. But why is her best friend Denise so nervous? And what is reporter Jake
Dubois doing at a party he should despise for its opulence? Jake Dubois - reporter who can't stand titles or wealth. And who never says no to a challenge. And his task at the masked ball is a challenge indeed, especially with Lady Alkmene around to ask questions about his presence and ... stumble onto a dead body!
Mrs Hargrove - perfect hostess and reluctant stepmother to the volatile Denise, who claims to know a little secret about her. A little secret that could just ruin everything Mrs Hargrove worked so hard to achieve. She can't let that happen ...
Mr Hargrove - oil magnate and aviation enthusiast, supposedly working on a new engine, eager to get acquainted with the upper ten and move up the social ladder, but having your guests questioned by the police might not be the best way to go about that. Denise Hargrove - determined to make this the night of her life. But is the one guest she is waiting for really who he claims to be?
Relatives who jump at their own shadow, a sinister psychiatrist who can't stop talking about poison cases, conniving staff, and disaster is just waiting to strike. Trust Alkmene to be in the heart of it. With Jake by her side, she can crack the case, can't she? But this time things are different. This time the danger is closer to home than ever before ...

To order a copy of Fatal Masquerade click here

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Secrets We Keep
Faith Hogan

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: February 2017
Publisher: Aria Fiction – Head of Zeus

Two distant relatives, drawn together in companionship are forced to confront their pasts and learn that some people are good at keeping secrets and some secrets are never meant to be kept..
A bittersweet story of love, loss and life. Perfect for fans of Patricia Scanlan, Adele Parks and Rosamunde Pilcher.
The beautiful old Bath House in Ballytokeep has lain empty and abandoned for decades. For devoted pensioners Archie and Iris, it holds too many conflicting memories of their adolescent dalliances and tragic consequences – sometimes it’s better to leave the past where it belongs.
For highflying, top London divorce lawyer Kate Hunt, it’s a fresh start – maybe even her future. On a winter visit to see her estranged Aunt Iris she falls in love with the Bath House. Inspired, she moves to Ballytokeep leaving her past heartache 600 miles away – but can you ever escape your past or your destiny?

Extract from Secrets We Keep by Faith Hogan

‘I’ve never seen anything like it,’ Kate said. It was her first thought as they turned down the cove and saw the bathhouse snuggled into the cliff face. It was a turreted, stocky grown-ups sandcastle. ‘It could have been emptied from a child’s bucket,’ was her first reaction. It had been painted, white with a light blue trim once, then the waves and the spray had all but washed that away. It still sat proudly, if shabbily, on a huge flat rock, that upturned in a lip over the sea. It was a plate, large enough for any giant.
‘Genesis Rock – it’s a metamorphic rock, probably over a thousand million years old,’ Rita said. ‘Sorry, did I mention I taught geography and home economics, once upon a time.’
‘No, but I probably should have guessed.’
‘I don’t remember the bathhouse even being open. I could imagine that I’d have spent all my days here if I had.’ Rita looked at the washed white walls that reached high into the cliff face.
‘Well, Archie said they ran it for a few years, but he didn’t say when it shut.’ This place probably held sadness for Archie, if his brother died here. Kate couldn’t feel it. Instead, it made her feel energized, as though the sea was spraying something like an invitation deep into her lungs. It made her heart pound with an expectation she hadn’t felt in years. Even the deserted castle keep that loomed up in grey stone at the tip of the headland seemed to carry a hopeful secret in its towers.
‘It must have been lovely once. Even now, you can see.’ Rita rested her hands on the thick window ledge, her nose pressed firmly to the cold glass of the windows. ‘It looks like they just closed up one evening and never came back.’
Kate walked to the back of the bathhouse; it dug into the cliff face, as though the construction of one depended on the other. Alongside the building, a small narrow road clung to the cliff for a couple of hundred yards before it feathered off onto what counted as a main road in these parts. Far below, the waves lapped serenely against the stone. It was low tide now; Kate wondered how close the water actually came to the rock. ‘I’d love to get a look inside.’ Rita followed her round to the front of the bathhouse. They peered through a sea sprayed window for a few minutes. Inside, Kate could see there were tables and chairs, a small stove and an old-fashioned counter where once someone had taken orders for afternoon tea. ‘It’s a little cafĂ©, wouldn’t it be lovely if it was open for coffee?’ Kate mused, it was so much more than just a bathhouse.

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Already an international best seller, Faith Hogan is an original voice in women’s fiction, she has been hailed as a Maeve Binchey for a new generation. Her stories are warm and rooted in a contemporary Irish landscape which has lost none of its wit or emotion thanks to its modern vibe.
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector.
She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
‘Secrets We Keep,’ is her second novel published with Aria Fiction. Her first, My Husbands Wives has been a top ten best seller and is currently available in paperback.


Twitter: @gerhogan

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Faith_Hogan Instagram: 



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Friday 6 October 2017

The Girl from Ballymor
Kathleen McGurl

What would you sacrifice for your children?

Ballymor, Ireland, 1847
As famine grips the country Kitty McCarthy is left widowed and alone. Fighting to keep her
two remaining children alive against all odds, Kitty must decide how far she will go to save
her family.

Present day
Arriving in Ballymor, Maria is researching her ancestor, Victorian artist Michael McCarthy –
and his beloved mother, the mysterious Kitty who disappeared without a trace.
Running from her future, it’s not only answers about the past that Maria hopes to find in
Ireland. As her search brings her closer to the truth about Kitty’s fate, Maria must make the
biggest decision of her life.

About Kathleen McGurl
Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, with her husband, sons and cats. She began her writing career creating short stories, then she got side tracked onto family history research. She has always been fascinated by the past, the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Maria is heading to Ireland to try and trace her family history. Her ancestors, the McCarthy family, were trying to survive the potato famine in the 1800's and Kitty is left to try and feed her children before it's too late. Her eldest son, Michael, spens his days looking for work to help his mother feed his siblings.

This is a book where the chapters alternate from 1847 onwards back to the present day and meet up at the end!! I love these style of books as you just can't help reading another chapter, just to see how it all comes together!!

The author obviously researched thoroughly the potato famine and her attention to detail with regards to accents, places and the history of Ireland is exceptional.

This book brought a little tear to my eye because of what Kitty had to sacrifice for her children and how the poor people of Ireland suffered during that period and the struggle of trying to find enough food to feed your children. 

I really enjoyed this book and loved the cover! I will definitely love to read other novels from this author.

To order a copy of this book from Amazon click here