Tuesday 30 October 2018

Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm
Carol Rivers

There’s not two months to go until Christmas 1934 and Lizzie Flowers’s new bakery is a roaring success.
But with Christmas fast approaching there are unexpected troubles ahead for Lizzie’s docklands’ tavern, the Mill Wall. If Lizzie had her sweetheart Danny Flowers at her side, there’s a chance she may be able to restore the pub’s reputation. But Danny’s head has been turned by the ambitious and scheming young widow, April Williams. With Danny seemingly unreachable and Lizzie’s heart broken, it’s down to family and friends to save the day. But even with favours called in, is it too late for Lizzie to avoid a Christmas disaster?

LIZZIE FLOWERS AND THE FAMILY FIRM from the Sunday Times and eBook bestselling author of A Wartime Christmas. Read as a riveting seasonal STANDALONE or enjoy as part of the Lizzie Flowers trilogy.

This is the third instalment in the Lizzie Flowers trilogy and even though you could read it as a standalone, I love Lizzie so much that I would urge any saga lover to read her story from the beginning.

Lizzie is becoming somewhat of an entrepreneur these days in London town. No only does she have her finger in many pies (excuse the pun!) by running a bakery along with friends Jenny and Elsie, but also running the Mill Wall pub is becoming more dangerous, especially now that Salvo Vella, a local mafia type wannabe is sniffing around and wanting a piece of the action.

Danny is trying to bring up his ward with the help of his landlady, April. She seems to have Danny well and truly in her sights and is keeping everything crossed that he will propose soon enough, but Danny has also had dealings with Salvo Vella (who everyone calls The Prince).

Will Danny and Lizzie be able to fight off the likes of The Prince to keep their businesses legit, or will they sell their souls to the devil himself?.....

Another fabulous story by the equally fabulous Carol Rivers. Whether you are new to sagas or have read them for many years (like me), you will never be disappointed reading one of Carol's books. They are utterly addictive and beautifully written, leaving you with a mixture of emotions. You will be laughing one minute and crying the next, my description of a brilliant saga writer.

Thank you Carol for once again brining Lizzie back and I can't wait to read what happens next!

Monday 29 October 2018

Hell Bay
Kate Rhodes

It's no secret that I am a huge Kate Rhodes fan and am sad to say that I am a bit late to the party with this new series set on the Isles of Scilly.

DI Ben Kitto returns home to Bryer to recover from the recent death of his best friend and colleague and to think about his future in the Police force. He is racked with guilt and has offered his resignation, but his boss has refused it, asking him to reconsider and take some time out.

When he arrives back home, along with a stray dog called Shadow (he hates dogs!), it doesn't take long before the detective in him has to take over when a local teenage girl goes missing.

When a body is found it is down to Ben to lead the investigation team and to try to catch the killer before they strike again.

I loved these new characters/location and the only good thing about reading this book now is that I won't have to wait too long for the next instalment (out in kindle now and paperback in February 2019) and I can see this series going from strength to strength. Thank you again Kate for writing such gripping novels that you just can't put down.

Tuesday 23 October 2018

A Ration Book Christmas
Jean Fullerton

With Christmas approaching, the Brogan family of London's East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe's nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip.
For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

Purchase Link: https://goo.gl/eZ4TD

About the Author 

Jean Fullerton is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She also a retired district nurse and university lecturer.  She won the Harry Bowling prise in 2006 and after initially signing for two East London historical series with Orion she moved to Corvus, part of Atlantic Publishing and is half way through her WW2 East London series featuring the Brogan family.
Social Media Links – 
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Fullerton-202631736433230/?ref=bookmarks  Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_


I must admit and I'm sorry to say, that this is the first book I have read from this author and there's me blagging to anyone that will listen that I do love a wartime saga!

Jo and her younger brother Charlie are evacuated to the Essex countryside to live with a lady who runs the local village store. Unfortunately, as happened in a lot of cases, Jo and Charlie were not treated fairly and when Charlie is accused of stealing and with him trying to plead his innocence, but nobody believing him, Jo decides that enough is enough and they escape back to London.

Jo not only wants to see her family again, but the person she feels is the love of her life, Tommy. Jo's sister Mattie soon tries to put this budding relationship to rest by telling their mother and that is the reason she is packed off to Essex.

Tommy's surname is Sweete, but that doesn't mean his family are sweet in nature! They are a notorious family in the district and beyond but Tommy is determined to shed off this reputation for the sake of Jo and starts to write to her whilst she is away and vice versa, but soon the letters stop and neither have any idea why.

When both Jo and Tommy volunteer for war work, they didn't realise they would work so closely together! Tommy tries to make the best of it and try to get back in Jo's good books, only to be warned off by Jo's Dad!

Will these two ever rekindle their romance? or are they destined to fail if family on both sides keep poking their noses in!!

This is a fantastically researched book and the attention to detail is fabulous! Some absolutely belly laughing moments in the book, especially with Jo's Nan, Queenie! Had me actually laughing out loud on the bus at one point!

I really can't wait to read more from this author and if you are a WWII saga fan, this one is right up your street!

Thank you to Rachel at Rachel's Random Reads for sending me a copy of the book to review.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

The Lost Daughter
Gill Paul

BLURB: A Russian princess. An extraordinary sacrifice. A captivating secret...

From the author of The Secret Wife, a gripping journey through decades and across continents, of love, devastating loss and courage against all odds.


With the country they once ruled turned against them, the future of Russia's imperial family hangs in the balance. When middle daughter Maria Romanova captivates two of the guards, it will lead to a fateful choice between right and wrong.

Fifty-five years later . . .

Val rushes to her father's side when she hears of his troubling end-of-life confession: 'I didn't want to kill her.' As she unravels the secrets behind her mother's disappearance when she was twelve years old, she finds herself caught up in one of the world's greatest mysteries.


Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in relatively recent history. Her new novel, Another Woman's Husband, is about links you might not have been aware of between Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, and Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Gill’s other novels include The Secret Wife, published in 2016, about the romance between cavalry officer Dmitri Malama and Grand Duchess Tatiana, the second daughter of Russia’s last tsar, who first met in 1914. Women and Children First is about a young steward who works on the Titanic. The Affair was set in Rome in 1961–62 as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton fell in love while making Cleopatra. And No Place for a Lady is about two Victorian sisters who travel out to the Crimean War of 1854–56 and face challenges beyond anything they could have imagined.

Gill also writes historical non-fiction, including A History of Medicine in 50 Objects, and a series of Love Stories, each containing fourteen tales of real-life couples: how they met, why they fell for each other, and what happened in the end. Published around the world, this series includes Royal Love Stories, World War I Love Stories and Titanic Love Stories.

Gill was born in Glasgow and grew up there, apart from an eventful year at school in the US when she was ten. She studied Medicine at Glasgow University, then English Literature and History (she was a student for a long time), before moving to London to work in publishing. She started her own company producing books for publishers, along the way editing such luminaries as Griff Rhys Jones, John Suchet, John Julius Norwich, Ray Mears and Eartha Kitt. She also writes on health, nutrition and relationships.

Gill swims year-round in an open-air pond – "It's good for you so long as it doesn't kill you"– and is a devotee of Pilates. She also particularly enjoys travelling on what she calls "research trips" and attempting to match-make for friends.
WEBSITE : www.gillpaul.com

Maria is the middle daugher of Tsar Nicholas and his wife and the story begins in 1918 when the whole family are imprisoned in Russia.

Maria is a naturally sweet, kind, talkative girl, who thinks that by being nice to the guards will not only pass the time, but will ease her family's suffering. She couldn't have been more wrong. One guard in particular, Anatoly Bolotov, is obsessed with Maria and this can only be a bad omen.

Soon after, the family are rounded up and taken to a different location and the orders are given for all of them to be slaughtered. Maria and her family are absolutely terrified and as things happen so quickly there are no thoughts of escaping from so many guards. The shots start firing and Maria sees her family shot down and stabbed and even Maria herself is wounded and feels herself losing consciousness. She thinks she is dying along with the rest of her family but then she realises someone is carrying her on his shoulders and running into the woods to safety. That man is another of the guards from the palace called Peter. 

Peter finds a place of safety in the woods and helps Maria recover. She is very wary of him at first, as she is terrified he will be as bad as Bolotov, but she couldn't be more wrong. Peter is kind and caring and does everything he can to help Maria back to full strength. So much so that Maria starts falling in love with Peter and as he seems to be the only person she has in the world now, they become close as time goes on.

Meanwhile the book skips to Sydney, Australia in 1973 with a lady called Val Scott, who has received news that her elderly estranged father is dying. She rushes to see him and one of the last things he says to her is "I didn't mean to kill her". What could this mean? Was her Russian father a murderer? 

Val is in a very abusive marriage and she needs to find all the courage she can to not only leave her husband, but to find the strength (and money) to visit the birth place of her father to finally find out what happened all those years ago.

The attention to detail in this book is stunning and you can tell that the author researched everything thoroughly and with such precision. I would really like to think that this story is true and it has inspired me to read more about the Romanov family.

Wow, what an amazing book this is. I have read all of this authors books and I can honestly say that in my opinion, they just keep getting better and better and this is my favourite one yet. 

Thank you Gill Paul for continuing to write fabulous books and to bring some history into our lives! I would also like to thank Anne Cater for sending a copy of the book and for inviting me to be on the blog tour.

I shall be recommending this book to anybody that will listen and I am putting it out there that it's my book of the year! 

Saturday 13 October 2018

Betsy & Lilibet
Sophie Duffy

When I read the blurb about this book, I just knew it would be "right up my street". I love a wartime saga and am a proud Royalist! Read my review below of this fabulous, witty, emotional book. I would like to say thank you to Lucy at Legend Press for sending me a copy of the book to review.


When a baby girl is born on the same day as the future Queen, there is only one name to call her. Elizabeth (or Betsy as she will be known).

Betsy lives in South East London with her sister Margie (who reminds me of Princess Margaret with all her shenanigans!) and later her sister Mabel (Mab). Her parents own an Undertakers and as it's not long until the outbreak of WWII, they will find themselves more busy than ever!

Betsy has a good friend called Janet, who through a tragedy of her own, ends up living with the family and they treat her as one of their own.

As the war goes on and the girls grow up, Betsy meets Mick and falls head over heels. She even gets him a job in the family firm and they soon realise that they want to be together and Mick pops the question.

Meanwhile, Janet becomes pregnant out of wedlock and it is Betsy who comes up with the idea of sending her away until she has the baby and then Betsy bringing the baby up as her own. It seemed the perfect solution as Janet would be able to continue living her life and as Betsy and Mick had not been blessed with a baby, what could possibly go wrong! On paper, it seemed to be the perfect plan, until Betsy becomes pregnant soon after! How is she going to explain having 2 babies six months apart!

What I love about this book is that it starts with Betsy talking in 2016 when she is in a care home by the seaside, having fractured her hip and then her reminiscing about the old days. The chapters alternate between wartime and now and everything that happens in between, until the current day. Very cleverly written and worked fantastically well.

I also love the fact that it was based in South East London (where I was born and lived for nearly 30 years) and also mentions places near where I live now (London/Kent border). Not to mention the little quotes from Queen Elizabeth II herself along the way!

This is a wonderfully written book which will leave you in tears one minute and chuckling with laughter the next!

Thank you again to Lucy at Legend Press for sending me a copy to review.

Monday 8 October 2018

Starlight on the Palace Pier
Tracy Corbett

It's my turn on the Blog Tour for Starlight on the Palace Pier by Tracy Corbett. I have an extract for you today, but love the sound of this one, so hope to add it to my TBR pile!

She swiped at the cat, but her reflexes were too slow to outwit her nemesis. Maude’s orange fur expanded as she clawed at her enemy’s leg. Why her mum put up with such a psychotic animal, she didn’t know. Surely it couldn’t be good for business? But then, Maude didn’t pick on anyone else. It was only Becca she had a vendetta against.
Grabbing Maude by the collar, she prised the cat away, knowing she only had seconds to make her escape. Chucking Maude onto the beanbag, she hobbled for the door, slamming it behind her and holding on to the handle. For all she knew, the damn cat could open doors.
Various screeching noises could be heard from the other side. Becca waited until it had gone quiet before she let go and limped downstairs. Bloody cat.
She was so distracted, she nearly knocked into an elderly woman heading into the dining room. ‘Goodness, where’s the fire?’ the old woman said, looking alarmed.
‘I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you,’ which was hardly surprising; the woman was barely four feet tall. Okay, bit of an exaggeration. But she was tiny. ‘Are you okay?’
‘Of course I am.’ The woman sounded indignant. ‘How frail do you think I am?’
Becca figured this was a trick question, so refrained from answering. ‘It was my fault entirely. I was escaping Mad Maude. I’m not a fan of cats,’ she added, feeling an explanation was required. ‘Particularly not ones with a personality disorder.’
The woman laughed. ‘In that case, you’re forgiven. I’m familiar with Maude’s antics. You must be Ruby’s daughter? She mentioned you were arriving. Delighted to meet you.’
The woman’s eyes travelled the length of Becca’s body, taking in her ripped jeans, leopard-print nails, big hoop earrings and blue-tipped peroxide hair. Her expression indicated disapproval.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

The Makings of A Lady
Catherine Tinley

I'm delighted to be a part of the Blog Blitz for The Makings of a Lady by Catherine Tinley and below I have an extract for you. What a fabulous cover this novel has as well! Thank you to Rachel's Random Resources for letting me be a part of this Blog Blitz.


This extract is taken from chapter five. Lady Olivia and her friend Lizzie are staying at Monkton Park, a country house, as part of a house party. The guests include Jem Ford, for whom Olivia had an embarrassing infatuation four years ago. Olivia has been enjoying a flirtation with a handsome but intriguing stranger, George Manning.

Lizzie and Olivia had developed the habit of chatting in animated tones after each ball, picnic and rout, speculating about the young men and enjoying the thrill of the attention they received as young ladies. If she and Lizzie could flirt, then why should she feel uncomfortable with the men who dallied with them in turn? Especially when she now knew that Mr Manning was a man of integrity, beneath the flirtation.

Yet something about last night had rocked her. She felt unsure, as if her peace was threatened. Anxious knots had formed in her belly. Logically, though, she could not identify the threat.

Perhaps it was just that George Manning seemed so much more dangerous than the young men that she was accustomed to. He was like a romantic hero from a Gothic novel. She easily could picture him fighting heroically in battle, rescuing damsels in distress and defeating one’s enemies.

Ooh, she liked that idea! Were she ever to be in distress, she could think of worse fates than to be rescued by the dashing Mr Manning. She resisted the idea of placing Jem in that role in her imagination. It was altogether too disturbing.

‘Olivia?’ Everyone was looking at her.

‘Sorry, I was wool-gathering and daydreaming! I did not sleep very well last night. What did you say?’

‘Just that we should probably bring shawls for our walk. There is apparently a blustery wind this morning.’

In truth, the day was rather breezy. Olivia nodded. ‘I know—I was out riding before breakfast.’

She could feel George’s eyes on her. Avoiding his gaze, she nevertheless felt a slow blush flood her cheeks. Oh, why had she mentioned that?

Faith was frowning. ‘I am so sorry that you did not sleep well, Olivia. I do hope your bed was comfortable. Or was it, perhaps, something you had at dinner? I did wonder about those prawns…’

Olivia was mortified. ‘Oh, no, Faith, you mustn’t think that! The food was delightful and the room so comfortable. But you know me of old—I often struggle to sleep when away from home—especially on the first night.’

She continued to reassure Faith as the ladies all climbed the stairs in search of shawls. She would hate for her thoughtless words to upset her hostess, who had been so kind. As they continued along the landing, Olivia absent-mindedly noticed Miss Manning enter one of the bedrooms. It was only when she got to her own chamber that she thought about what she had seen. Miss Manning had gone into George’s room!

She shook herself. That should not surprise her. Miss Manning’s shawl might be in George’s bedchamber—she might have left it there at some point. The woman was perfectly free to enter her brother’s bedroom if she wished. Olivia shrugged.

She picked up her own shawl—a beautiful, soft Indian wrap in subtle shades of blue—checked her appearance in the mirror, then hurried back downstairs. As she descended, she became aware of male voices below. Jem and George were conversing.

‘Delightful! Mr and Mrs Foxley have been most kind.’ George’s voice.

‘They are generous and trusting people, that is for sure.’ That was Jem, but there was a puzzling edge to his voice. ‘Some might say they are too trusting.’

‘And do you say so, Mr Ford?’ Now it was George who sounded strange. His tone was silkily polite, but there was a barb in it. Olivia’s pace slowed. What on earth was happening?

‘Time will tell, no doubt, Mr Manning. We all of us must navigate our way through life as best we can, balancing generosity with self-interest.’

‘Indeed.’ George’s tone was curt. Olivia was now at the bottom of the staircase and George’s eyes flicked briefly towards her. ‘I am one of those who will always put others first.’ His voice was a little louder. ‘Self-interest is unknown to me.’ Now he turned towards her ‘Ah, Lady Olivia!’ He swept forward, making an elegant bow. ‘So happy to see you again—and what a fetching shawl!’

Olivia could feel herself blushing. His gallantry was pleasant—but she must not let him see that. She kept her tone even. ‘I have only left you for five minutes.’