Friday 17 December 2021

Poppy’s Christmas Wishes

I’m absolutely delighted to be a part of the Blog Tour for Poppy’s Christmas Wishes. This is Annette’s third book and the author has very kindly written a Christmassy piece for you. Enjoy…

I absolutely love Christmas and usually start reading festive books in November but this year I’ve only had time to read one, (Underneath the Christmas Tree by Heidi Swain,) as I’ve been working hard on my own novel. 
I’m delighted to say that Poppy’s Christmas Wishes was published in ebook on 2and December and should be out in paperback on Monday and the reviews so far have been amazing, check out the blogs on this tour if you’d like to read some. 
I’ve also been told they make perfect Christmas presents.

Poppy’s Christmas Wishes is a very special book for me because although it’s my third published novel it is the first one I wroteand probably the one that has taught me the most about writing. 
Having always wanted to write I found I got stuck after the first few pages because I didn’t know what to write about. Then one night I was on a Christmas night out and my friend and I got talking to a guy who told us he was playing a genie in Aladdin. 
This sparked an idea which five years later I wrote about, the idea of a woman meeting a genie on a night out I found intriguing. It took a while and two more books to find my voice and then Wedding Bells at the Signal Box CafĂ© was published, quickly followed by The Cosy Little Cupcake Van. 

The more I wrote the more I learnt and as a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Society’s New Writers’ Scheme I was entitled to a critique of the manuscript, the first one that came back about Poppy was very honest and I realised I needed to do a lot of work on it and I still had so much to learn. You have to develop a thick skin in publishing because professionals will just be truthful, and you need to be able to take advice without taking offence. I tried to take something positive from every rejection and use it to improve the final manuscript. You don’t have to make all the recommended changes that your editor suggests but it’s good to ask yourself why they are asking for that change as it probably means something isn’t quite working and together you can find another way toachieve that aim that keeps you both happy.

After my first novel was published,I still had the opportunity to have a manuscript critiqued so I submitted Poppy’s Christmas Wishes again and the report came back really positive. Shortly afterwards it was requested by Orion Dash and after a little more editing it was finally published, five years after it was written.

I loved Poppy’s story and had such a lot of fun writing it and I really enjoyed popping back into the book with each edit as I could see it improving each time.I’m often asked how I get in the Christmas mood when writing out of season and the answer is 

that I light a vanilla frosting candle or my cinnamon and orange wax melts and I sometimes put on a Christmas film if I’m in the house alone. The truth is I don’t need an excuse to watch a Christmas film.

am delighted to have a Christmas book out as I’ve always loved them. I wanted it to be lots of fun and to reflect the strong friendships I have with some of my friends and encapsulate them in book form. 
I couldn’t believe it when the lovely Heidi Swain provided me with an amazing quote which I felt captured the essence of the book perfectly. “A heartwarming read,full

of friendship and fun.”Heidi Swain.

I hope Poppy’s Christmas Wishes brings lots of comfort and joy to anyone who needs it for this Christmas and for many more to come.

Thank you so much Julie for having me on your lovely blog.

Annette x x

Monday 22 November 2021

The Manhattan Girls
I’m honoured to be able to show you the US cover reveal for Gill Paul’s next book The Manhattan Girls, which is published in August next year. It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Gill’s work and this cover is getting me so excited for her next story. The blue below gives you a teaser of what is to come and I really can’t wait! 

It’s a 1920s version of Sex and the City, as Dorothy Parker—one of the wittiest women who ever wielded a pen—and her three friends navigate life, love, and careers in New York City.
New York City, 1921: The war is over, fashions are daring, and bootleg liquor is served wherever you go. It is here that four extraordinary women form a bridge group that grew into a firm friendship.
Dorothy Parker, renowned wit, member of the Algonquin Round Table, and more fragile than she seems. Jane Grant, first female reporter for The New York Times, who is determined to launch a new magazine. The Broadway actress Winifred Lenihan, beautiful, talented, and a casting-couch target. And Peggy Leech, magazine assistant by day, brilliant novelist by night.
Romances flourish and falter, while their goals sometimes seem impossible to reach, and their group friendship deepens against the backdrop of turbulent New York City, where new speakeasies open and close, jazz music flows through the air, and bathtub gin fills their glasses.
They gossip, they comfort each other, they offer support through the setbacks. But their biggest challenge is keeping their dear friend Dottie safe from herself. . .
In this brilliant new novel from the bestselling and acclaimed author of Jackie and Maria and The Secret Wife, readers will fall right into Jazz Age New York and into the inner lives of these groundbreaking, influential women.

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Wednesday 13 October 2021

The Collector's Daughter


Gill Paul


An unforgettable discovery In 1922, Lady Evelyn Herbert’s dreams are realised when she is the first to set foot inside the lost tomb of Tutankhamun for over 3,000 years. 

A cursed life But the months after the discovery are marred by tragedy, when Eve’s father dies suddenly and her family is torn in two. Desperate to put the past behind her, Eve retreats into a private life with her new husband. 

A deadly choice But she is harbouring a dark secret about what really happened in Egypt. And when a young woman comes asking questions years later, the happiness Eve has finally found is threatened once more… 

I can't tell you how much I eagerly await Gill Paul's new novels, as I am a huge fan and have read all of her previous books and this one didn't disappoint!

The story starts in 1972 when Evelyn Herbert (Eve) is in hospital having had yet another stroke and she is trying hard to get back on her feet so that she can get home to her loving husband, Brograve. They have been together for many years and are devoted to each other. The strokes have affected her memory somewhat and she has to rely on her husband to help her remember her time in Egypt when she was there at the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb.

This is a dual timeline story (which I love) and goes back and forth to the 20's when Eve lived at Highclere Castle (used as the home of the Crawley family in Downton Abbey) with her Father Lord Carnarvon and they start their expedition to the Valley of the Kings in search of finding out more about Tutankhamun and his treasure. 

Eve feels trepidation as she hears about "curses" towards people who interfere with the tombs and when things happen along the way, she wonders if she will suffer the same fate.

This is a fantastically researched book and as always, the author has left me wanting to find out more. After every book I read of Gill's I always have to "Google" and this book is no exception! 

Thank you for yet another fabulous read and one which will be one of my favourite reads of the year for sure!

About the author: 

Gill Paul is an author of historical fiction, specialising in the twentieth century and often writing about the lives of real women. Her novels have topped bestseller lists in the US and Canada as well as the UK and have been translated into twenty-one languages. The Secret Wife has sold over half a million copies and is a book-club favourite worldwide. She is also the author of several non-fiction books on historical subjects. She lives in London and swims year-round in a wild pond. The Collector’s Daughter is her tenth novel. 

Tuesday 5 October 2021

 People of Abandoned Character


Clare Whitfield

London, 1888. Susannah rushes into marriage to a young and wealthy surgeon. After a passionate honeymoon, she returns home with her new husband wrapped around her little finger. But then everything changes. His behaviour becomes increasingly volatile and violent. He stays out all night, returning home bloodied and full of secrets.

Lonely and frustrated, Susannah starts following the gruesome reports of a spate of murders in Whitechapel. But as the killings continue, her mind takes her down the darkest path imaginable. Every time he stays out late, another victim is found dead. Is it coincidence? Or is her husband the man the papers call Jack the Ripper?


Susannah doesn't want to end up like her mother, bearing a child out of wedlock and becoming a prostitute to pay the bills, so when she gets the chance to train as a nurse at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, she jumps at the chance.

There she meets a handsome Doctor, Thomas Lancaster. He tries every trick in the book to woo her and it works. They are soon married and move into a grand house in Chelsea with it's own housekeeper, but it doesn't take long before things start deteriorating. Thomas's personality changes overnight and he is violent towards her. 

Things change within the household at the same time as a series of women are murdered in Whitechapel by an unknown assailant. It doesn't take long before they are nicknaming the culprit as "Jack the Ripper". 

When Thomas's behaviour gets so bad and he goes missing for days on end and when he does eventually return, he is covered in blood, it doesn't take Susannah long to put two and two together and begin to dread that her husband could be Jack. The only way to find out is to follow him to see what he gets up to on the days when he goes missing.

This is an absolutely brilliant story of love, loss, death, debauchery and everything in between! I loved it (as I knew I would as soon as I read the blurb). Very well researched 

If you are a fan of reading about old London Town and have a bizarre fascination with Jack the Ripper (as I have - I am even related to one of the victims ancestors by marriage! ), then you will love this book. 

A fabulous debut by Clare Whitfield. She has her second book coming out early next year and I for one, cannot wait to read it.



Sunday 3 October 2021

The Daughter’s Choice

The Daughter’s Choice Is her whole life built on a lie? Rose has always been close to her father. Her mother died soon after she was born, so it’s been just the two of them for as long as she can remember. But a chance encounter days before she's due to get married leaves Rose questioning everything she has ever known. The man she trusts most in the world has been keeping a secret from her. And the truth will leave her with an impossible choice… Purchase Link - Author Bio Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his role as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming a novelist. He lives in a village near Manchester with his wife and daughter and now writes full-time – and it’s safe to say the career move paid off! Stuart is a USA Today and Kindle Top 100 bestseller. 
Social Media Links – @SDRauthor (Twitter), @sdrobertsonauthor (Instagram), S.D. Robertson/@sdrobertsonauthor (Facebook). @AvonBooksUK (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).

 This book is like two stories in the one book but with a connection between the two that is revealed towards the end. The Daughter’s Choice explores relationships, love and choices and was a pleasure to read. 

Single Dad Dave to Rose, is an amazing character who is not only a loving Dad to his only daughter but also inspirational and supportive. Rose who is about to be married and is on a relaxation break with her friend Cara which has been arranged by Dave only for Cara to get a phone call which takes her back home leaving Rose on her own. It’s here that Rose meets Cassie, an older lady who is keen to hear Rose’s life story before telling her own.
I thoroughly enjoyed this authors 6th novel as I have all his previous ones.

Author Bio Former journalist S.D. Robertson quit his role as a local newspaper editor to pursue a lifelong ambition of becoming a novelist. He lives in a village near Manchester with his wife and daughter and now writes full-time – and it’s safe to say the career move paid off! Stuart is a USA Today and Kindle Top 100 bestseller.

Social Media Links  @SDRauthor (Twitter), @sdrobertsonauthor (Instagram), S.D. Robertson/@sdrobertsonauthor (Facebook). 

@AvonBooksUK (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook).

Thursday 2 September 2021

The Hidden Child

 The Hidden Child


Louise Fein


It's the first day of the Blog Tour for The Hidden Child and I am delighted to kick it off with a review. Thank you to the author and Head of Zeus team for sending me a proof copy and asking me to be a part of the Blog Tour.

About the book

From the outside, Eleanor and Edward Hamilton are the epitome of a perfect marriage but they’re harbouring a shameful secret that threatens to fracture their entire world.

London, 1929. Eleanor Hamilton is a dutiful mother, a caring sister and adoring wife to a celebrated war hero. Her husband, Edward, is a leading light in the Eugenics movement. The Hamiltons are on the social rise, and it looks as though their future is bright.

When Mabel, their young daughter, begins to develop debilitating seizures, their world fractures as they have to face the uncomfortable truth – Mabel is an epileptic: one of the undesirables Edward campaigns against.

Forced to hide the truth so as not to jeopardise Edward's life work, the couple must confront the truth of their past – and the secrets that have been buried.

Will Eleanor and Edward be able to fight for their family? Or will the truth destroy them?


Mabel is the beloved daughter of Eleanor and Edward Hamilton and is the centre of their world, especially Eleanor as Edward is often away working with the Eugincs movement. This is an organisation which wants to hide away “undesirables”, people who have either mental health problems, neurological problems and basically experiment on them to try to cure them of their ailments. 

When young Mabel starts having seizures, her mother is distraught and unable to tell Edward at first, she tries to hide the fact that there is something so seriously wrong with their daughter. 

When Edward eventually finds out about Mabel's constant seizures, his first thought is about the cause and not the feelings and wellbeing of his daughter and wife. This causes huge friction between Eleanor and Edward and puts their relationship under enormous strain, none more so than when Edward suggests putting Mabel into an institution “for her own benefit”.

This was a real eye opener of a read for me as I didn’t realise how ignorant people were in the 20’s about epilepsy and other illnesses and the awful treatments people were put through to try to cure them of their illnesses.

The characters of Edward and Eleanor were fabulous, because at first I found Eleanor weak and just wanted to shake her, but she really came into her own and I loved her feistiness! 

Edward, was male stereotypical of the era and just wanted to keep up his public persona, but again, once he realised what was important to him, he fought for what was right.

This was a really interesting and thought provoking read and one which I really enjoyed and can’t wait to read more from this author. 

Fab read and thank you for bringing a very personal journey to life a in nd making more people aware of how important it is to rid us of prejudice and ignorance to epilepsy and how we can make the lives of sufferers easier to bear.


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Thursday 15 July 2021

 The Beginners Guide to Loneliness 


Laura Bambley


I'm delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for The Beginners Guide to Loneliness by Laura Bambrey and below I have an extract for you to whet your appetite! I'm hoping to be able to review this soon for you.


Tackling the Taboo

Dear Readers,

Today marks the second anniversary of The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness. I can’t express how grateful I am for all of your messages telling me how my blog has helped you navigate your own personal journeys. It makes me incredibly proud to know that so many people have benefited from this site.

Admitting that you are lonely remains one of the biggest taboos in our society. That’s why all of the recent publicity the blog has received has been so welcome. The mixture of newspaper, magazine and online coverage has helped thousands of new readers to find their way here. If you’re one of them, then welcome! The more able people feel to talk about being lonely, the easier it becomes to seek the support that’s needed.

One of the greatest misconceptions is that loneliness stems from a character trait, or even a character flaw. Listen to me: you don’t have to be broken to be lonely. I’ve heard it so many times: ‘But you’re so friendly . . .’ ‘You seem to get on with people so easily . . .’ ‘But you know lots of people . . .’ etc. I hope I am friendly, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel isolated at times too; it doesn’t mean I don’t find it difficult to connect with people.

The truth is, you can be alone and not at all lonely – happy and content in your own company. Or you can be at the centre of a huge crowd and feel so lonely it’s like a physical ache.

Sudden life changes can sometimes cause connections with other people to fall away. A bereavement, change of job or even the disintegration of a relationship are just a few of the catalysts. Should more than one of these things hit you at the same time, as they did for me, you can end up feeling not just lonely, but completely stuck, searching for the way out.

So no, you don’t have to be broken to be lonely – but loneliness can, eventually, break you. Let’s keep talking about it. Let’s keep looking at ways to heal. Let’s keep supporting each other. Here’s to the next two years of

Thank you for being here.


P.S. A note to the press: thank you so much for your interest in the site! Should you wish to reach me about my work, please use the contact page. I will, however, be maintaining my anonymity. From this point onwards please note that I will not respond to any communications that include the request to ‘come out’ to my readers.

About the Author

Laura Bambrey was born in Dorset but raised in Wales. She’s worked as a trapeze choreographer, sculpture conservator and stilt walker, among other occupations, and spent most of her time collecting stories from the people she met along the way. She has spent many years as a book blogger and reviewer of women’s fiction and now lives in Devon with her very own romantic hero and a ridiculously fluffy rabbit named Mop. The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is her debut novel.

Monday 5 July 2021

The Orchard Girls

 The Orchard Girls


Nikola Scott


London, 2004. Frankie didn't always have it easy. Growing up motherless, she was raised by her grandmother, who loved her – and betrayed her. For years, the rift between them seemed irreparable. But when their paths suddenly cross again, Frankie is shocked to realise that her grandmother is slowly losing control of her memory. There is a darkness in her past that won't stay buried – secrets going back to wartime that may have a devastating effect on Frankie's own life.

Somerset, 1940. When seventeen-year-old Violet's life is ripped apart by the London Blitz, she runs away to join the Women's Land Army, wanting nothing more than to leave her grief behind. But as well as the terror of enemy air raids, the land girls at Winterbourne Orchard face a powerful enemy closer to home. One terrible night, their courage will be put to the test – and the truth of what happened must be kept hidden, forever . . .

I do love a dual timeline story, especially a wartime one and so I jumped at the chance to review this one. 

Violet is a young woman during WWII (1940) and when tragedy strikes she needs to run away from her life because she doesn’t want to do the ‘norm’ and settle down, but wants to do her duty, so enlists to the Women's Land Army under an alias. If she thought she was going to have it easy, she was very much mistaken!

She arrives at a fruit orchard in Somerset where the estate manager, Hardwick makes her and the other Land Girls an absolute misery. However, she finds out that everyone it seems, has secrets they don’t want others to find out, including Hardwick.

We then travel forward to 2004 and Violet's Granddaughter Frankie has a distant relationship with her Grandmother to say the least. Frankie works as a journalist for a large newspaper and this is how they are brought back together. 

I personally enjoyed the 1940 storyline the best, but it was great to read how violet and Frankie got to rebuild their relationship.

This was an enjoyable, if chunky read, but a great story with some loveable characters. 

About the Author 

Nikola Scott started out in book publishing and worked as a crime fiction editor in America and England for many years. Turning her back on blood-spattered paperback covers and dead bodies found in woods, she sat down at her kitchen table one day to start her first novel — and hasn’t stopped writing since. Obsessed with history and family stories (‘How exactly did you feel when your parents gave the house to your brother?’) she is well-known – and feared – for digging up dark secrets at dinner parties and turning them into novels. 

 Her first two books, My Mother's Shadow and Summer of Secrets, have both been international bestsellers and were translated widely around the world. Nikola lives in Frankfurt with her husband and two boys (and a kitchen table). 

Once a month, Nikola sends out a popular newsletter about writing, reading, book news, freebies and loads of therapeutic baking. Join in here if you’d love to be a part of it all:

For more info on Nikola, visit her website at  

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Wednesday 9 June 2021


Waiting to Begin


Amanda Prowse


Review by

Julie Williams

I’m delighted to again be a part of the Blog Tour for another of Amanda Prowse’s novels. Julie Williams is a huge fan and has very kindly agreed to review this one for us.


I always look forward to reading books by Amanda Prowse as she writes from the heart with raw emotion and this, her latest, is no exception. 

This story is told in two time lines with Bessie as the main character.

It begins in 1984 with Bessie at the tender age of 16 years old with a whole exciting future ahead of her. Bessie's 16th birthday should be a day of great joy for many reasons and it turns out to be one she definitely won’t forget as events on this landmark day shapes Bessie's future with huge consequences.

Bessie in 2021 is married with two grown up children and on her 53rd birthday this year she is caught up in all sorts of emotions as she ponders over her life. 

With a loving family around her Bess still can’t shake the shame and guilt she carries and it weighs heavy on her shoulders and on her marriage to Mario. 

The secrets she has kept hidden for 37 years prove impossible to endure any longer and their disclosure has consequences that Bess has to accept and come to terms with.

This heart-warming family saga had me invested all the way through. I loved the two time line stories and the down to earth characters. Well done again Amanda for producing such an interesting story that was a pleasure to read.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be on the blog tour as guest reviewer for Julie Boon on her fabulous blog and my thanks to Net Galley for the digital ARC .