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). 

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