The Sea Glass Beach by Tanya Pritchard @rararesources

About the Book:


In 1950’s southern Ireland, single mother Theresa gives birth to a child she names Roisin. Arrangements are in hand for the adoption when Theresa changes her mind. The child, gifted and intuitive, is viewed by the local community as ‘odd’. Reeling from the news of Roisin’s heart-breaking expulsion from convent school, Theresa makes a momentous decision. To protect her daughter, she must send her away.
Canada’s wild beauty serves as a backdrop to a year of challenges for Roisin. She encounters trauma and devastating loss, but also gains a new family and finds love with the enigmatic Cal. Death, grief and culpability are potent forces she must somehow come to terms with. Can a tiny model boat unshackle her from her past and help her journey into a hopeful future?


About the Author:

Tina Pritchard spent most of her life engaged in bringing up a family, taking a social science degree, working as a lecturer, a trainer and more recently as an independent celebrant conducting funerals, weddings and naming ceremonies. Her first book, a psychological thriller, In A Deep Dark Wood, was published in 2021. The Sea Glass Beach is a departure in genre and started life as a short story morphing over the years into a novel. It is a work of fiction inspired in part by her own mother’s experience of giving birth to a child at Sean Ross Abbey Mother and Baby Home in the 1950’s. That child, born all those years ago in Co Tipperary, Ireland, is the author of this book.
Tina loves to write and has won competitions for both her short stories and her poetry. She lives in a beautiful part of the world and gains much of her inspiration from walking her badly behaved terrier, Horace, in the Derbyshire countryside.

Where to Buy:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0BMJR3ZT3
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BMJR3ZT3

Extract:

This extract follows Theresa’s invitation to attend a meeting with the school Principal, Sister Agnes, to discuss Roisin’s educational future.

Approx 452 words

Theresa felt a flare of anger and her cheeks flushed red. Had this woman any concept of what she was saying? Did she know her daughter at all? It seemed, with little forethought, she was ready to deprive her child of the opportunities an education would afford her. It was a ridiculous proposition. Everyone knew how much Roisin hated being confined. Putting her to work in the laundry would be akin to keeping a wild bird in a cage. Over my dead body Theresa thought, outraged by the idea. They want to sap the life and spirit out of her and I am not having it. Whatever the consequences.
She stood, knees knocking and pushed back the chair. It made a sharp scraping sound against the wooden boards. Theresa didn’t care. Her legs felt insubstantial, as though turned to jelly, but inside her anger had become white-hot. Head held high, she paused to take a deep breath. ‘I can’t and won’t agree to your offer,’ Theresa said, holding back tears of rage. ‘but I do ask one thing of you. I don’t want it mentioned by anyone at the school. I should be the one to tell her when I feel the time is right.’
Her composure regained, she strode from the room, down the corridor and out through the front door, slamming it with such force behind her, the windows rattled.
If Theresa had chanced to look back, she would have gained some satisfaction from seeing Sister Agnes’ demeanour. The nun, having observed Theresa’s indignant retreat, had pushed back her own chair and was attempting to stand. Her knuckles, gnarled with age, were gripping the edge of her desk. She appeared diminished and unsecured, as though steadying herself in a gale. On her wizened face was a look of complete bewilderment.
Theresa had always been so respectful and compliant. What on earth was she thinking, stomping out in such high dudgeon? As far as Sister Agnes was concerned, the recommendations were in everyone’s interest, including Roisin’s. Theresa should be grateful. It was a sorry state of affairs when someone in her position could afford to turn her nose up at such a well-thought out offer. The notion her proposal, rejected in such a cavalier manner, might have far-reaching consequences escaped Sister Agnes completely. She wasn’t to know she would be the catalyst for momentous change. Had she had one iota of awareness of her role in altering the course of direction of not one, but two lives, she likely would have remained untroubled. It would be out of her hands and in the remit of the Lord. What will be will be, as she was so fond of saying, ad nauseam.

Far Across the Ocean by Suzy Hull @SuzieHull1 @rararesources

About the Book:


Don’t miss the next achingly romantic read from Suzie Hull, winner of the RNA Joan Hessayon award 2022December 1913. Clara Thornton won’t allow being jilted at the altar to squash her spirit. Against the wishes of her aunt and uncle, Clara decides to travel to Madagascar to learn more about the tragic shipwreck that took the lives of her missionary family, and marked her forever.Clara is escorted abroad by Xavier Mourain, a handsome young merchant who works with her uncle. The two of them start off on the wrong foot, but Clara can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious Frenchman who helps her unravel the mystery that has always haunted her. But as their love blossoms, war begins. And the world will never be the same again.For Clara, all the answers seem to lie far across the ocean. But some of them might be closer than she thinks…


About the Author:

Award winning author Suzie Hull lives in Northern Ireland with her family and numerous rescue cats.
As a child she dreamt of being a ballet dancer but instead trained as a Montessori Nursery teacher and has spent the last thirty years working with children in a variety of settings. Suzie has always had an enduring passion for reading and history.
Suzie HulI won the RNA Joan Hessayon Award 2022 with her debut novel, In This Foreign Land.

Contact Suzie:

twitter @ https://twitter.com/SuzieHull1
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/suziehull1/

My Review:

I don’t often review historical romances, but I loved the sound of this. The characters were well created and Madagascar is somewhere enjoyed learning about. Clara is very resilient and I liked her. I loved going on her journey with her and watching the romance unfold.

Thanks to Suzie Hull, Orion Dash and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4 stars

Where to Buy:

https://mybook.to/FarAcrossOcean

Beyond a Broken Sky by Suzanne Fortin

About the Book:


Some secrets are better left buried. A dual-timeline novel spanning a Somerset village during WW2, to a body found under the flagstones in the chapel of Telton Hall in 2022.

2022:

Stained-glass expert Rhoda Sullivan is called to Telton Hall to examine a window designed by an Italian prisoner of war during WW2. It should be a quick job but when she and the owner’s son, Nate Hartwell, discover a body underneath one of the flagstones in the chapel, Rhoda cannot let the mystery go. She knows what it’s like to miss someone who is missing – her twin brother disappeared just before their eighteenth birthday, and she has been looking for him for nearly a decade. But when the threats start, it’s clear someone doesn’t want the secrets of Telton Hall to come to light.

1945:

Alice Renshaw is in trouble. Pregnant and alone she is sent away to hide her shame and taken in by Louise Hartwell who has a farm in Somerset worked by prisoners of war. As the weeks pass, Alice finds solace in new friendships, but not everyone at Telton Hall is happy about it. And even though peace has been declared in Europe, the war at home is only just beginning…
About the Author:
A USA Today and Amazon UK & USA bestselling author, with The Girl Who Lied and Sister Sister both reaching #1 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Her books have sold over a million copies and translation rights for her novels have been sold worldwide. She was born in Hertfordshire but had a nomadic childhood, moving often with her family, before eventually settling in West Sussex where she now lives with her husband and family.

Contact Suzanne:


Twitter: @suefortin1
Instagram: @sue_fortin_author
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/suefortinauthor

Follow Aria:
Twitter: @AriaFiction
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AriaFiction

My Review:

After Suzanne Fortin’s other book The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger and All That We Have Lost, I was hoping for another book by her and so Beyond a Broken Sky was much welcomed. 

I was initially concerned that the mention of a dead body would be too gory, but I was immediately pulled in by the mystery and the plot. I love stained glass windows and it was interesting to see how this window linked the characters.

The novel has a great pace and it’s quickly paced but highly detailed with carefully chosen words to evoke emotions in the reader. 

Another great book by Suzanne Fortin. 

Thanks to Suzanne Fortin and Aria/ Head of Zeus for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 

4 stars

Where to Buy:


Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Broken-Sky-Suzanne-Fortin/dp/1800243804/

Hooverville by Kayla Joy @joyfulkayla @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources

About the Book:


Annaleise Winston can never seem to fit in with the Society Girls, the strict rules that govern them, or their selfish indulgence during the Great Depression. Behind closed doors, her publicly perfect new fiance, Frank Alexander, is violent and dismissive, but without his financial security, Annaleise and her mother will be on the streets with not a penny to their name.
When Annaleise finally has enough, she runs away and accidentally becomes stranded in a Hooverville, a lawless homeless encampment in Central Park, where she must keep her identity a secret if she wants to stay alive. But a kind shoe shiner named Thomas Kelley may get in the way of everything she thought she ever wanted. As their love for each other grows, the Great Depression worsens, and Frank will pay any price to bring back his bride.

Where to Buy:


UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hooverville-Kayla-Joy-ebook/dp/B08XS9XY4N/
US – https://www.amazon.com/Hooverville-Kayla-Joy-ebook/dp/B08XS9XY4N/


About the Author:

Kayla Joy is an author and artist living in the Pacific Northwest with her family and her many animals. At 20, she has already self published two books: Morbid Tales from Behind the Mirror (available on Amazon now) and Hooverville. You can follow her journey at kaylajoybooks.com.


Contact Kayla:


Website: kaylajoybooks.com

Instagram: @joyfulkayla

Facebook: Kayla Joy Author | Facebook

My Review:

***Contains a depiction of domestic violence***

Annaleise Winston is happily married, or so she thinks, to her husband Frank. When he turns abusive, she has to do something. She flees with her mother to a homeless camp in Central Park.

I was proud of her for taking that risk to find somewhere new. There, she meets Thomas. Will he be different?

The Great Depression is the historical period for this novel. I was really interested in it as soon as I got the blog tour invite because I love stories of women who fight against the odds.

The unusual title also made me curious to review the book.

Hooverville is a novel about how relationships can turn into what we don’t expect (either for better or worse) and it’s about fighting and survival against all odds.

I was rooting for Annaleise, and felt so glad she had her mother. Frank, Annaleise’s abusive husband, may have wealth, but she’s in danger with him. I was waiting for her to leave and the tension building up to that is good.

The atmosphere throughout the book is very well portrayed.

Hooverville is a novel about hope, taking risks and new beginnings too.

Sad and nerve-wracking in some parts and heartwarming in others, I really enjoyed Hooverville.

Thanks to Kayla Joy and Rachel’s Random Resources for my ARC in exchange for an honest and vountary review.

5 stars

Book Birthday: Disarming the Wildest Warrior by Helen Louise Cox @rararesources

About the Book:


1725, Williamsburg.
No more English tea parties with her father’s medical colleagues for Gilda Griffiths. She left those behind for the open Virginia plains and plans to leave the East Coast too before a violent figure from her past catches up with her. When Williamsburg bully, Emmett Lawson assaults an elderly Shawnee chief however Gilda feels compelled to use her medical background to nurse him, despite the vocal protests of his embittered yet devastatingly handsome son.
Blue Sky knows his destiny is written in blood. If his father dies it will fall to him to keep the Shawnee people alive and safe from the cruelty of the white settlers who slaughtered his mother. Nothing can distract him from his duty until Gilda hustles her way into his life. How can this woman penetrate the armour he spent so long constructing with a single glance? And why is he tortured by thoughts of making her his?
While Gilda and Blue Sky grapple with their forbidden attraction, the dark threat Gilda fears most moves ever closer across the Atlantic. Can Gilda and Blue Sky put their pasts behind them and ride together towards a future neither of them believed could be theirs?


10% of all profits from this book will be donated to the Native American Heritage Association on an annual basis.


Where to Buy:


US – https://www.amazon.com/Disarming-Wildest-Warrior-historical-romance-ebook/dp/B087ZR3WDM


UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Disarming-Wildest-Warrior-historical-romance-ebook/dp/B087ZR3WDM


Universal Link – https://books2read.com/u/4DgdzP


About the Author:


Helen Cox is a Yorkshire-born novelist and poet. After completing her MA in creative writing at the University of York St. John Helen wrote for a range of publications, edited her own independent film magazine for five years and penned three non-fiction books. Her first two novels were published by HarperCollins in 2016. She currently lives by the sea in Sunderland where she writes poetry, romance novellas, and The Kitt Hartley series alongside hosting The Poetrygram podcast.
http://helencoxbooks.com


Contact Helen:


Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Helen-Cox-Author-1626798034237466/
Twitter- https://twitter.com/Helenography
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/helenography/
Readers wishing to sample my writing for free can also receive a free ebook copy of my steamy pirate novella Surrendering to the Gentleman Pirate by signing up to my mailing list here: https://www.subscribepage.com/helencoxbookclub

My Review:

Disarming the Wildest Warrior is a gripping, powerful steamy romance between Blue Sky and Gilda Griffiths who learned medicine from her father who was also a doctor.

I was curious about these characters and what would happen. The world-building is excellent and I was pulled right into the book and enjoyed every minute of it.

Thanks to Helen Louise Cox and Rachel’s Random Resources for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars.

Search for the House of Dreams by Alison Burke @lily_dale_companies @rararesources

About the Book:


It is the year 1847 in the elegant city of Bath where 18yr old Genevre Stratton is treated more as a servant than a daughter in the elegant house where bills are not paid, and the rent is in arrears. Appalled by the dishonesty and overriding social ambition beneath her parents’ veneer of respectability, only her love for her younger brother and sisters keeps her there. Left to cope alone when their false world falls apart, she fights to keep her siblings together, until poverty forces her to yield them to the care of their half-brother, George Coleman. Handsome, wealthy and charismatic, he is the enemy who becomes her lover. To surrender all to her passionate desire for him, or to keep the independence of a new-found musical career on the London stage? This is her is her choice to make, until an unexpected call of duty takes her to Paris. Must the old, dark secrets she discovers there alter the course of her life forever?

Where to Buy:


UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alison-Burke/e/B08P7WHRCT
US – https://www.amazon.com/Alison-Burke/e/B08P7WHRCT


About the Author:

I was born in Lancashire and started my career by training as a State Registered general nurse. Later, I joined the army and became an officer in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. On a posting to Malaya, now Malaysia, I found my true love. This was an ideal setting for a marriage with young children, and now my memories are a wonderfully rich source of material for my writing.


Contact Alison:


https://www.facebook.com/lilydaleco
https://www.instagram.com/lily_dale_companies/
Website https://www.alisonburkefictionwriter.com/

My Review:

In 1847, Genevre Stratton lives with her parents and siblings. Her parents create the façade of a good life for them but her parents are dishonest. This is a harsh reality for her and things are about to get worse…..

When she finds herself fighting for her, and her siblings’, wellbeing and dignity, she has a hard choice to make for their future. She is loyal to her siblings and loves them so much so she struggles on through whatever life throws at them.

I admired her for this.

George Coleman is her half brother wealthier than her. She thinks he may help them. Will he become more than a half brother?

She finds independence in the London stage, but which is the more powerful thing for her in life?

Taking us from London to Paris, through poverty and wealth, Search for the House of Dreams is a powerful, atmospheric novel that made me think about the different life realities we all face.

Strong themes in this book are love, finding support in others and living the best life we can. We are also taught the importance of never giving up and of taking risks.

Thanks to Alison Burke and Rachel’s Random Resources for my ARC in exchange for my honest and voluntary review.

4 stars

Big Dreams for the West End Girls by Elaine Roberts @RobertsElaine11 @Aria_Fiction

Big Dreams for the West End Girls by Elaine Roberts

Publication date: 3rd June 2021

About the Book:

Nothing will stop her – not even the war!

1914. Working in a bustling café on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue, Joyce Taylor dreams of opening her own restaurant. But when the man she loves enlists in the war, and a surprise request comes through from her dying grandmother, Joyce’s life gets turned upside down.
Struggling to keep the café afloat with her new-found responsibilities, it’s not long before Joyce starts to feel the pressure might be all too much. Luckily, her supportive friends Annie and Rose are on hand to help. Despite all the madness, can Joyce find a way to make her dreams come true? And will her love story have a happy ending?
Annie, Rose and Joyce are three girls with very different dreams – but the same great friendship. From the author of the Foyles Bookshop series, Big Dreams for the West End Girls is a charming and uplifting WW1 saga, perfect for fans of Daisy Styles and Rosie Hendry.

About the Author:

Elaine Roberts had a dream to write for a living. She completed her first novel in her twenties and received her first very nice rejection. Life then got in the way again until she picked up her dream again in 2010. She joined a creative writing class, The Write Place, in 2012 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. Elaine and her extended family live in and around Dartford, Kent and her home is always busy with visiting children, grandchildren, grand dogs and cats.

Where to Buy:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oHIm5c
Kobo: https://bit.ly/348Af8i
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3hLodK5
iBooks: https://apple.co/34bQkdj

Follow Elaine:

Twitter: @RobertsElaine11
Facebook: @ElaineRobertsAuthor


Extract
:


Joyce Taylor dropped the dirty dishes in the sink at London’s Meet and Feast Café. Turning round, her eyes widened as she stared at Simon Hitchin. ‘I can’t believe this. Why are you telling me now?’ She mopped away beads of perspiration. ‘What will you do?’
The bell above the café door chimed for what felt like the hundredth time in the last half an hour. Joyce peered through the serving hatch.
Simon shrugged, fighting the urge to wrap his arms around her as he took in how hot and worn out she looked. ‘I may not have any choice.’
Two stout grey-haired ladies stepped inside, jostling with their shopping bags. ‘Well, Enid, at least ’aving to keep yer ’ead down against that wind yer don’t see those blooming Kitchener war posters everywhere.’ The bell rang out again as the door slammed shut behind them.
Was he serious about closing the café? She would have no excuse to see him every day. Joyce looked back at the man she loved. He looked as tired as she felt. She tried to batten down the love she felt for him, fighting the urge to wrap her arms around him. Now wasn’t the time to show her feelings for him. What would she do if he rejected her? She would end up losing her job and any chance of them having a future together. ‘I can tell you this, Simon: it’s your café so you need to decide whether you can just let go of your father’s dream. No one can decide for you.’
Her hand automatically rested on the locket she wore around her neck as she found herself repeating her late father’s words. ‘There’s always a choice. You may not like it, but there’s always a choice.’ Once the words were out she did wonder if that was true; after all look where she had ended up.
She sighed. ‘I’ve got to get back to work. I’ve got Uncle Arthur clearing tables and making pots of tea, bless him. He only popped in for a cuppa. We’re so busy again today. If the last month or so continues then we’re going to need to hire some help.’
Simon sighed. ‘I know, I just don’t know how I’m going to pay the wages. It’s hard enough finding the money for the rent and to pay you for the wonderful cakes and bread you make. I don’t seem to have time to stop to think about it all.’
Joyce blushed, remembering how he had encouraged her to bring in a cake she had baked so he could try it. ‘Thank you, I’m obviously pleased you enjoyed my baking and encouraged it…’ She closed her eyes for a second, trying not to think about how her feelings had changed in the years she had worked for him. ‘But you just need to make some changes because getting the people through the door isn’t the problem.’ Forcing herself to smile, Joyce marched back into the café.
Enid scanned the occupied tables and looked over at Joyce. ‘Hello, lovey, yer busy again today. Can yer squeeze two small ones in?’
Joyce couldn’t help smiling as the woman dropped her shopping bag and unwrapped her woollen scarf. ‘I’m sure we can, Enid. Take a seat.’ Joyce indicated the chairs standing against the wall. ‘It might be five minutes though.’ She turned her attention to her order pad, adding cake to an existing bill for the young soldier and his girl sitting at table nine. She crossed it out again, ignoring the guilt that took hold of her – the least she could do was give them free tea and cake.
Enid rubbed her hands together. ‘That’s all right. At least it’s warm in ’ere.’ She looked around her before turning to her friend. ‘We mustn’t forget to tell that young soldier over there that we’re proud and they’re all doing a good job protecting us. They need to know we’re behind ’em every step of the way; after all they’re laying their lives on the line for our king and country.’ Enid glanced back at Joyce. ‘I was reading in the paper about that Zeppelin raid on Sandringham. These are scary times.’
Joyce dropped her pencil on the counter and tucked a stray strand of brown hair behind her ear. ‘I’ve heard customers talking about it.’ She paused. ‘I’m not sure I even know what a Zeppelin is.’
Enid shrugged before giving Joyce a bleak look. ‘I fink it’s like a giant hot air balloon, only it carries bombs and people.’
Joyce shook her head. ‘It’s frightening and you can’t help wondering what can come of it, except death and destruction.’ She automatically adjusted the frilled straps of the bib to her treasured knee-length white apron. Her slender fingers sought her embroidered name in the corner, which her mother had lovingly stitched before she had unexpectedly passed away with tuberculosis. Would she be disappointed if she knew Joyce was a waitress in a café instead of the great cook she imagined she would be? That dream had died with her mother. Had she made the right decisions? Had she felt she had a choice? Joyce sighed. What did it matter? It all seemed a lifetime ago now.

Follow Aria:

Twitter: @Aria_Fiction
Instagram: @ariafiction
Facebook: @ariafiction
Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

Paradiso by Francesca Scanacapra @rararesources #paradiso #italy

About the Book:


Italy, 1937. In a tiny village in rural Lombardy, Graziella Ponti is born into a loving family.
Though they are not rich and life is full of challenges, they are content and safe, surrounded by the tightly-knit community of Pieve Santa Clara.
But when the shadow of World War Two falls across the village with the arrival of Nazi soldiers, nothing in young Graziella’s life will ever be the same again.
Paradiso is Graziella’s story. It charts her loves, losses and triumphs as she grows up in post-war Italy, a country in transformation, freed from the shackles of dictatorship yet still gripped by the restraints of the Catholic church.
Paradiso is inspired by true stories told to Francesca Scanacapra by her Italian family and set in locations where she spent much of her childhood. It is a deeply affecting novel which sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Italy’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live in extraordinary times.
This stunning historical read is perfect for fans of Dinah Jeffries, Rhys Bowen, Victoria Hislop, Angela Petch and Heather Morris.


Where to Buy:


UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Paradiso-Utterly-gripping-emotional-historical-ebook/dp/B08X1B15P8/
US – https://www.amazon.com/Paradiso-Utterly-gripping-emotional-historical-ebook/dp/B08X1B15P8/


About the Author:

Francesca Scanacapra was born in Italy to an English mother and Italian father, and her childhood was spent living between England and Italy. Her adult life has been somewhat nomadic and she has pursued an eclectic mixture of career paths, including working as a technical translator between Italian, English, Spanish and French, a gym owner in Spain, an estate agent in France, a property developer in France and Senegal, and a teacher. Francesca lives in Dorset and currently works as a builder with her husband. She has two children.

Although Paradiso and its sequel, Return to Paradiso, are fictional stories, embedded within them are versions of true events. This extract is inspired by one such event which occurred before WW2, when a train transporting tobacco derailed just outside my grandfather’s village in Lombardy, Italy. My grandfather, along with most of the men and boys from the village, scrambled to salvage what they could. Unfortunately my grandfather was arrested for looting. His father was furious, not because his son had been arrested, but because he didn’t get any free tobacco.

In this extract it is 1946 and the event takes place on the outskirts of the tiny rural village of Pieve Santa Clara in Lombardy. Paradiso’s main character, Graziella Ponti, aged nine, is awoken early under unusual circumstances.

Taken from Chapter 9:

The day before we were due to return to Cascina Marchesini I awoke to the sound of loud, excited chatter in the yard outside. I knew it was very early as the dawn chorus was in full voice and the light glinting through the gaps in the shutters was dim. There was a strong burning smell in the air. My mother was not in bed. Most mornings I was aware of her getting up. I would roll over into the imprint of her body and burrow into the warmth, but that morning when I reached across, the dent left by her body was cold. I sat up, trying to discern the conversations being had outside.
I found my mother, my father and my aunt in the yard, still in their nightshirts. Pozzetti, Salvatore and several men from the village had gathered around them. The burning smell was intense.
‘What’s happened?’ I asked.
‘A train has come off the tracks,’ my aunt explained, ‘and it’s on fire.’
A freight train carrying tobacco had been ambushed just outside Mazzolo. One of the robbers had fired a shot to scare the driver, and a spark from the bullet had set the cargo, which was by definition highly flammable, alight. Nobody had been hurt, but the train had derailed.
News of the calamity had spread as quickly as the thick cloud of smoke, and within the hour men and boys from all the adjoining villages had raced to salvage what they could. Pozzetti set off on his bicycle with his trailer piled high with sacks and boxes.
I don’t believe I had ever seen a policeman in the village before that day, but suddenly they were everywhere. I stood by the gate with my father and Salvatore, watching as police bicycles, motorcycles and other vehicles streamed back and forth. It was not long before we had news that there had been arrests, not of the robbers who had held up the train, but of local men and boys who had gone to loot it.
My mother said she was glad my father was not able to go. Ada Pozzetti, who had also heard news of the arrests, was tight-lipped. She stood in our yard, balancing a baby on her hip, and said that if her husband was arrested, she would skin him alive.
Pozzetti returned later that morning. Fortunately, he had not been caught. With him, he brought a bag of tobacco for my father: it was a kind gift, albeit an impractical one as Papá did not smoke.
‘We can sell it,’ said my mother.
‘And who do you think will buy it?’ my father replied. ‘Everyone has sacks of the stuff now. The whole region will be smoking for free for years.’
‘So what are you going to do with it?’
‘I’m going to smoke it myself.’
‘But you don’t smoke.’
‘Only because we can’t afford it. It’s not because I don’t want to.’
‘It’s a wretched habit and it can’t be good for you. People who smoke get coughs.’
‘My dear, considering everything else I have to deal with, a little cough is not going to bother me. Anyway, it only causes a cough because it clears the lungs.’
‘Well, you’ll have to smoke outside. I don’t want you stinking out the house with it, especially with all those fine Marchesini linens in there.’
And so my father was exiled to a bench outside my aunt’s kitchen. I watched as he sat in a grey cloud, spluttering and spitting, alternating between drags of his inexpertly-rolled cigarettes and sips of medicine. My mother locked the door and would not let him in until he stripped off outside and hung his clothes in a tree, where they remained all night.


Stormy Days on Mulberry Lane by Rosie Clarke (Mulberry Lane #7) by Rosie Clarke

About the Book.

London 1950
Peggy Ronoscki is happily settling into life running her guesthouse on Mulberry Lane, surrounded by close friends and family. Life just seems too good…
But then disaster strikes.
Pip, her beloved son is left in a coma following a devastating car crash and a young girl collapses in the market leaving Peggy no option but to nurse her back to health.
As things begin to go awry, Peggy worries she has brought trouble to her doorstep?
Can her life ever return to normal? Or has Peggy’s good nature led her astray?

Purchase Link – buff.ly/2VUuCpX

About the Author:

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series.  She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner.  She lives in Cambridgeshire. 

Contact Rosie:


Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/RosieClarkeNewsletter

http://www.rosieclarke.co.uk 

Bookbub: http://bookbub.com/authors/rosie-clarke

My Review:

I have now reviewed eight novels by Rosie Clarke. Historical fiction is not a genre I review much on my blog but Rosie Clarke is one of my favourite authors in this genre.

The synopsis is pretty self-explanatory in terms of the plot and as I have reviewed the previous book and others from the series, the characters were familiar to me.

I really got a sense of “coming home” at the start with this novel and a feeling of bring back around family. As a city lover myself, I felt Peggy’s happiness at being back after her adventures running a café in a more rural location. I quickly got a sense of all that was familiar to Peggy and her family.

As the saying goes, you can take someone out of the city but you can’t take the city out of a person. Mulberry Lane and all its inhabitants have a brilliant sense of community and there were always fresh baked goods as Peggy takes immense pride in keeping a good home wherever she lives.

Peggy, or “Peggy of the Lanes” as she’s fondly known, is approachable, trustworthy faithful loving kind helpful patient and just an all-round good person.

I really felt for her and her family when her son was so seriously ill and was wishing so hard that he’d be OK. If someone deserved him to pull through, it was her.

Peggy and her family are people to love and root for. Now than ever they needed the people of the Lane to come together.

But will things work out as expected?

My heart was in my mouth and I was fighting tears at Rosie Clarke’s emotional portrayal of the hard times in this novel. This is one of those books that makes you think “why do they have to go through this?” Surviving a war is one thing and now this.

Rosie Clarke has made this installment of the saga as breathtaking as the rest I have reviewed.

Atmospheric, raw yet also a gentle pace that is absorbing, get ready for another rollercoaster ride in the life of Peggy and family.

Thanks to Rosie Clarke, Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4.5 stars

Harper’s Heroes by Rosie Clarke

About the Book: From the bestselling author of the Welcome to Harpers Emporium and The Mulberry Lane Series. The Harpers Girls come face to face with the harsh reality of the cruelty of war. Oxford Street, London 1915 Sally Harper quietly battles to keep Harpers afloat in the difficult days of the war, whilst husband Ben is working all hours for the War Office. Beth Burrow is fighting concern for her husband Jack, now at sea with the Merchant Navy, and the fear she may never see him again and be blessed with a child. Driven to exhaustion, Maggie Gibbs, is now working as a nursing assistant on the battlefields in France. With the everyday horrors of the casualties of war to contend with she suffers her own personal tragedy when her fiancé’s plane ditches in the sea. Can the Harpers Girls and their loved ones survive the perils of war and find a path to future happiness? A heart-warming saga following the lives, loves and losses of the Harpers Girls. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Pam Howes and Dilly Court. BUY HERE About the Author: Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series.  She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner.  She lives in Cambridgeshire.  Contact Rosie:   Newsletter Author website
Bookbub My Review: I have reviewed a lot of  Rosie Clarke’s Mulberry Lane series and enjoyed those. I did an audio extract blog post for book two in the Harper’s Emporium series, Love and Marriage at Harper’s.  Harper’s Heroes has different challenges for the characters. I really felt for Sally upon Ben’s departure and was thinking “no, don’t go!” they seemed a beautiful family and I feared for all of them. Baby Jenny was so cute.  With this year and the need for nurses, Beth’s and Maggie’s stories really gripped me. I have always felt for the war heroes every Remembrance Day and in my family we always bought a poppy from the door-to-door sellers. I can remember even now how I felt emotional watching the poppy wreaths being hung on the monuments around the UK if the service was on TV and it was even more heart-wrenching in person, even in the town I lived in growing up.  My own grandmothers helped out with the war efforts and this made me more interested in the era. The restrictions, preparations and enjoying the good times and small things like tinned sweets and makeup are also so much like now that it is haunting.  I really wanted to know where Ben was for myself and for his wife’s Sally’s sake. Of course, a secret location is a secret location and there’s nothing you can do.  I wanted everyone to be OK.  Harper’s Emporium is an iconic place and very atmospheric. I loved the mention of how Beth, Sally and Maggie met, and the fact they lived together was a bonus for them forging a friendship.  The chats between the characters and those they meet are very natural and realistic and the same fear there was then is present now with the current world situation.  I think it is because of this that Harper’s Heroes really resonated with me more than it would have had I reviewed it at another time.  As always, Rosie Clarke’s style is gripping, emotional and this plus her attention to detail combine to make Harper’s Heroes a poignant novel for these trying times.  The simple but traditional food and drink was an aspect that made this so homely in amongst a time of chaos.  Thanks to Rosie Clarke, Rachel’s Random Resources and Boldwood Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.  5 stars.  Extract: It was now the beginning of February 1915 and the war with Germany had gradually crept closer to Great Britain’s shores. That morning, Sally Harper stood in the doorway of the bedroom of their London apartment and caught her breath as she watched her husband, Ben, packing his suitcase. She felt the now familiar sense of unease that his absences always aroused in her, though she couldn’t have said why. Thus far, Ben had only been called upon to help with the logistics of keeping an army on the move. He was, of course, an American citizen and his country not yet at war with Germany. However, he felt that he owed some service to the country he lived and worked in and had joined the British Army. Sally had feared he would be sent off to fight. Thousands of other women had husbands, brothers and sons fighting and dying in the trenches of Belgium and France, in the air, and on the high seas – and the casualties were mounting. So many men were being injured and killed that it brought tears to her eyes. Sally forced herself to read the reports in the newspapers every day, even though they made harrowing reading, but she felt it was her duty to know what those brave men out there were enduring to keep the women and children of Britain safe. These were terrible times and everyone had to do what they could. Now, picking up a pile of freshly ironed shirts, Sally moved them to within Ben’s reach and received a smile of acknowledgement. Her heart caught in her breast, because she hated it when he went away on one of his trips for the War Office, even though she knew she was lucky he hadn’t been sent to fight overseas. At first, the war had seemed a long way off, but in December 1914, Sally had been shocked when German warships had shelled the seaside towns of Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool, killing more than a hundred civilians and injuring many others. To think that British people had been fired on and died while going about their daily lives was shocking. However, the following January the papers had been filled with the triumphant news that the British Navy had prevented another such attack by sinking the most powerful of the enemy’s battle cruisers, SMS Blucher. Yet even this success could not prevent death from the air as the devilish Zeppelins bombed the British towns of Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn. The Allies had celebrated when Paris had been saved the previous October and the German advance bogged down in the trenches, but now it seemed they’d turned their attention to subduing the British people with their frightening attacks from the sea and the air.