#bookreview THE THREE DAHLIAS by @KWatsonAuthor Published July 21st by Constable and imprint of @LittleBrownUK @NetGalley #TheThreeDahlias @BethWright26 and @TheCrimeVault

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SYNOPSIS

It wouldn’t be a country house weekend without a little murder. . .

Three rival actresses team up to solve a murder at the stately home of Lettice Davenport, the author whose sleuthing creation of the 1930s, Dahlia Lively, had made each of them famous to a new generation. A contemporary mystery with a Golden Age feel, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie and Jessica Fellowes – and Janice Hallett and Richard Osman, of course!


In attendance at Aldermere: the VIP fans, staying at house; the fan club president turned convention organiser; the team behind the newest movie adaptation of Davenport’s books; the Davenport family themselves; and the three actresses famous for portraying Dahlia Lively through the decades.

There is national treasure Rosalind King, from the original movies, who’s feeling sensitive that she’s past her prime, TV Dahlia for thirteen seasons, Caro Hooper, who believes she really IS Dahlia Lively, and ex-child star Posy Starling, fresh out of the fame wilderness (and rehab) to take on the Dahlia mantle for the new movie – but feeling outclassed by her predecessors.

Each actress has her own interpretation of the character and her own secrets to hide – but this English summer weekend they will have to put aside their differences as the crimes at Aldermere turn anything but cosy.

When fictional death turns into real bodies, can the three Dahlias find the answers to the murders among the fans, the film crew and the family – or even in Lettice’s books themselves?

MY THOUGHTS

This was a fun murder mystery novel which had a real golden age vibe within a modern setting. Full of traditional red herrings and family secrets along side the more modern day troubles of it’s three main characters, I found this a fun and enjoyable read.

In the home of Lettice Davenport, deceased author of Golden Age crime novels featuring her heroine Dahlia Lively and her detective sidekick, we are brought into the modern age with a convention taking place in the country house, now owned by her nephew, to celebrate her books and a new film which is about to be made. Three actresses come together, all who have or are about to have played Dahlia over the years.

True to style, a murder is committed and everyone is under suspicion. The three actresses, although far from friendly at the start, soon realise they have to club together, in order to solve this mystery, as they all soon realise that only Dahlia Lively can get to the bottom of what’s been happening, as she has done so many times before, but in this case, it may take 3 of them to solve this crime!

I enjoyed reading this new debut crime novel by author Katy Watson and am pleased to see that this is the first in this new series, with (at least) 2 more in the pipeline. With a brilliant country house setting and an array of different characters all, it seems, with something to hide, there were plenty of twists and red herrings to get stuck into. I loved the chapter headings, taken from the ‘fictional’ original Dahlia Lively novels, which each set the tone for what was to happen next. It really helped to cement the story of this golden age author and made me want to read her books too!!! Except obviously, I can’t!

If you enjoy ‘cosy crime’ type novels and country house murders then this new series will be sure to please.

Quick shout out to the person who created the cover art. It’s really striking!

Many thanks to the publishers for my digital ARC via NetGalley. The Three Dahlias is released July 21st. Do follow the author on her social media accounts too! Plus check out her newsletter which include some great book recommendations.

#bookreview LESSONS IN CHEMISTRY by Bonnie Garmus Published April 5th by @DoubledayUK #newrelease #debutfiction @BonnieGarmus #LessonsInChemistry

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SYNOPSIS

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.

But it’s the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute take a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans, the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with – of all things – her mind. True chemistry results.

Like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later, Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America’s most beloved cooking show, Supper at Six. Elizabeth’s unusual approach to cooking (‘combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride’) proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn’t just teaching women to cook. She’s daring them to change the status quo.

MY THOUGHTS

What a great read! I loved this book and everyone in it. (bar a few), and for a debut!!! Wow!

There is a lot of love for this book on Instagram and rightly so in my opinion. Brilliant main characters, great writing, sadness, frustration, yet laugh out loud moments. This novel has it all. Plus the author managers to convey a deep, powerful story in an extremely easy to read format and enjoyable, warm and funny story.

Elizabeth Zott is a chemist in 1960’s America. A time when society placed women in the home and below men on all levels. So for Elizabeth to be working at Hastings Research Institute at this time is remarkable, but it has not been an easy ride, not by any means, and it still isn’t! So when catastrophic events occur in Elizabeth’s life, she has no choice but to look for a new path.

NEVER willing to give up, and this is what makes her such a great character, Elizabeth finds herself hosting Supper At Six on TV.

I’m not going to say anything about the plot as I think this is a great read going into knowing as little as possible. The characters are extremely well drawn, and I loved Elizabeth’s own unique ways of showing her warmth and utter determination in all she does. Plus this tremendous effect she has on all the people she meets. Great characters especially six-thirty and Mad, (would love to see a follow up novel to see her progression) and just such a joy to read. Highly recommend.

Many thanks to the publishers for an advanced reading copy via NetGalley.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BONNIE GARMUS is a copywriter/creative director who has worked for a wide range of clients, focusing primarily on technology, medicine, and education. She is an open-water swimmer, a rower, and mother to two wonderful daughters. Most recently from Seattle, she currently lives in London with her husband and her dog, 99.

#bookreview Reptile Memoirs by Silje Ulstein Published March 17th by Grove Press UK @siljesalat @GrovePressUK @groveatlantic @AtlanticBooks #newrelease

Hardback

SYNOPSIS

Liv has a lot of secrets. Late one night, in the aftermath of a party in the apartment she shares with two friends in Ålesund, she sees a python on a TV nature show and becomes obsessed with the idea of buying a snake as a pet. Soon Nero, a baby Burmese python, becomes the apartment’s fourth roommate. As Liv bonds with Nero, she is struck by a desire that surprises her with its intensity. Finally she is safe.

Thirteen years later, in the nearby town of Kristiansund, Mariam Lind goes on a shopping trip with her eleven-year-old daughter, Iben. Following an argument Mariam storms off, expecting her young daughter to make her own way home . . . but she never does. Detective Roe Olsvik, new to the Kristiansund police department, is assigned to the case of Iben’s disappearance. As he interrogates Mariam, he instantly suspects her – but there is much more to this case and these characters than their outer appearances would suggest.

MY THOUGHTS

Set in Norway and told in two different time lines with multiple characters, Reptile Memoirs is a dark and sinister debut novel, with a touch of weirdness that makes it quiet original.

The first half of the story is reasonably slow paced. Flatmates Liv, Egil and Ingvar, along with pet python Nero are introduced. Narrating their own chapters, we are given a glimpses of their lives and thoughts. Parties, inner feelings and anxieties, plus Liv and Nero’s growing ‘connection’ to each other. Simultaneously we are told the story of Mariam. CEO of her own company and married to a prominent politician, she is struggling to remain close to her 11 year old daughter, Iben. We meet them on a shopping trip at a nearby store, arguing over which magazine Iben can buy. Mariam is determined to hold her ground with her strong willed daughter, so when Iben storms off to the other side of the store, Mariam uses the opportunity to glance at her ringing phone. When she looks up, Iben has gone.

After a somewhat frantic look around, Mariam is certain that Iben has just left and started to walk home, just to punish her, so she pays for the groceries and shoves them into the boot of the car. However Mariam, adding to this already sinister mood evoking novel, doesn’t go straight home to check up on her daughter. She drives off and doesn’t return till much later that evening.

Back in 2003 and we learn a little more of Liv, who has clearly had a major trauma happen in her childhood connected to her mother and step father, adding to this complex tale but without giving the reader any idea of how these two time lines could possibly be connected.

When Liv’s obsession with Nero takes on a strange and indeed ever so slightly disturbing turn! Plus the introduction of Detective Roe Olsvik I did for a moment wonder where on earth this story was heading! But stick with it! An ambitious tale, which needs concentration, is rewarded with some generally surprising twists at the end.

#bookreview PANDORA by @SStokesChapman Published Jan 27th by @HarvillSecker #Pandora #Debut #Newrelease #NetGalley @sophpainter

Many thanks to the publishers for this early proof copy of Pandora via NetGalley. A fantastic debut novel which kept me glued to the page.

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SYNOPSIS

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.

MY THOUGHTS

Wonderfully written and rich in atmosphere and historic detail, Pandora was a delight to the senses and a brilliant story that weaves historical fiction and Greek mythology together. Set in Georgian London we meet our main protagonist Pandora, known as Dora, as she is forced to live in the cramp flat above her parent’s old shop of antiquities, now being run into the ground by her uncle.

Daughter of archaeologist parents who were sadly killed in a dig accident some years previous, she longs to be a jewellery designer and to have her designs made so they can be worn by the rich women of London. Gathering inspiration for her designs, she spends as much time as possible in her bedroom with her feathered companion, a magpie named Hermes, drawing up her ideas. Her room is also her escape from her Uncle and his supposedly house keeper Lottie, whom neither she gets on with.

Her parents shop was once talk of the town with gorgeous finds and items on sale, but her Uncle seems to have taken the business to a shop of fakes to be purchase by rich people who know nothing of antiques. His growing anxiousness over a recent arrival at the docks however, is starting to cause concern with the household and attracts attention, so when one Edward Lawrence, a young man desperate for acceptance into the Society of Antiquaries, is given a tip off to seek out Pandora and this mysterious new arrival, the two of them see it as a chance for them to use it to enable their dreams. What they ‘open’ however is not a box of delights but trouble and danger, and leaves them both not knowing who they can trust.

I found this a story rich in period details, from the wet cobbled streets mudding Dora’s skirts, and the stench of the docks to lavish parties in opulent town houses. The story of Dora and Edward grabbed me from the off and the ever growing selfish determination of the Uncle utterly engaging. The mystery and thriller type story of their involvement with the vase was captivating, with the story of Dora’s parents always tantalisingly in the background. The story behind the vase is only slightly touched on but give the whole book that wonderful mythical feel. This debut novel will be a delight to historical fiction fans and I will be recommending this one over the coming weeks.

#bookreview A FATAL CROSSING by @TomHindle3 Published Jan 20th by @centurybooksuk #AFatalCrossing #newrelease

cover of proof copy

Many thanks to Sarah Harwood and to the publishers, for my proof copy of the book. A Fatal Crossing was published last week, so I’m a little late with this review, but that usually means it’s because I have a stack of great books to read at the moment, so no bad thing!

SYNOPSIS

November 1924. The Endeavour sets sail from Southampton carrying 2,000 passengers and crew on a week-long voyage to New York.

When an elderly gentleman is found dead at the foot of a staircase, ship’s officer Timothy Birch is ready to declare it a tragic accident. But James Temple, a strong-minded Scotland Yard inspector, is certain there is more to this misfortune than meets the eye.

Birch agrees to investigate, and the trail quickly leads to the theft of a priceless painting. Its very existence is known only to its owner . . . and the dead man.

With just days remaining until they reach New York, and even Temple’s purpose on board the Endeavour proving increasingly suspicious, Birch’s search for the culprit is fraught with danger.

And all the while, the passengers continue to roam the ship with a killer in their midst . . .

MY THOUGHTS

A historical murder mystery, set onboard the liner ‘Endeavour’ in 1924, as it crosses the Atlantic taking it’s 2000 passengers from Southampton to New York. This enjoyable debut novel from the author Tom Hindle is a closed room style murder mystery with murders, secrets, and a spot of art theft to get us started, but also includes action and fisticuffs to pick up the pace. It starts with a very handy ‘list of notable passengers and crew’ which list the main characters of the story which include those from High Society to the common man and in-between.

Our main protagonist is Timothy Birch, a ship’s officer, who has taken another job on board the Endeavour for a chance to find some solitude. A complex character who carries with him a huge sadness and guilt, which is very well described throughout the book. He is also travelling to New York to meet his friend from wartime who has recently given him hope to his darkest fear. However, when an old gentleman is found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs, he finds himself taking one James Temple, a passenger and Scotland Yard detective, to the ship’s captain, as he seems certain this is no accident. The captain is convinced that it is no more than an unfortunate incident, but Temple is very persistent, so is given a choice. The only way he will be given permission to look into it further is if he allows Birch to tag along, keeping a check on his questioning, so as not to frighten the already alarmed passengers. He’s not happy but finally agrees.

As the mystery thickens, not only do we learn more of Birch’s distress, but also what brings a Scotland Yard detective onboard a liner heading to New York.

The ship is vividly described within the story as our two detectives weave this way and that along the ships many corridors, from opulent 1st class down to the hot and cramp conditions of below deck. Interviewing the stuffy high society passengers, punch ups in cabins, and dead bodies are all trying to be kept from the other passengers as the goings on, onboard, get more and more mysterious.

A slight lull in the middle was compensated for a great twist at the end. I knew something was up, but I’m not sure I imagined that happening!

Wahala by Nikki May #newrelease #wahala @DoubledayUK @NikkiOMay Out Now!

Published Jan 6th 2022

SYNOPSIS

Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in London.
They have the gift of two cultures, Nigerian and English.
Not all of them choose to see it that way.

Everyday racism has never held them back, but now in their thirties, they question their future. Ronke wants a husband (he must be Nigerian); Boo enjoys (correction: endures) stay-at-home motherhood; while Simi, full of fashion career dreams, rolls her eyes as her boss refers to her urban vibe yet again.

When Isobel, a lethally glamorous friend from their past arrives in town, she is determined to fix their futures for them.

Cracks in their friendship begin to appear, and it is soon obvious Isobel is not sorting but wrecking. When she is driven to a terrible act, the women are forced to reckon with a crime in their past that may just have repeated itself.

MY THOUGHTS

Wahala, meaning trouble, is a super read about three friends, having meet at Bristol Uni who bonded over their Nigerian/British heritage and now in their 30’s. All three now live different day to day lives but have remained close. Ronke, (my favourite character) is a dentist, home bird and often unlucky in love, longs to get her own place and settle down. Boo, a wife and mother who has become bored and feels trapped. And Simi, a career woman, who’s husband wants to start a family but she is finding it hard to explain to him that she isn’t interested in having kids.

The story is a wonderful and often humerous look at their friendship but soon changes when an old friend of Simi’s reappears. Isobel, who seems determined to cause trouble between the three women.

I so enjoyed this novel. Wonderfully written, (can’t wait to see more from this author), the characters are superbly portrayed, rich and well formed yet all different. I loved meeting them!

The story builds at a great pace and takes a shift once Isobel comes onto the scene. I really couldn’t put it down. I found their thoughts and experiences on living in London and their current lives, along side their strong ties to Nigeria and their families really interesting. The culture and food of their Nigerian heritage really comes alive in May’s writing as does the push and pull and intertwining of their two cultures.

The story had me gripped, furiously turning the pages and absorbing me into their lives. I went from laughter to sadness and fear. Their seemingly safe world and friendship is rocked at the intervention of this fourth woman and makes for a fantastic read. Highly recommend!!

Many thanks to the publisher for my advanced copy via Netgalley.

#bookreview #newrelease ON THE EDGE by @AuthorJJesmond @Verve_Books #OnTheEdge #publicationday @hollieeeem

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SYNOPSIS

Jen Shaw has climbed all her life: daring ascents of sheer rock faces, crumbling buildings, cranes – the riskier the better. Both her work and personal life revolved around it. Until she went too far and hurt the people she cares about. So she’s given it all up now. Honestly, she has. And she’s checked herself into a rehab centre to prove it.

Yet, when Jen awakens to find herself drugged and dangling off the local lighthouse during a wild storm less than twenty-four hours after a ‘family emergency’ takes her home to Cornwall, she needs all her skill to battle her way to safety.

Once safe, the real challenge begins. Jen must face her troubled past in order to figure out whether something triggered a relapse to this risky behaviour, or if there is a more sinister explanation hidden in her hometown. Only when she has navigated her fragmented memories and fraught relationships will she be able to piece together what happened – and trust herself to fix it. 

MY THOUGHTS

This debut novel from Jane Jesmond has certainly introduced me to a new author to add to my list.

This action packed and wonderfully atmospheric read kept me gripped throughout.

Jenifry Shaw, known as Jen, has been climbing her whole life. Running free along with her brother Kit, through the wild landscape of Cornwall and with a renowned mountaineer father, it’s in her blood. But adrenaline has become a drug and as her climbing became more and more risky, and after one climb ends with catastrophic outcomes she replaces the adrenaline with real drugs.

We first meet Jen in a rehab centre that she has entered voluntarily, but equally can not wait to leave. She receives a call from her brother, whom she hasn’t spoken to for some time, asking for her help. He is in serious financial difficulty after months of renovating their old family home into a holistic conference centre. Issues with their mother not also helping matters.

Arriving late and exhausted, and putting off having to meet her brother and any locals, she checks into the small hotel. The next things she knows, she awakens, finding herself tied to the outside of the lighthouse, dangerously dangling over the edge! Has she taken something that means she would have placed herself in such a situation without remembering so? Or has someone drugged her and left her to die? Who??? And Why????

As she tries to consider whether her life is in danger from herself or someone else, she starts to stubble upon the many secrets harboured by her home village.

With dramatic and superbly vivid descriptions of the Cornish weather and landscape and a well written and pacy plot, I found this a very engaging and enjoyable mystery. With a cast of characters feeling like they all have something to hid and a not overly reliable main character with problems of her own, the story line is full of twists and turns and mysterious red herrings that really ds keep the reader ‘on the edge’.

Fast moving action, yet full of characters, story lines, and back story information, this is a tightly, efficient and effective written thriller, and it’s the first in a series with more to come! Can’t wait!

Huge thanks to the publishers for the proof copy of this book and a great new find!

ON THE EDGE IS PUBLISHED TODAY!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

On The Edge is Jane Jesmond’s debut novel and the first in a series featuring dynamic, daredevil protagonist Jen Shaw. Although she was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne, raised in Liverpool and considers herself northern through and through, Jane’s family comes from Cornwall. Her lifelong love of the Cornish landscape and culture inspired the setting of On The Edge. Jane has spent the last thirty years living and working in France. She began writing steadily six or seven years ago and writes every morning in between staring out at the sea and making cups of tea. She also enjoys reading, walking and amateur dramatics and, unlike her daredevil protagonist, is terrified of heights!

#bookreview A Thousand Tiny Disappointments by Sarah Edghill. @EdghillSarah @BloodhoundBooks

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Delighted to share my review with you today for a new novel called A Tiny Thousand Disappointments. I was contacted by the author herself asking if I would like to read a copy in exchange for a review. I said I would be happy to and I’m so glad I did! It is a wonderfully written debut novel and has received some great comments from some great authors.

A Tiny Thousand Disappointments is published by Bloodhound Books and was released on September 21st. It is available to buy on Amazon.

Release date: 21st September 2021

Published by Bloodhound Books

Available in paperback and EBook (as I write the kindle version is available at just 99p)

SYNOPSIS

Martha is being pulled in too many directions, trying to be a good mother, a loving wife, and a dutiful daughter. Despite it all, she’s coping. But then her elderly mother is rushed to the hospital and dies unexpectedly, and the cracks in the life Martha is struggling to hold together are about to be exposed.
 
When she discovers her mother has left her house to a stranger, she’s overwhelmed by grief and hurt. Getting no support from her disinterested husband or arrogant brother, Martha goes on to make some bad decisions.

If she were a good daughter, she would abide by her mother’s final wishes. If she were a good daughter, she wouldn’t destroy the evidence . . .

MY THOUGHTS

An extremely well written debut about a woman called Martha and her day to day struggles and situations brought about by events in her life over the last few years.

After the sudden death of her mother, she soon discovers that neither herself or her brother have been left her mother’s house, and although neither of them ‘need’ it financially, they expected it and they can not understand why their mother would make such a decision. On finding this information, Martha has to make a quick decision on how to handle the matter. This act later fills Martha with regret and in doing so, along with the lack of support from family and friends, makes Martha question her role as a daughter and re-evaluate her life and herself.

The characters within this book and the relationships Martha has with those characters are so believable and somewhat relatable, that this story soon placed itself into my imagination, enabling me to become quickly and utterly absorbed. Her emotions and thoughts are marvellously described by the author as are the actions of others, particularly the character of the brother-in-law who had me inwardly raging at one point in the book. Although both Martha and her brother are comfortable off and perhaps because of this, it really makes you think about the whole issue of inheritance and if parents are expected to leave what they have to their children.

There are two other very key elements to this story and that is Martha’s marriage and her son. I won’t go into these major parts of the book, as it will give too much away, but they are key to how Martha responds to things and the overall outcome of the story. The inclusion of the character of Martha’s friend is also a very interesting addition to Martha’s story.

I very much enjoyed this novel, and although moving and poignant, I found it an uplifting read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

THE AUTHOR

Sarah Edghill worked as a journalist for many years, writing for a range of newspapers and magazines, before turning her hand to fiction.

She is an alumna of the Faber Academy Novel Writing course and her work has won prizes and been short-listed in novel and short story competitions.

She lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, three children and far too many animals.

Sarah can be found on Twitter at @EdghillSarah or www.sarahedghill.com.

#bookreview #newrelease CAVE DIVER by JAKE AVILA @JacobPAvila1 @ZaffreBooks #CAVEDIVER

Published 5th August 2021

Publisher Zaffre

Number of pages 400

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SYNOPSIS

Acclaimed explorer Rob Nash has lost his way. Grieving the death of his wife, and blaming himself, he sees no reason to carry on. But when his ‘Uncle’ Frank Douglas offers him the chance to lead a cave diving expedition in the jungles of Papua, Nash can see some light at the end of the tunnel.

But the expedition might not be what it seems. With a decades old Japanese submarine buried deep in a cavern, and a team hell-bent on unleashing the treasures it hides, Nash finds himself on a ship heading for danger. With a lethal band of criminals on board, who will stop at nothing to get the gold, Nash is fighting for his life. Whilst battling his own demons, can he forgive himself for the wrongs of his past – and survive the perils of the deep?

MY THOUGHTS

We meet a new action hero in this debut novel.

Rob Nash is the world famous Cave Diver of the title. While still emotionally broken by the death of his pregnant wife on one of his dives he is enticed back into diving by the opportunity to dive fabled caves in Indonesia. Accompanied by his “Uncle” Frank, Rob soon begins to suspect that things aren’t what they seem and those paying for him to dive have ambitions beyond the documentary he agreed to make.

This story moves along at quite a pace, initially with pathos, then excitement and finally jeopardy as Rob uncovers the plot while trying to overcome his guilt and new found claustrophobia and keep the innocent (and not so innocent) safe. Believably he takes on the project as a penance and a way to pay back his family and others, once involved he has to see it to its conclusion.

Rob’s character is developed early in the story and we quickly understand that something has gone wrong in what was clearly an idyllic life, his guilt makes him distance himself from his family and others and it is only when the amazing opportunity and his mounting debt comes along that he begins to re-engage with his family. The other characters are also well drawn and easy to visualise.

The use of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea as a setting brings these atmospheric locations directly into the story and we are given an opportunity to learn a little about the people, the history and the modern challenges of this region as the story progresses.

The author shows either a great knowledge for the technical side of diving or has thoroughly researched the subject, which only added to this convincing read. An enjoyable, tension fuelled novel that kept me engaged throughout.

Many thanks to Karen Stretch at Bonnier Books for my advance copy of the book.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY

Jake Avila is a full-time writer with a BA in Writing and Information Technology. He has a background in freelance journalism writing on politics, culture, technology, and sport, and taught secondary English for ten years. In 2019, he won the Adventure Writer’s Competition Clive Cussler Grandmaster Award for Cave Diver and then went on to win the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for the book in 2020. British born, he now lives in Australia.

UNCOUPLING BY LORRAINE BROWN #review #blogtour #debut @orionbooks @LorraineBrown23 @AlainnaGeorgiou #Uncoupling

Published by Orion 18th February 2021

Hardback £14.99 Also available in eBook and Audio

Affiliated link for purchase from Blackwell’s https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/Uncoupling-by-Lorraine-Brown-author/9781409198383 Also available from other sites and your local bookshop.

It’s my stop on the blog tour today, and I’m delighted to share with you my review of this fantastic debut UNCOUPLING. Many thanks to Alainna Hadjigeorgiou of Orion Books for my wonderful proof pack and spot on the tour.

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SYNOPSIS

Hannah and Si are in love and on the same track – that is, until their train divides on the way to a wedding. The next morning, Hannah wakes up in Paris and realises that her boyfriend (and her ticket) are 300 miles away in Amsterdam!

But then Hannah meets Léo on the station platform, and he’s everything Si isn’t. Spending the day with him in Paris forces Hannah to question how well she really knows herself – and whether, sometimes, you need to go in the wrong direction to find everything you’ve been looking for…

MY THOUGHTS

Hannah and her boyfriend Si are on an overnight train from Venice to Amsterdam to attend a family wedding. However, during the night the train carriages split, as European trains can do, and while Si continues to Amsterdam, Hannah finds herself on the way to Paris. Arriving with no passport, ticket or luggage, and very little money Hannah starts to panic. Not one for taking control of her life, she is out of her comfort zone.

Rushing through the Gard du Nord she trips over the bag of a fellow traveller called Leo, a resident of Paris, but who too was caught out by the splitting train, and so is also having now to wait for the next connection to Amsterdam. With a number of hours to fill before the train arrives, a confident Leo manages to persuade a reluctant Hannah, that not only is he willing to help her but could also show her the sights of the city before she has to leave. Oh…and how he does!

I flew through this utterly delightful book over a couple of days, losing myself in the well written, lovely story of how Hannah and Leo not only find each other but also themselves as they spend the day whizzing through the streets of Paris. This wasn’t just a romance story between two young people, but was very much a love story between Leo and Paris which oozed from the pages in his choices of destinations and the way they were described. I loved the way the author described each setting and used Hannah’s camera to capture it into the readers mind. I found it a delightful and delicious romance read, which whisked me away from this grey and anxious time, to the smells and sounds, sights and delights of a summers day in Paris. A reminder of being young and free, to be able to travel, to arrive at a bustling international train station, with the day ahead to drop in at cafes and restaurants, to enjoy the sun and sights. It really was just the ticket!

This is by no means a soppy love story, but a well written and believable tale. We learn of the back story to both characters, Hannah’s relationship with her boyfriend and watch as Leo and Hannah’s attraction grows. There is a good side story also taking place involving Si, and the pace and increase of intensity of ‘will they won’t they’ between Hannah and Leo was just right. I loved the character of Leo. He made my heart melt.

I heartly recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lorraine Brown previously trained as an actress and has just completed her final year of a postgraduate diploma in psychodynamic counselling. She lives in London with her partner and their 8-year-old son. Uncoupling is her first novel.

There is an interesting piece on how Lorraine became a published author here: http://booksbywomen.org/the-process-of-writing-uncoupling-from-school-secretary-to-published-author/

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