#bookreview THE HIDDEN TRUTH by Hilary Boyd Published August 4th by @MichaelJBooks @HilaryBoyd #newrelease

Many thanks to the publishers Michael J Books for sending me a proof copy of this book back in May. A new author for me and a story I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Here’s my review.

proof copy

SYNOPSIS

Sara Tempest has been alone since her husband died and daughters left home.

But over the course of one summer she falls in love with the charming Bernard – years of heartache and loneliness finally behind her – and moves into his beautiful home on the wind-battered cliffs of Hastings.

But soon she begins to wonder if Bernard is all he seems . . .

He’s barely in touch with his children. Stifling reminders of his wife appear everywhere Sara looks.

And then comes Bernard’s confession.

All too quickly, Sara’s newfound happiness starts to crumble around her . . .

MY THOUGHTS

Sarah is 58 years old and lives in Lewes near Brighton. A widow of 6 years, she lives alone and works as a nutritionist. Sarah hadn’t felt ready to start dating before but gentle persuaded by her two daughters to give it a try, she’s joined a dating service and is on her way to her first date. Colin. Not a success. Encouraged not to give up, on arriving at a café to meet a Randall, she instead meets Bernard, also waiting to meet someone but whom hasn’t shown up. There is an immediate connection. He seems nice. Sarah likes him, almost shocked at how much she likes him, so after a short ‘stumble’ they arrange to meet up again.

Told in their alternate perspectives, we learn of their past and present lives. Family and friends, but as things move faster than expected and Sarah moves into Bernard’s wonderful house on the cliffs, Sarah senses a darkness, an edge to the house which is unsettling. Bernard’s moods start to change and Sarah is sure he is hiding something from her.

This is the first book by this author that I have read and I really enjoyed it. The was a real authenticness to her writing and I enjoyed reading about a slightly older generation of characters. Sarah and Bernard’s characters are developed well as you read along allowing the reader to get a better sense of their story. As the mystery and tensions mount, a wonderfully thought out back story emerges, bit by bit, which kept me fully intrigued and caught out with a surprising twist in the tale. I loved her relationship with her mother-in-law and the way Sarah and Bernard’s narrative explain the story to us with their emotions and feeling still very raw. This is not a romance read, although a romantic relationship is at it heart, but a really well thought out mystery and human story. I will definitely try her other novels.

#blogtour #bookreview FALLING FOR A FRENCH DREAM by Jennifer Bohnet @jenniewriter @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources

It’s my stop on the blog tour today and I am delighted to share with you my review. Many thanks to Rachel Gilby of Rachel Random Resources for my invite and stop onto the tour and for the advance readers copy via Netgalley.

SYNOPSIS

After tragically losing her husband, Nicola Jacques and her teenage son Oliver relocate to his father’s family’s olive farm in the hills above the French Riviera.

Due to a family feud, Oliver has never known his father’s side of the family but Grandpapa Henri is intent that Oliver will take over the reins of the ancestral farm and his rightful inheritance.

Determined to keep her independence from a rather controlling Grandpapa, Nicola buys a run-down cottage on the edge of the family’s Olive Farm and sets to work renovating their new home and providing an income by cultivating the small holding that came with the Cottage.

As the summer months roll by, Nicola and Oliver begin to settle happily into their new way of life with the help of Aunts Josephine and Odette, Henri’s twin sisters and local property developer Gilles Bongars.

But the arrival of some unexpected news and guests at the farm, force Nicole and Aunt Josephine to assess what and where their futures lie.

*This book was previously published as The French Legacy.

MY THOUGHTS

This must be the fifth book of Jennifer’s I have read now, and she never disappoints in whisking me away to a sun drenched, idyllic French setting no matter what her characters have thrown at them!!

After Nicola and her son Oliver receive the news that her estranged husband has died, it leaves her with very mixed emotions. Sad for her son and for the loss of the man she did once love, but also with hope that now they could possibly begin to mend some bridges with her husband’s family in France. Relatives that Oliver barely knows. Following a request from farther-in-law Henri to come out to the farm in France to sort matters out, Nicola and Oliver head out there, but Nicola isn’t naïve, she is more than aware that she needs to be strong as Henri can be a controlling patriarch at the very least.

On arriving there Nicola is surprised with an ultimatum from Henri in regards to Oliver’s inheritance and makes a rushed and bold decision to move out to France. Buying a run down cottage very close to the farm means Oliver can be close to his new family, which he does appear to get on very well with, yet holding on to some of her independence and privacy, an added bonus is that she can return back to her love of gardening and the possibility make some money in doing so.

With the story line following them settling into their new lives, introducing the reader to Henri, Aunts Josephine and Odette and other characters, what follows is another charming and wonderfully set story from this author and again one that’s also full of back stories and other twists that gives the story mystery and suspense keeping the reader engaged and longing to find out the outcome for the characters involved.

As always beautifully set, this time in the surrounding countryside of the South of France, the novel wonderfully evokes the senses as you read with the sounds, smells and tastes of France plus of course with the sprinkling of possible romance making this another enjoyable and delightful read.

This book was previously published as The French Legacy.

Purchase Link  – https://amzn.to/35Z7KdX

LINKS AND AUTHOR BIO

Jennifer Bohnet is the bestselling author of over 12 women’s fiction titles, including Villa of Sun and Secrets and A Riviera Retreat. She is originally from the West Country but now lives in the wilds of rural Brittany, France.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063527178184

Twitter https://twitter.com/jenniewriter

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jenniewriter/

Newsletter Sign Up Link http://bit.ly/JenniferBohnet

Bookbub profile https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jennifer-bohnet

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.

Cover Image

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/

BLOG TOUR BANNER

BOOK REVIEW for The BACK UP PLAN by Elsie McArthur

the back up plan

 

I was contacted by the author, Elsie McArthur, recently and she very kindly sent me a copy of her book The Back Up Plan to read and review.

SYNOPSIS

Giving up? Or moving on?That’s the question for thirty-something Marsaili McKenzie. Ten years after fleeing her tiny coastal village for dreams of fame and fortune in the big city, she finds herself on the brink of an existential crisis. Far from being the star actress she once imagined, she’s still working as a barmaid in a Glasgow theatre while all around her, her friends and family are getting engaged, pregnant or promoted.It’s all she can do to keep her head above water. But as a new year approaches, she resolves to give her acting dreams one last shot. That is, until a couple of unexpected distractions arrive on the scene.Will Hunter is undeniably handsome, as well as being aloof, socially awkward, posh and in the middle of a nasty divorce. And to make things even more complicated, he’s also her new boss.Local boy made good, soap star Euan Campbell, is the epitome of a charismatic leading man. His easy-going charm soon sweeps Marsaili off her feet, but is there more to him than meets the eye?To top it all off, Marsaili finds herself inexplicably drawn back to the simple, rural life she used to loathe. Can she finally figure out which dreams are worth pursuing, and would it really be so bad to resort to her back up career after all?Join Marsaili as she navigates the choppy seas of love, family, friendship and self-discovery. This heart-warming novel is full of romance, laughter and more than enough drama to keep you on the edge of your seat!

 

the back up plan inscription

 

MY THOUGHTS

It’s always lovely to find a new author and this debut novel from Elsie McArthur is a warm-hearted and very readable romance novel.

It’s not a genre I read a lot of, so for me, I went in not knowing what to really expect.  What I discovered was a lovely warm, witty and enjoyable read.

Our main character, Marsaili, is drifting along some what in life, awaiting for an opportunity to kick start her acting career.  However, it has been a number of years now and there haven’t been that many jobs, well hardly any at all!  Working in the bar of a local theatre, in the city of Glasgow, she lives in a rented house from her friend from university.

Originally from a small village in the Highlands, we also meet her family who still live there as she makes trips back home, and we are introduced to two new love interests, who couldn’t be more different from each other if they tried.

For me a romance novel needs believable characters and the author really succeeds here.  Warm, funny, sincere, I really became invested in Marsaili, wanting things to turn out well for her.  The author also has a very natural style of writing and this really brought the story to life.  It was delightful to lose myself for a couple of hours, in amongst the characters, each time I picked up the book and I really needed to find out if all turns out well.  Not just for Marsaili but for everyone.

There is also some beautifully described countryside, even with the cold and wet weather of winter, and her trips back home have a wonderful sense of place.  These parts really made it a book to curl up with.

A warm and friendly novel that is also a quick and engaging read.  One to lose yourself in, especially at the moment.

The Back Up Plan is out now, and available to buy from Amazon as both a paperback and kindle read, which is currently a bargain at just 99p!  Thank you Elsie for sending me a copy.  I really enjoyed it and wish you all the best with your book.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elsie McArthur is an independent author of women’s fiction. After studying law at university, and then re-training as a primary school teacher, she now lives in the Highlands of Scotland with her husband, two kids, a couple of badly behaved dogs and a cat with a superiority complex. As well as continuing to work part time as a teacher, she is now indulging in her first love of writing. Her first book, ‘The Back Up Plan’, was released in January 2020. Her second novel, ‘Love, on the Rocks’ – a tale of love, loss and starting over set on the remote Scottish island of Inniscreag – is due for release in Summer 2020.