Books

Rome is Where the Heart is – Tilly Tennant

Kate is married to Matt, they were childhood sweethearts who made the next step.

The next step probably should have been children. But for Matt it was separation.

The next step for Kate is unknown. She is in a dead-end job, which she tolerates, just and her love is for dressmaking.

At the chance to change her life, she books herself a holiday to Rome, on her own. It is time she did something with her life.

At the airport she meets Jamie, who helps guide her through a city so she can see just as much of the tourist attractions as she does of the real Rome. However, Jamie has problems of his own and it is when he leaves Kate alone she finds herself on the Spanish Steps.

That is where Alessandro finds her.

Kate had not gone to Rome to find love,but something has captured her love, for the place, the buildings, the way of life, the food, the people and Alessandro is determined to make an impact on her life and a dent in her heart in the time she is there.

Trouble is Alessandro has five sisters, a strong matriarch family head and a rather jealous ex. It is never going to go well for Kate, especially as tragic events back in England means she has to go back home.

Will Alessandro just be a past ghost or will Kate be able to maintain the dream of Rome, of Love whilst back in Manchester.

The book did start off a bit slowly for me, but it picked up pace once Kate was in Rome and I flew through the pages and the story as if I was a tourist in Rome itself. Tennant has brought the characters to life very well, I could almost sense the expectation in Alessandro’s home when Kate first goes there. Just as much as I could feel the despair and desolation when Kate returns home to finalise some issues and put a closure on one part of her life. I was most annoyed at her elder sister Anna, who seemed to be ready to take over Kate’s life, her constant interference whilst well-meant was positively irritating. But for me those feelings and emotions are the sign of a writer who has created a story which gets under your skin and characters who you actually care about.

Another book to escape on holiday with, without even having to get out of your pajamas for.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

Rome is Where the Heart is out now. 

The second A Wedding in Italy is out soon and I am looking forward to catching up on the characters lives!

 

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Books

Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera – Jennifer Bohnet

Rosie has had this dream of running her own cafe and she gets the chance to make that a reality when she decides she has had enough of being a slave for someone else to earn the credit and the money and sets out on her own to revamp and relaunch Cafe Fleur on the French Riviera. However a famous chef has taken over the hotel next door and is relaunching that, it seems that Rosie’s dreams are dashed before they even become a reality.

Despite Rosie being the main protagonist in this novel, as the title suggests. There are in fact other women struggling with their own dreams. Erika dreamt of love ever after with Pascal and their daughter, running her own small business to appeal to an eclectic sort of shopper. However, it seems fate had other ideas and now Erika has to make some decisions about how she is going to spend her life and how it is going to affect her daughter.

GeGe is struggling to make ends meet. As an estate agent, she never knows when the next sale is going to be and  with the rent on her desk going up, she needs to break out on her own. With some part-time work offered through a friend, GeGe hits upon an idea.

If these three women did not have enough to contend with, there is the added complication of old love wanting another chance and new love being rather circumspect in their actions. Add in a mother with a toy boy and a mother in law who thinks she should have more say and you have a novel that is full of character and a story which keeps you reading. My only criticism of the novel, is that I did not know how all these English people happened to be in the Riviera, more because I am nosy and want to know how they ended up there. It does not in any way detract from the plot.

The escapism of this novel is simple in its idea. The blue sky and sea of the Riviera, the walking along the shore line as the waves gently move in and out. The warmth of the sun that lasts well into the evening as it sets creating a  backdrop for anyone with a view to envy. The descriptions of the food as the cafe makes it mark as tourists and locals, sit,sip coffee, eat croque monsieur and watch the world go by,

A perfect read when on holiday or a read when you want to escape from the dull greyness and want some bright sunshine and good story.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

Rosie’s Little Cafe on the Riviera is out now. 

 

 

 

Books

Before the Rains – Dinah Jefferies

There is something very atmospheric about this book, as the heat of India becomes intense as they wait for the rains to break the searing heat, to bring water and life to the land it also reflects the tension within the palaces, within the British position and with the main characters of this story.

Photojournalist Eliza returns to India, it is 1930 she is widowed and she is escaping her life with her work. Given the opportunity from a family friend, Clifford Salter and a member of the British Government, Eliza gets the chance to spend a year taking photos, to create an archive of a royal family in one of the states.

The last time she was in India, she watched her father die in tragic circumstances.

Eliza hopes that she may well be able to put some ghosts to rest. Although she cannot guarantee she will not in fact raise some ghosts from the past.

She meets Jay, the second son and not ever destined to become the Prince. There is a spark of something more than the respect that develops for each other.

Jay shows Eliza parts of India, for her project but Eliza shows Jay through her pictures, her eyes exactly what his people are living like, the poverty that they endure day after day. Jay shows how that British Rule is perhaps causing more trouble that it is worth and that the people of India are capable of forming their own destinies without colonial rule.

Eliza and Jay, clash as two very different worlds collide, through that collision that spark begins to develop. But it can never be. Can it?

This rich evocative novel is a love story, a love story that is forbidden in a land where love is not considered the reason for relationships to form. It is all about power, money, alliance and land.

As with all her novels if you have ever read them, the author paints a picture of a place where the colour leaps from the page, the smell wafts past as you immerse yourself in the culture which form the background of the story. But of course it is now always the background it actually is the story as well as the characters.

With intrigue, deception and mistrust within the palace walls and all over India, Eliza is there at a time when perhaps barriers could be broken down…..

A compelling historical fiction novel which will evoke some rather upsetting emotions within the reader as the follow Eliza and Jay’s story. Vividly descriptive and beautifully written this is a book you must read.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. 

Before the Rains is out now. 

Please check out my blog for other Dinah Jefferies novels, I recommend them all. 

 

Books

The Little Teashop of Lost and Found – Trisha Ashley

Alice always knew that her parents were not her real parents, her step father said she was discovered in Haworth outside the Bronte Parsonage. The story of her discovering was added to over the years until one day her stepfather dies.

It is only then that Alice discovers that her stepmother has always loathed her and never even wanted her. Suddenly adrift and alone again Alice tries to find a place to settle and maker her home and find some identity within her self.

In Cornwall she finds friendship with Edie who takes her under a wing and provides perhaps the motherly figure she has always been missing in her life. When Edie moves to Scotland, it isn’t long before Alice thinks that she will follow, her life in Cornwall not turning out to be very much.

In Scotland she starts to settle, meets Dan and helps in a local cafe where she can perfect her baking. But then tragedy strikes and Alice is adrift yet again. Now is the time to find out where she really belongs and so she heads to Haworth.

Making an impetuous purchase on an unseen cafe in Haworth Alice takes the bit between her teeth and decides to open a teashop with the rudest waitresses in Yorkshire. She does of course have many hurdles to overcome and has many doubters along the way but Alice’s determination to do something and make a mark is strong.

Hoping that she may well also discover the truth about her birth, as well as pursue a part-time career in writing fairy stories with a twist, Alice discovers that not all fairy tales are straightforward and they don not all have a happy ending.

As with any Trisha Ashley novel, this is well written, the characters fully formed and developed and there is always more than one plot line weaving its way through the book. In fact with this book you could almost say you were getting three stories for the price of one! I loved so much about this book because I cared so much for the main protagonists, I want to eat in the teashop and stay at the lovely Bed and Breakfast where Alice is made to feel at home. The short vignettes of one of the stories are no more than a paragraph and in that short space of time, I took a complete dislike to a character – that is the charm of Trisha Ashley’s novels and especially this one. There is so much packed into the pages.

One of my favourite reads of 2017 and of Trisha Ashley novels. Go buy and read it, you will not be disappointed and like me you will not want it to end.

The Little Teashop of Lost and Found is put now in hardback.

Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read this book and of course to the wonderful Trisha Ashley for writing it. 

Books

A Spring Affair: Willow Cottage – Bella Osborne

I was so excited to be able to read the next part in Beth and Leo’s story. I have grown to care for Beth and Leo and only want what is best for them especially as in this book we find more about what Beth is running from and why.

The cottage is really starting to take shape and trying to save money, Beth is determined to do as much as she can on her own. Even though Jack has helped she realises that she is getting too close to him especially when she learns something about his past. Bella puts two and two together and sadly makes five, and it is this which sets her on a path to alienate herself from everyone again. She is not planning on staying at Willow Cottage for long and it seems she may have to move quicker than she first thought.

When a rain-soaked day ends up with her kitchen flooded, she has no choice but to turn to Jack.

In this part we see more of Carly and her boyfriend, Fergus which was great as it added more depth to the book. Of course Carly and Fergus knew little of what Beth was running away from but as they learn so do we. As backgrounds are filled in on the characters as the story progresses it made me want to keep reading but now I will have to wait for the final part.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. 

Willow Cottage : A Spring Affair is out on 23rd March.  The final part is due out in May with the complete book out in August. 

 

 

Books

The Vets at Hope Green – Part 3

Getting involved with a serialised novel can be a blessing and a curse, especially when the story is strong and you want to keep reading.That is the case with The Vets at Hope Green – I first talked about the book here when the second part was due out.

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley the third part was sent to me

Sam is settling into life and her unexpected pregnancy, but she is trying her hardest to hide it from her crotchety boss, Joe.

Joe seems to be hiding something and when a chance encounter at some stables, Sam begins to see a different side to this man, but his secrets still remain hidden. It begins to remind Sam of something she is trying to forget, another secret no one knows about.

Sam might well be able to hide some secrets, but her past she left behind in London, returns with some rather unwelcome news.

As this part closes, there is a shock and it seems that everything at Hope Green is going to change.

I am looking forward to reading the final part.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to continue to read this story. 

The Vets at Hope Green: Part Three is out on 16th March on kindle. The final part in April and the full novel (the best way to read this story) is out in June. 

 

Books

The Riviera Express – T.P. Fielden

Old fashioned, golden age murder mysteries are one of my favourite genres and when I got the chance to pick this book up and read it I thought it would tick all the boxes for me. I am not sure it did?

I love the cover, it has an almost 1930s style to it, which is in contradiction to the setting of the book which is late 1950s in the South West.

When the premise gives you lines such as ” Murdered on the 4.30 from Paddington” you can almost hear Miss Marple drop her knitting needles and come scurrying. Of course it was not going to be her, but in fact Miss Judy Dimont, “corkscrewed hair reporter for the local rag, The Riviera Express.”

The irony was not lost on me, dead body on the train dubbed The Riviera Express and the reporter turned investigator working on the local paper The Riviera Express.

Gerald Hennessey is the dead body. He is a famous film actor.

But why exactly was he on a train to Temple Regis? And what relevance is the three letters in written on the window of the train carriage?

This gives enough for Miss Judy Dimont to think about when another body turns up, then someone goes missing and it seems that Miss Dimont is convinced that there is a connection between these three people.

Trouble is she needs to do all this investigating without letting her editor, Rudyard Rhys know. And there is a past hinted at there which adds to Miss Dimont’s difficulties.

All of this makes for an interesting read and as I got through the book, I had to finish it because I wanted to know who the murderer was and why. I didn’t work it out, either because the clues missed me completely by or they were too far hidden in the rather odd way of writing. From the offset it was very disjointed and did not flow easily from paragraph to paragraph and plot line to plot line. There was definite breaks and that almost jarred my reading of it all.

My focus was broken on this book and I was left rather disappointed. The book should have been a lot better as the premise, setting and some of the characters within the novel had a lot of potential. I think the writing let it down.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. 

The Riviera Express is out now.

I would love to know your thoughts if you pick up this book to try. I am in two minds as to whether I would pick up the second book. 

I also would love to know who T.P Fielden is? Goodreads- ” leading author, broadcaster and journalist”. Which makes me think that they are more well-known under another name?