Books

Snowed in at The Practice – Penny Parkes

Time for another appointment with the Doctors at the Larkford Surgery.

Whilst Dr Holly Graham is on maternity leave and struggling to make everyone else understand that is she just not simply the mother of two sets of twins, she is also a wife, a friend and a doctor. There must be a better way to transition back to working than everyone seems to be suggesting at the moment.

Perhaps talking to her patients on a normal level and with no pressure is the only way to go, but when an offer of an feature on a radio show and also a fixture at the Rugby Club, it seems that Holly’s options are even greater than she first thought.

Dr Alice Walker and her amazing dog Coco are still working their magic but it seems that Alice has also brought a fellow doctor and friend Dr Tilly Grainger along who is struggling to fit in not just in the village of Larkford where hearts are being broken by the day, but as a doctor in something other than the war zones she had been used to. Is there a project that Tilly can call her own and something where she feels she is making a difference?

Dr Dan Carter and Practice Manager Grace are facing some difficult decisions and it seems that their future is decided for them when someone captures Dan’s heart.

Along with this we have all the other wonderful characters which have featured in previous Larkford novels, the wonder that is Elsie, hellbent on being the centre of attention wherever she may go and of course Holly’s friend Lizzie and former rock star Connor whose life is about to be changed once again.

This book like the previous three is a complete joy to read. You are completely immersed in the world of Larkford and the residents and of course the patients as well as the doctors at the surgery. There are some real tough topics dealt with in this book. You might need to harden your heart or just let the tears flow as I did. Nothing is off limits. It is both joyous and sad in equal measure.

What makes this series if books stand out is the clear detail that the author has gone into to understand the workings of a local GP practice, a practice which I am sure like many around the country is suffering from an overload of paperwork, government targets and cut backs on the things that really matter like time with the patients. I don’t know how Penny Parkes does it but she has brought a ‘hot topic’ into fiction and added a dose of characters and created a series which I think could run and run.

I prescribe this series of books to everyone.

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

Snowed in at the Practice is out now. 

 

 

Books

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane – Ellen Berry

 

Lucy fell in love with Rosemary Cottage when she was a girl, plundering berries from the garden in fear of the owner catching her and her friends. It was her dream home.

Years later when her life takes an unexpected path, Lucy can buy her dream home and embrace life with her children and husband in the countryside and run a B & B. However, when a tragic accident leads to a completely path again it seems that there is only one more year left at Rosemary Cottage and life in Burley Bridge.

James is back in Burley Bridge as it appears his father needs some care as he has exhibited some rather worrying behaviour. James also recalls playing in the garden of Rosemary Cottage as a child and playing with Lucy so he is shocked to see her again.

James patience and kindness though is what Lucy needs right now as she tries to decide whether she should really leave her dream, Rosemary Cottage and go back to a world that seems to have left her behind.

This is a welcome return to Ellen Berry’s series of books featuring the village of Burley Bridge, but you do not have to visited before to get a feel for the place. Familiar faces soon become your friends and the author draws you right into how a village can help a newcomer as well as a stalwart resident.

A nice comfortable read which is not full on Christmas but is more to do with love and sorrow, grief and happiness.

A book with lots of positivity amongst all the sadness and a lot is packed into the pages, that the story skillfully takes you over a large time period in a clever way without ever feeling bogged down or dragging a plot out for the sake of it.

I hope one day we perhaps return to visit Rosemary Cottage as I feel there is more to know about Lucy and James. The ending was left very loose……

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

Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane is out now.

Books

Winner – A Perfect Cornish Christmas

Thank you very much to everyone who entered – if you have entered more than once then I have just counted you as one entry.

So I can reveal the winner is (thanks to a random name picker site on the internet)

 

Well done!

I will be in contact so I can get the book to you, hopefully before Christmas! Happy Reading.

Thank you again to everyone who stopped by my blog and took part.

Books

A Perfect Cornish Christmas – Phillipa Ashley

We were first in Porthmellow in the Summer and now we are back for Christmas and whilst all the characters from that novel are featured in this, they are not the main principle characters. I wasn’t sure where this book would go but I did not need to worry.

The book opens at Christmas, Scarlett and her sister Ellie thought it would be great idea to find out more about their heritage. It isn’t the present that any of them were wanting. With her family fractured Scarlett runs away from the house and ends up in the local pub for the “Lunch for the Lonely”.

Ellie as been trying to hold everything together and has been staying in Portmellow since that fateful Christmas. This is not the norm for her, she is usually travelling and moving on to the next place. However Porthmellow has captured her heart and it is not just the place. Can she finally stop searching and stop and see what she really has?

Scarlett knows she was not lonely on that fateful day and now she does not know who she really is. Determined to find the truth Scarlett returns to Porthmellow and stays with her sister.

However, what she does not realise is that she will become so involved in Porthmellow, the Winter Solstice Festival and even the locals themselves. How can she possibly find out the truth when there are too many distractions?

As Christmas comes into view again can Scarlett and Ellie perhaps forget about what has happened in the previous twelve months and move forward. Or is there going to be something else hiding amongst the presents under the Christmas Tree?

The book opens with the denouement almost and you are left reeling from the after effects of it all. There are as many questions as there are answers and I was surprised by the depth of this plot line from the author. Not in a negative way but positively. How families are broken up and brought back together through actions and simple reactions the background of Christmas always seeming to exacerbate the reactions.

Of course it is wonderful to be back in Porthmellow and the sense of the Cornish harbour at Christmas. It is as if I was there amongst the festival goers and eavesdropping on what was going on. The author has a way of making you feel part of the place she describes, part of the book.

A slight change from perhaps what you might expect but for me it simply added another layer to the book. I cannot wait to see where Phillipa Ashley might take us next.

Wherever it is I will be there.

A moving read which eases you into your Christmas reading with great settings and great characters which capture your heart. A must for any fan of Ashley’s other works or discovering for the first time. A perfect read Christmas or not!

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

A Perfect Cornish Christmas is out now.

 

 

Books

Murder at the Dolphin Hotel – Helena Dixon

The first in what is obviously going to be a series of cosy mystery books, featuring Miss Underhay.

Kitty Underhay has been left in charge of her family’s hotel – the aforementioned Dolphin Hotel whilst her grandmother goes to visit a sick relative.

Her grandmother knows something is wrong as there have been some suspicious letters sent to the hotel and she fears that Kitty may be in danger so she hires a new security officer Matt Bryant whose first job is to protect Miss Kitty.

Kitty is determined that the summer season at the Dolphin Hotel is to go without a hitch, a glamourous jazz singer is due and a masked ball to end the summer season in Dartmouth must go without a hitch and prove to Kitty’s grandmother that she is more than capable of running the hotel.

Add to this some robbery, arson, a missing jewel and a few murders everything seems to be coming back to Kitty and her past. Can she possibly solve all of this before she puts herself in danger?

This is a lovely cosy mystery very much lighter than an Agatha Christie but certainly has plenty of nods to the Queen of Crime. Red herrings and twists and turns makes it an enjoyable page turner for any murder mystery fan.

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

Murder at the Dolphin Hotel is published on 11th December. 

 

Books

A Christmas Wish and a Cranberry Kiss at the Cosy Kettle – Liz Eeles

There is nothing better than being laden down with Christmas shopping and seeking solace in a lovely festive cafe for a festive treat. Where better than to sample a latte and a mince pie than the Cosy Kettle in Honeyford.

This time at the Cosy Kettle we are concentrating on Becca who is the manager. An unlikely choice as she is running away from what she sees as a failure, a broken relationship, a failed job and not living up to the status of her twin sister who her parents seem more to praise.

Hiding in a coffee shop in a bookshop seems like the perfect place to be.

Becca’s wish is to reinvent herself and in the run up to Christmas she does.

Can she get the date with Logan, who she has had a secret crush on for months?

Can she learn to be more assertive and stand up in front of people to talk?

Can she be more like her sister Jasmine?

But ultimately this wish list is going to be the undoing of Becca.

The opportunity to impress Logan and her boss Flora with some savvy business acumen and change the Cosy kettle into something more highbrow and sophisticated for a corporate party leads to a few conflicts with regular customers.

Add into the mix her friendship with housemate Luke who always remains faithful to their friendship. A sister who appears to have everything, including it looks like the man Becca is in love with.

Will her wishes come true or will Becca remain true to herself and just simply settle into being the way she is?

This is a nice simple read to bring a trilogy of books about the Cosy Kettle to a conclusion, but for me this book was not my favourite of the three.

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

A Christmas Wish and a Cranberry Kiss at the Cosy Kettle is out now. 

Books

The Child of Auschwitz – Lily Graham

How do you write a review for a book where you know pretty much what it is all about from the title? How do you write a review for a book about one of the most horrendous periods of history?

I approach this with such trepidation.

Eva boarded a train to Auschwitz she is looking for her husband of only six months. She wants to find him and she is going to hell on earth to do so. But is he there?

Sofie befriends Eva as they share a bed, what food they can get and the knowledge that they are goign through the same, shaved heads, back breaking labour and ultimately fear of death.

As Eva dreams of her husband, Sofie dreams of being reunited with her son.

As the days go on, Sofie sees an opportunity to bring happiness to Eva, but at what cost?

When Eva’s dreams come true the worse is still yet to come. Pregnant, Eva and Sofie now need to protect more than just themselves.

Will anyone survive the heartbreak of separation from the ones that they love?

This is an incredibly moving, researched, story that had me gasping in shock and with tears streaming down my face. The strength that these women went to, to survive makes our moans and groans of today’s world pale into comparison.

It is a fascinating read and brought such horror to life and I think a lot of people need to know what human beings are capable of, both good and evil.

This has to be Lily Graham’s best novel to date, the others were excellent but this seems to go above and beyond that.

A book worthy of your time to read.

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

The Child of Auschwitz is out now. 

 

 

Books

Starlight over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

This is the final book in the this trilogy set in Bluebell Castle. I have previously described the novels as Antiques Roadshow meets Downton Abbey, with added Chelsea Flower Show and now we are going to add in a Winter Wonderland.

Everyone is back from the previous novels, Arthur and Lucie Ludworth current Baronet. Constance, Lucie’s mother and Lancelot, Arthur’s Uncle. The ever dominate presence of Aunt Morgana and her wisdom, along with Iggy and Will forging a life in London now her work at the castle is done and of course youngest sibling Tristan who is the main feature of this novel.

Tristan once met a girl at a party, she happened to then work with him but some very cruel remarks from someone else set that girl on a different path and Tristan never knew why she didn’t come back. But now she has.

That someone is Jess Ridley.

Life has happened to Jess, excelling at her career in events planning she has fitted in a marriage to the best friend of her brother and two sons.

But now all of that has changed, she has left her job, her marriage is over and she is looking for what she can do next. With two young boys in tow that might be more difficult than she thinks.

In steps Tristan with an offer come to Bluebell Castle for a few months, help in launch his Winter Wonderland and take the time to decide on what is best for her and her young sons.

That would be simple, if Jess did not have some feelings for Tristan and Tristan did not have feelings for Jess. It could become very complicated.

But the residents of Bluebell Castle embrace all who enter it and take Jessica and her sons into their home and their hearts. I so wanted to turn up and be embraced and welcomed and left alone to join in or not as the whimsy took me. And that is the second idea that Tristan and Jess have, a house party for Christmas at Bluebell Castle.

Christmas brings its own magic and can Jess really see herself with Tristan if she could perhaps trust not just him but her own heart?

What an excellent finish to a trilogy that I so want to go back and visit, but now I have left I know that all is well, that life will go on and everyone has found their happy ever after and they can deal with whatever life throws at them.

An excellent Christmas read which captures so many wonderful elements of Christmas but the most important one – being with people you love and cherish. That is the best gift of all.

 

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

Starlight at Bluebell Castle is published on 4 November. 

 

You can read all of Sarah Bennett’s other work here

Butterfly Cove Series

Sunrise at Butterfly Cove

Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove

Christmas at Butterfly Cove

Lavender Bay Series

Spring at Lavender Bay

Summer at Lavender Bay

Snowflakes at Lavender Bay

Bluebell Castle Series

Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle

Sunshine over Bluebell Castle

Starlight over Bluebell Castle

 

 

Books · Jottings

October Roundup

 

Here we are again, the clocks have gone back, autumn is in full swing and the wonder that is Christmas is all over the place, including this book!

Another dose of antibiotics to fell a horse were consumed and it has been a bit of an up and down time overall for this month – a lot to contend with. I can tell the reading has been affected.

Nonetheless what have I read?

Let’s get the Christmas reading out of the way first – Caroline Roberts – Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry is a return to a book published earlier this year and is a delicious read if you want some comfort with your reading and with your puddings! I would like to go back and read some of Caroline’s earlier work as I think I would enjoy them.

The final part of the Bluebell Castle trilogy got devoured in less than 2 days – mainly because I want to move into the castle and be part of such a wonderful eclectic mix of people doing their own thing! Of course it was Christmas in Sarah Bennett – Starlight over Bluebell Castle and that just added to the magic even more.

Another book in a series that I have been with since the very beginning is Nancy Revell – Christmas with the Shipyard Girls. This is one of the best saga series out there and champion women in all the different roles they choose whilst the men are away at war. I await each book with anticipation and hope they continue.

It has been a while since I have read any Ellen Berry and I have since discovered that this is a pseudonym for Fiona Gibson.  Anyway I was taken to Snowdrops at Rosemary Cottage which was not quite full on Christmas as some books I have read lately.

Of course with all the Christmas and the lovely books I get the opportunity to read I do need to make a dent in what I have on shelves both actual and virtual which is why I picked up Liz Fenwick – The Cornish House, her books are a delight to read, this is an earlier work and great for anyone who is a fan of Cornwall as a backdrop for their stories.

Sue Perkins – East of Croydon was a Christmas present last year and has been sitting on the shelf. It is a record of her adventures to Asia and is a great accompaniment to the series she has made which I think are great fun to watch. Her humour is very unique and British and I think that is why she makes a good travel reporter as her delivery is spot on.  All read and another gap on the shelf!

As is there from Milly Johnson – The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew which was a recent buy and I have dipped in and out of this authors novels, as my whim takes me. This was quite powerful stuff and very apt for our current climate. I was rooting for Mrs Mayhew from the beginning and horrified that the people she was having to live with and deal with really do exist. We do not know what goes on behind closed doors.

Not knowing and suspicions leads me nicely into Agatha Christie – The Pale Horse which I think will be the BBC Christmas adaptation this year. I have seen then bizarre version with Miss Marple in (she does not appear in the book) and so I am intrigued as to how this will be portrayed. I wanted to read the book so I know I could do a good compare and contrast exercise with it. If you strip back the suspicions and the unknown – this is a really good mystery and a good example of Christie’s work that doesn’t feature her two main protagonists.

So that was October, I finish it reading Lily Graham’s new novel which is moving, powerful and heart wrenching that I have had to ration myself. So I picked up Belgravia, again sitting on my shelves for a while as I see this is going to be on ITV next year. More comparing and contrasting.

On with November.

Books

GIVEAWAY – A Perfect Cornish Christmas

I have been sent a copy of this book by the publishers and am going to pass it on to one lucky reader.

The book opens at Christmas, Scarlett and her sister Ellie thought it would be great idea to find out more about their heritage. It isn’t the present that any of them were wanting. With her family fractured Scarlett runs away from the house and ends up in the local pub for the “Lunch for the Lonely”.

A moving read which eases you into your Christmas reading with great settings and great characters which capture your heart. A must for any fan of Ashley’s other works or discovering for the first time. A perfect read Christmas or not!

All you have to do is comment on this post before 23:59 on the 23rd November 2019 and your name will go into a hat and I will pick the winner on the 24th and they will be announced on the 25th November.

I will post abroad so if you are reading this blog and you are not in the UK you can still enter!

Good Luck!