Books

The Break Up – Tilly Tennant


It is all over for Lara, her boyfriend tells her that it is over and that there is someone else and Lara knows exactly who it is.  Walking out of the restaurant, Lara cannot get a cab home, its raining and then she is followed home by a cat who insists on being let in and making itself at home. It seems that Fluffy which Lara calls her is the only thing she can rely on.

Trouble is Fluffy is also known as Satchmo and has ben getting regularly fed and watered at Theo’s house.

When Lara sees Theo and Fluffy/Satchmo a rather interesting dynamic develops and it seems that there is going to be a continual battle over the cat.

But as Lara is a wedding planner and Theo plays in a band – it looks like there paths are going to continue to cross and the issue about whose cat it is, is not going to go away.

It anything though the cat is bringing Lara and Theo together and no matter how hard they try, the organised Lara and laid back Theo seem the perfect fit if only they could be honest with each other.

An enchanting book which captures your heart and you can be swept along with the ‘loveliness’ of it all as the characters go through ups and downs in a “will they won’t they” between Lara, Theo and of course the cat! Add in the backdrop of weddings and you have a booked packed with romance!

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

The Break Up is published on 26 March. 

 

 

Jottings

Parish Notices

How is your parish faring?

Many words and phrases are new to us – unprecedented we can now all probably spell quite well. As well as ‘self-isolation’, ‘social distancing’, ‘flattening the curve’ and no doubt there will be more which will seep into our subconscious.

I am finding it probably like the rest of you very strange. There are some days when I can cope and there are others where I have not coped at all. I have not been focused on much, reading has taken a bit of a dent as I can’t seem to concentrate, however I make a concerted effort to power through.

The biggest for me has been the exercise and swimming. I was still doing this and going to the gym, it has now since closed and I realise how much swimming is my mind space time. I need it to survive I think. I live near the sea, it may now be time to investigate swimming in it instead.

Whilst pictures of people walking on promenades and in parks yesterday and today has been frowned upon, I can see the other side as we have had hardly any bright dry days to be able to go out and people just needed that shot of blue sky and sunshine. I did go out and run madly up and down a hill and squatted in a space and lunged and did as much as I could to escape the all consuming news of it.

Being distanced means you want to keep in touch and of course I do with as many people as I can, but invariably as breaking news infiltrates you find yourself drawn to the news almost hourly and that in itself can’t be good for us.

I need to find a new normal, a new routine, a new way forward.

I am currently still going to work – I am classed as a key worker under the Public Safety and National Security umbrella, a contractor to one of our armed forces in my case. I cannot work from home, I would if I could and I think as the days go on into next week it will mean less time in the office and condensing the work and only the vital work when I am in.

Let me change the subject and talk books and other things to distract me and you with.

Malory Towers has been made for the BBC and all episodes are going to drop I think tomorrow (Mon 23 Mar) on iPlayer. It will be a sanitised version of Enid Blyton, but who cares, it is a kids programme, but who cares, I am ready to indulge in this with my tuck box ready. I so wish I still had my books from being a child, what a good time to indulge and read them all.

Something to look forward to……30th April sees the publication of the new Heidi Swain novel

If you cannot get to a seaside, this is the perfect way to escape – but you might need to provide your own ice cream

The cover just brings you some cheer doesn’t it?

Recently published is Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay

This really is a book full of warmth. Friendships forged and never forgotten. The cross generational divide which brings communities together works in Lexi’s favour and her passion for all things vintage I am sure would make a book on its own. Of course there is a romantic element within the book and whilst of course these things don’t always run smoothly sometimes the best things for people are simply staring them in the face!

Also recently published is Clover Cottage the third in the Love Heart Lane series by Christie Barlow.

For fans of good women’s fiction which is not light and fluffy but has real depth of emotion and character – read them all from the beginning of the series. You won’t regret it!

It is a long time since I brought you any crafts on this blog, though I have been mentioning it in my look back over ten years. Of course it is another part of my life that along with reading, swimming I use as a tool to keep my somewhat grounded and sane (debatable I know) but I used the opportunity yesterday to finish a Christmas Elf…..

……I know it is only just turned Spring but still I needed to keep busy and he was looking rather forlorn in the bag.

It has cheered my soul, to finish this elf, share these books and have a bit of a natter on here. I am grateful for the many little things, like being able to dry my washing outside and all I can do now is see what tomorrow brings for me and for us all.

Stay Safe.

Books

Clover Cottage – Christie Barlow

This is the third book in the Love Heart Lane series and I am delighted once again to be transported North to the wonderful Scottish village of Heartcross.

Vet Rory Scott has always wanted to do something more than be the Vet at his father’s practice in Heartcross. He wanted to branch out, do something, see the world and have an impact on animals worldwide not just locally.

However feeling an obligation to his father and mother he stays in Heartcross and starts to settle with girlfriend, Allie. It all seems to be going well until…

Rory’s father rents out the house that he is currently living in and gives Clover Cottage, rundown and in need of a lot of TLC to Rory. But he is not telling Rory something and this coupled with the stubborn need not to improve or the practice frustrates Rory.

Even more so when celebrity Zach Turner and his dog Sydney turn up in the area. Whilst Rory can help Sydney the dog he has to rely on other people in another place to be able to fulfill the dream. And when Zach makes him an offer it looks like he would be foolish to refuse it.

Allie has not got the drive of her boyfriend Rory, she loves him, she loves the village and she now certainly loves Clover COttage ans she can see her future there. She has spent many years being uprooted and thinks she has now found her final place to stay but why does Rory want to go further afield?

Can these two people seemingly going in opposite directions actually get to where they are meant to be – together?

Coming back to Heartcross and all the people I have got to know is like catching up with friends, life goes on and just now and again you need to pop in and see what has been happening and I was so glad I did. Even more thrilling when you know there is another chance to catch up with them all later in the year.

For fans of good women’s fiction which is not light and fluffy but has real depth of emotion and character – read them all from the beginning of the series. You won’t regret it!

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

Clover Cottage is published on the 20 March 2020.

Books

Murder at Enderley Hall – Helena Dixon

This is the second novel from Helena Dixon and the second to also feature the delightful Kitty Underhay, You do not need to have read the first, but it does help fill in a bit of the background of Kitty and the dashing private detective Matt Bryant.

Kitty having discovered family she did not know she had and that they lived fairly close by she goes on a visit.

Having borrowed a chambermaid from the hotel she lives in with her grandmother, Kitty sets off on a new adventure to meet these relatives.

There is an Aunt and Uncle plus a cousin, as well as a few more assmeled house guests that make up such a house party. Her Uncle is obviously involved in some important government work and as tensions are growing in Europe, it is 1933 and things are changing, there is an air of mystery to the whole proceedings especially when some important papers go missing.

Then old Nanny Thoms is found dead at the bottom of the stairs.

Kitt’s friend Matt Bryant turns up and proves to be useful in getting to what is really going on at Enederly Hall.

Then another body turns up, guest are arrested and mysterious faces at the window and bodies in lakes all start to get a bit too much for Kitty.

Surely Kitty is not going to lose the family she has only just found?

This is a wonderful second novel and starts to fill in the gaps about Kitty’s family. It is a wonderful take on a the country house murder mystery and the growing friendship between Kitty and Matt is delightful. The added dimension of it being a history murder mystery is all the more interesting as you can see how in these interwar years, the First World War is still very much affecting people and the obvious growing threat in Europe is goign to have some sort of effect.

There is much to like about these two novels so far in the series I look forward to seeing what other mischief Kitty gets embroiled in. The series could potentially run for a while.

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

Murder at Enderley Hall is published on 19 March 2020.

Books

Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay – Katie Ginger

This is the start of a series of books by Katie Ginger, set in the glorious Swallowtail Bay.

Here in the first, Stella recently divorced puts all her money into a gift shop with some questionable gifts in it and two holiday lets in Swallowtail Bay. She has nothing to lose apart from all her money, but she has escaped what she knows and this is her chance to start again.

With only her dg Frank for company, Stella throws herself into the gift shop and starts to make a small success of it, even if some of the locals are slightly perturbed that it was her who managed t purchase the shop.

Miles had his eye on the shop as he is fed up with travelling and wants to put some roots down in the only place he has known as home – Swallowtail Bay. The gift shop seemed ideal until Stella came along.

Stella starts to fit in and make friends, single mum Lexi is trying to make ends meet by working in one of the local cafes next door and her friendship grows with Stella. As it does with some of the more older residents of the seaside town.

But even if Stella seems to be making a success of the little gift shop that you could spend a lot of time browsing in, her holiday lets are going to test her even further. You never know who you are going to get rent them. It proves for some interesting actions and reactions.

Some of the local residents seem to have a lot to say about Stella and when she is then invited to her ex husbands wedding she wonders whether it was all worth it and she is going to fail.

This really is a book full of warmth. Friendships forged and never forgotten. The cross generational divide which brings communities together works in Lexi’s favour and her passion for all things vintage I am sure would make a book on its own. Of course there is a romantic element within the book and whilst of course these things don’t always run smoothly sometimes the best things for people are simply staring them in the face!

A great book to escape to on a wet day or a hot day. Swallowtail Bay is a place you will want to visit again and again.

 

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

Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay is published on 18 March. 

 

Books

Triumph of the Shipyard Girls – Nancy Revell

Some series of books can be happily read out of order as they simply regurgitate much of previous books to pad out the new ones. Not so with Nancy Revell, I would actively encourage you to read them all in order as they follow on almost from the page of the last.

So here we are with book number eight. Polly is left behind as her husband, Tommy  goes back to fight in the war, but it seems she has a secret blossoming which means she will always have a piece of her Tommy with her at any time. More important now as they lose people very close to them.

Helen is still battling with her mother and the hold she has over Helen and the women welders in Thompson’s yard. Secrets can make you bitter and twisted and it seems that Helen has stumbled across another one and it seems her mother knows nothing about it.

Bel is enjoying working at the shipyard but it seems her mother Pearl, is not so keen. Is Bel trying to get to the truth about her heritage and it seems that someone else is also making connections. The past is about to come into the future for Bel and Pearl.

Rosie and her younger sister Charlotte, still dominate the storyline as Charlotte grows, gets older and understands more of the world she has many questions about Rosie’s work and friendship with Lily. What she discovers raises more questions than answers and sometimes it is best that some secrets are best left untold. Interestingly, we go further back into Rosie’s past to see what led her to the place she is in now and how Charlotte end up in boarding school and Rosie at Lily’s. This is what keeps the books and the plots fresh – there is always a new element to discover.

Through all of this, the regular characters feature as does the shadow of war and relentless bombing by the luftwaffe, which makes a mark on the area once again in the novel. Home are destroyed, ship production is set back but the Shipyard Girls somehow maintain there grace and warmth to see them through.

I have said before and will no doubt say again and again – this is a wonderful series of books. Women are at the heart of these stories, their strength whether it be playing their own role in fighting Hitler, fighting their demons, keeping the strength of love going during separation, keeping secrets, missing loved ones or just trying to simply manage day to day. The books are packed with so much.

I know at some point that this series will inevitably come to a conclusion, but until it does I am to go enjoy the books and keep telling you all about them.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read these books. 

Triumph of the Shipyard Girls is published on the 19 March. 

If you wish to read them all 

  1. The Shipyard Girls
  2. Shipyard Girls at War
  3. Secrets of the Shipyard Girls
  4. Shipyard Girls in Love
  5. Victory for the Shipyard Girls 
  6. Courage of the Shipyard Girls 
  7. Christmas with the Shipyard Girls
  8. Triumph of the Shipyard Girls 

 

Books

Starting Over at Acorn Cottage – Kate Forster

Buying a thatched cottage has always been the dream of Clara, roses around the door, children, husband and complete contentment.

However dreams are life very rarely match.

When Clara finds her boyfriend and best friend have been goign behind her back – discovered all thanks to cottage pie! Clara realises she cannot live in the shadow of their relationship and buys a thatched cottage, in Merryknowe unseen called Acorn Cottage.

So the dream suddenly becomes a reality without the roses, the children, the husband and actually not much more else than a roof over the four walls. It is not really a dream more a disaster.

Enter Henry and his daughter Pansy, in their little van. Looking for a place to stay and also Henry is looking for a place to work – what better place than Clara’s cottage.

Rachel has walked past Acorn Cottage for almost all of her life and it was her dream to be in there too. She initially resents Clara taking away that but actually Clara is the catalyst in helping Rachel follow her dream after a disastrous start in life.

Add into the mix, Joe the good looking butcher, Tassie McIver a elderly lady with a penchant for tea leaves and predicting life and the story starts weave together some magic which kept me turning the page and wanting to know if Acorn Cottage was the place for Clara to heal and start all over.

Kate Forster weaves a lovely romantic tale into the renovation of a cottage, of the start of moving on for Clara, Henry and Rachel as well as the pull of a community in difficult times. What more could you want from a book – a cottage, a village, a bakery full of cake and romance.

A lovely read and well worth losing yourself in.

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

Starting over at Acorn Cottage is published on 19 March 2020. 

Please find below links to other Kate Forster books I have read

The Perfect Retreat 

The Perfect Christmas

The Last Will & Testament of Daphne Le Marche