The Country Village Summer Fete – Cathy Lake

Little Bramble Village is the childhood home of Emma and since she has left, she has hardly returned for more than a few days if that. But on the edge of her forties and with her fifties looming fast, she suddenly feels that perhaps she has achieved nothing and certainly doesn’t have anything to show for it.

Returning to Little Bramble, with the reason to look after her widowed father who seems to have lost his way is Emma’s excuse to perhaps take stock of where she is in life and where she wants to go next.

However going back means she needs to face what she left behind in the village all those years ago – her first love. Confronting her actions from the past and the villagers who have long memories too, means that perhaps Emma needs to stop and reassess what she was really running away from. Can the answer be found in her mother’s workshop, full of jams and chutney? Can the answer be found in making friends and catching up with old ones? Can the answer be watching your dad deal with the widowhood? Can the answer be in the past?

Clear, really from the start where and how this book was going to pan out, it was a pleasant diversion and was great to return a place I have visited before, in the first novel. They work well as standalone books and there is no need for any prior knowledge. I would have like a bit more intrigue, ‘will they, won’t they’ jeopardy before the happy ending. It was just a bit too neat for me.

A book to while away the hours, but for me perhaps a series I would not return to, when there are perhaps stronger books out there.

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

The Country Village Summer Fete is out now.


The Bookshop Murder – Merryn Allingham

A quiet English Village in the 1950s, the South Downs the backdrop. You could almost be forgiven for expecting to see Miss Marple appear.

But let me introduce you to Miss Flora Steele, the young woman who owns the local bookshop in Abbeymead. Inherited from her aunt, she is determined to keep this legacy going.

When reclusive crime writer Jack Carrington enters the shop, he finds more than books – he finds a dead body. The police think it is nothing but a man breaking in and suffering an unfortunately timed heart attack. Nothing more to report. Everyone must get on with their lives

For Flora, she knows there is something not right about this and she wants to find the answers so at least she can help the shop to survive. She enlist Jack Carrington in her help to find out the truth, reluctantly he seems drawn to this spirited young woman. When another death occurs, it seems that Flora may well be onto something.

This is a lovely (not that murder is lovely) start to what is to be a series of books. Flora Steele lives up to her name and whilst she may be to some a flowery girl, she has a determined strength that makes me think that she might end up in some scrapes in the future! Let’s hope the mysterious crime author is always on hand.

For fans of all that is cosy about crime fiction, this book is for you.

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

The Bookshop Murder is out now.


The Reading List – Sara Nisha Adams

A book about books, what more could a book lover possibly want to read?

Aleisha is a reluctant employee at the local library and not that much of a reader, this is a job that her brother previously did and is a stop gap until the next part of her education.

She ventures no further than the library and home, her world is very small but she discovers a list of books to read that allow her world to expand and perhaps allow her to connect with other people, with her mother, with library patrons.

Mukesh, a widower misses his wife terribly, the gap she has left behind can never be filled and the stifling protection of his daughters means he has yet to find a new way to live being a widow. He wants to connect somehow to his granddaughter and through her love of books he finds himself at the library that Aleisha works at. He finds a list of book that broaden his horizons and he finds new worlds to share with everyone.

The list of books, covers a wide range of different books, which if you are familiar with will make perfect sense into how they fit into the story and their own stories they tell to help both Aleisha, Mukesh and us as readers. If you are not familiar with then you have just gained a whole list for to enjoy at your leisure.

This is a powerful and emotional book and I was caught out by one particular plot thread, so swept away was I with the story and the characters, it felt that I was suffering my own loss. The comfort was the familiarity of books, the comfort that they can give and the way they help and heal. The message which this debut novel has conveyed with sensitivity, across cultures, across ages and across book shelves.

Without doubt, one of the best books I have read and one that I would recommend for anyone who has a passion about books.

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

The Reading List is out now.


The Seaside Cocktail Campervan – Caroline Roberts

It is only in recent years that I have discovered Caroline Roberts and was thrilled to be able to read the latest from her. The cover itself is a delight and a great draw and just absolutely cheers your soul as does the story within.

Lucy lives in a cottage just near the sea with Daisy the Dachshund her faithful companion since she realises that her fiancé was never going to propose, well not to her anyway. Changing her life completely she finds herself starting a new adventure and venture with the Horse Box she has converted to a mobile Pizza van.

Jack has been driving his red Cocktail Campervan to local events, weddings, parties in Northumberland for the last couple of years. Whilst it is not what his parents thought he would end up doing, he has had made a success of it and he is kept busy. However Jack seems to be using all his energy into this venture and not giving himself any time for life and love.

Lucy and Jack’s paths cross at many events and the book is wonderfully divided into different events that we are also invited along to share the fun, the laughter, the wonderfully cocktails created and the delicious pizzas which simply make your mouth water.

Thanks to Daisy, Lucy does make rather an impact on Jack’s campervan and when they find themselves drawn together, despite some prior warnings and previous hurts it seems that the happy ending is clear for all to see. Of course true love does not always run smoothly and of course you need to be sure and both Lucy and Jack test this to the max.

Like the perfect pizza and cocktail you know when you have found your favourite and it made my heart sing the whole way through this story with Lucy and Jack. I wanted to dive right into the book, queue for the pizza and watch the cocktail being made and curl up in Lucy’s delightful cottage.

A book that will leave you simply smiling and with your heart full of joy – the best tonic to any cocktail!

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

The Seaside Cocktail Campervan is published today.


The Little Island Secret – Emma Davies

Abby is a single mother to Beth, living above a bookshop in Cambridge. They have a happy life, the bookshop is a safe haven for them both and the place where you can find both of them with their noses stuck between the pages of a book.

But are they both hiding from something?

Beth is at that difficult age at school and it seems that being unique is what makes her a target for bullies.

Abby is facing pressure from her mother to find the right man and settle down, giving up this bookshop nonsense.

It is the bookshop nonsense which changes Abby and Beth’s lives forever.

A correspondence began when Cam, contact Abby about a book. Then emails arrived about the life on the remote Scottish Island, Kinlossay where Cam lives. A place in a million miles away from the life Abby is currently leading. When the correspondence, results in a fleeting visit, it seems both Abby and Beth have found something in a man to bring out the best in both of them.

Then the correspondence suddenly stops. Cam has passed away. Abby is bereft.

Abby decides a trip to Kinlossay is what is needed for both of them, to be close to Cam again and see this beautiful island for real described so colourfully in Cam’s letters.

Upon arrival, she sees someone the identical image of Cam – but it can’t be him if he is dead? So who is this pretender? What is the real truth behind all of these people on this island? Has Abby just set herself up for my heartbreak and misery not just for herself but her daughter too?

I found this novel much like the author’s earlier works and they are the ones that I enjoyed the most. Strong female friendships, romance and the need to find the truth no matter how hard it is going to be finding it out. Added to that the bonus of a bookshop and an island to escape to, it has all the perfect ingredients of a great book to hold your attention.

I was simply swept away with the plot and wept with the characters as hearts are broken and healed. The landscape made me want to grab a load of books and head across the seas to escape into them and the beauty of the place brought to life by the author.

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

The Little Island Secret is out now.


Roundup – Six in Six 2021

First of all a very big THANK YOU to everyone who joined in. We might be a select bunch but I hope those that have just read our posts are inspired by some more in their reading, to all the new blog followers, watchers and readers it has been great to discover your little piece of the internet.

Here is a list of everyone that joined in this year. Dare I say this is the best year so far????

If I have missed you off or you know someone who took part but failed to link back to me, then let me know and I can add. We are growing year on year ever so slowly but we all have one thing in common – we like to read!

In no particular order please check out these fellow Six in Sixers!

Happy reading and discovering folks!

Reading Ladies Book Club

Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

FictionFan’s Book Reviews

A Darn Good Read

Pining for the West

The Bookworm Chronicles


She Reads Novels


Secret Library Book Blog

Stacy’s Books

Gulfside Musing

Melissa Firman

It’s All About Books

Twirling Book Princess

Care’s Books and Pies

In Another Era

Bookgirl’s Nightstand

Superfluous Reading

Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

The Chocolate Lady’s Book Blog

Millay’s Musings


Thoughts on Papyrus

You Might as Well Read

See you all in 2022 – when apparently it will be the 10 year anniversary of Six in Six.


Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood – Ali McNamara

After being caught up in a traumatic event, Ava decides to find solace and peace in Bluebell Wood. The complete opposite to her hustle and bustle of life she is leaving behind in London but she needs to find peace and heal.

With a rescue dog called Merlin accompanying her Ava finds herself in this little cottage on the edge of the woods, with plans to keep herself to herself. Unfortunately coming to live in a small village means you are going to be the source of much interest and it isn’t long before Ava finds herself slowly being swept into village life.

Callum, the good looking vicar, is one of the first to meet Ava and leaves a lasting impression, though it takes a while for Ava to reconcile this man of god with the vision in her imagination. Jenny in the village shop is welcoming and helpful, the local teacher Jemima encourages Ava’s gift with the children. Linnet and Robin, a single mum and an autistic boy pull not just at Ava’s heart strings but mine as well.

With any village there is always something going on whether it is the local quiz, the school jumble sale or even Easter Egg hunts and Ava despite her fears and misgivings seems to become part of it all. As the new development starts on some fields adjacent to Bluebell Wood, she finds herself very passionately protesting that something must be done. It seems that miracles come in strange place.

Whilst the book encompass a wonderful village tale full of community spirit, Ali McNamara has taken the power of nature and used it to her advantage to add an almost ethereal tone to one of the storylines. The beauty of nature and particularly the birds that are attracted to no doubt Bluebell Wood but Ava’s bird food lead to something that will put the village on the map forever.

It seems that Ava’s solace and peace is what she has been looking for all along.

This is another wonderful book from an author who seems to be getting better with the depth of her stories and the wonderful scenes and characters she weaves into the pages of the book.

Thoroughly recommended for that feel good nature of a book bursting full of nature too!

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

Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood is out now.


Home – Penny Parkes

Anna has no home, but that doesn’t matter to her. She moves from house to house, across countries, countries and continents to look after other people’s homes, the precious pets and their treasured belongings.

Living such a peripatetic life for the last ten years has seen Anna simply live unencumbered by baggage and a base. But even thought she may travel light, Anna is in fact taking the most heaviest of emotions with her wherever she goes. And she cannot out run them.

Through intersperse chapters we learn of Anna’s upbringing and her childhood where she was pushed from pillar to post through the care system – a ‘looked after child’. Seeking solace in literature, reading and books she finds herself at Oxford against or if not despite all the odds probably stacked against her.

On her first day she meets Kate and a lifelong friendship and bond begins, which lasts and as life changes for Kate, she starts to look at how Anna is perhaps conducting her life and that she needs to find the answers to what she wants in one place and not a dozen.

Having read Penny Parkes previous novels, I know she has never been one to shy away from some tricky and tough subject that perhaps do not make for comfortable reading. This book was no different in that respect, but she handled it with real skill and care. I was drawn into supporting Anna as the child and rather like her friend Kate, wanting Anna as an adult to stop running away and stay still long enough to find what she was looking for.

It was great to have a book where it was not all going to be tied up nicely with everyone living happily ever after. I adore those books but I also love a book which is left open ended for the characters to continue just as much as the readers. Whilst this book perhaps felt a bit repetitive in parts and for me a tad too over-laboured, it was still compelling enough to become totally involved in all the characters, no matter how they floated into Anna’s life and how long they stayed there.

I recommend this is one of those books that everyone is going to be reading in 2021.

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

Home is out now


July Roundup

I think this July has held every possible weather combination apart from snow in the South! When it is too hot the only thing I can manage to do is read.

Ploughing through all the wonderful requests I have put in on netgalley, means that I only picked up one actual book in July – Shelia Norton – Escape to Riverside Cottage. A delightful book to get lost in as the main character finds her place in a place in Devon that hardly anyone knows about. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Shelia Norton’s novels.

Escaping is of course what reading and books brings for a lot of people and I escaped a bit further south to Cornwall with Phillipa Ashley – An Endless Cornish Summer where I was immediately plunged into the water and the community that made my heart sing with delight as I turned the pages of this book. Some authors get better and better!

Of course not many people are travelling at the moment and those that are not going far, so I embarked on a couple of road trips through the pages of books. First was Fanny Blake – The Long Way Home, my first time with this author as we saw the unlikely partnership of grandmother trying to find out the truth about her own mother accompanied by a rather begrudging teenager.

Penny Parkes – Home was a book where you did not need to set down any roots, but take yourself wherever the house sitting work too you and lay your head on the next bed. But ultimately for Anna was this enough? A book which I think will be popular this summer.

Trying to find your home when life changes around you makes you want to run away and hide, which is what Ava does when she escapes in Ali McNamara – Hope and Happiness in Bluebell Wood and finds both, what another glorious place and community to be apart of through the pages of a book.

Of course community is a major theme in many books I read and so it was the community that came together in Cathy Lake – The Country Village Summer Fete. Returning back to your home after leaving under a cloud is always going to have tis difficulties but when your first love is still there and perhaps the bright lights of the city were not all they were cracked up to be – it makes you think.

When you live on a small island, then being part of the community is everything and when you are embraced as a visitor after someone has talked about you a lot, it seems right that you should enjoy your holiday. That is until you are faced with a ghost. Emma Davies – The Little Island Secret certainly has lots to tell and somehow combined being a quiet thriller amongst what some could call women’s fiction.

Talking of thrillers, Emma Rous – The Perfect Guests was a choice I made this month, the difficult second novel, but very good. A lightness to it that made it all that more intriguing. A book full of suggestion and it is up to you as a reader whether you pick up on them all!

For me the past has always been intriguing , having a history degree does that for you. So I am always delighted to go back and was more so with A.J. Pearce – Yours Cheerfully the follow up to the wonderful Dear Mrs Bird. You want to know about strong women during the war, then look no further than this book and tell all your friends to read it too!

Female protagonists probably feature quite strongly in my reading, through default not choice and I was delighted to pick up what is to be I think the start of a series Merryn Allingham – The Bookshop Murder. A gentle 1950s village setting, a big house now a hotel, a spinster in charge of a bookshop. It had all the elements of a Golden Age novel and I was expecting Miss Marple to pop up at some point.

So that was July. I must say a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has joined in the Six in Six for 2021. I am busy compiling the round up post, so do look out for that.

Let’s crack on with August reading and maybe some book shopping too!