The Summer That Changed Us – Cathy Bramley

If you want a book to sweep you away, make you laugh, make you cry and give you a warm hug then pretty much anything from Cathy Bramley will do that and this new book is no exception.

Set by the sea in Merle Bay, three women are thrown together unexpectedly and become the friends they did not realise they needed until they found each other.

Katie, runs the local lingerie shop and is keen on giving a boost to all ladies who come into the shop. But she is hiding her own secret and she cannot possibly tell anyone.

Robyn is healing but whilst she may be physically it seems the emotional scars are a long way from that and her marriage is at a crossroads. Can the strength of their love see them through?

Grace, the older of the three women is grieving. she has come to Merle Bay to find herself, to move on. However her husbands children seem hell bent on making sure they get what they feel they are entitled to until a revelation makes Grace reassess everything she knows.

The instant friendship that strikes up shows you how women can draw on the strength of others and have no hang ups or barriers about their past actions. Sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger than someone you are close to.

Add into the mix Amber, grieving for her mother and at that awkward teenage age and her father Barney, the local newspaper journalist. There could be some consequences if the secrets all of them hold are spilled forth.

This book covers some pretty tough topics; cancer, adultery, grief, exploitation of young women and mental health. Recovery from one, some or all of these things requires many methods and this book shows you that strength can be sought in friendships, in the environment by the sea, and in the wonder of craft with sea glass that is in abundance at the beach in Merle Bay.

I loved the book without a doubt and one of the best Cathy Bramley has written.

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

The Summer That Changed Us is out now.


Three Cheers for Shipyard Girls – Nancy Revell

Three Cheers for the Shipyard Girls, should be followed by Three Cheers for Nancy Revell as this wonderful series of books comes to a conclusion, with this the final instalment. I have been with all the girls since the beginning and I am heartened and sadden to know that as soon as I picked up this book it was inevitably going to come to an end.

As the end of the Second World War, approaches the lives of these women welders in a Sunderland shipyard and going to change inexplicably once again. Gloria has finally found her happy ending and is going to marry Jack and unite her family once more.

Rosie, now happy that Peter is home from his secret missions abroad is finally starting to settle into married life but there is still her own secrets she needs to reconcile to be able to move on.

Angie is to be married to Quentin and with that the final escape from her family and the behaviours of her parents. Little does she know, she will end up with a ready made family as soon as she is married.

Dorothy whilst content with planning Angie’s wedding, does not want one of her own and is determined along with Gloria’s son Bobby to see the world once the world is available to be seen once again.

Polly and Tommy are reunited, their family complete. Along with all those who make the extended family as well, Agnes, Bel, Joe, Pearl and Lucille. All names you will be familiar with if you have been with the books from the beginning.

Of course there is some unfinished business with Helen and her family secrets which are still going to affect all the women she employs. Can she possibly keep it together to protect those she cares about. And will anyone ever care about her for who she is and not what she might bring to a relationship?

Nancy Revell does not hold back with the events in this book and I was positively hooked as I had to make sure all the bad and evil got their comeuppance. Some of the evil was never going to be reconciled and I adored the fact that Nancy sent Hannah, back to Austria, via the Red Cross to the liberation of the concentration camps to face those particular demons. Resonating so much reading this book in the world we currently live in.

The book came to the conclusion it rightly should have done. It is a double edge sword to come to the end of a series of books when you have been with them since the beginning. I want to know what happens next but on the other hand, I know that all of the Shipyard Girls lives will continue long past the final page and word written by Nancy Revell.

The best saga series I have read in many years and begs to be made into a television drama. I feel bereft that I am no longer going to take a peek at their lives anymore but I am so glad I did.

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

Three Cheers for the Shipyard Girls is out now.

Series Order

The Shipyard Girls

Shipyard Girls at War

Secrets of the Shipyard Girls

Shipyard Girls in Love

Victory for the Shipyard Girls

Courage of the Shipyard Girls

Christmas with the Shipyard Girls

Triumph of the Shipyard Girls

A Christmas Wish for the Shipyard Girls

The Shipyard Girls on the Home Front

Shipyard Girls Under the Mistletoe

Three Cheers for the Shipyard Girls


The Little Library on Cherry Lane – Katie Ginger

Elsie lives a quiet life, the village librarian, she keeps herself pretty much to herself, She doesn’t want to be noticed, despite the fact she notices a lot and a lot of people rely on her presence within the village and of course in the library. The village and the library are her whole world. Why would she want to do or go anywhere else?

When all she knows is threatened – Elsie has to step forward and be heard and seen. The library is to be closed, to make way for more affordable housing. The place needs to be saved, it is a haven for those who are lonely, stressed mothers, coffee mornings and baby groups as well as books.

The affordable housing is the idea of Jacob Yardley, who is desperately trying to appease his father and show that he can successfully work on a building project of his own. Except Jacob’s heart isn’t in it and he will not play the underhand games to ensure that the library is knocked down to make way for the housing at the expense of a whole community.

Jacob and Elsie first meet and there is a spark, but when they both find out what the other stands for, it is a spark which is not going to go as planned. Much to the disappointment of Elsie’s friends who think Elsie needs to step out from behind whichever books she has her nose in.

Whilst this a wonderful romance, set in a lovely community and of course features a library. It touches on many topical points to do with little villages surviving when the inhabitants age and grow. How a project such as affordable housing can divide villages, relationships and friendships and how the strength of something such as the loss a library brings everyone together.

I enjoyed all the characters and quite frankly wanted to poke Jacob’s father in the eye with his grandiose attitude of what is right for his son! But that said, you could see who Elsie and Jacob were clearly meant to be together and that their shared passion of words, books and poetry were going to overcome any obstacle – eventually!

A perfect book for fans of warm, comforting women’s fiction and I guarantee you will want to move to the village right away!

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

The Little Library on Cherry Lane is out now.


Parish Notices

Happy Easter to those who celebrate this time of year. Happy Sunday to those who are just enjoying the wonderful weather we are having at the moment in the UK.

The sunshine, blue skies and lack of rain has certainly made me feel a lot better lately.

It has been a while since we have had any notices around here – I have been all consumed with work and I have not really had much of an inclination to even write reviews, which is why I am a bit behind. So please bear with if there are some rather large gaps in posting. Currently off work for the Easter break, I endeavour to at least be a little bit ahead of the game.

So just in case you have missed anything going on round here – here are couple of books you might want to look out for

If only life really as about following your dreams.……

Three women at very different points in their lives, are all thrown together to get the village pub at Rushbrook back up and running. At the same time to get their own lives back up an running.

There was something about this book which moved me, reminded me how strong a single female can be and that determination and a bit of old fashioned hard work can get you anywhere and that whatever path you choose, its always the right one for you at that time. It may be that all impulses are for a reason.

I love a good story and this is why I of course love reading. I love hearing snippets of stories as I go about my day, what is the rest of the story, what brought that person to that point when I over hear the story. Where will the story go next?

This book is full of human nature in all its forms, it is told through the stories of others as well as Janice, and I was fascinated by it’s structure and how it was going to conclude. It proves that there are so many stories to be told and that actually we have to take time out and listen to them – because people may just surprise you!

The book surprised me, it delighted me and will leave an imprint on my reading soul.

Do let me know what has been going on around your parish and whether you have any great reads you wish to share?


The Girl at the Last House Before the Sea – Liz Eeles

This is the third in the series of books set in Heaven’s Cove and we get to find a bit more about the history of Driftwood House; the Last House Before the Sea.

Freya arrives in Heaven’s cover, divorced and jobless. The two constants in her life are gone and she finds herself thanks to her half sister, Belinda with new employment and a place to live.

That new employment is with Kathleen, herself only recently arrived at Heaven’s Cove some few years previous. Kathleen is an eighty year old who is a bit unsteady on her feet and with Freya’s experience of care giving it seems the perfect match. Freya gets a job and home and Kathleen is well looked after and still holding on to that bit of independence and not being a burden on her only son.

Ryan though thinks this imposition is rather much, it is typical Belinda; well known in Heaven’s Cove for the gossip she peddles and the lives she interferes in. Ryan has enough to deal with grieving for his wife, dealing with twelve year old daughter Chole without adding a complete stranger moving into his mother’s house.

When he then sees that his mother has given Freya money, it seems that all is not as it seems. But then nothing ever is and surely Kathleen moving to Heaven’s Cove has to have been for a reason. Kathleen’s choice of bedroom in the cottage overlooking Driftwood House.

Secrets start flooding out and when you have a gossipy sister, Freya knows that she has to keep it all to herself. However the truth will out and some secrets need to be told to resolve the past and move forward into the future happier and more peaceful.

Will it all come together for Freya? Will Kathleen reveal what she has been hiding? And what of the history of Driftwood House?

Although part of series set in the same place, any of these books can be read as standalone. The only familiarity is the setting, the landscape and of course Driftwood House. Told from different points of view from all the main characters it draws you into their lives and their secrets. I think it is well written and has a quiet strength that once all these secrets are out then anything can be resolved.

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

The Girls at the Last House by the Sea is out now.


The Keeper of Stories – Sally Page

I love a good story and this is why I of course love reading. I love hearing snippets of stories as I go about my day, what is the rest of the story, what brought that person to that point when I over hear the story. Where will the story go next?

For Janice sees herself and assume that others see her as just a cleaner. A former boss of mine said, no one is just anything and Janice is not just a cleaner, she is a collector of stories. Stories that she has picked up along her way in life and whilst also being a collector she is living her own story as well. But what is Janice’s story/

Along the way in this book, we meet Fiona and her young son Adam, grieving from the loss of her husband and father and creating a world that is not sustainable. Then there is Geordie; the opera singer, Mrs Yeahyeahyeah permanently attached to her phone with a fox terrier who has the ability to read Janice’s mind it seems.

Then we are introduced to the redoubtable Mrs B – she knows there is story to tell, she has many of her own but she knows Janice’s story is what is holding her back from the future.

Through some crafty wit and events along the way, we learn as does Mrs B about Janice’s story and we start to learn that everyone has one. A story, in fact they have many and the ones they choose to tell are the ones that we use to shape our opinions of them. Is the story you are being told the truth? And actually are other peoples stories all the more fascinating because they are not ours?

This book is full of human nature in all its forms, it is told through the stories of others as well as Janice, and I was fascinated by it’s structure and how it was going to conclude. It proves that there are so many stories to be told and that actually we have to take time out and listen to them – because people may just surprise you!

The book surprised me, it delighted me and will leave an imprint on my reading soul.

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

The Keeper of Stories is out now.


March Roundup

Looking back at the last two March, I seem to be in a familiar place. A need to recharge and reset, the reading is perhaps not the solace it can be. That said though I have read some great books in March, but the inclination to talk about them has waned slightly as the month has come to a close. I can though wax lyrical about all that I have read in this summary post of March.

When times are tough, it is familiarity in reading that can sometimes bring us through and of course lots of the authors this month I have read before.

I am back with Kitty in the latest Helena Dixon – Murder in First Class where she finds herself embroiled in a murder on a train, in a classic locked room scenarios familiar to those who have read many a crime novel of the classic cosy genre! I do so enjoy this series and know that eventually it will come to an end, in the meantime I just enjoy.

I do become involved in places, series, characters and no more so than when I am lucky enough to get hold of Sarah Bennett – Love Blooms at Mermaid Point and escape back to a place where I know I am going to be welcomed. Peeking into their lives is such a joy and perhaps the topics might be tough, but it all encompasses something which makes this particular author and her work a joy to read.

Sticking with authors I have read before took me to Liz Eeles – The Girl at the Last House Before the Sea where Freya finds herself starting again not just with her own life but with the relationships with her own family. Her influence means that others start to question their own family pasts.

Strong female characters is always a theme amongst many of the books I read and no more so than with the latest Veronica Henry – The Impulse Purchase. This is one of my favourites by this author and is an impulse purchase everyone needs to make. A proper great read to completely lose yourself in and one of my books of the year so far.

And also this month brought another favourite book of the year and that is Sally Page – The Keeper of Stories. This debut novel is such a quiet gentle read that it had my heart from the very first page. The stories that are out there amongst us all, the normal is much more interesting than the faked and fantastical world we sometimes can live in. A book to look out for.

Another book I kept seeing and had yet to read, so a bit slow to the party with this one was Robert Thorogood – The Marlow Murder Club. A fun, cleverly constructed novel which featured some quirky characters, some interesting murders and plenty of theories to make me think this could be the start of a series of books to get into. If Murder Mystery is your thing then this book is definitely one to read.

The book above, was one I had on my shelf that required reading and I also found myself picking up another one which had been languishing on there a while. That’s the trouble with netgalley it distracts me from my own shelves. Anyway I picked up Ayana Mathis – The Twelve Tribes of Hattie a heart breaking and graphic story which is eye opening about the South in America during many troubled times. A disturbing book that requires reading to gain an insight perhaps into what seems like another world but is sadly probably not that far from reality.

It has been a while since I have read any type of autobiography but I spotted Sutton Foster – Hooked on her own social media feed and as it features the wonderful affect craft can have on your life, you could say I was also hooked. Very American in references so some of it went over my head, but it was a fascinating to see how this popular theatre and television actress started and how the outlet of craft has kept her grounded along the way.

So that was March, some of the shelves a little dent in the Netgalley list as well. Onwards and upwards for April. I wonder where my reading journey will take me next ?