A Golden Cornish Summer – Phillipa Ashley

Emma has returned to Silver Cove in Cornwall where she spent her formative years of her life. She has come to stay with friend Maxi to find inspiration for her illustrating work and to grieve for her father.

She did not expect it to be easy, but she was not expecting to find her first love, Luke still there, well established and well respected as well as living in the place she once called home.

Luke and Emma’s love ran much deeper than their families thought. However it was their families which perhaps caused much of their heartache. Buried treasure, affairs and still some bitter resentments are prevalent some years later. Perhaps it is just not Luke and Emma who have issues to resolve perhaps their families do as well.

Emma decides that once she has completed her work she will again leave, but while there she gets drawn far too much into village life. Helping the Beachcombers clean up the detritus left by anyone on the beach, means she discovers in more beautiful creatures to draw. A reluctant friendship starts up with her old teacher Ms Bowen and she learns more about how love can affect your whole life.

Wherever she goes it seems Emma’s path will cross with Luke and when events thro them together in a heart stopping moment, it seems that all is not lost. That is until the past turns up to cause more trouble.

A warm and heartfelt novel which has that added mystery of buried treasure and family feuds that you would think you were reading Poldark. Add to that the backdrop of Cornwall, the golden beaches, the clear blue water, the wonderful sea life around you could be forgiven in thinking you are being swept away on holiday abroad. I felt like I was. What I will say is the author has kept it very real and her message about the destruction of the planet due to plastics, to the waste left on our landscapes is very much real.

Another warm escapist book from this author.

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

A Golden Cornish Summer is out now.


At The Captain’s Table – Gervase Phinn

If you have ever been on a cruise then this book will be a delight to remember all the wonderful and colourful characters that you might have met onboard. if you have never been on a cruise – don’t let these wonderful and colourful characters put you off. Cruising is a great experience.

The Empress of the Ocean sounds as grand as it is named and it is setting sail for the Mediterranean and onboard are a cast of characters:

Albert and Maureen, constantly bickering and Albert feeling completely hen pecked this cruise, which he didn’t want to spend the money one is either going to make them or break them.

Sisters Miriam and Edna, full of mirth and malapropisms, selectively deaf and very outspoken. Observing very loudly what everyone is thinking about their fellow passengers. Be it on your own head if you get in the way of Edna, her dodgy hip and uncontrollable walking frame.

Young Oliver, twelve years old with his grandparents and with a passion for history and books is what you wish every young polite man to be. Is he missing out on living what a twelve year old boy should be living or is he wiser than all the passengers and even some of the crew?

Lonely Frances de La Mare has booked a penthouse suite for it’s recognition and status but she finds herself even more isolated and why has she not been invited to dine at the Captain’s Table when other more lowly people in her opinion have.

Sandra, chatty and keen to mix with everyone. The vicar and his wife, the lottery winners, the doctors on holiday, the port lecturer, the guest lecturer, the pianist, the dancers; the list of characters is endless. But not so that is becomes too confusing, they are all mixed together well and all have their part to play in this voyage.

As you sail along the sea and stop at some interesting places, you learn about the area and more about the people. The book lasts the length of the cruise and we get to see the whole microcosm of people, society, beliefs and behaviours. It is almost like mini vignettes throughout the book with some laugh out loud moments and some moments to catch you right out.

If you were expecting something like his previous school stories, then you will perhaps be a bit disappointed but what you are getting is strong characters, strong stories and strong laughter.

The perfect holiday read.

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

At the Captain’s Table is out now.


Six in Six 2022 – My Choices

Here are my choices for this years Six in Six – there is still time to join in. Please see the original post here for all the details.

Six books that feature a building in the title

  1. Holly Hepburn – The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures 
  2. Sharon Gosling – The House Beneath the Cliffs
  3. Helen Rolfe – The Farmhouse of Second Chances 
  4. Katie Ginger – The Little Library on Cherry Lane 
  5. Nancy Revell – Three Cheers for the Shipyard Girls
  6. Tilly Tennant – The Café at Marigold Marina

Six books with jobs in

  1. Nita Prose – The Maid
  2. Jo Bartlett – The Cornish Midwife
  3. Lorna Cook – The Dressmaker’s Secret 
  4. Joanna Nell – The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital
  5. Vicki Beeby – A New Start for the Wrens
  6. Fern Britton – The Good Servant

Six mysteries, thrillers or crime novels NOT by Agatha Christie

  1. Nina de Gramont – The Christie Affair
  2. Tom Hindle – A Fatal Crossing 
  3. Helena Dixon – Murder in First Class 
  4. Robert Thorogood – The Marlow Murder Club
  5. Lucy Foley – The Paris Apartment
  6. Merryn Allingham – Murder at Primrose Cottage

Six Historical Novels

  1. Lorna Cook – The Dressmaker’s Secret 
  2. Jennifer Ryan – The Kitchen Front
  3. Kate Thompson – The Little Wartime Library
  4. Helen Fripp – The Painter’s Girl
  5. Molly Green – Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park 
  6. Fern Britton – The Good Servant 

Six books from authors I know will never let me down

  1. Veronica Henry – The Impulse Purchase 
  2. Sarah Bennett – Love Blooms at Mermaid Point 
  3. Cathy Bramley – The Summer That Changed Us
  4. Katie Fforde – A Wedding in Provence
  5. Heidi Swain – The Summer Fair
  6. Holly Martin – The Wisteria Tree Cottage

Six new authors to me

  1. Sharon Gosling – The House Beneath the Cliffs
  2. Sally Page – The Keeper of Stories
  3. Tom Hindle – A Fatal Crossing 
  4. Kate Thompson – The Little Wartime Library 
  5. Bonnie Garmus – Lessons in Chemistry
  6. Gill Hornby – Miss Austen

And in a bonus ten year version – here is 6 book covers picked from the 6 categories above!

Do keep joining in and linking back to me as we have plenty of July left. In the meantime keep on reading for the next six months of the year

A roundup post will feature in August of everyone who has joined in.


The Wedding Dress Circle – Jennifer Ryan

Grace is getting married and she has been given her mothers old wedding dress to use – however it is perhaps not in perfect condition, it has perished in parts and the moths have got to the others and perhaps it is not really a true reflection of Grace but is her impending marriage a true reflection either ? Grace knows if she goes to the local village sewing circle she will be able to find some help.

Cressida Westcott is a name everyone knows ibn the fashion world even during the Second World War. But London is not always the safest place to be and when Cressida’s home and studio are completely devastated and all she has is the clothes she stands in, she needs to find some courage to change. Unfortunately that means going back to the family home where she never had a pleasant life.

Violet Wescott is Cressida’s niece and is beside excitement that this famous and infamous aunt has returned to the family home. Violet sees herself as waiting to find the right husband to keep her in the manner to which she wants to be accustomed to. However the country is at war and young unattached single women are called up to service. Violet is about to learn what life is really like.

These three women with different backgrounds, classes, and outlook of life and love are drawn together because of the village sewing circle. Where just as food is rationed, clothes are rationed too. The make do and mend philosophy is living well and the women come together and share their knowledge, their strength and their wedding dresses so that woman can always have that special outfit for their big day even if there is a war on.

At the heart of the novel as with Jennifer Ryan’s other is strong female characters, showing their strength in different ways. However there is so much you learn from her novels that I was totally absorbed in everything as I devoured this book. Even better when you learn something too and I even almost wanted to get my own sewing machine out and have a go at making my own clothes!

If you are fan of historical fiction and perhaps want a different take on what went on at the Home Front then this and pervious novels are the go to books I would recommend.

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

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle is out now.


The Good Servant – Fern Britton

In a departure from perhaps what we known Fern Britton for in terms of writing, she has branched into historical fiction. Historical fiction very much in reality.

The Good Servant is in fact Marion Crawford, the governess to the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in the 1930s onwards. Names familiar to us a Princess Elizabeth is now the longest serving monarch in British History having just celebrated her platinum jubilee.

Marion Crawford had ambitions on becoming a child psychologist and helping those less fortunate than her and certainly her later charges to be educated as she saw as their right. However after a interim job before she starts university with Lord and Lady Elgin, she comes to the attention to the Duke and Duchess of York and suddenly finds herself in London, in Windsor Castle. A far cry where she thought she would end up.

Becoming ingratiated within the castle walls and within the Royal Family, Marion or Crawfie as she is known to the children finds herself watching some the most momentous changes in the monarchy all from the close quarters. All of a sudden she is not in charge of princess but a future heir to the throne. Her loyalty, her trustworthiness in fact her worth should be valued highly.

And for the most part it is, until she meets George, older than her, but with the ambitions of becoming Marion’s husband much to the delight of Marion’s mother. Marion is loyal and faithful to the household she serves as well as falling in love with George. She has to choose duty and the path she thinks is best. It is not until much later that she chooses a married life. All that time George waited. But is there something bitter from Marion’s dedication to something other than the man she is supposed to love.

Loyal up until circumstances take Marion down a different path, her words her twisted, her actions questioned and her loyalty broken. She told of what happened behind palace walls. She broken the trust. But did she? Was she a victim of something else, influence by those around her who were fed up of being in her shadow?

No one will really know the true story but I have to say Fern Britton clearly has researched and gives us a very good fictionalised account of what could have been. What could have happened. I for one, would like to think that Marion was influenced by her husband, the world he existed in was so far removed from Marion’s, there was a sense of jealously. However I also feel that perhaps the palace were at fault for not being clear enough in some of their later intentions when it came to Marion’s writing. Something I think they are still carrying with them to this day and perhaps haven’t learnt from?

I adored this book, I like anything historical and this of course gives you a glimpse into something we well never really know about unless we are amongst it. Royalty is steeped in mystery no matter how old you are and I think it should be, to know the real truth would somehow ruin that.

This book had me gripped from page one to the very end, I knew much of the story, but there were gaps in my knowledge and I was surprised to learn how much I actually didn’t know about Marion Crawford and more importantly how much I assumed about what happened. I think it is always wise to challenge this thinking even if it is with a fictional story, it then opens your reading more widely. Thank you Fern Britton you have done this.

A must read for fans of history, monarchy and that overarching sense of duty.

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

The Good Servant is out now.


The Wisteria Tree Cottage – Holly Martin

This is the second book in what I am going to assume will be a trilogy from Holly Martin and I completely fell in love with Bear and Meadow. I mean you would have to be pretty hard hearted not to!

Bear and Meadow have known each other since young teenagers. Meadow had a desperate crush on Bear but events when they were younger left Meadow vulnerable and she ended up marrying Heath, Bear’s older brother.

Bear is holding his own secret that he has only loved one woman and was heartbroken when Meadow married his brother. He has settled for best friends ever since.

Convincing themselves that that it is all it will be between them, Meadow and Bear set each other some dating challenges. Will it be love at first sight online? Or do you need to meet them in person, whether it be speed dating or even sniffing clothes to find your perfect match. Apparently there is a science to it.

For Bear’s brothers and grandmother, the answer is simply staring the pair of them in the face. Even Meadow’s young daughter, Star is well versed on who her mother really loves and cares about.

The course of true love never did run smooth did it and for Bear and Meadow it is no exception. Oh what a joy it is to go on their journey and share all the love with them. Again the male characters are perhaps more dominant in these series of book which is a refreshing change. The inclusion of the voice of the young children give the story that extra layer, that extra warmth of a book to simply escape in and love!

I am looking forward to booking a tree house for Christmas now and the next book in the series.

Thank you to Holly Martin for an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.

The Wisteria Tree Cottage is out now.


Murder at the Country Club – Helena Dixon

Already onto book nine of this wonderful series and the delightful Kitty Underhay who helps run The Dolphin Hotel in Dartmouth along with her grandmother. Now with her fiancé Matthew Bryant, a private investigator Kitty finds her continuing to get into scrapes of her own and there is often a few dead bodies about!

Having been invited to see an Archery display, some tennis, a dance display and some wonderful food and drink, the last thing Kitty expects to find is a dead body,

But she does Sir William Winspear, the very person who invited herself and Matthew to the club. And he appears to have an arrow sticking out of him.

When it seems he has been thinking about changing his will, heard arguing with one of the exhibition dancers as well as being rather beastly to his own brother and sister. It seems the list of suspects is stacking up. Then one of them is found dead in the swimming pool.

Kitty with her skill of talking to the female suspects finds herself in the middle of the investigation with Matthew and Inspector Grenville and his penchant for biscuits! Can they get to the truth before anyone else dies?

This is a light murder mystery and it’s historical setting adds to its whimsey. That doesn’t mean it is not without pace and plot and also with a backstory running through all the books, it is not a series to be overlooked. I look forward to the next one and re-joining Kitty and if I could I would book into The Dolphin Hotel if only to watch what happens next!

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

Murder at the Country Club is out now.


June Roundup

Six months done in 2022, and after two very slow years this one seems to be speeding by. Certainly in terms of books read though it has been slow and I am certainly no where near on target for my yearly challenge of 100. Enough about wishing the next six months away, what have I read in June?

For the first time in a long time, I signed up to 20 Books of Summer challenge and I hope to at least use that to make a dent in all those wonderful books I have to read. It also made me reinstate my challenges list which can now be found at the top of this blog.

I have managed three off this list – the first being a book I had on my shelf for a while Gill Hornby – Miss Austen. A wonderful retreat to the world of Austen, told from the perspective of one of Jane’s siblings and the letters that were written. The language and the pace of the book felt I was catapulted back to the past.

The past or historical fiction was very much of the reading in this month and I was back into World War Two with Molly Green – Summer Secrets at Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park fascinates me and all these women and men who worked there and never said anything for so many years after the war about what happened there. This is the first in what I hope is a little saga series to get my teeth right into!

You can sometimes read the same things about the same eras but with Jennifer Ryan – The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle she makes a part of the war on the home front that you didn’t realise existed and weaves it into a fascinating story. With great female leads and characters of different classes coming together to fight their own battles on the home front. I am fascinated as to where she goes next.

Featuring the Second World War and the years previous, is where you find yourself with Fern Britton – The Good Servant. This takes us into the heart of the royal family and Marion Crawford. Although this is fact made into excellent fiction, it has made me want to read more about Marion, her infamous book and some of the other excellent resources Fern Britton clearly used for her research.

Sticking with the interwar years finds me with Helena Dixon – Murder at the Country Club in the latest Miss Underhay mystery. If there ever was a time for cosy murder, this is a series of books which fulfil all you require set against a wonderful backdrop. I know this must come to an end but I will gobble them up until it does.

The only contemporary fiction was Holly Martin – The Wisteria Tree Cottage. A change from the original title by the author, but I am lucky enough to get an very early viewing and it is fascinating how these things change depending on uptake and marketing. This is yet another cracker from Holly and I just adore how this time she has given more voice to the male characters.

Not bad for June, but clearly work is taking its toll on all parts of my life. Time to readdress that balance if I am to survive the next six months. In the meantime do look back on your last six months of reading as Six in Six is now ready to go. I look forward to everyone joining in and please link back so I can share the love.

Happy reading!