Books

Where the Wild Cherries Grow – Laura Madeleine

England 1919

The Great War has not even been over for a year. The ripples from the war, the loss is still being felt. For Emeline Vane she only has two things to cling on to, her younger brother Tim and their home in Norfolk.

Events overtake her emotionally and physically and the rash decision of running and stowing away on a train take her to the South of France, almost like the end of the world.

She is taken in like a wounded bird, to a cafe in Cerbere there she mends, grows and develops. She is taught to cook, to use the food as medicine, as reward, as celebration, as love. Everything grows around her in Cerbere and she no longer feels like she is running away……until…….

England 1969

Bill Perch does nothing but type things in triplicate in the solicitor’s office in London where he works. When a client arrives Bill becomes involved in his first proper case that takes him away from the typewriter. Can he proved that his clients aunt is dead and therefore her father, Tim is the sole owner of his childhood home and it can now be sold.

Bill escapes the claustrophobic atmosphere of solicitor office, pub, fish and chip shop and home, his cyclical life and finds something about this aunt which means she might not be dead. Bill’s escape leads to him running away on a journey of discovery just as the person he is seeking did some fifty years earlier.

This dual narrative novel is wonderful. It alternated between chapters, and was enough in each to keep you wanting to read more,wanting to discover the truth about everything that had happened.

I was transported away to France, to the border with Spain, hence the thought of it almost being the end of the world. I went through the seasons and tasted the fruit of the land, the fish from the sea as it seems that Emeline was brought to life by her senses, taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing.

The contrast to Bill’s journey is so different, whilst there had to be similar paths crossed and taken to even to begin to understand Emeline’s story for Bill it was more about breaking boundaries, to not conform and to follow through on your beliefs.

This is a wonderful story to become absorbed in and takes you on a such a journey that I felt like I had been on holiday and had even tasted the food that was described in such vivid detail.

Was the ending the right one? Yes it was for me. The book has stayed with me, it had lots of questions still to be asked if not answered and I felt that the characters were let go to live their lives. Would I want to go back and see how there were? Of course I would, who doesn’t want to keep a story going. But actually I think it is best that they are left to be.

One of my favourite reads for 2017.

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

Where the Wild Cherries Grow is out now.

 

Books

The Beachside Flower Stall – Karen Clarke

The Beachside Flower Stall sees the author returning to Beachside Bay, which she introduced us to in her first novel The Beachside Sweet Shop. Instead of sweets to indulge ourselves in it is flowers!

Carrie returns to help Ruby, her aunt with her flower stall whilst she is feeling a bit blue. Carrie is totally out of her comfort zone with flowers being an accountant she much prefers figures. But with nothing else to do it seems that it is the best option.

Carrie is not only launched into running a flower stall without any help as Ruby’s assistant Jane decides she needs to do something to bring her marriage back to life immediately, she also agrees to provide flowers for a local wedding.

However, the wedding might be a problem. It is between her schoolgirl crush, Tom and her one time friend Megan. She escaped from them before, will she have to do it again?

Can Carrie put the past behind her? Can she interfere in Ruby’s past successfully? Or will it all be a disaster?

This is a book with wonderful laugh out loud moments, not least from some of the situations Carrie finds herself in. With plenty of heart warming moments too this book has it all for a satisfying read.

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

The Beachside Flower Stall is out now. 

You can read more about the first in the Beachside Bay series, The Beachside Sweet Shop here

 

 

 

Books

Practice makes Perfect – Penny Parkes

This novel follows on from Out of Practice, which I read but did not review last year. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to read this one and be taken back to Holly, Taffy, Dan, Julia and a cast of characters in the country town of Larkford.

Holly has settled into the doctor’s practice and also has moved on in her life, now she has embraced change she has welcomed Taffy into her heart, her home and her twin sons lives.

Of course nothing is going to be easy for Holly and her fellow doctors, the surgery is about to be burden with being an NHS model surgery and it is up to all of the doctors to work together, to make sure they do not fail. Of course there are some who want to prove that their model cannot possibly work.

And it might be the case when you have Julia, who is developing her media potential with a documentary crew following everyone’s moves. Grace has decided she will no longer be the woman she was and make some changes that surprise many and her working practices mean that perhaps the surgery can be a shining example to others.

This book packs a lot into the pages and you are swept away with all the characters and their exploits with the surgery as the background, the draw for them all. Whether it be the doctor’s themselves or some of the more eccentric patients who come in. In whatever you job you are in, there is that common humour that draws people together, it is true and is very much reflected here. I loved the introduction of Alice and her assistance dog Coco whose role was fascinating.

An enjoyable read, as good as the first and one that you will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. If you like books where you feel like you are part of the community whilst reading them, then this book is certainly for you.

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

I have also spotted a short story featuring the lovely folk in Larkford and so I am off to carrying on catching up. I do hope there will be more novels, there is so much more that I secretly want to see happening to these people. 

 

 

Books · Jottings

The Sixth Six in Six – 2017 Edition

So I have brought it back for a record sixth year – the meme that if you only do one in the year, then this is the one to do. It’s normally the meme I can only manage to do.

When did all this begin?

I started it in 2012, gave it another go in 2013 and went into 2014, then on into 2015 and 2016. Lots of you have been with me since the beginning.

What is it all about?

The idea being that as the end of June approaches and we are then halfway through the year,  let us share the books we have read in those first 6 months. In fact let’s share 6 books in 6 categories, or if time is of the essence then simply share just 6 books. Whatever combination works for you as long as it involves 6 books. Of course the same book can obviously feature in more than one category.

What categories can I choose from?

  • Six new authors to me
  • Six authors I have read before
  • Six authors I am looking forward to reading more of
  • Six books I have enjoyed the most
  • Six books I was disappointed with
  • Six series of books read or started
  • Six authors I read last year – but not so far this year
  • Six books that took me on extraordinary journeys
  • Six books that took me by the hand and led me into the past
  • Six books from the past that drew me back there
  • Six books from authors I know will never let me down
  • Six books I must mention that don’t fit nicely into any category
  • Six books I started in the first six months of the year and was still caught up with in July
  • Six trips to Europe
  • Six blogging events I enjoyed
  • Six bookish things I’m looking forward to
  • Six Espionage or Historical Novels I enjoyed
  • Six Cool Classics
  • Six Non-US/Non-British Authors
  • Six From the Non-Fiction Shelf
  • Six books that didn’t live up to expectations
  • Six books that I had one or two problems with but am still glad I tried
  • Six books that are related to The Great War or Second World War
  • Six bookshops I have visited
  • Six books I’ve read in an English translation
  • Six books which are better than the film
  • Six books which are worse than the film
  • Six books that have sport as their major theme
  • Six favourite places to read
  • Six books read on kindle and then went and bought an actual copy
  • Six books I abandoned
  • Six classics I have read
  • Six books I have read on my Kindle
  • Six physical books I have read
  • Six book covers I love
  • Six book covers that bear no resemblance to the story contained within
  • Six books to read to avoid politics
  • Six books I have read but not reviewed

I have again added a few new ones this year.

Or you can come up with your own category,  (If you do: please comment and I can add them to this list for future years)

What do I need to post?

Simply choose six of the categories above and list six books under that category. Some bloggers use pictures, some put excerpts of reviews. The main thing being it is six categories and six books. Of course if you want to do a shorter version, then just post something about six books you have read in the first six months of 2017.

Please link back to this post and/or my blog and share this post so we can have lots of people joining in. All those that participate I will endeavour to collate into one post.

When do I post?

Anytime in July. We have reading days left of June and that book might well fit nicely into one of the categories.

Anything else?

Please spread the word and get people to join in and let them know that we are all halfway through our 2017 reading year!

 

Books

Flora’s War -Audrey Reimann

Flora escapes an institution and is surprisingly rescued by a man, Andrew who himself has just joined an institution.

But for some reason the two of them have formed an initial immediate bond and while Flora tells a few white lies to be able to live life freely, despite the clouds of war starting to gether over Edinburgh. Andrew becomes her sailor sweetheart when he goes back to sea.

Circumstances force them both into very different situations and it seems that Flora now must do everything she can to survive and goes to Andrews home on the estate of Ingersley. Little does she know that she is walking into a very different place that Andrew left behind since the war started.

But shelter, food and the offer of help for the future is there and it seems that Flora must take all these options. But she is sadly merely a pawn in the game that the lady of the house, Ruth. How can you dislike a character so much that she compels you to keep reading just to see what happens. Which is what Ruth did in this story. Her actions were dangerous, immoral and she was only out for one person – herself. Flora and all those who come into contact with Ruth stand no chance.

As the book progresses, so do the years but that first bond that Andrew and Flora has seems to still be there, despite everything and everyone who choose to keep them apart.

When the death of Andrew’s beloved Captain and owner of Ingersley, in somewhat suspicious circumstances, the truth starts to be revealed to Andrew. But of course we know the truth.

This is a book full of heroic acts, full of sadness, full of laughter and most of all full of hope, that everything will turn out alright in the end. The only way you are going to know is to read the book.

A favourite read in one of my favourite genres.

Thank you to the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read this book. 

Flora’s War is out now. (Please note this was previously published as The Weeping Tree.)

 

Books

Confetti at the Cornish Cafe – Phillipa Ashley

Just over a year ago I as introduced to Penwith and to Cal and Demi, in the first of this trilogy. I returned there at Christmas and I was more than thrilled to complete their story with the last of the trilogy Confetti at the Cornish Cafe.

First off I need to say that you really must go back and read books one and two before you start on this one. There is enough to reference back so you get a sense of the characters and the journey they have been on. You can read it without the history of the other two, but I feel that you will not get full enjoyment out of the book as you could. Satisfying the author does not simply regurgitate the previous two books so you get a sense of place, she simply refers concisely and succinctly.

With Kilhallon Resort expanding and find its feet as a unique destination for a break and some escapism. Demelza’s the on site cafe which is also open to locals who wish to walk past and experience the atmosphere, the views and of course the cakes is going to be the place to be seen if you are anyone that is anyone!

Demelza’s and Kilhallon is going to be a wedding venue, for a not so secret wedding. Of course they can cope, Cal and Demi can turn their hands to anything, as Demi tells the happy couple. It seems that to satisfy the bride and groom they are going to have to pull out all the stops to make sure it does not leave the wrong impression.

Of course you know it is not going to run smoothly and not everything is going to come up smelling of roses, in fact the opposite as it seems there are quite a few more people involved in this wedding as well as the bride and groom and they all want different outcomes.

Cal and Demi have some difficult times ahead, and whilst trying to manage all of this they are both trying to find a place and purpose in life and they are both not sure if it is together.

Surely organising a wedding can make them see something?

The third and final book of this trilogy is as good as the previous two and I am going to miss reading about how Kilhallon Resort is developing and of course Demi, Cal and the ensemble supporting cast who have made these books a thoroughly good read.

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

Confetti at the Cornish Cafe is out now. 

You can catch my reviews of the first two novels here and here

Books

May Roundup

I have to say that May has been the month of the kindle only two of the eight have been actual books I can hold in my hand. The rest have been ebooks downloaded from netgalley to get ahead of the reviewing game and enjoy some really good books.

So as well catching up with netgalley requests, I found myself going back to something familiar and picked up the next book I have not read in the Agatha Raisin series, M.C. Beaton – Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison. I am still a few behind in this series, so I know I have some back up reading whenever I need it.

I also caught up with Fern Britton – A Good Catch, which was different from her more community focused novel as this was very much about getting the right man at whatever cost.

I have to confess to reading a lot of women’s fiction this month, but felt I needed a bit more of a thrill and that is why I picked up the current B.A. Paris – The Breakdown. A second novel which was as gripping and thought-provoking as the first. What would you do?

Sometimes it is nice to know the author that you are reading, not necessarily personally but the familiarity of the writing. although in this case I have seen the author speak. Emylia Hall – The Thousand Lights Hotel is her latest novel and takes you away to Italy, to another life and what you are searching for. Beautiful!

I have finally finished the Willow Cottage series of books, which was released initially in four parts. Bella Osborne – Summer Delights: Willow Cottage, publishing series of books seems to be very popular I do much prefer reading the whole novel. That way I can really absorb myself in the book.

Finishing a series of books is always good,because all the loose ends and unknowns are cleared up and there is enough unknowns left for you to know that their stories will go on long after the author has stopped writing and we have stopped reading them. Therefore I was excited to return to Penwith and Phillipa Ashley – Confetti at the Cornish Cafe. The final part of the trilogy does all the things I have mentioned and it was great to catch up with all the characters.

Quite a lot of my reading seems to be books that are set in Cornwall and that was no different with Liz Eeles – Annie’s Lovely Choir by the Sea. A debut novel which managed to give you a character you could love to hate. I look forward to seeing what else this author writes.

Regular readers of my blog will know that I do take part in many crafts, one of the most popular is paper crafting which is something I have never really got into, but I know many that have. Despite that I was drawn to the new novel, Carole Matthews – Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses which had so much packed into it, it was another novel which I couldn’t be torn away from.

How was your May? I hope you enjoyed what you were reading, is it moving towards a more summery feel?