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Parish Notices

Hello all!

Just thought I would stop by for a quick hello and update of what is going on around here.

In a matter of days I am taking part in a Blog Tour for Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle.

She wasn’t looking for love…

When Lucie Kennington flees the bright lights of London for the quiet Derbyshire countryside, she’s shocked to discover that the heir to the Bluebell Castle estate is far from the wizened employer she expected.

In fact, Arthur Ludworth might just be the most handsome man Lucie’s ever laid eyes on – and a terrible distraction! So when she stumbles across a legendary painting feared lost for centuries, she can’t believe her luck – perhaps this is the hidden treasure to save Arthur and his family from ruin?

But it’s only a matter of time before Lucie’s past catches up with her and by then it’s too late, she’s falling for him…

Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Rachael Lucas and Hilary Boyd.

In more reading news and a very different change from Sarah Bennett’s book I have stepped back in time to the days of the Bow Street Runners and Highwaymen. You will have to wait until May for this one though.

A gripping historical crime debut from an exciting new voice.‘It’s strange, the way fortune deals her hand.’

The year is 1759 and London is shrouded in a cloak of fear. With the constables at the mercy of highwaymen, it’s a perilous time to work the already dangerous streets of Soho. Lizzie Hardwicke makes her living as a prostitute, somewhat protected from the fray as one of Mrs Farley’s girls. But then one of her wealthy customers is found brutally murdered… and Lizzie was the last person to see him alive.

Constable William Davenport has no hard evidence against Lizzie but his presence and questions make life increasingly difficult. Desperate to be rid of him and prove her innocence Lizzie turns amateur detective, determined to find the true killer, whatever the cost.

Yet as the body count rises Lizzie realises that, just like her, everyone has a secret they will do almost anything to keep buried…

Also if you have not caught these on my blog yet – do go and check them out. Worth a read I promise.

 

Cathy Bramley – A Vintage Summer OUT NOW 

My Review can be found here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holly Martin – The Summer of Chasing Dreams 

Published on 29 March – This week!!!

My Review can be found here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julie Caplin – The Northern Lights Lodge OUT NOW

My review can be found here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that was a quick round up of the books that have been read in recent weeks but what else have I been doing….


Perhaps more about these two journeys on another post.

 

Books

The Northern Lights Lodge – Julie Caplin

Here I am travelling the world again with Julie Caplin. This time Iceland, somewhere I have always wanted to visit, even more so having read this book!

Lucy takes a short-term contract at The Northern Lights Lodge a hotel in Iceland. It seems the perfect place to escape the gossip about why she was sacked from her previous high-flying hotel job in Manchester. Lucy finds herself in the middle of a snowy nowhere. Nothing is within walking distance apart from snow, glaciers and on occasion the Northern Lights.

Almost trapped in this hotel with a bunch of locals who seem rather crackers, the receptionist, the housekeeper, the chef and a gorgeous looking barman who comes from Scotland. Lucy finds that the best way to manage them all is to embrace the running of the hotel and bring it back to the place it was.

Trouble is there is something working against her. Could it be the fairy folk that the locals say or is it more to do with the locals themselves. Is everyone who they really say they are? Is anyone else hiding at this lodge and are their reasons legitimate?

When a film crew arrive for another “behind the scenes” series, Lucy tries her very best to make sure that there is nothing for them to see. Even the Northern Lights don’t come out for them. More importantly she doesn’t want to be seen on film again……

Falling in love with the place and maybe the barman might not seem like a good idea when you are only there temporarily but the place has got to Lucy as it did to me. I can see myself waking up to the snow described scenery from the bedroom window. Embracing the hot chocolate round the open fire and the wonder of the Northern Lights when they appear. Some eccentric staff sound the best form of entertainment in such a far away place.

What will happen to Lucy when everyone finds out why she left her last job and will her fame mean she never gets to work again? Or will her passion for her job and the people she works with mean she is sought after as a hotel manager once again……

I really enjoyed this book, a perfect escape and really cosy – perfect for dark dreary days – made everything much cosier!

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

The Northern Lights Lodge is out now. 

Next place to visit is Croatia and that is in July.

Books

The Summer of Chasing Dreams – Holly Martin

Eva is a homebody, she works from home as a designer and has no need to interact with many people beyond her small group of friends and her aunt. She doesn’t feel she needs to experience the world any further than her doorstep.

Her mother on the other hand was a free spirit and had a desire for adventure but she couldn’t fulfill these dreams when she fell pregnant with Eva. Leaving behind a list when she dies, Eva makes the momentous decision to go to the places and do the things that she never got to do.

With no experience of travelling or the world and with the money her mother left her, Eva opts for a guide to show her all these places.

Thor Anderson was not the person Eva wanted as her guide – she opted for a female for a start. But when a last minute change, meant Thor was to join her, it looks like Eva is going to experience a different sort of holiday. The room requirements are certainly going to have to change.

Not getting off to the best of starts, the arrogance of Thor soon changes for someone much more thoughtful and caring and he encourages Eva to make her own list of dreams to go alongside her mums.

Writing home to her mum through various postcards, we travel with Eva across the world. Some places like Paris and Amsterdam we see in depth, others are merely the postcards home to move the story along. The author could have stretched the story out at each stop Eva makes, but a good author knows to keep the reader interested and engaged and Holly Martin does this with aplomb in this novel. I felt drawn into the novel straight away and was swept away with the romance of the travel.

As for the romance for Eva well that starts interestingly when Thor proposes to her at the Eiffel Tower but will one of Eva’s dreams become a reality?

As someone who can relate to Eva and her little safe world, this book was a joy to read as she discovers the world, her past and her future on this trip. There are some laugh out loud moments contained within these pages as well as some heart melting and tear jerking ones. I liked Thor from the off, there was something vulnerable about his arrogant manner, but I think Eva was just as good for him as he was for her.

This is an excellent book for those who want to go on holiday vicariously and enjoy a bit of romance. A perfect holiday read whichever way you read it – at home or on your own travels!

This is lovely standalone novel is a great reflection of Holly Martin’s other work which are based centrally in one place with a number of characters who all interact and have wonderful stories to tell. It was a great change to see Holly take us on some travels and I hope she had fun when she researched the book! 

Thank you to the author for the advanced copy of this book to read which I chose to do voluntarily and my review was not influence in anyway by this.

The Summer of Chasing Dreams is published on Kindle on 29th March. Pre Order your book here

Books

A Vintage Summer – Cathy Bramley

Cathy Bramley is an author who I have grown to rely on and look forward to her novels with great excitement. When you know you are going to get lost in a story and enjoy some excellent writing then you know they are always a joy to read. This new novel was no different and lived up to all my expectations.

Lottie Allbright left Derbyshire to follow her love Harvey to London. But after six months it does not seem that love was on the agenda at all. When a chance encounter with a lady in the gardens at a crematorium, gives her the strength to make a decision, Lottie returns home to Derbyshire.

To her widowed father about to embark on a journey across Europe as well as a highly strung sister, Evie who will stop at nothing to be a mother. Lottie needs to find her place again in the world, find something she enjoys doing and to create a future for herself. Little does she know that the future came back with her from London.

When a job comes up at Butterworth Wines for some help for six months, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Lottie to throw herself into something and the bonus that it comes with accommodation means at least he is settled for a while.

However the job ends up being a lot more. Betsy the owner of the Vineyard, after her husband Ted passed away is losing her sight and will not admit it to anyone. She is trying to hide the truth from her grandson Jensen otherwise he will suggest putting her in a home. But she promised Ted that she would be there to see the harvest come in and she stands by her decision.

Lottie suddenly finds herself thrown in to a family which are still reeling from the death of Ted, the decline inf Betsy’s health as well as Betsy’s sister-in-law Marjorie, wheelchair bound because of an accident. Lottie needs to find out about viticulture and fast and so readers did I.

As Lottie gets to grip in producing English wine and English Sparkling Wine, the enthusiasm of all the volunteers knows no bounds. Matt, Clare, Roger, Godfrey and the shy Pippa all make up the team at Butterworth Wines and it is simply a case of Lottie directing them all to blend the wines, get in the harvest and perhaps make the vineyard a going concern for someone else to take on.

Trouble is the volunteers love the vineyard, all brought their by Ted for various different reasons, Betsy does not want to leave her home and Lottie has found something which she enjoys and can finally see herself settling down, especially when Jensen, the good-looking grandson shows an interest.

But when a discovery changes not just Lottie’s world, but Evies, Jensen’s and the prospect of Butterworth Wines survival it seems that this is going to be one summer that no one is going to forget.

This is a fantastic read. It has everything you want from a book, humour, tragedy, light and dark moments and covers some difficult subjects with careful consideration. Plus I got to learn a lot about viticulture as well as the word itself! Wonderful characters which are introduced gradually and all play a part in the overall story. They are not all flung in at the beginning of the novel, but woven into the tale as you go so they are full formed and can be remembered quite clearly once you have put the book down.

Vintage Cathy Bramley which absolutely fizzes!

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

A Vintage Summer is published on 21 March. 

Books

The Newcomer – Fern Britton

When Angela Whitehorn arrives in Pendruggan she wants to make an impact. She is only going to there for a year and she wants to make a success at her first job.

Angela Whitehorn likes to be called; Angela, Reverend Whitehorn or Vicar. Because that is who she is – she is to take on the parish of Pendruggan when the current incumbent Simon, his wife Penny and daughter Jenna go to Brazil.

With her handsome husband Robert and teenage daughter Faith, Angela hopes she has all the support of her family as well as the new friends she hopes to make. When her Aunt Mamie becomes a fixture at the vicarage as well and embracing village life wholeheartedly, her year in Pendruggan seems a positive move.

She has new ideas for the village, empowering women through other means than the rigid structure of the WI, a pet blessing service and being there for people who need her help, spiritually or otherwise. Having been through a tough time herself, Angela wants to share her experiences and pass on what she has learnt.

Unfortunately there are others who think Angela is not the right person for the job and should go back from whence she came. When the letters start it seems as if this quiet Cornish village is not so quiet after all. But who is sending them? I had my suspicions and I so wanted it to be one person, if only for them to get their comeuppance – they did but for very different reasons! The culprit well I didn’t see that coming but how upsetting it was.

This book whilst being jam-packed full of Cornish weather and scenery that leaps off the page and paints a picture of the grey skies as well as the blue ones. Also deals with some serious and not so serious subjects in a sensitive and well thought out way. Cancer, abuse, drugs, jealousy, friendship, witches and curses are all covered in this book.

Personally I would like to have known a bit more about how Simon and family were tackling life in Brazil but that was just me. The story has enough to keep you reading and also embraces the village of Pendruggan and it’s inhabitants and if this is the first time you have visited then go back and read the others and find out what a real sense of community can mean to some people.

I do hope Fern Britton returns to Pendruggan again.

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

The Newcomer is published on 7th March. 

Books

The Guilty Party – Mel McGrath

Four friends escape for a weekend, to celebrate a birthday.

But celebrations at a music festival for a previous birthday were marred by being witness to a rape.

None of the four did anything to help.

The woman found dead in the river, now has an identity.

Can any of the four feel guilty about not helping? Or did they know more than they have said?

The celebrations at the weekend away are told chronologically going forward..

The celebrations at the music festival are told sequentially going backwards from the witness of the crime.

I found this book very dark and depressing in places and this made it a bit of a slog to get through it. The characters were not likeable, whilst I think that added to the story in some ways it did mean that you never felt any particular empathy and certainly no sympathy with any of them.

An interesting concept as a plotline which kept me hooked to the story as it unfolds forward and backwards, you start to see what each person might have done and what role they may have played. But ultimately they didn’t do anything or did they?

This author is new to me, and whilst perhaps this wasn’t a book that ticked all the boxes for me, I would be interested to read what else she was written.

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

The Guilty Party is published on 7 March. 

 

Books · Jottings

February Roundup

Yes we have just had February and even if the weather was very spring if not summer like I can confirm that February is still in winter!

Back to more inclement weather for the UK as I compose this post. As for my reading well the seasons did play a small part.

Cathy Bramley – A Vintage Summer new novel for 2019 is a delight. I dived right in without even reading the blurb on the back. You just have to do that with some authors, you can have confidence in their writing,their plot and their characters. This did not disappoint and took me right into the vineyards and Yorkshire!

If I was too hot in the summer there was no need, because a trip to Iceland was the perfect place to cool down in Julie Caplin – The Northern Lights Lodge. Where I experienced, waterfalls, ice climbing and friendship in abundance. Oh how I want to go myself and see it all.

Having holidays vicariously through books is a pleasure many get and so was the case with Holly Martin – The Summer of Chasing Dreams where I went round the world with Eva and her hunky tour guide Thor.

Some people chose to holiday closer to home and you can find no better place than Cornwall where I went on more than one occasion. Holly Hepburn – The Picture House by the Sea was a lovely book and if you are a fan of those great old films then you will relish how Gina brings an old cinema back to life along with an old romance too.

I went back to Pendruggan, the fictional setting for Fern Britton – The Newcomer, where many a book has been set and we see the temporary female vicar make her present felt in this Cornish village.

Going back to familiar places is the same as going back to familiar authors which is why I picked up Trisha Ashley – Written from the Heart, very different from her most recent work. In the spirit of completeness I wanted to read this book previously published as Happy Endings.

A rather romantic, women’s fiction dominated month and whilst I fitted in some historical fiction this was still very strongly female dominated. Natasha Solomons – House of Gold – Greta Goldbaum is the main female character and behaves in a way not becoming of a Goldbaum wife or mother. Times are changing for the Goldbaums.

Without a doubt, at the moment my favourite saga series is the Shipyard Girls. I was lucky enough to get the latest book Nancy Revell – Courage of the Shipyard Girls. It is 1942, the war is still on and it is starting to directly affect the Shipyard Girls and becomes rather too close for comfort. Whilst the bombs rain down, the malicious actions of some will have some nasty consequences. I cannot wait until the next part is out.

Not bad for February…bring on March with more days for reading!