Books · Jottings

Roundup – Six in Six 2019


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. 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!

Superfluous Reading

The Bookworm Chronicles

Read Warbler

Letters from a Hill Farm


She Reads Novels

Hopewell’s Public Library of Life

Pining for the West

An Adventure in Reading

sprite writes

FictionFan’s Book Reviews

A Darn Good Read

The Quiet Geordie


I hope you enjoy the next six months of reading and see you all in 2020!

Books · Jottings · Witterings

July Roundup

Another hot month and the reading has gone at two speeds  – fast and interminably slow! I blame the heat and nothing else.

Just because it is hot at home doesn’t mean it cannot be hot elsewhere on my reading travels. Which is why I was whisked away with Julie Caplin – The Secret Cove in Croatia – like reading a fictional holiday brochure! Utter bliss.

Of course I could stay at home and so I did with the latest Sarah Bennett – Sunshine over Bluebell Castle, the next in the trilogy and I spent many a happy hour vicariously gardening with Iggy and the gorgeous Will.

With all the heat what a better place to be than in the water – Libby Page – The Lido. The book has been on my radar for a while and it is the most delightful book I have read in a longtime, so touching and so gentle it deserves a second read and I need to get to my local lido!

Of course if you can’t go abroad or in a castle and you have no pool near you what about Emma Davies – The Beekeeper’s Cottage a place to relax and watch the bees do what they do best whilst the flowers of the farm next door, wave their stems in the wind releasing a scent that wafts off the page.

All of these are great summer reads, but actually will warm the coldest of days too!

Summer would not be summer without at wedding or two, and I have only one to experience as I catch up with Rachel Dove‘s work– The Wedding Shop on Wexley Street  another place in the fictional little town of Westfield.

Looking back on the previous six months of reading with my little exclusive meme Six in Six made me realise that I have read very little crime, easily sorted in July it seems.

Trying to work my way through some more Christie means I have picked up Agatha Christie – The Secret Adversary a Tommy and Tuppence novel which was featured in the Read Christie 2019 to be found on the official website. I do enjoy a gentle stroll back to some crime fiction of past ages.

I went even further back with Georgina Clarke – The Corpse Played Dead who has given us another tail of Lizzie Hardwicke, a lady of a certain occupation helping the magistrates and the Bow Street Runners – certainly know doing things ‘by the book’ in this novel.

Three years in the waiting meant I was thrilled to be back with Kate Saunders – Laetitia Rodd and the Case of the Wandering Scholar. Another historical crime novel, featuring a strong female lead and this time I was taken into the depths of missing men, affairs, murders and romance.

I finish July, reading another gothic novel, which I think is supposed to frighten me but as of yet has simply kept me reading with no nasty side effects.

August brings holiday and even more time for reading – I simply cannot wait.


Sunshine over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

I described the first in this trilogy from Sarah Bennett as Antiques Roadshow meets Downton Abbey – now Alan Titchmarsh has turned up and the Chelsea Flower Show is going to have competition!

Expect of course it isn’t Alan Titchmarsh but Will Talbot, a lad from the wrong side who found the right side from the kindness of neighbour who sparked his interest in gardening and landscaping and has led to him being one of the most popular ‘men about town’.

Trouble is Will doesn’t want to play the PR, Social Media game anymore and wants to go back to getting his hands dirty.

When Iggy Ludworth dreams about gardeners it is always Will Talbot not just for the sophisticated good looks but the vision he has. Iggy is struggling with the vision of the gardens for Bluebell Castle. She decides to contact him and send him some photos of what she thinks he could help with.

The photos and the offer of the work comes at the right time for Will.

Escaping to a castle seems the perfect place to hide from the media. Even if his disappearance still makes for news.

Ensconced in the castle and the gardens and already feeling like part of the Ludworth family, especially with Iggy. Will finds that this is all he ever wanted to do – get his hands dirty with his love of gardening and turning an idea into reality whilst sharing it all with that someone special.

When a surprise visitor turns up and disrupts the harmonious atmosphere in the castle it seems that perhaps a castle is not the best place to hide for any of the family.

What I love about this second book is whilst the main plot line focuses on Iggy’s, Arthur her brother was the main protagonist in the first book they are not forgotten and sidelined as they can be in such series of book by other authors. Arthur and Lucie are very much a part of the book as they are a part of the castle as well as the pack of dogs that seem to greet every visitor with vigour and enthusiasm. Tristan, Iggy’s brother, their Aunt and Uncle, Morgana and Lancelot are there as well and they all have their parts to play and are not merely two dimensional added characters.

I almost feel like I could step into the castle and be apart of the renovation, the history and also its  future.

This has to be my favourite series so far from this author and if you are looking for escapist reads that take you away, where it may not all be rosy but at least some people get their comeuppance and others get their happily ever afters then you need to by this series of books.

I am so looking forward to returning to the Bluebell Castle series later in the year.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book. This has no way influenced my review. 

In a world of sometimes sad stuff, escaping into a book with a happy ever after is the perfect tonic! 

Sunshine over Bluebell Castle is published on 5th August.

Do check out the first in the series though – Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle



Six in Six 2019 – My Choices

So without further ado here is my Six in Six for 2019.

  • Six books with workplaces in their title




Picture House



  • Six authors I have read before
  1. Lucinda Riley
  2. Heidi Swain
  3. Nancy Revell
  4. Christie Barlow
  5. Veronica Henry
  6. Sarah Bennett
  • Six books from the past that drew me back there
  1. Sara Sheridan – Mirabelle Bevan Series (Russian Roulette & Indian Summer)
  2. Lorna Cook – The Forgotten Village
  3. Hazel Gaynor – The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
  4. Liz Fenwick – The Path to the Sea
  5. Georgina Clarke – Death and the Harlot
  6. Erica James – The Dandelion Years
  • Six new authors to me
  1. Lorna Cook – The Forgotten Village
  2. Erica James – The Dandelion Years
  3. Georgina Clarke – Death and the Harlot
  4. Caroline Roberts – Rachel’s Pudding Pantry
  5. Laura Purcell – The Silent Companions
  6. Kirsty Wark – The House on the Loch


  • Six Extracts from reviews I have written in 2019

This is a wonderful heartwarming novel, which deals with many issues across a spectrum – from “cradle to grave” and all of the characters in the book are wonderful. Add to that the setting of Scotland and the power of the weather and it felt I was transported right up there and was sharing the community spirit which simply floated off the pages. (Love Heart Lane – Christie Barlow)


The story though is ultimately about Greta and how despite being a Goldbaum from one branch and having to marry into another branch is fiercely independent and determined to make her mark and not be overlooked in any way. Her actions and challenges to the norm and what is ‘expected’ were both heartwarming and heartbreaking. She can be found naked under the cherry tree in the early days of marriage, she will breastfeed her son herself. She will understand the power and knowledge that women  can have in a man’s world. She will love and she will grieve, for everything she knows about her Goldbaum history will be torn apart by war and the greed of money. (House of Gold – Natasha Solomons)


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! (A Vintage Summer – Cathy Bramley)


Will Bluebell Castle survive the debts, the intrigued and the new love burgeoning within its walls?

It has everything that I could possibly want from a really good story; romance, mystery, history, a castle and even a Butler! If all or any of these things, fascinate you then read the book, it will bring joy to you in abundance.

It is like the Antiques Roadshow meets Downton Abbey and I am totally in love with it! Sarah Bennett has done it again and I think this is going to be her best series to date. (Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett)


This novel is told from all the three main character points of view, to help with your understanding and timeline, chapters are dated so we go between present day and the past.

The writing is so subtle that I was immediately drawn into the house party of Boskenna and the mystery that continued to build around the events and the house had me in mind of Rebecca…….I was convinced that Mrs Danvers was going to appear. Whilst of course she doesn’t the secrets that are tied up in the house and the family are going to have to come out.

The Cornish setting added to the atmosphere and the author has an uncanny knack of making it all three dimensional away from the page. I could taste the salt in the sea air and feel the heat of the sun. (A Path to the Sea – Liz Fenwick)


This is a great read which took me to the ever changing weather and landscapes of the Highlands of Scotland. Whilst characters first appeared in an earlier novel by Colgan which I had not read, there was enough background to see me through as this book is very much focussed on Zoe and Hari as well as the three children she comes to care for.

Subtly done, some rather difficult situations are encountered, selective mutism, mental health issues in youngsters as well as romance and friendships, the book has so much to give and was one of my favourite reads of 2019 so far. (The Bookshop on the Shore – Jenny Colgan)


  • Six books I have read but not reviewed
  1. Sarah Sheridan – Russian Roulette
  2. Agatha Christie – Dumb Witness
  3. Lucinda Riley – The Angel Tree
  4. Erica James – The Dandelion Years
  5. Judy Finnigan – Eloise
  6. Laura Purcell – The Silent Companions

That is my choices, I am really enjoying reading yours and there is still time to join in and tell everyone what you have enjoyed in the first six months of 2019.



A Home from Home – Veronica Henry

Sometimes your name can dictate where your home is meant to be.

The Culbones have always lived in Rushbrook House, across the brook from them is Dragonfly Farm home to the Melchiors. The well to do, rich, higher in society than the rundown farm and the farmers across the water.

The differences between the families goes back years but the feud is still very much in the present and when events unfold after the death of Matthew Melchior it seems perhaps a bridge can be built between these families.

Tabitha and Georgia are Matthew’s great nieces who assume that their Great Uncle Matthew will have left the farm to Tabitha if not both of them. It has been their haven when they were growing up and Tabitha’s home for a long time. The life line she needed to survive.

But Matthew has a surprise for them – the farm is to be split into three. The other benefactor is a Gabriel Culbone.

Why would a Melchior leave something to a Culbone?

Gabriel Culbone is none the wiser and knows nothing of Matthew’s existence or the farm. His mother is no help and his grandmother is in a rapid decline from dementia.

Will the secrets that are revealed through both families go some way to start building bridges?

This book drew me in straight away, two seemingly separate storylines, both fascinating and in contrast to each other were at some point going to have to intertwine – I couldn’t see how (this is sign of a good writer in my humble opinion) and when they did more questions were raised than answered.

There is a lot to take in with the book, especially when you get to all the family relations but as we go back in time to see what happened to more than one of the present characters at no time does it become confusing. There is so much to learn and piece together it will have you reading well past your bedtime.

A family saga set in Somerset, with secrets, cider, romance, friendship, new beginnings and a place for everyone to call home.

A fine example of Veronica Henry’s work which I have been reading for a long while and they keep getting better and better.

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

A Home from Home is published on 25 July. 




Four Weddings and a Festival – Annie Robertson

If you immediately misread this title as Four Weddings and a Funeral then you are going to enjoy the book immensely. In fact if you are a Richard Curtis fan and have enjoyed Four Weddings, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones then this is definitely the book for you. It is littered with references which whilst I got some only a true fan would have got them all.

Friends; Bea, Kat, Lizzie and Hannah joked for many years about all getting married in the same summer and when one engagement leads to another, it looks like this might well be the case.

However, Bea starts to have doubts. She turns down her engagement because she does not think that Simon is the man for her. She thinks she might have found that makes her go weak at the knees when he takes her photo at the first wedding of the season, but it seems he has a promise to fulfil.

Lizzie the first to get married, in the fields with a very countryside themed wedding is marrying the man she is clearly in love with, doting and besotted with. Except that he is about to go back on tour and that will mean leaving her behind.

Hannah is beyond excited about being a wife but has failed to point out to her grandparents who are paying for the wedding, that Remy her partner is in fact female. They might notice at some point all her friends keep telling her.

Kat is practical and certainly doesn’t want any of the fuss and trimmings of other weddings. But does that mean she is not committed? And is Henry feeling the same?

But when events at a festival take life on a different turn and a wedding you never saw coming happens then will these four women find their happy ever after just like in the Richard Curtis film.

This is a lighthearted book very much in line with the films that it liberally refers to throughout, great as a beach read but not if you want something with a bit more depth which I generally do.

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

Four Weddings and a Festival is out now. 





The Secret Cove in Croatia – Julie Caplin

Books can take you on holidays and experiences vicariously and whilst there are some books I read I have no want or desire to become involved – reassuringly for my readers anything to do with murders is at the top of this list! However ones that require no passport or vaccinations then I am there being transported to blue seas, warm sun and the sense of pure relaxation. Utter bliss.

In this the fifth of the Romantic Escapes series by Julie Caplin, I am transported by yacht to Croatia.

Maddie is offered a job as chief cook and bottlewasher onboard a luxury yacht for the summer. One of the yachts that are chartered with those who have so much money they have no sense as to what to do with it.

Despite the hard work, Maddie thinks it might give her time to make sense of what she wants to do with her life.

Nick is a sheep farmer and when a chance encounter with supermodel Tara, sees him forming a relationship with her. What better place to consolidate that than on holiday. Lazing onboard a luxurious yacht seems the perfect place for a supermodel and her eye candy boyfriend.

That is until he meets Maddie, down to earth, comfortable in her skin and also friends with Nick’s sister as well!

Add into the mix another supermodel, a stylist, people famous for being rich and arrogant and you get some rather over inflated egos and precious personalities which in interaction with the down to earth Maddie and to some extent Nick made for humorous reading.

Of course there are some underlying issues when you lead such a high profile life in public when every action has to have a reaction on social media and perhaps some of them were glossed over and not given any closure.

But the real plot was the sparks that fly between Nick and Maddie and when the boat is moored in the secret cove it seems that perhaps, the sheep farmer and the deck hand have more in common than they think. That is until the boat starts to move again.

Croatia and the harbours and towns that they stopped at are painted in something more than a holiday brochure but were brought to life. I am not sure about the yacht as I am not sure my sea legs would survive, however it is always great to see how the ‘other half live’.

A perfect read for a perfect holiday escape. I wonder where Julie Caplin is going to take me next?

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

The Secret Cove in Croatia is out today.