Books

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter – Hazel Gaynor

If I asked you who Grace Darling was you would probably be able to give me a sketchy idea of lifeboats, saving people and lighthouses. That was extent of my knowledge without a book or google to hand to fill in the details.

This book whilst fictionalising the story of Grace did something else for me. It filled in huge gaps in my knowledge of the event, of the way lighthouses work, the life that was led by these families and more importantly where women stood in the hierarchy of such things.

1938, Rhode Island,America.  Matilda Emmerson has been sent to stay with a distant relative, she has disgraced her good family by becoming pregnant out of wedlock. The distant relative happens to be a lighthouse keeper and there Matilda starts to come to terms with her subsequent pregnancy and starts to learn a lot about her past. Even down to why she was called Matilda.

100 years previous and Grace Darling spots the Forfarshire in trouble and assists her father in the rescue of some survivors. In the days before social media and instant celebrity, the speed in which everyone knew about Grace is staggering for its time. Boat tours went past the lighthouse in calmer weather to get a glimpse of her and people wanted literally a piece of her. Locks of hairs, portraits it seemed these were the ‘selfies’ of the day. Grace is very humble about what she has done and sees no reason for the attention which is brought to herself, her family and the lighthouse. She remembers that lives were lost and the families that were destroyed.

A book with strong female characters, some of them initially not that likeable until you start to realise the circumstances in which they are surviving. It is not only other people’s actions and emotions that can affect you. Your surroundings, the landscape can have detrimental effect to; the sea can tear them apart, keep them separate, can show you the truth and it can shape your life forever.

If you like historical fiction and want something different, then this is certainly the book for you.

A worthy and worthwhile read.

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

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter is out now. 

Books

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry – Caroline Roberts

Three generations of women are living at Primrose Farm, they have lost their husband, father, grandfather and whilst still reeling from the event they are struggling to hold on to everything that is dear to them. Including the farm.

Rachel has taken on the mantle of farmer and not afraid to get her hands dirty or spend sleepless nights with lambing ewes, nothing is a bother even looking after her own small child, Maisie.

Jill, Rachel’s mum is famed for her baking and her pudding, although Rachel is just as good. as she emerges from a stage of grief, Jill takes to making puddings for more than just her family.

A small idea is transformed in a bigger one and when Jill and Rachel take on something on a larger scale it has to work to keep the farm going.

With any of these gentle tales, nothing quite goes to plan and that is what makes it such a lovely story to read, you are drawn right into the story, into the farm, the kitchen and the smells of the baking as you care immediately about all the characters and what happens to them.

Add in a big dollop of romance and all the fresh air of the countryside positively goes to your head. Tom the neighbouring farmer, attractive and still single, who is willing to help with whatever countryside or pudding emergency might be required. Can romance blossom over sticky toffee pudding and sheep? Or will exes, children and misunderstandings get in the way?

I found this book such a joyous and uplifting read and showed you that you can diversify when you need to and keep those around you as close as you can – they will love you the most. A great read and if you like your stories, full of cake and countryside then this is a must. Think Countryfile and Mary Berry mixed together!

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

Rachel’s Pudding Pantry is published on the 18th April. 

 

Books

The Family Secret – Tracy Buchanan

Amber, divorced and still single, working in her gift shop is still grieving for the child she lost ten years previously. Her child is now her work and she can think of nothing else.

That is until a girl wanders onto the beach by Amber’s gift shop with no recollection of who she is, where she is, why she is there or even her name and age.

Amber senses a story with this girl and the girl only seems to trust Amber. But can Amber help this lost soul when she is in fact still lost herself.

Gwyneth is a famous wildlife documentary maker. She is never at home always on the way to or coming from the latest project. Gwyneth finds herself lost in the wilds of Scotland, by a frozen loch and decides to cross it to get some help. It turns out she will need the help.

That help comes from Dylan McCluskey at home for Christmas.

Two storylines, twenty years apart and with very different tales to tell. Both could have been seperate stories and Tracy Buchanan has created them so well that you had to keep reading because you knew at some point these stories were going to cross, to connect to unearth the secrets that had been kept for many years.

Not only are we given excellent characters with flaws to relate to, with guilt and secrets to hide but the author has put it all in some rather bleak settings, the winter at the beach, the snow of Scotland even transporting us to Iceland where the light is not always so bright. All of the landscapes and places bring another layer to the story and add to the whole atmosphere of the story.

This is a great read and one that you will get hooked by, I had to keep reading to find out the truth, the secrets and who exactly the mysterious girl without a memory was.

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

The Family Secret is out now. 

 

Books · Jottings

March Roundup

It has been a very odd month reading wise – work has been horrendous in varying measures and I have been so exhausted and stressed by it all I have probably not read as much as I normally do and had a slump of about five days when I just could not get into any book at all.

I felt disheartened, especially when I ploughed on with Judy Leigh – The Age of Misadventure when I perhaps should have given it up. It was an okay book, but nothing about the characters made me warm to any of them and if anything they were quite irritating and the plot meant you needed to suspend reality for a little while. I know some have loved it and will love it but it really was not for me. That will be my extent of my review on netgalley.

I did try to start a number of other books over the month, The Road to Grantchester was one, which I read quite a bit, but I found the war setting at the beginning rather harrowing and put the book down, as I felt it was not helping my mental state. In the end I just went a couple of days without reading.

It all sounds depressing but there was some lovely bright reads amongst my melancholy March!

Sarah Bennett – Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle this is the first in a new series from Sarah Bennett, who I have been reading since her first book was published and you will find her a popular author on this blog. This I think is goign to be the beginning of the best series so far. I am pitching it as Antiques Roadshow meets Downton Abbey – it will bring some much needed sun and warmth into your life. It helped me no end – and I cannot wait to go back to Bluebell Castle.

Of course Cornwall always brings as smile to the soul, even if I have never been and only lived the place vicariously through my reading. Phillipa Ashley – A Perfect Cornish Summer does just that and adds in a food festival to make your mouth water as you read. A perfect read for summer and holidays in fact at anytime!

So from Derbyshire with Sarah to Cornwall with Phillipa I then went to the Cotswolds with Liz and more food after all that travelling. Liz Eeles – New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle treats us to a cup of tea and a cherry tart if you fancy in the cafe situated in a bookshop. What more could a book loving customer want! And we can go back for seconds at the Cosy Kettle when the next book comes out.

The last few years my blog has been dominated by a lot of women’s fiction – I know that is not everyones cup of tea but isn’t that the great thing about reading and books? Something to fit everyone and every mood. Of course I do love a good historical saga and anything set in the past as well which is why some of the books I read are vastly different to the perhaps the majority!

That was the case with this debut novel Georgina Clarke – Death and the Harlot: A Lizzie Hardwicke Novel where I was transported back to the 18th century, to London, to highwaymen, murders and ladies of the night. What an interesting background for a murder mystery and an interesting twist of a sidekick for a detective!

Further forward to the Second World War with Lorna Cook – The Forgotten Village a dual timeline and narrative about a village requisitioned and never returned to its residents. It still lays empty today.

Even further forward to the 1980s and 1990s, as I grow older I realise this is very much the past and history for some! Tracy Buchanan – The Family Secret  a new author to me and one who I will return to. This is a story of mothers, of loss and of secrets that are kept to protect and punish others. Fascinating and gripping!

All of the books read in March are from netgalley requests and I think I need to spend some time reading off my shelves for a while. So many books calling out to me and with two weeks of holiday about to start, there is plenty of time for reading.

Happy April everyone!

Books

Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

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.

MY REVIEW

Lucie is on the run. On the run from something she did not actually do, but in the world of antiques, auction houses and reputation she needs to disappear for a while. Holed up in a castle seems a good as place as any.

But there is work to be done at this castle – answering the job advertisement for a curator to record all the artefacts held within Bluebell Castle. Lucie has visions of Arthur Ludworth the current Baronet as some old relic who is going to be as difficult as he is helpful.

What Lucie does not realise is she is about to walk into something out of an Arthurian Legend.

Arthur Ludworth, eldest of triplets by minutes is left the legacy of Bluebell Castle and all the bad investments and therefore debts that his father left behind. He knows that he needs to capture the idea of perhaps opening up his home to cash in on the Castle’s history as well as its artefacts, but there is also talk of a missing painting which might explain the obsession that all Ludworths have had with Arthur, Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table.

Lucie finds herself enthralled by the story of the legend, the artefacts in the castle, the diaries and Arthur Ludworth certainly not an old relic but one who is distractingly handsome.

Will the missing painting remain a legend?

Will Lucie’s past catch up with her?

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

Not up for me to tell you – go and read this wonderful new novel in the first of a new series from Sarah Bennett.

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.

 

Thank you to the author, netgalley and Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to read this book and be part of the Blog Tour. 

Great news to – we are going to return to Bluebell Castle later in the year!

In the meantime you can buy Spring Skies Over Bluebell Castle on

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Apple

Kobo

Who is Sarah Bennett?

Sarah Bennett has been reading for as long as she can remember. Raised in a family of bookworms, her love affair with books of all genres has culminated in the ultimate Happy Ever After – getting to write her own stories to share with others.

Born and raised in a military family, she is happily married to her own Officer (who is sometimes even A Gentleman). Home is wherever he lays his hat, and life has taught them both that the best family is the one you create from friends as well as relatives.

When not reading or writing, Sarah is a devotee of afternoon naps and sailing the high seas, but only on vessels large enough to accommodate a casino and a choice of restaurants.

Sarah is the author of the Butterfly Cove, Lavender Bay and the forthcoming Bluebell Castle trilogies, published by HQ Digital UK.

Find Sarah on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Books

New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle – Liz Eeles

Callie has not ventured far from her home village. She did branch out to university but due to the death of her grandmother she comes back to stay with her grandfather and doesn’t leave again. Having lost her father and her mother now remarried, she finds that home is the best place for her to be.

With a job in the local bookshop, Callie is just really coasting along in life. When a new owner takes over the shop, Callie has an idea – a coffee shop – and for once someone listens to her. So her plans to create a little coffee shop tucked away amongst the books is what Callie needs to boost her confidence and be proud of what she has done.

Gathering waifs and strays along the way Callie forms some strong bonds, with stressed out mums, a young girl with anxiety issues as well as having to deal with her 80-year-old straight talking grandfather who has some wacky plans for the rest of his days. She doesn’t have really much time for romance.

That is until Noah, a face from the past appears in the village.

Callie heard Noah say something back before she went to university and has never forgotten it and therefore the last things she wants to do is bump into him. But in a small village and with Noah’s brother renovating ‘the big house’ into a hotel it seems that their paths are going to cross more than once.

What did Noah say all those years ago? Can Callie ever forgive him?

This is the first in a new series of novels from Liz Eeles.  It starts quite slowly and really you are just getting to know everyone in the village as you would need to do but it does pick up and then you start to care about Callie and her wonderful grandfather as you learn more about their past. With the other new characters introduced you can start to see that this story and therefore the series could in fact go anywhere…..romance, humour, family dynamics, mental health problems, broken marriages, bullying in fact you don’t realise how much is covered as it seems such a gentle read on the surface.

A satisfying read and I can’t wait for another cup in the Cosy Kettle Café.

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

New Starts and Cherry Tarts at the Cosy Kettle is out now. 

Books · Crafts · Jottings · Knitting · Witterings

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.