#BlogTour | Temple of Dreams by Carolyn Mathews #TempleOfDreams #Excerpt #LoveBooksTours @Carolyn_Mathews @RoundfireBooks @lovebooksgroup
Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this brilliant blog tour for; Temple of Dreams by Carolyn Mathews. Not only will I be sharing this fascinating book with you, but I also have an exclusive excerpt with you all. Go on, take apeek I hope you love it as much as I do!
Temple Of Dreams by Carolyn Mathews
Genre: Historical / Publisher: Round Fire Books / Format: Ebook, Paperback
Homeless and jobless following the death of his adoptive parents, Sebastian enrols at a college of natural medicine which boasts a sanctuary modelled on an ancient Greek healing centre. After a night in the temple, he dreams of Apollos, a young Athenian defeated in a pankration contest, suffering memory loss. More dreams follow, decrypted by Sybil, the lecturer who insists he keeps a dream journal. Seb is kept busy in the 21st century by a budding relationship with Fliss, which stalls when she tries to persuade him to search for his birth parents. Meanwhile, Apollos, in the fifth century BC, readies himself to attend the festival of the Greater Eleusinian Mysteries, to discover the secrets of how to avoid the perils of the underworld and make it to Elysium.
I am woken by a kiss from Pelagia, who must be freshly bathed and perfumed because she smells wonderful. I respond to her caress and then something Philemon said yesterday makes me turn away from her.
‘What’s wrong, Apollos? Are you ill?’
I can’t think of a tactful way to say what’s on my mind, so I blurt it out.
‘I’m sorry, Pelagia. I should have thought of this before, but it only occurred to me recently. Was it you or your husband who was unable to…who was….
‘Barren?’ she says, with an edge to her voice.
I take her hand and press it over my heart.
‘Did he marry again?’
‘And did he have children?’
‘There is a child but I have it on good authority that his wife pretended to be pregnant and sent one of her father’s slaves to Mount Lycabettos to pick up a newborn boy. If I’d loved him, I might have considered doing the same.’
‘How could she get away with that?’
‘He often travelled abroad on business and she chose an opportune time. She padded herself out and went to her parents’ house for the “birth”. They probably sprinkled some pig’s blood around, to make it more realistic.’
‘What if he finds out?’
‘I think he’d turn a blind eye. They were married for two years before the child “arrived”. This way, it makes him look more of a man.’
‘If it wasn’t his, does that mean you might be fertile?’
Pelagia dropped her cynical pose and giggled.
‘I wouldn’t be surprised, pledged as I am to a goddess of fertility. If I wasn’t before, I probably am now.’
I can’t tell whether this is a yes or a no, but have now grown tired of the subject and proceed to finish what she’d started, making conversation redundant.
About the Author
Carolyn Mathews is the author of the Pandora Trilogy, whose first instalment Transforming Pandora was showcased by The People’s Book Prize in 2014. Carol has an MA in Applied Linguistics and an abiding interest in metaphysics, both of which have profoundly influenced her writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, UK.
You can find more about Carolyn here – http://carolynmathews.co.uk/
#BlogTour | The Summer Island Swap by Samantha Tonge #TheSummerIslandSwap #Review @SamTongeWriter @aria_fiction
Hell, Sunshines! I have the great pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; The Summer Island Swap by Samantha Tonge. I am super excited to be sharing my review of this charming book with you and I also have an exclusive excerpt for your all to enjoy, I do hope you love this book as much as I do!
The Summer Island Swap by Samantha Tonge
Genre: Contemporary /Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Aria Fiction
Sometimes the best holidays are the ones you least expect…
After a long and turbulent year, Sarah is dreaming of the five-star getaway her sister has booked them on. White sands, cocktails, massages, the Caribbean is calling to them.
But the sisters turn up to tatty beaches, basic wooden shacks, a compost toilet and outdoor cold water showers. It turns out that at the last minute Amy decided a conservation project would be much more fun than a luxury resort.
So now Sarah’s battling mosquitos, trying to stomach fish soup and praying for a swift escape. Life on a desert island though isn’t all doom and gloom. They’re at one with nature, learning about each other and making new friends. And Sarah is distracted by the dishy, yet incredibly moody, island leader she’s sure is hiding a secret.
Perfect for fans of Holly Martin, Mandy Baggot and Heidi Swain.
Amazon / Kobo / Google Play
This is only the second book I have read by Samantha Tonge and again I was completely hooked with her witty and heart-warming story of friendship and family. I really love Samantha’s writing, you are not only swept away on a fun and enjoyable adventure but with some serious subjects that make you stop and really think about the world we live in.
Sarah hasn’t been on holiday in an age, after a pretty turbulent year she is ready to relax and allow her mind and body to chill and wind down. But as things stand losing her job and not having anything else in the pipeline plus not money, the long-wished-for dream of a holiday is just that; a dream. That is until her sister; Amy wins some money and decides to take them both on a dream holiday, she is going to whisked them both away to a sunny and relaxing island.
I really like Sarah, her story really spoke to me, I related to her far more then I did Amy. She is a very relatable and likable woman, she has always done her best, worked hard and always looked after her little sister. She is the sort of woman that anyone can instantly like, she is a little down on her luck and deserves a little happiness and fun.
Sarah thinks that Amy has booked them a glorious Caribbean holiday, four weeks of nothing but luxury and pampering. Oh, how wrong she is! It turn’s out that the holiday is in fact, a paid voluntary conservation scheme, instead of a month of sunning herself and being waited on hand and foot, it in fact means a month of hard graft.
What I really liked about this book is that even thought there is a hint of a romance, it doesn’t overshadow the main plot, this is all about building confidence, binding those family ties and finding ones feet again, it’s all about friendship and the strength of family and self discovery.
The romance aspect is really sweet, and to be perfectly honest this book would be just as delightful whether there was romance or not.
There is such a important message hidden within, not only to that doing things for your is important to moving forward and coping with past issues. But there is a serious aspect in the conservation side which does make you stop and think.
Overall, a hugely enjoyable, inspirational and perfect escapist story, at times a little predictable but I was completely hooked!
‘I’ll still have to clear it at work. I’m not sure how Prue will feel about me taking a month off.’
Just the mention of my boss’s name made my stomach knot.
‘No one’s indispensable. Not even wonderful you,’ she called back.
My chest felt warm. Over recent years, Amy had matured and started to look out for me, cooking dinner and mowing the lawn. However, I’d never lose my maternal feelings towards her. When we were ten and six ours was quite an age gap. As was eighteen and fourteen when I’d had to leave her behind with Dad but promised we’d live together again. I beat the sugar and butter, remembering her tears and his folded arms as I dragged my suitcase past the fountain and out of the huge driveway, into the street. I’d finally realised I had to leave after… I swallowed. No. I wasn’t going to think about that now.
I let Nelly into the back garden, busied myself with ingredients and cleaned up whilst the cookies baked. Their sweet aroma wafted through the air as I carried them into the lounge, on a tray, with two coffees.
‘Good timing,’ said Amy and turned off her screen, looking pleased with herself. I put the tray on the table and joined her.
‘Is it all booked?’
She nodded. ‘A modest deposit paid. The rest is due in the middle of June, two weeks before we leave.’
‘Can’t you at least share which part of the world we’re visiting?’
‘That would be telling,’ she replied airily and took the largest cookie.
I jumped up and held her right arm firm whilst tickling the armpit. ‘I won’t stop until I find out, Amy Sterling.’
However, she was as strong as me these days and, giggling, held the cookie in her mouth and forced both of my hands away. I sat down once more. I recognised that expression. She was determined to keep her secret. Sometimes, with my impulsive sister, that could be a dangerous thing, like when she’d agreed to do a charity skydive with colleagues at work. She didn’t tell me until the morning of the jump.
‘Just a clue. A teeny one,’ I said. ‘Please…’
‘I’ve never seen you this excited before. Well, not since you were made assistant manager. Oh, and the time you found that fancy moisturiser for half price.’
‘It wasn’t just any moisturiser. The Duchess of Cambridge uses it.’ I pressed my palms together. ‘At least let me guess… the Canary Islands? Barbados? Australia’s an island, right? I mean, you and me – we share most things, don’t we?’
‘Best buddies, always,’ she said solemnly.
It was a promise we’d made to each other, the day after Mum’s funeral. And sure enough, we confided in each other about our latest celebrity crushes, about our dreams for the future; we put the world to rights over Chardonnay and Pringles. I knew her favourite colour, favourite food, favourite band. She could always tell when I’d had a stressful day at work and, without prying, would make me a hot chocolate, fetch a blanket and switch on my current Netflix obsession.
* Excerpt used with permission of the publisher as apart of this blog tour.
About the Author
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely.
When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award
Website: http://samanthatonge.co.uk/ / Twitter: @SamTongeWriter / Facebook: @SamanthaTongeAuthor
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Blog Tour Schedule
Hello, Sunshines! I hope you are well? I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazingly epic blog tour for; The Sea gate by Jane Johnson. I have a brilliant exclusive excerpt to share with you all, which I am sure you will love. This book sounded so good that even though I initially signed up to this blog tour with an excerpt, I did manage to grab a copy of this book from NetGalley and I will be sharing my review of that in the next week or so. But, until then I hope you love the sound of this as much as I did!
The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson
Genre: Time Slip, Women’s Fiction, Historical, Mystery
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Ebook, Paperback, Hardpack
One house, two women, a lifetime of secrets…
Following the death of her mother, Becky begins the sad task of sorting through her empty flat. Starting with the letters piling up on the doormat, she finds an envelope post-marked from Cornwall. In it is a letter that will change her life forever. A desperate plea from her mother’s elderly cousin, Olivia, to help save her beloved home.
Becky arrives at Chynalls to find the beautiful old house crumbling into the ground, and Olivia stuck in hospital with no hope of being discharged until her home is made habitable.
Though daunted by the enormity of the task, Becky sets to work. But as she peels back the layers of paint, plaster and grime, she uncovers secrets buried for more than seventy years. Secrets from a time when Olivia was young, the Second World War was raging, and danger and romance lurked round every corner…
The Sea Gate is a sweeping, spellbinding novel about the lives of two very different women, and the secrets that bind them together.
Amazon / Kobo / Google Play
Praise for The Sea Gate
‘A beautifully written and intriguing story that stayed with me long after I had turned the last page’ Santa Montefiore.
‘I’ve so enjoyed the hours I’ve spent reading the novel. I loved the warm, vivid characters, especially salty Olivia, and was completely swept up in this intriguing and beautifully researched mystery of wartime Cornwall. It was quite magical’ Rachel Hore.
‘Full of secrets, passion, and with two strong heroines, this book satisfies every need. It’s utterly romantic and and page-turningly exciting. I can’t recommend it highly enough’ Katie Fforde.
‘I so enjoyed this. The relationship between the two women of such very different generations, the parallel love affairs, the feeling of place are all so well done. It’s a treat!’ Amanda Craig.
‘A beautiful evocative story capturing the darkness of Cornwall and its piercing beauty … This had me in tears’ Liz Fenwick.
‘The Sea Gate just blew me away. Utterly compelling and one of the few books for a long time that kept me reading deep into the night’ Barbara Erskine.
The next day James, Evie and I make our way to Mum’s flat, which lies at the top of an unprepossessing building on the edge of Warwick. James turns the spare key in the lock and pushes the door, but it won’t budge more than a few inches. I drop to my knees on the dusty doorstep and reach around the frame to find that the obstruction is a pile of unopened post. I claw it away till the door opens a bit wider and James steps inside. I am about to get up to follow him, but Evie presses a hand down on my shoulder and steps over me, placing the spike heels of her crocodile-skin boots carefully into the islands of floorboard revealed between the ocean of envelopes and flyers. ‘Good grief,’ she says as she passes. ‘Anyone would think she’d been dead for years.’
I stare at her retreating back in disbelief.
She stalks down the hallway and stares in passing at the framed pictures on the wall, dismissing them as worthless. Yes, Evie, they’re barely worth the cost of the canvas they’re daubed on: I painted them.
I gather the post into a pile, imagining Mum lying in her hospital bed with the stupid, oppressive reminders of ordinary life spilling through the letter box day after day. Sixty-four years old, gone without warning; of course the bills and letters and junk mail have kept on coming – no one expected this sudden departure. Again, the enormity of her passing hits me. I will never be able to call her on a whim, to ask if she’s seen the size of the moon tonight, or to check on her recipe for scones; never share another Christmas lunch with her, never have to sneakily return ill-fitting birthday presents to Marks & Spencer. Never be able to hear her say, Don’t worry, darling, I’m sure it’s nothing. I sniff back tears.
James reappears with a roll of black bin bags, a long length of which he tears off and passes to me. ‘Here you go. Evie, bless her, is going through Mum’s clothes.’
I feel suddenly hot with outrage. ‘Don’t you think you should have asked me to do that?’
‘Calm down! We thought it’d be too much for you, so Evie volunteered. You should be grateful: you know what a good eye she has. She’ll be able to tell at a glance if there’s anything worth selling on, though she said right away she thinks most of it will have to go into recycling or to charity shops—’
‘It’s not Mum’s fault she didn’t dress the way Evie thinks she should. Dad left with all the money and then fucked off and died after spending the lot on his mistress!’
James shuffles his feet. ‘No need to swear, not very ladylike.’
Not very ladylike, I mouth at his back. When did my brother become such a prig? Probably ever since Evie started campaigning.
Gathering the post into my arms, I take it into the lounge and dump it on the coffee table, knocking a framed photograph to the floor in the process. James picks it up and stares at it, hands it to me. The photo is faded into the ochre and pale blue of old Kodak stock. It shows the four of us, Mum and Dad with James and me, standing in front of a hedge and old gate, and beyond us a shining expanse of sea stretching into flared-out infinity. James and I look about eight or so. You’d never know we were twins. We don’t look alike, have never even had much in common. As soon as we’d developed our own little personalities the family had fractured along gender lines: me and Mum, with our fine, fair hair and introversion, our love of books and plants; James and Dad, dark and confident and loud, disappearing to take part in manly pursuits. It’s a window into a lost age.
*This excerpt has been used with permission from the publisher as apart of this blog tour.
About The Author
Jane Johnson is a British novelist and publisher. She is the UK editor for George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb and Dean Koontz and was for many years publisher of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Married to a Berber chef she met while researching The Tenth Gift, she lives in Cornwall and Morocco.
Follow Jane on Twitter: @JaneeJohnsonBakr
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Blog Tour Schedule
#Review | Vixen (Georgina Garrett Series #3) by Sam Michaels #Vixen #GeorginaGarrett #BlogTour #AriaAddicts @SamMichaelsGG @aria_fiction
Hello Sunshines, I hope everyone is safe and well?! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of this amazing book with you all today; Vixen by Sam Michaels. TI am super excited to be sharing my review of this fabulous book with you all, plus I have an excerpt which I hope you will love as much as I do.
This post was scheduled to be shared in April, but as we all know one thing leads to another and we fall behind…..Oops! I am finally caught up with my late blog tours and can focus on those late reviews! So, here it is ridiculously late, sorry! I hope you all enjoy it!
Vixen by Sam Micheals
Series: Georgina Garrett Series, Book 3
Publisher: Aria Fiction
Genre: Historical Fiction/Saga
While World War Two rages on around them, the gangs of London are fighting for their turf…
There might be a war on, but that doesn’t stop Georgina Garrett running her business with an iron fist. No one said running the Battersea gang was going to be easy, but her unflinchable nature makes Georgina unstoppable.
With a role that requires a ruthless ability to seek revenge and pay out crippling punishments, Georgina’s enemies are growing in number. With a target on her back, Georgina knows she must do everything to protect her family. But, with the loss of someone closest to her, can Georgina rise up from the ashes or allow a usurper take her crown?
Perfect for fans of Peaky Blinders, Martina Cole and Lesley Pearse.
Amazon / Kobo / iBook / Google Play
‘Are you all right, dear? You look rather pasty,’ Benjamin said as Ivy climbed into his car beside him.
‘Yes, I’m fine thank you. Come on, let’s go,’ Ivy answered curtly.
‘All right, missy, no need for the attitude – I was only asking.’
‘Sorry, Benjamin. It was them sirens. Take no notice of me. Anyway, you ain’t looking too clever yourself.’
‘I’m exhausted, dear. Working six nights in The Penthouse and being Miss Garrett’s accountant is quite tiring.’
‘Maybe you should give up one of the jobs? I’m sure Miss Garrett wouldn’t mind finding another manager for her club, or another accountant.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous. I couldn’t possibly trust anyone else to care for Miss Garrett’s financial interests and I’d rather die than hand over management of The Penthouse. It’s my baby.’
‘You could take a couple of nights off and I could look after the place for you. Or don’t you trust me?’
‘Oh, Ivy, of course I trust you. But I love it really. If I wasn’t in the club, I’d only be sitting at home and missing it. Don’t worry, a glass of champagne will perk me up. By the way, those earrings are rather stunning.’
‘Miss G gave ’em to me. I looked after Alfie the other day and Miss G said she had a bag of jewellery in the bottom of her wardrobe and I could help meself. I only took these and a ring. Lovely, ain’t they, and I fink they’re real diamonds.’
‘Yes, my dear, they certainly are.’
‘I’ve never had real diamonds before. I was a bit scared to wear ’em at first.’
‘They suit you and I can see they are very good quality so take care of them.’
Benjamin wasn’t surprised by Georgina’s generosity. And when it came to jewels, she wasn’t one to wear many so he assumed the bag of jewellery would soon be making its way to his father’s jewellery shop. From there, it would be moved to his second cousin’s shop in Manchester, exchanged and sold on. His father had been a fence for years, the name Ezzy Harel synonymous with stolen quality jewels. It had made him quite a wealthy man.
Twenty minutes later, Benjamin unlocked the doors to the club and turned on the lights of the winding corridors that led down to the basement where the private members’ club was located. ‘I think someone’s been in here,’ he whispered.
‘Don’t be daft. The place was locked up when we arrived.’
‘Yes, I know, Ivy, but I can sense something.’
‘Yes! I’m sure of it. Wait here, let me check.’
‘No way, I’m coming with you.’
‘All right, but stay behind me.’
Benjamin felt Ivy yank him back and she was now marching ahead of him. ‘I’m a damn sight tougher than you,’ she said, ‘so I’ll go first.’
He didn’t argue and followed behind, his heart pounding. Once in the basement, Ivy pulled open the doors and shouted, ‘Hello… Anyone here?’
No-one answered but Benjamin’s nostrils twitched at the faint whiff of burning.
‘Can you smell that?’ Ivy asked.
‘Yes, I can. Quick, have a look around. I’m sure something is on fire.’
Ivy dashed one way and Benjamin another. As he approached the stage, the smell became stronger but there was no sign of any flames. Then he realised. ‘The dressing room,’ he called to Ivy who was now running towards him.
The door was closed and Ivy went to reach for the handle.
*This excerpt has been supplied and used with permission from the publisher as apart of this blog tour post.
I try not to start reading a series halfway through, its a personal rule of mine mostly I do stick to it, but there are occasions when a book comes along that is so intriguing and which sounded to be right up my street, then I do throw my own rule book out of the window and give the book a go. And, I am so pleased I did, I thoroughly enjoyed this, I have to admit that it was the tag line of ‘Perfect for fan’s of Peaky Blinders‘ that caught my attention first – for those who know me, will know how much I love that series and I am so pleased that it didn’t disappoint.
Even though I do think that by jumping into this one – book three – and not reading the previous two first, I have missed out on vital parts of the plot regarding Georgina Garrett, this is definably one of those series’ that you really should read from the beginning. Which is nothing at all do with the writing or the story itself; both of which are amazing and flawless, its all to do with the fact that I was impatient, but I will definitely be reading the previous two in the series which will probably follow by re-reading this one again – just to see how the story flows throughout the series. Which is an odd little quirk of mine, which I do when I have on the rare occasion started a series in the middle.
Anyhow, enough about me and my odd reading habits!
I can’t fault the writing one bit, it’s flawless; captivating, vivid, compelling, it’s an absolute joy to read, the story is fast-paced, thrilling and thoroughly engaging – this book has TV series/film written all over it.
The characters are brilliant, they each bring some magic to the overall story, they are brilliantly created with such realism you would think that they were real people which certainly grabbed my attention. There are times when your heart really goes out to Georgina; she is tough, brutal, savvy, dangerous, she is a born leader, but then you have the other side of her mask; the mother, the wife she is caring and passionate. She isn’t the most liked person in the area where she lives, but I don’t think she particularly cares about that, she does her part for the war with her counterfeiting ring; forging ration books and the like and she helps when people need help. In my opinion, she is an amazing, resourceful, hardworking, devoted and admirable woman who has pushed herself to the front of her game in what is essentially a man’s world – you know me, I do love a book which has a strong woman who can stand on her own two feet in a man’s world.
If you’re like me and love tales of east end villains, the likes of the ‘Peaky Blinders’ brutal, bloody, ducking and diving all led by a woman then this is the perfect book. I loved it, I honestly cannot say a single negative word against it. I loved the action-packed and fast-paced plot, which was highly addictive but very grounded in the fact that Georgina is very family-focused. I loved the diverse and fabulous characters, it’s a thrilling, dramatic engaging game of cat and mouse which will take the reader on a whirlwind adventure through back streets and the darker side of London and the war,
As the tag line says; if you love Peaky Blinders, then you will love this and I couldn’t agree more!
About the Author
Sam Michaels writes gritty historical crime sagas set in Battersea, South London, which is where she was born and bred, the council estates being her playground.
After leaving school at sixteen with no qualifications, Sam married soon after and had a son. The marriage ended quickly, and as a single mother, she worked in various retail positions until undertaking an Open University degree. This led to Sam becoming an analytical scientist and then into technical sales where she met her husband.
A few years later, they moved from Hampshire to Spain. It was then that her mother, the Sunday Times best-selling author, Kitty Neale, inspired Sam to put pen to paper. She now writes her novels in sunnier climates with the company of her husband, four dogs and six cats.
Blog Tour Schedule
I just want to make a brief apology to Sam and the team over at Aria for not posting this review on my day of this amazing blog tour. I think many will agree with me when I say the last few weeks/months have been a bit on the weird side and I’m afraid I have let things slide a little and now I am drastically playing catch up.
So, for all those who missed out on the blog tour, why not check out each of these amazing blogs which participated in this tour and show them some love?
Website: www.ariafiction.com / Twitter: @aria_fiction / Facebook: @ariafiction / Instagram: @ariafiction
#BlogTour | Another Us by Kirsten Hesketh #AnotherUS #Excerpt #LoveBooksTours @Kirsten_Hesketh @canelo_co @lovebooksgroup
Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are all well? I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; Another Us by Kirsten Hesket, not only will I be sharing this great book with you all, but I also have an exclusive excerpt. I hope you love it as much as I do, enjoy!
Another Us by Kirsten Hesket
Genre: Women’s Fiction
What if Emma isn’t the person she thought she was?
Her younger son has just been diagnosed with autism.
She’s accidentally quit her job.
The marriage she was dedicated to suddenly seems like a sham.
She’s pretty sure that she is going to have an affair with a hot new dad at the school.
The only thing that stays the same is everyone else. Emma realises it’s not them – it’s her. But if she’s not who she thought she was, can her old life fit in with the new Emma?
Compassionate, funny and poignant, Another Us is perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Fiona Gibson.
Jack took a deep breath and nodded his head. ‘Yeah. Sorry. I wasn’t being me.’
He was as white as a sheet.
A small, vulnerable, precious ten-year-old boy. I really shouldn’t have shouted.
‘Right, let’s get you home,’ said Daniel. ‘I think the Healey family has made quite enough of a spectacle of itself for one evening.’
I wanted to go home. I really did. I wanted to go home, have a cup of tea, be with Jack… be with them all. But I couldn’t just abandon Mandy.
‘The tattoo tent—’ I started.
‘Oh, for goodness sake, Emma,’ said Daniel. ‘Does that really matter at a time like this? OK, I’ll take Jack and Lily home and you stay with your precious PTA.’
Before I could answer, he was gone, Jack and Lily trailing behind him. I stood there staring after them all.
Was I really that useless?
Was it really my fault?
Then I turned and walked slowly back across the playground.
A wave of noise and light almost winded me as I approached the hall. I felt exhausted, overwhelmed… helpless.
‘Emma. Are you OK?’ It was Paul, appearing at my side.
‘Not really,’ I said. I didn’t even have the energy to pretend that everything was all right.
‘Yeah, I saw you come out with Jack,’ said Paul. ‘I was going to come over but then Dan pitched up. Where are they all now?’
‘Gone home,’ I said. ‘I’ve got to stay and do the bloody tattoos.’
‘No, you don’t,’ said Paul. ‘Mandy will understand. Oh, Emma, love, you’re shaking. Come here.’
He pulled me into his arms. It was a friendly, comforting hug rather than anything else but suddenly I was weeping against his shoulder.
‘Oh God, I’m so bloody useless,’ I sobbed. ‘I’m a terrible mother.’
I felt Paul smile against my hair. ‘No, you’re not,’ he said. ‘You’re a lovely mum.’
‘I’m bloody not. I have no idea what do to when Jack gets like that.’
Paul stroked my hair. ‘That’s because it’s hard,’ he said.
About the Author
Kirsten has a background in advertising and now runs her own consultancy specialising in psychological interviewing and focus groups. Over the past 25 years, she has interviewed the Great British public on everything from Rolos to razors and vacuums to Viagra.
Kirsten is married with a son and a daughter and two exceptionally fluffy moggies. She is a keen amateur archaeologist and loves to spend her weekends hacking through the mud on a local Roman dig.
She is also a staunch supporter of Wycombe Wanderers – especially when they are winning!
Kirsten can be found on Twitter as @kirsten_hesketh
Blog Tour Schedule
#BlogTour | Someday In Paris by Olivia Lara #SomedayInParis #Review #Excerpt @olilara_writes @Aria_Fiction
Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are all safe and well? I have the massive pleasure to be today’s stop of this fabulous blog tour for one of the most romantic and magical books I have ever read; Someday In Paris by Olivia Lara. Not only will I be sharing my babbled review for you all to plough through, but I also have an exclusive excerpt which I hope will make you love this book as much I do. So grab that cuppa and biscuits (you will need them) and enjoy!
Someday In Paris by Olivia Lara
Genre: Historical/Women’s Fiction
‘An epic, sweeping romance … Timeless yet completely original’ Holly Miller.
Finding the one is only the beginning…
1954. Zara is fifteen the first time she meets Leon. During a power cut in a small French museum, the two spend one short hour in the dark talking about their love for art, Monet and Paris. Neither knows what the other looks like. Both know their lives will never be the same.
1963. In Paris, Leon no longer believes he will ever find the girl he lost that night. After dreaming about him for years, Zara thinks she has already found him. When they meet at an exhibition, they don’t recognise each other – yet the way they feel is so familiar…
Over the course of twenty years, Zara and Leon are destined to fall in love again and again. But will they ever find a way to be together?
‘It’s about dreams and taking chances. Missed opportunities and mistakes. Loss and sacrifice. But above all, it is about love. The kind of love that survives time, distance… even death. The kind of love I wish for you.’
A magical new love story about star-crossed lovers, perfect for hopeless romantics and fans of One Day and The Notebook.
Amazon / Kobo / Google Play
What people are saying about; Someday in Paris
‘I absolutely adored this book and stayed up late at night to finish it!! I couldn’t put it down. This was a truly epic love story’ Goodreads reviewer
‘Magical, all-encompassing and timeless; an unforgettable romance’ NetGalley reviewer
‘Without question 5.0 Exquisite Stars!! There are not enough magical adjectives to describe the beauty of this story!! Someday in Paris moved me beyond words and to quite a few tears’ Goodreads reviewer
‘Some books leave you a print in your heart which make them difficult to forget … Emotive, sweet and unforgettable … The most beautiful book I’ve read in a while!’ NetGalley reviewer
‘This is a book for hopeless romantics, for those who dare to dream, and for those who believe in true love everlasting … I could not put it down’ Goodreads reviewer
‘This book left me speechless. I haven’t read such an amazing story in a long time’ Goodreads reviewer
‘I absolutely loved this book … The story kept me hanging on and reading late into the night’ Goodreads reviewer
‘So, you like Monet?’
‘I don’t know anything about Monet.’
‘Why do you have the book then? Do you like art?’
‘I like Bartholdi and Viollet-le-Duc if that counts.’
‘Never heard of them,’ the boy said in a low, timid voice.
‘I’m not surprised. They’re not as famous as painters are, for instance.’
‘Yes, I love painters. Well, I mean I love paintings. Mostly by Monet. I like Cezanne too. Degas, sometimes. Pissarro. Manet less. Renoir is okay too. And Toulouse-Lautrec—’
He spoke so fast. She stopped him. ‘Can I have it back now?’
‘Oh, sorry, of course.’
Zara stretched out her arms just a bit and felt the edges of the book. He let go of it.
‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘You’re not from around here, are you? Your accent—’
‘I’m from New York. But I go to school in Switzerland.’
Apart from Paris, New York was her favorite city in the whole world even if, just like Paris, she had never seen it. She knew everything about it. New York was every artist’s dream. The skyscrapers, the fantastic architecture, the bridges, the statues, the parks. She had read many books about the city and even more about the statue.
‘You’re lucky. I’ve always wanted to visit New York. Maybe one day. I’m fascinated with Liberty Enlightening the World,’ she said in one breath.
‘Enlightening what?’ he asked tentatively.
‘The statue. The Statue of Liberty. That’s what it was initially called. Did you know the mastermind behind it lived here, in Colmar? The old town is filled with his sculptures and fountains. They’re magnificent.’
‘No, I didn’t know that,’ he said.
‘Yes, Colmar is not just a pretty small town on the Alsatian wine route. But let’s keep it between us because if word gets out, this place will be swarming with tourists.’
He chuckled, and her heart fluttered. She tried imagining what the face of a boy with such beautiful laughter looked like. She wondered if you could like someone without seeing them, without knowing anything about them. There was something about him. Something that made her feel things she’d never felt before.
‘Too late. I’m a tourist, so your secret is out. Tell me about this man who built the statue.’
‘He didn’t build it; he designed it. You know who built it? Gustave Eiffel, the same man who made the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Don’t feel bad, not a lot of people know this.’
‘But you do,’ he said. ‘Hey, you never answered my question.’
‘The painting. Is it here?’
‘I’m afraid not,’ she said. ‘In Paris, perhaps. Like I said, I am not that good with—’
‘Paintings,’ he said and chuckled. ‘Apparently neither am I.’ He sounded disappointed. ‘Well, at least I tried.’
‘Did you come all the way from Switzerland for this? What’s so special about it?’ Maybe there was something about Impression, Sunrise that would explain her dream.
‘It belongs to my family.’
‘Really? Then how come you don’t know where it is?’
‘My mother says that everything worthwhile is at least a little bit complicated. Besides, I’m in no rush. Tell me,’ she said, sitting on the floor next to him.
She forgot about the watchdog, about getting caught. It didn’t seem to matter anymore.
‘Alright then. Claude Monet made four identical Impression, Sunrise paintings. One he signed, the other three he kept secret and gave to his closest friends – among them, my great-grandfather. Years later, during World War II, the painting was stolen from our family’s house in Newport.’
‘And someone told you it might be in Colmar?’ asked Zara.
‘Not exactly. No. I just – I felt I had to come here. Not sure why. I saw the signs pointing to the museum, and here I am.’
‘I’m sorry you didn’t find what you were looking for,’ she said.
*This excerpt was used with permission from the publisher as apart of this blog tour post.
I cannot express just how breathtakingly beautiful this is!!
If I was one of those reviewers who rated books then this wouldn’t be a mere five stars, this would easily be a ten-star book. Honestly, there aren’t enough words to fully describe just how beautiful this is; it’s incredibly moving, magical, unforgettable, enchanting, full of everlasting love.
“…nothing is more important than love. In all shapes and forms, at all ages and no matter what the ending. Love is the destination, the journey. Love is the reason.“
Is that one of the most beautiful quotes, or what?
Believe me, this perfect book is full of positive and powerful ‘it’s all about love’ moment that I could weep…something I did more than once while reading this, it does turn you into a human watering can at times.
Easily one of the most romantic books I have read, it settles itself into your heart and refuses to leave, this is a book that will be talked about, read and loved for many, many years to come. If you love ‘The Notebook’ then this is the book you absolutely need to read, it feels like I have been apart of something very special by being apart of this blog tour and having the opportunity to review this exquisite book, it leaves its mark on every reader who dares to open the first page.
I do realise that I am waffling and this review will probably make no sense at all, but my thoughts are so scrambled, I want to say so much about this, yet my brain won’t connect with my fingers on the keyboard and they are just typing nonsensical waffle.
Honestly, I best actually say something about the story instead of fulling this review with lots of heartfelt gushing.
The story opens to an old lady who has ‘dreams’ telling her granddaughter a very special story, as she tells the story we are whisked back in time where we meet Zara and Leon; two teenagers share a love of art and who after spending a power cut they are torn apart by circumstances and over the course of twenty years they become entwined in what I think is one of the greatest new love stories on the time; one of which is full of missed chances, hope, loss, sadness, laughter, joy and of course love.
I absolutely adored every aspect of this book, I loved the beautifully poignant plot which swept me away, the characters are perfect the love that swirls around Zara and Leon is magical, they are instantly likeable and you know from the moment of meeting them that they will take you on a memorable journey. The setting of Paris the most romantic city in the world and the intricately entwined love of art is the perfect backdrop to this epic love story and it makes you dream of Paris, I do have a real soft spot for Paris as it is; even though I have never stepped foot there I have this pull towards this beautiful and historic city which made reading this book even more special.
This book is like a rare gift to every romantic heart who craves a true, unquestionable love story, Olivia Lara I want to hug you, bow down to you and thank you for bringing such a joyously beautiful and memorable story to the world.
I am astounded that this is Olivia’s debut book, this is amazing! I can see a hugely successful writing career spanning out into the future for her and I cannot wait to see what comes next.
It’s a timeless classic! – there isn’t any more I can say, it really is a beautiful, heartbreaking love story that will forever stay lodged inside my romantic heart.
I have to say a huge thank you to the Aria team for allowing me to be apart of this blog tour and to Olivia just for writing this spell-binding book.
About the Author
Olivia’s love for words started as a child when she spent all her summer vacations watching her grandfather, who worked for the biggest publishing house in Romania, edit hundreds of books. She is a former investigative journalist for a newspaper and a television network in Romania, now a Marketing Director in Silicon Valley – in between she lived in Paris where her love for the Alsace region was born.
Twitter: @olilara_writes / Facebook: @olivialaraauthor
Website: www.ariafiction.com / Twitter: @Aria_Fiction / Facebook: @ariafiction / Instagram: @ariafiction
Blog Tour Schedule
Do go and visit the amazing blogs participating in this tour and show them some love.
#BlogTour | Sing Me a Secret by Julia Houston #SingMeASecret #Review #Excerpt @juliehouston2 @aria_fiction
Hello, Sunshines, I hope you are all safe and well?! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the blog tour for; Sing Me A Secret by Julia Houston. Not only will I be sharing my review of this charming book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt, which I hope you will all love as much as I do. So settle in and enjoy!
Sing Me A Secret by Julie Houston
Genre: Contemporary/Women’s Fiction
The four Sutherland sisters have all had very different paths in life, but one secret and a slighty tense production of Jesus Christ Superstar are about to bring them all back together again…
When the news that pop-superstar Lexia Sutherland is returning to Westenbury, not everyone is thrilled by the news – including Lexia. There are too many memories she doesn’t need to face – or need re-surfacing.
Meanwhile, Juno Sutherland just wants a little peace and quiet. As the local village doctor, she’s got her priorities in order; kids, job, husband, tenacious pony, a role in the village musical… So when the sexy new locum turns up – and steals her office – the last thing she needed was to be hit with rising temperatures and an over-active imagination.
Will these sisters be able to uncover the past, deal with the future and put on the performance of a lifetime?
Return to Westenbury this spring and find out.
Amazon / Kobo / Google Play
Ok, full disclosure even though I have been aware of this author for a while now, this is actually the first I have read by Julie Houghton. I know, shock and horror!! As I did and do have a huge Mount Everest of a TBR pile, I did originally sign up to this blog tour to feature the book and an excerpt only. But as soon as I read the back blurb of the book I was charmed. So I was a little greedy and chose to review it too, even though I did break my own rule of not to start a series in the middle, but I am so pleased that I did because this is such an entertaining, feel-good, witty, sunny and the perfect escapist story. Which we all know is exactly what is needed in these weird times!
So as I said this is apart of a series set in a little country village, it’s idyllic, comfy and cute, it’s a place where everyone knows each other’s secrets; think Father Brown or Midsummer Murders (without the murders, obviously, but you get the idea) I did worry that I needed to read the previous books first, but personally, I don’t think you need to. To tell you the truth I read this as a stand-alone and if didn’t know there was a connecting book then I wouldn’t have guessed it. But it still won’t be stopping me from going out and grabbing a couple more of Julie’s books.
The story revolves around four sisters; The Sutherlands, Juno, Lexia, Ariadne and Pandora. Each sister has her own life and her own troubles, there are secrets swirling around that they may not be able to ignore. Pop-starlet; Lexia has to return to the village with her production of Jesus Christ Superstar, something she isn’t too keen on, I can tell you. She has her faults and her troubles and she would rather be anywhere else in the world then going back home. But will she receive a warm welcome from her estranged sisters? And more importantly, can, they all work together so the show goes on?
I really enjoyed getting to know each of the sisters, they all had their reason’s for their individual crisis’ and unhappiness, and there is more lurking in their backgrounds that does act as a bit of a hurdle for them. I did get a sense that each of them had their own unhappiness and it’s lovely to see them make their own journeys. The Sutherland sisters story is one that so many families can relate to, there is something hidden within the folds of the family make-up that makes close contact with each other very difficult, and Julie Houston has portrayed every emotion that runs through this family perfectly and in ding so pulls the reader in; you go through everything with them as though you have been dropped into the middle of their little village.
Which to be honest I would happily live in, I would be the nosey parker next door peeking at the neighbours behind the twitching net curtains, a bit like Marple. 😉
This is one of those books that does have you giggling away, even rather embarrassingly while the family are all watching something on TV. You will sit down and not want to move until you have closed the last page, it’s in not other words but; charming!
I loved the friendly, simplistic, yet realistic plot, it kept me engaged and entertained through out. it has a great cast of characters, which are all so well developed and each one has a brilliant story of their own to tell. I loved the way the past and the present was linked and ran through the story with real ease, which shows just how marvellous of a writer Julie Houston is. I loved her fluid, creative and classical writing style. I honestly cannot fault a single thing about this book, it was a real joy to read and to be apart of this blog tour.
Marian Potter, office manager at Westenbury village surgery, peered over her spectacles and glanced meaningfully at the clock behind her as Juno knocked on the glass door of reception.
‘ID?’ Marian mouthed, one eyebrow raised. ‘Do I know you?’
‘Forgot it,’ Juno mouthed back, smiling with what she hoped was an air of contrite apology.
‘Again. Come on, Marian, let me in.’ A small patch of mist appeared on the cold glass as
Juno peered through the door which led directly into reception and absentmindedly wrote I Love Boyzone before obliterating the sentiment into a wet puddle with her gloved hand. God, it was freezing out here. ‘Do we have to go through this pantomime every morning?’ she asked irritably once Marian acquiesced and pressed the button behind the counter, opening the doors and letting her through into the warmth.
‘I can’t be sure who you are if you constantly forget your identity card,’ Marian sniffed. ‘For all I know you could be a terrorist or… or a stalker.’ Kyra, one of the junior receptionists had had trouble with an ex-boyfriend who wouldn’t accept he was an ex, constantly sending flowers he couldn’t afford to the surgery and waiting in the carpark for her shift to finish. Hardly a stalker, but Marian, enjoying the whole drama of it all, had revved it up as such and threatened to call the police. In the end Juno had gone out to his battered old Corsa, opened the door and sat with him while he sobbed. Ten minutes later he was gone, his stalking career finished before it had even started.
‘Haven’t got the time or energy to stalk anyone, Marian. I wish I had – Morning, Declan – it might liven up my somewhat mundane existence.’
‘Dr Armstrong, I hardly think trivialising stalking—’
‘Juno, staff meeting at one. Don’t forget.’ Declan patted her absentmindedly on her shoulder as he walked towards his room. ‘And I think Izzy wants a word.’
Juno glanced at the clock. Ten minutes before her first patient. On this miserable Monday morning in the second week of January, the punters were already forming a queue outside the surgery, coughing their weekend-acquired bugs into man-sized tissues and alternating between wiping viscous green snot from offspring’s noses and admonishing owners of said noses as to the dire consequence of continuing to run out into the rapidly filling-up carpark. Ten minutes to grab a coffee, fire up the computer and warm up her hands before placing them on a pregnant abdomen, a swollen neck or – please God, no, it was a Monday morning and she’d not had time for breakfast – a problematic penis.
*This excerpt was shared with permission from the publisher as apart of this blog tour post.
About the Author
Julie Houston is the author of THE ONE SAVING GRACE, GOODNESS, GRACE AND ME and LOOKING FOR LUCY, a Kindle top 100 general bestseller and a Kindle #1 bestseller. She is married, with two teenage children and a mad cockerpoo and, like her heroine, lives in a West Yorkshire village. She is also a teacher and a magistrate.
Website: www.juliehouston.co.uk / Twitter: @juliehouston2 / Facebook: @JulieHoustonauthor
Website: www.ariafiction.com / Twitter: @aria_fiction / Facebook: @ariafiction / Instagram: @ariafiction
Blog Tour Schedule
Do have go and visit the other amazing blogs which are participating in this blog tour and show them some love.
Hello Sunshines, I hope everyone is safe and well?! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the charming book; The Lost Girls by Jennifer Wells, plus I have a little excerpt for you all to fall in love with. This post was scheduled to be shared in April, but as we all know one thing leads to another and we fall behind…..Oops! So, here it is ridiculously late, sorry! I hope you all enjoy it!
Everyone remembers the day the girls went missing.
May Day 1912, a day that haunts Missensham. The day two girls disappeared. The day the girls were murdered.
Iris Caldwell and Nell Ryland were never meant to be friends. From two very different backgrounds, one the heir to the Caldwell estate, the other a humble vicar’s daughter. Both have their secrets, both have their pasts, but they each find solace with one another and soon their futures become irrevocably intertwined.
Now, many years later, old footage has emerged which shows that Iris Caldwell may not have died on that spring morning. The village must work out what happened the day the girls went missing…
I do love a historical with an added mystery which makes you really think about the story that as you read along, and this is one of those books that captivates and engages with its wonderfully intriguing tale.
I did think that the story started off on the slow side, and it wasn’t until further into the book when the mystery of the two girls and their entwining lives and tales that the story really picked up the pace. But I thoroughly enjoyed it when the story started to flow and I was turning the pages like a flash wanting to know what happened next.
One day in 1912, two completely different girls go missing, a mystery that stands the test of time until something is revealed many years later, which makes those involved wonder.
Nell and Iris shouldn’t have been friends, they were at opposite ends of the social spectrum, yet they were. One a bit of a rebel, an heiress and the other a good vicars daughter, but were they as their social standing perceived them to be? There was more about these two young girls that met the eye and that caught my attention straight away I was intrigued by them. Then May the first 1912 they went out and suddenly these two young girls were never to be seen again, that is until a crackly old film is discovered which proves that one of the girls may not have been murdered on that fateful day as the people of the village thought, but what happened?
You know I am not going to divulge that little snippet, you will just have to read it for yourselves, but one thing though you won’t be disappointed with the outcome.
I can’t fault the authors writing at all I really loved the way this was written split between two era’s and two women, Nell’ smother; Agnes in 1937 and then back in 1912 with Nell, it has to be said that I am rather fond of the split timeline, even though some can be a bit tricky to follow this is done beautifully, the two perspective’s flow so easily from one to the other.
This is the first I have read by Jennifer wells, and I hugely enjoyed her captivating and fluid writing, that made this book a real joy to read. Her writing really captures your attention and keeps you hooked and you never want the story to end, and at the same time, you are desperate to know what happens. The characters jumped off the page and drew you into their world, I love the vividness with the historical detail, it captured my imagination and I was transported to each era.
This is a great story, it’s fresh, clever, engaging, surprising, richly detailed and hugely enjoyable to read. Highly recommend if you love our historicals and mysteries.
I left Haughten Hall with neither the comfort nor understanding I had been hoping for. There had been something about Sir Howard’s manner that morning that had been more sour than usual and, as we had said our brief goodbyes, I had seen a detachment in his eyes, as if his mind was already on other things.
As I reached the bottom of the driveway, I stopped and looked back at the big old house with its red brick walls and grand columned porch. It was something that I always did after my visits, hoping to see a face in one of the long windows or even the twitch of a curtain but as always there was nothing to see. The curtains were open in every window but the light from the mid-afternoon sun caught the chequers of glass in such a way that the whole place seemed armoured against my stare.
Nell had never appeared to me at Haughten Hall. Back in 1912 she had always complained of our visits there. In fact, she would sometimes say that she hated Iris but I was sure that this was down to nothing more than childish resentment as Iris was a sweet-natured girl, with never a bad word to say about anyone. Even back then Nell must have sensed the closeness between Howard and myself; she once accused me of being overly familiar with him – something she turned her nose up at.
I supposed that Nell’s complaints were the reason that she chose to stay away now, and I had never even glimpsed so much as her shadow lingering in a corner or her reflection in a windowpane. I suspected that she knew of my visits to Sir Howard and for this reason, every visit made me feel a little guilty as if I was somehow betraying her.
It was this guilt that made me hesitate as I crossed back over the little plank bridge. I thought then that I should do what Nell would have wanted so I took the right turn towards Missensham Common instead of heading home. I did not like to take the main track, so I cut across the grass at the first chance I got, and followed a steep trail through the gorse where the grass had been grazed close to the earth by rabbits and sheep.
After a while my joints began to ache and my breaths quicken from the thin air of the higher ground but I realised that the day was actually a fine one for April – the bracken already a rich green and the exotic smell of the first bloom of gorse catching in the air – and I stopped to look at the view.
On the far side of the common I could just make out the cart track which hugged the lower slopes, and then, halfway along it a small thicket known locally as the Blood Elms, but that was a place that I did not like to go. Beyond the thicket, the edge of the common gave way to a view of Missensham: the Oxworth Road winding its way between the new housing estates, a single car crawling silently along the tarmac; the shop-lined high street; the spire of St Cuthbert’s; the small patch of village green. I could even see the round canopy of the oak tree that blocked the morning sun from the windows of my cottage.
I headed on across the grass towards the far end of the common where there was a cluster of tall fir trees, a group of twisted black chimneys rising among them.
About the Author
Jennifer works in Market Research when not writing. She lives in Devon with her young family and cat. The Secret is her third novel in the series set in fictional Missenham in the Home Counties.
Twitter: @jenwellswriter / Facebook: @JenniferWells
I just want to make a brief apology to Jennifer and the team over at Aria for not posting this review on my day of this amazing blog tour. I think many will agree with me when I say the last few weeks/months have been a bit on the weird side and I’m afraid I have let things slide a little and now I am drastically playing catch up.
So, for all those who missed out on the blog tour, why not check out each of these amazing blogs which participated in this tour and show them some love?
Hello Sunshines! I hope you are all safe and well?! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this brilliant blog tour for; The French Wife by Dinah Costeloe. Due to the strange times we live in, I am playing catch up with reviews, so my review of this gorgeous book will be coming a little later than originally planned. So instead I have an exclusive excerpt for you all to fall in love with, I do hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Enjoy!
The French Wife by Dinah Costeloe
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Love, secrets and danger abound in the new historical novel from bestselling author Diney Costeloe, set in 19th-century France.
As the St Clair family prepare for the grand wedding of their daughter, Clarice, trouble is brewing. An old friendship, a new love and a dangerous secret threaten to destroy the life the St Clairs have built.
Their younger daughter, Hélène, became friends with orphaned Annette during the terrible events of the 1871 siege of Paris. Now they are reunited, with Annette working below stairs for Hélène’s parents. But she is hiding a dangerous secret, which Hélène has promised to keep at all costs.
Meanwhile, Hélène has begun to fall in love with a young nobleman from England, whose family has plans which do not include their son choosing a French wife.
It was some weeks later that Annette made the fatal discovery. She had only started having an irregular monthly bleed nine months earlier and at first she had not missed it. Unaware of the symptoms, which certainly had never been discussed at the orphanage and had been unnecessary for mention at the Clergy House, Annette had no idea that she was expecting a baby until it began to show in her waistline. Father Thomas had continued to take his pleasure with her whenever he chose. She had long since ceased to fight him; indeed, she had realised that made him more brutal in his use of her. She now lay back and waited for him to stop grunting and for it all to be over. It was, she supposed, inevitable that she should have fallen pregnant at some time in her future, but in her innocence she had assumed that priests were not as other men and could not father a child.
Father Thomas had no such innocence and as Annette’s breasts grew fuller and her stomach more rounded, he realised with disgust that she must be with child; another child of shame. His immediate thought was that he must hide the fact from the parish. He certainly would disclaim paternity, indeed he did disclaim it. The woman herself had been conceived out of wedlock and so it must be in her blood to be promiscuous. Clearly, she must have been having an illicit liaison with some man, perhaps when he, Father Thomas, was out on parish business, or when she pretended to go to the market; some man of similar parentage, similar lack of morals, similarly promiscuous. Thus assuaging his own conscience, the priest absolved himself of all guilt and became convinced in this belief; the father was someone else. Whoever it was, Father Thomas realised that Annette had to go. No shadow of suspicion must fall upon him, and certainly, as the parish priest, he could not employ a woman carrying a bastard child as his housekeeper.
Having made this decision he acted upon it at once. That evening, when she was clearing away the supper, he cornered Annette in the kitchen, barring her way to the door. ‘You are with child,’ he stated coldly. ‘You are carrying a bastard… spawn of the devil!’
By now Annette had realised that she was indeed pregnant, but naively had not been prepared for the inevitable reaction of the priest and she stared at him with frightened eyes.
‘And who is the father of this abomination?’ he demanded, leaning towards her, his face so close that she could feel his breath on her skin. ‘Which man have you been creeping out to meet?’
‘None. No one,’ stammered Annette, shrinking away from him, her back against the dresser.
‘Liar!’ Father Thomas’s face grew red with anger. ‘Liar!’ He was determined that she should admit that she had been with some man, but although her fear was stark in her eyes, she remained silent and his anger boiled over. How dare she defy him, he, a man of the cloth? ‘Well, it’s out of the house with you! I’ll keep no fallen women here.’
Annette stared at him and suddenly she realised that, though she was afraid of him, at this moment she wasn’t afraid of the hellfire he threatened. ‘It’s your child,’ she said, ‘and you know it. If you throw me out everyone will know it.’
In that moment he saw the depths of her hatred in her eyes, a hatred so intense that he took an involuntary step backwards. It was gone as quickly as it had come, but he had seen it and felt a sudden jolt of fear.
About the Author
Diney Costeloe is the author of twenty-three novels, several short stories, and many articles and poems. She has three children and seven grandchildren, so when she isn’t writing, she’s busy with family. She and her husband divide their time between Somerset and West Cork.
Blog Tour Schedule
#BlogTour | The Socialite by J’nell Ciesielski #TheSocialite #Excerpt #HFVBTBlogTours @JnellCiesielski @hfvbt
Hello sunshines, I hope you are safe and well?! I have the massive pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for; The Socialite by J’nell Ciesielski, not only will I be telling you all about this gorgeous book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt to share with you all. As always take a seat, grab a cuppa and enjoy!
The Socialite by J’nell Ciesielski
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
Publisher: Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins
Format: Paperback, eBook, AudioBook; 368 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical/20th Century
Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.
As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.
Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?
If not for the woman in his arms, Barrett would have cracked hours before. Light as a feather, Kat stepped in perfect rhythm to the hideous music Goebbels himself had selected from Charlie and His Orchestra’s greatest hits, the musical pride of the Rhineland. With each brilliant smile she flashed at their fellow dancers, her nails dug further into his shoulder.
“Loosen up that grip or you’ll break my shoulder.”
“What? Oh, sorry.” Her fingers relaxed. “I’m usually very good with a foxtrot.”
“Do you normally dance it surrounded by half of the Third Reich’s propaganda ministry?”
“Then I’ll forgive the distractions.”
The corners of her red mouth flipped up. “Thank you ever so.”
Dressed in deep green satin that dipped low in the back to showcase creamy skin, and soft curls pulled back at the sides with diamond combs, her simple elegance outshone every woman in the place. After days of nagging, he was glad he’d given into her demands that he learn to dance. Integrating into higher circles required the must-learned skill along with eating from the correct fork, and ironing his shirts. Or so she claimed. With her warm to his touch, he had to admit dancing had its advantages over ironing.
His arm circled tighter around her. “If tonight didn’t demand our presence, what would you be doing?”
“Plotting new ways to put strychnine in Eric’s coffee. He boils it so hot, he’ll never notice.”
Barrett laughed, startling the couple next to them into missing a beat. “Imaginative, though I was thinking out of Paris. Outside of the war.”
Her lips pursed in thought, tempting him. “Cocktails followed by supper, then card games while the men finish their brandy, and finally finishing the dreadful evening by dancing with whichever power-hungry bore Mother and Father have lined up for me.”
“As thrilling as that all sounds, I didn’t hear what you would want to be doing.”
Surprise flitted across her face. “I’m not sure. I’ve never been allowed to consider it before.” Her eyebrows knitted together as she drummed her fingernails on the back of his neck. After several seconds, her brow relaxed. “Travel. With no itinerary. And no protocol to adhere to. And cake for breakfast.”
“Yet you’ve never considered it before.”
“I’ve never had the luxury before.”
His fingers brushed the bared skin at the small of her back. Silk was never so soft. “Care for a travel companion?”
“I don’t share cake.”
“All right with me. Never eat much of a breakfast.”
Her fingers curled around the back of his neck, stroking the hairs to stand on end. The green in her eyes glowed like jade. She moved closer, her red lips parting, beckoning. “Your turn.”
His turn. His turn. For what? He dragged his attention from her lips. “My perfect evening might be considered too low-brow for your set.”
“Does it involve explosives?”
His gaze zeroed in on her mouth again, forgetting all manner of distinctions from low to high class. “Fireworks of some kind.”
About the Author
With a passion for heart-stopping adventure and sweeping love stories, J’nell Ciesielski weaves fresh takes into romances of times gone by. When not creating dashing heroes and daring heroines, she can be found dreaming of Scotland, indulging in chocolate of any kind, or watching old black and white movies. Winner of the Romance Through the Ages Award and the Maggie Award, she is a Florida native who now lives in Virginia with her husband, daughter, and lazy beagle.
Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, April 1
Review at Passages to the Past
Thursday, April 2
Review at Nurse Bookie
Friday, April 3
Review at YA, It’s Lit
Sunday, April 5
Review at Reading is My Remedy
Monday, April 6
Review at Tar Heel Reader
Tuesday, April 7
Review at Books and Zebras
Wednesday, April 8
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Friday, April 10
Review at Donna’s Book Blog
Monday, April 13
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 copies of The Socialite! To enter, please use the Gleam form here – The Socialite
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on April 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.