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#Review | Mrs P’s Book of Secrets by Lorna Gray #MrsPsBookOfSecrets #30DaysofBookBlogs @MsLornaGray @OneMoreChapter
Hello Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of this highly original and atmospheric book; Mrs P’s Book Of Secrets by Lorna Gray. This review is also in collaboration with Lorna’s epic #30DaysOfBookBlogs Event which is happening across social media. So grab a cuppa and enjoy!
There are no white shrouded spectres here, no wailing ghouls. Just the echoes of those who have passed, whispering that history is set to repeat itself.
The Cotswolds, Christmastime 1946: A young widow leaves behind the tragedy of her wartime life, and returns home to her ageing aunt and uncle. For Lucy – known as Mrs P – and the people who raised her, the books that line the walls of the family publishing business bring comfort and the promise of new beginnings.
But the kind and reserved new editor at the Kershaw and Kathay Book Press is a former prisoner of war, and he has his own shadows to bear. And when the old secrets of a little girl’s abandonment are uncovered within the pages of Robert Underhills’s latest project, Lucy must work quickly if she is to understand the truth behind his frequent trips away.
For a ghost dwells in the record of an orphan girl’s last days. And even as Lucy dares to risk her heart, the grief of her own past seems to be whispering a warning of fresh loss…
I have been really looking forward to reading a new Lorna Gray book, I love her attention to detail, her passion for the era and the stories which she tells radiates off the pages, it’s immersive and atmospheric. I do have to say first that I did feel a little misled when I started reading as the story itself does feel different to what the back blurb hints at. I did expect a bit more of the supernatural feel to it, but I liked how that aspect of the story was hinted at.
The story is written in the first person, through Lucy’s eyes which allows the reader to really see how much of a low patch she is in, unable and unsure of how to move forward after losing her husband who she only really knew for a short period of time, yet that doesn’t diminish her loss. She has sunk into a bit of a depression, her mind is broken and it is actually very uncomfortable reading at times as we get to know her and are privy to her inner thoughts, but also crucial for the story.
It is 1946, Lucy (Mrs P) finds herself not only widowed but unemployed, she has no choice but to go home, back to the relatives who raised her; her aunt and uncle who basically takes pity on her current state and gives her a job as a receptionist in their family-run publishing house. But as with a lot of women in the same situation life just isn’t the same, she feels a little put out she doesn’t feel she belongs there. Once at her aunt and uncles she meets the new editor; Robert Undershill, a former prisoner of war who has shadows that cloud his mind as he too tries to move forward with his life.
The project Robert is working on soon reveals old and hidden secret of an unknown little girl, that little girl is missing and it is a mystery that Lucy feels she needs to uncover, plus she wants to understand the mystery behind where Robert frequently disappears off to, what is he hiding? What are his secrets and how is it all connected? These questions are hidden in the story.
This really is one my favourite period in British history, it is a harsh and yet fascinating moment in history. The war is over, there is a moment of peace, yet the county is still on rations and will be for quite some years to come, life is hard for everyone. The men who survived are now returning and having to find a place in this completely different society, they not only must find their feet again but most have to overcome great trauma, not just physically but mentally they are broken. Most can’t return to their old lives as they don’t exist anymore and when they do everything has changed. Women who have been keeping the country going either in the fields with the land army or in the factories are now being told to return to their homes. Then there are those who a loved never returned to them, young women who may have had only months or weeks with their husbands, never really knowing them are now widows. I have always found stories from this particular era fascinating. Lorna Gray really grasp hold of that uncertainty which people would have been feeling during the time, she writes Lucy’s emotional conflict towards her life, what she starts to feel for Robert with such sensitivity and realism.
This isn’t the type of book that you can settle in to read in a weekend, then put it down and come back the weekend after when times allows, no it makes you take notice you really need to put 100% concentration into this to fully grasp the happenings within the pages, but if you do put all your focus and mind into the story you will be hugely rewarded as this is a beautifully written, complex, poignant and very loving story all about family, finding one’s feet after trauma and how important true friends are to a person. I can guarantee that if you really delve into this one and look past the misleading back blurb you will love it.
This was an Arc copy via the publisher and Netgalley, which I voluntarily reviewed.
As Apart of the 30 days of Book Blogs event, I have also taken part in an exclusive interview with Lorna, which will be shared on Lorna’s social media sites, I hope you all will hop on over and take a peek at my rambling answers to her questions.
About the Author
Lorna Gray is passionate about understanding the past and takes much of her research from spoken history. She loves the fact that writing gives her the excuse to ask people about their memories, and treasures the unique little insights that every new conversation has to offer. She is also a published illustrator and her work has featured in a number of archaeological reports, children’s books and non-fiction titles.
Above all, Lorna loves a good adventure. She doesn’t mind whether it comes in the form of a good book, a film or rambling about the ruins of a castle as long as it is guaranteed to have a happy ending.
#Review | Love Heart Lane (Love Heart Lane Series #1) by @ChristieJBarlow #LoveHeartLane @HarperImpulse
Cosy up on the sofa with this year’s most heart-warming, feel good comfort read!
Welcome to Love Heart Lane…
When Flick Simons returns to the cosy village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.
When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the main land is swept away. As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind. And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’s heart will thaw too…
Readers ADORE Christie’s books:
‘A hug in a book’ Jeannie, Amazon
‘A warm, cosy winter read perfect for January nights’ Susie, Amazon
‘I love reading about a community pulling together in the face of adversity…These days so many live lonely, anonymous lives in towns and cities’ Joanna, Amazon
‘A book full of love and community spirit’ Kathy, Amazon
‘I want to live there!!!’ Cally, Amazon
‘Delightfully warm feelgood fiction at its best’ Lorna, Amazon
I hate to say how long this has been sitting on my Kindle shelf, how could I have not devoured this before now? It seems unbelievable that I left this untouched, but I got there eventually and it was well worth the wait as this book is so cosy and heart-warming, it’s like being wrapped in a huge snug blanket, its comforting as well as heart-warming.
The story follows lead character Felicity (Flick) as she returns home to Heart Cross village after eight years away, she really only planned to stay for a few days, maybe a week most as the village and more importantly the people bring back far too many painful memories for her. But, as we all know nothing goes plan all the time, there are always hiccups with any well laid plan, and the hiccup here is that once Flick reaches Heart Cross there is a huge storm that cut the village and the people off from the rest of the world – slightly over dramatic, I know but it’s the truth, the only bridge leading in and out of the village is destroyed so Flick is essentially stuck.
It is here that you really see the good in people, it is so heart-warming to see how the community pulls together in it’s hour of need. But, one of the reasons that Flick wanted to stay away is stuck in the village along with her, the man she has always loved deep down before things got complicated and she left. To say that Fergus is less then pleased to see Flick back in the village is an understatement. I love how they are forced to face one and other because there is no where to escape to, how we see them battle their emotions.
The thing that I really got from this book was a sense of hope, that no matter where you look there will always be something positive and pleasant waiting for you. Christie Barlow has a real gift at cementing character’s into the readers lives in such a way that it is very hard for us to let go, we become completely sucked into their lives and their world.
This is a wonderful story full of hope, second chances and more then that a real sense of community spirit that is so lacking in the world today. I love the characters each brings something different just as each one is just as important to the development of the story as the heroine; Flick. There are some wonderful, heart-warming moment just as there is some sadness, the writing is fluid and full of warmth.
A sweet and loving story full of hope and very recommended, I am looking forward to what comes next from the little village of Heart Cross.
You never forget the one.
You’ll never forget this book.
’A beautiful, believable writer…5 stars’ THE SUN
Fall in love with this beautiful love story. A must read for fans of Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You and Cecelia Ahern’s PS I Love You
Lizzie Sparkes should be the happiest girl in the world – she’s three months away from marrying The One in the wedding of her dreams! But then The One before the One walks back in to her life with a bombshell.
Alex’s unexpected return changes everything and now Lizzie faces an impossible dilemma. Because how can you leave the past behind you, when it’s standing right in front of you…asking you for one more chance?
Wow, just wow! What an incredible, moving, heart-wrenching and highly emotional book, and by far one of the best contemporaries I’ve read. Not just this year, but one of the best I’ve ever read! This is the first I have read by Maria Realf and it will definitely not be the last. The One had me reaching for the tissue’s with every new page, it is a book that makes you think never to take anything for granted as you don’t know what’s around the corner.
13 weeks before her wedding to Josh; Lizzie is on cloud nine she is going to be marrying the love her life, nothing could go wrong. That is until Alex; the man she always saw as being her ‘The One’ comes back into her life after years apart, but he hasn’t come to break her or Josh up he has come with devastating news, news that will change her life. Lizzie is now torn between the man she is set to marry and supposed to live happily ever after with and the man she has always loved, the man who stole her heart then went on to break it.
I love the way this is written, you follow Lizzie as she is getting ready for her big day, as she struggles with her feelings for both men and as she is trying to get her thoughts in order to decide what she must do. Then the story briefly jumps back to when Lizzie and Alex met, their relationship through University and above all what happened to break them apart – which is in itself deeply sad and beautifully written. The reason why Alex has come back is heart-breaking, and I will admit that the ending was deeply emotional and I did shed a tear or two – note to reader; stock up on the tissues you are going to need them! The split between them was difficult on them both but there was a reason for his sudden leaving the country.
Lizzie is a good woman, she has a kind honest and loyal personality and a heart of pure gold, she wants to do right by everyone. Her heart has always belonged to one man, but when Alex left he did break it, I did get the feeling that Josh was sort of a close number two where for Lizzie. She loves him dearly, she is so happy with him but there is a piece of her that still belongs to Alex and you pick up on that within the first few pages when she finds herself in a complicated and difficult position.
The One is a touching, honest, emotional, heart-breaking, loving, poignant story all about true love, about second chances. Ms Realf’s writing is flawless, she has a real gift for pulling at the heartstrings and drawing the reader into her story, the character’s are brilliantly portrayed, realistic, likeable, humbling and engaging whether that be the leads of the secondary character’s, each character is beautifully created.
This book is simply stunning, if you love the likes of PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern and When I Fall In Love by Miranda Dickinson (which are two of my favourite books) then this is the book you need to read, I can guarantee you will love it and be moved to tears. I really cannot recommend this enough, it is a book that everyone needs to read.
This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Maria!
The One can be purchased from Amazon, go and buy it.
#Review – The Poppy Field: A Gripping and Historical Romance by Deborah Carr (@DebsCarr) #WW1 #Historical #Romance #100Years @HarperImpulse
‘One to Watch’ Good Housekeeping
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Young nurse, Gemma, is struggling with the traumas she has witnessed through her job in the NHS. Needing to escape from it all, Gemma agrees to help renovate a rundown farmhouse in Doullens, France, a town near the Somme. There, in a boarded-up cupboard, wrapped in old newspapers, is a tin that reveals the secret letters and heartache of Alice Le Breton, a young volunteer nurse who worked in a casualty clearing station near the front line.
Set in the present day and during the horrifying years of the war, both woman discover deep down the strength and courage to carry on in even the most difficult of times. Through Alice’s words and her unfailing love for her sweetheart at the front, Gemma learns to truly live again..
I have read many stories set during the WW1 era but I think that this could be one of my favourites, it is simply stunning and one of those rare books that I did genuinely have a weep over. The last couple of pages will break even the most hardened of hearts. This is a powerful, emotional and incredibly poignant and romantic book that will leave the reader with a lump in their throats and feeling completely overawed by the unimaginable heart-break and loss and yet at the same time it is hugely satisfying.
The Poppy Field is split between two era’s and follows two different but incredible woman who are both facing a tough and emotional time. Linked together through nursing, present day Gemma is a NHS trauma nurse, she is feeling the strain and is struggling by what she has experienced in her job. She needs to get away from everything she has seen and try to move on, so she agrees to help er father renovate an old farmhouse in Northern France. She only see’;s this as a break to basically clear her head, she doesn’t intend of staying in France. That is until two thing’s happen.
One, she meets Tom, the supremely handsome contactor who has agreed to her her with the refurbishment; and two she finds an old box in the house that is full of letters from a woman called Alice who was a volunteer nurse during the great war. I think reading about and getting to know Alice through these old letters is so good for Gemma, she isn’t overly confident, she is definitely stuck in her shell and reading about what this amazing woman went through is a soothing balm for her. As Gemma and Tom get on with renovating the house, Tom is very smitten with shy Gemma, he sees something in her that she unfortunately doesn’t see herself; that she is a wonderful woman.
As much as Gemma and Tom’s story is beautifully touching, I was particularly drawn to Alice. It was her story that found impacted on me, Alice left home and her fiancé to volunteer with the nursing corpse which just happened to be next door to the Somme so she saw some real horrors. The letters she had been writing were to two men, Peter and Ed, both we come to learn are such an integral part of her life. Through her own words we get a glimpse of her life, of her experiences and most importantly we get a real sense of the strong, patient, kind and utterly brilliant woman that she was.
This book is incredible, it is a beautifully written, utterly mesmerising and beautiful story that captures the readers attention and takes them on a heart-wrenching journey through both of these amazing women’s lives. This is the first time I have read Deborah Carrs work and I can say for certain it will not be the last, her writing is gift we all need to receive.
A captivating, poignant and beautiful book.
This was a ARC copy via the publisher from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Poppy Field is available now from Amazon and I say that you really must buy this one!
Who ‘s meddling with happily ever after?
The Wedding: it’s a set up.
The Break-up: it’s a con.
The Reconciliation: it’s a trap.
When high society bride, Samantha Carroll, devises an ingenious plan to ditch her meddling matchmaking mamma’s groom of choice, the banker’s son, instead of the ordinary Irish guy Johnny Belen she’s pining for, all pandemonium breaks loose.
In the meantime, Johnny has devised his own plan to thwart monster-mamma-in-law’s matchmaking for the wedding of the season, but it is soon clear that Sam is not the type of girl who can be scooped up by just any man…
Well this is a wonderfully original and enjoyable story, this is the first book I have read by Ms Chara and I thoroughly enjoyed her entertaining and refreshing writing, and I absolutely adore the laugh out loud humour that had me giggling away – which did resort to bemused expression from the family – and I know I will be reading Sun Chara again.
Sam is a from a very, very wealthy family she is used to the luxuries in life the only thing that she doesn’t like is the fact that her mother is a control freak, I mean literally her mother is like the devil incarnate and I did really hate her from the beginning. Her mother wants nothing but high status and everything that comes with it, she wants her daughter to marry this snobbish banker just so that they can all cement themselves into the highest of society. Whereas Sam has only eyes for the rugged, working class penny-less Irishman; Johnny.
Well the wedding of the year has arrived but one thing leads to anther and she ends up not marrying the man she was supposed to but her true love; Johnny – or so they both think! That is until once settled into not so happy married life, they get the shock of their lives plus both have secrets on the closet all this could destroy their relationship.
With a bit of divine intervention from the wonderfully quirky; Mirabella, these two strive for what they both want, but will they get it?
I am known for having soft spots for down on their luck, regular heroes so it’s not surprising that I took adorable Johnny into my heart right from the off. He is a genuinely good man, he has a kind heart and he just wants to do the right thing and show Sam and her pretty horrendous family that he is exactly that; a good man and that he can make Sam happy. Johnny may comes across as all fun and games, never serious but he is trying, he wants him and Sam to work. At times I don’t think that Sam really deserved Johnny’s love.
I did find the beginning a little confusing especially with the jumping from different character POV’s – don’t get me wrong I do enjoy character hopping perspectives, that flitting from character to character can really get the reader to become immersed in the story, but the first part did have me scratching my head. I do have to say that once I settled into the story, I really saw how that first part was essential for the whole frame work of the story. I could clearly identify where the author was going as the story began to develop through the book.
I liked the sound of the blurb which interested me enough to want to read it, then I found that there was so much more going on then what the blurb was saying. There is a certain, shall I say magical quality to the plot that I thought was a unique twist on the stereotypical romantic comedy genre. It was that twist to the tale that really made the book shine for me, I loved the addition of Mirabella and what she brought to the story.
Over all this is a charming, humorous and quirky story, it is one of those books that some readers may feel not for them once started reading but I highly recommend that you persevere don’t give it up and I can guarantee that you will fall in love and go on an interesting journey.
Quirky and fun, a must read for fans of romantic comedies that have a certain edge.
This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
A Match Made in Heaven can be purchased from Amazon.
While the bells of a Royal Wedding peel out to the fading echoes of war, danger stalks the coastline of Wales…
Injured and terrified after an attempted abduction, desperation drives artist Kate Ward to the idyllic scene of her ex-husband’s recent suicide. Labelled a hysterical, grieving divorcée, no one believes she is being pursued by two violent men demanding answers she cannot give. Not the police, not the doctors, and not the guests at the Aberystwyth hotel she has come to in an attempt to find out what happened to her charismatic photographer ex-husband, and why her identity – and her life – are now at risk.
Kate can trust no one, not even the reclusive war-veteran-turned-crime-novelist, Adam Hitchen, a reserved widower and the only source of kindness in a shadowy world of suspicion and fear. And as ghosts old and new rise to haunt her, Kate must rely on all her strength and courage to uncover the shocking truth hidden within a twisted web of lies…
Well, what can I say about this? What a corker!! It really is an incredible read, this is the first book I have read by Lorna Gray and it definitely will not be the last. I will admit that I am a fan of war era romances and I have read a lot of them but there is something very special about this book. This book is right up there with the best I have read right alongside the likes of Pam Jenoff and Kate Mosse.
Set just after the war in 1947, After Kate Ward’s ex-husband committed suicide she found herself being nearly kidnapped, injured and then followed by two unknown thug’s who are wanting answers to questions that she doesn’t know, she doesn’t understand the questions or why these people would be after her. She flees her home in Lancaster to Wales where she stays in the Aberystwyth Hotel, in the very same area where her ex-husband had spent the last of his days. She hopes that she can try to figure out what is going on and why she is being followed, but those answers aren’t coming as she thought as she finds herself under the gaze of the other hotel guest’s who see her as an unhinged, paranoid and grieving woman who by all accounts could be suffering from her own mental break down.
No one believes that she is in as much danger as she states, she is fearful and alone with terrifying events that even start clouded her own judgment. She can’t trust no one and yet she can’t seem to find the answers she needs. She eventually finds an ally in the form of elusive veteran come crime writer Adam Hitchman who is in Aberystwyth doing research.
Along with Adam, Kate takes off a journey to find the truth and discover why her life is in danger and who is behind it, along the way they keep bumping into the mysterious Jim Bristol who keep’s turning up along the way. But is he more than he appears to be? As they become embroiled in a dark and dangerous, life or death game of cat and mouse, Kate and Adam become closer until a romance develops between this unlikely couple.
This is written I first person you see the story unfold though Kate’s eyes, you feel her troubles her fears her few joys and this creates a connection to her that you very rarely get in other books. I know a lot of readers don’t like first person books, but this is a must read it is stunningly beautiful book, it really is too good to be true. Ms Gray has done an astounding job at conveying Kate’s circumstances and her fragile frame of mind, her confusion, unease and fear is palpable from that first page. Kate has a complexity and honest vulnerability about her that is engaging to the reader, even when there is lightness like when she is reading Jane Eyre in the hotel there is raw edginess to her that draws you in.
I am known for my love of historic details in stories and this is spot on, the vividness and description of Aberystwyth is incredible. Gray takes hold of your senses and imagination from that first page and keeps hold of you right to the end. There is a real feeling of the life and time throughout the book the peace from the end of the war, the relief that it is over as well as the unknown. I like how Gray has added those little touches that bring this book to life, such as bringing to attention that the UK were still on ration books until the mid-fifties. I love that!
The War Widow smoothly takes you on a journey that has more twists and turns then being in a maze, it is beautifully written with a plot that will make your mind boggle and you find yourself stumped for words at what is going on. It’s a roller coaster ride through a dangerous and complicated time, where all is not quite what it seems. I absolutely loved it, it is a page turning, compelling and intricately crafted perfect piece of thrilling fiction which has a wonderful and understated romance tucked away between the pages.
It is a timeless and thought-provoking story that gripped you from the onset and doesn’t let you go, with characters are intriguing and strong each one is precise and consistent stories of their own that runs throughout to keep you engaged.
This was a complimentary copy via the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The War Widow is available now and can be purchased at Amazon.