WW1; 1914 – 1918

#Review | The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott #ThePhotographerOfTheLost @CScottBooks @simonschusterUK

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Hello, Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be sharing my review of the incredible; The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott. This book is in no other words, but; stunning!! I may waffle quite a lot throughout this review, but I did get to the point where I just couldn’t find the adequate words to fully do this beautiful book justice. So, I hope you will look past my babble and fall in love with this book as much as I have because this one is very special indeed! 

The Photographer of The Lost by Caroline Scott.

Genre: Historical Fiction, War Fiction

Publisher: Simon & Shuster UK

Format: Ebook/Audio/Hardback/Paperback

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own…

An epic debut novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I

1921, Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost, partially inspired by her family history, is her first novel.

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Praise for Photographer of the Lost

‘[An] impressive debut . . . a touching novel of love and loss’, The Sunday Times

‘There’s only one word for this novel . . . and that’s epic . . . A beautifully written must-read’, heat

‘This excellent debut is a melancholic reminder of the rippling after-effects of war’, The Times

‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ — Fanny Blake, author of A Summer Reunion

‘The pain of not knowing where a son, brother or husband lies, and the guilt and psychological dissonance that torment survivors, are movingly conveyed in this terrific first novel’, Daily Mail

‘I was utterly captivated by this novel, which swept me away, broke my heart, then shone wonderful light through all the pieces’ — Isabelle Broom, author of One Winter Morning

‘Beautiful, unflinching, elegiac: The Photographer of the Lost is going to be on an awful lot of Best Books of the Year lists, mine included . . . it’s unforgettable’ — Iona Grey, author of The Glittering Hour

‘A beautiful, tender novel which explores the aftermath of the Great War, and the shattered lives left behind. Written with gorgeous prose and a cast of memorable characters, this is a stunning debut which had me spellbound from the first page to the last’ — Hazel Gaynor, author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

‘What a stunningly beautiful book this is. Caroline Scott evokes the trenches of WWI and the heartache of the postwar period as vividly as if she had lived it herself . . . this is a powerful, redemptive novel, one that teaches us not only about history, but about our capacity for love. I could not put it down’ — Abigail DeWitt, author of News of Our Loved Ones

‘A gripping, devastating novel about the lost and the ones they left behind’ , RED

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I read this last year, I don’t know why it has taken me so long to post this review. I can only put it down to other factors which were going in my world at the time, but this has been languishing neglected in my drafts box all this time. Even though all this time has passed as I am reading through my notes I made for this review then, and as I get it ready to post, I am still feeling that underlining sense that I will never read another book that affected me in such a way as this one did. Even now I have the clearest image of the characters and the story in my mind and in my heart and I still feel the tingles that I felt as I read this heart-breaking book the first time last year.

Anyone who follows me and those close to me will know how much I am fascinated and drawn to this era, how much this subject is so close to my heart. Which was why I found this book to review on Netgalley I just had to read it, which I did in one go. It really spoke to me, it got under my skin and buried itself into my heart and got to me on a level that no other book – especially those set during or after the great war – have before. It is isn’t just amazing, I say that far too many times as it is, no this book is very special, it’s a remarkable look at an aspect of history that is so fraught with loss and sadness.

This book has made me into an emotional wreck, I have never read anything as exquisitely heart-breaking, and I doubt I ever will again. This era and the stories of those who lived through it and those who never returned home are very close to my heart, even more so once I learned all about my own ancestors and what they did during the war, and how much they lost. So these type of books always impact on me, but this….this broke me!

My heart broke time and time again, I never genuinely cry over a book, but this literally reduced me to tears, by the end I was a red-eyed, snivelling, broken watering can with tingles up my spine at just how breath-taking this is.

We all know the stories of those brave incredibly young men who went off to war, how they had to not only survive in the those dark, dank and exhausting trenches, only to hear that whistle which tells them to grab that tack and go over the top to cross no man’s land and to face the worst horror that a young man can ever face. Something which was the last thing some of those poor brave boys ever saw. But this book tells a different story connected to the one we know and it’s as compelling and heart-breaking and it also allows the reader to be drawn in and maybe see the war through another set of eyes, those eyes of a loved one who hopes and dreads all at the same time.

The year is 1921, this is the time when the Red Cross and other charities were starting to trace the war dead and the try to reunite prisoners of war with loved ones, this is the year that most of the survivors were being de-mobbed and started to make their way home, and trying to pick up their lives again. Families are trying to reconnect with their loved ones and then there are those whose menfolk haven’t come home yet, or at all. Such as Edie whose husband; Francis is yet to return from the front, he is said to be missing in action but when Edie receives a photograph which has been taken by her husband, she doesn’t understand the meaning of it or why she has been sent this mysterious photograph but a glimmer of hope bursts within her and she starts her search.

Francis’ brother; Harry was also a soldier at the front, he is destroyed by the thought the last things he and brother said to each other weren’t the most loving. He hopes that his brother is still alive which is one of the reasons he returns to France, as well being hired to take photographs and document the war graves for the families. Which is where Harry and Edie’s path cross as they both search desperately for the man they both love.

I hands down can not thank Caroline enough for putting pen to paper and writing this truly stunning book, I have some idea of the long hours and tireless research Caroline obviously put into writing this, I know first hand that once you begin down the research path of WW1 you become fully immersed and you put so much of your heart into the story which you want to tell. It’s obvious that Caroline has a real passion for this era and its history and the stories, her passion, sensitivity and respect for those she is writing about comes through with every turn of the page.

I completely loved it!!

This is a beautiful and poignant, long-lasting nod to all those who never returned home and to all those families who never knew what happened to their loved ones. Francis, Edie and Harry each one of them stole a part of my heart, I was in tears for all three of them and for all those just like them.

The Photographer of the Lost will go down in history as one of the greats of our time, I just know it! It is a beautifully haunting, heart-breaking, compassionate, memorable and stunning book, one that every single person should read, no matter what genre you usually read, do try this. I can guarantee even though most hardened of heart will get a lump in the throat while reading, it really is stunning!!

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About the Author

After completing a PhD in History, at the University of Durham, Caroline Scott worked as a researcher in Belgium and France. She has a particular interest in the experience of women during the First World War, in the challenges faced by the returning soldier, and in the development of tourism and pilgrimage in the former conflict zones. Caroline lives in southwest France and is now writing historical fiction for Simon & Schuster UK and William Morrow.

Caroline can be found on Twitter: @CScottBooks and her website: https://cscottbooks.co.uk/

Shining a Spotlight on; When I Come Home by Caroline Scott #WhenIComeHome #BookSpotlight @CScottBooks @simonschusterUK

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Hello Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be shining a spotlight on When I Come Home by Caroline Scott, I am super excited to be sharing this gorgeous book with you all, I absolutely adored Caroline’s previous book; The Photographer of The Lost which I read last year, that is a powerful and hugely emotional book that left me in stunned silence and in tears – I still need to write my review up for it…oops! Apologies to Caroline, It will come! I was over the moon when I got granted an early copy from Simon and Shuster for this one, I’m currently reading it, and it is amazing! But, I couldn’t wait to share it with you all, I hope you will love it as much as I do!

When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott 

Genre: Historical Fiction/War Fiction/Military Romance

Publisher: Simon & Shuster

Format: Ebook/ Hardback

Release Date: 29th October 2020

How can you know who you are, when you choose to forget who you’ve been?

November 1918. On the cusp of the end of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. It quickly becomes clear that he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there.

The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home where his doctor James tries everything he can to help Adam remember who he once was. There’s just one problem. Adam doesn’t want to remember.

Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his mind away, seemingly for good. But when a newspaper publishes Adam’s photograph, three women come forward, each just as certain that Adam is their relative and that he should go home with them.

But does Adam really belong with any of these women? Or is there another family waiting for him to come home?

Based on true events, When I Come Home Again is a deeply moving and powerful story of a nation’s outpouring of grief, and the search for hope in the aftermath of the First World War.

Goodreads / Amazon

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Praise for Photographer of the Lost

‘[An] impressive debut . . . a touching novel of love and loss’, The Sunday Times

‘There’s only one word for this novel . . . and that’s epic . . . A beautifully written must-read’, heat

‘This excellent debut is a melancholic reminder of the rippling after-effects of war’, The Times

‘A poignant hymn to those who gave up their lives for their country and to those who were left behind’ — Fanny Blake, author of A Summer Reunion

‘The pain of not knowing where a son, brother or husband lies, and the guilt and psychological dissonance that torment survivors, are movingly conveyed in this terrific first novel’, Daily Mail

‘I was utterly captivated by this novel, which swept me away, broke my heart, then shone wonderful light through all the pieces’ — Isabelle Broom, author of One Winter Morning

‘Beautiful, unflinching, elegiac: The Photographer of the Lost is going to be on an awful lot of Best Books of the Year lists, mine included . . . it’s unforgettable’ — Iona Grey, author of The Glittering Hour

‘A beautiful, tender novel which explores the aftermath of the Great War, and the shattered lives left behind. Written with gorgeous prose and a cast of memorable characters, this is a stunning debut which had me spellbound from the first page to the last’ — Hazel Gaynor, author of The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter

‘What a stunningly beautiful book this is. Caroline Scott evokes the trenches of WWI and the heartache of the postwar period as vividly as if she had lived it herself . . . this is a powerful, redemptive novel, one that teaches us not only about history, but about our capacity for love. I could not put it down’ — Abigail DeWitt, author of News of Our Loved Ones

‘A gripping, devastating novel about the lost and the ones they left behind’ , RED

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About the Author

After completing a PhD in History, at the University of Durham, Caroline Scott worked as a researcher in Belgium and France. She has a particular interest in the experience of women during the First World War, in the challenges faced by the returning soldier, and in the development of tourism and pilgrimage in the former conflict zones. Caroline lives in southwest France and is now writing historical fiction for Simon & Schuster UK and William Morrow.

Caroline can be found on Twitter: @CScottBooks and her website: https://cscottbooks.co.uk/

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If you are a Romance and/or Historical author and would like a free Book Promo/Spotlight which will feature on the blog and across Chicks, Rogues and Scandals social media, then do get in touch via the Contact Me page quoting ‘Book Promo’

#BlogTour | The Lark Ascending by Sally Zigmond #TheLarkAscending #Review #RandomThingsTours @SallyZigmond @annecarter

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Hello Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for; The Lark Ascending by Sally Zigmond. I am very excited to be sharing my review of the gorgeous book, so settle in grab a cuppa and enjoy!

The Lark Ascending by Sally Zigmond

Format: Kindle Edition
Publisher: The Conrad Press (18 Dec. 2019)
Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 304 pages
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
Language: English

Leeds 1919.

The war is over but young Alice Fields, who hates her job in an old-fashioned shop, isn’t celebrating. However, her life is about to change when a rich customer leaves behind an expensive fur stole and Alice makes great efforts to return it.

Dark secrets bring not only money but misery, too.

During the contrasting worlds of the roaring twenties and the General Strike, love and deep friendships bloom like poppies on the devastated battlefields over which the lark rises again.

Amazon

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The moment I was offered a place on this blog tour, I jumped at the chance there was something about this book that drew me to it just from the blurb and made me want to read it and I am so pleased that I got the chance to, this is a beautifully poignant and atmospheric book which is full of difficult and painful storylines, heart-break and raw realism which instantly grabbed my attention from the onset. I am a huge fan of this era, pre- and post WW1 is my Achilles heal in historical fiction, especially when it is set in my home county plus features miners and the working class. Yes, I may be a wee biased, as I do come from mining stock but that only compelled me even more to read this book, but in all honestly despite my own preferences, this is easily one of the best I have read from this era in a long time.

The story opens in 1919, when shop worker; Alice is tired of the depressing job she has found herself in, she dreams of more, but in the world, as it is, her dream of better then she has, may just be that; a dream. When into the shop walks a mysterious and filthy rich lady, after leaving behind an expensive item of clothing, Alice being honest to a fault goes and returns the item to its rightful owner, whether that owner deserves it back or not. A simple kind act that changes Alice for life, and sets a course that can never be changed.

The story covers seven years from 1919 and then goes through the ’20s, to coincide with the miner’s strike of 1926, and we see the treatment of conscientious objectors how now the war is over how like the men returning from the from are suffering. Through these years Alice has been married, divorced, outcast and learning to live again, there are lies, mysteries, secrets that swirl around like a hazy fog which we readers must wade through to find the truth.

I love that the author has written the characters exactly how we speak, she hasn’t described their speech she has just written them ‘thee and thy-ing’ which I did love, that first chapter especially, it could have been myself or my grandmother speaking that dialogue with those strong Yorkshire accents.

The author really engages the reader, she grasps your attention with her illustrious and richly detailed writing, thee story unfold slowly which in any other book may have been a little too slow for me, as I do like the faster-paced books, yet this one really drew me right into the story I was gripped as the whole plot unfolded, questions were answered and I was left sitting in wonder of how brutally raw and yet strikingly beautiful this book is.

This was a complimentary copy via Random Things Tours, which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this tour. Thank you, Anne.

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About the Author

Sally Zigmond was born in Leicester in 1951, has lived in Lincoln, Market Harborough and North London where she attended Queen Mary Collge, University of London. Having studied English Literature, she was a civilian Executive Officer in various departments in The Metropolitan Police (including the London bureau of Interpol).

When she married, she moved with her husband to Harrogate, North Yorkshire where they lived for over 30 years, bringing up two sons. With its stunning countryside and fascinating history, she was inspired to put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard) and write first, articles and short stories, both commercial and literary. The impetus of being published and winning competitions and awards for her fiction, Sally wrote historical novels, set in Yorkshire. (Hope Against Hope and The Lark Ascending) and a novella, a fictional interpretation of the life of Henriette d’Angeville, a French aristocrat, who was the first woman to willingly climbed to the summit of Mont Blanc in 1838.

After 10 years living in Rosedale Abbey in the middle of the North York Moors, she and her husband now live in Middlesbrough, the vibrant history of which has given her more ideas for future historical novels.

Website / Twitter 

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | The Name Beneath The Stone: Secret Of The Unknown Warrior by Robert Newcome #TheNameBeneathTheStone #Review @Bookollective @NewcomeRobert @UnicornPubGroup

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Hello sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing blog tour for the beautifully poignant; The Name Beneath The Stone by Robert Newcome. This book is stunning and very emotional and I cannot wait to share my review of it, so settle back grab a cuppa and enjoy.

Three generations, one family, connected by an historic secret. 1917 Private Daniel Dawkins fights at Messines Ridge and Passchendaele. He writes home to his true-love Joyce, but reveals little of his extreme bravery, his kindness, his loyalty to his comrades and the horrors they experience on the Western Front. 1

920 Captain Peter Harding is tasked with a secret mission to assist in the selection of a body dug up from the battlefields of Flanders to be buried in Westminster Abbey as the ‘Unknown Warrior’. Events take place on that expedition that come to haunt him for the rest of his life. 2011 Sarah Harding discovers Daniel s letters and Peter s diaries.

Together with historian James Marchant she pieces together the hidden truth behind the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and must decide what to do with it. Values are challenged and characters are tested in this gripping novel which asks what if the identity of the Unknown Soldier was discovered – and should that secret ever be revealed?

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I love, love, love this poignant, emotionally raw and beautiful book, that not only pulls at the heart-strings but it also makes you think about the overall question about what it would mean to everyone if we did know the identity of the Unknown Soldier, should his name be revealed? What would happen if we knew his name and he was no longer Unknown, would that change our thoughts of him? Personally , I thought about that as I read and I think in some ways it would matter if the Unknown Soldier had a name, we see that un-named man as a symbol of how much we respect our fallen, a symbol of hope, a symbol of pride, a symbol of what is wrong and good in the world, but overall it wouldn’t matter to me, I loved that this book did make me question my thoughts and feelings towards the Unknown Soldier and make me really think about how this brave man became to be where he lies.

I am massively fascinated by the WWI era, its a personal thing for me, it’s raw and emotional to think of what those who served at the front had to endure, the things that they saw daily and experienced, even their day to day life in the trenches and when they were on leave just invokes a huge amount of emotion for me and keeps me wanting to know more and to learn more, which is why I knew that I needed to read this book.

Set over the course of three generations, three lives entangled together, secrets that have been hidden are suddenly emerging into the limelight, but do those who hold the secrets reveal them or should all be left as it was?

1917, Private Daniel Dawkins who is fighting at Messines Ridges and Passchendaele, is writing home to his lass and true love; Joyce, but he misses out so much of his experiences, of how brave and courageous he is, of his kindness to his comrades – as all soldiers do, they never say they are being brave that they are honourable and heroic, they are just doing the job. Through his experiences at the front, what he has to do to survive and what he must see day in day out, has changed him, his ideas and perceptions of what he thought he wanted for the future have changed.

1920, Captain Peter Harding has been assigned the hugely secretive mission of scouring the western front for an unknown soldier which will be buried in Westminster Abbey, out of the three parts of the story this has to be the most harrowing to go out and knowingly pick the remains of a soldier who will forever have no name and then to bring him back to be interred in London, is deeply unsettling. I can only imagine how that must have affected Peter.

2011, Sarah Harding is sorting through her seriously ill father’s belongings when she comes across the letters and diaries dating back to WW1 some of them in from her grandfather; Captain Peter Harding, as she reads the tragic and harrowing pages she is overwhelmed but keeps on digging into the past – her ancestry’s past to discover a mystery and a secret that has been hidden for nearly a hundred years.

The three lead goes through their own trials and suffering, my heart bled for both Danial and Peter each faced a battle, each experienced things that made them question life and their own moral conscience, I definitely connected with Sarah, I have been looking into my own WW1 family history so I understood her thirst to find out where she came from and her ancestors, she spoke to me.

I cannot express just how beautiful and heart-wrenching this book is, from the blurb I was completely engrossed by the entwining and emotional story which spans across the generations. The attention to detail throughout is incredible, I was lost in the vivid and exquisite descriptions, this book is one of those that will et under your skin and settle itself into your heart and soul. It is a highly enjoyable read, yet in a way that sounds so wrong to say I enjoyed it as the story behind the book is such an important one we all should remember.

This is the first I have read from Robert Newcome, it definitely won’t be the last, his writing is strong, informative and engaging, I was completely transfixed with his clear and vibrant narrative.

This was a complimentary copy via Bookollective which I voluntarily reviewed as apart of this blog tour.

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Blog Tour Schedule

#Review | The Lengthening War: The Great War Diary of Mabel Goode by Michael Goode #TheLengtheningWar #GreatWarDiary #MabelGoode @penswordbooks

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Hello, thank you for stopping by! Today, I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of this gorgeous and insightful book; The Lengthening War; The Great war Diary of Mabel Goode by Michael Goode.

Edited by Michael Goode
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 196
ISBN: 9781473851511

This is a strong narrative of the war, easy to read, mixing news with personal feelings and events (often revealing gap between official news and reality). The diary captures the authors’ growing disillusionment with the war, as it gradually encroaches on her life. The diary starts with great excitement, realizing its importance but expecting a short struggle, blaming treachery and incompetence initially but gets increasingly disheartened and eventually stops in 1916. Entries show growth of total war (seeing ominous Zeppelin’s directly overhead, shelling etc.), experiences of her two brothers in service (their privations and her ‘white-feather’ feelings), personal sacrifice and patriotism, reactions to casualty lists, women entering work (she does various war work), steady collapse of domestic service (Downton angle), reflections on recognizable events such as Lusitania and on the competence of the government.

Also included several poems written by Mabel and a love story in the appendix, giving a complete insight into the diarists life. NB. Mabel and her brothers lived in Germany for some time, meaning they could all speak German and knew ‘the enemy nation’ as many Britons did not.

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to read it, it shouted out to me to be read and I am so pleased that I did. I am a bit obsessed with this era, so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this book, it is not only absolutely gorgeous to look at – it looks so pretty on my bookshelf, not that is not the only reason I chose to review this book, even though that is a bonus.

This is the private diary of a young woman; Mabel Goode, who thought to write down all her thoughts and feelings during the first few years of the great war. With a mixture of Mabel’s own personal views on key events, she gives the reader a vivid and passionate account of what she was experiencing during those harrowing years. The diary starts full of excitement and optimism In 1914, from this part you get a genuine and honest insight into the minds of the ordinary people, what they thought of what was going on, at first it is full of so much optimism that the war would be over by Christmas 1914, a view that was shared by many around the country. She tells of what she is hearing and what is going on at the front, her entry about the soldiers being gassed is harrowing.

For whatever reason her diary stops in 1916, whether this is because she is finding the whole war a strain or whether it was do to with something more personal, we may never know. But what we can take from this is a real sense of the time, for a brief moment we are transported into Mabel’s world of uncertainty, of growing frustration, of her family and of love.

This gives a real insight into her life, of the struggles and chaos which was going on around her, to the simple hope of love. I was completely lost in her words, she was a passionate diarist, there is a lot of emotion on the pages and the reader picks up on those feeling too as you read; from love, confusion, anger, sadness, she lays herself bare and for that we should be eternally thankful as without the likes of Mabel who felt compelled to write about what was going on, we wouldn’t see just how the war effected the ordinary folk.

This book is definitely one that everyone who has any kind of interest in WW1 should read it, it is emotional and real, there is a clarity and vividness that you don’t get from other works. I love how this is laid out too, it’s start with the fact of what Mabel mentioned, followed by her diary. The entire book is thoroughly engrossing, it is an easy book to read, it’s not taxing or overly complicated there is a very warm and loving feeling to it, while reading the diary part of the book it is so clear it is like Mabel is actually standing here telling you her story.

A fabulous addition to the bookshelf and one that I will be pulling off again to read.

This was a complimentary copy via the publisher in exchange for an honest review, Thank you Rosie. X

The Lengthening War can be purchased from Amazon and Pen and Sword.

#Review : When I Was Yours by Lizzie Page @LizziePagewrites #WhenIWasYours @bookouture

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Hello everyone! Today I have the great pleasure to be sharing my review of When I Was Yours by the very talented Lizzie Page. So Grab a cuppa and settle down, as you don’t want to miss out on this great book.

We stand at the back of the hall as the children troop in. Big ones, little ones. Straggly hair, cropped hair, curls…the adults surge forward to choose and soon there is just one child left, a little girl sitting on the floor. She is thin as a string bean and her sleeve is ragged and damp – like she’s been chewing it.

1939. War has broken out – hundreds of children are evacuated to the countryside to keep them safe from the bombs raining down on the cities. Wrenched from her family in the East End and sent more than a hundred miles away, seven-year-old Pearl Posner must adapt to a new life away from everything familiar.

Vivienne didn’t ask for an evacuee child. In fact, she’s not sure her heart can take it. So many years, so many disappointments… Vivi’s ability to feel love left her the day she learned the truth about her husband Edmund, and when she made the worst decision of her life and left her cherished sister to her fate. But like it or not, Pearl is here to stay, and what with the rumours about what’s happening to children in mainland Europe, it might be the last safe place for her.

As Pearl and Vivi learn how to live together, they discover that they have a connection that runs more deeply than they could ever have guessed – from before Pearl was born, and deep into Vivienne’s past. And will it be Pearl – the little girl who says so little and sees so much – who forces Vivi to finally confront what happened in her marriage… and to the long-lost sister she loved so dearly and let fall so far, just when she needed Vivi most?

Lizzie Page has gone and done it again with this beautiful, poignant and immensely emotional story that spans across two world wars. I have been a fan Of Ms Pages work for a while now, her grasp of this particular era is amazing, she really draws you into the past with her eloquent and sensitive writing. She is by far one of my favourite authors, and this is a brilliant addition to her rapidly growing CV.

What I particularly loved about this is the cleverly written duel time line, set in both wars. We see the lead character Vivienne make her way through WW1 as a young woman and then into WW2. I love each part of the Vivi’s story but I was particular taken with her years in WW1 – but that’s not because those parts of the story written any differently, every part of the book is just as great as the next, It’s just I have a soft spot for that era and I’m fascinated with the roles women took at the time.

In 1914 and very young Vivienne and her sister Olive want to do something for the war effort, so they start working as ambulance drivers – it is this aspect of the story which really caught my attention, it is both historically detailed so much so that you can see every scene with absolute clarity, and it is also hugely emotional to read. Vivi has fallen in love with her cousin’s best friend; Edmund, and becomes engaged to him. Then she suddenly she meets charismatic pilot Sam, that does capture Vivi’s attention but she is a good, loyal women she has made a promise to him and she won’t go back on it no matter what she feels for Sam.

In 1939, Vivi and Edmund are not quite so happily married, they are living separate lives, there are various factors into why they aren’t living in happily married bliss which I really won’t go into – no spoilers here – and on top of that they never did have children of their own, which you can really sense that is a tough subject for Vivi, but her unhappiness comes from more than that. Personally speaking, I think that Vivi marrying Edmund was the worse decision of her live and that has really ingrained itself on her.

Anyway they have been informed that she will be having an evacuee staying with them. Edmund doesn’t want a child in the house, especially someone else’s and like so many others he believes that this won’t come to anything that there will be no war. Vivi is both fearful and nervous about the prospect of having a child in the house, she doesn’t even know how to look after one. But she must soon learn, and once she meets her evacuee; a little girl named Pearl, she learns far more than to look after children she learns to love again and to open her heart which has been closed off for so long.

The relationship that blossoms between Vivi and Pearl is really something, looking after this sweet, quiet little girl gives Vivi something that has never thought to have; hope, a sense of being wanted and needed, a purpose, friendship and love, all things that she thought was lost to her so long ago and when she realises that there is more to this little girl, that there is a link between them really touches the reader and Vivi.

I absolutely love how this is written, Lizzie you have blown me away with your beautiful words, wonderful imagination and emotional story. I love how it tells us what happened to Vivi and her sister Olive during WW1 and then we move forward to see how Vivi is faring in 1939, the leaps from one era to the other is perfectly written, I found that there was no confusion of where you are in the story and each era seamlessly flows into one.

It is a lovingly written story that has real heart, and one that I cannot recommend enough. The story flows with so much ease, but it is the character’s especially Vivi which really steals the reader’s attention, she is a marvelous woman, her journey through live is one that many can relate to.

This was an Arc copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I was Yours is available now and can be found at Amazon.

#BlogTour : In The Shadow Of War; Spies, Love & The Lusitania by Colleen Adair Fliedner @ColleenFliedner #Review #InTheShadowOfWar #Histfic via @HFVBT #HFVTBBlogtours

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Hello my lovelies, I have the very great pleasure to be todays stop on the In The Shadow Of War; Spies, Love & The Lusitania by Colleen Adair Fliedner blog tour. So grab yourself a cuppa and maybe a biscuit and let me tell you a bit about this book.

In 1915 while the First World War raged on in Europe, Americans, and especially New Yorkers, faced their own “silent war” at home. Disgruntled with America’s so-called promise of “neutrality” and overt trade deals with England and France, the German government set up a spy ring headquartered in Manhattan. Their espionage and terrorist networks had tentacles reaching all the way to the German Ambassador in Washington D.C. German operatives planted explosives on American and British cargo ships en route from New York to England, France, and Russia. They plotted to blow up trains, bridges, factories, and even the U.S. Capitol Building

Josette Rogers is the daughter of a rich businessman who must move his family to London when he inherits his uncle’s import/export business. Curtis Carlson is a rising star at the House of Morgan on Wal Street. They each have very different opinions about whether or not America should enter the war.

Josette Rogers is the daughter of a rich businessman who must move his family to London when he inherits his uncle’s import/export business. Curtis Carlson is a rising star at the House of Morgan on Wall Street. They each have very different opinions about whether or not America should enter the war.

Curtis and Mr. Van Camp, a senior partner at Morgan’s Manhattan offices, are sent to England to have $500 million loan documents signed that will help finance the nearly bankrupt British and French governments. Josette and Curtis are both traveling to England on the RMS Lusitania when Josette suspects there is a spy ring on board. Were they sent to divulge the location of the Lusitania?

This is the first I have read by Ms Fliedner, but I was so fascinated by the look and sound of this book, those who know me and who read my reviews will know I have a real passion for this era, and I knew that I just had to read it and I am so pleased that I did because In The Shadow Of War is a wonderfully powerful book that really sends tingles down the readers back. We all know the history of the Lusitania and yet there appears to be so few books out there that feature it’s tragic history, which is definitely one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book.

It’s 1915 and war is raging across Europe, a war that America as yet are in two frames of mind about entering the war, but they are fighting their own ‘silent’ war on their very streets. Which makes the government to set up their own network of spies, New York becomes thick in danger amongst all of this is Josette; an intelligent, opinionated young woman who resolutely does not believe that the US should even enter the war and Curtis a professor come Wall Street banker who thinks that America should help it’s allies; Britain and France. Really these two are so different, they are made from the same cloth, proud, intelligent, passionate but with completely different ideals of what should happen to their country. But, once they both find themselves on the ill fated Lusitania they then must become allies as there is spies and danger everywhere they turn. I can’t really say too much about the plot as there are plot twists and turns at every single corner, there is secrets and lies on every page that to go into to real detail would surely give too many spoilers away and I just can’t do that. But, I will say that the spy plot is amazing and it kept me completely and

This really is an edge of your seat thriller with the hint of romance, there is danger at every turn, spies, and a world that is facing the most brutal and bloodiest of wars where families on all continents are being effected and that human aspect really came across in this. The author does a splendid job at bringing to attention the none battle field struggles and perils that the everyday people from all over the world, from every walk of life had to face day in day out. Not only seeing their husbands, brother’s and son go off to war and worrying whether they will ever be seen again, but there is also the fact that people were starving and desperate. The main plot is brilliant, but is this side story that really captured my attention and I applaud Ms Fliedner for such immersive and powerful writing.

A definite must read for those like myself who love reading about this era, it is an atmospheric, powerful and poignant book that really shouldn’t be missed.

This was a complimentary copy from the author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review as apart of this blog tour; Thank you Colleen and Amy.

In The Shadow Of War can be purchased at Amazon.

#Review Daughters of War by Lizzie Page (@LizziePagewrite) #WW1 #DaughtersOfWar #Historical #Romance @bookouture

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An emotional tale of wartime love and sacrifice, inspired by an incredible true story…

As a teenager in Chicago, May always dreamed of travelling the world. So when she meets handsome George Turner, she jumps at the chance to return to London as his wife. Ten years later, May is wondering if she’s made a terrible mistake.

It’s 1914 and war has been declared in Europe. All around, brave young men are being called up to serve. George, banned from conscription himself, has taken to the bottle, and May suspects he’s seeing other women too. She longs for a way to escape.

The chance comes when May meets veteran nurse Elsie, who persuades May to join the war effort. May knows nothing of nursing – it will be difficult, dangerous work, but her heart is telling her it’s the right thing to do.

But then George does the unthinkable and May’s future is put at risk. Will she have to make the impossible choice between duty to her family and her promise to the soldiers on the front line? And can she live with the consequences if her husband goes through with what he’s threatening to do?

My View

This is the second book in the planned trilogy which focus’s on the unbelievably courageous women of the Great War, and I have to say that this is a very worthy follow up to the hugely emotional and incredible The War Nurses and I really cannot wait for the third and final book, which I know will be another emotional ride just as this and the previous book have been.

This is an inspiring, emotional, heartbreaking, mesmerising, charming, haunting book that is inspired by the remarkable life of May Borden who was a nurse, novelist and poet during the Great War. The story opens with May in a bit of a depression, the man she thought she was to lead a whole new life with has is now a drunk and worse than that she knows that her husband is cheating on her. She is tired of her life surrounded by a man who doesn’t love or respect her, she wants to escape. Which is when she meets vivacious Elsie, who talks May into joining the nursing core. May knows nothing about nursing, but she feels that this is the very thing that could turn around her life.

Even though May is a hugely inspiring woman and what she did was amazing, while reading this I was at times in two frames of mind about May. There is no denying what she did was incredible and I am in awe and applaud everyone of those brave women who went to the front, but at times I felt at times she did act like a child herself, she needed stand up for herself more than she did. I felt she was as conflicted as the very war she was working in, I don’t think she was a strong women but she was a real one, she was plunged into a horrific war while her children were still at home. But what really made me soften towards May was her unrelenting compassion, loyalty and her unrelenting need to help those men who were experiencing the very worst that humans can do to on e and other.

I have to say that Lizzie Page is an unbelievably gifted writer, her absolute passion for these incredible women, the history and her thirst to share these wonderful stories with the world is evident in each page she has lovingly written, her love and passion comes through the story.

This is another powerful story that makes you stop and really take in what these women sacrificed for us, as with the war Nurses this isn’t just about bombarding the reading with sights and sounds from the front, this is about women coming together forming unbreakable friendships and doing their best to help. It’s a beautiful book and one that really needs to be read, no matter your views on the war we all need to hear these stories.

Emotional and expertly written!

This was an Arc copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Daughter of War can be purchased from Amazon.

#Review A Daughters Christmas Wish (Cornish Tales #4) by Victoria Cornwall (@VickieCornwall) #WW1Romance #Christmas #ADaughtersChristmasWish #CornishTales @ChocLitUK

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A Cornish Christmas wish sent across the ocean …

Christmas, Cornwall 1919

A promise to a fellow soldier leads Nicholas to Cornwall for Christmas, and to the teashop managed by Rose; the youngest daughter of a family whose festive spirit has been blighted by their wartime experiences. But as Nicholas strives to give Rose the best Christmas she could wish for, he begins to question whether his efforts are to honour his friend, or whether there is another reason…

My View

This is a beautiful book that captures a moment in history, that really emphasises the emotional suffering that gripped the country. Set after the great war , The Daughters Christmas Wish focusses on the aftermath of that horrendous war. The main character’s Rose and Nicholas have both lost and now trying to move on with their lives, which I think Ms Cornwall has portrayed beautifully, not that I’m surprised as she is a wonderfully skilful writer who can enchant and engage the reader from the very first page.

It’s 1919, the great war is finally over and people are attempting to move on and rebuild their lives after years of heartache and suffering. Nicholas is back home, after the war he couldn’t face returning home without his best friend so he re-enlisted for another year but now he is back to fulfil a promise he made to fellow soldier and fallen friend; Sam. That was to go back to home to Cornwall and give Sam’s fiancée; Rose the best Christmas she could ever wish for. I love the way he comes to make her Christmas special and how she wanted it, he took a poem that she wrote to Sam about Christmas and made every line of that poem reality for her. Which really is the most romantic thing that you have ever read and really shows just what an incredibly kind and honourable and gentle man Nicholas is. He too has been affected by his experiences from the war, those experiences have imprinted on him a sense of needing to over come loss.

Rose doesn’t really feel like celebrating Christmas, she is deeply unhappy, her whole life has completely changed, but not for the good. Rose and her family have all been scarred by the war, her brother Arthur and her fiancée Sam have both been killed on the front which has left her in a deeply unhappy state and that of her parent’s too, who have become grief stricken to the point that they are stuck in the darkness and forget about their daughter. My heart broke for Rose, she is clearly in pain, she is struggling and a bit lost, but she has an inner strength that makes her get up and put one foot in front of the other.

I loved this book, it’s a beautiful and poignant love story that is written with absolute care and sensitivity for the era and subject. The character’s are realistic to the time, they have a heart-breaking tender and sweetness about them that will make you fall in love with them. This is an emotional book that will have you reaching for the tissues and fill your heart with love and joy for the festive season.

I am in absolute love with this book, simply stunning!

This was an ARC via the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Daughters Christmas Wish is available from Amazon.

#Review – The Poppy Field: A Gripping and Historical Romance by Deborah Carr (@DebsCarr) #WW1 #Historical #Romance #100Years @HarperImpulse

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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..

My View

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!