WW2; 1939 – 1945

#Review | Vixen (Georgina Garrett Series #3) by Sam Michaels #Vixen #GeorginaGarrett #BlogTour #AriaAddicts @SamMichaelsGG @aria_fiction

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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

Format: Ebook

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

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Exclusive Excerpt

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.’

You can sense someone’s been in here?’

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. 

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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!

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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.

Twitter / Facebook

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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?

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Follow Aria

Website: www.ariafiction.com / Twitter: @aria_fiction / Facebook: @ariafiction / Instagram: @ariafiction

#CoverReveal | The Girl From Vichy by Andie Newton #TheGirlFromVichy @AndieNewton @aria_fiction

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Hello Sunshines, I am super excited to be helping to reveal the brand new cover of Andie Newton’s up and coming release; the Girl From Vichy. This cover is absolutely gorgeous, I love Andie’s writing and this sounds like another brilliant heart-wrencher., I can’t wait for this book! But, don’t just take my word for it, go, on then go an take a peek, I know you will love it as much as I do. 

The Girl From Vichy, Andie Newton

Genre; Historical Fiction

Publisher: Aria

Release Date: 13 August 2020

1942, occupied France.

As the war in Europe rages on, Adèle Ambeh dreams of a France that is free from the clutches of the new regime. The date of her marriage to a ruthless man is drawing closer, and she only has one choice – she must run.

With the help of her mother, Adèle flees to Lyon, seeking refuge at the Sisters of Notre Dame de la Compassion. From the outside this is a simple nunnery, but the sisters are secretly aiding the French Resistance, hiding and supplying the fighters with weapons.

While it is not quite the escape Adèle imagined, she is drawn to the nuns and quickly finds herself part of the resistance. But her new role means she must return to Vichy, and those she left behind, no matter the cost.

Each day is filled with a different danger and as she begins to fall for another man, Adèle’s entire world could come crashing down around her.

Adèle must fight for her family, her own destiny, as well as her country.

Amazon / Kobo / Google Play

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About the Author

Andie Newton is an American writer living in Washington State with her husband and two boys. She writes female-driven historical fiction set in WWII. The Girl I Left Behind is her first novel. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit. Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, ultra trail running, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Instagram / BookBub

#Review | Mrs P’s Book of Secrets by Lorna Gray #MrsPsBookOfSecrets #30DaysofBookBlogs @MsLornaGray @OneMoreChapter

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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.

Mrs P’s Book Of Secrets is available from the 14th December in the UK HERE and it will be released as The Book Ghost in the U available HERE.

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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.

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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.

You can find out more by visiting Lorna’s website and following her on Twitter @MsLornaGray and Instagram or by finding her on Facebook.

#BlogTour | The Girl I Left Behind by Andie Newton #TheGirlILeftBehind #Review #Excerpt @AndieNewton @aria_fiction

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Hello Sunshines, I am super excited to be today’s stop on this incredible blog tour for; The Girl I Left Behind by Andie Newton. Not only will I be sharing my review of this stunning book, but I have an exclusive excerpt that I know you will love and make you want to rush out and grab a copy. So sit back, grab a cuppa and enjoy.

What would you risk to save your best friend?

As a young girl, Ella never considered that those around her weren’t as they appeared. But when her childhood best-friend shows Ella that you can’t always believe what you see, Ella finds herself thrown into the world of the German Resistance.

On a dark night in 1941, Claudia is taken by the Gestapo, likely never to be seen again, unless Ella can save her. With the help of the man she loves, Ella must undertake her most dangerous mission yet and infiltrate the Nazi Party.

Selling secrets isn’t an easy job. In order to find Claudia, Ella must risk not only her life, but the lives of those she cares about.

Will Ella be able to leave behind the girl of her youth and step into the shoes of another?

Perfect for fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The German Midwife and Kate Furnivall.

Amazon / iBooks / Kobo / Goodreads / Google Play

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Exclusive Excerpt 

I had just blown out the candle on my nightstand and settled deep into the down of my feathered bed, when I heard the tick of a fingernail tapping against my window. I kicked off the sheets and then peered into the dark reflection of the glass. It could have only been one person.

Claudia.’

She climbed through the window, plopping the burlap bag she had strung over her shoulder onto my bed. I tipped the bag upside down and gave it a stiff shake: a brown mop-topped wig, a sack of hair pins, barbed metal hooks, and a tin of lard to help mold it in place—the makings for a disguise.

Claudia sat on my bed and batted her emerald-green eyes. A row of pin-pricked freckles ran across her crinkled nose as she held the wig close to her face. ‘Can you pin this?’

My jaw cracked when I yawned, nodding.

Thank you for doing this, Ella. I know it’s late.’ She kissed my cheek before wrapping her arms around my neck.

I cleared a spot on the floor with my foot and then relit the smoldering pillar candle on the nightstand next to my bed. This wasn’t the first time she’d asked me to thread her hair. I’d plaited a synthetic wig into it last week. But never had she come to my window so close to midnight.

Claudia situated herself on the floor, talking about how she wanted to use every strand of hair she had brought. ‘None of it should be wasted.’

I brushed her hair out before dividing it into sections. Plaiting was meticulous, eye-straining work, but it was the best way to secure pieces of a wig into place. Her scalp still looked tender and raw from the last time. ‘Your scalp hasn’t healed.’

Don’t worry about that,’ she said, flicking her fingers at me. ‘Pull it as tight as you can. Even if it hurts.’ And I did, pulling and stretching her hair tightly into place, especially behind her ears, using a dab of lard to smooth fly-a-ways before snipping a small lock of hair from the wig.

I’m getting good at your disguises.’ I rubbed a few of the strands in between my fingers; it was silky, not dry and bristly like the last one. ‘Is this—’

Real? You can tell?’

I held it to my nose. There was a delicate scent to it, almost as if she had rinsed the hair in rose water.

Claudia’s stomach rumbled. My aunt’s room was opposite of mine, down a long corridor in the corner of an old, half-timbered house in the Altstadt, Old Town, and even though there was a good distance between our rooms, she had sharp ears. Auntie also had the bladder of a little girl, often getting up in the middle of the night to relieve herself. The sound of splintering floorboards always gave her away. Tonight, those noises would serve as a warning.

Claudia’s stomach rumbled again, but this time it sounded like a wrecking ball slamming against her ribs. ‘Shh! You’ll wake my aunt.’

She winced. ‘I didn’t have time to eat dinner. I’d stop it if I could—I swear it.’

I’d get you something from the kitchen, but with my aunt…’

I know,’ she said. She turned around unexpectedly, and her soft hair slid down the flank of my hand, unraveling the twisty curl I’d pulled from the wig. ‘You’re an incredible friend, Ella, always helping me, never asking any questions.’ She reached for my face, her fingers feeling unusually icy as they grabbed my lower jaw and aligned my eyes to her own. ‘I need another favor. You can say no.’

What is it?’

I need you to deliver a key to a man you don’t know.’

I scooted up. She’d never asked me to do something so mysterious before, and my heart beat faster. ‘Where? And who is he?’

At the Hauptmarkt near the fountain, before the merchants set up their tents in the morning. His name is Wilhelm.’

***Excerpt provided by the publisher, as apart of this blog tour.***

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Andie Newton is a new to me author and I was completely taken in by her vivid and exceedingly clever writing, she really is a remarkable writer, one that I know I will be reading more of.

That first chapter is the best start to a book you could ever read, it immediately draws the reader in, you dive straight into the action, it makes you start asking questions, which will be answered throughout the intricately entwined story. I utterly loved it, Ms Newton has done an incredible job at building up the tension on each page, I was completely transfixed ad couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

1941, Ella is a young woman, living in Nuremberg with an aunt after the death of her parent’s, like all German girls joins the League of German Girls as is required of all until they reach the age of eighteen, unlike most she uses her uniform and her position as a cover, something to not just hide behind but it is also protection for her, especially as she is apart of the German Resistance. It is this aspect of Ella’s life that I found utterly fascinating, I am hugely fascinated by the resistance of WWII the courage they showed in the face of adversity is inspiring and shocking.

When Ella’s friend and fellow resistance fighter; Claudia is taken by the Gestapo, if Ella doesn’t find a way to locate and rescue her friend then it could be the last she will ever see of Claudia. Ella must undertake the most dangerous task she has ever done, a task that could not only see her death but that of those she loves, including the mysterious man she has fallen in love with. Ella must go undercover and infiltrate the Nazi party.

I really won’t say any more about the plot, even the tiniest slip would ruin the whole story for other’s and believe me this book needs to be ready everyone, if you love the likes of The Kommandants Girl by Pam Jenoff and Citadel by Kate Mosse then you will love this, it is in a league of its own.

I have always been a fan of WWII era books, I’ve been reading them for years and must have devoured so many, which has made me a little picky with them, yet this was an instant like, this is one of the finest I’ve read for many years. Andie Newton has got an incredible skill at weaving dramatic history with a stunning fictional story that is full of raw emotion and poignant realism which will take your breath away.

This is how you write a WWII story, it’s a beautiful, atmospheric and illuminating book, that I know will stay with me for a long time. Ella, the heroine here, is a superb character her voice and courage shines through, she is beautifully written young woman who is in the midst of one of the most dangerous episodes of human history, Ms Newton has created one of the most memorable heroines I have come across, Ella is strong, brave and feisty. I love how over the course of the book we go from meeting her as a young seventeen-year-old girl who is shocked to see and hear what is happening around her to one who has matured beyond her years, she has experienced things that no young girl should experience and yet through it all, through the danger, the heartache, the secrets and lies and the mystery that twines through the story like a rampant vine, Ella is true and she keeps her individual sparkle. I think that to write such deep tension and so much heart-ache and to keep the leading character as likeable as Ella is throughout is a real skill.

I honestly cannot recommend this book enough, it has everything you would ever want from a WWII story, fantastic descriptions and gloriously researched detail, brilliant characters, a plot that will have you perched at the edge of your seat and a dangerous game of cat and mouse. A wonderful coming of age story that is all about what a person would do for those they loved, It’s thrilling and heartbreaking.

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About the Author

Andie Newton is an American writer living in Washington State with her husband and two boys. She writes female-driven historical fiction set in WWII. The Girl I Left Behind is her first novel. She would love to say she spends her free time gardening and cooking, but she’s killed everything she’s ever planted and set off more fire alarms than she cares to admit. Andie does, however, love spending time with her family, ultra trail running, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads / Instagram / BookBub

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Blog Tour Schedule

#BlogTour | Christmas Once Upon A Time by Jina Bacarr #ChristmasOnceUponATime #Excerpt #BoldwoodBlogger @JinaBacarr @BoldwoodBooks

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Hellooo everyone, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on the wonderful blog tour for; Christmas Once Upon A Time by Jina Bacarr. I have an exclusive excerpt to share with you all, which I can guarantee you will love. So enjoy!

Christmas Once Again by Jina Bacarr

Publisher: Boldwood Books

Format: Print/Ebook/Audio Book

Release date: October 10, 2019

 All she wants for Christmas is to save the man she loves…

On a cold December day in 1955, Kate Arden got on a train to go home for Christmas.

This is the story of what happened when she got off that train. In 1943.

In 1943, Kate Arden was engaged to the man she loved, Jeffrey Rushbrooke. She was devastated and heartbroken when he was called up for wartime duty and later killed on a secret mission in France.

But what if Kate could change that? What if she could warn him and save his life before Christmas?

Or will fate have a bigger surprise in store for her?

Christmas Once Again is a sweeping, heartbreakingly romantic novel—it’s one woman’s chance to follow a different path and mend her broken heart…

Amazon / Goodreads

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What Readers are saying about Christmas Once Again

‘A breathtaking holiday romance that is sure to stay with you long after reading’

‘A mesmerizing holiday romance that is sure to sweep you off your feet and take you away to another place, another time.’

‘A fabulous book you won’t want to miss’

‘A really beautiful story’

‘Found this book amazing! Would love to read more of her books.’

‘5* from me’

‘An engrossing and entertaining story’

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Exclusive Excerpt

Posey Creek, Pennsylvania

December 12, 1943

I bet you my last pair of stockings, little sister, I’ll be saying I do before Christmas.’

I whirl around in a circle, pretending the most wonderful man in the world is holding me in his arms, my heart soaring. A pot of Ma’s meat gravy simmers on the burner, the smell tickling my fancy to have my own kitchen soon. So many wonderful memories here. Planked floors, big white stove humming with good cooking, Ma’s rocker and her rosewood sewing box. Wallpaper dotted with daisies, their yellow petals turned golden over the years – and four ceramic angels lined up on top of the spice rack. A tradition we do every year along with listening to the holiday radio shows, but this Christmas is even more special to me. It’s crazy I feel so confident, even though he hasn’t actually asked me yet.

But I know he will.

Eyes popping, Lucy swallows the spoonful of jam she shoved into her mouth. ‘You, Kate? Married?’ Slender and graceful like a young doe, she’s not as tall as me, though at sixteen she’s already filling out her sweaters. Dark brown hair rich with honeyed highlights frames her oval face and an army of freckles deepen in color on her cheeks as she laughs. ‘I hear Santa’s taken.’

I ignore her sarcasm and scoop Ma’s holiday cherry jam onto crackers. ‘It’s a secret, so don’t tell anyone.’ I wink at her, not letting up with my tease. I can’t. I’m too excited. Lucy adores secrets. Her face beams with excitement, like she got away with something without Ma finding out. Like using a pillow case for a laundry bag since bedding is hard to come by, or borrowing my two dollar face powder when she thinks I’m not looking.

Despite my affection for her, I pray she keeps my news under her hat. She loves to talk as much as she loves flirting with the soldiers down at the canteen, but I have to tell somebody the news or I’ll burst. What are sisters for if you can’t tease them? Besides, when Jeff does ask me, I’ll need her help fitting my bridal suit to get the hem straight. A gray suit with a frog clasp I made from extra silk Ma had left over from before the war. I’m lucky to have it. I want to look pretty for him. I never thought of myself as the pinup type, but Jeff makes me feel special and loved. He says I stand up taller when he catches my eye and that brings me closer to kissing him. Ma also noticed how much more confident I am. She was curious about why I saved up for two months to buy a blue silk hat with a wispy veil to go with my red coat with the fake fur collar when I have a perfectly good black hat.

I just smiled.

What’s there to tell?’ Lucy points to my bare finger smeared with jam. ‘You’re not wearing a ring, so you can’t be engaged.’

I smile. ‘You don’t know everything about me.’

I know you’re sweet on some guy.’ I raise a brow.

Snooping again?’ ‘Me?’ She bats her eyelashes.

I don’t have to. Not the way you go around singing to yourself when you come home from your job at the mill. How you stop and sigh when we walk past Wrightwood House on our way to town.’

A winsome smile makes my lips curl. I love working at the paper mill. I started out in the typing pool after I graduated from high school. I worked my way up to private secretary to Mr Clayborn in the billing and acquisitions department. He needed a girl who could think and not just type, he said. Nothing top secret about what I do, but I’ve been told not to ask questions. Anyway, I have other things on my mind. Even when I’m dead tired from typing a pile of my shorthand notes, I get warm all over when I think about the man I want to marry.

A light comes on in Lucy’s swimming green eyes. ‘So my big sister has stars in her eyes for Jeffrey Rushbrooke.’

Don’t get your garter belt in a twist.’ I grab another cherry jam filled cracker. ‘You don’t know anything of the sort.’

Surprisingly, Lucy goes quiet, like she’s mulling over her reply before saying something that might upset me. She gossips more than Mrs Widget the neighbor, but she’s a good egg. Bouncy and full of cheer, especially this time of year. She loves Christmas as much as I do and helped me pile Ma’s holiday cherry jam into glass jars.

For me, the Christmas season begins when Ma takes us kids cherry picking in the woods. Lucy, Frank Junior, and me. When the days are long, the nights are hot, and the cherries are big and sweet and perfect to pick for jam. Before the war, Ma made the sweetest jam in the county with cinnamon and lemon zest, but since rationing started, we’ve had food shortages. We cheered when the government doubled the sugar rations so we could make jam for the boys passing through our small town. The trains stop here every day and Lucy makes it a high priority to meet the train and flirt with the soldiers. She talks about nothing else.

He’ll never marry you, Kate,’ she says, her sad puppy eyes showing real concern. I’ve never seen her look so serious. ‘You know what Ma says about them rich people.’

Those rich people.’

She wriggles her nose. ‘It doesn’t matter how good you talk, we’re not his kind.’

I shrug. ‘The bet’s still on.’

You’re a fool, Kate Arden.’ She sighs. ‘Falling for a guy who doesn’t know you’re alive.’

Lucy never went up to Wrightwood House with Ma and me when we were kids, never knew Jeff and I were pals.

I grin. ‘He knows.’

She stares at me straight on. ‘Then why don’t you bring him around the house to meet Ma and Pop?’

You know I can’t.’ The hoarseness in my voice reveals how much that hurts me. Because my romance is a secret. Is Lucy right? Am I a fool?

**Excerpt used with permission of Publisher for this blog tour.

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About the Author

Jina Bacarr is a US-based historical romance author of over 10 previous books. She has been a screenwriter, journalist and news reporter, but now writes full-time and lives in LA.

Jina’s novels have been sold in 9 territories.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Publisher Profile / Instagram

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Blog Tour Schedule

#Review | Once More Into The Breach by @AMeghanHolloway #OnceMoreIntoTheBreach

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For readers of The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a gripping historical thriller set against a fully-realized WWII backdrop about the love a father has for his son and the lengths he is willing to go to find him, from a talented new voice in suspense.

Rhys Gravenor, Great War veteran and Welsh sheep farmer, arrives in Paris in the midst of the city’s liberation with a worn letter in his pocket that may have arrived years too late. As he follows the footsteps of his missing son across an unfamiliar, war-torn country, he struggles to come to terms with the incident that drove a wedge between the two of them.

Joined by Charlotte Dubois, an American ambulance driver with secrets of her own, Rhys discovers that even as liberation sweeps across France, the war is far from over. And his personal war has only begun as he is haunted by memories of previous battles and hampered at every turn by danger and betrayal. In a race against time and the war, Rhys follows his son’s trail from Paris to the perilous streets of Vichy to the starving mobs in Lyon to the treacherous Alps. But Rhys is not the only one searching for his son. In a race of his own, a relentless enemy stalks him across the country and will stop at nothing to find the young man first.

The country is in tatters, no one is trustworthy, and Rhys must unravel the mystery of his son’s wartime actions in the desperate hope of finding him before it’s too late. Too late to mend the frayed bond between them. Too late to beg his forgiveness. Too late to bring him home alive.

What a emotional, edge of your seat thriller. My goodness this book is amazing, I know I say that a lot, but this is something very special. I am a huge fan of WW2 era fiction, and I have read an awful lot of fiction from this genre to know that Once More Into The Breach is a masterpiece of story telling.

Set at the end of WW2, the story is told through the eyes of WW1 veteran and now farmer; Rhys who has set out to war torn France to find his son. Which is far easier said then done, as Rhys is still traumatised from his own experience in the trenches during the Great War, he is still feeling the affects, there are periods of confusion where he is transported back and he is left scared and broken, which is why he was adamant that he would never return to France. That is until his son goes missing, he puts his own personal thoughts and anguish to one side and takes a step into the big unknown.

Once there is meets mysterious and enigmatic Charlotte, who is not all that she appears to be, I love that as soon as we meet Charlotte, there is just this feeling you get that something isn’t quite right about her, she has secrets and even though I do like her I was always thinking that she is out for herself, she has motives in everything she does and she knows far more then she claims.

Rhys and Charlotte set of on their journey of discovery through war torn France, at every turn there is something that stands in their way to find the answers to the questions that keep filtering through Rhys’ mind, he is desperate to find his son or find out what happened to him and then the other questions start emerging as what exactly did Owain do in France during the war? And What is Charlotte’s motives in helping him? Their journey is full of action and intrigue, of secrets, lies and suspense.

Meghan Holloway is an incredible narrator, she hooks you from that first dramatic and emotional page right to the last, her play with words is mesmerizing it was literally like being inside of Rhys’ head, you feel each and every emotion, his pain, his terror, his confusion, especially in the snap shots into his life during WW1, the way being in the trenches impacted on his life is heart-breaking. This fine woman has got a real gift, her passion and love of the story and her need to tell Rhys’ story is evident.

This is a real page turner, it has a constant undercurrent of fear and anguish throughout th book, mostly from Rhys, he broke my heart. He is a genuinely lovely man, he feels a lot of emotions that build up from fear and pain, to love for his son, the need to do what is right, his is scared by his own emotions especially when we have flashbacks into his past. But, what is the most refreshing about this is that the hero is just a regular man who has left his farm in Wales to go out and find his son.

This book is a must read for anyone who loves WW2 historical fiction, if you love the likes of Pam Jenoff, Alison Richman and Kate Mosse’s; Citadel then this is the book you need to read, I cannot wait to see what comes next from Meghan Holloway.

Gorgeous and highly recommended!

#BookBlast | Of Knights and Dogfights: A WW2 Novel by Ellie Midwood #OfKnightsAndDogfights #WW2 #HistoricalFiction @HFVBT

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Hello my lovelies, I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this amazing book blast for; Of Knights and Dogfights; A WW1 Novel by Ellie Midwood. I have to say that this book looks absolutely amazing, the cover is so striking and it sounds thrilling, it will definitely be going on my need to read pile. Go and have a look and if your from the US do have a look at the giveaway at the end of the post.

Of Knights and Dogfights: A WWII Novel by Ellie Midwood

Publication Date: January 4, 2019
eBook & Paperback; 426 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

 

“Has it ever occurred to you, Johann; the fact that we’re fighting on the wrong side?”

Austria, 1938

On the verge of the most devastating war of all times, four young men found themselves sharing a room in a flying school dormitory. A bohemian Berliner, a Flieger-Hitlerjugend member, a prodigy pilot, and a butcher’s son, with nothing in common but their love for the Luftwaffe and the freedom the sky has to offer. The bond they develop is put to the test by what might be a stronger adversary – war itself. Over the English Channel, in the dusty skies of Africa, on the brutal Eastern front, they will discover where their loyalty lies, and what true bravery means.

“It’s Großdeutsches Reich, soldier. When one has a family at home, it doesn’t leave him many chances for the revolt.”

As the war progresses, Willi and Johann grow more and more disillusioned with the regime they’re protecting with their lives. An SS unit appearing on their base to claim one of their own; bits of conversation revealing the truth about the extermination program accidentally overheard during the official reception – the pieces of the puzzle are slowly coming together, but it’s too late to do anything but fight to the bitter end, whatever it may bring.

Set during one of the bloodiest wars in history, “Of Knights and Dogfights” is the story of the shattered illusions of youth, tyranny and freedom, friendship and love guiding one out of the darkest hell of Soviet captivity.

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Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author

Ellie Midwood is a best-selling, award-winning historical fiction writer. She’s a health-obsessed yoga enthusiast, a neat freak, an adventurer, Nazi Germany history expert, polyglot, philosopher, a proud Jew and a doggie mama.

Ellie lives in New York with her fiancé and their Chihuahua named Shark Bait.

Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) – “The Girl from Berlin: Standartenfuhrer’s Wife”

Readers’ Favorite – winner in the Historical Fiction category (2016) – “The Austrian” (honorable mention)

New Apple – 2016 Award for Excellence in Independent Publishing – “The Austrian” (official selection)

For more information on Ellie and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads.

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Book Blast Schedule

Do have a look at the other amazing blogs which are participating on this book blast.

Monday, June 10
CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, June 11
Donna’s Book Blog
To Read, Or Not to Read

Wednesday, June 12
Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals

Thursday, June 13
100 Pages a Day

Friday, June 14
Passages to the Past

Saturday, June 15
Locks, Hooks and Books

Sunday, June 16
A Book Geek

Tuesday, June 18
Melissa Flory

Wednesday, June 19
What Is That Book About

Thursday, June 20
Just One More Chapter

Friday, June 21
Coffee and Ink

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Giveaway

We have one paperback copy of Of Knights and Dogfights up for grabs! To enter, please use the Gleam form here : Of Knights and Dogfights

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is 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.

#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.

#Review : The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

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To give them hope she must tell their story

The war is over. Juliet Ashton is grappling with writers block when she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – a total stranger living halfway across the channel. Who has come across her name written in a second-hand book.

Juliet begins writing to Dawsey , and the time to everyone in the extraordinary Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society. The society tell Juliet about life on the island – and the dark years spent under the shadow of German occupation. Drawn into their irresistible world, Juliet sets sail for Guernsey, changing her life – and theirs – forever

My View

I have been reading so many good thing about this book for such a long time, and then when it was made into a film, I knew that I had to read this book, before I saw the film as it had been on my to-read list for way too long. I can honestly say that yeas, I should have read it far, far earlier then I did, but it was well worth the wait. This book really is extraordinary, there is no other words to describe just how powerful a read this book is. With it’s very simple story of one writer and a group of people all starting the process of trying to move on after years of war, they find themselves finding a new beginning just on the horizon, but they need each other to take those tentative steps.

During the war Juliet Ashton had been writing a column under the name Lizzy Bickerstaff which brought people together and gave the country some light-hearted fun to get behind and enjoy. Now the war is over, Juliet has found herself stuck in a bit of a rut she has got terrible writers block. Then she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams; a complete stranger from Guernsey which starts of what will be a beautiful friendship. Dawsey came across her name in a book, he tells her about his book club; the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society from that one letter she begins corresponding not just with Dawsey but the other members of the society, they tell her about life under German occupation and how they suffered ad survived the war.

Juliet soon becomes engrossed in their world, in their stories and soon finds inspiration has struck and suddenly she finds herself on Guernsey, meeting the very people who have brought life back into her boring, dreary life. This trip to Guernsey is a trip that will change her life forever and that of the society members too.

The central storyline regarding Juliet and her love life is pretty is to ascertain where the story is going and who she will end up with. For me it was the bigger picture the story around the Guernsey literary and potato peel pie society and it’s members that captured my attention, I can guarantee that anyone reading this will go through so many emotions. What really stuck with me after reading this book, is the overwhelming warmth that fills you after reading it, it leaves it’s mark on the reader – well it has one me, far more then any book ever has.

This has got to be one of the best books I have read, it is a truly beautiful and heart-warming book. There isn’t a moment, a page or a word that I don’t like about it, the characters are all extremely well researched, lovable and they will make you laugh and cry in equal amounts.

A magical book that everyone should read!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is available at Amazon.

Review : Diary of a War Bride by Lauri Robinson

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The land girl and the US officer

July 1942

Dear diary, despite the war raging around me, I find I can’t stop thinking about the American officer, Sergeant Dale Johnson. I’ve never known anyone as brave, kind and handsome! But I promised myself I wouldn’t care this much about a man again, especially when he could be transferred at any time. Yet that only makes me want to relish our time together. Now fighting my heart feels like the biggest battle…

My View

One word sums this book up for me; Magnificent! This is an incredible book, I have had my eye on this one as soon as I saw the cover – yes, I did base my wanting to read it on the cover first, but only because I have a real soft spot for this era and then when I read the blurb, I was completely hooked. I love war time romances and I was jumping around like a bit of a hyperactive two years old when I got offered the chance to read this one and I can honestly say that this fully lives up to all the hype, it is fabulous!

Kathryn is an evacuee, she was sent away from the city by her a powerful man in the British army/government she is sent to live wit Norman and Charlotte in the country, where she helps on their farm and looks after the other evacuee children. All is fine until the American’s move in, swanning around like they own the place. Kathryn has definitely got a chip on her shoulder when it comes to the GI’s she, her frosty and hostile attitude towards them makes me think of that old saying what used to be said and what is in a lot of war time films “Over paid, over sexed and over here.” And when she meets engineer Dale her animosity blows up at him, poor gorgeous Dale he becomes the one who she lashes her fury and irritation out on, unfairly if you ask me.

I think that Kathryn is a little harsh on Dale to start with, she has an ingrained prejudice towards American’s and she treats very unfairly when all he wants to do is get to know her. He is an American in a stranger country, and yes I will say that Britain in the war was strange, it takes awhile for Dale and his comrades to adjust to out….shall I say slightly eccentric British-ness? But he charm’s her out of her old way of thinking and soon she has fallen head over heels for him. Come on how could she not? Dale is a stud!

What a wonderful character he is, he can relate to the humble farmer’s and how they are fighting and toiling to feed their own. Back in the USA he is one of those very farmer’s he knows hard work and isn’t afraid of it, he does every job with the same gusto and precision as he would while back on his farm. He has a kind and generous heart that makes you cry and laugh, and a charm that can woo any bird from the tree’s.

As I was reading this it made me think of that episode of Foyles War when Hastings is, as the locals say being ‘invaded’ by American’s This has that same charm and wit about it that, it is comforting as well as exciting. I was gripped by it, while reading it you go through so many emotion’s as you are plunged into that dangerous time where life is so uncertain. Ms Robinson has done an astounding job at bringing to life the real emotion of the time, with absolute clarity. I particularly love that each chapter starts off with a page from Kathryn’s diary, her thoughts, feelings, happiness and fears are all there you the reader to bare witness to what is going on. I love that touch, it is like dipping into her life through those secretive word’s and it connects you to her and makes you care about her that much more – if that was possible!

This is the first book I have read by Lauri Robinson and what an introduction into this author’s work, and I will definitely be reading more from this talented author. She has captured the readers attention with her way with words and her knowledge of the era. I got a real sense of how much this story meant to Ms Robinson, every page has feels very personal. I do like historicals that have accurate details in them which brings the story to life, and this is wonderfully detailed.

This is astounding! I am so pleased that more people are reading this era as it is fraught with absolute love and danger and this is right up there with the best war romances I have read. For those that have read and love the likes of Pam Jenoff then this is the book to read, it is fabulous and one of the best of the year. I cannot recommend this enough!

Just Stunning!

This was a complimentary copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.

The War Bride is available now and can be purchased from Amazon.