#BlogTour #Review and #WW2 #ClaraVine Q&A Solitaire by @janethynne @simonschusterUK #WW2Fiction 5*

*I received a copy via the publisher in return for an honest review*

Solitaire by Jane Thynne

June 1940: the first summer of the war. Berlin is being bombed and nightly blackouts suffocate the city. Then France falls and a shadow descends.

A shadow has fallen over Clara Vine’s own life, too. She is an Anglo-German woman in a country that hates England. Then she is summoned to meet the Propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, who has decided that Clara should adopt a new role – as his spy.

Much as she dislikes the idea, Clara realises this might be the chance to find an escape route to England. But Goebbels has other ideas and soon Clara is drawn into a web that threatens to destroy her. As everything she holds dear is taken as ransom, she must fight to protect her family – and to survive…

My review:

June 1940, the first summer of war!
Clara Vine finds herself caught up in with more treachery, lies and spies……..

The prologue opens in July 1940 in Lisbon, Portugal. The author has done a fantastic job of setting the scene. Refugees are fleeing the Germans, and we become aware one lone woman is watching in the shadows. She is quickly cornered by the police and ushered into a waiting police car, disappearing into the dead of the night!

Meanwhile in Berlin, Clara is navigating her way around a darkened city. Darkened in more ways than one. Clara secretly listens to the British broadcasts of the BBC, whilst conspiring neighbour Dr Franz Engel blasts classical German music to conceal her activity. Clara is no longer spying for the British, but as we have come to know throughout the series. She is far from a Nazi collaborator.

The author brings, not just Berlin alive, but the surrounding historical figures of the senior SS and their wives. Clara rubs shoulders with the SS elite and is often, a listening ear for their complaining wives. Emmy Goering, Magda Goebbels and Annelise Von Ribbentrop are all brought alive on the page.
It is rare in world war two fiction, to see the Nazi SS wives play such central characters. Something much lost out on, in the genre, although not with Jane Thynne at the helm. The wives were more than complicit, in the war time activities of the Nazi party.
The rivalry and hierarchy, between them is intriguing to read.

But one-man terrifies Clara, a man that always keeps a close eye on her and that man, is none other than Joey Goebbels.

Clara’s close friend and confidant is American journalist Mary Hacker. Mary warns Clara of the dangers of her secrets being discovered. She informs her fully of the brutality of the Nazi regime. Mary is currently investigating the ‘resettlement’ of the Jewish Germans; what she uncovers is alarming. Yet it is merely the tip of the iceberg. After all, this is 1940.

“Say what you like about Mahatma propogandi, he’s clever” – Mary Hacker

The novel then introduces another female character orphan Katerina Klimpel. She is living in an orphanage ran by the Nazi party and their wives. Her only hope of escape is to locate her sister Sonja. A sister that disappeared two months ago.
Katerina’s childhood and experiences are fully explored. As the reader we become aware, of why she resides at the home. Why it is such a dangerous place to be, for a young woman, with a hidden disability.
But what connects Clara, Katerina and Sonja? How will their stories become interwoven?
That is the magic of the authors penmanship and the beauty of each novel in the series. The author connects Clara not only to the real-life Nazi hierarchy but to the real-life suffering of the ordinary German citizens.

When Clara is instructed with a mission. A command by Goebbels himself, she can not refuse. Refusal would be an immediate sentence to interrogation or worse, death!
She is asked to make a trip to Nazi occupied Paris and identify if Hans Reuber is a spy for British intelligence.
Clara’s personal grief and inner turmoil has changed her attitudes and shaken her beliefs to the core. But what does this mean for Hans Reuber if he is a spy?

“Everyday life is politics now. It’s impossible to say where one ends and the other begins” – Mary Hacker

The individual stories of all the characters are cleverly unravelled and explored. We uncover what motivates each individual and which Nazi SS senior figures, battle for Hitler’s attention. The novel has various themes of betrayal, loyalty, honour and trust. For the reader with limited knowledge of ww2 history, this novel can be an education, within itself. If you take the time to research each character and theme.
For the reader with comprehensive ww2 knowledge, you fully appreciate the authors historical accuracy.
One thing is 100% certain without a shadow of a doubt, Jane Thynne has done her research!

From the S-Bahn attacker, to the Jugmadel group, the ‘Lebensunwertes leben’ philosophy and even the drug use of pervitin. Each meticulous detail has a wealth of historical accuracy. Yet instead of being ‘taught’, the details are intertwined within this incredible novel, in a story format. Clara Vine is not to be missed!
The ending was incredible and left the series, wide open for its next instalment. Of which I long to read!

“A mother was the universe from whose substance one was formed, and the gap she left would never be filled”


Q) Within the opening pages of this novel, I felt a real change in Clara’s attitudes and approaches towards the Nazi regime. Is this done intentionally, to document how one may struggle with their inner turmoil during war time?

A) When Solitaire opens, Clara’s position is more perilous than ever. It’s 1940, war has begun, and Germany is a prison with no option of escape. So yes, she is forced to confront her own position more deeply, and the loss of her lover intensifies the sense that she really is a lone agent.

Q) As detailed in my review, the research and historical accuracy is second to none. How important is this to you as an author? Are there parts of the history, you think readers may believe are embellished, but are factually correct?
(such as the Pervitin usage)

A) It’s pretty obvious how much I adore the research. I enjoy picking out tiny details of a historical period, such as the fact that Germans could get coffee on prescription for insomnia during air raids. Accuracy is crucial! It’s what makes writing such a pleasure and readers are always quick to correct errors. One of the back stories in Solitaire is the fact that Germany faced a shortage of diamonds. Industrial diamonds were essential for any kind of arms manufacture, so when they invaded Holland and France they were desperate to seize them. I like how this fact connects the glamour and frivolity of diamonds with the deadly reality of war.

Q) I love the depth of the characters in the novel and throughout the series. In Solitaire in-particular, I really warmed to Katerina. How do you create the fictional characters? And are they loosely based on real-life individuals from history?

A) I’m very fond of my fictional girls. When I start reading memoirs or non-fiction, I find the voice of a single girl just calls out to me – often one who is quite compliant, and initially sees nothing wrong with the regime. Ultimately her story will be to discover strength and defiance. With each novel, I’ve tried to examine one aspect of female life in the Third Reich. Katerina is an orphan whose leg is crippled – just like Joseph Goebbels himself – but the Nazis had terrible plans for those who were physically imperfect. That is the Katerina’s peril, except that fortunately she discovers Clara Vine.

Q) The novel focuses around Joseph Goebbels mostly, as he is the most suspicious of Clara. Is there anything that you learned in the researching, that shocked or surprised you about him or his wife Magda?

A) Before the war, British VIPs visiting Germany would often find they preferred Goebbels to the other Nazis, not because he was any less repellent, but because he was intelligent, and could make jokes. It does help when writing about him, and of course, I’m especially interested in him because he was the propagandist, and he worked the levers that brainwashed an entire nation. I don’t think he was a psychopath, or mad, but a hater, with a giant chip on his shoulder whom power enabled to enact atrocities. In contrast his private life was a tiresome cliché of womanising and sentimental love affairs. It was Magda’s misfortune that she never properly managed to escape him. The truly shocking thing is that they murdered their six small children. But when you see the footage of the Russian advance on Berlin, and the savagery that was inflicted on German women and children, I suppose they had good reason to suspect real horrors if their own children were captured by the Russians. Even if they escaped with their lives they would have been paraded on screen and badly maltreated.

Q) The pairing of Irene and Walter Schellenberg, is one of almost disbelief. Yet one I look forward to reading more of. They come across on the page as very differing personalities. Were they difficult to write given their apparent unlikely courtship?

A) A great help was that, like many Nazis who survived the war, Walter Schellenberg, Heydrich’s number two, published his memoirs. Fascinating! He had an affair with Chanel and a complicated love life. Irene was his second wife and coming late to the Nazi hierarchy had a lot to learn.

Q) The novel deals with some very dark themes such as ‘Lebensunwertes Leben’ – life unworthy of living. The Nazi euthanasia programme for those deemed physically or mentally handicapped. With hindsight, it is almost unbelievable, how this philosophy was hidden from the German public. But I felt the writing provided the perfect scenario, of how this initiative was concealed and carried out. Is this difficult to write, without involving your own emotions in the story?

A) As the series has approached wartime, it’s been increasingly difficult to avoid the horrors being perpetrated, not only on Jews and foreigners, but on those deemed German citizens who did not fit with the ideas of the regime. The idea of mass extermination actually began with the euthanasia programme as Nazi doctors and psychiatrists explored ways of eliminating the imperfect. What’s interesting is how the public were softened up for this idea, for example with films of the mentally and physically disabled that asked whether they deserved scarce resources. Or maths questions in text books that asked kids to calculate how much a mentally disabled person cost the state and how many airplanes that money would cover.

Q) finally, what is next for Clara Vine? Are we allowed any snippets of what’s to come in her future?
That ending left me, desperate to read the next in the series.

A) The next in the series is set in 1941 and finds Clara making her biggest film to date – the Sinking of the Titanic. At the same time she is approached and asked to track down a British agent who has gone rogue. The shock is that she once knew this man – their paths crossed in Vienna back in 1937, when he was visiting the celebrated Sigmund Freud. Now she must find him again, and if he has really been turned, ensure that his treachery goes no further.

Jane Thynne
Authors links:
Website: janethynne.com/
Twitter: @janethynne
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/231830.Jane_Thynne
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJaneThynne/

Author bio:
I was born in Venezuela and grew up with my parents and two brothers in London. After school in Hampton, I spent a year working at the Old Vic Theatre before reading English at St Anne’s College, Oxford.
I then joined the BBC as a production trainee, but after a few years succumbed to a hankering for Fleet Street and moved to The Sunday Times. I spent many cheerful years at The Daily Telegraph as media correspondent, but my single most exciting moment in that time was getting a publishing contract for my first novel.
In particular I have a passion for historical fiction and love the research that involves. The first in the Clara Vine series, Black Roses, became a number One Kindle Bestseller. In the UK the series is published by Simon & Schuster. Outside Britain, my novels have been translated into French, German, Greek, Turkish and Italian. In France the series is published by J.C Lattes and in Greece by Kedros. In the US and Canada the series is published by Random House.
As well as writing books I now freelance as a journalist, writing regularly for numerous British magazines and newspapers, and also appear as a broadcaster on Radio 4. I have been a guest reader at the Arvon Foundation and have sat on the broadcasting committee of the Society of Authors. I have three children and live in London.
I also have an active Facebook page where I love to interact with readers. Do please follow me on GOODREADS and add the Clara Vine novels to your ‘Want To Read’ list. Get in touch. It’s great to talk!

Blog Tour Schedule


#PublicationDay Q&A with @StuartJames73 #Author of, The House On Rectory Lane #Indie #Thriller

The House On Rectory Lane by Stuart James
Jake and Kate live in Camden, London and have had enough of the hassle with parking, overbooked restaurants and burglaries.
After an altercation with a stranger who pulls a knife on Jake, they take their son Sean, and move to a house in the woods.
It’s their dream home, or so they think.
People in the village warn them they shouldn’t have come.
Neighbours are over friendly and who was the face at the window Kate saw late at night?
They find a tape hidden in the loft of their new house, a home made video recording of the previous family, the Prescotts.
What they view, chills them to the bone.
They realise that the family living there before them have disappeared and now, they could be next……


Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) Ok, so I have always been a little creative. I played traditional Irish music from a young age, starting on the wooden flute and then the piano accordion. It was a difficult instrument to carry around and had wished I learned the guitar earlier. When I was around 19, I started writing songs and sang in a band for around 20 years, playing everything from rock and roll to chart music. As I wrote songs, I found it also easy enough to adapt and write my first book.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) I first told my kids that I was going to write a book and they both laughed. That made me more determined ha ha.
I came up with the idea and jotted down the major parts etc. As I started writing, I  are up with more plot twists and more ideas.
It’s hard work. You have to write everyday so you don’t lose track of the story and the goal is to get to the end. That’s when the hard work starts. i.e., editing, changing parts, re-writing etc.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) My favourite author is Linwood Barclay. I would recommend too close to home or no time for goodbye.
I also love Stephen King and I love B A Paris. My favourite book this year has to be the couple next door or behind closed doors.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I remember one book in particular called the demon bike rider. I couldn’t find it as I wanted my kids to read it, and my daughter came home one day from school telling me the librarian managed to get a copy for me as a gift as she knew I was trying to get it. I thought that was a lovely thought.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) I do really enjoy the blogs but I also enjoy the reviews that I get and the buzz I try and create on social media.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) I would say my wife, kids and friends. They are the backbone and keep me going.

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.

SJ: Thank you so much for asking me to feature on your blog and I am also very grateful.

Stuart James
Author links:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17131046.Stuart_James
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Stuart-James-Author-798982316950555/
Instagram: http://ipovi.com/stuartjamesauthor-5956096407
Twitter: https://twitter.com/stuartjames73?lang=en-gb

Q&A with @GlynnHolloway #Author of, 1066 What Fates Impose #Indie #HistFic @matadorbooks

G.K. Holloway
England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland. Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies who will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold. Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?


Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) There was a castle built high on a hill, just outside of my home town. When I was a little boy, from my bedroom window on summer evenings, I used to watch the sun set behind it. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always been interested in history. It’s the subject I studied for my degree. The stories of who got what, where, why and when, have always fascinated me. When I had the inspiration, the inclination and the time to write a book, I jumped at the chance. It’s always been something I’ve wanted to do.

In the middle of the eleventh century, England was facing a crisis. King Edward the Confessor had promised never to produce an heir and there were no obvious successors – but there were quite a few claimants who wanted the crown. As time passed, tensions rose at home and abroad; family feuds, court intrigues, papal plots and a few assassinations paved the way to 1066, the year of three battles. One of them the most important ever fought on English soil. Most people know the outcome but how many know the many twists and turns that marked the way.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) For one of my Christmas presents, my wife Alice bought me a book entitled, Harold: The Last Anglo Saxon King, by Ian W Walker. I found it a fascinating read and wanted to know more. I read anything I could find on pre-Conquest England and found it so interesting and exciting I couldn’t understand why I no one had made a film or written a novel about it, so I decided to write one myself.

The first thing I did was to make copious notes until I had the outline of a story and then I flushed out the main characters to make an exciting tale. I discovered I had to make up a few individuals to enable the narrative to flow more smoothly and in more detail. Once I had a final draft, I gave it to my family to read. I had quite a bit of feedback from them, most of it positive enough to make me want to take the next step and approach an editor. I sent her what I thought was a manuscript perfect in every way. After all, I’d checked it I don’t know how many times and the family had read it thoroughly. When the editor returned the manuscript came back to me I was amazed at the number of errors. So, after making the necessary corrections, I sent of the manuscript to my publishers. I brought 1066 out as an Ebook at first, just to see how it was received. It went down so well I bought out a paperback as well. Now I’m working on the sequel.

Q) Who are your favourite authors and what are your recommended reads?

A) My favourite authors – there are a lot. There are old favourites, like George Orwell, John Steinbeck, D H Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway but I also enjoy William Boyd, Ian McEwan and Carlos Ruiz Zafon and books I’d recommend, in respective order are, 1984, The Grapes of Wrath, Sons and Lovers, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Great Gatsby, A Farewell to Arms, Any Human Heart, Enduring Love and The Shadow of the Wind.

Q) What were your childhood favourite reads?

A) Any Biggles book by W E Johns. I read the lot when I was a kid and thought they were brilliant. When I’d finished reading them I wasn’t interested in any other children’s’ books and went straight on to Literary fiction – Animal Farm.

Q What has been your favourite moment of being a published author.

A) It’s a marvellous feeling to get a great review or even win an award but the moment I cherish is the moment when I opened a box full of books, fresh from the printers, and held in my had the book I had written. I think that’s the moment when you really feel like an author.

Q) Who has been your support/encouragement throughout the writing process?

A) My wife, Alice. If it wasn’t for her support the book would never have been written, let alone published.

G.K. Holloway
Authors links:
Website: http://www.gkholloway.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/G-K-Holloway-219766941394283/
Twitter @GlynnHolloway

#BlogTour Q&A with @AmyHeydenrych #Author of, Shame On You #CrimeFiction #Thriller #NewRelease

Shame On You by Amy Heydenrych

Have you ever lied about who you are to get more likes?
Have you ever followed someone online who you think is perfect?
Have you ever reached the New Year and thought it’s time to reinvent yourself?

Meet Holly.

Social media sensation. The face of clean eating.

Everyone loves her. Everyone wants to be her.

But when Holly is attacked by a man she’s only just met, her life starts to spiral out of control. He seemed to know her – but she doesn’t know him.

What if Holly isn’t who she seems to be? What if Holly’s living a lie?

But surely we all lie a bit online, don’t we . . .?



Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) My novel is set in London, and is about social media star Holly who seems to have it all. Her Instagram and blog – a personal platform to document how she brought on her remission from cancer through a healthy diet – now has millions of loyal followers. So when she meets a striking young surgeon in Starbucks, it feels like yet another win in her wildly successful life. However, at the end of their dream date, the surgeon takes out his scalpel and viciously attacks her, claiming to be giving her what she deserves. Her followers are stunned, and cry for justice, but as their investigation deepens, they get closer to an ugly truth that Holly wants nobody to see. As her fans swing from adoration to hatred, the surgeon circles in on her, promising to leave her more than disfigured this time around. A final devastating discovery gives her a chance to tell her followers her side of the story.
My background is slightly different! I am South African and based the setting of the story on the years I spent living and working in London. I am trained as a journalist and in political science, but fiction writing has always been my first love.

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) Shame on You came to me as a fully-formed idea. I had been speaking to a well-known fashion blogger and was surprised to hear how different her life was in reality compared to the image she portrayed. It seemed like the perfect start for a chilling story. I have a personal interest in clean-eating and have always wondered how much deception goes on among clean-eaters on social media – surely one cannot be that healthy all the time! I sketched out the plot and treated the book like a full time job – I was able to do this because I work as a freelance corporate writer. In a couple of months, I had a first draft, which I sent to my writing group and a few other trusted readers for comment. After a few rounds of revisions, I started with the pitching process.
I came very close to signing a few agents, and eventually I was signed by the wonderful Jenny Bent and Sarah Manning of The Bent Agency. Together, we polished the manuscript further until it was ready to go out to pitch. Sarah sold the rights to Bonnier Zaffre in the UK and, in a hilarious turn of events, the offer came through as I was going into labour with my little son, Zach!

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I read very widely – most of all, I enjoy a mix of literary and thriller novels. My favourite authors are Tana French, Jennifer Egan, Anne Patchett, Margaret Atwood and Louise O Neil. My favourite psychological thrillers this year were Good Me, Bad Me, by Ali Land and Behind her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough. Other books I loved were: Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng, and The Mothers by Brit Bennett.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I was a massive book nerd as a child and read everything in my library! I was the ultimate Nancy Drew fangirl as a young girl. As a teen, the book High Fidelity by Nick Hornby stands out – I was just discovering a whole lot of new music and that book tapped into the deep emotions I felt for certain songs and infatuations I felt for certain boys.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) Having other people engage with my story and form opinions about my characters! There is no greater thrill than having something you have written come to life in the imagination of another.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My family have been there from the start, and have never doubted that I could make writing my career.

My husband has been an incredible support, and has been my unfailing source of encouragement when it felt like every week brought on a new rejection in my writing career.

My writing group – Blaize Kaye and Catherine Jarvis – have been amazing first readers and provided consolation during all the highs and lows that a writer’s life brings.

Amy Heydenrych
Authors links:
My personal website: http://www.bookish.co.za
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmyHeydenrych
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amyheydenrych/

*Thank you for taking part in the Q&A on my blog, I wish you every success with your writing career.


Q&A with @Jamalthewriter #Author of, Project Terror @ProdigyGoldBks #CrimeFiction #AmericanNoir

Project Terror by Jamal Lewis

In a street war, there’s always a body to be discovered.

Lamar Dunken is a dedicated monster who presents the perfect image of a street terrorist. He knows how to respond when a desperate crisis threatens his operation, and he exacts horrifying tactics to get things under control.

FBI Special Agent Livingston is faced with the serious task of investigating Lamar’s tactics while connecting killings start to terrorize Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Also, a violent criminal locked behind bars a year before Lamar was even born is back on the streets and looking for him. Lamar is forced to call on his deepest strength to face his accusers and ensure that the values that he holds most dear will survive.

The nightmare has begun.



Q) For the readers, can you talk us through your background and the synopsis of your new novel?

A) I have a military background. United States Army, precisely. I was a military brat and then I enlisted myself. But I also have a poverty-stricken background. It wasn’t pretty in either place, leading to the setting of PROJECT TERROR. The housing project where the story takes place is a place that my mother forbid me to hang, but of course, I did anyway. I watched the FBI and DEA take out whole communities with drug busts and sought to cover that in PROJECT TERROR. But I add a twist. I wondered what that big drug bust would have looked like if an undercover agent moved into an apartment in the project months before the bust. So, I tossed him into the book and crafted a plot around him, making for a delightful crime thriller (if that is possible).

Q) Can you talk us through the journey from idea to writing to publication?

A) It was an process like no other. I am not a typer, so I hand wrote the book on notepads and blank paper. I then had it typed before submitting it to publishers, and ultimately signing with Prodigy Gold Books. The team there was similar to boot camp instructors. They warned me of the process before signing me and assuring that I was ready for the editing process and the pre-publication promotion, and even this interview and publicity phase. I didn’t know that so much went into this process, but I am here and looking forward to getting my second novel all typed up.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) My favorite authors are Iceberg Slim and Walter Mosley. I like the way they depict stories about the struggle and success of urban communities. They played a role in forcing me to write a story from my angle.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) My teenaged reads were text books and the early Dr. Suess and Bernstein Bears classics.

Q) What has been your favourite moment of being a published author?

A) My favorite moment was finally being signed and the start of the editing process. Having a professional point out plot holes and character flaws were a gut-punch, but worth it. I am an amateur boxer of sorts, so I can take a punch.

Q) Who has been your source of support/encouragement, throughout the writing process?

A) My support comes from my family and friends, and my Prodigy team. My mother is my rock, along with one of my sisters.

Jamal Lewis 
Author Bio:
Jamal Lewis was born in Philadelphia, a former boxer, and military brat. He pursued a writing career while serving a federal prison term after allowing his life to take a terrible turn resulting in him being shot four times. His debut crime thriller, PROJECT TERROR (Prodigy Gold Books, 2017) was released Halloween 2017 on his birthday.
Author links:
Twitter: @Jamalthewriter
Book: PROJECT TERROR by Jamal Lewis releases on Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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