Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Seas Of Snow by @zinca Kerensa Jennings 5* Genius #PaperbackRelease #LiteraryFiction @unbounders Trust. Betrayal. Consequences.

Seas of Snow Paperback Cover Kerensa Jennings
Seas Of Snow by Kerensa Jennings

1950s England. Five-year-old Gracie Scott lives with her Mam and next door to her best friend Billy. An only child, she has never known her Da. When her Uncle Joe moves in, his physical abuse of Gracie’s mother starts almost immediately. But when his attentions wander to Gracie, an even more sinister pattern of behaviour begins.

As Gracie grows older, she finds solace and liberation in books, poetry and her enduring friendship with Billy.
Together they escape into the poetic fairy-tale worlds of their imaginations.

But will fairy tales be enough to save Gracie from Uncle Joe’s psychopathic behaviour – and how far will it go?

Seas of Snow is a haunting, psychological domestic drama that probes the nature and the origins of evil.

My Review:

As I type this I am still very blown away by this novel. I was gripped by this intense plot and by gripped, I mean I have just read this novel straight through in 5 hours and 15 minutes! I couldn’t put it down! I felt a wide range of emotion, the strongest one being the urge to hold my daughter in my arms and promise her I will never, ever let her down. This novel really hit me in the feels, badly! It is one I doubt I will ever forget.
Here is my review…..

Seas Of Snow is essentially two stories interwoven into one powerful novel. On the one hand, the novel spans 1940s-1950s and details the childhoods of neighbourhood best friends Gracie and Billy. An incredibly moving friendship built upon childhood innocence. On the other hand, the novel shows the nightmare Gracie will come to know and live. When Uncle Joe darkens her door!

The early chapters are written from Gracie’s perspective and we meet an intelligent young girl, who loves to dream and dream big. Gracie is the literal depiction of innocence and with her charming outlook on life “you don’t know everything when you’re 5”. You slowly grow to love her character. Gracie has a deep love for fairy tales and all things magical. She is a sweet little girl who reminded me of my own daughter many times. Armed with her best friend Billy, Gracie feels she can take on the world………that is until late one night in 1946.

Uncle Joe is a narcissistic bully, who destroys the lives of everyone he comes into contact with. When Uncle Joe comes to stay he automatically takes on the role of ‘abusive father’. Suddenly Gracie is witnessing her mother sustain vicious beatings at his hands. Due to the era, there is no real support or help to call upon. With these issues considered ‘domestics’ and the police unlikely to help. What goes on behind closed doors must stay there! Life at May close, Tyneside rapidly becomes unbearable. We read on as Gracie’s mother slowly becomes a beaten down, powerless and submissive woman. It is at this point Uncle Joe turns his attentions towards Gracie, one day when she is in the bath.

Gracie and Billy are best friends and their summers are spent building dens and reading poetry. The novel is scattered with literature references and they add to the story and explain how words help Gracie and poetry is a secret key. Gracie idolises Billy and it is through this friendship and hero worship she maintains some level of normality in her existence. Billie loves to invent games such as dragons and princesses. They have a genuine, once in a lifetime bond and it is simply beautiful to read it play out. Billy comforts her with her fears of ravens and eventually her confessions about Uncle Joe.

There is a backdrop character of an elderly fragile lady who Billy visits. A woman whom life has been painful and unkind too. Billy visits and reads to her and seeks to offer her some comfort and it is in this moment you realise the true beauty of Billy’s character. Gracie continues in her life to seek to interpret the world around her. She is living with nightmare presence of Uncle Joe’s returning vile, poisonous, darkness. Therefore, she starts to blame herself and believe god must be punishing her. This is not helped when Gracie’s mother encourages her to keep the secrets, out of fear for what Joe may do next. Further on in the novel we see chapters from the perspective of Joe. That show what a truly terrifying horrible man he is. Also from the perspective of a now adult Billy, as he tries to piece his and Gracie’s past life together.
We soon learn that Gracie is one in a long line of Joe’s victims.

This novel is a story of life and the darkness of past betrayals. It symbolises the burdens people carry and the secrets in their closest. What makes it so harrowing, is that it could so easily all be true. The powerlessness of women in the era, the lack of legal assistance, the hushing up of abuses both sexual and physical all contributed massively to the victimising of Gracie.

It is such an emotional journey, that provides many thought-provoking moments. It is one I think would be very popular for book groups. For the members to debate/discuss the various characters and the narrative. This novel flowed at an easy 5* pace, but with that ending I completely broke down.
It was expertly crafted into the story and the writer deserves a ‘5* Genius’ rating!
Highly recommended!

My Q&A with Kerensa Jennings

Author Image Kerensa Jennings
Kerensa Jennings

***Don’t miss the other fabulous bloggers on the blog tour***
Book Blog Tour Poster Seas of Snow Kerensa Jennings
#BlogTour organised by @CarolineBookBit 

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Witch’s Daughter by @DetectiveGretel Paula Brackston 5* @CorsairBooks #HistoricalFiction #BookOfShadows #Series

The Witch’s Daughter by Paula Brackston
Book Of Shadows #1

 In the spring of 1628, young Bess Hawksmith watches her mother’s body swing limp from the Hanging Tree. She knows that only one man can save her from the same fate – Gideon Masters, the Warlock. She knows, too, that his help comes at a steep price.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself. She has spent the centuries in solitude, moving from place to place, surviving plagues, wars and the heartbreak that comes with immortality. Her loneliness comes to an abrupt end when she is befriended by a teenage girl called Tegan. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth opens her heart to Tegan and begins teaching her the ways of the Hedge Witch.

But Gideon is hunting her still. He will stop at nothing, determined even after centuries to claim her soul. And now, Bess is not fighting to save herself alone: now, she must protect the girl she has grown to love like a daughter.

My Review:

Ever since I remember reading/watching Roald Dahl’s The Witches. I have been a huge fan of the theme in books and film. From the childhood book series The Worst Witch, to the teen movie The Craft and in the AMAZING American Horror Story series, The Coven. Witches have something, that for me has so much appeal.
Least I am hoping it is that and not my Pendle roots showing!!!!

This novel is a journey through various historical era’s. A journey you make with a 384yr old witch, named Elizabeth Jane Hawksmith. Each witch in their new settlement must write a book of shadows. Which in itself is the story of the witch’s life. The novel therefore, jumps between the 1628 plague era, Victorian England, Flaunders Fields and the modern day. It is a whirlwind of a journey and it is so beautifully written.

The novel opens in Bathcombe, Wessex 1628 and a young woman fleeing for her life. We are aware that she is in great fear or her life. But we are unsure as to why/how. The author cleverly interweaves Elizabeth’s past into the modern day.

‘I can never let myself be made vulnerable by the illusion of safety’ – Elizabeth

February 2017, at Willow cottage in Matravers. Elisabeth is the new neighbour in a rural village. She wishes to life her life in peace and solitude, as close to nature as she can make it. But another new resident, isn’t so keen for that to happen, just yet!
Introducing bolshy teen, with a million questions Tegan. Who befriends Elizabeth and refuses to take no for an answer. The friendship blossoms over the following pages and it is very touching to see the fondness that grows within Elizabeth for the young teen.

‘And then you came along. The answer to my prayers’

Elizabeth sells herbs, oils and potions on Pasbury market. The friendless Tegan, somehow insinuates herself into Elizabeth’s life and her suspicions grow.
Does Elizabeth have secrets? What is she hiding?
Tegan is bullied and very withdrawn for her age. But it doesn’t take long until she has Elizabeth’s secret figured out. It is this discovery, that brings about Elizabeth’s story.

‘Let me tell you what it means to be a witch’

Firstly, the story of 1627 Wessex. The story of Elizabeth’s family. Her mother Anne, father John, sister Margaret and brother Thomas. This part of the novel is packed with emotion. It is rare I feel tearful at an event in a novel that look pace so long ago. But the author’s portrayal of the plague is some very powerful writing. The author makes it all feel so very real and it is heart-breaking to read.

It is also in this era that we meet Gideon the warlock, who has been pursuing Elizabeth her entire immortal life.

In the present-day Bess (Elizabeth) prepares to introduce Tegan to the magical events of the witch’s calendar. The modern day and past are written in alternating chapters.

‘Beltane is the festival of the sun and of fire. It heralds the coming of summer and fertility’

‘To know, to dare, to will, to be silent’ – The Witches Creed.

When the education of Tegan is disrupted, due to Tegan’s new boyfriend. Elizabeth calls into question her commitment. I didn’t want the friendship to end, yet you get the sense that Tegan is striving to be an adult. Leaving Elizabeth to feel pushed to one side. But both women should exercise caution, as Gideon is stalking, waiting and watching for the precise moment to strike and claim Bess.

The novel is brilliant and ideal for fans of historical fiction. I became very invested in Elizabeth’s journey through the era’s and look forward to reading the next novel in the book of shadows series. 5*

Paula Brackston
PJ Brackston Website