Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Foyles Bookshop Girls by @RobertsElaine11 #WW1 #Saga #NewRelease @Aria_Fiction ‘The clever story of three very different women’s journey through The Great war’

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The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts
Review Copy
Synopsis:

London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London’s renowned Foyles bookshop. But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again…

Alice has always been the ‘sensible’ one in her family – especially in comparison with her suffrage-supporting sister! But decidedly against her father’s wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it’s a dream come true.

But with the country at war, Alice’s happy world is shattered in an instant. Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night. But however busy she keeps herself, she can’t help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline…

Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn’t be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood – a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war.

My Review:

What makes this saga so unique?
Aside from its absolutely gorgeous cover and brilliant synopsis?
For me personally it would have to be that this novel focuses on The Great War as opposed to most of my saga reading is ww2 fiction. The novel opens in London 1914 and I really think the author did an outstanding job of finding a niche in the saga genre. The genre is heavily dominated by ww2 fiction and I think The Foyles Bookshop Girls offers a welcome break and exploration of the ww1 era.

The Foyles bookshop girls are Alice, Victoria and Molly. They come from very different backgrounds and have their own unique life experiences. Yet they compliment each other perfectly.
Alice is who I would class as the central protagonist.

The novel opens amongst the backdrop of the ‘votes for women’ although the suffragette movement is not heavily featured within the novel. I was glad that the theme was present and included. Alice’s younger sister Lily is heavily involved in the movement and I think of all the characters, I would have liked to have been Lily. She is a rebel with a cause and doesn’t fear a fight for what she believes is right.

Mr Leadbetter is the manager of the bookshop where the three young women work. Alice Taylor, Victoria Appleton and Molly Cooper. Their pasts are explored and they each struck a chord with me or various reasons.
Molly has a new boyfriend Tony Fletcher. The only problem is, Tony has a roving eye and Alice and Victoria are sure it’ll end in tears. But as friends do, they vow to be there for Molly when the time comes.

Victoria has known the greatest struggle, having lost both parents she is solely responsible for raising her younger siblings Stephen (16yrs) and Daisy (18yrs). An unfortunate situation that cost her the love of her life. . . .

‘Her brother and sister had taken her life, just as the rail crash had taken her parents’

Alice has the most upbeat situation, she is currently courting a young police officer named Freddie. She hopes he will propose. Freddie certainly has an announcement to make. Alice’s father is a domineering bully, one that often makes life at the Taylor household unbearable.

In the background to the central storyline of the girls. The political and community pressure faced by young men to enlist, is explained. With many facing accusations of cowardice if they do not enlist. Eventually several of the men very close to the women enlist and we see the friendships tested by the strain of war and personal loss.

‘War is about innocent people
Killing innocent people’

The clever story of three very different women’s journey through The Great war. 4*

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Elaine Roberts
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***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Murderess by @jenwellswriter 4* #WW2 #HistoricalFiction just £1 on Ebook #WeekendReads @Aria_Fiction A family legacy laid bare. . .

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The Murderess by Jennifer Wells
From my own TBR pile
Synopsis:

1931: Fifteen-year-old Kate witnesses her mother Millicent push a stranger from a station platform into the path of an oncoming train. There was no warning, seemingly no reason, and absolutely no remorse.

1940: Exactly nine years later, Kate returns to the station and notices a tramp laying flowers on the exact spot that the murder was committed; the identity of the victim, still remains unknown.

With a country torn apart by war and her family estate and name in tatters, Kate has nothing to lose as she attempts to uncover family secrets that date back to the Great War and solve a mystery that blights her family name.

My Review:

The novel is set between two timelines 1931 and 1940. It surrounds the childhood and adult life of Kate Bewsey and the mystery that has blighted her life. Kate has grown up in having known wealth and luxury. Living her life at ‘The Grange’ her parents estate in Missensham town. The Grange was once a hot spot of social activity. Parties, cocktails and jazz. Now it just reminds them, of all they have lost since that fateful day; her mother pushed a young woman to her death!

‘My life would not be the same after that day’ – Kate

Kate had an unusual relationship with her mother, her entire childhood. With her mother viewing her more of a possession and smothering her with her love.

‘Always remember you are mine’ – Millicent Bewsey

The novel opens in May 1940, with Kate arriving at Missensham rail station. Awaiting the arrival of her aunt Audrey and cousin Jemima, she notices a homeless man. The man is dressed in the attire of a veteran of the great war and it is this, that catches Kate’s eye at first. He is laying flowers, red peonies and it is then, that Kate recalls the date.

In 1931 a young teenage Kate witnessed her mother greet a woman at the rail station. They discussed the timetable and then for no known reason, Millicent pushed the woman from the platform onto the tracks and into the path of an incoming train. The story created a huge scandal with stories of the ‘well-bred’ woman with murder on her mind. Kate’s mother remains at Holloway prison and has never spoken of the incident.

‘As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a mother’ – Kate

Kate still lives at The Grange, but she is no longer the young lady of the estate. Kate and her father live in the basement, the old servant’s quarters. It is only through the charitable acts of her aunt Audrey, they have kept The Grange in the family.
There life is one of poverty, isolation and waiting.

Despite it having been nine years, since the murder and Kate now being a young woman of 25yrs. It is remembered annually in the newspaper, much to Audrey’s disgust. But this year there is some added news, as Millicent is due a parole hearing and possible release on the tenth anniversary of the crime.

Kate’s father requests that she visit the prison, in the hope at getting a statement from her mother. Which may help with her release.
But Kate refuses to assist in any way shape of form.

‘That woman should have hung’ – Kate

The emotional pull of the entire situation, leads Kate to investigate. Why did her mother push the woman onto the tracks? Who was the victim? And who is the homeless man? What do the flowers mean?

Kate returns to the station to enquire about the homeless man. She learns via the station master that he appears every year, on the anniversary of the murder. At a second glance Kate notices the card on the flowers.

‘For my darling Rosaline’

This becomes the first piece in the mystery and Kate becomes hellbent on solving the secrets that surround her mother’s life. But can Kate uncover the reasons for the murder? And can she live with the truth?

‘Who really ever knew your mother’ – Audrey

This novel is a slow-burning, cosy mystery that is perfect reading for a Sunday afternoon. It has emotionally charged scenes, that are very well written. My heart really warmed to Kate and I longed for her to solve the questions and set her mind to rest. There is a huge twist in the novel halfway through and this has been expertly done by the author. It adds so much more depth to the narratives. It builds and builds to a dramatic and shocking ending.
A family legacy laid bare 4*

JW
Jennifer Wells
LBA Books Website
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