Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse 4* #NewRelease 1960s #Saga #HistoricalFiction @MichaelJBooks @ed_pr #LoveLesley25

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The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Twenty-three-year-old Katy Speed has always been fascinated by the house across the street . . .

The woman who lives there, Gloria, is the most glamorous neighbour on the avenue, owning a fashionable dress shop in Bexhill-on-Sea. But who is the woman who arrives in the black car most Saturdays while Gloria is at work? Sometimes she brings women to the house, and other times the women come with children.

Hilda, Katy’s mother, disapproves of Gloria. She wonders where these mysterious visitors have come from, and what they want. Does Gloria have sinister reasons for secretly bringing strangers into the heart of the community?

Then one night, the house burns down. In the wreckage, the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found. Katy is sure the unexplained strangers must be responsible, until her father is arrested and charged with murder.

Surely the police have arrested the wrong person?

Is the rest of the street safe?

Can Katy find the truth before it’s too late?

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Lesley Pearse and her novel Remember Me, is one of my all-time favourites. I recently enjoyed The Woman In The Wood, but noticed the author had taken a much darker spin on her usual saga type novels. It was still a cracking read, but I was surprised at some of the tough/violent themes.
This time she has written a similar dark novel, set in the 1960’s. The era really sets the tone, as this was an era of fundamental change for women and the beginnings of the female sexual revolution.

The prologue opens in Bexhill-On-Sea, Essex 1964. Katy (22yrs) is busy spying on her neighbours, when she is interrupted by her brother Rob. He is currently home from university and appears to not feel too welcome in his own home.
It becomes quite clear why upon the introduction of Hilda. Katy and Rob’s mother, is far from ‘mothering’. She appears to enjoy belittling and making nasty remarks to others including her own daughter, son and husband. But no one is a bigger target for Hilda than the glamour neighbour Gloria.

Mrs Gloria Reynolds is a local business owner. She owns ‘Gloria’s Gowns’ and Katy is in complete awe of her. Something which sees to incense Hilda even further. Gloria is considered a ‘glamourous divorcee’ locally. With divorce still being considered a taboo subject. Katy is desperate to know more information about her, but aware of the social restrictions to simply ask…..
‘It was rude to ask personal things of someone you didn’t know’ – Katy

Gloria had often taken the time to give Katy advice and guidance, which led to a growth in her confidence and self-esteem. Which enrages Hilda as she feels the slip of her control over her daughter growing.
Especially when Gloria recommends a life in London for Katy.

Hilda is a battle-axe and all-round snob, but as her character develops, we uncover there is more going on inside her own head.
As the saying goes, damaged people, damage people.

In January 1965, there is a terrible fire in the middle of the night at Gloria’s. A fire that will take the lives of two souls, including Gloria. Albert (Katy’s long-suffering father) rushes to help. Whilst Hilda continues to make vicious snide comments and be opinionated beyond the realms of human decency.

When the fire is discovered to be arson and Katy’s father is arrested. Katy must turn amateur sleuth to separate fact from fiction. Albert denies any such affair or knowledge of a motive for the fire. Whilst Hilda turns on her own husband.
‘By consorting with that woman right under my nose, he deserves all he gets’ – Hilda

Katy seeks out Gloria’s friend Edna, is a desperate search for clues of who would want Gloria dead. What she uncovers is a world of domestic abuse, hidden and hushed up amongst middle-class society.

The plot is very moving, and protagonist centred around Katy. I struggled with the constant reminders of this being an issue impacting ‘middle-class’ people. Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence, it certainly doesn’t discriminate due to wealth. 4*

Lesley Pearse Copyright Charlotte Murphy 2014
Lesley Pearse
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The After Wife by @C_HunterAuthor #NewRelease @TrapezeBooks #TheAfterWife

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The After Wife by Cass Hunter
Synopsis:

When Rachel and Aidan fell in love, they thought it was forever.

She was a brilliant, high-flying scientist. He was her loving and supportive husband.
Now she’s gone, and Aidan must carry on and raise their daughter alone.

But Rachel has left behind her life’s work, a gift of love to see them through the dark days after her death.

A gift called iRachel.

Extract:

The Lab
‘One step closer,’ Rachel commanded.
Luke sighed and moved nearer. He was now standing directly
across the desk.
Rachel paused as she made a small adjustment. ‘Okay. Ready.’
‘What do you want me to do?’
‘Make eye contact, for a start.’
Luke raised his head. His eyes were deep blue and fringed with
thick, dark lashes. ‘Eye contact established. What now?’
‘I need you to be feeling a powerful emotion. Something
recognisable. So, think of something that you feel strongly about.
Don’t say what it is.’
Luke’s gaze flicked to Rachel’s and then away again. She saw
him draw a deep breath and then narrow his eyes in concentration.
He stared, with electric intensity. Rachel observed him
closely. He seemed to have forgotten to breathe. She saw his eyes
are. His pupils widened visibly, and she heard a change in his
breathing. His hands tightened into fists.
‘What do you see?’ she said.
The voice beside her was low and quiet. ‘Pupil dilation, respiration
shortened and more rapid, up to twenty breaths per
minute, heart rate increased by—’
‘Luke’s wristband is picking up his vital statistics and I can
read them on my screen,’ Rachel said impatiently. ‘Tell me what
he’s feeling. What do you sense?’

2
There was a long silence before the figure at Rachel’s side spoke
again. ‘He is focused. Not agitated, but concentrating very hard.’
‘Good,’ said Rachel. ‘Keep going.’
‘He is frowning. His temperature is steady, and I see no signs
of anger. I don’t believe I have made him angry.’
‘Not yet,’ said Luke.
‘He said “not yet” as if it were a warning, but I detect a smile.
Was that a joke?’
‘As close to a joke as you’ll ever get from Luke,’ said Rachel.
‘Is this going to take long?’ said Luke.
‘I think I have it!’ The voice was excited. ‘He is impatient because
we are taking up his time.’
‘Impatient,’ said Rachel. ‘Was that it, Luke? Was that the emotion
you were expressing?’
Luke laughed and visibly relaxed. ‘I would have said irritated.
But, yeah, impatient is close enough. Can we stop now?’
‘Don’t be a spoilsport,’ said Rachel. ‘It’s going so well. Just a
few minutes more . . .’ She checked her watch. ‘Oh no! It’s so
late. I must get away on time today – it’s our anniversary. Eighteen
years. Can you believe it?’
‘I can,’ said Luke drily.
‘Aidan’s booked us in for dinner at the Old Saxon. I was so
thrilled when he told me. You can’t get a table there for love or
money. He must have organised it months ago.’ Her smile was
wide with excitement.
‘Sounds like fun,’ said Luke. ‘Happy anniversary.’
‘Thanks.’
Rachel stood up from her chair and stretched. The last rays
of sunlight slanted in through the windows, dappling the teetering
stacks of paper on her chaotic desk. She moved over to the
window and looked out at the smooth lawns which surrounded
the laboratory building. It had been a beautiful spring day and it

3
promised to be a lovely evening. She imagined holding Aidan’s
hand across the restaurant table, sipping a cool glass of wine. She
would put work out of her mind for once and relax. Yes, there
was a tiny glitch she’d spotted in the experiment, and she’d have
liked the time to run the sequence one more time and solve it,
but not now. Now was the time to switch off .
She looked over to Luke’s side of the lab. He had crossed to
one of his workbenches and was recording some data on a clipboard
in his small, meticulous handwriting. She made fun of him
for writing things out by hand before he entered the information
into his computer, but he was insistent.
‘I like to form things manually,’ he’d say when challenged. ‘If
it doesn’t exist physically, it isn’t real to me.’
She laughed at that – she could make mountains move and galaxies
whirl with the keystrokes of her computer and that was as
real as any column of handwritten figures. But Luke was adamant.
‘I think with my hands,’ he’d repeat insistently. And he did. She had
never worked with such a fi ne mechanical engineer. If she could
conceive of something, Luke could build it. His obsessive attention
to detail equalled her own, and his creativity was boundless.
When she’d joined Telos she’d imagined she would be working
in a large team. But the organisation’s policy was to pair scientists
with complementary skills. They held excruciating meet-and greet
induction events to matchmake researchers.
Luke, who had joined at the same time as Rachel, had refused
to participate in the speed-dating event. He’d sat alone at a table,
working on his laptop, not talking to anyone. Passing behind him
on her way to get coffee, Rachel had glimpsed a 3D diagram of a
human hand. He was trying to model the motion of a finger and
thumb pinching together. But there was an error somewhere and
the movement had a judder which he couldn’t seem to remove.
Rachel could sense his frustration, but his squared shoulders and…….

CH
Cass Hunter
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Shrouded Path by @sarahrward1 5* #NewRelease #CrimeFiction #Mystery #DerbyshireNoir @FaberBooks #DCConnieChilds #Series

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The Shrouded Path by Sarah Ward
Review Copy
Synopsis:

The past won’t stay buried forever.

November, 1957: Six teenage girls walk in the churning Derbyshire mists, the first chills of winter in the air. Their voices carrying across the fields, they follow the old train tracks into the dark tunnel of the Cutting. Only five appear on the other side.

October, 2014: a dying mother, feverishly fixated on a friend from her childhood, makes a plea: ‘Find Valerie.’ Mina’s elderly mother had never discussed her childhood with her daughter before. So who was Valerie? Where does her obsession spring from?

DC Connie Childs, off balance after her last big case, is partnered up with new arrival to Bampton, Peter Dahl. Following up on what seems like a simple natural death, DC Childs’ old instincts kick in, pointing her right back to one cold evening in 1957. As Connie starts to broaden her enquiries, the investigation begins to spiral increasingly close to home.

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Sarah Ward’s Derbyshire noir series. I love how each title jumps between the past and the present. Something I imagine is not easy to execute. Nevertheless, the author manages to weave November 1957 and October 2015 brilliantly. The case in 1957 does surround six teenage girls, which keeps you on your toes, remembering the various names!

The novel opens in November 1957, Bampton.
Six teenage girls enter a tunnel but only five leave. . .

In October 2017 Mina is visiting her mother on the oncology ward. Her mother is terminally ill and receiving end of life care. Then her mother claims to have seen a woman named Valerie. She urges Mina to find Valerie and makes the confession…..
‘We Killed her’
Mina is rattled by this statement but is unsure if this is an admission of guilt or merely a vision due to the end of life medication such as Morphine etc. She brushes off her concerns, but can’t ignore the conversation.
The she starts receiving warning notes……..

DC Connie Childs is back, but with Sadler away is paired up with DC Peter Dahl. Peter is new to the area and seeking a quieter pace of life.
Only in Bampton it is never quiet for long.
Despite the atmospheric descriptions of Derbyshire, we become aware a there is a prowler in the mist.

Connie and Peter’s most recent case is two potentially suspicious deaths. As the victims are elderly it is unclear if they are simply natural causes or something more sinister. In this post Harold Shipman world, Connie is reluctant to let them go without any further digging and in doing so she unearths many secrets about Bampton of yesteryear.

‘This isn’t the journey’s end, it’s the beginning’

As we jump back to 1957, we meet Valerie and we learn about the purity and punishment ‘friendship’ circle.
As Mina Discovers a photo from the past with the image of five teenage girls. One of which has clear links back to the central characters.
A secret memoir will eventually reveal the truth. But what are the secrets that lurk in the past? Why have the girls gone to such lengths to keep them secret all these years?

The secrets of the past, catch up with the elderly residents of Bampton and bring death with them. 5*

SW
Sarah Ward
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My Q&A with Sarah ward
My Review for, A Patient Fury

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Victory For The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell 5* #WW2Fiction #WomenOfWW2 #Saga @arrowpublishing #TheShipyardGirls

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Victory For The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Sunderland, 1942

With the war showing no sign of abating, Helen is thriving in her role as shipyard manager. But at home the return of her father brings a shocking discovery that tears her family apart.

Gloria is shouldering the burden of a terrible secret. If the truth comes out there could be dire consequences, and it will take all her resolve to resist the pressure around her.

Meanwhile Rosie is throwing herself into her work, taking on as many shifts as she can. Anything to keep her mind off the fact that she hasn’t heard from her sweetheart in months…

With life in the shipyards tougher than ever, will the strength of their friendship see them through to victory?

My Review:

Let me just start by saying that so far, this has been my series of the year! I have read all the books within the series this year and they just keep getting better and better.
In the last novel, the author left us on a HUGE cliff-hanger and I am not going to lie, she has done it again!!!!!
However, we only have until 21st March 2019 to wait, to read Courage Of The Shipyard Girls!
I simply cannot wait!

The novel opens shortly after a series of revelations about all the shipyard girls which left us reeling!
With Gloria now struggling to hold onto a mountain of secrets and Jack transferred to The Clyde. It appears there will be NO happy ending for Gloria and Jack, even after all these years.

Helen is the new shipyard manager, at first, she relishes the role over the other women. But eventually the guilt over role in her father’s downfall starts to eat away at her. Which leaves her blinded to the intentions of others. Ultimately, she will be the one to pay the price.

Miriam (Helen’s mother and Jack’s wife) continues with her vile and twisted threats that impact them all and enjoying lauding this over Gloria. It is a weight even Gloria finds too tough to bare.

Maisie and Bel both continue in their quests to learn more about their father’s. Which leads to Pearl being forced to hide her darkest secrets. We also begin to understand more and more about Pearl with each new novel. We finally can come to some understanding of how she struggled to mother her own daughters.

As stated above, the novel ends on another cliff-hanger ending! I think the author has finally found her niche with drawing the readers in and leaving them desperate for the next in the series.
A superb saga series 5*

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Now You See Her by @HeidiPerksBooks #NewRelease #Psychological #Thriller @arrowpublishing #NowYouSeeHer

Now You See Her Hi-Res Cover Image
Now You see Her by Heidi Perks
Review Copy
Synopsis:

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.

Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.

Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.

Someone is hiding the truth about what really happened to Alice.

My Review:

Now You See Her, is an intense psychological novel. It focuses on the relationship between Charlotte and Harriet. With one simple day, playing a HUGE role in their futures. The two women were once best friends, right up until the moment Charlotte lost Harriet’s daughter Alice (4yrs).

The novel is set in Dorset and it really adds to the drama when we learn that another little boy went missing last year. Dorset being a small coastal community, instantly there is speculation that this is an abduction.

Before we can fully begin to get into the drama, the backgrounds of both women are explored. We learn that Charlotte is a single mother to three children. She is Harriet’s best friend and therefore was quick to offer to help her out and mind Alice, so that Harriet could attend her book keeping course. It is the first time Harriet has ever left Alice with another adult and he is understandably nervous and apprehensive.

‘Somewhere along the line she had become the mother she didn’t want to be’

Charlotte makes her way to the local school’s fete with the four children in tow. She meets up with friends Audrey and Karen. When her attention drifts from the bouncy castle for mere moments. Alice is GONE!

PC Fielding and PC Shaw are first on the scene. They immediately organise a search of the area. Charlotte is left devastated and bereft, she questions if Harriet will ever forgive her. This really is every parent’s worst nightmare, from either perspective. To lose a child or to feel responsible for the possible abduction of a child.

In the days following the disappearance more and more speculation and rumour grows. Charlotte is exposed as being on Facebook at the time of the alleged potential abduction. Her friends turn on her and she feels too ashamed to leave her home. There is online venom poured upon her and her own reliability as a mother. In a moment of deep pain, she reaches out to Harriet and her husband Brian. Only to discover they blame her too.

‘This isn’t the first child she’s lost’ – Brian

Brian demands to be the parent that speaks at the press conference and his whole demeanour is controlling and possessive.
I really began to question his role in this disappearance.

I cannot say too much more for fear of leaving spoilers. But this is an intense read.
The role of suspect and victim constantly shifts.
The novel keeps you guessing and guessing. 4*

20151120_Heidi-Perks_015
Heidi Perks
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