Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview You’ll Never See Me Again by @LesleyPearse 5* #NewRelease #Coastal #Historical #Saga #LoveLesley @MichaelJBooks

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You’ll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse
Review Copy

Synopsis ~

You have to keep running if you want to survive . . .

When her husband returns shell-shocked and broken from the Great War and his mother makes her life a misery, Betty Wellow discovers how bitter and hard life can truly be. But it is not until a devastating storm sweeps through their small fishing village and endangers her life, that she sees her chance to escape – and takes it.

Fleeing to Bristol, she changes her name to Mabel Brook and takes a position as a maid. But tragedy strikes once more after the sudden death of her mistress and she is cast back onto the streets.

Penniless and alone Mabel suffers a brutal attack before being rescued by a psychic named Nora Nightingale. There she gets her first taste of those who receive messages from the dead and realises she may have this gift herself.

But it isn’t long before Mabel receives her own message and is forced back to the very place she has escaped. A place of heartbreak and perhaps even murder – but Mabel realises that to secure her future she must confront her past one last time.

My Review ~

I am a HUGE Lesley Pearse fangirl. My favourite title is Remember Me which covers the historical fleets of the convicts being shipped to Australia. I would urge anyone and everyone to read it. Especially if you are fans of TV shoes such as Banished or Jamestown which also deal with the theme of British Colonies.

You’ll Never See Me Again deals with some incredibly deep and emotive issues but it is ultimately the story of the protagonist Betty Wellows later known as Mabel Brook. A title I have read lately of a similar summary would be Those Who Are loved by Victoria Hislop. Although this title is set along the Southern coasts of England.

The novel opens in Devon 1917, with Betty battling with her forbidding mother-in-law Agnes. Betty’s husband and childhood sweetheart, Martin has returned from the great war, with severe shell shock and is no longer able to verbally communicate. Betty’s life is now being ran by matriarch Agnes. Whom controls every aspect of betty’s existence.

‘I don’t know what my son ever saw in you’

One Stormy evening, when Betty can’t take the verbal abuse anymore, she makes a rash decision to flee. Leaving behind her, her husband and her miserable life as Betty Fellows.
Betty’s life story is explained and I really felt for the character, she had known so much heartache, so young.
She is determined to start again, a new life, as Mabel Brook.

‘You’ll never see me again’

She ends up in Bristol, although she fears the big city life. The guest house of Mrs Halliwell’s is filled with warmth and kindness. But Mabel fears exposure, as local articles surface of her assumed dead back in Devon.

‘She’d thought she was heading for an adventure, something better than she had before, but it seemed it was going to be far worse’

Mabel moves around and in turn we are introduced to a wide variety of characters. I became quickly and happily wrapped up in the story of Mabel’s future and her quest to finally be free!

‘Holding bitterness inside you isn’t good for anyone’

Lesley Pearse is on fire, as always! 5*

LP
Lesley Pearse
Website
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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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***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Woman In The Wood by @LesleyPearse #TheWomanInTheWood #LoveLesley @ed_pr @MichaelJBooks ‘This saga novel is very dark in places, it deals with some heavy and emotive themes. But above all else it is a story of families, survival and hope!’

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The Woman In The Wood by Lesley Pearse
Review copy
Synopsis:

London, 1960

The lives of teenage twins Maisy and Duncan change forever the night their sick mother is taken to an asylum. Sent to live in the New Forest with their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham, they feel unloved and abandoned.

And when one day Duncan doesn’t come home from exploring in the forest, no one – least of all his grandmother – appears to care about his disappearance. The police, who’ve found the bodies of other missing boys, offer little hope of finding Duncan alive.

Yet Maisy refuses to give up. Though she doesn’t know the woods well, she knows someone who does. The strange old woman who lives at their heart.

Dare Maisy enlist the help of the woman in the wood?

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Lesley Pearse. I still remember fondly the emotional rollercoaster that was, Remember me and it was 16yrs ago that I read it. She has such a wealth of novels in her back catalogue now, I wonder how she finds inspiration for new plot lines and characters. When I originally picked up The Woman In The wood, the cover and synopsis has an almost Hansel and Gretel feel to it.
I will say this, this is the darkest novel I have ever read by Lesley Pearse. I was quite taken aback in parts.

The novel opens in West London 1960, twins Maisy and Duncan witness their mother being taken from the house in the middle of the night. They are aware that she is destined for the asylum and are unsure of what their futures hold. Their mother Lily has been bed bound since a riding accident 12yrs ago. However, we the reader become aware Lily’s infirmity is not physical but more mental health.

The twins are eventually taken by their father Alastair to his mother’s home Nightingales, in the New Forest. Grandma Mitcham is what I would call a cantankerous battle axe. She is cold in her approach and demeanour towards the children and they find sanctuary in the arms of housekeeper Janice.
The twin’s father is also cold and distant; and it is clear to see that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

‘Even our parents don’t like us much’ – Maisy

Despite the upheaval and bleak future. The twins like most children are resilient. They learn to make the most of their new life at Nightingales. Duncan loves to explore the wilderness of their remote, isolated location. The begin to spy on local recluse Grace and have lessons with Mr Dove. Mr Dove is a wheelchair bound veteran of ww2, who despite the challenges he has faced in life, remains to hold a positive outlook on life. He even attempts to get them to understand their father better. By teaching them about parenting and learnt behaviour. Although at times this seems wasted on Maisy who remains angry at her parent’s behaviour.

‘Maybe her accident has always been just an excuse o stay away from everyone’ – Maisy

Mr Donald Grainger is a regular visitor to the estate. He is Grandma Mitcham’s solicitor. He advises her when she spitefully decides to disinherit Alastair, choosing Duncan to inherit, her wealth and land. My Grainger is the only person aside from Janice that we see, who appears to tolerate Grandma Mitcham. She is often spiteful and nasty in her character assassinations of others, especially the twin’s mother Lily.

Duncan eventually builds up the courage to conversate with Grace and a friendship of weekly visits blossoms.
When Duncan goes missing, she is Maisy’s first port of call. . .

‘Do you know, he’s the only person I’ve talked to properly in ten years or more. I frightened everyone else off’ – Grace

With Grandma Mitcham and her father refusing to take Duncan’s disappearance seriously. Maisy must strike out on her own and find clues. When her grandmother forbids her from anymore searches. Her father slaps her and blames her for Duncan’s disappearance. Maisy decides to leave Nightingales and take a role as nanny in Brighton.
It’ll be many years before she returns. . . .

‘It’s difficult to respect someone who shows no interest in you’ – Maisy

In the two years of Maisy’s absence there has been the discovery of several bodies of missing boys. Maisy decides once and for all, she needs closure. She returns to Nightingales, seeking to find her twins body, giving him the proper burial he deserves.

Maisy and Grace meet again; and we learn more of Grace’s background and why she lives so reclusively. They form an unlikely pair of investigators. But between the twin’s bond and their bond with Grace they set out to bring Duncan home.

This saga novel is very dark in places, it deals with some heavy and emotive themes. But above all else it is a story of families, survival and hope! 5*

LP
Lesley Pearse
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My review of, Dead To me

#Review 5* #DeadToMe by @LesleyPearse @MichaelJBooks

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Dead To Me by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

Two very different women, one unlikely friendship. In the chaos of war-torn Britain, can any relationship survive?

Dead to Me is a story about loyalty, love and the strength of friendship in the face of adversity, from international number one bestselling author Lesley Pearse.

Spring 1935.
On London’s Hampstead Heath two girls meet by chance: well-mannered and smartly dressed Verity and dishevelled and grubby Ruby. Yet the mismatched pair form an instant friendship strong enough to survive their parent’s disapproval.

When war engulfs the country – sending Ruby to Devon while Verity struggles to find a new beginning under a shadow from her past – the girls are convinced they will always be there for each other.

Until the day one breaks the other’s heart . . .

Can Verity and Ruby find a way back to each other before it’s too late?

My Review:

I have been a fan of Lesley Pearse’s for many, many years! With my favourite novel of hers being, Remember Me. I am also a huge WW2 geek and love WW2 non-fiction and Fiction books. I have a very impressive collection!
So this novel was an obvious choice for me.

Spring 1935

The novel is ultimately a story of friendship and the strength of the bonds we make, with those whom, we share no blood. The friendship is between Ruby and Verity, who meet by accident one day in their childhood on Hampstead Heath. The girls come from very different walks of life one from exceptional wealth and one from abject poverty. As they witness a dead drunk being pulled from a pool Ruby remarks “no one cares why poor people die”. This intrigues Verity, on how the other half life and so begins a friendship. But neither girl has any idea what fate has in store for them and how their lives are about to change……………

Ruby (14yrs) agrees to show Verity (13yrs) the sides of London she has never seen before and in turn Verity will teach Ruby some manners of the middle class. This unlikely friendship mixed with the ‘coming of age’ of the girls age, really adds to the story. The divide between wealth and poor, clear to see in such young children. Ruby’s mum is a renowned local prostitute, who cares very little for Ruby’s safety and well-being. Verity has grown up in wealth at Daleham Gradens, with a distant mother but a loving housekeeper.
Their worlds couldn’t be further apart!

The novel moves through the years and features the trials and tribulations the girls endeavour as they bloom into young women. But when a tragedy occurs and one girl blames the other. A letter is sent containing only the words “YOU ARE DEAD TO ME”. With both girls no left feeling alone in the world, who will they seek out for comfort? What trouble lurks in the darkness, waiting to strike?

This novel has many dark themes within it, but it is displays how friendship may encounter great struggles but can last a lifetime. The WW2 setting adds to the emotions within the story and creates a fantastic backdrop to the novel. There are characters you will love, like Wilby (Mrs Wilbeforce) she reminded me very lovingly of my granny Winnie. Also characters you will despise more and more with the building of the novel, namely Archie (Verity’s father).
This novel touches upon a wide-range of emotion.
A thoroughly good read 5*

LP
Lesley Pearse
Authors Links:
Via Penguin: https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/lesley-pearse/21763/
Twitter: @LesleyPearse

 

#Celebrating the novels of @LesleyPearse #25in25 #Fife #Fact #BlogTour

To celebrate the publication of Lesley Pearse’s latest release, The Woman In The Woods. Penguin have organised a #25in25 blog tour to celebrate the authors incredible talent and fabulous novels.
The novel I have been chosen to celebrate is Faith and I have a little fact from the author herself.

Faith: The first time I’ve had an older heroine, and my only book set in Scotland. I walked miles in Fife planning this book, I visited a woman’s prison, and almost bought a little house in Fife I loved it so much.

I have incorporated some images that capture the beauty of Fife.

dusk at crail harbour in the east neuk of Fife
Dusk at Crail harbour in the East Neuk of Fife.

Elie lighthouse fife
Elie lighthouse, Fife.

 

16 Faith
Faith by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

Scotland, 1995. On the hills of Cornton Vale Prison.

She was convicted of killing her best friend . . .

Laura Brannigan has been put away for murder. She insists that she didn’t kill Jackie. But her search for true justice seems futile. Then she receives a letter that takes her back to her youth and the memory of an old love, Stuart . . .

Twenty years ago was a heady time for Laura: she’d escaped an abusive home, and together with Jackie they had made a fresh start. They had sworn to be sisters for ever.

What could have possibly gone so wrong? And why is Stuart writing to her now? Does he believe Laura’s innocent and can he help free her from prison . . . and her past?

fife image
Fife

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The Woman In The Wood by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old twins Maisy and Duncan Mitcham have always had each other. Until the fateful day in the wood . . .

One night in 1960, the twins awake to find their father pulling their screaming mother from the house. She is to be committed to an asylum. It is, so their father insists, for her own good.

It’s not long before they, too, are removed from their London home and sent to Nightingales – a large house deep in the New Forest countryside – to be watched over by their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham. Though they feel abandoned and unloved, at least here they have something they never had before – freedom.

The twins are left to their own devices, to explore, find new friends and first romances. That is until the day that Duncan doesn’t come back for dinner. Nor does he return the next day. Or the one after that.

When the bodies of other young boys are discovered in the surrounding area the police appear to give up hope of finding Duncan alive. With Mrs Mitcham showing little interest in her grandson’s disappearance, it is up to Maisy to discover the truth. And she knows just where to start. The woman who lives alone in the wood about whom so many rumours abound. A woman named Grace Deville.

My personal favourite of the authors work:
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Remember Me by Lesley Pearse
Synopsis:

In 1786 a fisherman’s daughter from Cornwall called Mary Broad was sentenced to be hung for theft. But her sentence was commuted, and she was transported to Australia, one of the first convicts to arrive there.

How Mary escaped the harsh existence of the colony and found true love, and how she was captured and taken back to London in chains, only to be released after a trial where she was defended by no less than James Boswell, is one of the most gripping and moving stories of human endeavour (based on an amazing true story) you will ever read.

*I first read Remember me, in 2003 I was heavily pregnant with my first child. I have since bought my 14 year old daughter a copy and she read it last year. I can still remember the emotions I felt and the tears I shed. I was absorbed in Mary’s story and her plight upon the Australian fleets. I would urge anyone to read this novel, it is without a doubt one of my all time favourite novels. 🙂