#BlogTour #Review What She Left by @rosiefiore 4* @AllenAndUnwin @rararesources by @annebonnybook

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

What She Left Cover
What She Left by Rosie Fiore
Synopsis:

Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She’s beautiful, accomplished, organised – the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.

But Helen wasn’t abducted or murdered. She’s chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.

Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions, and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.

He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He’s losing control.

But then one day, it really is Helen’s face he sees…

My review:

I thought this novel’s plot would surround the societal taboo of; the mother who walks away from her family.
But it was so much more than that and had further layers than I first believed. The novel does portray Helen, the ‘perfect mother’ who walks away from her husband Sam, and her two young daughters Miranda and Marguerite. But you get so much more of the story when it is delivered by the various points of view……

The opening depicts Helen, as she takes the drastic plunge and walks away from her family. The aftermath of her absence is felt by not just her small family. But by a community of busybodies and gossips. Her husband Sam is fraught with panic and anxiety; believing she must have come to harm.
When he is informed by local PC’s Shah and Stevens, that is not the case. He is left devastated, with so many questions, he fears will never be answered.

The narrative switches between Sam, his daughter Miranda and Lara at the beginning. Lara is a fellow parent at the children’s school. She is not friends with Helen. But is aware of her by reputation. Helen is the mother, that is the queen bee. The pillar of the local PTA’s community. But it is single mother Lara, who becomes the mother figure to the girl’s left behind, in Helens absence.

‘Helen, who was as constant as the sea’

Sam’s parents and younger brother Tim rally round, with support and kindness. But Sam is still left feeling incomplete without Helen in his life. It is only when, on one of many occasions, he gets drunk with his brother and the truth comes tumbling out. Maybe their perfect life wasn’t so perfect after all.
As the reader starts to question, is Helen really who she portrays herself to be? Is Sam so completely innocent in his wife’s disappearance?

Sam begins to start his own mini investigation into where Helen has gone. This involves searches of the internet and Helen’s belongings. This throws up no clues and only leads him to believe; Helen’s absence is a premediated act. Helen had planned to leave, with no trail of clues behind her.

Part two of the story focuses on six months later Sam has built up a relationship with Lara. His finances and career are a mess. But he is making basic attempts to get his life back into some kind of order.
His daughter Miranda on the other hand, is in deep emotional pain.
She longs for Helen and the neat orderly lifestyle, she created for the girls.
Sam’s unanswered questions burn away at his internal thoughts. Until He becomes enraged with thoughts of revenge. He begins drinking heavily and this only fuels his inner rage. Sam is a man on the edge!

Part three of the novel does cover the conclusion of what happens when Sam finally bumps into Helen. It is an ending that does fully explore the intentions of both Sam and Helen during their short marriage. The responsibilities of adult life and parenting; weigh heavy on the shoulders of some people. Between the secrets of the past and the burdens of the future, the truth is finally revealed.

This novel felt incredibly real to life. We all know those couples who portray the ‘perfect persona’ but what happens when the façade slips away? What happens when, who you really are is brought out into the open for everyone to see?

What She Left Author Pic
Rosie Fiore
Author Bio: 
Rosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market.

Her first two novels, This Year’s Black and Lame Angel were published by Struik in South Africa. This Year’s Black was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award and has subsequently been re-released as an e-book. Babies in Waiting, Wonder Women and Holly at Christmas were published by Quercus. She is the author of After Isabella, also published by Allen & Unwin.
Rosie’s next book, The After Wife (written as Cass Hunter), will be published by Trapeze in 2018, and in translation is seven countries around the world.
Rosie lives in London with her husband and two sons.
Authors Links:
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#BlogTour #GuestPost #Location Tall Chimneys by @Alliescribbler Allie Cresswell @rararesources

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Tall Chimneys by Allie Cresswell
Synopsis:

Considered a troublesome burden, Evelyn Talbot is banished by her family to their remote country house. Tall Chimneys is hidden in a damp and gloomy hollow. It is outmoded and inconvenient but Evelyn is determined to save it from the fate of so many stately homes at the time – abandonment or demolition.
Occasional echoes of tumult in the wider world reach their sequestered backwater – the strident cries of political extremists, a furore of royal scandal, rumblings of the European war machine. But their isolated spot seems largely untouched. At times life is hard – little more than survival. At times it feels enchanted, almost outside of time itself. The woman and the house shore each other up – until love comes calling, threatening to pull them asunder.

Her desertion will spell its demise, but saving Tall Chimneys could mean sacrificing her hope for happiness, even sacrificing herself.

A century later, a distant relative crosses the globe to find the house of his ancestors. What he finds in the strange depression of the moor could change the course of his life forever.
One woman, one house, one hundred years.
Publication Date: 12th December 2017

Guest post:

Location
There is nothing better than a book with an evocative, tangible setting. What would Wuthering Heights be without the brooding moor? What a loss the teeming streets of London and the busy banks of the Thames would be to Dickens’ novels. Anthony Trollope is the master of fictional geography. His imaginary county Barsetshire takes on a life on its own in his novels.

I think location should be authentic. If a writer sets his novel in Dallas he needs to know the geography, the street lay-out, the whereabouts of the rail terminus and the police station. You can be sure, if he gets it wrong, a reader will point it out to him, and rightly so. If readers are to engage with our stories we must make them believable. Similarly, if a writer uses an imaginary setting, that, too, must be plausible and consistent, so that readers can immerse themselves in it. Any wrong note will jar, and break the spell. I don’t know if you recall the film Somewhere in Time? A man literally wills himself back in time seventy or so years, transporting himself bodily through the power of his mind, but the discovery of a modern coin in his pocket breaks his concentration and he is yanked back to the present. This is not an experience we writers want for our readers!

Location should also be dynamic – it must exert an influence on the plot and the characters, or else, what is the point of it? It must be much more than a flat and immutable canvas. It must breathe and ripple and play a part. I might almost say it should be a character itself – changing, developing, vital, unpredicatable.

Location plays a large part in my latest novel, Tall Chimneys. It is set in Yorkshire, in a rural community hemmed in by moor. It is a beautiful setting, very painterly, and I introduced an artist, John Cressing, to render its colours and textures. The house itself is located in a peculiar depression in the moor, a sort of crater, surrounded by trees and invisible to the passer by. I wanted a sense of seclusion, for it to be outside of modern progress and almost outside of time itself. I hoped the house and the woman would be in a sort of vacuum, their close kinship fermented by their utter isolation. But I found the amphitheatre-like setting did occasionally echo with strains of the modern world – I couldn’t keep it out entirely. So the rise of the Fascists in the 1930s, the abdication crisis and WW2 do find their way to Tall Chimneys. The house is a shelter to the woman but it is also a huge burden of responsibility. At one point she asks herself if it is a refuge or a prison.

I have always been fascinated by houses and I wanted Tall Chimneys to have a vivid presence in the book, to be a character itself. It exerts a strange influence on Evelyn, my protagonist. In another of my books, Relative Strangers, a dysfunctional family spends a week at a country house and it acts as a crucible for all their resentments and misplaced loyalties. With all its many rooms and labyrinthine passageways, there is nowhere to hide and the family’s secrets come spilling out with tragic results. In The Hoarder’s Widow, a woman has become almost imprisoned in her house, fenced in by the towering piles of furniture and rubbish accumulated by her compulsive hoarder husband. In each case, the location of the stories – the houses and their surrounding environments – are authentic – I drew out their floorplans and gardens and localities so that I would be sure to be consistent. Each plays a part in the plots, influencing events, so they are dynamic too. I hope each is more than just bricks and mortar in the readers’ minds. I hope, like every good location, they reach out and grab the imagination, and draw the reader in.

Tall Chimneys - Allie Cresswell
Allie Cresswell
Author Bio
Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.
She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, one granddaughter and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.
Tall Chimneys is the sixth of her novels to be published.

Author links:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/alliescribbler/
Website – http://allie-cresswell.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/Alliescribbler

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#BlogTour Q&A with @Author_KSHunter #Author of, Just One Time #PublicationDay @rararesources

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Just One Time by KS Hunter
Synopsis:
The first novel by K.S. Hunter, the alter ego of an international bestselling author, whose identity will remain a secret.

Desire can have dire consequences

Two years ago, David Madden made a mistake that almost cost him his marriage. His wife, Alison, gave him another chance, but she has not forgotten, nor has she forgiven.

She is irresistible

Then David meets the alluring Nina at a theatre in London. When he loses his phone in the dark, she helps him find it, and by giving her his number he unwittingly invites her into his life.

What David initially views as an innocent flirt turns into a dangerous game of deception. His increasingly suspicious wife thinks something is up, and each lie he tells pushes them further apart.

She is insatiable

Nina pursues David relentlessly, following him to New York where she gives him an ultimatum: sleep with her, just one time, and then she’ll get out of his life forever; or she’ll ruin everything he holds dear.

She is unstoppable

Of course, once won’t be enough for Nina, and what David hoped would be the end is merely the beginning.
A modern-day Fatal Attraction, Just One Time is a steamy psychological thriller that will have you hooked from the first page and holding your breath until its shocking conclusion.

Q&A:

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

A) I’ve written three novels before Just One Time, but not as K.S. Hunter. One of them was a top ten bestseller in the UK and it also reached number one in Australia. Just One Time is a different type of genre from what I am typically known for, so K.S. Hunter was born.
Just One Time begins with David Madden, whose marriage is on the verge of collapse because of a ‘mistake’ he made two years earlier, arriving at a theatre in London. There, in the dark, he loses his phone, and the woman next to him offers to ring it to help him find it. He gives her his number and unwittingly invites her into his life. Once she’s in it, she won’t go away, not until he sleeps with her, just one time.
So it’s a steamy psychological thriller, very much a modern-day Fatal Attraction, which explores the idea of desire, seduction, obsession and revenge, and I hope it offers readers the kind of final act they have never seen before.

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

A) I love the theatre and what I described above happening to David happened to me. Well, the first part did. But when I gave my mobile number to a stranger, it got my imagination stirring and I really wondered what it would be like if she got in touch, found out where I lived, found out all about me and wouldn’t go away. Of course, I’m glad that didn’t happen, but without that chance encounter Just One Time and K.S. Hunter wouldn’t exist.
I parted company with my literary agent after my third novel. When I started Just One Time, I spoke with a number of agents and editors. They liked what I was writing, but I was surprised to learn that although erotic fiction is popular with readers, publishers are still very cautious about it – despite Fifty Shades….
It was during that time that another conversation with an agent led me to the idea of writing under a pseudonym and then that made me think about self-publishing: controlling the whole process and really trying to see what kind of impact something I write could have if I didn’t follow the traditional route. It’s been an interesting journey and so far, so good.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) K.S. Hunter would have to go for the steam and thrillers, so let’s say Gillian Flynn, E.L. James, John Lutz and Harrold Robins. But if I stop pretending for a moment, I would say Ian McEwan, Sophie Hannah, Tennessee Williams and Wilkie Collins.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I remember having lots of books in my room when I was a kid, but I don’t remember reading them. I don’t think I ever read a YA book as a teenager (not even sure if that genre existed then!), but I distinctly remember the moment when I got into reading. My dad was an avid reader, so I asked him for a book. He suggested The Doomsday Conspiracy by Sidney Sheldon. And that was where my love of reading began. From that moment on, I read what he recommended and they were always adult novels.

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

A) Seeing my second novel climb the charts the way it did. Now with the internet you can watch chart positions climb by the hour. It’s such a thrilling sensation. 500, then 250, then 100, then 58, then 21, then 9… and finally 6. And when my agent reported sales of 7,000 copies in one day, that was a pretty special moment too.

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

A) As this is my fourth, I’ve just got on with it really. Throughout my time writing, a number of authors have been particularly supportive and encouraging. Top of that list is Sophie Hannah, who I would say really mentored me through my first two books.

Author Bio – K.S. Hunter is the pseudonym of an international bestselling author. The identity of the author, who lives in the United Kingdom, will remain a mystery.
Social Media Links –
https://www.facebook.com/author.kshunter
https://twitter.com/Author_KSHunter
Website: http://www.AuthorKSHunter.com

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

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