Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The Stationmaster’s Daughter by @KathMcGurl #NewRelease #Historical #Coastal #Dorset #Saga

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The Stationmaster’s Daughter by Kathleen McGurl
Review To Follow
Synopsis ~

Dorset, 1935. Stationmaster Ted has never cared much for romance. Occupied with ensuring England’s most beautiful railway runs on time, love has always felt like a comparatively trivial matter. Yet when he meets Annie Galbraith on the 8.42 train to Lynford, he can’t help but instantly fall for her.

But when the railway is forced to close and a terrible accident occurs within the station grounds, Ted finds his job and any hope of a relationship with Annie hanging in the balance…

Present day. Recovering from heartbreak after a disastrous marriage, Tilly decides to escape from the bustling capital and move to Dorset to stay with her dad, Ken.
When Ken convinces Tilly to help with the restoration of the old railway, she discovers a diary hidden in the old ticket office. Tilly is soon swept up in Ted’s story, and the fateful accident that changed his life forever.

But an encounter with an enigmatic stranger takes Tilly by surprise, and she can’t help but feel a connection with Ted’s story in the past…

Don’t miss this haunting and evocative timeslip novel from Kathleen McGurl.

Extract ~

Prologue

For a moment he was frozen, unable to move, unable to react to what had just happened. Time stood still, and he stood with it, not seeing, not hearing, doing nothing.
And then as his senses returned he registered screams of horror, followed by the sight of that broken and twisted body lying at the foot of the stairs. How had it happened? Annie was screaming, lung-bursting screams of pain and terror. His instinct was to rush to her, gather her up and hold her, but would that make things worse? There was no going back now. No returning to how things used to be, before… before today, before all the horrible, life-changing events of the day. It was all over now.
The screams continued, and he knew that the next minutes would alter his life forever. He knew too that even without the broken body, the screams, the fall, his life had already changed irrevocably. The door to a future he had only dared dream of had been slammed shut in his face.
He allowed himself a moment’s grief for what had been and for what might have yet been, and then he shook himself into action, hurrying down the stairs to deal with it all. Not to put it right – that wasn’t possible – but to do his best. For Annie.

KM
Kathleen McGurl
Website
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BookReview The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles #ww2Fiction #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #ww2 #Saga

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The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles
Review Copy ~ Paperback

Synopsis ~

In the dark days of war a new hope is born . . .
1939.

Mary Vale, a grand and imposing Mother & Baby Home, sits on the edge of the Lake District. Its doors are open to unmarried women who come to hide their condition and find sanctuary.

Women from all walks of life pass through Mary Vale, from beautiful waitress Emily, whose boyfriend has vanished without trace, to young Isla, cast out by her wealthy family after her first year at university goes horribly wrong.

Awaiting them is Nurse Ada and Sister Anne who work tirelessly to aid the mothers and safely deliver the babies. But the unforgiving Matron and Head of Governors, Captain Percival, have other, more sinister, ideas.

As war looms the women at Mary Vale must pull together for the sake of themselves and their babies and Ada and Anne must help protect their patients, no matter what the cost.

My Review ~

‘The place regularly echoes with the cries of heartbroken mothers unable to keep their babies’

With The Wartime Midwives, we are introduced to the wartime unwed mother’s homes and the truly awful way women were treated in the era. There are a wealth of characters within the story. From the girls themselves, to the women on staff and the dark forces at work behind the scenes. As a reader you also begin to understand that the reasons for unwanted pregnancy is not always down to the loose morals of the female but complex issues such as lack of education/access to contraception or in the worst cases… rape.

‘It seemed ridiculous that in 1939 a young woman could be ignorant of the facts of life’

There are various social/economical/financial issues that impact the women’s ability to care for or raise their children. Which class tier you identified with, usually indicated the amount of options available to you…

‘Working class I may be, but I certainly know how to love and nurture a baby’

The sheer emotional power of shame is laid bear for all to see. I really felt for each of the women and wanted to reach through the pages (and the years) to offer some support.
A perfect title for modern day women to read, to gain some insight into the lives of 1940s women. Perfect for fans of Call The Midwife. 4* 

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
Twitter

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with @Carol4OliveFarm Carol Drinkwater #Author of The House On The Edge Of The Cliff #NewRelease #Historical #Thriller #Saga #France @PenguinUKBooks

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The House On The Edge Of The Cliff by Carol Drinkwater
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

No one else knows what happened that summer. Or so she believes . . .

Grace first came to France a lifetime ago. Young and full of dreams of adventure, she met two very different men.

She fell under the spell of one. The other fell under hers.

Until one summer night shattered everything . . .

Now, Grace is living an idyllic life with her husband, sheltered from the world in a magnificent Provençal villa, perched atop a windswept cliff.

Every day she looks out over the sea – the only witness to that fateful night years ago.

Until a stranger arrives at the house. A stranger who knows everything, and won’t leave until he gets what he wants.

The past and present spectacularly collide in this gripping story of love and betrayal echoing across the decades.

Q&A ~

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

A) I am Irish though born in London. I come from a theatrical family. My father was a musician, agent, entertainer. The stage was in my blood. I wanted to be an actress from the age of four, almost as soon as I could visualise the concept of my future. I also dreamed of being a writer. I was writing from the age of eight and was fortunate to have my first little story/anecdote published when I was ten. At drama school I wrote reams of background stories for all the characters I played. Throughout my professional life as an actress I kept diaries, travel journals, and wrote for magazines.

THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE CLIFF is set in the South of France close to Marseille in an area known as Les Calanques or The Creeks. It is national parkland, stunning beautiful, rather wild and with very dramatic scenery.
The earlier sections of the novel are set in Paris in the spring of 1968. The historically famous May ’68, which was the year of the student uprisings. It was a fabulous period in modern history, full of optimism and idealism. It was the same time as the marches worldwide against the Vietnam War. The popular music was amazing: Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mamas and Papas, Bob Marley … many others. My novel is full of this music, enriched, I hope, by the dreams of the young. Dreams, disappointments, first love, sexual awakening … the rites of passage journey from teenager to a young woman and then that same woman’s life at a later stage when the mistakes from her past come back to haunt her.

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

A) I wanted to write a story that has a menacing thread to it. Life threatened. A past error that returns to haunt, Grace, my principal character. A secret carried for half a lifetime. And I wanted to locate the story somewhere dramatic, spectacular with high cliffs, commanding seas, long stretches of beach, boulders, boats. An environment where the weather rules and ‘accidents’ can happen. A strip of land and sea where tragedies can be buried, can lay undiscovered for decades.

I also wanted to set the earlier part of Grace’s story against a period of time, modern history, that was evocative and inspiring.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I am a great fan of Isabel Allende, Grahame Greene, Marguerite Duras. Daphne Du Maurier, Somerset Maugham.

I would recommend almost everything each of them has written.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I loved the Just William books and got into trouble at school for reading them because our English Lit teacher judged them ‘not sufficiently literary’ but read them again and you will find a wonderful window into a slice of English society and its time. And Richmal Crompton’s ability to create richly comic characters and situations is memorable.

The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley was another great favourite of mine. Macmillan have published a recent edition HERE.

All of Dickens, of course.

Q) What are you currently reading? 

A) I am currently RE-reading The Mask of Dimitrios by Eric Ambler.

Of all the books I have recently read, I can highly recommend: the new William Boyd, Love is Blind. Sally Rooney’s Normal People. David Nicholls’ Sweet Sorrow to be published in July, David Park’s Travelling in a Strange Land.

I am a great fan of top quality thriller and suspense writers such Le Carré, Ambler, Greene. These authors are so precise in their storytelling, disciplined. They are also very clever at weaving in social and modern history.

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

A) Seeing The Olive Farm, the first of my series of six Olive Farm books soar into the Sunday Times bestseller list. These books spent weeks there and I used to spend hours looking at the newspaper to convince myself it was all true.

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

A) This is never the job of one person. There have been several who have been an encouragement for me. My husband, Michel, comes first because from the beginning he encouraged me to believe I could go professional with my writing. Throughout my career I have had several editors. They changed according to the genre of books I was writing or whether they were for the Young Adult market or commercial fiction or memoirs (The Olive Farm series are memoirs). Alan Samson, who was my non-fiction editor and is now the chairman of W & N, taught me an immense amount about the art of storytelling and being in touch with one’s readers. Alf Wight, who is the real man behind the James Herriot books also helped me. I spent so long filming All Creatures Great and Small that I had plenty of time to ask myself what it was about the books and material that made the stories so successful. Alf Wight had such a gift for welcoming his readers into his world and never talking down to them.

Perhaps the most important inspiration of all are the writers I have read. Reading, reading, reading is the best method of learning to write.

CD
Carol Drinkwater
Website
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract The Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles #NewRelease #HistFic #Saga #WW2Fiction #ww2

coverThe Wartime Midwives by Daisy Styles
Review To Follow

Synopsis ~

In the dark days of war a new hope is born . . .
1939.

Mary Vale, a grand and imposing Mother & Baby Home, sits on the edge of the Lake District. Its doors are open to unmarried women who come to hide their condition and find sanctuary.

Women from all walks of life pass through Mary Vale, from beautiful waitress Emily, whose boyfriend has vanished without trace, to young Isla, cast out by her wealthy family after her first year at university goes horribly wrong.

Awaiting them is Nurse Ada and Sister Anne who work tirelessly to aid the mothers and safely deliver the babies. But the unforgiving Matron and Head of Governors, Captain Percival, have other, more sinister, ideas.

As war looms the women at Mary Vale must pull together for the sake of themselves and their babies and Ada and Anne must help protect their patients, no matter what the cost.

Extract ~ 

In her college digs in Durham, Isla Ross took small sips of
water from the glass she clutched in her trembling hand.
‘God!’ she gasped. ‘If only I could stop being sick …’
She was trying to pack her belongings into a suitcase in
order to vacate her room, which her crabby landlady was
keen to repossess.
‘I’ll be off soon,’ Isla had promised.
Secretly, she’d been hanging on for longer than was
sensible for one purpose
only –
to talk to Professor Wiley
about her condition.
‘God!’ She gagged again, as her stomach seemed to rise
into her mouth.
For somebody who hadn’t eaten for what seemed like
days, how could she keep on vomiting like this? After the
bout had passed, Isla almost collapsed on her narrow single bed; staring up at the ceiling, she tried to stop the tears
welling up in her eyes. What a mess she’d made. What an
unbelievable bloody fool she’d been. Up until she’d been
twenty-one years old, she’d never even as much as kissed
a boy; then, at the beginning of her second year at Dur

ham, she’d fallen head over heels madly in love with her
middle-aged English professor, who’d literally seduced
her with the poetry of William Shakespeare.
All through her first year at college her friends had tried
to involve Isla in their social life, which centred around the local dancehall. To start with, just to show willing, she’d
gone along with their giggling plans, allowed herself to be
made up and dressed up in borrowed crêpe dresses. At the
dancehall she’d drunk only shandy, while her friends
downed gin and orange, and she’d actually hidden in the
ladies’ toilet when the dance band struck up.
All Isla had ever wanted to do was to read books and
study English literature: Shakespeare, Byron, Keats, Chaucer, the Brontës, Jane Austen, T. S. Eliot. A star pupil at
Benenden, she’d come to Durham to
study – not to dance and drink and find a boyfriend. She appreciated her friends’ joie devivre (the last thing she wanted was for them to think
she was an intellectual snob), but she really did detest those
Saturday nights at the dancehall, where she actively avoided
men rather than enticed them. When her friends finally
realized how shy and retiring Isla was in public, they stopped
asking her to join them, for which Isla was truly grateful.
And that’s how her student life had been: quiet, peaceful,
studious and
happy – until Professor Keith Wiley had laid
eyes on the cleverest student in his tutorial group. Isla Ross,
with her silver-blue, dreamy Highland eyes and luscious pink lips set in a sweet, heart shaped face framed by curling silver-blonde hair. She had a soft young body, with curves in all the right places, and distinctly strong, muscular legs
because of all the hockey matches she’d played at boarding
school. Though innocent Isla didn’t know it, Keith Wiley
was famous for his dalliances with clever, pretty girls, whom
he charmed with compliments and attention. Nobody could
have been more infatuated than Isla when Wiley critiqued
her essays or selected her to read passages from Shakespeare
and Marlowe in her lilting Scottish voice.

When the professor had asked Isla if she’d like to
accompany him to the theatre to see a local production of The Tempest, Isla had almost swooned in delight. They’d met on a snowy night and walked into the town centre, the Professor gallantly taking her arm in order to stop her from slipping on the icy roads.
The production was mediocre, but Isla thought it was sublime; she knew all the
great lines from the play and whispered them under her
breath as she watched the actors on stage. ‘We are such
stuff as dreams are made on,’ she murmured.
Taking her hand and softly kissing her fingertips, Keith
Wiley had concluded the line for her: ‘And our little life is rounded with a sleep.’
Hearing his deep Northern voice in her ear, Isla’s pulse
raced and her heart beat so fast she was sure
he would hear it. During the interval they drank sherry at the bar
and discussed the performance; Isla had never been so
happy, so alert and so in tune with another human being. He might be double her age and her tutor, but she was quite incapable of
resisting his kisses; in fact, she welcomed them with an intensity that surprised her. ‘Goodnight, dearest girl,’ he’d murmured as they parted, with
the snow still falling softly around them. ‘Come and see
me in my rooms tomorrow; we have so much to discuss.’
Weak at the knees, Isla had agreed and gone to bed in
a haze of romantic infatuation.‘And
look where that got me!’ she thought bitterly now.

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