Anne Bonny #BookReview Summer Of Secrets by @nikola_scott 5* #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalRomance #ww2Fiction @headlinepg #SummerOfSecrets

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Summer Of Secrets by Nikola Scott
Review Copy
Synopsis:

August 1939
At peaceful Summerhill, orphaned Maddy hides from the world and the rumours of war. Then her adored sister Georgina returns from a long trip with a new friend, the handsome Victor. Maddy fears that Victor is not all he seems, but she has no idea just what kind of danger has come into their lives…

Today
Chloe is newly pregnant. This should be a joyful time, but she is fearful for the future, despite her husband’s devotion. When chance takes her to Summerhill, she’s drawn into the mystery of what happened there decades before. And the past reaches out to touch her in ways that could change everything…

My Review:

I was a huge fan of My Mother’s Shadow the authors debut novel. So, I couldn’t wait to read Summer Of Secrets, I was also delighted to discover is had a narrative set in the ww2 era. I am a huge ww2 fiction fan and it is my favourite era within the historical fiction genre. So, I was excited to visit Summerhill.

The novel opens with 16yr old Maddy awaiting the return of her sister Georgie from a six-month trip around Europe. Only when Georgie returns she doesn’t return alone.
The sisters live with their Aunt Marjorie at Summerhill. Their father survived The Great war, only to perish off the cliffs at Hangman’s Bluff, nearby.
A death Maddy has never overcome.

In the present day narrative Chloe is a young woman, at the start of what should be a beautiful life. She is newly married and just found out she is pregnant. But instead of being filled with excitement and hope. She is filled with dread, anxiety and fear. Her husband Dr Aidan MacAllister is dominant and controlling. When Chloe is offered the chance of some work, photographing a recluse children’s author, Aidan insists it is a bad idea.

‘No wife of mine will ever have to work’ – Aidan MacAllister

Maddy is adjusting to life at Summerhill with the presence of her sister and six friends. She is introduced to the group and Georgie’s new ‘beau’ Victor Deverill. But there is something about Victor she just can’t trust.
Maddy and Georgie live out a socialite, bohemian existence at Summerhill. There lives are filled with parties and cocktails. Much to the annoyance to Aunt Marjorie who is obsessed with the onset of ww2.

‘That war is coming and Summerhill needs a plan’

Despite Aidan’s explicit instructions, Chloe takes the job. Keeping her pregnancy, a secret and filled with angst, she heads to Summerhill to photograph the reclusive Madeline.
Whilst there she uncovers they have a shared history of being orphans and have both known emotional turmoil.
It is the start of a beautiful friendship, one they both need so very much.
Maddy and Georgie continue their idyllic lifestyle. But for Maddy the situation changes when she stumbles upon a hiding pilot William in the potting shed. She promises to keep his secret and hide him in safety for a few days. But with the growing friendship, he forces Maddy to face up to the death of her father she witnessed at just 10yrs old.

‘You know, most women would give anything to have this life’ – Aidan MacAllister

Chloe continues to feel more and more pressure from Aidan. Who it seems will only be content with complete ownership of Chloe. But it is then we uncover that Chloe, as another person close to her heart. Her little brother Danny. Danny was born with Friedreitch’s ataxia, a neurological disorder. Which means his level of care needs are high and his prognosis is further loss of bodily functions/mobility.

‘Chloe didn’t see the big wheelchair or the immobile form inside; just the little boy she’d raised and loved and would never let fall’

Maddy continues to attempt to navigate the various personalities now at Summerhill. She finds this exhausting and her connection to her sister suddenly being lost amongst the noise. When Maddy has an unsavoury encounter with Victor.
Then Georgie makes a shock announcement.

‘I still had no idea what was wrong with Victor Deverill’ – Maddy

The author weaves a beautiful story between the narratives of the modern day and 1939. The setting and location adds the glamour, mystery and beauty of Cornwall. Whilst the characters pack the emotional punch. This is an emotional story of the bond between siblings. A bond that can last a lifetime. 5*

NS
Nikola Scott
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My review & Q&A for My Mother’s Shadow – (Nikola’s debut novel)
HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY NIKOLA 🙂  

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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***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Shipyard Girls At War by @arevellwalton 5* #Saga #MustRead #Series #ww2Fiction #WomenOfWW2 @arrowpublishing ‘Highly recommended to fans of Saga’s’

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Shipyard Girls At War by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #2
Own copy from TBR
Synopsis:

1941: it takes strength to work on the docks, but the war demands all hands on deck and the women are doing their best to fill the gap.

Rosie is flourishing in her role as head-welder while still keeping her double life a secret. But a dashing detective is forcing Rosie to choose between love and her duty.

Gloria is hiding her own little secret – one that if found out, could not only threaten her job, but her life.

And the shipyards are proving tougher than Polly ever imagined, while she waits for her man to return home safely.

Join the shipyard girls as they journey through the hardships of life, love and war.

My Review:

I am currently making my way through books 1-4 in the Shipyard Girls series. I was absolutely blown away with the first novel and you warm to the characters instantly. In true saga style, they feel like friends and you mourn their pain and celebrate their highs. I was excited to see what book two, The Shipyard Girls At War would have in store for the women.
*If you haven’t read the first in the series, this review may contain spoilers*

The novel opens with a heart-breaking prologue. If you’ve been following the series so far, it is one that will cut deep. Bel’s devastation and emotional pain flows from the pages. As a former soldier’s wife, myself, I dreaded ever receiving the news Bel receives. Her childhood sweetheart has perished, in Operation compass alongside 624 other soldiers. The grief she feels, is so powerful, it brought tears to my eyes.

‘This Polly realised was what grief looked like in its purest form’

At the shipyard things are back to the usual with Dorothy and Gloria’s playful bickering. There’s a new girl named Martha, who is quite quiet. Or quiet in comparison to the girls we have come to know and love. But Gloria is still trying desperately to conceal her secret, a secret only the other girls are aware of.

Hannah the shipyard worker from Czechoslovakia is quickly picking up her English skills and slowly adapting to life at the shipyard. But stand-in boss Helen is making her life a living hell with her bullying tactics and demeanour. Helen is nobody’s favourite person and instead of trying to make friends and amends, she pursues a vendetta against Hannah.

Polly is devastated at the news about her brother Teddy’s death. She is apprehensive about the home-coming of his twin Joe. How will Teddy’s death impact Joe? Will this cause Bel to fall apart? The future seems uncertain at Polly’s home. A home so much more used to laughter and smiles, than sorrow and grief.

The novel then does something, undone in the previous novel. It jumps the timeline backwards to 1920. Where we meet a childhood Bel and her god-awful mother Pearl. Bel is often left abandoned inside their cramped house, with little or no food. Whilst her mother pleases herself usually at the pubs. Bel is only saved from a childhood of despair when she befriends Polly. This offers Bel a glimpse into a life she’s never known, one of love and care. But will also be where she first meets Teddy.

In the present day, Rosie is excited and looking forward to a visit from her sister Charlotte. Everything Rosie does in her life, is to provide a better life for Charlotte and sometimes this includes activities, that are risqué. Which is why it is shocking to read she has caught the eye of Detective Sgt Miller aka Peter. Peter now works solely at the docks, which causes Lily (Rosie’s other boss) some concern. Will Rosie find love with Peter? What if Peter uncovers her ‘other’ life first?

‘Love’s so bloomin’ unpredictable. It takes you places you just don’t expect to go’ – Lily

Bel is drowning in grief leaving her unable to adequately care for her young daughter. She relies heavily upon Polly and her mother Agnes. The grief that Bel feels is a shared grief, as Agnes lost her husband in the first world war, when Polly was just a baby.

In the flashback scenes we learn that Joe has always harboured a secret love for Bel. But in the present day, she treats him with contempt, borderline loathing. It is unclear if this is grief or Bel’s need for self-preservation.
But It makes for fascinating reading, as you read on.

The harsh reality of the war is always within the background. When an air raid strikes leaving an infant alive, next to its mother’s corpse. You are regularly reminded what harsh times these women are living in and how everyday, really was life or death.

‘Polly realised just how much they all needed each other in these very strange times’

In a moment of panic Gloria confesses her secret to the wrong person. What will this mean for her future?

Rosie and Peter begin to see more of each other, but where will it lead?

Polly receives regular updates from her love, Tommy away at war.
Will Tommy make it home from war?
Or will Polly be grieving also?

Joe joins the home guard and begins to build a life for himself now he is demobbed. But will it be a life alone? Or with another?

Rosie helps a friend from the past in her hour of need.

The saga has a feel-good ending, leaving you longing for the next in the series. Which I am lucky enough to have on my shelves. I can not wait to get stuck in!
Highly recommended to fans of Saga’s this is a series not to be missed! 5*

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
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Next up in the series. . . . .
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Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell
Review scheduled 9th May

Anne Bonny #BookReview The Shipyard Girls by @arevellwalton 5* #Saga #ww2Fiction #WomenOfww2 @arrowpublishing ‘easily rivals Josephine Cox’ #MustReadSeries

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The Shipyard Girls by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #1
Review copy
Synopsis:

Sunderland, 1940, and the women go to the shipyards to do their bit for the war effort.

Polly never dreamed she would be able to work in the shipyards like the men in her family but times are tough and her new job ends up giving her more than she ever expected when she meets enigmatic dock diver Tommy Watts.

During the day, head welder Rosie teaches her fledgling flock of trainees their new trade, but at night she hides a secret life.

And mother hen Gloria signs up to escape her brutal husband, but finds she cannot run from her problems.

The Shipyard Girls start off as strangers – but end up forging an unbreakable bond of friendship in the most difficult times.

My Review:

This novel is the first in the Shipyard Girls series and has been sat on my tbr pile for quite some time. I am a huge fan of the saga genre but have been super busy lately with crime fiction reviews. I decided it was time for a visit to 1940 Sunderland and see what these books are all about.

The novel opens in the warm and homely house of Polly. Her mother, Agnes lost her husband in The Great War and has raised her children (now adults) alone. She is the matriarch type character, but it is born of love and desire to see her kids succeed. Polly’s twin brothers Teddy and Joe have joined up. Leaving their jobs at the shipyard for the frontlines. Sister-in-law Bel and daughter Lucille reside at the property, whilst they wait for Joe’s return from war. This is a house filled with love and built on doing their best to survive the war and trying times they face.

When Polly gets a job at J.L Thompson & Sons shipbuilders, she is apprehensive of the response of her mother. But she is from a long-line of shipbuilders and determined to continue the trade.

‘This wasn’t just about getting another job for Polly – it was a dream come true’

The role of women in ‘male roles’ is debated, and Agnes is forced to back-down or contradict her own beliefs on equality. I think Agnes is also tortured by the death of her husband and risk to her sons. She just wants Polly to be as safe as possible. With the docks being a target for German aircraft, that isn’t always the case.

Rosie Thornton is a much more complex character. She is the boss at the shipyard, where the women are trainees. But she also harbours a secret. A secret she will go to great lengths to protect. A secret so damning that its exposure could be the ruin of Rosie and her sister Charlotte. But what Rosie doesn’t know, is that someone is watching her and waiting for the right moment to spring a trap. . . .

Although the novel deals with several darker themes and not forgetting the background of ww2. It does have many moments when it made me smile or laugh out loud. Between Agnes’s gossip and dialect or the girls banter at the shipyard. The light-hearted moments within really did deliver. Which makes you grow more attached to the characters.

The women at the shipyard consist of Polly, Dorothy, Gloria, Mary, Martha and boss Rosie. They all notice when Polly catches the eye of shipyard hunk Tommy Watts. . .

‘Polly had a slightly strange but exciting premonition that they somehow belonged together’

Tommy’s background is further explored, and you learn that he has much in common with Polly. I may not be a huge fan of romance, but I wanted Polly and Tommy to fall in love. After all, the world needs love, right?

The sinister man following Rosie, has his trap set and is ready to pounce. He is a truly vile character and I dreaded the moment Rosie would come face to face with him.

At work, the girls begin to notice bruise’s that appear on Gloria’s arms and neck. They become concerned for her welfare, but due to the era and social attitudes, dare not pry. Gloria is dealing with the internal shame of being a victim of domestic abuse. Her life being held hostage to drink and violence. What I found unusual about Gloria’s portrayal is that she is an older female character. She has been married 19yrs, and has grown-up children away at war. She isn’t the typical naïve, young victim we see too often portrayed in saga novels.

Overall, I absolutely loved the Shipyard Girls. There are themes of secrets, intimidation, gossip and trials of adversity. There is first love and old love reignited. But most of all the women’s strength, sacrifice and courage shines through. The sisterly protection Polly, Rosie and Gloria come to have for one another is perfection.

The perfect recipe for a ww2 saga and easily rivals Josephine Cox.
If you read this book, you will find yourself buying the whole series. 5*

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
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Just £1.99 in Ebook – At time of blogging!

***Coming next in the series***
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The Shipyard Girls At war by Nancy Revell – Shipyard Girls #2
Review scheduled for 2nd May #ComingSoon