Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Goodbye For Now by @MikeHollows #NewRelease #HistoricalFiction #WW1Fiction @HQDigitalUK

cover
Goodbye For Now by M J Hollows
Synopsis:

Two brothers, only one survives.
As Europe is torn apart by war, two brothers fight very different battles, and both could lose everything…

While George has always been the brother to rush towards the action, fast becoming a boy-soldier when war breaks out, Joe thinks differently. Refusing to fight, Joe stays behind as a conscientious objector battling against the propaganda.

On the Western front, George soon discovers that war is not the great adventure he was led to believe. Surrounded by mud, blood and horror his mindset begins to shift as he questions everything he was once sure of.

At home in Liverpool, Joe has his own war to win. Judged and imprisoned for his cowardice, he is determined to stand by his convictions, no matter the cost.

By the end of The Great War only one brother will survive, but which?

Extract:

Chapter 1

‘It’s war!’

George Abbott would never forget where he was that day, when those very words were spoken. He was sat at the family kitchen table, a roughly cut dark wooden frame, with an off-white cloth draped across it to hide its wear and tear. He leaned over a bowl of oats, playing them around with his tarnished spoon. Beside it was an enamel plate with some bread and milk.

His sisters, Catherine and Elisabeth, sat either side of him. Catherine was looking over at George to see if he would eat his bread, or if she could take it. Her hair was a deep black mess of curls, the same as their mother’s, framing a pale, chubby face, whereas little Elisabeth’s hair was a distinct copper colour, more like their father’s. At the other end of the table, across the other side was George’s brother Joe, gaunt and long like their father, although with a growth of unkempt curly black hair. He wore the deep brown suit that he always wore to work, even at the breakfast table. He was careful not to get any food on it.

The back door had burst open and their father limped in clutching the Daily Post to his chest and calling to the family. If George were to look him in the eye, it would be like looking in a mirror, except his father was older and thinner. Their faces were exactly alike and the resemblance was uncanny. It was only his father’s eyes that looked different, like they had seen a thousand things, and crow’s feet pulled at the edge of his face.

‘It’s war!’ he said. ‘We’ve declared war.’ He carried on as if unheard. ‘Britain has declared war on Germany.’

Everyone stared, not knowing quite what to say. War had been brewing for some time, so they weren’t surprised.

‘Pass your father the kedgeree,’ their mother said to Catherine and she did as bid, passing the dish of flaked fish and rice that everyone but their father despised. He must have picked up his taste for it in India.

‘I thought we were allies with Germany?’ Their mother was ever the practical woman. She carried on eating while the rest of the family grew excited and agitated. George pushed his plate of bread towards Catherine to distract her, but she just stared at it, then at him.

Their father finally found his seat, hanging his cheap coat behind him as he wrestled his body onto the chair.

‘No, no, love. Belgium. They’re the ones. They invaded there, so ol’ squiffy told ’em where to go.’

‘Belgium invaded Germany?’

‘No. The other way round!’

She didn’t appear to be listening and smiled conspiratorially in her husband’s direction, before collecting up more plates.

Joe stared across the room at the news their father had brought with him, wringing his hands in front of his face. Joe was older than George, but in this moment he looked even older, worry lining his face. His hair threatened to grow too long on his head and his feeble attempts to grow a beard in patches on his chin was a constant source of ridicule. The object of Joe’s gaze was a faded photograph of their dad dressed in his uniform, beaming with pride at the South Africa medal pinned to his breast. He still often wore his medal, stroking the silver disc absent-mindedly. Father turned to Joe, putting the paper down.

‘D’you know what this means, son?’ Joe didn’t respond and their father looked around the room, at the rest of them, testing everyone’s reaction. ‘The papers say they’re going to issue a call. They’re gonna need more men.’

George carried on playing with his oats, knowing that this was between Joe and their dad. Joe looked into the middle distance, the edges of his mouth moving as if about to form words but thinking better of it.

After a tense pause, Joe spoke. ‘I won’t do it,’ he muttered under his breath, so quietly that George almost didn’t hear.

Their father banged a fist on the table, and cutlery jingled as it was disturbed.

MJH
M J Hollows
Twitter
Website

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
banner

Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Foyles Bookshop Girls by @RobertsElaine11 #WW1 #Saga #NewRelease @Aria_Fiction ‘The clever story of three very different women’s journey through The Great war’

cover
The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts
Review Copy
Synopsis:

London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London’s renowned Foyles bookshop. But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again…

Alice has always been the ‘sensible’ one in her family – especially in comparison with her suffrage-supporting sister! But decidedly against her father’s wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it’s a dream come true.

But with the country at war, Alice’s happy world is shattered in an instant. Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night. But however busy she keeps herself, she can’t help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline…

Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn’t be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood – a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war.

My Review:

What makes this saga so unique?
Aside from its absolutely gorgeous cover and brilliant synopsis?
For me personally it would have to be that this novel focuses on The Great War as opposed to most of my saga reading is ww2 fiction. The novel opens in London 1914 and I really think the author did an outstanding job of finding a niche in the saga genre. The genre is heavily dominated by ww2 fiction and I think The Foyles Bookshop Girls offers a welcome break and exploration of the ww1 era.

The Foyles bookshop girls are Alice, Victoria and Molly. They come from very different backgrounds and have their own unique life experiences. Yet they compliment each other perfectly.
Alice is who I would class as the central protagonist.

The novel opens amongst the backdrop of the ‘votes for women’ although the suffragette movement is not heavily featured within the novel. I was glad that the theme was present and included. Alice’s younger sister Lily is heavily involved in the movement and I think of all the characters, I would have liked to have been Lily. She is a rebel with a cause and doesn’t fear a fight for what she believes is right.

Mr Leadbetter is the manager of the bookshop where the three young women work. Alice Taylor, Victoria Appleton and Molly Cooper. Their pasts are explored and they each struck a chord with me or various reasons.
Molly has a new boyfriend Tony Fletcher. The only problem is, Tony has a roving eye and Alice and Victoria are sure it’ll end in tears. But as friends do, they vow to be there for Molly when the time comes.

Victoria has known the greatest struggle, having lost both parents she is solely responsible for raising her younger siblings Stephen (16yrs) and Daisy (18yrs). An unfortunate situation that cost her the love of her life. . . .

‘Her brother and sister had taken her life, just as the rail crash had taken her parents’

Alice has the most upbeat situation, she is currently courting a young police officer named Freddie. She hopes he will propose. Freddie certainly has an announcement to make. Alice’s father is a domineering bully, one that often makes life at the Taylor household unbearable.

In the background to the central storyline of the girls. The political and community pressure faced by young men to enlist, is explained. With many facing accusations of cowardice if they do not enlist. Eventually several of the men very close to the women enlist and we see the friendships tested by the strain of war and personal loss.

‘War is about innocent people
Killing innocent people’

The clever story of three very different women’s journey through The Great war. 4*

untitled
Elaine Roberts
Twitter
Website

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
banner

Anne Bonny mini #BookReview The Deserter’s Daughter by @SusannaBavin #NewRelease #Historical #Saga #ww1 @AllisonandBusby Can she escape the burden of her past?

cover
The Deserter’s Daughter by Susanna Bevin
Review copy
Synopsis:

1920, Chorlton, Manchester. As her wedding day draws near, Carrie Jenkins is trying on her dress and eagerly anticipating becoming Mrs Billy Shipton. But all too soon she is reeling from the news that her beloved father was shot for desertion during the Great War. When Carrie is jilted and the close-knit community turns its back on her as well as her mother and her half-sister, Evadne, the plans Carrie nurtured are in disarray.

Desperate to overcome private shock and public humiliation, and with her mother also gravely ill, Carrie accepts the unsettling advances of well-to-do furniture dealer Ralph Armstrong. Through Ralph, Evadne meets the aristocratic Alex Larter, who seems to be the answer to her matrimonial ambitions as well. But both sisters put their faith in men who are not to be trusted, and they will face danger and heartache before they can find the happiness they deserve.

My Mini Review:

The novel is set in 1920 Manchester, with our protagonist Carrie Jenkins a soon-to-be bride. She lives with her jealous sister Evadne and grieving mother. In the opening scenes Father Kelly; the local Catholic priest visits and reveals a devastating secret to the girls. One that will leave them in a cloud of shame.

‘You defied God himself rather than face the shame of your husband being shot at dawn for desertion’ – Father Kelly

The mother’s long-held secret is then exposed to not only her daughters but the entire local community. Their father was court marshalled and executed on the battlefields of ww1.

Carrie thinks that she may find some solace in the arms of her love Billy Shipton. But Ma Shipton, upon hearing the shocking news soon puts an end to any planning nuptials. The Shipton’s don’t wish to be associated with the scandal of marrying into the family of a deserter. Carrie is now alone more than ever, and she harbours a secret of her own.

The women are tested beyond belief, when they lose their employment. They are ostracised from their community, a community that longs to see them in ruin.

In the background there is a spin-off theme of the doctors working to understand ‘mind-horror’. I felt this was a fascinating thread as we still know so little about PTSD and battle fatigue.

This novel has much more of a historical fiction feel to it than a saga. It lacks the warmth of the characters in a saga novel and the local northern dialect. But with that being said, the family is one in turmoil.

A personal story of a ww1 deserter and the family he left behind. 4*

SB
Susanne Bavin
Twitter
Website