Anne Bonny #BlogTour Character Profiles ~ On A Turning Tide by Ellie Dean @arrowpublishing #Saga #WW2Fiction #ww2

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On A Turning Tide by Ellie Dean
Synopsis:

Cliffehaven, October 1944

As the Allied troops draw closer to victory, life at Beach View Boarding House is still full of uncertainty.

Rosie’s plans for her wedding to Ron Reilly are plagued with misunderstandings. And when Ron takes on a secret assignment just days before they are due to say their vows, it seems their plans for a future together may be doomed.

Meanwhile, Peggy Reilly embraces her new managerial role at the uniform factory. It’s a welcome distraction while her husband Jim is still away fighting in the Far East. But when an old school adversary joins the factory’s ranks, Peggy must win her own battles on the home front.

As a new year dawns, hopes grow brighter for the return of loved ones – but a big sea change is still to come before Victory in Europe can be declared.

Victory is in sight, but the war is not yet won.

Character Profiles ~

Meet the Cliffehaven family with Ellie Dean

Ellie Dean is the Sunday Times bestselling Cliffehaven saga series which has an impressive total of sixteen novels in the series. Set on the picturesque English south coast, the Cliffehaven series follows the Reilly family and the comings and goings of their guests at the Beach View boarding house and how together they navigate the choppy waters of wartime in these heart-warming Second World War novels. Here, Ellie breaks down the most prolific characters of the series and everything you’d want to know about them before getting stuck into a Cliffehaven novel:

RONAN REILLY ~
Ron is a sturdy man in his mid-sixties who often leads a very secretive life away from Beach View. It turns out that the contacts, experience and skills Ron gathered in the previous war are useful in these current hostilities. Widowed several decades ago, he’s fallen in love with the luscious Rosie Braithwaite who owns The Anchor pub. Although she has never been averse to his attentions, for a long time she refused to let things get too intimate. Finally, though, it seems that the stars have aligned for Rosie and Ron, and they are engaged to be married soon.

Ron is a wily countryman; a poacher and retired fisherman with great roguish charm, who tramps over the fields with his dog, Harvey, and two ferrets – and frequently comes home with illicit game hidden in the deep pockets of his poacher’s coat. He doesn’t care much about his appearance, much to his daughter-in-law Peggy’s dismay, but beneath that ramshackle old hat and moth-eaten clothing beats the heart of a strong, loving man who will fiercely protect those he loves.

ROSIE BRAITHWAITE ~
Rosie is in her early fifties and in love with Ron, though for many years she had to remain married to her first husband, who was in a mental asylum.

She took over The Anchor twenty years ago and has turned it into a little gold-mine. Rosie has platinum hair, big blue eyes and an hour-glass figure – she also has a good sense of humour and can hold her own with the customers. She runs the pub with a firm hand, and keeps Ron at bay, although she’s not averse to a bit of slap and tickle. And yet her glamorous appearance and winning smile hides the heartache of not having been blessed with a longed-for baby, and now it’s too late.

Peggy is her best friend, and the family living in Beach View Boarding House has taken the place of the family she’d never had. Her greatest wish is to start a new life with Ron – even though he’s exasperating at times. And now, with the passing of her husband, Ron and Rosie are finally engaged. So long as they can make it to the wedding day, their future together looks brighter than ever.

PEGGY REILLY ~ 
Peggy is the middle sister of three, in her early forties, and married to Jim, Ron’s son. She is small and slender, with dark, curly hair and lively brown eyes, and finds it very hard to sit still. As if running a busy household and caring for her young daughter wasn’t enough, she also did voluntary work for the WVS before getting a job in the local uniform factory, yet still finds time to offer tea, sympathy and a shoulder to cry on when they’re needed.

She and Jim took over the running of Beach View Boarding House when Peggy’s parents retired – her older sister, Doris, thought it was beneath her, and her younger sister, Doreen, had already established a career in London.

Peggy has three daughters, two sons, and two grand-daughters. When war was declared and the boarding house business became no longer viable, she decided to take in evacuees. Peggy can be feisty and certainly doesn’t suffer fools, and yet she is also trying very hard to come to terms with the fact that her family has been torn apart by the war. She is a romantic at heart and can’t help trying to match-make, but she’s also a terrible worrier, always fretting over someone – and as the young evacuees make their home with her, she comes to regard them as her chicks and will do everything she can to protect and nurture them.

DORIS WILLIAMS ~ 
Doris is Peggy’s older sister, for many years she has been divorced from her long-suffering husband, Ted, who died very recently. She used to live in the posh part of town, Havelock Road, and look down on Peggy and the boarding house.

But her days of snooty social climbing and snobbishness are behind her. Having lived with Peggy at Beach View Boarding House after bombs destroyed her former neighbourhood, Doris has softened in her ways and although she’s still proud of her connections to high society, she’s also on much better terms with her sister and the rest of the family.

But despite all this, Doris is still rather lonely, especially with her only son now married and moved away. Could her recent change of heart also lead to a new romance?

On A Turning Tide by Ellie Dean is out on Thursday 24th January (published in paperback by Arrow, £6.99)

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour Q&A with #Author @clarnic #TheReckoning #NewRelease #WW1 #WW2 #Romance @Legend_Press

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The Reckoning by Clar Ni Chonghaile
Review to follow
Synopsis:

I have a story to tell you, Diane. It is my story and your story and the story of a century that remade the world. When we reach the end, you will be the ultimate arbiter of whether it was worth your time. You will also sit in judgment on me.

In a cottage in Normandy, Lina Rose is writing to the daughter she abandoned as a baby. Now a successful if enigmatic author, she is determined to trace her family’s history through the two world wars that shaped her life. But Lina can no longer bear to carry her secrets alone, and once the truth is out, can she ever be forgiven?

Chonghaile stuns in her second book for Legend Press weaving a complex narrative covering conflict, secrets, judgement and what it takes to sever family ties.

Q&A:

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

A) Hello, and thank you for hosting me. The Reckoning tells the story of Lina Rose, a successful if enigmatic author in her 70s, who has come to Lion-sur-Mer in Normandy to reflect upon the conflict that broke her husband and drove her to turn her back on convention with a recklessness that demands a reckoning. While in France, Lina decides to write to the daughter she abandoned as a baby. She wants to set the record straight after a lifetime of obfuscation. And she wants to do it in the place where her husband lost his innocence during the Second World War.

As Lina crafts a letter that may never be read, she relives the horrors of the 20th century’s two wars and she is forced to face her own complicity in what happened to her. As she writes, she tries to figure out whether she was compelled by the general chaos to live the way she did, or whether her decision to abandon her child was more a reflection of personal failings? Sensing the hand of time on her shoulder, Lina is determined to tell the truth, if such a thing exists. She wants to explain herself, insofar as she understands what happened. She is seeking forgiveness, from Diane and possibly from herself.

As you might be able to tell from my name, I am Irish and I grew up in An Spidéal in County Galway. I left home when I was 19 to join Reuters in London as a graduate trainee journalist. I then worked as a reporter and editor in Europe and Africa for around 25 years, mainly for Reuters, The Associated Press and the Guardian. My first novel, Fractured, was published in 2016. My second, Rain Falls on Everyone, came out in 2017. The Reckoning is my third. I live in St Albans with my husband, our two daughters and our naughty and very vocal golden retriever, Simba.

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

A) I started writing The Reckoning a couple of months after the publication of Rain Falls in July 2017. I pitched the idea to my wonderful editor, Lauren Parsons at Legend Press, and sent her a few chapters. She was very enthusiastic but Lauren knows me too well and suggested I might need a deadline to focus my mind. She’s always right! I promised to deliver the manuscript by April 2018. Thus began a frenetic phase of researching and writing, some of it joyful, some of it desperately hard. I had a clear vision of where the book was going but I never like to plot too precisely – I like my characters to lead me through the story and my favourite part of the whole process is when they head off on a tangent and do something unexpected. In reality, I suppose, it’s my subconscious being naughty but even knowing that, I find the whole thing quite magical. In any case, after some hand-wringing, hair-pulling and tears, I got it done and The Reckoning was on its way. I am extremely lucky to have had such incredible support from Legend Press since they first requested the full manuscript for Fractured in August 2014. I had submitted a sample of that work to well over 40 agents and publishers and a handful had requested the full manuscript, but none felt able to take the project forward. I was beside myself when I got an email from Lauren asking me to meet for a coffee that September. The rest is history. Legend Press took a chance on me and I will be forever grateful.

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

A) I have so many! And the list gets longer every month. I love Margaret Atwood and I think my favourite book of hers is Oryx and Crake. I really enjoyed the sequels too but that first book has a luminous quality. I loved Robert Wilson’s Bruce Medway novels about a hard-boiled detective in West Africa. I found them so original and also hugely entertaining. In my early 20s, I was deeply moved by Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus. Another one of my Africa-based all-time favourites is The Darling by Russell Banks, a poignant story built around coups and wars in Liberia during the 70s and 80s. I recently raced through some of David Downing’s World War 2 spy novels – all named after train stations in Berlin. I admire his skill in capturing both the extraordinary chaos of war and the humdrum of daily life. I read all six books in the Station Series back-to-back and I wanted more. I have always been drawn to books about the wars, partly because I have never quite managed to get my head around the enormity of those tragedies. One of my favourite books is Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. I devoured Pat Barker’s Regeneration Trilogy and I loved Chris Cleave’s Everyone Brave is Forgiven. This fascination with that period was also behind my decision to write The Reckoning, although in my darkest hours, I wondered how I could dare explore the territory of some of my writing heroes. Nonetheless, I persevered in much the same way, I suppose, as sprinters still train even though they know Usain Bolt is out there. I am reading Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife at the moment and I am totally bowled over. I also love Lisa McInerney’s lyrical and lush The Glorious Heresies and its sequel The Blood Miracles and Anne Enright’s blistering and beautiful social commentary in The Gathering and The Green Road. I am a huge fan of Tim Winton, and would unreservedly recommend his books, starting, perhaps, with Cloudstreet.
This list is whatever the opposite is of comprehensive!

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

A) I used to love My Naughty Little Sister, which my mother read to me. As I grew up, I devoured books by Enid Blyton, from Amelia Jane through to Malory Towers. I also loved the Chalet School books by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. As the eldest of seven children, I thought boarding school would be paradise! As a teenager, I loved Agatha Christie – I read every single one of her books in the library in An Spidéal. Later, I lapped up the exotic settings in Wilbur Smith’s novels. It still tickles me today that I did actually end up living in Africa for nearly 10 years. If you had told that to my 11-year-old self, she would have died laughing at the outlandishness of it all. Another teenage favourite was Maeve Binchy – for many years, she was my ultimate writing hero. I started with Echoes and then The Lilac Bus and on through her many others. When I moved away from Ireland, my mother used to send me all her new releases – in hardback! Maeve had such an ear for dialogue and such a gentle way with incisive social commentary. But it was the story and the characters that got you. I felt bereft at the end of each of her books. She pulled you so deeply into her characters’ worlds that finishing her books felt like a bereavement.

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

A) It’s all been a dream come true. But if I had to choose the best bit, I’d say it’s welcoming dear friends and family to book launches. If you can provide a reason for people to come together, to talk and laugh and have fun, I think you’re winning at life. What else is there, really? If some of them like the book, it’s a bonus.

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

A) Long before I sit down to the blank page, my husband David is hard at work as Supporter-in-Chief. He’s the one who has to listen to my semi-coherent, stream-of-consciousness plotting; he’s the one who has to inject that critical dose of reality into my more hare-brained scenarios. He’s also always my first reader. I have huge respect for his opinion, I know he’ll be honest and it helps that I can’t cut him out of my life in a fit of pique if he says something I don’t like! David also loves his little red pen and he is a pernickety (in a good way) editor. It helps that he is a journalist too with a keen eye for misplaced apostrophes and those dreaded split infinitives.
Our daughters, aged 14 and 11, are vocal supporters, even though they are too young yet to read my books. Their constant encouragement and, possibly misplaced, faith in my ability to become the next JK Rowling are balms for the soul.
My parents, two brothers and four sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins have all been hugely supportive. It means so much when they tell me what they thought of the books, and which passages they particularly liked. The same goes for reviews on Goodreads or Amazon. Yes, even the less favourable ones. I am always so grateful that people have read my books and then have taken the time to review or rate them. I still blush reading my reviews (I don’t think that will ever change) but I hope I learn from each one and hopefully take that knowledge onto the next novel.
I have also found great support online from a group called #writerswise, which was set up by Dr. Liam Farrell and Sharon Thompson. The regular chats with host writers on Twitter are hugely entertaining and very informative. The website is: https://writerswise1.wordpress.com/ More generally, I’ve met a lot of writers, especially Irish writers, online and they are full of support and perfectly-timed kind words.

Fractured Author - Clar Ni Chonghaile
Clar Ni Chonghaile
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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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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview Testament by @kimtsherwood #Literary #ww2Fiction #NewRelease @riverrunbooks #Testament

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Testament by Kim Sherwood
Review copy
Synopsis:

WINNER OF THE BATH NOVEL AWARD

Of everyone in her complicated family, Eva was closest to her grandfather: a charismatic painter – and a keeper of secrets. So when he dies, she’s hit by a greater loss – of the questions he never answered, and the past he never shared.

It’s then she finds the letter from the Jewish Museum in Berlin. They have uncovered the testimony he gave after his forced labour service in Hungary, which took him to the death camps and then to England as a refugee. This is how he survived.

But there is a deeper story that Eva will unravel – of how her grandfather learnt to live afterwards. As she confronts the lies that have haunted her family, their identity shifts and her own takes shape. The testament is in her hands.

Kim Sherwood’s extraordinary first novel is a powerful statement of intent. Beautifully written, moving and hopeful, it crosses the tidemark where the third generation meets the first, finding a new language to express love, legacy and our place within history.

My Review:

‘Everything I knew about Silk’s life began in London 1945’

Testament is a tender novel, it explores the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter. The desire for the granddaughter to know more about her grandfather’s history and the journey of discovery this take her upon.

Eva is present at the death of her grandfather Joseph. She has to inform her father and it is then that we learn the relationship between the two is far from perfect. Eva has grown up close to her grandfather and they have shared a close relationship.
One she has not shared with her own father.

When Eva receives a letter from Dr Felix Gershel from the Judisches museum in Berlin, it sets her on a course of discovery about her grandfather and his complex history.
The Testament is the story of Joseph’s time in the labour camps of ww2. Something Eva believes is everything he wouldn’t want the world to see. It was never his desire to be defined by his experiences in the Holocaust.

This is a moving story that fully covers the true horror of being a survivor of the Holocaust. The refugee aftermath and attempting to locate one’s family members. It really puts you in the place of Joseph and we see life through his eyes.

‘You do not know if you will ever see
your family again.
He cries himself to sleep’

It is also very moving in the exploration of father/daughter and grandfather/granddaughter relationships and family roles. Eva has a turbulent relationship with her father, which is fully explored within the novel. But the grief at the loss of her grandfather forces her to search for understanding, to ease her pain.

‘Vengeance is not Jewish’

Personally, I found the tender and emotional bond between Eva and Joseph very touching. I was very close to my own grandfather, before he passed away in 2001. It reminded me, of some of the conversations we had shared and how entirely different our lives were. Yet we are of the same family.

Testament is slow-paced and very literary in its content.
But it is written with such emotional intelligence. 4*

Kim1
Kim Sherwood
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