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)

***Don’t miss the other bloggers on the blog tour***
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Anne Bonny #Author Q&A with @monro_m276 Mary Monro #StrangerInMyHeart #NonFiction #NewRelease #WW2 #Biography #Extract

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Stranger In My Heart by Mary Monro
Review to follow
Synopsis:

John Monro MC never mentioned his Second World War experiences, leaving his daughter Mary with unresolved mysteries when he died in 1981. He fought at the Battle of Hong Kong, made a daring escape across Japanese-occupied China and became Assistant Military Attaché in Chongqing. Caught up in Far East war strategy, he proposed a bold plan to liberate the PoWs he’d left behind before fighting in Burma in 1944. But by the time Mary was born he’d become a Shropshire farmer, revealing nothing of his heroic past.

Thirty years after his death and prompted by hearing him described as a ‘20th Century great’, Mary began her quest to explore this stranger she’d called ‘Dad’. Stranger In My Heart skilfully weaves poignant memoir with action-packed biography and travels in modern China in a reflective journey that answers the question we all eventually ask ourselves: ‘Who am I?’

Q&A:

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

Biography
I have written numerous technical and academic articles and I am an experienced lecturer and presenter, but this is my first book. I live in Bath and practice as an osteopath treating humans of all ages as well as animals, mostly horses and dogs. I was formerly a marketing consultant and began my marketing career with Cadbury’s confectionery. I enjoy learning languages and studied Mandarin before retracing Dad’s escape route across China. I would say that I reached toddler level (some spoken language but unable to write), which was surprisingly useful.
I was born and raised at a farm on the edge of the south Shropshire hills, the youngest of four children. I spent much of my childhood on horseback, which left me with permanent damage to my right eye, a broken nose, broken knee-cap and broken coccyx. I have been bitten, kicked, rolled on, dragged, and have fallen off too many times to recall, but I still ride racehorses for fun.

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

Well you’d better make a cup of tea and sit down – that was a long journey! Initially I was just exploring my father’s life and trying to process his loss. Then I became spellbound by China and decided to recreate my father’s escape route from Hong Kong to Chongqing. I was reluctant to go to a country where I don’t speak the language, so I spent a couple of years learning Mandarin. When I eventually arrived in China (5 years into the journey) I wrote a blog to keep everyone back home up to date with my travels. The trip raised as many questions as it answered and made me realise that my experience might resonate with a wider audience. People who’d lost their parent at a young age; people who want to understand how their personality was shaped by their forbears; or people who have a war hero undiscovered in their past. I delved further into the context of Dad’s story and decided to turn it into a book. Eventually I had a manuscript that I was happy with and tried to find a publisher, some hen’s teeth and a unicorn. Unbound generously picked me up when everyone else had rejected me and a year later, after a brilliant edit, here we are!

Q) What are your favourite authors and recommended reads?

In no particular order these are some of my favourite books: The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan, The Heart of the Hunter by Laurens van der Post, Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood, Perfect Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, West with the Night by Beryl Markham, The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson, The Web of Life by Fritjof Capra, A Pattern of Islands by Arthur Grimble, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, The Descent of Man by Grayson Perry.

Q) What were your childhood/teenage favourite reads?

My reading was mostly pony related as a child (Ruby Ferguson, Anna Sewell) along with magical books such as AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, Gerald Durrell’s The Talking Parcel and Kipling’s Just So Stories. I became a bit more adventurous as a teenager and was lucky to live in a home where interesting reads were left lying about as hand me downs from my parents or older siblings. I’ve always had a thing about justice and, looking back, a lot of my reading in my late teens was about justice for the underprivileged, minorities and the planet. I was also exploring epistemology (not that I knew what that meant at the time), seeking guidance on how to think and what to think about. I also read a ton of other books but in the ensuing 35 years I have forgotten most of them – these writers are some that have stood the test of memory: John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Alan Paton, John Irving, Robert Pirsig, Joseph Heller, AS Byatt, Margaret Atwood, Jan Morris, Fritjof Capra, Laurens van der Post, Nadine Gordimer, Franz Kafka, Voltaire, Albert Camus, George Orwell, Tom Wolfe, Maya Angelou.

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

I am overwhelmed by the reviews I have received – knowledgeable book lovers who don’t know me writing lovely, insightful things about my book. It seems miraculous!

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

My husband Julian Caldecott, who is a brilliant writer himself, has been endlessly supportive and encouraging and didn’t even mind when I took off to China without him! I also have to give a special mention to my fellow authors at the Unbound Social Club (our Facebook Group) who happily support, advise, listen, share and inspire in equal measure. They are the best bunch of mates I’ve never met and I doubt I’d have survived the process without them. Being an author is a lonely business and I have author friends, with traditional publishers, who have been rightly envious of the Unbound community.

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

Extract from Stranger In My Heart (final chapter):

And who am I? Apart from being immensely proud of my father and even more upset than before that he’s not here to talk to, I have an expanded sense of self. Since completing my journeys to China and writing this book, I have become more confident of my place in the world. I am doing more writing and teaching, speaking up. I have something to say and the confidence to say it. It seems that reliving my father’s experiences has added a perceptible strength to my being. As though the flow of courage from parent to child was interrupted in its flight but has now landed. At last I understand and can internalise the Monro family motto – alis et animo – wings and courage, indeed.

So many of us share this experience – the loss of a parent or grandparent without knowing them as a person rather than just as a role. We often don’t realise that their life contributes to ours in diverse and subtle ways; that if we had had the opportunity to really talk with them, they could have taught us so much about ourselves . The generation who saw the Second World War are steadily leaving us and they have a tendency to remain silent about their experiences. This reserve seems to me to be modest and protective, preserving their own sanity and hiding horror from us like a clutch of deadly eggs under a serene and soft-feathered facade.

The modern habit of sharing every thought and feeling is alien to them at the least, offensive at worst. But this is an enormous loss to us, even if we don’t fully appreciate it. Those who were non-combatants have just as much to teach us about resilience in adversity and how to live well in difficult times. The two-minute silence on Remembrance Sunday helps to make many people pause and reflect, and maybe, now that research is so much easier to do, it will also encourage more people to enrich their lives by delving further into their family history. Bereavement is never easy, but it has been truly joyful getting to know Dad and feeling the full force of his personality. It’s been like falling in love.

MM
Mary Monro
Twitter
Website

Anne Bonny #BookReview East End Angels by @hendry_rosie Rosie Hendry #ww2 #Saga #WomenOfWW2 ‘East End Angels tells the story of three fascinating women and their journey through ww2’

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East End Angels by Rosie Hendy
My own copy from tbr pile
Synopsis:

Meet The East End Angels, the newest members of Station Seventy-Five’s ambulance crew

Strong-willed Winnie loves being part of the crew at Station Seventy-Five but her parents are less than happy. She has managed to avoid their pleas to join the WRENS so far but when a tragedy hits too close to home she finds herself wondering if she’s cut out for this life after all.

Former housemaid Bella was forced to leave the place she loved when she lost it all and it’s taken her a while to find somewhere else to call home. She’s finally starting to build a new life but when the air raids begin, it seems she may have to start over once again.

East-Ender Frankie‘s sense of loyalty keeps her tied to home so it’s not easy for her to stay focused at work. With her head and heart pulling in different directions, will she find the strength to come through for her friends when they need her the most?

Brought together at LAAS Station Seventy-Five in London’s East End during 1940, these three very different women soon realise that they’ll need each other if they’re to get through the days ahead. But can the ties of friendship, love and family all remain unbroken?

My Review:

East End Angels tells the story of three fascinating women and their journey through ww2. The novel is the first in a series and perfectly builds the foundations for further novels. The three women are all very different in personality and I look forward to watching them grow and develop through the series. I already own the next in the series Secrets Of The East End Angels on my bookshelves.

The East End Angels comprise of: Stella Franklyn (Frankie), Margot Churchill (Winnie) and Peggy Belmont (Bella). They are members of the 75 ambulance crew, with Frankie their newest member. Overseeing their work is Station Officer Violet Steele. There is also transferred in new recruit William McCartney (Mac).

‘We look out for each other at station 75’ – Bella

The girls form a fantastic team and as the novel progresses we see them on various call-outs and in action. It is quite shocking some of the scenes they must contend with and overcome. At times forced to make tough choices with little time to think or plan. But together they make a formidable team.

William offered an interesting narrative into the plot. As William in a conscientious objector. I read a lot of ww2 fiction and saga’s, yet I think this is the first time I have come across a conscientious objector as a character.
So, I looked forward to every scene he was in.

‘I’m not a coward; I just can’t kill’ – Mac

Slowly we begin to learn each girl’s backstory. Stella’s homelife is far from perfect, but she takes comfort in nurturing an evacuee. Winnie was born in India and raised in considerable wealth and her mother tries to play a huge part in her life choices. Bella is possibly the quietest of the bunch, she has experienced a hard life and thanks to the air raids, it continues to get tougher.

The story of the male characters is told as they confide in their sisters. I thought this was a fantastic idea. I am one of eight siblings, I cannot even begin to imagine how life would have been for us growing up during ww2. But I know my brothers would perhaps confide their fears to me and my sisters. I think this also offered a different dynamic to the confiding soldier we see so often in ww2 fiction or saga’s with confidence only being between lovers.

There is love, smile and laughter amongst the team. As the battle the aftermath of catastrophic air raids and the devastation they leave behind. There is even a search and rescue dog named Trixie. The novel has a personal focus solely on the characters and their role in the ambulance crew.
It reminded me of the novels/TV series Call The Midwife. 4*

RH
Rosie Hendry
Website
Twitter

Next in the series. . . .
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Secrets Of The East End Angels by Rosie Hendry

Anne Bonny #BookReview Should You Ask Me by @MarianneKav #NewRelease #Historical #Literary #ww2 @HodderPublicity @HodderBooks ‘I especially love the inclusion of an 86yr old protagonist who is captivating.’

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Should You Ask Me by Marianne Kavanagh
Review copy
Synopsis:

‘I’ve come about the bodies. I know who they are.’

Mary is eighty-six years old, and she’s tired of being quiet.

She has a story to tell, and she’s only going to tell it once, so she won’t be rushed.

Especially as it’s not just a story, it’s a confession.

Because Mary has a dark secret, buried decades before. And while William, the nice young constable, might think she just wants someone to talk to, everything she says forces him to confront his own difficult past.

A unique and poignant novel about passion, regret and heartbreak, set during one of the most tumultuous periods of modern British history.

My Review:

This is such a quirky novel! I was really surprised as it was not what I was expecting at all. The cover gives the impression of a mystery/thriller, which it is. What you don’t fully grasp is that this is set amongst the backdrop of ww2. I felt as though I was going on a journey with Miss Mary Holmes, a journey through her past. I was absolutely hooked! I think this would make a great TV drama. I especially love the inclusion of an 86yr old protagonist who is captivating.

The novel opens on a normal Monday morning in Dorset. The only thing slightly unusual is that Mary makes her way to the police station to make a confession. When I say ‘slightly unusual’ that is because Mary is known to spin a yarn or two. . .

‘You could say that I killed them’ – Miss Holmes

Recently in the little town of Acton there has been the discovery of two people’s remains. When Mary Homes makes her confession to the on-duty young constable William, it is clear she has a story to tell. She starts with her brief admission that she is responsible for both deaths. The whys/how’s are going to take much longer to get to the bottom of. This is a secret Mary has held for 60yrs.

‘I’m eighty-six years old. I’m tired of being quiet’ – Miss Holmes

The chapters also alternate between Mary’s past and that of William the police officer she is confessing too. It would seem both of them have a past and both of them have secrets.

‘The guilt eats away at you. A lifetime of telling lies’ – Miss Holmes

Over a series of days, Mary’s story is eventually unravelled by the ever-patient and attentive William It is a long drawn out story, but it is intriguing nevertheless. This novel is slow-burning as clearly stated. But it is one of those cosy reads, you’d enjoy by a log fire. I did find the story to be very realistic. My background is in adult mental health and I have worked in dementia care. I can assure you, the elderly often harbour, some secrets you’d never suspect by simply looking at them. 4*

MK
Marianne Kavanagh
Website
Twitter

Anne Bonny #BookReview Shipyard Girls In Love by @arevellwalton 5* Genius #Saga #ShipyardGirls #Series #ww2 #WomenOfWW2 @arrowpublishing ‏ ‘The cleverly weaved secrets and expert plotting had me hooked!’

Shipyard Girls in Love
Shipyard Girls In Love by Nancy Revell
#4 Shipyard Girls Series

Review copy
Synopsis:

Sunderland, 1941

With a brief break in air raids providing some much-needed respite from the war, things are looking up for head welder Rosie, who has fallen head over heels for Detective Sergeant Miller. But how long can their romance last in such uncertain times?

Life remains full of challenges for Gloria, who must face her abusive ex-husband and confront her own guilty conscience about baby Hope’s real father. The secret is tearing her apart but if she admits the truth, she will risk losing everything.

Both women are determined that their love and faith will be enough to keep the most difficult of promises, but nothing is as simple as it seems…

My Review:

It is well known I am a huge fan of this series, I have sung its praises all over social media. I have to admit this is my favourite of the series so far! It starts off on a fabulous high, but slowly the cleverly weaved secrets emerge, and the ending left me desperate of the next edition to the series.

The novel opens in Sunderland 1941, We pick up pretty much where we left off. We have a brief update on the various girls and where they are now. We also learn they are working on a new ship named the Empire Brutus. There is some gossip and speculation about Martha’s parentage. The darkest update comes from Hannah, who learns her parents have been moved to the Theresienstadt Ghetto. She is desperate for news and concerned for their future. Will they make it out of the war alive?

Across town, Gloria is in a cheerful mood. After Arthur set to helping Jack regain his memories, he can now recall his love for Gloria and remembers baby Hope. Although he still suffers some memory loss and can’t remember his parents and childhood unfortunately. Jack is mystified that he recognised Hope despite never having seen her before. Gloria fears Miriam’s anger and revenge, but for the moment, she wears a huge smile upon her face.
Some of Jack’s memories maybe gone, but his feelings for Gloria remain.

‘She had the love of her life back’

We have a brief re-cap with another couple in-love this time, it is Rosie and Peter. Despite Rosie’s initial struggles to trust Peter, they continue to be absolutely smitten with one another. They decide for their future to succeed they must remain completely honest with one another and they have a heart to heart, where secrets are uncovered, and truths shared.

“I was just thinking how, if I died at this very moment in time, I would do so being the happiest man on earth” – Peter

There is also the impending wedding of George and lily. Which something tells me will be a wedding to die for. Lily is known to exude everything French and luxurious!

There is a minor love triangle between Hannah, ‘young Ollie’ and Martha. With Hannah feeling excluded now Ollie and Martha are working together at the APR.
Will this lead to more heartbreak for Hannah?

Pearl and Maisie return from their trip to London. With this Bel reflects that in the coming future she will be determined to finally uncover who her own father is. Will Bel solve this mystery? Will Maisie learn more about her own father?
In their time away Maisie is able to confide in Pearl about her own experiences after her adoption. It is clear it was not the happy home, Pearl had hoped for her daughter.

One character that remains in the background but fascinates me more and more, is Kate. I know at some point we will uncover her backstory and I can not wait. There are hints at her past, within this novel and I fear it will be a painful past to uncover. But nevertheless, her mousy and quiet appearance and demeanour has me so intrigued.

When there is an accident at the shipyard, Martha is the hero of the moment. But it is a stark reminder, what a dangerous job the women are doing day in and day out. The accident results in Jim Mackie possibly losing his leg but lucky to escape with his life. But is it luck or the heroics of Martha? She is honoured to be put forward for an official commendation by Helen, Harold and Donald the yard’s management.

Helen remains in-charge at the yard, but in this novel, I must admit she does eventually become more humanised. She learns some shocking revelations and must overcome them rather than use the skillset she has inherited from her scheming mother.
Miriam continues to scheme and meddle, it is when Helen starts to see through her that the changing point comes for Helen.

Vinnie finally figures out what has been staring him in the face the entire time. And when he does promises there’ll be hell to pay!
Putting Gloria at serious risk and baby Hope also.

‘This war’s changing us all in so many different ways” – Gloria

Rosie and Peter’s courtship, I found really heart-warming and inspiring. Not because it is one of hot passion or based on secrecy etc. but because it is built upon love and acceptance of each other’s flaws. I just hope this love can withstand the revelations that we learn and the future than has now changed!

‘Why did love always seem to come hand in hand with hurt’

Just before Christmas the yard is full of gossip with the strikes at Pearl Harbour. The women become confused and alarmed but glad the Americans will be joining the war effort on the side of the Allies. It is easy to reflect that in 1941, with the Americans joining the war, many thought it would soon be over!
Which we know from history, was not the case at all.

Christmastime during the war, reminds us of the harsh life of rationing and how truly tough life was for the families that lived under such conditions. Where wrapping paper is made from newspaper and not a scrap to be wasted!

Rosie is shocked to discover that Charlotte wants to come home to Sunderland. Rosie is wary of Charlotte uncovering her secret work at Lily’s. But she also has a desperately miserable teenager on her hands. Worried about the risk of the air raids and exposure to her lifestyle, Rosie doesn’t know which way to turn and what choice to make.
I hope we do see Charlotte come to Sunderland, but that is perhaps because she is another background character that has me very intrigued.

Polly receives a letter from young lover boy Tommy, it is packed full of love and pride in her. What it doesn’t tell Polly is that Tommy has been picked for covert ops. What will this mean for the future of loves young dream?

The shipyard girls enter the new year with shocking revelations for all. Whether these secrets become exposed to all and sundry is yet to be known. But when I finished the final pages I was absolutely gobsmacked!!!

‘There were ships to be built – A war to be won’

This is the first book in the series to leave you on an absolute cliff hanger of an ending! Which leaves you desperate for answers and the next book in the series, Victory For The Shipyard Girls. This is a series that has gone from strength to strength and I had already added it to be list as my ‘series of the year’ before I completed this novel.

Great to be back with the shipyard girls.
The cleverly weaved secrets and expert plotting had me hooked!
5* Genius

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
Website
Twitter
My Review – The Shipyard Girls #1
My Review – Shipyard Girls At war #2
My Review – Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls #3
Extract – Shipyard Girls In Love #4

*****Coming soon*****
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Victory For The Shipyard Girls – Available 6th September 2018!
Pre-order links available. CANNOT wait!!!!!!!!!