Anne Bonny #BookReview The Murderess by @jenwellswriter 4* #WW2 #HistoricalFiction just £1 on Ebook #WeekendReads @Aria_Fiction A family legacy laid bare. . .

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The Murderess by Jennifer Wells
From my own TBR pile
Synopsis:

1931: Fifteen-year-old Kate witnesses her mother Millicent push a stranger from a station platform into the path of an oncoming train. There was no warning, seemingly no reason, and absolutely no remorse.

1940: Exactly nine years later, Kate returns to the station and notices a tramp laying flowers on the exact spot that the murder was committed; the identity of the victim, still remains unknown.

With a country torn apart by war and her family estate and name in tatters, Kate has nothing to lose as she attempts to uncover family secrets that date back to the Great War and solve a mystery that blights her family name.

My Review:

The novel is set between two timelines 1931 and 1940. It surrounds the childhood and adult life of Kate Bewsey and the mystery that has blighted her life. Kate has grown up in having known wealth and luxury. Living her life at ‘The Grange’ her parents estate in Missensham town. The Grange was once a hot spot of social activity. Parties, cocktails and jazz. Now it just reminds them, of all they have lost since that fateful day; her mother pushed a young woman to her death!

‘My life would not be the same after that day’ – Kate

Kate had an unusual relationship with her mother, her entire childhood. With her mother viewing her more of a possession and smothering her with her love.

‘Always remember you are mine’ – Millicent Bewsey

The novel opens in May 1940, with Kate arriving at Missensham rail station. Awaiting the arrival of her aunt Audrey and cousin Jemima, she notices a homeless man. The man is dressed in the attire of a veteran of the great war and it is this, that catches Kate’s eye at first. He is laying flowers, red peonies and it is then, that Kate recalls the date.

In 1931 a young teenage Kate witnessed her mother greet a woman at the rail station. They discussed the timetable and then for no known reason, Millicent pushed the woman from the platform onto the tracks and into the path of an incoming train. The story created a huge scandal with stories of the ‘well-bred’ woman with murder on her mind. Kate’s mother remains at Holloway prison and has never spoken of the incident.

‘As far as I am concerned, I no longer have a mother’ – Kate

Kate still lives at The Grange, but she is no longer the young lady of the estate. Kate and her father live in the basement, the old servant’s quarters. It is only through the charitable acts of her aunt Audrey, they have kept The Grange in the family.
There life is one of poverty, isolation and waiting.

Despite it having been nine years, since the murder and Kate now being a young woman of 25yrs. It is remembered annually in the newspaper, much to Audrey’s disgust. But this year there is some added news, as Millicent is due a parole hearing and possible release on the tenth anniversary of the crime.

Kate’s father requests that she visit the prison, in the hope at getting a statement from her mother. Which may help with her release.
But Kate refuses to assist in any way shape of form.

‘That woman should have hung’ – Kate

The emotional pull of the entire situation, leads Kate to investigate. Why did her mother push the woman onto the tracks? Who was the victim? And who is the homeless man? What do the flowers mean?

Kate returns to the station to enquire about the homeless man. She learns via the station master that he appears every year, on the anniversary of the murder. At a second glance Kate notices the card on the flowers.

‘For my darling Rosaline’

This becomes the first piece in the mystery and Kate becomes hellbent on solving the secrets that surround her mother’s life. But can Kate uncover the reasons for the murder? And can she live with the truth?

‘Who really ever knew your mother’ – Audrey

This novel is a slow-burning, cosy mystery that is perfect reading for a Sunday afternoon. It has emotionally charged scenes, that are very well written. My heart really warmed to Kate and I longed for her to solve the questions and set her mind to rest. There is a huge twist in the novel halfway through and this has been expertly done by the author. It adds so much more depth to the narratives. It builds and builds to a dramatic and shocking ending.
A family legacy laid bare 4*

JW
Jennifer Wells
LBA Books Website
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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #Extract Shipyard Girls In Love by @arevellwalton Nancy Revell @arrowpublishing #Saga #WW2Fiction #NewRelease #Series Even amid the war a broken heart can heal. . .

Shipyard Girls in LoveShipyard Girls In Love by Nancy Revell
#4 in the series
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…

Extract:

Prologue

East End, Sunderland
July 1918

‘I just don’t understand, Mam.’ And it was true. Sixteen-year-old Gloria Turnbull simply did not understand. ‘I thought we would be together for ever.’ Gloria spoke her words quietly, as though more to herself than for her mother’s benefit. ‘We promised each other we would.’ Quiet tears were now rolling down Gloria’s cheeks as she turned her forlorn gaze to her mother, who was perched on the edge of her daughter’s narrow wooden-framed bed. ‘There’ll be someone else out there for you,’ Peggy tried to console her daughter as she started to get up off the bed. It was nearly six o’clock and she knew Clifford would be back soon. If there wasn’t a plate of something hot, filling and tasty waiting for him, there’d be another war on. ‘Trust me,’ Peggy said, gently pushing her daughter’s curly brown hair away from her eyes, ‘there will be others after Jack.’ ‘There won’t be! There won’t be anyone else, Mam!’ Gloria’s voice was thick with emotion. ‘Not like Jack – I know!’ Peggy opened her mouth to rebuff her daughter’s
comments, but closed it again. Gloria was not far off her seventeenth birthday. She had only ever had eyes for Jack,

and Jack had only ever had eyes for Gloria, or so Peggy had thought. Everyone who knew the pair had presumed they’d be engaged before long. Even Clifford had been saying to her just the other night that it was ‘about time’ young Jack came to ask for his daughter’s hand. ‘I’ll bring you some supper in after I’ve sorted yer dad out,’ Peggy promised as she left the bedroom and closed the door quietly behind her. Only when she heard her mother shooing away her younger brothers and sisters, who had been milling around in the hallway wondering what was going on, did Gloria allow her tears to come freely. Why, Jack? Why? Gloria wanted to scream. She wanted – needed – an answer. Gloria smothered the sound of her heartache in the bunched-up pillow she had pressed hard into her face, and she coiled her body up tighter, as if by doing so she might disappear and become nothing, feel nothing. At the very least she hoped to barricade the world and all the hurtful feelings that came with it away from her being. Deep down, though, Gloria knew that it was too late to ring-fence her heart. It had already been shattered into hundreds of pieces. And like a mirror that had been dropped, the shards of glass had been flung far and wide and there was no way it could be pieced back together. Jack’s sudden decision to end their courtship had come like a bolt out of the blue. There had been no warning, no falling-out, no gradual dwindling of feelings. Far from it – they had been as mad about each other as when they’d first met when Gloria was fourteen and Jack fifteen. And they were certainly as passionate about each other, although Gloria, of course, was saving herself for marriage. They’d only ever really had one major falling-out in all the time they had been together and that was a few months

back, when they’d argued over Gloria having a ride home from work on the back of a lad’s motorbike. The greeneyed monster had showed itself in Jack and they’d had an almighty bust-up. Neither of them would back down, with Jack declaring Gloria shouldn’t have accepted the ride, and Gloria standing her ground and saying there was nothing wrong in it – that the boy was just a workmate. It had been the first time their stubborn natures had clashed so forcefully and it had taken a few weeks before they’d kissed and made up. When they did, though, they’d seemed closer than ever before, talking about getting married and even joking about how many children they’d have. Jack hinted that he intended to ask Mr Turnbull for permission to marry his daughter on the day of Gloria’s seventeenth birthday next month. But then, without any kind of warning, their lives together came to an abrupt halt when Jack came to meet Gloria after work at the ropery and told her he was ‘really sorry’, he was ending their courtship. At first Gloria thought it was some kind of wind-up, but when he told her he was serious and she asked him ‘Why?’ – a question she would ask herself for a long while after – Jack seemed unable to give Gloria an explanation, but instead just kept on apologising. When Gloria kept on demanding an answer, tears had formed in Jack’s eyes, which alarmed Gloria even more. She had never seen Jack cry. Not once. ‘Something’s not right!’ Gloria was beside herself. ‘Yer don’t just love someone one minute and turn yer back on them the next!’ But that was exactly what Jack did. ‘You deserve better than me, Glor. Much better,’ he said before he turned and walked away.

Nancy Revell
Nancy Revell
Website
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The Shipyard Girls #1

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The Shipyard Girls At War #2

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Secrets Of The Shipyard Girls #3

Review for The Shipyard Girls coming soon!

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Anne Bonny #BlogTour #BookReview The Stranger by @KateRiordanUK #ww2Fiction #HistoricalFiction #NewRelease @PenguinUKBooks

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The Stranger
The Stranger by Kate Riordan
Synopsis:
Cornwall, 1940.
In the hushed hours of the night a woman is taken by the sea.
Was it a tragic accident? Or should the residents of Penhallow have been more careful about whom they invited in?

In the midst of war three women arrive seeking safety at Penhallow Hall.
Each is looking to escape her past.

But one of them is not there by choice.

As the threat of invasion mounts and the nightly blackouts feel longer and longer, tensions between the close-knit residents rise until dark secrets start to surface.
And no one can predict what their neighbour is capable of . . .

In a house full of strangers, who do you trust?

My review:

Cornwall 1940
A missing woman and a small community filled with secrets…

The novel opens on Sunday 20th July 1940, the night Diana Devlin goes missing. The scene is set at Breakheart cove with the thunder and lightening of the coast as a backdrop.Five hours later, her friend Rose reads her diary muttering the words. . .
‘Oh Diana what have you done?’

The novel timeline then jumps to six weeks previously and portrays the build up to her disappearance. We are quickly introduced to Diana, a danger seeking, reluctant land girl. Having been exiled by her own mother to the solitude of Cornwall, she takes it upon herself to create her own entertainment….

‘One relishes a bit of danger’

At Penhallow Hall, we become acquainted with the other characters in the novel. The child-like and tearful Eleanor, the bossy and formidable Mrs Fox and the lonely wife Rose. Diana is quick to form a friendship with Rose, but Rose has secrets of her own and she is hesitant to share. Diana feels more and more isolated. She detests the bleak countryside and longs for drama and excitement. But it isn’t long until a third land girl arrives, the young and timid Jane.

‘And then there were three’

At first Diana remarks that Jane appears as a brooding irritable gypsy. She notes that Eleanor has begun to act odd, due to Jane’s arrival. One thing is for certain, Diana feels like the cat among the pigeons.

‘One good thing about this dreary war is that it encourages people to break the rules’

The novel focuses on the individual young women’s stories. Their pasts will come back to haunt them, during their stay at Penhallow Hall. But What secrets lurk in their closets?

‘I am on the wrong side of thick glass, looking in and trying to feel something’

I loved the slow, development of the characters. I felt the coastal setting and rural location of Cornwall, really added to the novel. Diana’s manipulation of events and unsubtle hints, show her true character.
Her own secrets haunt her throughout the novel.

‘they say that what we recoil from in others is what we are secretly ashamed of in ourselves’

As the girls grow closer, they do eventually confide in one another and this is when we get a glimpse into their pasts. Unhappy marriages, childhood shame and promiscuity all play their role. Between the late night confessions, gossip and speculation; you come to realise these are three young women with the weight of the world on their shoulders.

‘This place is thick with secrets’

The ww2 era creates more tensions and drama. With each of the young women, fearing for their futures. Will the Germans invade? The nightly blackouts and wartime tensions, add pressure to these young women’s lives. Then one of the women is taken by the sea. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Was it an innocent encounter? Or a sinister stranger? 4*

‘They’re all mad here’

KR
Kate Riordan
Website
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Ike And Kay by James MacManus @jamesmac1x #HistoricalFiction #NewRelease #WW2Fiction @Duckbooks #Review

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Ike And Kay by James MacManus
Synopsis:

Highly acclaimed author and managing director of The Times Literary Supplement, James MacManus, creates a compelling historical novel that brings to life an unbelievable but true love story set during the Second World War.

In 1942, Cork-born Kay Summersby’s life is changed forever when she is tasked with driving General Eisenhower on his fact-finding visit to wartime London. Despite Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie, the pair takes an immediate liking to one another and he gifts Kay a rare wartime luxury: a box of chocolates.

So begins a tumultuous relationship that against all military regulation sees Kay travelling with Eisenhower on missions to far flung places before the final assault on Nazi Germany. She becomes known as “Ike’s shadow” and in letters Mamie bemoans his new obsession with ‘Ireland’. That does not stop him from using his influence to grant Kay US citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer when he returns to America. When the US authorities discover Eisenhower’s plans to divorce from his wife they threaten the fragile but passionate affair and Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves…

My review:

Ike And Kay is a fictionalised account of the love affair between General Eisenhower and his driver Kay Summersby. The novel is historically accurate and heavily based upon the authors in-depth research. I think the novel is fascinating on many levels. Eisenhower was a key figure in the allied victory over the Nazi’s. His personal life and that of his love life, is rarely discussed in modern fiction or historical articles, with the focus being solely on his military career. Who was Dwight Eisenhower? What drew him to Kay? What did a love affair within the ww2 era mean, once the war was over?

Rest assured the author has covered the timeline perfectly! Opening in May 1942, we are with Kay as she awaits her new General on the platform of Euston station. The scene is set with the smoke/fog of a wartime train station and right away, I knew this was going to be a fantastic read.

Kay Summersby is originally from Ireland. She is part of the (MTC) Motor Transport Corps and becomes Eisenhower’s driver just five months after Pearl Harbour, after he arrives in Britain. Kay has had a colourful love life in the years before she meets Eisenhower. Divorced at just 33yrs old, she has more or less given up on the idea of a ‘happy ever after’. Prior to working for the MTC, she was an ambulance driver around the docklands of London. Kay is a strong woman both physically and emotionally. She is lonely in London, with only one close friend Charlotte. But through the class divide of Britain they are not as close as two friends should be.

Then into her life walks Major General Eisenhower. . .

Eisenhower has the weight of the world literally, upon his shoulders. He must devise military strategy under the fear of the Nazi’s. In Britain with the task of pulling together the allied forces by order of the US president. Eisenhower has no time for love affairs. . . Or so you’d think. . .

‘If Moscow fell before the winter snows it would be Britain next’

The novel expands on Kay’s background, her divorce and previous love affairs. The novel also goes into detail about Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie who remains in the USA. You really get the feel of the ww2 era and that this was an entirely unique era. Given the war and the constant threat of death that was upon all citizens. You can easily see how it fuelled many a love affair.

Eisenhower is promoted to Commander of European theatre of operations. He forms a military family which has its own internal hierarchy, which Kay is firmly part of. Aside from his military manoeuvres and love life the novel does also show his feelings and opinions towards the British and life in Britain.

‘Trouble with you Brits is everything is about class. Even the working class seem happy to be just that – lower than everyone else. They lack ambition. It’s pathetic’ – Eisenhower

Eisenhower takes up a weekend retreat called Telegram cottage, where he entertains many military leaders including Churchill. Suddenly Kay find herself mixing with the powerful and elite of British intelligence society. Her proximity to Eisenhower fails to go unnoticed. Even as far away as America. . .

‘Jealousy feeds on rumour and the rumours had certainly taken wings across the Atlantic’

With Mamie Eisenhower becoming aware of Kay and her closeness to her husband. Mamie begins to fear for her own future after the war, that and the future of her two young sons.
She expected to lose her husband to the army, but not to another woman.

Kay and Eisenhower travel to various locations on military pursuits, even as far as North Africa. They become closer and closer with each passing day. Kay even purchases a puppy for Eisenhower’s birthday, it isn’t long until influential figures in the military and intelligence are aware of the love affair taking place right under their noses.
They fall under the spell of peace and contentment at the cottage. With Kay finding comfort in the words of denial ‘This man would never love or need anyone more than the wife who waited for him jealously in Washington’ I felt this maybe a lie, Kay would come to regret.

In Washington, Mamie begins drinking far too much, struggling with the rumour mill of the fellow military wives and she fears her husband’s mistress is getting too close. Mamie is a woman on the edge. When she is approached to be part of an article titled ‘life with Ike’. This is a husband Mamie has hardly seen in two years. But keeping up appearances is important in the war.

Kay and Ike’s love affair continues, with regular breeches of regulations and Ike even buying her a fancy gun. Kay meets President Roosevelt and is elevated to positions she could never imagine. She is even offered the chance to be part of an American unit, the Woman’s Army Coprs. Kay Summersby has arrived!!

As the war progresses, even Rommel becomes aware of who Kay is and her close relationship with Eisenhower. After a series of loss of lives in war, Ike is advised to drop Kay and this is when the politics seep over into Ike’s personal life. What was once tolerated, is now becoming an embarrassment to the military.

As the war comes to a close, and the liberation of Paris is underway. Ike and Kay are both planning for a life after the war, but will it include one another? Kay witnesses the brutality of victory, seeing the death of defeat on the streets.
Her feelings towards the affair begin to change.

‘So many young men, lying their like broken dolls – and what for? Nothing’

Faced with the harsh reality of war, Kay begins to feel foolish in her pursuit of Ike. Whilst, Ike is faced with the tough choice of Kay or country?
This novel is a fascinating glance into the lives of historical figures. It offers so much in the form of debate and would be ideal for book groups that have a focus on historical fiction. As stated above the accuracy and research is second to none.
Ike And Kay is a powerful story of love in war.

james_macmanus_sm
James MacManus
Website
Twitter

Author Bio:

James MacManus has worked in the newspaper business for 50 years and is currently the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. James was a WW2 baby, educated at Westminster School, and graduated from St Andrews University in 1966 when he began his career at the Daily Express in Manchester. James joined The Guardian in 1972, first as a reporter in London and then as a foreign correspondent in France, Africa and the Middle East. In 1985, James joined the Diplomatic staff of the Daily Telegraph in London before a move to The Times in November 1992, first as Assistant Editor (Home) and then Managing Editor in September 1996.

James was appointed Managing Director of The Times Supplements in April 1997. Following heart surgery in 2009, James relinquished many of his duties to concentrate on speech writing and managing The Times Literary Supplement.

In 2006, James’ first screenplay about the life of George Hogg, The Children of the Silk Road, was made into a film starring Jonathan Rhys Meyer titled The Children of Huang Shi. James went on to write a book of the film, Ocean Devil (2008), followed by his debut novel, On the Broken Shore (Harper Collins, 2010) and historical fiction novels Black Venus (Duckworth, 2014), Sleep in Peace Tonight (Duckworth, 2015) and Midnight in Berlin (Duckworth, 2016). You can read more here about his new historical fiction novel Ike and Kay available from 8 March 2018 (Duckworth), a vivid reimagining of General Eisenhower and Kay Summersby’s infamous love affair in London after the second World War.

 

#BlogTour #Review The Betrayal by @AnneAllen21 #WW2Fiction #HistoricalFiction #Guernsey @rararesources #KindleOffer #EbookDeal

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The Betrayal Cover LARGE EBOOK (1)
The Betrayal by Anne Allen
The Guernsey novels – Book 6 
Synopsis:

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

1940. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…

1942. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.

1945. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.

2011. Nigel and his twin Fiona, buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…

Searching for the rightful owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest?

Who betrayed Leo?

Who knew about the stolen Renoir?

And are they prepared to kill – again?

My review:

The novel moves between two timelines the present day 2011 and the World War 2 era, with both located at the beautiful Channel Island of Guernsey.
I love coastal crime novels and the WW2 era, so this was a combination, I knew I would enjoy.
I live on a Channel Island and although I haven’t visited Guernsey yet! I have visited Jersey and its many tourist sites in relation to the German occupation. So, it was easy to visualise the setting and atmosphere that such a novel generates.
The author has brought Guernsey alive on the page.

The novel opens in June 1940, as Theresa and baby daughter Judith are being evacuated from the Island fearing a German attack. Guernsey and Jersey were de-militarised in the build up to the war. The only channel island, that I know of that wasn’t, was the Isle Of Wight. As the British feared if the Island fell into German hands, they’d effectively be able to launch their own D-Day assault on Britain.
I loved the historical accuracy and at times I could get a real feel for the characters helplessness. They had no idea what their future was, once the Germans invaded.

The novel then jumps to the modern day of 2011. There is a robbery turned fatal attack at a local antiques shop. Which leaves Nigel dead and the motives unknown. What was the assailant attempting to steal? Nigel and his twin sister Fiona moved to the Island after Nigel’s diagnosis of MS. They sought out a calmer, carefree existence. But what they uncovered, had roots reaching far back into the past……

In 1940, Teresa separates herself from husband Leo, as the ship leaves Guernsey. Neither of them knows what the future can hold and if they’ll even ever see each other again. I found this heart-breaking to read and it really brought home the deep emotional pain many withstood in this era of history.

“I shall miss you more than you can ever know, my darling” – Leo

In the modern day, Fiona returns to the antiques shop, only to discover the body of her brother. Nigel is found hanging and with his recent medical diagnosis; the police are quick to assume suicide. But Fiona is steadfast in her belief that he would never abandon her and cause her such pain and grief. She is determined to prove the police wrong and so begins her own investigation. With the help of ex-copper turned PI John Ferguson, Fiona sets out to uncover the truth in the mystery.

I would describe this novel as cosy ww2 crime fiction. Although the plot revolves around a murder. It focuses more upon the impact this murder has on the characters, both past and present. The reflective chapters offer an insight and comparison into the ww2 era and the modern day. Leo’s perspective of the German invasion and his shocking betrayal, is brilliantly written. I wish the novel had covered more scenes from the ww2 timeline and in-particular Leo’s story. But the emphasis is mostly from the 2011 perspective, searching for the truth via the history of the island.

The location of St Peter Port, really adds to the novel. The theme of betrayal works incredibly well. Who can you trust, when everyone turns informer, in order to survive?
I would definitely LOVE to read more in the series and will be downloading the authors work via kindle unlimited asap!

Iphoto for email
Anne Allen
Author Bio –
Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018
Authors links:
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For this week only, until 18th February, the price of books 2-6 of The Guernsey Novels is only £1.99/$2.99, with book 1, ‘Dangerous Waters, remaining at 99p/99c

This is in celebration of Anne Allen’s birthday, the 6th anniversary of the publication of ‘Dangerous Waters’ and the recent publication of book 6, ‘The Betrayal’.
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